Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fine feelings about the Cavs, Indians, and even Browns

Since I moved to Chicago for a job five years ago, I've done my best to keep 100% up to speed on all my birthright-cursed beloved hometown teams. And I gotta say, I've done my best. is the first site I check in the morning on the El to work, this thing called "Twitter" was invented and lets anyone spout mindless bullshit banter about games to with me in realtime like at your neighborhood pub, and there are no shortages of great Browns bars to head to every Sunday.

And although the Browns have only played here for one regular season game since I've been there (and my friend Ryan and I discovered really how lousy the Chicago tailgate scene is), I have gotten to see the Indians play quite a few times (even one series against the Cubs...still waiting for that next rotation to Wrigley), the Cavs play many many times, and even the Buckeyes play at Northwestern. But of course, over my time here, there have been more downs that ups. Yet, this winter has me feeling good things about the future of the Cavs, Indians, and even Browns. And I'm not the only one.

Some thoughts:

Wayne Ellington, everybody
(Gary Dineen / Getty Images)
First, the Cavs. Legitimately not a bad team. Who would have though this after the dreadful start, but they are effective offensively, stronger defensively, and maturing before our eyes. Tuesday was the first time the Cavs had beaten the Bulls in their last 12 tries. And yes, I was at that last win, yes, I've been at many of the losses too, and yes, I made the trek through dire blizzard warnings to see the wine-and-gold Tuesdsay night. Kyrie Irving was out with a sore knee Tuesday, but Dion Waiters was in his zone, you could tell he was feeling it the whole game. And the rest of the team followed his lead against a very strong defensive Chicago team. Shaun Livingston handled the ball well, Marresse Speights looked strong, Wayne Ellington had some nice buckets, and Luke Walton--LUKE WALTON--came up with a couple huge plays, including a steal from none other than inbounder Carlos Boozer that sent the crowd streaming toward the exits.

Near the end of the game, the United Center played that "Hey Baby" song. If you don't know what I'm talking about, follow me around for a few days. I think between sporting events, beaches in Mexico, and even a trip to Oktoberfest last year, I've heard that song ten million times. You'll be sure to hear it.

The Indians have me excited too, and I'm obviously not the only one. The home opener sold out in six minutes. So maybe spending some money does get the fans stirring. Who knew. Whatever the case with the team this year, at least it looks like it has some life. If the starting pitching can do something, starting with Justin Masterson Opening Day and leading right into Ubaldo, this team can make some noise. No huge piece to get super excited about, but with Swisher, Bourn, and a bunch of bargain veterans players or last-chance prospects, there could be a recipe for success here.

Shoot, even the Browns have me ready. Brandon Weeden said the other day that he welcomed all competition and he expected to win it. Well, I wouldn't expect anything less, and I'm happy to see him showing gumption. I am in no way ready to give up on Brandon...finally we have a QB who has the tools to put the ball down the field--let's let him develop (quickly) the rest of the package. After all, the Browns weren't that damn bad last year. Seriously. We all watched. Every painful loss. I was in New Orleans for the Super Bowl and gave Jimmy Haslem a fist bump on the sidewalk, maybe that's the luck the Browns need. Yeah right.

It's not even March yet, but I'm ready for Opening Day. And when March Madness starts with Braxton Miller busting through the cover, I'm ready for the rest of 2013.