Friday, January 5, 2018

The Browns earned their ' perfect season parade,' whether fans like it or not

Good times
It's only been 18 months since a million Northeast Ohioans arrived on downtown Cleveland's doorstep for the city's first major pro sports championship parade in 52 years. That one beautiful day of civic pride effectively removed a stone that had been weighing on the local fandom's heart for most of a lifetime.

Another parade is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, one with far different aspirations. The "Perfect Season Parade," as it's been winkingly designated by organizer Chris McNeil (@Reflog_18), is tabbed as a protest of the Browns historic 0-16 season. (McNeil had a parade planned for the 2016 season, but the Browns managed to eek out a win on Christmas Eve against the Chargers.)

Per the event's Facebook page, hundreds or perhaps thousands of people will encircle FirstEnergy Stadium - in expected single-digit temperatures - to acknowledge the second 0-16 campaign in NFL history. More pointedly, the parade is a hearty "get bent" to a franchise not even capable of mediocrity, led by an alleged fraudster whose first off-season decision was to keep Hue Jackson, the band leader in the team's march to 0-fer oblivion.

Of course, not everyone is enamored with the idea. Cleveland sports Twitter is battering itself brown and orange over the parade's ultimate intentions, and how exactly the event will impact the city's reputation. In a January 4 column, sportswriter Ben Axelrod said the parade will resurrect Cleveland's image as a "loser sports town."

"Any positive effect you think this might have on the Browns - and it won't - is mitigated by the downside of the embarrassment Cleveland will have to endure as it's perceived as a city that celebrates losing," Axelrod wrote.

This idea of embarrassment - of a small group of revelers making the whole city look bad- seems to be a common sentiment among the parade's dissenters. Truth told, I was against the 2016 parade. It was just the type of empty, ambition-free trolling that raised my boring-old-man hackles. Or so I'd convinced myself.   
Not so good times. (Photo courtesy of Matt Sullivan-Getty Images)

My mind changed at the confluence of the Browns' epic awfulness and the anger directed at McNeil for satirizing the organization's incompetence. Before last year's planned parade, ESPN Cleveland's Tony Rizzo ranted on air about shutting down the procession and running over parade-goers with his car.

Hyperbole or not, Rizzo's tirade is emblematic of a contingent of Clevelanders who blindly support an awful franchise beyond the furthest realms of common sense.  I love this team, too, but I hate what they've become, and I'm sick of hearing Joe from Twinsburg whining about the QB situation for the nth time. As Chuck Klosterman wrote in a 2013 Grantland piece on the Browns, "No other fan base is so deeply loyal and so self-consciously negative at the same time." These may be charming traits to an outsider, but for someone who lives here, it's goddamn tiresome.

It's this stubbornness, this downbeat "love" for an unlovely franchise that makes me support Perfect Season Parade 2.0. The Browns are an absurdity and are being responded to in kind. They've earned both the locally sourced derision and any national headlines the parade produces.

As for "embarrassment," will a parade intended as a kiss-off reflect poorly on Cleveland?  Poorly to whom, exactly? Some ambiguous national media conglomerate? Those hoity-toity elitist fans in coastal markets? Nobody seems to be able to define who "they" are, so I say forget about 'em. This isn't high school. Clevelanders should have enough self-confidence by now to not care what the cool kids think.

Whether parade, protest or "celebration of failure," Saturday's procession is a way for people to blow off steam, and have a few laughs at the expense of richly deserving target. Until the Browns draft better players, keep a managerial team in place, and actually win a game, a joke parade is the only recognition they're going to get.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Don't boo Kyrie Irving, at least not tonight

Kyrie Irving--perhaps the best pound-for-pound finisher in the NBA, the #1 pick that lived up to it, the signer-of-long-term-Cleveland-deals-before-it-was-cool, the name on the back of my kid's jersey, and most of all, the man who hit the biggest shot in Cavaliers NBA history--returns to Cleveland tonight.

Yes, he has his quirks. He may not believe in a spherical planet underneath his feet, he may not be interested in playing on a team certain to contend for the NBA Title again, he wants to be more famous than the best player on the planet. This summer his apparent dislike for LeBron James led to him asking for, and receiving, a trade, to the number one Eastern Conference threat, the Boston Celtics. And whoo, boy, Cavs fans don't know how to react when they tip off the season tonight.

Does he get the full Albert Belle/LeBron James White Sox/Heat treatment? I should hope not. I would hope that forever, Kyrie Irving is loved--or at least remembered fondly--by Cavs fans. Shoot, I'd buy him a drink if I saw him, from now until eternity because of 2016. But of course, there are fans who want to curse his name.

Please don't.

Please remember this. And say "Thanks, Kyrie."

And this.

And this.

And this.

And this.

Cheer appreciatively, then root your ass off against the Celtics. The trade they had to make to land Kyrie may have hurt their team as much as it helped them, and to be honest, may have done the same for the Cavs. Kyrie may be trying to drop little burns about a "real sports city", which makes no sense, but LeBron is also twisting the knife with his constant reference to Kyrie as "the kid."

If not for anything else, this should be an entertaining game. If LeBron is in, it will be fire. If LeBron misses the game because of his ankle, hey, the Cavs with DWade and DRose need to see what they can do.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What CST Thinks about Bengals-Browns today

                                              Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

October 1, 2017

Bengals 29, Browns 17

I thought the Browns defense would lead the team to a few victories this year. I thought Myles Garrett and Jamie Collins would help that happen.

No pick today.
Browns 21, Bengals 17

This is the time of the Browns season when I start thinking about what else I could be doing on Sundays. After last week's "Fool me once" pick, though,  I play the fool once more in believing the Browns can scratch out a victory against the winless Bengals. An 0-4 start against this portion of the schedule would truly crank up the draft talk, "Fire Hue!" calls, and other Browns-related tedium that returns every year to Berea like the swallows to Capistrano. Meanwhile, I'll turn my eyes to the two actual, factual championship-level teams we have in this town.

Bengals 38, Browns 6

The Juice is loose as of 12:01 this morning, Vegas time. Can he catch? Could he be any worse than our current WRs?

Bengals 31, Browns 24

The Browns shall not ruin my giddiness of getting D. Wade this week. He's not the addition he would've been five years ago, but a move that's being undersold by the pundits and local fans. Very ironic that C-Town is now home to two out of three most evil Big 3.

Browns 34, Bengals 7

I'm giving Brian a run for CST's Biggest Homer.

Bengals 31, Browns 24

Don't think the Browns have the talent to get it done today.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What CST Thinks About Browns-Colts today

                                              Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

September 24, 2017

Colts 21, Browns 17

The Browns are favored on the road! Which means a letdown. The focus of this weeks' games, of course will be on how the players respond to the President's social media assault on them all weekend (and morning) long.
Colts 24, Browns 10

Offense has trouble all day. Not that the Colts defense is that good, it's just the Browns offense is that bad. It's going to be a long season. 
Browns 17, Colts 13

While our Glorious Grand Poobah word vomits about NFL TV ratings and conveniently ignores the right of peaceful protest, the Browns follow Vegas's lead and take the duke in their battle against the Luck-less Colts. This may be a heart-over-head pick, as this is just the type of letdown game the New Browns are known for. But I'm feeling frisky today, dammit.

Browns 12, Colts 11

Woke up in a world where Clevelanders are supporting Steph Curry, longtime conservative stalwart Jimmy Haslam denounced Trump's rhetoric, and the Browns are road favorites. 

Browns 7, Colts 0

Browns score first and Deshone Kizer holds onto the ball a record 54:30 to secure Cleveland's first victory.

Browns 20 Colts 10

This is a must-win for the fanbase to not jump ship. Lose today and one -or two-win season seems inevitable. Win today and look to continue the "get better every week" narrative.

No pick this week

I'm protesting this shit too.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

What CST Thinks about Browns-Ravens today

                                              Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

September 17, 2017

Ravens 20, Browns 17

An ugly-but-not-embarrassing second game of the season. This is starting to look promising but the W's aren't there yet.
Ravens 24, Browns 13

Kizer took a lot of extra hits last week. Lets see if he learned anything over the course of the week. It's a long Sunday for the Browns. I will be enjoying the day and sunshine watching the Central Division champs at Progressive field this afternoon, a much more enjoyable experience. 
Ravens 23, Browns 16

The Browns put up a surprisingly gritty and hard-nosed effort against the Steelers, but all that hard work still resulted in a loss. While there's cause for optimism in the early going, I don't expect a breakthrough against the Ravens this afternoon.

Ravens 24, Browns 23

I missed the game last week. The rumor around town is the Browns have rejoined the NFL. I'm not above spreading rumors.

Browns +10, 2 Dimes.

Browns 20, Ravens 17

The Browns have once again suckered me into believing they are a competent football team. The defense looked tough last week against Pittsburgh, and may keep us in some games this year, if healthy. Of course, my opinion could change after today, as it tends to do after week two with this organization.

Not picking this week.

Still celebrating 22 straight for the Windians.

Not picking this week.

Feels like too easy a pick.