2011 LeBron Championship Ring Replica Night
June 15, 2011 10:16 AM   Subscribe

The Peoria Chiefs, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are hosting a 2011 Lebron Championship Ring giveaway at their ballpark tomorrow night.
posted by drewski (85 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm reminded of something about laying down with pigs.
posted by oddman at 10:22 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shoulda went to the Bulls.
posted by erstwhile at 10:24 AM on June 15, 2011


Why is this coming out of Illinois instead of, say, Cleveland?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:39 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


In addition to the LeBron replica ring, the Chiefs are looking into whether or not the game can skip the fourth inning to honor King James who took off the fourth quarter of every finals game.

Stolen from a friends facebook, in your best Rodney Dangerfield voice:

I get no respect I tell ya. I asked LeBron James if he had change for a dollar. He gives me seventy five cents. I say "Where's the last quarter?" he says "You expect too much from me!"

Also, this is coming out of Chicago because Lebron took a few ill-advised shots at Michael Jordan in a recent commercial.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:43 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


A close friend of mine is a die-hard Cleveland fan. He has vowed to purchase the jersey of the best player of the teams who knock LeBron out of the playoffs from this season until LeBron retires. He already has his Nowitzki jersey.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:48 AM on June 15, 2011


The Akron Aeros should be running this promotion.
posted by slogger at 10:51 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorite variation on that joke:

LeBron James is the world's worst cashier. You can hand him millions of dollars and he'll still only give you three quarters.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:52 AM on June 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


What do Outdoor Water Parks and Lebron James have in common? They both shut down in the fourth quarter.
posted by drezdn at 10:55 AM on June 15, 2011


Lot of hate for a guy who just plays basketball.

Ohio Governor John Kasich names Mavericks honorary Ohioans.

Everybody loves to hate a scapegoat, I suppose.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:57 AM on June 15, 2011


Tough crowd.
posted by tommasz at 10:57 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


... it makes sense that he would feel some kinship with the downtrodden fans of the Cavaliers, who had a terrible season and finally seem to be getting some luck with James' loss and the much more important fact that they'll make two top-four picks in next week's NBA draft.

... When their best player refuses to re-sign with them ... he only gets to the NBA Finals and doesn't win it. If that's "luck" you are in desperate straits.

I want to hate Cleveland sports teams, but it's hard to feel anything but pity.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:00 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


And yeah, even as a mean-spirited lame-ass promotion, it only works in Cleveland (or maybe Ohio).
posted by mrgrimm at 11:01 AM on June 15, 2011


The sense of triumph comes from the fact that it's exactly as far as he got with Cleveland. Now he's on Miami's dream-team and they win two games in the finals instead of getting swept.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:05 AM on June 15, 2011


I'll say this for LeBron- he's fun to watch and fun to hate*. I'm sure Jason Whitlock is penning a column about how rooting for the "German superman" to defeat LeBron put me in the same camp as Hitler in the '36 Olympics, I don't care. He's earned it.

*I don't mean "hate" in the he's-morally-repugnant-Ty-Cobb way, more like a wrestling heel.
posted by Challahtronix at 11:05 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"this is coming out of Chicago"

No, PEORIA. We're 150 miles away and 100 years older.

(And why? Because Rocky Vonachen's a good businessman and we can all use some amusing in the summer. It's pretty random but it has everyone laughing; I bet the game sells out if it hasn't already.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:07 AM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


So I know who LeBron James is in that he plays basketball... but that's it. Can someone provide context for those of us who aren't clued-in?
posted by TheNewWazoo at 11:08 AM on June 15, 2011


LeBron James has truly set new standards for schadenfreude.
posted by dry white toast at 11:10 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, PEORIA. We're 150 miles away and 100 years older.

You're right, you're right, I meant to say Illinois. The point is that it's not Cleveland.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:11 AM on June 15, 2011


So I know who LeBron James is in that he plays basketball... but that's it. Can someone provide context for those of us who aren't clued-in?

Context. More context.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:13 AM on June 15, 2011


LeBron is a basketball wunderkind (top draft pick straight out of high school) who was a member of the long-suffering Cleveland Cavaliers and took them almost to a championship. He became basically the only famous person in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers, in their first brush with not-suckiness, brought something remotely resembling prosperity to the city's downtown via tourism dollars and the like.

Then, last year, when his contract with Cleveland was up, he and the sports media made a huge continuing nonsense story over whether he'd sign another deal with the Cavaliers to stay in Cleveland or go someplace else (and if so, where). This culminated in "The Decision," an I-shit-you-not hour-long special on ESPN with advertising and everything where he announced that he would join the Miami Heat, without so much as a "thanks for taking me in with open arms" to Cleveland - who instantly became a city of LeBron-haters. Basically a giant dick move on national television.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:14 AM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


So I know who LeBron James is in that he plays basketball... but that's it. Can someone provide context for those of us who aren't clued-in?

LeBron James was touted to be the next Michael Jordan. Plainly put: amazing. LeBron is from Akron, OH which is not far at all from Cleveland. Cleveland, the sorriest of all cities in regards to sport had him for his first five years in the league, and LeBron promised a championship.

Five years later, and the Cavaliers did not win anything. They came close, but LeBron choked. Say what you will about basketball being a team sport, but the whole team was riding on LeBron's shoulders.

After his contract was over he became a free agent, meaning he could go anywhere. Every Cleveland fan under the sun wanted him to stay in Cleveland and get the town a championship in something (it's been 50 years for Cleveland in any sport). Instead, LeBron went to the Miami Heat to play with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to make a superteam. To add serious insult to injury, his decision was shown in a 1-hour classless spectacle called "The Decision." Ever since, Cleveland fans hate LeBron for being an assclown. Many sports fans aren't happy with him because it wasn't enough just to do a press conference and make an announcement, there had to be a 1-hour ESPN show about it.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:16 AM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here, have some spare linkitude:

Peoria Chiefs, and on Wikipedia, who used to be Indian chiefs but now are firechiefs. Ergo the Very Angry Dalmation.

Peoria is right on the dividing line between Cubs country and Cards country. The Chiefs were a Cards farm team until 2004; switched to the Cubs in 2005. PEOPLE REMAIN VERY BITTER. (And cheering for the third most popular baseball team in a state that only has two baseball teams makes you lame, Sox fans.)

Here's ESPN's coverage, and Deadspin.

If I see anything on the local blogs I'll come back with that. I swear I saw a story on the local news last night but now I can't find it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:17 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm giving Cleveland (and Ohio) a pass this year. They are hurt and bitter, understandably so. But, they're starting to get obnoxious. LeBron (what is the deal with the capitalization of his name, anyway) was a jerk, fine, but that doesn't give them a never ending license to act like dicks themselves. At some point (soon!) they need to get over it and move on.
posted by oddman at 11:23 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did you hear the one about Lebron James?

Everybody said he would be great at basketball, even from the very beginning, when he was very young, and he was truly amazing, a prodigy, and so he never heard much criticism growing up, he grew older and bigger and stronger, more skilled, eventually he became a pro and almost immediately succeeded on the court, his physical abilities were so remarkable, *are* so remarkable, at times he seems to dominate the other players, to operate on another level, but there is something that keeps him from being great, a lack of toughness, born either from his coddling as a young player or from his desire to be accepted and to be liked, an attribute that may make him a decent human being off the court but which prevents him from reaching his true potential, a lacking, something missing, the laser-like focus and intent to achieve that fueled Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, a pair of sociopaths devoid of empathy and who want nothing in the world but to win at all costs, to win and win and win and then to wake up in the morning and win again, and then there is Lebron, someone who wanted to go far away, and who couldn't relate to that, a young man from a provincial town, a young man who wanted to be with his friends and to have fun, a young man who didn't, perhaps, know what he wanted, a young man who never had a father or a mentor or a figure in his life to act as a higher authority, to help shepherd him through difficult moments in life, nobody there to teach him to become a better man, a bigger man, nobody there to help him turn the hate of others into the motivation to become better, better than even he ever dreamed he could be.

The Aristocrats!!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:23 AM on June 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


Okay, so LeBron left in a really classless way, and people hate him... so... ? Now an unrelated team from an unrelated town is having a public mocking session while conveniently ignoring the other players on the team who did as much to take the team farther than it has ever gone before - or failed just as badly? And they're not mocking him for being a dick, but instead for not winning a championship?

People are weird.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 11:27 AM on June 15, 2011


I don't mean "hate" in the he's-morally-repugnant-Ty-Cobb way, more like a wrestling heel.

You mean you "Clemenate" him. Me too. That piece sums up my feelings exactly (and references Nature Boy Ric Flair to boot).
posted by yerfatma at 11:28 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Chiefs were a Cards farm team until 2004; switched to the Cubs in 2005. PEOPLE REMAIN VERY BITTER.

They are a Cubs team again? I remember in 1995 when they were Cubs and switched to Cardinals.
posted by sbutler at 11:29 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mister Fabulous: "He has vowed to purchase the jersey of the best player of the teams who knock LeBron out of the playoffs from this season until LeBron retires. He already has his Nowitzki jersey."

Does he have a Wade jersey? Because the Magic knocked LeBron out of the playoffs. The Mavs just happened to be nearby.
posted by Plutor at 11:30 AM on June 15, 2011


Those Finals were honestly the biggest choke-job I've ever seen
posted by Cloud King at 11:30 AM on June 15, 2011


Cleveland sports last championships:

Cleveland Indians: 62 years since their last championship which is the longest in the AL and second longest in baseball (Cubs, 102 years).

Cleveland Browns: 47 years, last being in 1964. Note that the Browns have never been to a Super Bowl, which Super Bowl I was in 1967 (after the 1966 season). To add salt to the wounds, the original incarnation of the Browns was moved to Baltimore (Ravens) in 1996, and won the Super Bowl in the 2000 season.

Cleveland Cavaliers: 40 years, never won. The team started in 1970 and is one of the 13 current teams to have never won. They did lose the playoffs with LeBron in the lineup.

Other sports: Hockey: Last championship was the 1963-1964 season for the AHL Cleveland Barons. They had the NHL Cleveland Barons for only two years and never had another NHL team. The only championship I could find recently was the Cleveland City Stars USL-1 soccer team, which won the 2008 championship. The team folded after the 2009 season.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:31 AM on June 15, 2011


There's been a backlash against the LeBron hate recently. A lot of good writers are reminding us that's he's still a great player, and switching teams doesn't make you a bad human being.

I still love hating the dude, though. Sports, at its best, is a proxy for real life where we can let our emotions run free. I hugged strangers in the streets when Vancouver won game 5, and I scream at the TV when the Blue Jays let Dotel pitch against lefties. There are no other situations in life where I can let this loose.

But there are so few athletes that are worth cheering against. And cheering against someone is at least as much fun as cheering for someone. Barry Bonds was a good heel, but in basketball? There haven't been many recently. Even Kobe is too bland (and too often a winner) to really hate with any kind of passion. LeBron is our only hope for a good heel in the NBA these days, and for that I hope he goes at least a few more years without winning a title.

Once he wins a title, though, the game is up. Titles don't lie, and so we'll have to find someone else to hate on. But no way it'll be as enjoyable as this season has been.
posted by auto-correct at 11:37 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here is Nowitzki drinking an $80,000 bottle of champagne. Here is how Mark Cuban celebrated.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:43 AM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Titles don't lie

But they do deceive.

I love Mark Madsen and always have, but I would suspect the two-time NBA champ would himself admit LeBron James has already had a more successful NBA career than he did.

But you might disagree. I think too much premium is placed on championships, but then again two of my favorite athletes are Barry Bonds and Barry Sanders. ^_^

Here is how Mark Cuban celebrated.

Oh no, I forgot Cuban won.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:49 AM on June 15, 2011


Kobe is anything but bland

Shaq + Kobe was the most popular and exciting thing since Jordan
Kobe rape case
pushing Shaq and Phil out (note: may not have actually forced Shaq and Phil out)
averaging 35 points and dropping 81 in one game
going to the Finals 3 years in a row

and even this year you had the whole "fucking faggot" thing


I actually hoped LeBron would be more like Kobe because the new breed of players like Rose and Durant are just dull. Unfortunately LeBron doesn't seem very bright and rather than just be a huge egomaniac like Kobe or Jordan, he just seems like a dick who should think before he speaks
posted by Cloud King at 11:55 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You all saw when the Heat lost the finals, right?

Game three, about 4 minutes from the final buzzer, and Wade spends about 8 seconds just chewing LeBron a new one. Fundamentally, this was a call for him to step it up -- this is the finals.

The fact that Wade had to do that is a huge strike against LeBron. But his reaction?

He stops playing. He basically mailed it in from there. And really, he mailed it in again and again.

He was challenged to step it up and win the ring. He walked away. At least Pippin had the decency to feel bad about when he did that and then be happy as the #2 guy. LeBron just gave up, I don't know why, but the results are clear -- he gave up.

That's why he's being mocked. He's talking shit about MJ and he gave up in the Finals. If MJ had been on that team, he wouldn't have yelled for 8 seconds. He'd have ripped LeBron's head off. If he couldn't play, he should have sat. His stats in the first three quarters show'd that he could play, and play well.

Note this: Two of Dallas' wins were by 3 points or less. If LeBron makes two more shots in the 4th in each of those games -- goes from 11 to 18 points -- then this isn't a 4-2 Dallas victory.

This would have been a 4-0 sweep for Miami.

We don't know why, but he simply failed in the 4th quarter in the first four games, and the result was they turned a 4-0 sweep into a 2-2 tie, and that was all Dallas needed to make the adjustments. Games 5 and 6 weren't even close.

4 baskets. 8 points. (Well, really, 3 and 7, the first loss was by two.)

That's the difference between hero and goat.
posted by eriko at 11:57 AM on June 15, 2011


A lot of good writers are reminding us that's he's still a great player, and switching teams doesn't make you a bad human being.


Anyone who thinks he "just switched teams" probably thinks Lake Michigan is just a pond. Look, the dude made a gigantic spectacle of himself, look into every camera he could find and made egregious, ridiculous, arrogant promises, talked shit about people at every turn, and generally acted like an entitled, spoiled brat AND THEN COULDN'T BACK IT UP. You gonna talk the talk you better fuckin walk the walk. In contrast, Dirk Nowitzki just shows up and plays.
posted by spicynuts at 12:00 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kobe rape case

Speaking of thinking prior to speaking...........................
posted by spicynuts at 12:02 PM on June 15, 2011


That's the difference between hero and goat.

That's the difference between a goat and the GOAT.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:02 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't forget that Lebron stipulated that "The Decision" special on ESPN would only happen if a large chunk of the ad revenue went to The Boys and Girls club. ~$2.5 million was raised [Source]

Everyone knew he was going to leave Cleveland and having an hour-long special to announce it may have been classless, but turning it into a big charity event (without broadcasting that fact, mind you) makes it a little better, IMHO.

Of course, even that doesn't buy him a 4th quarter Heimlich.
posted by Jacob G at 12:09 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh come on, LeBron is making like 50 million, if he wanted to donate to charity, he didn't need to feed his ego to do it
posted by Cloud King at 12:21 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


People hate him because he's revealed himself to be an arrogant dick, and unlike Jordan, who was also an arrogant dick, he doesn't even back up his arrogance with results. Not only was he a dick to Cleveland, after he lost the title, he was a dick to every fan everywhere.

“At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.

“They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal, but they have to get back to the real world at some point.”

Steven Colbert translates and responds.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:23 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.

This is probably because I'm a communist, but I'm not particularly het up about that. I mean, the guy's a 26-year-old gazillionaire who gets to play basketball with his friends for money like 97 times a year. If I were him, I wouldn't waste too much time worrying about people who wanted me to spend every winter in Cleveland for the rest of my career, either. I would be taking my nieces and nephews on Disney cruises and eating truffles for dinner, and I would shrug at anybody who didn't like it.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:29 PM on June 15, 2011


By which I mean, I think people who hate on LeBron assume that they themselves would make a lot of sacrifices they might not actually make (I mean, come on, Cleveland in January? My ass would hightail it to Miami, too, I'm not even going to pretend otherwise). We all might be assholes in LeBron's position, and I often think that the "LeBron isn't grateful enough" meme has a distinct undertone of "LeBron is a bit uppity, isn't he?" to it, and it makes me a little uncomfortable.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:32 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


f I were him, I wouldn't waste too much time worrying about people who wanted me to spend every winter in Cleveland for the rest of my career, either. I would be taking my nieces and nephews on Disney cruises and eating truffles for dinner, and I would shrug at anybody who didn't like it.

So you're saying if you were worth hundreds of millions of dollars you wouldn't be a communist? Go figure.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:32 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Titles don't lie, and so we'll have to find someone else to hate on.

I'm not a Cleveland fan, or a Dallas fan, or even a basketball fan, really...but I doubt that I'll ever drink a more delicious glass of haterade* than the one I savored on Sunday night. And just when I thought I'd drained the glass I got to enjoy the sight of Chris Bosh falling to his knees in tears.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:39 PM on June 15, 2011


“At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.

“They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal, but they have to get back to the real world at some point.”


I didn't watch the video (I think I remember it), but I don't have much problem with either of those statements.

People hate him because he's revealed himself to be an arrogant dick, and unlike Jordan, who was also an arrogant dick, he doesn't even back up his arrogance with results.

So it's OK to be an arrogant dick if you are good enough? I can understand why it might be true for someone on the team you support (i.e. a realpolitik compromise), but shouldn't you be more sympathetic to the losers on the other teams as opposed to the guys who beat you? I can't quite understand why you would like someone more if they won ... and they weren't on your team.

If Jordan lost even one of those championships to the Jazz or Suns or whatever, I would have liked him much more. If he had missed that shot in Cleveland, I would have liked him more... etc.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:39 PM on June 15, 2011


I often think that the "LeBron isn't grateful enough" meme has a distinct undertone of "LeBron is a bit uppity, isn't he?" to it, and it makes me a little uncomfortable.

I think there's more than a little of that to it.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:40 PM on June 15, 2011


We should only be concerned if Mr. James decides to apply direct "heat" to Cleveland's river.
posted by obscurator at 12:40 PM on June 15, 2011


> My favorite variation on that joke:

LeBron James is the world's worst cashier. You can hand him millions of dollars and he'll still only give you three quarters.


That's pretty good, but my favourite current topical sports joke is:

Q: What time is it in Boston?
A: Twelve past Luongo.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:41 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


“At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.

“They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal, but they have to get back to the real world at some point.”


Well said. I don't follow basketball, and he may be an arrogant prick, but if the source of your happiness is someone else's failure, you need a new hobby.
posted by reformedjerk at 12:43 PM on June 15, 2011


Here is how Mark Cuban celebrated.

Mark Cuban is a lefty?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:45 PM on June 15, 2011


I actually felt sorry for Bosh. Lebron I hate, Wade I respect and fear as a player, Bosh is just sad. They don't let him come out for the big press conference, just throw him up there to the JV reporters... It's sad.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:45 PM on June 15, 2011


For me, part of the reason I was so annoyed by "The Decision" is that Cleveland offered more money than Miami. As someone who lives in a small NBA market and roots for that team, it was a clear message that unless there's the ultra-rare players who fall in love with the scrappy small market that drafts them, we otherwise don't have a chance.
posted by drezdn at 12:45 PM on June 15, 2011


So you're saying if you were worth hundreds of millions of dollars you wouldn't be a communist? Go figure.

Well, not strictly communistic, but one of the reasons LeBron is sitting at just over 75 million dollars in career earnings is because he's in a union.

The big three players' union are often despicable for many reasons, but one thing they have managed to do and do hella well is make sure that their members have a substantial share in the profits they deliver to their employers. I'm in favor of that. I think it's good for labor.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:53 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


LeBron, if you are reading this (and we know you are) you would score a million coolness points by showing up at the ballgame, taking a bow, even with the boos.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:05 PM on June 15, 2011


LeBron is sitting at just over 75 million dollars in career earnings is because he's in a union.

This needs to be clarified. Lebron is sitting at just over 75 million dollars in career earnings from playing professional basketball. He signed a 7 year, 93 million dollar deal with Nike before playing a game, and an extension of that deal that is reportedly worth more than the original, among many other sponsorship deals.

I think it's good for labor.

Absolutely! You know, until the league starts bleeding money.

I actually felt sorry for Bosh.

How can you feel sorry for a guy who tried to ride the coattails of his previous rivals to the pinnacle of his profession all while guaranteed 110 million dollars over 6 years?
posted by clearly at 1:24 PM on June 15, 2011


I think The Decision was classless and stupid, but I have no problem with LeBron leaving Cleveland. He was a free agent and his contract was up. He took less money than he could've made elsewhere so he could play with his friends.

For me, part of the reason I was so annoyed by 'The Decision' is that Cleveland offered more money than Miami.

If he'd taken more money to go to New York or L.A., would you have been annoyed with him then? I think a lot of people would've, so it's damned if you do, damned if you don't.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:37 PM on June 15, 2011


Too much LeBron, not enough Chiefs talk here. So, apropos of nothing...

During the dark days of the Chiefs being a Cards farm team, Rick Ankiel got sent down for a couple of games right after his string of WILD pitches. Luckily he didn't pitch the night we were there (our seats were right outside of the protective netting on the first base line), but being Cubs fans, the heckling was still amazing.

Peoria's baseball stadium was built below grade of the surrounding streets, so dealing with storm runoff is tricky. The company I used to work for designed the drainage system. Lots of underdrains, lots of crushed rock. We were told once that the owner sat in a lawn chair on the pitcher's mound right after a heavy rain to inspect the system. The field was in playing condition within an hour.

And finally, I don't know if they still do this, but for the first few years the stadium would plant palm trees out behind the bleachers. The palm tree season in Central Illinois lasts for about 6 months, so every winter they'd dig up the dead trees and replace them anew in the spring. Sort of wasteful, but it was pretty unique.
posted by hwyengr at 1:37 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


The big three players' union are often despicable for many reasons, but one thing they have managed to do and do hella well is make sure that their members have a substantial share in the profits they deliver to their employers. I'm in favor of that. I think it's good for labor.
And of course this is the main reason why there might not be an NBA season this fall.
posted by e1c at 1:42 PM on June 15, 2011


That's an issue that needs to be worked out separately from the players: The Lakers and Knicks (and the Clippers, too, if they ever get their act together) can make tens of millions of extra dollars from sponsors and exorbitantly priced seats, simply because of where they are located. If they don't share some of that money with the Milwaukees, Minnesotas, Charlottes, and Sacramentos, you may as well not have the Milwaukees, Minnesotas, Charlottes, and Sacramentos.

From clearly's very excellent Grantland article. Revenue-sharing! Sounds good to me!

Told you I was a communist.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:47 PM on June 15, 2011


If he'd taken more money to go to New York or L.A., would you have been annoyed with him then?

No one could offer more than Cleveland.

It's good that basketball has some cap rules as there at least is a financial incentive for players to stay with teams, but in when the big markets in sports like baseball just offer more than any other team can, it's easier for me to hate the team than the player.

For example, a previous Cleveland (Indians) star C.C. Sabathia was traded to the Brewers because the Indians couldn't afford to re-sign him. The Brewers offered alot for him (120 mil?), but the Yankees offered far more. Considering the difference in pay, while I wasn't happy with Sabathia's decision, I could understand it, and I could focus my ire on the Yankees who should rot in baseball hell.
posted by drezdn at 1:51 PM on June 15, 2011


The Progressive Case for the Miami Heat (and LeBron James)
Was “The Decision” kind of tasteless? Yes. But we all have our lapses and LeBron’s lapse raised money for charity. Did the biggest social faux pas of your life raise money for charity? I’m guessing it didn’t. Nobody needs to cry for rich NBA stars, but the idea that the even-richer people who own the teams have a moral right to their labor is nuts.
The owners want to pretend that this is all about "the fans," but it's about the bottom line.
posted by muddgirl at 1:52 PM on June 15, 2011


The finals were fun to watch. I love three-pointers.

I also learned in the finals LeBron is good at.... passing?
posted by starman at 2:02 PM on June 15, 2011


"For me, part of the reason I was so annoyed by "The Decision" is that Cleveland offered more money than Miami. As someone who lives in a small NBA market and roots for that team, it was a clear message that unless there's the ultra-rare players who fall in love with the scrappy small market that drafts them, we otherwise don't have a chance."

Cleveland's problem wasn't that LeBron disliked the city. The problem is that Cleveland made a bunch of poor personnel decisions and couldn't give Wade or Bosh or anyone a contract to go along with LeBron's. LeBron's main desire wasn't to leave Cleveland it was to get some all-star teammates. If Cleveland could have given him that, he would have stayed. You can build good teams in small markets, e.g. San Antonio, Utah, Denver and Seattle. The small markets just have a slimmer margin for error.

Also, Miami, is not considered a big market. Miami fans are not strongly devoted to any of their franchises. So, while it's a pretty big city, it's much closer to a small market than NYC, Chicago or LA.
posted by oddman at 2:22 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Chiefs were a Cards farm team until 2004; switched to the Cubs in 2005. PEOPLE REMAIN VERY BITTER.

>>They are a Cubs team again? I remember in 1995 when they were Cubs and switched to Cardinals.


Indeed, I remember the team as a Cubs affiliate too, then Cards, then Cubs again, not that it really matters much in my mind. I always loved Chiefs games (In no small part due to $1 beer on thirsty Thursdays)

I met Mark Grace at a Chiefs game at old Vonachen Stadium the night his number was retired by the Chiefs, which happened during the time that Peoria was Cardinals affiliate. Grace was a cool guy, signed a Chiefs mini-bat and a baseball card for me. In fact, that same night I saw former-Major League pitcher Jesse Orosco pitch at Vonachen on a rehab assignment for St. Louis, so this must have been 2000. Incidentally, Grace was in the news the other day.

Their new stadium, O'Brien Field, is all that and a bag of hickory nuts - right down to the palm trees swaying in the Peoria wind. Really, a very impressive downtown ballpark for a Class A affiliate. Good memories there too, mostly involving $1 beers, loud noises, and distraught families wondering how to get away from the verbal onslaught hurled toward the field.

As for the LeBron championship ring replicas: nice. I laughed. Mean-spirited? Probably. But screw it, Miami eliminated the Bulls and LeBron is a jag off.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:58 PM on June 15, 2011


I really enjoyed the piece on GQ's NBA blog about What Your LeBron Hatred Says About You.

A quote (wrongly assuming the Heat would win, but still fundamentally right, I think): "LeBron James co-opted a kind of boilerplate fan complaint to succeed even more, and now he's going to win a championship as a direct result of fulfilling the democratizing, self-abnegating wishes of those who watch games and want to see a superstar make sacrifices, just as they must. Evidently there's no more dangerous thing than giving the people what they want, because that still somehow makes you a dick."
posted by Copronymus at 3:06 PM on June 15, 2011


You know what's even stupider than wasting your time hating LeBron James? Paying him millions of dollars to bounce a ball and throw it through a hoop.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:08 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm shocked that a talented young person would flee the Midwest in order to seek success in a coastal city.
posted by Blue Meanie at 3:10 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what's even stupider than wasting your time hating LeBron James?

Coming into sports threads with a predictable, out of touch and frankly embarrassing is-this-something-I'd-need-a-tv-to-understand-level obnoxious look at me bullshit that makes it seem like you never got over the swirlies the jocks gave you in middle school?
posted by nathancaswell at 3:17 PM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know what's even stupider than wasting your time hating LeBron James? Paying him millions of dollars to bounce a ball and throw it through a hoop.

And, as we all know, all writers do is punch keys on a keyboard. It's beyond me why anyone should get paid well to do so.

And actors? Hell. Acting is easy!
posted by joechip at 3:39 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Paying him millions of dollars to bounce a ball and throw it through a hoop.

I was going to sit here and watch the Bruins while keeping an eye on the Sox while consuming cheap beer, but the scales have fallen from my eyes! Thanks Anonymous Internet Shithead!
posted by yerfatma at 4:07 PM on June 15, 2011


I also learned in the finals LeBron is good at.... passing?

LeBron is very good at passing. And defending. And rebounding. He probably averaged 20+/8/6 (PT/R/A) or something like that in the playoffs.

The only thing he seems to lack is a killer instinct. And luck. And maybe half a brain.

You know what's even stupider than wasting your time hating LeBron James? Paying him millions of dollars to bounce a ball and throw it through a hoop.

It is true, I think. There is a difference between paying someone well for working hard and performing at a high level and what professional athletes make. You can see how anti-free-marketers would be upset at the income difference.

These millionaires (and likely a few billionaire owners) also receive generous legal breaks (MLB antitrust exemption; how does the NBA get away with restricting players to age 19 and up?) from various systems that enable the income disparity.

I try to give my time and attention (and some money) to local high school team sports, and follow the pros online (or on broadcast TV, right) for free, but even I get sucked into the pro sports vortex a lot. Each league literally has no competition, which is probably a good thing in terms of quality matches, but a very weird business situation (if an NBA player does not like NBA policy, where else can he work?)

Acting is easy!

Bad acting is easy.

posted by mrgrimm at 4:09 PM on June 15, 2011


There is a difference between paying someone well for working hard and performing at a high level and what professional athletes make.

You and economics don't get along, do you? Supply v demand explains all of it.
posted by yerfatma at 4:11 PM on June 15, 2011


Lebron is 26 years old. Barring injury he will have a championship sooner or later. Someone upthread mentioned Barry Sanders. He's an example of what happens to athletes who stick with crappy teams. Every Thanksgiving I'd see that guy doing these beautiful runs and he never even got close to a Superbowl. The Lions didn't even have enough class to trade him to a winning team.
posted by rdr at 4:13 PM on June 15, 2011


You and economics don't get along, do you? Supply v demand explains all of it.

In a free market (mostly, but monopolies can artificially affect supply), but not in a regulated market. Ours seems like a regulated market, and the NBA has its own market that is even more regulated.

Supply and demand explains most of it, but not all of it.

The Lions didn't even have enough class to trade him to a winning team.

That is the stupidest thing I've read in this thread yet. Barry would be too nice to tell you that himself, but I think he would agree. If you think a championship mattered to Barry Sanders, you're way off.

"David Ware, one of Sanders's representatives, indicated that Sanders's retirement is not a ploy.

"He never once said to us, nor did we indicate to the Lions, he wanted to be traded," Ware told ESPN."

posted by mrgrimm at 4:24 PM on June 15, 2011


I know Wikipedia isn't considered definitive but...

Several years after retirement, and repeated refusals to discuss the abruptness of it, Sanders finally admitted that the culture of losing in the Lions' organization was too much to deal with even though he said that he could still play. He explained that it robbed him of his competitive spirit, and he saw no reason to believe things were going to improve.


I didn't say his retirement was a ploy. I said that if Detroit had any class they would have traded him.
posted by rdr at 4:29 PM on June 15, 2011


Barry would be too nice to tell you that himself, but I think he would agree. If you think a championship mattered to Barry Sanders, you're way off.

Sanders may have never asked to be traded, but it's pretty accepted belief that the culture of losing eventually drove him to retire. I can't verify the source, NFL Networks "In Their Own Words" program, but from Wikipedia:

Several years after retirement, and repeated refusals to discuss the abruptness of it, Sanders finally admitted that the culture of losing in the Lions' organization was too much to deal with even though he said that he could still play. He explained that it robbed him of his competitive spirit, and he saw no reason to believe things were going to improve. Although Detroit had made the playoffs the season prior to his retirement (losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-10 on the road in a 1998 NFC Wild Card game), Detroit drafted quarterback Charlie Batch in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft. It became apparent that Batch would become Detroit's full time starter the next season, and Sanders seemed unwilling to embrace yet another change in the Lions' seemingly endless carousel of quarterbacks and offensive philosophies. He had also gone on record to criticize Detroit's front office (most notably Chuck Schmidt) for releasing Pro Bowl center Kevin Glover for salary cap reasons. Glover was an underrated player and close friend of Sanders in Detroit. He stated there were tears in his eyes as the Lions lost in the playoffs to Tampa in 1998, because he knew in his heart he was never going to play another game for Detroit. "I sobbed for 3 months," Sanders said.

That being said, I don't think the comparison between Lebron and Sanders is very relevant, the Cavs were a playoff team during Lebron's tenure there, the Lions were not.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:31 PM on June 15, 2011


Every Thanksgiving I'd see that guy doing these beautiful runs and he never even got close to a Superbowl.

I don't think the comparison between Lebron and Sanders is very relevant, the Cavs were a playoff team during Lebron's tenure there, the Lions were not.

It's funny how much the memory is influenced by recent events. I was going to dispute the first quote, because I thought I remembered the Lions making the NFC Championship in the Sanders era. What I found shocked me...not only did the Lions play in the NFC Championshiip game in '91, but they made the playoffs five times in the eight years that succeeded their NFC Championship Game appearance (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1999; Barry retired in '98.)

If I were him, I wouldn't waste too much time worrying about people who wanted me to spend every winter in Cleveland for the rest of my career.

It's not a big deal if you are from and grew up in the area....which he did. But it's sort of a moot point because I don't think that's why he left.

As an Akron native and big Cavs fan and Cleveland sports fan in general, I have a gut reaction to the tut-tutting of the Lebron hate. I just want to scream, "You don't UNDERSTAND." Yes, a lot of of the hate is way over the top (only passionate Clemenate is acceptable IMO, and yerfatma's link of the Joe Posnanski column is a must-read), but he gave a long-suffering city and region hope. A hometown boy who was perhaps the best basketball player on that planet. Us! Cleveland! Akron! People make fun of us. We're the butt of jokes, a laughingstock to cheap sitcoms and stand-up comedians.

That stuff can gnaw at you, and Lebron was our grand response. And then he left in the most humiliating way imaginable. If you don't care about sports, and think people who do are losers, fine. But your high horse is just that.
posted by mreleganza at 6:01 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ours seems like a regulated market, and the NBA has its own market that is even more regulated.

Sure, I was being overly simplistic, but most of the restrictions (drafts, lack of full free agency, salary caps) artificially depress player salaries, whereas the complaint was they were already too high. If you're suggesting player salaries would drop if a sports league had to allow any arbitrary number of teams, I don't see that-- people wouldn't watch such a league and it would probably divide itself up like football leagues in other countries.
posted by yerfatma at 6:05 PM on June 15, 2011


The only thing he seems to lack is a killer instinct. And luck. And maybe half a brain.

Yeah.. when he was being guarded by Barea it should have been an easy two points every time. Instead of pass/offensive foul.
posted by starman at 6:09 PM on June 15, 2011


That Joe Posnanski column gets is exactly right. Sports are objectively silly if you think about them even medium-hard, but they bring us joy, and much of that joy is about the narrative. When someone like Colin Cowherd (who makes me seethe just by opening his mouth anyway) talks down to fans (his favorite hobby) by saying that the only thing we should care about is LeBron's skill level, he shows a fundamental misunderstanding of sports. It's not just about the game, but about the context.

But even without the quasi-kayfabe of Clemenating an athlete, I root against the Heat because I hate the idea of the sport being played not by athletes, but by agents. leBron's decision was supposed to create a league where the winners were a foregone conclusion before the season started. What the Dallas victory proves, instead, is that the rest of the country took this as a challenge, and one that they can rise up to. Next year the Heat are going to come out strong again, and so we will look with excitement to which team will give them the run for their money, and hopefully defeat them. Will it be the Bulls? The Thunder? Only time will tell.

The 2004 Red Sox victory was sweeter (for fans, obviously) not just because of an 86 year drought, but because of the nature of that team. The personalities as they were presented to us. The Idiots. No matter how they diminished their individual legacies later on, and they have done quite a bit on that front, at the time they were Big Papi Ortiz, strong silent clutch hitter extraordinaire, Manny Being Manny Ramirez, eccentric super-bat, Jason Veritek, the greatest trash-talker in the sport, Johnny Damon, the lightning-quick caveman. Etc. Characters enrich the game. But some of them are Roger Clemens. Some of them are LeBron James.

And, even if James doesn't quite get this yet, the hate for him makes the game more fun. It just does.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:59 PM on June 15, 2011


When it all boils down, Lebron's life is basketball. In a business sense he did nothing wrong by going to Miami. He wasn't winning in Cleveland and he wants a championship. Every one does. So why not go to a team that has a better chance of winning? An EXTREMELY better chance, as we saw by them getting to the finals. The Eastern Conference was not an easy thing to win.

Now yes, Lebron was a dick about the way he announced his decision, but that's partially the media's fault. They hyped it up from the very beginning, but there was nothing wrong with his decision. And not once during the season did Lebron act unprofessional about it. Through all the boos when he played Cleveland, to the burning of his jerseys, to the hate he received by many, he shrugged it off. For goodness sakes, Dan Gilbert trashed him in that letter and this is Cleveland's owner. And Cleveland fans think that Lebron losing is a win for them? No....they were still the worst team in the NBA. Lebron was short of his goal but he didn't completely fail.

In the end, he just wants to win, and yes he choked in this year's finals, but he honestly doesn't deserve to be hated by so many.

And this is from a Bulls and Celtics fan who just dislikes the way Lebron's been treated.
posted by dapperkoala at 11:40 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


But yeahhhh this was funny lol
posted by dapperkoala at 11:44 PM on June 16, 2011


Chiefs lost, but I'm told a good time was had by all. First link has video.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:12 AM on June 17, 2011


Their new stadium, O'Brien Field, is all that and a bag of hickory nuts - right down to the palm trees swaying in the Peoria wind. Really, a very impressive downtown ballpark for a Class A affiliate.

My parents (mom Peoria born and raised) dislike O'Brien Field mainly because it's downtown and they dislike downtown. The Civic Center is another sore point with them... I still have to hear about it losing money every time I went to a show.

I left Peoria around 2001 and haven't been back much. But a friend had a bachelor's party in Peoria and we went to a game at O'Brien field. I did really enjoy drinking beer and eating hotdogs while sitting on the gas mound in the outfield. That's a nice touch.
posted by sbutler at 11:41 PM on June 17, 2011


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