Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The lingering countdowns of Cleveland sports

IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING with the dysfunctional Cleveland sports enterprises. Intrigue... Suspense...Recurring seasonal disorders. The latest version of the epic Cleveland Countdown began last year (or maybe even earlier before I got on the bus) over when-where-never LeBron James would jump ship despite his iconic moorings in Northeast Ohio. Months of columns, talk-show callers, sly smiles by the self-described King. Like that, it played out and the disheartened fans could finally turn to new matters, such as...

Would Holmgren fire Mangini? When? And if not, why? On and on. Which game would determine the unfortunate coach's fate? This countdown would deflect the ugly fact that the Browns were finishing the season with a four-game losing streak. But then, Mangini was gone before the uniforms from the final game were laundered...The light at the end of the stadium tunnel? Not really, because....

There was a new reason for daily speculation.

The Mangini narrative would merely be the prologue to another countdown in which everybody but Knute Rockne was mentioned in a non-stop shakeout of his possible successor while days passed and passed and passed. .

Sadly, that's how it has been going on the lake where revolving doors have long been a growth industry in the hopeless search for a winner. You are again reminded of that as TV had the audacity to show us the entire annihilation of the Cavaliers by the Lakers by a record 55 points even though L.A. coach Phil Jackson tried to be merciful by playing his regulars for less than half of the game.

May we hope that a new Browns coach will be hired before the start of the Indians baseball season with its own dismal expectations. Will Manny Ramirez be mentioned as the new manager after Manny Acta is dumped? Let the speculation begin! And don't laugh.

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