The best band in the land

Pick up an edition of The Plain Dealer these days and you will learn more than you want to learn about the Cleveland Browns ( an NFL team which struggles to become "maimer #1"). More often than not, there is a spot reserved on the front page for the Browns along with Sandy stories and something called a Mideast War. Cleveland is a sports town. More accurately it is a football town. It tolerates the Cleveland Indians baseball team and the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team but it adores The Cleveland Browns.

The problem is that none of the sports teams are #1 in terms of national recognition. They have been #1 or close to it in the past but not lately. Still, the local paper does its best to remind its readers that national recognition is just around the corner.

Cleveland does get national recognition via The Cleveland Clinic which is #1 in heart care. The Cleveland Clinic does make the front page in The Plain Dealer now and then (lately about billing practices rather than heart by-pass surgery), but Cleveland desperately needs to be #1 in something besides cardiology. At least that's the message that seems to be coming from the press and sports fans. The preference is playing in the Super Bowl. Playing in the World Series is a distant second followed closely by a NBA Championship.

Speaking of playing, Cleveland does have another #1. Cleveland has the best band in the land, The Cleveland Orchestra. The orchestra has a worldwide reputation for musical excellence. I don't recall seeing any front page headlines about The Cleveland Orchestra lately, but then again the front page gets so cluttered with the Browns that I may have missed them. So what am I getting at? I'm satisfied with having one of the big five orchestras at my doorstep to brag about.  As Cleveland pursues its quest for sports supremacy, it should be careful not to let the gem that shines in Severance Hall slip away.

 Oh yes, I'm also grateful for that other #1, The Cleveland Clinic, in spite of their creative billing system.

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