Future is looking bright for Cleveland
Going Long with Geisler
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 19:10
It’s been a weird couple of weeks to be a Cleveland sports fan. We Cleveland fans expect to be disappointed by our sports teams, but can come around pretty quickly when things look up. That’s why the reaction to LeBron James leaving was so strong—we had all bought in. We thought we had a top tier NBA team locked in for the next 10-15 years. Then poof, it was gone.
Ever since LeBron left, sports in Cleveland have been nothing but dour and depressing. The Indians have been painfully bad. Hard-core Cavs fans try to act like it’s exciting to have Kyrie Irving when we lost the best player in the league. And the Browns have often bordered on unwatchable.
But things have gone in Cleveland’s favor the last few weeks, and it all started with an event that seemed like the complete opposite; yet another ridiculous Cleveland front office mishap. Two weeks ago, the Browns traded Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in the draft two years ago, to the Colts for their first round pick in next year’s draft.
Everyone (including me) assumed this meant they were tanking their season, playing for the first overall pick like an NBA team might do, in hopes of landing the next great quarterback that’s eluded the Browns since they returned from the dead in 1999. Given the history, forgive us for acting like the world was ending, because now it’s clear it wasn’t.
Inspired wins against the Minnesota Vikings, then in-state rival Cincinnati Bengals in consecutive weeks have shut down the doomsday talk among Browns fans. Many prognosticators called the Browns a likely 8-8 level team with a terrible quarterback. Losing Richardson clearly didn’t change their caliber and based on the last two weeks, it must have either been a morale raiser or lit the fire under the rest of the team they needed to play up to their potential.
Plus, quarterback Brian Hoyer is more than decent, and we’ll probably never have to see Brandon Weeden throw check downs and interceptions ever again.
While the Browns went from ripping out the hearts of, then surprising the whole town, the perennially disappointing Indians went a few steps further, reeling off ten straight wins to close out the season.
They won the top wild card spot. Ubaldo Jimenez struck out 13 Twins to avoid a three-team tiebreaker with the Rangers and the Rays on the season’s last day. I was often afraid to watch the games, expecting yet another choke job. Instead, I listened to the exuberant Tom Hamilton call the ten straight wins. And in his voice, you can hear the hope of an entire city looking for something, anything to cheer for.
We found it.
There will be a home playoff game in Cleveland for the first time since the age of LeBron Wednesday. For the first time since he left, Cleveland sports fans have a real team to root for. Even though we no longer have the best guy in any league, and no matter how the game tomorrow turns out, Cleveland has something to be proud of again. And that’s all a real sports fan can ask for.