Cleveland Sports Insiders

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Carpe Diem: The Browns and Self-Imposed Powerlessness

“I grow old,” an elder murmurs.

It’s not the case that the Cleveland Browns have been merely terrible. It’s not the case that they have merely had the third-worst record through the first thirteen years of their existence of every expansion team in NFL history, operating in an era where rebuilding is only easier than previously. To answer this question, one must also ask whether, at any point in the last fourteen years, Browns fans have had a rational reason to believe they would be good.

“Kelly Holcomb!” we exclaimed, frantic, eleven years ago. “One must certainly believe in the ability and virtue of Kelly Holcomb! Behold the messiah, behold the 30-year-old Immanuel with his 3 games started and 10:12 TD:INT ratio!”

Ten years later, we scoff at having believed in the false prophet Holcomb. Yet these sneers transform into wide-eyed adulation when we lay our eyes upon our new savior, Brian Hoyer, who unlike Holcomb is a spry 29 years of age, sage, capable of imbuing all with Wisdom by means of his vast experience (Four games started!) and his miraculous 8:7 TD:INT ratio. “Brian Hoyer!” we cry. “One must certainly believe in the ability and virtue of Brian Hoyer!”

And Hoyer shall be called Wonderful, Counselor. Continue reading


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Jim Thome Statue: An Exercise in Vain Continuity

When Constantius Chlorus, one of four co-ruling Roman Emperors in the 4th Century CE, took the throne, he took on an entirely new name: Flavius Aurelius Constantius, a name that hearkened to great emperors Marcus Aurelius and Flavius Vespasian. A low-born territorial soldier, Chlorus’s assertions of nobility comprised a façade both transparent and flimsy, yet to establish an ethos of enlightened rule, Chlorus required these connections to golden days of yore – connections he could not claim by birth – to ensure his legitimacy among the elité of Roman society.

For the Dolan family, the stakes are lower than mastery of the empire, but continuity is no less paramount to the organization’s legitimacy. Despite being currently employed by divisional rivals, former stars Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel were invited to the Indians 2014 Fan Fest, placing on full display the Indians’ paradoxical emphasis on continuity from the magical 1990s run. When they announced, therefore, that a statue of Jim Thome statue would be unveiled on August 2nd, it was simply an extension of that same logic. Continue reading