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Those Clevelanders Sure Are Good Sports

Browns

Caitlin Johnson, a Boston native, moved to Cleveland seven months ago after a four year stint in NYC. She’s quickly learned that the Cleve is great place for sports fans.

Cleveland is a true sports town. I don’t mean to take shots at my
beloved New York City — but it’s pretty easy to be a sports enthusiast
when teams like the Yankees have more money than most third world
countries. Cleveland teams don’t have that kind of cash. Yet this
blue collar town remains true to its teams no matter how bad they are.
(In the ’80s, fans attended Indians baseball games with paper bags
over their heads to hide the shame. But hey, at least
they attended!)

Football is this town’s first love and the Browns are clearly the
favorite. So it’s particularly painful to watch the hated Pittsburgh
Steelers win the Super Bowl not once but twice in recent years. Last
season the Browns finished a disappointing 4 and 12. Nonetheless
their games consistently sell out. When they play at home, the entire
metropolitan region is awash in a sea of orange and brown. Hopes are
high for next season now that we have former Jets coach Eric “Mangenius” Mangini. And our heartthrob quarterback Brady Quinn rivals Tom
Brady when it comes to star power… well, maybe one day. If you can’t snag a seat in the stadium, go watch the Browns at Bob Golic’s Sports Bar and Grille. Bob is a legendary former Browns player
and a regular sports commentator on local television.

There’s no telling what the future holds for the Browns, but at
least we know this year’s Cavs team might be the greatest that Cleveland
basketball has ever seen. Lead by native son LeBron James, the
Cavaliers are dominating the NBA’s Eastern Conference. LeBron is
widely considered to be one of the best players of all time — right up
there with Michael Jordan. Even though he’s rumored to be a lousy tipper, he makes Clevelanders proud! If you can’t make it to Quicken Loans Arena (aka the Q), check out one of my favorite sports bars: The Map Room in the Warehouse District.

Cleveland’s baseball team — the Indians — also hold a lot of promise.
Unlike the Yankees, who are actually owned by Cleveland native George
Steinbrenner (my mom’s former camp counselor!), the Indians are a
relatively young and cheap team. They’re exciting to watch —
especially eligible bachelor/star player Grady Sizemore. Last year the
tribe disappointed C-town by not making the playoffs — but they did produce
a Cy Young winning pitcher, Cliff Lee. In 2007, however, the Indians
scared the formidable Boston Red Sox by nearly beating them in the
American League Championship Series. If you can’t get a seat in Progressive Field (still known to locals as Jacob’s Field or the Jac) or even make it to a bar Downtown, check out Johnny Malloy’s, an Ohio chain with locations both east and west of Cleveland. A real bonus is that you can get Gepetto’s Pizza there.

Well, 2009 promises to be an exciting year for Cleveland sports! I’m
definitely glad to bear “witness” as LeBron’s Nike ads say.

— Caitlin Johnson

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