I don't think I'm alone when I say I am sick and tired of the national media's (and the simpleminded folk that take their word as Gospel) constant thrashing of my beloved hometown and their sports' franchises.
Any of you who are from Cleveland or have watched any amount of ESPN has seen the constant highlights of our sports failures. The Shot. The Drive. The Fumble. The Decision. The whatevertheheckelsehappenstous. It's like ESPN has them all on loop and feels the need to bitterly remind us of our failures every few months. NFL.com made a documentary about the Browns leaving. As if that wasn't still a painful memory. I also live in Baltimore right now which is just further reminder of our futility and less deserving fan bases' success. (I actually had a Ravens fan who knows I'm a Browns fan complain about how hard it was to watch the Ravens last year. That's like complaining you have the hiccups to somebody dying of seventeen forms of cancer and AIDs.)
As I was thinking about how I've seen highlight after highlight of our failures I realized how infrequently I've seen highlights our success. Heck before searching for it today I've never watched highlights of our most recent championship - the Browns in 1964 - and you'd think as a member of such a championship starved community I would see that more than anything else.
So. Here are links to videos of GOOD moments in Cleveland history. Some are recent. Some aren't. Some I remember personally (I'm 25) some I don't. Either way, this is what Clevelanders should get behind. We have more championships in our closet than any other team in the AFC North. We had the best basketball player in the world on our team for seven years. We had one of the best baseball lineups (1995) in MLB history. We have the Cleveland Crunch (haha just kidding nobody cares). So... Here they are!
This first one is very personal for me. I grew up in the 90s. I attended so many Indians game (as I'm sure any of you who grew up in in the 90s did). During that time Kenny Lofton was my favorite player. My parents got me a jersey in 2nd grade that way way too big and now it fits perfectly. I like to think that was foresight and not just Dillard's being out of appropriate sizes. Anyways, few things epitomize the 90's Indians like Kenny Lofton.
Next I'm putting in the Miracle of Richfield. I'll be the first to admit I don't know nearly enough about the history of this as I should, but it was a series clinching win for our Cavs. We didn't win the championship but from all I've heard this was an incredible season and an incredible team.
This isn't the most exciting video of all time in and of itself, but this 1995 Indians season was truly magical. Look at that batting lineup. Do it. It was insane. Six players batted over .300 for the season. The Jake was absolutely rocking. It was the start of a stretch of 7 or 8 (I forget) straight playoff berths and possibly the best time in the past 50 years to be a Cleveland sports fan.
The next one is somewhat bittersweet but I'm putting it on there because it was easily the best moment of my sports fandom in adulthood. The Tribe was amazing but I was still a kid. I was in college for the prime years of #23 in Cleveland. I remember exactly where I was during Game 5 of the ECF. I was watching the game with five friends in my parents' basement (I was home from college). We were yelling and moaning collectively as we traded baskets with the Pistons. When we finally won we literally danced in the street (and no we weren't drunk). I look forward to the day when that excitement is eclipsed. It's hard to believe this was six years ago already.
I don't necessarily count the Buckeyes when I think of "Cleveland" sports because 1) they're not specifically Cleveland and 2) they're college. Nonetheless we can take pride in them. I also remember watching this game at a friend's church's watch party. Incredible evening.
Speaking of the Buckeyes, while I don't have a waking memory of dominating the Steelers in anything, I have enjoyed many a victory over those toolbags up north. None more swee than this one.
We saved the most important for last (or almost last). Jim Brown and the '64 Browns handing it to the Baltimore Colts. If that doesn't make you feel good, I don't know what will.
The best days are certainly not behind us. We have Kyrie freaking Irving on our team right now. He's a sensational young player. He's going to be on our team for the next several years. The Browns are going to (fingers crossed) draft a franchise QB. The Tribe just made the playoffs and Terry Francona is pretty awesome to have on board. Urban Meyer is coaching the Buckeyes. Let's close by basquing in Kyrie's awesomeness.
Well hope ya'll enjoyed that! I know I had fun putting together. You'll notice there are virtually no Browns videos up there. Again I'm only 25 so most of my memories are quite poor. Those of you who have memories of the pre-expansion Browns feel free to post some fun ones (I encourage the banning of any jerk who posts The Fumble or the Drive). Most importantly, keep the faith, Believeland! The hardships will make the eventual championship that much sweeter!