Saturday, January 7, 2017

Counting Down My Top 40 Plays as a Cleveland Sports Fanatic, 1984-2016

40. Steve Colter tips in the game winner at 0:00:2 of double OT. If you think a Cavs regular season victory from the mid '90s is too insignificant for this list, then why does Joe Tait consider it one the top 5 moments of his storied career?

39CSU over Syracuse, at the buzzer

38. Louie Nanchoff; left, right, left for the hat trick at the 22:00 mark. Nev Chandler and Jack Corrigan on the call.

37. Doc Gooden belts a two-tun homer at Riverfront Stadium and the Indians edge the Reds, 8-6. Shut up, this is my list. Make your own.

36. Greg Oden's block caps off a twenty point Buckeye comeback in the 2007 Sweet 16.

35. May 1, 1984. Unlikely Hungarian hero Alex Tarnoczi heads home the series clincher in OT, at approximately the 33:00 minute mark, and your Cleveland Force eliminate the Spirit.

34. 2015 Sugar Bowl. Steve Abracadabra Miller's pick six vs. Alabama.

33Pronk ends the midge game, beating the Yanks in eleven innings.

32KennyG saves our perfect season.

31. Eric Metcalf punks Pittspuke with two punt returns for touchdowns at Pandemonium Palace.

30Jason Giambi puts the entire city on his 42-year-old-back for one AB.

29The Catch.

28Aaron Basketball.

27. Joe Germaine's TD toss to David Boston completes a Rose Bowl-winning scoring drive.

26Phil Dawson, in then out.

25Landon Donovan's goal vs. Algeria. Give me a break...coming up with forty positive plays for Cleveland was no easy task. Anyway, I believe it was John McCain who said "country first."

22. Bernie Kosar finds Webster Slaughter on the first play of overtime, and the Browns end the Three Rivers jinx.

214th & 1.

20. Cavs vs. Bulls; Unheralded SF Mike Sanders drains an ill-advised trey to help even the 1992 Eastern Conference Finals at four games. I screamed NOOOO and YESSS in the same breath. Even with the internet, I can't offer any proof that this play actually happened.

19. Before Brazilian wild thing Andy Varejao, there was Rick Vaughn of the California Penal and the biggest K in franchise history.

18. "Ehlo will inbound. He gets it into Nance. Gets the ball back, drives to the hoop. Lays it in with three seconds to go!." Aaaaaaand we'll stop there. Nothing here to see afterwards, nope.

17Ron Lewis. Gus Johnson. And we're going to overtime in Lexington!

16. You'll have to scroll to the 1:58:00 mark of this video, and listen to the deafening noise when Zoran Karic casually chips it over the sixth attacker to ice the Crunch's 2nd title.


12Clay Matthews intercepts Jim Kelly at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, giving the Browns their third trip to the AFC Championship Game in four seasons.

11Marquis Grissom steals home when Omar Vizquel misses a bunt attempt; Tribe wins Game 3 of the 1997 ALCS in extras.

10. Albert Belle rescues Game 1 of the 1995 ALDS with a monster blast, then credits right bicep.

9Kenny Lofton scores from 2nd base. Enough said.

8. Dennis Mempham's Coliseum-erupting, empty-net goal, with the Force two men down on a power play, essentially eliminates the Blast from the 1986 MISL playoffs.

7Sandy Alomar's eighth inning HR ties Game 4 of the 1997 ALDS. First playoff earned run surrendered by Mariano Rivera. The second wouldn't come for another four years.

6Damon Jones, cold off the bench, nails a corner three and the Cavs win their first playoff series in thirteen years.

5Tony Pena's walk-off jack wins Game 1 of the ALDS. A fitting, first taste of playoff baseball for almost three generations of Clevelanders.

4Maurice Clarett wrestles the football away from Sean Taylor, post-interception.

3. The Shot.

2. The Block.

1. After the Cavs triumphantly took the Torture out of CST and changed all of our legacies last June, it seemed unimaginable that we'd have another transcendent moment just 14 weeks later. But Rajai's Game 7 blast was a memory and a call to action. When it cleared the wall, Cleveland was reminded of her new identity. The Curse was over; this was part of the poem that LeBron had started, and the Tribe's contributing verse was even more gripping and emotionally volatile-- while we celebrated our sudden 6-6 affair, I watched in section 551 as the carnival of CubFan faces went from flush to ghostly white. Someday I'll tell my grandkids that, right before the rain came, the earth shook during Rajai's trot around the bases and I'm sure I left my body for an instant- except that I can still recall the feeling of elation-vomit burgeoning up my chest. I would fight to hold it down during a stranger's embrace and then endure a choking sensation that could only be born from nerves, joy and disbelief. I soon caught my breath, and so would Chicago during the unfortunate delay. But the bottom of the eighth on November 2, 2016 will never be in vain. Because we're Cleveland, and this is our story.


Raiders (+4) over Texans, 2 dimes
Seahawks (-8)  over Lions, 1 dime
Dolphins (+12) over Pittspuke, 2 dimes
Giants (+5.5) over Packers, 1 dime

Last Play: 3-Dime Winner on Super Bowl L
Career: 153-125-14, +45 Dimes