By: Danny Cunningham
One of the first pieces I ever wrote was a piece called “Curing The Curse.” In this article I talked about all of the suffering that the City of Cleveland had gone through since our last major sports championship in 1964. My plans were to write multiple pieces corresponding with “Curing the Curse” when each of our teams finally won a championship, however far down the road that may be.
For years, Cleveland lived by one simple, four-word phrase in regards to the local professional sports teams that call Cleveland home.
‘Wait ’till next year.’
Cleveland fans have always put their hopes in next year. Waiting had become one of the city’s [least] favorite activities.
Well, well, well…
How times have changed.
Remember when the Cavs won the NBA Draft Lottery three out of four years? Seems like a long time ago doesn’t it?
Remember when the Indians failed to make the playoffs from ’08 until 2013, and then failed again in 2014? Yes, I know, it still hurts.
Remember when people in the city of Cleveland were the ONLY ones optimistic about the local teams? And that damn sure wasn’t everyone who calls them self a Cleveland die-hard..
Well, Cleveland fans, fast-forward through all of the waiting to the present, and take a look at the scene.
Things are quite different now. The Cavs are the odds on Vegas FAVORITE to win the NBA Title this coming June, and Sports Illustrated announced that their pick to win the 2015 World Series is none other than the Cleveland Indians.
After 50 years with no championships, could it be that the city of Cleveland can win TWICE in the same calendar year? While I’m not one to get ahead of myself, I’m not going to downplay this, either.
We all know how well the Cavs have been playing as of late, okay, maybe not against the Nets and Sixers but you know what I mean. Since falling below the .500 mark in January, the Cavs have been playing the best basketball in the entire NBA. As of this writing the Cavs are 48-27, and two-and-a-half games up on the Chicago Bulls for the 2 seed.
29-7 since January 20th? Pretty impressive.
This stretch has lead everyone to peg the Cavs as the team to beat in the NBA. The feel around the country is that the Cavs are the team to beat. Outside of Atlanta, no one in the NBA, besides a few here and there, thinks that the Hawks realistically have a chance to take down the King, Uncle Drew and the rest of the Wine and Gold squad. As far as things go in the Wild, Wild, Western Conference, the Cavs are 15-1 in their last 16 games against Western Conference teams. Why? I think it’s pretty simple. When they play the Western Conference teams, they see it as a challenge; and when this team goes at it 100%… they are the most dangerous team in the NBA. And I don’t think it’s even a debate.
The national media is beginning to favor the Cavs, and it is about damn time Cleveland is the favorite.
While the Cavaliers are garnering a lot of national publicity, the team that they share the Gateway District with is starting to attract some attention of their own.
The Cleveland Indians have been one of the more popular teams in many MLB season previews across the baseball world. While the AL Central appears to be the toughest division in baseball, many places have the Indians either at or near the top of it.
Yes, you read that right. The Cleveland Indians are getting picked to win the AL Central in many publications, and are even picked to win the World Series by Sports Illustrated. Other notable people or publications that have predicted the Indians to reach October via winning the AL Central include ESPN’s Buster Olney and BleacherReport.com just to name a few.
Coming off a season that was labeled as a disappointment, the Indians look to regain their playoff form.
Last season saw the Indians win 85 games, and this year they could be poised to win 90-plus.
Led by AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, the Indians starting rotation could very well be one of the best in all of baseball.
We know what Corey Kluber will be able to give to the Indians, but after that it is not as clear cut. The number two spot will be held down by Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco has had a very up and down career, but seemed to find ‘it’ in the second half of the 2014 season. If Carrasco can pitch the way he did towards the end of the 2014 season, then the 1-2 punch of Kluber and Carrasco in the Tribe rotation could be one of, if not the best in baseball.
As far as the lineup goes, the Indians will have a balanced lineup led by MVP third-place finisher Michael Brantley. The Indians are expecting breakout years from Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes, as well as a big season from newcomer Brandon Moss to bolster the middle of their lineup.
While it may sound as if the Indians are depending on quite a few ‘What Ifs’ – in my opinion, there is nothing to worry about. Last season, almost every ‘What If’ scenario went wrong for Cleveland, and they still won 85 games. That leads me to believe that the team will be fine this season.
The national media is finally expecting big things out of the city of Cleveland, and so am I.
I am expecting things so big that there will be parties and parades in celebration.
Parties that will make Cleveland’s New Year’s Eve celebration look like a small get-together, and parades that will make Cleveland’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade look like a normal day of traffic.
The city of Cleveland has waited, and waited, and waited some more, but that wait is finally nearing the end. The great people of this fine city are about to experience the best times of their lives.
Get ready Cleveland, the party we have been planning for 50 years is almost here, and I hope you can all make it.
– Danny Cunningham