My Christmas present to all my fellow Cleveland sports fans is the following reminder, at least we can be glad that there are sports teams and fans that have it worse. Now I will concede that no city has it worse than Cleveland, but in each sport, there is at least one city that has a more poorly run organization.
Football: The Detroit Lions
You think the Browns have made a mess of their roster since coming backing in 1999? Tired of rebuilding? It could be worse, Matt Millen could be the Browns GM. Since Millen took over that team six years ago they have set the standard for organizational ineptitude, and recently, he was inexplicably rewarded with a long and lucrative contract extension for his efforts to ruin Detroit’s sports teams like Japan ruined their auto industry. At least most teams in Cleveland give the impression that they are just one or two players away from competing (regardless of whether or not it is in fact true); Detroit is just one or two players away from losing to mid major college football teams.
In Cleveland the fans are tired of rebuilding. By my score card, the Browns are on their fourth rebuild since rejoining the league seven years ago, but at least we still call them rebuilds. Detroit doesn’t even pretend to rebuild anymore, they just sign another team’s aging back up to play quarterback (Mitchell,Garcia, Kitna, etc.) and then appease their fans by using their draft pick to get yet another bust wide receiver, but at least the Lions have draft picks, unlike the….
Basketball: New York Knicks
Tired of watching the Cavs play with no passion? Are you tired of watching Marshall and Jones stand around and do nothing? It could be worse, it could be an aging fleet of selfish, overpriced shooting guards. Isiah Thomas never met a ballhog/shooting guard that he didn’t like and I am pretty sure that it is his goal to convert the Knicks into a retirement home of sorts for them.
It takes a special kind of GM to fire a hall of fame coach when the team is not succeeding due to your own inability to build a roster with talent, and Isiah Thomas is just that special. He was not content with destroying the Knicks from the press booth or luxury boxes, nope, he wanted to do it courtside.
What is most astonishing about the developments in New York is that Isiah Thomas was a failure in Toronto, but the Knicks still hired him. He has been a disaster as a head coach, but you don’t hear much about him being fired. Either the Knick fans are too downtrodden to say anything or the fans are speechless due to a complete and total lack of hope for the future.
A team’s success in the NBA relies on the draft like it does in no other sport. The reason is obvious; in a game that features a team of only five players the efforts of one person are much more apparent than in baseball or football, and the ramifications from not having draft picks (or squandering them) are huge. This said, I am pretty sure that I will draw social security before the Knicks have a pick in the first round again.
Speaking of hiring aging has beens and almost weres …
Baseball: The Baltimore Orioles.
Oh these are not the Jim Palmer and Brooks Robinson Orioles of old, this is the new breed of old Orioles. The only thing that I could think of that would be more frustrating than being an Indians fan and watching our team miss out on all the big free agents would be to watch them sign mediocre free agents to huge long term contracts. Guys like Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa are about the only thing worse than the Jason Michaels’ of the world.
I was honestly surprised that Barry Bonds did not end up wearing an Orioles uniform. Seriously, he seemed like a perfect fit; past his prime, over priced, attitude problem, and a steroid habit matched only by Brady Anderson.
So there it is, your Christmas present from me, sorry it is late but my wife is as tight with the purse strings as Larry Dolan so she didn’t let me buy anything for the readers, but don’t worry, she (like Dolan) has promised to spend more next year or when it is appropriate. So hold your breath for that, and in the mean time, take solace in the fact that there are actually teams and fans that have it worse than you do!