Being the self-fulfilling, defeatist, woe-is-us-let’s-all-eat-worms-and-die kind of town we are, we will eagerly take The Sweep and (with moist eyes) clasp it to our breast and hold on to it for dear life — just like we cling to Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot and The Choke — the latter being Jose Mesa’s swallow-the-Golden Delicious moment in the ’97 World Series.
Gag me with a spoon already.
If someone had told us back in December that the Cavaliers would not only be in the playoffs, but would ...
A.) win four straight against the hated Pistons after being down 2-love to win the Eastern Conference championship and
B.) play in the NBA Finals and ...
C.) light a fire under this ol’ burg the likes of which we ain’t seen since the 1948 Indians won the world championship … well, we woulda taken it. And so would have the Cavaliers.
“But … but … four straight?” whines the guy who became a fan in May.
Yeah. Even that.
Woulda been nice to grab one game. Woulda been one to grow on — like the last gentle spank at a kid’s birthday party. Coulda maybe won Game 3 here. Shoulda won it.
Coulda, wooda, shoulda.
Look, we have enough badges, thank you very much. We like to pin these badges of self-pity on ourselves every chance we get: Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Choke.
Don’t have to show you no stinkin’ badge for the sweep. And keep that in the lower case, please. “The Sweep,” my (bleep).
We got to the finals, you and I did, and the Cavaliers came out second best to the Best Damn Team in the world — a team with the likes of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Robert Horry and Bruce Bowen, who played Spider-Man to LeBron James’ Superman.
See that red No. 23 jersey hanging up there atop the Terminal Tower? Look closely and you’ll see Bowen up there, too, his sticky web fingers clinging to LeBron’s jersey.
We put on a show, though, didn’t we? We had those Jumbotron affairs at The Q — a city’s lovefest for their Cavaliers — through all the road games in Detroit and San Antonio. Was something special. You had to be there, though. And you shoulda made it at least once.
The Spurs came to town and suddenly the sidewalks didn’t get rolled up when the sun went down. Hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants buzzed. Live people were discovered walking on our streets after dark.
We were a happening place. We had glitter. We had Jim Brown and Tom Brady and Terrence Howard and Terrell Owens and Bill Walton and his jaw, and Usher and, of course, L’il Eva — Tony Parker’s perpetual stalker. When we last saw Miss Longoria, she was leaping into Parker’s arms at midcourt.
It was the only thing that stopped Parker in his tracks the entire series.
So what we’ll do, you and I, is just put this one up there on the shelf with Cleveland’s other shining moments — the ’54 pennant, getting to the World Series against the Atlanta Braves in ’95, the ’64 NFL champion Browns, the ’50 Browns, the Bernie Kosar years, the Price-Daugherty-Nance teams, the Miracle of Richfield. You get the idea.
I mean, where was the surprise, really, that the Cavs lost in the Finals to the Western Conference champion? The top three teams in the NBA this season were all in the West — Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio. Detroit was fourth best overall and Cleveland fifth.
Was a nice run. We had ourselves a time, didn’t we? The wind was at our back the whole time. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Four and done? So what? Catch you next time.
And so begins the offseason of Danny Ferry, who — the moment the clock ran out on this bit of historical inevitability — became the Most Important Man in town.
What will Danny the GM do? Who will he trade? Who will he sign as a free agent?
Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of Damon Jones (a.k.a. The Damon Seed) and Donyell (“Tryin’ One”) Marshall and Larry (Brittlebone) Hughes.
The Cavs need a point guard. (Duh.) And a guy like the Spurs’ Brent Berry, who can come off the bench and rain threes from downtown. A Ginobili would be better, but, hey, a GM can only do so much. Don’t forget, Boobie will be a year older, a year better and settled in as the Two Guard.
The other bit of off-season business has to do with LeBron shoring up the two chinks in his game: the mid-range jumper and his foul shooting. (Memo to LeBron: Take the bowling alley out of your fancy new crib and put in a hoop.)
Here and there
The one thing that was sorely lacking from this NBA Finals was the presence of either Hubie Brown or Marv Albert behind the mic. Hardly seems like an NBA game without one or both of them there, although Mark Jackson was a witty analyst at times. That Breen guy and the vain Van Gundy brought absolutely nothing to the table. Still, we could count our blessings: At least we didn’t get “Marbles” Walton.
*The four best signs spied this past week were “Rise Up” … “We Are Witnesses” …”The Future Mrs. Shasta Pavlovic” … and “Rot, Paris, Rot.”
* Why is it that Eric Snow and LeBron James always seem to have more to say in the huddle than the coach? And when Mike Brown does hold forth — in the locker room at halftime — how come the third quarter is always the Cavs’ worse quarter? Just wondering.
*For the life of me, I can’t remember who or what the Indians got for Jeremy Guthrie, who’s turned into a very effective (albeit hard-luck) pitcher with the Orioles.
(bullet) A huge tip of the cap to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson for his plan of not only resurrecting historic old League Park, but the vision to see inner-city kids playing ball on it as opposed to just having a bloodless memorial site.
*The Silver Surfer??? Puh-leeeze!
Contact Doug Clarke at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.