The Art of deception

I was deeply saddened last week when I learned of the passing of former Browns owner Art Modell.

But NOT for the reasons you may think.

You see, Modell's passing guaranteed us fans that the local media would feel obligated to remind us – relentlessly – for the next week or so of the role this guy played in taking our beloved Brownies on the midnight train (with apologies to Gladys Night) to Maryland.

Being a somewhat unstable (aka "'typical") Cleveland sports fan, I was just now coming to grips with the fact that our football team (or what should have been our team) won the Super Bowl after the Y2K football season. Except for the one minor, nagging detail being the team wasn't in Cleveland anymore, having moved to Baltimore after the '95 season. But it was supposed to be OUR Super Bowl, don't you understand?

I really don't need the extra stress at this time, especially since I just recently talked myself down off the ledge from which I had been perched (precariously) ever since LeBron got his ring. Again, it should have happened in Cleveland, but didn't. (Anybody picking up on a distinct pattern here)?

Would now be a good time to mention Jose Mesa? Nah, just kidding – more or less.

And while we are on the subject of Y2K, does anyone remember all the doom and gloom the naysayers were predicting when the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, 1999? How we were going to lose electricity, water, basically everything – all at once? Sounds eerily similar to life after a particularly bad night at the Horseshoe Casino, doesn't it? Seriously, how could anyone get so easily suckered into the "sky-is-falling" routine spouted by all the doomsayers at the time? Hope you weren't that dumb, and were, you know, "smart" like me.

I was researching the Y2K Cleveland, er, Baltimore Ravens season – you know, the one they won the Super Bowl with former Cleveland Browns players and staff – and saw that the expansion Browns played the Ravens twice that season. On Oct. 1, at Browns Stadium, we lost to the Ravens by a score of 12-0. When the Browns traveled to Baltimore on Nov. 26, the outcome was even worse: a 44-7 loss. Hmm...problems on offense, huh?

In Cleveland, as far as sports are concerned, doesn't it seem like the more things change the more they stay the same?

I have to share a secret with you: I've had many, many, MANY reasons to wish bad of teams, or owners, or whatever over the last half-century. Okay, that part isn't exactly a secret, it's pretty much common knowledge the Cleveland representative in any sport usually stinks, but on three occasions in my life have I actually reached out to a higher power to step in and intervene on my behalf.

I only asked for three things:

1. Art Modell not win a Super Bowl in Baltimore.
2. Mr. Giggles himself, Bill Belichick, never win a Super Bowl (anywhere).
3. LeBron not win a championship.

Someday, ask me how those prayers worked out. When (if) I stop crying, I'll be happy to answer your question.

I guess the real message I can take away from those three disappointments is: "This Cleveland, pal. Any and every move this town makes, sports-wise, will ultimately backfire." 

So true. And the good news is that I, personally, never do anything stupid. Yes, at least I have my pride and dignity. 

By the way: I have about 126 cases of twelve- (almost thirteen-) year-old bottled water in "like-new" condition in my basement, if anyone's interested. And 49 years worth of freeze-dried Cheetos. I'm open to offers.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits.

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Volume 4, Issue 19, Posted 10:03 AM, 09.18.2012