The last four days of my life as a Cleveland sports fan have been a roller coaster of emotions that most fan bases experience in a decade. As usual this madness can be summed up in one simple phrase that defines it all: #OIC – Only in Cleveland.
So step in the car, fasten your seat belts, and hold on as this 96-hour ride will take you higher than Craig and Smokey, bring you whipping back down to reality, all the while flipping you upside down. Please remain seated and buckled in until the ride comes to a complete stop. You know what screw it, stay buckled in. This is Cleveland sports.
Thursday: The Cleveland Sports Super Bowl, the NFL Draft. I have been pumped for the last 4 months knowing it is time to be in position to get a high impact player at #4 and solidify the roster in areas of need. Head to the bar to meet up with friends who share the same passion and enthusiasm but hold out hope as they have read this book and know the Browns will F it up. 4th pick comes around with Johnny Manziel AND Sammy Watkins on the board with a huge need for offensive weapons and the two best offensive players staring at you. Lay up? Nope, trade down five spots where there is a drop off and pick Justin Gilbert. Shocked given everything going in, like getting tapped in an uncomfortable man region, pain just lingers. Or when your favorite team takes Anthony Bennett with the #1 overall pick (side note, absolutely love the fleecing of Buffalo here). Browns fans at this Cincinnati bar are yelling wondering what the hell just happened.
About 10 buckets of beer later, trying to recover, pick 26 is slowly approaching. More anticipation than Big Earn McCracken’s final ball in the 10th frame, who are they going to grab, need a WR right. But wait Johnny Football is still there – you think they would, could they, will he last, no way? All of a sudden the Browns are on the clock at 22. Complete silence as Roger Goddell strolls up the podium. The Browns trade with the Eagles and select Johnny Manziel, QB Texas A&M. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Jumping, screaming, yelling, flashing dollar signs everywhere. No way. Absolutely in a different world right now. Best possible scenario. More beers, shots. All the adrenaline in the world. Texts rolling in, phone calls coming, lifting my moratorium on buying current players jerseys. The rest of the night just blurs together with drinks, high fives, texts, money signs.
Friday: Open my eyes and the struggle of the celebration is real. Roll over with the help of Powerade and the adrenaline of the night before, I feel good. Getting ready for the 2nd round of the draft knowing anything else we do is going to be gold. Assuming here comes that WR opposite Josh Gordon to really cement the offense. 6:12pm, my friend Jason texts me “Cleveland was on fire and then Gordon gets busted again what an idiot.” I get to twitter faster than Adam Jones blew through $1 million dollars in a night, I see Gordon went back to puffin the tree and is out for the year. NOOOOOOOOOOO! This is the type of stuff that happens #OIC. The most optimism and best night Cleveland sports has had in a long long time is all gone less than 24-hours later. I should be used to this, but unfortunately it happens more often than Chris Berman waves his hands while talking. Still just baffled at how this happens. 96 hours later still can’t understand how he could be so stupid.
Well now the Browns have to draft a WR right? Me and my friend Dan walk down to the bar to watch. Pick is an O-lineman. What???? WR is clearly a need and you have three arguably first round receivers staring at you. Now back on the clock in 3rd round and by this point the big names are gone but in a deep draft you can still get value. Pick is a linebacker. You can not be serious? Immense the pick up of volume drinking. Instead of feeling the joy of a good draft so far, fresh in the mind is Josh Gordon burning the chron and driving his camouflage Porsche, yes you read that properly. FIREBALL.
Saturday: Wake up and feel like I got ran over by a bus. Not sure if it was the booze or the Browns, but first thought is still can’t believe Josh Gordon did that. Moron. At least we will get a WR on the last day to fill out the roster. Did they? No. Why would they address a glaring need? Everyone from friends, family, local media to national media is more mystified then Donald Sterling telling us he is not a racist. Trying to wrap my mind around everything, I tell myself to keep a bright mind that we still had a great draft and got good players. At least the Indians were starting to heat up….
Sunday: My body aches from being jolted up, down, and upside down by the Browns and the 3-day bender that accompanied it. Time to recoup? Nope. John “Gas Can” Axford decides to take this roller coaster on a couple of flips more intense than a Yasiel Puig batflip. Not only has he gone Bob Wickman, Joe Borowski, and Danny Graves on us, but he went Andrew Bynum and completely lost his F’ing mind. Come to find out he left the club to go explore an art museum in St Petersburg. Because that seems pretty normal right. Well in a Cleveland sports fans world that is extremely normal. Alright fine, I am done, I give in, white flag. Time to sleep it off and start a new week.
Monday: Getting back to a routine is more than welcomed. Feel good, feel fresh. Back to the grind, things are in order. All is good. 3:24PM. Text from my friend Chris “peace out Mike Brown.” What could this possibly mean? The Cavs have fired Mike Brown after one year in his second stint with the team and 4 YEARS LEFT on his contract. No mas, no mas! At this point it is more comedy to me. #OIC. Now Mike Pettine, coach of the Browns, without having coached a game, is the second most tenured coach in the town. We really haven’t even touched on the Kyrie Irving regression, Andrew Bynum going AWOL like Ozzie Smith in the Simpsons, and the Anthony Bennett having the worst season ever for a #1 overall pick.
This was my last 96 hours as a Cleveland fan. This is enough ups and downs to last a city a lifetime, but in Cleveland sports world it is an everyday thing. This time I think the sea has calmed and things will be back to normal. But that is what I have thought the last 4 days. Stay tuned. Remember: #OIC – Only in Cleveland.
You can follow Tom on Twitter @THamm09.