July 31, 2014

The current negative streak in Cleveland Sports is truly remarkable

Jimmy Haslam didn't like the penalty that overturned the Browns TD

Jimmy Haslam didn’t like the penalty that overturned the Browns TD

I feel like we’ve said this every year for a while now, but I can’t think of a worse time in Cleveland sports.1 I’m really not going out of my way to dwell in the negative here. I think there are some good things going on in all three Cleveland sports teams right now. I think the Browns have a decent young roster that might surprise us all if coached up properly this season. I think Byron Scott lost the Cavaliers, but I think with their positioning this off-season and all Chris Grant’s “assets” there’s a really good chance for a positive makeover year-over-year. Lastly, the Indians are mired right now in a nearly whole-team slump, but they’ve turned over a lot of those veterans that have been dogging Indians fans for much of the past five summers. All that being said, and without any of that “Look at us and respect us for our suffering!” clamor, it truly couldn’t get much worse, right?

Let’s look at the negative streaks fans have endured in all the sports recently.

The 2012 Cleveland Indians had an 11-game losing streak, 9-game losing streak, 6-game losing streak, and a 5-game losing streak all in the same season. Nearly 20% of the MLB season was spent slumping hard in Manny Acta’s last year in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Browns start 2012 with five straight losses. They also ended the season with three straight losses as Pat Shurmur was shown the door and Randy Lerner sold the team.

The Cavaliers had a 6-game losing streak, 4-game losing streak, 5-game losing streak, 6-game losing streak, 10-game losing streak and a 6-game losing streak all in the same season. That’s nearly half the season spent in pretty exceptionally bad streaks.

The Indians brought in the most exciting manager hire of my lifetime as an Indians fan, turned over the roster pretty dramatically, and were mired – until last night – in a pretty exhausting losing streak. Think about it. In 2013 so far the Indians have had two 5-game losing streaks and thankfully just ended an 8-game losing streak last night in Texas.

None of those streaks even mention off-the-field issues involving Jimmy Haslam, Quentin Groves, Chris Perez and Josh Gordon. The streaks also don’t mention LeBron James marching toward a second straight NBA title2 and Art Modell‘s old team winning the Super Bowl in memoriam.

I honestly am not looking to hold this up as a suffering badge of honor to the rest of the world. I’m not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me or the rest of Cleveland sports fans. I’m simply pointing it out because it truly is remarkable. I don’t think I’m even reaching hard to grasp at negatives. I think all of these are obvious and would slap any sports city in the face.

I hadn’t really stepped outside of the daily grind of being a sports fan to think about it, but between my conversation this week with Scott Raab and another one I had today with a friend of mine, it really hit me just how far down these teams have been for Cleveland fans in just the last 18 months or so.

Again, I’m not totally negative on the prospects for the teams either. Maybe that makes me stupid, but I believe the Indians still have a chance to get hot or at least warmer than their recent ice cold streak. I think the Browns coaching changes (and possibly the schedule) could make a real difference as to how we think about the current state of the Cleveland Browns this year. I also think the Cavaliers are going to make over the roster and play more competitively with Mike Brown’s defense this upcoming season.

Again, though, when you really put the losing out there all in one place with all the negative streaks it really is remarkable. Extraordinary even. I’m not even depressed as much as I’m in awe.

I have no conclusion really. Just thought I’d let you know where my head is right now as I continue to write articles and do podcasts.

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Footnotes:

  1. Excluding the real outlier of when we didn’t have a football team at all of course. []
  2. I know the Spurs hammered the heat last night, but this series has been so up and down I don’t think there’s a way to predict the outcome. []
  • Red Dawg

    As a 42-year old lifetime Cleveland fan (and son of a 35-year sports editor – thanks Dad! – LOL), I honestly think this current “suffering” is worse because of social media. It used to be that I would check the 6 o’clock news for any Cleveland sports info – and that was it. Now, it’s everywhere all the time – with the opportunity to post anything you want in a blog, comment, opinion, etc. So, instead of just hearing the fans when I would go to the games (albeit – 100 of them!!), now we get to read EVERYTHING people think – like right here. So, while I agree the current suffering is pretty bad, I can’t help but think back to the 1970s – when all three teams blew and I honestly was happy as a kid to just see a touchdown, slam dunk, or home run in the game I went to in C-Town. So, there is always hope of a turnaround. After all, like my Dad used to say, “it’s the law of averages!” What goes up must come down – and vise versa….right!?

  • humboldt

    Wow, this card – not to mention the Topps 86(?) wood panelling – brings me back to early youth. As a kid, that gold trophy in the lower right meant that Allanson was going to be a future star. When he simply faded away in the late ’80s it all felt like a big lie. My first brush with the Potemkin Village concept, I suppose.

    FWIW, I have vivid memories of this year of Topps cards, particularly the Sal Bando and Andre Thornton. As a child of ’82, this was right when my consciousness of pro sports came into existence. Thanks for evoking some good memories mgbode ;)

  • mgbode

    glad you love that set too. it’s definitely one of my favorites. i’m just a couple years older than you, and this set was the first I bought with my “own” money (’87 Topps & I cobbled together all my birthday money).

  • humboldt

    Nice memory. I have a similar one of visiting my grandparents in Indiana. My grandmother took me to the local Target, and I saw an 87 Topps ‘team collection’ of the Indians and begged her for it. She was shaped by the Depression and couldn’t conceive as to why anyone would spend $3 on baseball cards…but she bought them for me nonetheless. Bless her heart. (Now I’m also remembering a time, circa 1992, when she bought me a Beckett Baseball Monthly with Jeff Bagwell on the cover and told me not to ever tell my grandfather, haha).

    It’s fascinating how I can track the years of my childhood with the style of baseball card that Topps/Donruss/Fleer, etc. were putting out. Literally, name the year and I can conjure in my mind what the cards looked like and who the rising players were in the set (for some reason Delino Deshields is coming to mind, haha). When Stadium Club appeared in 1991 it was glossy and new – a game-changer.

    Wow, we could have a whole separate discussion about childhood and baseball cards couldn’t we?

  • Warburton MacKinnon

    Sorry,but none of this,not one bit even compares with Art moving the Browns. I can deal with losses,I can deal with bad news,granted it sucks. Yet,losing a team is so much more,and so much worse..at least have some perspective man. Also hate to say it but the Browns were not the first NFL team we had,nor was it the first we lost…at least the Rams left after a championship season. So I don’t even think this stretch is noteworthy,to me it’s just how sports go in Cleaveland(have all 3 ever been good at the same time?).

  • Henry Brown

    Just 18 months? Feels like a lifetime.

  • The Other Tim

    I’ll never forget turning to my hopeful 8 year old son and explaining to him in exact detail about how the Browns would lose that game even though they had a lead.
    it happened just like I predicted.

    That may have been the day he became a Colts fan. And I don’t begrudge him at all for it.