Sunday Column: Why We Should All Root For Cleveland In The N.B.A. Finals

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are two wins away from winning the franchise's first N.B.A. Finals. (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are two wins away from winning the franchise’s first N.B.A. Finals. (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

By Matt Noonan 

The 2015 N.B.A. Finals have been a real treat.

Unlike past years that have pitted squads with championship resumes, this year’s finals features two teams representing cities desperate for hardware.

Cleveland hasn’t celebrated a championship since 1964, the year the Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts in the N.F.L. Championship.

Golden State – winners of the 1975 N.B.A. Finals – have come close to winning its fourth championship in franchise history, but have only appeared in the final round twice since defeating the Washington Bullets in four straight games.

Unlike Cleveland, Golden State, which plays its games in Oakland, has seen neighboring professional squads win titles. The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers have won Super Bowls since the 1970’s, while the Oakland A’s captured the 1988 World Series, sweeping the San Francisco Giants in four game. The Giants have won a trio of championships since 2010, including their franchise’s eighth World Series crown last fall.

The San Jose Sharks, however, are the lone Bay Area team without a championship. San Jose has appeared in the Western Conference Finals three times since the turn of the century, but suffered setbacks to the Calgary Flames (2004), Chicago Blackhawks (2010) and Vancouver Canucks (2011).

So, who needs this title more? The answer would be both Cleveland, right?

If Cleveland wins the title then it will probably call-off school, work and everything else the following day. Yet, if the series does go the distance, I guess school would be cancelled the following Monday, right?

The Bay Area has celebrated multiple championships. So, while Oakland and San Francisco would rejoice in the Warriors’ fourth franchise crown, it may not feel as special as Cleveland finally getting over the hump and winning a title.

Cleveland has seen its baseball team come close to winning a World Series title since capturing the 1948 World Series.

In 2013, the Indians attempted to extend its campaign to the round of eight, but lost to Tampa Bay in a play-in-game, 4-0. Cleveland concluded the game with nine hits – one more than the Rays – but could not muster a single run.

In 2007, the Indians fell to the Boston Red Sox – remember when they were good? – in the American League Championship Series and dropped a pair of American League Division Series in 2001 and 1999.

Cleveland did, however, appear in 1995 and 1997 World Series, but did not win.

The Indians saw its best chance to end the city’s championship drought in 1997 when they prolonged their championship series with Florida to seven games following a 4-1 victory in the sixth game. Yet, despite an early two-run lead in the final game of the Series, the Marlins rallied to even the game at 2-2 before plating the final run in the bottom of the 11th to win their first-ever crown.

As for the Cleveland Browns, they haven’t earned a postseason victory since 1989 after defeating Buffalo, 34-30. The Browns advanced to the Conference Championship following their win against the Bills, but fell to the Denver Broncos for the second time in three seasons by a score of 37-21.

Cleveland outscored the Broncos, 21-14, during the third stanza, but did not register a single point during the final 15 minutes. John Elway connected with Sammy Winder for a 39-yard touchdown strike, while David Treadwell kicked a pair of field goals during the final session to send the Broncos to the Super Bowl.

Since the turn of the century, the Browns have posted a pair of winning seasons, including a 9-7 mark during their 2002 campaign. Yet, similar to past years, the Browns fell in the playoffs, losing to rival Pittsburgh. Cleveland registered a 10-win season in 2007 – their most wins in a single-season since 1994 – but did not qualify for the postseason.

Let the debate rage on, who needs this championship? Cleveland or the Bay Area? I guess you would say, Cleveland, right?

Initially, I chose to Golden State to hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, but after rattling off Cleveland’s frustrating postseason setbacks, I guess I have to root for the Cavaliers.

Enjoy the remainder of the N.B.A. Finals and consider rooting for Cleveland, so they can finally celebrate a championship for the first time since “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles was a chart topper.

Terry Francona: ‘They’re All In For This Year’

Terry Francona still believes the Boston Red Sox have a chance, despite their 52-51 record! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Following Monday’s contest against the Detroit Tigers, ESPN analyst and former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona expressed his outlook toward the local nine.

“They’re all in for this year,” exclaimed Francona on ESPNBoston.com. “With the payroll they have, the players they have, they have to try and win. That’s the way they’re geared, [and] their fans won’t let them do anything different.”

The Sox have won three consecutive contests, but remain locked in fourth place in the American League East. They’re eight and a half games behind the New York Yankees, as well as four games behind Oakland for the Wild Card.

However, despite the distance between them and New York and Oakland, Francona believes that their current winning streak may be exactly what Boston needs to propel them toward the playoffs.

“This is the timing. They’ve got nine more games left at home, they’ve finally fought their way over .500, they need to stay there and gain some ground,” added Francona.

Boston is 26-28 at Fenway Park this season, and will attempt to continue their current trend for the next few days against Detroit, Minnesota and Texas.

Noontime Sports Podcast: Nick Parson (Oakland Athletics Public Relations Seasonal Assistant)

In February of 2012, Nick Parson landed a season media relations position with the Oakland Athletics! (Photo Credit: CareerActionNow.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The story of Nick Parson is an interesting one.

The former Wheaton College (MA) graduate, who double-majored in Political Science and African American Diaspora Studies, as well as minored in Modern European History, has spent the past two-year pursuing a career in baseball media relations. And despite not having a communications degree, Parson has utilized the various skills he obtained at Wheaton to help him experience successful stints with the Bourne Braves, Hickory Crawdads and Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

In February of 2012, Parson landed a public relations seasonal assistant position with the Oakland Athletics, and discussed his role with the ball club, as well as his various duties on Wednesday’s Noontime Sports the Podcast.

Daily Noontime – May 3, 2012

Daniel Bard sustained his third loss of the season on Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics! (Photo Credit: Eagle Tribune)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s Thursday, which means we’re one day away from the weekend! Let’s jumpstart the day with some headlines and news from the city of championships!

* The Boston Red Sox concluded their three-game series with a 4-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday at Fenway Park. Daniel Bard earned his third loss of the season, and yielded eight hits and four earned runs.

* Against the A’s pitching staff, Ryan Sweeney recorded his 12th double of the season, David Ortiz cranked his 11th double, and Dustin Pedroia drove in his eighth RBI.

Adrian Gonzalez extended his slump to 0-for-17 on Wednesday, and missed two chances to drive in runs against the Athletics.

* The New England Patriots bolstered their roster on Wednesday by acquiring former wide receiver Jabar Gaffney. The 31-year-old, who played for New England from 2006 through 2008, recorded 85 passes for 1,059 yards and eight touchdowns.

* According to reports, Kevin Garnett finished fifth in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year, while head coach Doc Rivers concluded the regular season in fifth place in the voting for Coach of the Year.

Daily Noontime – May 2, 2012

Paul Pierce tallied 36 points on Tuesday, which helped the Boston Celtics even their first round series! (Photo Credit: NESN.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy “Hump Day” to all, and welcome into yet another stupendous edition of the Daily Noontime! Here are some headlines and news to tell your friends!

* The Boston Celtics evened their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday with an 87-80 victory. Paul Pierce led the Green and White with 36 points, while Joe Johnson paced the Hawks with 22 points.

* Both Boston and Atlanta will return to the hardwood for Game No. 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Friday – tip is slated for 7:30pm at the TD Garden.

* According to the Atlantic Journal Constitution – Josh Smith sustained a sprained left knee with 5:14 remaining in regulation. Smith, who remained in the game until the whistle sounded, aggravated it when attempting to deny Kevin Garnett a rebound.

* Despite ending the month of April with a critical win at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox kicked off May with a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics. The Sox are now 0-3 in games where they’ve had a chance to push their record over .500, too.

* Against the Athletics, David Ortiz recorded his 21st double of the season, while Cody Ross hit his fifth double of the year. Felix Doubront lasted four innings, and yielded six hits and five earned runs, but still managed to strikeout eight batters in the loss.

* Boston and Oakland will wrap up their three-game series on Wednesday at 7:10pm — Daniel Bard will be on the bump for the Sox, and will oppose Brandon McCarthy.

* Finally, reports confirmed that Boston College dismissed Eagles running back Montel Harris for repeated violations of team rules.