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Jerry Roche

CarnacAt the dawn of the new year, Cleveland professional sports fans find two of their three hometown teams in a veritable disarray. The Browns don’t have a head coach or quarterback--or, some would say, a capable front office. The Cavaliers, with a new coaching staff and an unbalanced roster, are in a blue funk, and nobody associated with the team can figure out why.

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Lars Hancock

stoogesAs a long-suffering Cleveland fan, I was under the impression that our sports franchises could not shock me with any more incredulous displays of stupidity, choking, mismanagement, arrogance, and incompetence than the previous 49 years of pure unadulterated shit had demonstrated. Then, 2013 happened, and I was proven oh so wrong.

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Jerry Roche

the-riddlersIt has mostly been a year of non-surprises in Cleveland professional sports. The Browns’ season still consists of 12 months of looking forward to the college draft. The Cavaliers have so much potential and so little to show for it.

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Jonathan Knight

00001 miserableJust as there’s a concern in American economic terms over the widening gulf between the haves and the have nots, the final phases of baseball’s postseason were simply exercises in allowing decidedly non-miserable sports towns to feel even better about themselves.

Three of the final four cities with baseball teams left standing (Boston, St. Louis, and Los Angeles) had all captured world titles within the last three years, and the fourth (Detroit) had waited only five years since its last downtown victory parade.

So with Boston’s latest coronation - the 35th world title in the city’s sports history - it only dropped six spots on the Sports Misery Index to earn the moniker as the least miserable sports city in North America, bumping off Baltimore. 

But weep not for St. Louis, which holds steady at No. 54 - just eight spots ahead of Boston.

For more details on the rationale between determining the factors that go into calculating the Index - which mirrors the U.S. economic Misery Index (inflation rate + unemployment rate), click here for a previous TCF column outlining the origin of the Sports Misery Index.

It goes without saying that Cleveland remains atop the list of bridesmaids, with its string of championship-less seasons now standing at 139.

C-Town now tallies a Misery Index score of 235.89 (compared to Boston’s 90.57). San Diego remains second in the misery measurement, with Seattle leap-frogging Buffalo for the third spot and Minneapolis rounding out the top five.

Let’s see how the current Index breaks down, first by looking at the two factors individually: Drought Factor and non-title percentage.

 

NEXT IN LINE

Ranking the Cities by Drought Factor

Here’s a list of the cities by highest Drought Factor – how many seasons (not years) each has endured since winning a world title.

For example, Cleveland’s Drought Factor is now 139: when you combine the Browns, Indians, Cavs, and don’t forget the Barons’ two NHL seasons, Cleveland teams have now played 139 consecutive seasons without winning a title.

The * symbolizes that the city currently has no teams in any of the four major leagues.

1.CLEVELAND [139]

Last world title: Browns 1964

 

2.SAN DIEGO [102]

Last world title: never

 

t3.SEATTLE [98]

Last world title: SuperSonics 1978-79

 

t3.BUFFALO [97]

Last world title: never

 

5.MINNEAPOLIS [80]

Last world title: Twins 1991

 

6.WASHINGTON [73]

Last world title: Redskins 1991

 

7.ATLANTA [67]

Last world title: Braves 1995

 

8.TORONTO [57]

Last world title: Blue Jays 1993

 

9.KANSAS CITY [56]

Last world title: Royals 1985

 

10.HOUSTON [50]

Last world title: Rockets 1994-95

 

11.VANCOUVER [48]

Last world title: none

 

12.DENVER [48]

Last world title: Avalanche 2000-01

 

13.PHOENIX [47]

Last world title: Diamondbacks 2001

 

14.CINCINNATI [46]

Last world title: Reds 1990

 

t15.OAKLAND [42]

Last world title: Athletics 1989

 

t15.CHARLOTTE [41]

Last world title: none

 

17.PORTLAND [36]

Last world title: Trail Blazers 1976-77

 

18.SALT LAKE CITY [34]

Last world title: none

 

t19.MONTREAL [31]

Last world title: Canadiens 1992-93

 

t19.TAMPA BAY [31]

Last world title: Buccaneers 2002

 

21.NASHVILLE [30]

Last world title: none

 

22.SACRAMENTO [28]

Last world title: none

 

23.OTTAWA [27]

Last world title: Senators 1926-27

 

24.ORLANDO [24]

Last world title: none

 

25.CALGARY [23]

Last world title: Flames 1988-89

 

26.EDMONTON [22]

Last world title: Oilers 1989-90

 

27.SAN JOSE [21]

Last world title: none

 

28.DETROIT [21]

Last world title: Red Wings 2007-08

 

29.PHILADELPHIA [20]

Last world title: Phillies 2008

 

t30.*HARTFORD [18]

Last world title: none

 

t30.JACKSONVILLE [18]

Last world title: none

 

t30.NEWARK [18]

Last world title: Devils 2002-03

 

t33.*QUEBEC [17]

Last world title: none

 

t33.*WINNIPEG [17]

Last world title: none

 

t35.INDIANAPOLIS [13]

Last world title: Colts 2006

 

t35.PITTSBURGH [13]

Last world title: Penguins 2008-09

 

t35.NEW YORK [13]

Last world title: Giants 2011

 

t38.COLUMBUS [12]

Last world title: none

 

t38.MEMPHIS [12]

Last world title: none

 

t40.*FORT WAYNE [9]

Last world title: none

 

t40.DALLAS [9]

Last world title: Mavericks 2010-11

 

t42.*SYRACUSE [8]

Last world title: Nationals 1954-55

 

t42.MILWAUKEE [8]

Last world title: Packers 2010

 

t42.LOS ANGELES [8]

Last world title: Kings 2011-12

 

t45.RALEIGH [7]

Last world title: Hurricanes 2005-06

 

t45.NEW ORLEANS [7]

Last world title: Saints 2009

 

t47.*ROCHESTER [6]

Last world title: Royals 1950-51

 

t47.SAN ANTONIO [6]

Last world title: Spurs 2006-07

 

t47.ST. LOUIS [6]

Last world title: Cardinals 2011

 

t50.*HAMILTON [5]

Last world title: none

 

t50.OKLAHOMA CITY [5]

Last world title: none

 

t52.*PROVIDENCE [3]

Last world title: none

 

t52.SAN FRANCISCO [3]

Last world title: Giants 2012

 

t54.*TRI-CITIES [2]

(Moline, Ill., Rock Island, Ill., Davenport, Ia.)

Last world title: none

 

t54.CHICAGO [2]

Last world title: Blackhawks 2012-13

 

t56.*ANDERSON [1]

Last world title: none

 

t56.*SHEBOYGAN [1]

Last world title: none

 

t56.*WATERLOO [1]

Last world title: none

 

t56.*PORTSMOUTH [1]

Last world title: none

 

t56.BALTIMORE [1]

Last world title: Ravens 2012

 

t56.MIAMI [1]

Last world title: Heat 2012-13

 

62.BOSTON [0]

Last world title: Red Sox 2013

 

CHAMPIONSHIP SATURATION

Measuring the Cities by Their Percentage of Title Seasons

Here’s a list of the cities by highest title percentage – number of a city’s world-title seasons divided by the number of total seasons.

For instance, Cleveland teams have played a combined 225 seasons, seven of which have ended with a world title. Thus, of all the seasons in Cleveland history, 3.11% have ended with a championship, ranking Cleveland 26th on the list.

The * symbolizes that the city currently has no teams in any of the four major leagues.

1.Montreal 18.49%

2.Edmonton 15.15%

3.*Rochester 11.11%

4.San Antonio 10.81%

5.Toronto 9.93%

6.Boston 9.43%

7.New York 8.47%

8.Ottawa 8.11%

9.Baltimore 7.14%

10.*Syracuse 7.14%

11.Oakland 6.74%

12.Raleigh 6.67%

13.Detroit 6.63%

14.Milwaukee 6.45%

15.Los Angeles 6.31%

16.Miami 6.26%

17.Pittsburgh 5.81%

18.Chicago 5.15%

19.St. Louis 4.82%

20.Dallas 4.73%

21.San Francisco 4.71%

22.Newark 4.62%

23.Philadelphia 4.25%

24.Minneapolis 3.91%

25.Calgary 3.13%

26.Cleveland 3.11%

27.Denver 3.10%

28.Washington 2.95%

29.Cincinnati 2.91%

30.Portland 2.33%

31.Kansas City 1.67%

32.New Orleans 1.61%

33.Houston 1.47%

34.Indianapolis 1.41%

35.Tampa Bay 1.37%

36.Phoenix 0.98%

37.Seattle 0.86%

38.Atlanta 0.63%

t39.San Diego 0%

Buffalo 0%

Vancouver 0%

Charlotte 0%

Salt Lake City 0%

Sacramento 0%

Nashville 0%

Orlando 0%

*Hartford 0%

San Jose 0%

*Quebec 0%

*Winnipeg 0%

Jacksonville 0%

*Fort Wayne 0%

Columbus 0%

Memphis 0%

Oklahoma City 0%

*Hamilton 0%

*Providence 0%

*Tri-Cities 0%

*Anderson 0%

*Sheboygan 0%

*Waterloo 0%

*Portsmouth 0%

 

THE SPORTS MISERY INDEX

And here it is – the updated Sports Misery Index, measured by adding a city’s non-title percentage to its number of consecutive non-title seasons.

The * symbolizes that the city currently has no teams in any of the four major leagues.

1. CLEVELAND (235.89)

96.89 + 139

2. SAN DIEGO (202)

100 + 102

3. SEATTLE (197.14)

99.14 + 98

4. BUFFALO (197)

100 + 97

5. MINNEAPOLIS (176.09)

96.09 + 80

6. WASHINGTON (170.05)

97.05 + 73

7. ATLANTA (166.37)

99.37 + 67

8. KANSAS CITY (154.33)

98.33 + 56

9. HOUSTON (148.53)

98.53 + 50

10. VANCOUVER (148)

100 + 48

11. TORONTO (147.07)

90.07 + 57

12. PHOENIX (146.02)

99.02 + 47

13. DENVER (144.90)

96.90 + 48

14. CINCINNATI (143.09)

97.09 + 46

15. CHARLOTTE (141)

100 + 41

16. OAKLAND (135.26)

93.26 + 42

17. SALT LAKE CITY (134)

100 + 34

18. PORTLAND (133.67)

97.67 + 36

19. NASHVILLE (130)

100 + 30

20. TAMPA BAY (129.63)

98.63 + 31

21.SACRAMENTO (128)

100 + 28

22. ORLANDO (124)

100 + 24

23. SAN JOSE (121)

100 + 21

24. CALGARY (119.87)

96.87 + 23

25. OTTAWA (118.89)

91.89 + 27

t26. *HARTFORD (118)

100 + 18

t26. JACKSONVILLE (118)

100 + 18

t28.*QUEBEC (117)

100 + 17

t28.*WINNIPEG (117)

100 + 17

30. PHILADELPHIA (115.75)

95.75 + 20

31. NEWARK (113.38)

95.38 + 18

32. DETROIT (114.37)

93.37 + 21

33. MONTREAL (112.51)

81.51 + 31

t34. COLUMBUS (112)

100 + 12

t34. MEMPHIS (112)

100 + 12

36. INDIANAPOLIS (111.59)

98.59 + 13

37. *FORT WAYNE (109)

100 + 9

38. PITTSBURGH (107.19)

94.19 + 13

39. EDMONTON (106.85)

84.85 + 22

40. NEW ORLEANS (105.39)

98.39 + 7

t41. *HAMILTON (105)

100 + 5

t41. OKLAHOMA CITY (105)

100 + 5

43. NEW YORK (104.53)

91.53 + 13

44. DALLAS (104.27)

95.27 + 9

45. *PROVIDENCE (103)

100 + 3

46. *TRI-CITIES (102)

100 + 2

47. LOS ANGELES (101.69)

93.69 + 8

48. MILWAUKEE (101.55)

93.55 + 8

49. ST. LOUIS (101.18)

95.18 + 6

t50. *ANDERSON (101)

100 + 1

t50.*SHEBOYGAN (101)

100 + 1

t50.*WATERLOO (101)

100 +1

t50.*PORTSMOUTH, OHIO (101)

100 + 1

54. *SYRACUSE (100.86)

92.86 + 8

55. RALEIGH (100.33)

93.33 + 7

56. SAN FRANCISCO (98.29)

95.29 + 3

57. CHICAGO (96.85)

94.85 + 2

58. SAN ANTONIO (95.19)

89.19 + 6

59. *ROCHESTER (94.89)

88.89 + 6

60. MIAMI (94.74)

93.74 + 1

61. BALTIMORE (93.86)

92.86 + 1

62. BOSTON (90.57)

90.57 + 0

Andrew Clayman

detclealltimeIn another life, Cleveland and Detroit could have been the best of friends. They come from similar backgrounds, live a stone’s throw from each other, and get by on the same brand of underdog perseverance. As downtrodden towns with some occasionally downtrodden sports teams, they have taken their turns serving as the punch lines of elitist jokes, always bouncing back from every hit with a blood-soaked smile. Through it all, you’d just assume that the Motor City and the Forest City would understand—maybe even admire—one another. But we know, of course, that this is not quite the case. And sports probably has as much to do with it as anything.

Though the rivalries between Cleveland and Detroit franchises have generally paled in comparison to the one between those Big Ten schools down the road, there have certainly been occasions when the Indians-Tigers, Browns-Lions, and Cavs-Pistons feuds have reached epic proportions. Sometimes, it’s resulted in unforgettable championship game matchups. In other instances, it’s just led to straight up fisticuffs. Historically speaking, the numbers suggest it’s Detroit that usually gets the better of these battles: the Tigers hold a 1086-1042 all-time edge over the Indians; the Pistons have owned the Cavaliers by a 116-78 count; and this weekend's opponent--the notoriously hapless Detroit Lions-- can claim an eye-popping 17-5 mark against the Browns. Still, when it’s come to some of the marquee moments from a century’s worth of pro sports confrontations between these Rust Belt metropolises, it looks like a pretty balanced scorecard. To judge for yourself, here’s one reasonably even-handed Ohioan’s take on 12 of the Greatest Showdowns in Cleveland vs. Detroit Sports History.

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