The Chicago Cubs Have What the Trail Blazers Want
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Cursed teams winning the championship is all the rage right now and has been ever since the Boston Red Sox broke their 86-year-old hex in 2004. The Golden State Warriors ended a 40-year championship absence when they won it in 2015. Cleveland won a title with the Cavaliers last season, reclaiming a championship to a city that seemed perennially doomed with every sports team within the state’s borders. The Cubs, cursed for 108 years, can finally stand alongside Boston and Cleveland as franchises that found a remedy. If and when the Cubs do win the World Series, the Blazers should sneak into Cubs locker room, grab that worn out, champagne soaked label of bad mojo, and proudly wear it as their own.
Fast forward to after the World Series, when the Cubs are celebrating in downtown Chicago with the ghost of Harry Caray, The Trail Blazers will have an impeccable resume to claim itself as the current and undisputed franchise of woe. This season will mark 40 years that the Blazers last won a title.
Ever since winning the NBA championship in 1977, the Blazers have dealt with devastating injuries that have derailed once promising seasons. Beginning with Bill Walton in 1978, continuing with Sam Bowie in the 80s, and culminating with the Greg Oden/Brandon Roy era, injuries seem to follow the Blazers like a plague. A plague that only a curse can deliver with such consistent cruelty.
The Blazers have seen hopeful playoff runs end in spectacular meltdowns, none so admirably despised as the meltdown of Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals. The Blazers also blew a double-digit lead in the 4th quarter against the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in Game 6 of the 1992 NBA Finals, the last time the Blazers went as far. The worst thing about a curse: being so close to ending it, only to have it go on for years longer.
Curses are also about cruel timing. What would have been if Arvydas Sabonis had joined the Blazers in the late 80s or early 90s? Sabonis, as good as he was when he joined the Blazers, was a magnificent player during his prime years; a 7’-3” center with passing and shootings skills beyond what anyone had seen before. Portland could have been a dynasty with Sabonis, had he come about a decade sooner. Just thinking of Sabonis on a team with Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Buck Williams and Jerome Kersey makes me feel all sorts of feels, most of them tinged with a drop melancholy.
Of course, there are other franchises that have had a few unfortunate decades. But, do any of them have it worse than the Blazers? Let’s take a look at some of the other teams and cities that might have an argument for being labeled cursed.
The Milwaukee Bucks haven’t won a NBA title since 1971, six years before the Blazers won their one and only title. But, Milwaukee isn’t cursed, they have just been mediocre to a fault. The Bucks haven’t had as many Odens or Roys to exclaim to the heavens they have been star-crossed. They don’t have a 2000 Western Conference Finals Game 7 on their resume, either. Milwaukee’s title deficiency appears less likely the cause of a curse than from just being a middling team not being able to find the right pieces. Hang in there Milwaukee, your fortunes could always change for the worse.
Cleveland’s other franchises, mired in their own title drought, are temporarily excluded. The city of Cleveland got a parade this year. The Browns and Indians can wait until a more title-starved city gets to throw a parade. By the way, if the Indians, who are currently in the MLB playoffs, win the World Series, would that be the cruelest thing to happen to the Browns? Besides, Cleveland will always have Ricky Vaughn.
The Padres and Chargers haven’t delivered a championship to the city of San Diego since the Chargers won the AFL Championship Game in 1963. The Padres have won two Pennants but zero World Series. But, San Diego cursed?
Here is a look at San Diego’s extended forecast.
Here is a look at Portland’s extended forecast.
You see, San Diego, that’s a decent forecast for us this time of year. We don’t have any other options during the fall and winter than to hunker down and root for our teams. When your team sucks, you can go to the beach when it’s going to be 90 degrees. In October! No, you are not cursed. You are the Miami of the west coast and thus your city is forever out of contention for any such discussion.
The Toronto Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup in 1967. But, they are a Canadian team, sooo .... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
And, by the way, Canada, you have seven teams in the NHL. The league was founded in Canada. The sport was practically born in your backyard. Yet, you haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993? Get your act together, Canada.
The St. Louis Blues, also of the NHL, were founded in 1967 and haven’t even been to the Stanley Cup Finals. But St. Louis has the Cardinals for baseball, and nobody likes the Cardinals outside of St. Louis, yet they keep winning championships every few years. Sorry, Blues fans, just one more reason to hate the Cardinals.
Elsewhere in the NBA, there is the Sacramento Kings who haven’t won a title since being called the Kings. Ironic, huh? They last won a championship in 1951 when there known as the Rochester Royals. But, their ineptitude in the front office year after year excludes them from all talk of being cursed. Plus, it’s not Portland’s fault Tim Donaghy was born.
A bunch of white guys celebrating the 1951 NBA championship.
No, the Blazers stand alone as the most ill-fated franchise in all of sports. If, that is, the Cubs win the World Series. So, let’s all root for the Cubbies to keep winning and finally break the spell. Afterwards, the Blazers can rightfully take their place in line to be the next cursed team to win a championship. And hey, I saw that Washington Nationals. No cuts.
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