The date was October 19, 2006, with one out in the top of the sixth inning. That was the last period in time a New York Met fan really had something to cheer about.
If you didn’t mind snow cones in the Fall, then Met left fielder Endy Chavez was your guy that evening. Cardinal third baseman Scott Rolen seemingly drove the ball over the left field fence, when a chasing Chavez then mimicked the Michael Jordan “Jump Man” logo, further robbing Rolen of the go-ahead homerun in game 7 of the NLCS. Chavez defined the adjective “clutch.”
I was watching that game at Hofstra University, 20 miles away from Shea Stadium that night, and I swear you could hear the roar of the crowd that far.
Since then, the New York Metropolitans have been about as credible as a diabetes awareness pamphlet featuring Ronald McDonald. Fortunately, in the Mets, I only have one favorite team in the world of sports. Unfortunately, I have been reluctant to acknowledge that fact since Carlos Beltran infamously statued a curveball.
And now the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were supposed to put on a June parade this season, fell 3-1 in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals last night, It had me thinking: Just who are the most humiliated fans in American sports today?
Because if there’s any fan base feeling more shameful about his/her team than the Mets faithful right now, it should be the Cleveland Cavalier fan (Eastern Conference Final breakdown pending).
As if the SI cover jinx wasn’t enough, absent from last week’s issue was four pages of the cover article itself that led me to believe that there really is a disadvantage in being a Cleveland fan. (Did that happen to anyone else?)
Then Cleveland’s All-Star point guard (and I use that tag loosely, because after all, Allen Iverson was an All-Star too), Mo Williams, decided to guarantee a Cavalier victory. As if shooting under 40% from the field wasn’t enough strain on his psyche.
Do you know how many guarantees in sports have been made? Like 1,000 (998 of them in this decade alone). Do you know how many have held up? Three: Joe Namath, Mark Messier and Plaxico Burress. No disrespect to Williams, but guys named Mo aren’t supposed to make guarantees. Guys named Mo remind me of a tavern and a patron named Homer. Outside of Sears Craftsman hand tools, do guarantees do any good for anyone?
If the Cavaliers were to fall short of their NBA title dreams, what would make this elimination more demoralizing than perhaps any other in Cleveland sport history, is that this team had the best chance to make history. They have the league’s best player, and the best home record in an NBA season that has clearly not produced a prototypical title contender. The Celtics took Orlando to 7 games with Brian Scalabrine in the regular rotation!
Here’s a look at a few other teams whose fans are currently dealing with irrefutable stigmas:
The team has had success from time to time, but the quarterback situation over the last 20+ years is worthy of having its own Wikipedia page. From Mike Tomczak to Rick Mirer to Rex Grossman: To say you’re going to make a career out of being the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears is comparable to your local Denny’s manager having the same lofty expectations for his newly hired dishwasher.
Even before last season, the Lions were already the Ralph Wiggum of the NFL: When they probably didn’t deserve it, and the audience feared it, every season Detroit would get to participate in show-and-tell day (in this case, Thanksgiving). Meanwhile, Bengals fan is home saying, “Remind me why WE don’t get a nationally televised game this year?”
Also embodying futility…
These organizations have long been the butt end or punch line of sportscaster’s jokes: Clippers, Bengals, Pirates, Nationals, Royals, Raiders
If the Cavaliers lose to the Orlando Magic as expected, for one more year, Cleveland fans will just have to accept the fact that the city’s greatest sports moment of the last 30 years was when Pedro Cerrano finally connected with a curve ball in helping the Tribe in a defeat of the Yankees.