Opinion: Cleveland, stop worrying and love the bomb

Tyler Kieslich

Tyler Kieslich

Tyler Kieslich is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Whenever I listen to Cleveland sports talk radio, I’m always reminded of that old line from Marx (Karl, not the comedian): History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Listening to old men try to convince themselves that the Browns will cover the spread this week is only sad until you realize it’s one of those surreal Vaudeville numbers in which the performers get caned off the stage. It’s just hilarious.

In terms of dead industry, Cleveland isn’t any further down the economic totem pole than Detroit. But whereas the latter gets Clint Eastwood and nationwide sympathy, the former just gets laughed at. Considering the motley band of fools and degenerates who have stumbled into sports ownership in this land of Drew Carey, it’s not that surprising.

People felt bad for Dan Gilbert for all of three seconds after LeBron James skipped town. The Cavaliers were sure to be terrible after their only asset worth more than his weight in lake-effect snow decided to take his talents to somewhere warmer, happier and generally more pleasant. Gilbert’s open letter to James guaranteed that the “CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE” (caps are Gilbert’s).

Other than being obnoxiously loud, Gilbert’s promise was just silly. James was joining the best collection of individual talent in the league. The Cavs had Anderson Varejao. Regardless, James’ hubris bought Cleveland about a year of pity from the rest of the country. But then football season came around, and the Browns slipped on the proverbial banana peel yet again.

Browns fans are unlike anything else that exists in the American sports lexicon. Browns fans are proud, in a way, of their insistent devotion to something that can never bring them joy, and have a bizarre predilection to masochism, self-loathing and institutional insanity. No other organization in sports has such esteem for a history that never actually happened.

Jim Brown was probably the most notable thing to happen to the organization, but the city left him with such a bitter taste that Brown tries to stay as far away from it as possible. Bernie Kosar stuck around town, but his status as folk hero of Northeast Ohio has brought him nothing but bankruptcy and sadness.

And now, the Indians. Casually racist nicknames aside, Cleveland’s baseball team had experienced the most recent success of any organization in the city, only to squander it all away with bad trades and worse free agent signings.

A few 90-loss seasons later, here comes Terry Francona, the former Boston manager who steered that club to two championships but could not stop them from drinking beer in the clubhouse. Instead of a bad team with a cheap manager, the Indians now have a bad team with an expensive manager, and with no real capital to spend on improving the talent pool.

I don’t know what Marx would say to the grown men who openly weep at the haplessness of the city’s sports teams — revolution, maybe? Perhaps the only advice is to stop worrying and love the bomb.