The Optimist

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Buenos Dias from the Big Apple, you freakin’ mooks! I’m an Optimist, and I’m ready to rumble.

Before hitting the open road, the Wine and Gold completed their longest homestand of the season – an eventful up-and-down eight games that saw our beloved Cavaliers snap their losing skid, help the Wizards snap theirs, make a big Deadline deal and, along the line, beat the Lakers and the Knicks before being pistol-whipped by the Spurs on Wednesday night.

For the first time since before the Break, the squad is heading out to the highway. The Team Bus has been hosed down and disinfected. Sneakers and equipment were loaded into its guts. And all 15 players plus coaches and support staff did their best to go No. 2 before we left.

And for the first time this year, the schedule takes the Cavaliers to the World’s Most Famous Arena.

Not so much.
This used to be a vexing trip for the organization. New Yorkers were embarrassingly agog over Numeral 23 and their media’s lone focus was to ask the erstwhile Chosen One when he’d leave. Turns out the answer was: “Soon.” But he didn’t take his talents to New York. So now they hate him, same as us.

I think that about sums it up.

Now, I’m assuming the Knicks and their fans will just want to straight-up beat the Cavaliers, with little regard to who’s on our roster. Losing eight straight to appease one player before this year obviously didn’t work. And Byron Scott’s squad has topped the Knicks twice already this season.

Using our Math skills, that should tell us that when the Wine and Gold knock off the Knicks on Friday night, that’ll make 11 straight. That’s a lot.

Before we get to said victory, would you indulge me with a trip to the Optimist Mailbag?


Dear Optimist,

It seems a lot of the past contributors to the Optimo Mailbox have taken their talents elsewhere.

I looked forward to sparring on these pages regularly with the likes of Morgenstern, et al. Now, all I have is You. And frankly, I could use a little tougher workout.

To all you fans that have gone back into the closet, I say this: Before the Cavs can permanently right the ship, and return to their winning ways, we as fans, must break the losing streak that is in our souls.

I’m talking to you Morgenstern! And you, Brother D! And you, crazy guy from Brecksville whose name I don’t remember!

Feh to you and your ilk.

Bort Stein, Esq.
Parma, OH


I hate to say this, but Bort is absolutely right. Now that I think about it, I haven’t gotten squat from my readers this season – from the completely insane ones to the less completely insane ones.

No skin off my satchel. I’d love some good letters, but if I have to get through the season with just me and one reader, so be it. I am equipped for attrition.

If there are any Knicks fans who fell asleep on the bus and woke up in today’s column, you’re probably wondering: “Hey, when’s the part where the Cavs trow my Knicks anudder beatin’?”

It’s right here.

I could start by explaining how the Baby Bull, J.J. Hickson, will frustrate Amar'e Stoudemire for the third time this season. Or I run through Samardo Samuels’ eye-popping field goal percentage in his return to the Big Apple.

But tonight belongs to an Optimist tradition like no other. Tonight, we fear the beard.

Tonight, we witness the Cavaliers debut of the Cleveland Baron – and methinks it’ll be memorable.

FEAR THE BEARD!
You’ve heard the man speak. He’s ready for a rebirth. A revival. A resurrection.

Baron Davis has come to the Rock and Roll capital ready to do just that. He’s got haters to disprove.

Less than a month ago, Baron dished out 16 assists against the Knicks. Two nights later, he dropped 26 points on our Cavaliers. He’ll be coming off the bench on Friday night and facing a Knicks backcourt that may or may not have the services of Cavalier Killer, Chauncey Billups.

I won’t get into the administrative frippery of statistics and final scores, but I do believe that the Baron and his rock-solid counterpart, Ramon Sessions, will conspire to keep that dyspeptic look on Spike Lee’s sullen puss all night long – going wire-to-wire over the Knicks on Friday night in the Garden.

After the six-point win, the Cavaliers jawjack with the media, complete the Three S’s and re-board the Team Bus, hellbound for C-Town.

As for you, reader – if you’re like me, you can feel the seasons changing. You can feel yourself snapping from your brumal funk and eyeing the sunny future. Spring Training is underway and, like many of us, former Tribe reliever, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, is dealing with a serious bout of Indian Fever.

Bort, as Cavalier fans, you and I have gotten a little too fat and happy over the past few years. We’ve eaten a little too much birthday cake.

We’ve swallowed a lot of aggression this year. Now, we’ve got a six-week program – a real tough one – which is perfect for us.

We’re gonna walk out of this season a lean, mean, fighting machine!

And it all starts tonight.

When we next speak, college kids will have invaded Quicken Loans Arena for the MAC Tournament – a weeklong bacchanal of basketball. Personally, I can’t wait.

But until then, gird good and proper. And please remember to …

Keep the faith, Parma

Your pal,
The Optimist