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Browns have a lot to learn, but Indians and Cavs can teach them

In the span of 48 hours, starting at 1 p.m. Sunday, everything that is right and wrong with Cleveland’s three professional sports teams will be on display — in all its glory and gory.
Tuesday night, for the first time in the history of Major League Baseball and the Cleveland Indians, Game 1 of the World Series will be played in Cleveland. Your host: the 2016 American League champion Cleveland Indians.
Also Tuesday night, for the first time in the history of the National Basketball Association and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavs will hoist the NBA championship banner into the rafters at The Q, and present the players with their championship rings.
The Cavs won the NBA championship in June. It was in all the papers. Perhaps you heard about it.
Meanwhile, prior to all that, at 1 p.m. Sunday, the winless Cleveland Browns, a team in the National Football League, will play an NFL-sanctioned game in Cincinnati.
To review: the Indians are playing for the championship of their sport. The Cavaliers are celebrating the winning of the championship in their sport.
The Browns are 0-6.
Woof, freaking woof.
Obviously the gap between winning the championship in two sports and failing to even win a single game in another is great. So is, not surprisingly, the way the three teams are run.
There is a great deal the competitively indigent Browns, and those running — for this year, anyway — the competitively indigent Browns can learn from their two competitively affluent Cleveland neighbors.
For example:
QUIT BLOWING IT UP: This one is obvious to everyone, apparently, but the two owners the Browns have had since re-entering the league as an expansion franchise in 1999. The answer to a bad season isn’t always getting rid of everybody and hiring a completely new regime every year.
To wit: Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti has been with the team for 18 years, scouting director Brad Grant 23 years, general manager Mike Chernoff 13 years, senior director of scouting operations John Mirabelli 17 years, director of player development Carter Hawkins 10 years, director of pro scouting Paul Gillispie 10 years, just to name a few.
HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Since 2000, the Indians have had four managers. The Browns have had three head coaches in the last four years and eight since 2000. One of the biggest reasons the Browns keep blowing it up is that they keep hiring the wrong people, which, at some point, means the wrong people are doing the hiring.
DRAFT BETTER: Tons of examples here, but I’ll go with this one. With their first picks in their 2011 drafts, the Cavs took Kyrie Irving, the Indians took Francisco Lindor and the Browns took Phil Taylor.
SCOUT BETTER: There may be no more egregious example of a lack of due diligence by a scouting department than that which resulted in the Browns selecting Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert in the first round of the 2014 draft, two colossal whiffs that set the franchise back three years.
Contrast that with the Cavs scouting and signing in 2013 a little-known free agent named Matthew Dellavedova, or using the fourth overall pick (what?) in the 2011 draft on lowly acclaimed Tristan Thompson (who?) or the Indians in 2010 trading for a nondescript Double-A pitcher in the San Diego organization named Corey Kluber.
DON’T MISTAKE LOYALTY FOR ENDORSEMENT: Since their return to the league in 1999 there’s been a certain amount of NFL-style arrogance by the Browns, a sort of “here we are, come and get us” sense of entitlement, as though the mere fact they are open for business is enough to validate their importance and titillate their fan base.
In reality, the continued, even baffling — considering the ineptness of the product — support of the team comes from a fan base turned off by all the losing, but not to the point of giving up on the core belief in what the Browns once stood for, and the hope it might someday return.
That fans remain loyal and still buy tickets to Browns games says more about the quality of those fans than the work of those currently running the team. But eventually, even in football-mad Cleveland, the bill comes due. Moreover, NFL TV ratings are down significantly this year nationwide. If that trend continues, it will inevitably be accompanied by a reduction in the velocity of the NFL gravy train.
It would, therefore, be a mistake for the league, and especially those running its worst franchise, to continue to operate from the premise that a Pavlovian response from their clientele will forever follow the mere throwing open of the ticket windows.
The Cavs and Indians ownerships understand that customer dynamic. One wonders whether the Browns owner does.
Contact Jim Ingraham at 329-7135 or [email protected] Follow him @jim_ingraham on Twitter.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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