Thursday, August 4, 2016

Breitbart uses Cavs Parade as stand-in for Trump Jacksonville rally, and Cleveland twitter responds

This is just too much.

Yesterday evening Breitbart News, a conservative site, posted an article about the YUUUUGE crowds for Donald Trump in Jacksonville, and accompanied a photo of said crowd.

Unfortunately, that ain't Jacksonville. And it took approximately 1 second for Cleveland twitter to find out. The first reaction I personally saw was from a fantastic Good Morning America social media dude who apparently likes Cleveland too...
Unfortunately, some Trump supporters didn't get the memo fast enough. (Well, apparently this nice lady deleted her tweet finally...)

And of course, Cleveland twitter picked it up, because NBA Twitter is the best Twitter, the Indians were stinking up the joint at the time, and Cavs fans still are celebrating.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sports Months, Ranked

1. October. Baseball playoffs, NFL and NHL and college football in full mode, Browns may even not be eliminated yet at this point. Bonus!
2. May. NBA Playoffs with games every single night. Enough said. But also warmer-than-freezing baseball, the Kentucky Derby, NHL playoffs, etc.
3. June. NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Finals. Nice. And the US Open is pretty cool.
4. March. March Madness makes up for an otherwise slow month in the major pro sports.
5. January. NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl (I'll throw this in January for all intents and purposes.)
6. April. Opening Day for Baseball, The Masters, and finally the slog of the NBA regular season is over giving way to meaningful games again. Oh and the NFL Draft!
7. September. Best weather of the year, NFL and College is back, and pennant races in baseball too.
8. November. The month where Ohio State beats Michigan, and the best day of the year, Thanksgiving, with tons of food and some football to boot.
9. December. NBA and NFL in full effect, and if you like to gamble, you have 27,000 bowl games to choose from.
10. August. Yay, NFL is almost here! Unless you're a season ticket holder, and are paying for 2 exhibition games at full price.
11. July. Uggh. Even the regular early month #WojBomb can't save this horrific month.
12. Getting hit by a bus. (with apologies to Deadspin.)
13. February. The doldrums of the NBA season, and the despair of football being gone. Plus you are going out of your mind from the weather. Just book a flight to Mexico now.

Monday, June 27, 2016

This is our story

Years ago a Cleveland sports personality - I think it was late broadcaster Casey Coleman - lamented the shortage of good memories among the local fanbase since the Browns had won the NFL Championship decades before.

Not to say we didn't have warm remembrances of certain seasons, or even stretches of seasons, where one team or another was playing at a championship level. Fun was had. High fives were given. A few second place banners were raised up flagpoles or into rafters.

Prior to last weekend, my most cherished Cleveland sports memory was intermingled with my worst: The improbable, near glorious 1997 Indians post-season run, which found a group of dorky Ohio State students crammed into a downstairs apartment on Chittenden Avenue, passing a souvenir Municipal Stadium bat from one sweaty hand to another as a good luck gesture for each successive Tribe at-bat.

It was a great ride, though tied to a 9th-inning Mesa meltdown that became part of the torturous lore of Cleveland sports; a seemingly perpetual way of existence where we named our failures as if they were our kids.   

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A championship and a preposterous week to be a Cleveland fan


The median age in the Cleveland area is somewhere around 38 years old, which means well over half the population has never seen a championship. 52 years had passed since 1964, and there are plenty of people who grew up just suffering through heartbreak after heartbreak, each one different than the last.

And now, today, Sunday night, June 26, 2016. And Cleveland teams have not lost in 11 days. For once, not because of bye weeks and off seasons. Since a week ago Thursday, the Cavs have won the two biggest games in franchise history, including the epic Game 7 against last year's champs in Oakland, California, and the Indians have ripped off 11 straight wins, opening up a five-game gap over last year's champs. Just an amazing week in Cleveland sports that I have not been able to wrap my head around.

I'm a child of the 80's and 90's, with the memories and scars that go with it. My orange spray-painted Webster Slaughter-inspired hightops could not help the Browns to a Super Bowl. My high red Thome-inspired socks could not help the Indians through the Braves' rotation or through a bottom of the 9th two years later. Everyone knows the refrain, drilled into our head through years of national and local media: Red Right 88. The Drive. The Fumble, The Shot, The Move, The Decision.

But the pain was so much more vast, and yet deeper than that. Who hadn't felt like giving up after a gut punch, at one point or another. Up 3-1 in the ALCS versus the Red Sox? When Mark Price tears his ACL? When the officials give the other team a replay after a play was run? When two straight Cy Young award winners leave? When the latest quarterback fizzles quietly or implodes loudly? Merely another dreadful October football performance? Every Cleveland fan had moments they could recall--large or small--and where they were at the time.

Pause for a second, and think about your own feelings about the Cavs chances after Game 2, or Game 4. Against a juggernaut that won 73 regular season games. Maybe nobody gave up, despite the haters in your office, on Twitter, or on ESPN. But the realism of winning three straight, or two on the road, versus these Golden State Warriors still felt like a faint chance. I've lived in Chicago for a few years now, yet told my boss before Game 6--if the Cavs win, I'm going to need the Sunday after Game 7 off, win or lose. Because I could just imagine the worst that could happen, and it's effect on my day-after.

But when Game 6 went to the Cavs, I decided to travel to Cleveland to watch with my longtime friends, leaving my family after a Father's Day breakfast to head to Believeland, where thousands of people had gathered to truly believe. Walked through East 4th Street as the Indians pulled off a walk-off win last Sunday afternoon, and felt like a good omen. Had a beer on the roof deck of the Metropolitan hotel in bright sunshine, and things felt well in the Cleve.

And then somehow the Cavaliers delivered.

What an end to a strange season, where the team never seemed to be as loose as they should have been, at least until Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye showed up. A season where a legendary global coach, coming off a Finals appearance, is unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the season for a 39 year old first time coach. A season where the Big 3 was barely a Big 1 for most of the season, as Kevin Love could never match his statistical dominance from his Timberwolves days and Kyrie Irving recovered from last year's injury. A season where subtweets became headlines, and Twitter unfollows were interpreted for days. A team that lost late in the year to Brooklyn and had their young coach question their guts. A team that lost a deadly last game of the season in Chicago that could had damaged their confidence deeply heading into the playoffs.

But then a team that turned it around and romped through the Eastern Conference. That was basically the script that everyone had written for Cleveland the whole year, that it would be an easy route to the Finals. But until it happened, I don't know if Cavs fans--or even NBA fans overall--really believed. The team really didn't hit a dominant stride until they finally did--with 10 straight wins and 12 of 14 to make it through the Eastern playoffs, and ample rest between series. Yet the haters remained.

And then a team that came from the longest odds. A team to come back from a 1-3 deficit in the Finals, a feat that had never been done before. A team to win a Game 7 on the road, which hadn't happened in a long time. This team delivered to a hungry city a Championship in the way it deserved--full of angst, and against the longest of odds. With yeoman's efforts from all time greats, all stars, and backups and journeymen. The final two minutes was a massive justification of the Cavs moves and the city's belief. One of the greatest blocks in NBA history by LeBron. The most clutch shot in Cavs history by Kyrie, and the epic defensive stand by Kevin coming back from that three. The Big Three that was promised.

So many memories from the week. The scene in downtown Cleveland, free of violence, just massive amount of high fives and hugs between all ages, socioeconomic status, and ages. The CPD even complemented the city---a group of people just mobbed a fire truck, but the police radio told the story: "They're not being unruly, they're just really happy."It was right outside my hotel, I stepped out into that scene, and couldn't put it better myself, if not the understatement of the millennia.

The Champion sign added to the LeBron mural. JR Smith losing his shirt in the Vegas club postgame, and not putting it back on yet. The players each with a different wrestling or Cleveland t-shirt. LeBron's epic trolling of Golden State coming off the airplane. The team's suddenly awesome social media, particularly Matthew Dellavedova, Channing "let's watch The Notebook" Frye, and of course Richard Jefferson's Snapchats all postseason with Lil Kev, which finally showed a team puzzle still wet with champagne.

Thank you Cavs. Like more than one player said on the stage at the parade, this team is now linked forever. To each other, and in our hearts.

God loves Cleveland. This week for sure.

A few tortured bloggers in the last minute of Game 7

Sometimes your team makes a game 7, one game for a title.

Sometimes old friends gather in a downtown Cleveland hotel suite to watch the game.

Sometimes someone in the room sets their phone up to record the final minute of the game.

And sometimes a miraCLE happens.