Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

It’s Cleveland; what’s not to like?

It was quite a week in Cleveland sports, with two stories dominating the headlines.

First off was Prince Fielder signing a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Detroit Tigers.

The second, while off the field, made just a much news, as The Plain Dealer pulled longtime reporter Tony Grossi off the Cleveland Browns beat after Grossi sent a Tweet that personally criticized Browns owner Randy Lerner.

And the reaction to those stories from a growing legion of fan-driven sites highlighted what makes Cleveland such a great sports town.

While some were ready to hand the Central Division title to the Tigers when the Fielder signing was announced, a look around the web found that not every Tribe fan was running for the hills.

The Cleveland Fan posted four columns (from four different writers) on the subject, including:

Waiting for Next Year checked in with: Prince in Detroit – The Games Aren’t Played on Paper

Let’s Go Tribe asked: Did Tigers Fans ‘Earn’ Prince Fielder?

The opinions came just as fast as just as strong on the Grossi story.

Gary Benz shared his thoughts at The Cleveland Fan: Pathetic and Irrelevant

River Burns brought out the always appreciated Wire* reference: Marlo and Omar reflects Grossi and I.

We took a look at the continuing struggles the media has with Twitter.

Superbowl Browns: What a Joke

Dawg Pound Daily

WFNY had several lively discussions on their forums.

And you know Cleveland Frowns would have this covered.

It’s not just the written word, either, as Cleveland Sports Fan Radio has a series of shows featuring Cleveland sports talk from the fans.

This isn’t to criticize or indict the mainstream media, but rather to point out the growing number of options available for Cleveland sports fans – written by Cleveland sports fans. (And we’re sure we missed some other examples, but they’re out there).

And the reach extends past the Internet or their individual sites.

The Cleveland Fan has a relationship with SportsTime Ohio. Waiting for Next Year’s work appears regularly on The Plain Dealer‘s website and some of their writers appear on More Sports with Les Levine. Saturday, Cleveland Frowns was on Joe Lull’s talk show on 92.3 FM to talk about the Grossi situation. Frowns appeared shortly after Lull talked with a journalism and media ethics professor from Cleveland State University.

Just a few years ago, none of that would have been possible.

The Cleveland scene is filled with knowledgeable fans. We’re not talking about people who are just throwing something out there to see if it sticks; they are taking the time to form opinions and working to back them up. These are not see-no-evil, hear-no-evil fanboy sites.

Now whether you agree or disagree with what people are writing, you can tell that they all have a passion for Cleveland sports and want their voices to be heard. Gone are the days where a fan had to wait on hold for two hours to talk for 30 seconds with a radio host who stopped trying 20 years ago; no longer is your only news source a beat reporter who stopped caring around the same time.

While there are other fans in other cities who have blogs devoted to their favorite teams, there’s no way they are doing it at the same level as what we see here in Cleveland on a daily basis.

And there’s nothing to not like about that.

*River Burns gets a point deducted for not putting a spoiler alert in his piece. You know, for the two or three people out there who still haven’t seen The Wire.

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