The Optimist

April 5, 2013
by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor

Good afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea! It’s me, the Optimist. Let’s briefly put aside our petty differences and bask in the healing waters of NEWS … AROUND … THE … LEAGUE, shall we?

Okay. Let’s address the 800-lb. gorilla in the room. (Is it a gorilla or an elephant? I’m not sure.) Either way, it’s a big, smelly animal –which I suppose is the point.

That big, fat, funky beast is the 10-game losing skein that the Wine and Gold bring with them to Boston on Friday night. Even the Team Bus stunk on the trip up here. Dudes kept smelling under they own armpits, wondering if it was them.

There’s only one way to get the stink off you in the NBA – winning. It smells like … victory.

I remember the fetid feeling on a particular bus ride home from Salt Lake City after a late January loss. The Cavs had dropped four games in a five-game West Coast trip – including that night’s 109-98 loss to the Jazz – and were feeling mighty blue. But they came home and stung the Celtics three nights later, propelling them to wins in three straight and six of their next eight.

Coincidentally, the Cavaliers have eight games remaining in the season, beginning with Friday’s matchup against Boston. And if ever our beloved squad needed a dose of déjà vu, it’s right now as we head for the homestretch.

After returning to their winning ways in Beantown – with a day in-betwixt for the Final Four – the Wine and Gold return to The Q for a Sunday early-evening affair against Orlando.

After our busy weekend of hoops, we can all kick up our dogs on Sunday night and enjoy the season premiere of “Mad Men.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a big fan of the show through its first five seasons. The best part was when Don Draper got the girl.

But Don and I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve got business to tend to before the weekend even begins.

Normally, the first of the three coveted Pillars of N.A.T.L. is Today-in-History. But I have to be honest: the events that went down on April 5 throughout history kinda blow. It’s not boring stuff. Meteorites crashed into Scotland. Rioters overthrew the government in Newfoundland. Discotheques were blown up in Berlin. But where’s the fun in any of that?!

So I’m stripping Today-in-History of its weekly status and replacing it with Birthdays’ morbid first-cousin, Dead-On-This-Day, Still-Dead.

If you’re a celebrity and looking for an ideal day to kick to the bucket, you could do way worse than April 5 – (unless you’re a total narcissist and need the dockets completely cleared). Heck, it was good enough for guys like General Douglas MacArthur, Howard Hughes, General Kurt Cobain, Allen Ginsberg, Layne Staley, Saul Bellow and Charlton Heston to meet their respective makers.

Today’s Birthdays ain’t half-bad either. Born on this day and (mostly) still alive are former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Academy Award-winning actor Gregory Peck, influential director Roger Corman, Wall of Voodoo frontman Stan Ridgeway, prolific rapper and producer Pharrell, middleweight champion and the pride of Youngstown Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik and a serendipitously, two different drummers – Les Binks and Dave Holland – from the mintest heavy metal band of all-times, Judas Priest.

In last week’s Current Events, I warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to cease and desist with the bellicosity and insults so we could focus on bigger and better stories. And what does he do? He starts moving missiles around and again, with the verbal barbs. This week he called the U.S. mainland a “boiled pumpkin.”

Boiled pumpkin?! BOILED PUMPKIN?!!

I can stand America being called a lot of things. Jingoistic. Arrogant. Crude. You can even call us Bloated; we do have a lot of fatties here. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that little putz call us a “boiled pumpkin.”

Simmer down, DPRK. You can see that Barry O isn’t playing by the jets flying over the peninsula. Pull any funny stuff and this boiled pumpkin will cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. You probably don’t want that.

Again, geopolitical tensions have ruined another great Current Events week. Now, we barely have time to dissect major domestic events – like the one that took place this Wednesday in Butte, Montana when a pygmy goat named Shirley wandered into a local bar.

It sounds like the start of some stupid “goat-walks-into-a-bar” joke, but it’s not. Shirley, who patrons found to be “sweet and friendly,” actually belongs to one of the local petting zoos.

Apparently, Shirley made her surprise visit right before happy hour and managed to order a gin-and-tonic. The bartender was shocked that the doe could talk, but figured she hadn’t been in many bars, so he charged her $10. As Shirley was sipping her drink, the bartender couldn’t contain his curiosity and said: “I have to admit, we don’t get a lot of talking goats come through here.”

Shirley looked up at the bartender and responded, “Well, at $10 a drink, no sh*t.”

And that’s exactly the kind of fair and balanced reporting that you readers are missing out on – all because Kim Jong-un is stricken with Little-Man Syndrome (LMS) and has to go waving his missiles around so chicks don’t talk about him behind his back.

Irregardless! We’re way behind schedule now and must proceed directly to the nearest sport, which – lucky for you – is baseball. So let’s shag some arse and move through another installment of News … Around … The …League

On the Warpath – I was going to start with the Cleveland Gladiators home opener, which takes place at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night as the Glads (0-2) face off against the Jacksonville Sharks (2-0). But I decided against it. The last time I shilled for the Family – highlighting the Monsters and Charge – both squads proceeded to crap out the very next week.

Normally, I find that curses are reserved for Haitian witch doctors and old Italian women. But I don’t want to take a chance and turn the first third of their season into a total cluster-cuss, so I’ll just wish the Gladiators good luck and be on my way.

When it comes to our beloved Indians and superstitions, only Jobu has such magical powers. Jobu can help take the fear from Cerrano’s bats and help them hit the curveball. Former Tribe starter Eddie Harris once said, “Up your butt, Jobu” and stole Jobu’s rum. It is very bad to steal Jobu’s rum. Very bad.

Luckily, the Tribe has done nothing to anger Jobu in the early-going and head into the weekend matchup with Tampa Bay at 2-1 after a successful opening series up in Toronto.

Other than Brett Myers rocky first start, there’s a lot to like about the Sons of the Cuyahoga.

Justin Masterblasterson and Ubaldo Jimenez had excellent starts. The lineup, from top to bottom, has good pop and good speed. Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana, Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher have all started the season hot. Mark Reynolds has shown the power that the Tribe brought him to Cleveland for. And the defense has been rock-solid.

After the weekend series with the Rays, the Tribe returns for the home opener against what’s left of the hated Yankees. All of Cleveland’s foxy weathergirls (plus Jeff Tanchak) are predicting that it’ll be a beautiful day for baseball.

Whether you’re going to Monday’s opener, watching March Madness on Saturday or enjoying both Cavalier games this weekend with a nice cocktail or two … please, please remember to designate a driver or hail a taxi cab. I promise that Next Morning You will thank Previous Evening You. And keep both happy is really the secret to a fulfilling existence.

I’ll speak to you nerds in exactly one week’s time. In the meantime, please try not to break anything – exspecially my Steuben crystal egg – and we’ll be square when we meet up next Friday.

Enjoy the weekend, y’uns. And – in good times and in bad – please don’t forget your honor-bound duty to …

Keep the Faith, Cleveland

Your pal,
The Optimist