Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ten Years Later - The Browns Move

It just occurred to me - 10 years? Holy shit. Where has it gone?

Funny how, as a 7 year resident now of Maryland how the anger of what Art Modell did has faded (unlike for these poor bastards who apparently are apt to be overcome with hyperbole. Pol Pot? You have got to be kidding me. Relax - I know they are joking. Carlos Boozer and all.)

At the time, 1995, I was living in Columbus (had been since 1992). I had organized a road trip for a bunch of friends to head up to a Brown's game at the old stadium. It included a bunch of wild Irish dudes who loved nothing better than a good long Sunday of drinking and yelling and hitting. What could be better than a dozen seats in the old Dawg Pound?

Of course, news of the impending move broke in the Pee Dee that week (though the official announcement, on that BWI tarmac, didn't come until the next week).

As I recall, the game was against Houston (irony, eh?). It was silent as a funeral. Even the atmosphere at the Muni Lot - the center of the tailgating world - was subdued, quiet, sad. Many held signs lambasting Modell, urging on the fans, the city, crying out to the greater NFL community to do something to stop the inevitable.

It was a cold, surreal day.

When I moved to Baltimore, Grandpa, a lifelong Cleveland sports fan, asked, "You're not gonna become a Ravens fan, are you?"

Well, when you're in a city and surrounded, how can you not? Especially when, over the years, the team has had so much to be interested in. Let's not include this year in the discussion, but Billick has been a terrific coach, Ozzie has worked some wonders in the front office, they have been fun to watch, and - wait - they won a freaking Super Bowl. How could you not get involved? They have been an organization of class and stability and excellence (save a double homicide here, a cell phone drug deal there).

Yes, I go see the Browns game here every year, and I wear my orange and yell like an idiot - until the game is out of reach - early 3rd quarter, usually.

So, yes, I still love my Browns. And, yes, I root for the Ravens (when it doesn't conflict). And, no, I don't think that Art Modell is Pol Pot. More a minor despot, Saddam Hussein, perhaps.


Blogger LargeBill said...

You've done something I could never do (root for the Ratbirds). I was living in Virginia at the time of the move and my brother asked if I was going to switch allegiances. No way - no how. I don't normally advocate violence, but I was disappointed that no one in Cleveland tried to take Modell out. I thought Cleveland was supposed to be a rough town. It all works out in the end, we have a new team and he gets to spend eternity in hell. But I'm not bitter.

1:30 PM  

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