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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Cleveland sports”

Am I A Bad Fan?

2013_09_bad_fanAs the calendar has turned from spring to summer to fall, the Cleveland Indians have taken fans on an exciting and amazingly unpredictable journey, one that has the team right in the heart of the playoff race with a little more than a week to play in the regular season.

The Tribe’s unexpected success has brought with it a season-long debate over the team’s attendance at Progressive Field. Media members and bloggers have taken to lecturing fans about their responsibilities to support the team in person. In recent days, the debate has expanded to include speculation on the long-term viability of having a Major League Baseball team in Cleveland.

As we have followed the up and downs of the Indians this season we have struggled to quiet the little voice in our head that keeps asking a question that we are reluctant to answer:

Am I a bad fan?

We look for answers in our latest column at The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

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How bad are things right now in Cleveland sports?

dejected-browns-youth-2012-apjpg-672b447b99a751acHow bad is it right now to be a Cleveland sports fan?

It’s bad, obviously, as to paraphrase one of Coughlin’s Laws, “everything in Cleveland sports ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t be Cleveland.”

But just how bad is it compared to other historically bad times in Cleveland sports? (And, yes, we get that comparing poor eras is a very Cleveland thing to do.)

In a town where we know a lot about losing, it’s hard to think that right now is as bad as it has ever been, especially when you consider that the late 1970s through early 1980s seemed to be just as bad, if not worse, than the current streak we are witnessing from the Big 3 teams in town.

So how do the two eras compare?

To find out, head over to The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

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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Apparently everything in Cleveland sports is now a “thing”

cavs wacky draft partyThings are never really normal in the Cleveland sports world, but lately it seems like it’s even more abnormal than usual around here.

Apparently it is no longer enough to watch the games and then discuss (or write) about what happened on the field – it seems that now everything must be turned into a thing.

From debates over why fans are not going to see the first place (for now) Cleveland Indians play – the Tribe is still in last place in the majors in attendance even though Miami draws like 25 fans a game – to an unnatural infatuation with the Cleveland Browns third-string quarterback (did you hear that Brian Hoyer is from Cleveland?), arguments and hurt feelings have become the norm.

We just never thought the Cavs winning the NBA Draft lottery would turn into one of those things.

To find out what we’re talking about, head over to The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by Getty Images)

Three is a magic number

birthday-cupcakeToday marks the three-year anniversary of the launch of our site.

Through almost 900 posts (and seemingly almost as many Browns quarterbacks), we’ve seen four coaches fired (Manny Acta, Mike Brown, Eric Mangini and Pat Shurmur), one franchise be sold (the Browns) and, naturally, no championships.

We’ve also made new friends and met plenty of interesting people through our shared passion for Cleveland sports.

If you’ve been with us from the start, thank you.

If you’re new to the site, either because of our partnership with The Cleveland Fan or because of some other reason, welcome. Have a look around and we hope you come back.

We’re not sure what the upcoming year has in store, but it’s Cleveland so there’s no doubt it will be interesting.

Talking Indians baseball with England Tribe

ashenglandtribeBeing a fan of Cleveland sports is one of the better aspects of life, aside from the no championship thing, of course.

The allure of the Indians, Browns and Cavs is not just confined to Northeast Ohio, however, but extends not only across the country but internationally as well.

Which brings us to Ash Day.

Ash is a 24-year-old from Dorset, England, and the author of England Tribe, a blog about the Cleveland Indians as written by an Englishman. You can also find him on Twitter @AshKetchup29.

We recently came across Ash’s blog (h/t to @TalknCleveland) and Ash was kind enough to sit down for a virtual Q&A on how he became a Tribe fan and the team’s prospects for 2013.

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Browns can’t stand good times, hire Mike Lombardi

browns-lombardi-football0d114-1

A new regime and a new era in Cleveland Browns football.

That’s what fans were promised when Jimmy Haslam bought the team from Randy Lerner, cleaned out team president Mike Holmgren, general manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur and installed Joe Banner as CEO.

But in so many ways, it’s still business as usual in Berea with Friday’s announcement that the Browns had hired Mike Lombardi to serve as vice president of player personnel.

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A Word of Thanks

Now that our series on some of the biggest Cleveland sports stories has run its course, we wanted to take a couple of minutes to thank a few people.

First off, Rich and Brian from The Cleveland Fan. We didn’t give them any warning about what we were writing and when we dropped off a four-part, 14,000-plus word post it would have been easy for the two of them to run from the room screaming. But they were on board and worked to get a good distribution schedule set up with some good results for the site.

We originally came up with the idea for the column in February while on a StairMaster at the gym (it’s amazing the clarity you can find while doing something as mind-numbingly boring as walking up an imaginary flight of stairs). We jotted down some notes, subsequently lost them, and created a new list while on a drive back from Chicago (long car trips = imaginary staircases).

We knew what we wanted to do with the column but weren’t sure how to frame it, but that night at the Indians game really did give us the inspiration on how to tie the whole thing together.

Second, thanks to the Waiting for Next Year guys (Andrew, Rick, Scott and Craig), Peter at Cleveland Frowns and Rich for helping us determine when blogs and fan sites really took off in Cleveland. We always knew where we were going to start but the end date was a bit of a question at first. We thought 2004 was a good year to pick, but having them confirm that year was a big help.

And to answer a question we’ve heard a couple of times: yes, we know the Internet existed before 2004 and that there were some fan sites around Cleveland in the 1990s. But with no smartphones, tablets or social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, there is simply no way the level of fan interaction was the same.

Big thanks to authors Terry Pluto and Jonathan Knight. While we are generally pretty good about remembering dates and events, without their collected works on Cleveland sports, this series would have been a lot harder to pull together. Having reliable resource material was a huge help. If you haven’t read any or their books yet, you really should.

Finally, thanks to the Browns, Indians and Cavs for providing us with enough material over the past 40 years (both good and bad) to make something like this possible. We easily could have made this a Top 50 list and had plenty of leftover material.

Looking back on the 20 items we selected, it’s interesting that nine of the items related to the Indians, seven were about the Browns and four were about the Cavs. We didn’t think about the breakdown while writing and were surprised after the fact when we totaled the numbers, especially with Cleveland being a Browns town and all.

There are probably a few things we would have changed if we were doing this over. The items on Bernie Kosar being released and Joe Tait being fired were probably to micro; they were really subsets of what were much larger stories. In Tait’s case, that could have worked better in the Ted Stepien piece; Kosar should have been part of a longer item on Bill Belichick’s tenure as Browns coach.

Having history on our side helped elevate at least one of the stories. While it’s never a good idea to trade young, talented pitchers, there’s no way anyone involved with the Indians could have known that Dennis Eckersley would go on to have the career he did; but it still made for a good story. On the flip side, however, the Ron Harder deal will never not be a bad trade.

Overall we were pleased with the way the whole series came out and, if you read it, hope you enjoyed it.

Sorry, Columbus, not our problem

Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman made headlines over the weekend by going public with his desire to bring an NBA team to Ohio’s capital city.

We normally wouldn’t care about this – we don’t live in Columbus after all – but then we saw some chatter on Twitter about an idea for the Blue Jackets to play 10 games a year in Cleveland and the Cavaliers to play a like number of games in Columbus.

We’re going to be nice here, so we’ll say that is one of the most unappealing ideas we’ve heard in a while.

To learn why, head over to The Cleveland Fan.

This is why sports are the best

What an end to the 2011-12 British Premier League season.

The task was simple for Manchester City: win at home (or at least mirror Manchester United’s result on the day), against a Queens Park Rangers that had not won on the road all season, and City would claim its first league title since 1968.

So of course Manchester City trailed 2-1 heading into stoppage time against QPR, which had played a man down since the 55 minute mark. But goals by Edin Dzeko Sergio Agüero, who tallied with only about a minute left, gave City the title.

Just the way everyone expected the final day to turn out.

“It was incredible – they deserved this,” Manchester City manager Robert Mancini told The Daily Mail. “To win like this is incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a finale like this. We didn’t deserve to lose, we had a lot of chances and we deserved to win the game and the championship.

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