Only in Cleveland

I’m in the greater Cleveland area. We had a lot going on today.

But let’s go in the proper order… First of all, the other day Allan Wertheimer and I came up with the best idea of all time. Ready?

I like dogs, but working in baseball, I don’t have time to take care of one. So what can I do? Hope a friend adopts a dog and become its godfather? Nice idea, but I’m not interested in organized crime. Back home, the local animal shelter lets you walk the dogs and bring them back. But that’s no fun… I’d feel terrible putting them back into the pound.

The solution is this: Rent-A-Dog.

Here are the rules:

1. No fake dogs. And by that, I mean no dogs that fit in purses, no dogs who yip instead of bark… I’d say the smallest dog you’d be able to rent is a bulldog. I want big, hairy, laid-back, real dogs who can play all day and not get tired.
2. Food and water are the renter’s responsibility.
3. No overnight rentals. This is for the dog’s safety.
4. If you ever are even suspected of mistreating a dog, you never get to come back and you may be charged in court.
5. Rent-A-Cat is not allowed. Because nobody wants to rent a cat.
6. Rend-A-Dog would use the vehicle from “Dumb and Dumber.”

AND THAT’S IT!

Can’t you imagine getting a day off, heading over to Rent-A-Dog in the morning, picking up a dog and hanging out all day? You take him back to his swanky dog home at the end of the day and go back to your normal life. You’re not a jerk, because if your schedule allowed it you’d have a dog of your own. Animal-rights people would shut it down in approximately 0.16 seconds, but in my ideal world this would be the greatest business of all time.

Moving on… the TinCaps played (seemingly) the longest series of all time this past week against Bowling Green at Parkview Field. The three-game series lasted a total of 10 hours, 49 minutes. And the baseball was… not fundamentally sound?

The TinCaps overcame an eight-run lead and won, overcame a five-run lead and lost, then played a three-hour, 49-minute game. I talked to the Bowling Green pitching coach after the last game and he thought part of the reason for the long games was that the teams know each other so well (they played each in 9 of the first 12 games of the half), they’re thinking so far into matchups and baserunning plays that they overthink everything, make 18 pickoff throws, step off the mound, step out of the batter’s box, etc., before actually making something happen. Which may explain why Yankees-Red Sox games are so excruciatingly long and slow-moving. Take everything I just said and add the fact that many of the players have been playing against each other for the better part of a decade.

Tuesday after the marathon three-hour, 49-minute, 11-inning game, the Parkview Field crew turned a ballpark into the best concert venue in town. Basically everyone chipped in to put down tens of thousands of square feet of portable flooring, so the concertgoers wouldn’t tear up the field. People were there working until after 4 a.m. It was a ton of work, but from what I hear, it was completely worth it.

Now for today. We’re in northeast Ohio, an hour from where I grew up. I’m borrowing a car from my parents so I can get around and see as many people as possible in three days. Today I woke up early (even my mom couldn’t believe I was awake when I called her at 8:30 this morning… which is kind of insulting, really) and headed toward Conneaut (yes, there’s still snow on the ground, even in July. I may have made that up). I got to see two uncles, an aunt, my grandparents and approximately 1,500 miles of road construction. I’m telling you, northeast Ohio must have the fewest speeding tickets in the universe because the potholes act like speed bumps. This is what happens when snowplows are on the roads for nine months out of the year. Anyway, the highlights include:

  1. Exchanging books with my grandma. She wanted to hear all about Young Patriots, the book about the Constitution. I told her I finished it all, except the actual word-for-word copy of the Constitution at the end. So I gave her the book and she gave me a copy of the Constitution. Everybody wins. Yes, we are nerds. Deal with it.
  2. In the course of conversation, my grandma offered me cookies and milk. How could I turn that down? (Yes, I am a 5-year-old in a 25-year-old body)
  3. Lunch at the Conneaut Sub Shop. A small stromboli costs about $5, is delicious, and happens to feed a small- to medium-sized family. Greatest deal in the history of food, and somehow there were more employees there than customers. This doesn’t make any sense.
  4. Hanging out with the dogs. You know you’re really home when even the animals know who you are. And these dogs rule. I popped out of the car, they started wagging their tails, the big dog showed his teeth to me (how many dogs are smart enough to sarcastically show their teeth to somebody they haven’t seen in a while, just to give him the business?) and the hang-out session ensued. Good dogs.
  5. Edinson Rincon teaching me the Spanish words for “I forgot.” Yo olvides.

It was a good day. I got away from everything for a little while, relaxed, got to spend some time with the family and got to the park in time for a 2-1 win.

Then came LeBron time. While the TinCaps were beating the Lake County Captains, LeBron told the world he’s going to Miami. There are so many layers to this, I don’t even know where to start.

  1. Shouldn’t we have known he was leaving as soon as we saw the name for the whole hour-long TV special? Every soul-crushing moment in Cleveland sports history starts with “The.” The Shot. The Drive. The Fumble. Now we have The Decision.
  2. What city but Cleveland would have a native son designate an hour-long, worldwide television/internet/radio special to announce he was ripping his hometown’s heart out?
  3. Regardless of what anybody says, this is the end of pro basketball in Cleveland until they get another huge draft pick. They might as well go back to the putrid old black/blue/orange uniforms from back in the day when LaMond Murray was our best player.
  4. The Browns stink. The Indians stink. Pro sports in Cleveland are done for a while.
  5. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert came out firing with an open letter to the city of Cleveland.
    It looks like something a dumped girlfriend writes to an ex-boyfriend
    after about 5 glasses of wine too many and never sends. Angry,
    irrational, vindictive, threatening.The Cavs will win a title before LeBron does? I’m not sure they’ll win a title… ever.
    I’m just imagining the owner calling everyone in his cell phone until
    he found the team webmaster, told him to post the letter or be fired,
    and promptly passed out in a beanbag chair with orange Chee-tos residue all over himself.
  6. Deep down, LeBron might’ve had the Boys & Girls Club’s best interests in mind when he decided to do the whole hour-long special. But, really, is this how bad it’s gotten in  sports? Guys can’t just have a press conference, announce where they’re going and be done with it? An hour-long, canned special where everything is surely staged and controlled? Gross. I hope this is the last time we see anything like this.
  7. I’m organizing an hour-long special where I announce which NBA team (if any) I will watch on a regular basis next season. I’d say Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Portland and none of the above are the leading candidates.

It’s late. I’m going to bed.

And now, musical guest… Randy Newman!

Take care!

DW

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