As every single human being with access to the Internet surely remembers, LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this summer. Some are calling this the greatest event in Cleveland sports history. Not his playing, mind you. Just the fact that he said he'd come back. As Cleveland sports fans will tell you, it really does't get any better than that. Don't believe me? Go to Twitter and ask our very own Matt Brown (@MattSBN) using the hashtag #WhatMakesMattCry about his experiences as a Cleveland fan.
So if you heard earlier that Indians legend Jim Thome, who had never officially retired, was returning to
Progressive Field the Jake, you probably had a minor heart attack and are reading this in your hospital bed. We wish you a speedy recovery. I hate to tell you this, though, but your heart failure was in vain. While Thome did indeed sign a new contract, it was an honorary one. It lasted for a day, and, upon signing it, he officially retired from baseball.
So while this may not be the news Cleveland was hoping for, it is further evidence of a growing trend in sports: people are coming back to Ohio. King James is back. Thome is back (technically). Urban Meyer came back. Nick Swisher came back. Who could be next? Could Nebraska head coach/Ohio native/OSU alumnus Bo Pelini find a permanent home in Central Ohio? Could former beloved players like Kenny Guiton or Aaron Craft wind up back in the Buckeye State? Maybe Kevin Martin gets traded here in a Kevin Love deal? Who knows?
There's an allure to Ohio, so much so that we have an official school song about it. People all across the nation can fondly and proudly proclaim: "I wanna go back to Ohio State, to old Columbus town," and the sentiment isn't limited to the university. Talented people like LeBron, people who grew up here, are feeling the need to come back and help make our programs as good as they deserve to be, because this is Ohio, damn it. We have the only two-time Heisman Award winner. We have six pro sports teams (seven if you count the Clippers). We have the Buckeyes. We deserve to be a force to be reckoned with.
So while Thome's return won't affect the rest of the Indians' season, it does stand as an example of the power Ohio has. A man from Illinois who played on seven different MLB teams chose to go out as an Ohioan.
Which former Ohioan or Buckeye would you most want to come home?