Thursday, July 8, 2010

Notes from a disaster

If there’s one silver lining to this gratuitously ugly media sideshow, it’s that by 9:15 tonight pop diva LeBron James will make himself an official member of “Miami Thrice” and we can all move on with our gray little lives here in boring old Northeast Ohio.

James is already getting lambasted in media circles as a callous, egomaniacal prima donna for his Lindsey Lohan-worthy “look-at-me” behavior during this free agency period, and Cleveland is in turn getting some unwanted sympathy regarding his departure.

Cleveland doesn’t want your pity, America. As proof of this sentiment, I offer our readers this morning’s e-mail correspondence between Cleveland Sports Torture contributors on the then-embryonic LeBron-to-Miami story. These passionate, unvarnished missives are filled with real, naked emotion (unlike the crocodile tears LeBron will no doubt shed tonight), and as such I will not edit out any grammatical errors or curse words.

That’s because unlike LeBron, we in Cleveland know how to “keep it real.”

Note: For your reading convenience, each e-mail in the chain will be preceded by the name of the sender and a time stamp. While the posts are unedited, colloquialisms that need explanation will be bolded in parens. Finally, a name of a sender has been changed to protect the innocent.

Brian, 7:24 a.m. - What are your thoughts on this disgraceful process that LeBron is doing, and on a scale of one to Modell, how bad it would be for LBJ to treat Cavs fans like this if he calls a show "The Decision" and embarrasses us on national TV?

Trout, 8:19 a.m.- I have a long email in my head, but no time to write it. I'll put a few bullet points quickly. So if I make some grammatical mistakes or it’s confusing well just go eat a big one:

- 1:Art 2:Boozer 3:Lebron 4:Thome. Odd that Boozer got some media attention yesterday, the rat is back in the east.

- Ironic that “The Decision” is in Connecticut, the home of pro-wrestling as he continues to make a mockery of the sport as he turns it into WWE. And becomes a heel for Cleveland.

- I'm afraid what Dan Gilbert might pay for some free agent as a knee jerk reaction, without Danny to calm him he may screw up.

- Dan make sure its a Euro you sign, at least they have integrity. All the A-holes in this ego centric summer are all the top americans in the league. I really thought he would make his decision on the 4th as he was jealous of all the (sic) Even Carmelo is trying to get some attention.

- He should of held it during the NY hotdog eating championship so that he could of covered 1 more of the 7 deadly sins.

- I never thought I would say that Paul Pierce (who I've always called an ass and a baby) is the one of the last superstars from a generation past where they didn't hold conferences, roll with music icons and have a club with other top players in the league.

- Boozer got some bad Karma after he stabbed a blind man (former Cavs’ owner Gordon Gund) in the back, I fear for you Lebron. I hope Gloria gets knocked up.

- I say we vote for Lebron's real daddy for Mayor of Cleveland! Lets start the campaign.

- The only two reasons I want Lebron to sign is one for the money for Cleveland he generates. And two more importantly my daughter asked me why people were wearing Lebron jerseys at the Indians game Friday. Instead of explaining to her the concept of a front runner not owning a tribe shirt. I explained to her Lebron's contract situation. She just got 2 new authentic lebron jerseys handed down to her from her cousins 2 weeks ago and she said "dad, if he doesn't come back I'm ripping up the jerseys". I didn't want to explain the concept of a front runner because I don't want her to think she has a choice.

-I could go on by I'm not right now and if we should be so honored to be chosen buy the guy we have given so much too then I still feel all above. But for the two reason right above I will accept it. Browns just get the title first! Funny that "the chosen one" is doing the choosing.

- OK one more, Its hard excepting that I am morphing into my father and this is pushing me even more. As I see ticket prices being too high when I have to buy 4 instead of 1 or 2. Players becoming more arrogant. And I begin questions the integrity of the game and the character of the players who play it compared to generations past. I just hope as I become a shadow of my former self I am at least self aware enough to recognize it and find happiness in the next generation of sports fans passion. I hope I'm not bitter like the ones that went before me.

Ryan, 8:47 a.m. - I agree with most of Trout's points. I am to the point that if we wouldn't suck for the next 20 years I would want him gone.

Kevin, 8:51 a.m. - If he leaves, my rankings go:
1. Lebron
2. Art
3. Boozer
4. Thome
5. Manny/Belle

My reasoning is:
1. The way he's stringing us along
2. Doing it to us on National TV
3. Turning down an extra $36 million, in his hometown, for a team that had the best record in the league for 2 years.
4. Lebron has nobody to blame but himself for not winning titles. If he would've committed the past few years, we could've built a TEAM instead of adding guys at the trade deadline that didn't fit.

At least in Art's mind, he had financial reasons to move the team. If LBJ leaves, to me he's nothing but a “blame everyone else” follower, not the leader he thinks he is. I'll hate him. Art was what, in his early 70s when he moved the team? Lebron is 25 and has long life to live not being allowed back in his hometown. Anyone I hear today that says they won't hate him because of the memories he gave us better not do it with me physically present because I may punch them. F#CK THAT.

Sean, 8:56 a.m. - If he goes he will go down as a quitter. I cannot stop thinking about game 5. I do feel better about him going to heat than ny for some reason. I feel real bad for gilbert. Though with him invested in the casino and his track history if lebron leaves he will pull out all stops to try and build a winner. Pistons style, no superstars. Since no top-tier super has EVER signed for the cavs.

Trout, 9:01 a.m. - If Art taught me anything its better to lose the game than to never of played it at all. And he took that from us. Boozer screwed a blind guy with lies. Lebron is still a giant prick but he technically did nothing wrong. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying he is not the devil but Art and Boozer broke contracts and according to (a lawyer friend) verbal contracts hold up in court.

Belle and Manny I hold no hostility for anymore. Manny hurt a lot but he was what he was and you knew what you were getting with him. I sure wish he would of stayed but he never lied. Belle, look back and realize how bad that contract was. He would of been an idiot not to sign it. He sucked and still got raises because he was guaranteed to be one of the top 3 paid for a couple years. Also look at that '95 team who still calls the radio stations in Cleveland. Albert hurt because I believe he loved Cleveland. But that contract was nuts!

Don't take my comments wrong, Belle and Manny hurt but I let time forgive them. The others on the list I will spit in their face when I see them in hell.

Doug, 9:49 a.m. - I can't even muster up hatred right now...although give me time and that may change. I'm just depressed for the fanbase and embarrassed for the city. LeBron and his marketing “team” are so caught up in building a brand that they have forgotten the human element. It's one thing to leave--I get wanting to play w/ D Wade and Bosh in tax free South Beach--but to announce it in presidential address-like fashion on nat'l TV shows such a stunning lack of empathy that it makes me nauseous. I never really thought LeBron gave a sh!t about Cleveland, but I'm damned surprised he'd play Akron like this, too.

I was actually thinking of live-blogging The Decision tonight, but this is one 'historical moment' I don't think I can bear to watch. I wouldn't be surprised to see tears out of LeBron during the interview--and I won't be able to stomach the live shots from Cleveland and Akron bars (you know ESPN's gonna have cameras in both cities) and the dramatic close-ups of the fans shocked faces. I'm to the point where our collective sports experience has numbed me to the never-ending tsunami of crushing disappointments. Getting older and gaining perspective is a part of it, but seeing what we've seen over the years has poisoned my enjoyment of pro sports and turned what should be passion and anger into resignation and apathy. This development is very sad to me. The next few days ain't gonna be pretty 'round these parts.

Kevin, excerpted from e-mail to Cleveland sports personality Les Levine, 11:55 a.m. -The idiocy in all of this is that Lebron is the one who screwed himself and us. If he wasn't so non-committal over the last few years, maybe better fitting free agents would've come here instead of us trying to plug in guys at the trading deadline that didn't gel. Yet Lebron is going to “hold the Cavs accountable” for showing him they'll be a serious contender?
I'm serious when I say that if he leaves, I'm done with my passion for pro sports. How and why should I be so invested in these players/teams? Particularly in Cleveland where even with the best player, a proven coach with championships himself, more money, and a good team, we STILL can't attract free agents or keep our own.

Lebron's no leader. Leaders stay and fight. He's a follower. And a quitter who blames everyone else, takes his ball, and runs away. Needless to say, I'm devastated. I told my wife tonight is no joke. Please don't come and try to console me in a semi-joking matter. This may sound over dramatic, but I was really looking forward to sharing Lebron and the Cavs with my sons (5 and 2) as they grow up the next 6 years. In 6 years one will be 11 and the other 8, the time when I really started to passionately get into sports myself when I was younger. The 5 year old (who at 5 really doesn't have a clue what it means) told me he'd get me tickets and take me to a Cavs game for Father's Day because I like them so much and it honestly brought a huge smile to my face. I'm angry, hurt, frustrated, and sick of all this.

Trout, 12:01 p.m. - If you (Kevin) quit on the Cavs and Cleveland your no better than him! Sweet, as I'm typing this 2-pac "Fake A$$ bit##es" just came on. That was a headline song on my boozer soundtrack. I wish I could find that cd or a copy of the playlist.

Doug, 12:28 p.m. - This has to be real...too much smoke not to be fire. What, is LeBron gonna go "psyche!" with a big grin on his face come 9:10 tonight?

Trout, 12:39 p.m. - I wouldn't be shocked if he stays. Honestly would be thinking "psyche" in his mind. Or he will say I'm saving Cleveland, its all about the ego, and its working everyone is talking about it.

I ain't watching though, its one thing to have my heart broken watching two teams compete and the other be better. But its another to watch someone decide they will rip my nuts off. Actually stay or go he already ripped my nuts off. He has this city by the nuts. I'd love to see what Gilbert does in the next few years should he leave, I could see him snapping. Be the new age Bill Veeck and make mark cuban look weak. He would have Delonte night the day Lebron came to town. Or my favorite "Akron Sucks" night. I can think of better than that, but gotta run. Crazy day.

Sean, 12:58 p.m. - I remember when austin carr cried when we won the lottery. I wonder how he will be in 8hrs 12ms.

Trout, 1:20 p.m. - Best quote of the day:
“What a week for LeBron's brand. I just hope he remembers to wipe the blood off the knife after he pulls it from Cleveland's back.”

I seriously wouldn't be shocked if they are all telling people different things and letting them run with it. Lets start a rumor he is staying with the Cavs but Gilberts moving them to Las Vegas. Someone twitter that!

SamVox, 3:49 p.m. - Today is out of control. My mind is in a few thousand places lately and I find it hard to keep my mind sharp and focused. But here is the bottom line: LeBron has been cultivating his image for years. It's as important to him as his play on the court, if not more. There's no possible way he booked a prime-time special to leave. LRMR is way to savvy for that.
I am 99.99999% sure he resigns.

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