The Optimist

by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor
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Good afternoon Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea! I’m an Optimist.

Today’s News … Around … The … League is so chockfull of news from around the league – (including some Cavaliers news) – that we don’t even have time for the customary celebration of August 19th, including a big, fat birthday wish for our nation’s 42nd President, Bill Clinton.

Sorry, Bubba. But we Clevelanders live in a town pulsating with sports excitement. Our Tribe is in the thick of a pennant chase and our Brownies are gearing up for the G.L.C.

And on Thursday, our beloved Cavaliers released the 2011-12 preseason schedule.

I thought I said we didn't have time for this.

The Wine and Gold open the exhibition season on October 11 against the Bucks at The Q. They face the Magic and Spurs on the road and also welcome the Hornets and Pacers to Cleveland. The barnstorming portion of the preseason schedule takes the Cavs to Cincinnati for an October 19th meeting with the Wizards and a matchup with Philly at The Schott in Columbus on October 24th.

But the biggest date of the preseason is Friday, October 21st, when the Cavaliers play their first-ever game at Canton Memorial Civic Center – home of their new D-League squad.

We are now officially behind schedule. And for you college football fans, that means we’ll have to bump the discussion of this week’s blockbuster Yahoo! Sports exposé that blew the roof off of the University of Miami’s football program.

Even casual fans of the sport suspected foul play at Ohio State and North Carolina. But Miami?!! Former Heisman Trophy winner and alum, Gino Toretta, was shocked and appalled by the allegations.

It's hard to believe that one vertically-challenged jock-sniffer could bring down an entire college football program, but there it is. Maybe former Browns coach Butch Davis can return to Coral Gables and clean the program up like he did last time.

Irregardless, I’m not going to let the behavior of some rogue student-athletes at “The U” throw the remainder of today’s News … Around … The … League off-kilter.

So let’s begin …

Quake on the Lake –There’s no shortage of bad blood between the Browns and Lions as they prepare for the eagerly-anticipated Great Lakes Classic on Friday night at the Stadium.

Play nice!!

The GLC, as it’s known, has pitted these superpowers against one another since 2002 – and the rivalry has gained steam in every preseason since. Last year, rookie phenom Ndamukong Suh roughed up Jake Delhomme at Ford Field and, just last week, he drew a $20,000 fine for a late hit against Bengals rookie, Andy Dalton.

Young Colt McCoy still has that “new quarterback smell” to him and I’d prefer Detroit’s All-Pro defensive tackle not throw him around by his head on Friday night. Last week, McCoy – who ran the lumbering “East Coast Offense” during his rookie season – looked comfortable and confident in Coach Shurmur’s new system.

I’ll be on hand for tonight’s gridiron battle and hope to see you down there.

I was at the Stadium for last week’s exhibition opener against Green Bay and I must confess, my favorite moment was walking up the ramp to my seats and hearing a kid – no older than six or seven – leading the “Here we go, Brownies, here we go!” chant. (And getting boisterous “Woof! Woof!” responses.)

It almost brought a tear to my eye, knowing full-well that such a reaction would get me punched in the throat.

Roll Tribe – After taking two of three against the White Sox this week, the Tribe finds themselves a mere 1 ½ games out of first place heading into the weekend. And they head into the weekend against the team in first place.

Granted, there’s still a long way to go. But Manny Acta has his men in the hunt – and they’ve got the Motor City Kitties directly in their sights.

It’s Josh Tomlin, David Huff and Ubaldo Jimenez for the Tribe this weekend. I don’t care who starts for Detroit. The surging Indians offense will maul whoever Jim Leyland trots out.

You know the rule, kid.

In other baseball news, we’re directly in the midst of the annual Little League World Series. It’s a tremendous yearly event that exhibits some of the greatest traits of America’s pastime.

But each year, as we try to enjoy an inning or two around the office, the games are tainted by Cavs Graphics Manager, Mark Podolak, who takes great sadistic delight in watching the younger players cry after a loss. It’s truly disgusting. Podolak seems to think that just because a ballplayer cries like a little bed-wetting sissy, it makes him less of a competitor.

That’s nonsense, Podes. And you’re a cruel man for reveling in it.

Please don’t let one of our more cold-hearted Cavalier employees bum you out headed into the weekend. Whether you’re watching the Browns beat up the Lions, the Tribe beat up the Tigers or just a bunch of Little Leaguers crying like soft, lily-livered little mama’s boys – I wish you nothing but the best.

As for the rest of you knuckaheads, please remember to have yourselves a merry little weekend.

Keep the faith, Cleveland

Sincerely yours,
The Optimist