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Sports & Recreation

Best of Cleveland 2012 

Sports & Recreation

Page 2 of 7

Best Browns Player

Joe Thomas

Even with a stronger batch of candidates, the Browns Pro Bowl offensive lineman would still win. Capable of making even the most pedestrian of running backs look successful behind his blocking, Thomas also protects whatever quarterback happens to be standing behind him year after year with no complaints. Plus, he loves fishing and hunting and grilling his kill, just like any proper NFL lineman should.

Staff Pick: Joe Thomas

Best Sports Executive

Dan Gilbert

The outspoken owner of the Cavaliers might irk sports fans across the country with his very public comments and open letters, but he gets nothing but love in his adopted hometown. Mainly, fans love him because he's transparently passionate about the team and willing to open up his deep pockets to back it up. Also exemplary is his overall investment in Cleveland, from the jobs his Quicken Loans empire have brought here to his tenacity in delivering a first-class casino to the North Coast. If ever a billionaire could make Cleveland think he's a son of the Cuyahoga, it's Gilbert.

Staff Pick: Dan Gilbert

Best Minor League Team

Akron Aeros

The Tribe's AA affiliate just a short jaunt down I-77 has had more success than the big league club recently, making the Eastern League Championship Series five years running from 2005-2009 and winning it all twice. Sporting one of the best ballparks in the minors, rock-bottom ticket prices, and a parade of creative promotions, the Aeros offer the best chance to catch tomorrow's major league stars before the Tribe trades them to the Yankees.

Staff Pick: Canton Charge

Best College Team

Ohio State Buckeyes

Buckeye fans think OSU is the best team in the nation every year. In the coming seasons, they could be right. New football coach Urban Meyer rode to the rescue after Jim Tressel's unceremonious exit; now the tattoo scandal looks to be only a blip on the radar of Ohio State's Big Ten dominance. It's 2012, and Michigan still sucks. O-H...

Staff Pick: Akron Zips Basketball

Best Place to See a Game & Best Place for a Sweaty Date

Progressive Field

Progressive Field is almost 20 years old now, but the ballpark looks like it just opened yesterday. And no matter the quality of the team it puts on the field, at least the Indians work to make the game-day experience a home run. Comparatively cheap beer, cheap tickets, plentiful food options, and a packed promotional schedule (fireworks again!) mean Progressive Field's the summer spot to hit whether it's family day or date night, whether you're analyzing pitch selection or simply trying to get a good glimpse of Grady Sizemore's butt.

Staff Picks: Best Place to See a Game: Progressive Field; Best Place for a Sweaty Date: The Towpath Trail

Best Place for Downhill Skiing

Boston Mills

Ohio's slopes might not hold the allure of Colorado's, but they're nothing to kick snow at. Boston Mills isn't merely conveniently located within 30 minutes of just about every winter sports lover in Northeast Ohio; the powder playground offers eight trails that cover all skill levels, from newbie ski bunnies to downhill daredevils.

7100 Riverview Rd., Pennisula,


Staff Pick: Boston Mills

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