Money can't buy love

November 10, 1995|By Mike Lowe

CONGRATULATIONS Baltimore! As a native-born Clevelander and a life-long Browns fan, I want to be the first to congratulate you.

You certainly deserve it. You'll look so good with those dog noses, throwing biscuits and snowballs at the opposing players. Do you want to buy my extra biscuits? In 1987 I just missed Mark Gastineau with one of them. Make sure you bundle up when you go to the game, it can get really cold with the wind whipping off the frozen lake.

Just like that great playoff game in 1980 against the Raiders when the wind-chill factor was 37 degrees below zero. That was the year of the Cardiac Kids. Brian Sipe threw an interception in the endzone when the Browns were down by two with 16 seconds left. I remember walking back across that bridge into town with my Dad and brother and I couldn't believe how quiet 80,000 people could be. Weren't you disappointed too that day? Did you own one of those ''Twelve Days of the Cleveland Browns Christmas'' records that so many of us Browns fans bought (''On the first day of Christmas, Art Modell gave to me, a Rutgliano Super Bowl team'')? You don't have one? Well, I guess you can have mine for a couple bucks.

How about those heartbreaking losses in 1987 and 1988 -- The Drive and The Fumble? Do you remember where you were when Earnest Bynar fumbled on his way into the endzone? You didn't watch it with me at the Browns Backers Club of Boston where I was going to school. It's probably for the best, we were all really bummed after that game. Of course, we all left the bar reciting the familiar Browns mantra, ''We'll get them next year.'' Did you get one of those cool ''Beware of the Dawgs'' t-shirts and the ''Bernie Bernie'' record (sung to the tune of ''Louie Louie'') that was so popular that year? I guess I'll sell you mine if you want it.

You know, while I'm at it, I guess you can take the Browns pennant that hangs on my wall. My grandmother bought it for me about 17 years ago when the Browns were playing so badly. Those were depressing times. But at least we had Greg Pruitt. Do you remember how he would run right through those tear-away jerseys on his way to the endzone? You don't have that memory? Do you want to buy mine? Maybe I'll throw in my memory of the time that Tom Darden spoke at my school and I got to shake his hand. What will you give me for it? What will you give me for the feeling of honor I had when I was a caddy and I got to clean Art Modell's clubs for him? I'll give that up pretty cheap.

Anyway. Take what you want. Money can buy anything, can't it? It bought you a team! Cleveland's team! My team! Enjoy it! Don't worry about me, I guess I'll just restrict my loyalties to the Ohio State Buckeyes. I'm pretty sure that they won't be moving. But please do me a favor. Be good fans. Don't get down on the Browns when they come up just short in the big game -- that's just the Browns. They'll get 'em next year. And don't be embarrassed to wear orange and brown -- those colors are only ugly to those who don't understand for what they stand. Please don't give up on those players who are loyal to you -- like Bernie Kosar -- even after the coaches have given up on them. And please, do me one more favor: Get one of those delicious steaming hot dogs on a chilly December Sunday at the stadium. And choke on it.

D6

Journalist Mike Lowe writes from Washington, D.C.

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