The 1989 film “Major League” is the story of make-believe Cleveland Indians owner Rachel Phelps assembling a roster full of misfits and has-beens in order to destroy the team’s attendance records, in hopes of moving the Tribe to Miami. Despite Phelps’ attempt at sabotaging baseball in Cleveland, the team comes together as the city embraces its uniqueness, and wins its division in a one-game playoff.
The star of the movie is whacky and wild pitcher Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, played by none other than everyone’s favorite warlock, Charlie Sheen.
On Tuesday, Sheen — who donned an Indians hat in a number of headline-making interviews last month — made his return to the city in which he portrayed Vaughn, and in the process affected the city’s sports teams with his “winning” attitude.
Sheen’s “Violent Torpedo of Truth” tour got off to a tumultuous start just a few days earlier. During the tour’s first stop Saturday in Detroit, Sheen ended the show after being essentially booed off stage.
Just 170 miles away, in Cleveland, the Indians would have been booed off the field — if only there was anyone at Progressive Field to do the booing. Te Indians were opening their 2011 campaign with their second consecutive loss to the Chicago White Sox, in front of a record-low crowd inside of their home stadium.
A day later, the Tribe picked up its first win of the year, 7-1, against the White Sox, and Sheen bounced back with a show in Chicago that received mixed reviews. And as their paths crossed on Tuesday, Sheen injected the city with a much-needed shot of Tiger Blood.
Sheen hit the stage at Cleveland’s State Theatre, donning the No. 99 Indians jersey that he first wore more than 20 years ago as Vaughn, and after entertaining the crowd for two hours, was met with a standing ovation.
One block over, the Indians continued their upward trajectory, as they beat the Boston Red Sox — a widespread World Series pick in the preseason.
The Indians weren’t the only Cleveland franchise to be affected by Sheen’s winning presence, as next door at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavaliers — led by a Sheen-like figure in guard Baron Davis — picked up their 16th win of the season with a 98-89 win against the Charlotte Bobcats.
As Sheen’s Torpedo of Truth headed south toward Columbus on Wednesday, the winning in Cleveland didn’t stop, as the Indians picked up an 8-4 win against the Red Sox and the Cavs beat the Toronto Raptors, giving the team its first set of back-to-back wins since November.
But Sheen, who once vowed to seek revenge on his enemies with “violent hatred,” didn’t limit his gifts to northeast Ohio. Hours after Cleveland’s most hated son, LeBron James, and the Miami Heat lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, James was dealt a great deal of embarrassment.
James’ mother, Gloria James, was arrested for assaulting a valet at an upscale hotel in Miami.
Following the Indians’ completion of their three-game sweep of the Red Sox on Thursday, the post-Sheen-visit-to-Cleveland scorecard looks something like this: Indians 3-0, Cavs 2-0, Heat 0-1, and one Gloria arrest.
If that’s not winning, I’m not sure what is.