Cleveland sports hasn’t provided us with any titles since 1964, but the city’s downtrodden fans do get at least some prime-time quality drama its teams.
Ever worry that the lead in your favorite show will bolt for a movie career, ala George Clooney or Tom Hanks. We have that with locally grown Lebron James and his possible exit stage east–as in to New York—when his contract expires.
Who likes medical procedures? Just go up to Berea or Cleveland Stadium and play “House,” trying to find the origin of a mysterious bacteria before it infects the entire Browns receiving corps. (Why couldn’t this staph outbreak have happened when we had Quincy Morgan or Dennis “Drops the most important catch of his life” Northcutt?)
One little fun-size nugget that almost flew past my radar happened at the Oct. 14 Cavs-Celtics exhibition game held in the Petersen Center in Pittsburgh. This was in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s recap of the game :
The loudest ovation perhaps occurred with 5:48 remaining, when the Cavaliers’ mascot, Moondog, appeared at half court during a timeout wearing a Cleveland Browns jersey.
A serenade of boos was heard before Moondog peeled off the hated jersey and revealed a black-and-gold Steelers shirt. It drew a round of cheers before the mascot raced the length of the floor, caught a small football in stride and headed out an exit.
The Cav’s mascot, whose name is derived from the town’s Rock n’ Roll roots, our last bastion of pride, surrendered his loyalties to Cleveland’s sworn sports enemy. Man’s best friend, indeed. Now I know how John McCain felt when Colin Powell appeared on “Meet the Press,” swearing his allegiance to Barack Obama.
According to Tad Carper, the Cavs’ vp of communications, this was a “lone gunman” scenario; Moondog acted alone. Carper said the mascot was reprimanded, but not fired for the “improvised skit.”
Even if Dan Gilbert himself had told the mascot to don the reviled black and gold, he has every right. The team is trying to establish a broader fan-base, thus generating enough money to pay King James his ransom. The Cavs went to the NBA Finals in 2007 and came closer than expected in 2008. Yet the Browns still hold the city’s affections hostage. The Browns have given fans that extremely satisfying Monday night win over the Giants, and that’s about it since they came back to the league.
The Browns recent spat of suckage may have something to do with how the team is run. Kellen Winslow Jr. recently received a one-game suspension for calling out the team, releasing to the media he had staph. This was his second infection, and Joe Jurevicius may be lost for the season because of his. The way Phil Savage handled the situation was to some childish, and very suspicious at the very least.
That’s not is how a championship-caliber team acts. This is.
The Plain Dealer’s Bill Livingston wrote:
“The Cavaliers’ Delonte West returned to the team last week after taking a leave of absence for what he said was a battle against clinical depression. Both coach Mike Brown and GM Danny Ferry made sure West knew he had the organization’s full support.
“This is the epitome of a family organization,” West said. “I want to go for war for these people. I would die for them, I really mean that.”
Read the full article at: http://www.cleveland.com/livingston/index.ssf/2008/10/staph_isnt_the_only_plague_in.html
I still remember the old Browns. I ran in to Bernie Kosar at my job a couple months ago, and it was one of the biggest thrills of my life. I’ve also met “Big Z” and “Sideshow Verajao,” and it was cool, but just not the same.
Don’t get me wrong. I hate the Steelers just about as much as anybody. The Cavs may be the better team both on the court and in the office, but a Cleveland-based anything placating Steelers fans is worse than feeding a mogwie after midnight. You just don’t do it if you want the city’s support. Remember that Moondog, unless you want to get sent to the real “Dawg” Pound, where some drunk guy may try to neuter you next time you try to learn a new trick.