What We’re Thankful For

For what is now our eighth Thanksgiving together, WFNY has carried on with their Thanksgiving Day tradition of sharing what we’re each thankful for, ranging from the teams we cover down to our own, respective elements of appreciation.

For a look back at years past, here are links to 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. We encourage you to travel back in time and compare the years past—where we were thankful for players like Delonte West, Shaun Rogers, and executives like Danny Ferry—to today where we now have a banner in our rafters, a parade in our memory banks and a baseball team waiting to give it another run next summer.

As always, we thank you for being a part of this journey. We don’t know where we’re heading on any given day, but we are all perpetually grateful that you are taking it in with us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Scott: Deep down, I knew that some day—any day–we would get to celebrate a championship. That there was a day this year, in late June, where I was able to sit on the lawn at the Mall and watch the Cavaliers parade throughout the city of downtown Cleveland and be a part of the day that we have long dreamed about, it still feels surreal. Game 6 is undoubtedly the best basketball game I have ever attended, only to be outdone by the incredible tension of watching the final moments of Game 7 unfold on television. Those moments—the shot, the block, the stop—will forever be celebrated. We knew there would eventually, at some point, be a title. But to be so close to the team during that entire run is something I would have never imagined.

While the Cavs’ season seeped deep into the summer, being able to jump into what the Indians were doing on a daily basis and have it all peak at a World Series Game 7 at home, just months after the parade mentioned above… I’m not a big believer in karma, but for 52 years of championship-free sports to result in what transpired between the months of June and November was nothing short of magical.

I’m beyond grateful for all of the readers and writers here at WFNY, for everyone who deals with my incredibly high demands while letting me edit down to the comma. We had an incredibly interesting year behind the scenes, and to think that it all resulted in us adding a slew of new, talented writers who provided our readers with the best in Indians coverage throughout their magical run—I certainly didn’t see any of it coming a year ago. Each year provides its own, unique challenges and somehow we continue to forge our way through, producing some of the best independent content on the web today.

I’m perennially thankful for all of the media members throughout Cleveland who are ever-supportive of what we do here—Will Burge, Chris Fedor, T.J. Zuppe, Tom Reed, Andre Knott, Ken Carman, Nick Wilson, Bull and Fox, the team at WKYC, Dan Stansbury and Matt Fantone, and the folks at 1240 AM out in Youngstown. I’m thankful for Jared Diamond at the Wall Street Journal and Kevin Van Valkenburg at ESPN for featuring me in their national stories on the city of Cleveland. And I’m thankful for Martin Rickman who trusted me to report out and write a story for Uproxx’s Culture Week.

I’m thankful for LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Ty Lue, David Griffin, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, James Jones, and Channing Frye. I’m thankful for Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Andrew Miller, Mike Chernoff for acquiring Andrew Miller, Corey Kluber and Mike Napoli for letting us party at his place throughout the entire summer. I’m thankful Hue Jackson chose to come to Cleveland while simultaneously being hopeful that it all works out. And I’m thankful for every team employee who has allowed us to provide our readers with stories and angles that are different from those being produced by other electronic forms of media.

So many memories were made this year, be they every home game throughout the Cavs’ run, Game 1 of the ALDS to Game 7 of the World Series, the Saint Pablo Tour, or simply sharing laughs alongside a bar—I couldn’t be more thankful for all of them. And last, but certainly not least, I’m thankful for my close-knit group of friends, my ever-supportive family, and my girls—I wouldn’t be half the man I am without you. Happy Thanksgiving, you guys.

Andrew: I covered a lot of my thanks in my While We’re Waiting this week and I don’t want to repeat myself too much. So I just want to reiterate my thanks to anyone reading this. It’s so easy to take our readers for granted, especially those who read but don’t leave comments. But every single person who reads Waiting For Next Year is appreciated beyond words. So thank you all, and have the happiest Thanksgiving ever!

Craig: Mine is going to be short and sweet this year. I’ve written a few of these over the years and pretty much all previous thanks stand unchanged. I just want to add some new things. This year I’m especially thankful for new writers, new friends, and the support we’ve received from new patrons. It’s been a wild year around here and I feel like we’ll emerge even better. That hasn’t always felt like a reasonable assumption in 2016. So thank you. That’s what I’m thankful for… well that and the Cavaliers championship. I guess I’m thankful for that too. 😀

Bode: Let’s start here at WFNY. I’m incredibly thankful to be blessed with the writing community here at WFNY and the readers – especially the commentariat who interact with us. Sports without community is worthless, and I am so thankful to have a community worth making the down years of our teams fun and the championship runs (and near championship ones too) fulfilling. And, I’m thankful this community continues to grow with writers (Leonard, Hattery, Pete, Harrington, Nomina) and readers even if we make a couple missteps along the way.

Family is what I am always most thankful to have. A year where we lost one (13-year-old yellow lab) but gained many more (added a beagle puppy, lab puppy, cockatiel, two bunnies — oh, and we had a baby). Absolutely crazy, big family that all live in the same house and somehow puts up with my sports obsession (among my eccentricities) and embraces it to the point where when I came home late during the Indians postseason run, they would already be yelling at the TV.

And, I’m thankful for God making every one of these blessings and happenings in my life possible. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless everyone.

Jessica: I’m thankful, as always, for my family. My parents are the absolute best… hilarious and supportive, honest and open. I have no idea what I’d do without them and I’m grateful for them every day. I’m also thankful for my loud, crazy extended family that continues to grow (and get louder and crazier) every year. I’m so blessed.

I’m thankful for my incredible circle of friends and the huge year we had. Two weddings, two babies, two wonderful boyfriends… I feel so lucky to have shared in so much joy and love. Speaking of wonderful boyfriends, I am thankful that the kindest, most amazing man I’ve ever met is mine. You are everything.

As I said last year, I’ll never stop being thankful for the opportunity to join WFNY. I am constantly in awe of the talent, passion and storytelling exhibited here—and I’m thankful to be a teeny, tiny part of it.

I’m thankful for the Indians and the Cavs, who do things to my heart that I can’t explain. I’m thankful for The Jake and for the Cavs’ Championship parade being held on my birthday, and for the way I felt when Rajai Davis hit that home run. I’ll never forget it.

And finally, I’m thankful for books, Barrio, coffee with a little cream, chocolate chip cookies, cozy clothes and Internet videos of unlikely animal pals.

Josh: Honestly, there’s so much I am thankful for that I will probably forget to mention, but first and foremost, I’m thankful for my health, my family, and close friends who I consider family. If it weren’t for each of them, I don’t know where I’d be in this crazy thing we call life.

I truly am thankful for WFNY, whether it be the writers or readers, I am so incredibly fortunate to be able to be part of the team here. Each contributor brings so much, whether it be their own unique style or just helping each other out no matter what time of the day it is, and staying caught up due o the Slack channel – sorry guys, whatever happens in Slack, stays in Slack. I really am thankful for Scott, Andrew, and Craig for giving me the opportunity to write for this site. I can never pay them back for allowing me to do so.

Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for the Cavs and Indians (along with my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes). June 19, 2016 will be a date I will forever remember. Being downtown for Game 7 and the curse finally end, nothing will ever trump that. Although the Indians came within one game of winning it all, their season was entertaining and had plenty of magic as well, to say the least.

Joe: I am really thankful for June 19, 2016. That is the day the landscape of Cleveland sports changed. It is the date the drought ended and the Cavaliers won the city’s first championship since 1964. The way I look at Cleveland sports has completely changed because of this day. I am thankful for Kyrie Irving’s shot and LeBron James’ block. But most of all, I am thankful the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead.

Besides the Cavaliers, I am thankful for the Indians. They gave fans a great encore to the Cavs championship, coming up just short of winning the trophy. No one thought that the Indians could make it all the way to the World Series, especially after losing Michael Brantley, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar during the season. They showed heart and a real love of playing the game of baseball. Thank you for the fun October run.

Away from the sports world, I am thankful for my family. They are my rock and the people who help me through the highs and lows of life. I am thankful for my job. I have a steady profession and co-workers who I enjoy working with every day. I am thankful for WFNY and the ability to write about the things I love. I am thankful for being where I am in my life.

Hattery: I moved to Cleveland less than a year and a half ago to begin law school, two experiences I could not be more thankful for. I have found Cleveland to be a welcoming place and I am thankful for all the people I have had the chance to meet over the past year. Connections from EHC and now WFNY have helped my feel like Cleveland is truly my new home.  People like Adam Burke, Jeff Nomina, Nino Colla and many others have made the last year one of the best of my life.

I want to thank Scott, Craig, and Andrew for bringing me aboard WFNY and giving me incredible creative freedom. Specifically, I want to thank Scott for  being willing to risk it on a contentious twitter personality. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to share the Indians Playoff run with all the readers of WFNY and the writers. Brainstorming angles and trying to bring something fresh during this playoff race was a most delightful challenge. Finally, covering the Tribe with Michael Bode has made me a lot better. Bode always has great input on potential angles and from a sabermetrics standpoint, he does a phenomenal job vetting and perfecting ideas.

Finally, I am thankful for my beautiful and ever-patient wife, Lindsay. My wife spends her days caring for children only to come to her biggest challenge, loving me. For making the leap to Cleveland with me, I am forever grateful to my dear wife.

Finally, for the readers and tweeters. Thank you so much for engaging! I read every comment because I love the interaction. For myself, I feel like my posts are just the first comment in a large comment section where I get to hear what others think. Thanks for reading, and more importantly, telling me what you think.

Pat: First and foremost, I’m thankful to Scott, Andrew, Craig, and the WFNY gang for bringing me on board. I’ve been around these parts for many years now as a regular commentator on WFNY posts, and it was certainly exciting to be able to start contributing to the site in a new way this year. My very biased opinion is that I don’t believe I’m the least bit biased in saying that this site has the most interesting, intelligent, fun comment section on the Internet. Hopefully, a year from now we’ll be able to look back and talk about how many more people have started commenting on posts and have grown the empire in wonderful ways. You guys and gals make it even more enjoyable than it already is to write for this site.

I was born in California, but lived my formative years from four to sixteen years old about halfway between Cleveland and Akron. Since I could never drive when I lived there, northeast Ohio still has this mystical quality to it for me.  I don’t really know how to get to Cleveland from where I lived, but I have memories of that I-480 bridge, for example.  Thankfully, they have nothing to do with people jumping off of it. I remember a bridge so high that I felt like we must have been driving on a highway that cuts through the clouds, and the cars on the streets below looked like Micro Machines.

I tend to apply a similar magical quality to the Cleveland sports teams of my youth. The Cleveland Indians of the 1990s were a group of men who paralleled Hercules and Perseus. In my mind, there has never been a group of baseball players with such power, such speed, and such wizardry on the diamond. I have similar thoughts about Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, and the Cleveland Cavaliers of that era. In my mind, they are these historically great players whose careers were cut just short of the point of an inevitable championship. Because of that, I am almost reluctant to go back to Cleveland to change my perception. When you grow up there, you have such pride in where you are from and you really believe that no other place in the country could come close to its perfection. I hate the idea of spoiling that almost as much as I love the idea of being “home” again. The few times I have been back to Hudson, a wave of nostalgia smacks me in the face upon the first landscape that I recognize and stays plastered there until I leave. I’m thankful that I get have those feelings about the place where I grew up. I didn’t want to leave when we moved away in 1996, but years later I find myself extremely thankful for what I had and what I now have when I look back.

Jim: As I sat here, pondering where to start my first WFNY Thanksgiving post, thinking about family, friends, sports, and life in general, it wasn’t hard to come to the conclusion that Cleveland was at the center of everything for me this year. Every branch of my life was so connected to my hometown…our hometown, that not mentioning it first, would be a travesty. I’m so damn thankful that I was born in Cleveland, and that The Land is my land, so that I could share this amazing year with all of you, and my family and friends. The grand irony in that statement isn’t lost upon me, because I’ve spent much of my life wondering the exact opposite.

I’m thankful for my wife, with whom put up with dating me in the summer of 1995, which meant every date was in the Jacobs Field Mezzanine, hunting for that elusive World Series title. I spent games ruthlessly rooting on that amazingly beautiful team, while also yelling at the lady in front of me who was always reading some sorta classic novel, or the teenage girls behind us, who discussed doing things to Julian Tavarez, that made me plug my ears. Fast forward to this year, and I give thanks to my two kids, who shared this Indians team with me, attending their first games, including a scintillating trip to the ALDS and the ALCS. Listening to my daughter, son and wife sharing stories of their crazy Dad losing his voice, but also of all the other intangibles that connect baseball fans, was nothing short of spectacular.

I’m so damn thankful for Joe Tait, simply because it was his amazingly beautiful, midwestern voice that connected all sports that were important to me when I was a kid. He painted the picture for me for the Indians, starting every game with “It’s a beautiful day for baseball,” and driving basketball home with the “Wham, with the right hand.” Every second of last season’s basketball and baseball seasons left me thinking about Joe, about how far removed from sports he is these days, and how I wish like hell he could have enjoyed every second of the Cavs championship run, and the Indians as well. I sat on the couch with my kids, sobbing after Kyrie buried that three, moments after losing my voice after that LeBron block, whispering, “I can’t believe this…I can’t believe this…I can’t believe this…” as though I had just won a million dollars. That’s a moment I’ll never forget…ever…and I’m thankful that it gave serious brevity to all the painful years prior.

I’m thankful for a phone call I received from Craig Lyndall way back in September, asking me to join WFNY. I’ve written and podcasted about this team for a long time, in one form or another since 1995. When my site, Everybody Hates Cleveland ended its multi-year run, I had all but decided to call it a career, but in about five minutes, Craig had me ready to run through a wall for WFNY. Three years ago, another had reached out to me to join the fray here at WFNY, and it didn’t feel right then. It did now. So to Craig, Andrew, Scott, Michael Bode, and the rest of the writers here at Waiting For Next Year, thanks for adding me to the list of great writers that you’ve had here. I’ve followed this site, like everyone in Cleveland, over the better part of the last decade, and hope that I can add some sort of content that can continue the tradition, and hopefully make it all a little bit better.

Finally, thanks to all the readers, who over the years have read every word, left a little feedback, sent me emails, tweeted at me, found me on Facebook, or listened to a podcast. After 20 years of writing, I still can’t believe even one person finds it interesting.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone, knowing that THIS YEAR is NEXT YEAR. Who am I kidding, we’ll always be Waiting for Next Year, won’t we?