Friday, December 31

2010: Another Great Year to Be a Cleveland Sports Fan!

No, it sure as hell wasn't.

Now don't take this as some sort of repudiation of my fandom or wavering in any sense. Absolutely not. I love being a Cleveland sports fan and will NEVER be anything else. But even by our historically tortured standards, 2010 was a terrible year for our teams (the Buckeyes were a different story, but they're not the same as a Cleveland team). Perhaps surprisingly, as we'll discover below, it was actually a better 365 days than the one preceding it, with one notable exception. For my final post of 2010, let's take a look back at a crummy year in NE Ohio sports, appreciate some of the progress we made, and hope for better things in 2011.

This article is going to be harder to write than I originally anticipated. There isn't too much to say about a 69-93 club without much personality or direction, even if they did top their 2009 counterparts by four wins. We're not good, and we're probably not going to be real good in 2011.

But hey, there were bright spots - the play of Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Perez, and Carlos Santana in particular made the Wahoos watchable at least. And hey, Tribe Weekend was awesome. Considering that the 2009 and 2010 campaigns were basically the same (edge to 2010), and 2010 featured Chris Perez's hair and a remarkable recovery from the disaster that was Tribe Weekend '09, it has to be viewed as a step forward. Even if the Erie Warriors can't deliver a better campaign in 2011 (and who knows, maybe they will), FCF and its confederates at least have an Opening Day on a Friday (April 1!) and what promises to be an even more mega Tribe Weekend on tap. Never give up.

This article is going to be harder to write than I originally anticipated. Honestly, there was little different about the 2010 Browns than the 2009 Browns; both teams posted five wins and had one good stretch of solid football (2009 at the tail-end and 2010 in the middle). The 2010 club was far more competitive, which gives them an edge; on the other hand, the 2009 team beat Pittsburgh and the 2010 club hasn't (yet). It's simple: if the Browns beat the steelers on Sunday, then the 2010 team represents a real improvement. If they don't...then they don't. These are the stakes.

The biggest positive from 2010 is the results from the 2010 Draft class, which is shaping up to be the Browns' finest since their return. Cleveland now has in the fold a potential Pro Bowl secondary with Joe Haden (1st round) and TJ Ward (2nd round) and, dare we hope, an answer at quarterback with Colt McCoy. If those players continue to develop and Montario Hardesty turns into the impact runner everyone thinks he can, maybe someday we'll look at the 2010 Draft as the start of a new era in Browns Football. Now that I mention it, maybe 2010 was a better calendar year for the Brown and Orange than 2009. Doesn't mean they're off the hook for that Pittsburgh game. As Figgs might say, GET EM.

As usual, OSU's football team provided a bit of a backstop to the losses suffered on pretty much all other fronts by those who share FCF's rooting interests. Yes, there was the embarrassing sell-your-memorabilia-for-tats scandal (why would anyone want to own Terrelle Pryor's gold pants thing?) and the debacle in Madison, but the Buckeye gridironers kicked off the year with a dazzling performance in claiming their first Rose Bowl in 13 years, and ended with yet another victory over michigan (seven straight) and Big Ten title (six straight). Considering that 2009 started with a BCS Bowl loss (to Colt McCoy and his Texas squad) and 2010 with a BCS Bowl win, gotta give the edge to 2010. Three for three so far.

And...three for four.

Both years saw the Cavaliers enter the NBA playoffs as the clear favorite to advance to the Finals, and both saw them flame out before getting there. The 2009 postseason has the advantage, as the Cavs got to the Conference Finals where they ultimately lost to a surprisingly superior Orlando team, while the 2010 edition only reached the Conference semis, where #23 quit on the team (more on that later) in a loss to Boston. Also, 2009 had the opening months of a terrific regular season, while 2010 has had the opening months of...yuck. On both counts, 2009 was a better calendar for Los Caballeros.

Seems to me that something else happened in 2010 that wasn't good for the Cavs, but I forget eactly what. Fuck it, must not have been much.

Happy New Year from everyone at FCF, and good luck in 2011 to our Browns, Cavaliers, Indians, and Buckeyes.

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