Tag Archives: Cleveland Browns

More Than A Friday: Is Spaceballs Actually Better Than Star Wars?

Um, no. Though, I do think Spaceballs comes with a cast of more likable characters, the hysteria behind the Star Wars franchise holds water.

What is it that they say? Mockery is the most sincere form of flattery, or something like that. To spoof something, there has to be something worthy spoofing, and Star Wars has it. When you’re not comparing or contrasting it against its source material, something you should not be doing anyways, Spaceballs holds up very well on its own as a comedy.

To prepare for my viewing of The Force Awakens, I, like many others, decided to get a refresher on the George Lucas franchise, going with an unconventional, yet logical order of viewing. It’s called Machete Order, and you start with 4 & 5, the first in order of theatrical release. That tells the story of Luke Skywalker, then you revert back to 2 & 3 to see his father’s story, without the concern of spoiling the reveal in Episode 5, since you’ve already watched it. You skip the Phantom Menace altogether, as it’s really unnecessary to the saga, and watch Luke and Anakin Skywalker’s stories come together in Return of the Jedi. It worked for me, and got me to thinking how complex the sci-fi trilogies are versus the simplicity of the spoof. Imagine how difficult it would be to create the prequel backstories for Vespa, Lonestar1Bill Pullman had to mock the Han Solo and Luke Skywalker characters as one role., and Yogurt. Would there have been a time that Yogurt aided the Mogs at war, and had a previous relationship with Barf, a la Yoda and Chewbacca? How was Helmet beckoned to the dark side of the Shwartz? Were Alderaan and Druidia similar places for princesses to grow up? Who knows? Who cares?

While we’re on the subject of immitation, what’s up with the NFL going with the Oregon model, when it comes to outfitting these professional organizations? Did you see what the Rams and Bucs were rocking for the final installment of the Color Rush games this season? I don’t mind a little color-on-color, in the wake of black & white televisions going the way of the dodo, but drowning us in monochrome is not a good application of games without white jerseys. On the field and in the stands, I began to feel the pain of those old scabs being peeled off, remembering that the Rams victory on Thursday night might very well be the last NFL game ever played in St. Louis. If it was, can the diehard Rams fans in Missouri somehow be pleased with what two decades of a team from Southern California brought them?

They got Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, two Super Bowl appearances, and one title; not bad for twenty years of existence in the Gateway City. Lions, Bills, Jaguars, and Carolina fans would gladly take that. The Browns, on the other hand, would take the perpetual 7-9 run that you get from Jeff Fisher, and they would be glad to have it. That begs the question2Okay, it doesn’t beg anything, but it gave me an opportunity to transition., are the expansion Browns the Spaceballs to their original counterparts (the Browns that existed from 1946-1995)?

For those of you familiar with the new Browns, you’d probably liken the new chapter of Browns to some really low budget porn tie-in or a Lifetime original that cuts too many corners in production. You know how it goes, not funny or good, but for some reason, people tune in. This weekend, Cleveland visits the NFL’s answer to the Death Star, as it exists in the form of Century Link field. The Seahawks organization yields its own darkside characters; the once-wholesome Russ Wilson draws some parallels with Anakin/Vader, while Pete Carroll represents Big Poppa Palpatine, and you can find the Colonel Sanders and Major Asshole types on the Sea Chickens defense. How many assholes are on that team anyways?

The problem with the comparison is that the Browns lack heroes, even accidental ones like Han Solo or Lonestar. That’s not to put down the valiant efforts we’ve seen, but as Episode III reminds us, even the greats like Yoda fail from time to time, and sometimes there’s just no hope3No hope, until A New Hope comes along anyways. Perhaps, the 2016 NFL Draft will provide that hope.. Meanwhile, Browns fans are willing to die on that hill, screaming about how Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, and/or Johnny Manziel was supposed to be the chosen one. In reality, the years of 5-11 seasons and no light at the end of the tunnel gives off that vibe of the love of our lives walking away and being left to burn in molten lava by the only friend we’ve ever had.

Maybe I’ve got that all wrong, and it’s Art Modell that left us all for dead, deeming us unworthy as fans of his team. We needed a Sith like Al Lerner or Jimmy Haslam to give us a new beginning, but despite having the Deathstar destroyed twice and the Emperor being betrayed by his established #2, the Republic had a better run than any Browns fan born after 1983. That story of murder, mayhem, betrayal, and redemption are a little heavy for a Friday morning. That’s where it’s nice to instead live in a world of using strawberry to “jam” a signal, Jedi-type weapons coming from Cracker Jack boxes, and Mr. Coffee being conveniently located next to Mr. Radar. At least we can laugh about our owner looking like a giant penis. You have to laugh.That’s the only option to get through a life that has you stuck in purgatory.

The only changes we know are when they go from “Suck” to “Blow”.

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1. Bill Pullman had to mock the Han Solo and Luke Skywalker characters as one role.
2. Okay, it doesn’t beg anything, but it gave me an opportunity to transition.
3. No hope, until A New Hope comes along anyways. Perhaps, the 2016 NFL Draft will provide that hope.

Browns Vs 49ers: #1 Pick Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Dryer Sheet Aficionado

 
I’ll say this about the NFL team that resides in Cleveland, Ohio: They know how to keep our attention. I’m beginning to wonder if this franchise is actually “The Producers” of the NFL, a 22 man version of “Springtime For Hitler” that’s intentionally attempting to be awful to maximize profits.

Last week’s thunderhammer loss to the Bengals should have been the resounding final nail in the inescapable coffin that is this Browns season. Watching that game provided me with an approximation of how it must have felt watching television in The Soviet Union. (“Is good team, da? You like watching to end, da?” “Da Comrade, is good team.”) For some reason I, like most of you, did watch until the clock showed 0:00, despite having NFL Sunday Ticket and access to other games involving not one but TWO professional football teams on the same field. Why? Why did I watch to the end? I don’t know. Maybe I’m secretly a masochist, love the pain and agony, and eventually I’ll end up starring in “movies” on websites like TieMeDownInAChickenCoopAndElectrifyMyButt.com. (I can’t believe you just clicked on that link. Sicko.) It wasn’t the final nail, though, as the creative elements in Berea who consistently outshoot anything Hollywood has ever produced decided to reinsert Johnny Manziel back into the lineup, in an effort to simultaneously ruin their shot at the #1 draft pick in 2016 AND keep our rapidly forming torches-and-pitchforks angry mob at bay for at least one more week. It shouldn’t have worked, since (as crazy as it would have been to say this in August) quarterback play has actually been the strong point of the season on a roster otherwise full of insanely underperforming units, but it did.

Regardless of the motives behind the move, seeing whether or not Johnny can play like we all hoped Johnny would play is really the only reason to even turn on the TV this week. Johnny, hoping the Titans and Chargers win another game or two to give the Browns a clear path to the #1 pick, and the possibility that a funny new beer commercial might pop up. Other than that, I cannot imagine why any of us would spend three hours of an otherwise perfectly nice Sunday pointing our eyeballs at this travesty. At this point, I hope they do lock up the #1 pick, just so I can spend the next five months listening to Twidiots try to convince me that drafting a potential franchise quarterback isn’t the right move. (What makes it more fun is these are the same Twidiots who spent the past five months screaming – correctly – about how things will never change until the Browns find a franchise quarterback. Their total lack of self-awareness is staggering and entertaining, in a “Look at that monkey eating his own poop!” kind of way.)(Women think that’s gross. Guys fully understand why it’s hysterical.)

So now let’s turn our attention to what will occur Sunday, in the last realistic opportunity for a Browns-and-Orange “W” this season.

-Johnny will do some good things, some bad things, and some things that make everyone shout “HOLY SH*T ARE YOU FRICKIN’ CRAZY?!?!?” The 49ers are pretty awful, but they still have some playmakers here and there, so I fully expect a game of emotional Chutes-And-Ladders from JFF. Going to guess his stats land somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 yards, 1 TD, 1 rushing TD and 2 INT’s (one of them soul crushing).

-The rush defense will continue their season long vacation in Hawaii. Some players get to go there for The Pro Bowl. The Browns run defenders were very savvy, booked their trip early, and have been spending their Sundays singing Mele Kalikimaka starting in September. Giving up over 200 yards on the ground to Blaine Gabbert and former Brown Shaun Draughn will make it even more painful. I’m at a loss to explain how the run defense could possibly keep getting worse week to week, but there’s simply no denying it does.

-My level of sick-and-tired with the “I’m so-and-so and I have DirecTV/Cable” commercials will reach nearly to where I am with American Idol. What level is that? Well, “I cannot BELIEVE people still enjoy this utter garbage!” THAT level.

-Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil will need to begin wearing a hat, a wig and some Groucho glasses to avoid being recognized in Cleveland. The pitchfork mob may not be storming The Berea Bastille just yet, but I doubt they’d have any issues with taking out one guy on the street.

-Gary Barnidge, fresh off a well deserved new contract signing, will have double digit catches.

-Karlos Dansby, fresh off collecting his first Social Security check, will have double digit tackles.

-Terrelle Pryor will have one catch for about eight yards, and the Twitter machine will go berserk. The “Browns Should Sign Every Former Buckeye Ever Ever” gang will be particularly insufferable. Perhaps by next year, Pryor could develop into a decent Wide Receiver, because he’s incredibly athletically gifted. However, to expect him to come in this year and play a position he’s never played at an NFL level was utter fantasy, and everyone pushing that narrative should be football-shamed.

-I won’t get mad and yell at the TV, no matter how bad it gets. I usually do, I’ve been a yell-at-the-game guy since I saw my Dad shouting incredibly creative curse words at Jack Lambert in 1978 and thought it was cool. At this point in what we laughingly call The 2015 Browns season though, it seems rather pointless, kind of like yelling at a particularly slow dog for eating crayons and throwing up in the ficus plant. It is what it is, folks, and no amount of screaming from my couch in Southern California – no matter how specific and genius my shouted football advice happens to be after four drinks and three dozen chicken wings – is going to change it.

-The number of “We’re getting beat this bad by BLAINE GABBERT?” tweets will number in the thousands.

-Phil Simms will continue his descent into madness. I know he’s not calling the Browns game. Just pointing it out.

Browns lose 38-23.

#GoBrowns

Who Even Needs Bad NFL Picks Anymore?

I just got finished volunteering at a Christmas party for the resident kids at OhioGuidestone. With the backing of my fantastic day job, I was able to help provide a meal, party, and Christmas gifts to a bunch of great kids. Zoup! catered, the kids played, and I walked around having the best night I’ve had in a long time.

I’m not putting this on More Than a Fan because I want you to acknowledge me. I’m tossing this story up on the header of a sports column because it’s proof that all of us can make a difference. I tell too many stupid jokes on twitter, I drink too much coffee and vent about bad days, I have a few too many adult beverages at a party and break out a joke that makes people cringe… I do all of those things we all do. And, if I can manage to help people, you can. Trust me. I’m bad at almost everything.

Donate some money, drop off some Christmas gifts to a church, buy a cheap winter coat at Walmart and give it to someone you see shivering. Little things aren’t little to the person who gets the gift.

Johnny Manziel is starting again. This is the right decision, since Josh McCown is a walking M.A.S.H. unit and Austin Davis knows less of the offense than Johnny did last season, at this point. Is Johnny going to play well these last four games and convince us all that he’s our savior again? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s incredibly unlikely, but I survived my 20s, so anything is possible.

I will say this; don’t trust anyone who is convinced Manziel is going to be the man. Not because I think it’s impossible, but because someone with good judgment wouldn’t allow himself to be obsessively all-in with someone who’s failed for so many different reasons so recently.

I listened to some of Mike Pettine’s press conference from Monday:

I did a poor job of listening. I own that. But there weren’t a lot of loafs, so I’m satisfied with the effort.

Gary Barnidge signed an extension. That’s very good news. Now, we just need to get one done with Travis Benjamin, get Josh Gordon back on the field, and the offense will have a chance with whatever new quarterback, head coach, and offensive coordinator combination will be on the sidelines.

Indians Twitter has had a fun week. Follow the conversation that our resident commercial actor started about trading for Todd Frazier. I mean, the Indians aren’t going to trade for Todd Frazier, or anyone else, probably, but the winter meetings happened and we do this to ourselves every year.

This guy.

https://twitter.com/3rdBaseWithMort/status/674716068460535811

The Cavs are awesome. Look, there are things I don’t like that happen during losses. There are rotations I don’t always get. There are moments when LeBron James dribbles too much, or Timofey Mozgov can’t jump over a quarter, or Matthew Dellavadova throws a guys to the ground like a pro wrestler. Those moments suck.

Ok, fine, the Delly moment is awesome.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, I get it. I get the frustration with the Cavs. I just don’t think the first two months of any season dictate how good teams play down the stretch. ESPECIALLY a team like the 2016 Cavs, who are working hard to get healthy and have been able to be at the top of the Eastern Conference without their superstar point guard and best defensive back court player. By the middle of January, Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert are going to allow LeBron and Kevin Love to rest more, change the offensive spacing, and create opportunities on the floor this Cavs team hasn’t had yet this season.

The formula for 2016 was to be good in the beginning, really good down the stretch, and great in the playoffs. I can’t guarantee the last two, but they started right on plan.

In short; the Cavs are fine.

Picks Notes:

My picks are horrible. There’s no hope for me. Listen to my podcast instead. 

Browns Vs Bengals: Airplane! Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)

Browns Fan, Comedian And Tired Of The Gut Punches

 

As Travis Coons lined up for the potential game winning field goal Monday night, I actually murmured under my breath “It’ll probably get blocked and returned for a touchdown.” Then it happened, and my only reaction was to calmly say “You gotta be sh**ing me,” followed by a slight chuckle. That’s what life is like with this franchise. It doesn’t even hurt anymore. There are no nerve endings in scar tissue, and after 45 years as a Browns fan, scar tissue is all that’s left.

People often ask what it’s like to be a Browns fan. I ask them “Do you know what it’s like to fall in the mud, and get kicked in the head with an iron boot?” 

We all know what happened Monday night, so I won’t revisit it, except to say that in some strange way, it did have a feeling of finality to it, as if somehow this is the last and final “Rock Bottom” we’ll have to endure. I hypothesized after the first Baltimore game this year that maybe the “OIC” luck was finally following that franchise out of Cleveland. Twenty years after “The Move,” maybe, perhaps, hopefully, the dreadful breaks that always seem to befall this team are finally realizing that the Old Browns are now gone, and the chainsaw-to-the-spine karma needs to follow suit and also make the trip from Lake Erie to Baltimore Harbor. Maybe it just took two decades for the “Chi,” or the “Ka” or the “GurgledyBum” (or whatever Eastern word for aura you want to use) to move on. (Maybe the bad luck was on a flight to Baltimore that somehow veered miles off course, which seems impossible because airplanes are on instruments). Looking at what has befallen the Ravens this season, my hypothesis has a bit of merit. Injuries and bad bounces that have never – NEVER – happened to Baltimore are now happening in bunches. What used to be a franchise that got every break in the book is now experiencing the gut-wrenching flipside, so perhaps The Universe is finally remembering that those Ravens came from Cleveland, and to my unashamed joy is punishing them appropriately. As I watched Will Hill streak down the sidelines to finish writing chapter eight-billion-and-four of the seemingly endless novel “Inhuman Torture On The Lakefront,” some mystical part of me immediately believed this was the final death rattle of “OIC,” a perfect “handoff” of sorts, from one city to another, one franchise to another. One final time that the rest of the league and the country gets to laugh in our collective faces about rotten luck, because from now on it’s going to be Baltimore’s turn to take the knife to the spine, while I and the rest of the long tortured Cleveland fan base catch some long, long, LONG overdue breaks and dance with the pretty girl.

All Browns fans believe in curses. Maybe the horror of Monday night was the end of ours.

Let’s take a look at what will happen Sunday against the Bengals.

(FYI: Just because the bad luck curse is over, doesn’t mean this season will get any better. They will still lose a lot, it just won’t be because The Football Gods are holding a grudge and scheming against them like an ex-girlfriend. It will be because they stink. There. Isn’t that better?)

-Austin Davis will make some good throws, because the guy knows who to play football. He’ll play just well enough to fuel the “Is Austin Davis our QB of the future” discussions I predicted would begin last week. (FYI – He’s not) I’m guessing he lands somewhere in the neighborhood of 285 yards and a TD, a lot of it in garbage time after the game is way out of hand.

-The rushing game will continue to run like a Swiss watch. A Swiss watch that’s been flushed down the toilet, corroded in salt water, eaten and regurgitated by a creature known as a “Sea Sheen,” that only lives in the ocean off the shores of Switzerland, and then run over by a military Deuce And A Half truck. (For those of you who don’t understand, that’s “not very good.”)(Also, Switzerland has no ocean shores, it’s a landlocked country. Come on, you guys; keep up.) Let’s say the total is less than 50 yards on the ground, altogether. (The total is less than 50 yards on the ground)

-I will not yell at the television, because what’s the point of yelling anymore? I’m starting to get suspicious that the players can’t even hear me when I yell from my couch. (All I want to do is tell them good luck, we’re all counting on them)

-Andy Dalton will make a couple of Andy Dalton-esque throws, but it won’t matter because most of the time, his receivers will be so wide open that I could complete passes to them. At least three times every game this year, Browns fans have watched an opposing WR be completely alone on the television screen and collectively yelled out “IS ANYONE PLANNING TO COVER THAT GUY? HELLO?!?!?” Yes, there have been a lot of injuries, but the defensive scheme has left more than a little to be desired.

-Travis Coons will recover nicely from his first missed field goal, and hit two, including one from beyond 50.

-I will not be inhaling chicken wings at an Olympic rate this week. The Browns have not earned any further chicken wing consumption from me. By the time this game kicks off, I will have already completed my totally unhealthy chicken wing allotment on Saturday, during the college football conference championship games.

-Barnidge will catch another TD pass, virtually guaranteeing he leaves in free agency.

-Benjamin will have another below average game, virtually guaranteeing he stays in free agency.

-There will be a Walking Dead or Ghostbusters or Star Wars or Christmas movie marathon on at the same time as the game, and I’ll flip around the channels during the more scary football parts. You know, like when the Browns have the ball. Or when the Browns don’t have the ball. Or any other random things you don’t want to see.

-Following the lead of that guy in the internet-famous video from Monday night, multiple fans will go full Angry Hulk on their Browns jerseys in the stands. The new scoreboards will look pretty awesome, though.

-The call for Mike Pettine’s head will reach levels of mob mentality usually only seen on the show “Vikings.” I still think he’s safe for next season. I’ve said it all year, and I’m sticking to it. (O’Neill has to go, though. Either that or change the scheme. It’s simply not working.)

-I’ll be rooting extremely hard for the Titans, 49ers, Chargers and Cowboys. Any real Browns fan knows December is officially Draft Season. #ClinchLynch #TakeDecemberOffForGoff

For those asking if I’m serious, I am … and don’t call me Shirley.

Browns lose 41-13.

#GoBrowns

What I'd Do With The Browns

The Browns are now 2-9 and officially done with the playoffs, many fans have thrown in the

Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns passes against the New York Jets during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 31-10. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns passes against the New York Jets during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 31-10. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

towel and are hoping we tank for a number one pick. I for one think tanking for a better draft pick is disrespectful to the leaders and veterans on the team.

Plus a lot of the teams that look to be a top the draft board, (Tennessee, Dallas, San Diego, Baltimore) are not in the market for QBs. It seems very likely a QB like Paxton Lynch or Jared Goff could be available to us at the 3rd to 5th pick. So now with tanking out of the question here is my plan for the rest of the season.

1.  Start Duke Johnson at running back! Isaiah Crowell has been an absolute disaster as a RB. Right now he is last in the NFL among qualified runners in with 2.9 yards per attempt. The advanced stats do not treat him in any better as he last in the NFL in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) and Defense-adjusted Value over Average (DVOA) stats from Football Outsiders. Johnson has done better than Crow in all ares and he deserves to keep moving forward as our starter.

2. Play Austin Davis now but do not be reluctant to hand the keys to Johnny Manziel. Manziel had the job and lost it by lying about his partying. As a twenty year old college kid I sympathize with him a bit. Partying, getting drunk, and listening to Future at the club is quite fun honestly. The only difference is I’m not getting paid 1.8 million dollars to lead a professional football team.

This is the reason that I’d keep Manziel on the bench until Davis shows that he is not the quarterback that gives us the best chance to win. And perhaps Davis is a good quarterback, he seems to have a great attitude and has starting experience with the Rams. Perhaps he can bud into a decent QB with us.

3. Fire Jim O’Neill! We have the highest paid defense in terms of percent of team salary, yet we are the worst at stopping the run and second worst at keeping teams out of the end-zone. After this I would try to get younger guys like Nate Orchard and Ibraheim Campbell into the rotation more to see what kind of value they’ll hold in the future.

In the off-season my main goal would be to figure out if the Browns have a chance to go to the playoffs with either Manziel, Davis, or even McCown. If I don’t think these guys are capable of doing that I’d take a QB in the first round.

It’s still too early to tell which QB would be worth taking as every top guy has some key weaknesses but I’m sure some one will emerge as a top 5 pick. If I feel that one of these guys can take me to the playoffs my number one target is Joey Bosa. Now keep in mind I am not an OSU fan by any means, but I know that Joey Bosa has the capability to boost our run defense and our pass rush. Other options include upgrading our secondary by taking CB/S Jalen Ramsey of FSU or CB Vernon Hargreaves out of Florida. If I don’t feel that Josh Gordon is focused on football Laquon Treadwell would be a great option to help bolster the receiving corps which has been our weakness since Braylon Edwards decided to stink.

 

Job Security, Health, and Midges Dominate Cleveland

Welcome back to my little corner of More Than a Fan. I took last week off from the column for the holidays, but don’t worry, my terrible record of picking games this season kept right on chugging.

On Johnny ManzielHis time in Cleveland is through. Maybe he’ll end up on the field in a Browns uniform at some point to finish out 2015, but I can’t see any plausible scenario in which Johnny sticks around, regardless of anything at all that takes place on the football field…

…Unless Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer get fired. I have flip-flopped on my opinion of whether these two should get canned, whether only one of them should be shown the door, and, if one of the other, I can’t decide which should get the pink slip1Get fired. Terminated. Shit-canned..

[Read – The Browns Broke Me – by Jeff Rich]

Sometimes I think that Pettine really has the veterans in the locker room. That he gets their respect because he holds players accountable and rewards guys who work hard. The flip side of that coin is the perception2/pərˈsepSH(ə)n/ noun – the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. that Pettine won’t play Farmer’s guys out of spite, because the two can’t get on the same page.

Oh, there’s also the terrible clock management, his buddy Jim’s terrible defense, and the offensive coordinator doing everything he can to not pass the buck while passing the buck.

Let’s also not forget that this headline happened today; “Browns coach Mike Pettine acknowledges discussion about his future could be in Jimmy Haslam’s plans.3This is also by Nate Ulrich. Not on purpose, but dude was first on my feed today.

Ray Farmer is terrible at picking players, and considering that’s his most important job, things aren’t looking good the former prodigy. No, Bernie Kosar could not be the GM of a football team. I would love to see him working with scouts, though.

[Subscribe – Railbird’s Nest Podcast. Recent guests include Ken Carman, Hayden Grove, and Tony Mazur.]

Someday the Cavs will be healthy. With health will come more meaningful rest for LeBron James, Love, and the back court crew that started the season playing heavier than normal minutes due to Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert‘s injuries.

When isn’t important. There are plenty of things that happen in losses that can be pointed to and harped on for improvement, and the Cavs five losses so far this year are no exceptions to that rule4Although, I would really only call this most recent loss to the Wizards a stinker.. The Cavs are NOT a perfect team that sometimes takes a loss just because. Yes, there is real room for improvement.

That improvement will come. The players and coaching staff will settle in more each week, especially as the team’s health starts to improve. Glorious revenge will be ours.

Alright. Maybe I’m getting carried away.

I think Timofey Mozgov‘s knee is still messed up. This is a completely unsubstantiated opinion based on nothing but the fact that I’ve wasted thousands of hours watching basketball games. Maybe Mozzy’s knee is fine, but I remember trying to tell people Kevin Love looked like an old man with a back issue last season, and it turned out he was. 

The Indians signed Joba Chamberlain.  There’s no punchline.

Mark Shapiro lured Indians VP of Player Personnel Ross Atkins away to become the General Manager in Toronto. This is a cool promotion for Atkins, who gets to put GM in front of his name, and work with a colleague with whom he’s comfortable in the process.

This looks like bad news for Blue Jays fans. Don’t believe me?

“But increasingly, front-office executives with GM experience, like Shapiro, are hiring GMs who function, in many ways, like an assistant would in the old model.” – Brendan Kennedy Toronto Star

Mark Shapiro, the not-GM who will act like a GM, even though he hired a GM.

I’m sorry, Canada.

Picks

Packers @Lions
Jets @Giants
Cardinals @Rams
Falcons @Buccaneers
Panthers @Saints
Seahawks @Vikings
Texans @Bills
Ravens @Dolphins
Bengals @Browns
Jaguars @Titans
49ers @Bears
Broncos @Chargers
Chiefs @Raiders
Eagles @Patriots
Colts @Steelers
Cowboys @Redskins

 

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1. Get fired. Terminated. Shit-canned.
2. /pərˈsepSH(ə)n/ noun – the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
3. This is also by Nate Ulrich. Not on purpose, but dude was first on my feed today.
4. Although, I would really only call this most recent loss to the Wizards a stinker.

The Browns Broke Me

The Browns. They’re something with the potential to be beautiful, if you can see through all of their warts, but it’s important to note how much those warts tend to rub up against weird places on your body, and not in a good way.

The Browns are a solid six, but quickly become a two, or even a generous one, when you learn anything about them. Browns news tends to equal the sight of watching a bar skank eat a piece of cake she found in the trash, while wearing yesterday’s clothes1Or, let’s face it, the clothes she’s been wearing for a couple days or weeks now. and swigging bottom-shelf whiskey at 12:15 on a Wednesday afternoon. The joke is always on them, or me for putting up with it; I’m not sure where I’m going with this just yet. For those of you who are not familiar, the tie-in is with an episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, which for my money, is about the funniest 30 minutes I’ve ever gotten out of a TV show. “The Gang Broke Dee” was the season premiere of Season 9, where the butt of the male cast member’s joke finally gives in to the abuse and gives up on life.

jokesondee

Do the Browns ever abuse you to the point where you don’t care how many new ways they find to aggravate you? Do they leave you wondering why you put so much time and love into them, for this?!? When we have to hear from the peanut gallery about our Clowns or put up with the subtle jabs2No mistaking it, the Browns are worthy of said jabs., doesn’t it make us want to fall asleep with a lit cigarette on a highly flammable couch while we leave the door unlocked in our unsafe neighborhood.

Well, in the case of Sweet Dee Reynolds, the gang intervened. The apathetic response to their snide remarks was crimping their style, and they had to feign ambitious drive for their depressed sidekick to put the fun back in their daily routine. Any un-breaking the Cleveland football Browns is solely about mercy at this point. The gang went in two different directions in helping her out. Her pals encouraged her to exploit the lack of anxiety in her3She was in that sweet spot between suicidal and actually dead. The show claims most comedians really thrive there., to really deliver on stage at a comedy club’s open-mic night. Her brother wanted to go the other way, to find her a decidedly below average steed, to settle for down with.

Dee’s brother Dennis was on the hunt for a select for Dee, who by his own admission would not be very smart or handsome. At this point, if that story arc applies to the Browns “breaking me”, Dennis is going to be pushing Polaroids of middle of the road English Premier League teams4You may not know me, but soccer really isn’t my bag. I looked at the EPL Standings and picked two teams from the middle.  I won’t be taking any follow-up questions on this. like Watford or Stoke City in my face. In all reality, the answer probably is just liking the Cavs, Ohio State, or just deciding to be a St. Louis Cardinals fan, but I need the Browns in my life. It would just be preferable, you know, if they weren’t always breaking me.

Anyway, the open-mic night appears to go well for one Sweet Dee Reynolds, and she is approached by a talent scout. Mind you, he was not a handsome man, and odds are he wasn’t extremely smart, but Dee was willing to bed him to get ahead. When Dennis asked his sister to defend her interest in such a repulsive bedfellow, it became a matter of describing the ways in which I find the Cleveland Browns attractive, with the stipulation of no nostalgia.

“Well, he still has all of his skin.”

The response is, “Well, I hope so,” and that’s where I think my first argument goes to die. Everyone on the 53-man roster, yes, even you Travis Pasztor, is an NFL-caliber player. Well, they’re on an NFL roster, so I hope so, but I feel this is something the general public doesn’t grasp. It’s difficult to land a spot on a roster, and as the Browns have proven for the better part of two decades, it’s even more difficult to win, once you make it. Please, just once, give me Alabama, Oklahoma, or whoever you feel has the best chance to beat a bad NFL team and watch the Browns kick their tails in.

“He has plenty of teeth”
But not all of them?
“No, not all of them”

This is how I feel when I remind people the Browns have players of relevance. A scattered amount of teeth only matches the standards of Obie Trice, and the Browns only have a few fangs that would pass the standards of any dentist that doesn’t treat Will Hill. Joe Thomas is a Hall-of-Famer, a guy that isn’t still at his peak, though he gets it done, and the Browns are better with him than without him, every day of the week and a lot more than twice on Sundays. Joe Haden intrigues me in the same way that Family Guy currently does; I knew I was watching something really nice for a long time, and now it’s not as good, but I have a hard time lowering my expectations and appreciating what’s there. Travis Benjamin is certainly serviceable, but not a guy champions trust to lead their receiving corps.

Then, you look at that defense, and I’m sorry for jumping all over the pop culture universe, but it’s Roger Dorn5This is a reference to the movie Major League, the character is played by Corbin Bernsen. all over the place. You might think you see high-priced talent, but forget about it because it’s only high-priced. Now, don’t get me wrong, Tashaun Gipson is a diamond in the rough, undrafted out of Wyoming and Jon Gruden calls him an “interception machine”. Other critiques Gruden might have about Gipson (or any other player he likes) might sound something along the lines of “Now, that’s a football player! When you see him playing on the football field, you know that you’re watching a football player in the National Football League!”

The rest–Paul Krueger, Craig Robertson, Barkevious Mingo, Tramon Williams–just collect paychecks and add no value. What good is a defense that can’t stop the run, can’t tackle well, and is never in the right place at the right time? The joke is really on me, us, the fans, but we watch, we cheer, and hope we’re still around when it gets better.

landslide

Sweet Dee progressed on the local comedy circuit, to the point where she was opening for local legend Landslide. All you needed to know about Landslide, played magnificently by the guy who played Hewell on Breaking Bad, is that he specialized in fart and diarrhea jokes. Speaking of poop, did you see the cast of characters that John Harbaugh brought into First Energy Stadium for Monday Night Football this week? While the Ravens have done their fair share of cutting the cheese, it was the Browns that were revealed, after their 33-27 loss at home, to be the big, giant ball of flatulence shaped like a professional sports organization.

ANTdkMH

For years, while suffering through 4 and 5-win seasons every year, all I asked for was that one big break, that year where they could win 6 games in a season. Last season, it happened, but not in fashion that could be described as glorious or given any semblance of a positive superlative. We don’t live in that dream world where the Ravens are the opening act and the Browns are the headliners; our world is where a promising 7-4 start is the catalyst for disappointment. Our big break is nothing but devastating blow after devastating blow of dysfunction hidden under the guise of moderate success.

Sweet Dee thought she had her break when she got booked on Conan, but it was all for not. Our big break is nothing more than being put in a position to win a game over a lousy team, and the Ravens, like Landslide, are nothing more than garbage men. Meanwhile, the broken Browns fans are left to sit there, eat month-old dumpster-cake, and take the abuse in perpetuity.

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1. Or, let’s face it, the clothes she’s been wearing for a couple days or weeks now.
2. No mistaking it, the Browns are worthy of said jabs.
3. She was in that sweet spot between suicidal and actually dead. The show claims most comedians really thrive there.
4. You may not know me, but soccer really isn’t my bag. I looked at the EPL Standings and picked two teams from the middle.  I won’t be taking any follow-up questions on this.
5. This is a reference to the movie Major League, the character is played by Corbin Bernsen.

Browns Vs Ravens: End Of My Rope Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Older Guy That TwentySomething Girls With Severe Daddy Issues Can’t Resist

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to write these preview columns, and not simply because I possess moderate writing skills at best. No, it’s getting harder because the football franchise that resides on the shores of Lake Erie continues to find new levels of “rock bottom” heretofore unknown to modern man.

Being of an age where I came along after the Browns glory days of the ’40-60’s, but long before The Return, I bear more scars and fewer winning memories than most. My Father and his generation share the current pain, but can always look back and remember the 1964 NFL Championship. Millennial fans have all of the same wounds since ’99, but are too young to remember the pain of the Drive/Fumble/Move/etc. I and my Gen X contemporaries, however, have nothing but pain in our Cleveland memory banks. While the music and hairstyles and fashion of the 1980’s will always place our generation a cut above anyone else (Girls with blue eye shadow and huge, ratted up hair, wearing stonewashed jeans and doing The Safety Dance? Come ON, that’s HOT!), when it comes to the Cleveland Browns, we’re right smack dab in the middle of the horror zone. Browns fans have always hung our hats on being the most loyal in the NFL, win or lose, and there are few rational folks who can debate that fact. So when I say “This is a new low, and I’m not sure how much longer I can care,” it means something.

Regular readers know I look for spots each week where the Browns have an advantage, or areas of the team that I believe will improve from the previous games. (I’ve predicted an improvement in the run defense for what seems like 83 consecutive weeks) However, I look at this team and find it difficult, if not borderline impossible, to see anywhere that satisfies either of those two categories. They stop the run like a week 10 SEC cupcake opponent. The running game wobbles between “Nonexistent” and “Icepick to the temple.” The two best offensive weapons are a journeyman tight end, and a rookie running back who apparently has some sort of international legal trouble that prevents him from playing in the second half. There is talent all over the field, but that talent is not translating into wins, or showing any semblance of improvement or cohesion. Where do I look on this team for something positive to predict? Where is the happy place? Most importantly, why did I bring helium instead of air? (A movie reference for my fellow Gen-Xers)

At this point in the column, I’d like it noted that I have written three full paragraphs with no mention of Johnny Manziel and relatively few syntax errors. (I’m terribly proud of both accomplishments) Johnny on-field has made strides this year. Johnny on-field has shown that he could become a functional-to-good starting NFL quarterback one day. Johnny off-field has made it 100% certain that if that happens, it will be somewhere other than Cleveland. Johnny is immature, self-centered, obnoxious, entitled, and has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that at least at this point in this life, he simply doesn’t get it. Johnny is also clearly an addict, which is why I won’t jump on him for his behavior to the same level some others have. It’s getting to the point where he is endangering his life, and that is far more important than any NFL career he may or may not be destroying. I’ve been in Johnny’s corner since before he was drafted, have been calling for him to start since this team dropped to 2-4, and even called for him to be evaluated on field as a rookie, since he (voluntarily) threw away his actual rookie season – and I’m saying it’s time for the Browns to move on, and see what they can get for him in the offseason. It’s too bad, because the kid has a rare athletic gift, something that those of us who’ve been around the block enough times that our knees hurt hate to see wasted.

Being a Browns fan is similar to having that joint in your body that erupts in pain every time it’s going to rain – and it’s going to rain every single day until the end of ever and time. As painful as it is though, I can’t quit. I find myself cursing at this team with incredibly colorful vulgarities, then sitting and looking at the NFL standings, deciding who has to win or lose for the Browns to get the #1 pick in the 2016 Draft. As much as this new round of scars (which are on top of old scars, which are on top of even older scars to the point where the pain gets dulled) carves a new pattern into my heart, I know deep down that no matter what, I’ll always be a Browns fan. If you’re honest with yourselves, you all know it, too. Maybe that’s why this team continually sucks, because ownership knows they don’t have to put out a winning product to rake in profits hand over fist over Dawg paw. Maybe as long as we keep following them as rabidly as we do, nothing will change, because in the end this is a business and the point of a business is to earn a profit. Maybe it’s not the coaches or the owners who are stupid, but us. Maybe we’ll all quit and never watch this team again.

Yeah, right.

What’ll happen Monday night? I dug deep into the Well Of Positivity, and even deeper into the Well Of Scotch, to find these things to look forward to.

-Josh McCown will come back in and play as well as he has all year, winning this game and throwing a huge monkey wrench into the chase for the #1 draft pick. McCown will throw for 300+ yards and 1 TD. Some fans will still hate him. I still won’t understand why. (He’s the best QB we’ve had since The Return, and that’s not hyperbole)

-The running game will continue to be, in a word, “Sh**ty.” Even so, Duke Johnson will score a rushing touchdown in the first half, on a short drive after a Matt Schaub INT deep in his own territory.

-Williams and Desir will both have INT’s.

-I may or may not switch to watching Fargo, right in the middle of the game. It literally pained my fingers to type that. That’s how bad this season has been.

-Xavier Cooper will have a sack.

-Gary Barnidge will catch the TD pass.

-Mike Pettine’s sideline demeanor will continue to embody “The defendant showed no emotion or any reaction whatsoever when the guilty verdict was read.”

-Admit it, ever since I said “The well of Scotch,” you’ve been wondering if that’s really a thing, and if you could talk your wife into putting a Scotch Well instead of a swimming pool into your back yard. (Hey Shark Tank: Call me about “The Well Of Scotch” #BillionDollarIdea)

-I have literally been trying for over an hour to find another on-field prediction that’s positive. I can’t. The previous ones stretched the limits of the imagination.

-At some point, someone will tweet “Could be worse. Our quarterback could be Matt Schaub.” Which will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt just how low the bar has been set in Cleveland.

-Since both of these teams are terrible, a 3rd string, inactive QB will get more airtime than any other player. Sad, sad, sad.

Browns win 23-7. Not because they’re good, but because the Ravens are horrific and injured. Also, this loss will probably put Baltimore in position to draft a Hall Of Fame quarterback one slot ahead of the Browns, who in turn will pick a guy whose career ends because of a disease so rare it was only previously known on Star Trek, like “Space ButtFungus” or something stupid.

#GoBrowns

Browns Vs Steelers: The Past Ain't What It Used To Be Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Far Too Sexy For His Socks

It’s Steelers week, which I’m old enough to remember as an actual rivalry. I watched the Browns playoff victory over the Bills from the ’89 playoffs this week on YouTube, and aside from being one of the greatest (and most underrated) playoff games in NFL history, it reminded me of when this franchise was relevant, and when Steelers week meant something special. Seeing the old painted green dirt in the dank cavern that was Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the font on the old scoreboard, and the original Dawg Pound (where I first had my season tickets and spent many a Sunday terrified that the creaky old planks in the bleachers would collapse under the wight of 6,000 drunken maniacs jumping and puking on them) brought back memories so vivid and full, I briefly lost the feeling of eternal doom that hangs over us as fans in 2015. I remembered when teams hated coming to Cleveland, when we had a real home field advantage, and when even the most arrogant Steeler fans were hard-pressed to expect a victory during this week of the season. It brought back what “Steelers Week” really was: A fun-filled, happy week of family bonding over pure, seething hatred of men we’d never met in different colored uniforms. (Misty water color meeeeeeeeemorieeeeeees!)

Now, sadly, it’s a week the folks in Pittspuke barely even register, as they look at it the same way Alabama fans look at a game against Vanderbilt. Since the Browns are roughly 2-486 against the Steelers since The Return, you can’t blame them. (You can compare their IQ to plankton or various tree nuts and insinuate that their sister/cousin constitutes an inordinately large portion of their sex life, but you can’t blame them) Cleveland has turned into the little brother in this game, being held at arms length by a palm on the top of the head while swinging wild punches with arms too short to reach the target. Outside of last year’s 31-10 victory, Steelers week has been a debilitating gut punch, twice a year, every year. Even with Pittspuke (probably) on their backup QB as well their backup RB, I don’t see a reason to hold out much hope for a change in that gutpunching outcome, unless Johnny goes wild in some crazed, modified Run-And-Shoot offense, or Landry Jones channels his inner Bubby Brister, or any one of a myriad of scenarios involving aliens and/or SuperPowers and/or Vegas mobsters fixing the game occurs.

Speaking of Johnny, I stand by my assessment that he needs to play, and for the same reasons I’ve enumerated for a month: Josh McCown is a better QB right now (and maybe always will be), but this season is lost. Putting JFF under center the rest of the year will result in one of two outcomes: Either he’ll “get it” and blossom into what everyone hoped he could be, or he’ll be more awful than expired banana hummus and the Browns will grab the #1 pick in the 2016 Draft. You could say sacrificing the remainder of the season to gauge what they have in JFF is unfair to the other players – and you’d be right – but as anyone over 25 knows, life isn’t fair. These guys signed contracts to play for the Cleveland Browns – come on now, do they really have a right to expect fairness? When you dance with The Devil, eventually he’s going to want to slow dance, hold you close and grope you a little. Just lie back and think of England.

I also stand by my assessment that Mike Pettine is not coaching for his job. Unless Haslam is planning to promote from within, and thereby keep some semblance of continuity, blowing it all up again after only two years won’t help. To slightly alter a recent Berea catchphrase: we’ve seen that movie before, and we know how it ends. I still think that Pett gets another year no matter what happens the next seven games. Well, outside of him showing up naked on the set of SportsCenter with “Hey Jimmy: EAT ME!” painted on his chest in clown blood. (Although if you’re going to get fired, that’s a method even George Costanza would respect)
So while no one is particularly excited about this upcoming game, let’s take as honest of a look as possible, and see what will unfold Sunday.
-The run defense will continue to be hopeless. DeAngelo Williams will run so far, and for so much yardage, the fans may have to hold up signs telling him to stop, like in Forrest Gump. I say he goes over 150 yards.

-Duke Johnson will get more touches in the first half than he has in the last few games combined. He won’t reach the end zone. That being said, I’m now ready to admit I was wrong about disliking drafting him. Dude can play.

-I will be in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday, watching the game from a sports bar right next to the world famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. I will give you 182-1 odds that I am the only one there watching the Browns game, decked out in Browns gear, and making barking noises that frighten small, nearby children. (If you live nearby, maybe have some bail money ready. Just in case)

-Dwayne Bowe will continue to look like one of the guys the Eagles cut when they held the open tryout and signed Vince Papale in 1976. If I wanted to watch a chunky middle aged guy run half-assed routes, I’d set up a mirror and run some myself. (Totally kidding. Running? Me? HaHa! “Run? For fun? What kind of stupid fun is that?” — Back To The Future III)

-Johnny will get the start. If McCown starts, as beat up as he already is, he might be dead by halftime.

-Travis Coons will have another good day, with three Field Goals. How many years can our kicker be our best offensive weapon?

-I will shout something horrible and offensive and borderline criminal at a Steelers player, as I was taught to do from a very young age. It’s only polite. (Seriously. Bail money. Just in case)

-Pierre Desir will have an INT.

-Xavier Cooper, Dany Shelton and Paul Kruger will all have sacks. Hey, it has to happen at some point, right? (BTW, “It has to happen at some point, right?” is the same logic used by myself and many other Browns season ticket holders as to why we keep buying the things, year after miserable decade. The year I give them up will be the year they make a Super Bowl run, and then I’ll have no choice but to commit several murders and eat a lot of Cocoa Puffs)

-The Austin Davis tweets will start, as well as innumerable tweets in BrownsTwitter that include the phrase “Landry F%&king Jones?!?!?”

-Many other members of the Browns Backers will start to look at who we want to win/lose every week in order to improve the Browns draft position. I say, welcome aboard, some of us have been here for awhile now.

Browns lose 31-9.

#GoBrowns

Questioning Fanhood

Sometimes, I wonder if I am, indeed, more than a fan. After all, I moved away from the city where all most of my teams reside.

The more I do this stuff, the pods, the writing, the live radio show, I wonder if it actually makes me less than a fan. After all, I’m taking on a stance of less subjectivity. In fact, if all the dysfunction and failure to see my teams reach the pinnacle doesn’t take away from my fanhood1You know, of the Cleveland teams., I’m not sure what will. I’ve come the conclusion that only an obligation, by way of occupation, the whole “no cheering in the press box” will deter me from the tears of joy. Who am I kidding? Cleveland only offers tears of agony.

My father once watched a childish demonstration2I’m not proud to admit he’s witnessed many of these immature displays, mostly when I was an actual child., and in the interest of full disclosure, it wasn’t that long ago that I pouted over a Phil Taylor offsides penalty that reduced the Browns chances of victory from slim to none against the Ravens, that begged the question, “I don’t know why he still cares so much”. I do care, and sometimes it brings me shame to show that, but it always defines my character. We see it so much, why do we settle for this shit show that is the Browns? My answer is simple…I ain’t got no place else to go. Could I shut down shop, and just root for the local Cardinals? Of course, I could, but it’s my decision not to. I don’t want to show my middle finger to my friends and family back home; I’d rather poke my own eye out3In the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal I like the Cardinals.  Living vicariously through my local friends, I’m thrilled with their current success.

I could take the cop out, you know, that the “real” Browns left in 1995 and they aren’t coming back. Had I left before this ridiculous knock-off stepped onto the scene, maybe I’d have grounds to do that, not for the approval of others, but for inner-peace, but I don’t go that route.

Putting the Browns on the back-burner for a moment, they’re only a fraction of the agony of my fanhood. I have more history with the Indians, and I marry myself to them more than I probably should. I remember taking on the unfathomable plan of what exactly it was that I would do when they finished the job in 2007. It wasn’t even a matter of “if”, and that was before they’d put away the Yankees in a best-of-5, even before they took a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead over Boston in the best-of-7 in the American League Championship Series, where actuality revealed a much crueler fate for the Sons of Geronimo. I’d gotten married that summer4Ironically, it was on a weekend that saw the Tribe swept by the very Yankees they took down in the playoffs, but I spent more time thinking about renting the tuxedos and limousines to celebrate the Indians’ first World Series win since 1948 than for any of the particulars of my own wedding. There was going to be champagne, and there wasn’t going to be any concern for sustaining employment. I don’t know if it’s accurate to say a state of depression followed, but I promise a very un-Christian period of hatred for all-things-Boston culminated from that point. I have a very dear friend from Cape Cod, and quite frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t kick my ass to the curb in the aftermath of that ALCS and subsequent Red Sox sweep of the Rockies in that World Series, but he’s a fan too, so I’m pretty sure got it/gets it.

If you think it’s just Cleveland, you’d be wrong. I’ve grown an affinity for a few of my new home’s local teams, specifically the Phoenix-turned-Arizona Coyotes. After Game 7 of the NHL’s 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals, things got weird with me and Detroit. I was a little more numb when the Winged CCCP swept my Desert Dogs out of the 2011 Stanley Cup Tournament, but when my hockey team actually started advancing in the playoffs, my hate, and I don’t use that word lightly, shifted to the Kings of Los Angeles. Phoenix had grown on me.

By 2013, I was a partial-season ticket holder with the Arizona Diamondbacks and a full-fledged Arizona State Sun Devil Football season ticket holder. That was the summer that Ian Kennedy put a pitch in Yasiel Puig’s earhole, which included a subsequent brawl that was the flashpoint for the Dodger ascent and Arizona’s fall to the bottom of the pack, a fall they’ve yet to fully recover from.

By the time the Dodgers clinched the National League West at Chase Field that September, I had such a low opinion of that organization, and all of Los Angeles, that the news/rumor of a few Dodgers players draining the main vein in the center field pool had me feeling like Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

I guess the point is, I don’t know how to do casual. I’ve adopted my wife’s Northern Illinois Huskies, and I sometimes feel guilty about not being all-in, not hating Toledo and Western Michigan head coach PJ Fleck5Fleck was a great receiver at NIU when they first stepped on to the national scene, behind the great running Michael “The Burner” Turner, earlier this millennium.. I guess I’m getting there, but I’m pretty far in for a guy that spent the early part of his adulthood just paces away from Kent State, with friends at MAC schools in every part of Ohio.

I think leaving Ohio is as much to blame for my passion as being from there is. I feel like I have some sort of obligation to serve as an ambassador, while 2500 miles from the place I called home for so long. I don’t know how to be anything other than passionate and loyal; while it destroys any hope for normalcy in my life, I feel it can be quite the virtue. If I’m a genuine sports fan, but fake at the other things I do in life, I’m exposed as a fraud.

With Yours Truly, there isn’t anything fraudulent to be revealed. I’m the genuine article, even if it means admitting that I’m not proud. Browns fan? Duh. Tribe fan? You know it. Cavs fan? With or without LeBron, you know I am, and I’m unapologetic for being so against him and the possibility of a return for four years, until it happened. If I want to leave a legacy of any sort, it’s that I root for the home team, just like my father in my love life. He says, if you like her, I like her.

It’s a front of the jersey thing. It says Cleveland, Phoenix, Arizona, or whatever’s important to me, I’m on board. Being a fan is cool; never be ashamed.

I never claimed to be brilliant, but I think that’s a principle that gets you through life, whether that concept is subject to scrutiny or not.

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1. You know, of the Cleveland teams.
2. I’m not proud to admit he’s witnessed many of these immature displays, mostly when I was an actual child.
3. In the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal I like the Cardinals.  Living vicariously through my local friends, I’m thrilled with their current success
4. Ironically, it was on a weekend that saw the Tribe swept by the very Yankees they took down in the playoffs
5. Fleck was a great receiver at NIU when they first stepped on to the national scene, behind the great running Michael “The Burner” Turner, earlier this millennium.