I hate cheering for these teams.

The 2006 Major League Baseball season opened on Wednesday, April 2nd with Cleveland and Chicago playing on ESPN. The Indians, (SURPRIZE!) as they left off last year, lost to the white sox after a 2 and a half hour rain delay.

It saw the unvealing of their world series "title" banner in center field. *
It saw the return of Jim Thome in a white sox uniform.*
It saw C.C. Sabathia go down in the 3rd inning with a pulled muscle in his ribs?

Coco Crisp, David Riske and Josh Bard are gone to boston for Setup man Guillermo Mota, and catching prospect Kelly Shoppach. Bobby Howry (cubs) and Kevin Millwood (rangers) left via free agency.

I was absolutely irate when I read this. It just intensified my hatred and disapproval for our cheap and deceptive front office. To lose such an integral part of our offense and pitching staff is going to be very hard to deal with, especially Coco. The only part of the deal that made it easier to take was the aquisition of The #1 rated prospect in all of baseball, 3B Andy Marte.

So we traded Lefty specialist Arthur Rhodes to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Michaels; a rotational guy who is apparently a great defensive player, has the speed to steal bases, can hit for average..his current stats through 32 games are 1, ( ONE! ) home run and 11 rbis...hmm...

Mark Shapiro's excuses are small market teams with limited payroll and trying to convince quality players to come here is a hassle because of said limited funds. He hired a minor league manager in Eric fucking wedge who likes to rock back and forth in the dugout and chew sunflower seeds. Yes, the win column increases every year, yes Martinez, Hafner, Sizemore are 3 of the best players in baseball BUT HE DOESNT HAVE THE NUTS TO TAKE CHANCES WHEN IT MATTERS. I.E: the 4 game series on the last week of the 2005 season that saw us get swept out of the playoffs and the division title wiped away by the white sux B TEAM.

Cleveland is the city you come to as an athlete when your career is over or never had any meaning at all. its the brunt of jokes in the NFL, the fire of lake erie, the mistake on the lake..etc etc. Robert Wagner referenced it in the movie "delirious" when he said "I have to go to...Cleveland? I hate cleveland".

Espn voted us as the most tortured sports city in america.

and yet...the fans come back every year. like the kid getting beat up every day by the school yard bully. you know you're never going to win but after awhile you seem to enjoy the torment and embarrassment because its given you some sort of fucked up identity.

The Kansas city Royals have been the worst run and operated sports franchise for the last decade but at least they've won a world series title in the last 20 years, The Browns have never even been to, let alone won a superbowl, the Cavs an NBA title, and my Father wasnt alive the last time the Indians won the world series.

I hold the utmost admiration for Red Sox and Cubs fans. They sell out every game and every year their team finds a way to disappoint them, to bring them to tears and in counseling, but they always come back.

Every new season is their year. "this time its ours" is what they say. unwavering loyalty only a dog or a cat could give.

But I get it..I really do get it ..Cleveland sports fans get it...this is us, every single year, only I daydream and write about the ways they're going to blow it this time. They've turned losing into an artform. But I'm still there, every year Im in that stadium screaming my lungs raw and gulping as much beer as I possibly can in a 3 hour span. thats the good thing about sports..no matter if you're winning or losing, you're probably numb and drunk as hell by that point.

The Fanbases of the Cubs and Red sox are 2 of the largest franchise followings in all of sports. What those teams mean to its fans reminds me alot of what the Cleveland browns mean to this city. Every sunday is a holiday here. My parents seriously had the police called to our house a few times because they were so out of control the neighbors thought someone was being beaten on.

Cleveland is first and foremost a football town, always has been. The Cleveland indians sell out games, but not every night, but I dont care, as long as I see the usual die hards I've made friendships with, I'm happy, let the bandwagon dipshits stay home and read the boxscore in the paper.

and like the cubs and red sox, we know exactly what its like to _almost_ get there only to have that chance, that moment ripped away.

1954 World Series: Willie Mays makes his infamous "basket catch" as the New York Giants sweep The Indians in 4 games. The Franchise would swim in embarrassment and not appear in another World series for another 42 years.

1960: After helping Cleveland win the world series 12 years earlier, Rocky Caluvito was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn.

1986 AFC championship - the drive: I was only 3 years old but still to this day remember and think about that game. all we had to do was kick a field goal in OT and we were going to the superbowl.

John "I look, but dont run like a horse" Elway beats us to it. marching 98 yards to tie it up, send it to OT, they force us to go 3 and out..no time wasted..they kick the winning field goal.. ( it was wide!, I swear to god it went wide!)

1987 - the fumble: cleveland driving for the win..earnest byner going in fumbles the ball on the 2 yard line, the broncos get a field goal to seal it.

1989 AFC championship: denver again. I could vomit just remembering this shit

1992 NBA Conference Finals: Michael Jordans shot against the cavs with no time on the clock.

1994: The MLB strike: Cleveland stood at 100-49 and had their division won by a record 30 games.

1995 world series: after having the best record in baseball all year..lose the series 4-1 to Atlanta.. this was also the year we lost the browns.

1997. The "Mesa-up": Jose mesa needs 3 outs..he walks first 2 batters..tony fernandez does his best buckner ( I'm so sorry i said that name..) impression and the next batter hits the next pitch into centerfield.

(*) I hate the fucking white sox. I was going into work the night of game 4, I saw the last out..ran to the bathroom and was dry heaving for 5 minutes. I'm not making this shit up. Jim thome is a traitor and a liar and a self absorbed prick.

!@#$%^ - that was me punching the keyboard.