Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This World Series is gonna be hard.

Game 1 tonight between the Yankees and Phillies. I think we might see Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia a few times in this series, and it's gonna hurt each time. What could have been, if the Indians just could play to their potential, the fans could just go to a few more games, the team just have a bit more revenue, the league's financial system just be a bit more fair. It's hard times in baseball. Especially in Cleveland.

Opening night jitters...we hope

The first game of the Cleveland Cavaliers' 2009-10 campaign was eerily reminiscent of the thuddingly anticlimactic final six games of the team’s 2008-2009 playoff run. Namely, the opposing team killing Cleveland with transitional threes and LeBron controlling the ball too much on offense. Trade Boston’s white over green jerseys with Orlando’s Disneyfied blue ones and there’s not that much difference between the two performances.

LeBron is calling it a “transition period.” Acclimating two new starters into the lineup after a flu-ridden, Delonte-less pre-season will certainly take some games, but I still don’t like to see the Cavs lose to an elite team at home in a manner depressingly similar to past disappointments.

The Cavs just looked slow and disjointed after the first six or seven minutes of the first quarter. The Celts took our opening punch and impressively locked down their defense, while Sheed, Allen and House splashed quick-transition threes. Fans got smacked with even more Orlando déjà vu with the reappearance of Bad Mo - both offensively and defensively – a bench bunch that was thoroughly outplayed, and some head-scratching possessions when the game was still winnable.

It didn’t take long for the Cavs to earn national disrespect. At halftime of the TNT broadcast, friend-of-Cleveland Charles Barkley (looking fairly ridiculous in a suit and a pair of Frank Costanza’s untied white orthopedic tennis shoes) proclaimed Boston and Orlando the top teams in the East.

I’m not going to get too crazy over Chuck’s assessment, his unfortunate choice of footwear, or the first game of a what should be a fun season. After all, the NBA regular season is just one long dress rehearsal for these Cavs, one where I’ll be looking at physical health and a mentally stable Delonte (whose presence was sorely missed last night) as barometers going into what will hopefully be a championship run starting in late April.

However, last night did re-expose flaws that Ferry’s off-season moves were supposed to fix. The Cavs have enough talent to overcome those flaws and beat down poor to mediocre squads on the way to 55-60 wins, but we won’t know until the playoffs whether that will be good enough to take out the top-flight teams.

The new-look Cavs have to prove they’re different from last year’s playoff-flameout iteration, but thankfully they have plenty of time to prove it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The hard-luck life of a Browns fan

A good article about what it's like to be a Browns fan these days. I'm sure all of us can relate a little.

From Geoff LaTulippe page 2 on

"In reality, it all began Jan. 17, 1988.

Yeah, OK, the hooks were in place way before that -- I was born in Berea, a Cleveland suburb, and even though I lived there for only a year, I'm too loyal for my own good. The Browns were my team by birthright, not unlike jaundice or fetal alcohol syndrome....

Click here for his 10 reasons I haven't given up on the Browns

Monday, October 19, 2009

Taking it from all sides

One thing I expected to see in Rolling Stone each issue is a blistering condemnation of some industry, government program, military exercise, or some other rail against the man by the often brutal Matt Taibbi. One thing I didn't expect to see when I opened my new issue of Rolling Stone was an article by Taibbi titled "Cleveland Chaos", which includes devastating review of the Cleveland Browns, but more specifically, coach Mangini. The article (which I can't find a link to) includes such gems as:

-I always wondered what happened to Augustus Gloop, the fat little boy in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...a boy with fat bulging from every fold, with two greedy eyes peering out of his doughball of a head--(but he) somehow ended up as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, perhaps the most fucked franchise in all of sports right now."
-Mangini's performance with the Browns is "one of the truly thrilling sports disaster stories ever"
-"a sort of Hurricane Andrew of football mismanagement"
-"horrific losses"
-"incredible tales of pointless disciplinary tactics."
-Mangini spent his time "frowning on the sidelines like a man with the winner of the annual Kansas great Pumpkin Weigh-Off up his ass, frantically changing his mind about which of his two psychologically battered quarterbacks to throw into the breach next."
-"Mangini's Browns have already done more laying down on national TV than Paris Hilton.."
-(Not often) "have we witnessed this kind of coaching catastrophe unfold. Enjoy it for the very short time it is sure to last.


Of course, anyone in Taibbi's sights takes it hard like Mangini. But it still caught me by surprise, The Browns must really be embarrassing to take this kind of national criticism every week. And hopefully they're embarrassed too.

Monday Haiku

Disaster weekend;
Tressel costs Buckeyes a win;
Usual result for Browns.

It was a hard week to be a Cleveland/Ohio football fan (given that the Bengals lost as well). It certainly looks like neither the Browns nor the Buckeyes have a quarterback nor a coach who can deliver us to the proverbial promised land. Or, in the Browns case, just mediocrity instead of embarassment.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Phiten Anyone?

I wondered why so many MLB pitchers & Players wear those thick ugly necklaces? They are Nylon coated with Titanium from a Japanese based compay called Phiten.

I wonder if Dolan has any room in the budget to out fit the team...

State of play, Part I

October is CST’s favorite sporting month of the year. It presents a convergence of college and pro football, baseball playoffs and on-the-horizon NBA action. With a fresh start represented by the Jewish New Year (5770 and it, Pharaoh!), October is also a month that gets me thinking all expansive-like about the state of Cleveland sports. In that spirit, I will present to you a three-part round-up of where our three professional teams stand as the leaves fall and another long winter approaches the North Coast like hell on icy wheels. This week I will ruminate on the franchise that’s closest to bringing our city its first championship in a generation:
I have not seen too much of the Cavaliers this pre-season...I’ve come to despise pre-season anything, so I’ll be damned if I’m watching more than five exhibition minutes of Cavs vs. Olympiakos, which means “striped pajamas” when taken from the Greek. Did you see those uniforms? That catty bitch Mr. Blackwell is already sharpening his claws for his next international basketball uniform fashion review, believe me. Still, I’m pumped about a fast-approaching NBA campaign that’s sure to contain plenty of “LeBron-watch 2010” drama, as well as cheeky quotes from Shaq.

If that doesn’t do it for you, how do you feel about a whole lot of wins and one of the top playoffs seeds in the East? Another division title, if not 66 wins, is almost a certainty. Along with acquiring the Big Man for the proverbial hill o’ beans, the Cavs also strengthened their backcourt with the acquisitions of Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon. And while I don’t love Andy V’s new contract, I suppose I can live with it as long as he (1) remains the fifth offensive option at all times,(2) never shoots outside of 7-10 feet when he does feel the need to hoist one up, and(3) grabs double-digit rebounds every night. I also want to see what Leon Powe can do if and when he returns from microfracture surgery on his knee.

I’m hearing good things about Parker thus far. While not a perennial All Star, he seems to be a guy that can come off a screen and hit the mid-range jumper, a skill that’s a lost art in the NBA. He could be big depending on the situation with Delonte West, who practiced with the team this week for the first time since leaving on an excused absence Oct. 7.

Ah, Delonte...a true wild card in numerous senses of the word. I don’t know if the Cavs need him to win a ring, but even with Shaq around, West is still arguably the second-best player on the team--a hard-nosed, highly undervalued shooter and the best on-ball defender on the roster. West’s also the only guy after LeBron who came to play every night against Orlando in last year's ECF.

The organization is dong well to keep a sensitive situation in-house. (If this were the Browns, Delonte would be cavorting atop Key Tower, brandishing a bazooka and screaming, “Top of the world, Ma!!” Then Mangini would trade him to the Jets for a conditional draft choice.) By all accounts, the daily grind of the NBA is what helps keep Delonte focused.

One wonders, however, just what in the hell West was doing sans medication hauling ass through Maryland on that ridiculous three-wheeled motorcycle, carrying two handguns and, for a final touch of cinematic absurdity, a shotgun in a guitar case. Unless he was waging war on Virginia or is, in fact, The Punisher, one also must wonder how many missteps West can take before Ferry is forced to unload him. If I know Delonte, and I don’t, I think he’ll be with the team for the opening tip against Boston on Oct. 27. Hey, I’m an optimist.

Well, I’m usually an optimist...come back next week for an exclusive Cleveland Sports Torture breakdown on the state of Cleveland Indians. Try to keep your chin up.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Best shirt website ever

The hilarious website had a link to a new sponsor today, Homage Clothing, who has tons of Ohio shirts.  Love this Bernie Kosar shirt--but especially the website!

Stunning good looks and a dazzling side-arm release make Mr. Kosar, along with former Brownie and running mate Webster Slaughter, a formidable duo in 2012.

Peter King has news on the Browns...

Peter King will apparently write a bunch about the Browns on the Tuesday column.  Stay tuned.

I'd planned to write 800 words or so on the Browns and where they stand in the wake of their three big deals this year -- trading Kellen Winslow, the draft day trade-down that netted the Jets Mark Sanchez, and trading Braylon Edwards -- but decided to save it for the top of the Tuesday column instead, barring major news breaking. There are some interesting developments in Cleveland, with the scratch-and-clawing 6-3 upset of the Bills Sunday, following Adam Schefter's report on ESPN that the Browns willingly allowed a rookie running back, James Davis, to practice recently without pads against fully padded defensive players, resulting in a season-ended shoulder injury for Davis. Hopefully we'll get to that tomorrow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Eric Mangini is a liar or an idiot.

Postgame quote after one of the ugliest games in history, a 6-3 Browns victory:

It's great. It's fantastic. I couldn't be happier.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More Than Just a Basketball Movie

I went and saw "More Than a Game" opening night with two of the more regular contributors to this blog. Being a huge basketball fan and Cavaliers fanatic, I have to honestly say this movie is not just for people like me. It's fair to say this movie, about Lebron James' high school team, is for anyone. You don't have to be a sports fan, let alone a basketball fan, to appreciate how well this documentary is put together and to truly enjoy the journey of these kids and coaches. Not only is the story so improbable and impressive, the editing (i.e. the chronology of the way it is told) is phenomenal. It keeps you invested from beginning to end.
***This commentary does not contain real spoilers. It contains general information that I don't believe is a secret, unknown, or spoils the movie in any way.***
The movie follows 5 friends brought together at a young age on the basketball courts of Akron. It does NOT focus on Lebron James' rise to superstardom. For those looking for a James bio-pic, this isn't the film. I'd argue that (besides the interview format) Lebron's footage is the LEAST touched on of the 5. His suspension and how the team dealt with this and his stardom is the focal point of the "Lebron James part" of the movie.
Instead, "More Than a Game" is about the coaches (mostly Dru Joyce) and his relationship with the kids, his own son, and the genuine friendship exhibited by this group of kids. I really believe the movie's point was to show that nothing, not even Lebron James' mega-star status, overshadows the genuine bond developed between friends (and a coach). "More Than a Game" is not about the game of basketball or the rise of a phenom... it is about boys becoming men and the coach that went the extra mile to make that happen.
Two thumbs up and a strong recommendation for all.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oh the haiku humanity...

Indians fire Wedge
Delonte missing, Quinn out.
Chaos in the Cleve.