The team that Cavs fans deserve, While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday WFNY!

A couple weeks ago, I talked about how I often seem to catch part of Two Broke Girls whenever I start to write my weekly edition of WWW. But not this week. Thanks to the Every Simpsons Ever marathon, my TV has been firmly fixated on FXX.

I often watch syndicated episodes of The Simpsons, so I’ve seen many of the older episodes multiple times, but there’s just been something really enjoyable about going back and watching these classic episodes again, only this time in chronological order. Whether it be the Pinchy the lobster episode, Blinky the three-eyed fish episode, the putt putt golf tournament episode, the Hullabalooza episode, or Maggie’s first word episode, it’s been a never ending string of classics.

I don’t watch new episodes of The Simpsons anymore. I’m not sure why not, I just sort of fell out of it. For a very long time my DVR would still record the episodes every week, but I would just never feel like watching them, and I would inevitable have to delete them all at some point to free up space. But it’s funny, despite not watching the new shows, I’m never the less quite glad that the show is still on the air. There’s something comforting and reassuring that one last piece of my childhood is still hanging in there.

And I think that’s a big part of why the Simpsons has endured. The show is frozen in time at a point in a family’s life that we all love. While everything else around us has changed so much over the last 25 years, the Simpsons family has mostly stayed the same. And at the core of the show, family is what it is all about. Sure, everyone in the family has their own selfish moments and quirks, but when all is said and done, The Simpsons are one of the most tight-knit families on television.

And speaking of families…

*****

Kevin Love is a big deal for Cavaliers fans

Yes, of course I’m going to talk about Kevin Love here today. The trade is finally final and we can officially refer to Love as a Cleveland Cavalier. A lot has already been said and written about Love’s impact on the court, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about this event from the fans’ perspective.

When LeBron James left, we all know what that moment represented. I’ve often said that people outside of Ohio and the Cavs family couldn’t possibly totally comprehend the gravity and weight of that moment. It was much more than just a basketball thing. It was more than a regional thing. It was more than an economic thing. It was an unraveling of the fabric that tied all of us together as fans.

I remember something I wrote after LeBron left.

So please, please, please don’t take the easy way out and just give up on this franchise. Take heart in what Dan Gilbert said last night. He is going to fight for us in a way that LeBron never did. We held our tongue on a lot of things with LeBron over the years because we wanted to show him the same support and loyalty we thought he was going to give us, and so did Dan Gilbert. So no, I’m not going to sit here and blame him for firing off that letter last night. I’m a little worried about the impact it could have on signing free agents in the future because LeBron is a very popular player with a ton of friends in the league and none of them probably thought it was too cool. But this was personal for Gilbert. It had to be. It may have “just been business” to LeBron, but it wasn’t business for us in Ohio. This was about as personal as it gets.

Setting aside anyone’s feelings today about Dan Gilbert, positive or negative, I was terrified that LeBron’s departure was going to put an end to the community of Cavs fans that I had grown so fond of. I knew things would never be the same, but I so desperately wanted fans to not give up, to continue to fight to show support for this franchise that we all loved so dearly.

It wasn’t always easy, and there were so many trying moments over the last four years of darkness. All of us were tested to varying degrees, and while not everyone maintained the same level of passion throughout, for the most part, the Cavs family survived. And that’s something we should take a second to reflect on and be really proud of. Because everything is about to change.

Yes, this Kevin Love thing is a big deal. After suffering through long, dark, bitter cold winter nights watching this franchise falter in different ways over and over again, we are about to have one of the most fun teams to watch in the NBA. I don’t know how long it will take for everything to gel. I don’t know how many games this team will win this year. I don’t know if a Big Three who has two of the three without any prior playoff experience can make a Championship run in year one. The only thing I know about this team is that they have the pieces in place to be an incredibly fun team to watch with one of the most potent offenses the NBA has ever seen.

I’ve been reflecting a lot about how I feel about all of this. About LeBron returning after so publicly turning his back on all of us. About this franchise that has been a nightmare for four years suddenly being considered one of the favorites to win the Championship just one year after the Season of Huh. About reconciling my feelings about “Super Teams” in the NBA with my desire to see the Cleveland Cavaliers be relevant again. There has been so much to take in and it has been overwhelming at times. Yet the one thing I keep coming back to is that this is the team that the Cavs family deserves.

I get a little tired of people always pitting the Cleveland franchises against one another, as if we have to rank our loyalties. I’m a fan of all three franchises. Yes, basketball is my favorite sport and I feel the strongest about the Cavaliers, but I want to see success for all three of the city’s teams. Obviously the Browns push the needle in Cleveland, but after what I’ve seen the last eleven years has shown me that Cleveland is an awesome basketball city as well.

Actually, forget just the last eleven years. With the exception of the dead period post-Mike Fratello and pre-LeBron, the Cavaliers have generally been a playoff team or at least a playoff contender. The franchise has been in the playoffs fifteen times in my life. It’s easy to be a fan when things are going well. And I know many will write off those Fratello teams because they weren’t Championship contenders. They were just a team that made the playoffs as a low seed who lost in the first round every year. But I loved watching Mike Fratello get the most out of those low talent teams, finding a way to win games against all odds.

But it’s much harder to be a fan when the team is losing. And breaking records for losing. It’s ugly. It feels pointless at times. It’s trying in every way. Yet over the last four years, I could pop on Twitter for every game and partake in quality discussions and debates with a multitude of like-minded Cavs fans. The wins may have left, but the passion of the fans didn’t.

So sure, LeBron returning is the biggest Cleveland sports story of my life. That along would have made this an amazing offseason. But adding Kevin Love is the biggest cherry on top. And I’m just so happy for the fans. Forget about how this team was constructed or how much luck was required to get here. For once, we can just live in the moment and enjoy this ride we’re about to embark on, wherever it takes us.

*****

Is LeBron’s weight actually a problem?

This article is a couple weeks old, but I just stumbled on it. It comes from the Toronto Star and it questions whether LeBron’s weight loss is a good thing or not.

“It’s unhealthy for athletes,” said Guest, a Toronto-based sport dietitian and PhD candidate studying genetics and high-performance athletes at the University of Toronto.

“There are some proponents out there that feel that if you stay on a high-fat diet long enough, that you can adapt to using fat as a primary fuel. It’s extremely risky, and more often than not, we see fatigue, we see a decrease in performance, immunity issues. Carbohydrates are an athlete’s best friend,” said Guest.

I don’t know how LeBron lost all his weight or whether or not he is consuming any carbs or not. I think it’s risky whenever any medical professional tries to diagnose someone without actually talking to them or examining them. But never the less, I did find this article at least interesting.

Is LeBron’s weight going to be a problem? Can he still play in the post with this frame? Will he fatigue as the season goes along? Who knows. I’m sure LeBron is working with professionals who are considering all of this and more. His diet now may not be the same as his diet once the season starts. Maybe he’s losing weight now, but will be consuming carbs once the season starts.

*****

Sure, lets talk about the Browns a little bit

I’ll admit, four years of Cavalier ineptitude wasn’t enough to dampen my spirit. However, fifteen years of it from the Browns is starting to get the job done. As I watched the Browns take the field Saturday night and then proceed to look exactly like the Cleveland Browns on the field, I found myself questioning myself, asking why I was even watching.

It feels like nothing matters. The Browns have tried EVERYTHING. They’ve changed every aspect of the franchise, even the owner. Nothing matters. This franchise fails over and over again on every level in every aspect. It’s frustrating and I’m getting tired of caring about them and wasting my Sundays watching the same team do the same things and make the same mistakes over and over again.

But hey, who knows. Maybe this is all just a preseason mirage and the real Browns will be a good football team. Maybe for once things will just kind of work out.

But as frustrating as all the losing and ineptitude has been, the thing that is frustrating me the most today is the Josh Gordon situation. As Mike Pettine has said, he’s “fairly certain” Gordon is going to miss time. But how much time? Yeah, wouldn’t we all like to know.

This suspension and appeal has been dragging out since night two of the draft. That was May 9, almost four months ago. And we still have no answers, no idea of what is going to happen with Josh. This whole situation seems entirely unfair to The Browns, to Gordon, to the fans, to everyone. And the longer this drags out, the longer Gordon will have to wait to apply for reinstatement if his one year suspension is upheld. What a mess.

I don’t know what kind of politics are going into a decision like this. I don’t know if a compromise is being negotiated or if one or both sides are playing some kind of hardball with the other. I just want this to be over so we can have some kind of closure on this and can move forward appropriately.

*****

New music of the week

What a week for new music! So much good stuff to consider. My pick for album of the week came down to J Mascis and Ty Segall. It was really hard to pick between the two, but I’m going with Ty Segall by a narrow margin.

I’ve talked before about Jersey bands wearing Jersey on their sleeve. Well, Ty Segall is not from Jersey. He is from San Francisco and boy does he ever wear that city’s style in his music. He encapsulates all of that weirdness, all of that psychedelic weirdness, and channels it into his own unique brand of garage rock.

Ty Segall has been around for a while, and he is one of the most prolific song writers in the indie music world. In 2013 he released three albums. One was a solo album, one with Ty Segall Band, and one with his other band Fuzz. Now in 2014, he’s back with a solo album and, in my opinion, it’s his best one yet.

Sometimes his brand of garage rock can be a bit trying. His albums aren’t always consistent. But this one is by far his most consistent and most accessible album yet. His songwriting is more focused and he allows the hooks to surface easier. But he does all this without giving up the extraordinary guitar playing. He still absolutely shreds on this album. So give it a shot, and see what you think:

Other albums to consider this week include:

  • J Mascis – “Tied to a Star”
  • Merchandise – “After the End”
  • The Rentals – “Lost in Alphaville”
  • Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Lose”

*****

That’s it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great and safe Labor Day Weekend, and I’ll see you guys back here next Tuesday when we will have a major change at WFNY for you guys. I look forward to it!

  • Ezzie Goldish

    The more this drags the more it seems the speculation Gordon is ready to take it to court makes sense. The NFL wants to punish but really does not want to go to court. They will only look bad.

  • Garry_Owen

    My impression: Somewhere along the line, the Simpsons got preachy. The writers stopped being funny, weren’t as ecclectic as the original crew and the Conan O’Brien teams, and started taking themselves too seriously and/or trying to convey a message (which seems to be the norm in our society now). It was about that time that I stopped watching it (somewhere in the middle of Barney’s sobriety). I understand that this has changed recently, and that the formula has gone back somewhat to the original “nobody is safe, everything is fair game” approach that worked so well and was so funny, but I still don’t watch it much. I loved the Simpson because: (1) there were no sacred cows; but (2) no social commentary was done mean-spiritedly; and (3) the family was sincere and loving in all of their dysfunction. I think most of that is still true, but it has definitely lost something in the last 15 years (from what I’ve seen).

    As for Josh Gordon, I still don’t share any frustration. I’m sure that those to whom it matters most (Gordon and the Browns) have a strong idea of what’s going to shake out. No way is the NFL being unfair to anyone or doing anything out of spite. Indeed, I think that the time that it is taking is probably good news, on some level.

  • Pat Leonard

    I’m in the exact same spot with regards to The Simpsons. It’s one of my all-time favorite shows, maybe at the top of the list, and I pretty much stopped watching around season 11 (which coincidentally started today on FXX). I’m going to try to DVR a bunch of episodes from here on out to see if I really think I missed anything, but I remember back when I stopped watching, I thought the show took a sharp turn from being clever and hilarious w/ heart towards being zany and scatter-shot w/ no heart.

    I do have to give the show a ton of credit though, it basically did the impossible. 25 years is beyond amazing for a sit-com, animated or not.

  • stick with it

    The only thing the Browns haven’t tried is stability.

  • Pat Leonard

    Couldn’t agree more. I’m at the point where I don’t care if the team goes 2-14 this season (and I don’t think they’ll be anywhere close to being that bad), I want them to stick with Farmer, Pettine, and the coaches. Let them freaking build something.

  • Garry_Owen

    Great point. Homer is one of the funniest characters in TV history, but he has gotten to be so much of a caricature (I know it’s strange to say that about a cartoon character) that he’s no longer funny. In the first 8 seasons or so, I would laugh so hard and say “I can’t believe Homer just did/said that! Hilarious!” This was because half of Homer was still “normal.” Anymore, Homer is just the full zany caricature of Homer. It got to the point where my response was, “Of course Homer did/said that. They have to make him do/say that.”

    Thanks, Brain. Now I can go back to killing you with beer.

  • architrance

    I don’t care either, and yes – they could be close to that bad.

  • Garry_Owen

    Should have stuck with Mangini.

  • humboldt

    Agree on The Simpsons, although I feel the decline started in Season 7 and especially in Season 8 with the appearance of un-redeeming characters like Frank Grimes. The show was still good, but, as you say, it began to lose its heart.

    The early episodes center mostly around Homer trying to be a good father and husband and hold a dysfunctional family/marriage together. It was poignant at times, and Homer became a sympathetic character, and not merely the buffoonish, cliched figure the writers have turned him into. Probably a large part of this is due to the original writers (people like Conan O’Brien) leaving the show for other opportunities. I would imagine that it’s also difficult to continue exploring the depth of characters over 3 decades without simply giving in to the temptation of just putting them in zany situations with celebrities.

    There was also something wonderfully raw about the animation of the early episodes. In the late ’90s, it started looking too clean, too computer-generated for my taste. I know that’s a weird aesthetic preference, but it is what it is.

  • Pat Leonard

    You took the words right out of my mouth. This is exactly how I feel about the evolution of Homer as well, who is undoubtedly the most important character and the star of the show. Even in animated shows, the characters need depth. If you take that away and make the characters one-dimensional, you become too aware that what you’re watching is fake and the experience is no longer engrossing.

  • BROSEPH

    http://graphtv.kevinformatics.com/tt0096697

    Here’s a nice visualization of The Simpsons over time. You can see where some later episodes were really good. S12,13, and 14 had some bright spots.

  • humboldt

    I feel like this has become a support group :)

  • humboldt

    That is amazing. And it confirms my own personal belief that Season 8 was the beginning of the downward trend

  • Garry_Owen

    Once upon a time, I heard that the Simpsons became so popular among aspiring writers that the producers started to, or felt the need to, only take the “most qualified,” like any other successful business. The pool of applicants was so large – but still mostly fresh out of college folks – that the producers started only hiring folks with Ivy League degrees. The show suffered as a result. I have no idea if this is true, but it could make sense. I have absolutely nothing against Ivy League degrees, but it seems like an odd and ill-fitting approach to take with an animated sitcom. If true, of course.

  • Pat Leonard

    I didn’t get to watch the Browns game over the weekend because I’m out of the viewing area and NFL Network screwed up twice, showing other games during times when they listed the Browns/Rams game. I got to watch some of it last night… basically everything after the first quarter. I came away feeling more positive than I thought I would.

    I don’t think the Browns’ offensive line is anything to worry about once the season starts, but they were abused by the Rams’ front four, which is probably the best front four in the NFL. Hoyer and Manziel both played pretty well when they were given time to make a play. The offense as a whole has ways to go in the next two weeks to get a handle on their problems.

    I’ve been reading Collision Low Crossers, and it certainly makes you feel like Mike Pettine is a godsend and a perfect fit as a head coach. I can’t help but have a lot of faith in him while reading this book.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY
  • Pat Leonard

    They could be, but I still think the defense is going to be excellent. There’s no reason in my mind that they can’t mimic the running and defense formula that worked so well for the Jets.

  • humboldt

    Interesting. If true, at least they were able to poke fun at themselves. One exchange I remember, on the episode where Bart and Lisa ghost write Itchy and Scratchy episodes better than the panel of Ivy League writers employed by the show:

    Roger Myers Jr: “Hey egghead, sing Fair Harvard”.

    Itchy and Scratcy writer: [begins singing, “Fair Harvard I…” Myers throws placard and hits him in the forehead]

    Itchy and Scratcy writer: “You sir, have the boorish manners of a Yale-y!”

  • Garry_Owen

    Man, we’re singing in harmony today. Just when I think about closing the browser and getting to work, you post something that I agree with (and have to respond to, because, well, narcissism!).

    I watched the game last night, too (except for the 7 odd minutes that the NFL Network deleted), and felt oddly positive. I thought that there was a lot of good stuff to take from it. Hoyer and Manziel both looked better than I thought they would. Tate and West looked good (West especially – it looks like he’s starting to see the field better, like the game is slowing down for him – Tate didn’t get many carries). The defense was solid. Nothing fancy – because they weren’t doing anything fancy, and having Haden back will make a huge difference, I think. Gilbert is not ready for Gilbert Island yet. It could be a problem, but with Haden (and Skrine) on the field it won’t look nearly as bad as it was Saturday.

  • Garry_Owen

    I remember that. That is funny, and would make sense.

    This is my kind of support group. Stay above the equator. Let’s just talk about the Simpsons.

  • Garry_Owen

    It was never better than Seasons 4 and 5. Those were some great episodes.

  • architrance

    Yeah, but they had Ivy Leaguers from nearly the beginning – Conan O’brien.

  • Garry_Owen

    Sure, but it wasn’t the criteria for hiring. There’s nothing wrong with Ivy Leaguers, unless that status becomes the deciding criteria for hiring. If true, of course.

  • Pat Leonard

    Yep, definitely on the same page here. I was pretty annoyed with that missing 7 minutes. The Hoyer touchdown happened in that spot. I’m still anticipating our team to be very Jets-like. Good to dominant defense. Solid running game. Passing could be a problem and will likely determine how good the Browns can be.

  • Pat Leonard

    I own seasons 5-10 on DVD (and randomly, also season 2) but after watching a bunch of season 4 on FXX, I realized that I need to own that season. It’s a monster.

  • Pat Leonard

    This is exactly what I was thinking of while reading your discourse here :) Great episode.

  • nj0

    I stopped watching around season 11 as well, but have started watching again over the past few years. I think the current incarnation is very, very good. While I know it can never stack up to the “golden age” for older fans, it still makes me laugh out loud fairly regularly.

  • nj0

    “PhD candidate”

    Couldn’t the Star at least find a doctor?

  • Pat Leonard

    I had heard that it had really gotten better since they made the movie (which I own and enjoy). I really have no idea why I haven’t picked it back up again. I’m not actively avoiding it, but I guess I’m also not actively pursuing it. Maybe it’s time I change that now that I have a son who can (kind of) watch it with me. He’s almost 3 years old, but kept asking me “watch another one daddy?” Who am I to resist?

  • mgbode

    I noticed that as well. Also, the point is that LeBron is eating carbs, but is abstaining from sugars. That is much different than staying away entirely. It’s the same diet that Ray Allen and Steve Nash are on.

    Personally, I think it’s still a bit silly and that athletes need sugar (take a look at the Michael Phelps breakfast “diet”), but they also have to do what they believe will work as the mental portion is big too.

  • mgbode

    not only did the Simpson get preachy, but for awhile there they were just jumping on the bandwagon of whatever was pop-relevant and staying in the lane on those points. instead of creating topics to be pop-relevant themselves and making fun of both sides.

    I would still watch off and on, but last season was the first that I ended up watching each episode again. It was back to it’s old style and funny.

  • mgbode

    I remember reading that Ivy Leaguers taking over Hollywood/TV was not only a Simpson’s thing, but a general sitcom thing. That so many aspiring sitcoms were out there that the networks started “playing it safe” with Ivy League guys.

    Oh, and the one who I believe started things rolling was Lorne Michaels with SNL (of course). I’ll see if I can dig up some of the articles.

  • mgbode
  • mgbode

    kept him in the FO and hired Shurmur as HC. I mean how much more painful could the last 4 years have been?

  • Garry_Owen

    Well done!

    From the first: “The Simpsons” employed 10 Lampoon writers out of its total of 12 at one point.”

    Would love to know at what point that was. Maybe it was in the glory days. Maybe not.

  • mgbode

    you guys traded for Kevin Love too?

  • Steve

    “All of us were tested to varying degrees, and while not everyone maintained the same level of passion throughout, for the most part, the Cavs family survived.”

    I guess I have to only half-heartedly agree. The Indians “family” has survived too in that there’s still quality discussion and debate in places, but for both teams, you saw a serious drop in interest. I know many a people who stopped going to games when Lebron left, and a Cavs game went from a must-watch tv experience to “but I really like this Seinfeld rerun”. And now that Lebron is back, I see people that I didn’t know even cared about basketball going all gung-ho.

    There’s always going to be diehards, the group that stuck through Ricky Davis and Darius Miles, but there’s a lot of Lakeresque fandom going on too. Which isn’t unexpected and isn’t a bad thing anyway. The only bit of Laker-ness I’d like to see dropped is the arrogance springing out of some corners before the first jump ball is even tossed. Maybe I still need to get used to rooting for this whole super team thing though.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    1 1/2 hours until it’s K-Love time! I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl at a Drake concert!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Adapt or perish!

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    It was everything I hoped it would be and then some.

  • MyTribe

    Cavaliers traded an opportunity to be a perennial championship contender for the next ten years for a potentially better shot at a championship this season. I think it’s crap that so many of you fell for the flim flam man on his way back into Clevleand. Especially after THE LETTER in which he didn’t more than five minutes to dishonor.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I thought there might be more questions especially for David Griffin but I should have learned not expect much at the press conferences. I wish I could have not heard Livingston I thought he retired? Maybe that was wishful thinking on my part.

    But I loved Love’s answers he showed his basketball IQ to which LeBron spoke about previously. Cavaliers fans who didn’t see much or didn’t know much about him are in for a serious treat this season. On and off the court.