Watching the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday coming back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to not only win the NBA Finals but also dethrone the defending champs was pretty amazing. It is also great for the embattled city of Cleveland. Not since 1964 (3 years before the first Super Bowl) when the Browns won the NFL Championship have they experienced seeing a major sports team win a championship.
Lately we have seen long droughts in sports end with a splash. The Golden State Warriors, this year’s runner-up in the NBA, won the Championship last year, their first in 40 years. The Kansas City Royals won the World Series, the first title in that city since 1985. And it is not just professional sports teams that saw the well no longer dry. American Pharaoh won the Belmont Stakes in 2015 to complete horse racing’s first Triple Crown since 1978. Droughts in sports are starting to fall fast.
So who’s the next team or city that will end their championship drought? The Chicago Cubs are perhaps the best bet to kick that damn Billy Goat curse to the curb. The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908. They came hard out of the gate to start the 2016 season. As of this post, the Cubs are 47-21, 1st place in the NL Central, an 11-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs have a great pitching staff, a talented line up, and one of the best managers in the game.
The city of Toronto has come close the last year. The Blue Jays were two wins shy of reaching the World Series in 2015. Their last playoff appearance was in 1993, the year Joe Carter single-handedly captured the Blue Jays’ second consecutive World Series championship with his 9th inning home run. The Raptors fell two victories short of appearing the in NBA final for the first time in franchise history. Both teams are poised to make another run.
And then there are the Maple Leafs. 1967 was the last time the Original Six franchise last hoisted the Stanley Cup as champions in the National Hockey League. The team finished this past season dead last in the 30-team league. But they did secure the first overall pick and will likely take highly touted prospect Auston Matthews. The Leafs have a competent coach in Mike Babcock, and a management team with a winning pedigree. They are one, maybe two, players away from bringing Lord Stanley home.
As much as two or three championships in a row is great, nothing is more sweeter than winning the first one in a long, long, time. Hopefully, the Cubs will win the World Series this year. That team deserves it.