Happy Eve of New Year's Eve.
To mark this non-occasion, we take great pride in announcing the 22nd annual Bobby Awards, quite likely the least coveted annual honors in Northeast Ohio.
The Bobbys recognize the best and worst, the goofiest and the dumbest, the oddest and most embarrassing moments our area had to offer during the 12 months gone by.
Unlike those overhyped national awards — the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Tonys — the Bobbys are locally produced and commercial-free.
They also are biased, insensitive, slanted, sarcastic, one-sided and unfair.
And therein lies their beauty.
COLDEST COLD CASE: In August, a horrific crime came to light in Montville Township, courtesy of the Medina Post. “A vehicle was reportedly spray-painted while parked at a Brompton Drive address overnight. A police investigation determined the white residue in question was actually bird feces.” Despite a series of police lineups, no suspects were identified.
SEINFELD SHRINKAGE AWARD: Those of us who believe a lack of traffic congestion is a good thing were in for a jolt in 2018. Akron's traffic designers insisted our streets are too big for the amount of traffic, so in numerous locations, they shrunk the number of lanes, added parking and bike lanes. Most of the public greeted this development with the same amount of enthusiasm they'd show for a flu pandemic.
PORKY PIG TROPHY: In November, a deli worker at the Giant Eagle in Bolivar was charged with stealing $9,200 worth of ham over an eight-year period. Co-workers said she was chowing down on three to five pieces almost every day. Once in a while, she'd throw in a piece of salami or two. Apparently, she wasn't fond of packing her lunch.
ROLLING STONE TROPHY: When the University of Akron's Matthew Wilson was promoted from interim president to the permanent (cough, cough) job, he received an $80,000 raise and a six-year contract. Four months later — with a mere 68 months remaining on his pact — Wilson wanted to blow it off and take the same job at the University of Central Florida. Didn't get it. Three months later, he wanted to blow off the pact and take the same job at Utah Valley University. Didn't get it. Now he's back teaching law at UA, where it all began lo those many weeks ago.
BAIT-AND-SWITCH TROPHY: When former Browns coach Hue Jackson vowed to jump into Lake Erie if his team went winless in 2017, we assumed A.) they couldn't possibly be that bad, and B.) if they somehow were that bad, Hue would take his plunge shortly after the final game. He waited until June, finding yet another way to disappoint Browns fans.
LEAST-DESIRABLE DON DRUMM GIFT: Local superstar artist Don Drumm, best known for his joyful metal suns, branched out this year and introduced Don Drumm urns. The perfect Christmas gift for that elderly grandparent.
THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD YEAR: It was not the best of times for Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. When you have five employees claiming in court and/or in the media that you're a conniving, bullying, vindictive witch, and then you demote your supervising prosecutor, and then a month later your office helps mess up a case that frees the suspected Ohio Turnpike rapist because too much time has elapsed, well, I guess you root hard for the arrival of 2019.
SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER TROPHY: This came from reader Judy Magyar-Davis, and I love it dearly: “30 days has September/ April, June and November./ All the rest have 31/ Except for January and February/ Which have 100.”
DRIEST DRY SPELL: And you thought the Browns have suffered through some bad losing streaks? When the University of Akron football team stunned Northwestern in the fall, it marked the Zips' first win against a Big Ten team since 1894. Not 1994, mind you, 1894 — so long ago that Tom Brady hadn't even been born.
COSTLIEST FUMBLE: Police arrested a woman after an officer driving in the opposite direction recognized her face and knew she was driving without a valid license. When he took her to the booking area, she dropped a small bag of methamphetamine. When the officer pointed out that this might be an issue, she told him she borrowed the pants from someone and the drugs must have belonged to that person.
FAKE NEWS AWARD: In LeBron James' waning days as a Cleveland Cavalier, the rumor mill was in hyperdrive. Much of it was comical, at least in retrospect. One source told me LeBron's high school, St. Vincent-St. Mary, was spending lots of money to improve the campus for the arrival of LeBron's hotshot son, Bronny. Another told me LeBron was worried that having his son play in a gym named after him would be too much pressure, so he was sending him to Copley. My favorite was a tweet from former Cleveland Brown Josh Cribbs, who claimed LeBron had engineered a move to bring Russell Westbrook to the Cavs. Cribbs' tweet concluded, “Enough said. Cavs 2019 NBA Champs.” Nope, nope and NOPE.
SLEAZIEST CAMPAIGN AD: Some faceless group pushing Mike DeWine's gubernatorial campaign sent out a last-minute mailing that read, "Comrade Richard Cordray is actively supported by the Communist Party." The letter "R" in "comrade" was reversed, as it is in the Russian alphabet. It included a Photoshopped image of Cordray wearing a Russian Cossack hat. A picture of the Kremlin flooded the background, along with the hammer-and-sickle logo. Joseph McCarthy returns from the dead.
EXCESSIVE SENTENCING AWARD: A headline on Ohio.com read, "Man killed during home invasion just released from prison." Which led a reader to quip, "Probably didn't even need to lock his cell."
THE GRINCH WHO STOLE GOLF: The best pro golfers in the world universally rave about Firestone Country Club, which hosted the Bridgestone Invitational for 19 of the last 20 years. Who cares about the players? Who cares that Greater Akron bent over backward every summer to put on an awesome event? Spendthrift golf sponsor FedEx wanted to move our tournament to its hometown of Memphis, and the PGA Tour sold us out.
WORST MARKETING CAMPAIGN: Not even close. Lunar Cow, a local company trying to market a huge, multicounty beer tour, backpedaled faster than an All-Pro cornerback after it posted a juvenile, chauvinistic meme on Facebook. The "Passport Brew Tour" was shaping up as a big deal, a seven-county venture that was expecting 10,000 participants. But shortly after the post of "Why Beer is Better Than a Woman," sponsors and brewers couldn't pull out fast enough. Lunar Cow canceled the tour with a Facebook note that read: “The Passport Brew Tour has ended for the 2018 calendar year. Follow us on social media for the next tour." The next tour? Not bloody likely, mate.
ANIMAL RESCUE AWARD: Leave it to PETA to solve the most critical issues of the day. The rabid lobbying group was outraged that "Barnum's Animals" crackers, which were, of course, named after circus maven P.T. Barnum, featured a drawing of animals in circus cages. The parent company of Nabisco caved in and redesigned the box, taking the animals away from the circus and placing them back in the wild — where they were still preparing to be eaten. Are free-range crackers healthier?
OBIT OF THE YEAR: In January, the family of a Huron man put together an obituary that began, "Paul Stark passed away of complications from a brief illness, exacerbated by the hopeless condition of the Cleveland Browns."
MOST EXPENSIVE CAR WASH: In Rittman, police received a report that a van had been parked inside an automatic car wash for more than half an hour. The van was running and the windshield wipers and headlights were going the entire time. A cop found the driver passed out behind the wheel. The officer eventually was able to wake him, and then administered a field sobriety test. Care to guess the result?
BLOATED RHETORIC AWARD: On March 1, Republican Rob Portman apparently was channeling Democrat Steve Dyer when he tweeted, "Happy 215th birthday to the Buckeye State! America has soared to the sky and to the stars on the shoulders of Ohioans." Not to be confused with Dyer's 2006 soliloquy, unleashed after he won his race for state rep: "I look forward to the day that we can once again soar upon the wings of our innovation and take our rightful place among the stars." At least Portman passed through the sky before continuing on to the the stars.
BAD KARMA AWARD: Wine aficionado and Beacon Journal photographer Phil Masturzo, who writes about the joys of the grape for my favorite newspaper, noted that during the Cleveland Indians' clubhouse celebration after they clinched the Central Division title, the players were throwing back — and throwing around — 240 bottles of $40-per-bottle G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge champagne. He also noted that G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge was the brand served on the Titanic. Any wonder the Tribe went three-and-out in the playoffs?
BIGGEST COLLECTION OF 'I VOTED' STICKERS: Don McLeod of Norton and his wife, Barbara, had a bit of trouble connecting with the Summit County Elections Board. Somewhere along the line, both of their birthdays were entered as Jan. 1, 1800. "That makes me older than Abe Lincoln," quipped Don, who was 79. Eventually they were allowed to vote, but not before a poll worker told them, “Your driver's license doesn't match your date of birth.” Duh!
BEST COLUMNIST: Modesty forbids.
Messages for Bobby can be left at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com. He would like to express his semi-eternal gratitude to colleagues who contributed Bobby nominations during the year: Rick Armon, Cheryl Powell, Mary Kay Quinn, Lynne Sherwin, Joe (Not That One) Thomas and Stephanie Warsmith.