Optimistic In O-H-I-O

cleveland cityscapeAfter recently moving back to my beloved hometown of Cleveland, I was amazed to discover the amount of apathy that lies within SOME Cleveland sports fans. Granted, Cleveland sports teams have not done much of anything to dissuade that kind of attitude, but it makes me wonder why anyone would choose to adopt such a defeatist attitude at a time when there are so many reasons to be optimistic.

My favorite part about living here again is reading the Plain-Dealer sports page every morning. All the Cavs, Browns, Indians, and Buckeyes info all together in one paper saves me hours of scouring PFT and bucknuts.com. My only problem is that Terry Pluto is not allowed to write every single article in the sports page. Instead I am forced to read the pathetically pessimistic views that are so often expressed by Bill Livingston and Bud Shaw. In my opinion, both Shaw and Livingstion do more harm than good, and could use either an attitude adjustment, or a new line of work.

I may not be nearly as old as those guys, but I have seen my fair share of disappointment regarding Cleveland’s epic failure in sports over the years. I vividly remember “The Drive” & “The Shot”, and I attended hundreds of Indians games (including World Series) throughout the mid-90s. It seems after enduring letdown after letdown after letdown, the typical Cleveland fan is forced to adopt one of the following attitudes regarding the teams he has loved over the years:

1) Maintain optimism, look at the bright side, and hope for the best;


2) Become a miserable piece of crap who would rather be right about losing than wrong about winning.

Both Shaw and Livingston were the ones who said last year that Mike Brown was a terrible coach who should be dismissed. Wrong again, a$$holes. The worst part is that neither douchebag offered any ideas on how THEY would improve the team, other than firing Brown. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Less than a year later Brown received 55 first place votes as the NBA’s best coach. Houston’s Rick Adelman came in second place with 13 votes. Bill and Bud, you don’t know anything about coaching in the NBA…so what do you get out of being overly critical of someone who does?

(Editor’s Note: We had hoped to bring you a picture of Bud Shaw, however we were unable to use an actual picture because of copyright considerations. When informed of this Ryan said, “Just put some douche with a molestache and say it is him.” So we did.)

cleveland plain-dealer writer bud shawLast week Bud Shaw (pictured, left) actually had the stones to say that he thinks the Cavs will make it to the NBA Finals, but lose to the Lakers in the end. He ended the piece by saying, “you’ll thank me later.”

I don’t know where to begin with how screwed up in the head this SMUG SON OF A BITCH has to be to think that in the first place, let alone collect paychecks for distributing such drivel to the fans.

What is it about the Lakers that makes Shaw so confident that they can beat the hottest team with the best record and home court advantage throughout the playoffs? What the hell is, “you’ll thank me later,” supposed to mean? Is he suggesting that we bet that the Cavs lose in the Finals, cash in, and then thank him for his prophetic “wisdom?”

Does he think we should root for the Lakers instead of the Cavaliers so that we will be happy when the Cavs lose?

The answer to all of these questions is “NO”.

Bud Shaw was simply attempting to look like he knows what he is talking about by taking the safest bet in sports: that Cleveland will not win it all, regardless of what sport you want to talk about. If having the best team in the NBA is not enough to make Bud Shaw a Cavs fan, then why on Earth is he being paid to write about them? Why does he even watch the games (maybe he doesn’t), other than to pray that we lose and prove that he was right?

Anyway, my intent when I sat down to write this was to provide my optimistic spin on the current state of each of Cleveland’s major sports teams (and Sizemore just went yard as I write this!). So let’s go, one by one:

cleveland cavaliers logo

As far as I’m concerned, if you can’t get excited about this year’s team, then you have no business being a Cavs fan in the first place.

This year’s Cavs team might very well be the finest team that Cleveland has assembled in the history of the city’s professional sports teams. Perhaps the 1964 Browns, or the 1995 Indians could give them a run for the money, but I seriously doubt that is the case.

If we don’t win the championship, it will be a tremendous disappointment, but no one can take away how good we were this year. This year’s Cavaliers demolished another franchise record seemingly every night this month; and LeBron, Mo, Delonte, Z, and Varejao are simultaneously having what could be called their best seasons to date.

If you witnessed this season, and still want to try to poke holes in the Cavs, point out what you think are flaws, and convince yourself that they will find a way to lose, then I suggest that you just leave Cleveland right now, because you are a sad, pathetic individual and we don’t need or want you.

If you are waiting for a Cleveland championship before you believe and support our teams, then please just piss off, because you are exactly what is wrong with with most fans today (see: Indianapolis Colts).

cleveland indians logo

This year’s Indians team is very young; but very talented. Additionally, we could benefit from the fact that the AL Central is so weak right now that even Kansas City stands a chance (just kidding, Coco). Just because we started off 4-9 though, many pessimistic “fans” (including my very own brother) have already given up on the Tribe.

This is ridiculous.

In 1997 the Indians started out 5-8 and went on to win the pennant. {By the way, bottom of 7th right now, 6-1 good guys; Laffey looks great!} If we win tonight, we are only a half game away from where we were the last time we went to the World Series. That, plus Wood closing, plus the fact that the division is not as strong as usual, suggests that it’s not crazy to be optimistic about the Indians’ chances in 2009.

Come on, Believeland!

cleveland cleveland browns

I have never been less excited about having such a high draft pick.

The economy sucks, rookie salaries are higher than ever, and the talent pool isn’t nearly as deep as it was in years past, but I am still confident that Mangini and Kokinis know what they are doing based on their track records. EVERYONE is looking to trade down, which would be ideal but unlikely. I hope that a team like Philly, who is seriously considering Knowshon Moreno, might opt to take the hit and trade up to ensure getting him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if no team traded up in the first round.

That said, if we do pick in the #5 spot, I’d like to see us pickup Michael Crabtree. I know there is a ton of hype surrounding him, and that this year’s draft class is exceptionally backloaded with talented WR’s, but this kid seems too good to pass up. I should note that I felt completely different about who the Browns should draft when I thought that Winslow, Stallworth, and Jurevicius would be making contributions to next year’s offense. (Also, Braylon Edwards must have been pulling tubes with Michael Phelps, or caught VD from Ann Arbor (WHORE!); because he is no longer good at catching footballs.)

Anyone who thinks that they can predict how the Browns will fare next season is full of [baloney-sauce]. We went 10-6 in 2007 when we were supposed to suck, and 4-12 when we had high expectations for the team. And all of this happened when we actually knew a little bit about what was going on within the organization. Anything can happen in the NFL, and ManKok isn’t saying peep, so no one really knows what plans are in place and what expectations we should have for team personnel or outcome of the season.

My guess is that Bud Shaw and Bill Livingston, who is highly critical of Lerner, are only negative about the team because they don’t have any idea what to write about anymore. They have grown accustomed to having head coaches and general managers hand them their stories for years, and now Mangini is making them earn their inflated paychecks.

I know that journalists, even sports journalists, are supposed to be unbiased, and I agree completely. I just think that Shaw and Livingston are often negatively biased, for whatever reason, as opposed to unbiased. Like I said, it doesen’t seem to be a effectTerry Pluto, who has no problem balancing being both a legitimate jounalist, as well as a fan.

~ Ryan Russell

About Ryan Russell

Rockstar, Chef, Skeptic. Born 'n raised on the mean streets of Cleveland's upper-middle-class suburbs...



  1. Dear Sir, this reply may or may not have anything to do with your topic so you tell me please. I am a Dallas Cowboy and Cleveland Browns Fan and I’ve been reading a lot on the Dallas morning news and I can’t stand when writers for the area continually put down the very team the FANS love and we have to read their sh7t ,now here is where it gets good, I wrote in during a live chat with Tim Cowlishaw about my displeasure of how he always put them down and the FANS in cleveland wouldn’t put up with a jerk like him and he said YOU MUST NOT READ THE CLEVELAND PAPER or I would of heard of Bill LIvingston and Bud shaw,so my question is this is there a JERK club these guys belong to so I know what not to read Thank you and go cowboys and go BROWNS

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