Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Witnesses indeed

The Sports Guy gives LeBron a virtual handjob.  Wouldn't you normally do that after the date?  I mean, he hasn't even said he likes you!

But let's hope one part rings true:

Again, there is no better teammate. And after watching this point get hammered home for three hours, it suddenly seemed far-fetched that LeBron James would willingly walk away from his guys -- and his fans, and his city, and his legacy in Cleveland -- just to play for someone else.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiku of the Day

Clippers versus Cavs /
No replay of the Jazz game /
Road trip a success.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A lot of non-excitement?

How much actual game action is there in normal NFL game? 

The Wall Street Journal has an article about how the average NFL game (on TV it's really noticeable) has 11 minutes of actual gameplay action.

According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes.

In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there's barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays.

So what do the networks do with the other 174 minutes in a typical broadcast? Not surprisingly, commercials take up about an hour. As many as 75 minutes, or about 60% of the total air time, excluding commercials, is spent on shots of players huddling, standing at the line of scrimmage or just generally milling about between snaps. In the four broadcasts The Journal studied, injured players got six more seconds of camera time than celebrating players. While the network announcers showed up on screen for just 30 seconds, shots of the head coaches and referees took up about 7% of the average show.

Wired apparently did a story about this last year, where in watching a game, figured that:
  • The second quarter contained two minutes, 58 seconds when the ball was in play
  • The third quarter was the most scintillating with three minutes, 25 seconds of action
  • The fourth quarter, which included a lot of kneeling to run out the time in the final two minutes, had showcased two minutes and 35 seconds of play
Perhaps Soccer is indeed "more exciting" than NFL football?  Naaah.

(Thanks to Deadspin for steering me toward this.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiku of the Day

A ten day contract /
Utah #Jazz find a diamond /
#Cavs late night heartbreak.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Haiku of the Day...or night...

Gilbert Arenas /
was absent from Washington /
No "Bullets" for Cavs

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010: A new hope

The calendar has turned on another year without a title for the professional sports franchises of Cleveland. It’s easy to be cynical about this all-too-familiar scenario, but the beginning of the new decade offers reasons for optimism that weren’t readily apparent even a few months ago. Ahead I will share my hopes and expectations for all three teams, keeping those aspirations as realistic as possible considering the state of each franchise. As I’m feeling expansive this wintry afternoon, I’ll include Buckeye football in the mix:

The two losses that began the 2009-2010 campaign seem long ago, do they not? The Cavs are cruising, with the highpoint of the season being the Christmas Day slaying of the Lakers in L.A. That’s a game you want bottled come playoff time and reflects the style of hoops the Cavaliers need to win a championship....defense, bench depth, and a consistent second scorer behind LeBron.

The post-season will also tell whether “The Big Shaquisation” will bear fruit. I’ll admit, the big man looks old—his shot is flat and his post-up maneuvering has all the grace of an aircraft carrier carving its way through an ice floe. However, the games against the Lakers and Magic show why Ferry made the deal. Shaq may be aged, but that’s a lot o’ sweaty beef to park in the paint against KG, Howard, Bynum, and the other wide bodies he’ll likely face come June.

I don’t know for certain whether the Cavs can beat the elites four out of seven times in the grind-it-out nature of late-round playoff basketball, but I expect them to keep our hearts aflutter well into the spring. Win or lose, I also expect LeBron to sign another three-year deal to stay in Cleveland, but that’s a story for another day.

2010 national title chatter is starting already for Ohio State. A bit premature perhaps, but the Rose Bowl was certainly sweet redemption for an embattled coach and his young quarterback. Tressel-ball is an oft-maddening affair, including at times against Oregon, so it was good to see the vested one open the spigot and allow Pryor some downfield throws.

Pryor may never make us forget the rocket arm of Troy Smith or the smarts of Craig Krenzel, but with the reins off next year the lanky QB should be an early-season Heisman candidate and be the leader of a squad returning a number of starters on both sides of the ball.

Next year’s schedule is favorable, with home tilts against Miami U, Penn State and Michigan. And for all of you Joe Bauserman fans, there’s the usual heaping helping of MAC cupcakes to feast upon. Hope the big fat check is worth the 49-2 whoopin’, Eastern Michigan. Joking aside, 2010 should be considered championship or bust for the Buckeyes.

If there’s one thing you can say about the Browns since their return in ’99, it’s that at least outside the hashmarks, they’re never boring. Not 72 hours after Mike Holmgren is officially announced as president of football ops, Josh Cribbs is sending melodramatic tweets about “insulting” contract offers and his drama queen agent is huffing about #16 “cleaning out his locker.” No shit, Sherlock, it’s the off-season.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press is reporting that Eric Mangini and his entire staff(including Daboll!) will return for the 2010 campaign. Drama, thy name is the Browns, and thy location is in Berea, forsooth.

My fervent wish for Brownstown this year is a spike in actual football-related news, with the off-the-field craziness kept to a minimum. Remember those pre-Internet/Facebook/Twitter days when it was fun watching the Browns and the only topic of discussion was their next opponent? I want those days back, badly.

And maybe Holmgren is the guy to finally bring that much-needed stability to this shaky franchise. I’m surprised about the Mangini decision, and even with four fairly dominant wins to end the season, I did not think he would be returning. Continuity is a critical component to winning, but not if you don’t have right man at the helm. I think back to such odd personnel decisions as the nonsensical Quinn/Anderson “debate” at the beginning of the year, the refusal to play Brian Robiskie on a squad with very little WR talent, and wonder if 2010 will be another wasted season with a lame duck coach.

What makes me not hate the move is the presence of Holmgren. Mangini’s QB waffling would never have happened if the coach had a higher-up to answer to. I suspect Holmgren will also put a leash on Mangini’s well-documented over-the-top disciplinary measures that reportedly turned a portion of the locker room against their coach.

Some may compare Mangini to Butch Davis. Both men have coaching ability, but were damaged (irreparably in Butch’s case) by ass-hatted personnel decisions. Davis in particular needed someone like Holmgren (or Ron Wolf, who Davis refused to work under) to circumvent his draft-day idiocy. Mangini has that now, and while he’ll no doubt carry some input come late April, “The Big Show” and an as yet unnamed GM will have the final word. Sounds good to me. I’m actually looking forward to see how this plays out, and I haven’t been excited about anything the Browns have done in two years.

Let’s get to work, fellas.

The Tribe is last on this list for a very simple reason. I have very little hope for their chances in 2010. Instead, I’m casting a wider net to snare the broken business of the game itself. While a real revenue sharing plan and a workable salary cap are my baseball dreams for 2010, we all know those dreams are of the pipe variety.

It’s hard to muster rah-rah when two formerly Wahoo-ensconced Cy Young winners are facing off in the World Series in the uniforms of cash-bloated East Coast clubs. The future looks to be no different with baseball possessing the strongest union in sport; a union that likes things just the way they are, thank you. That means no change to the revenue stream, and certainly no cap on spending.

Paul Dolan said last summer that the Tribe was set to lose $16 million in 2009. Their situation hasn’t been aided by MLB’s current profit sharing plan, where all 30 teams contribute 31% of local revenues, with the pot evenly split among all league franchises. Where does this money go? Into Larry Dolan’s pocket, it seems. The lack of a cap means teams like the New York Yankees, which earn millions from hefty television contracts, can easily outspend Cleveland and other small- to mid-market clubs for top talent.

The Indians must rely heavily on ticket and merchandise sales when deciding to sign their own players or spend money on free agents. That’s one ass-backwards business model, kids, because nobody’s coming to the park to watch Austin Kearns or some other cast-off Mark Shapiro plucks from the free agent scrapheap. A Tommy John-ed Jake Westbrook as your Opening Day starter is not going to sell tickets, no matter how many stupid bobblehead giveaways you advertise. You’ve gotta spend money to make money, but the Tribe is unable (or unwilling) to do the former in order to catalyze the latter.

What frustrates me, unfair or not, is the perception that ownership is throwing up its hands up and saying, “Whatta ya gonna do?” in the face of the no doubt unfair financial advantages the Yanks, BoSox and Mets carry. This franchise has no imagination. Instead, the Dolans and Shapiro have unequivocally stated that in the current market the team may be able to compete once every few years if they hit on all their draft picks and get lucky with a few free agent fill-ins. So, maybe one Marlins-like trip to the playoffs before the fire sale begins anew? The Dolans cannot expect fans to re-up their season tickets in response to this morose outlook.

Maybe Dan Gilbert can use his future casino revenues to buy the Tribe. That’s a dream for another year.

Haiku of the Day

Dear Joshua Cribbs /
Don't try to negotiate /
Holmgren on Twitter


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Random Thoughts From The Hadman

You know what really grinds my gears…
STO Studios and STO production seems like the K-Mart of Sports Television.

Fred McLeod is just a dork. (Can one of you Pro-Bloggers please go off on this?)

Luke Wilson looks a little bloated and hungover in his Cell Phone Commercials

Why does Fox spend so much time showing fans in the stands cheering or frowning constantly cutting away during the BCS games or World Series? Fox should have another channel where the camera just shows fans, call it Fox Fan Face. I’ll flip there if I want to watch the fans.

Fox having the rights to the BCS game (Except the Rose) just sucks. Aside from Eddie and Chris Rose every announcer sucks. Thanks for reminding me every 3 minutes you only need one foot inbounds for College Football. I have been watching all year, I know that.

Now that The Black Eyed Peas exist and absolutely Fucking Rock, can we abolish Caffeine and Alcohol.

Sportscenter anchors use the word “ensuing” waaaaay to much.

That’s it for now, I am at peace with everything else in the world.

Haiku of the Day

Browns and Bucks over... /
For six months I hope we'll be /
Enjoying the #Cavs

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bonus Haiku!

Two thousand and ten /
Can you say "undefeated"? /
#Buckeyes and #Browns baby!

Haiku of the Day

It's week seventeen /
Who'da thunk that the Brownies /
Might get four straight wins?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Vindicated in Roses

Sweet relief in 2010 for Jim Tressel, Terrell Prior, but most of all, for the legions of Ohio State fans. The same fans who have been stung again and again since the fateful day in January 2007, when Troy Smith and the favored Buckeyes fell flat with Ted Ginn Jr. on their injured legs and got embarassed in front of the Country by Florida, and then again by LSU, and again by USC, and again, and again.

This time, all the talk of the speed of Oregon, and the pace on what they run their offense, and their powerful running game, didn't matter, as what seemed at times to be a interminably boring offense run by Jim Tressel turned out to be just what was needed. At times during the game I was bemoaning the game plan and execution both. Either too conservative a play call, or too timid decision making by Prior. But in the end, Terrell's arm is what beat Oregon. The Ducks' coaches said they schemed to take away his running, but with throwing like that, they were done for. True enough. And the boring offense dominated time of possession also, which did just enough to keep the Ducks off the scoreboard.

Obviously, Terrell needs some more work. As Herbie pointed out during the broadcast, at at least a few times, he took too long deciding whether to run or throw. Sometimes he is timid, and I'm not sure why that is. But overall today, he made smart decisions, made some extremely nice throws (one other touchdown was dropped), and certainly proved himself again as being able to come up in a big game.

As Bill Livingston wrote, "Ohio State restored its own reputation at the same time as Pryor liberated much of the state of Ohio from defeat, disappoint and doubt." Great game, great memory. Let's not make it another 13 years, huh Rose Bowl?

Here was my viewing situation, Christmas tree, stockings, big screen TV and all. Including my new scarf I picked up in Pasadena last week. One I will cherish now forever.