The Optimist

October 5, 2012
by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor

Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea! It’s Friday. The Cavaliers are back in the gym. And I’m the Optimist – welcoming you high-rollers to the opulent sports smorgasbord the locals like to call “NEWS … AROUND … THE … LEAGUE.”

There is SO very, very much going on in the world of sports and beyond. We’re going to move quickly in today’s column. As quickly as the events that I’m covering will soon unfold. Please hold on to your valuables. This column is not responsible for broken or lost items. Slow-pokes will be left behind.

Because I intend to move so quickly, I’m boiling each item – Cavaliers Training Camp, Browns v. Giants, Birthdays, Current Events, etc. into two paragraphs, tops.

When I used to work at NBA Headquarters in New York, my old boss told me: Never write long paragraphs on the World Wide Web. He said readers in the “Internet age” had short attention spans and tune out if they see long, thick paragraphs.

Personally, I think my old NBA boss can shove it. I think his assessment is an insult to you meatheads’ intelligence.

arngrenSo, that’s the way it’s going to go. If you sissies can’t handle some straight girth, if it’s “too cluttered” for you, I recommend checking out some sleek, sparse, artsy-fartsy Norwegian shopping site, like this one – They’ve got everything on that site – from laser-jamers to luft-jekks.

Go ahead and shop around for a while and we’ll come back for you at the end of the column.

Those of you with the loins enough to stick around for our little experiment, gird up for a thick, rich version of News … Around … The … League.

Birthdays – By the time you read this, it could be Saturday or Sunday or even Monday. By then, these celebrity’s birthdays will be irrelevant and another crop of celebrities will be celebrating instead. That’s why we’re going to line up the following celebrities for immediate spankings: Boomtown Rat, Bob Geldof; king of comedy, Bernie Mac; Oscar-winning actress, Kate Winslet; Guinean soccer star, Bobo Balde; gridiron great, Barry Switzer; smoker, toker and midnight joker, Steve Miller. (Kate Winslet is welcome to line up for seconds.)

LarryBut easily the biggest celebrity birthday we’re celebrating today is the late, great Larry Fine – unquestionably the most underrated of the Three Stooges. If Larry – born Louis Feinberg in 1902 – didn’t act as a middle-man, periodically getting his hair ripped out by Moe, poor Curly would’ve been beaten to a bloody pulp three episodes in. Happy Birthday, Larry! The country thanks you for your sacrifice.

Current Events – I checked, and Today-in-History sucks. A lot of bad things happened on October 5 – serious bad things, like earthquakes and floods; not funny bad things, like dirigibles exploding. And besides, this week we actually have some huge LOCAL current events. You offseason readers were probably thinking: “Hey, Optimist. How come every other city in America has a black Angus cow going berserk in the middle of town or some redneck stoner crushing cop cars? How come none of that good stuff ever happens in Cleveland?!”

chickenWell this week, Northeast Ohio stepped to the plate when Brooklyn Councilwoman Colleen Coyne-Gallagher introduced an ordinance that will allow residents to own up to six chickens on a standard residential lot of 4,800 square feet. Brooklyn’s favorite son, Cavaliers Graphics Director Mark Podolak, can tell you that there are already plenty of illegal chicken coops across the city. This ordinance will make many of those coops legal, provided: there’s but one chicken per 800 sq. feet, are no coops in the front yard and that chickens only get slaughtered on the property and they’re going to be consumed by the inhabitants – not for fun or sport. The ordinance comes up for a vote on October 9.

The Boys Are Back in Town – There were, in fact, several other important developments in Cleveland this week, the most critical being the tip-off of 2012-13 Cleveland Cavaliers Training Camp. Media Day was Monday and the fellas were decked out in their sweet new home golds. After yukking it up with the media on Monday, Coach Scott inserted his wingtip into their collective behind on Tuesday morning and Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and Wednesday night. Puking was acceptable; almost encouraged.

Anderson VarejaoThere’s a tangible energy at the Cleveland Clinic Courts, friendos. You can sense the chemistry. The frontcourt is crowded, and that’s a very good thing. Guys are fighting for spots on this squad and some solid ballplayers aren’t going to make it. On Saturday night, the Kid Cavaliers get their first run on the Quicken Loans Arena floor in the annual Wine and Gold Scrimmage. On Monday, they welcome my paisans – Montepaschi Siena – with the Milwaukee Bucks rolling in one night later. We’ll see how the backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters works and a frontcourt featuring a healthy Anderson Varejao along with Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and a lithe Samardo Samuels.

It’s good to be back.

Josh CribbsNew York Minute – Yes, it’s time to talk about the 600-pound orange elf in the room. One of just two winless teams in the NFL, our beloved, beleaguered Brownies head to the Meadowlands, where they face off against Eli Manning and the World Champion New York Giants. Pat Shurmur’s Browns have been in every game this year. They just haven’t gotten that “winning” part down yet. But I have a sneaking suspicion about Sunday. The Giants always go through a midseason malaise. Brandon Weeden improves and gains confidence every week. New father, Trent Richardson, is due for another big game. And despite the lack of healthy receivers, I feel better than I usually do – meaning the Browns will have to use Josh Cribbs more in the offense. And it’s the former Golden Flash’s 33-yard touchdown catch that helps our Pumpkinheads shock the world and get off the schneid.

moneyballPlay Ball! – This weekend, after 162 excruciating regular season games, the Major League Baseball Playoffs mercifully begin. By the time you read this, either the feel-good Orioles or my man, Ron Washington’s Rangers will be out, as will either the Braves or Cardinals. And that’s what’s awesome about pro baseball: they play through three changes of season, slogging through a grueling ONE-HUNDRED-AND-SIXTY-TWO-GAME season in order to have one round decided by one game and the next round decided in five games. I’ll never understand it but I’ll try to enjoy it. And with no Tribe in the Tournament, I’ll be pulling for the Oakland A’s. I love the job Brad Pitt and that fat dude who breathes through his mouth did with a bunch of cast-offs. And I hope they win it all.

Well, what did you guys think?

Was it too tough – the long paragraphs, no coming up for air?


Like Coach Scott with his Kid Cavaliers, I’ve got to toughen you nerds up for the 82-game grind.

For those of you who just got back from –where perhaps you purchased a forbruker elektronikk or a fiskebaat – welcome back to the end of the column.

To recap: Larry Fine of the Three Stooges would’ve celebrated his 110th birthday today had he lived through Moe’s savage beatings. Chicken coops may soon be mandatory in the city of Brooklyn. The Cavaliers began Training Camp and will host the Wine and Gold Scrimmage on Saturday and Montepaschi Siena of the Euroleague on Monday. On Tuesday, the Cavs face the Milwaukee Bucks at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. The Bucks are just from the regular NBA. The Browns will win because they’ll involve Josh Cribbs in the offense and, finally, I’m cheesed off – as I am each fall – that baseball playoffs is so stupid.

Joe BidenHere endeth the lesson, knuckaheads. The Cavaliers preseason will be rolling by the time we reconvene. There will be plenty to talk about next Friday. Maybe Joltin’ Joe Biden will try to compensate for the President’s anemic performance and leap across the podium to put Paul Ryan in a full-nelson or something.

Either way, I’ll be here for you.

Go in peace and remember to treat your elders with respect, designate a driver or call a cab if you need one, always double-down on 11 and, above all …

Keep the faith, Cleveland

Peace, Love, Understanding
The Optimist