Jul 28, 2013

Best Cleveland Shirts: Who Ya Got?

I'm a huge fan of Cleveland memorabilia. I have my jerseys, I have my mini helmets, my bobbleheads, my banners, my hats, you name it, I got it. And one thing I love to get into now since I have to pretend to act like a normal adult is Cleveland clothing. I can show a little hometown pride and still look like a normal guy since I'm no longer walking around OU wearing XXL Kevin Johnson jerseys down Court St. on a normal Tuesday afternoon. We're lucky here in Cleveland with more than a few outstanding places to find our Cleveland gear. In my mind two stand out above the rest.* These two are Fresh Brewed Tees and Cleveland Clothing Company. In my mind, they're the two powerhouses of lakefront love. I love them both. Own merchandise for both. So my question for anyone reading is, who ya got?


As far as I know Fresh Brewed Tees is only online, while Cle. Clothing Co. has a location right downtown.


Fresh Brewed Tees has a lot of Cleveland-themed shirts as well as a few "outsider" shirts such as a Megatron one, Tebow one, "330" one, etc. That's all good in my book. They also tend to focus primarily (though not entirely) on sports-related clothing. As a massive sports fan, again, this is good in my book. As far as Cle. Clothing Co. goes, the website doesn't do the place justice. The store has a wide variety of not only clothing but also things like bar ware and art. I love that.

I guess you could say that it's comparing apples to oranges. Fresh Brewed Tees has a clothing line tailored primarily to sports and do a great job of differentiating themselves from other local retailers. Cleveland Clothing Co., on the other hand can't necessarily go head-to-head with the clothing offered by Fresh Brewed Tees but the diverse products they offer make up for that difference tremendously.

Final Word: 

I love Fresh Brewed Tees shirts. Love them. Always creative, witty, and really relatable to be honest.

The same can be said for Cleveland Clothing Co. I walk into the place and look at the clothes and products they lay out and love being a Clevelander.

Again, the difference in the product line is tough. Fresh Brewed Tees offers (mostly) sports-related clothing, while Cle. Clothing Co. has clothing that has to do with the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland landmarks, etc. Neither of these are bad things, they just make for a bit of a different experience as well as a different way to rep your Cleveland pride.

There's no way to choose one of these places over the other if I'm being honest with myself. If you're from Cleveland, a Cleveland fan, or a person that just got into town looking to check out some true Cleveland pride that really is rampant in northeast Ohio, check these guys out. It's a no lose situation. Now, if you'll excuse me I have two stores to go shopping at right now.

In case you missed the hyperlinks I posted for each of these guys at the beginning of this blog, check Fresh Brewed Tees out HERE and Cleveland Clothing Co. out HERE.

*No, I didn't include Homage. They have a lot of Ohio State stuff, but I'm not an Ohio State fan, and relative two these other two, the Cleveland selection is lacking. But it's still a great site I recommend checking out if you've never been there.

Editor's Note: Fresh Brewed Tees does have their own t-shirt truck which makes regular appearances at local bars and events from my understanding.

Jul 27, 2013

Is this the best homemade fantasy football team icon ever?

Winslow-Benard Trikes & Bikes

Ranking the 2013 Browns Excitement and Expectations by Position

So let me try to explain my thinking behind this post. As I read about the past few days of training camp, I got to thinking that overall this Browns team isn't expected to do a whole lot, but individually, many Browns are expected to breakout (think Richardson, Gordon, Cameron, Haden, Mingo, Ward). It seems kind of contradictory, right? How can so many people expect such big things from so many players, but not expect big things from the team as a whole?

So I decided to play a little game with it. Since '99, what players at each position had the highest expectations going into a season? How many of the current Browns fall into this category? Maybe it'll help open some eyes to how big of a step so many Browns are expected to take this year. At the very least it'll be fun to remember back to when we Browns fans were justified in having high expectations for certain players...Without further adu:


Pre-2008 Derek Anderson

This is an easy one. In 2007 Derek Anderson had, by far, the best season of any Browns quarterback since they returned in 1999. With all of his returning weapons (in addition to a newly-arrived and pre-vehicular homicide Donte Stallworth) and another year of Rob Chudzinski's offense, Derek Anderson and the 2008 Browns had massive expectations. Remember when the crowd started chanting "Super Bowl!" at the opening of training camp? The outcome? Well, let's not go there.

Honorable Mention: Pre-2011 Colt McCoy (Note: A surprisingly respectable rookie performance unfairly raised expectations on McCoy in his first season as a starter)

Running Back

Pre-2013 Trent Richardson

I almost went with pre-2008 Jamal Lewis here. He had over 1,300 yards, for an average of 4.4 yards
per carry in 2007. Coming off a season like that, there had to be high expectations, right? But his age was a major factor. Who really expected a Jamal Lewis with that much wear and tear to throw up those numbers again?

Enter Trent Richardson. It seems like it's almost being taken for granted here in Cleveland that Trent will be an animal with the rock in Norv Turner's offense. He's coming off almost a 1,000 yard rookie campaign with 11 rushing touchdowns, all while running with broken ribs and not having a full offseason to recover from knee surgery after his Alabama playing days. With Richardson at 100% (if he's as healthy as he says he is) people naturally expect him to dominate. Let's hope that's the case.

Honorable mention: Pre-2011 Peyton Hillis (Note: I've almost forgotten about Peyton Hillis at this point. Is it me or does he seem like FOREVER ago?)

Wide Receiver

Pre-2008 Braylon Edwards

He did it in 2007--his breakout third year so many people called for came to fruition. What reason did anyone have to think he'd come crashing down to earth in 2008 and be traded for a bunch of below-average New York Jets less than 24 months later? After almost a 1,300 yard, 16 touchdown season, Braylon was supposed to stay among the elite receivers in the NFL, living up to his #3 overall pick status. Unfortunately, that never happened. Actually, not unfortunately, I never liked Braylon.

Honorable Mention: Pre-2013 Josh Gordon (Note: Suspension aside, many people expect Gordon to thrive in Norv Turner's and Chud's big-play, downfield offense)

Tight End

Pre-2007 Kellen Winslow Jr.

People forget that Kellen Winslow Jr. threw up 89 receptions, tying the team record with Ozzie Newsome, in 2006. It was also his first full season as a starter after breaking his leg on that onside kick his rookie year and dumping his crotch rocket in a parking lot his second year. I'd say 89 receptions in your first full year set a pretty good bar for 2007, and he didn't disappoint, posting 82 receptions for 1,100 yards and 5 TDs in 2007.

Honorable Mention: Pre-2008 Kellen Winslow Jr. (Note: After years like his in 2007, you just tend to expect similar production)

Offensive Line (Unit)

Pre-2013 Offensive Line (Joe Thomas, John Greco, Alex Mack, Shawn Lavauo, Mitchell Schwartz)

This unit has some big expectations coming into this year. Joe Thomas has a hall of fame worthy track record thus far in his career. Alex Mack is finally starting to get a little bit of national recognition he's deserved for a while. John Greco just got rewarded with a big contract this week and has even been singled out by Pro Football Focus as the Browns' "Secret Superstar." Mitchell Schwartz more than held his own as a rookie last year and it's not too big of a reach to expect him to continue to develop, especially under the tutelage of Thomas. Lavauo remains a weak spot, but with so many solid pieces around him, this unit is arguably the best since the team returned in 1999.

Honorable Mention: Pre-2007 Offensive Line (Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, Hank Fraley, Seth McKinney, Kevin Shaffer) (Note: With the arrivals of Thomas and Steinbach, this group had big expectations and lived up to them pretty well)

Defensive Lineman

Pre-2002 Courtney Brown

I was young when Courtney Brown came up to Cleveland, but after looking at some of his college tape this guy was an animal. As was the case with many Browns draft picks, Brown showed us just enough to get our hopes up in his rookie year, with 4.5 sacks, and backed it up with 4.5 sacks in only 5 games in 2001. But in 2002 the injuries mounted and Brown was never able to live up to the potential he flashed in his early days, specifically in 2001.

Honorable Mention: Pre-2002 Gerard Warren (Note: High hopes after 5.5 sacks as a rookie interior lineman compared by many to Warren Sapp.)


Pre-2007 Kamerion Wimbley

Kam Wimbley's 11 sacks as a rookie led to huge expectations for his sophomore campaign.
Unfortunately, he was never able to develop a second pass rush move aside from the dip-the-shoulder-to-the-point-that-I'm-almost-parallel-to-the-ground move.

Honorable Mention: Pre-2013 Paul Kruger (Note: Coming off a breakout season with Baltimore and a fat contract from Cleveland, Kruger's being counted on to at least mirror his production with the Ravens this year)

Defensive Back

Pre-2012 Joe Haden

A more than solid rookie season in 2010 and a nice development year in 2011 put Joe Haden on the fast track for a breakout year in 2012. With the positive test for Adderall, however, that was put on hold. Haden would be on this list for 2013, but he played so well when he returned in 2012 that he doesn't have massive expectations from last year to this year, fans just expect him to play like Joe, which is to say lockdown wideouts.

Honorable Mention: Pre-2013 Leon McFadden (Note: Ever remember expecting so much about a 3rd round pick from a non-BCS conference school? A lot of people are expecting McFadden to hop into the starting lineup and solidify the #2 CB spot. I hope he does it, but it's still a tall task)