Monday, June 6, 2016

Pity Cleveland

Just when you thought Cleveland might finally catch a break, it appears their poor beleaguered sports fans are going to get chumped again. The Golden State Warriors are absolutely giving the Cavs the red-headed stepchild woodshed treatment in the NBA Finals.

If the 15 point drubbing in Game 1 was considered an aberration, the 33 point beatdown in Game 2 pretty much separated the men from the boys. True, the Cavs were "in" both games and even led -- briefly. But then came a GS run. Those guys always make a run -- or three. Get up to take a leak or grab a another brew and, by the time you get back, a close game has turned into a 20 point difference -- just that fast. The Warriors are kind of like UConn ladies basketball in recent years. One way or the other, you just know it's going to happen sooner or later.

While Lebron James returned to Cleveland on a mission to finally bring a championship to that town -- there is little to suggest it's going to happen this year. Does anybody seriously think the Cavaliers can beat the Warriors 4 out of the next (possible) 5 games -- especially with two of them being back in GS's home arena -- if it goes that far? Be it the regular season or playoffs, the Cavs have now lost their last 7 games in a row to the Warriors. And most of them weren't even close.

There are some pro sports franchises that have suffered through long droughts. It's been well over a century since the Chicago Cubs won a World Series. But in Chitown they've been able to celebrate other championships over the years. The Bulls won several NBA crowns not that long ago. More recently the Black Hawks have captured Lord Stanley's hockey cup 3 out of the last 6 years. The Detroit Lions? Well, consider them like the Cubs with two notable differences. One has always been lovable and has a shot this year at greatness. The other has long been a joke and -- not a chance -- again. If the Cubbies were to finally win the World Series this year, millions of people across the country would smile and be happy for them. If the Lions were to win the Super Bowl, millions of people across the country would watch TV in amazement/horror as to why the Detroit faithful were trashing their city -- again. Why is it people in Motown celebrate by burning down their own neighborhoods? Seems counter-productive.

Cleveland hasn't tasted a professional sports championship in over 50 years. The Indians were pretty good here and there, but always came up short when it counted most. The Cleveland Barons -- the Lake Erie-ites one-time version of an NHL team -- only lasted three years (1976-78). They remain the only major American professional sports franchise to just disappear. Many others have switched cities and taken on different names, but the Barons just went poof. Only in Cleveland.

Cleveland's last go-round with sports glory happened way back in 1964. You remember those heady times. JFK had recently been assassinated in Dallas, the Beatles were making their American debut on the Ed Sullivan show, and there were exactly four TV stations available to watch.

Some guy named Jim Brown was running wild for the Cleveland Browns, which were owned by Paul Brown. A regular Brown-out. The first Super Bowl wouldn't happen for three more years. The Cleveland Browns would never win one. To add insult to futility, the original Browns wound up moving to Baltimore to become the Ravens -- and they WOULD go on to win Vince Lombardi's trophy.

Since then another "new" Browns team has been created. They haven't won squat either. Hot-shot college QB Johnny Manzeil was supposed to be their savior. How has that worked out? Cleveland still doesn't have an NHL team, and the Indians are plodding along at about .500 in baseball.

Ohioans can boast of many things. They had the fearsome Big Red Machine in the major leagues back in the 70's. John Glenn, the first man to orbit the earth, was a Buckeye. They've put 8 Presidents in the White House over the years. Alas, two of them were assassinated -- Garfield and McKinley -- and another (Taft) was so fat he supposedly got stuck in a bathtub and had to be pried out. How embarrassing. Of course, back then, there were ZERO television stations and nosy reporters covering such a spectacle -- so it could have been a lot worse.

Urban Meyer has enjoyed great success at Ohio State, even winning a national championship. Maybe someday he'll be as famous as his patron saint Oscar. There's wieners, and then there's WIENERS.

Cedar Point, on the shores of Lake Erie, remains an econo-amusement park destination for many. At the bottom of Ohio lies Cincinnati. They have recently made not-so-good headlines with a kid being able to find his way into a gorilla enclosure at the zoo -- and the animal then being slaughtered. Hey, the ape didn't want to be in captivity in the first place. So he's minding his own business, some kid jumps into his already limited space -- and he has to die for it? Something was very wrong with that picture.

Nevertheless, unless the Cleveland Cavaliers make an astonishing comeback, they appear doomed to falling short this year as well. It probably would have been nice to see Lebron and Co. finally exorcise the demons that have plagued the Cleveland sports scene for so many years. And maybe, just maybe, the Cleveland Indians will go on to win the World Series this year. Stranger things have happened, maybe. The Browns? Fuhgetaboutit.

But the Golden State Warriors appear to be too much. Even when their stars have an off-night, others step up to keep pouring it on. Besides their obvious front-line talent, they're deep and have the confidence of champions. Barring a rash of major injuries in the near future, it's hard to imagine the Dubs NOT repeating as NBA champions.

Like them or not, they're just -- that -- good.

Prediction. Cleveland will definitely bring their A game in the next two contests at home. But it won't be enough. They might win one.

In the end -- Golden State in 5.

And yet another year will go by with Cleveland still starving for a championship.

Some things just aren't meant to be......


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