July 20, 2010

Sucking Balls by the Cuyahoga, Part Deux: "Sleep Well, Cleveland"

By Robb Witmer Full  |  July 20, 2010


"This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his 'decision' unlike anything ever 'witnessed' in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment."
-Open Letter to Fans from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert
After his second week of good behavior at the Dr. Clayton Forrester Shock Therapy Institute, the author has been allowed limited contact with the outside world. His mental state is still listed as "less than stable," though he's been described by his doctors as "reasonably coherent" after his most recent marathon session of controlled electrocution.

The author's attitude has not been cooperative with what the doctors at Forrester call "the process," and his mood has been quite demanding on the staff. The hope everyone has is that he will now direct some of his built-up psychic energy and aimless rage into the letters he is now allowed to write, instead of toward the staff itself.

What follows is a letter written to Robinzon Chavez, the author's editor at America-Thrust. It was hand-written on a series of thirty-six unique post-cards, numbered 1 to 37 (with #9 missing, presumably confiscated by Forrester, or possibly lost in the mail).

Most of the post-cards were of the tourist-town variety; Mr. Chavez's favorite was for Denver, touted on the post-card as "America's Toronto!"



Chavez,

The accommodations at the Forrester are hellish as always. I've tried to explain to the help that shocking the living fuck out of me on twelve-minute intervals has not exactly been improving my condition.

If anything, my violent tendencies are more acute, more focused, more... energized, than they were before. I don't remember having the need to maim people before I came in here, but the only image in my brain anymore is of me running over Dr. Clayton Forrester with a spike-mobile, followed by the burning of his corpse in a raging hay-fire.

Well, you know how all that goes, don't you? Maybe it's not that bad here, at least not all the time. It doesn't help that they have the worst room service of anywhere I've ever stayed, and the food is roughly on par with what you could pick out of the garbage at Del Taco.

But who's complaining? This is all on the America-Thrust dime, no? It's like a vacation, except instead of sitting on a beach, letting the rays soak in, I'm receiving massive doses of electricity and beginning to question my personhood.

My access to the news, or pretty much anything else in the Outside World, has been severely limited. Dr. F theorizes that any contact I have with a newspaper would send me into a vein-popping fury. I can't disagree.

All television is strictly Off-Limits. Even the requested Saved By The Bell reruns were denied. The official explanation is that the electronic signals could interfere with the delicate Shock Therapy Experience... My guess is that Dr. F has a Screech Complex, or some unresolved issues regarding the wardrobe of one Albert Clifford Slater.

The only news story I've been allowed access to is the LeBron James debacle. Every morning, the nurses carefully clip out any LeBron-related story from The USA Today, and gather any pertinent Espn.com print-outs.

Just from those two sources alone I've filled up three five-inch expanding folders of clippings and compiled a full spiral-notebook of jottings and rants. I can't imagine television was any better, with [...]

[ postcard missing ]

[...] or the grip of lunacy that has taken hold of the major sports owners in Cleveland. Randy Lerner went around the bend years ago, largely through no fault of his own, given the pure skull-fuckery of a typical Browns season.

LeBron was the only thing keeping the Cavaliers relevant. Before him, the Cavs were best known for the manner in which they lost to Michael Jordan's Bulls.
"The good news is that the ownership team [...] here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you." [sic]
If he ever wants to get his life back, Gilbert will have to accept the fact that LeBron has already given more to the Cavaliers franchise and the city of Cleveland than either is capable of repaying on any level.
"...this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our 'motivation' to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels."
The use of unnecessary quote-marks is well-known in the Drug Culture as a sure sign of Brain Syphilis, or another similar neurological infection, and Gilbert employs them in spades.

He's probably only in the early stages, but soon he'll be in the same sad boat as Lerner, waiting for the statues outside the stadium to tell him what to do. No small wonder then, that LeBron had zero interest in getting initiated into the Upper Escalon of Cleveland Sports; all the available evidence points to it being curtains for your sanity.

Before long, I'm sure, the story will break of Mike Holmgren's tastes for underage Indonesian hookers and endangered-animal cuisine, but for now we'll have to settle for the late-night, drunken ramblings of Gilbert.

Which are fun, no?
"Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there."
What the fuck? Do you have any idea what he's getting at here, Chavez? This whole thing is at about the maturity level of a ninth-grade break-up, or maybe a night out with you, trolling Pirate's Paradise for cheap drugs and free margaritas.
"The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma."
You would think Cleveland would be used to being shit on by now. Art Modell, John Elway, Jordan... Hell, even Tommy Maddox got a few jabs in.

No one outside of Gilbert's internal monologue could possibly have thought that LeBron was going to stay in Cleveland. This is the NBA; You're not even in the discussion of The Greatest until you have at least four or five rings, and it's not conceivable for that to happen in Cleveland, except for maybe serious users of Voacangine, of which James is not.

If LeBron ends his career with no championships, he's the Dominique Wilkins of the Reality TV Era, a Super-Superstar, but not Great. Even one trophy would only rise him to the ranks of the NBA's Peyton Manning.

Real Sports Fans don't care about stats, ability or potential; Even the number of championships isn't that important. To be Great, you must do Great Things. It's an easy formula, and a single Super Bowl win over the Grossman Bears  or a boring seven-game series over, say, the Suns  isn't going to cut it.

The odds against something Great happening in Cleveland are off the charts. LeBron might be a Gambler, but no one is in a position to take that kind of risk.
"Sleep well, Cleveland."

Robb Witmer Full thinks that America probably has a few Torontos.
@robbwitmer

July 9, 2010

'010 Big East Football Preview Spectacular

By Robinzon Chavez  |  July 9, 2010


PIRATE'S PARADISE, FL -- That old scag Witmer has found himself in the Shock House once again, giving me a little breathing room here.

Jesus, if you had any idea what the scene was really like at America-Thrust headquarters with him around, you would understand why we can only publish a few thousand words a year.

His latest Gambling Tirade began with a successful bet on the World Cup "draw" between the U.S. and England in June. Like all good Tirades, it started out on a high note, and like all great Tirades, ended on a foul one.

The Good Times came to a screeching halt when Witmer fell into what many of us Serious Gamblers call "Ripper's Trap." When you've lost a few bets in a row, but are still up -- say -- and now you have to get your stack going back in the right direction...

You start to think, I can't keep losing every time. It's mathematically impossible; I have to win at some point in time...

Then you lose a bit more and now you're way down. You start to bet massive sums of money because by using this strategy you Can't Lose.

Theoretically, if you double your bet every time, you will inevitably win, even by accident -- yes -- and then you will have made all the money back that you lost.

If you're one of the sorry bastards who has fallen into Ripper's Trap, then you are already on a bad streak, and now you're begging for more of the same; you're making $1000 bets in the hopes of putting yourself $50 in the black.

You're chasing Break Even. What kind of hunt is that? It's a losing strategy any way you slice or dice it.

The last straw for Witmer was an emotional Over/Under bet in a Brewers/Cardinals game, resulting in seven shattered pint glasses at a low-key pub, two broken ribs (his own), a life-time banishment from said pub, and a serious hit to his bank-roll.

Luckily, he is once again under the dedicated care of the Dr. Clayton Forrester Shock Therapy Institute. The stay is expected to be much longer than the last few, and the staff there will make the call whether or not he needs to go to the LePetomane Hospital for the Gamblingly Insane after his stay at Forrester.

There's a chance Witmer may well get out in time for the start of football season and be back to taking any bet against Pitt that he can get, but the chances of him being on a furious enough work schedule to put together a serious look into the Big East's upcoming season aren't at odds even he would take.

Enough already with all that shit. Whatever Witmer's circumstances end up being, right now I am using the opportunity to spend time away from the HQ, get some real work done for a change, and get ready for another College Football season.

This off-season the Big East again came close to getting its Death Warrant signed, by BCS money in the form of Big Ten/Pac 10 shenanigans.

It's a sentence that still may be meted out, but really, who besides Jim Boeheim would care? The programs that matter will find a home somewhere, and the ones that matter less will end up in a Conference-USA or some such shit, where about half the Big East belongs anyway.

For now, the Big East is a BCS Conference, a Major Player, King Shit of Fuck Mountain (or at least ON Fuck Mountain), and a Big-Time Bowl Game is on the line. The likes of Syracuse and Louisville will be going for the gold, same as the rest.

In this conference it's best to start at the bottom. Just more comfortable down there; it feels like Real Big East Football.

Starting at the bottom of course leads us to SYRACUSE. This scrappy bunch was able cobble together four wins last year, including a merciless display of shit-kickery in the form of their only conference win, a 31-13 drubbing of Rutgers.

Can these rascals whip up a few more wins this year? How about score some damn points?

The Orange offense last year looked like it was being run by Rich Rodrigez with a blind squirrel stuffed into his pants. Word is that this year they're going to have a football player as a quarterback instead of a basketball player, but that is unconfirmed.

The Over could be undervalued here if their offense starts to click at all, or if their defense lives down to my expectations... Look into it early in the season, and if it pays off, ride that shit as long as it lasts.

In LOUISVILLE, there's a new coach in town, and he can do almost anything -- or practically nothing at all -- and it would be a cosmic improvement over the Kragthorpe Era.

So long as the new guy doesn't attempt to pull off a completely obvious sabotage-job on the Football Program, the entire Athletic Department and quite possibly the whole damn University, then he will be given a few years to turn this ship around...

Which he probably won't because there's no reason for Louisville to be any good in the first place. This team is C-USA all the way.

In SOUTH FLORIDA, the best thing that ever happened to the program was when Jim Leavitt physically assaulted a player, meaning they finally found their excuse to shit-can him.

One of the worst coaches in conference history, he was supposedly untouchable because he "built the program from scratch," or as I like to say, "he was their first shitty coach."

The assumption now goes that Skip Holtz will choose players based on their ability to play football instead of Combine stats, SAT scores, Social Security numbers, or whatever the hell it was that Leavitt was doing.

I expect a few underdog wins out of the Bulls this year. I also expect Leavitt to be spotted outside Raymond James Stadium wearing an anti-University sandwich-board sign and only an anti-University sandwich-board sign. Well, maybe a two-sided dildo, but do you really wear one of those?

As for CONNECTICUT, forget it. They have been consistently the most erratic and un-handicap-able team in the country for years now. Stay the hell away from this team.

If Greg Schiano ever gets another chance to leave RUTGERS, he would be wise to do so, methinks. The '06 season is about as good as it's ever going to get at New Jersey State, and who in their right mind would want a second-place Big East finish to be what's at the top of their mountain?

But fuck it, they could win the league if a few things bounce their way. So could most of these teams; the whole league is capable of blowing a game late, or giving away what should be an easy win, meaning someone will get a lot of wins they don't deserve...

WEST VIRGINIA has the X-iest X-Factor in the league: Bill "What Just Happened?" Stewart. Opponents never know what to expect next from Old Bill, and frankly, neither does Old Bill. Everything is a surprise!

He's finally given up his role in coaching the special teams, which to me is the most interesting aspect of this team from a Gambler's Perspective. Go Under unless Noel Divine starts going full-on Barry Sanders, and maybe even then...

What to do with PITT? Last year was so close to being a season worth a damn, but that was with their offensive line playing as well as they have or ever will again under Yinzstachio.

Without that line play, they probably can't get that close again, and will be overvalued over and over again because every asshole on ESPN thinks Dion Lewis can walk on water and heal the sick.

Which is exactly what Brian Kelly is expected to do at Notre Dame after leaving CINCINNATI at the perfect time (I'm looking in your direction, Schiano). Like with both Rutgers and Louisville in '06, it's hard to imagine things ever being as good for Cincinnati as they were last year.

Maybe they'll be okay, but who cares? What business does this C-USA team have being in this conversation? ...Ah, relax. It's over.

Goddamn, is that actually it? Only eight teams? But I've still got half a fifth of Sailor Jerry sitting next to me.

Oh, well. At least I can drink it in peace tonight instead of getting mixed up in another knife-fight with Witmer. To hear him tell it, he doesn't even like rum, but that doesn't mean he won't cut your throat for anything more than a swig and a half.

If the fine folks at the Forrester Institute have any sense, they will keep him locked up there for a good, long time.

Strike that; if they had any sense at all they would send the bastard along to the next sad-sack willing to take him off their hands... Good luck with that, jerk-asses!


Robinzon Chavez, in his weaker moments, feels sorry for the Big East.
@robbwitmer