Wednesday, August 11

The Downtown Report

Downtown Chicago that is! I spent this past weekend in the Windy City, which was not really windy at all, rocking as hard as possible at the 2010 edition of Lollapalooza ane enjoying the city. I did pass Swirling Garbage Field, home of the Chicago Black Sox, and was stuck in a traffic jam while doing so, both of which infuriated me. Andy's gettin' upset! I also ran into this guy shown at right (picture forthcoming), sporting simply the worst t-shirt I have ever seen or can even theoretically conceptualize. I booed him heavily prior to this photo.

I also saw that Chicago's multisport community is alive and well; there were many, many swimmers out at the Ohio shore (boo-ya) of Lake Michigan out for a swim at 8 am, and I was one of them. I was the only one without a wetsuit and basically turned into an ice cube out in Lake Michigan (it's deeper than Erie and stays colder), but it was still fun. There were also tons of runners and cyclists out on the Lakefront Trail; I'm more convinced than ever that Cleveland needs to destroy Burke Airport and put a nice park by the lake.

The only drawback of the trip was that it cost me a chance to compete in this year's Cleveland Triathlon, in which Nick placed 8th out of over 200 competitors. Congratulations to Nick! I'll be taking down my second career International Triathlon next week at Vermillion.

Well, enough traveling, multisport, and Black Sock trashing. Let's look at our clubs:

Have you noticed how rarely this team still ever gets blown out? Yes, they lose their fair share of games, and you'll have that, but they never seem to be way out of it. The club has improved both offensively (OPS+ 96) and defensively (ERA+ 88) from where they were before starting the 21-18 stretch they're currently enjoying.

Not just that, but they're doing it with players who figure into the club's long-term and short-term futures, AND they've been doing it against stiff competition, as I wrote not long ago. This month, they won't see another club with a record above .500 until the final two days, when the Black Socks invade Cleveland. At 47-65 (.420), I think a reasonable goal is 70 wins, which would require them to post a 23-27 (.460) mark the rest of the way. What do you think?

It's also time for me to get to another game! I'm sporting a fairly ugly record on the year at 3-7, but still optimistic. Rock 'n' Blast is coming up this weekend, and I'll be laying low pre-triathlon, so that seems like a good time to walk on over to the park. Seriously, someone remind me that I live 10 minutes from Progressive Field.

My perspective on the whole LeBron saga hasn't changed much, though my knives have been sharpened a bit since the initial announcement left me a bit flat. Let me offer a few observations:

- A LeBron Heat #6 is the worst jersey in all of professional sports. At Lollapalooza, I saw two fellows standing next to one another; one had a Falcons #7 Vick jersey and the other a Heat #6 James and I didn't know who I had more contempt for. OK, the Vick, you're right, but still. I loved seeing that kid get thrown out of Progressive Field the other day. Bad things tend to happen to people who try to piss off 15 000 people at once.

- "The Decision" now bothers me less than that pep rally/fashion show thing they had at Miami's Arena where Wade, Bosh, and LeBron pranced around in their uniforms under neon lights, fog, and confetti. I honestly don't think I've ever seen anything stupider than that in my entire life. I'm reminded of Kay Corleone after Michael receives that award from the Vatican for giving them $100 million: "I think that was a shameful ceremony."

- I hate the fact that Miami is going to be good. I hate the fact that Miami has enjoyed two World Series titles and one NBA championship in the past 14 years, that they could quite possibly add another Larry O'Brien Trophy, and that half of the titles will be at Cleveland's expense. I never thought anyone could become my least favorite NBA team this fast.

- Somehow, it's entered the national consciousness that Cleveland fans are mad at LeBron simply because he left, not because of the extra-douchey way in which he left, as we claim. Nope, sorry. It WAS the way. I think most fans respect his right to play wherever he chooses, and I'm not going to pick on him for taking this career path. I'm disappointed because it kills the near-term championship prospects for my team, but not critical.

But that TV special and the fashion show - those were sickening. THOSE are the reasons why Cavs fans turned on LeBron, not just because he left as a free agent. People leave as free agents all the time; people don't have egomaniacal ESPN shows to rub in in the face of their hometown and strut on catwalks all the time. I really would like for national commentators and non-Cleveland fans to be clear on this.

Soon, very soon, things will once again be right with the universe: the NFL season is starting. It's only 33 days until the Browns take the field in Tampa Bay, and an even 40 until they pop the tab on the home portion of the slate against Kansas City. Let's face it, we all need some football, even if it's another 6-10 Browns campaign. Expect more from the FCF Browns staff on the upcoming season, assuming he ever decides to write anything.

Soon, very soon, things will once again be right with the universe: the NCAA Football season is starting. It's only 23 days until the Buckeyes take the field in Columbus, popping the tab on their slate against Marshall in Ohio Stadium. Let's face it, we all need some football, especially if it's another OSU run at a title. GET EM.

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