Good news, Cleveland fans! This year’s Cavaliers aren’t even the worst team in your city’s glorious history.
Or are they?
The distinction of worst team in the history of Cleveland — if not all of sports — has long been the domain of the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, who finished a putrid 20-134 before being disbanded in the offseason. (Why the hell wasn’t that the team that was moved to Baltimore?)
But with the Cavaliers setting a new pro sports record with their current losing streak, we decided it was time to pull out a good, old-fashioned Rumors and Rants Tale of the Tape to determine which team is actually worse. Instead of doing the traditional thing where we declare a winner in each category, we’ll be crowning a loser for each one in this case. It’s only fitting.
Cavaliers: Conjures up imagery of one of the worst cars ever made by Chevrolet. At one point my freshman year in college, there were three dead Chevy Cavaliers in the parking lot of my fraternity house. Three. At the same time. Not even capable of starting.
Spiders: Named after a bad-ass arachnid that scares some people senseless, it is a shame that the University of Richmond is the only major sports entity that still uses this name. Thunder does not scare me. Nor do Thrashers. Spiders? Now we’re talking.
Cavaliers: I’m not sure that anyone would classify late 2010/early 2011 as a great time for humanity. Have you seen pictures of what’s going down in Egypt? Or previews for the new Nicolas Cage movie?
Spiders: The paper clip was invented in 1899. It’s also the year of the first fatal automobile accident involving a gas engine. The Second Boer War rages in South Africa.
Disadvantage: Push. It’s too early to tell what 2011 might have in store. We’re going to guess it won’t produce anything as awesome as the paper clip, but it’s probably a lot easier to find a decent flushing toilet.
LONGEST LOSING STREAK
Cavaliers: 26 strong… annnnnnd grooooowing.
Spiders: Despite finishing 114 games under .500, the Spiders never lost more than 24 in a row.
SIGNIFICANT ROSTER MEMBERS
Spiders: Joe Sugden, Tommy Tucker, Joe Quinn, Harry Lochhead, Suter Sullivan, Dick Harley, Sport McAllister, Tommy Dowd, Harry Colliflower, Chief Sockalexis, Willie Sudhoff, Bill Hill, Crazy Schmit, Highball Wilson
Disadvantage: Cavaliers. Dude! Sport McAllister? Harry Colliflower? Crazy Schmit? Highball Wilson? I don’t care how much they may have sucked, their names make up for it. Plus legend has it that the Indians were named in honor of Sockalexis. I will bet strong cash money that no team will ever be named in honor of Boobie Gibson. Not even in the Lingerie Football League.
Cavaliers: Byron Scott
Spiders: Lave Cross and Joe Quinn
Disadvantage: Spiders. Scott at least won coach of the year with New Orleans in 2007-08 and led the Nets to a pair of NBA Finals appearances, though I must admit I forgot that ever happened since it was during my personal “I neglected to remember the NBA exists” period. This is what happens when Allen Iverson is your league’s biggest star. Er, where were we? Oh yeah. It goes without saying that neither Cross nor Quinn managed again.
Cavaliers: Dan Gilbert, who promised a title before LeBron James got one — in a comic sans font.
Spiders: The Robison brothers, who were Art Modell squared. The Brothers Grim moved every starter from the 1898 Spiders — including Cy Young — to their new team in St. Louis, leaving the Spiders as a AAA-outfit playing major league ball.
Disadvantage: Spiders. Not only did the Robisons screw over Cleveland, but the assholes created the team that became the Cardinals in the process. I really hope they are burning in hell for this.
Cavaliers: One year after being the first team in the league to earn 40 wins, the Cavs were the first to pick up 40 losses. They also opened the season with a win over Boston, which may well end up winning the NBA title.
Spiders: Teams didn’t want to go to Cleveland to play in front of an extremely nonexistent and/or angry crowd. And the Spiders knew better than to show their sorry faces at home. So they did the reasonable thing and played 34 of their final 35 games on the road while finishing an epic 84 games out of first place.
Disadvantage: Spiders. What the hell was the point of playing that one home game in the final 35, anyway? Fan appreciation day?
Verdict: Push, 3-3-1
How apropos. In a showdown determining the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked, neither side can call itself the victor. And I did this thing all stream-of-consciousness style, so don’t accuse me of rigging it to come out that way. I am so bad at math that I had to re-add the totals just to see that this thing really did end in a tie. Apparently everything hinges on whether the year 2011 can prove itself better than 1899. That Justin Bieber movie better be pretty damn good if it’s gonna have a chance.