by Anthony Lima
Listen to Anthony on The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima, weekdays from 6 am-10 am
37, 762 fans felt and sounded like double the crowd in the Indians game one victory over the Red Sox, reminding everyone that Cleveland can still be a baseball town.
Every strikeout (14 of them), every hit (10) and every home run (3) sent the capacity crowd into hysteria in a game that felt more like World Series affair than a divisional series. The fans brought it every last bit as much as the team did, proving once again that the corner of Carnegie and Ontario is and always be a home field advantage no matter what it’s called.
The kind of intensity and emotional outpouring displayed last night got me thinking, just how loud has it been in Cleveland sports and what in the world would an AFC Championship win by the Browns and a subsequent Super Bowl berth sound like?
Unfortunately I wasn’t old enough or fortunate enough to attend the late 80’s Browns runs in the playoffs and the 90’s Indians were seen only from the comfort of my living room as a teenager in Chesterland, so my list will surely differ from yours. Either way, Cleveland may only boast one championship in the last 52 years, but it’s not without its moments that were so piercing to the ears that we still get that ringing all these years later.
5) UFC COMES TO CLEVELAND, MIOCIC DEFENDS HEAVYWEIGHT CROWN
Sep. 10, 2016
THE Q: So how does the one and only UFC event in Cleveland make a list that involves the three major sports teams? Easy. Combine a sold out crowd (18,875) of fight starved MMA fans who’ve been waiting for a UFC event since the sports inception with a local heavyweight who was trying to defend his title and prove his championship reign was no fluke. The lead-up the entire night with and endless array of fights for roughly 6 hours before the main event got fight fans worked up into a lather, culminating with two giants in the center of the Octagon. Euclid’s own, Stipe Miocic entered the ring to Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly and got a heroes welcome fit for the full-time firefighter. When all was said and done, Miocic brought the crowd into jubilation with his pasting of his opponent Alistair Overeem. The champ then proceeded to send the sold out crowd into “O-H, I-O” chants that nearly brought the house down.
4) LEBRON, CAVS CLINCH FIRST NBA FINALS TRIP IN GAME 6 WIN OVER PISTONS
June 3, 2007
THE Q: Since the Cavs drafted LeBron, the thought was that it wasn’t a matter of if, but when the prodigious talent would send the Cavs to the NBA Finals for the first time in their history. In his fourth year as a pro, LeBron already had people thinking he was almost as good as Kobe, and his meteoric rise coincided with a matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals with the Pistons, the team that had eliminated him the year before. It didn’t look good for LeBron after the Cavs dropped the first two games of the series in Detroit, but the Wine and Gold stormed back winning three straight games with LeBron in complete domination mode. Game 6 was not quite as dominant for LeBron, but didn’t need to be with Daniel “Boobie” Gibson dropping 19 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter to help the Cavs clinch their first NBA Finals trip. The real ovation came when Rasheed Wallace got ejected after fouling out, to the delight of the capacity crowd in attendance. The win signaled an end of an era for the Pistons, and the start of something pretty special for the LeBron-led Wine and Gold.
3) INDIANS WIN FIRST PLAYOFF GAME IN 9 YEARS, DEFEATING RED SOX IN GAME 1 ALDS
October 7, 2016
PROGRESSIVE FIELD: The worst thing Curt Schilling could have done was tell the Indians they had no chance, but during an interview in Boston he deemed the series against the short-handed Indians a “mismatch.” The Indians had been feasting on bulletin board material the last month of the season, including their own local beat reporter from the paper of record proclaiming their season “over.” With nobody giving the Tribe a shot, they were involved in a roller coaster of a playoff game, trying to win their first post-season game in nine years. Trevor Bauer, starting game one because of injuries to their top three starters in the last month and a half, left the game to a standing ovation despite not having his “A” stuff. The crowd’s intensity was felt one literally every single pitch, with it reaching a crescendo when Andrew Miller struck out Big Papi Ortiz with two on and two out in the sixth inning. The sold out crowd sent a deafening roar when Dustin Pedroia’s check swing went far enough to give Cody Allen the save and the Tribe the win.
2) RUN WILLIAM RUN, BROWNS VICTORY VAULTS BROWNS INTO THE POSTSEASON FOR FIRST TIME TEAM RETURNED
Dec. 29, 2002
FIRST ENERGY STADIUM
The Browns return to Cleveland has been nothing short of a depressing, 17-year run with more memorable losses than memorable wins. But for a few fourth quarter minutes in 2002, everything felt like it could be turning the corner. Looking for their first playoff berth since the previous incarnation of the team, the Browns actually got some breaks earlier in the afternoon to set them up for a possible week 18. That’s when William Green galloped 64 yards down the field, serenaded by the Browns play by play voice Jim Donovan and his now iconic “Run William Run” call that remains the best moment in the Factory of Sadness since its ground breaking. The Browns playoff run was cut short that year with a back-and-forth loss to the Steelers, but William Green’s run will never be forgotten, bringing the Dawgpound to life and reminding people what old Municipal used to sound like during the glory days.
1) LEBRON, CAVS EVEN UP 2016 NBA FINALS, SENDS SERIES BACK TO GOLDEN STATE FOR GAME 7
June 16, 2016
THE Q: It wasn’t game 7, It wasn’t the title and nothing was won on that Friday night in Cleveland, but something bigger was gained for the Cavs and their fans: Hope. The national media and NBA punditry was obsessed with the Golden State Warriors and their “revolutionary” system for two years, and rightfully so. The Warriors were the defending champs and had conquered the Bulls win record previously considered unbreakable. But the Cavs were able to hang in there in the Finals despite falling behind 2-0 with virtually everyone writing them off. The Cavs were starting to gain real steam with their Game 5 blowout win in Oakland which resulted in Draymond Green’s suspension for Game 6. That might have been all the Cavs needed as LeBron James went on a tear, scoring 41 points and letting everyone know he was going to be the best player on the floor, regardless of whether the unanimous MVP was out there or not. The sold out crowd had the Warriors so rattled in the fourth, that Steph Curry made mistake after mistake — even fouling out in the fourth and lobbing his mouthpiece at a fan. It was the craziest I’ve ever seen a Cleveland crowd, as just about everyone finally thought the Warriors could be slayed. We all know how the rest unfolded. Now maybe next time, a Cleveland team can do it at home.
Indians, you’re up