Friday, June 29, 2007

Buy Sam a Drink: Browns vs. Pirates

I might have to start writing these things everyday because the feedback has just been so enormous - picking Kordell Stewart as the winner of anything will garner such reaction, I guess. But anyways, welcome again, Littlefields and Sheros (ladies and gentlemen, get it? Alright, low blow) to the segment that is filling my inbox to the brim: Buy Sam a Drink! Today, in honor of the upcoming “walkout” that is being staged against your 2007 Jolly-Roger-lowering Pittsburgh Pirates, I intend to find out just how much pity Pirates fans deserve, relatively speaking.

With winner’s buying the drinks, it’s time to find out…


Find out where to mail your tears after the jump

When looking over the 2007 Steelers schedule with a friend recently in an attempt to predict the number of Black ‘n Gold victories, we both noted how the Steelers would likely beat the Browns twice. Feeling almost sorry for them, my friend philosophized the following: “You know, I really don’t hate the Browns. I hate the Ravens. I hate the Patriots. I wish ill things upon the Bengals. But I can’t hate the Browns and their fans. I understand them – they are like Pirates fans”.

The comment stung a little until I realized that he was probably right. All inflamed-river jokes aside, Cleveland Browns fans have been ridiculed and let down by their team time and time again. After talking to some Cleveland fans yesterday, it is eerie to hear the similarities between what they say before a season and what Pirates fans say. I know the script all too well: so and so is back, we signed this guy, we might get lucky, but hey, lets face it, it’s the Browns (Pirates). Cautious optimism like this is something that is a staple of any Pirates fans’ preseason ritual.

Furthermore, take this “disputed” quote (read: vandalism by a bitter Browns fan) from the Browns’ Wikipedia page…

"The highlight of the season came from the television side of the season. Bill Belichick was the breakout star of "Browns Insider" which was co-hosted by Jim Mueller. Belichick explained such concepts as "Metcalf up the middle," the brilliance of drafting a fullback with the 11th pick in the draft (the third running back as top pick of the Browns in three of four years) and why the double tightend, one wide-receiver offensive set was unstoppable."

Change some words around to Ronny Florian and untested college pitchers and that sounds like the Pirates.

Though its debatable who deserves more sympathy at the current point in time, the Browns have had a much more difficult past decade, and that is truly saying something given that their competition here is the Pirates. But no matter how many losses the Pirates pile up, they still have been fortunate enough (fortune is a relative term in this article) to stay located in Pittsburgh and not undergo any horrendously complicated reestablishment procedures. The Browns are all too familiar with such hellish trials. Art Modell sucker-punched the fans square in the face and they’ve had little to cheer about since Drew Carey tried to rile them up before their opening night game against the Steelers.

While Pirates fans more or less see the last 15 years as a steady barrage of defeats, the Browns are marked by specific moments of failure. “The Fumble”, “The Drive”, the Steelers playoff comeback in 2002…hell, the Browns Wikipedia page even has a section subtitled “The Bernie Kosar Years” (yikes). Other than the playoff year, the Browns haven’t won more than 7 games since their reintroduction to the league.

The term “playoff year”, however, is one not familiar to any Pirates fan under the age of twenty. I swear this isn’t a shameless self-promotion, but really, look at the Pirates Hall of Shame Ballot. Just look. Read every name. It’s just an atrocity, although it does clarify how such an unfathomable stretch of losing seasons is possible.

But like another McG-suffixed individual, I am not here to talk about the past. Earning pity isn’t all about getting a pat on the back over some game that was lost years ago. Pity is earned when your team has basically abandoned you and there is a decreasingly small slimmer of hope in the future.

For the Browns, as much as Dave Wannstache believes they will still suck, they are making strides. They have drafted well recently and you don’t get the impression that they are pulling in money with one hand and extending a middle finger to the fans with the other. The Pirates? I thought about putting a table up with recent draft picks and their production, but I just don’t want to. Its Friday, I’m in a pretty good mood, and I for one don’t need any stats today to tell me that, because of financial reasons, the Pirates would rather draft a questionable reliever rather than the best player on the board.

For Clemente’s sake, there is a walkout forthcoming! A walkout! As fellow writer Sam opined on another website, what’s next - a sit in at Pirates Fest? Pirates fans are at wit’s end, whereas Cleveland fans, fresh off He Who Is Witnessed taking them on a wild playoff ride, are optimistic and eager to see what there young batch of talent can do this fall. There is no end in sight for Buccos fans, and the only thing worth getting excited about it a fan protest. Raise the Jolly Roger, indeed!

By writing this article, I think I have officially hit rock bottom as a Pirates fan by realizing that we deserve more pity than Browns fans. They have a future, a reasonable looking blueprint…SOMETHING to give them cause for hope.

So hey Pirates fans!


No comments: