Posts Tagged ‘espn’

Fond memories of the circus

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

It’s been going on for three years now. Long before New York’s aggressive, and in many ways, pathetic, campaign to reel in the King began, people were already talking. Particularly, people outside of Cleveland.

I know this because I have lived outside of Cleveland for five years now. I hear the misguided and uninformed chatter that surrounds my city both in and outside of the world of sports. “Cleveland sucks.” Really? Have you ever been there? “No, but…” Sorry, but you’ve lost all credibility in two words. The silver lining is that now I can reminisce about old episodes of Matlock while you finish your worthless sentence.

Or better yet, some people answer the question, “Yes. I went there for work. It was a Tuesday night and everything was closed.” Yes. A major drawback to our city, that’s completely unique to Cleveland, is its extreme lack of Tuesday night merriment. Unforgiveable.

And PS: Untrue. Where were you trying to go? Walgreen’s? All of the downtown bars are open on Tuesday. You just didn’t know where to go, and you didn’t bother to ask anyone. Admit it. You scrolled through your hotel’s pay-per-view menu, saw Teen Sandwich 11, clicked “order” then blamed Cleveland when several of them looked to be well into their twenties.

But if you think Cleveland Tourism suffers prejudice, get to the back of the RTA bus. Because Cleveland Sports have been lambasted for decades at a level normally reserved for terrorists with who moonlight as pedophiles. And what have we done to deserve such indignation? Lose? Consistently? I’m sorry, but Hollywood classics like Rocky and Bad News Bears had me thinking that people rooted for the underdog. That losers were, in fact, loveable. I should’ve never trusted Hollywood.

Which steers this wandering rant careening towards one unmistakable point. If you’ve bought into the movie magic, the hype the likes of OMG.com, the twists and turns of a drama performed at the level of a high school production of Oliver Twist attended by grade-schoolers who were eager to give applause to anything that gives them a break from the airtight chamber of kid farts that is their daily classroom, then shame on you.

Sure. It was easy to be led astray early, when the path veered for the first time. I was guilty myself. “Oh, wow. Chicago with Rose and Noah has the best chance. The experts must know better than me.” –Internal monologue, circa June.

But as the leader in this invisible horserace continues to change by the minute, it’s clear the fix is in and this is not a race at all. It’s Russian Roulette (And no, that doesn’t give the edge to Prokhorov). Only the stakes are higher in this game, with five of six chambers filled. The Clippers and Nets have already unsuccessfully pulled the trigger, and now the sweaty pistol barrel rests on the temple of Chicago.

Regardless of what happens from here on out, it’s clear that our fate was decided when the cylinder was spun and locked into place on July 1st. Since then, any smoke and mirrors shrouded in cloaks of hope or despair have been distractions created by and for our captors.

Do I blame them for their heartless puppeteering? No. Am I resentful of the fact that I’ve ridden this emotional rollercoaster for months? A little. Will I celebrate tonight at 9:10 Eastern when LeBron announces to the world he prefers Cleveland over the likes of “world-class” cities like New York, Chicago, and Miami? Damn straight.

10 reasons you can’t leave

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

In descending order for dramatic reasons…

10. History. The greatest players in the history of the league stayed with the same team. Bird, Jordan, Johnson, Kobe… For what it’s worth though, Shawn Bradley did play for 3 teams, plus Germany.

9. Your mother. I don’t believe the Delonte rumors, but either way. She’s your mother, and she doesn’t want you to go. What kind of man hurts his mother?

8. Dan Gilbert. He’s proven he’s willing to spend any amount of money necessary to bring home a winner. He’s also brought in a number of new players that have made the team better each year, even if it you haven’t reached the promised land just yet. His moves in just the last few weeks have demonstrated the same.

7. Money. No team can afford to pay you what Cleveland can. I know it’s not the biggest factor, but we all know it’s always a factor. PS… If it truly isn’t what matters most, a modest pay-cut would allow Gilbert to surround you with the supporting talent you need. PPS: If it helps ease the pain, I can cancel my HBO and send you the extra 10 dollars a month instead.

6. Z. He fell in love with this city and has spent his whole illustrious career here, and he’s not even from U.S.! Even after being traded and being sought after by many another team, his heart remained in C-town.

5. Game 5. Holy shit! You’re really going to play your last home game on that note? Even if the ridiculous Delonte rumor is true, so what? I’ve woken up with horrific head/stomach aches next to women who outweigh me and might have once been men. Guess what, I still went to work and did my job that day. And probably made a little less money for the effort.

4. The rest of the nation. I’m not talking about the cities in the running. I’m talking about those without a horse in the race. Everyone I asked over the course of the last few months during my travels said they were rooting from Cleveland. They called them the feel-good story of the playoffs. They also called the Lakers things that I’m not comfortable repeating on a public site.

3. Popular Opinion. I live in Dallas, and everyone here is chattering about how you’re leaving and coming here (They also voted for Bush twice, so no one said they’re smart). I watch ESPN and they think you’re leaving too. Seems the only way to make your decision interesting and historic is to do the opposite. I keep telling people not to underestimate hometown loyalty. After all, it drove me to spend lots of money and time I didn’t have on making a website.

2. The guy that was sitting next to me at the bar a second ago. No one special. A Dallas fan. But he spoke one kernel of wisdom I couldn’t ignore about the Cowboys of the 80’s (in fact, he compared them to the Browns of today.) “More character is built from standing by a losing squad than watching one win the title.” I completely and begrudgingly agree, but I think the same rule applies to players too. Be patient. And when it comes, the victory will taste that much sweeter.

1. Cleveland. It’s a great town, and most people don’t realize it. You could help change that. And breaking a 46-year sports curse in the process wouldn’t hurt. Think about it: You’re from here, and we have a rich history of never winning the big one. If you could pull it off, they’d make a blockbuster movie about it (shot in Milwaukee). If you win in Miami, Chicago, or New York… maybe Oxygen network. And your girlfriend would be played by one of the girls from Sister Sister. The moral of the story; one Cleveland ring is worth 3 anywhere else.

The question no one’s asked but should…

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Should LeBron decide to leave, or even if he’s still teetering, reporters should ask…

What do you say to Cleveland and Akron-area fans who think you’re quitting on them? Are you prepared to say, “I’m not good enough to break the curse. I can’t bring a winner to my own hometown.”?