Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Magini in charge

By nature I am a contrarian. When everyone seems to line up on the same side, I always question that. My instinct is to shy away from the crowd and stand alone. I don't blindly follow. If I do follow the crowd it is because I explored that position and couldn't find a reason -- sometimes any reason -- not to join the mob.

The majority of the media despises Eric Mangini. That venom has already spilled over into message boards and bar stools. At first glance Mangini is certainly not a likable guy. Young. Smug. Stubborn. Close to the vest.

But honestly I like what he is doing. I even like how he has handled the quarterback situation. For several reasons.

1. I like he could care less what the media thinks. A few years ago I spent some time in the Browns press box and in Berea. I was shocked at the bitterness of the majority of the people who cover the Browns. I saw a lot of lonely old men who no longer even liked sports. It was sad. The rudeness of many of the veterans to a new guy hanging around was astounding. I couldn't help but think of high school cliques. And the constant complaining about everything was so irritating. Theses guys have the best and easiest job in the world --don't kid yourself about having to wait to get quote as a being hardship -- and they were all miserable. So when Tony Rizzo went out of his way to have a conversation with me one day. I was blown away. I don't listen to his current show so I don't have an opinion on that. But I was really impressed with Tony that day. He still had enthusiasm for his job, for sports and he just seemed like a nice guy. Tony stood out because he seemed like the only one. All this is a long way of saying I am taking great pleasure in Mangini rubbing most of these Browns beat writers crazy. Boo Hoo my job where I get paid to watch sports is harder because I am not handed things on a silver plate. The fact that the media doesn't like Mangini makes me want to like him.

2. Mangini promised competition to his team and he followed through. Anyone with lingering feelings in the locker room can't say he played favorites. Mangini was fair maybe even to a fault. A quarterback won the job. He didn't get it by being anointed or because of past accolades. If Mangini doesn't have his locker room -- it is not because of how he choose a quarterback.

3. I know many are scoffing about Mangini not revealing his choice because he wants Minnesota to prepare. I sure that there is a kernel of truth there but beyond that his refusal to name a quarterback has done one other thing. People are talking about Mangini. They are not talking about Quinn or Anderson. Instead of questions all week about how Quinn won the job or why Anderson lost the job and how they feel about that. Mangini has put the heat on himself. His quarterbacks are left to focus on the job on hand.

4. But what about the fans? This has been one of the more irriatating complaints being written about. The fans deserve to know. Mangini's secrecy hurts the fans. I like that Mangini appreciates Browns fans. I know he does. He lived here. He saw the love this town has for the team and he saw the pain leaving caused. But I love how he will be damned to let that affect how he runs his football team. Revealing injuries or who is starting doesn't change who is or is not a fan. Some angry wishy-washy person may claim that but that is complete BS. Mangini knows how to get fans on board and there is only one way. If he wins, the fans will love him. They will not care how he did it. Look at Uncle Bill as the perfect example. He is the same asshole he was when he coached here. Now that he has won in New England, his fans love him. Bill is heartless. He cuts and trades his favorite players and he makes no excuses. I understand that Eric is not Bill. Honestly I like that too. Bill learned from his mistakes here and I think Eric will learn from his mistakes in New York. You coach to the fans and you will get fired. Do it your own way and win then the fans will come on board.

I don't know if it will translate on Sundays but I like how Mangini has already made this team his team. Romeo never seemed in charge. Butch Davis was all sizzle with no steak. I don't see Mangini quitting. The media wants to paint him as another Little Bill disciple who can't do it on his own. But Mangini got the Jets into the playoffs in two years and they were set to do it again last year until Favre's arm injury. The guy is obviously bright. He has already made adjustments such as how he has handled Shaun Rogers. He may fail but he is going to fail doing it his way. He has a plan and expects to execute it.

I am on board -- not that he cares. Let's play ball.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A last chance?

So a few weeks back, I was getting ready to pull the plug on writing as a career. This blog seems to just be tilting at windmills. If the point isn't to have a career, why spout off about sports? The web is filled with people's takes, there is no real reason for mine.

So of course an opportunity presented itself. My brother is a D-III college basketball coach. He heard that a daily paper in his county had an opening for a sportswriter. He dropped off my resume and a few of my sports sections.

I drove out there for a interview. Now this paper is a six-day a week paper. There is no Sunday edition so Saturday is an off day well except when there is sports and that would be every Saturday. They only cover four high schools and sometimes the college. The high schools are all small so they don't even field teams in many sports. It sounded like a one person job and they already had a sports editor. But they insisted they needed another person. Now this paper doesn't do it's own layout so the deadline is 3pm so they can ship it out to sister paper that does it. So every game would be in the paper two days later. The sports editor seemed like a nice kid but maybe a little over his head at 23 years old. The rest of the staff was an editor and two news writers. Basically they had two pages of local news, a page or two of local sports and editorial page. The rest being AP filler. They charge 75 cents a paper and the editor wants to start charging for online content. I didn't like his chances for that to work. It was small town USA and that's OK but it would be a huge change for a city boy. The editor bragged about their world class arena located across the street. He said they got world class acts all the time. I asked like who? He said 38 Special was playing there tomorrow and he was going to get to interview the band. I have nothing against 38 Special but let's just say I wasn't impressed. I would be in for some culture shock. The pay was for less than $10 a hour. I would be expected to work every day and spread 40 hours over the seven days. I would rather work long hours and get a day or two off every week. I would never be able to go home for a weekend. I asked about working Sundays. If I wasn't an editor and we did no layout why would I have to come into the office on Sunday. Or if I did - could I come in early get my work done so I could watch the Browns on Direct TV? The answer was basically I had to come in Sundays so the editor could take the day off. I would be expected to do his job on Sundays. Which would mean sitting and waiting for other people to send in stories so I could forward them to someone else.

Now that sounds like a big bag of suck. But in this economy a job is a job especially if it is in your chosen field. If I worked hard, crashed at my brother's to save money, maybe I could use this job as starting point for a climb back up the ladder. Maybe those ignoring my resume now would see the daily experience and give me a look.

They told me they would let me know by Friday. So that deadline passed and Monday afternoon I went on a long bike to clear my head and of course they called then. The young sports editor chose his words like I was on a reality show and built up to what he wanted to say. They were pleased to extend me the job.

Now I was out of breath but I could tell he was disappointed I didn't accept instantly. I thanked him and asked to talk to the editor. I told him this was a big decision and I needed some time. He said I could have until Thursday.

Now despite all the shortcomings of the job, it was a job. So I felt like I had to take it. But I had a gnawing thought about the editor. Something didn't feel right about him. It was hard to quantify. I worried that maybe my anxiety about moving away from friends and family to a lonely land of corn fields was just coloring my Spidey Sense about him.

Tuesday morning I sent an email to him. In all the excitement I realized he had never told me about the benefits. He glossed over in the interview saying there were other people who could tell me about that later. My email basically just said please have someone email me the benefit package. I figured no days off for little pay would be easier to accept with having health insurance.

Wednesday morning I got an email in reply. They decided to rescind my job offer. I could only laugh. I am just glad I confirmed his character before I moved there. I just wondered if that innocent question cost me my final shot to work as a journalist.

So that leaves me here in Cleveland with my Sundays open to watch the Browns. As for blogging here, I don't know. I just don't want to keeping writing the same thing everyone else does. I mean who really cares who I think the Browns starting quarterback should be. Seems like spitting in the wind. I need a challenge.