Camino Scratch: Sports fan survived, now things get fun

With summer ending, Cleveland set to embark on another thrilling ride

By: Nick Camino

Michigan v Ohio State

Photo by Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

CLEVELAND – If you are reading these words, congratulations; you have officially made it through the “Dog Days of Summer.”

Gone are the hot, sultry days of summer featuring maybe one baseball game on television or radio. Welcoming us now will be cooler, crisp fall air, with leaves falling, but most importantly, a sports fan’s Heaven, Nirvana, Shamayim, Mecca…or whatever you may believe is the holiest place in the world.

We are entering the greatest time on the sports calendar, and while that probably is an overwhelmingly popular feeling for sports fans across the country, here in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio it is probably multiplied by 10. Fine, maybe even 20.

(While reading this, feel free to pause and throw on Andy Williams and his 1963 Christmas classic “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”)

The amazing thing about the time of year we are entering into is that we can probably begin by looking at the team that actually helped get us through those summer “dog days,” the red-hot, first place Cleveland Indians.

Terry Francona is pushing all the right buttons again at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, and a star-studded roster is not only eyeing a second-straight AL-Central Division crown, but another trip back to the fall classic with the ultimate goal in mind.

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians

Photo by David Maxwell / Getty Images

And while it is important to understand the grind of a 162-game baseball season, that carries us over six months, when the calendar flips to Sept. and Oct., at times baseball looks like a completely different sport than what we watched in those early months of May or June. Soon, we will all be hanging on every pitch, sweating out every at-bat and screaming out words that would surely get us removed from church on Sunday.

As the Indians approach the final month of the season, there is still plenty to play for when it comes to locking up that second-best record in the American League, or dare I say even catching the Houston Astros for best record? Starting the ALDS at Progressive Field again, would seem to give the Tribe a nice advantage to get the MLB Playoffs started. It certainly appeared to be that way last year.

Regardless of what ends up happening, grab your carpet because this talented Indians club just may be taking us on another magical ride these next two months. And there is no better post-season than MLB. Is there?

Did I mention football is back?

The Browns have yet to lose a game in 2017 and heading into every season there may not be a more optimistic fan base in the NFL. As silly as that may feel, credit Cleveland for its passion and never-dying thirst for a winning professional football team.

On Sunday, coach Hue Jackson officially named DeShone Kizer the starting quarterback for the Browns’ Week 1 game against Pittsburgh Sept. 10.  While history tells us the 21-year-old Notre Dame product has an uphill battle to be the team’s franchise savior, there is no rule against us saying we can’t be excited about the journey to finally get one of the NFL’s proudest organizations back to relevant and respected football.

Fantasy football drafts have probably all been completed by now, but here is wishing all you general managers out there the best of luck this upcoming season. My hope for you this season: limited injuries to your lineup and some extra ca$h come the holidays.

College football quietly returned last weekend, but things really get ramped up tonight with Urban Meyer and the No. 2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes opening their 2017 season in Bloomington, Indiana against the Hoosiers with College Gameday on hand. Once again, Ohio State has a national title in their crosshairs, and every Saturday will serve as another chapter to what Buckeye fans hope will be another championship season.

Meanwhile, have you happened to peek at the schedule for the real college football opening weekend? No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida State, No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 17 Florida, BYU vs. No. 13 LSU, No. 22 West Virginia vs. No. 21 Virginia Tech, No. 25 UCLA vs. Texas A&M. Yeah, not a bad opening act. And Week 2 features No. 2 Ohio State welcoming No. 7 Oklahoma to Columbus, Sam Darnold and the No. 4 ranked USC Trojans hosting No. 14 Stanford, while No. 12 Auburn gets set to battle defending national champion No. 5 ranked Clemson and Notre Dame takes on No. 15 Georgia.

Excited for this upcoming fall yet?

High school football has already kicked off and there is nothing quite like a game under the Friday night lights in Northeast Ohio. From a D-I powerhouse like St. Ignatius to a smaller school with loads of talent like Mogadore, public school programs or parochial, this area is blessed with terrific coaches, supportive communities and talented players.

And finally, it won’t be long until LeBron James and the new-look Cavaliers embark on a six-month journey hoping to get back to the NBA Finals for a fourth-straight season and this time, finishing the job against the Golden State Warriors. Cherishing however many years LeBron has left in the tank is probably a smart thing to do if you have not started already.

Summer is coming to a close. And while it will be sad to see the nice weather slowly drift away, for sports fans across Northeast Ohio, this is “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Buckle up for the ride!


*Nick Camino’s column will appear weekly on WTAM.com and can be linked up through Facebook and Twitter. Nick is the nightly talk show host on Newsradio WTAM 1100 and also helps anchor sports at Cleveland 19 News.