Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fine feelings about the Cavs, Indians, and even Browns

Since I moved to Chicago for a job five years ago, I've done my best to keep 100% up to speed on all my birthright-cursed beloved hometown teams. And I gotta say, I've done my best. Cleveland.com is the first site I check in the morning on the El to work, this thing called "Twitter" was invented and lets anyone spout mindless bullshit banter about games to with me in realtime like at your neighborhood pub, and there are no shortages of great Browns bars to head to every Sunday.

And although the Browns have only played here for one regular season game since I've been there (and my friend Ryan and I discovered really how lousy the Chicago tailgate scene is), I have gotten to see the Indians play quite a few times (even one series against the Cubs...still waiting for that next rotation to Wrigley), the Cavs play many many times, and even the Buckeyes play at Northwestern. But of course, over my time here, there have been more downs that ups. Yet, this winter has me feeling good things about the future of the Cavs, Indians, and even Browns. And I'm not the only one.

Some thoughts:

Wayne Ellington, everybody
(Gary Dineen / Getty Images)
First, the Cavs. Legitimately not a bad team. Who would have though this after the dreadful start, but they are effective offensively, stronger defensively, and maturing before our eyes. Tuesday was the first time the Cavs had beaten the Bulls in their last 12 tries. And yes, I was at that last win, yes, I've been at many of the losses too, and yes, I made the trek through dire blizzard warnings to see the wine-and-gold Tuesdsay night. Kyrie Irving was out with a sore knee Tuesday, but Dion Waiters was in his zone, you could tell he was feeling it the whole game. And the rest of the team followed his lead against a very strong defensive Chicago team. Shaun Livingston handled the ball well, Marresse Speights looked strong, Wayne Ellington had some nice buckets, and Luke Walton--LUKE WALTON--came up with a couple huge plays, including a steal from none other than inbounder Carlos Boozer that sent the crowd streaming toward the exits.

Near the end of the game, the United Center played that "Hey Baby" song. If you don't know what I'm talking about, follow me around for a few days. I think between sporting events, beaches in Mexico, and even a trip to Oktoberfest last year, I've heard that song ten million times. You'll be sure to hear it.

The Indians have me excited too, and I'm obviously not the only one. The home opener sold out in six minutes. So maybe spending some money does get the fans stirring. Who knew. Whatever the case with the team this year, at least it looks like it has some life. If the starting pitching can do something, starting with Justin Masterson Opening Day and leading right into Ubaldo, this team can make some noise. No huge piece to get super excited about, but with Swisher, Bourn, and a bunch of bargain veterans players or last-chance prospects, there could be a recipe for success here.

Shoot, even the Browns have me ready. Brandon Weeden said the other day that he welcomed all competition and he expected to win it. Well, I wouldn't expect anything less, and I'm happy to see him showing gumption. I am in no way ready to give up on Brandon...finally we have a QB who has the tools to put the ball down the field--let's let him develop (quickly) the rest of the package. After all, the Browns weren't that damn bad last year. Seriously. We all watched. Every painful loss. I was in New Orleans for the Super Bowl and gave Jimmy Haslem a fist bump on the sidewalk, maybe that's the luck the Browns need. Yeah right.

It's not even March yet, but I'm ready for Opening Day. And when March Madness starts with Braxton Miller busting through the cover, I'm ready for the rest of 2013.


LeBron James has faster 40 time than Manti T'eo, and much hotter fake girlfriend

I don't even know what to make of this Bleacher Report story about LeBron saying he ran a 4.60 40--and pointing out that he is faster than famed Golden Domer and fake dead girlfriend rumor maintainer Manti T'eo.

I guess (a) yeah, I could have guessed he is faster than that in a 40. I bet he can run faster than that dribbling a basketball or two. And (b) if he had a fake girlfriend, she'd be much much hotter. And named something like Dwayna Wadebosh. Or something like that.



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No gain for Cleveland from Super Bowl pain


When the Ravens won their first Super Bowl in 2000, I was bitter, angry and depressed. It felt as if a cinder-block was crushing my chest. Needless to say, sleep did not come easy that night.

Do you really want to hurt me?
When the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 with Manny Ramirez as series MVP, I was struck by pangs of jealousy, bewilderment and a great deal of dislike for the former Tribe slugger, the entire Red Sox roster, their fanbase, and the city of Boston as a whole. My eyes stayed open through the watches of that night, too.

When LeBron James and the Miami Heat hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy last summer... well, see examples A and B for the predictable reaction.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vox Super Pick


Raven Droppings
Time to put the wraps on another winning season, my fourth in five campaigns, and this one proved to be the most lucrative of my handicapping career. I ambushed your book for 14 units of profit on the strength of three wagers: the re-election of President Obama, Seattle's first round playoff win over Washington and Baltimore's upset of the Patriots two weeks ago. Less was more for Vox this year, as my bets were more infrequent and deliberately efficient in building your bankroll with my strong 4-dime plays.

Today's line, in my view, is the tightest since the Rams edged the Titans thirteen years ago. I've changed my mind at least a dozen times. In my younger, ornery days, I would've succumbed to my need for action and emptied my account just for Sunday thrills. But past mistakes force perspective, perspective brings clarity, and clarity is the father of wisdom. Vox won't touch this game, my first no-action SuperBowl since 1998. The stakes are high, anyway, since I'll root like hell against the Baltimore Birdshit. For my readers determined to bet this game, I recommend a very light play on the underdog. 

See you in September.

---
Ravens (+4) over 49ers, 1 dime



Championship Sunday: 2-0 (+5 dimes)
Season: 9-7 (+14 dimes)