It’s Time for Cleveland Fans to Put Their Money and Mouth Where it’s Deserved
By Steve Eby
First of all, let me say that I love the Cleveland Browns. I love the way that the defense is shaping up (although no Phil Taylor scares me) and I LOVE the idea of having Trent Richardson. I think that Brandon Weeden was a stretch of a draft pick at #22, but I’m thrilled that I don’t have to watch Colt McCoy throw wobbly ducks around the shores of Lake Erie anymore.
I love the Browns. I’ll love them forever. Brown and orange runs through my veins! I wish them nothing but the best…but they always let me down and they make me so mad.
The Browns franchise is a joke. Actually, let me clarify…the new franchise is a joke…not the real one that left in 1995. They make stupid decision after stupid decision. They went through a decade of terrible draft picks. They have a head coach that last season seemed to be getting dumber by the game last year. They went through free agency this offseason and the NFL Draft knowing that they didn’t have a REAL wide receiver on their roster. As of the end of May, they STILL don’t have a REAL wide receiver on their roster. It sucks because now I have to watch Mohamed Massaquoi be overused and run bad routes for another year. I have to watch Josh Cribbs be an “average at best” receiver and a not-as-awesome-as-he-should-be special teamer because he is going to be wasting his time and energy playing offense. I also have to watch Greg Little dr… actually I really like Greg Little and think he’ll be pretty good one day. I think I’ll lay off this one for now.
Everybody knows that this is all true. I don’t think that anyone can argue that Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, William Green, Chaun Thompson, David Veikune, Brian Robiskie and Kaluka Maiava were bad picks. I don’t think that there’s a soul on Earth that thinks Pat Shurmur is going to be compared with Vince Lombardi any time soon. I also don’t think that anybody is going to mistake the wide receivers for the AFC Pro Bowl corps any time soon.
It’s all true. It’s impossible to argue. They’ve won 14 games in the last three years. The Packers won 15 games last year. Sure they lost a bunch of games by one score or less, but most of their wins were by the same margin. They’re not good. They haven’t been good in a long time. Hopefully things are changing for the better but we still have to wait and see on that.
Here’s what I do know…
1. The fans still go to the games. 2. The fans still stay positive even after they’ve been kicked in the nuts time and time again by this franchise. 3. Every season there are idiots in the tailgating lots predicting the Browns to go 9-7. 4. When the Browns DO turn it around, this town is going to flip its lid.
Why is it so different for the Indians?
It is Cleveland’s dream that the Browns could be as competent as the Indians. The Indians run a good franchise. They’re competitive. After the glory years from 1994-2001, they’ve run out teams in ’05, ’07, ’11 and ’12 that have competed for or made the playoffs. That means that the Indians have been in a pennant race or better 12 out of the last 19 seasons. That’s Cardiac Kids/Bernie Kosar era numbers there. Have they won it all? No, but neither did the Browns. Neither did the Cavs when Price, Kemp or LeBron were here. The city’s curse is strong and for real, but at least the Indians are fun to watch and have a chance every now and then. Could you imagine what the Muni Lot would be like if the Browns were any good? Any good at all? Why is it that people hate on the Indians all of the time? The Browns sell out their seasons and suck. The Indians run out contenders and place last in attendance.
I hear all of the excuses:
“The Indians always trade away their good players. Once a guy gets good…see ya.”
First of all, at least the Indians HAVE good players. Who was the last Brown that you could compare to CC Sabathia? Cliff Lee? Asdrubal? Choo? Hafner? Sizemore? Sure, we traded some of our players, but (CC and Cliff Lee trades excluded) at least we normally get good hauls for them. We got Chris Perez for Mark DeRosa. Carlos Santana came for Casey Blake. Asdrubal Cabrera came for Eduardo Perez. We got Shin-Soo Choo for Ben Broussard. Derek Lowe came for a bag of crap. Talk about turning the chicken coup into chicken salad.
Did the Indians make a mistake in trading CC and Lee? Maybe, but you have to understand their idea. They were never going to re-sign them. Agree with the philosophy or not, we’re not the Yankees. We’re not the Phillies. We don’t have the money that they do. Should the Indians have got more for them? Absolutely. Both trades seem like a bit of a disaster right now, but you can’t discount all of the good trades just because of two bad ones. Bad trades are a part of baseball. Just ask the Mariners.
“I hate Larry Dolan. He never spends money.”
Do I wish that Larry Dolan would spend more money? Duh…yes. I’d much rather be watching Prince Fielder than Casey Kotchman. Anyone who argues, “yeah, but Kotchman’s defense…,” is an idiot. Prince Fielder is better. Way better. But the front office of the Indians isn’t a stupid one.
The Indians never win the offseason. The Tigers and Angels won it this year, so that should show you how much that means. They don’t spend a ton of money when you compare them to the big boys. They rank 21st out of 30 teams and dead last in attendance. What else do you want them to do? They can’t spend a ton of money when they make almost none. They spend the little money that they do have wisely, however. The players that the Tribe get are never popular choices, but they’re often correct:
“Kevin Millwood!?! Seriously?? Wasn’t he good like 10 years ago?!?!” Yep. And he won an ERA title for the Indians too.
“Carl Pavano!! We just get the Yankees garbage!!” That Yankee garbage became one of the best pitchers on the team.
“Derek Lowe!?! Talk to me in September when Lowe has two wins.” It’s May. Derek Lowe is tied for the league lead with six wins. He had two wins on April 13.
“They did this last year too. Just wait.”
I will wait. The Indians are deeper this year and more experienced. They have guys that were starters for their hot start in 2011 that are in the minors. They have other guys that have been starters in the Major Leagues before down in the minors. They have a manager, coaching staff and players that have played in big games before and, most importantly, they have a team that plays the game the right way and believes in themselves.
The Indians are a fun team. Join the bandwagon, Cleveland. I know that you’re a football town and the Indians will always be second fiddle, but you’re missing the boat. I will be just as excited as you are when my Browns finally stop sucking, but look at the standings; the Indians stopped sucking 20 years ago. I’m not saying that you should stop loving the Browns or that you should stop supporting them…just share some of the love with a baseball team that honestly deserves it. Open your eyes Cleveland; you just might like what you see.
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