Opinion: The curse is broken, but the World Series still matters

Dan Armelli

I always hoped that when Cleveland sports had its day again, us fans wouldn’t become spoiled.

Boston sports fans — while massively fortunate to be able to witness so much winning for many generations, throughout multiple sports — carry the stigma of being spoiled and acting as such.

While I always believed Cleveland would be able to get sports teams that won championships, although maybe not to Boston’s extent, I wondered what it would feel like to root for my teams after they had already captured titles.

Full disclosure, while I support and follow all Cleveland teams, I’ve called the Broncos my NFL team since 2003, as I was never able to connect with the Browns like I did with the Indians and the Cavaliers.

We’ve seen our teams win a lot in 2016. While I’m still young, I felt pretty desperate to see one of my teams win a ring in my lifetime. But now that it’s happened, I’ve fortunately come to realize that it still matters a great deal to me if the Indians win the World Series or not, for multiple reasons.

There can’t be a lot of loyal fans out there that can say that each of their favorite pro sports teams were world champions in the same calendar year. The 2016 ring sweep is on the line for me.

It also helps that this is the first time I’ll be able to remember seeing the Tribe in a World Series.

But both of those reasons pale in comparison to why I think everyone else hasn’t become spoiled with the Cavs breaking the Cleveland curse.

Before I became a Broncos fan and before the Cavs won the draft lottery in 2003 to lock up LeBron James, my family was taking me to see the Indians at — what used to be called — Jacob’s Field .

My memory doesn’t stretch that far back, but every time I’m home I see pictures of when I was really little in my dad’s arms, watching fireworks.

I also see a picture of something I do remember. I used to collect as many empty Indians collector’s cups I could find after games, waiting for everyone to empty the stadium so I could survey the rows, looking, until the grounds crew came out to dismantle the field.

Growing up, my family would travel to at least one baseball stadium each year. In my 23 years, I’ve been to over 20 stadiums, some that aren’t even around anymore.

Those summers grew my love for baseball and the Indians. Some summers we were fortunate enough to see the Indians play.

The summer of 2008 was particularly Tribe-themed. We stopped in Kansas City to see the Royals play the Giants, Tribe great Omar Vizquel’s last season with San Francisco.

Another trip I like to share whenever I can is in 2002 when we went to Montreal to see the Indians play the Expos. I don’t remember the game itself at all, but I may not be able to top the experience for the rest of my life.

Before the game, I held up a sign that said, “TWO THUMBS UP FOR ELLIS BURKS.” Burks played three seasons for the Tribe and, that year, mashed 32 homers. As Burks turned around, he saw my sign and gave me two thumbs up.

Another great aspect of that game was getting there and having my dad see a family friend sitting in our row. When asked what brought her to the game, she said she was with her in-laws, one of who happened to be Indians owner Larry Dolan.

I don’t remember specifics, but when I asked my dad about what he and Dolan talked about, he said that Dolan talked to me more than anyone, asking about the game and why we were winning.

One last fun fact from that game: it was the last start for Bartolo Colon in an Indians uniform. He was traded five days later. To the Expos. For Brandon Phillips. And Grady Sizemore. And Cliff Lee. Crazy.

Both of these trips happened over 10 years ago, but they laid the foundation for my passion for the Indians.

A lot of people have stories like mine that give them reasons for why this trip to the World Series makes it special. I’m glad a little winning in Cleveland hasn’t taken that away.

Dan Armelli is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].