One of my all time favorite pictures...
Because of the Cavs, OSU, and Indians "success" this past year, there are a lot of photos related to our teams in Fox's year in review photos.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2008 - a dark day for Cleveland sports. By approximately 4:15 P.M. the Browns pissed away a golden (sorry for the pun) opportunity to get into the playoffs via the front door... instead we have to hope and pray for the proverbial back door entry. Derrek Anderson chose the worst possible time to revert back to the second string QB we thought we had during the preseason. Sorry dude... that game is ALL on you. Anderson's had a nice season so I'm not going to pile on. But he has absolutely no touch whatsoever. Anderson may get one of our receivers killed with his high throws and is incredibly bad at timing patterns like quick slants and crossing routes. 13 points from turnovers in 1:30... ouch! I would've taken down 6 at half with the way we played to that point thank you very much. And we dominated the second half to rub salt in our wounds.
Then by 6:45, which was like 5 minutes after tip off, the Cavs were down double digits to the West Coast Golden Sate Warriors. At the 19 point deficit mark, I turned it off. Blown out by the Knicks, beat the Lakers, lose to the Warriors... playing just like the Eastern Conference Champions we all thought they would this year. Honestly right now, you never know what you're going to get from our Cavs. They could lose to ANYBODY.. .including the Knicks, T-Wolves, Grizzlies, Duke, or the U-Conn & Tennessee Women's teams.
Welcome to Cleveland... Welcome to Cleveland Sports Torture.
SamVox sent a few of his fellow bloggers this titular one-word text message about 30 seconds after Derek Anderson’s final wayward throw (he had a few of those today) into the end zone against the Bengals. Another sluggish start against another inferior team cost the Browns a playoff spot for another week and maybe for good and all. (The Titans just beat the terrible New York Jets, 10-6.) Bad Derek plus 130 yards on the ground from Cinci’s backup RB equals a painful loss.
Now it doesn't matter what the Browns do against SF next Sunday. But will the Titans lose to a Colts team that will likely be resting its starters? The Browns did not take care of business with their destiny firmly in their grasp, so now we’re left with another week of questions.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
So while contemplating the Browns actually having a chance to clinch a playoff spot Sunday after I would have bet real serious dollars on them winning three or less games after Week One (heretoafter known as "remember the Frye Guys" week), I stumbled upon Bill Simmons, who took it upon himself to lump each of the NFL Quarterbacks (60 of them have started this season) into groupings:
THE FRANCHISE GUYS (Manning and Brady)
THE LEGEND (Favre)
THE PLAYMAKERS (including Derek Anderson)
THE GAME SUPERVISORS
THE FANTASY GUYS
THE MILD UPSIDERS
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
THE GREAT UNKNOWNS (including Brady Quinn)
JUST COMPETENT ENOUGH TO KILL YOU
TALENTED BY OSMOSIS
FLASHES OF UPSIDE, FLOODS OF DOWNSIDE
THE ONE-WEEK WONDERS
THE NO-WEEK WONDERS (Including Charlie Frye)
THE PROVERBIAL F-MINUS (The one and only David Carr. If only Tim Couch could have made a roster....)
Who would have thought that Derek Anderson, yes, the quarterback who couldn't beat out Charlie Frye in the preseason, would be lumped in with Tony Romo. Wow.
Plus I like that commercial for Subway where Brady Quinn is passing out Subway and the announcer voiceovers "will deliver (Subway) on Sundays" and Brady says "Wait, I'm busy on Sundays." Does everyone just say..."well, not so much, Brady"?
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
With the Mitchel Report for steroids coming out tomorrow afternoon which is said to expose former MVP's and All-Stars that were involved, I thought it would be a good idea to get some discussion about it. My question for everyone is how many of the former 1990's Indians will we see on the list. I would guess that Albert Belle will probably be on there and I wouldn't be shocked to see a couple of other players from our team to make the list (Juan gone) Will this impact on how you look back at possibly the best teams of our lifetime so far? Kind of like all of our opinions have/haven't changed looking back at the summer of Sosa and McGuire. It should be an interesting day to see how good the PR people for baseball are because I'm sure they turned a blind eye.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
...but AT THE END OF THE DAY, today's game was a MUST-WIN for the Browns. They had to find a way to win after last week's poor showing against Arizona...not only for the playoff race but for the psychology of this young team. They have not lost two in a row all year...losing against another inferior team would have set them back in the standings and in their minds.
We should be used to this by now, but this was another game that was harder than it should have been. The defense seems to really wear down toward the end of games...it happened again today as QB Clemens started finding holes in the Browns' soft coverage in the 4th quarter. And another running back went for 100 yards. (Can anyone tell me what "Man-genius" was thinking on kicking that field goal on 4th and 10: Your team's 3-9, you already converted one onside kick, what are the odds you're going to convert the next one? Gotta go for it there, dude.)
OK, so we know the defense is bad. You can't shore up all of your deficiencies in one year. Savage has effectively rebuilt the offense--I suppose we have to trust him to rebuild on the other side of the ball as well. Unfortunately, that does not help matters now. I'm just happy the Browns got the win on the road--although was that the most sedate crowd you've ever heard at an NFL game? Granted there were perhaps 5,000 people in the crowd by the 4th quarter. I think our New Jersey correspondent MTP was at the game; maybe he could tell us how it was.
I don't know about you, but I was yelling "Fall down!" at Jamal Lewis on that last touchdown run. The way he got spun around I was fearing a fumble there. Lewis has been very solid for us--just another dimension (along with a real QB and an O-line) the Browns really have not had since they came back.
I'm happy with this win. It wa'nt pretty, but I'll take it. Beat Buffalo and I think you can effectively punch the Browns' ticket into the playoffs.
Bonus football talk:
I made two idiotic picks in our NFL Pick 'Em league this week. I took Pitt. and Balt. to cover, with Pitt. on the road at NE and Baltimore coming off a devastating loss after which they cried like little bitches. NE won by 3 TD and Indy is beating Balt. as of this writing by a count of 44-7. And I still picked 10 correct against the spread this week. Damn!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
What a numbskull of a system. On ESPN's bowl selection show Sunday, host Rece Davis debriefed a guy named Brad Edwards, whose bio on ESPN.com describes him as a "college football researcher." Davis called him "our BCS guru."
BCS guru? That poor man! What a pathetic thing to be an expert on. It's like being the world's foremost authority on "Charles in Charge."
I used to know every ZIP Code in Oakland, Calif. It was the byproduct of a job I'd had. Tell me an address in Oakland, I could tell you the ZIP Code. I never got it wrong. It was a not-very-impressive parlor trick, occasionally good for 30 seconds of moderate amusement for someone who had moved around a bit in Oaktown, but otherwise useless.
It dwarfed encyclopedic knowledge of the BCS for usefulness and significance.
Well, let's let the guy speak. He has evidently devoted way too much of his life -- anything north of 10 minutes -- to the study of something so asinine it's scarcely worth learning what order the three letters go in. Why let that go to waste?
Davis asked him for his gut feeling on what would happen with the BCS after this absurd year. "Is the formula where they want it or do you expect more changes?"
This is kind of like asking if you expect daylight in future days. Of course the BCS formula is going to change. It changes every three weeks or so, every time someone notices how ridiculously stupid some aspect of it is."In reality, this is what the BCS was set up to do," Edwards said. "There's a season when you have a bunch of teams that all have similar records and similar résumés, and the formula was put together in order to take two teams out of that bunch and say, 'These are the best two.' Now, you can debate all day whether it got the right two, but the point of the BCS is to take two out of that group and say, 'These are the two that are going to play.' And they did that."
What's funny about that is that you can replace "the BCS" and "the formula" in that paragraph with something like "the system of having monkeys fling their poo at pictures of NCAA logos" without changing the meaning. That system would also be able to identify two teams to play in the Championship Game. And we would be able to debate whether the system got the right two, as if that were some kind of side consideration, beside the real point of the thing.
Shall we try?
In reality, this is what the system of having monkeys fling their poo at pictures of NCAA logos was set up to do. There's a season when you have a bunch of teams that all have similar records and similar résumés, and the monkey-poo-fling system was put together in order to take two teams out of that bunch and say, "These are the best two." Now, you can debate all day whether it got the right two, but the point of the monkeys flinging their poo is to take two out of that group and say, "These are the two that are going to play." And they did that.
Good going, monkeys!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
All I know about the odds makers is that they're either pretty frickin' unbelievable or the games are fixed.
Yesterday I decided to roll with my hot streak from Pick'em and do some real wagering on Sportsbook.com with S.E.'s premier handicapper VoxLox.
3 team parlay:
San Diego to beat KC straight-up
San Diego/KC and the Over
Browns/'Zona and the Over
$50 bet (from my fantasy winnings Pucky!!! Hint, hint!) wins $199.
San Diego won straight, but with 10 minutes left in the game, EITHER team needed just a FG for the Over... 3 PTS. IN 10 MINUTES! Parlay down the drain barely into the Browns game.
Then, not that it mattered, but if they count Winslow's kid's catch at the end, the Browns/'Zona game covers the Over.
The Overs were PERFECT on both games. AMAZING!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
...because whomever wants it needs to come through Ohio State now, as two more top two teams fall on the same night, with both Missouri and West Virginia choking.
Ohio State will play for a national title. What are the chances you saw that coming after that Illinois loss? What a season. And what a playoff it would have been.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Three Collinwood high school athletes have died in the past couple years, and just NOW the authorities are getting suspicious? Let's just say if this happened at a predominately white high school, say, Solon, people would have acted a hell of a lot faster. Unbelievable.
[Joi] Smith, 20, who ran track at the University of Michigan, succumbed to a rare muscle cancer almost two weeks ago. Regina Adams, who was part of the school's 2004 state title team, contracted encephalitis that same year, and died July 27, 2006, after nearly two years in a coma. And Brittany Holmes, a 2003 Collinwood graduate, died May 16, 2006, after an eight-month battle with a rare lung cancer.
Another Collinwood athlete, linebacker William Seldon, missed this fall football season while receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer in the back of his nose.
The cancer connection led a handful of parents and students to point to the basement where all athletes spend time, citing the condition of the area as concerning. Tiles are missing from generous portions of the ceiling, exposing pipes and crumbling bricks. Along one wall, a foot-long hole in the concrete reveals wire mesh and a glimpse at the inner construction. In a closet-sized room in the weight room, wires dangle from the exposed ceiling.
Cleveland Department of Public Health Director Matthew Carroll said he was forwarded information about the track deaths from the office of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson last week. Carroll said the health department has not yet investigated Collinwood, but that he initially sees no "obvious connection" between the deaths.
I can't pretend that I made this up, or even found it, but Dan Wetzel on Yahoo has a pretty damn good argument and plan (click the link for the complete article, I just included a couple points below) for a Division 1--errr--whatever it's called now---playoff system. It's not like they don't do this in all the other divisions:
Just like in what used to be Division I-AA, the tournament would feature four rounds with teams seeded one through 16. Just like the wildly popular and profitable NCAA men's basketball tournament, champions of all the conferences (all 11 of them) earn an automatic bid to the field.
Yes, all 11. Even the lousy conferences. While no one would argue that the winner of the Mid-American Conference is one of the top 16 teams in the country, there are multiple benefits of including champions of low-level leagues.
First is to maintain the integrity and relevancy of the regular season. While the idea that the season is a four-month playoff is both inaccurate and absurd, there should be a significant reward for an exceptional season.
The chance for an easier first-round opponent – in this case No. 1 Missouri would play No. 16 Central Michigan or Miami (Ohio) – is a big reward for a great regular season. Earning a top-three seeding would present a school a near breeze into the second round. Drop to a sixth-seed in this year's scenario and you are dealing with Florida.
On the flip side, it brings true Cinderella into the college football mix for the first time. Is it likely that Central Florida could beat Ohio State? Of course not, but as the men's basketball tournament has proven the mere possibility (or even a close game) draws in casual fans by the millions.
Last season the most memorable college football game was Boise State-Oklahoma, in part because Boise was the unbeaten underdog that wasn't supposed to win. When it did, in dramatic fashion, it became arguably the most popular team in America.
But it had no shot at a national title because the system says Boise can't be any good in 2007 because it wasn't any good in 1967. As illogical as this is, that's the system.
For even lower-rated conferences – the Sun Belts, the MACs – allowing annual access to the tournament would not only set off celebrations on small campuses but it would encourage investment in the sport at all levels. Suddenly, there would be a reason for teams in those leagues to really care. This would improve quality throughout the country.
With the bigger conferences, a championship would take on greater value. Does anyone without direct rooting interest really care if USC wins the Pac-10 Saturday? How about the Virginia Tech-Boston College ACC title game? You would now.
BOWL GAMES COULD STILL EXIST
Understanding that there really isn't anything wrong with most bowl games – it's not like innocent people are dying because the Meineke Car Care Bowl exists – we'll allow them to stick around.
One bowl could serve as the championship game, giving college football its neutral, Super Bowl-style site to conclude the tournament.
As for all the other bowls, they can go on as they wish. The NIT still operates, doesn't it? It's not like most bowl games have any direct bearing on the championship now.
There is value to the smaller bowls in smaller communities. If the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, still wishes to stage a game, it by all means should. It just won't have access to the 16 playoff teams. But it doesn't have access to teams of that quality now. It still can host a meaningless game between two moderately successful schools. For most bowls, nothing changes.
HOME GAMES FOR HIGHER SEEDS IN FIRST THREE ROUNDS
The strangest part of the BCS is that outside businesses – the people who own the bowl games – get a cut of the revenue. It would be unfathomable for a league such as the NFL or NBA to allow independent promoters to stage its playoffs.
College football is leaving millions on the table by staging top games in far-off locales. Ohio State, for instance, earns an estimated $5 million-plus for each home game. And that is just direct revenue. Forbes estimates Buckeye football games generated $42 million for the Columbus area in 2005.
The 14 hugely profitable home games from the first three rounds would create a huge revenue stream.
There is simply no need to include the current bowl structure. Obviously no fan base can afford to travel week after week to neutral-site games. But they wouldn't have to. In what used to be Division I-AA, the playoffs are home field until the title game. That's the way it should be.
The competitive value of home-field advantage would also help maintain the importance of the regular season because the higher the seed, the more home games.
This would also be a boon to teams in the Midwest, which build their teams to deal with the predictably harsh weather only to play postseason games in generally warm, calm environs.
So how would say, USC fare if it didn't get a Big Ten opponent in Pasadena each January, but rather had to slip and slide around Ann Arbor or Columbus for a change? And who wouldn't want to see the Trojans invade one of those historic old stadiums, snow falling, and proving they have grit not just skill?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Awesome game tonight that I didn't get to see, as the Cavaliers hand the Celtics only their second loss of the season. (Photo from the AP)
My favorite part. No kissy-poo after the game:
During the closing minutes, James and Garnett exchanged a few choice words and both teams played as if it were a playoff game. After the final horn, there were no friendly hugs shared between two of the East's powers as players on both teams headed immediately to their locker rooms.
1. Move a storied franchise to Baltimore, bolting to take the money.
2. Stab a blind man in the back, bolting to Utah to take the money.
3. Leave town after implying that you will stay with the team that brought you up, bolting to Philadelphia to take the money.
4. Play hard, fill a valuable role on an up-and-coming team with one of the brightest stars to ever grace a basketball court, then conceive a greatly exaggerated feeling of self-worth, hold out indefinitely.
Anderson Varejao now comes clean to ESPN.com on exactly how he feels.
'It's gotten to the point that I don't want to play there anymore. I'm just hoping for a sign-and-trade at this point. . . . I'm willing to go and play in Europe if that's what it takes. I know it's a risk and I'll be a restricted free agent next year, but at least I'd be happy. I don't think I'll be happy in Cleveland knowing that I was the lowest-paid player there for three years and am still paid much less than players on the team that I outperform. Life's too short to be unhappy.'Guess what, Anderson? Second round draft picks sign low deals, often non-guaranteed. If you play well, and a team will pay you your worth. Varajao wants a sign-and-trade. As Brian Windhorst points out, that is extremely unlikely at this point in the season. The Cavaliers are certainly not going to sign a one-year deal with a disgruntled player who will certainly leave after a year with low contract. And it's starting to look to me like Anderson is precisely the kind of player who will, how do I say it?, not post as good stats once he signs that big deal. He already turned down a reported $6.4 million ($32 million over 5 years) from the Cavs, some sources have said he wants $10 million.
And somehow Anderson and his agent both don't realize that no team in the NBA will pay him that. So what we might see is a sign-and-trade that can be worked out under the cap, with the Cavs getting 60 cents on the dollar for Anderson. Because he doesn't want to play for the fans he "loves", with the teammates he "loves", for a mere $6 million per year.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
No need for fortuitous bounces or nail-biting uncertainty this week. No weirdness or controversy. Just strong play on both sides of the ball by the Browns leading to a solid victory. They looked a little uncertain on offense in the first quarter—I hate that quick handoff to Vickers on short yardage. Chud needs to ditch that play and give it to Jamal Lewis all day in those situations...Lewis was used much more effectively in the second half to grind down the Texans’ defense. What more can be said about the offensive line and D.A.? One sack today and one poor decision on the interception...otherwise Anderson had time to make plays, and he made some huge ones when needed. (Quick tangent: During the CBS post-game Phil Simms was talking about Eli Manning’s bad game against the Vikings. Simms opined that Manning needs to step up, even though “he’s no Tom Brady or Derek Anderson.” That’s a direct quote from Simms. How...weird is it to hear D.A.’s name being spoken in the same breath as a chewy, cleft-chinned, 3-time Super Bowl champion putting up Arena-ball stats this year?)
My man-crush on Kellen Winslow, Jr. continues to blossom. Once the symbol of this franchise’s luckless incompetence, #80 is now a beacon for its resurgence. Winslow is a beast with soft hands...like the guy in that Disney movie with the talking china. He (Winslow) seems to catch every ball thrown in his direction despite taking a lot of big hits...all this playing with a sore knee and shoulder.
Perhaps the nicest surprise was the play of the defense. This is the second week in a row the Browns have gotten solid pressure on the QB, and the result was a couple of forced turnovers. This Brandon McDonald guy, a fifth-round pick out of Memphis, had the INT that pretty much sealed the win and did a nice job on Andre Johnson.
Now the Browns have five very winnable games left....I would be disappointed if they go any less than 4-1. It’s go-time now...they are in the driver’s seat for the playoffs and with continued improvement on defense could make things very interesting come post-season. I never thought I’d be typing those words after game one...but here we are.
BONUS MOVIE REVIEW:
No Country for Old Men
I’m a big Coen brothers fan. I enjoy their edgier, more straightforward films over some of their irreverent fare-i.e. “The Big Lebowski.” But “Fargo,” “Blood Simple” and “Miller’s Crossing” are probably among my top 50 favorite flicks if I were to make such a list. “No Country for Old Men” may be the Coens' best movie yet. “No Country” follows an average Joe who stumbles across $2 million, the spoils of a drug deal gone bad in the dusty Texas borderlands. On his trail is a psychopath whose weapon of choice is a compressed-air gun of the sort used for killing cattle. On the killer’s trail is a weathered sheriff who fears the monster he’s chasing. In the ham-fisted clutches of Michael Bay or some other hack this scenario would make for a loud action movie. But the brothers go a different way—finding the perfect pitch of eerie suspense intermixed with spasms of gruesome violence, and translating damn near to the letter Cormac McCarthy’s pared-to-the-bones “minimalist” novel. Go see it, folks.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
...but in a good way? Louisiana State falls, ensuring that Ohio State will be no worse than #3 (behind the Missouri/Kansas winner and West Virginia, should they win) in next week's BCS pool.
Or does it? Might the fervent anti-Big Ten Voters not drop Kansas below the Buckeyes ( et.al.) because they lost to only the #4 (errrr...number 1/2) team in Missouri, instead of all the other teams who have fallen to unranked opponents? Despite the fact that Kansas has played a bunch of weak teams, only to lose their toughest game? Time will tell.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
"But in retrospect, it wasn't really funny," Jackson said before the Lakers played Houston on Wednesday night. "When you take it out of context, it wasn't funny. It was a poor attempt at humor and I deserved to be reprimanded by the NBA."
Still, Jackson couldn't resist making another joke as he apologized.
"If I've offended any horses, Texans, cowboys or gays, I apologize," Jackson said.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Trade No. 1Marbury, Renaldo Balkman and Fred Jones to Cleveland for Larry Hughes, Anderson Varejao and Damon Jones
The Knicks gain some perimeter defense and add a frontcourt player who can actually play a little defense. The Cavs get a true point guard along with an energy forward, Balkman, to replace Varejao, and they get rid of their $13.65 million obligation to Hughes for the 2009-10 season, allowing them to become major players in free agency the summer before James' contract expires.
And Bill Simmons writes the second part of his belated Eastern Conference pseudo-preview, where he bumps the SVAC from "out of the playoffs" to "#3 seed", apparently based on one game he saw from behind their bench in LA. He relates this little anecdote:
I had seats behind the visitor's bench for Sunday's Cavs-Clippers game, which was perfect because I love keeping track of all the bench guys who watch the Jumbotron, don't listen to their coach, search the crowd for girls and crack jokes during 25-point blowouts, and I love the player-coach interactions and even hearing the coaches yell at players and referees if it's quiet enough. You just get a great feel for the general mood and spirit of the visiting team (good or bad). During the third quarter, LeBron drove toward the foul line and made a beautiful dish to Gooden, who didn't gather himself for the pass in time. As the ball bounced out of bounds, a frustrated LeBron jogged back up the court staring at the coaches with one of those, "Did you see that? You saw that, right?" looks on his face. And that would have been fine if it ended right there. After all, we get it -- he's great, the rest of his team sucks, and occasionally, it's going to be a little exasperating.
Well, LeBron wasn't done. He glanced back disdainfully at Gooden again, then back to the bench for an extended pseudo-glare. Reading between the lines, I interpreted the glare to mean either, "Take him out of the game before I punch him in the face" or "If that happens again, I'm running straight into the locker room, getting my stuff and chartering my own jet home." At this point, Gooden was running back upcourt and watching the whole thing -- he was officially getting shown up in front of 15,000 people. LeBron shook his head and glanced at Gooden one more time, then back at the bench for a third time, just in case they missed the message the other two times. What a bizarre sequence to watch from 20 feet away. After tasting the Finals and earning some well-deserved media hype last spring, it's pretty clear LeBron won't accept the Cavs taking a gigantic step backward and becoming a non-contender again. But that's where they're headed. Stay tuned.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Well maybe the doubters were right, maybe not, but nevertheless, nine years after #1 Ohio State fell to unranked and off-and-on-struggling Michigan State, the scene repeated itself in Columbus versus the Illini from the University of Illinois. Not much to say about this one except that I sarcastically said "Quarterback Draw" right before the second of four QB draw runs by "Juice" on Saturday, and the Buckeyes defense still couldn't stop it. WTF? That's about all the analysis I could muster on the game.
Not to make excuses, because even the diehard Buckeyes fans can't pretend that they are the powerhouse this year they looked like last year*, but explain to me again why a team is penalized for losing their one game in November instead of September or October, again? Why does every other level of college football not care about their student athletes and have them play in a playoff system? And why couldn't the NCAA find a way to monetize the playoffs in the framework of the current bowl system?
Ecstasy into Agony, the story of Cleveland (and Ohio) sports in 2007. Still being written, I'm sure.
(*in the regular season)
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I saw this story and thought it was pretty funny. Since there hasn't been much Blog activity lately, I thought I'd share it here.
The laws and other regulations were culled from published research into ancient legislation that has never been repealed although subsequent statutes have rendered them obsolete.
Respondents were given a shortlist and asked to vote.
Most ridiculous British law:
1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27 percent)
2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside-down (seven percent)
3. In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless except as a clerk in a tropical fish store (six percent)
4. Mince pies cannot be eaten on Christmas Day (five percent)
5. In Scotland, if someone knocks on your door and requires the use of your toilet, you must let them enter (four percent)
6. A pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet (four percent)
7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the king, and the tail of the queen (3.5 percent)
8. It is illegal to avoid telling the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing (three percent)
9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour (three percent)
10. In the city of York it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow (two percent)
Thursday, November 1, 2007
In the words of Robot, from "Lost in Space"... "WARNING! WARNING!"
I know it was the first game. I know Sasha didn't play. I know Andy is nowhere close to being on the team. But last nights season (home) opener was absolutely pathetic. On Halloween night, the defending Eastern Conference Champions stumbled around the court like the zombies from "Night of the Living Dead".
I know Dallas is good. Maybe the best team in the West. But if you want to take that final leap to NBA Champion, don't you have to find a way to beat the best... especially on your home court on opening night?
Okay, okay... the Cavs were very short-handed without Sasha and Andy so expecting a win might have been a little far-fetched. But to get blown out of the building? And the game wasn't even as close as the final score indicated. EVERYONE not wearing a white, green, blue, and silver jersey sucked last night... LeBron, Hughes, Mike Brown, the Refs... EVERYONE!
I'm now convinced Larry Hughes will never be the player we thought we were getting. I kept holding out hope that he's been injured, he had an off-year, etc. but THE GUY CAN'T SHOOT! I'm tired of hearing about his defense damn it! Great... he's a good defender...now go put the ball in the frickin' basket!
Mike Brown... I'm BEGGING... PLEADING.... please go get help with offense. PLEASE!!!! All I heard about this summer was that we were going to have this new offensive scheme. Now don't get me wrong... with LeBron getting in foul trouble so early, things got complicated. But why don't we have an offense scheme when he's not in?
Which leads me to my next issue... WE DON'T HAVE ANYONE WHO CAN SCORE CONSISTENTLY EXCEPT LEBRON. And who's to blame? Danny Ferry. I'm sorry, but you have to strike while the iron's hot, especially when it's Cleveland. We just came off a trip to the Finals. LeBron was coming off his legendary Game 5 of the ECF. This is when you go get free agents. When guys WANT to come here and contend for a title. They're not going to come next year when we're back to being average to slightly above average... including Agent Zero. This is, after all, Cleveland in the winter.
I think we deserve better from the Cavs this year. Why shouldn't we expect them to be one of the elite teams in the league? Maybe Barkley's right... we aren't going to make the playoffs. I still think we will... and I think we'll be at least the 6th seed.. still not what I expect after last year's trip to the Finals. Last night was a disgrace.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Harvey Pekar wrote in one of his “American Splendor” comics about the futility of being a sports fan, especially if your loyalties lie in Cleveland. With his trademark aura of misery, Pekar tells readers not to get emotionally invested in the local teams...it’s just not worth the inevitable heartache, he says.
I always thought Pekar was full of shit on this score. If you love your city and you like sports, then naturally you’re going to follow your teams through their various trials and tribulations. Eventually your investment will pay off with a championship celebration.
Ah, but there are times when I wonder if Pekar was right after all…when it’s 2 a.m. mere hours after ALCS Game 7 and I can’t get to sleep and I feel nearly sick with bitterness and anger. When I wonder, “Is this really worth it?”
The last three games of the ALCS were a slow agony compounded by an unnecessary off day. Four days of thinking about baseball intertwined with the unfortunate legacy of Cleveland sports. 96 hours of hoping for the best but knowing in my secret heart to expect the worst.
The real dread didn’t overtake my brain until after Game 5. Even with Beckett on the mound, I thought the Tribe had a good chance if Sabathia matched Beckett punch for punch and it came down to the bullpens.
We all know how that went.
Friday and Saturday I went about my business with the Indians never far from my thoughts. I kept ping-ponging between two opposite polarities: Positive trumpeted, “We can do this!” Negative grumbled, “We’re fucked.”
Neither feeling was in the driver’s seat until Negative took the wheel and stood on the gas pedal after Drew’s grand slam in Game 6. I crashed emotionally when Boston turned the game into a route. Anxiety melted into that old Cleveland chestnut; resignation.
I viewed Game 7 of the ALCS much the same way as I did Game 7 of Cavs-Pistons in ’06. The Cavs couldn’t close it out that year, and neither could the Indians this time. Game 7 in Fenway was a formality, so I thought on Sunday.
Then the Indians went and made the game competitive…only to find a new and fun way to break our hearts. I didn’t even watch the last out (for that matter I didn’t watch more than two innings of the entire World Series), and actually felt OK until I turned on local radio for the post-game.
All that bitterness, anger and frustration from the callers go to me. Kenny Roda, reporting live from Boston, was at his overblown worst. Callers seemed desperate to name the disaster and add it to the sad lexicon of Cleveland sports futility. I couldn’t take anymore and went to bed, but a full hour passed before I drifted off to sleep. During that seemingly eternal 60 minutes I thought about our long legacy of frustration, and wondered what keeps us coming back to our teams when the rug keeps getting pulled out from under us again and again.
Hope keeps me coming back. Many of you who contribute to this blog think I’m overly optimistic about our teams. In truth, I am not. I’m just hopeful…that maybe this time we won’t get the sharp end…that our investment will pay off…and when we get our hearts pierced we’re left in shock despite a sordid history that should have vaccinated us to disappointment.
Call it the “Charlie Brown Theory.” Stephen King (an avid Red Sox fan) illustrates this theory well in his short story “The End of The Whole Mess.” The story is narrated by Howard Fornoy, whose genius younger brother Bobby discovers a chemical that reduces the aggressive tendencies of humans and other organisms.
The world is in chaos…terrorism is rampant and the international climate is one suggestive of approaching nuclear war. Bobby wants Howard's help to release the chemical and save the planet. Howard decides to help his little bro…but not without reservation.
“I think I knew even then that something was going to go totally wrong,” Howard narrates, “but when I was with Bobby for more than five minutes, he just hypnotized me. He was Lucy holding the football and promising me THIS TIME for sure, and I was Charlie Brown, rushing down the field to kick it.”
That’s a pretty damn good analogy for Cleveland sports fans…when our teams make the playoffs we’re blinded by hope (despite knowing better) that our athletic misery will finally end, so we wear our gear and pay big money for tickets and all the other trappings, only to have that bitch Lucy pull away the football at the last second and we’re flat on our ass once again.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I'm kind of shocked that half of us think that none of the teams are going to be better in their next season. I personally voted for the Browns 1) because the Indians were already only 1 game away from the World Series and 2) looking at the Browns offense, I have to believe they can improve the defense enough to be better next year. That basically means most of you think this year was the pinnacle for Indians and the Browns are playing better than the will the rest of the year or in the future. And I'm usually one of the most pessimistic people in regards to our sports franchises.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Paul Cousineau, who I believe is from the Sadda Euc, and writes for the DiaTribe, mentions in his post today that he is playing as the 1986 Indians vs. such luminaries as Doug Glanville, Curt Schilling, Baba Booey, and Jon Hein in the SportingNews.com 1986: Take Two Strat-o-Matic baseball game.
In solidarity I'll try to keep updated on the season, which starts November 5. Come on Rich Yett!!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
There's a red moon rising
Down the Cuyahoga river
Rollin' into Cleveland to the lake
Cleveland, city of light, city of magic
Cleveland, city of light,
you're calling me
Even now I can remember
'Coz the Cuyahoga river
Goes smokin through my dreams
Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on
Now the lord can make you tumble
And the lord can make you turn
And the lord can make you overflow
But the lord can't make you burn
Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on
We're celebrating the two year anniversary of ClevelandSportsTorture this month (Thanx Pucky). This blog was born from the '05 Tribe regular season collapse, when playoff tix were all but printed and the Devils Rays were the only roadblock. Since that infamous week, I've felt we were closer and closer to The Golden Age of Cleveland Sports. An era where God would let our town get even and then some. A time when our teams would catch every break and the normally inept ownership would pump their organizations with talent so torrid that the promised land would be inevitable every season. After the pain that we've endured, the Golden Age would be just a rite of passage. Payback. The odds would even out; Cleveland is due. But "being due" is a gamblers' fallacy, and I know better.
24 hours after The Fold, I know a little more bra. We are all losers. You are a loser. I am a loser. Vox is a loser. This city is filled with losers. That guy next to you at the office that you commiserate with daily is a loser. Your boss, who never attended a Cavs game until LeBron arrived, is a loser. Your neighbor, who has never been to C-bus but flies an Ohio State flag, is a loser. Your spouse is a loser. Our kids are born losers. There's something inherently defective in all of us. Cleveland is a lemon. My Golden Age is a fucking pipe dream. It busted with the slightest pressure. Then, sad and embarrassed, I'm forced to snake it clean with my small Hebrew dick.
This loss hurt me more than The Drive, Fumble, Shot, Mesa, etc. You know why? 'Coz when that shit happened I was young and naive. I believed anything was possible and that Cleveland's moment would come someday. But now I'm old and experienced and I know loser cities like us don't win shit. We'll never win anything. You know damn well we won't be in the ALCS again next year. Just like the Cavs won't even sniff The Finals again. With every lost opportunity, we have to wait a little longer. Then the losses hurt even more, because we start to appreciate that the chance we had was so rare. Fuck you, fuck me, fuck of all us. Fuck EBIRT. Fuck SVAC. Fuck the Clowns. Fuck the Red Cocks. Fuck the Nation. Fuck the Gaytors. Fuck Schilling and Beckett. Fuck the Frisco Chronicle. Fuck Larry David's wife. I'd bang her. Fuck that guy who can't speak in the post-game press conferences. Fuck Tim Carver. Fuck the umps for squeezing Fausto in the first inning of Game 6. They wouldn't have done that to a veteran. Fuck Dice and Oki. Fuck the Sports Guy, who lost all credibility when he wrote that buffoonish column defending Belichick. Fuck Marsellis Wallace for throwing Tony Rocky Horror out of a four-story window for no reason. Fuck Coach Taylor for taking the TMU job. Fuck Carsten Charles, if he leaves. I mean, when he leaves...And thanks for nothing, C.C., when it counted. Hey Cleveland, if you want to blame Mesa for '97, then you have to blame Sabathia for '07. And Fuck Fox, most of all, for doing their damndest to ruin our viewing experience.
I don't have any original things to say about Game 7 because yall covered everything thoroughly. Ryan nailed it when he wrote that he had the Drive/Fumble/Shot-feeling after Blake's double-play. That's exactly how I felt. A cold rush of blood to the head, a stomach drop...and then utter despair. Game over after Blake's double play. Even when we had two on in the 8th, you knew we were finished when Tito went to Papelbon. Papelbon dared Hafner to catch up to him. It's a truly helpless feeling when you know exactly how an at-bat is going to unfold and there's nothing you can do but watch it happen. Paplebon knew Hafner couldn't touch him. The announcers knew it and everyone at Fenway knew it. Worst of all, Hafner knew it.
Froms, good take on Schilling. The most selfish and despicable on-the-field demonstration I have ever witnessed from an athlete came from the heroic Curt Schilling in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Schill made himself the center of attention at his teammate's expense. As "Wild Thing" Mitch Williams struggled to close out Toronto and Schilling's expected win, the TV cameras focused on Schill's face in the dugout. And he knew it. And instead of just cheering or clapping or trying to spur on Williams, like the rest of the Phillies, he put a towel over his face like he couldn't bear to watch Williams blow another save. He was typical Schilling in the process...over-dramatic and silly...like the baseball universe revolved around every one of his facial expressions. In front of America, on baseball's biggest stage, he sold out his teammate for his own selfish addiction to the limelight. If I were Williams, I would've taken a 2x4 to Curt's head in the clubhouse.
We are so our city tonight. The underbelly of Cleveland ain't soft and white. It's hardcore depravity and resignation. But we are rich with identity. We wear our failures and shame like a fucking badge. Misery is exquisite here. Days start with small Lake Erie waves crashing dirty and meaningless on our tortured soil, afternoons toil on in our dying steel mills, the last remains of a once-proud post industrial city that is now overcome with poverty; on to our bars in the evening, free flowing spirits and libations-- while our ballteams eventually prove inferior...and the Cleveland sun will rise hungover again. Like Red said of Andy Dufrain, "Every man has his breaking point." I speak for the entire city when I say: I am now at mine.
No silver linings from Vox in this edition. Not even a touch of grey. Here's all I can offer up for those who read the column for my traditionally life-affirming themes: Brownies are 3-3 and the Stillers may have five more losses in them. We make the playoffs, squeak by in the first round...and then we get the Patriots in a game where we have nothing to lose. I can't think of anything better than exacting revenge against Boston in what will be the biggest upset in NFL playoff history. Remember, the Browns played New England tougher than anyone else this season. Throw out the fluke interception in the final minutes that went though Winslow's hands, and it was a ten point game. If Anderson doesn't throw that endzone interception early, it's closer than that. Also, in my 25 years as a sports fan, we have a 4-3 lead over Boston in the playoffs. Cavs ended Larry Bird's career in '92. Tribe beat the Sox in the '95 and '98 ALDS. And the Browns beat the Pats in the '95 AFC wildcard. I feel a Top 10 coming. I emailed something similar five years ago, but here is the updated version:
SamVox's Top 10 Cleveland Sports Heartbreaking Losses
1. ALCS Game 7, Red Sox 11 Indians 2, Fenway Park, October 21 2007
We've covered The Skinner, the bad hops and the horrible calls. But here's why it really stings: We had a chance to knock off arguably the country's two most popular franchises in the same post-season. We had a 3-1 series lead. We had a chance to have homefield advantage in the World Series against an inferior NL club. This was maybe the best opportunity of our lifetime to win a ring. My dad, JeffVox, swears by the Cleveland Curse. It was put on us by Paul Brown when Modell fired him. Dad is not like SportsGuy's dad. Although he also loves Boston Legal, he doesn't care for sports. But he's been preaching the curse to me since I was old enough to understand it. I never believed in it until we lost this series. By the way, we had no chance to win this game because it was played on Sunday. The Fumble, The Drive, The Shot, Joe Table, Red Right 88*...all happened on a Sunday. Coincidence? Or are Clevelanders skipping church too often?
It was devastating to see the '07 Tribe go down. This team had a lot of Jake Taylor in it. Borowski was cut and played in the Mexican league, working his way back to the majors. Victor couldn't make the throw to 2nd base all last year, and willed himself to respectability. Kenny Lofton came back to Cleveland for one last good year under the sun. Every bone in my body was telling me this was our year.
2. The Drive, AFC Championship, Broncos 23 Browns 20, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, January 11, 1987
Rich Karlis field goal in OT was no good. No good.
3. World Series, Game 7, Marlins 3 Indians 2, Pro Player Stadium, October 26, 1997
Doug, put this in the J-News: You and me watched this alone in disbelief in our Jack Beatley-rental on Chittenden. If Mesa saves the game, how do we react? Do we jerk each other off or just mutually masturbate?
4. The Shot, Game 5 NBA 1st Round Playoff, Bulls 100 Cavs 99, Richfield Coliseum, May 7, 1989
Am I the only one that can't get enough of that edited Gatorade commercial where Jordan misses The Shot? I'm serious. I smile every time I see it. Ehlo celebrates. Jordan walks off dejected. It's great therapy.
5. The Fumble, AFC Championship, Broncos 38 Browns 33, Mile High Stadium, January 17, 1988
The opposite of my Curt Shilling story: One of the classiest things I've ever seen in sports was when Ernest Byner sat alone on the bench after fumbling., and Bernie Kosar, obviously devastated by the loss, came over and gave him a hug/words of encouragement. I'll never forget...my Mom watched Bernie do this and said to me, "That's a leader." 20 years later, I hear Bernie on the radio three times a week and wonder why he does interviews drunk.
6. MISL Semifinals Game 5, Blast 7, Force 4, Baltimore Arena, May 1985
Force led 4-2 after three quarters, on the verge of finally eliminating the nemesis Blast and advancing to their first-ever MISL finals. The dynamic duo of Andy Chapman and Peter Ward scorched Baltimore early. But the Blast scored 5 unanswered goals in the 4th quarter. First time I cried after a sporting event.
7. AFC Wildcard, Stillers 36 Browns 33, Heinz Field, January 5, 2003
Two days after OSU wins the national championship, Kelly Holcomb and the upstart Brownies choke away a win against our hated rivals when Northcutt drops a bunny. Butch Davis never recovered from this loss.
8. ALDS Game 5, Red Sox 12 Indians 8, Jacobs Field, October 11, 1999
Indians were up 2-0 in this series and dropped three straight games. It was a run-fest with both teams blowing big leads early, as Nagy and Saberhagen got absolutely drilled. Boston brings in a supposedly injured Pedro Martinez out of the bullpen and he works the last 6 scoreless innings for the win.
9. NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 6, Pistons 84 Cavs 82, The Q, May 19, 2006
Gotta rebound, Flip Murray.
10. ALCS Game 4, Yankees 4 Indians 0, Jacobs Field, October 10, 1998
The 1998 Yankees are a legendary team; often considered the most dominant team of the modern era. I believe they won 125 games or something and swept the Pads in the World Series. The Indians were leading the ALCS 2-1 heading into Game 4. Colon was lights-out in a Game 3 win....and Grover handed the ball to Dwight Gooden. This was Doc's last chance at his first post-season win. But Paul O'Neil homered in the first, and that was all New York needed. Yanks would go on to win it in 6 games, when Manny climbed the wall for no reason. Look, this is my fucking list. Make your own.
* I don't remember much of anything about Red Right 88. Way too young. But I do recall being over Froms' house and seeing his dad punch the piano as hard as he could when Sipe threw the interception.
Burn on, big river, burn on
I am the mistake by the lake in the box
BURN ON, BIG RIVER, BURN ON...Parting is inevitable
Monday, October 22, 2007
Look where the ump is and tell me how he missed this call...
I'm not saying that cost us the game, but there were two hits after that. Like the Skinner STOP, this could've changed the dynamics of the game... who knows, maybe the Red Sox start pressing and implode.
Oh well... still need to pitch I guess.
Skinner said "I've had that play before. The ball ended up deeper than I thought, but that's the play. The play isn't in left field, it's coming back right behind the shortstop. Kenny has been in this league a long time."
The things that annoyed and/or pissed me off during the ALCS...
1. How many f'ing times did Fox have to show the Boston bullpen playing their little hex instrumental on the lip of the bullpen roof? I don't know what annoyed me more... the Sox pen doing it, or the fact that Fox showed it at least once a game and Buck and McCarver cracked up every time. (I'll get to McCarver soon enough).
2. Jeanne Zelasko - I mean come on. She's as much worthy of hosting a sports pre-game show as I am of drinking a six pack of beer by myself in less than four hours. Her best moment was before Game 5... saying the Sox had us "right where they wanted us" (with Beckett pitching for a chance to go back to Fenway).Ummm, this was BEFORE the game. We were up 3 game to 1 at the time!
This is from Brian McPeek of Swerbs Blurbs, not from me so please don't tell me how inappropriately harsh I am...
"If I want to watch a pig like Jeanne Zelasko I'll rent ‘Babe' or turn on Discovery channel. Just NBC football pre-game with the sound turned down. I love listening to Bob Costas with the sound down. Best way to hear him. "
Thought the Costas dig was pretty funny too.
3. Kevin Kennedy - that pocked-faced jabronie has always grated on me.
4. Tim McCarver - Just when I thought (and I think I even said it to someone) "Hmmmm - Tim McCarver seems to be on his best behavior this year" the Tribe begins their gradual choke job and I just get more and more annoyed by McCarver. I think he was better this year, but his patronizing tone and long-winded statements make me long for the Bob Costas/Bob Uecker days.
5. Manny - I used to like Manny even on the BoSox because he was Manny... our little brother who we saw grow-up... errrrr.... play in Cleveland. But in this series he was just a jackass. Nice hair Manny. Anytime your hat or helmet won't stay on your head when you're running... errrr... jogging means it's a little out of control.
6. The fans at the Jake trying to start the wave. Its not 1988 jackasses. Some dude (I'd say in his late 20s early 30s) was trying to start one in the 7th inning of Game 4. Nobody would do it and he was getting pissed, like he was the only "true fan". The guy in front of me yelled at him to "sit his ass down, we aren't 7!" Sounded VERY familiar for some reason
7. Kevin Millar - the day one of my athletes blatantly roots for another team (in my division) is the day that athlete can go play somewhere else... unless that athlete's name is LeBron James. (Rumor has it they wanted Pedro to read the lineup one night but the Mets nixed it... the Orioles not so much).
8. Jonathan Papelbon - the river dance in his jockies, barefoot was utterly embarrassing and painful to watch. It made Mark Madsen's "Who Let the Dogs Out" blast seem like Whitney Houston proudly singing the National Anthem at the Superbowl in the midst of the first Iraq War.
And how about some lip moisturizer dude? You look like Dr. Freeze from Batman.
(By the way, how Hafner missed three straight Papelbon fastballs down the gut is beyond me... last year he could've closed his eyes and hit one of those out).
9. Dustin Pedroia - yeah he's an Angles-n-Jobber, but the gnats from Game 2 of ALDS think you're annoying. Anyone got a fly swatter? Craig Counsell called... he wants his gimmick back.
10. Curt Schilling - does any one guy bask in the limelight like Schilling? The dude searches out cameras and scripts his words to perfection. Schilling's hero? Well.... Schilling. At least he didn't go with the ketchup on the sock routine this year. I expected him to report a broken arm prior to Game 6 and then pitch "a heroic performance".
I could go on with the mood I'm in today, but I'll end with one giant bonus #11 - that goes to the Cleveland Indians.... all of them.... Hafner, Wedge (for not moving Hafner down), Sizemore, Perez, C.C., Carmona, and Joel "The Stop Sign" Skinner.
Back to normal life...
It is amazing to me how all the breaks the Indians were getting in the ALDS and the first four games of the ALCS flipped so suddenly for Boston (despite Veritek's viewpoint).
Game 6 - Carmona gets victimized by TWO infield singles to load the bases in the first.
Game 6 - Carmona gets squeezed by the homeplate umpire, causing him to fall behind and elevate his pitches.
Game 6 - Garko hits a deep fly off the Green Monster, that if 5 feet to right, is a homerun.
Game 7 - Two more squib hits just out of reach in the first inning.
Game 7 - Mannny gets the first RBI due to a bad hop over Peralta.
Game 7 - Hafner misses a homerun by 2 feet.
Game 7 - Garko misses another homerun by 5 feet.
*Amazing that little punk Pedroia can muscle it out over the Green Monster, but Pronk and Garko can't.
Game 7 - Lofton is clearly safe at second base on a ball off the wall.
Game 7 - Dice-K knocks a ball off his glove but recovers and throws to first for th out (I bring this up because in Game 4, Wakefield as the same thing happen and the ball rolls too far away to make the play).
Game 7 - Skinner decides the play is too close to send Lofton home.
etc., etc., etc...
When are we ever going to catch the breaks when it counts?
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Numb? Is that the proper term? Is it "sudden-shock-numb"? Or "I'm-getting-used-to-the pain-numb-so-it-doesn't-hurt-like-it-used-to" numb? At some point in the next two months I'll have to sit down and put this sports year in some kind of context. But right now, all I can think of, without getting into the specific failures of the Indians in Game 7, a game that looked terrible until Jake Westbrook manned up and gave us all the chances he could have.
- Last Sunday at Macy's when I almost puked seeing those World Series T-Shirts on sale? I think I skipped breakfast, that must be why I didn't puke.
- The unexplainable failure for the Indians offense to really find a groove all season long showed its head all series long against the Red Sox. The Tribe had a few good innings, but even the two seven-run eruptions hid some mighty crappy hitting.
- After C.C. guaranteed that the Indians would win the division in mid August, and he and Fausto followed through to make it so, the one reason I thought the Indians could compete and maybe, just maybe, make it all the way, is because of our top two starters. Yet, again unexplanably, they manage to crap the bed like nothing anyone could have ever predicted.
- Travis Hafner. For the last couple years he was possibly the most dangerous hitter in the league, and certainly the most dangerous hitter nobody talked about. Yet this year something happened, especially in the ALCS. What the hell happened?
- Finally, I just hate Kevin Youkilis. He is a total jerk, I can just tell by looking at his big pale head.
Like Victor Martinez, with red eyes, I'll watch the Red Sox celebrate, once again with a team of ours on the losing end when it counts. Torture, indeed.
Well nothing sums up "Cleveland Sports Torture" quite like the last 3 days (and the next 8 hours.) But everyone knows how everyone else is feeling, so let's point out some positive thoughts for tonight's Game Seven against the Sox:
- When Jake Westbrook is on, he is very hard to hit
- Thanks to some nifty bullpen work yesterday, the core of our bully is available tonight
- Travis Hafner can't be kept down forever, can he?
- Eric Wedge has the ability to get this team's confidence up
- The apparently chemically enhanced Paul Byrd is available in relief, also.
- Dice-K is pitching and he should be scared
Shocking... the San Fransisco Chronicle waits until the morning of Game 7 to release information about Paul Byrd purchasing $25k worth of HGH. Now we all know that everyone but the people in Cleveland and NY want to see the Red Sox "save" the World Series (oh the thought of a Cleveland/Colorado World Series), so the SF Chronicle is apparently doing its best to manufacture a huge distraction... and of course get their name out there on national tv and sell more papers.
My reaction to this whole thing? SO WHAT? It's documented that it happened before it was banned. Byrd isn't breaking any records like Bonds, so who cares... put an asterisk by his wins. . As long as he stopped before it was banned, then I don't see what the big deal is right now. Being illegal is one thing, obviously, but as far as its concerned right now... I see it nothing more than a way to create a buzz for tonight's game and potentially the World Series.
On a another note... although this may seem contemptuous, I really think anyone who voted for Blake's HR on the poll is either just doing it to disagree with me (which is a very likely scenario) or not understanding the situation clearly. PEOPLE... THE LEAGUE USED TO DO IT THAT WAY AND GOT RID OF IT AFTER 9 YEARS BECAUSE IT WAS SO RIDICULOUS. IT IS REGARDED AS ONE OF THE DUMBEST THINGS EVER IN SPORTS STATISTICS. THE OTHER SPORTS ALL DO IT THE "PERALTA WAY" AND NOBODY COMPLAINS. The poll asks which SHOULD be considered, not if it was based on the old way. Blake's was an important "clutch" HR, as are all HR, RBI, runs in the ALCS... but Peralta's was the one that actually "gave us a lead we'd never relinquish"... there's no arguing that.... I'm sorry he happened to come up after Blake. I guess he just has good timing. Just like the 4th goal in an 8-3 win in hockey, even if it happened to put the winning team up 4-0 in an apparent blowout in the first period.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
You know what bugs me...
The use of the word "Trickeration" every Saturday during College Football Season. It used to be just Rece Davis (I think that's who I'm thinking of) that I heard it from. Now its used often, by many, any time there is a fake kick, flea flicker, reverse, or any other play fake. I checked Websters, it's not in the dictionary, stop using it.
How about when you're at a game or in a bar and some Jack Ass who played football (likely on the defensive side of the ball) 20 years ago feels the need to yell "REVERSE" when there is a reverse during the game. Like the defense can here him from the 2nd deck of The Boneyard or The Stadium.
The new all red End Zone for the Buckeyes field. Yes I said Red and not Scarlett, because it looks Red to me and is way to much color. I like the classic grass with Scarlett and Grey block letters.
James Brown during each in-game update says "Pat Dirt" instead of touch down or end zone. "Larry Johnson bounces it outside and takes it 35 yards to pay dirt." - annoying!
NFL Pregame in general . Now I haven't tuned in for a few weeks, so I don't have specifics off the top of my head but my biggest rant is...I can't stand how each announcer, analyst, or broadcaster just cracks the fuck up at everything the next person says. It's like there are 1000 inside jokes that I'm not in on. And Tom Jackson must be on Drugs, he just laughs and laughs.
I could go on for hours about Chris Berman:
He is a slob. Remember a few years ago when he wouldn't cut his hair until the playoffs.
The songs for nicknames. What the fuck? Not entertaining, just annoying.
"Back, Back, Back...Gone" makes me nauseous. The saying, that is, not the '97 intramural softball championship team.
The great Swami always seems to have a less than .500 record against the cap. He makes the Vox Lox, Cleveland's Premier Handicapper, look like a good bet.
Not a fan of Berman.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Here's an article with a few thoughtful links to articles on Chief Wahoo and whether it's racist.
King Kaufman's Sports Daily The Cleveland Indians minstrel show: Fans painted to resemble the outrageously racist mascot are shown without comment in the mainstream media. Enough.
Oct. 18, 2007 | For a short while Wednesday morning, the lead photo on the front page of ESPN.com depicted some Cleveland Indians fans at Tuesday night's ALCS Game 4 with their faces made up to resemble the Indians absurdly racist caricature mascot, Chief Wahoo.
The photo was replaced early in the day by one of Kobe Bryant as his possible trade from the Los Angeles Lakers became the top story. On ESPN.com's baseball cover the lead photo was of Cleveland relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt.
The photo of the fans became a topic of discussion in this column's letters thread as well as other places around the Web, including at Deadspin, where Will Leitch wrote, "We don't want to sound like the PC police here, but seriously now: Is it really OK for Indians fans to be dressing up in red face?"
I don't mind being called p.c. so I'll answer: No. It's not OK.
I suppose reasonable people can disagree about whether the team name Indians is offensive, but there's just no arguing about Chief Wahoo. It's a Little Black Sambo-style caricature that should have been retired decades ago. If those fans in Cleveland had been in minstrel-show blackface, ESPN never would have run a photo of them without comment, as simply a depiction of happy fans in the stands. The picture only would have run as the centerpiece of a story about fan racism.
And there is nothing about grinning-Indian redface that's even a little bit less racist than minstrel-show blackface.
In an e-mailed statement, ESPN spokesman Paul Melvin said, "The photo came down due to normal, daily editorial cycle. However, we have also discussed the photo choice internally and determined that we must, and will, be more selective as the series progresses."
A search for "Chief Wahoo" on the Indians Web site reveals one mention in 2007, a reference to a fan's tattoo. Yeah, he's a thing of the past. Except he's on the uniform, and his image is all over the site, though you might not notice at first glance.
Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star, the best baseball writer in the business and a native of Cleveland, has a long post about Chief Wahoo on his blog that includes a history of the mascot, a discussion of how the founding myth of the team name -- that it was a tribute to Louis Sockalexis, a Native American player for the old National League Cleveland Spiders in the late 1890s -- is complete bull, and Posnanski relating that as a child he wore plenty of Chief Wahoo imagery and liked it.
"I love Cleveland," he writes. "I love the Indians and I even love Wahoo in a weird way because it is such a part of my childhood. But it is not just time to get rid of Wahoo, it is way, way past time."
I'd like to see the Indians get rid of the team name too, because whether the name itself is offensive or not, it lends itself to this type of racist caricature, which also includes various teams' version of the Tomahawk Chop.
This column is on record as favoring Posnanski's suggestion that the Indians revive that old Cleveland baseball nickname, the Spiders, which I think would be a marketing bonanza. More than a decade after the single year my home city had a team in the International Hockey League, I still get comments on the rare occasions I wear my rapidly deteriorating San Francisco Spiders T-shirt. You may have heard about a certain arachnoid superhero who moves a little bit of product.
But this column is not stupid. The Cleveland Indians are not about to throw 90 years of brand loyalty down the dumper when they're on an upswing between the lines and at the box office.
But is it too much to ask that outrageously racist caricatures of peoples on whom this country has perpetrated genocide be retired? The answer is no, it's not too much to ask.
As Jonathan Zimmerman wrote in an excellent commentary this week in the Christian Science Monitor, "How can we profess equality of all Americans, then mock the first Americans in our sports teams?"
The Indians are one win away from a bully pulpit. This would be a great time to make a statement.
This -- 2007 -- would also be a good time for the mainstream media to stop displaying without comment photos of fans of the Indians and similarly named teams engaged in ethnic mockery as though that were the same thing as San Diego Chargers fans wearing hats with lightning bolts on them.
And on a related note, American Indian Movement activist Vernon Bellecourt died this week at age 75.
He spent much of his adult life fighting the use of Native American names and imagery by sports teams, and while that fight has seen a lot of success on the high school and college level, Bellecourt goes to his grave not having won any concessions from what he called his "big four" professional teams: the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Regarding the poll question...
We've had this discussion before. A game winning RBI, goal, etc. is the run or goal that "puts you up for good", (i.e. wins or eventually wins you the game) meaning if you score ten runs in the first and in the ninth inning the other team scores 9, the person who drove in the 10th run (even though it was in the first) had the game winning RBI. The stat was only official in baseball from 1980 to 1989 or something. It's not the person who drove in the first run and broke the tie.
Casey Blake did not hit the game winning home run. I believe Peralta's was the game winner (if that was the fourth run)... that's the RBI/home run that was the difference in the game (i.e. the game winner).
In soccer, if you score 3 goals in the first half and the other team scores two in the second, then the person who scored the third goal had the game winner, not the person who scored the first.
IT'S NOT DAT HARD TO FIGURE OUT!
For those who don't have ESPN insider, click on the image below to see the Inside Edge report card for C.C. for Game 1. I know, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out he didn't do good finishing off batters w/2 strikes, or especially throwing off-speed pitches for strikes. But interesting nonetheless.
I'd like to see these kind of stats for pitchers' entire seasons, but that's not included with ESPN Insider!
How awesome is this?
The Indians have slated country music singer, and Josh Beckett's ex-girlfriend Danielle Peck to sing the national anthem at tonight's Game 5.
And she's not bad looking either. Methinks Grady should make a move pre-game.
The next time I want to hear talk about the Indians playing in that final series where the two teams from different leagues play each other for the World Championship is if or when the Indians win four games in an ALCS. Way too much premature talk already, they're practically matching up the Tribe and Rockies already.
SHUT UP and Go Tribe!
(PS I saw WS shirts at Macy's last weekend. And nearly puked.)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Terry Pluto, in today's PD, wrote:
Now I won't disagree with the sentiment, I kinda like Joe. The crowd certainly was chanting "Let's Go Joe!" during the ninth. But the impression of the statistic Pluto quoted was misleading. He may have had more 1-2-3 innings than Rivera, but let's compare him to other top closers this year. (And by my count, using ESPN.com's game-by-game stats, Borowski had 16 3-batter saves.)
But Joe Borowski is so much like this team. He's a low-budget guy coming through in a high-pressure situation. Now here's a statistic you won't believe, but Borowski has had more 1-2-3 saves than Mariano Rivera this season, 15-10.
Just like Monday night: pop out . . . fly out . . . pop out. The man who led the American League with 45 saves, the man who does it more with guts and grit than speed and talent . . . well, Joe Borowski did it again. Ballgame, one if you watched, you won't soon forget.
Caveat: I evaluated each closer's saves, counted the ones where they faced 3 batters. Sure, there could have been a double play mixed in, or they could have come in with 2 outs and faced 3 batters. But I'm at my desk at work doing this, and it's not my living!
Valverde, ARI: 37.0% of his chances had 3 batters or less. I'll make up this stat as NHAS. (Non-Heart-Attack Save.) 20 3-batter saves/47 saves. 7 blown saves (BS).
Borowski, CLE: 32.1% NHAS. 16/45 3-batter saves. 8 BS. 1 2-batter save.
Cordero, MIL: 45.1% NHAS. 21/44 3-batter saves. 7 BS. 2 1-batter saves.
Hoffman, SD: 46.9% NHAS. 21/42 3-batter saves. 7 BS (including one fateful October game). 2 1-batter save.
Rodriguez, LAA: 32.6% NHAS. 12/40 3-batter saves. 6 BS. 1 2-batter and 2 1-batter saves.
Putz, SEA: 38.1% NHAS. 15/40 3-batter saves. 2 BS. 1 1b-batter save.
Jenks, CHI: 58.7% NHAS. 22/40 3-batter saves. 6 BS. An amazing 3 1-batter and 2 2-batter saves.
By these measurements, only F-Rod was close to Borowski in giving his fans nervous palpatations every time he came up to bat.