The Optimist

by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor
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Buenos dias, red-blooded Barbudos! It’s me, the O.G. of Optimism – checking in from that Midwestern Shangri-La we call “Cleveland.”

Since this group called the Teabaggers have told me our new President is a Socialist, not only are we celebrating Game 1 of another Cavaliers-Celtics heavyweight brawl, but we’re also marking the annual May Day – feast day of the proletariat – the workin’ man. As a former Teamster (Local 407), I’m down with that.

Consider today’s column – which was written, proofread and published on the weekend – as my way of wishing all you Communists, Socialists (and even you wacky little Anarchists) a Happy and Healthy May Day. Keep sticking it to The Man!

Speaking of workmanlike efforts – TheBron and the Cavaliers had to put in a hard day’s night in ousting the pesky Chicago Bulls in Round 1. They didn’t go quietly. In fact, one of their team leaders – Joakim Noah – was quite vocal. To his credit, he backed it up on the floor.

Get that weak Beard outta here!

Derrick Rose and Co. were as tough an out as a 4-1 best-of-seven can be.

Chicago went toe-to-toe with our beloved Cavaliers, but in the end, the results were the same: The Bulls came into the series as cows and left as hamburger.

Up next: the Conference Semifinals against Beantown’s Gang Green.

By now, you know the litany of offenses the mangy Celtics have perpetrated against our Cavaliers – from Paul Pierce loogeying at little Luke Jackson to Ray Allen’s elbowing of the Wild Thing’s mountain oysters (and on Easter Sunday, no less.)

Most recently, Boston’s Big Baby Davis gave Shaq’s thumb “the business” – costing the Diesel the final month-and-a-half of the regular season.

But I prefer that we don’t focus on the personal affronts. We can’t worry about bashing Big Baby or why Kevin Garnett is all 6’s and 7’s. We have to think of the Celtics as what they are – a skilled basketball team.

But will beats skill, and the Wine and Gold – led by their sore-winged warrior – have both.

And they definitely know the grave significance of Game 1 at home at this time of year. We’ll get to the results of the all-important opener in just a darn second. First …

Sir Optimist,

I dub myself a "Junior Optimist" because I have been pulling for the Cavs ever since C-town was my dwelling place 13 years ago, idolizing the likes of Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Craig Ehlo, Hot Rod and Lenny Wilkens.

I spent 10 glorious years in that beautiful city and my loyalties haven't wavered one bit! Since leaving Cleveland I have suffered through much ridicule from Red Sox, Gator, Steelers and Magic fans!! I suffered through the Eastern Finals last year in Orlando! I was there.

This year, despite the idiotic radio heads like Collin Cowherd, our time is now!! LeBron (sic) is about to dethrone His Airness as the Undisputable Heavyweight Champion of the past, present and future ages!

I'm keeping the faith and I can't wait for LeBron (sic) & Co. to make Big Baby Davis scream like a girl and send Garnett enunciating his words in defeat during postgame interviews because of what he has just witnessed on the pine!

God Bless,

Cape Coral, FL

Nick, thanks for reading and writing in. You are old school Cavaliers, and I can dig that. That squad from the late-80s was awesome to the max.


I also agree that our time is now. But I don’t need TheBron to “dethrone” His Airness. There’s plenty of room on the Throne for everybody. I just want the Cavaliers to have a piece of the seat.

They’re a dozen wins away from doing so, and tonight their quest continues – beginning with a heavy dose of the Diesel.

Shaq shook off the rust in Round 1. In Round 2, he’s ready to shake off defenders, like Kendrick Perkins, who falls victim to O’Neal’s early dominance.

After two quarters, the Wine and Gold lead by nine behind Shaq’s 16. Rajon Rondo leads everyone with 18.

Boston closes to within two at the end of three quarters, with the Big Ticket going 5-for-5 in the quarter. At one point during the third, while fighting for a rebound, Anderson makes KG so angry that steam literally begins shooting out of Garnett’s ears, forcing referee Dick Bavetta to call timeout for the ballboys to mop up the condensation.

Two points is as close as Boston gets, as TheBron kicks it into overdrive, netting Cleveland’s first seven points of the period. The Cavaliers jump out to a double-digit edge and don’t look back, cruising to the 93-84 win in Game 1 at The Q.

The Good Guys jawjack with the local media, grab a postgame sandwich and head home to their loved ones. The Bad Guys return to their team motel and try to relax, but with visions of Numeral 23 and the Diesel dancing in their heads, every waking moment is a universe of terror, a marathon of fear.

This is where the rubber meets the road, comrades. We’ve come too far and we’re too close.

We’ll speak again on Monday. In the meantime, gird up and get ready to …

Keep the faith, Cape Coral

Your pal,
The Optimist