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Sorry, Cleveland, God still hates you - Through The Fence Baseball

Sorry, Cleveland, God still hates you

by Jed Rigney | Posted on Monday, May 16th, 2011
| 1839 baseball fanatics read this article

Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, or somewhere in between, we’ve all had one of those relationships that feels totally amazing and exciting but where our friends and family, and anyone with any sort of observational skills whatsoever, all know that it’s so crazy that it just can’t last.

Enjoy it while it lasts, Cleveland, because it's going to end badly.

It’s a zany girl with purple hair and tattoos who has slept with more dudes than she can remember. Or it’s a guy with a hipster mustache and skinny jeans who shaves off all his body hair … yes, all of it. It’s so exhilarating and different that the obvious faults are easily overlooked, until it all comes crashing down in a pile of grief, anguish and anguish. (Not me — I’m talking about other people that this happened to that weren’t me at all.)

My neighbor “Bonathan” (name changed) is currently involved in one of these. The girl is way too much for him. But right now he’s loving it: smoking clove cigarettes, staying out all night, having sex in the courtyard. Bonathan is a sweet guy, and he deserves a nice, stable and healthy relationship. But he’s having the time of his life right now, and I just don’t have the heart to tell him that it’s going to end badly.

Also enjoying a thrill ride right now are the Cleveland Indians and their fans — riding high with, quite unexpectedly, one of the league’s best records. This is a team that was projected by almost everyone to finish last or next to last in its division. It’s a young team with some potent offensive weapons, and it’s a city that needs something — anything — to go right sports-wise.

I feel really bad having to break it to Cleveland, but I also feel that you have the right to know: Things are going to go badly this season. How do I know this? Because God hates Cleveland.

Well, maybe “hate” is too strong a word. But He’s definitely just not that into you.

Look, Cleveland, I’m your friend. I actually do care about you, and I don’t want you guys getting hurt — especially after all you’ve been through in the world of sports (and also water pollution).

I don’t want to say who, but a friend of mine once revealed to me he was from Cleveland. All I could think to ask was, “Why?” He did not know the answer.

In addition to my friend Josh, Cleveland also brought us such remarkable talents as legendary actor Paul Newman, horror film director Wes Craven and Grammy-award winning polka musician Frankie Yankovic (no relation to Al).

Also, you guys invented Rock ’n’ Roll — that’s why you’ve got the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame there. [Editor’s Note: Nope.] Okay, so maybe you guys were just the ones who had the $65 million to build the museum. Whatever. But at least we can all agree with my friend Huey, who once said, “The heart of Rock ’n’ Roll is in Cleveland.”

I even liked the Drew Carey Show — well, except for that chubby lady with the make-up. I don’t think there’s ever been someone on TV that made me want to punch them in the face so hard. Wait. This article can’t be used in a court of law, right?

Cleveland has not had a professional sports champion in a very long time. The 1964 Browns football team was the most recent, and the Indians haven’t won the World Series since 1948. The Cavaliers basketball team has never won. Ever.

How am I going break this to Cleveland ... (John Kuntz/The Plain Dealer)

They got to the NBA Finals in 2007, and many people thought they would win last year. And it sure looked that way with their superstar player LeBron James playing like a superstar — until “something” happened and the team collapsed. I don’t want to speculate here as to what caused the collapse, but if you Google “Delonte West” and “LeBron” and “mom” you might find some interesting guesses.

The sports disasters through the decades are well known to the long-suffering people of Cleveland. But, I’m telling you guys, you need to put a positive spin on these. Just think of all the glorious memories your teams have created for other cities and their teams. Elway’s drive. Byner’s fumble. Jordan’s shot. LeBron’s decision. All of these will be enjoyed forever by fans from Denver, Chicago and Miami.

It sounds a little simple, but I started liking Cleveland after “Major League” came out. It’s just a fun movie. That motley crew of rejects and old farts fought back from the brink of oblivion and won the division against their rivals the New York Yankees. But did you notice that they don’t mention what happened afterwards? They lost in the next round of the playoffs. How do I know? Because it’s Cleveland. Also, because I saw the sequel (and the three-quel with Scott Bakula, which I’m pretty sure gave me brain diarrhea).

The Indians last real-life shot at winning a championship came in 1997. I’m a Red Sox fan, but I loved that Indians team — with the nefarious Albert Belle and the noble Orel Hershiser on the same team. Yin and Yang right there. That’s what America is all about, man!

And Cleveland loved that team. From 1996 to 2001, the Indians sold out 455 consecutive games at their brand-new Jacob’s Field. If the Dodgers did this, Frank McCourt could actually pay the players on his team. Just kidding. Frank could finally get that gold-plated Lamborghini he’s been wanting.

I clearly remember listening to game seven of the World Series that year sitting in my car outside a Burger King (eating a Whopper, of course), and it broke my heart when the Marlins scored that game-winning run. And then it was over.

And now, here we are. This year’s Indians team has done very well, so far, and the fans are starting to believe this team might be really good — or even really good enough. And lots of teams get off to hot starts in the first 10 games or so; but this is 40 games, so, this is different.

Not really.

The team does have an above-average offense. And that’s a good thing. But it’s the pitching and defense where the team has over-achieved. It’s just not sustainable. It’s not like these guys just suddenly got really, really good. Remember, steroids are no longer allowed. So, what’s a more likely scenario — these guys really are this good and everyone whose job it is to be knowledgeable about these things grossly underestimated the cumulative talent on the team or the team is on a bit of a hot streak and, soon enough, they’ll go back to being average?

Trust me, Cleveland, it's just not gonna work out.

Like Bonathan and his new girlfriend, you guys should enjoy this while it lasts, and make sure you’re not wrecked when the ride comes to an end. Okay, there is a slight chance that things might continue to go well for the Indians. Stranger things have happened. Last year’s champs, the Giants, were also predicted to finish near the bottom of their division. But I haven’t seen Bonathan for almost a week and I’m worried.

Realistically, this just isn’t the year for the Indians. But the Central Division is soft, and with a few more crafty moves (like you did when you stole Carlos Santana from the distracted Dodgers) and a couple free agents, you guys will be right there in the years to come in a nice, stable and healthy pursuit of a championship.

But watch out! Because the Kansas City Royals are coming and, with your luck Cleveland, they’re going to steal your girl and knock her up.

 

Post By Jed Rigney (202 Posts)

Jed Rigney covers general baseball randomness for Through The Fence Baseball. His work has been described as "prolific" (which isn't really a compliment). Despite a series of destructive relationships with uncaring women, he has persevered. He is an Aries and therefore quite courageous. He has never been arrested (though he was once "detained" briefly). And he hopes to one day see Gary Busey actually turn a tornado into a rainbow -- if only just once.

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