1964 was the last time Cleveland won a title in a major sport. The team that won it was the Browns, and their victory pre-dates the Super Bowl; a game which is now signified by Roman Numerals so large, that even most of us who understand Roman Numerals occasionally have to scratch our heads trying to figure out what new letter will be introduced on any given year.
1948 was the last Indians team to win the World Series. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, neither man running for President in 2012 would have any memory of that. Mitt Romney was just one year old, and Barack Obama was not yet a sperm.
The Cavaliers have never won the NBA Championship. I don’t have any hackneyed quip about that; unless you want me to say the words “LeBron James,” in which case the joke is on me for believing he would stay here.
In those near-fifty years of failure to reach the pinnacle of sport (Hector Marinaro and the Cleveland Crunch aside), legends of the city have come and gone. Coaches have come and gone. Owners and stadiums have come and gone. Hippies, disco, Zubaz, Hypercolor t-shirts, slap bracelets, boy bands, and the VHS tape have pretty much come and gone.
Have I sufficiently covered just how long it’s been?
In that time, though, Cleveland fans have never lost hope. In fact, I would argue, they’ve gotten a little too hopeful, and lost a little bit of common sense and perspective. But when you’re buying Rick Vaughn jerseys off the internet because the ending of Major League constitutes one of your city’s great sports successes, your acuity for fact goes a little haywire.
Often, I wince when I hear our sports fans' short-sightedness on WKNR, or other sports media outlets. I try to be a very logical person, and I often do my best to step back, attempt to look at problems objectively, and solve them. That’s not to say I’m not often incorrect in my solutions—but (believe it or not from my other ) I try to arrive at them devoid of any emotion (save indignation). But lately, I’m combining my logical approach to how I would solve our teams’ problems with a little fantasy.
So I am proposing that Cleveland sports fans blindly, and without any logic whatsoever, turn over all major sports decisions to me. And, because I am delusional (or because I need a transition to keep this piece going), I am gladly accepting that heretofore unparalleled position in sports.
Yes, being the overlord-GM of three sports at once is a dream come true for any sports fan. Thankfully, you the great fans of this weary city (who live in my head) have decided that, after Frank Lane, Dwight Clark, Chris Palmer, Pat Corrales and Ten Cent Beer Night, that we could do no worse turning over the major decisions of our franchises to a guy with absolutely no sports experience (outside of selling peanuts at Wrigley Field) whatsoever.
So let's get serious. My first three ideas are as follows:
1) The Cleveland Browns will draft several skill position players for at least two years, and quarterbacks will not be among them. Colt McCoy is a second-year player with mediocre skills and mediocre stats on a less-than-mediocre team. Leave this kid alone. We have two offensive linemen (and maybe a tight end or two) that anyone would consider trading for on that offense. Everyone else was either injured, or left on the cutting room of the movie Little Giants. Build a team around McCoy by drafting and signing decent receivers and running backs. If they progress, and he doesn't excel in the meantime, then go after a better option. I know, I know: Build the team AROUND the quarterback? That’s crazy! You know what else is crazy? 16 starting quarterbacks since 1999.
2) The Cleveland Indians will put forth as consistent a daily lineup as humanly possible. I realize injuries and other factors make that difficult. But there is (albeit slight) statistical evidence that teams with fewer lineups tend to win more games. And God knows we have a young team that hits (at best) inconsistently. This helps them with that. Give these kids a stable lineup, batting order, and playing time—and then figure out who stays and who goes to the minors next season. Everything else seeks to sabotage the mental-and-confidence portion of a young hitter’s approach to the game. Hell, inconsistency at work affects everyone. If you didn’t know what day or time you were going into work, or what position you’d be working at when you got there, how long would it take you to be consistently good in your field?
3) As for the Cavs? Yikes. Let’s just keep building a team through drafts and rooting against the Heat.
I know, I know. You’re already grumbling about my theories on how to fix our sports teams. So, I am resigning my position, effective immediately, after roughly 800 words on the job.
But if I might leave one more legacy to the (seemingly endless) history of sports failures in our city, let me say this: Please be more patient with our sports teams. They’re just not very good. And you can’t fix that with Charlie Sheen and a running time of 107 minutes.