Good morning y’all, as I wait for the Emmy Awards tonight to hopefully finally (FINALLY!) give “The Americans” the recognition it deserves for its amazing run and even more amazing final season, I write to you from the beautiful Rust Belt city of Cleveland.
It’s my first time here in the land of the Browns and Indians; one of my wife’s cousins got married here on Saturday and so for 48 blissful hours, we have been without children and free to go nuts (which, since we’re old, isn’t that nuts).
I have to say, having read native Cleveland Joe Posnanski for decades about this city, and watching “Major League” a few dozen times, I always had a good impression of it.
And now that I’ve been here? It’s terrific. Granted, I’ve only been here for two days and have mostly been downtown, but I like the place. Progressive Field is beautiful, the Browns stadium, if you don’t mind 80,000 orange seats, looks terrific, and the people couldn’t be friendlier.
Some Cleveland thoughts as I prepare to leave, but certainly hope to return.
— We of course went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while here, and it’s fabulous. I’d been once before when I drove through the city about 10 years ago, but it’s gotten a whole bunch more and different stuff since then.
We spent about four hours there and could easily have doubled that. So many great pieces of memorabilia (I particularly enjoyed the Guns N’ Roses pinball machine), so many great old music clips, including a wonderful short movie highlighting Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” through the years, and so much wonderful rock history.
Couple things struck me more than others: 1, There’s a machine where you can vote/nominate for artists who are not yet in the Hall, and much to my amazement, neither Cher nor Def Leppard are in yet. Excuse me, how is this possible? And Pat Benatar isn’t in either! Who else ran with the “Shadows of the Night?” Come on Rock Hall voters, get it together.
2. Prince. Prince, Prince, Prince. There are so many examples of how amazing this performer/writer/do everything man was, but just one clip that I saw at the Hall reminded me just how transcendent he was. Check this performance out, from 2004, of Prince on stage with Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne, and Tom Petty performing the Beatles’ classic “As My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and watch how Prince just positively blows everyone else away. Amazing.
— Couldn’t count the number of Cavs 2016 championship shirts and hats I saw on people walking around downtown. Man, Cleveland fans were waiting a LONG time for a championship, and I’m guessing every single citizen bought something when it finally happened.
– OK this isn’t so much a Cleveland thing but a problem with hotels all across America. Dear hotel managers: We don’t need or want those gigantic, 14-pound pillows you have now decided every hotel must have. Nobody can sleep on those! I’m a simple man with simple needs, is it so hard to just give me a nice, small, rectangular pillow that I can rest my weary head upon? At least if you insist on giving us ones that weigh more than my children, give us at least one normal-sized one to substitute out.
I swear it’s like every hotel decided to give us these impossible pillows, and it makes me annoyed. OK, end of rant. Loved Cleveland.
** Next up today, Hurricane Florence is absolutely no laughing matter; the death and destruction it caused in the Carolinas is awful.
But I did get a pretty good chuckle out of this video of a Weather Channel anchor trying really, really hard to tel you how windy and dangerous conditions are… while 2 dudes in the background just walk by like everything’s fine.
You, sir, deserve an Oscar for that performance.
**Finally today, some thoughts on the NFL Sunday that was, including a totally predictable stinker by my New York Jets, a dominating performance by the Jags over the Patriots, and oh, those kickers…
–First, of course, we start with the Jets. The hype over their Monday night win should properly fade away now, and the realization that Sam Darnold is still a rookie and not quite ready for the Hall of Fame should set in.
The Jets played abominably Sunday, making turnovers, missing tackles, managing the clock like Herm Edwards was still coaching the team… and still had a shot to beat the Dolphins.
The kid, Darnold, still has exciting potential; he’s definitely going to be exciting to watch this year. But until they get a better running game going, and cover receivers better, they’re not going anywhere this year. Which is what we expected.
— How good are the Jaguars? I don’t know, but they whipped up on the Patriots Sunday, 31-20. I still can’t believe Blake Bortles can win a Super Bowl, but he’s looking damn good.
— Kansas City’s Pat Mahomes has 10 touchdown passes in his first two NFL starts this year. I’m no expert, but I think that’s good.
— Kickers. Kickers, damn kickers. Two of ’em cost their teams wins this week. The Browns, God bless ’em, led almost the whole game and looked poised to finally, finally win a game for the first time in two years. But their kicker, Zane Gonzalez, missed two extra points (including one that would’ve given them the lead in the final minutes) and two field goals, so of course the Browns lost.
Then in Green Bay, Vikings kicker Matt Carlson (above) missed two field goals in overtime, and for the second straight week we had a tie in the NFL, 29-29 (I think as many suggested Sunday night, the NFL ought to go to shootouts in OT to prevent ties. Or play 3-on-3.)
If either of those kickers has a job Monday night, I’ll be stunned.
— Somehow it got worse for the Bills Sunday. Not only did they get crushed again, but one of their players, defensive back Vontae Davis, retired. At halftime. During the game! Truly an unbelievable story, but check out the details here.
Poor, poor Buffalo.
— Finally, like I said I was in Cleveland Sunday and watched football at a sports bar downtown. So many Browns fans were so pumped up at every little good thing that happened for Cleveland, that it was alternately heartwarming and sad to see how little it took to make them happy.
When the game was winding down and it looked like the Browns might finally win, three TV camera crews set up shop, getting ready to film the euphoria these long-suffering fans would feel.
People streamed in from outside, as a well-publicized promotion held that when the Browns finally won, free beer would be served to everyone.
I had to leave to make my flight before the end of the game, but that beer stayed un-poured, and those TV cameras had a lot of wasted footage.
Poor Cleveland. One day, the Browns will win again.