The New York Times recently published a column by Michael Powell titled “Sports Owners Dip Into the Public’s Purse, Despite Their Billions in the Bank.” The piece focused on Cleveland and last year’s county-wide ballot issue on the “sin tax,” in which the local pro sports owners, with the help of their corporate sponsors, spent $3 million on campaign advertising to secure some $300 million in tax dollars to fund their privately owned franchises. The owners’ campaign slogan was “Keep Cleveland Strong,” a not-so-subtle and not-at-all-credible threat that one or more of the Browns, Cavaliers, or Indians would leave Cleveland if they didn’t receive the subsidy.

Dolan Haslam Gilbert

Powell’s column freshly raises familiar questions about why a struggling county would spend so much public money to subsidize hugely profitable businesses owned by billionaires. It also raises questions about why the Times would care to focus on the Cleveland sin tax fight so long after the fact, with the subsidy now stuck on Cuyahoga County taxpayer’s bill until 2035. But it’s an issue that keeps coming up across the US, most recently in Milwaukee with the NBA’s Bucks, and with St. Louis, Oakland, and San Diego’s respective NFL teams threatening to move to LA. And more generally speaking, billionaires sticking it to civilians with unsustainable debt loads is a hot topic worldwide.

Powell gets to the heart of the matter in pointing out that:

Click to continue reading at Belt Magazine …

{ 5 comments }

Golden State is a fraud

by Cleveland Frowns on June 4, 2015

With the Cavs set to face off against the Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals tonight it’s especially important to point out that California should hardly even be a state, let alone a “Golden” one populous enough to support four NBA franchises.

It’s one thing to note that the state is experiencing an historic water crisis with consequences rippling across the country. It’s another to understand how predictable this problem was.

Golden State

It’s only been about 150 years that non-natives have lived in what’s now California, with the non-indigenous population estimated to be no more than 8,000 as of 1846. This was for good reason, as [click to continue…]

{ 13 comments }

When the Green Bay Packers drafted 6-foot-1, 337 pound defensive tackle B.J. Raji with the 9th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, their GM Ted Thompson said of the selection that, “the good Lord just didn’t make many people like this.” Two seasons later the Packers beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl with Raji anchoring the defense.

Last night in Chicago, the Browns used the 12th overall pick to select 6-foot-2, 340 pound defensive tackle Danny Shelton out of the University of Washington and everyone should be able to set aside disagreements about what made people to agree that it just didn’t make many like Shelton, either.

Case in point:

Shelton is the first person in known history to bear hug and lift the NFL Commissioner off the floor on draft night, setting a salutary tone for the next round of Players’ Association negotiations.

Who's the boss now, Roger?

He was the only player in college football last year who [click to continue…]

{ 9 comments }

Draft Day Prayer for Browns Fans

by Matt Borcas on April 30, 2015

Makers Mark Commemorative Tim Couch bottles up, everybody, it’s draft day! This year’s draft preview is again brought to you by Mentor’s own Matt Borcas, who writes about the NFL and other subjects of great historical import for ESPN’s Grantland, and who was more excited about Johnny Football last year than maybe only one other person. Enjoy, and hopefully we’ll see you tonight at Map Room.

—————

It was the best of times. The Browns had finally drafted their franchise savior, the electrifying quarterback out of Texas A&M, the only freshman ever to win the Heisman trophy, and the biggest celebrity in college football history. Everything was about to change. Season-ticket sales spiked. You probably even priced plane tickets to the next few years’ Super Bowl locations, but even if you didn’t, you have to admit: I was Aaron Goldhammer. You were Aaron Goldhammer. We were all Aaron Goldhammer.

OK, maybe Frowns wasn’t Goldhammer, but pretty much everyone else was, and as we all know, everything did change — except of course for the ultimate disappointment in the Browns’ on-field product. Anyway, TMZ headlines like “Johnny Manziel PARTYING WITH BIEBER … Cops Called”? That was new! Drake taking time out of his day to comment on the Browns’ latest massive quarterback controversy? Too bad we never got his take on Couch v. Holcomb or Anderson v. Frye.

lebron-money

There was the money phone. There was the Vegas bathroom photo. There was the Little People of America demanding an apology from Marvin Lewis. And there was the  [click to continue…]

{ 9 comments }

To celebrate Earth Day, observed on April 22 every year worldwide, here’s a video posted at the Guardian of a newly built train in Japan that levitates on magnets and is designed to transport commuters at a speed of 500 kilometers (310 miles) per hour.

A similar train in the U.S. would get you from Cleveland to Chicago in about an hour. That would mean Cleveland to Akron in something like 5 minutes, Cleveland to Columbus in about 20, and Cleveland to Cincinnati in about 35 in case anyone ever wanted to go to the Deep South.

Think of how good it would be for the Cavs if it only took LeBron 5 minutes to get from home to work.

LeBronBike3

Of course, in theory, there’s no reason we can’t have trains like this in the US. Practically, though, it’s a different story, and one that’s sad and inspiring at the same time.

[click to continue…]

{ 17 comments }

“Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it.”Robertson Davies

—————

Three years ago it was Richardson and Weeden. Last year it was Gilbert and Manziel. This year the Browns have a pair of first-round picks yet again and whether the third time’s a charm or not we’ll still be back at Map Room next year to sip from that most reliable and refreshing fount of hope and goodwill: NFL draft day in Cleveland.

As for this year, it will be the fifth in a row that a group of your hardiest and most understanding friends gather in Map Room’s basement (1281 West 9th St., just north of Saint Clair in the Warehouse District), on Thursday April 30 for the Fifth Annual Cleveland Frowns NFL Draft Party.

The party will start at 6PM and will [click to continue…]

{ 8 comments }

There’s no place like home openers in Cleveland

April 10, 2015

It’s opening day in Cleveland again, so it’s time for another round of conversations about the Major League Baseball club named the “Indians” and its redfaced logo Chief Wahoo, the only mainstream pro-sports logo in the Western world that caricaturizes a race of people. On opening day in Cleveland last April, Wahoo and the “Indians” […]

2 comments Read the full article →

The Cleveland Browns are impervious to rebranding

March 5, 2015

Last week the Browns made national headlines and put the local news cycle on freeze with a heavily promoted “rebranding” that turned out not to be a rebranding at all. For all the many ways this offseason has somehow again plunged the franchise to new depths of league-laughingstock status, the “rebranding” episode was actually glorious, […]

26 comments Read the full article →

Cardale Jones and America’s Greatest Storage Unit

January 14, 2015

The rapid rise of the self-storage industry in the U.S. is a mainly dire phenomenon; a function of unchecked consumerism, consumption and inequality. While a growing number of Americans suffer in increasingly worse economic conditions, those on the other side of the divide continue to accumulate more stuff than they know what to do with. What doesn’t […]

15 comments Read the full article →

Haslam’s tough talk on Manziel rings hollow

December 29, 2014

After yesterday’s 20-10 loss to the Ravens in which the Browns ensured their seventh consecutive losing season, owner Jimmy Haslam made a rare appearance in front of the TV cameras to send a message to certain of the team’s young players. “I think a player who can’t show up for meetings, can’t make practice, can’t […]

34 comments Read the full article →