Chico: What to be thankful for in Cleveland sports

A serious and snarky gratitude list this Thanksgiving

Mike 'Chico' Bormann
November 16, 2018 - 2:58 pm

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With Thanksgiving less than a week away, it's time to make a gratitude list for our beloved professional teams in this great city of Cleveland. Some serious, some snarky, but all worth taking a moment for reflection. Let's eat!

BROWNS

The easiest way to feel blessed when it comes to the Browns is to go back a year ago this week. The Browns had just dropped to 0-9 after a Week 10 loss to the Detroit Lions, falling 38-24 at Ford Field. Quarterback Deshone Kizer's leading receiver was Seth DeValve. Head Coach Hue Jackson was 1-24 through 25 contests. General Manager Sashi Brown was three weeks away from being shown the door. Kizer is now in Green Bay, Jackson just arrived in Cincinnati this week to watch some tape and save their season and Brown has given way to the first guy on our list...

1. GM John Dorsey After 19 years, the Browns finally lay claim to a man who knows what it takes to build a successful franchise. While still very early in the process, he has seemingly hit a Home Run with his first draft in Berea. Now he sets his sights on a Head Coach. Stay tuned..

2. QB Baker Mayfield Dorsey was tasked with ending an absurdly long search for a Franchise Quarterback that included 30 different starters since 1999. The Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma can do just that. The top selection in April's draft has thrown for nearly 2000 yards to go along with 13 TD's. The stats belie a special ability to lead his team through adversity and make plays under the brightest of lights. This kid is a gamer and by his own admission, "Dangerous."

3. DB Denzel Ward With many anticipating a selection of defensive end Bradley Chubb, Dorsey opted instead for the lock-down corner out of Ohio State. His faith has been rewarded to the tune of 3 interceptions and one big play after another. Much like Mayfield on offense, Ward brings confidence and swagger to a demanding position on D.

4. RB Nick Chubb Did I mention this draft could turn out to be one hell of a haul for Dorsey? Let's go with another rookie who just needed an opportunity (and somebody with common sense calling plays). After garnering just 16 carries through the first six games, Chubb has rushed for 406 yards in the last four including 176 last week against Atlanta. Sunday's contest featured a franchise record 92 yard TD scamper. He's averaging over 6 yards a carry and combines bruising power with electrifying speed.

5. DE Myles Garrett & LB Joe Schobert With these two guys anchoring the Front 7, the Browns boast young stars at every level of the defense.

INDIANS

I understand fans being frustrated after two early October exits, but keep in mind, that followed an incredible 2016 World Series appearance that saw them take the heavily favored Cubs to a 7th game before bowing out. Yes, the Cavs ended a championship drought that spanned 52 years, and Cleveland will always be a "Browns Town", but with plenty of dysfunction and "internal discord" emanating from both organizations, now is a good time to remind you of...

1. A stable and professional Front Office Ownership will never go toe-to-toe with the free-spending mega markets like New York, Boston, or Los Angeles. What they will do, is boast one of the best run organizations in all of sports. You've heard of "Coaching Trees" in sports? The Tribe's fingerprints are all over front offices throughout Major League Baseball. In a town where front office drama is almost a daily occurrence, the Indians should be recognized as a first class operation.

2. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez Two of the best young players in all of baseball just happen to make up the middle infield for the Tribe. Both are legitimate MVP candidates who excel with the glove as well as the bat. Ramirez is a product of excellent development who recently signed an extension that is widely considered one of the best values in baseball. Lindor, on the other hand, came with plenty of hype after being selected 8th overall in 2011. He's actually exceeded expectations and while he's under team control through 2021, a long-term deal could be very much in doubt. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, enjoy him while you can!

3. Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer, Clevinger, Bieber If you won't be getting into bidding wars for top Free Agents, you had better draft well and be on the winning side of most trades. This starting rotation is a solid testament to the latter. With the exception of Bieber, all of them came via the trade route. Ironically, both Kluber and Carrasco have been mentioned as potential bait if the Indians try to procure outfield help. 

CAVALIERS

This year's squad might require you to dig a little deeper when giving thanks. Perhaps it's best to cherish recent accomplishments including the aforementioned 2016 Championship with a guy named LeBron James. With Head Coach Tyronn Lue being replaced by Larry Drew 6 games in and the Cavs currently sporting a 2-12 record, there have been few bright spots. I'll give it my best shot.

1. Larry Nance, Jr. OK, so maybe the late 80's and early 90's can't be considered "recent" and those teams never won a title, but man were they fun to watch. Along with Mark Price and Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Sr. remains a favorite among fans to this day. With Junior's length and athleticism bearing a striking resemblance to his old man, he also proudly wears Dad's #22 which hangs in the rafters. He was excited to join the Cavs last season in a trade with the Lakers. With reasons for excitement on the decline, fans at least have a throwback to the good old days with Nance, Jr.

2. Collin Sexton The 19 year-old rookie out of Alabama struggled a bit to start the year, prompting some veterans to question his knowledge of the pro game. But he's emerged lately averaging 20 points over the last three games. Nicknamed "Young Bull" for his tenacious style of play, Sexton's effort and intensity could endear himself to a hungry fan base.

3. In-arena Host, Hype Man, Ahmaad Crump This one is easy. The man is very good at his job. If you've recently attended a Cavs game, you no doubt have heard Crump's signature call; "Let's hear it for your Clevelandddd Cavaliiieeeerrrrsssss!" The crowd has fed off his energy for years as he took an exciting night with some exciting teams to another decibel level at The Q. He'll need every ounce of energy and hype this season to keep fans engaged and fired up. 

In closing, I'd be remiss if I didn't extend my sincere gratitude to all you phenomenal fans and listeners of our station. Agree or disagree, you make all of our jobs so much fun and fulfilling. Enjoy your family and friends and Happy Thanksgiving!