By now, every man, woman and child is well aware of the curses that surrounded the Boston Red Sox ("Bambino") and the Chicago Cubs ("Billy Goat"), as well as the dearth of championships for the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians. Many, though, seemed unaware of yet another tragic curse: that of myself, Scott Miles, attending Cleveland sporting events.
While both Sox teams have done their part, winning the past two World Series titles, the Cubs, the Indians and myself seemed destined towards incessant agony. The Cubs have not won a title since 1908 - 1908!!! - and the Indians are now staring at their 58th straight season without glory. As for me, well, I'd gone roughly four years (25-30 games) without attending an Indians victory, and I'd seen the Cavs win just once - last year, needing an improbable 15+ point fourth quarter rally to beat the Suns - in that same time frame.
(Note: I've only been to one Browns game - go figure, they lost to the Jets last season - since the team returned in 1999, so I won't necessarily count that.)
The Scott Miles Curse quickly turned into a legend among my friends and family. Many begged me to stay away, permanently, from Jacobs Field and Gund Arena/"The Q". Many claimed to be good luck charms, requesting to go to games with me, believing they could break the streak. And the losses kept piling up.
Easily the lowest point occurred near the end of last summer, when the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays came to Cleveland. The Indians were playing better than just about any other team in the majors, so it appeared as good an opportunity as ever to see a win.
We went to the games on Friday and Sunday. The Devil Rays swept the three-game series. My morale was lower than both the Stanley Cup Finals ratings and Bush's approval percentage.
This past Saturday, my friends Sean and Jess came to visit me from Columbus. With them decked out in Reds garb, we went to the Jake for interleague play between the Tribe and the Reds. The night before, my dad joked about calling Vegas and putting money on Cincinnati. I love my family.
Sitting in the bleachers (section 181, row R, seats 28-30), I just wanted to enjoy the day, catch up with my friends, and see a good ballgame. The Indians were, and still are, mired in fourth place in the division and the Reds have played surprisingly well this season, so I had low expectations for a Cleveland victory.
But then Todd Hollandsworth, who only has about seven more hits than I do during this major league season, blasted a two-run homer. Then Victor Martinez added a sac fly, and Grady Sizemore hit a solo shot in the seventh to give Cleveland a 4-0 lead. And Paul Byrd benefited repeatedly from "at'em" balls - the Reds hit the ball hard, but right "at'em".
Still, I'd seen the Indians blow late leads too many times to feel comfortable. It could have been 20-0 and I wouldn't have felt safe. Yet the outs kept coming, and suddenly I was standing and cheering Bob Wickman on with two outs in the ninth, and there's a fly ball to Hollandsworth, and he's running under it, and I think he's caught it but I can't see with all the people in front of me, and the Jake is going nuts and I see the Indians celebrating their victory on the pitcher's mound.
I'll never forget June 24th, 2006. I'll never forget sitting in Section 181, Row R, seat 28. I'll never forget all the drunk Reds fans sitting behind us. And even if the Indians never lose another game I attend, I will never forget the Scott Miles Curse.