I hate to do 2 totally self serving sports posts in as many days but last night’s Indians/Yankees game has so much from a Cleveland sports fan perspective to write about that I just couldn’t resist. First off for a life long fan, the 12-3 Indians victory by no means has me thinking that win was anything other than what it is, a single win out of 3 needed to move on. The Yankees mastery of the Tribe during my lifetime is very reminiscent of the mastery Michael Jordan had over the Cavaliers from the mid 80’s to the early 90’s and that John Elway had over the Browns during the mid to late 80’s. Therefore the win, while great considering the 0-6 record they had during the season, just means that the Indians were able to get the regular season out of their heads and can now compete against “The Evil Empire”.
The real story in my mind from last night’s game was LeBron and his Yankee cap. Sports stars from a city’s other sports teams often attend the games for that other team especially during the playoffs. In fact I can remember several Tribe players showing up when LeBron’s Cavs were in the middle of their run to the finals last summer. I can also understand that more often than not those players, while not necessarily fans of that cities other team, will rarely if ever wear the colors of the opposing team. So Lebron “King” James showing up at the Indians first playoff game since 2001 in a Yankees cap is definitely not going to endear him to the fan base paying his salary. What makes it worse is James isn’t from New York and is in fact from Akron which is just a short drive south of Cleveland!
Living in South Dakota as I do now, it isn’t uncommon to come across fans from many different teams as we have no professional sports teams locally. Minneapolis is the closest big league city so the Twins are popular here but there are also plenty of Rockies and Cub fans among others, but for those born and raised in the Cleveland area, you are either an Indians fan or you just hate baseball. Not only do North East Ohioans love the Indians, we also almost to a person hate the Yankees more than any other franchise in any sport, other than the Steelers that is. (anyone remember the “I hate the Yankee Hankie”?) So Lebron openly wearing his Yankee colors at the Jake is just a bit more than this Cleveland sports fan can take.
Lebron’s contract will soon be up and it is apparent that the Cavs will never be able to put the parts around him to win a Championship so maybe it is just time to cut our ties with him. Give him his wish and send him to New York so he can bask in the bright lights and big endorsement dollars we all know wants. Once in New York I would like to see him wear the colors of his favorite NFL team to Giants games, I am sure New Yorkers will not be bothered at all with him wearing Dallas Cowboy (yes he doesn’t like the Browns either) garb at the Meadowlands during some future Cowboys/Giants NFC Championship Game.
UPDATE: 10/6/2007 – Well the 2-1 11th inning victory does help in the confidence arena for the prospects of another ALCS for the Tribe. The 10th man has always been a description given to a teams fans but I think in this series the 10th man award should go to the mayflies that hounded Joba Chamberlain into submission.