Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Tribe turning into the team we need

With no championships since 1964, it’s clear we never get the team we want here in Cleveland.

But when we need it most, a team will rise up, fill us with hope and become the team we need.

In the spring of 1976, the Miracle of Richfield Cavaliers captivated Northeast Ohio for a month as they battled Washington and Boston in the playoffs.

The end of the decade was not kind to the city as it declared bankruptcy, but the Kardiac Kids were there to take the Browns to the playoffs in the fall of 1980 after an eight-year wait, taking everyone’s mind off the financial troubles plaguing the city.

In the mid-’90s, when the Cavs were irrelevant and the Browns were gone, the Indians awoke Gabe Paul’s famous “sleeping giant,” starting a run of six playoff appearances in seven years, with two unforgettable trips to the World Series.

For the past seven years, it was the Cavs, and no matter how things turned out last summer, it was quite a ride.

Now, with the Cavs no longer a playoff team, and no idea when we will see the orange helmets of the Browns on the field again, Cleveland is once again in need.

Can this year’s Indians be the team to restore our hope?

The Tribe heads out west this week for a six-game road trip with:

  • the best record in baseball
  • the best home record in baseball
  • the biggest run differential in baseball
  • the third-best ERA in the AL
  • the second-highest batting average in the AL
  • the highest on-base percentage in the AL

No one saw this coming and we have no idea how long it will last. And we don’t even want to think what it would be like around here if the Tribe was 9-18 instead of 19-8.

But it’s clear after the first month of the season that the Tribe, once again, has turned into the team we need.

***

Lawrence Vickers was surprised the Browns drafted Stanford’s Owen Marecic in the fourth round of this weekend’s NFL Draft. You know, since they share the same position and everything.

We were too, but we figured the Browns were selecting Marecic for special teams play and as a backup.

But Vickers clearly took it a different way.

“Honestly, my first reaction was ‘Wow,’’” Vickers said in a telephone interview with ESPN. “I’m amazed. I was amazed I was still a free agent and wasn’t signed [by the Browns] before the deadline. I didn’t understand it. But at the same time I do understand because nothing has ever come easy to me. So I was prepared for it.

“If they want me, they want me. If they don’t, they don’t. As a man, you have to be prepared for anything. But in the back of my mind I thought I would be in Cleveland.”

Plus Vickers is one of those guys who “gets it.”

“They love hard-working people and that’s what I love about Cleveland: It’s nothing but hard-working people there,” Vickers said. “I am appreciative of everything I have, and that’s why me and Cleveland fans vibe. You will never hear me say anything bad about them, because it’s a mutual respect.”

Vickers has been a key part of the Browns running game the past few years – he should have been in the Pro Bowl last year – and we just assumed the Browns would bring him back. Knowing that Vickers is leading the way for Peyton Hillis against Pittsburgh and Baltimore makes us sleep better at night and we find it hard to believe the Browns would want to turn the position over to a rookie.

***

While we were pleased with the Browns draft, we were a little taken aback by this story from Peter King in his Monday Morning QB column:

When Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan was taking a tour through his new business home – the New Orleans Saints practice facility in Metairie, La. – on Saturday, his cell phone rang.

“Hi,” said the voice on the other end. “Jordan? This is the Cleveland Browns … ” The call was for some biographical information.

“Uh, yeah, this is Cameron Jordan,” he said. “But the Saints already picked me.”

There was an awkward pause, and Cameron Jordan said: “I think you mean Jordan Cameron, you’re looking for Jordan Cameron. That’s not me.”

Cameron Jordan, the 24th pick in the draft, then hung up the phone. The Browns actually picked the right person – USC tight end Jordan Cameron and had phoned him to tell him the good news – and this was the call back to get biographical information from him.

Sounds like the Browns need to tighten things up a bit in the research department.

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