Now is the best time of year for Cleveland sports fans: the Cavaliers are entering playoffs; the Browns are forgotten and the Indians are back at Progressive Field. Everyone knows how last year went for sports in the city of Cleveland.
Before the start of summer, the Cavs had secured a NBA Championship to end the 52-year drought by beating the team that blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals: the Golden State Warriors.
In the midst of all the excitement over Cleveland having an NBA Championship, the Indians were on their way to the World Series- their first time back since their defeat in 1997 to the Florida Marlins. The Indians won the AL Central, swept the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, and defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS to reach the World Series.
Cleveland rocks, but not in sports- which any follower of any Cleveland sports team knows. The Cleveland Indians lost to the Chicago Cubs in game 7 of the World Series- blowing a 3-1 lead, giving all the world another opportunity to laugh at Cleveland sports.
What the Indians accomplished last summer was huge despite the ill-fated ending. The team has just returned to Progressive Field for the season and the fans have been behind them since game one of the 2017 season. They have returned with the best reliever in baseball- Andrew Miller, Michael Brantley has returned after missing all but 11 games last season, and Cory Kluber is back in the starting lineup.
Every year for the past decade my dad and I have made the trip downtown for opening day and it has always been something I look forward to every April. Being downtown during the Indian’s first game at Progressive Field is almost magical- the crowds of screaming baseball fans, the smell of hot dogs, and Tom Hamilton’s famous phrase “We’re underway at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario…” blaring over the speakers as they play highlights from last season on the scoreboard. There is just something enjoyable about that first home game that can’t quite compare to any other game of the season.
Maybe it’s being one of the first people to step into the ballpark that season, or watching the division championship pennant be revealed, or maybe it’s just the thrill of it all. But seeing so many fans come out to cheer on the team is spectacular. It is the one game a year that sells out and I understand why.
It is great to be a part of because the fans are what make any professional sports team. Cleveland fans stand out from all the other fans though because we have hope. Every year our teams are going to be the ones to make it to the NBA Finals, the World Series or a Super Bowl appearance. For some of our beloved teams, playoffs are never possible, but to Clevelanders, next year will always be that year if it doesn’t happen this year. We are BELIEVEland after all.
The Indian’s fans are no exception to this trend. Despite a loss in the world series, everyone has shaken off the heartache and come into this season with even more enthusiasm than last year. We, the fans, will always have the team’s back- no matter the outcome. We bounce back from any lose and cheer on our beloved Indians.
It is America’s favorite pastime for a reason after all.