I wish I could say I am excited for football season, but football season is when I watch the Cleveland Browns play every Sunday. Sometimes they have a bye week. They never, ever play on Monday, Thursday, or any other day of the week.

The Indians are killing me. My insides are outside. I’m not sleeping well. My father tells me not to dwell on it, that it’s just baseball. He is right. I need to believe him.

I keep telling anybody who will listen about how much the Indians suck. Even if that is not objectively true, objective truths are for fairy tales and philosophers. At 62-51, the Indians are flirting-with-flirting-with making the playoffs. Hell, if you take games against the Tigers out of the equation, the Indians are 59-40. That, would be a damn good record. The Tigers are good. The Indians suck. And, unfortunately, the Indians play the Tigers 19 times a year.

That, is a sad reality: two depressed, depressing cities, and their stupid, stupefying baseball teams, facing off 19 times a spring, summer, and fall. It is less of a sad reality for the fans of the Detroit Tigers. Their city may not be able to pay the bills — unless, of course, those bills are funding state-of-the-art hockey arenas —   but they sure can put together a baseball team that ruins 19 of my days, nights, and mornings per year. 19, you ask? You thought those 3 games the Indians won didn’t ruin 24 hours of my life? Think again. Exhibit A, exhibit B, and exhibit C: those games were vomit-inducing affairs in their own right. Yes, even when Cleveland beats Detroit, the experience akin to watching a Twin Peaks episode: when a rare “uplifting” moment occurs, it is too late. The damage has already been done. The trauma will keep me awake at night, and Bob  will reside in my peripheral during incessant trips to the bathroom. There is a reason I have never finished watching the second season of Twin Peaks. I was ready for football season, even if that meant rekindling my relationship with the Cleveland Browns.

No, Indians-Tigers games are not as scary as Twin Peaks. They are scarier, and far more depressing, because they remind me that being a Cleveland sports fan is a full-time job. Even if you don’t care about the NBA — and that, of course, is a whole other can of worms — there is no relief for their uncannily consistent and similar ability to disappoint. The Bob-moments last from January — when the Browns mercifully cease playing football — until April, when the false hope of another Indians season comes wafting through the air.

I’m not sure if it is for better or worse that I am a born-again Cleveland fan. As I have detailed before on this blog, I did not support these teams my entire life, but was drawn to them at a later age, as though my father’s genetically-transmited disease took many years to fully develop inside my own body.  My closet is now the closet of a loser. Browns jacket, Indians jacket, Indians sweatshirts, Browns sweatshirt, Indians shirts, Browns shirts, Indians Jersey, Browns hats, Indians hats: this paraphernalia has cost me hundreds of dollars on eBay. I named my 2003 Chevy Cavalier “Cleveland” — you don’t have to tell me where Chevy cars are made, by the way.  I even started this blog, my portion of which is dedicated to the Indians. I have dedicated myself to these teams, but am just beginning to find out the damage they can do to one’s psyche.

Is my dedication a penance for neglecting Cleveland teams for so long? You would think watching them play would be atonement enough, but I have felt it necessary to go above and beyond. Naively, in vain, I cheer with increasing familiarity of the pain that is Cleveland sports.

If you didn’t see tonight’s game, a summary of what you missed in this edition of tear-your-heart-out baseball: the Real Justin Verlander existed on the mound at Progressive Field, and Don Kelly continued his inexplicable dominance of Justin Masterson. Tigers win, 5-1. Seeing as only two of four games have been played in this series, one might view my pessimism as an overreaction. They would be misguided.

Though I am relatively new to this whole Tribe thing, I have watched them enough to know that this is the beginning of the end. Five games back, with five more games to play against the Tigers — they will not win the division this year. My own masochism will continue, however. I will continue to sit on this very couch and pound out depressing blog entries that I hope you don’t read.

Then it will be football season, and a close encounter with optimism will soon give way to reality.

At least the Browns only play on Sundays.


Image courtesy of Cleveland.com.