Cleveland

Cleveland stuck in shadow of Pittsburgh while on brink of title

Sports fans in Cleveland will settle for a championship any way they can get it.

Even if it comes by way of the city’s NBA team as opposed to their beloved NFL Browns.

Even if it comes via the help of the greatest player in the world, who several years back went on national television and publicly embarrassed the region when he took his ball and won titles elsewhere.

But again, make no mistake, you take the sweet taste of success any way you can get it.

That’s what happens when you’ve gone 146 major sports seasons without a title. The last of which came on Dec. 27, 1964 when the Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts for the NFL championship.

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Geauga Lake is a wasteland

Being nostalgic is my worst trait as a human being. And I’m still trying to come to grips with that reality.

So today we take a trip down memory lane, to a land so desecrated and abandoned that its current state is fascinating only for what it once was.

I made a handful of trips to Geauga Lake in northeast Ohio as a kid numerous times in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Wave and water slides are what still stands out to me most. But it appears those good times were expendable as they no longer stand at all.

In 2007 the doors to what remained of Geauga Lake closed forever. Check out this video from DiJi Aerial Media to experience what it looks like today.

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Beastie Boys live in Glasgow, Scotland

You really missed out if you never experienced the Beastie Boys live in concert.

I saw them twice back in the 1990s, first on May 17, 1995 during the Ill Communication tour and again on August 14, 1998 in support of Hello Nasty. Two times seems far too few now that I think about it.

But I’ll never forget the shenanigans shared on the way to and from the Convocation Center in Cleveland, Ohio each trip. Remind me to tell you all about it the next time we see each other.

Until then, relive the Glasgow, Scotland show from 1999 featuring Ad-Rock, MCA, Mike D and Mix Master Mike. I just did, and it was pretty damn great.

Cleveland Indians shortstop Jay Bell & MLB’s rookie one-swing wonders

Imagine waiting three years for your one big opportunity. Then imagine knocking it out of the park on the very first pitch.

Jay Bell on 1988 Topps card #637

Jay Bell on 1988 Topps card #637

That’s how the first Major League Baseball swing played out for Cleveland Indians shortstop Jay Bell in 1986 when he connected for a homer off Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven in his first trip to the big league plate.

It turns out that after being called up from the instructional league in September of that year Bell got some solid advice from future Indians manager Mike Hargrove, who advised the struggling hitter on the way to the airport to swing at the first pitch he sees as it would likely be a fastball.

The irony was likely not lost on the baseball fans in attendance that day.

After being taken with the No. 8 overall pick out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 1984 Bell was part of a minor league package shipped to Cleveland in exchange for Blyleven.

Cleveland also received pitcher Curt Wardle and outfielder Jim Weaver up front in the deal, and later pitcher Rich Yett. The man affectionately known as the Frying Dutchman would go on to help the Twins win a championship in 1987 just as Bell’s career was getting started.

Can you imagine how rare it must be to hit a major league home run off of the first pitch hurled your way?

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Carnahan Coverage: Linebacker Withney Simon still awaiting first scholarship offer

ORLANDO, Fla. – He’s done all that’s been asked of him yet Orlando Jones High School’s Withney Simon, the No. 2-rated linebacker in Central Florida, is unsure of his football future.

I caught up with Simon following the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl earlier this month at the Florida Citrus Bowl and asked him about his college options. He said that although he’s got the grades to qualify for football at the next level, he’s a bit surprised at how little interest he’s garnered from college programs.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s feature on Withney Simon for Orlando Sentinel – )

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Arena Football League is Dead to Me

Congrats goes out to the Arizona Rattlers for wrapping up an ArenaBowl three-peat on Saturday while simultaneously crushing the hearts of 18,404 rabid, title-hungry sports fans in Cleveland. In the first ArenaBowl I ever paid attention to (while at a laundromat in 2002, of all places) the Rattlers were badly beaten 52-14 by the rival San Jose SaberCats.

On Saturday, Arizona ravaged the Gladiators to the tune of 72-32 to claim their third ArenaBowl title in a row. It’s the fourth consecutive appearance in the ArenaBowl for the Rattlers since the AFL relaunched in 2010.

It’s partially why I’m pleading for someone (anyone!) to please save the Arena Football League.

Never mind the constant chatter alleging the abuse of the paltry salary structure by teams with kickbacks to players, or that an owner once told me he’d fix games so home teams won every time if he could. Forget about all of that, I’m just concerned with two particular tweaks that would help make the league feel a little more legit again.

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Carnahan Coverage: LeBron James Doesn’t Need Another Title to Appease Cavs Fans

When LeBron James decided to take his talents back to Cleveland, Ohio it was a win-win for both the NBA all-star forward and Cavs fans throughout the world, or at least in the midwest. I tried to explain this on the debut of my radio show on July 12 (listen here) and have done so again in writing for Orlando Sports Mag earlier this month. Below is the full story that can be found on page five of Orlando Sports Mag. A story about the Orlando City Soccer Club and their fans also appears in the issue on page 28.

If you’ve ever moved away from home you know how hard it is to move back.

Even the most nostalgic of us knows this to be true. Each day away from the nest drives us further from the people we once were and ever closer to the possibilities of new adventures in the future.

Of course a salary of $42.1-million over two years could make anyone reconsider, such as is the case of NBA all-star forward LeBron James, who decided in July to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four successful years with the Miami Heat.

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: How Tom Chambers Changed the Course of NBA Free Agency

The hysteria that’s become free agency in the NBA has been at an all-time high in recent years. So much so that it’s hard to imagine a time when players moving from team to team was such a foreign concept.

But thanks to one particular player, who thoroughly explored his options in the late 1980s, players today are able to call their own shots when it comes to employment opportunities within the league much in the same manner as those in the working class, albeit with much better compensation.

During the summer of 1988 Tom Chambers became the first NBA player to leave one franchise for another, on his own terms, when he went from the Seattle SuperSonics to the Phoenix Suns. Sam Gardner wrote about how Chambers paved the way for free agency in the NBA as we know it today and he joined me on AM 740 The Game to talk about it Saturday morning.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. talk to Sam Gardner about Tom Chambers’ impact on free agency – )