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Report from Cavaliers HQ

Since this is turning into a Cavaliers blog, I figure I might as well give you a report from my trip through the Cavs HQ yesterday afternoon. The team's offices--which have a beautiful view over the Cuyahoga River, if that's not too oxymoronic--were completely gutted and renovated over the summer, and now they're all high-tech and glossy-like and altogether nicer than the Washington Post's offices. Basketball imagery abounds; there are basketball-shaped tables, basketball-themed rugs, a wall of basketballs in glass, and random basketball rims hanging from rafters.

There are also "Isms" scattered around the office. What's that? You don't know what an "Ism" is? It's part of the Quicken Loans corporate brainwash philosophy, a series of catchy sayings with business-based meanings. Some examples:

"Ignore the noise."

"We are the 'they'."

"You have to take the roast out of the oven."

"A penny saved is a penny."

"We eat our own dog food."

"The inches we need are everywhere around us."

So that was inspiring. I think the Wiz could use a bit more of this kind of positive thinking. "We eat our own dog food" is a lot more inspiring than "I can't feel my face." More importantly, Cavs employees are now plied with free sodas, coffee, popcorn and slushees. Two flavors a day. Talk about increasing morale.

Then I interviewed some folks about the flaming scoreboard. This is what I'm writing for tomorrow's paper.

"We have the baddest scoreboard in the NBA," bragged Cavaliers Senior Vice President of Marketing Tracy Marek.

"And it's just so big, it's like the scoreboard that ate the arena," added VP of Communications Tad Carper. "Last year it was like top three; you add the Flaming Swords into it, and nobody comes close."

Ah yes, the Flaming Swords. The team entered the world of pyro last season, with flames spewing from the rafters (called "gerbs") and from behind the baskets. But that wasn't enough.

"In our organization it's always what else can we do, how can we make it bigger," Marek explained.

So the idea was floated: what if "Q Tube" itself blew fire? Through the mouths of four giant swords? The brand new scoreboard was taken apart and fitted with propane-powered firebreathers at a cost of $200,000, plus $2,500 per flaming game. The original plan was for a pyro wiz named Lloyd to sit inside the scoreboard to monitor the firestorm, but the experts eventually determined that was unnecessary.

"Just completely bummed us out," Marek said wistfully. "We were going to turn Lloyd into a cult figure."

Anyhow, the flames discharge throughout the pre-game introductions; all four corners at once (that's called "The Big Kahuna") and then individually in succession after each starter is introduced. It's loud, and it's warm, all over the arena. I think my face got singed. Such performances landed Q Tube the featured spot on the team's postseason media guide, and even the Wizards approved of its power.

"Oh that was hot," DeShawn Stevenson said of the intros, although he denied being startled. "I don't ever get scared," he said. "If they were trying to scare me, it didn't work."

[Yesterday, the team was scheduled to debut a new postseason lighting system that can flash images of the players on the floor. I didn't notice it, but this year's lighting system cost a half-million, and allows the arena to go from totally dark to totally lit in the snap of a finger.]

Anyhow, that crazy scoreboard might not be done evolving.

"We thought about giving Q Tube an identity, a personality, a voice, where "Q Tube would talk to the fans," Carper told me. "Hello Fans, this is Q Tube, I'm the baddest scoreboard in the NBA," he demonstrated, in a deep voice. Hopefully one day Q Tube can deliver Isms to the crowd.

Point being, if you hear Cavs fans chanting "Scoreboard, Scoreboard," now you know why.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 26, 2007; 6:18 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: A Visual Summary of Game 2's Excitement


jesus, this post just makes me feel bad for the Cavs. I don't want to delve too deeply into pop psychology but do the Pistons, Spurs, Rockets, Bulls, Lakers etc. feel compelled to install monolithic swords that shoot fire on their scoreboard? no, they do not, because those successful franchises (definitely not, at this point at least, including the Wiz) let their play speak for them. yes, I know every team has hordes of stupid gimmicks aimed at the lowest common denominator, but there's a difference between that and massive gestures of futility. working in the Cavs front office sounds like a full-on surreal corporate hell. seriously, those quotes about the scoreboard and the dopey slogans are straight out of Office Space.

Posted by: sean | April 26, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

The Q, it's the Hummer of NBA scoreboards - Helping Cavs fans overcompensate since 2006.

Posted by: Prophet | April 27, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The Cavs Crew and DJ Mick Boogie are the worst gimmicks in the Q. I'd like to see them only have Nicole as the MC during timeouts and whatnot, too. The Quicken Loans employment video about 40 minutes before the game was eerily like something out 1984, talked about making 'the diff' and showed all the amenities like the slushie machine and employee only concerts

Posted by: Adam from Ohio | April 27, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Let's take a look and overview what's going on here. It's the NBA Playoffs, NHL Playoffs, baseball is coming into full swing and the NFL draft is upon us. Yet here you are writing about the philosophies and over-sized scoreboard(?) of one of an already well publicized basketball team and their well run front office. I'm sure everybody at Cavalier HQ is smiling, even if the article doesn't shine true praise on them. What you did what put more focus on a well run organization and well marketed team. Presumable falling right into what they want, which is more headlines. Good Work There Guy.

Posted by: I'mNotACavsFanBut....... | April 27, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The only bad thing about that scoreboard is 'the diff' because it makes it look like we can't add in cleveland

Posted by: Colin, Cleveland | April 27, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

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