Sunday, September 12, 2010

Where's My Damn Championship? or, Hack Statistics Showing Just How Futile Cleveland Sports Have Been

As the NFL season kicks off in earnest today, we figured this would be as good a time as any to ask the pertinent question: "Where's my fucking championship?"

This isn't going to be one of those self-flagellating woe-is-Cleveland posts. It's been done. No, this is more of a pissed off, WTF?!!? post. And here's why:

We've managed to keep it under raps, but we quietly turned 30 this past year. And it sucks. Things start to hurt when you didn't even utilize them the night before. You start falling asleep at 9:00 (unless you're Mrs. Supercomputer, in which case you fall asleep at 3 AM). And then Girl Supercomputer started Kindergarten and every day she brings home permission slips to go to the fire department for the eighteenth fucking time (SERIOUSLY SCHOOLS, GET SOME CREATIVITY. TAKE THEM DOWN TO THE PENITENTIARY!). Anyway, we're 30. And with LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach that pretty much fucks over any chance the Cavs had at winning a championship. The Indians are one continual bed-shitting franchise who still owe lots of money to players who suck. It's like they're still wallowing in student loans after getting that humanities degree back in 2007 where they were one game away from the World Series.

And scarily enough, at this point the Cleveland Browns, who have been one of the worst teams in the NFL over the past decade, and started off 1-11 last year, are Cleveland's best chance at winning a championship in the near term future. Partially because they are under new management (not unlike that Taco Bell down the street who claims they are under new management, but that's only because the old management was caught running an animal prostitution ring out of their stepfather's attic). But mostly because the NFL is so volatile there is at least one team who comes out of nowhere to make the playoffs. In essence, Cleveland fans' hopes are tied to a roulette wheel with 31 other teams on it.

Which brings us to this.

Cleveland, for the time being, has three major sports franchise. Each of those sports leagues that the teams play in have about 30 teams. It's changed slightly over the course of our lifetimes, but it probably averages to about 30 teams per season. Therefore, every sports season should theoretically allow for a 1/30 chance your team to win the champioship, leaving a 29/30 chance you'll be disappointed at the end of the year.

Now, according to that GRE book I bought a while ago, that means every year consisting of three sports season, you'd have a (29/30)^3 chance of being disappointed. That means over the course of 30 damn years, you'd have a (29/30)^90 chance of being disappointed throughout your entire sorry-ass life. Let's plot that by year:

This is a pretty goddamn damning graph, created in IDL on a computer that is being paid for by a government institution that, while I'd rather not say it's name, let's just say it's the one department of the US government that will never go unfunded.

Anyway, assuming about 30 teams a season and 30 seasons per sport - yes there was the 1994 MLB strike - feel free to go back and correct my work for that bullshit - by the tender, prepubescent age of EIGHT, probabilistically I could have expected a better than 50/50 chance I would have witnessed a Cleveland championship. Good thing I wasn't a betting man at eight! Because by that time I had already witnessed two soul-crushing, atheist-producing defeats of the Browns to the Broncos in the playoffs.

At this point in my sorry life, there is only a 5% chance that all three of my teams would have suffered such regular futility. And that's only for my life! Imagine all the poor saps who are even older that have never witnessed a Cleveland championship! Really, once you get past 35 straight years of three-sport futility (yes, I know the Cavs are a more recent entity, but there were also fewer football and baseball teams, so I bet it all evens out - again, don't feel like making this scientific study much more rigorous than it already is), you're in the bizarrely statistically significant range where you have those nerds from Numb3rs crapping their pants.

Where's my fucking championship, Cleveland sports??!!!

The reason for my mania rests in a hypothesis that may or may not be true. Perhaps one of you lucky souls who grew up rooting for front-runners like the Bulls and 49ers can fill me in. The reason I get so agitated and anxious year after year, the reason I go into a deep depression that can only be cured by a combination of Xanax and Old Chub, is because my theory is that once Cleveland finally does win a championship, once I pop that championship cherry, it won't really matter as much in the future. Once you win a championship or two, and your kids see it, and you buy the collectors gift package that includes film of the championship thereby proving that it indeed happened, it won't matter quite as much. It wouldn't be as life-or-death after that.

But until that happens, it will remain Life or Death, because there are some poor saps who are Cleveland fans that haven't witnessed a championship that are precipitously close to the latter.