Last year a Boston Globe columnist blasted Cleveland and its NBA team, calling the city "a sad space" with fans who have "truly suffered."
This year Dan Shaughnessy has changed his tone.
"Book it, people. A month before Donald Trump is anointed at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, LeBron James and the Cavaliers are going to make Cleveland great again."
See the difference?
Let's compare articles, shall we?
"These things I believe: 1. LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. 2. The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to win the NBA championship and put an end to the 52-year sports drought that has tortured and plagued the good folks who live by the shores of Lake Erie."
"They dropped confetti from the ceiling here at Quicken Loans Arena at the end of Sunday’s first-round, Game 1, 13-point Cavaliers victory over the 40-42 Boston Celtics. Yikes. It seemed a little over the top. A little needy. Confetti? Really? First round? First game? Against a sub.-500 team? We can’t really blame these folks. It’s easy to be smug when you come from a city that has celebrated nine championships in this century."
To be fair, in both articles he describes Cleveland as pretty depressing. From the first one:
"I love this city. But it is a hungry place, peppered with people with hungry faces. They come downtown and they see a diminished city where commerce and activity once thrived, before the foreclosures and rampant unemployment."
And from the second:
"Cleveland has endured one of the worst half-centuries in American history. Its population has fled. Its downtown is dismal and too often empty. Its people are hungry for a winner after six decades of failure from the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers."
But his view of the Cavs has certainly changed.
Last year, Shaughnessy wrote:
Now LeBron is back and the Cavs are back and everybody in this godforsaken/hopeful town is 'All In.' Cleveland is desperate for the Cavaliers to win. ESPN is desperate for the Cavaliers to win. And the forecast for Tuesday night’s game at the Q is partly cloudy with a strong chance of confetti.
This year the Cavs are healthy. LeBron, Irving, and Love make for a nifty Big Three. They have the maniacal J.R. Smith and Channing Frye draining rainbow jumpers from international waters. Tristan Thompson is a rebounding robot. Iman Shumpert is a serviceable two-way player. Head coach Tyronn Lue has replaced the stiff and annoying David Blatt, who kept telling us how many playoff games he won overseas.
You're right, Shaughnessy. We are healthy this year. And we're confident about the Cavs' chances in the Finals. But that's nothing new. We were hopeful last year, too. We find hope, somehow, every year. Even when the Browns take the field in the fall.
That's just what being a Cleveland fan is about.