Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Friday, January 11, 2008

No more Jake or Grantham

Two somewhat shocking bits of off season Cleveland sports new today. You knew the naming rights to the ball park were coming but it is always a bit of a shock to the shins to have a corporation take away the familiar. A little more surprising was the Browns firing of Todd Grantham. It was just in August that it seemed more likely that Grantham would finish the season as Browns coach instead of Romeo Crennel. Instead the offense sprang to life while the defense struggled. It will be interesting to find out who they hire instead. As you wonder how much was coaching and how much was a lack of play makers on the defensive side. Grantham was never a part of Parcells-Belichick line and maybe this is just Crennel growing more comfortable as the head man and insisting on his guy on the defensive side.

At first glance, Progressive Field sounds sort of fruity. I read some where how it will be ironic that right next to the Progressive sign will be a huge smiling injun. But that is the way of the 21st century. It is a way for the Dolans to make an extra 3.5 million a year. Calling the park the Jake has always been cool and it is drag to think of it as something else but I am not too miffed. It is not like Gund and Jacobs were legendary figures in town. Both were businessmen who owned the teams and bought the rights to name publicly financed sport stadiums after themselves. Dick Jacobs made a ton of money buying and selling the Indians so I could care less about his legacy. If the park had been Boudreau Field or Doby Field but this was just a rich guy with deep pockets. It doesn't bother me. The name of the field means less to me than the product on the field. We leave in a world of corporate sell-outs. I will get over it.

What does bother me is the Progressive laid off hundreds of workers before Christmas and they have millions left over to name a baseball park. If I was employee or even customer I would be upset. It is just another sign of what is wrong with this country. Added in is that the company chairman is Peter Lewis. He is known around time as the billionaire who won't give money to Case Western anymore or the area around University Circle because of what he feels is poor leadership. Nationally he is more known as the "pothead" billionaire as this link shows.

"He has also been rumoured to be a heavy user of the drug for years, with one close acquaintance describing him to Fortune magazine as a "functioning pothead."

Frankly I wish he had bought the team instead of the naming rights.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Another brick in the wall

This is my new favorite website

Monday, January 07, 2008

A national championship you say-- ehh?

So later today, The Ohio State Buckeyes will take on LSU for the national championship. Suffice to say, the build-up to the game has been a lot less feverish than last year.

The reasons for this this are many. And rather than pointless speculate about why as was done poorly elsewhere- I will just share why it is this way for me.

Most of it has to do with the Browns. I grew up in Cleveland so Columbus has never held much appeal to me. I did not attend OSU and no one from my family has either. Since the Buckeyes are the only big-time D-I program football program in the state -- of course I always pulled for them to win. But when they do win I don't get that excited and when they lose my entire week does not suffer. As I kid I have vague memories of the Buckeyes playing Charles White and USC in the Rose Bowl and I remember Keith Byers losing his shoe against Iowa. I took a lot of crap in college every time John Cooper choked against Michigan and it has been fun whooping on the Wolverines the last few years. When the Bucks knocked off Miami to win the National Championship a few years ago I was shocked how unexcited I was. I mean I was happy they won rather than lost but I didn't celebrate because it wasn't really a Cleveland team. And yes during the game most of my thoughts were on the Browns impending wildcard game and when the Browns gave it away late-- nothing could console me.

Last year I was much more pumped because so many Clevelanders were big parts of the team and because frankly the Browns had sucked for so long. The Buckeyes had become my Browns surrogate. This year we got a taste of how much fun it is when our beloved Browns win. I still have not gotten over not making the playoffs. I watched parts of the playoff games this weekend but I could not handle watching the Titans play. There was just too much what could have been. That spark of what it felt like to believe in the Browns again was enough to remind me that the Buckeyes are really not my team.

Around the nation there has been a backlash against the Buckeyes. I believe most of it has to do with the general douche baggery of the extremist end of Buckeye Nation. Most find it funny that Ohio State insists on the The while in fact Michigan has the reputation for academics. I have often said I like the Buckeyes and detest many of their fans. The constant OH shouting from community college people who never attended Ohio State can get old in a hurry. For the most part Jim Tressel's team has little in common with the worst of their fans. Jim is a class act. He is a good coach and seems like a good human being. While most of the Ohio State fans I ruin into --at least here in Cleveland-- are just the opposite. Spend a little time on the Internet and you will find many Ohio State fans out of control pushing the bounds of poor sportsmanship. I have met several Ohio State athletes past and present and none of them ever had anything in common with these drunken stupid people who cheer them on. Now I know that is just a small segment of Buckeye fans-- there are many Browns fans who behave the same way. I just can't stand fans who cheer to get on camera rather than just cheer on is happening on the field. Yes your team is winning but that doesn't mean you get to act like an asshole. That is reserved for Yankee fans. The Red Sox nation has gone from sympathetic fans to Yankee-like in a short period of time and frankly the Buckeye fans seemed to have followed suit. Last year's championship blowout was a slap in the face. And while I hope the wake-up call pushes Tressel's boys to a win-- a part of me would not mind the Buck-nuts put firmly in their place for a long while.

Add to that neither team earned their way in. When you can't stop a team for the last eight minutes at home-- you don't deserve to play for the title. LSU could call the Kentucky loss on the road in multiple overtimes a mulligan but you shouldn't get a second mulligan when you lose to a team you should beat in Arkansas. But no one else deserved to play for the title either so you play the cards you get dealt. I don't want to hear about how hot Georgia or USC is right now. Why does USC get a free pass for losing at home to Stanford? Georgia blew it against Tennessee and lost at home to South Carolina. And home losses to Stanford and South Carolina are worse than a home loss to Illinois. I don't care who else you beat. So the rules are the rules and this is what the rules say the match-up is. But it is still tough to get excited for.

So here is to Jim Tressel lifting the trophy later tonight but I would gladly trade it for a Browns playoff game. At least Pittsburgh lost in a painful way in the playoffs so the football week wasn't a total loss