It's Friday morning in Cleveland and most likely the two biggest sports stories of the day aren't in your local newspaper.
And who knew the biggest of the two wouldn't be LeBron James finally making a bunch of foul shots, outscoring Kobe Bryant, and leading the Cavs to a 114-108 win on the road over the Los Angeles Lakers?
Nope, thanks to our bruised psyche and a similar scenario from the first day of Browns training camp last year (LeCharles Bentley, anyone?), Keith Foulke's sudden retirement has pushed LeBron James out of the water-cooler discussions this morning. Cleveland.com's Tribe Tracker blog already has two posts devoted to Foulke's retirement and is filled with comments from disgusted Indians fans. The Cleveland.com Cavs message board has almost no posts about last night's game against the Lakers, while the Indians message board is busier than a Cleveland red-light camera.
Man, if Foulke actually saved a few games for the Tribe maybe they would have torn down that giant LeBron James sign downtown and put up one of Keith Foulke.
Word leaked out on that one thanks to WTAM's Mark Schwab as the Cavs-Lakers game marched toward the second half. Apparently he was the only one in town who knew.
Just think what would be happening if Keith Foulke had actually ever thrown a pitch for the Indians. Or even put on an Indians jersey. Or even made it to Winter Haven. Or even wanted to be an Indian. Remember how he kept trying to catch on with either the Arizona Diamondbacks or Texas Rangers because they were closer to home?
But it's another blow to this town's sports psyche all the same. The bullpen was the Indians' biggest disaster last season and the top priority in the offseason. GM Mark Shapiro wasn't content with just patching the wall. He filled the hole with concrete, paved over it, put up a brick fence, then wrapped a padlocked chain around the entire thing.
And there's already cracks appearing.
The woe-is-me attitude is alive and well in Cleveland and going nowhere fast. Keith Foulke's become the prominent story on Cleveland.com, on the message boards, and in the blogosphere, all before we can even enjoy LeBron and the James Gang's exciting victory in L.A. All for a guy who has never even worn a Tribe uniform, much less thrown a pitch in one. But he was painted as the answer to all our problems, and once again the coach turns into a pumpkin in Cleveland.
When Keith Foulke retiring is a bigger story than LeBron James pumping in 38 points against the Lakers in an exciting road victory, you know your town's sports fans need more than a few sessions on the psychiatrist's couch.