What I’m Thankful For with Cleveland Sports in 2013

When it comes to Cleveland sports there’s always so much negativity that can weigh us down and get us all depressed. Things like “Brandon Weeden is starting on Sunday” and “LeBron came home to crush us again last night” are painful realities that we’re all too familiar with. But this is the holiday season, and seeing that today is Thanksgiving, I thought I’d take a couple minutes to share some positivity about what in Cleveland sports I’m thankful for…

First of all, I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend one of the holidays back at home in northeast Ohio. Most people from here have an irrational love for this area that’s hard to quantify. But I’ve found that when you’ve moved away and been gone for a while you really get a profound appreciation for this area and you never stop calling it “home”. It’ll always be the place that I’m trying to get back to. I love the drive up here and seeing the Cleveland skyline on the horizon as I come in on I-90 and pass The Q and the Pro. I’m thankful that I can call Cleveland my home.

I’m thankful for the fantastic community of Cleveland sports bloggers who do just incredible work every day bringing original content about the teams in this city. I don’t know about the bloggers in other cities, but I can’t imagine them being better than what we have here.

I’m thankful that Mike Brown is back coaching in town. Let’s be honest, he’s going to give us stuff to talk about every day as long as he’s here. I may absolutely hate whatever those things he calls “offensive sets” but he sure as heck gives the best post-game pressers.


I’m thankful for reigning Manager of the Year, Terry Francona. I was skeptical when he was hired because I thought he might just be coming here to hang with his buddies and just be part of a ball club again. I was worried that the friendly relationship with his front office would manifest itself in a lack of accountability and general laziness. Boy am I thankful that I was wrong. You can’t undersell what a fantastic job Tito did of “managing” this team and always keeping the guys believing. The 2013 Cleveland Indians were far-and-away the most over-achieving team in Major League baseball. I’m going to cherish having Francona manage my favorite baseball team for as long as it lasts and hope that he can work some magic and maybe get us a World Championship out of it. I don’t know if he can; but if anybody can, Tito can.

I’m thankful that we don’t already have overt reasons to hate Rob Chudzinski, which sets him apart from basically all the other head coaches the Cleveland Browns have had leading up until now. He’s made some bad coaching moves in games for sure and we were all disappointed in the effort that the team gave in the last two games. But somehow Chud has managed to skirt on the blame for any of the problems so far. It’s probably because by now we all realize that he doesn’t have a QB, so what can you expect from the guy? Whatever the case, I’m just thankful that we aren’t talking about firing him after his first season.

I’m thankful for the endless entertainment that is Brandon Weeden. I’ve run the full gamut of emotions with the old man. I started out as a believer, was forced to become a defender, then I reached the point where I realized there was no saving him, then I became embarrassed that I ever backed the guy, and now I’ve reached the point where I’m just embracing the fact that he’s a national punch line. We don’t have much at the QB spot in Cleveland in the way of actual good play, but at least we have some comedy.

Cleveland Browns v Green Bay Packers

I’m thankful that Weeden starting this Sunday won’t ruin my weekend, no matter what happens.

I’m thankful for the mythical hero Brian Hoyer, who burst upon the scene for two games and then was gone, leaving behind a legend that Paul Bunyan and Davey Crockett would be jealous of. The general Cleveland public has conveniently forgotten that in his first start he threw three picks which put the team in the situation where they needed him to deliver a game-winning drive. They also forget that he really didn’t do much of anything to beat the Bengals because the defense and special teams dominated. And despite that he played just two series against Buffalo and didn’t produce any points, that hasn’t stopped everyone from consistently running with the stat that the Browns are 3-0 when Hoyer starts and 1-7 with all other QBs, as if his mere presence starting that Thrusday night game spurred the team to victory. We haven’t had much in the way of QBs to get excited about in this town, so I’m at least thankful that I’ll always have “The Legend of Brian Hoyer” to tell my kids about.

I’m thankful for the Browns defense. Where would we be without them? We spend so much time agonizing over the QB position in this town that we don’t spend enough time really appreciating what a great group we have on defense this season. If they can ever get the offense figured out we know that we have a championship-level defense already to get us to the Super Bowl. And yes, you read that last sentence correctly.

Haden and Ward 001

I’m thankful that there’s no possible way that Joe Banner is enough of a penny-pinching egomaniac that he won’t resign TJ Ward and Alex Mack. I mean, he can’t possibly be that crazy, right?

I’m thankful for new funky-looking video boards and new escalators coming to First Energy Stadium. But I’m more thankful that if they are going to this much trouble to fix up the stadium that they MUST be going nuts to improve the actual product on the field. There’s no way they could be totally tone-deaf to the real desires of the fans.

I’m thankful for trick-shot quarterbacks…and YouTube.

I’m thankful that we haven’t been in a situation yet where letting Phil Dawson walk turns around and bites us in the butt.

I’m thankful that I don’t have to root for Trent Richardson and his 2.8 yards per carry anymore. And even more I’m thankful that somehow the Colts were dumb enough to give us a first round pick for him.

In hindsight I’m thankful that Tom Heckert is no longer the Browns GM. It’s hard to imagine anyone blowing two first round picks in the same season so spectacularly that neither guy will be on the roster after two seasons. It’s really unbelievable when you think about it.

I’m thankful for Jason Giambi walk-off homers.

I’m thankful for Ryan Rayburn, Jan Gomes, and the bench mob.

I’m thankful for all the highly-entertaining Chris Perez weed jokes.

I’m thankful that somehow, someway, even when it seemed impossible, Ubaldo Jimenez turned into the Ace of the Indians pitching rotation…just in time for his free agency, but still.

Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Indians

I’m thankful for everything Jason Kipnis does on a baseball field and reminding me why I loved the sport so much as a child and why it’s all I ever dreamed of doing when I grew up. In an age of prima-donna sports “heroes” it’s a breath of fresh air to root for a guy like Kipnis who plays the game with an old school, dirt-bag passion.

I’m thankful for Dion Waiters…everything about him. More than anyone else on this Cavaliers team, I love Dion Waiters. He has glaring flaws in his game, takes bad shots, has mental lapses on defense, may or may not have feuded with one or more teammates…but you can’t deny that the guy loves to play basketball and that’s all the really matters to him. He doesn’t tweet out pictures of fancy new clothes he bought, or hocking his endorsements…he tweets about the work he’s putting in to be a better player…and pictures of his adorable son. How can you not love this guy??? I’m thankful for Waiters stepping up last night and playing like a man and a leader on the team and then backing up his play with words that you would hear from a true leader. I believe in Dion Waiters more than probably anybody. I hope he doesn’t go anywhere for a long time. I just love that guy.

After all that…I am, in fact, thankful for the Uncle Drew commercials. I mean, really…what’s not to love about those things?

Irving 001

I’m thankful that, for the losing we’ve endured, we at least got Kyrie Irving out of it. I wish we could have had better luck with the talent in the drafts, but you really can’t complain too much. I believe he’ll get things turned around here and be the superstar player that this Cavs team needs. So in spite of all the pain we’ve suffered and the rough start here we’ve endured, we can all be thankful that we have Kyrie.

I’m thankful for all the excitement of the offseason with the signing of Andrew Bynum that lead to that palpable intensity of him checking into the game on opening night and shocking everyone. I’m thankful for the Bynum experience for as long as it may last.

I’m thankful that Tristan Thompson finally figuring out that he’s right-handed.

I’m thankful that there’s no way that Anthony Bennett can possibly be this bad.

I’m thankful for Mike Brown…again…just because.

I’m thankful that someday “the process” will manifest itself in a championship.

I’m thankful that most of Cleveland truly believes that last sentence.

I’m thankful for Believeland.

I’m thankful for Cleveland sports. All of it.


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