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Written by Jonathan Knight

Jonathan Knight

With the release of his 42nd novel this week, Stephen King further cemented his reputation as both the most prolific and iconic writer of our generation.stephen_king

And while King has gradually ventured away from the straight-up horror yarns that turned his name into an adjective around 1983, his tales are still usually defined by psychological fear and kick-ass suspense.

As he’s done so many times over the past four decades, King breaks new ground with this one. Titled 11-22-63 and a modest 960 pages long, the book follows a modern-day English teacher who finds a way to travel back in time to attempt to stop the assassination of President Kennedy.

Strange as the concept may seem, it’s actually a growing genre - both in fiction and nonfiction - known as “alternative history.”

As Cleveland sports fans, we could certainly use some “alternative” history to soothe the sweaty, ugly memories we have of actual history.

In that spirit, the new book brings up an interesting alternate-reality hypothesis:

What if Stephen King had been a Cleveland fan?

He’s well-known as a longtime follower of the Boston Red Sox, weaving their exploits into several of his books and even writing a personal account of their 2004 season that ended with their first World Series title in 86 years.

Some have even suggested that King’s mastery as a horror writer has actually been fueled in part by his lifelong passion for the Red Sox and their ability to demonstrate real-life suspense intermingled with ultimate terror and tragedy.

King certainly can’t look back on his career with any real regret. He’s sold 47 kabookyzillion books and will have made more money in the time it takes you to read this sentence than you’ll make in your entire life. For those plucky few Americans who still have households, he’s a household name, known throughout the world as the “Master of Horror.”

Still, there’s a way his stuff could have been even scarier and, presumably, even more successful.

With any type of casual analysis, you’d have to conclude Stephen King would have been more effective at bringing our nightmares to life had he been afflicted with a passion for the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers.

True, the Red Sox had it bad, but nothing like what Cleveland has been through since your grandmother had a crush on Lou Boudreau. To put Red Sox misery next to Cleveland misery would be like comparing Kim Kardashian to Anne Frank.

So with that in mind, here’s how some of the Stephen King’s better-known stories may have turned out a little differently with a shift in his sports allegiance:



After a fixed class election that ends with an awkward, telekinetic teenage girl being crowned prom queen, she’s drenched with a bucket of pig’s blood by her cruel classmates in front of the entire school.

Rather than going berserk and obliterating her hometown off the face of the earth with her powers, Carrie simply sighs, wipes the blood out of her eyes, and focuses on the fact that this entire humiliating episode at least got her a good draft pick.




‘SALEM’S LOTsalemslot

A coven of mindless, soulless demons take control of a small town by sucking the life out of all of its residents. They rename it “Pittsburgh.”






THE SHININGtheshining

A family is snowed in for the winter and, with nothing to do but watch the Cavs, the father snaps and tries to kill everyone.







Children-of-the-Corn-PostersCHILDREN OF THE CORN

After pouring all their resources into raising and developing their children, the inhabitants of a small farming community watch helplessly as the children abandon them for another family that promises a slightly higher allowance.

Then, each harvest time, the children come out of the cornfield to attempt to emasculate those who raised them.






A nonfiction account of a Pat Shurmur offensive gameplan.






The_Stand_coverTHE STAND

In post-apocalyptic America, the survivors are called by two enigmatic prophets: Pat Riley, who assembles the forces of darkness in Miami, and Dan Gilbert, who is completely overmatched. But he makes the good guys laugh with the goofy stuff he writes on Twitter.







John “Big Dawg” Thompson, chasing a Mr. Hero Romanburger into the woods, is bitten by a bat and becomes rabid. Foaming at the mouth, he proceeds to hold the entire Dawg Pound hostage at a Browns game.







The inspiring tale of charming, bow-tied, 14-year-old Nick Gilbert, who is able to set NBA draft lottery ping-pong balls aflame with his mind.







A wrongfully convicted prison inmate clings passionately to eternal hope and devises a painstakingly patient and well-thought-out escape plan by tunneling through his cell wall with a small rock hammer. But when he gets through the wall, there’s another wall. And when he gets through that one, there’s another. And another. And another.

Meanwhile, the evil prison warden wins six Super Bowls.





Haunted by their previous owners, a series of motorcycles comes to life and causes Cleveland athletes to get into wrecks that end their seasons and cheapen their careers.






PET SEMATARYPetSemataryCover

After the Browns are tragically killed by a passing semi, grieving fans desperately bury them in an enchanted “pet cemetery” so they’ll come back to life. They do, as an expansion team, but are soulless and creepy and eventually kill everyone they come in contact with.






A dark, epic tale of a group of adolescent Cleveland fans who see everything they ever were afraid of come to life before their eyes. They imagine blowing a high draft pick...and it happens. They envision a season-ending injury for the only competent player on the roster...and his knee instantly explodes. They worry about hiring a competent assistant who has no business being a head coach as their head coach...and then do it every three years like clockwork.

And just like with each and every Cleveland front office in history, every time you turn around, there’s a clown.





A famous novelist is captured and tortured by his “number one fan,” who shows her bizarre devotion by cutting off his feet with an axe. After she uses a blowtorch to cauterize his stumps, the novelist shrugs and notes how that wasn’t nearly as bad as watching Joe Borowski try to close out the ninth.





THE DARdarkhalf1K HALF

The Browns’ unborn, evil twin comes to life as the Baltimore Ravens and begins killing people. (Insert Ray Lewis joke here.)







NEEDFUL THINGSNeedfulThingsBookCover

A small store opens in Parma at which Cleveland general managers magically find what they’d always been searching for: a No. 1 pitching ace, a Pro Bowl quarterback, a dominating seven-foot center. But they come at a price - in order to buy these wonderful things, the GMs must move to New York.





THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDONgirl_who_loved_tom_gordon

A young girl hopelessly lost in a massive forest relies on listening to Indians games on her portable radio to keep her wits and stay alive. But after they blow back-to-back saves, she loses hope and allows herself to be eaten by a bear.

Would have been retitled The Girl Who Hated Jose Mesa.





I hope Mr. King can be contented with his career and won’t spend too many sleepless nights envisioning the greatness that might have been if only he’d been born in Northeast Ohio rather than upstate Maine.

For this, as we all know, is the dominion of true horror.


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