I am a Cleveland sports fan. I was raised that way. I’m not the only one. I know that around Ohio, and scattered around the country, people were hurting as I was yesterday. I feel like Victor does in this photo. I could hardly watch at the end either. I never saw the last half inning of the game. If I hadn’t seen something about it when searching for photos, I’d have never known that Casey Blake was the last out. It was too painful to watch.
The last 12 months have been pretty brutal for those of us that follow the teams that this blog is primarily about. The Browns were abysmal last season. But the Buckeyes put on an unbelievable show. They won game after game after game, including the most monumental rivalry game of my lifetime. And then, they completely fell to pieces. The Cavs and Buckeye basketball teams had great regular seasons. Mike Conley came to life and along with superstar Oden propelled the team into the Championship game. And got beaten soundly.
The Cavs run was like nothing Cleveland basketball has ever seen. LeBron’s performance against the Pistons was one of the all-time greatest. It seemed like he wouldn’t let the Cavs lose. He willed them to their first ever Eastern Conference title. But they brought a knife to gun fight in the Finals. And with fans wondering how the Cavs can get better, in the back of our mind our deepest fear is that we won’t win it all before we lose LeBron. That’s 3 championship appearances for our teams, no victories. Then the Indians took us for a ride.
Sure it was a bumpy ride. There were times in the season that I thought we wouldn’t make it to the playoffs. They missed opportunities to seize the division when the Tigers were struggling. But then they pulled it all together. They beat Detroit heads up to take the division. A first round draw with the Yankees scared a lot of fans, but honestly I was confident they could beat New York. This team seemed certain to be a team of destiny. The injury bug was relatively kind to us. Relievers came from within the system and were outstanding. Rookies like Cabrera and Gutierrez gave us reason to believe, stepping up when veterans struggled. Fausto Carmona had the season of his life.
Now this. A 3-1 lead gone in a blink. How did it happen? Was it the pair of aces that got trumped? Was it the disappearance of our stars at the top of the order (Martinez excused)? Was it a better team beating us? Honestly, I don’t care. Analyzing it isn’t really helping matters much.
I am a fan. I remember when I was young and the Brian Sipe’s Browns were making their run at ending Cleveland’s championship drought, my dad taught me a lesson I won’t forget. After the Browns lost to Oakland I was pretty mad, and being a young kid I wasn’t handling the loss well I’m sure. We were getting ready to go somewhere and I was refusing to wear a coat, or a hat or something because it was orange and brown with a Cleveland logo on it. My dad looked at me and told me that if you wore it before the game, you will wear it after the game. He said losing doesn’t mean that you stop being a fan.
Dad is gone now. In a way I’m glad he didn’t have to witness these losses. But if he did, he would have done what I did when I left the house yesterday. I put on my Indians hat. Because I am a fan.