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Posted on: October 23, 2009 7:30 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2009 7:31 pm
 

Letter to Terry Pluto

Mr. Pluto,

I thank you for taking the time to read my words, as I have read so many of yours in the past that it is a great honor if they grace your eyes. I've been reading your work since I was a little kid, and I've finally felt the need to write to you myself and tell you how your writing has affected my life.

I was born in Akron , but my parents moved to Central Pennsylvania when I was seven. I still retain most of my family from that area, including my grandfather Roger Farr, who was a starting fullback on the Ohio University Sun Bowl team. Both my parents are Akron graduates, and my mother received her masters from Ohio State , so I have deep roots in the area, despite spending most of my life away from it.

I had a rough childhood, and some of the good memories I have are of the sports I saw and reading your books, specifically "The Curse of Rocky Colavito ", which I recently just re-read and made a lot more sense now that I'm not ten years old. I was fortunate enough to be at Game 5 of the 1995 World Series , when Greg Maddux faced off against Orel Hershiser , and the Indians won an outdueling contest between the two and sent the series back to Georgia. I was also lucky enough to have sixth row seats to the following year's All-Star Game in Philadelphia , and made it to several more games throughout the late 90s. The problem is, I wasn't old enough to appreciate it.

Now that I'm an adult and much more into sports and truly comprehensive of Cleveland's history of tradition, respect, and unfortunately misery, it really brings that much more of a sentiment to your daily columns and your books that I've read. Reading your stories of being young in the 60's at the old stadium make me nostalgic for that naitivity of youth where I didn't understand not only that the Indians hadn't been in the World Series in 40 years, but also that it wasn't an everyday thing to have the privlidge of attending. The last Tribe game I saw live before this year, Richie Sexson hit two home runs as a rookie. I finally got a chance to see them live when I just happened to be in Minneapolis during their last trip there, and despite being well out of the pennant race, it brought that amazing feeling back. I just couldn't enjoy it with my hometown people, because it was an away game.

I experienced my first (and only to this date) Cleveland Browns game during a good year, 2007. I've never felt such an aura of hope, pride, and solidarity, given where I live, it's Eagles and Steelers. I'm usually the lone Brady Quinn jersey at the end... and the recipient of plenty of pity because they've been so terrible recently that it's not even worth teasing. I still wear all my teams and all the jerseys every game day, Ohio State included. I never thought at the age of 24, the only championship I'd know was the 2002 Buckeyes National title. The only success of the Browns I know is that 2007 year, but still I watch every single game, even if it's just on Game Tracker. I have such a passion for Cleveland sports that it insults me that my mother has become a Phillies fan. She doesn't understand why it upsets me so much. She kinda drifted to that loyalty several years ago from being out here, and now likes to rub it in my face that they got a championship and are now headed for another Series, and with one of my favorites, Cliff Lee who played here in Harrisburg before the Colon trade, headlining the pitching staff, it's just salt in the wound. How is it fair that a lifetime of loyalty has brought nothing but close calls and epic meltdowns, yet she jumps ship and gets rewarded with a championship a few years later? She doesn't seem to get it, but I'm sure someone of longtime Cleveland loyalty can relate.

The Cavs are really the hope we've got for a long time, aren't they? I have a bad feeling this is the last shot , as we know how Cleveland luck goes. Can't take the chance that LeBron will stay, it has to be this year. I'm just such a diehard fan from a distance and I'm craving a championship so much, and unfortunately being around people I have no sports teams in common with, I don't get the companionship of being surrounded by likeminded people to cheer on and be let down with. Your column connects me to that, and I read it every time there's a new post. It seems really lame I know, but the words you write have been my connection to the world distant from me since I was old enough to understand sports. Now that I'm trying to become a writer myself, I felt the need to tell you how much your work has meant to me over the years, and how much of an inspiration you have been to do it myself. I've written several books, but I don't have the courage or know-how to get them published. I'm confident in what I've written and I'm sure once I figure out how to do it, I'll be able to, but that time is not now, unfortunately.

I don't know if you'll ever read this, but I had to take the chance that you would. Your words, your writing, your books, your columns have meant a great deal to me and have connected me to a world that's hours away but always on my television or computer. Thank you, Mr. Pluto, for everything.

-Alexander Goodlive

Posted on: July 13, 2009 6:03 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2009 12:32 pm
 

A Response to the "Rivalry No Longer Mattering"

The Cleveland Browns won 9 League Championships. Just because it was before the Super Bowl doesn't mean it didn't count.

I also have a problem with this- The Pittsburgh/Cleveland football rivalry is so meaningless that it took them winning 11 in a row over an inferior replacement team to get TWO ahead in the rivalry. Things come around and they go around, my friend. If us Clevelanders are so terrible, it really says something about Pittsburgh that they had to wait til our franchise was stolen and replaced with no time and eight months to build a team in 1999, run by idiots with no consistency, to then gain up on eleven wins in a row to FINALLY get ahead in the rivalry. Just because it's current doesn't mean it doesn't matter.

Am I embarrassed over the way my team has performed in the last decade? Yeah, for the most part. But how many Pittsburgh Steeler fans do I see wearing Yankee, Red Sox, and even Indians hats because of the Pirates' futility? Makes me wonder what would happen if the Steelers went through a drought like the Browns did. Would there be the same love? Would the Steelers fans still sell out every single home game if the Steelers did as bad as the Browns did? Or would they jump the bandwagon like some of them do for their baseball teams.

I'm not saying you're one of them, I'm saying I am a loyal Cleveland fan. I was born in the same town and hospital as one of my heroes LeBron James, and while they might not have gotten that championship yet, I'm hoping this year is the year. But you know what, regardless of whether they do or not, on game day you better believe I'll have my jersey on. The Indians are in last, I wear my hat everyday. The Browns were terrible last year, and even on the last day of the season when they were down to their fifth string quarterback, I still wore my orange and brown.

So to hear that it no longer matters because of recent years is infuriating. Did they say the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry didn't matter anymore over the 80-some years it took for the Red Sox to win a World Series? Damn right it didn't. Us Cleveland fans are frustrated, and some have jumped the ship, but nothing upsets me off more than when I see someone in a Steelers jersey and an Indians hat.

Like I said, I'm not calling you out, for I don't know how loyal you would be; I don't know you that well, but the test of fan loyalty isn't to throw it in your rival's face when they're down on their luck. It's still being there when you're down on yours. Look back in the beginning of the rivalry or in the 80s and see how badly the Browns beat the &^$% out of the Steelers. Did they say the rivalry was over then? You're damn right they didn't.

Sometimes memories can be so fickle. But hey, Steelers fans and anyone else can trash us as badly as they want... It'll just make it that much more fun when the time pendulum comes back around. 2 wins, my friend. 2 wins is all they lead this rivalry by. That either says something about how competitive this rivalry really is, or how bad the Steelers are against their "meaningless" rival.

But I tell you what... I don't hate the Steelers. I can't. As one of the two teams that stood up for us when they stole our team, I can't hate the Steelers, or the fans who protested despite the NFL making sure they weren't seen. I see sports rivalries a little differently; more as a respective comraderie between people who have a passion for a sport but just happen to come from different places. So to have that loyalty and passion thrown in my face because a rival has done better than us in the last ten years with all those circumstances? What do you expect us to do? Jump ship? What kind of people would that make us?

I don't give a #$% if any of my teams never win a damn game again. I'll be there, loyal and true, and Pittsburgh can beat us 78 times in a row 42-0, and I'll have all the respect in the world for the franchise as I always have. But I will still be there, even if I'm the only one. Can you say the same?

Again, I'm not calling you out personally, but this hit a nerve.

Posted on: April 14, 2009 11:18 pm
 

The Cavs have me foolishly optimistic YET AGAIN

The Indians last won a World Series in 1948. In 1954, they set the AL record for wins with 111, in a 154 game season, and got swept in the World Series. They didn't get to another one until 1995, where they won 100 games in a strike shortened season, but were up against the Braves who won their only World Series in their glory years against us, all but one were one run games. In 1997, Jose Mesa got paid off to blow the Game 7 save situation and they lost in the 12th inning. In 2005 they came back from 16 games down in August and got beat on the last day to get eliminated. In 2007, they were up 3 games to 1 on Boston in the ALCS, then got blown out three straight games.

The Browns last won a championship in 1964, before there was a Super Bowl. That was right after the story of the Express happened, and Jim Brown retired to become a movie star. In 1980, they were driving in the last minute "Red Right 88", and they intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to lose the game in the playoffs. "The Drive"... John Elway drives from the 2 yard line with less than two minutes to go in 1985 to tie the game and send it to overtime and win to go to the Super Bowl. "The Fumble" the next year against the same team to go to the Super Bowl, the Browns are on a comeback, and Earnest Byner fumbles on the 3-yard line as he's about to run it in for a gamewinning touchdown. A few years later, they move the team to Baltimore, give us an inferior replacement, and they finally don't suck in 2007, where they go 10-6, the same record as the team that won the Super Bowl, but weren't in the playoffs because of a tiebreaker.

The Cavs have never won a championship. They've been close twice. The Shot, which Michael Jordan shot over Craig Ehlo in the most famous basketball clip of all time to go to the Finals. They made their first Finals in, ironically, 2007, and they got swept by the Spurs.

Ohio State football is the only team for which I've cheered that has won anything. In 2002, they won the national championship on a controversial but correct call. In 2006 they went undefeated and were beaten 41-14 in the NC. In 2007 they went 11-1 and were beaten 38-24 in the NC game. This past year they had a chance to not embarrass themselves and scored a touchdown to go ahead 21-17 with less than a minute to go, and Texas drives to score a touchdown in 45 seconds to win 24-21.

Ohio State basketball sucked until the late 90's, where they got to the Final Four as an 8 seed, lost by two points to the number one seed in the semi-final. In, ironically again, 2007, they were the number 1 team, went like 33-2 or something, got the whole way to the championship, and lost to Florida, the same team that had beaten them for the national championship two months earlier in football.

I swear, if the Cavs don't win at all, I don't know if I can take more of this. They're 66-15, got home court advantage throughout the playoffs, and if they win tomorrow, tie the record for all time greatest home record of 40-1. If that team can't bring a title to Cleveland, no one can.

Since I live in central Pennsylvania, all I could do was laugh when all the Phillies fans were ecstatic because their city hadn't won a title "since 1980".

...


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
AHA!

Please, LeBron... Please? One professional title for a team I watch? Please? Is it really that much to ask? Please? The Indians just gave up a grand slam in the 8th inning and are well on their way to outdoing their sucktitude of last year. It's gonna be a long summer until the Browns and Buckeyes depress me in the fall and you come back... One title, just one. Just one, please LeBron?

 

 

Posted on: January 6, 2009 8:14 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2009 8:15 pm
 

The worst kind of sports fans

Contrary to what may be conjured by the title, this isn't aimed at a specific team or conference group of fans. No, instead what's really getting on my nerves are these pseudo-diehards who say things like "if it's not my team, I don't care."

My most recent experience with this was sitting with a couple of Dallas Cowboys "fans", and I wanted to watch the early game, and for three hours, all I heard was griping about how boring football was. Confused, I asked if they weren't Cowboys fans like I had previously understood. The response was that they only liked football when it was their team playing.

Of course, seeing as they grew up in central Pennsylvania and had likely never left the state, I wondered what part of Dallas they were from to begin with, but that's another topic for another rant.

What kind of a freaking fan is that? The way I understand it, in order to cheer for a team, you have to be a fan of the sport itself first. My Buckeyes blew a big game again last night, but I was still able to take huge appreciation for the fact that Colt McCoy made some amazing throws under tremendous pressure. It bothers me when people can't appreciate the game and its players, and are so close-minded and whiny that if it's not their team, it must be boring and stupid and why would anyone else in the world like any other team except for theirs?

I had a lot of experience like that when I was living in Newport, Rhode Island, when the Patriots lost to the Colts in the AFC Championship Game. "If the Patriots aren't in the Super Bowl, I'm not even going to watch!" Yes, I feel so bad for you. You've pretty much dominated the entire decade, and you're so spoiled that if your team isn't in the championship game (for once), it's beneath you. Take 44 years without your hometown teams even winning a championship, maybe then I'll listen to you make such a vain complaint.

Stuff like that just drives me nuts.

Well, pretty close to counting down to baseball's opening day. That time is approaching where football ends before baseball begins when there's nothing to follow but spring training and free agent signings. As a football fan, anticipating April as well for the draft, see if the Browns actually do something worthwhile in the draft this year. Silly hope.
Posted on: September 21, 2008 7:25 pm
 

Embarrassing

I've been watching this team since 1999 (I watched before they moved, but I was 10 when that happened, so cut me some slack). I've sat through the 2-14, 3-13 years with promises it would get better. The one time they made the playoffs against the Steelers, they blow a lead. In the last two years, they got up on the Steelers and... blew a lead. This year, they'll be lucky to get a lead bigger than seven, if they even accomplish THAT again.

It's been said already, but this team fell for its own hype, was more concerned about being on prime time TV than playing in the actual game, and the coach has his players undisciplined, making stupid penalties, and running around like they don't know what they're doing. Yes, there have been injuries. Yes, they've played against some tough teams. But this is downright EMBARRASSING. There's no way around it.

It's been a bad Cleveland year in general. The Indians had hype, and just started playing like the team they should've about a month ago. Ohio State had hype, but I'm used to them embarrassing themselves in big games in the last couple years. How that National Championship seems like a distant memory now. I thought maybe the Browns would save it, but they look downright terrible, sans the defense showing up against the Steelers.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com