Tuesday night, the National Basketball Association opens its 2017-18 regular season schedule as the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Boston Celtics in a game that has much more meaning than the usual opening night game.
The Cavs and Celtics have become rivals over the course of the last few years, with Cleveland knocking Boston out of the playoffs twice in the last three seasons. The two clubs went toe-to-toe in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, with the Cavs winning that series, four games to one, to send Cleveland to its third straight NBA Finals. As many remember, that trip did not end nearly as well as the previous season, when the Cavs gave the city of Cleveland its first championship since 1964 with the first title in franchise history, leaving the Indians as holders of the longest active championship drought in the city.
While the Cavs will begin their defense of three straight Eastern Conference titles, the game’s real emphasis will be on the return of star guard Kyrie Irving to Quicken Loans Arena, where the former first overall pick in 2011 spent the first six years of his NBA career in Cavs’ wine and gold before demanding a trade in the offseason. The Cavs front office honored that request, sending its second-best player to a rival club, but may have, possibly, become a more well-rounded club in the process. That remains to be seen, as the results will play out over the course of the largely meaningless 82-game NBA schedule over the next six months.
The newest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame are one step closer to induction as the candidates for the Class of 2017 were announced on Monday as the annual Cooperstown ballot was unveiled.
A total of 19 new names join the list of 15 holdovers looking to gain entry to a place among baseball’s immortals. Among the most recognizable of the first time candidates are Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez, and former Cleveland Indians outfielder Manny Ramirez.
To reach the Hall, a player needs to appear on 75% of the ballots cast by more than 400 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Results of the process will be announced on January 18 on the MLB Network.
Despite a legitimate scare in the ninth, the Cleveland Indians held on to defeat the Atlanta Braves, 5-4, in Game 5 of the World Series to delay their season’s end by one more game. It was the final game to be played at Jacobs Field that season with a total of 43,595 in attendance for the two hour and 33 minute contest.
The Cleveland Indians knot up the World Series at two wins a piece with a strong 10-3 victory over the Florida Marlins. It marked the second straight game that the Indians scored in double digits after a 14-11 loss in Game 3 of the series.
In 116 years of shared history, there were bound to be a few common threads between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox organizations. Those links extend far beyond a handful of players and coaches who make up each respective dugout this season while the two face off in the American League Division Series in their fifth playoff matchup all-time.
The most visible overlap between the two franchises may start from the managerial positions. Indians manager Terry Francona spent a portion of his playing career with the Indians before guiding the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 2004 to end an 86-year championship drought. Across the diamond, Red Sox manager John Farrell spent the majority of his playing days as a member of the Indians, including time as Francona’s teammate during the 1988 season.
While there may not be much love lost between fans of the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, the two were, for a long time, almost kindred spirits. The two storied franchises had traveled two distinct paths for a substantial portion of their existences, but both knew far too well the difficulty in bringing home a championship.
Both organizations joined the American League in 1901. Within three years, the Americans knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates in eight games for the World Series title, backed by the strong pitching of former Cleveland pitcher and future Naps starter Cy Young. There would be five titles in total for the Boston club in its first 18 years of existence, while Cleveland needed its 20th season in 1920 to secure its first postseason trip and the first world championship in franchise history.