Who’s Got It Worse? Cleveland or Salt Lake City?
The two worst sports towns in America are Cleveland and Salt Lake City. They’ve earned this dubious honor for completely different reasons, but they both deserve it.
You could argue that Atlanta with its fair-weather fans or Kansas City, which is pure haplessness, are worse, but they don’t hold a candle to Cleveland and Salt Lake. Nothing can be as bad as what I’m about to describe.
On one hand, we have a city that seems to have the wrong expectations, the wrong ideals and the wrong perspective. On the other hand, we have a city where “dreams go to die.”
What’s the difference? Well, they don’t have many dreams in Salt Lake City.
Warped Perceptions in Utah
The Utah Jazz got smacked around by the Lakers in the 2nd Round of the Western Conference playoffs. However, that’s not what intrigues me.
Being intrigued that the Lakers kicked the crap out of a hobbled Jazz team is NOT news. The news is in a guy who used to play in Utah—only now he’s drawing boos.
Derek Fisher was drafted with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles. He spoke so beautifully of fighting against Kobe in 1-on-1′s when they were young players. He learned how to play the game with Kobe.
Well, when D-Fish got old and the Lakers were crumbling, he was let go and landed in Utah. He filled the role, but never did anything serious for Utah. In fact, his 3 rings were the only thing he brought to the Jazz.
Then Derek Fisher had to deal with unspeakable terror. His daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer. He asked the Jazz to send him to a city that had a hospital capable of handling his daughter’s care.
The Jazz sent Fisher—almost as a favor—back to the Lakers. However, they were not the juggernaut Lakers, and not the “selfish Kobe” Lakers. The Jazz had no idea that Chris Wallace would trade Pau Gasol straight up for a flaming pile of dog crap, or that Kobe would learn to share the ball.
So, D-Fish goes back to L.A. The Lakers get Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, and Kobe learns to be “the man.” They make two straight finals and win the 2009 title.
When Derek Fisher returns to Utah this year and he finds himself booed by the fans in Salt Lake. In fact, many news outlets ran a photo of two women wearing shirts that read “Fisher Lied.”
Huh? Derek Fisher lied? How, I ask you?
Apparently the folks in Utah need more oxygen—must be the heights in the Rockies. By saying that Derek Fisher lied and booing him, the people of Salt Lake City are saying:
- Derek Fisher is a clairvoyant
- Therefore, he predicted the stupidest trade in history—Gasol for Kwame Brown
- Then, he wished his cancer on his own daughter so he could go back to L.A. where she could receive adequate medical care, and
- The state of Utah is entitled to a championship.
Derek Fisher basically won the 2009 NBA title for the Lakers. The only problem is, he sucked the whole year until he hit those two 3-pointers in Game 4. The Jazz are not entitled to good luck—they just aren’t.
No wonder John Stockton and Karl Malone couldn’t pull it together. Combine Jordan with unreasonable entitlements and you get the 1997 and 1998 failures during the finals.
Salt Lake City sucks because it thinks highly of itself when it has no right to. You don’t get to boo Derek Fisher and you certainly can’t expect Malone and Stockton to beat Jordan and Phil Jackson.
That’s just stupid. That’s what they are—unintelligent sports fans. At least fans in KC and Atlanta know better.
Cleveland, Where Dreams Go to Die
Cleveland—home of LeBron, the Indians, Bernie Kosar, and no titles in 46 years. LeBron just flamed out of the playoffs. Travis Hafner hasn’t lived up to expectations. Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia left the Indians. And, the Browns stink worse than a plumber’s hairy butt crack.
Bernie Kosar has the Browns on the brink of going to the Super Bowl and then—”The Drive.” The Indians have the best pitching staff in baseball—then they trade Lee and Sabathia for less-than-equal-value.
LeBron stopped caring about midway through the 2nd half of Game 4 against Boston. The Cavs are now contemplating firing Mike Brown because LeBron couldn’t get it done against an ancient Celtics club.
Cleveland is a place that can only hold up Jim Brown as an icon. It can only look to the 1964 NFL Championship that the Browns won during the “pre-Super Bowl era.”
LeBron didn’t just have to be “the man,” but he also had to keep the dream alive in Cleveland. It’s not anyone’s fault—Cleveland just invites the death of dreams.
LeBron is an amazing player, but his dreams can’t be fulfilled in Cleveland. He can’t save a city that eats dreams for breakfast. Do you really think having the Indians as the subject of “Major League” was a mistake?
The Worst Thing Is a Brat
LeBron looked completely disinterested as his Cavs lost to the Celtics. He raised his hands after every missed shot, flashing a look as if to say, “What just happened here?”
You take LeBron’s “it’s easy to pick on me when I’ve had 3 bad games in 7 years” and combine that with the desperation of Cleveland fans and the result is utter failure.
They invited yet another big shot to the team and he broke their hearts. It’s as if they didn’t know any better. Maybe it’s time for Cleveland fans to let the dream die altogether.
Perhaps they can learn the passive apathy of Atlanta fans. They can learn to make BBQ like they do in Kansas City. Maybe they could even take up a hobby—they used to make nooses in Boston and they invented “quitting your team” in Chicago.
What’s the Worst that Could Happen?
Salt Lake has unreasonable fans, but they haven’t called for Jerry Sloan‘s job. This shows that they know he is a good coach, as well as a valuable asset to the franchise.
Sure, they booed Derek Fisher, but they’re just dumb. Dumb isn’t enough, though. Heck, half the fans in L.A. don’t know the first thing about sports—they go for the show.
Cleveland fans—they just invite misery. They should know that they will be crushed. I never thought LeBron could win a title in Cleveland. I even posited that Kevin Durant is the “heir apparent” who can win multiple titles in OKC.
If Bernie Kosar couldn’t beat John Elway, Jim Thome couldn’t beat the Marlins, and two Hall of Fame pitchers get traded—you’re in hell. H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!
Utah, at the very least, has an air of realism. They probably knew they couldn’t beat Jordan’s Bulls, so they got mad and stayed that way.
The fans in Cleveland don’t know left from right. They let Bernie Kosar hurt them, Sabathia quit them, and LeBron flame out on them. Yet, they still want LeBron to come back.
The winner of the #1 worst sports city in America is Cleveland. Not only can they not get out of their own way—they like pain.
Now they’ll bang themselves on the head with rocks for a couple months hoping LeBron will stay—as if he’s the answer. You’re cursed . . . permanently! Get over it!