Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh no-no! Will Tribe's struggles nix trade efforts?

Zany ethnic stereotypes may be frowning come Aug. 1
You’d think the no-hitter Ervin Santana threw against the Indians earlier today would serve as the tipping point that forces the front office to make a trade before Sunday’s deadline. At least that was my initial knee-jerk Cleveland fanboy reaction upon the inauspicious end of today’s un-televised rubber match between the Tribe and the Angels.

After considering it a moment, however, I’m thinking Indians brass is going to come to the opposite conclusion. That is, at least in the mind of GM Chris Antonetti and the rest of the Tribe’s deciders, today’s no-no proved just how far the Wahoos are from real contention, and that the benefit from plugging one or even two guys into this roster is not worth the cost of minor league talent.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grantland uses its long-form space to dissect the Indians trades

Grantland, the new (Yorker-style) blog from the millionaire brain of Bill Simmons has had its ups and downs during its infancy. To be honest, every article seems extraordinarily well crafted, and ESPN has given Simmons, Chuck Klosterman, and the stable of fine writers ample space to craft pieces about all kinds of sports (and "sports entertainment") as they see fit.

The problem is, the ample space is used to its fullest, and I, even as a guy who loves reading Tuesday Morning Quarterback and the 5000 word Sports Guy columns, can't rarely the time to read through the extra long articles on a daily basis. That being said, give it a try. If you have an hour or so to spare.

Today, Rany Jazayerli analyzes the building of the 2011 Cleveland Indians through trades rather than homegrown talent. Much praise is given to the "masterpiece of roster construction" that leads to the current "competitive team with almost no homegrown talent." In fact, the Tribe is the only organization to have no players in its lineup that came up through the minor league system.

In true Grantland style, the numerous trades of the 90s and 2000s are explored fully, with the wealth of talent brought in through trades of Joe Carter, Bartolo Colon, Ben Broussard, Eduardo Perez, Eddie Taubensee, Reggie Jefferson, Felix Fermin, and more.

In Jazayelrli's opinion, however, it's not all roses.

With so much talent acquired so cheaply, the Indians should be dominating their division, and they're not. Why were the Indians so bereft of quality prospects that, having filled seven lineup slots with players acquired in trades, they still had to go outside the organization to find a starting second and third basemen? They signed Orlando Cabrera even though he was 36 years old and coming off his worst season in a decade; they signed Jack Hannahan when he was 31 and had spent all of last season in the minors.

The answer is simple, if a little disconcerting: The Indians' performance in the draft has been every bit as bad as their trade record has been sterling. In 1998, the Indians selected Sabathia with their first pick. Cleveland hasn't signed an above-average draft pick since.

It's a comprehensive look at the recent history in Indians' roster building, and we are all hoping the recent draft picks, including recent call ups Chisenhall and Kipnis, will help balance out this imbalance letting the Indians taste success in the AL Central for seasons to come. Let's see if Chris Antonetti can continue the trade success of Mark Shapiro--and maybe do some more astute drafting to boot.

Rock out with no Lockout! Bernie, Larry David, Jason Kipnis, and a Chi-town Dawg Pound.

Steve Manheim/ Chronicle
The end is nigh! Of the lockout that is. Yes kids, NFL football will be played this fall. You will see plaintiffs players like Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning lighting up the sky again. Colt McCoy won't have to run his receivers through their routes by making them hitch at the fire hydrant and cross at Mrs. Smith's driveway. The Hall of Fame game is the only casualty, and nobody except Canton hotel and restaurant owners are for the worse for it. All is right in the world.

Well, for some teams, perhaps. The conventional wisdom seems to be that the lockout has hurt the Browns as much as any other team. They obviously are going through wholesale changes this year with a first-year head coach, and a ton of players who need to learn a new offense, including a couple rookies they will be depending pretty heavily on, the Sporting News writes. There's a bunch of holes on D. And of course, there's the Phil Dawson situation. With this limited time to prepare, ESPN's James Walker says they could be the team hardest hit by the lockout. Football Outsiders says the Browns' first move should be to sign DE Ray Edwards, although they use the term "big money" in the same sentence. (ESPN Insider article-no link available).

I don't know if I stole the headline "Rock out with no lockout" from the Chicago Red Eye's blogger Danny Cox (@DannyCox) or he stole it from somewhere else, but he pens a love letter to the best place to catch a Browns game in Chicago. There are no shortages of places you can throw down a couple pints with some orange-and-brown clad friends each Sunday, from Vaughn's to Mickey's to Cubby Bear and more. But for the wide open spaces, open windows in fall, plentiful big screens, and nude poster of Jim Brown, the Red Ivy Chi-town Dawg Pound (Facebook link here) is where it's at. And hopefully with Christmas Ale on tap this season, it should be a good one.

Jake and Dave know how to bring it on Sundays
at Red Ivy in Chicago.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Every 90 years, happy for Pittsburgh

AP Photos/ Jim Mone/ Gene J Puskar
It's not every day when I appreciate something in Pittsburgh. Between James Harrison, Ben Roethlisberger, and the everpresent infestation of Steelers fans and their yellow hankies, there's enough derision coming from Cleveland to paint that whole black and yellow town with a broad brush of enmity.

But every ninety years or so, there is a reason to be happy for Pittsburgh--or more accurately, a reason to revel in our own joint good fortune and success. This is one of those times. Right now the Pirates and the Indians sit in first place--which is the latest in the season both teams have been in first since July 18, 1921.
MLB - Indians and Pirates in 1st Place

From Elias: The Pirates and Indians occupy first place entering today's action. As Brian Kenny likes to say "that got us to thinking." When was the last time the Indians and Pirates were in first place at the same time this late in the season? The answer is 1921. Through games of July 18, 1921 both teams were in first place, the Indians were 55-31 and the Pirates were 55-29, they were both in first place through the rest of July that year then every day from August 19 through 31. Neither team made the postseason. The Yankees and Giants over took the Indians and Pirates for their respective pennants.about 1 hour ago | - ESPN Stats and Information
As you can see, neither team made the postseason that year. Let's not hope for a replay of that part of the story. Incidentally, it turns out that July 18, 1921 is when the first tuberculosis vaccine was given. No word on whether that affected the Pirates going forward. They must be a germy bunch, coming from the 'burgh.

Don't get used to the positive vibes, Pittsburgh.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Past reprimands of Tressel darken the clouds

The Columbus Dispatch and AP are reporting that documents released by The Ohio State University on Friday show that there was somewhat of a pattern of admonishments from the University to head coach Jim Tressel throughout his tenure. This should both surprise and worry OSU fans dramatically, as the problems with the football program, and by extension, the athletic department and university, have been put squarely on the shoulders of Jim Tressel by Gene Smith and the rest of the school up to this point. But positioned as a rare blemish on a pristine record.

Geiger and Tressel before any reprimands. LaPrete/AP
However, between 2001 and 2005, Tressel received six letters of admonishments for various recruits, including one letter that deemed him "unacceptable" about self-reporting rules violations. Before looking at a calendar and declaring this all ancient history, the truth is that when Gene Smith replaced Andy Geiger in April 2005, Smith shifted from letters of admonishment to verbal reviews.

Seem suspicious?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Self-imposed sanctions? Nice try, guys

Ohio State University's recently announced self-sanctions are so brazenly empty, weightless and devoid of actual, you know, punishment, that it's almost endearing.

You can imagine athletic director Gene Smith and university president Gordon Gee approaching the NCAA with identical sheepish grins and promising that along with vacating all of last year's wins, as well as the Big Ten title and Sugar Bowl victory, they won't have ice cream after dinner or play Xbox for a week.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All-Time NBA and Cavs team lineups is a labor of love

Jim Chones, looking dapper.
Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal (@Fromal09 on Twitter) apparently has no need for sleep, as his labor of love allows him to put together a fantastic piece with a team-by-team "All-Time 12-man lineups" ranking.  This guy is currently in college with three majors.Wow. When he is married with a wife and five kids he will probably have time to write three novels at a time while custom building his very own moon rocket. Of course, when I was in school, I created lots of free time also by selectively choosing class attendence optimizing my schedule. Of course, I spent that free time doing things much less productive.

The list is great, as he fills each team with a starting five and seven reserves (no 15-man rosters in this list.) Players are assigned to teams they spent the most time with, so, sorry TGiM, for this list you are That Guy in Cleveland.

The Cavaliers rank 17th in Fromal's estimation, which in this case is a solid twelve spots above the Miami Heat. Plus, I'm sure our very own @SamVox8 will be thrilled that Hot Rod made the starting five, earning his place above bench players Jim Chones, Bingo Smith, and Anderson Varajao.

Noticeably absent (albeit not unfairly) from all time Cavaliers game leaders, you ask?

Try Danny Ferry, Craig Ehlo, and Phil Hubbard, the only players in the top-10 games played in Cavs uniform not to make Fromal's team. Larry Nance didn't qualify because he played about 120 more games for the Suns than the Cavaliers (although he didn't make the #18 Suns roster either.) And I'm sure Jim Brewer and Foots Walker had to have some consideration as well, although squeezed out by Varajao and Brandon.

And did you know Wesley Person has the third most three pointers EVER for the Cavs? I sure didn't. It would take a lot more than that to get him on this squad, however.

His picks below. For the record, the list is topped by the Lakers, Celtics, and the Wilt Chamberlain-led Warriors, while the weak bench drops Jordan's Bulls to the #7 spot.
Point Guard: Mark Price

Shooting Guard: Austin Carr

Small Forward: LeBron James

Power Forward: John Williams

Center: Brad Daugherty

Bench: Terrell Brandon (PG), Jim Chones (PF/C), World B. Free (PG), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C), Campy Russell (PF), BIngo Smith (SG/SF), Anderson Varejao (PF/C)

This team wins the prize for best collection of names. Who else has a LeBron, World B. Free, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Campy Russell and Bingo Smith?
What do you think of the rankings?

Link: Bleacher Report

Once in a while, something nice about That Guy in Miami

....or this week, I suppose, "That Guy in Akron and Definitely Not Cleveland I Never Thought It Was The Same Thing It's Totally Different Stop Thinking I Left My Hometown I Still Love Ohio Except For When I Root For the Yankees Or The Cowboys Or Any Other Frontrunning Team."

Joshua Gunter/PD
LeBron James returns to Akron this week for his basketball camp and his annual bikeathon. Despite all the things LeBron has done to deserve the disdain of sports fans across the country--especially in Northeast Ohio--his annual event is an admirable thing. 

This year's event will focus on education, and as the PD reported, seems to be a very generous donation by James and his sponsors.

The program will concentrate on students who come from single-parent homes, as James did. It will begin with a two-week educational camp that offers extensive reading intervention and technology classes to help students reach current academic standards.

After completing the camp, the students will receive an HP laptop, a Nike backpack filled with school supplies and a bicycle from Wheels for Education.
In the spirit of Fox News and being totally fair and balanced, lets not forget that LeBron dunked on a little kid this week also, knocking his dominated butt to the ground. No word on whether TGiM got a new tattoo to commemorate the occasion.