Thursday, January 13, 2011

Maybe Joakim Noah Was Right...

Three months ago, when Cleveland's Steamer launched and thus set sports journalism back hundreds of years, the state of Cleveland sports was not particularly impressive. The Browns had registered just one victory in early October with an offense that specialized in forcing four yard passes and Sunday afternoon naps. Our Tribe was fresh off their second consecutive 90 loss season which is a first for the franchise since 1914-1915. Of course, images of the Indians of 1914 and '15 are still burned in the memories of Northeastern Ohioans, as most of us can still hear Elmer Smith's name be introduced at League Park as he arrived at home plate by a young Les Levine. Lastly, the Cavaliers were about to embark on a new season and a return to NBA obscurity that felt similar to losing a house-sitting gig for a bumping, party palace and being forced to return to your apartment efficiency. Yet, as the new year takes fold, the shape of our mighty teams has turned from bad to worse here in the capital of sports hell.

Today, the Browns announced the hiring of Pat Shurmur as their head coach. Shurmur served the past two seasons as offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams and up until last week only Wikipedia knew he actually existed. Though Shurmur could potentially end up being a smashing success that puts the likes of Paul Brown and Bill Walsh to shame, the fanbase of Cleveland must be forgiven for not being terribly excited over the fifth head coach hiring in thirteen seasons, while Pittsburgh and Baltimore prepare for what has nearly become their annual playoff classic this weekend. The Indians continue to take quantum leaps towards essentially transforming into a minor league franchise, and if anyone cares to dispute that notion then they should look no further than the team's reaction to signing silver slugger Austin Kearns. The penny-pinching spinmeisters in ownership gave the greenlight for not one but TWO press conferences to announce that Kearns and his career .257 batting average were returning to Wahoo World. The Tribe considered but ultimately passed on other methods to celebrate the good news such as replacing the statue of the late, great Bob Feller at Progressive Field with a golden one of Kearns, televising an "Austin Kearns trivia only!" themed episode for Beer Money on STO, and selling Kearns' sperm samples in the Indians Team Shop.

However, the first-place prize for being the most embarassing failure to their respective sport must belong to the sorry-assed, limp-dicked trainwreck that is the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs gave a valiant effort against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night and came up just short losing by a mere 55 points in a final score of 112-57. The game was the least competitive event that the NBA has produced in a long time, and seemed to only be missing a bucket of confetti poured on Fred McLeod's mane to be considered a stop on the Harlem Globetrotters world tour. Not surprisingly, as fate would have it the former savior of Northeast Ohio, LeBron James, though continuing to live in a bubble of self-delusion where he can do no wrong and his piss is more sacred than holy water is leading his Miami Heat to one of the NBA's top records. Florida also happens to own the bragging rights of being the only state in the union not to receive any snowfall, while the rest of the U.S. is trying to shovel its way out of the new Ice Age.But don't look for the local sports teams to provide any enjoyable escape from the winter of discontent here along the shores of Lake Erie.

With the Cavs now joining the Indians in the prestigous category of practically unwatchable franchises in Cleveland, and the NFL's impending lockout inevitably soon to become the hot button issue in the sports world, the state of the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers collectively has never been bleaker. After enduring a year where the greatest Cavalier and local prodigy quit in the playoffs and split town in a disgraceful manner, the best Browns player decided to feud with Browns President Mike Holmgren for baffling reasons and then spurn the fans at an honoring ceremony, and the all-time Indian passed away in late December, common logic would indicate that the following year would at least be a general improvement. However, as the immortal Clevelander and friend of the blog, Scott Raab told me in regards to the plague that is Cleveland sports : "It will only get worse. It always does." Allow me to paraphrase Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings: "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Browns fans." See you at the NFL Draft...