If you’re a native citizen of a city like Boston (or simply just a fan of its sports teams), you are probably accustomed to the glorious feeling of winning a championship. In Boston, as the town’s fans would know, success has come in bundles since the turn of the new millennium.
The Patriots have captured four Lombardi trophies since 2000, the Bruins won a Stanley Cup back in 2011, the Red Sox have added three World Series titles to their mantle, and the Celtics took home an NBA Finals win in 2008, giving the city a total of nine championship celebrations in the four major sports in the past 16 years.
By those numbers, Bostonians likely feel like they are supposed to win everything all the time. Of course, not all sports cities can be as fortunate as Boston. In fact, a handful of cities across the country with at least three professional teams have gone decades without experiencing the thrill of their favorite team winning it all.
Luckily, for three of the most championship-deprived towns out there, the new MLB season brings hope that their woes could come to an end this October. With that, we have three cities that could not only desperately use a World Series title in 2016, but also three that seem to have a realistic chance of actually winning baseball’s ultimate prize. These sports towns are listed in order of their likelihood to see their lengthy title drought end this fall.
Last championship: 2016 (Cleveland Cavaliers)
When you think of a sports city that has been stricken by decades and decades of bad luck and misfortune, Cleveland, Ohio is generally the first and (in some cases) only place that comes to mind. Sure, the Cavaliers won an NBA Championship in June, but before that the last time a Cleveland-based franchise found themselves on top of their sport was back in 1964, when the Browns won the NFL championship with the great Jim Brown in the backfield.
Since that point, the Browns have failed to even appear in a single Super Bowl and the city’s other professional clubs haven’t been much better. For the Cavaliers, LeBron James has brought the otherwise lowly team to the NBA Finals twice, but even with the best basketball player on the planet on hand, the Cavs haven’t been able to deliver a title to their city more than once.
In baseball, the Indians last took home a championship in 1948 and have only returned to the game’s biggest stage twice since that season — losing against the Atlanta Braves in 1995 and against the Florida Marlins in 1997. [Correction, 4/8/16: An earlier version stated that the Indians last championship was in 1954 and that they’ve only been to the World Series once since then.]
Last championship: 1991 (Washington Redskins)
The nation’s capital hosts four professional franchises, but none of those teams have been able to bring home a championship over the past quarter-century. The 1991 season saw the Redskins deliver a third Super Bowl title in 10 seasons, but the team has struggled to even reach the playoffs since that season.
When you move to the ice, the Washington Capitals have found plenty of regular season success, but the franchise has still failed to deliver a single Stanley Cup in its 41 seasons in D.C. (they are in a good position this season, however). On the hardwood, the Wizards haven’t done much of anything for the city since they were called the Bullets, when they won their only NBA championship in the ’70s.
They aren’t even in position to make the playoffs this year, which brings us the the Nationals, a team that doesn’t have an illustrious history by any measure but are certainly used to expectations. While the Capitals are certainly set up for a chance at the Stanley Cup in the NHL, it’s D.C.’s baseball team that could have the best shot to end their title drought this year.
The Nats are led by maybe the best player in baseball in Bryce Harper and have a potentially electric pitching staff led by Max Scherzer, which is reason for their top-10 odds to win the World Series in 2016. The city has been desperately waiting for this team to live up to its potential since Harper arrived, but this could be the season when they break through.
Last championship: 1993 (Toronto Blue Jays)
Remember when Joe Carter powered the Blue Jays to a second straight World Series title? Well, if you don’t, it’s understandable. That defining moment in Toronto sports history was some 23 years ago, which also serves as the last time the city found one of its three professional teams sitting alone at the top.
Before last season, the Blue Jays hadn’t even reached the playoffs since that championship season of 1993. However, with a roster full of power hitters and an exciting pitching staff, Toronto’s MLB representative could be destined for big things in 2016. In the NBA, the Raptors haven’t done anything except contribute to the frustration of Toronto sports fans, as they have failed to even reach a conference finals series in their 21 years of existence.
On the ice, the Maple Leafs used to make the city proud, which is made clear by their 13 championships. The last of those championships came way back in 1967 though, as the team has been a shell of its former self over the past half century. Things are looking up for the Raptors; not so much for the Leafs.
Getting back to the Blue Jays, they have the best chance to end a lengthy drought for their city of any MLB team, which is proven by their World Series odds that are third best in baseball. The team had a nice run to the ALCS last season before coming up short of the Fall Classic. For the sake of their fans, they must deliver on their high expectations in 2016. At this point, their the only real hope for Toronto.