COLUMN: Geeks, nerds can care about the ‘Cleveland Curse’ too

Michael McLauglin

It should come as a surprise to no one that I’m a bit of a geek. For example, I just spent a decent sum of money purchasing the complete set of Neon Genesis Evangelion (and if you have any idea what the hell I’m talking about, welcome my fellow nerdling). However, what probably comes as a bit of a surprise is that I’m also a fairly big sports fan – especially in regard to baseball, which I’ve followed almost religiously since my mother taught me how to keep score on a muggy July day.

Therefore I was pleased when the Chicago White Sox won the World Series Wednesday night as they played the game the way it was meant to be played (instead of pulling an Earl Weaver and praying for a three-run homer to bail them out). Yet, on a certain level, their victory was rather annoying, as it has resulted in pontification by countless pundits on the suffering of the city of Chicago in waiting this long for a World Series title.

Granted, Chicago has been pretty crappy when it comes to baseball, with the city’s last World Series victory, before this one obviously, dating way back to 1917. But the Windy City has hardly been hurting for athletic triumphs after picking up six NBA titles and a Super Bowl in the last 20 years alone.

Same goes for Boston last year. While the Red Sox hadn’t won the World Series in 88 years, the Patriots had just won two out of the last three Super Bowls, and during the “curse of the Bambino,” the Celtics won 16 NBA championships (including nine in a row).

Instead, to find a real example of sports misery, one only needs to look 30 or so miles to the northwest.

When Cleveland sports teams aren’t just flat-out miserable (and they often are), they’re managing to lose extremely dramatic games, which then become seared into the city’s memories for decades to come. Instances such as “The Shot”, “The Drive” and “The Fumble” have become blotches upon Cleveland’s collective psyche. It’s been 41 long years since any major Cleveland sports team won a championship. And no, the Cleveland Crunch’s two indoor soccer victories don’t count.

For some reason, one doesn’t hear or see much in the national sports media about Cleveland’s futility, at least in comparison to Boston or Chicago. I guess being outside of a major media market means even one’s failures are ignored. After all, we need to see every single damn Yankees-Red Sox game on ESPN.

However, perhaps the tide is turning. It looks as though this generation’s Michael Jordan will be wearing the wine and gold of the Cavaliers for a long time. The Indians have the best young team in baseball and the Browns – well maybe they’ll actually break .500 one of these days.

At least if the streak of futility for Cleveland sports continues into my middle age, I know what I’m going to write my first non-academic book about.

Although with my luck, the Indians will win the World Series right as the book is going to the printers.

Michael McLaughlin is a senior history major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].