What We’re Thankful For…

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We have a tradition here at WFNY. Each Thanksgiving we take the time to reflect on what has been and what will be and give thanks. This is the fifth edition of What We’re Thankful For. I went back and read the last four. It’s amazing how quick the time rolls by.

Rick- I have so much to be thankful for. It has been a long year, with many changes for me personally. I am thankful that I am now closer to the teams I love. I’m thankful that my wife loves and trusts me enough to follow me to this strange new planet Cleveland. As always, I am thankful that she understands that WFNY is part of who I am and have to be. Thanks Kelly.

More than ever I am thankful for the crew we have assembled. I’m thankful for the guys who have been with us for years and are so reliable- like Mark Price at the free throw line. I’m thankful for the new life that is breathed into the group when someone new begins. It’s exciting to see where your lives are going.

I want to thank our partners new and old. You help support the site and it wouldn’t be what it is today without you. Thank you.

Thank you to our readers. I am astounded when I meet someone at church or just at the grocery store that reads the site whether every day or just on occasion. You make it worth writing when I am tired or depressed from a loss.

I’m thankful for the teams we cover. It isn’t always what we want it to be. Ok, it is hardly ever what we want it to be. But hey, there’s always next year. We’ll be waiting.

Andrew- I’ll begin with this site. I’m thankful first and foremost for the our readers, especially those who engage us in our comments section. It’s satisfying knowing that we have been able to build a community where we can discuss Cleveland sports in a civil manner but can still challenge the way I view sports every day. So thank you to all of you guys who take the time out of your day to read anything we write.

I’m thankful for the new blood writing for this site. I’m thankful to have Dave covering OSU football for us and I’m excited to have Ryan as part of the weekend crew. In fact, I’m thankful for the weekend crew period. Kirk, Ben, Jacob, and Ryan have the thankless task of actually setting aside a weekend every month to donate their time and talent writing for this site, all for numbers that don’t reach what we do during the week. Well, it’s not thankless today, but I want to give those guys a genuine thanks for all the hard work they put in here.

I’m thankful that we have TD and Jon covering the Indians. We have a dreadful ownership team, a failing front office, and just a lifeless team in general. And yet TD and Jon pour their passion, wit, humor, and genuine talent into writing about the team. I can’t imagine an Indians season without TD and Jon, and I don’t to try to.

I’m thankful for Craig and everything he does for this site. People may not realize how hard Craig works for this site and all the things he does behind the scenes to make this site better. Whether it be researching some aspect of social media or single-handedly taking on the task of figuring out how to get our podcasts up and running, he’s always there to lend a hand when it’s needed. And then on top of that, he covers the Browns, sometimes takes abuse from readers for daring to preach patience, and yet he never loses his passion for doing this. It’s inspiring, and I’m thankful he’s on the team.

Finally, I’m thankful for my fellow founders of this site, Rick and Scott. It’s incredible that this is the 5th edition we’ve done of this. I still enjoy thinking back to when we first formed this partnership and realizing how far this site has come. We started as an idea for a simple website, and we’ve grown into a community. I couldn’t ask for better partners and I’m thankful just to be a part of this.

I’ll end by just saying I’m thankful for Cleveland sports hope. No matter how far down we get, we always hang on to hope. Jimmy Haslam gives hope to the Browns, Terry Francona gives hope to the Indians, and Kyrie Irving gives hope to the Cavaliers. It may be unrealized hope, but it’s hope nevertheless. And as long as you have hope, you have a chance.

Scott- As I say every year in these posts — it’s really been five years?? — I continue to be ever-grateful for the readers, followers, listeners and tipsters, those who are new and those who have been with us since Day One, and everyone else in between. While this writing venture can be relatively cathartic as a standalone, having countless like-minded and like-burdened individuals valuing what we have to say on any given topic, and then taking the time to interact with the professional manners in which you do, is something that I honestly could have never imagined when the site first opened its doors for business. Countless independent sites have come and gone since January of 2008. Because of you all, WFNY is very alive and very well.

I’m thankful for being affiliated with the most dedicated group of writers that the Cleveland sports scene has to offer. I can’t say enough about our weekend crew in Jacob, Ben, Kirk and Brendan; Jon and TD somehow manage to dig deep into their fan souls and turn a landfill into poetry over the course of 162 games every summer; Craig’s Browns coverage and addition of the Podcast have been nothing short of fantastic. I’m thankful to have added two solid voices in Dave and Ryan. And I continue to be forever indebted to Rick and Andrew who, going on five years ago, decided that the three of us could make a difference in the Cleveland sports community. Even the most functioning of crystal balls couldn’t have projected what WFNY would eventually become, but it would not have happened if it were not for those two men.

I’m thankful for all of our partners who continue to spread the good word of WFNY. To GVArtwork, YardBarker, SportsFanLive and TiqIQ for their on-line work; to 92.3 The Fan, KNR2, WKYC, The Alan Cox Show, TJ Zuppe, Les Levine, SportsTime Ohio for the various amounts of airtime despite my alleged midwestern/lakefront accent; to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ and Cleveland Indians’ communications areas for their hard work and continued understanding of the added value which WFNY brings to the table each and every day. You’ll figure it out soon, Berea — I have faith.

For Kyrie Irving, Joe Haden, Josh Cribbs, Joe Thomas, Urban Meyer, D’Qwell Jackson, Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters, Jason Kipnis, Chris Perez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Vinnie Pestano, Josh Gordon, and Trent Richardson for the copious amounts of feel-good narrative. For Dan Gilbert and — thankfully! — Jimmy Haslam III for bringing energetic and passionate ownership to Cleveland. For Byron Scott and Terry Francona for the hope they bring to the table. For Tom Hamilton, Firestone Country Club, the Akron Aeros — all precious gems in their very own way. For this site, for having afforded me experiences and interactions which I would have never envisioned possible. And last, but certainly not least, my ever-supportive group of friends, my loving family, and the two very important girls in my life. None of this would be possible without you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Craig- First and most importantly, I am thankful for two healthy children and a wife that entertains my various hobbies that put additional burden and responsibility on her. She is the best enabler that a husband could ever ask for. I am thankful to all the people who I’ve come to know from being a part of WFNY, especially those who make a positive impact on my life even from virtual places like Twitter and Facebook. I take all this stuff so very seriously and it’s nice to know at a moment’s notice that I’m not alone.

On the lighter side I’m thankful for good 3D movies, Spotify, and my home recording equipment that lets me do the podcast. I’m thankful for my two annoyingly cheerful labs who don’t try to eat my children even if they knock them down with wagging tails. I’m thankful for the NFL draft, spring training storylines and opening night Cavaliers victories that give me at least a little sports excitement when CLE teams otherwise stink. Finally I’m thankful for Urban Meyer assuming the Buckeyes win this weekend. If they lose their second straight? Well, we’ll see.

TD- Its easy for me to be Thankful for the things I have in my life. What’s not so easy to to say what I am most thankful for in the world of Cleveland sports. These are trying times, but I will give it a shot.

I am thankful that Randy Lerner finally did the right thing and sold the Browns to Jimmy Haslam. I am even more thankful that within two months, Haslam has illustrated to us all that he means business and will have his hands all over this organization. I am thankful that Haslam has a hand-picked team President that is not named Mike Holmgren. I will soon be thankful for Haslam and Joe Banner’s impending move of firing in over his head Pat Shurmur as head coach. On the field, I couldn’t be more thankful to be watching the greatness of RB Trent Richardson, the determination of D’Qwell Jackson, the stellar effort of Ahtyba Rubin, the professionalism of Joe Thomas and Alex Mack, and the pure domination of the kicking position from Phil Dawson.

I am thankful for the coup hire of Terry Francona as the Indians new manager. I am thankful that the Indians, despite having a bleak outlook, have plenty of trade chips to rebuild the upper levels of their system. I am thankful for the effort and quality of Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis in 2012. I am thankful that Carlos Santana had a solid second half to build off of. I am thankful for the beast in the bullpen named Vinnie Pestano. A sentence I wish I could have typed: “I am thankful that the Dolan’s sold the team.

While I am NBA Free, I am thankful that the Cavs have Kyrie Irving to build around. I am thankful that Anderson Varejao has looked like an All-Star thus far this season and that Tristan Thompson looks like a 12 & 10 guy night in and night out. Most of all I am thankful for the return of the sweet Gold uniforms.

With the Cleveland sports scene so down, perhaps as bad as we’ve been collectively in my 36 years on this planet, I continue to be thankful each and every single day that I attended the University of Kansas, so I can be a follower of one of the great programs in College Basketball. Because of this, I know that every season, at least one of my four teams is guaranteed to be fighting for a championship.

Lastly, I am thankful for the opportunity to be aligned with this fantastic group of guys, writing my opinions and thoughts about the teams that I love.

Jacob- This year, I’m especially thankful for my family, and specifically my parents. After just graduating from the University of Dayton in May, I’m grateful for the opportunity to return home to Akron and to find a job quickly in nearby Kent. Yes, the bloggers in their parent’s basements stereotype kind of applies to me … although we don’t technically have a basement.

But most relevant to this site and our amazing WFNY community, I’m very thankful to return back to my second home. I’ve loved being a part of this site for the last 3.5 years — about as long of a commitment I’ve ever had in my young life — and I can’t wait for it to keep going. I took a one-year hiatus because of senior year and school newspaper last year, but I’m back now and love working with the whole gang. A huge thanks goes out to our amazing staff and our loyal readers for giving us the privilege to write about what we love so much — Cleveland sports.

Ben- I’m thankful that the Randy Lerner era (and therefore the Pat Schumur-era) is mercifully coming to an end. I’m thankful that Brandon Weeden has been just good enough to keep the calls for Colt McCoy at bay (I’m not how I would’ve handled a Weeden/McCoy QB controversy, but it wouldn’t have been with grace, I can assure you of that).

I’m thankful that the Cavs employ Kyrie Irving and, for whatever their reasons, are not employing one Andrew Bynum. I don’t want to even think of the Byron Scott/Andrew Bynum dynamic. I’m also quite thankful that the Cavs aren’t pursuing 45 win seasons and are taking the long view.

Finally, I’m thankful for my friends and family, my health and my job. I’m thankful to live in a nation where we can afford to be upset that a person paid millions of dollars didn’t catch a ball thrown to him. I’m thankful for the opportunity to write for a website with such a passionate following and engaged readership. I’m also thankful for the other writers and contributors that keep good ship WFNY afloat. The amount of work that WFNY crew puts in is absolutely staggering. Whether it’s the podcasts, film room breakdowns or just the amazing writing, I’m consistently blown away by the quality of work that comes from our little corner of the internet.

Dave- I am thankful for this site, the great comments and semi-sane outlook on Ohio sports. Well before I even had a part here, this was my first choice for perspective because of both the writers and reader comments. Nobody has to agree on any certain topic, but I can’t tell you how much I love not seeing comments such as “UR en idiote” or “book it!!!”

Obviously I’m thankful for all of the sappy stuff as well – an awesome family, a great circle of friends and some sort of purpose in life with a great career.

I don’t care how weird this sounds, but I am grateful for owners like Dan Gilbert and Jimmy Haslam. Owners such as these give this city hope and as we continue to bounce back economically, guys like that are sincerely invaluable to have in your corner. It’s not always about sports development and I’m looking forward to more proof in years to come. I can be a cynic like most of you, but the amount of Kool-aid I’ve drank over the past year or so is almost embarrassing. Accountability starts at the top and we’ve been missing that piece for so long that we almost failed to recognize that Gilbert and Haslam bring just that piece.

I hope you and your family enjoy the holidays!

Kirk- I am thankful for my family and friends, who have always supported me in all endeavors. I’m grateful that I have a job I love that allows me to use the same analytic skills I do when I’m watching games. I feel fortunate that Andrew, Rick, and Scott started this site four years ago and honored that they asked me to become a part of it nearly two years ago. I want to thank Jacob, Ben, and Ryan who along with yours truly comprise the Weekend Warriors at the site. I also want to thank Craig for orchestrating the podcasts, Jon and TD for being as sharp as ever with the Tribe despite the on-field results, and Dave for giving another Buckeye perspective. I’m thankful to teachers and friends who encouraged me to share my sports insight and writing ability with others. I appreciate the readers and even the constructive criticism. I treasure the thought-provoking and entertaining interactions I have with many of you via Twitter.

As for specifics in our Cleveland sports universe, I’m thankful that I haven’t given up that hope and belief that we’ll all be celebrating a championship someday very soon. It’s players like Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, Joe Haden, Joe Thomas, Phil Dawson, Jason Kipnis, Vinnie Pestano, and others who are star-quality players as well as first-class people that keep that hope alive. I’m overwhelmed with joy that Jimmy Haslam is the new Browns owner, and I’m glad Dan Gilbert’s still here fighting to bring hardware home. I’m as proud as ever to be a Buckeye, and the further I get from my time at OSU, I better understand how much it shaped who I am today. In that light, I’m thrilled to have Urban Meyer and Thad Matta leading the two teams of mine which are the closest to me geographically. One last thing, I wish all of you the most relaxing and enjoyable of Thanksgivings.

Jon – I’ve now written three of these pieces since joining the crew here, and each year I feel compelled to warn you that what you’re about to read could make you outraged at the sheer inequity of it all: I’m living proof that life is not fair—that there is no cosmic scorecard wherein people are bestowed gifts in proportion to their own generosity.  I have so much to be thankful for, and once again, no legitimate reason for why I should be so lucky.

I’ll start with this here site and the writers on it.  I’m thankful for the stewardship and guidance that Rick, Scott and Andrew have given the site.  They’ve built a space on the internet to which I’m proud to belong, and places like this don’t happen on accident.  The fact that we have an engaged and informed stable of writers and commenters is a testament to the work of the founders, and I’m not sure any of us realize how indebted we are to their vision to get this thing off the ground.

In the same vein, I’m thankful for the steps we’ve taken on the site this year.  Craig’s work hosting the podcast has me completely jealous and amazed at the same time: I’m left wishing I could bring half as much versatility and charisma to our conversations.  Rick’s Film Room series continues to demonstrate that there is no monopoly on analysis and insight, and it reminds me of why I started writing about sports in the first place.  Scott is turning himself into a real live Cavs reporter before our very eyes, someone who can successfully merge access with a unique voice that result in some of the best feature pieces on the Cavs you’ll find.  The weekend guys provide more thoughtful work than any other Cleveland site out there, and I continue to wonder how I fit in with such a versatile and insightful bunch.  I’m thankful to have witnessed this group develop, and to be associated with all the great things that take place on our little corner of the web.

Believe it or not, there are people who write about Cleveland sports and the Indians that don’t write here at WFNY, and I’m thankful for them too.  I’m honored to belong to the fraternity of writers who make writing and thinking about the Indians one of the most challenging and engaging gigs out there. Without naming everyone who I read and respect, let me just say: my world is a better and smarter place because of them and it’s a community to which I’m immensely proud to belong.

While the Indians themselves haven’t given me a whole lot to be thankful for in the past twelve months, I should at least mention a few sporty tidbits here.  I’m thankful for Manny Acta: I thought he was a noble leader, and despite his many faults, I’m glad he shepherded the team through the last three years.  I’m also thankful that he’s gone, and that Terry Francona will work to help this team move forward.  I’m thankful that we have a front office that acknowledges its shortcomings while still focusing the majority of its energy and efforts on looking forward rather than backward.  I’m thankful the Travis Hafner contract is over.  I’m thankful that I got to see Grady Sizemore in his prime.  I’m thankful that I’ll get to see Carlos Santana in his.  Despite all the negativity floating around this team, I’m glad that its fundamental philosophy is (necessarily) to build around young players—they’re the most fun to watch.

Personally, I continue to be luckier than you, and for that I’m sorry.  I have a wonderful career that keeps me busy and engaged.  A loyal stable of friends who, despite all the reasons I’ve afforded them, continue to believe in me.  A family whose love and support appears limitless and without concern for the geography that divides us (as I write this, I’m surrounded by immediate family, who made the 500 mile trip from St. Louis on the ill-advised premise that I can successfully cook a turkey without poisoning them).

Finally, I’m thankful for my wife, and for the baby girl who’s due to join us before too much longer.  I realize that I am likely bringing a future Browns fan into the world, and if she lets me, I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make that up to her.

Happy Thanksgiving!

  • St. McDuck

    I’m thankful for WFNY. As a born-and-(stuffing)-bread Clevelander living in Los Angeles, I can’t stress how great it is to read about sports from the perspective of a great group of people who have the same biases as I do.

    I’m also tentatively thankful for Jim Haslem, who may be upgraded to a full-thankful next year at this time, depending on what goes down with our Browns between now and then.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  • smrtazz

    I’m thankful for your work. You guys have created a great site, especially for a native Clevelander long since gone. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lnicholas2 Lee Nicholas

    I currently reside in Baltimore – enemy territory – and it brings me great pleasure to be able to escape the pain of being surrounded by Ravens fans and read your site. Thank you so much!!