Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Cleveland fans”

What is it we’re upset about again?

question-mark-nothingA few weeks ago we pointed out how it seems like everything that revolves around Cleveland sports is now a thing.

And the aftermath of Thursday night’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals is just the latest example.

After the Miami Heat won its second consecutive title, Cleveland Browns players Josh Gordon, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard, among others, took to Twitter to celebrate.

And now, as Cleveland fans, we are supposed to be upset.


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Are there any players Cleveland fans would not root for?

harrison cheap shotWhen the New York Yankees traded for Roger Clemens in 1999, Yankee fans were faced with a dilemma:

How do you root for a player that you despised when they played for a rival team?

Mike Lupica, writing in The New York Daily News, came up with the perfect phrase for Yankee fans to justify embracing Clemens through his steroid-aided years in the Bronx – Clemens was a player who was now “our guy, their jerk.”

We were reminded of that last week when the Cleveland Indians were in Boston playing the Red Sox. During Thursday night’s game, David Ortiz hit a no-doubt home run off of Zach McCallister and stood at home plate admiring his work (as batters are wont to do). That led friend of the program Brian McPeek to criticize Ortiz with this tweet.

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ESPN turns its 30 for 30 focus on Cleveland sports fans

ESPN-30-for-30ESPN has decided that Cleveland sports are ready for a closeup with the announcement that the network is making a 30 for 30 film about Cleveland sports fans.

Well this is certainly going to be fun.

All kidding aside, this has the potential to be interesting – we can’t really say entertaining, now can we? – and there is little doubt it will be well produced. We haven’t watched all of the films so far in the series, some of the subject matter just wasn’t that interesting, but the ones we have seen have all been very well done. According to ESPN’s website, the documentary series is “similar to feature-length films in that each piece represents a specific point of view of the filmmaker and is a reflection of how they blend the narrative with their own visual style.”

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Radio home of the Indians drops the ball during broadcast

old radioWe were running errands this afternoon and listening to the Cleveland Indians game on WTAM, the flagship station of the team.

The Tribe was trailing, 2-1, heading into the bottom of the seventh inning as they were looking to sweep the Chicago White Sox in the weekend’s three-game series.

Just as play-by-play man Tom Hamilton was setting the table during the seventh-inning stretch, we were ripped from Progressive Field by the 3 p.m. “news update” from WTAM’s weekend news staff.

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Liverpool owner’s comments echo in Cleveland fans’ ears

This all sounds vaguely familiar.

John W. Henry, principal owner of Liverpool, wrote an open letter to the club’s supporters defending the club’s dismal performance in the recent transfer period. It is an interesting strategy, one that you don’t see every day. It is also a move that speaks to how strong the angst is among the club’s supporters.

For fans of Cleveland’s pro sports team, who know from angst, some of the elements will have a familiar ring to them. In fact, they could have easily come from the Indians, Browns or Cavs themselves.

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Are Cleveland Fans Losing It?

We have always had a healthy respect for, and appreciation of, our fellow Cleveland sports fans.

Fans of the Browns, Cavs and Indians are passionate, there’s no questioning that. And, by and large, we are an intelligent bunch – even if we don’t always get credit for it. Trust us, we lived outside of New York City for seven years after college and were surrounded by Yankee and Knick fans who are allegedly sophisticated and knowledgeable. We quickly learned, however, that when it comes to New Yorkers, knowledgeable is just a code for loud and obnoxious.

But we’ve lately started to worry if, after a collective 138 years (and counting) without a championship, Cleveland fans are nearing the breaking point.

The rest of the story is at The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by Life Magazine)

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.

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The true voices of the Cleveland fan

Had an excellent time last night at Waiting for Next Year’s gathering at Canal Park.

The night offered up the chance to meet several members of the WFNY staff, as well as Peter from Cleveland Frowns (turns out we have a mutual friend) and several others.

While it was great to meet everyone – and the 20-ounce Leinenkugels were perfect on a hot summer night (draft beer is truly one of life’s little pleasures) – even better was the opportunity to sit and talk with fellow Cleveland fans about why they write.

We had good conversations with Rick from WFNY and with Frowns about why they started their respective sites. It’s interesting that none of the founders of WFNY or Frowns himself ever aspired to be sports writers, but still gravitated to writing because they had something to say and were willing to put their opinions out there.

Sites like Cleveland Frowns, WFNY, The DiaTribe, Ten Cent Beers, RiverBurn (and this one), among others, are all working to make sure the voice of the fan is heard like never before. We are all working, in our own way, to give Cleveland what it needs, rather than something it already has.

And, just as importantly, this group is doing it without any hysterics. It has always drove us batty when we hear people ripping a particular player and then concluding that the player should be traded for a superstar. You won’t find that kind of irrational thought at most of the local sites, which is refreshing.

Rick pointed out that everyone at WFNY has a different style and brings different perspectives to the table. And you can see that applies to everyone else within the community. Frowns certainly has a unique voice, and The DiaTribe is a textbook example of quality over quantity. In their own way, everyone brings something beneficial to the discussion.

During our conversations the point was made that, as recently as 10 years ago, the only way you could be heard as a fan was to wait on hold for two hours so you could have 30 seconds with someone like Greg Brinda. (How depressing is that?)

Now those days are over and everyone – from the teams to the fans – are better off for it.

Rick talked about how front-office people from the local teams read WFNY to learn what fans are saying; Frowns talked about similar experiences with his site. If the teams are reading the sites, that only strengthens the message that the writers and the fans are delivering.

Plus, the more voices that are being heard the better – especially in a one-newspaper town like Cleveland. There is little doubt that the appetite for news about the local teams is enormous, which means there is plenty of room at the table for everyone to share an opinion.

We’re not as hard on the local beat writers as some – primarily because we used to be in the business – but if someone were to only receive their news about the Cavs, Indians and Browns from The Plain Dealer or WKNR, they would walk away with a perspective that is often not in touch with how fans really feel.

But with so many sites available comes a wide variety of opinions and, even if you sometimes disagree, the fact that so many people are talking and investing the time it takes to maintain a site shows the passion of Cleveland’s sports fans.

We’re definitely glad we decided to take a seat at the table.

Everything will be all right

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,

Three little birds

Pitch by my doorstep

Singin’ sweet songs

Of melodies pure and true,

Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.” – Bob Marley

I’m as disappointed and hurt as any Cleveland fan about LeBron James leaving for Miami. I don’t understand why these things seem to happen only in Cleveland. I just want to be a normal fan; I want to watch an important game involving a Cleveland team and not always be worrying about something horrible happening.

But I can’t, because I’m a Cleveland fan. For whatever reason, that’s the way it has always been, at least in my lifetime. When Mike Davis intercepted Brian Sipe in the end zone, I learned what it meant to be a Cleveland fan. That lesson has remained with me for 30 years. This is the path I have chosen.

Even though it can be painful and frustrating at times, luckily I can view Cleveland sports from the perspective of adulthood. I have a career, a beautiful wife and a wonderful daughter. I watch sports because I enjoy them tremendously and because I know, someday, when a Cleveland team finally brings a championship home, it will be exciting, unbelievable and something I will never forget.

And because I’m an adult, when one of our teams lose, I don’t need to stomp my feet, shake my fists or throw things like a hoople head. I know I may be down for a few hours after a loss, but the sun will come up the next day. The millionaires won’t ruin my day just because they happened to play poorly.

This doesn’t make me, or anyone, “less” of a fan, the same way that disagreeing with the President doesn’t make someone “less” of an American. There are so many real problems in this world that whether the local team wins or loses is insignificant in the grand scheme.

Being a Cleveland fan is what I am, but it’s not who I am. I have my opinions about what the GMs, coaches and players should do; but they are no more or less valid than anyone else’s. That’s the great thing about sports – there’s room for everyone and for everyone’s perspective.

If you are Dan Gilbert, Randy Lerner or Larry Dolan, then sports is a business. Same for the players. For the rest of us, it’s entertainment.

At the end of the day, win or lose, we’re all Cleveland fans and we all want the same thing – to cheer for a championship team. And that day will come.

Until then, “every little thing gonna be all right.” I promise.

Picking up the pieces

It’s the day after the baggy-pants farce that was LeBron James’ televised announcement that he’s leaving Cleveland for Miami. And Cleveland fans are left once gain to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts and move on.

Reaction has been swift and predictable, starting with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and his much publicized letter to Cavs fans.

As Cavs fans, we have to applaud Gilbert’s passion, although his message was a bit lost in a sea of all caps and the bizarre use of Comic Sans as his font of choice. But we’ll give him a pass on that because Gilbert probably lost more than anyone with James leaving. There’s no telling how much the franchise’s value – and Gilbert’s bottom line – will suffer without LBJ. Some projections put it at $200 million. So yeah, he’s upset.

So what’s next for the Cavs? The team could be as much as $9 million under the salary cap depending on how the proceed from here. That number will increase over the next two years as Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair and Antawn Jamison come off the books.

They don’t have to spend all that money right away of course, and that’s a good thing. While watching the debacle last night, one of the scariest things was the crawl across the screen listing the best remaining free agents and seeing Shaq listed as No. 2.

This is not a time for the team to react out of emotion. Remember, they only had James in the first place because they lucked out in the draft lottery. They now have the opportunity to act strategically in rebuilding this team.

This doesn’t have to happen overnight and – hopefully – it doesn’t have to involve intentionally blowing up the team in the hopes of signing the next big free agent.

It may not be pretty, it certainly will be hard, but it can be done with patience and clear thinking.

Of course, Miami is thrilled by all this. Good for them. They intentionally gutted their team, slashed payroll and made no attempt to win for the past two years in the hopes that today would come.

The only positive in this is that, despite what seemed like seven years of speculation and “guarantees,” James didn’t go to New York. And, predictably, New York thinks they have a right to feel wronged by this:

You’ll excuse us if we don’t take a moment to share in the “pain” of Knicks fans.

Finally the national media, who spent the last seven years telling us how James had to leave Cleveland, are now writing about how bad it is that he left:

Well, you get the point.

So the LeBron Era is officially over. The last seven years have been exciting and Cavs games were certainly must see, even if the team didn’t win a championship. No matter how we feel, we can’t deny that.

Cleveland fans have been through worse. We’ll get through this, eventually.

Don’t forget, Browns training camp starts in just three weeks.

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