The city of Cleveland has three professional sports teams and in the past four seasons (at least), only one of them, the Indians, have had any success, and that was last year.
However, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of outrage about this lack of success. The Browns have pretty much been lousy since returning to the NFL in 1999, and since LeBron James left for Miami, the Cavaliers have been in the draft lottery every season.
The Tribe’s attendance has suffered since the sellout string ended in 2001, and the Browns no longer fill their stadium week after week on Sunday, despite selling all the tickets. The Cavs actually have drawn better than expected despite some dreadful seasons.
Yet, the sports talk stations in town talk nothing but football, so you would have to assume the populace isn’t fed up with the poor record of the Browns, and year after year, when another mediocre season has ended, there is actually optimism regarding the draft.
The Cavs have another season where they lose, or almost lose 50 games and there is a significant amount of supporters who think it is good because they will be able to secure another lottery pick.
If the baseball draft was followed as closely as the other two sports, perhaps the Indians would get more of a pass from people because it would mean another high first round draft choice.
There is no question that the fan base here is ingrained to look toward the future. Sure, we are disappointed with the losing, but if it happens, then it’s okay, we get to choose high in that respective sports’ draft.
When it comes to the Browns, perhaps there is a nagging feeling that if we are too critical of their foibles, the team will leave town again because the owner is angry. After all, Art Modell was just starting to get heat from the fans and media alike when he picked up and moved to Baltimore.
That’s not going to happen again. The NFL isn’t going to allow it as long as the tickets are sold out every week.
Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert has done a lot for the city, including bringing casino gambling to the area, and a lot of jobs from that business and Quicken Loans.
Because of this, fans feel guilty about holding him responsible for the state of the basketball team. While more criticism has been put on him recently, he still gets off pretty lightly considering the record of the wine and gold since James left town.
The team the fans are toughest on is the only one with any recent success, the Indians, but because of the way the sport’s draft is set up and the fact there is no salary cap, it’s also the hardest for a smaller market to compete.
That’s why the Browns and the Cavaliers can sell hope. With the right draft pick or free agent signing, they can be good again. And the fans obviously just lap it up.
But the ticket buyers should be more demanding of success. The Browns continue to be terrible and last year, didn’t even try to improve when injuries hit or trades were made.
That obviously even infuriated the owner, because Jimmy Haslam was fed up enough to sweep out the old front office and hire new people. At least he got angry.
Gilbert is said to be upset with the Cavs showing this season, but will he fly off the handle and make an impetuous decision, or will he take steps to make sure his team wins more games?
As for the Indians, fans were upset that the franchise didn’t build on the success enjoyed last season. After 92 wins last season, supporters wanted to see the front office “go for it”. There is much pressure on them to at least make the post-season again in 2014.
Cleveland fans have become too soft on demanding success from its teams. That needs to end right away.