The Optimist

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Guten tag, you rabid, rapacious mad dogs in a meat market! Down boy!!!! DOWN!!!!!

Simmer down, yo! Save some of that testostrogen for tonight.

I know the Artist Formerly Known as The Chosen One is bringing his talents back to town. He’s probably skulking around Tower City with Mike Miller right now – trying on Lidz and taking free Charley’s Subs samples with no intention of buying. Oh, he’s a crafty one, that LeBron James. But you readers already knew that.

You also know that the last time he came round these parts, he and his Heatles pistol-whipped the Wine and Gold on national TV. I can still feel where he kicked us in the jimmy. And it sent our beloved Cavaliers reeling. Badly.

By now, I’ve made my feelings quite clear on the issue. Like the great Booker T. Washington, I will let no man drag me down so low as to make me hate him. LeBron exercised his right; he fulfilled his contract with the Cavaliers.

He left in the wrong way. And we’ll discuss that in a moment. First, because I am an Optimist, I’d like to focus on someone who’s doing it the right way.

That man is, of course, the great Joe Tait – who called it a comeback on Sunday evening at The Q. After missing the first 71 games of the season while the Clinic repaired his ticker, the Hall Fame Broadcaster assumed his rightful place in his eponymous perch.

Aside from the years that Joe escaped Ted Stepien’s reign of terror, he’s been the voice of the Cavaliers – through thick and thin for almost four decades. That’s about 3,600 games and an untold number of miles. (And it’s not even considering his years with the Tribe, Crusaders, Rockers and Mount Union.)

It’s fair to say that, NBA-wise, Joe Tait has seen it all.

On Thursday night, right before tipoff, Joe will look down at LeBron and LeBron will look up at Joe. And for a split second, LeBron will feel shame over his Decision. And then the moment will be gone – for both parties. (Joe Tait isn’t phased by LeBreezy leaving town. He’s got sweaters older than the kid.)

Numeral 6’s guilt aside, as a lifelong Cavaliers fan, it’s great to have our “Voice” back – for tonight’s game and beyond.

Right on, Joe Tait! Welcome back for the homestretch.

Luckily, according to my calculations, he won’t have to call another “garbage spectacular” like he did on Sunday evening against Atlanta.

No, tonight’s eagerly-anticipated home rematch with Miami will feature up-and-down action, physical play, scoring, some defense, thrills, chills, spills and most of all … drama.

Fast forward to the end of a highly-competitive first half.

Like they did against the LakeShow before the Break, the Wine and Gold are giving Miami all they can handle, right from the opening tip. And when Baron Davis cans a 27-footer at the buzzer, Cleveland goes into intermission up four.

In a tense halftime locker room, several Heat players are weeping openly, led by a hysterical Chris Bosh – highly upset because some fans behind the Heat bench had called him names. Assistant coach Ron Rothstein tries desperately to console him – holding the power forward and rocking him gently while humming his favorite song. But to no avail.

Bosh is ineffective in the second stanza, save a single 17-footer that puts Miami back up by a point early in the fourth.

But the remainder of the final period belongs to the Cavaliers and their (by this point) frothing fans at The Q. Cleveland opens up an eight-point edge with three minutes to play and, by now, several Heat players are choking back tears while Eric Spoelstra tries to diagram a play.

Dwyane Wade pulls it together long enough to score on a reverse layup that gets Miami to within six, but the Cleveland Baron strikes back with another bomb – effectively sending LeBron and his dejected bunch to the showers.

Wait'll Cleveland sees us!
They LOVE us!!!
Cavalier fans, in the house and around the world, rejoice. After what has been, at times, an agonizing season – the Wine and Gold get a modicum of revenge.

After the game, the Cavaliers head to Charlotte to begin finishing up the 2010-11 schedule. The Heat will begin gearing up for a pressure-packed run at the Finals.

The Cavaliers have two picks in this year’s Lottery to look forward to. LeBron and his camp might smirk at that notion. They might say there’s no player in this year’s draft that’s like LeBron.

And I’d say that’s the best thing about it.

Dan Gilbert won’t go with a shaky foundation like that again. He won’t rely on a guy who’s willing to walk out on his own great story. When the Wine and Gold are rebuilt – they’ll be rebuilt as a team.

Ironically, the truest thing LeBron has said (or tweeted) since leaving was that “Karma is a (female canine).”

Indeed it is. And one day it’ll catch up to him, whether it’s a grand event – like a playoff collapse – or a gradual occurrence – like the northward recession of his hairline.

LeBron embarrassed the city that embraced him. He brought disappointment to a place that’s already had its fill.

Numeral 6 knocked Cleveland down, but he didn’t knock us out. And every year his Heatles don’t win a Championship is a year they get older and a year that we get better.

So while LeBron goes with his adage about Karma, I’ll go with my personal favorite: “Every dog has his day.”

Or we can scrap both expressions and go straight to the Bible, where the book of Proverbs says "The wicked flee when none pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion."

Our day is coming, Cavallieros. Maybe it’s tonight. Maybe it’s tomorrow. Maybe it’ll happen years from now. This pain will pay off in wins one day. And when that day comes, you’re gonna like the way you look. I guarantee it.

So, gird it up good and get ready to …

Keep the faith, Cleveland

Su hermano,
The Optimist