And to think, teams these days think that sticking a hill, flagpole, or a monument in center field is ballsy and different. Try a teepee, motherfuckers, like they used to do at League Park.
While nothing in this world is going to be able to keep pace with the number of stories that have been and will be written regarding rumors of LeBron's free agency decision in July 2010, the only thing that has a chance to come close is the number of sites imploring LeBron to stay or go. Some just follow the ongoing rumors of possible destinations, some just sell crappy t-shirts, some want to fund billboards, and some ask for donations without illuminating what those donations would be used for, which I guess is a handy way to raise some dough. "Hey, give me money if you want LeBron to stay in Cleveland! What for? Don't you worry about that." Some want LeBron to stay, some want him to leave. Some are well-done, and some are beyond craptastic. And there's enough now that a list might help keep track.
If I'm missing any let me know and I'll add them to the list.
Another day, another couple new LeBron t-shirts for your wardrobe. Glen Infante posted the one on the left on his Twitter feed last night. While it's not available at I Love the Hype yet, it should be soon. Nice take on the late 80's throwback uni's the Cavs will be wearing this season, combining the King's happy face and the beautiful basket-in-the-V design.
The other is from Capital Brands, part of their "Sports Illest-Rated" series that also features MJ and Kobe. Dig the SI takeoff.
I make no claims on being an expert on the culture and economics of the secondary sporting ticket market, but I imagined that scalpers around the Forest City were pretty excited about the start of the Cavs season. I mean, they endured a Tribe campaign that most likely rendered selling a ticket in the second half of the season at face value a success. And while there are some marquee match-ups for the Browns, and some opposing teams who travel well drive the prices up for out-of-towners looking for tickets, you have to imagine unloading ducats for the Brownies isn't bringing home much bacon.
So Tuesday night before the Cavs and Celts tipped off I camped out for a little bit at the corner of Ontario by the Q, right by the Harry Buffalo. This is scalper ground central and it had the atmosphere of a playoff game. For anyone that didn't secure tickets via electronic secondary means — Stubhub, Craigslist, eBay — there was a veritable bounty of offers on the table. I counted no less than 18 guys selling tickets on the one block corner, and that was just in the twenty or so minutes that I hung out.
There was lots of selling, little buying, but I was content to sit back and take in the scene, listen in on some negotiations, and get a sense for what tickets were going for a short half-hour before tip off.
Which is when Kenneth found out that I was a writer and decided it was time to make his case for being the center of the story. I was chatting with some kids looking to score some seats when Kenneth put his arm around my shoulders and started walking me in the opposite direction.
"You wanna write a story? Write a story about me."
Okay, then. How's business tonight?
"We killing it. We gonna eat well tonight. I've been out here since 8 a.m. this morning."
What's the average ticket, the one's up in the rafters going for?
"Those $10 seats are going for $80."
Really. Don't know if I believed that. Kenneth, after all, did hunt me down and decide to pitch himself for some imaginary story I'm not going to write. Ulterior motives. Plus, he's a salesman, not going to trust that, especially since he was more focused on talking to me for five minutes than selling the tickets he had in his hand. Who knows, maybe he already sold enough for the night to not worry about pulling down an extra $70 profit for each ticket in his hand.
So, I had enough. Kenneth was nice, but it was time to survey more ground, get perhaps a more honest view of the evening's business and get inside for the game.
I tried to walk away. Kenneth was having none of that. He blurted out five or six little rhyming phrases that I can't remember at the moment. "Click it or ticket," might have been one of them. One I do remember was the last one: "If the glove don't fit, you have to acquit." Now, how this has anything to do with selling tickets, I do not know, but it did lead into his next oratorical display, which was to tell me three vulgar OJ Simpson jokes. Perhaps that's in some scalpers guidebook on how to sell tickets to white strangers, but I'm not sure. I reacted by walking away with literally no reaction on my face. He took this as a sign to keep talking, giving me his card and imploring me to call him to do a story on the time he sued the Cavs for $146 million. Yes.
Finally ridding myself of Kenneth's unquenchable desire for one-sided conversations I decided to keep my distance for the rest of my short time on the corner. That's when I heard a guy tell a fellow scalper this:
"Biggest game of the year. Right? And what are we doing. We're out here grinding. We're out here grinding away for $70."
Alright, honesty, I like it. I asked him why my friend Kenneth was having such a different perspective on the night's events.
"Come on man, it's Cleveland. This is what it is."
So, you're not killing it tonight. You're not eating steak off the profits.
"Naw man, I'm looking for $70 off these tickets. That's it."
Thought it would be good tonight.
"It is. It's fine. Come back some other time though — won't be like this."
Like the Charlotte game Saturday night?
"That'll be fine. I heard Charlotte's okay, and the weekends are always good."
So you're talking like an Oklahoma City game on a Wednesday night?
"Yeah. Exactly. You come down that night, and bring your horse."
As I've mentioned before here, you can't go to an event at the Q without being inundated with "Vote Yes on Issue 3" messages. Videos are on the scoreboard, ads are plastered everywhere, Issue 3 employees and volunteers are ubiquitous, and the owner himself, Mr. Dan Gilbert, will not let you enjoy one moment of peace until you've heard his voice proclaiming loudly that you must vote yes to keep jobs and money in Ohio.
Regardless of which way you feel about the issue of building casinos in Ohio itself, you probably also have a separate opinion on the blurry approach to good taste that Gilbert is taking in using the Q as his dedicated and personal podium for the issue. You can't blame the guy for taking advantage of a captive audience, but the levels to which he has taken it are absurd.
On opening night he gathered 200 season ticket holders into a room and did a powerpoint presentation. He's doing another one today according to a Cavs press release. This hasn't gone unnoticed around the national media either. Yahoo! chimed in today in the middle of story about the Cavs starting the season 0-2.
It isn’t the worst thing for the Cavs that they’ll stay out on the road this week because back home owner Dan Gilbert has turned Quicken Loans Arena into a campaign headquarters to get a casino gambling proposition passed in the state of Ohio. Gilbert stands to make millions upon millions building and operating casinos in the city and throughout the state. The barrage of propaganda that overtook the Cavs’ opening night loss to Boston was embarrassing and beneath the standards — however loose — of good taste in the NBA
No one should have to buy a ticket to a basketball game and watch the owner turn the event into a political rally for his own personal gain. It felt like winning Issue 3 in Ohio was far more important than beating the Celtics, and that was a distracting vibe with which to start the final season of James’ contract.