For as long as I have written for this blog, I have chronicled the Battle of Lake Erie between Cleveland and Buffalo for the right to be called America’s most tortured sports city. It turns out I wasn’t the only one paying attention.
“Draft Day” is a soon-to-be filmed sports comedy starring Kevin Costner as the general manager of a woebegone NFL franchise looking to turn things around. The two cities visited by director Ivan Reitman? Buffalo and Cleveland.
Apparently Buffalo was the frontrunner. But according to the Buffalo News, Cleveland’s film commission was able to offer the production more incentives, and thus the movie will be about the Browns rather than the Bills. So Buffalo can’t even win for losing. (If you click on the Buffalo News link, please be sure to scroll down to see the reader comments for a new lesson in massive civic depression).
However, it’s somewhat unclear what this decision does regarding the status of both cities in the race for America’s most tortured sports town.
Let’s say the movie bombs. With the guy who did “Waterworld” involved, it’s a possibility that must be strongly considered. If that’s the case, then Bills fans might be able to breath a sigh of relief in the future.
“We may have missed the playoffs for the 20th straight year, but at least they didn’t make the worst sports movie since ‘Air Bud Spikes Back’ about our team.”
Now let’s assume the movie is good.
With the combination of Costner, who has proven he can do the sports comedy thing in “Bull Durham” and “Tin Cup,” and Reitman, who made of of history’s 10 greatest films in “Ghostbusters,” this is a distinct possibility.
But even if that is the case, the city of Cleveland will then be cinematically defined by successful movies about its sad-sack sports teams — “Major League” and “Draft Day.”
Is that a distinction anyone really wants?
Until one of the cities can crown a champion, the battle to be America’s most tortured rages on.