A Christmas newsletter from Believing Since 1999

Dear Believing Since 1999 Readers,

As 2013 begins its final descent into history, Christmas is upon us once again. As Mike Polk has already pointed out in one of his most recent rants to an empty FirstEnergy Stadium, we’re lucky that most things are already perfect in the city of Cleveland.

For most of us around Northeast Ohio, today is at least a partially white Christmas. That certainly is good. On the other hand, Dion Waiters has been out for what is apparently far too long, which isn’t as good. Another good thing is that Cleveland Indians pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 11, so at least we’re firmly into the right season. For those who are counting, that’s 49 days from now, but you knew that already since you’re counting. Maybe not as good as that is the Browns’ current record heading into the final week of the NFL’s regular season.

While the sports year in Cleveland hasn’t necessarily been the best in recent memory, it had its moments. Hopefully, we’ve all had some better things happen in our actual lives. This Christmas is Believing Since 1999’s second, and I thank all of you who have continued to read even though actual columns have been few and far between. If you’re in the mood for nostalgia, here is the blog’s first-ever Christmas post from last year.

Since you (likely don’t) care why posts have been scarce at times, I just graduated from the University of Louisville and will be starting a real life job with the Louisville Bats (Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) in January, so that has taken a considerable amount of my focus. Still, I plan to organize my post-graduate life in such a way that allows me to write here more consistently and continue to grow this site. While I will be (gratefully) employed by a Reds affiliate, my heart and writing interests will always remain loyal to home here in Cleveland.

Now that I’m done waxing poetic about my life, it’s time to say a bit about each team that Cleveland loves come hell or high water. Or sleet. Or snow.

Since this was the format of  last year’s post and will be again this year, it’s officially a tradition, and I’m so glad you all are here to share it with me.

The Cavs have a long season ahead of them, and it certainly seems as if they need Waiters to be competitive, which wasn’t exactly obvious at the outset of the season. They also need to climb out of the bottom third of the NBA in points per game and points allowed soon. It’s hard to be patient when expectations for the team were much higher than what this season has actually yielded thus far, but Mike Brown deserves some amount of it. If the Eastern Conference continues to be the disaster it has been, playoffs are a real possibility, and that’s pretty amusing.

The Browns have now guaranteed another disappointing season on the lakeshore, but nobody could have sanely reasoned that a season over the .500 mark was really possible. That being the case, the Browns will be thankful for their awful record when the NFL Draft comes around in May.

With the draft so far away, the harsh reality of this year’s team’s painful ineptitude is still fresh. They could go out with a bang on Sunday if they can somehow beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, and while the draft is the realistic focus, the fan in me will still be watching for a win. On the offseason wish list should be retaining T.J. Ward and finding a way to draft Teddy Bridgewater (please ignore my status as a Louisville alumnus for a moment). From personal experience, I can guarantee that the city would love Bridgewater as a player and a human being. He’s as top-class as they come all the way around.

The Indians have had a nice little offseason that hasn’t (yet) included as many big splashes as last winter did. That isn’t to say that they haven’t improved the club in some areas. David Murphy should bring a much more consistent bat to right field than the now-departed Drew Stubbs provided. John Axford will likely be the Tribe’s new closer, and you don’t have to look any further than his Twitter page to know that he is more than one kind of awesome. There’s much more to be done for the Indians, and there will be much more to talk about here as Spring Training continues to approach.

Again, a sincere thank you to all of you who read the blog here at least somewhat regularly. There’s a lot of places to go to get sports talk on the internet, and it’s a pretty cool feeling to know that at least a few people come here from time to time. Hopefully, I’ll continue to make a valuable point or two on occasion.

Here’s to hoping that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year. Lord knows that Cleveland is ready for whatever in 2014.

Regards,

Chris Gehring

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