Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fans or Fools?

Blaise Pascal once said that, “It is the fight alone that pleases us, not the victory.”  To witness the Cleveland Cavaliers be thoroughly outplayed by the Miami Heat was certainly disheartening considering the significance of the game. The fact that the Cavs seemed pre-occupied with hugging and giggling with the player at the center of the storm rather than legitimately trying to make a statement to the fans and even themselves was completely baffling and insulting. Though, with the way the landscape of the NBA has altered over the past decade, it should be no surprise that the players in the league feel much more of a bond with their opponents than they do with their own fan base. Gone are the days of the “Bad Boy Pistons” of Detroit who likely took greater pride in paying the medical bills for the other squad’s star than covering the check for the post-game meal with the team who just defeated them. Hell, one of the leaders from those Piston teams, Rick Mahorn, was suspended two years ago as an assistant coach for a WNBA team after he allegedly shoved a female player during a brawl. Of course, the merits over whether or not the physical conduct of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s went overboard can be debated. However, there is no denying that the association’s brutal nature has morphed into a type of congeniality that one would expect to see at a pickup game for a church picnic. And that is where the great disconnect in today’s NBA lies.

       Anyone who watched, listened or even read about Thursday night’s game could understand how meaningful this game was for Cavs fans and the entire Greater Cleveland community. The 18th game of this regular season was by far the most important for the Cavs and one where they needed to try to win at all costs. Instead, the raucous, sell-out crowd was treated to lifeless, lackluster play from the home team and even worse, tender embraces between some of the Cavaliers and former high-school state champion LeBron James. Speaking after the game to media members from all over the planet, James channeled his inner Michael Corleone when he stated, “It’s not personal” regarding his relationship with his former admiring fans. So, here is a man who branded himself as a “hometown hero” that understood the agony of the area and whose sugardaddies at Nike erected a billboard in downtown Cleveland with him posing as a messiah figure telling the natives that it’s strictly business. Although, the players on the Cleveland Cavaliers bench didn’t take James’ obnoxious announcement personally that they weren’t adequate enough for his talents, the fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers did, and for that, we as fans are the biggest losers of all.

        We are losers for worshipping a spoiled egomaniac who never returned any gratitude or respect and believing that our unflattering signs and chants would inflict the same amount of pain that we burdened after his departure. We are losers for assuming “our” team composed of multi-millionaires actually embraced the name on the front of their jerseys as much as what is listed on the back of it. We are losers for ignoring how we essentially hold the cards regarding power in professional sports. When mega-douchebag and recipient of 18 separate criminal charges, Matthew Bellamy announced that he was going to sport a Braylon Edwards jersey at the Cavs-Heat game after being removed from Progressive Field for wearing a LeBron Heat jersey this past summer, the media was fascinated with how much of a masochist this individual was. But after feeling humiliated and deflated after Thursday night’s game, it occurred to me that indeed I along with every other Cleveland sports fan is an even greater masochist than Mr. Bellamy. 
   As Browns, Indians and Cavalier supporters, we feel compelled to flock like sheep to as many games as we can regardless of the quality of the actual product. In fact, in a desperate way to rationalize our thankless loyalty, a badge of honor is worn on our chests for wolfing down the largest amounts of shit sandwiches. Gladly, the local organizations take advantage of our delusions and attempt to guilt us into believing that it is one’s civic duty to return every year for more misery. The entire vicious cycle is such a tragedy considering how a beautiful game that provides many lessons can become so perverted due to the inordinate type of money it produces. So, perhaps it would be wise to treat professional sports as an intelligent consumer rather than a diehard fanatic. After all, it’s just business.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Taking Our Talents Anywhere Else

Do not attend another Cavs game… ever!!!

  • Cut Anthony Parker!!! Anthony are you deaf? Are you blind? Are you stupid???  Even if you are you still should have tackled Dwayne Wade on the 1st play of the game.  Candace would have, then again she probably has a bigger set than you.  You had a chance to set a hard nose tone for the game and give the fans exactly what they wanted, blood!!! Instead you rolled out the red carpet, pulled up to a jog and watched Dwayne Wade dunk.  Hopefully your pathetic face winds up on D Wades next Nike poster right under his nut sack.   

  • Ohh and what did Byron Scott, the Cavaliers coach and participant in the Celtics-Lakers rivalry of the 1980’s; arguably the most heated rivalry in NBA history in which guys were routinely clothes lined on fast breaks, do?  He let you play another 19 ½ min, shoot 1 of 4 record ZERO rebounds and turn the ball over 4 times.  Then the rest of your teammates followed your lead the entire night.  Lebron was barely touched. The most contact Anderson Varejao made with him was pregame hug.  JJ Hickson joked with him during the game.  Mo Williams shot 2-8.

  • Am I taking crazy pills? What the hell was going on last night???  Did that game really happen??? Are the Cavs players really that oblivious to their surroundings, the city, the people of Cleveland? Or do they just not give a shit??? 

  • And Dan Gilbert you are not getting off easy either.  How did Maverick Carter get a seat at half court???  How did he get in the building???  He had a better seat than Bernie Kosar, Josh Cribbs, and Drew Carey???  This guy may be worse than Lebron.  He has fostered everything that is wrong with Lebron. He came up with the “Decision” the single biggest bag-over-the-head-punch-in-the-face in the history of sports!!!  How do you let that happen???

  •  Crazy pills?!?!?!?!

  • Unfortunately, the Return is indicative of what the NBA has become, a Love-Fest.  All the players love each.  They hug before games.  They hug after games. They hug at half time.  They make dinner plans during FT’s.  They hit the clubs (and groupies) together.  It is a total joke.  NBA players are over paid, entitled and oblivious to real life.  Most have been told how great they are since age 12 by their parents, friends, agents and uncles.  Coaches have feared them and they have never been held accountable for their actions because most of the people in their lives didn’t want them to take their talents somewhere else.  The NBA is killing itself and last night was a fistful of sleeping pills washed down with 18 glasses of Cristal Champagne.

Hardworking people of NE Ohio, please spend your money some place else!!!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Writer's Roundtable: First Edition

  Due to a recent wave of significant events in the sports universe, we felt that it was time to break out the big guns, a writer's roundtable.  Nine questions and five writers, here we go:

1. How many games will the Cavs win this season? Will they make the playoffs?

Kevin:  As the roster currently stands, it's difficult to envision the Cavs being able to win 40 or more games this season. However, I do expect the Cavalier players to embrace Byron Scott's Princeton-style offense, which is vital considering how a team that provides a consistently strong effort in the NBA normally wins its fair share of games. Ultimately, I believe the Cavs will finish with a 38-44 record and clinch the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference where they will meet the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. I hope to be in attendence for one of the games in the series sporting my "BEAT THE HEAT!" free t-shirt, while holding a sign reading: "Hey LeBron, you may have come from your mother, but Delonte came in your mother!"

Adam: The line closed at 30 1/2.  I will take the over for 1 unit not a lock by any stretch.  I think they are a 35 win team.  As a fan I want them to win every game but as a realistic fan I wish they would tank 2 years in a row and get draft picks.

Bobby: Cavs will win 36 games this year and obviously miss the playoffs...but I can see them contending for the 8th seed

John: Hopefully 9, but this being Cleveland I am sure they will win 30 or so, make the playoffs, lose in the first round and miss the lottery.

Andrew: I really think they'll exceed the pathetic expectations that they've been given by the national media. With Byron Scott uptempo offense, they should reach around 42 or so wins, especially if JJ Hickson develops puts up all star type numbers. Their frame of reference should be last year's Milwaukee Bucks, a team that most observers had rendered irrelevant in the preseason, and ended up being a playoff team thanks in large part to great coaching and leadership from Scott Skiles. If they end up securing the 7th seed, and Miami the 2nd, I will donate a spleen and a kidney to secure a Cavs upset.

2. Which teams advance to the NBA Finals and who wins the series?

Kevin: Lakers over Heat in the NBA Finals. Though the media will be fixated on the long awaited Kobe vs. LeBron matchup, the series will be determined by the battle of the big men. I expect the Lakers' bigs, namely Pau Gasol, to prevail against Miami's Chris Bosh and whoever they decide to stick at center. Phil Jackson rides into the sunset and off to his commune with his 12th championship and FOURTH "three-peat" as a head coach, while Kobe Bryant receives his sixth and final ring. Also, look for a massive parade down Euclid Avenue celebrating LeBron's failure.

Adam: In the East it is Miami, Boston, Orlando, Chicago and everyone else.  I think the Bucks,Bobcats, and Hawks get in for sure.  Then someone will back their way in only b/c you have to have 8 teams.  Pacers are my surprise 8 seed with a 35-47 record.  Everyone else is that bad. 

Bobby: Celtics over Thunder in 6

John: Orlando v LA. LA

Andrew: In the playoffs, great teams beat great players, that's why the Celtics will beat the Heat in the Conference Finals, and the Oklahoma City Thunder will represent the West. Celtics in six. I'm pretty sure I stole that prediction from Bill Simmons.

3. What major injury would you most enjoy see LeBron suffer from?

Kevin: In what can be referred to as a "douche-on-douche crime," the LeBrontourage clash with the scholars from "Jersey Shore" at a nightclub in South Beach where a dispute on the proper way to fist-pump turns into an ugly brawl. Bron-Bron suffers an actual sprained elbow, a broken leg and a scar on his arm that is inevitably covered up with some self-congratulatory tattoo.

Adam: Anything groin related.

Bobby: I would rather see him healthy and never wing a ring.

John: What an awesome question. I would like to see him take a 2k light to the face on a Nike shoot, and burst into flame.

Andrew: During the Cavs & Heat game on Dec. 2nd in Cleveland, former Mr. Tonya Harding and eternal sex tape king Jeff Gilooly, hires out his favorite goon, Shane Stant, to work his Kerrigan magic on Mr. Twitter.

4. How do you feel about the impending decade of the NBA considering the high possibility of a lockout next season and the new "superteam" trend?

Kevin: One of the primary reasons that "The Decision" by LeBron James to take his zero rings to South Beach was generally condemned was due to the fact that by teaming up with Chris Bosh and especially Dwyane Wade, James violated one of the golden rules in basketball: Two of the best players must play against each other not with each other. So, the birth of the "superteams" in the NBA, could very well be its death as one of the more popular sports in America. Especially in mid to small markets across America such as Cleveland, Milwaukee, Indiana, Minnesota, etc. where players generally avod those places as free agents, but may now scheme their way out of these franchises if they happen to suffer the cruel fate of being drafted there. During the negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement, it is imperative that a franchise tag or another method is implemented that could help prevent a repeat of this past summer in Miaimi.

Adam: The League has to get free agency under control.  The can not allow players to manipulate the system that way they did this past summer.  It is not good for competition and it breeds ill-will with the fan base.  Proven by the reception Lebron received in Boston.  Celtics fans should love the guy, he laid down and let the C's breeze through a series on their way to the finals.  I can also foresee a cut in salaries.  This thing is going to get messy, not what the NBA needs right now.

Bobby: My answer is so long winded that it deserves a column to itself.

John: Impending decade? Shit man, my bookie says they only plan out the next 2 seasons. On a serious note though, I love labor disputes. Do you think we will see KG manning the blockades of Bentleys around TD Garden?

Andrew: Growing up as a child of the 90's, memories of Jordan's Bulls, Miller's Pacers, Stockton and Malone's Jazz, and Ewing's Knicks forbids me from embracing the "superteams." Although David Stern may be creaming his dockers with the thought of record-breaking ratings for the Miami threesome and a potential Knicks trio of Amare, Carmelo, and CP3, the majority of fans will simply turn off and tune out. A lockout seems inevitable, and it should be thrilling to watch Maverick Otis Carter try to survive while Bron Bron is on a yearlong paycheck hiatus.
5. Who wins the World Series?

Kevin: Giants over Rangers. The Giants win their first title in San Francisco thanks to an extraordinary bullpen, clutch hitting and bad-ass beards that most of the players have grown.
Adam: San Francisco. Brian Wilson's beard is the deciding factor, unless Ron Washington get grow the balding 'fro out in the next day or so.

Bobby: The World Series started?...Rangers in 6

John: Texas. Yawn.

Andrew: Giants in six. Brian Wilson introduces the rest of America to the machine.

6. What ride are you looking forward to riding the most at the Indians' first annual Snow Days event?

Kevin: Let me just say that I believe Snow Days at Progressive Field is a tremendous idea that could very well rescue the city of Cleveland's economy. I'm so excited to ride the Slide Down Into Irrelavence though I am concerned that the Dolans may get rid of the ride if it becomes too popular.

Adam: I am going to start a snowball fight with David Huff.  I know he will never hit me because I am not a bat. 

Bobby: Definitely the Winter Haven...who wouldn't want to stroll through the Indian's outfield featuring winter lights?

John: I'm looking forward to the Greg Brinda "Slide into Alcohol Fueled Depression". 

Andrew: The Burba Bobsled.

7. How many games do the Browns have to win this season for Eric Mangini to retain his job next year?

Kevin: Eric Mangini will likely have to win at least six games this season with eight victories all but guaranteeing his return to the sidelines next season as the Browns' head coach. However, I predict that the Browns end up with only five victories which would surely lead to Mangini's ouster along with the fact that Mike Holmgren and he possess two very different football philosophies.

Adam: I think he is around next year if they stay competitve.

Bobby: I'd say 6 or 7 to keep his job but he's already earned another year at least in my book. Not only have I been impressed by his weight loss, but this has been one of the more fun Browns team to watch that I can remember. I think he is getting a lot of our players, and our defense is solid. One of the main things that has set the browns back since 99' is the lack of continuity, so hopefully Holmgren sees this and lets him stay another year.

John: 3. Seriously. He is getting 3 years no matter what. I've been saying this all along. 

Andrew: Holmgen is probably going to move on without Mangini returning next season. However, if the Browns somehow get to 8 wins this year, Mangini will have a truly compelling case to come back to the sidelines next year.

8. If you had to decide now, do you believe Colt McCoy is a legitimate franchise quarterback?

Kevin: Although Colt McCoy has played in just two games thus far, I can't help but be very impressed with his performances in both games, especially his debut in Pittsburgh. McCoy's poise and high accuracy are both essential qualities that a legitimate franchise quarterback must possess. The only major questions concerning McCoy are his arm strength and whether or not his height will be too much of a detriment. It is because of those remaining questions that I believe it's imperative that the Browns start Colt McCoy for the remainder of the season, so the Browns can determine what they have with McCoy and whether or not they need to draft a quarterback next April. I'm also curious to see whether Holmgren makes the decision as to who starts at quarterback, or if he leaves the choice up to Mangini.

Adam: Yes, I like his attitude and confidence.  He is going to have to be a Drew Brees type; savvy, accurate and spreads the ball around.

Bobby: He's the next Drew Brees

John: What a Cleveland question. Right now. Sheee. Uh. I'll say yes because he seems to be calm and collected under pressure and the game doesn't seem like it moves too fast for him. 

Andrew: Too early to say. Brady Quinn had a pretty auspicious debut in '08, and we all saw how that that one turned out. However, McCoy's ability to throw accurately downfield, and manage the game without sabotaging his team's chances for victory, is certainly a welcoming sign. Colt needs to start for the remainder of the season to see if he possess all the intangibles necessary over the course of a schedule, and to spare us the sight of watching Jake Delhomme throw into quadruple coverage.

9. Who do you feel is the worst quarterback that the Browns have started since 1999?

Kevin: Ken Dorsey has to undoubtedly be the absolute worst quarterback that the Browns have trotted out since their return in 1999. Although the team has an entire generation of stiffs to line up under center, none of them forced me to contemplate whether or not I could watch another football game at any level. Except Dorsey. His noodle arm defied physics, while the fact that he was a quarterback in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE defied logic. Although the Browns still remain an underwhelming bunch, just remember that it could be worse: Ken Dorsey could be the quarterback.

Adam: So many choices, is Spergon Wynn too easy??? OK Ty Detmer.  

Bobby: Mulled over this for hours and just couldn't decide between Doug Pederson and Ken Dorsey.

John: Either Luke McCown or Spergon Wynn.

Andrew: Bruce Gradkowski's 0.0 quarterback rating against Pittsburgh takes the cake.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Celebrating LeBron Hater Day, Every Day


    This past Tuesday, our good friend LeBron James decided to hold the most self-serving ode to pseudo-martyrdom since ESPN's shameless show Bonds on Bonds. Using his Twitter account, James decided to publish tweets that ranged from some sound advice, "why don't u speak by moving ur head under a moving car," to the utterly deplorable and racist " ur a big nosed big lipped bug eyed (racial slur). Ur greedy u try to hide ur ghettoness."
    Look, anybody with an IQ that's not in single digits, and that has an ounce of decency, seriously condemns this type of garbage, but for LeBron to publish this trash is even more appalling. In a pathetic attempt at garnering public sympathy for himself, James' little charade ended up severely backfiring on him, and outing him as a desperate and clueless schmuck.  No one was buying the manufactured bullshit that he sold, and any rational sports fan refused to believe that the level of mostly innocuous badgering that came his way wasn't warranted by his repugnant behavior. Well, everyone besides the good folks in Bristol Connecticut.
    Brian Windhorst, friend of the blog and good guy, betrayed his Steamer roots with his latest article that's up on's main page. Under the title "King of Pain" and a picture that makes him look like a wounded soul, Windy's article frames LeBron as an emotionally distressed sufferer, whose only solace is found in watching a wall televisions in one room, and reading two blackberries at once. Windy neglected to mention the gluttony and offensive nature of having A WALL OF TELEVISIONS IN ONE FUCKING ROOM. Another piece of prime puff in Brian's expose was it's overall thesis that LeBron was motivated in ways he has never been before. Look out now. If he shows the type of fire and drive that he did in the Boston series, I'm sure he'll be hoisting the Larry O' Brien in June.
      We here at the Steamer wanted to contributed our own brand of hate tweets, which is far superior to the dated hate speech, to Mr. James, and here are some that I hope he reads from one of his two blackberries.

Man, what a creep that Brett Favre is! Hey speaking of texting your junk, did you get those pictures I sent you??? @Chris Broussard

Just though you should know that it's been five days since I've eaten anything and I could really use some liquids. Also, I think Maverick Carter is rubbing it in by pouring Grey Goose on the floor. writer who has been taken hostage by LRMR

Mr. James, I just returned from the dry cleaners with your gear and am now ironing all of your "Witness" t-shirts. Thank you for this great honor and get ready for your bunyon rub!! @Chris Bosh

I think it's time to put the past behind us once and for all. How about you meet me at the corner of Imperial and Buckeye tomorrow at 3 AM? Oh, come alone and don't make a sound...Dan G @ Dan Gilbert


Daddy, when are you coming home? Also, your new LeBron VIII's are shit. @ Bryce Maximus James

Hey, sorry about little Bryce calling your shoes "shit." As his grandfather, I take full responsibility and vow that it won't happen again. @ Delonte West

Lebron we have also taken our talents to South Beach. Remember to GTL. @jerseyshoreDbags

Lebron, The Decision was such great television. Gripping drama, I was on the edge of my seat. @thebachelor#1fan

Lebron, I can’t imagine what a burden the Decision must have been for you. It must have been so difficult to decide what team you were going to allow to pay you $120mil @unemployclevelandsteelworkers

Lebron, great work signing with the Heat. Now those two children of yours will finally have dinner on the table every night @latrellsprewell

Lebron, I once made a Decision. It was not quite as tough as yours though. @SophieZawistowski

Lebron, you always keep it real. You take care off all your boys, hook them up with jobs, let them handle your PR work. Keep up the loyalty. I am a big fan. @bankruptcyattorneys

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Live In Game Updates: 10/17/10

For those of you who like to check your internet during commercial breaks, check out John's live updating of today's Browns game. I'll be sending a link to our facebook page, where you can bear witness to John's borderline criminal thoughts on the Steelers. Enjoy.!/pages/Clevelands-Steamer-Sports-Blog/155170147839558

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Next in Line

   This Sunday it looks like Colt McCoy is going to add his name to a distinguished list. Starting QB’s for the Cleveland Browns since their return in 1999. The complete list: (in alphabetical order so I did not have to give myself an aneurysm trying to judge levels of mediocrity)

Derek Anderson, Tim Couch, Jake Delhomme, Ty Detmer, Trent Dilfer, Ken Dorsey, Charlie Frye, Bruce Gradkowski, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Doug Pederson, Brady Quinn, Seneca Wallace, and Spergon Wynn,

  Ugghh, the CFL thinks these guys are cast offs. 11 seasons and only guy, Derek Anderson in 2007, was able to put together an above average season. That season was even heart breaking and capped off by Anderson doing the only thing that could have kept the Browns out of the playoffs, throwing the ball to the Bengals FOUR TIMES in week 16 and his QB rating that season 82.5 slightly above average at best. I am not even going to list the guys who have been on the Brownies and NOT had a chance to start since 1999…Despite my promise in the last sentence to try and refrain from listing the backup hacks, I can not control my impulse to do so, and here goes:

Josh Booty, Jeff Brohm, Lang Campbell, Tony Graziani, Josh Harris, Nate Hybl, Doug Johnson, Jamie Martin, Kevin Thompson, Colt McCoy, Brett Ratliff

  The only time the Browns went to the playoffs in 2002 Tim Couch had a QB rating of 76.8 or average at best. Even with poor schemes and incompetent GM’s, the Browns still haven't gotten lucky enough with their putrid record, or haven't been smart enough, to draft a franchise QB like Mark Sanchez, Aaron Rodgers, Phillip Rivers or Eli Manning. Or accidently drafted a quality NFL QB in the past 11 years. Here is a list of guys who have been drafted since 1999 that I would argue could put together 2 above average seasons, and that does not include free agents drafted before 1999 that could have been signed.

Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Kevin Kolb, Trent Edwards, Vince Young, Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Matt Cassel, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, David Carr, David Garrard, Michael Vick, Drew Brees, Jesse Palmer (not a good QB but showed the world his superstar level frosted tips on a season of the Bachelor), Chad Pennington, Marc Bulger, Tom Brady, Donavan McNabb, Dante Culpepper, Aaron Brooks

  So here is to hoping that in Colt McCoy the averages finally catch up to Brownies and we will have our QB of the future. Raise your glasses for a toast: “Here is to lesbians, virgins, and Phil Savage… thanks for nothin’” “Go Browns”


Birthday Blog

We are truly a family here at The Steamer, and that's why we've decided to wish a happy birthday to three of our staff members, Bobby Platten, picture on the top, John Johnson, picture in the middle, and Eric Gomola, picture on the bottom. Bobby's celebrating his 22nd birthday today, Eric is also celebrating his birthday today, turning 26, and John will be celebrating his 26th tomorrow. Hopefully, Colt McCoy will bestow these good dudes with a birthday gift on Sunday. Actually, escaping the game without being buried under the 40 yard line in Heinz Field will do just fine. Happy birthday boys.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The LeBron Podcast Part II: Raab

 Our second guest is the always hilarious Scott Raab. The Esquire writer, who also wrote the sharp and sardonic "LeBron Watch" column for, takes the crown in the arena of Cleveland sports suffering. Raab, who was born and mostly grew up in Cleveland, will be articulating his unfettered and excruciating misery over the plight of our three teams into a book that will be coming out in the near future.Our topic of conversation went beyond just Mr. Twitter, as we also touched base on the city's other teams, and overall regional identity. So here is Scott Raab, in all of his anger and brilliance. Enjoy.

Note: Due to technical difficulties, we weren't able to capture our entire interview with Scott. However, what is left of our conversation is lively and entertaining, with the exception of my grating, nasal voice. 


The LeBron Podcast Part I: Windhorst

     There was no way to avoid this one. A Cleveland sports blog in 2010 could not have it's grand premiere podcast extravaganza be centered around any other topic but LeBron James, other wise known as Mephistopheles with a jump shot. Even though it's been over three months since his nationally televised steamer, the man who went from Mr. Ohio to Mr. Twitter is still the most potent topic for conversation in Cleveland sports circles. So in order to still wrangle over the issues, and the questions and emotional baggage that comes with it, we here at The Steamer interviewed two highly qualified guests on the topic,'s Brian Windhorst, and Esquire Magazine's Scott Raab.
After Brian Windhorst left The Plain Dealer to work for, he received his share of unfettered anger from a certain section of Cavs fans. Unlike a certain someone, Windhorst went on two regional talk shows, and listened as callers took shots at his journalistic objectivity and sense of ethics. Even if you're upset over him leaving, give the man his props for having the stones and emotional security to allow a bunch of raging white dudes to sling their shit at him. Brian's approach towards covering the NBA has always been analytical without being editorial, and informative without being tedious, and I'm sure he'll continue to produce quality pieces throughout his career. So here is Part I of the LeBron Summit with Mr. Windhorst. Enjoy.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fanatics: For Better or for Worse, Well... Mostly Worse


  I suppose I am going to have to take the role of the elder blogsman of this site, the Ben Franklin to the Steamer’s Constitutional Convention. So as the old timer in the group, I guess it is my doodie (OK that is the last poop reference for this post) to remind these guys that professional sports is a business and we should treat it as such. Essentially, professional sports teams are trying to sell us a product. When the product is good, we should buy, and when the product is bad, let's stay home and not buy the jerseys or caps. Looking at the Tribe’s attendance this year, it seems most Clevelanders have gotten the memo.
  I like the pizza analogy: If you ordered a large pepperoni from Domino’s and the delivery guy showed up at your door with a box full of vomit, (see I kept my word, I really wanted to write dog sh… ), the next time you were jonesing for a pie you would call Pizza Hut. I am supposed to tell these guys that the idea of being a diehard fan is a myth perpetuated by ownership as a way of guilting you into filling the seats, even when you are being served an inferior product. Having been a Cleveland sports fan for longer than any of these guys, I should be able to site a myriad of disappointments, and tell these guys not to get too wrap in teams that ultimately are going to let you down.
  Too bad it’s not that easy. So why don’t we as Cleveland fans stop calling Domino’s, or becomes fan of another team? It is because of the connection we have with the Browns, Cavs, and Indians. It is from the memories we have made watching and attending games with friends and family. It is the Sundays tailgating and freezing our asses off in Municipal or Browns stadium, hanging out in downtown before a Cavs playoff game and feeling like you were in the center of the sports universe. Or maybe just watching from your living room and discussing at the office the recent brushes with greatness in 2007; the Cavs appearance in the finals, the Indians being one win away from vanquishing the Yankees and Red Sox in a single post season and moving on to play the hapless Rockies in the World Series, and the Browns “Season of Dreams”.
  Now with the Tribe finishing up a 69 win season, the Browns off to a disappointing start and of course the events of this past summer, with the biggest bag over the head haymaker to the face that Cleveland sports fans have ever endured, having to watch ESPN’s in-depth coverage of the Miami Heat’s pre-practice stretching routines, we are right back to our expected place in the world of professional sports. Lowly Cleveland, the place no free agent wants to play, and every too much too soon 1st round prospect hopes they don’t wind up. So we as fans wait for the championship that will validate Cleveland, and fill in the rest of the country on what we have known for our entire lives: that Northeast Ohio is an absolutely great place to live. The people are hard working and sensible, and there is great sense of community and history in the area. Even native residents of the area who have decided to take their talents elsewhere, still hold a special place in their hearts for Cleveland, as is evident by the Browns Backers having the highest amount of NFL club members who reside in cities other than the team's.
  So remember, while we are waiting for that championship that may never come, make sure to enjoy the ride. And at least we now all have a place in the Steamer to share our pain.


The Woeful Network

  It looks as though Cleveland fans won’t have to suffer through watching this NBA season, because ESPN has already crowned the Miami Heat NBA Champions after Tuesday night’s highly impressive preseason victory. How could anyone disagree with ESPN on this one? I mean did you see the way Riley’s angels destroyed the dynamic trio of T-Mac, Ben Gordon, and Charlie V for an entire half? Plus they only had Dwayne Wade for 3 minutes!
  Wait, Tuesday night wasn’t game seven of the NBA finals? The Miami Heat aren’t the NBA champions? I have to admit, ESPN really fooled me. Their media attention was equivalent to the attention that they gave to the NBA finals last year. For God’s sake, they led off SportsCenter with this game, with the NFL in full swing, and the Major League Playoffs just about to start. Marv freaking Albert was the play by play guy on a preseason game? Am I the only one who sees anything wrong with this? The game was absolutely meaningless. Every preseason NBA game is meaningless.
  Watching ESPN’s NBA crew be on site of a preseason game is nothing more than an extension of “The Decision”.One would think that ESPN would learn from their mistake of that idiotic program this summer, but it looks as though they want that to become the norm. It is not about the game anymore. There always has to be a storyline. There has to be 47 talking heads telling us what we should take from the game. What the hell happened to showing us the highlights and telling us who won? Why do we have to watch Jalen Rose try to formulate a logical sentence about the implications of Dwayne Wade pulling a hamstring 3 weeks before the season starts? I don’t know about you, but when it comes to preseason basketball, a 15 second highlight clip and a box score at the end of SportsCenter will do just fine for me.
  The worst part about the debacle that was Sportscenter last night was its blatant kick in the nuts to Cavs fans. It was just a reminder of how much fun the last seven years were watching Lebron play, and how it all came down in a blinding flurry thanks to ESPN’s ridiculous media coverage. I just wish that it was Josh Elliot or Jalen Rose that was the recipient of that T.J. Ward hit on Sunday and not Jordan Shipley.
  But hey, I’ll get over it. I mean the Cavs won Tuesday night. After the win, I couldn’t wait to get around to reading the PD and see the Cavs on the front cover. I was certain that  there would be a full page picture of Boobie Gibson running into J.J.’s arms with a caption to the liking of “We Did It!”. There was little doubt in my mind that there had to be 4 different columnists giving their opinion on the victory Tuesday night right? I mean after all we did beat the Bobcats in our first preseason game. Oh, this sounds ridiculous? Not in ESPN’s world…


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Breaking News: An Athlete Playing For Cleveland Actually Enjoys Playing For Cleveland

    After viewing Peyton Hillis' postgame conference, following the Cleveland Browns' first victory of the regular season over the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20, and confirming with our sources, just because we feel so important when we discuss our "sources," Cleveland's Steamer can confirm that the Browns starting running back has some actual affection for our city. This is truly shocking stuff, considering that recent DUI recipient and possible model for the Taliban's fall catalog (beard joke), Braylon Edwards pointed out that, “There’s nothing going on in Cleveland. There’s no real estate. There’s no social life, no social networking. All the people who have something going on leave Cleveland. So Cleveland has nothing.." 

   Hillis seems to have looked past those alleged issues, and has decided to embrace Cleveland's essence. Of course, that essence consists of a blue-collar work ethic that reflects Hillis' career trajectory. “There are such hard-working people here and they love their football so much, you want to play as hard as you can for them all the time. I think the good Lord had a plan for me to wind up in Cleveland," said Hillis who just may have turned the Dawg Pound into a section filled with his own personal admirers and their man-crushes. 

  Needless to say, 2010 has been an unrewarding year for the Cleveland sports fan, and our collective sack has been mercilessly kicked a few times. So it's fairly refreshing to see that there are still some professional athletes in today's world that appreciate the loyal, passionate fanbase around here. Athletes that don't need a certain amount of nightclubs or twitter followers to feel validated. One day, maybe the city of Cleveland will feature the real estate that Mr. Edwards clamors for, or isn't simply "all factories," (abandoned or not), as NBA player and former economist at MIT Joakim Noah so eloquently stated, more players will want to play for our town. Then again, maybe we shouldn't let our image be defined by condescending, self-absorbed superdouches who almost choked to death from the silver spoon in their mouths during childhood.


Monday, October 4, 2010

The Dawning

 It was written in some lost Inca prophecy that in the darkest abyss of Cleveland sports misery, a blog run by college kids would offer an oasis for the city's eternally battered fans. I'm sure you expected that level of quasi-sophisticated prose from a sports blog named after a double entendre, and that's content includes philosophically contemplating significant questions, such as, if pitted against one another, which former Cleveland athlete would eat more KFC Double Downs, Ted Washington or Bob Wickman? Welcome to the Steamer. Our goal on this blog is to offer insight, humor, and analysis that refrain from the mindless blabbering of sports talk radio. Additionally, we hope to offer our readers an alternative to the puff pieces that are all too common in the national sports circuit, which stand to advance the agendas of corporate and media powers. In a town that's only accustomed to stages of mass suffering, this blog will try to explain the basic question, why do we come back for more? Our writing staff will be crafting columns not based on "insider" sources, but will instead attempt to detail the experience of what it means to be a Cleveland sports fan in an authentic manner. We will be joined by special guest writers in the coming days, and from everyone here at the Steamer, I thank you for checking out our blog and hope you'll be checking in regularly.