Friday, October 31, 2008
When Is Our Turn?
Another season ends, another "curse" or "drought" ends. In 2004, it was the Red Sox. In 2005 it was those other Sox. The Giants broke an 18 year old Super Bowl drought this past season and the Colts won their first as a franchise since 1971. Just this past year, the Celtics won their first title since the days of Larry Bird and the Phillies ended a drought of 25 years without a major sports title in the city.
With all these long awaited droughts and streaks ended, seemingly year after year, a Cleveland sports fan can only ask himself: when is our turn? When will we finally break through and get what we have been longing for for 44 years and over 13,000 combined contests? When will the stars align, for just one season, a few months' hot streak? When will we finish off teams on the ropes, come back from a deficit to win a crucial series, get the big hit (or send the runner home), knock down the big shot or make the big kick?
Plenty of our "cast-aways" have won titles, some the very next year. This year, it was beliguered Phillies manager (and former Tribe skipper) Charlie Manuel, along with former Indian reliever Chad Durbin to hoist a trophy. With the Celtics it was Scot Pollard. The Red Sox won two titles with former Indians Coco Crisp and Alex Cora. Offensive lineman Shaun O'Hara with the Giants was a Butch Davis cap-casualty. I could go on and on. Why do players find more success outside the land of the Key Bank than within? Is it the lake, the people, the weather, or something more?
No city with three major pro sports teams has ever seen a combined drought like this, and no one other than Cleveland ever will. It is a curse, a hex. Something super natural that cannot be explained. From the Fumble, the Shot, Red Right 88, the Drive, The Sweep, The Comeback or The Collapse including such colorful heroes or goats (depending on whose side you are on) as Jose Mesa, Edgar Renteria, John Elway, Michael Jordan, Earnest Byner, Brian Sipe, Tim Duncan/Tony Parker, Tommy Maddox, CC Sabathia and JD Drew, Clevelanders have had their share of heartbreak, and enough leftovers to last a millenium. What have we done to deserve this fate? No one knows. But I do know one thing: when we finally break through and win our first championship since the 1964 Browns, it will be more satisfying for our city than for any other in the world.