Comparatively Speaking

A friend and I were recently commiserating about the plight of the Browns (a fairly common occurrence) as well as dabbing our eyes over how disappointing the Cavs’ season had been to date (nothing new to see here either, folks, let’s keep it moving). He sighed and said, “Spring training starts in a few weeks. Thank goodness for the Indians.”

And I agreed with him. What a loser. That’s what even just one good year will do in this town: set you far apart from the other sports franchises worse than you – even if that success is short-lived. And in this town, with rare exceptions, it generally is.

Given the overwhelming ineptitude displayed by both the Browns and the Cavs, there was little doubt in my mind that the Indians were the most successful of the three franchises in recent history. In other words, you didn’t exactly have to be the ’27 Yankees to eclipse recent editions of the Browns and Cavs. But before you organize that ticker tape parade for the Dolans, I ask you this: When was the last time the Tribe had consecutive winning seasons? 

The answer will probably make you regret buying all of that Indians gear after the Tribe’s one-game foray into the American League playoffs (FYI: In Cleveland, “playoffs” is usually spoken in the "singular" tongue). By the way, I hope you didn’t go "all in" on a Chris Perez jersey.

Anyway, the last time the Tribe posted a winning record for consecutive seasons was the turn of the century, 2000 and 2001. Then they were riding the coattails of the seven years of winning baseball, from ’95 through ’01. Manny, Thome, Omar and the rest of the gang. Yep, that was a long time ago…

And that’s my point: An incredible stretch of baseball, brought to you courtesy of Dick Jacobs, John Hart, et al. Since the current ownership – and their management team – has been in place, the Indians have had a couple of good seasons, in 2005 and 2007, prior to last year. So, if you’re getting all giddy in anticipation for this year, well, take a chill pill, because history has spoken, and history says (rather emphatically), “Don’t.”

Looking at the three franchises over the last five years (projecting a Cavs record of 29-53 for this season based upon their winning percentage when this column was written), the Indians have been the most successful overall at .462, and one winning season in the last five. The Cavs place second at .398 (heavily skewed due to LeBron’s last season in 2009-10, in which the team went 61-21), with that being the only winning season in the last five. Finally, the Browns stagger in at a winning percentage of .287, and zero winning seasons in the last five.

Cumulatively, that means over the fifteen years cited above, we’ve enjoyed two winning seasons. Oh happy day.

As I was saying earlier, before I was so rudely interrupted by reality, “Let’s go Tribe!”

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 10:19 AM, 02.04.2014