Let us discuss giving up, but not in the way you’d like to give up right now.

My biggest issue with the current state of the Reds rather spectacular slow-motion collapse is the obnoxious way it cuts in on my ability to mock Cleveland, a city I hate because I have been strictly told to do so for no apparent reason. Throughout my Bengals-infested childhood, it was emphasized unto me by all local media that Those Guys were Bad Guys without really explaining why. I mean, I can’t imagine Cleveland a nice place to live—it’s probably somewhat like Cincinnati, only even colder, and flat, and in possession of a deserting team that’s not only bad, but insultingly bad—but it can’t be quite as bad as, say, Detroit, which is likely even more similar to Cleveland, only in Michigan, at which point I just feel more pity than hatred.

The roots of the Cincinnati-Cleveland rivalry, I am told, began with the Cleveland Browns firing Paul Brown, who then founded the Bengals in Cincinnati, and decades of staring at each other across the same NFL division exacerbated it all. But we’re now at the point where the Browns are something like 0 for the decade and even the Bengals managed seven more wins than they did last season. Bernie Kosar has declared bankruptcy and was forced to such degradations as appearing on The Drew Carey Show. It’s not even fun anymore.

Both city’s baseball franchises tried to cram some rivalry into the Reds and Indians via the Ohio Cup, but since the prize looks like this, I’d say the Reds have chosen the correct strategy of mostly avoiding having to house it. And as Indians fans are currently enjoying this mythical entity known as “winning playoff games” from time to time, we are the photo negative of all the football misery.

We can release Cleveland from the grips of our hatred with grace and dignity because we may well have equalized the mutual destruction both fan bases have endured. In fact, I’d say Queen City even comes out ahead, because although the Reds are bad, they’re not Browns bad; our catastrophic baseball squad has already won more games than the last two seasons of Browns wins combined. Not even the specter of a Marvin Lewis contract extension can overshadow a fan-generated perfect season parade in the streets of one’s hometown.

Oh wait. Basketball. I just made it all the way to the bottom of this page without even remembering Cleveland has a team, and I guess it’s good (?) and we don’t. I suppose that changes the equation a bit. If it does at all, it still rests the matter in Cincinnati’s favor, in the sense that we don’t have to endure basketball 11.5 months out of the year.

Matters of loyalty are on my mind because Josh The Pilot and I are in the process of house hunting, and the Venn diagram of habitable houses we can afford and habitable houses in locations where we won’t be murdered are two completely separate circles. It’s to the point where we are looking across the river in Kentucky, which feels all kinds of weird and wrong, and I like Kentucky. The closest I can come to explaining my discomfort is  “I wouldn’t be living in Ohio” even though Ohio also contains Cleveland. And although one of the reasons we’re looking in NKY is that if offers quite nice views of Ohio, this all has the air of “I’m breaking up with you because you’re just too good for me.” You see the raging illogic.

Is it time, then, to release Cleveland to its own misery? Shall we go forth in peace?

Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.

Join the conversation! 37 Comments

  1. Yes release Cleveland to its own misery. There is no comparison between Cincinnati and Cleveland except that they are in the same state. In your article you didn’t even mention food. What good food does Cleveland have? Do they have Skyline Chili? LaRosa’s Pizza? MikeSells Potato Chips? Montgomery Inn Ribs? I begin thinking about those things and want to move back to Cincinnati, even with the snow?
    As far as NK goes that’s almost the same except that you will have to deal with more obnoxious UK fans.

    • IMO the one thing Cleveland has on us is the food. They have a boatload of little this, little that (italy,athens etc) and have a great variety of food. The rest of the town is kinda meh.

      • They have that entertainment district downtown too, with great food. It’s kind of like OTR but with no traffic because it’s closed off to everything but commercial/delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles. They have everything there from very casual gastro-pub food to places like Michael Simon’s Lola, which is fine dining…

        Cincinnati is getting some better restaurants, in the OTR area as well as other areas. One of my favorites is Island Frydays. Great Jamaican food. Bakersfield is a good Mexican place down there. Anchor has good seafood.

    • There is a Skyline in Stow which north of downtown Akron. I am more of a Gold Star patron but it is convenient because it is right off Rte 8 when we go to the Rocksino in Northfield. Cleveland & NE OH also has a lot of very good authentic Italian & Greek restaurants. If you like chains then I would suggest Melt Bar & Grilled or Winking Lizard.

    • My Cleveland friends (yes I do have them) talk about some chocolate chain they have up there. I tried it once. Not Graeter’s.

  2. I am of an age that I was raised to be a Reds fan during the baseball season and a Browns fan when it did not interfere with being a Reds fans.

    The original Mr. Dad,sir Brown did such a good job of marketing his men in brown and orange that it never occurred to me to switch team allegiance when he switched cities. I shall forever be thankful I didn’t switch because when the original team bearing his name left Cleveland, I was freed once and for all of the tyranny of believing I needed to pay any attention to the NFL.

    Unfortunately this current Reds ownership is on the verge convincing me to be a Reds fan only when it doesn’t interfere with being a Blue Jackets or Buckeyes fan. I never would have imagined such a sad day was possible. I won’t have a dawg in the cat fight!

  3. Glad you’re back, Mary Beth, if you were actually gone. I was starting to worry. Rumor has it that there are some good–if not chain–restaurants in Cleveland. Cleveland is on a Great Lake. It has the Rock ‘n’ Roll HOF. It has a world-class symphony orchestra and a world-class medical facility. I was born there, though I take no credit for that. The Browns alone are reason enough for compassion.

    • Don’t forget the distinction of the main river having caught on fire a few decades ago. That’s hard to live down.

      • Live down? I should think that the burning Cuyahoga would be a source of civic pride. It also gave its name to a very good ale. I could hazard a guess that the great Ohio River won’t burn, much as all involved would like it to, because the things suspended in it are long past being combustible.

    • I have to give you the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hard to top that.

    • I’m still here! Just moved to every other Friday 🙂

  4. Having never lived in Ohio (though close to moving to the Greater Cincinnati area at one point), I don’t harbor the same vitriol for Cleveland. I did live in Michigan for almost 20 years and the desire to bulldoze Detroit into Canada does ring true enough. I gained one new point of reference just this morning while at a local (Wake Forest, NC) breakfast joint run by a die-hard Pittsburgh escapee. The place sports all kinds of Steeler’s memorabilia, but what caught my eye at the register this morning was a bumper sticker stating something along the following lines:

    The best sign of life in Cleveland – and a sign noting “Pittsburgh – 142 Miles”

    Thank’s for the Friday lift after a rough series with those much-hated Braves. It really helps.

    • Yeah, when I am in hockey mode, I refer to a certain NHL team as the West Windsor Wings!

      • Oh that’s good… Windsor, back when it was easy to cross the border, was great for gambling. I mean, $2 blackjack and craps with a small house edge. And it was Canadian money, which when the dollar was strong, was almost like playing for free.

    • Bulldoze Detroit indeed.

  5. According to the census, Columbus is twice the size of either Cleveland or Cincinnati. Shouldn’t they have the bulls eye on their back?

    • The City of Columbus is about 3.5 times the population of the City of Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Metro area is larger (> 2.5 Mil). As is the Cleveland Metro area (> 2.5 Mil).

      Having said that, I don’t like Skyline. I’ve lived in suburban Cleveland and worked there, and there are a lot of things to like about the city. Clevelanders think people in Cincinnati are a bunch of rude ignorant hillbillies (just north of Kentucky, you know). Totally untrue, of course.
      I grew up in Dayton, and loved Cincy for years, drove to many a Reds game as a teenager 40 plus years ago.
      Watched the Indians in their pathetic years play in the cavernous Municipal Stadium. They are better now, and play in Jacobs/Progressive Field.

      It’s all kind of “meh” to me. Two very different cities, both have different but nice qualities.

    • Back in the day when I was young, we had the 3C’s but Columbus was clearly Just the little sibling you had to drive through going between the other 2. I think what has happened is that the little brother/ sister grew up beyond the scope of its 2 siblings while they were preoccupied with this fight between them over which was greatest.

    • The only reason the population of Columbus is larger than Cincinnati and Cleveland is because Columbus and Franklin County have been incorporated and Hamilton County (Cincy) and Cuyahoga County (Cleve) have not. The same joining of city and county has occurred in Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville. Incorporation will not happen in Hamilton County because there are too many little political fiefdoms that won’t give up their power for the good of the whole area.

    • Columbus has a buckeye on its back. No room for anything else.

    • When I was running with Ohio State’s band, I was suprised to learn that I as an Ohioan was supposed to hate Michigan. A lot.
      It’s interesting the way the loyalties lie. Growing up, I thought absolutely nothing about Ohio State despite a vague sense of dislike over seeming so big and factory-like, but loyalty to OSU goes all the way up to Cleveland. In a big way.

      • Clevelanders are obsessed with the “big community college in mid-state” because they have no meaningful college sports and because, until recent breakthroughs in baseball and bouncey-ball (I have no use for NBA), there is nothing else to root for. As a kid growing up there, it was all about the Browns, who put a little life into the gray, dank winter there 12 or 14 Sundays a year. (Actually 1 less Sunday, the Steelers home game was on a Saturday night until fights and occasional gunplay between ardent Browns and Steelers fans put the kibosh on that.) Clevelanders are as obsessed over the big community college as is ThommyBoy. They just don’t know any better.

  6. One of the few that moved up north and been ensconced in the Greater Cleveland market since 2001. Never got the vibe from in-laws, friends, or neighbors that they considered Cincinnati as a rivalry in anything except for high school football. Until interleague play, the Reds and Indians only played each other in spring training (which was rare because the Tribe were in AZ for most of franchise history) or in the Ohio Cup at Cooper Stadium right before opening day which gave us the famous Jose Mesa body slam of Hal Morris. Browns fans tend to save their hatred toward the Steelers than Bengals and have been jaded lately like how we were in late 90s/early 2000s. I also think rivalry hasn’t been as intense due to neither franchise in both baseball and football have not field good teams at the exact same time (only times I can think ok were Reds/Indians in 94/95/99 or Bengals/Browns in late 80s).

    • The Reds and Indians played each other in an exhibition game, as I remember it, on an off day during the season. This might have happened more than once. I saw the game at Crosely Field (this would have been in the ’50s),and my only memory was a throw that Rocky Colavito made to home plate from the right field corner: a no-hop strike. What an arm! He pitched an inning, also, but I’m pretty certain that the Reds won.

    • The Indians trained in Winter Haven, Florida for 16 years before moving to Arizona. As far as a rivalry, Upstate/Downstate New York pretty much ignores each other in the same way Southern/Northern Ohio ignores each other. As far as a pro football rivalry, Pittsburgh is the big rival of the Browns and Bengals.

      • They didn’t start playing against each other regularly in spring training until 1993. Indians had been in Tucson for about 45 years before moving to Winter Haven. They were initially suppose to move to Homestead FL but facility was wiped out by Hurricane Andrew. It would be no different with Cubs fans in that if you asked them whom they disliked more the Cards or the White Sox, they would overwhelming pick the Cards.

      • I believe that the Browns are now unrivaled.

  7. Cleveland football has the dog pound. People eating Milkbones in the stands.
    Cincinnati football has The Jungle. I don’t know what The Jungle has brought to PBS in Cincinnati. Maybe Malaria.
    Cleveland baseball has a real front office. They want to win. They actually have fans in attendance at games.
    Cincinnati baseball has a disaster in the front office and ownership. They don’t want to win. They also don’t have many fans in attendance anymore. At least the Reds have Joey Votto who has fun playing Chewbacca.
    I sense a disturbance in The Force in Cincinnati.

    • Until your last sentence, WV, I was afraid that you were injecting a note of seriousness into this discussion.

  8. One more thought for our own MBE based on the title and her heritage …

    Benedictus Sanctus Quevenit, Dona Nobis Pacem … Amen

  9. So out with Cody Reed, Kevin Quackenbush, Phillip Ervin, Cliff Pennington, Phil Gosselin, & Bryan Price. In with Scott Schebler, Kevin Shackleford, Eugenio Suarez, Rosell Hererra, David Hernandez, & Jim Riggelman. If the Licking River were to catch fire & the blaze pour into the Ohio river adjacent to GABP, maybe the Red could have a HOT team. Other than that possibility, the Reds are nothing like the Cleveland Indians.

  10. The only time I’ve been to Cleveland was visiting Sea World when I was a kid. One thing I will say is that I knew several guys in the Air Force from Cleveland and they were very proud of it to a man? Why? I have no idea? I also lived in Oklahoma City for a few years and became sort of a Sooner fan. I had more fun watching Baker Mayfield’s run there then in a lifetime of Indiana football. I enjoyed the flag planting in Columbus! God knows Indiana will never beat the Buckeyes again! That makes me a Browns fan now too!

  11. I don’t mind the Browns. It’s the Steelers I hate. Hated them since the 70s. I wish them nothing but bad luck . I felt bad for the Pirates until they started winning and realized that they are annoying as well. Hate the Penguins and wish bad things on Sid the cry baby.

  12. Good to have my dose of MBE back after I, like others, were concerned you’d disappeared, or worse, ended up in Cleveland. Having spent my first 20+ years up there in the “bad end of Ohio” (which starts not far north of Cincinnati) before enjoying the QC for several years as a Bearcat, all the comparisons are slam dunks in Cincinnati’s favor. Scenic city locales with topography. Food. College sports. Culture. Except that greater Cincinnati sure could use some nice lakes on which to recreate and fish. (The muddy Ohio doesn’t pass that test, but makes for great vistas from GABP.) I now have those lakes to play on in Michigan, which except for Detroit (bigger version of Cleveland with better music, NHL hockey, and more crime) is a pretty awesome place. Excepting, though, this year’s endless winter up here…the lake I live on just lost its ice 3 days ago. Baseball can’t be played here yet, our HS kids have to head 100 miles south to play! Cincy remains, hands down, the place I would choose if I had to live in a big city on the east half of the continent. (That, of course, includes charming NKY.)

    As the great philosopher Samuel Wyche one put it, “Remember, you don’t live in Cleveland, you live in Cincinnati.” To my friends in the Greater QC, savor that truth every day. And hope that the rebuild turns out better than early returns would suggest. I miss MLB caliber baseball in Cincinnati. Can you use any special powers to arrange to trade Thom to Cleveland for nothing back in return? (Nothing there you would want…)

  13. Add rock & roll music as a rare place where CleveBurg gets the edge. Big time. Early album-rock oriented FM radio took off there before WEBN took roots. They fed in part on tremendous live acts back when on a nightly basis, many of whom made it nationally. Rock and the Browns were my escapes from a mundane daily life on the northern side of The State Down South. Along with the hopes of a summer vak-kay in the Michigan woods that became daily life decades later.

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About Mary Beth Ellis

Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.

Category

2018 Reds, Baseball Is Life