Baseball’s greatest curse is about to be put to the test

by Cleveland Frowns on October 5, 2017

When the Chicago Cubs beat Cleveland’s Indians in last year’s World Series, they also vanquished the Curse of the Billy Goat, ending their 108-year championship drought. This left the Indians as baseball’s longest losing franchise, without a title since 1948, and Cleveland’s Curse of Chief Wahoo as the undisputed champion of baseball curses—having survived the more celebrated Billy Goat curse, as well as that of the Bambino, extinguished by the Boston Red Sox in 2004.

It probably shouldn’t have been a surprise that the Indians’ curse would outlast these more famous curses, which really were small potatoes in comparison. After all, things turned out fine for Babe Ruth, whose curse stemmed from the fact that the Red Sox traded him to New York in 1920, where he’d lay the foundation for baseball’s greatest dynasty with the Yankees. And Billy Sianis, too, who put a curse on the Cubs in 1945 after being forced to remove his goat from the Wrigley Field stands for the last two innings of a game due to fan complaints about the animal’s odor. Sianis and his Billy Goat Tavern went on to become nationally famous Chicago institutions, a favorite subject of legendary newspaper columnist Mike Royko and the inspiration for John Belushi’s “Olympia Cafe” skits on Saturday Night Live.

Of course, things haven’t turned out nearly as well for Native Americans, whose genocide is mocked every day by the Cleveland MLB team’s branding.

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The blatantly dehumanizing Chief Wahoo caricature speaks for itself as a Jim Crow relic that belongs either in a museum or the garbage. And while the organization boldly claims that its name “honors” Native American Louis Sockalexis, who played 96 games for the Cleveland Spiders in the late 1890s, the available evidence suggests it was [click to continue…]

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This is a question that seems to be getting lost in the debate over the Q-deal referendum, which will now be moving forward thanks to yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and his surrogates, both in their legal briefing against the referendum and in their related public-relations efforts, have repeatedly tried to blame opponents of the Quicken Loans Arena subsidy for costing Cleveland a chance at hosting the NBA All-Star Game. The Cavaliers went so far as to … Click to continue reading at Cleveland Scene

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The NBA Finals could have been worse

by Cleveland Frowns on July 2, 2017

As tempting as it was for sports fans to think that the greatest basketball player of all time would be able to overcome the popular notion that the 2017 NBA Finals would be dictated by basic math, it was not to be. On one hand, adding Kevin Durant to a team with the previous year’s MVP and two more all-stars makes for boring basketball. On the other, good for Durant for asserting his independence from the NBA’s largely parasitic owner-class and exposing that the league’s salary cap is much less a way to ensure competitive balance than it is a way for owners to keep from sharing profits with players.

Of course, the player who’s worth more to his “owner” than any other is as aware as ever of the injustice in this state of affairs, as well as his “owner’s” responsibility for creating it. Remember, during the 2011 lockout, Dan Gilbert “led the charge of owners seeking supreme tax penalties on superteams, making them nearly impossible to maintain.” Not only do these penalties and related salary restrictions keep LeBron from recruiting or joining with enough stars to match the Warriors’ roster, they also keep him from earning more than a fraction of what he’s worth. And yesterday, in response to news that the Warriors are worth $2.1 billion more than they were when Joe Lacob bought the franchise only 7 years ago, LeBron tweeted that Steph Curry should be making $80 million per year. “Tell me again why there’s a cap on how much a player should get??,” he said. “Don’t answer that.”
LeBron on salary cap

Which makes for an interesting backdrop to whatever is going on between LeBron and Gilbert these days. Inequality wrought by the death of labor power has wrecked so much else in America, why wouldn’t it do the same to the NBA? If LeBron really wants to “strive for greatness,” there’s probably only one way. Increased awareness of these issues isn’t the worst thing to result from an NBA Finals series, even though the Warriors are still, in many respects, a disgrace. Nor, of course, is the fact that Eric Mangini’s 2009 Browns remain the owners of the greatest 4-game win streak in Cleveland sports history.

70 days of peace remain until the Browns kick off the 2017 season against the Steelers in Cleveland. Hope everyone makes the most of them.

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NBA Finals Preview

by Cleveland Frowns on June 1, 2017

LeBron is a genius and the most gifted and dominant basketball player of all time and every player in the league already knows this. He’s also the best head coach and GM in the NBA, has taken control of his franchise like no other player has in history (basically owns the Cavs), inspires his teammates like no other player in the league, and knows he has really nothing else to do at the moment but win 4 more titles and probably more. He knew that the regular season and playoff seeding were largely meaningless, and conserved energy based on this knowledge.

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Meanwhile, the Warriors [click to continue…]

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Let’s check in on Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who showed up last Thursday at a “VIP red carpet preview event” for a Wahlburgers location in some retail space owned by Dan Gilbert, across the street from Gilbert’s JACK Casino in downtown Cleveland and just underneath one of the most magnificent land-bridges to ever connect a casino to a parking garage. Wahlburgers is a restaurant chain that was founded in 2011 in Boston by the celebrity Wahlberg brothers, Mark (’90s pop one-hit-wonder turned movie star), Donnie (of the ’90s boy-band New Kids on the Block), and Paul, a chef.

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According to Newschannel5, Wahlburgers has signed “12 area development deals, committing five franchise groups to a total of 118 Wahlburgers over the next several years.”

“We are on the road to bringing Wahlburgers to a city near you,” said Mark Wahlberg. “We’ve created this family business with a mission to welcome families and friends from around the world to a place where they can break bread, enjoy some great food and lots of laughs.”

So, basically a Fuddrucker’s or TGIFriday’s, but with a celebrity endorsement built into the name.

With so much out there for the Cleveland Mayor to do one might wonder why he’d lend his presence to what’s at best an utter non-event, or worse … Click to continue reading at Cleveland Scene

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This year’s draft party planning has been somewhat complicated by the fact that my wife is pregnant with our son, who’s technically due to arrive on April 28. But at this point my wife is confident that he’ll be here at least a week earlier than that, and regardless, our family prefers to abide by the wise words of Jim Brown, [click to continue…]

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Why is Armond Budish communicating absurd threats on Dan Gilbert’s behalf?

March 2, 2017

Last Tuesday afternoon, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish stood at a packed County Council meeting and emotionally pleaded for Council to approve the most recently proposed $70 million public handout to Dan Gilbert for upgrades to Quicken Loans Arena. Even though there is no legal obligation for the public to provide the proposed subsidy, the […]

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Mayor Jackson and Armond Budish rubber-stamp Dan Gilbert’s latest public-cash grab

December 15, 2016

A few points about Dan Gilbert’s latest $70 million cash grab—apparently lost on the relentless cheerleaders at Cleveland.com—clarify what a bad deal this is for the public and just how badly Frank Jackson and Armond Budish have failed their constituents in rubber-stamping this deal the way they have. First, note that this $70 million is not from […]

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The Cavs want $70 million more in public money to renovate the Q

November 18, 2016

Last evening, The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland hosted a panel on “Sports Stadium Financing in Cleveland” where I was one of the panelists with Cavs and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komoroski and Tom Chema, former CEO of the Gateway Economic Development Corp. The panel’s moderator, Peter Krouse of Cleveland.com, made clear […]

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The Curse of Chief Wahoo is in the World Series again

October 20, 2016

There sure is a lot to love about this Cleveland Indians team, and to see them make the World Series in the same year that LeBron’s Cavaliers broke Cleveland’s epic 52-year championship drought is really something. But until Northeast Ohioans can manage to demand that their billionaire sports-owners not employ open and casual racism with their sports […]

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