Truth number one is that I will always be proud of the professional sports teams that play their home games in Cleveland. I have been able to get past all of the near misses and close calls. Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Glavine/Maddux Strike Zone, and The Mesa have all been rehashed in my memory thousands of times, but the results never change, and I am OK with that.
Truth number two is the belief that there is always next year. As bad as our teams have been at their worst, I always thought we could turn things around quickly and would expect a Super Bowl, World Series or NBA Championship to be within our reach. If we could only change the manager, have a great draft or sign a marquee free agent, glory would be ours.
I have witnessed countless teams go from the basement to the penthouse in one short year. Hell, the Atlanta Braves went from last place to winning their division for 14 straight years. In that time, we have won our division about 4 times, total, in three professional sports.
I have seen expansion franchises play in the NFL Conference Championship games at least three times plus a Super Bowl. We have been forced to endure the team that was ripped away from us WIN A FREAKING SUPER BOWL. I have seen 4-12 teams turn it around in one year and win the Super Bowl. I am currently watching the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets turn the fortune of their franchises around in one off-season.
What I am about to type is brutally difficult, but I am left with no choice. Screw them all. Next year keeps getting more distant by the day.
The 2006 Cleveland Browns have stripped me of my strength, but only after the 2006 Indians began worked me over. The 2006 Cavaliers have some promise, but I am spent. I have nothing left to give and don’t know if I will even allow myself to get involved to the point that I could celebrate even a NBA Championship.
There is no short answer for where the Browns have to go to get some respect back. For the 4th time in 7 years we are headed in the wrong direction. We will be lucky to see an 8-8 record by the end of this decade. Coaches will be fired. Players will be cut and replaced with different players who might make a difference, but probably won’t. The official last straw came shortly after the embarrassing loss to my most hated team not named "Steelers". With two weeks to prepare, they were at their worst. And what comes out of the locker room? Joe Jurevicius, Cleveland’s own, is going to blast the fans for leaving early. I got some advice for you Joe … you should follow our lead and get out while you can.
Not only am I disappointed in the direction of the Browns and Indians, I am no longer proud of these organizations. Cleveland sports fans are some of the smartest and most knowledgeable fans in the world. So why is it that the men who are in charge of these organizations continue to treat us lime we are in the third grade. Mark Shapiro likes to tell us about money and market size. BS Mark. Eric Wedge likes to “stay the course”, well where the f^$# has that gotten us? Screw your course. It is the wrong course. Trust me. I have watched it play out for 30 years.
Romeo Crennel, I loathe you. “A good play is one that works and a bad play is one that doesn’t” makes me want to come down to Berea and hide all the doughnuts from you. Let’s see how long it takes to make a change in security around there. I bet it is a lot quicker than it is to change offensive coordinators.
Was that really effort we saw Sunday? Did the Browns really play with any emotion? Did Romeo Crennel really utter, in his post-game address, that “we thought we could hang around and then sneak up on them at the end?” Are you serious? This was the game plan? Keep it close then try to come from behind against the stingiest defense in the league. What is the plan for the Jets next week? Tell them it is an 8:00 PM start and take the forfeit when they don’t show up?
Here we are. Thirty years on this Earth and I am farther away from a watching a Cleveland team win a Championship then I was when I started this trek. So with that, as of today, October 23, 2006, I am officially seeking help to get over my addiction. If anyone knows of any meetings coming up, or someone who might be looking to sponsor a fellow addict, let me know, I’ll be there. Unless my market size renders the trip unreasonable or Romeo Crennel puts together the plan for me to get there.