While you enjoy your turkey (or whatever tradition you have), here are a few thoughts on what I am thankful for this year as a Cleveland Sports Fanatic.
1. Lebron Coming Home
Obviously the story of the summer, LeBron coming back to the Cavs makes them relevant again. He also lifts the region in so many ways that are well documented and don’t need to be spoken of here. Watching our team and expecting them to win again is something definitely to be thankful for.
- A Browns coach that gets us
Since Mike Pettine took over as the head coach of the Browns he has begun to change the culture of our football team. He has the team at 7-4 and no one will ever know how much difference the press conference after the first Steeler game made. Instead of praising a moral victory he clearly stated that losing was not acceptable. This set the tone for the Brown’s season. The team has had ups and downs but is “in the hunt” for the first time in a long time.
3. Terry Francona
Terry since he has been the Indians manager has pushed the talent that he has been given and has gotten more out of them than any other manager could. He has done it with class, humility and humor. If the players on our team can step up and perform at their career average levels the team has tremendous potential.
- Ping Pong balls
Cleveland fans should petition to make ping pong the state sport after the plastic orbs fell correctly to give the Cavs the #1 pick this summer. Obviously the Cavs parlayed that into Kevin Love, who as he finds his way with his new team, will become a key cog for the Cavaliers championship machine.
- The National Media’s Love Affair with Johnny Manziel
Cleveland fans should be thankful for several reasons. It gave the Browns some preseason love in a disappointing Indians summer (except every 5th day when CY Kluber pitched.) He made Brian Hoyer come in more prepared (even though it didn’t look like it in the preseason.) Also, he has made #BrownsTwitter much more interesting during Browns games when Hoyer has struggled. We all wait to see what he will do on the field, but he sure has spiced up all Cleveland Browns discussions.
- Corey Kluber
The Cy Young award winner was fun to watch all summer and made every 5th day of the baseball season must see television. We were able to have fun with his lack of outward emotion and his stoic facial expressions. Who would ever forget the sunflower seed shower? If I make this a yearly post I should be able to write this one in until 2018.
7. Kyrie Irving Learning How to Play
It kind of started when he became the MVP of the NBA All Star Game and has become much clearer as this summer evolved. His play on the USA team began to unlock his full potential defensively and allow him to more effectively pick his spots on offense. It seems that has carried over to this season. Good for us!!!!! He is only 22!
8. Michael Brantley
He was an inspiration this year to all Indian fans as he took on the challenge of simply being the best player on the field for the Tribe. As he drove toward a near AL MVP season, he remained calm and cool under pressure. Very rare for a young player who had just signed a huge contract extension.
9. Kevin Love
Although not showing how dominant he can be quite yet, it was refreshing to see another NBA star coming to Cleveland. He gave no indication that he intended to leave after this year and he gives the Cavs one third of a nucleus that may be unmatched.
10. David Griffin
No one gives him any credit for putting the Cavaliers together because LeBron came home. And, to a degree, that is true. But in the early hours of free agency, he was able to ink Kyrie to a long term contract that set the tone for the entire off-season. His ability to persuade Shawn Marion to take far less to play for Cleveland also cannot be minimized. Yes, LeBron had a strong hand in all of this but Griffin and Blatt had plotted the course long before LeBron actually signed.
This is my top 10, but I am sure you have your own. Feel free to leave your comments on what you are thankful for in Cleveland Sports.