f course, it rained the day after he left. July sunshine would've seemed cruel after a loss like that. We've always wanted to surprise the rest of the country with Cleveland's greatness, and he made it happen. People saw us differently because of him. Then, when we ran into a tough time and really needed him, he was gone. It shows our range, our unpretentious respect for the many categories of Cleveland greatness, that so many of the people who raged at LeBron James' Decision to split for the Sunshine State also mourned four days later when Harvey Pekar died.
Some always believed our relationship with LeBron James would end badly. But no one could have predicted its final days would be defined by a mysterious elbow injury followed by a messy, prime-time breakup. Both stomped our civic psyche like Godzilla, and both were truly and utterly shady in their execution.
Uh-Oh Moment: LeBron fires up a dead-duck free throw with his left hand in the final moments of the Cavs' series-ending, first-round playoff win over the Chicago Bulls. Coach Mike Brown's postgame press conference feels like a funeral.
something fishy: Doctors find nothing significantly wrong and diagnose the injury as a strain and bone bruise.
LeBron said: "Cleveland fans have nothing to worry about. They have no reason to panic."
aftermath: LeBron zones out, appears to quit on his team, and the Cavs are bounced from the playoffs.
Charles barkley said: "I've got to wonder about LeBron James' mindset. ... I am 100 percent disappointed."
Believable conspiracy theory: LeBron was not re-signing with the Cavs, so he milked the injury in order to throw the Celtics series and make an easier exit.
we'd still like to see ... someone, anyone ask James this on national television: "How's the elbow?"
Uh-Oh Moment: After LeBron makes representatives from six teams travel to Cleveland to meet with him, ESPN announces James will make his decision during a live, one-hour special from Greenwich, Conn.
something fishy: Chris Bosh publicly slips up on July 9, saying he, LeBron and Dwyane Wade had been planning this for months.
LeBron said: "It's not like leaving Cleveland is the whole logistic of it; it's about joining forces with the other two guys. ..."
Charles Barkley said: "I thought that his little one-hour special was a punk move."
aftermath: Q Scores Co., which conducts popularity polls, says in September LeBron is the sixth-most-hated sports personality.
Believable conspiracy theory: Bosh, Wade and James had been planning this since 2006. Playing together in the Olympics in 2008 cemented that desire.
We'd still like to see ... LeBron publicly admit The Decision television special was the worst choice of his career.
Oh, the 1980s. Remember the good ol' days of baseball futility? Let us remind you.
Finish: 6th, 23 games out of first in the AL East
Highlights: Joe Charboneau homers in his second MLB at-bat and goes on to be the Tribe's third Rookie of the Year. Outfielder Miguel Dilone hits .341 and stole a team-record 61 bases. Pitcher Len Barker wins 19 games.
Lowlights: Projected opening day starter John Denny gets sick, and the Tribe gets pounded 10-2. Slugger Andre Thornton misses the entire season due to a knee injury in spring training. Second baseman Duane Kuiper hurts his knee and doesn't play after June 1. Injuries also strike shortstop Tom Veryzer, Denny and Rick Manning for big chunks of the season.
Names you'll remember: Manning, Mike Hargrove, Toby Harrah, Sid Monge
Finish: 4th, 25 games out of first in the AL Central
Highlights: Carlos Santana, the Tribe's best prospect hits .260 with 22 RBIs after being called up on June 11. Awful call ruins Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga's perfect game, but everyone takes it well. Progressive Field put to good use for winter Snow Days.
Lowlights: Santana is lost for the season with a gruesome knee injury. Grady Sizemore plays a mere 33 games and hits .211. Jayson Nix (11 errors in 40 games at third), Luis Valbuena (hits .193 in 91 games) and David Huff (2-11, 6.21 ERA). Indians finish last in MLB in attendance with 1,391,644 fans, the lowest total since 1992.
Names you'll forget: Andy Marte, Mike Redmond,
Jim Brown Bails
His name is synonymous with Cleveland football, which is why Jim Brown's weird feud with the Browns' front office is truly disappointing. His September letter to Mike Holmgren, which insinuated the team president was trying to turn Brown into the NFL's version of a Walmart greeter, was as off-base as his decision to skip the Browns' Ring of Honor ceremony on Sept. 19. In the end, the fans lost their chance to honor the great, and Jim Brown proved that he still hits pretty damn hard.
Most Embarassing Corruption Moments
Cell phones and cameras seem so innocent, so friendly, until you find out the FBI's been running a sting. Then those buddy-buddy jokes don't stay in Vegas, that carefree party photo gets reprinted next to an exposé, the quiet come-on whispered before your hotel tryst leaves you hoping you can hide behind your federally bestowed acronym. Or maybe, you just really wish you hadn't taken someone's call. The corruption investigation left scores of Clevelanders afraid to Google themselves or stop by the grocery store without fear and shame. Here's who had the top cringe-inducing moments.
Jimmy Dimora. Apparently, a $1,000 Las Vegas massage isn't all it's cracked up to be: "She's good — a little chatty, but good," Dimora told contractor buddy Ferris Kleem, who prosecutors say arranged for the services. Just as the phrase "take my talents to" have forever been tainted, we'll forever cringe at the mention of a "chatty" neighbor. Taped April 9, 2008; case filed April 23, 2010.
Public Employee 39. The benefits package at Bedford Municipal Court must be unbelievable. PE39 not only slept with Jimmy Dimora in hopes of getting a job there (or Solon City Hall), according to the feds, she also told him she enjoyed it. "[Sex with] you is a wonderful thing," PE39 allegedly claimed a day before meeting Dimora at the Doubletree in Independence. Taped March 14, 2008; case filed Sept. 15, 2010.
Christopher Krause. The former Maple Heights schools treasurer ripped off the kids of his district by steering a contract in exchange for a 46-inch LCD TV delivered by Frank Russo's son, Vince. After the FBI raided the county building, Krause, not willing to part with that sweet screen, stashed it in a school warehouse. Delivered Dec. 21, 2007; case filed May 26, 2010.
Ed FitzGerald. The county-executive-elect showed up at a candidates' forum this fall and found reporters hungry to grill him about his appearance in the Dimora indictment, in which he takes a call from Dimora about the Winterhurst ice rink. FitzGerald hasn't been accused of wrongdoing, and he went on to win his race with 45 percent of the vote. Taped March 6, 2008; court filing Sept. 15, 2010.
Frank Russo. No, $1 million in kickbacks didn't make the former auditor blush. But then The Plain Dealer dug up a photo of him at a charity benefit with a big silver flip-phone clipped to his belt. Now that's embarrassing.Shot 2006; published Sept. 1, 2010.
Cleveland's 10 Most Miserable Years
Cheer up, Cleveland! At least this isn't the city's worst year ever. Careful historical research has determined it's only the ninth worst.
1978 - Default shames Cleveland; Blizzard of '78 buries city; Mayor Dennis Kucinich bullies his way through recall election, disastrous feud with banks.
1968 - Fred "Ahmed" Evans ignites Glenville shootout over towed car, seven killed; hopes from Carl Stokes' election ruined.
1938 - Great Depression drags on; Torso Murderer kills 10th, 11th, 12th victims; Eliot Ness burns down hobo camp.
1966 - Bar fight incites Hough riots, Communists blamed; Rand cancer "cure" fools Plain Dealer and desperate patients.
1969 - Cuyahoga River oil slick catches fire, births Laugh-In's Cleveland jokes; 4th of July storm kills 51.
1972 - Mayor Ralph Perk sets his hair on fire; declines presidential invite, cites wife's bowling night; asks Pope Paul VI to "pray for Cleveland."
1798 - Nearly all of Cleveland's few dozen settlers fall ill to malarial fever and chills, with no doctor and no medicine except tree bark; population declines; families move out of the Flats to escape the pestilence.
1837 - East Side-West Side rivalry turns violent as 1,000 men fight Ohio City-Cleveland Bridge War with crowbars, axes, rocks, clubs, rifles; Mayor of Cleveland, trying to make peace, is driven off Columbus Street Bridge with stones.
2010 - The Decision, Dimora & Russo, Forbes.com, death of Pekar.
2003 -"Comeback" ends; political, business leaders brawl over failed convention center bid; Jane Campbell lays off 250 cops, plans to pull trash barrels from streets, setting stage for Adopt-A-Can.
Rank & Bile
Hey, Forbes. How do you like us now?
Oh, Forbes, we barely cared about you. Then, we hated you with a passion. Tab us as America's Most Miserable City, and we'll show you. Our baseball team only lost 93 games this year, four wins better than 2009. Unemployment? Down to 10 percent in September. That's almost 1 percent better than in February when your rankings came out. We even improved the weather: Last winter had half the snowfall through early February as the year before. The first eight months of 2010 were the hottest on record. So maybe we haven't broken ground yet on the Med Mart, Flats East Bank or the casino, but Dan Gilbert promised an NBA championship before that team in South Beach wins one. And have you seen Peyton Hillis run over would-be tacklers? We'd be happy to send him your way for a little demonstration. Of course, our sales tax rate is still the highest in the state. But for all these improvements, who wouldn't pay a little bit extra?
St. Emeric's becomes the 50th catholic church to close
Cuyahoga County foreclosures rise again.
American Greetings threatens to leave Brooklyn.
United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek tells business leaders: "Cleveland needs to earn its hub status every day."
Baricelli Inn, Bar Symon, Somer's Diner on Prospect close.
Elecia Battle, who falsely claimed in 2004 that she lost a lottery ticket worth $162 Million, was stabbed in the back by her 78-year-old father, Bill Smith.
Eastlake North High grad and tattoo model Michelle "Bombshell" McGee is revealed as the mistress in the Sandra Bullock—Jessie James Divorce.
Cops mistake murder victim's body for a deer along I-90.
Chrystler's Twinsburg stamping plant closes after more than 50 years of work.
Warehouse district gets tense; roaming teens decide it's fun to hang outside hip-hop club they can't get into.
Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Legacy Village will close at year's end.
Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold is linked to racially charged cleveland.com comments; she blames her daughter and sues The Plain Dealer
"Please Stay Lebron" video portrays Cleveland as a town of futile beggars.
The Less Miserables
These exceptions to the trend cheered us in 2010.
Peyton Hillis: Gritty grinder as face of franchise fits Cleveland
Hugo Boss: Factory officially reopens in July
Zack Bruell: Opens Chinato, his fourth restaurant in town
Comic Sans: Surge of attention thanks to Dan Gilbert
April: Warmest ever at average temperature of 56 degrees
Lakewood: Travel + Leisure names it a Top 10 Coolest Suburb
Betty White: Hot in Cleveland premiere draws 5 million fans, the most ever for a TV Land show
Jonathon Sawyer: Food & Wine names him one of country's best new chefs
Best 80 Hours and 26 Minutes of the Year
From Browns kickoff at 1:02 p.m. Sunday to the final buzzer of the Cavs opener at 9:28 p.m. Wednesday, boy, it was awesome.
Sunday: The Cleveland Browns dismantly the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, 30-17.
Monday: Christmas Ale is tapped at Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Tuesday: Despite predictions, the Miami Heat will not go undefeated. Boston Celtics win 88-80.
Wednesday: The Cleveland Cavalier beat the Boston Celtics, 95-87.
#HappyInCLE Twitter hashtag
Positively Cleveland asked Clevelanders to use the tag when sharing good news about the city in tweets, like when Man v. Food's Adam Richman praised Cleveland on the Today show last month: "It is the heartland, it's near great farmland, there's the historic West Side Market," he said. "Cleveland is a special place that often gets overlooked."
Of course, it rained the day after he left. July sunshine would've seemed cruel after a loss like that.
We've always wanted to surprise the rest of the country with Cleveland's greatness, and he made it happen. People saw us differently because of him. Then, when we ran into a tough time and really needed him, he was gone.
It shows our range, our unpretentious respect for the many categories of Cleveland greatness, that so many of the people who raged at LeBron James' Decision to split for the Sunshine State also mourned four days later when Harvey Pekar died. In Cleveland, even the literary and indie-film crowds cheer for pro sports, and even the most mainstream sports fan took pride in Pekar's cranky late-night jousts, when he gave smarmy David Letterman the Full Cleveland treatment.
The comic-book author's obituaries were appropriately quieter, more respectful, than the jilted city's howl at The Decision. But the second of our two July losses was actually the worst, and the truest Cleveland moment of 2010. After LeBron crushed our championship hopes, leaving a barren landscape of struggling-toward-.500 teams in his wake, the city desperately needed a midyear correction, a reminder from a trusted voice that we'd stumbled back into a perennial Cleveland mistake: We'd invested way too much hope in a pro athlete. Just when we most needed a strong, angry dose of Harvey Pekar's gloomy realism, he wasn't around to write it.
Pekar's comics included no heroes of any kind, no superheroes, no kings and especially no sports heroes. American Splendor found Cleveland's true essence in the West Side Market's barking vendors, the big two-story double houses where relatives lived a floor apart, sightseeing tours of the steel mill and the Orthodox church where The Deer Hunter was filmed. Pekar refused to visit the Rock Hall and mocked the Dawg Pound because his pessimist's eye mistrusted the comeback stories Cleveland tells itself.
"Harvey, how are things in Cleveland?" Letterman asked him one night, years ago.
"What aspect of Cleveland life are you particularly interested in, Dave?" Pekar asked, his voice lilting with sarcasm. "The climate? The unemployment situation, perhaps?"
Afterward, civic boosters asked Pekar why he hadn't raved about the new Jacobs Field.
"There are people who like me to talk about Cleveland the way it is and be honest," he
That's how we feel today. That's why, looking back on 2010, we're presenting what we feel is an honest account of the year's events. We Believe In Cleveland as much as anyone and chronicle its best for a living, but sometimes we also have to help the city get something off its civic chest.
In December 2010, after LeBron, after Harvey's death, after the torturous wait for Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo to be arrested already, and after the federal indictments' tawdry embarrassments, we feel the need to acknowledge it: This year sucked.
Even Forbes.com, that shallow list-maker, master of the top 10 hit-and-run, might have been onto something. Cleveland knows gloom. It's part of our atmospheric conditions. We aren't permanently miserable, but misery lived in Cleveland for a long time, still knows a lot of people in town and comes back home to visit pretty regularly. We just hope that after the holidays, it clears out of the guest room and takes its talents to South Beach.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 2:38:13 PM by Paul
I just read this today, and yeah 2010 was a bad year for Cleveland. I even wrote two things about Cleveland. One is called "7 Curses of Cleveland Sports" and "It's a Wonderful City".