Monday, August 6, 2007

Bandwagon Fans

I haven't had too much to post about lately. I know training camp is in full swing and there are all kinds of stories coming out of Berea, but what can I add to the reports that people that are actually there are giving you? That is the worst part about being out of state...I only have to go off of what other people tell me. I promise you once I actually get to use my NFL DirectTicket package, I'll have something useful to add to the Browns' blogging world.

I did get to see the HOF induction ceremonies, and this one seemed to be one of the more emotional affairs I have seen in a long time. I actually felt something other than hatred for Michael Irvin watching him give his acceptance speech. You could tell he knew he messed up and was now paying the price that his short-sightedness and addictions cost him. Seriously, what is he going to tell his sons when they are older and want to get into trouble? Don't do it? Why? Because you'll end up in the most revered sports hall of fame like me? Ouch. By far the most bittersweet moment of this year's induction ceremony Was seeing Bobby Mitchell, LeRoy Kelly and Jim Brown roll out the newest Brown to get in, Gene Hickerson. Reading his story and how he was so long overdue and the onset of dementia was heart breaking. Here's to hoping you were able to to at least enjoy this moment in your mind, Gene. This was also another reminder of what used to be and it makes our present situation with this team all the more frustrating. It's hard to believe that with atrocious play of these new Browns that we actually have 16 players in the Hall of Fame...and I was alive for only one of their careers.

As far as the Browns training camp goes, my biggest concern by far is the QBs. I definitely believe it when I read and see that neither one of these guys has done anything to stand out. Just for continuity's sake and to get some finality on whether or not he has what it takes to be a starter in this league, I want Chuck in there as the starter on September 9th. From what we've seen so far, it looks like that's going to happen. I am totally indifferent on the Quinn issue and here's why: the longer this goes on, the less likely he is to see the field this year. That is the best possible scenario for everyone involved. I think the Browns know and Tom Condon knows it.

If the Ryan Tucker debacle ends up being the worst thing that happens at training camp, consider me a happy man.

Here's my new favorite Steeler (replacing Kordell Stewart).

My grandfather in law just about had an aneuryism this weekend when the in-laws came to visit. He's a great guy and I love him, but he's a Steeler fan in every sense of the word. I thought it would be funny to cover his bed entirely with my Browns' blanket when he came up to go to bed, but we needed tranquilizers to calm him down after he saw that beautiful brown and orange festooning the place he was supposed to lay his head.

Apparently, people from Pittsburgh don't like it when you tell them, "Oh, I'm so sorry! That must have been just awful." When you meet them for the first time and they proudly tell you where they're from.

There's been a topic on my mind that has been bothering me for quite some time. There are a good number of Steelers fans down here in DC, but a ton of them aren't even from that little slice of hell on earth. Most of these "fans" grew up during the 70's and due to geographic restrictions or just plain idiocy, decided to jump on the bandwagon of whatever team was winning at the time of their formative years. I've ran into more than a few of these guys and the conversation usually goes like this...

Me: Yeah, I'm not too thrilled about how the Browns are looking this year, we are probably going to suck again. As long as we beat Pittsburgh, though, I'll be happy.

Idiot: Really? I'm a Steeler's fan!

Me: No kidding? I'm sorry to hear that. Are you from Pittsburgh?

Idiot: No.

Me: Do you have family from Pittsburgh?

Idiot: No...

Me: Do you have in any way, shape or form, any connection to that horrible place besides the fact that you liked a good, yet roided-up, football team when you were a little idiot and have been on their bandwagon ever since?

Idiot: Uhhh, No...

Me: I hate you.

Seriously, I don't know whether to punch these guys in the face when I meet them, or just pretend like I didn't hear the stupidity that just came out of their mouth. These guys drive me even more crazy than regular yinzers because they voluntarily became yinzers by association and then act like they did something braver than just rooting for whatever team was winning when they started to get hair in their bathing suit areas. That is one thing I can appreciate and love about Browns' fans, you don't choose to become one and there are definitely no fair weather ones.


Dwayne Rudd said...

I once knew a dude from Ashtabula who was a Broncos fan. His connection to Denver: "When I was 8, my cousin and I were watching a Browns / Broncos game. My cousin asked me who I was rooting for. I asked him who he was rooting for, and he said the Browns, and so I said I was rooting for the other team, the Broncos, and they've been my team ever since."

I just stared at him, speechless. Who would ADMIT to something like that?

Hardaway Hates Pittsburgh said...

I just threw up in my mouth

Anonymous said...

The reason it's called the Steelers Nation, HardaGay, is because thousands of us yinzers left the area for a variety of reasons, but stayed loyal to our roots. It's called "Fan Loyalty," not fair-weather fandom, pal. You average Joes in Cleveland should understand fan loyalty -- seeing how you're all in a symbiotic (neurotic? pathetic?) relationship with a formerly- abandoned team, F-Troop replacements, quashed dreams every year, and a perpetual loser label. Jealousy will get ya nowhere, pal, but keep trying.

As for the comment about your new Favorite Steeler (William Gay), go ahead and run your 8th grade name association for a chuckle or two among the Clown Faithful. He played extremely well at U of L, had a nice play or two vs the Saints, and -- maybe if you run out on the field during a game like that other drunkern Cleveland bum -- he can put a Gay-Bash on YOUR big behind.

Hardaway Hates Pittsburgh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hardaway Hates Pittsburgh said...

I deleted my last comment because it was to crass for my tastes and it's my blog.

Apparently you didn't read the clearly stated people with no affiliation to that little slice of hell on earth. Pick up your mop and get back to work. You probably did a search for a pittsburgh blog and stumbled upon this one. If you had read any of the previous posts, you'd see I don't live in Cleveland anymore. If you can't tell that my Pittsburgh bashing is pretty much tongue in cheek, you suck more than your post. I'm not going to get into who can beat up who or why I'm cooler than you or any personal threats. Steeler fan want green drop drink? Internet tough guys are hilarious!!

Dwayne Rudd said...

Looks like you're getting your first taste of Steeler fan fun. You should be grateful, Mr. Anonymous did a decent job of putting together complete sentences using the English language, putting him in the top 2% of Pittsburgers. Now if only their grunt-to-English dictionary would tell them how to translate "yinzer". . .

Ever curious why so many Steeler's fans have left town? I assume its mostly deadbeat dads who have left town to avoid their child-support payments to their multiple appalachian women. In fact, thats probably why Mr. anonymous can't use his real name. . .

Anonymous said...

Well, I owe you an apology, Oh Displaced Browns Hardaway. Your out-of-town fan support experience mirrors the legions of Steeler fans that left home for a variety of reasons -- yet still remain true to their roots, for whatever reason. For the record, I'd love to "pick up my mop and bucket" and go back to work, but after 23 years of military service and two civil wars, I think I'd rather sit behind a chair and read melancholy, woe-is-me-about-our-team swill from jaded middle-class, middle-age bloggers instead; you just inspire that kind of motivation in me. But thanks for the advice...if only your front office was as well-advised by you, Vinnie's Horny Rhino, and dwayne dudd.

It's hard to tell when you're "tongue-in-cheek" on your "hating the 'Burgh," and when you're not, by the way. (I know you probably don't care, but I had to say it anyway.) So please pardon the natural (over-)reaction froma hated poor Browns fans have been pummeled from without and from within for so long that outsiders have a hard time inferring sarcasm from, well, stark reality at times.

Judge: Approach the bench, Anonymous. You've been accused of misreading eclectic blogs from expatriate Browns fans, as well as being overly sensitive of criticism to your team and hometown (which has been rated in the top 10 places to live longer than the Cuyahoga's been clean). How do you plead?

Anonymous: Duh....(drools spittle).

Judge: Guilty! The court sentences you to be pilloried in the blog post, to wear a Steely McBeam mascot suit for the entire season, and to watch Braylon Edwards highlights until your eardrums bleed. You may leave.

So like I said, I apologize for misreading the post. Truly.

As for the "cooler / better than you" references and such -- no such thoughts intended. I just thought your middle school humor about the supposed "gay" Kordell and the "Gay" William on the roster deserved a little zippy repartee. But you have to admit: it * would * be cool to see another drunken idiot from your fan base get brain-slammed during a game again, or have a dodge-'em contest when the Dawgs throw beer bottles at the opposition. Class like that is hard to find.

Keep publishing, you Zany Browns Exile, and I'll keep passes the time in between my brain surgery practice and my nuclear fusion experiments. (I'm being tongue-in-cheek, in case you couldn't infer it.)

PS) How's the injury report looking? Orpheus expected to play anytime this year?

Anonymous said...

Addendum for "dwanye rudd:" I find it humorous that a guy who names his post (and his return e-mail) after a doofus' headgear wonders why ** I ** leave my posts as "anonymous." (Why not call your site, "Vinnie Testaverde's jockstrap?" Both have the same odor of defeat to them.)

If "Mr Rudd" would ever like to discuss the rivalry without reference to my past deadbeat dad status, my binge-drinking, my heroin addiction, and those 45 assault charges that he thinks all yinzers are saddled with, I'll be happy to share e-mails.

One last point, and this one is for your rumination: do you think that maybe -- just maybe -- you guys are experiencing "regional dysfunction" regarding our teams? I'm serious. Think about it: when you think of Cleveland and Pittsburgh, what comes to mind? Same ethnic communities; same hard-working blue-collar base; same hard-nosed football in the same climates. Heck, the best games -- ever -- in the NFL were the old games between the "real" Browns and the Steelers, when it'd be November and mud, and a final score of 9-6, or 12-10--no matter who won. THOSE were the days. So what do we have now? It's like our teams are two brothers. One worked his way up the ladder and prospered, making a name (5 times) for himself. The other was given away for adoption and then "brought home" to face a life's history of being a lovable loser. Jeer if you will, but I cheer the Browns most of the time (except, of course, vs Pittsburgh). It's just hard to identify with the "rep" that comes from consistent mediocrity. Even with that, if you were in a different division, you'd be the team I'd cheer for -- for all those reasons mentioned above.

How's THAT for Freudian psycho-babble? You can laugh your way about it all the way to the stadium if you want. But what brother doesn't like to "one-up" his sibling (as in, "I don't care what else happens, as long as we beat Pittsburgh")?


Dwayne Rudd said...

We gotta keep this guy going. Seems like each Pittsburgh jab spurs a new novella. Does the incoherence make it easier to write so much?

Personally, I don't know many Pittsburghers, and I don't have any particular reason to dislike them. But most of my experience with Steeler fans is idiots posting comments all over the internet bitching any time someone suggests the Steelers are anything other than God's gift to football.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Duh-wayne, it's easy to write when you guys offer up so many straight lines ... if not in here, then on the plethora (that means "a lot," btw) of sad-sack sites authored by Browns fans. It's like you guys invite your inner circle of dog-faced fans to mope along with you, and then you find fault when someone else comes along to see what's going on.

I stand by the fact that I don't mind the Browns...many of their fans are dolts (like many of ours are), but the similarities in people and region and playing style are striking. The only thing different is the won-lost column, and you guys key on those facts as much as anyone; true? So we crow about our team -- why shouldn't we? You guys still dream of the Jim Brown days, right? The only difference is, that's all you've had for 40+ years, and we prospered more. But you guys hate Pittsburghers' attitude toweard slights on their team. Logically, it's not our attitude, but the fact that we have something to have an attitude for. (Sorry; I ended my sentence in a preposition. How rural backwoodsy of me.)

So if me writing on this 'massively-read' blog spot is what you call "incoherent novellas," then cackle away, brother, and cast your slings and arrows at me (have Brady Quinn cast them, now that he reported to camp)...but the truth shall set you free. It does every year.

As for idiocy: the only "idiotic" thing I'll freely admit to is getting on Browns sites to read up on the coming season for the competition and to scope out the hoped-for "rivalry" we used to have. If that makes for stupid postings, least SOMEONE gets on these sites besides you self-serving author-bloggers.

Come on, Ruddy-Duddy, admit it: you're just jealous that I lampooned myself (and that idiot mascot we have) before you could think up something cute yourself, aren't you? (I'm grinning here, pal; you should be, too. And I even have all my real teeth.)

Hardaway Hates Pittsburgh said...

All right everybody, let's all calm down here. This post wasn't even intended for true yinzers and Dwayne wasn't even referring to them either. This whole post deals with people who jumped on the Steelers bandwagon when they were just little bitty idiots and have no ties to the city whatsoever. I know Pittsburgh way to well. You know the saying that once you truly know something, you gain respect for it? Well, it's the complete opposite for me. I played college ball in western PA (the reasons I chose the school have nothing to do with football) and a lot of my best and closest friends are Steelers fans. Hell, my position coach was a starter on the Steelers for 11 years and has got the rings to show for it, But you know what? I still hate 'em. And I had to take the crowing and lecturing about how they were God's gift to earth by just grabbing my ankles because I didn't have a team at the time. My wife is from Western PA (I found one that wasn't born there, thank God) and so is her family. Aside from being from that region, they're all right. Seriously, the attitudes and viewpoints that I encountered there were/are mind-boggling. Since the Steelers were good, hence everything about the region must be good. It was like taking crazy pills. I have never seen one area so proud of so little. Clevelanders can admit when their city is in bad shape and take it like a man. Yinzers have their black and gold colored glases on and think their area is anything but the armpit of the earth. I felt like Jane Goodall living among them for 4 plus years. The only insults I post on this blog are ones that I would tell them right to my friends' and family's face. You want to know why there are so many entertaining Browns blogs? Because they suck. And when they suck, there needs to be outlets to release the frustration. I don't wish for the times of Jim Brown and Otto Graham because I wasn't even alive to enjoy them. I just wish we could get back to the point of groin-kicking loss after crotch-smashing loss in the playoffs because that means we're relevant again. Dwayne Rudd's Helmet is one of the blogs I started reading that got me inspired to do this one. Anonymous, I can take whatever you dish out because I am just as hard on my team as I am on any of the others. Please read some of my previous posts. I think I mention Romeo's moobs on one of them. Finally, my Steeler buddies know about this blog and think it's funny. As far as the military service, I have no way of verifying that, but if it's true, hats off and you can join my brother, dad, uncle, cousins and best friends from back home for a beer at the Harbor Inn Bar any day. And then pick up your mop and get back to work.

Hardaway Hates Pittsburgh said...

By the way, check out the post about Browns' fans on this site. Browns Backers are second to none for fan support outside the home city.

Anonymous said...

Blog-Meister Hardaway:
One long ramble before bed....long day of teaching and sports-viewing, so please excuse the various unconnected threads...

I'd be curious to know what school in Western PA you went to (and played football at). I was an IUP '79 grad, with Jim Haslett as our resident Ghod who walked on water (thanks, but no).

I understand what you're saying in your replies. Heck, I'm 5'7" and don't talk trash to anyone, so I consider myself apart from the froth-at-the-mouth fanatics (of any stripe). You are absolutely right in your assessment that Pgh fans can be obnoxious and/or over-focused entirely on the Steelers...but some of that is the mentality of the city (Mill Hunks and immigrants used to hard-nosed work and equally rough play). Some of it, admittedly, is overweening pride or arrogance that comes from a winning franchise that likes to strut its stuff. Not that such "attitude" is condoned, but some of it is natural given the recent history of the franchise.

I grew up in Western PA in the 70s, then went in the Army, then to school, then to the USAF and retired to teach here in Kentucky (cue the "Deliverance" banjo music and rev the's true, all of it). But for whatever reason, Pittsburghers are melancholic for their city, and it is indeed a wonderful place to live -- it keeps winning awards as the "yuppie place to be," from whoever makes the ratings. For whatever reason (and I don't have an answer), we yinzers who were in the great diaspora of the post-steel-mill era are a homesick bunch. It's like God: you believe, but can't explain. But I digress...

I was at the Pentagon in the 80s, and if you think the Steelers coverage/attitude is bad, you should've read the papers on the 'Skins! My God, you had an 8-page spread on the first day of spring training, and every toe sprain or thumb jam got top billing. I lived on Pepto-Bismol every day from the glucose coverage, and Heaven help you if you tried to find any other team's coverage. So again, I can understand the "down-your-throat" fire hose of SteelerMania you were subject to. Hopefully years of counseling have straightened you out (grin).

Thanks for your note. I'm not a bellicose kind of guy, but I think I misread your post only in part. The "bandwagon" guys who have no ties to Pittsburgh might be the generation of kids who had relatives from the "good old days." Or, like anyone else, they might've been impressed with the team from the early 90s and just adopted 'em...stranger things have happened. One thing about a Steler fan, though (and I know this applies to your guys, too): once you're a fan, you never root for any other team. (So please, keep my grudgingly "hate-Cleveland but-love-Cleevland" respect on the DL, lest I appear traitorious to the hometown faithful.) And my nickname is "Faz," by the way. (That's with a "z," not a "g."); "Anonymous" sounds too Greek to use much longer.

One quick jot on the "Validation" post, and I'm off to bed. Thanks for your notes.

Anonymous said...

i know how u feel dude, im in the dc/baltimore area and i got to deal with a bunch of people who love pittsburgh who have no relation with the city. i myself being a ravens fan obviously cant stand this. i call these people bandwagon bitches all the time. but of course down here, u also get the dallas, philly, and giant fans. that shit is annoying.