By Jason Klein
Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 6/2/09
Chief Wahoo was the only one left smiling Saturday night in Cleveland. Well, Chief Wahoo and the thousands of happy Yankees fans filing out of Progressive Field, in town to witness a 10-5 pinstriped victory. For the locals, a day filled with so much promise ended exactly like so many others have in the past – in disappointment.
Downtown Cleveland was buzzing on Saturday afternoon – not only because millions of those pesky midges decided to show up with the Yankees in town again. The city was hungry. The appetizer: CC Sabathia’sreturn. The main course: Lebron James and the Cavs facing the Magic in a pivotal Eastern Conference Game 6.
It didn’t take long for things to go sour off the shore of Lake Erie. Half filled with Yankees fans, Progressive Field sounded more like the Bronx as Sabathia took a no-hitter into the 5th inning against the hometown Indians. Simultaneously, the Cavs got off to a slow start, trailing by 18 at the half in Orlando.
Sabathia finished strong, tossing 7 innings, allowing only 3 runs on 5 hits en route to a 10-5 Yankees victory. Fans piled out of the building, long before the final out, and walked across the street to an empty Quicken Loans Arena to watch the second half of Cavs-Magic on the big screen. It wasn’t much of a show.
Though everyone in the place was down with King James and all his men, it was all his men who ultimately brought King James down. Aside from Delonte West’s 22 points and the 25 put up by James, the rest of the team never really got started, dropping the game 103-90, and surrendering their place in the NBA Finals.
Dejected Cleveland fans added another day of frustration to their already trying resume. The city that hasn’t raised a championship banner since the Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964, saw a golden opportunity slip through their fingers with this latest Cavalier loss.
So, NBA Commissioner, David Stern, those ABC execs, and those cool puppets, will have to cope without their much anticipated Kobe-Lebron Finals. And the city of Cleveland will have to move on once again, without a title. To add insult to injury, after the game, James, the prodigal son of Cleveland, spoke to the media and reflected on the lost season while wearing his controversial Yankees cap.
Though the MVP candidate wouldn’t commit to staying in Cleveland following the 2009-2010 season, many suspect the free agent-to-be will leave town – another potential blow to this passionate sports city.
When Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn helped defeat the Yankees to capture the pennant for the Indians in 1989’s “Major League,” it was a fictional account of what it would be like to actually win in Cleveland. Saturday in Cleveland, the real Indians were rocked by the Yankees, and fans watched the Cavs’ dream season end. Sometimes, a dose of reality hurts. In Cleveland, the only thing you can do is try and keep on smiling.
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