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The Obligatory 'Giving Thanks' Column
November 26, 2009 · By Brian McPeek

I'm well aware of where we live. 

I know exactly where we're from. 

We're from a town where the baseball team is able to compete for a championship maybe once a decade if they don't screw things up. Where our club is playing high stakes poker with one or two Franklins in their wallet while the big timers from the big markets have more than enough cash to sit at a game where there is no max buy-in. 

We live in a town where our football team is the medical equivalent of a botched routine operation that leads to infection and death.  

A team that can't properly utilize its resources and high draft picks and who can't find the right people to make them. Maybe that's coincidence, but I don't think so. Yes, there is a part of me that wants to read tomorrow how Browns owner Randy Lerner choked on a little bit of his oyster stuffing on Thanksgiving. How he had to be bent over a chair and hit from behind to dislodge the foul chunk from his wind pipe and while all that was going on the guy who hit him from behind also stole $2,000 out of his pocket.  

Then he would truly know how season ticket holders have felt for the last decade: bent over, hit from behind and out a bunch of cash. 

We live in a town where the greatest basketball player on the planet plies his trade and creates nightly masterpieces on the canvas of an NBA court. And while we appreciate the greatness we are occupied more with where LeBron James will play next year than the nightly gifts he gives us. 

Yes, this is Cleveland. It's where the 45 year streak of championship-free professional sports is outweighed only by the pessimism that it's likely to continue. But there are things for which I'm thankful. And that's what it's all about today. Keep in mind that I typically dip the brush on the sarcastic side of the color palette. But occasionally I might mix in something that's actually near to my heart. 

Some quick things for which I'm thankful (in no particular order other than when they happen to cross my mind and allow me to fill a column): 

  • I'm thankful that Allen Iverson decided to retire. You'd hate to see his reputation as a team player take a hit. And with his retirement we are certainly not too far away from reading about his next unlawful transgression and an ESPN ‘Outside the Lines' with Iverson from prison.
  • You can doubt me, but this is my Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock of the Week. 

  • I'm thankful that Brian Robiskie and David Veikune, high round Browns draft picks in last April's NFL draft, are being brought along slowly. You see how the Bengals are using up a guy like Rey Maualuga and you just have to laugh at the Bengals indiscretion and their wastefulness. Maualuga will be lucky if he's not a little tired in the playoffs from all the contact and action he's seen. Robiskie and Veikune are going to be so fresh next season and the UFL team that gets either of them a couple years down the road is going to benefit from this year of relative inactivity from each of those guys.

  • I'm thankful that for at least a couple years we got to watch the greatest utility infielder in the history of MLB play for the Tribe. If they ever start a Hall of Fame for only players under 5'10", 175lbs, Jamey Carroll will be, deservedly, a charter member. Jamey Carroll is the anti-Allen Iverson. In pretty much every way possible.
  • And now I need to find another diminutive grinder to pimp. 

  • I'm thankful for Cavs Head Coach Mike Brown, CSU Head Coach Gary Waters and CSU Athletic Director Lee Reed. In a sports world increasingly dominated by abrasive, Secret Squirrel a-holes like Eric Mangini, it's a beautiful thing to have some class coaches and administrators like Brown, Waters and Reed. These guys work their asses off, are successful and they operate with class and dignity. They treat their players with respect and dignity as opposed to treating them in a condescending fashion and like children.
  • They also treat those in the media and in the general population with that same courtesy and respect. They are impressive professionally, publicly and personally and all three of those guys embody what Cleveland should stand for. 

  • I'm thankful the NFL didn't go to the 18-game regular season this season. I don't think I need to lay out the particulars on that one.

  • I'm thankful for a wife and three daughters who support me and my sports-centric existence. Gentlemen, if you marry a girl who was a better athlete than you when you met, you're in good shape. And if you raise your daughters on sporting events you'll never sit alone at another game.

  • I'm thankful for the local newspapers. The way they keep mailing in effort and columns draws more people everyday to the theclevelandfan.com where they get to read some of the most talented writers collected under one Cleveland banner. I defy anyone to hold guys like Steve Buffum, Jesse Lamovsky, Dave Kolonich, Dan Wismar, Erik Cassano, John Hnat and Paul Cousineau up to the main stream writers in this town and not come away with a shutout in favor of the TCF guys.
  • Add to those guys the unbelievably entertaining rantings and ramblings of mad men like Chris Hutchison and Mansfield Lucas and the blended knowledge/snarkiness of Mitch Cyrus and tell me again why you'd need to read anything else? I know most of our readers get their information from multiple sources and sites, but you could do way worse than this particular site if you had to choose just one.  

  • I'm thankful for the drive, energy and knowledge of TCF's Editor-in-Chief Rich Swerbinsky for the pride he takes in this place and his dedication toward improving it every day. I'm also thankful I can call the guy a friend and a good one at that.
  • I'm thankful for those of you who take the time to read these columns and suffer through my efforts. To all of you I wish a Happy Thanksgiving a safe holiday season.
  • Peace.  

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