The Ultimate Sporting City: City of Angels versus Cleveland

Since Cleveland was already featured in the play-in game, I am gonna copy and paste Winfield's previous argument to keep the formats similar. This is the second to last first round match up. So far, there have been no upsets. Here's Winfield's argument for Cleveland following the jump:

Cleveland Bio
Major Teams: Browns (NFL), Cavaliers (NBA), Indians (MLB)
Titles: Indians (1948)....oh so close so many times after 1948.

Venues
The Indians and Browns shared stadiums, Municipal Stadium, until 1995 when the original franchise was snuck out of town to Baltimore. Since the new franchise and same name came back, the Browns have played in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The Indians play in a newer stadium as well in Jacob Field Progressive Field (built in 1994), it always provides a fun atmosphere. In 2007, the stadium hosted the MLB All-Star Game. The Indians have played in 2 World Series since the Field’s opening in 1995 and 1997. Progressive Field at one point held the longest sell-out record (455 games) until it was broken in 2008. This is just one illustration example of Cleveland’s strong sporting fan base.

The People of Cleveland
What makes Cleveland such a great sporting city is its people. The city’s fanbase is rabid. In the mid-1990’s, the Cleveland Indians owned the longest consectuive sellout streak. The record wasn’t broken until 2008. In football, the Browns have a special section of fans that have survived two separate Cleveland Browns franchises in what is dubbed "The Dawg Pound", one of the more intense groups of fans in the NFL. ESPN has called the city "The Most Tortured [Sports] City" in 2004, largely because of the absolute sports passion for the city mixed with the lack of championships in any of the major sports. In summary, the people of Cleveland live and die with their sports teams.

Great Teams/Sporting Moments
It can be argued that Cleveland is a losing city who just can’t seem to get it 100% correct and win a championship. However, the city does have its moments that it can claim as special and those that brought the fanbase and the team together as a whole. 1995 brought back the Cleveland excitement as the team went from 6th place in 1993, a strike ended season in 1994, to World Series contenders in 1995 with a record of 100-44, the first time in the World Series since 1954. In 1997, the Indians returned to the World Series again. During this streak of baseball success, the Indian enjoyed a 455 game sellout streak.

Great Individuals
One cannot mention Cleveland without also mentioning Lebron James. Since the Akron-born player joined the Cavaliers in 2003 at the age of 18, the franchise has soared to new heights both in the regular and post seasons. Additionally, James was recently announced the 2009-2010 season MVP, his 2nd award and only the 10th player to win multiple MVPs.

Additionally, while Georgia Tech will always be known as the stomping grounds of John Heisman, Cleveland can claim his birthplace. Heisman was born in Cleveland in 1869. A few other rather famous athletes call Cleveland their hometown including Jesse Owens, Cy Young, and more recently British Open winner Ben Curtis.

Random Trivia
Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians was the first black player in the American League in 1947. My great grandfather was offered money to play for the Indians in the 1920’s. He declined because he was making more money in the grocery business. Instead, he played in an amateur league where the city title was decided in front of over 100,000 fans who came out simply for their love of the game.

Alright, Winnie Pooh. Great talk. Now, I will explain why LA is the #1 seed.

LA Bio
Major Teams - Angels (MLB), Dodgers (MLB), Clippers (NBA), Lakers (NBA), Kings (NHL), Ducks (NHL), UCLA (NCAA), USC (NCAA)
Titles - Dodgers (World Series Champs 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988), Angels (World Series Champs 2002), Lakers (NBA Titles 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009), Ducks (Stanley Cups 2007), Trojans (11 Football National Titles, 12 CWS Titles), Bruins (11 Basketball Championships, 1 Football National Title), L.A. Raiders (Super Bowl Champs 1983)

Venues
Built in 1923, L.A. Memorial Coliseum has hosted the Southern Cal Trojans through 84 of possibly the most dominant years in all of sports history. The Stadium is the only stadium in the world to have hosted 2 Olympics. It is the only stadium in the United States to have hosted the Olympics, a World Series, and a Super Bowl. The stadium also played host to the transplanted Oakland Raiders from 1982-1994 where they won a Super Bowl before moving back to Oakland. From 1923-1981, UCLA played its home games in the Coliseum but when Oakland moved their NFL franchise in, the Bruins left for the Rose Bowl. And as a final note, the stadium holds the record for Major League baseball attendance as a crowd of 115,300 people attended a Red Sox-Dodgers exhibition game during the 2008 preseason.

The Fans of LA
I think the biggest misconception on the East Coast of LA fans is that they are not great sports fans as there are so many distractions and events going on in LA preventing sports fandom from blossoming. However, the Lakers are a constant sellout, the Angels and Dodgers are both in the top 10 in MLB attendance percentage (top 4 in overall attendance), and the Kings and Ducks have relatively good attendance as well. The Trojans and Bruins have fantastic college fan bases that travel well and sell out home games, bowl games, and tournament sites in almost every sport.

Halos Heaven blogger Rev describes the predicament of the LA sports fan:
We get less coverage in the national media per capita than any locale this side of Tuvalu and yet LA still draws the loyal fans. All of the game times on the Teevee and the net are listed in East Coast Times because those distracted droolers will forget about their casual interest in their teams and go out and shovel snow. LA fans show up even though nobody is talking about it and the games are at the wrong time. Just because you don't hear about it 24/7 has no bearing on the reality of the deep commitment of the LA fan.

Great Sporting Moments
An L.A. fan could talk for days about the myriad of championships, hosting of multiple Olympic games, 8 USC and UCLA Heisman Trophy winners, or even the deep love LA fans have for their superstars. However, I think the biggest move in LA sports history prior to Jerry Buss' 1979 acquisition of the Lakers was the 1957-1958 move of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles.

In short, real estate mogul Walter O'Malley purchased a majority of the Dodgers in 1950. O'Malley and the City began butting heads when O'Malley wanted to upgrade the Dodgers Stadium. Neither side appeared willing to budge so O'Malley began shopping the team to other cities to create leverage in the negotiations. When the Giants moved to San Francisco for almost identical stadium-related reasons, the Dodgers management knew the move would be a good one. With the Dodgers' move to L.A., a stable sporting market was born allowing the Lakers to move from Minneapolis and the creation of the Angels franchise.

Great Teams/Individuals
12 Seasons. 10 National Championships. John Wooden created a sporting dynasty unmatched in major college athletics to this day. Wooden's teams averaged 12-2 conference record, which included an 88 game winning streak, and four undefeated seasons. No other coach let alone entire team history compares to Wooden's run at UCLA. For perspective, the entire Big East conference only has 10 National Titles in all of its teams combined histories.

Random Trivia
Steve Perrin of SBN's Clippers' blog summarizes LA's sporting ventures:

Is LA the best sports town in America? Well, certainly not if you're a pro football fan. But it's pretty darn good for most everything else. There are two MLB franchises, two NBA franchises, two NHL franchises - there's even two MLS franchises. The city (or rather the area, since we have to incorporate Anaheim into this discussion) also has championships in all of those sports and a BCS championship within the last 8 years - can any other city make that claim? And any city that can find a way to support both the Lakers and the Clippers in the same building is certainly unique.

So my random trivia is related to Seth and his beloved Clippers. The Clippers held the Hornets to 16 points in a the second half of a 2006 game. This is the lowest points scored in a half since the institution of the shot clock in 1954.

Alright, let us know your thoughts.

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