Sirk: Cow Patties from Columbus

Wherein our hero examines the media's understated reaction to the Patriots and Yankees. Also, an explanation of why his friend Ross is both affable and self-destructive, with the unspoken plea that we shouldn't kill him any more than what is absolutely needed.

Barry,

When the Bengals played the Patriots on Monday Night Football two weeks ago, my good buddy Flick, a Bengals fan, called the broadcast "a three-hour tongue bath" for the Patriots.

Flick got off easy, at least when compared to our horror last Sunday. We had to watch the Browns play at New England, and then the Indians play a post-season game in Yankee Stadium. I am convinced that on Saturday night, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf, Chip Caray, and Bob Brenley all met up somewhere in Connecticut so they could have the frenula snipped from the bottom of their tongues, Gene Simmons style, so they could get enough tongue extension to properly bathe the Patriots and Yankees from head to toe without ever having to leave their knees.

It's a good thing the Yankees and Patriots cannot technically play each other. It would be like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters. (In the words of Dr. Spengler: "Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.")

During the football game, I learned that the Patriots play the game the right way. (Such as diving at opponents' knees after the whistle on a dead ball spike?) I learned that Bill Belichick is such a great coach that he doesn't need to cheat. (So that erases the fact that he did, right?)  I learned that Tom Brady is the smartest QB ever. (Didn't he knock up his girlfriend just before he dumped her?)  And for the love of God, Robert Kraft's luxury box got so much surreptitious camera time you'd think he was watching the game in the Big Brother house.

A few hours later, during the baseball game, I learned that the Yankees have a great offense. I learned that the Yankees have a really great offense. I learned that, even if they didn't score, the Yankees still had a great offense. I learned that the Yankees…wait, the Yankees actually got a hit! To quote Chip Caray, "HEEEEERE COOMMME THE YANKEES!!!!" I learned that even if the Yankees followed up that hit with another double play, "it is only a matter of time" until the Yankees scored an unspeakable number of runs. To quote Chip Caray, "This Yankees offense is a like a 2-liter of soda pop that has been shaken up and is just waiting to explode! Just like the front of my pants! Go Yankees!"

(The baseball announcing was so bad that one of my friends tried to listen to Tom Hamilton on the radio while watching the game, but was dismayed to find that the TV feed was several seconds behind Hammy's call. I had to explain to my friend that the TV feed had to be on a delay in case Derek Jeter hit into another double play, causing Chip Caray to yell "F***!" on the air.)

Patriots 34, Browns 17. Yankees 8, Indians 4. Sperm Cells Spilt By Announcers 9.43 trillon, Brain Cells Left In My Head 2.

What a long Sunday.

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On TV, whenever an announcer gives his "Keys To Victory", they like to revisit them late in the game and see how it all played out. Since I outlined three possible ways the Browns could beat the Patriots, I thought maybe I should also revisit them.

1. My first key was that Romeo had been standing so still on the sideline so that the Patriots couldn't do any video scouting of him. It turns out this doesn't matter, because as I learned from the CBS broadcast, Bill Belichick is such a genius that he can actually read people's minds. That's why the videotaping was unnecessary in the first place. The only reason he was taping was because he was working on taking over other people's minds, thereby making them slaves to his telekinetic commands, so he was just checking the tapes to see if the coaches were giving the signals he told them to. But since that's apparently not allowed, he's content to merely read people's minds. The Patriots players know they have to be focused on the game at all times, because if one should look into the crowd and think to himself, "Holy smokes! That hot chick in the third row has some delectable double-Ds!", Belichick will call that player into his office and berate him until he understands that during the game, every player needs to be 100% focused on running up the score, not what size hooters some bimbo has. And they were only C-cups anyway.

2. The Browns needed to take a page out of the Tribe's playbook and unleash a plague of locusts. Sadly, the only plague of annoying pests to be found was the 68,756 New Englanders in attendance.

3. My third key was Marc Zody. He is an OBR reader who got a mention in a previous Cow Patties when he had the misfortune of sitting between a Steelers fan and a Bengals fan in a Columbus sports bar. The morning of the Ravens game, he wrote back and said if the Browns beat the Ravens, I'd have to mention his name again because it would be good luck. And damn if the Browns didn't squash the Ravens. So I decided that if the Browns were somehow going to lose in Foxboro, I didn't want it to be because I didn't mention Marc Zody's name. But they lost anyway. So now maybe Marc Zody's name is bad luck? Or is it bad luck just for road games, and it's good luck for home games? Superstitions are so confusing. The only hard and fast rule I know is that "ees very bad to drink Jobu's rum. Ees very bad."

Other thoughts on the game….

  • The Browns fell behind 20-0, but unlike their season opening home loss to Pittsburgh, they never quit and they fought back to make some semblance of a game of it. As the announcers reminded us time and time again, Bill Belichick, in his relentless pursuit of excellence, was going to find plenty of things to grumble about when watching the game film. After week one, I think Mike Tomlin and the Steelers had a good laugh by playing the game film on fast forward with Benny Hill music. What a difference four weeks makes.
  • It's amazing how good the Patriots are becoming at stonewalling. After Mike Vrabel tried to take out both Joe Thomas and Derek Anderson after the whistle on a spike play, he waited four days to even address the issue, then gave the terse I'm-sorry-anybody-feels-that-way-but-that's-not-how-I-play-the-game-and-that's-in-the-past-now-so-I-will only-answer-questions-about-this-week's-game-with-Dallas speech. I wish somebody would have asked about Dallas' two minute drill, and if they spiked the ball, did he plan to defend the play after the whistle by attacking the knees of Flozell Adams and then rolling up the back of Tony Romo's legs.
  • The Browns went back to destroying their classic look by wearing brown socks with their white uniforms. Why, Barry? Why? Can't you have Fred or Lane of Jeff Schudel or Adam Caplan find out why the Browns insist on doing this? It spits in the face of tradition and looks awful. I hate to make this a personal crusade, but if this doesn't stop soon, I'm saving up money to fly to England to give Randy Lerner a piece of my mind.
  •  Boston needs to go away. How much sporting prosperity can one city possibly have? The Red Sox are World Series favorites. The Patriots are Super Bowl favorites. The Revolution are serious contenders for MLS Cup. With Kevin Garnett, the Celtics are serious contenders to dethrone the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.  Boston College is ranked #4 in the country in college football. The Bruins….well….the Bruins suck, which of course means that they are setting themselves up for some kind of miraculous underdog run to the Stanley Cup. And to top it off, there are annoying Boston fans almost everywhere, many of whom are wearing pink or green Red Sox hats. And Dane Cook is one of them. Global warming can't put Boston underwater soon enough.
==========

A quick follow-up about the Bengals and pigeon poop. Last week I mentioned that my friends Rob and Flick, both real Bengals fans, have felt like pigeon excrement while watching their last place team.

It turns out that Rob has been taking the glass-half-full view. He told me, "At least the NFL has been generous with the Bengals' early season schedule.  With two of the first five weeks on Monday Night Football, a bye, and a 4:00 west coast game, the NFL has done a wonderful job of allowing me to enjoy my Sundays before the Bengals lay a turd.  The Bengals may suck, but at least it doesn't ruin the whole day."

He further went on to explain how the NFL schedule has allowed him to get a lot of home improvement projects done. "With the excellent weather and Bengals' schedule, I've been able to get a lot of work done on Sundays.  That doesn't happen after Bengal losses, except for the Tampa Bay game last year when I tore out the chimney in a fit of rage, but that was as much therapy as productivity."

The good news for Browns fans, as well as Bengals fans like Rob who need to use the weekend to hang new siding, is that the Browns trumped the Bengals in this week's WBNS conflict, meaning the Browns will be on and the Bengals will not be televised. The natural order of the universe has been restored.

==========

Before I go, I want to tell you the story of my friend Ross. There are many words I can use to describe Ross….outgoing, friendly, affable, gregarious, good-humored and/or suicidal.

I slipped that last word in there because he is a Dolphins fan. I do not mean that he is suicidal because the Dolphins are off to an 0-5 start. I mean his is suicidal because he used all of his other traits in an attempt to infiltrate a local Browns Backers club in an effort to get in on the bus trip to the stadium for Sunday's game.

Seriously.

My initial thought was why would someone want to ride in a bus for three hours with over fifty fans of the opposing team?

My second thought was why would anyone want to ride a bus for three hours at all?

"Beer," explained Ross. "I want to be able to drink on the whole trip and not worry about driving."

That's socially conscious and all, but my third thought was why would anyone want to get drunk in tight quarters with over fifty fans of the opposing team?

Ross realizes that this can all go horribly wrong, especially since he plans on wearing his Joey Porter Dolphins jersey. On Thursday, he approached me with one simple question. "I'm going to die, aren't I?"

The whole thing started in August, when Ross searched the web looking to see if any local Browns Backers clubs were making the trip to Cleveland for the Dolphins game. He found a local group that was making the trip, whose weekly game-watching establishment was conveniently nearby. So Ross started hanging out and getting to know people. Like I said, he's a very friendly and outgoing person, so this was not a problem at all. He even met the head of the club and inquired about the trip. The guy told him it's open to members first, but since Ross seemed like a good guy, it shouldn't be a problem. Ross then asked if his "friend", who is a Dolphins fan, could come, even though it was a long shot that the Dolphins fan would even be interested. Ross was told that if there was room left on the bus, and if the Dolphins fan wasn't a jerk, it wouldn't be a problem. Ross said the Dolphins fan probably wouldn't be coming, so he put down a deposit only for himself.

The next week, Ross showed up again. When he went to chat with the head of the club, the first words out of the guy's mouth were, "You're the Dolphins fan, aren't you?"

Ross couldn't believe it. "He had me pegged cold," he later told me. "You Browns fans can really tell the real thing from an imposter. He busted me right away. I had to tell him the truth." Ross offered to back out of the trip, but was told that it would still be okay, since a few people put in a good word for him after they had sniffed him out.

Ever since then, Ross has been concerned about his fate in the Dawg Pound. He told me the story of his only other trip to Cleveland to see the Dolphins play. It was the game in which Dan Marino tore his Achilles tendon, and was replaced by a left-handed water buffalo named Scott Mitchell, who led the Dolphins to a come from behind victory that ultimately defrauded the Detroit Lions out of millions of dollars. Anyway, Ross recalled being pelted with drinks and debris while people swore at him and taunted him about his Dan Marino jersey. "I just wanted to tell them, ‘Um, hi, I'm, like…twelve.'"

I used this opportunity to tell Ross of some of the things I have personally witnessed at Browns games over the years.

  •  A Houston Oilers fan being kicked UP a ramp at the old stadium.
  • A New York Giants fan standing on his seat to celebrate a touchdown, only to receive a massive uppercut that caused him to pierce his own tongue and fall on the Browns fans in next row, who then beat him further for having the temerity to bleed on them.
  •  An unconscious camera man being pelted with snow balls in front of the Dawg Pound.
  •  A Cincinnati Bengals fan thinking he outwitted everyone by wearing a Bengals helmet while talking trash. Within seconds, his helmet was grotesquely twisted backward on his head while burly men rained blows upon his kidneys. Then they ripped off his helmet and repeatedly beat him over the back with the tabby-striped weapon.

"I think I'm wearing street clothes," said Ross. "I can't wear my Joey Porter Dolphins jersey. They will kill me, right?"

I told Ross he has three things in his favor:

1. The Dolphins are 0-5 and should lose.

2. At least it's not winter, so he doesn't have to worry about getting pelted with snowballs and frozen beer bottles all day.

3. By wearing a Joey Porter Dolphins jersey, there's a good chance that Big Dawg and Dawg Pound Mike will guarantee him safe passage and will maybe even give him a happy ending if he plays his cards right.

"I think the key is going to be a buffer zone," he said. "I need to make enough Browns friends that I have buffer zone to physically protect me from others. I'm going to keep it low-key and respectful, so I hope that will allow me to build the buffer zone. I'm okay with people yelling at me and flipping me off. I just don't want to wear any beer. Or urine. And I don't want any cuts. No external bleeding. I won't even complain about light bruising, so long as it is in areas covered by clothes when I go to work on Monday."

It would have ruined the fun to tell Ross that, these days, fans can be booted from the stadium for "excessive cheering." His memories are of a different time, when Cleveland Municipal Stadium was a drunken combat zone braved by only the most foolhardy of visiting fans.

But should anyone on the bus or in the stadium feel the urge to make a statement by pounding the bejeebers out of a friendly guy in a Joey Porter Dolphins jersey, I ask that you pause for a moment and think, "What Would Kellen Do?"

Then give Ross a patronizing, emasculating, and excessively maternal hug.

That's all for now, Barry. Ross has promised a full report from his trip. We can only hope that whoever the Dolphins quarterback is nowadays doesn't rupture his Achilles tendon, thus paving the way for a comeback led by whoever the Dolphins' backup quarterback is.

Until next week,

Sirk  

Steve Sirk, once Art Bietz's co-conspirator at the TruthCenter, has taken to sending a weekly letter to "home base" about life as a Browns fan struggling in the NFL mixing pot of Central Ohio. At some point in life, Sirk determined that suffering through the nexus, dips, valleys, and various low points of being a Cleveland sports fan within geographic proximity of Cleveland itself did not create sufficient emotional pain. Sneeringly dismissive of even basic survival instincts, Sirk elected to reside in Columbus, Ohio, so that he could better be surrounded by fans of winning franchises who could mock his very existence. If you wish to contact an individual of such clearly questionable judgment, you may do so at sirk65@yahoo.com


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