The Optimist

by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor
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Shalom, strapping sons and sexy daughters of the Cuyahoga. I am an Optimist – by both nature and trade. Now let’s begin …

Just think: 40 years ago today – down in Columbus, Ohio – a tiny, itsy-bitsy baby Mike Brown came into this world, with a wooden little head filled with defensive principles that he, himself, couldn’t even understand yet.

Who could have known that that little pamper-pooping rascal would go on to be the most successful coach in the history of a franchise born that very same year?

Happy XLth, Coach Brown! You are Extra-Large.

He takes a lot of guff, Mike Brown does. I get a lecture on how little he knows about basketball every Sunday at family dinner. And I only hope that I handle the brow-beatings with half as much grace and aplomb as the reigning Coach of the Year.

All that Mike Brown does is win. The Big Enchilada awaits.

If Mike Brown is my favorite head coach in the NBA, than Coach John Kuester of the Pistons is a close second. “Coach Q” is simply the World’s Nicest Man in the World. And I wish there was a way I could predict the Wine and Gold winning this game by ½ a point. I wish.

In his first year at the Pistons’ helm, Detroit is 21-40 and out of the playoff picture. Our Cavaliers, on the other hand, lead the league at 48-14. The Birthday Boy is looking for six straight and win No. 260.

But I can tell you that neither man cares a lick about “numbers.” Nor does the Cavaliers’ undisputed leader, TheBron – (and he owns, or is about to own, every record in franchise history). If piling up big numbers happens in the context of his game, so be it, as long as Cleveland comes out on top in the end.

In fact, the only Cavaliers player that I can think of who’s focused hard on records, it’s reserve forward Anderson Varejao.

The Wild Thing (pictured, right) doesn’t care about scoring or rebounding numbers. Those stats are for sissies.

What Anderson cares about is the Guinness Book of World’s Records®, and specifically, the monumental Snuggie™-wearing mark that 20,562 Cavalier fans are about to set on Friday night at The Q.

Guinness Adjudicator Danny Girton will be on hand to certify the new record, so please be patient (and polite) while he does a head-count.

Any loser can break individual records like Cy Young’s 749 complete games, Johnny Unitas’ 47-game touchdown streak and, of course, several marks Wilt Chamberlain set, both on the court and in the community.

But it takes real teamwork to get in the World Record Books as a unit. I just hope you fans have more esprit de corps than our pencil-necked friend from Parma …


Am I to understand that when I get to my seat for Friday’s game against the Pistons, I’m expected to don some sort of fleece pancho in an attempt to set a World Record?

Here’s my question: Will Joe Tait be wearing one? If Joe Tait wears his Snuggie™, I’ll wear mine. If he eats a DiGiorno’s pizza, I’ll eat a DiGiorno’s pizza. You dig?

If Joe Tait doesn’t wear the Snuggie™, I hope 20,521 breaks the record.

Bort Stein, Sr. Esq.
Parma, OH

Bort, you’ve been a hard-liner in 2010. I actually kinda like it.

But here’s the thing: Joe Tait can’t wear the fleece because he’s more or less “media” – like Brian Windhorst or to a much, much, much lesser extent,’s Joe Gabriele. He really can’t wear the Snuggie™ during the game.

But I’ll bet dollars-to-donuts that on this very night, the Taiter is swathed in fleece splendor on the sofa – with his lovely wife Jean popping grapes in his mouth like he’s some sort of Roman plutocrat.

So you wear that Snuggie™, Bort. And you’ll watch the Wine and Gold demolish their third straight opponent in toasty comfort.

Remember how bad the Knicks stunk on Monday night? Well they beat the Pistons by 24 two nights later. That ain’t good for Detroit, and when TheBron scores 27 first-half points on his former nemeses, it just gets worse.


The only drama in the second half occurs when Jason Maxiell grabs Varejao by his Huggie on a layup attempt, sending Anderson earthward. The Wild Thing dusts himself off and sinks a pair.

This awakes a sleeping giant and the Cavaliers pour it on down the stretch. By the time Coach Brown pulls his starters, Cleveland is up 22 and TheBron is busting several moves.

The Wine and Gold coast to their sixth straight win 112-91 – sending the Pistons to their sixth straight loss.

After the victory, the Good Guys board the Team Bus headed for the Good Land, Mil-ee-wah-que for a Saturday night battle with the surging Bucks. There's still an empty seat where the Large Lithuanian used to sit. Only one man can fill it.

As for you bucketheads, a little celebration after the ballgame is in order, but don’t go all John Daly on me. Keep some of that powder dry for tomorrow night.

That’s all for today. You know what you have to do.

Choose faith, Parma

One love,
The Optimist