On May 14, ESPN made a 30 for 30 film entitled “Believeland.” The film highlights the joys and the struggles that fans of Cleveland’s sports teams have gone through from the franchises’ inceptions to the present day.
From the Cleveland Indians not winning a World Series since 1947, to the Browns moving from Cleveland to Baltimore and then eventually coming back (and still not winning any championships, and barely any games), to drafting LeBron James, only to have him take his talents to South Beach, and then come back to his home state of Ohio, the film was an instant hit that highlighted a city who has not seen a professional team win a championship since the Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964.
The film touched millions of sports fans around the world, and Cleveland may have felt the most pity from other fans around the globe it ever had following the release of the 30 for 30.
Today, just over five months after the release of the film, it seems that everyone wishes they were a fan of Cleveland sports teams.
Well, except for the Browns. They’re still a joke.
Despite the troubles on the gridiron, Cleveland is all of a sudden a city of champions.
The Cavaliers won their first NBA championship over the summer after defeating the Golden State Warriors, who went an NBA record 73-9 in the regular season and held a 3-1 lead over the Cavs in the Finals.
James won his third championship ring as well as his third Finals MVP, but his bawling on the court after the final buzzer showed the world that no victory meant more to him than Cleveland’s first professional sports title in 52 years.
Now, the Indians are in their first World Series since 1997.
The Indians have had their fair share of struggles since their last World Series appearance; 93 wins in 2005 was not enough to make the postseason, they failed to reach the 70-win mark in 2009 and 2010, and they lost the American League Wild Card game in 2013 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Their attendance has been notoriously poor for many years, but Progressive Field has been rocking all October.
In 2010, Cleveland was the laughing stock of the sports world; the Cavs lost James in The Decision and finished the regular season 19-63. The Indians barely had more wins than the Cavs had losses (they went 69-93). And the Browns kept Browning, going 5-11 with Eric Mangini as their head coach, and Colt McCoy and Jake Delhomme sharing duties at quarterback.
While the Browns have not been fixed, and at this point, it looks like they never will be. Tuesday night was probably the most electric the city had been since two million people showed up for the Cavs championship parade.
Game 1 of the World Series was played at Progressive Field, and opening night of the NBA season where the Cavaliers received their championship rings and hung a championship banner in a pregame ceremony in Quicken Loans Arena.
The two venues stand no more than 225 feet away from one another, and fans of both teams went home happy as both the Indians and Cavs took home victories.
The Indians might win a World Series before the Browns win a regular season game, but right now, Cleveland is the place to be, where just six years ago, no one could imagine the suffering that Clevelanders were going through.