The Cleveland sports scene changed a lot during my first summer of college.
On June 7, the Cleveland Indians were one-and-a-half games behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. What a difference three months makes, while I sat idly by, watching the Dolans once again fail to make a significant move to put the team in position to contend. I can’t be too mad though, they did land the very versatile Brent Lillibridge (pause for laughter).
On August 25, the day I began my journey to the always-beautiful town of Athens, the Tribe were a pathetic 15.5 games out of first place in the Central and were reeling so bad that I told my dad a week prior that they would finish at the bottom of the division. And that will most likely happen. With a club-worst 5-24 record in the month of August and with the Twins closing in on the Indians for that coveted fourth-place spot, the Wahoos have probably been the most disturbing, perplexing and disappointing team that I have ever laid my eyes upon in my 19-year existence. Remember, I am from Cleveland.
That’s not to say I was miserable all season long while watching the Tribe score less than four runs every game or hearing about Chris Perez saying something senseless (you can talk about fan apathy, but don’t boast about individual achievements when arguing with an opposing team’s fan). I can remember two specific games, which I attended, that made me excited to see how this team would pan out the rest of the season. This was before the All-Star break.
June 18 – Indians 10, Cincinnati Reds 9 – As far as entertainment value goes, the best seats in the house for Tribe games are in the bleachers. “Bleacher Creatures” are a raucous breed, and it was no different on this particular night. I think if you ask Reds centerfielder Chris Heisey, he would agree. The drunken banter began in the second inning, as grown men followed the direction of numerous kids in the stands shouting at the puzzled Heisey. He went 0-5, grounded out into a double play and missed a running catch in centerfield, a catch that would have prevented the Indians from scoring two of their runs.
July 5 – Indians 3, Tampa Bay Rays 1 – To make a long story short, my friends and I took another friend of ours to the game just recently after his father passed away. The game was the complete opposite offensively of the one I just mentioned above, but the game had him in high spirits. Amazing what sports can do sometimes.
The pain the Indians brought me this summer just wasn’t enough, however. I was the editor of a Cavaliers’ website and attended one of the Browns’ training camp sessions before I left for vacation in Duck, North Carolina (the only duck I saw was the one on my plate).
I was at Quicken Loans Arena when the Cavs drafted Dion Waiters with the No. 4 pick. The only time I heard boos louder in the Q was both times when LeBron James came back to town. I was in love with Bradley Beal, but since he wasn’t an option at that point I can’t blame the front office for still going with a two guard. It’s the thinnest position on the roster right now, so it needed to be addressed.
Watching Kyrie Irving in summer play was fun while it lasted too. After making the 2012 Olympians look like traffic cones in the lane, Irving broke his hand in his first summer league practice after he slammed his hand on a padded wall. It’ll be interesting to see if he ever gets that matchup with Kobe, but for now I’m just excited to see how he follows up a stellar ROY performance and a rousing start to the summer.
I ended my “Summer in Sports” by attending one of the Browns’ training camp sessions in Berea. From what I could tell this was the most excited that Cleveland football fans have been for a team since they came back. Brandon Weeden displayed great control with his throws, Richardson had a never-give-up attitude while carrying the ball and Josh Gordon could be the future No. 1 that the Browns so desperately need at wide receiver. Unfortunately a plethora of injuries hit the team.
Besides from being entrenched in sports, my summer also consisted of me making so many 2 Chainz references that it was probably bad for my health (and my image), working at my church while drawing up a Parks and Recreation-type sitcom for that job and running a local kickball league (I led the league in triples).
Zak Kolesar does not wear any Chainz, but he is a great reporter. Follow him on twitter @ZakKolesarO, and keep up with the Ohio Bobcats football team and the latest in rap.