Sporting Views

The end of the line ... or is it?

Ever since Tara Wendell announced the impending demise of the WBV Observer about a month ago, I have started virtually every morning with the intention of writing my last column for the Observer.

The classic procrastinator, I typically didn’t start a column until arriving home from work – usually exhausted – before I even thought up a title on deadline day. There were occasions when it seemed to be a good strategy, as at times I felt some of my better efforts came when I was teetering that fine line between my being vertical or horizontal.

Of course, “better effort” is an incredibly relative term, and my guess is that as it became later and later in the evening, my writing started to look better and better. Sometimes even Pulitzer-ish, if you will.

Read Full Story
Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 9:23 AM, 03.05.2024

Immaculate reception

The year was 1977, early January, and I had just moved into the upstairs unit of a Lakewood double (is there any other kind of home in Lakewood, really?) so we’d have a nice place to stay when my wife-to-be and I were married in April of that year.

Those of you too young to recall 1977 (which would be the vast majority of my loyal reader(s)) probably need to be reminded that there was no such thing as “digital” television back in those days; we were strictly analog folk, requiring those goofy rooftop antennas (many still remain on homes to this day, as most sensible humans would rather let Mother Nature bring them down rather than risking a serious fall attempting to dismantle one themselves) to receive a decent TV signal.

Read Full Story
Volume 16, Issue 2, Posted 9:59 AM, 02.06.2024

Should he stay or should he go?

Now that the playoffs are underway (playoffs that include(d) the Browns? – that’s crazy talk, dude!), it’s time to speculate on what will happen to several key members of the Browns organization when the Browns playoff run (I’m optimistically calling it a “run” since a “run” consists of multiple victories) comes to an end. 

Note that without the magic of hindsight (this column was written before the playoff game with the Texans) the Brownies may still be alive with their Super Bowl ambitions, or they could be in their all-too-familiar “wait until next year” mode. (While again raising the cost of season tickets.) 

So, with the above in mind, who is the “he” to which the column refers?

As you might imagine that question can refer to several people in the Browns hierarchy. Let’s address the biggest and most visible one, shall we?

Read Full Story
Volume 16, Issue 1, Posted 9:46 AM, 01.16.2024

It’s the end of the world as we know it ... and I feel fine

You probably saw the headline: “Shohei Ohtani signs record 10-year, $700M deal with Dodgers; agrees to defer $68M.” 

For the last few years, Ohtani had been one of the true two-way players in MLB in that he was a steady starting pitcher – even finishing 4th in Cy Young voting in 2022 – along with being one of the better hitters in the game. 

So, it’s easy to understand how his value would increase as the Dodgers are getting essentially two players for the price of one. 

However, there are a few things I think need to be pointed out before we start calling the signing by the Dodgers “genius.” If I may…

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 23, Posted 9:41 AM, 12.19.2023

At the end of the Day, maybe it’s time for Urban renewal

I wasn’t always a Buckeyes fan; Ohio State was sort of the default go-to whenever the Browns were having a rough season.

Go ahead, do the math, and as you can see, the numbers will suggest I’ve been a Buckeyes fan for quite some time now. A long, long time.

So long, in fact, I fear we are on the verge of witnessing history repeat itself.

Ryan Day has been the full-time coach of the Buckeyes since 2019, assuming Urban Meyer’s job after Meyer expressed the desire to (wink-wink) “retire.” (Translation: Urb gets antsy quickly, and when you couple that with an ego the size of Ohio Stadium, the urge to move on is difficult for Urban to resist. So, he does.)

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 22, Posted 9:41 AM, 12.05.2023

Taking (yet another) a look at Cleveland sports

One would think that spending a lifetime following sports in the city of Cleveland would make one used to the surprising events which always impact our sports teams, wouldn’t one?

Well, if one does take that stance, one would be wrong.

Take the Guardians’ hiring of Stephen Vogt as the successor to former manager Terry Francona. Please.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 8:25 AM, 11.21.2023

A bad case of the runs

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (well, not that far, seeing as it was in Westlake), I used to be a jogger.

The jogging thing came about out of necessity as I needed a diversion while I was trying to quit smoking for the umpteenth time in the late '90s. My wife, Patty, had been a runner for most of her life and she suggested that the running might keep my mind (not to mention lungs) occupied on something other than Marlboros while trying to break the bonds of nicotine addiction.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 8:44 AM, 11.07.2023

The Haslamic state (of confusion)

I must admit to becoming a bit more confused with each passing year at the lack of outrage from the fan base of the Cleveland Browns. I mean, one would think the “honeymoon” phase of the Jimmy and Dee Haslam ownership – now in its second decade – should be over, right?

I mean, the criteria for being a “loyal” fan does not include blind stupidity, does it?

Just for grins, I sometimes entertain myself by visiting Browns Backer sites (easily found on most social media outlets). Check them out sometime; you’ll get a kick out of them. I mean it.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 19, Posted 9:12 AM, 10.17.2023

Lions and Watsons and Browns, oh my!

As of this writing, the Browns had not yet clinched the AFC North, but, based on all the Super Bowl talk I’ve heard of late, I’m pretty sure they’ll clinch any day now. Any day now…

You can call me “Gloomy Gus” if you’d like, but I’d just like to remind everyone in Cleveland making their Super Bowl hotel reservations that there might be a few obstacles along the way to the promised land. Those of you gulping the Bandwagon Kool Aid may want to consider the following:

This is still Cleveland, after all. Home of “The Drive.” “The Fumble.” “Red Right 88.” Johnny Manziel. Mike Junkin. Barkevious Mingo. My, how soon we forget.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 18, Posted 8:54 AM, 10.03.2023

Tito’s rumored retirement may give Cleveland a Wedgie; a tough Acta to follow

Terry, we hardly knew ye…

With his history of health issues, we’ve known for some time that Guardians manager Terry Francona’s retirement would one day become reality. Unfortunately for Cleveland baseball fans, that day seems imminent.

Terry Francona was perfect for Cleveland, and a perfect fit for the low-budget ownership group led by Paul Dolan. “Tito” knew how to squeeze every ounce of talent from each player on his roster, and his evaluation of talent – who should remain in Cleveland and who should be dealt – was nothing short of incredible.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 17, Posted 9:18 AM, 09.19.2023

Browns' season predictions (Part Deuce)

When we last met, we were predicting how the season would play out over the Browns’ 17-game schedule. Through 7 games, the Browns were expected to be 2-5. Will their fortunes change? Let’s continue on and find out…

Week 9 vs. Arizona (4-13 last year): The Cardinals were a big disappointment last year, but on paper, should be much improved. Same with the Browns, and after much deliberation, I see the Browns eking this one out at the end. Browns record skyrockets to 3-5.

Week 10 at Baltimore (10-7): The Browns, after losing a very winnable game at home against the Ravens in Week 4, travel to Baltimore with high hopes. Unfortunately, their lifetime record in Baltimore is horrific, and so is the Browns’ effort, and they get clobbered as their record drops to 3-6.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 15, Posted 9:39 AM, 08.15.2023

How Browns will fare this year: Predictably

Since the end of last football season, it has been oft-spoken and oftener-written that 2023 would be the year whose success would define the wisdom – or lack of same – in orchestrating the controversial trade for DeShaun Watson in March 2022.

With the Hall of Fame game in Canton comfortably in the rear-view mirror, now’s the time to peruse the upcoming NFL schedule and apply my decades of experience, wit, and knowledge (along with the tendency to overstate my qualifications). I also personally scouted this season’s opponents by tirelessly devouring (pass the salt) sports magazines and the most up-to-date Ouija boards. So, this may hurt a little...

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 14, Posted 8:50 AM, 08.01.2023

How low can he go?

Once upon a time a very wise man (and that would be me, of course), said that the only time Clevelanders are ever happy about a draft is when it comes from the tap of a local brewery.

I’ve been intensely scrutinizing the Browns’ current plight (which, ironically, also happens to be their previous plight) in which they once again are spinning their wheels – albeit unsuccessfully – trying to get out of the neverending cycle of sub-mediocre (and those are the “good” years) football.  

Art Modell, despised in Cleveland as a less-than-ideal owner since, like, forever ago, never had much success with the NFL draft.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 13, Posted 8:41 AM, 07.18.2023

Hey…anything’s possible! (No, really!)

So here we are, at the halfway point of the baseball season. As of this writing, (June 30), the Guardians sat a half-game out of first place, having played one less game than the front-running Twins.

Sure, the Guards were smoked by the Cubbies, but the Cubs are the hottest team in baseball now (and we ain’t).

But that’s the point: the Central Division is there for the taking, and history says this team will crank it up a notch or two and be in the driver’s seat by Labor Day.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 12, Posted 9:18 AM, 07.05.2023

The Guardians’ greatest hits and misses: The Sequel

You know, it’s only been a matter of several fortnights and odd days (no surprise there, as most of my days are odd – much like my columns) since I wrote about my all-Guardians team.

Since I get crazy looks whenever I say the “I”-word (but in the interest of full disclosure, I get odd looks regardless of the circumstances) in place of the now-banned Native American reference, we will, moving forward, refer to all of Cleveland baseball past as the work of the Guardians and absolutely, positively, nobody else. Got it? Good.

To refresh the memories of the increasingly large number of Baby Boomers (many of whom have already forgotten what a Baby Boomer even refers to) our first column on the subject touched upon the two best players to play third base and shortstop for the Clevelanders (see how I danced around the team's name there?) along with the biggest flops at those positions, all in my highly treasured and constantly sought-out opinion. (I can only remain modest for so long.)

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 8:25 AM, 06.20.2023

Renaming the Guardians: It was a long time coming

So there I was, about to write a second column about some of the more colorful nicknames of some of Cleveland’s ballplayers from years gone by. Then I had an epiphany: Make nicknames for some of today’s Guardians, since nicknames seem to be going the way of the dodo bird (much like reader interest in my columns).

Then it really hit me: Just make new names for the players! I mean heck, if the Dolans can play switchola with the team’s name, why can’t I do the same with player names? So here’s what I did: I took a player, kept the same first name, changed the last name so that from the new name, there should be a good hint for you to figure out to whom I am referring. Example:

Shane Ach Du Lieber (which means “oh my gosh” in English) Reason for the nickname: Bieber gets hurt often (Application: “Oh my gosh … Bieber’s hurt again?”)

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 9:50 AM, 05.16.2023

April is bad for baseball, weather we like it or not

Well, we had one beautiful week, but the rest of the month was dreadful.

To be sure, I could be talking about the Cleveland weather the last month or so, but I’m actually referring to the Guardians. In the first seven days of April, the Guardians went 4-2. The rest of the month they went 8-12. Beginning around the 11th of the month, the weather was absolutely gorgeous for a week. The rest of the time, it was more like February.

The theme which parallels Terry Francona and baseball in April in Cleveland, Ohio: They play on fairly common ground (usually cold, wet, and depressing) for the first month or so. So, before we all start bemoaning the issues with the Guardians this year, check out the numbers I came up with after doing some grueling digging in the record books for something – anything – to cheer myself (and you, too) up.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 9:24 AM, 05.02.2023

An Indian by any other name is still a ... Guardian?

I must say I was quite taken aback recently when researching the MLB record books for some of the great nicknames in MLB history (starting with Cleveland, of course). The source of my surprise was that nowhere in the record books are the Indians – at least the ones I searched (as well as the players I searched for) – referenced anymore.

Bet you didn’t know that unforgettable catch Willie Mays made in the 1954 World Series was against the Guardians, did you?

Nor were you aware that the 4 homers Jason Kipnis belted in the 2016 playoffs came as a member of the Guardians, were you?

Silly fan. Do I have to clue you in on everything?

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 8:16 AM, 04.18.2023

The Guardians’ greatest hits … and misses

Now that the Major League Baseball’s 2023 season has begun, it’s triggered some nostalgic feelings from deep within as I have contemplated all the other season openers I’ve been lucky enough to experience over the years. It even prompted me to recall some of the best (and the worst) players to don a Cleveland uniform from the early ‘60s (my earliest memories were from 1961) through last year.

So, just for grins, we’ll look at each position on the field. I have arbitrarily decided that I’ll choose the top two players at each position, whom I shall refer to as “keepers” along with a third player I deemed the worst to have earned a starting job, but then played at a level low enough to essentially fade into oblivion. These players shall be referred to as “weepers” as they no-doubt contributed to the trillions of tears shed by Cleveland baseball fans over the last 60-plus years.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 9:22 AM, 04.04.2023

The I’ds of March

You know, I’ve been thinking lately (yes folks, a miracle unto itself) about all the things that I’d hoped would go in one direction during my lifetime, but ended up going contrary to what I had wished.

So, being the sharing kind of guy that I am, here are the types of things I’m referring to:

I’d have preferred that the Guardians were still the Indians.

On the other hand, I’d have preferred that I didn’t become so crotchety in my old age, because the “Indians” who were so near and dear to my heart, were awful in the '60s, '70s, '80s and into the '90s, and I seem to recall wanting to sell my soul (dirt cheap) simply for a competitive baseball team. (If you’re wondering, I did have several offers for my soul, which I turned down as I felt the little devil was low-balling me. However, some of my advisors have suggested that I’d have been better off taking the first thing he offered.)

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 10:14 AM, 03.21.2023

An amateur’s propourri – of sorts – in sports

As we slowly begin (hopefully) to drag ourselves out of winter, let’s peruse the professional sports world …

First, I can’t be more excited at the Guardians’ recent signing of Josh Bell. Sure, it’s only a two-year deal, and Bell can opt out of the second year if he chooses, but I’m okay with that. Why?

It goes deeper than that. It indicates to me that the Dolans have bought into last year’s success and are trying to fill some gaps to hopefully allow this club to proceed to the next level this year, a radical change in philosophy for them.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 9:44 AM, 03.07.2023

It's (truly) the most wonderful time of the year

Every time the holiday season rolls around, we hear Andy Williams croon on incessantly about how “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

Now, it’s baseball season (in the form of Spring Training), which is wonderful news, for a couple of reasons. For one, we know that spring is no longer a million miles away, and secondly, it means the Browns’ season is very far off over the horizon. (The order of importance is debatable).

But back to the music. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that you’ve been duped. Not only that, but (and I hope you’re sitting) the lyrics for Andy Williams’ version of his Christmas song were blatantly stolen and altered ... from us. Say it ain’t so, Andy.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 8:57 AM, 02.21.2023

And they say I’m unreasonable…

Sometimes you just can’t figure people.

Odd, because everyone knows I’ve always fancied myself as a “people person.”

I mean, after going upwards of six months (which, if I’m not mistaken, is half a year) with nary a single negative comment launched in the direction of the Cleveland Browns owner, I write one mildly critical piece focusing on the managerial misdeeds of one Mr. Haslam, and people react as though I’m sitting around taking cheap shots at the Vatican. (Also strange, since everyone knows I’m a Popel person, too).

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 10:10 AM, 02.07.2023

Jimmy's cracked up, and I don't care

You’re probably familiar with the old saying that “if life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” Well, life (as it relates to the NFL) gave us a lemon when they allowed Jimmy Haslam to buy the Browns, but I doubt that all the shaking, stirring, or even voodoo that Clevelanders can employ would exorcise the sour taste Haslam’s ownership of the Browns has manifested.

Of course, maybe we should try to make bubble tea instead. With the maniacal ever-shifting “direction” that Haslam has used in his decade-plus leadership of the Browns, Jimmy being placed firmly atop the bubble is exactly where he belongs. (Now, if only I had a pea-shooter to make that bubble burst … I mean, Jimmy burst our Super Bowl dreams quite some time ago, didn’t he?)

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 9:53 AM, 01.17.2023

Leading the good life ... in prison

He hasn’t played a down in a game that counts. He may not play at all this year.

Yet, we hear or read his name daily, and that is not likely going to end anytime soon.

In fact, you may hear Deshaun Watson’s name for several years regardless of whether his career as an on-the-field contributor for the Cleveland Browns lasts 10 years or 10 weeks.

Personally, I’m already sick of it, and not simply because of the charges against Watson – but that’s certainly a part of it I cannot ignore. As many of my faithful reader(s) are aware, I’m sick because Jimmy Haslam has done a real number on the Browns’ future with his handling of the whole Watson "deal", his bungling of Baker Mayfield’s trade value, and, well, Jimmy just being Jimmy.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 10:05 AM, 08.02.2022

The Art Modell HOF debate lives on, despite his passing a decade ago

I don’t know about you, but I was surprised to see that Art Modell is eligible to be on the ballot for the 2023 NFL Hall of Fame voting.

I thought that the good ship “Uncle Arty” had sailed some time ago, and I really wish it had, because every year Modell is mentioned as a possible candidate for induction into the HOF, the Art Modell hate-fest resumes, and we are reminded once again that Cleveland sports fans – and Browns fans in particular – are unfamiliar with the concept of “moving on.”

Don’t get me wrong: There are many things Modell did as owner of the Browns – in particular, during the later years of his ownership – which left me and many others scratching their heads.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 14, Posted 10:25 AM, 07.19.2022

What's in a name?

So, if you’ve been reading any of my recent Observer columns, not only are you in the minority, but you’ve probably also noticed that I’m rather excited by the play of the ballclub formerly known as the Indians.  

And if you’ve been following the team with any regularity, you’ve probably picked up on something else as well: there are a lot of guys on the team whose names are either vaguely – or totally – unfamiliar.

Not to worry, friend. Typically, the fans of teams that are the youngest in the majors typically suffer from the same general affliction, and I believe the medical term for this is “nameous unfamiliaritis.” 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 13, Posted 9:36 AM, 07.06.2022

Can history repeat itself? Don’t ask.

I knew it was only a matter of time before it would happen. Just a couple of days ago a co-worker asked me the inevitable question – the one I just knew would be asked sooner or later. You know, the one question that is always asked in sports when a team that’s not projected to be very good gets off to a surprisingly good start.

The question was, “Are these guys for real?” The “guys” in question are, of course, the Cleveland Guardians who, as of this writing, boasted an impressive 32-27 record and trailed the division-leading Minnesota Twins by only a couple of games.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 10:00 AM, 06.21.2022

The youngest team in MLB isn’t half bad

We knew going into the season that the Guardians wouldn’t be great this year. Frankly, you don’t exactly need to be a Nostradamus-type when you see that the Guardians have been in (what feels like a perpetual) salary dump the last few years.

And when you consider that the Guardians are ranked 28th in MLB salaries out of 30 teams – the two franchises below them are the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates – it's kinda depressing, especially when you realize that the franchise parted with many Dolan dollars (at least from their perspective) to keep Jose Ramirez. But before you start popping prescription sedatives like M&M’s, ask yourself one question:

“Self, what’s the big difference between the Royals, Pirates, and Guardians?”

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:07 AM, 06.07.2022

Hey … we were only joking!

It was the late 1980s, the Browns had just suffered a third heartbreaking AFC Championship game loss in four years to John Elway and the Denver Broncos, and my brother-in-law Randy and I were trying to pick up emotional pieces of our broken hearts that were strewn – coincidentally enough, in the form of adult beverage cans – across one of our living rooms.

One of us said, “We’re never going to get to the Super Bowl, are we?”

Although this clearly had to be one of the ultimate rhetorical questions in the history of sports – at least in Cleveland – the other deep thinker in the room nodded without hesitation, and replied, “Nope.”

It’s hard to believe that this profound in-depth conversation took place almost 35 years ago. It’s no longer hard to believe that we actually knew what we were talking about.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:48 AM, 05.17.2022

Hangin’ with Mr. H

It’s not every day you get to rub elbows with royalty, especially when that royalty also happens to own your city’s football team. Who would have thought that by stopping for gas at a Flying J Travel Plaza would lead to an in-depth, sit-down conversation with the owner of one of football’s most storied franchises?

I mean, I was merely browsing through the clothing, as there seemed to be a pretty good selection of football jerseys – in particular some significant markdowns on jerseys that bore the name “Manziel” – and as I was checking the sizes, a voice behind me said. “Yeah, not one of my better moves.”

I turned around and found myself face-to-face with a man who looked to be in his late 60s and nattily attired in a brown and orange blazer with “Da Boss” stitched across the left pocket of the jacket.

As I was about to respond to the man, a woman appeared from another aisle. She was in a fancy brown and orange sweater which bore stitching like that on the man’s blazer, except hers read, “Dee Boss.” 

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 9, Posted 10:30 AM, 05.03.2022

Does the Ramirez extension signal an about-face in Dolanomics?

So where were you the day the Guardians announced the contract extension for Jose Ramirez? On a quest to locate the Loch Ness Monster? Tracking Bigfoot? Working on the next iteration of the Hula Hoop?

I ask because people tend to remember where and what they were doing when something of great historical significance occurs, and the idea of the Guardians owners parting with many millions of dollars that isn’t Monopoly money definitely qualifies.

I was at work, and several coworkers – who know all about my feelings regarding the Dolans and their Great Depression approach to spending on player salaries – told me that the Dolans had parted with big bucks (at least as is relative to the Cleveland Guardians) to extend the contract of Jose Ramirez.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:26 AM, 04.19.2022

How can you call Deshaun a criminal? Elementary, my dear Watson…

It was only a few years ago I criticized Jimmy Haslam for signing Kareem Hunt, a local kid who gained (well deserved) notoriety for becoming a star running back with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Unfortunately, Hunt later gained additional (again, well deserved) notoriety by going Will Smith on his girlfriend in a hotel elevator in Cleveland in February of 2018. Keep in mind, he was a member of the Chiefs at the time, so that makes it not so bad, right? I mean, Cleveland Browns don’t do that sort of thing, do they?

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 10:52 AM, 04.05.2022

'Cheer, here! Get your ice-cold cheer, here!'

After 99 days of the MLB lockout, comprised mostly of name-calling, subtle insults, and flat-out disrespect aimed at each other, the MLB owners and the MLB Players Association have kissed, made-up, and come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. Okay, whatever, guys.

It’s like all the bad vibes disappeared when each side realized how much money each side was losing by acting like idiots in the media (and probably even bigger idiots behind closed doors).

Well, whoop-dee-flipping-doo.

I have a news flash, gents: Maybe the bad vibes have disappeared for the present between you guys (yet we all understand will quickly reappear when the present collective bargaining agreement expires), but I have a feeling that you may be overlooking (as you always do) one other area in which the bad vibes are still festering:

Your (shrinking) fan base.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:37 AM, 03.15.2022

Bengals’ rapid rise to greatness: just plain wrong

It was only a scant six months ago that Ohio writers were calling them a “juggernaut,” or “a dominant force for the next five or six years,” or the “team of the twenties.” Personally, I like the last one. Kinda just rolls off the tongue, much like the saliva of a rabid rottweiler, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, it was the Browns everyone was writing about. That’s the worst thing about the Bengals meteoric ascension to greatness: it was supposed to be our turn, remember? What the heck happened on our cakewalk to the Super Bowl? Super Bowl? Geez, now we’re not even the best pro football team in the stinkin’ state of Ohio.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:55 AM, 02.15.2022

Players/owners widen MLB strike zone

I remember the very first work stoppage in Major League Baseball history, during the spring of 1972. If I’m not mistaken, that means we are a few weeks shy of the golden anniversary of the first one. So, by all means, break open the champagne. Or better still, maestro, “strike” up the band.

Seriously, what better way to take away all the global concern over COVID and other worries in the world than with another baseball strike? As I always say, “strike” while the iron is hot.

The first one, believe it or not, in ’72 wasn’t that much of a downer, at least for me, anyway. Since there hadn’t been a strike ever in the history of baseball, I looked at it more with mild curiosity than disdain.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:12 AM, 02.01.2022

Have Browns 'peaked' under Haslam?

Up until a few years ago, there was always one constant upon which we could depend when talking football in Cleveland: The Browns were hideous. And I don’t mean just plain old everyday hideous. I mean money-in-the-bank hideous. Hideous to the point of being comical.

The primary reason they’ve been the train wreck they’ve been is, without question, the ownership. For the greater part of the last quarter-century, the primary owners have been Randy “I’d rather watch my soccer team” Lerner and now Jimmy Haslam.

Randy Lerner was pretty much an imbecile running the Browns, but at least he had an excuse in that he never wanted to run the Browns. Randy merely inherited the task when his father, Al, passed. Randy spent a lot of time and money trying to make the Browns competitive, but with little success.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 10:06 AM, 01.18.2022

Happy new(?) year

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure happy 2021 is now in the rearview mirror.

I mean, now that we have that COVID-19 thing under control, at least we don’t have to worry about our health anymore.

What’s that? You say that overall, we’re worse off than we were a year ago?

I’ll have to check on that, but with all the excitement surrounding the Browns’ playoff run and all, I haven’t had time to worry about a trip to the emergency room. I mean, come on, man, we’re talking about the playoffs … the Super Bowl, for Pete’s sake!

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 1, Posted 9:58 AM, 01.04.2022

Covid: When making a list – and checking it twice – doesn’t really matter

So, where are we now with this COVID thing, something like two years and counting? And, if we’re not there yet, we’re close, so we won’t quibble about the overall time invested. I think we all can agree that it feels much longer than it’s actually been.

Thanks to COVID, it’s been a wild ride for the NFL of late, and sports in general the last couple of years. While any similarities in income most certainly wouldn’t apply to most folks, the recent dip in the overall general health in the NFL is an accurate microcosm of that impacting the overall population with regard to COVID. The last I heard, Cuyahoga County was near the top in cases per capita for all of Ohio. (And if that doesn’t make your chest swell with hometown pride, then I really don’t know what will.)

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 9:47 AM, 12.21.2021

'Cleveland Got Run Over by Some Bad Luck'

So how about we all join hands and sing a Cleveland version of that sentimental old Christmas Classic, "Cleveland Got Run Over by Some Bad Luck" with apologies to Elmo 'n' Patsy for basing my song on their hit, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."

(And I would venture to guess this is the first time anyone has apologized to them).

And a one, and a two, and a...

Cleveland got run over by some bad luck
The likes of which we find hard to believe
You can say that you don’t mind our record
But most of us in Cleveland would like to heave

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 23, Posted 10:31 AM, 12.07.2021