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The four saddest sports parades of all time

Joe Simon and Mike Fox of Parma, Ohio, march at the Browns Perfect Season Parade outside of FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (Leah Klafczynski/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)
Joe Simon and Mike Fox of Parma, Ohio, march at the Browns Perfect Season Parade outside of FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (Leah Klafczynski/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)
Published Jan. 7, 2018

Everyone loves a championship parade. In an era in which professional athletes are only connected to a city by the laundry they sport, parades provide an opportunity to celebrate the civic aspect of a championship. Parade Day is the day the community investment pays dividends; watching the triumphant heroes glide by in convertibles is as close as a fan gets to feeling like a part of the team.

Which is why it's all the more funny slash tragic when sports parades go awry.

Frankly, sometimes cities hold sports parades for the wrong reasons. I'm here to celebrate those acts of desperation, misguided optimism or even extreme irony. (What's up, Browns fans.) Here are the four saddest sports parades of all time.

In no particular order:

1. The Browns "Perfect Season" parade.

I can't imagine a sports parade will ever be sadder than Saturday's Browns parade. Before the 2017 season, Browns coach Hue Jackson promised that the team would not stoop to the 1-15 record it achieved the previous year. He was half right; the team sank even lower, sporting an 0-16 record identical to that of a team that forfeited every game.

So what did the fans of arguably the saddest franchise in American professional sports do? They threw a parade. In freezing temperatures. Thousands showed up.

It would be strange to compile a list of saddest sports anything without mentioning a Browns-related thing right at the very top. Stay strong, Cleveland. You've still got LeBron.

2. The Miami All Star baseball parade

A good recipe for any sad sports parade includes a couple pinches of unworkable weather and a dash of baseless faith in the community. Why would a Miami crowd rush to a boiling hot midsummer outdoor celebration of baseball?

We found out the answer last summer: they wouldn't!

At the time, the Miami New Times wrote, "There was a high of 92 yesterday, intermittent rain, and no shade. Those are not optimal parade conditions."

But as the New Times pointed out, that didn't stop MLB from giving the parade the ol' Sean Spicer treatment.

Here's what the parade actually looked like:

But at least now, thanks to Very Good Sports Owner Derek Jeter, south Florida baseball fans will flock to baseball-related festivities. Oh, wait.

3. UCF goes to Disney to celebrate its "National Championship"

Ok, fine, this one isn't that sad. In fact, the photos from UCF's parade look downright magical.

Point: It's not the Knights' fault that they play in the NCAA, a league that fails to reward perfection. If anything, we should celebrate the spirit of protest that led UCF to declare national victory. When a sporting organization uses the same rules as a beauty pageant to determine who can be champion, why not just say you've won?

Counterpoint: Should the team that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at the hands of Memphis really be our national champion?

4. Boston throws a Stanley Cup parade for a dude who isn't on the Bruins

June 2001 was, in many ways, a simpler time. There was no social media, audiences were just discovering the magic of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" adaptation and Boston sports fans were only kind of insufferable. The city hadn't won a championship since Larry Bird's Boston Celtics took home the title in 1986. So when Ray Bourque won the Stanley Cup that summer with the Colorado Avalanche, Boston got a little excited. It didn't matter that Bourque no longer played for the Bruins. 15,000 showed up to his parade.

In retrospect, Boston could have chilled. They were just half a year away from the rise of Darth Belichick and Tom "Why Don't People Still Talk About What I Did To Bridget Moynahan" Brady. They've won ten titles this century. Save some parades for the rest of us.

And by "us," I mean non-Browns fans. Browns fans, throw as many parades as you like. Y'all need it.