Three years ago, I wrote my first real blog post for this site attempting to determine which town was America’s Most Tortured Sports City. It’s still the most commented upon piece I’ve done here. Ultimately it boiled down to Buffalo vs. Cleveland, with Buffalo getting the temporary nod.
With LeBron James’ defection to Miami on Thursday night, Cleveland has firmly cemented its status as America’s Most Tortured Sports City, and it’s a title that might never be rescinded.
You see, LeBron couldn’t make his free agency decision the way normal people do. He had to drag it out as long as possible, making the public hold onto every word and breath he made. And that’s what makes this case so exceptional. It’s not that LeBron chose to leave the Cavs — they didn’t have the room to acquire more pieces to build around him, so he is making a sensible decision in that sense. But to make the whole thing a public charade is a move that will qualify him for every Douchebag of the Year award that is ever handed out. He didn’t just put the knife in, but he twisted it good and hard and made sure to throw on some salt when it was over. For a group of fans that has known nothing but misery for about three generations now, it was the worst possible way things could have ended.
Face it. Only in Cleveland could someone write something as outrageous as Cavs owner Dan Gilbert did and have people say “Yeah, that makes sense.”
While I do have a couple of bones to pick with Gilbert — a) Weren’t you trying to get Tom Izzo to do the same thing to Michigan State? and b) Comic sans? Really? Can’t you find a better font for a rant? — the fact he lives in Cleveland makes the tone of anger and desperation somehow acceptable, even if in a slightly pathetic way. He perfectly captured the city’s pulse, and in no way is that a good thing.
I’m sorry to say it, but at this rate it simply looks like Cleveland may never win. Maybe it’s time for Clevelanders to give up on sports and start building theaters to attract top-notch musicals or something. (I’m only trying to help).