Thursday, October 31, 2013

True to this blog's name, a look at Boston's last 11 years

This blog was conceived nearly a dozen years ago as "Cleveland Sports Torture." The idea that God Hates Cleveland certainly isn't new. Shoot, as a wee lad, my friends and I joked about a "Tribe's Alive in '95" slogan in the mid-eighties, as a sarcastic look to future (hopeful) glory. (Nevermind that the Tribe actually did turn out to be alive in 95. And that was nearly twenty years ago. The eighties were a hard time to be a childhood Indians fan.)


Anyway, seeing yet another group of New Englanders delight in a championship just reminds North Coasters of the pain and suffering we have been through since 1964. And sure as can be, some northern Ohioans ahve bailed on our teams, to become Yankees, Tigers, even Steelers fans. But as a wise friend told his children recently...
"The Indians, Browns and Cavs are our teams and we can never bail on them. This is who we are, you were born into it. As you get older, you'll see some kids in your class abandon our teams and latch onto more successful ones from other cities. These classmates are called "front runners." You'll see them with Steeler backpacks, Yankee caps and no. 6 Heat jerseys. They aren't necessarily bad kids, but they lost their way and their parents didn't intervene. You stay true to Cleveland and our teams no matter the cost."
When a team finally parades down Euclid Avenue again, the party will be like no other (and this includes any future Wrigleyville party). But in the meantime, to remind us why this blog exists, a look at Boston's last decade+:

2002: New England Patriots, Super Bowl Champions
2004: New England Patriots, Super Bowl Champions
2004: Boston Red Sox, World Series Champions (note to Red Sox fans: this is when you were officially "Evil Empire 2", not some ragtag group of underdogs)
2005: New England Patriots, Super Bowl Champions
2007: Boston Red Sox, World Series Champions (if Kenny Lofton had been sent home...)
2008: Boston Celtics, NBA Champions
2011: Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Champions
2013: Boston Red Sox, World Series Champions

And dammit, I'm not even counting the losses in the championship games/series:
2008: New England Patriots, AFC Champions
2010: Boston Celtics, NBA Eastern Conference Champions
2012: New England Patriots, AFC Champions
2013: Boston Bruins, NHL Eastern Conference Champions

Stay true, Cleveland fans. Don't let the close calls and teases grind your hope into dust, making a pain slurry with your tears. Use the pain as fuel, to be expelled during the party. Someday.

This is a picture of Gisele to make you feel better or worse.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What we think the Cavs will do this season

altCleveland Cavaliers
2013-2014 Season Predictions










44-38

7th in Eastern Conference



Oh, hope springs eternal. I have no idea whatsoever. A lot depends on the team health (looking at you Mr. Bynum,), but more depends on the development of our diaper dandies, and that includes Young Kyrie too.


Tom 




41-41
7th Eastern Conference


Glad to have Mike Brown back. I always felt he got the raw end of the deal with The Decision. It will be fun to watch to see how the team responds with the new defensive mind set. Health is a concern, but when is it not? Should be fun come April.



Doug 



42-40
7th Eastern Conference


The Cavaliers aren't getting a ton of love nationally, but here in Homerville I'm relying on Mike Brown coaching up the Cavs enough on defense to get this team into the playoffs for the first time in the post-LeBron era.





45-37
6th in Eastern Conference

Even when healthy, success for the Cavs is contingent on discipline: hard defensive rotations and shot selection. Kyrie needs to mature immediately. Tristan must maintain focus on both ends. Gun-show poster boys Waiters and Bennett will shoot us into the lottery if Coach Brown isn't careful. But I envision this team will be well-coached, hungry and balanced. Perfect year for a playoff push with much of the league tanking for Wiggins.






42-40
7th in Eastern Conference

One game over .500 should be enough to get this young team some playoff experience in the weak Eastern Conference, which could be overshadowed by talk of you-know-who returning to "make things right", not only with the City he abandoned, but the coach he got fired.


Ryan 



41-41

8th in Eastern Conference

A lot of health concerns on this team starting with Bynum and Kyrie and Varejao and Bennett. Some good young talent if they can stay healthy. Should be fun to watch this team blossom into a playoff team and then watch Kyrie leave in a few years just as we become a contender.



Sean 




39-43
8th in Eastern Conference




Cavs finally climb to mediocrity. Should be fun to watch for true hoops fans.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The amazing TBDBITL movie tribute in 11 seconds

Whomever is arranging the Ohio State marching band's performances this year should get a nice bump in pay, if getting earned media (MARKETING JARGON ALERT) is part of the incentive package.


Yet again, The Best Damn Band In The Land gets a ton of attention for it's performance, this time celebrating the movies. This as an excellent followup to the Michael Jackson tribute, and of course the video game march that kicked this all off.  Deadspin's GIF masters (remember, GIF is pronounced like the peanut butter brand) have consolodated the 8 minute performance Saturday into this 11-second masterpiece.


The complete performance and orignal Deadspin post available here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What we think the Browns will do against the Chiefs today (Week 8)

altCleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

October 27, 2013










Chiefs 23
Browns 13

On the bright side, there is no way that Jason Campbell can be worse than the recent Weeden performances, so I don't think this changes the Browns' chances dramatically for the worse. That said, Jason is going to have a long day. And I am starting to get really nervous about any "Top QB" available in the draft.



Tom 




Chiefs 28
Browns 13



Starting Campbell signals the beginning of the end for the Browns season. The defense is solid, but cannot be expected to win a game. Unless Alex Smith throws 2+ ints that give the Browns a short field, I see no way that they win this game.



Doug 



Chiefs 17
Browns 9


The Chiefs are this year's turnaround team, bolstered by a solid defense and a QB that doesn't make mistakes. Browns will have to establish the run on KC and force Alex Smith into a couple of picks. Un-bloody-likely. 






Chiefs 13
Browns 6
Grab your dreidel and deli; this is the Hebrew Brother Bowl! Geoff Schwartz vs. Mitch Schwartz. There's a bad joke here somewhere about both brothers playing O-line and not letting pass rushers get their quarter back...but I'm Jewish so I won't tell it.






Chiefs 28
Browns 9
Some of us were hoping the Browns would go after KC's Alex Smith in the off season, but the geniuses in Berea didn't see the need for an experienced, proven QB. The Chiefs are undefeated and we're on our 4th change at QB in just half of a season. Maybe the plan was to tank, but that doesn't make sitting through these clunkers on Sunday an easier.


Ryan 



Browns 17

Chiefs 14


I think the Browns D comes up big and Campbell does just enough to get the win this week.



Sean 




Browns XX
Chiefs XX




No pick this week


Buckeyes Trick-or-Treat payback for Penn State, 19 years later

AP Photo/Paul Vernon
I'm dating myself here, but I still remember 19 years ago. My one and only trip to Athens, OH for OU Halloween. My good friend and Cleveland Sports torturee Doug hosted me in his fine dorm, and after checking out (in person) the OU game (OU would end up winless, and I think there was normally more fans at a Brush Arcs game), we found our way to the TV as the rest of Athens hit the bars. Because we needed to check out Ohio State vs. the #1 Penn State Nittany Lions.

It didn't end up well. Penn State 63, Ohio State 14. Uggh. That game still burns at me, equal with the 13-9 game v Michigan the next year. Here is the video proof if (a) you like pain or (b) you were in diapers when this happened.


Yesterday's game in Columbus--a whole lot sweeter. Like a Butterfinger on Halloween vs. a Bit-O-Honey. And an ironic 63-14 ass kicking courtesy of the Bucks. Braxton Miller looked great. Kenny Guiton equally awesome (can you believe that guy?), Carlos Hyde is playing himself into Ohio State lore, and the national title hopes stay alive. As top 10 teams keep stumbling, Urban Meyer didn't let any lack of focus creep in. Well done. And sweet revenge, for those old enough to remember.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

What we think the Browns will do against the Packers today (Week 7)

altCleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers

October 20, 2013










Packers 17
Browns 13


I'm thinking the Browns defense stiffens up, but not convinced that Brandon Weeden and the offense plays like more than stiffs.


Tom 




Packers 17
Browns 10



Long day for the defense as the offense cannot stay on the field. The second half woes from last week return.


Doug 



Packers 24
Browns 14



Draft talk cranks up as the Browns Weeden their way into obscurity once more. 






Packers 21
Browns 13


Even with a stout defense, the Browns have a better chance of discount-double-checking the girl from 4E than they do Aaron Rodgers.






Packers 28
Browns 14

Either Jason Campbell is REALLY bad, doesn't want to play (as reported by some), or did something to one or more of Chud's and/or Norv's family members. Signing this guy only to have him sit behind a 30 year old sophomore with the football IQ of my 8 year old is as perplexing as Dolph Ziggler's recent mid-card job-a-thon demotion.


Ryan 



Packers 24
Browns 20

Playoff dreams are turning into top 10 draft pick nightmare.



Sean 




Browns XX
Packers XX



No pick this week


KISS, College Football & the Federal Government: What Would the Vox Say?

Heard two guys at a local bar trading insults over the Rock Hall's omission of KISS. It got personal, and the girl in the middle quickly tried to quash the dispute by reminding them that Gene Simmons has no interest in the honor anyway. That only heightened the argument, so I stepped in to settle it. Now my opinions aren't necessarily definitive, but they are always diplomatic: I don't care for KISS, and I'm hardly impressed by costumes and gimmicky stage shows. Lyrically, the band is barely on par with LA Guns and the music routinely took a backseat to the marketing. Even in the KISS heyday, virtually everything they did came off as a money grab. But the Hall of Fame is about influence, if nothing else, and KISS inspired a legion of imitators. If you were a teenage American male and you picked up a guitar in the 1970s, it was probably because of Simmons, Paul Stanley or Ace Frehley. Induct 'em!

---

Look, I don't hate College Football. Sure, if NCAA Football is on an island with the NFL, MLB, NBA & NCAA hoops and I'm forced to cast one away...it's a no-brainer, and I hope Brent Musberger can swim. But I don't dislike the sport. It does, however, annoy the snot out of me for a number of reasons. First of all, quit stopping the clock after first downs. I already ignore my kids on Sunday, so I'm going to need a little more expediency from my Football Saturdays to maintain my Father of the Year candidacy. Second, quit the non-conference cream-puffs. If I'm 210% sure of the result before the game starts, I'm inclined not to watch. Third, the conference shuffling is ridiculous. I'm proud to have graduated from a Big Ten school but if you are going to keep adding universities (and mediocre ones, to boot), you may want to rename your conference. The Midwest 14, maybe? Fourth, lose the meaningless consolation Bowls and institute a playoff similar to Division II. I simply can't stomach the politicking and emphasis on margin of victory. Oh, but Vox, every week is a playoff! That's the beauty of college football!  Hope you're towing that same line when the Buckeyes finish undefeated and third in the polls. 

---

I'm still your favorite Republican that votes Democrat, so it's no surprise that I'm disappointed in President Obama's second term. He's strategically weak, often indecisive and frighteningly hawkish, especially considering his opposition to the Iraq War ten years ago. I'm against military action in Syria and the unconstitutional federal mandate for health care. But politics is also a bottom-line business, and these lunatic Tea Baggers can't see the scoreboard. So let me give every unhinged conservative an easy game summary: You LOST the presidential election by five million votes! Then you LOST in the Supreme Court when one of your own upheld the law! Like Willy Wonka once famously raged, "YOU LOSE, GOOD DAY SIR!" The Affordable Care Act has been implemented, so keep your red-ass hands off our fizzy lifting drinks and get the hell out of my mansion! Of course, Tea Party blindness should be expected. They hate government, but they also don't understand how it works.

---

Lions (-2.5) over Bengals, 1 Dime
49ers (-4) over Titans, 1 Dime
Browns (+10.5) over Packers, 2 Dimes
Giants (-3) over Vikings, 3 Dimes

Last Week: 2-3 (-1 Dime)
Season: 6-9-1 (-7 Dimes)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

So this is why TBDBITL had "Bad" on their iPads...



During today's win over Iowa, the OSU Marching Band pulled 'Bad' out of the songboook, and I don't mean the U2 classic. Epic moonwalk included.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Browns' defeat has many fathers

It's not all your fault, Brandon.
Browns fans have short fuses and long memories. One bad game - hell, one bad quarter - is often all it takes for us to turn on a player, particularly if that person is a quarterback, a position that for all intents and purposes has been vacant ever since Bill Belichick determined that Bernie Kosar's skills had diminished. 


It's quite possible that this town will never forget the pass Brandon Weeden threw at the 4:36 mark of the fourth quarter in today's 31-17 loss against the Lions. That is, Weeden's flippy backhand schoolyard throw will be archived and wondered over on the North Coast until the sun itself expands and engulfs the earth in a final conflagration of molten death. At the very least, Weeden's self-proclaimed "boneheaded"  late-game interception will be mulled over and examined and discussed until the inevitable moment his locker is fumigated and he's given a plane ticket to Anywhere U.S.A.

What we think the Browns will do against the Lions today (Week 6)

altCleveland Browns vs. Detroit Lions

October 13, 2013










Browns 23
Lions 20

A big if is if Megatron plays like Megatron. Brandon Weeden needs to avoid playing "Statue of Brandon Weeden" otherwise Suh might not be able to resist giving him a $250K shot.


Tom 




Browns 24
Lions 10


Browns are on a roll. The defense and special teams come through again with timely plays to win the game today.


Doug 






Browns 23
Lions 17


The Browns are due for a come-down one of these Sundays, particularly in light of the season-ending injury for Brian Hoyer. However, with Lions' superstar receiver Calvin Johnson a game-time decision and the Browns defense playing at a high level, the team will survive Detroit and extend its post-Richardson winning streak to four games.






Lions 20
Browns 17


To try and get myself hyped for our first place Brownies, I went back and watched no. 3 shatter some clay pigeons. It was the last and only time I've felt good about Brandon Weeden.






Lions 24
Browns 17

The trap has been set. Question is do I take the bait? I love the Browns defense, but I don't see how the offense keeps up with Weeden back at the helm and virtually no running game. 


Ryan 



Browns 24

Lions 14


Playoffs? Playoffs?!


Sean 




Browns 27
Lions 14




Enough said.


Vox Lox: QB Rankings

In case you hadn't heard it a thousand times from some talking head with fake teeth and a bad accent or speech impediment, the NFL is a quarterbacks league. A decade ago, with a crazy-stacked defense, you could win the Super Bowl with Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer.  But, the way the game is constructed nowadays, your pocket-passer QB will eventually have to get Justin Timberlake-hot to make a deep playoff run. That's not necessarily a bad thing, either. It certainly has made the formula for winning more crystal clear than ever. The QB has always been the most important position in pro sports, but, in this era, he holds a nearly divine status. He's the face of your franchise and possibly carries your city's economy, along with the rest of your team, on his famous and fragile back. He is the sole reason for your Sunday mood swings. He is the first player your child can identify by name. Elevated, berated or clouded in controversy, QB1 is the main character in almost every chapter you write as a football fan. Why else would the Vox engage in such a mainstream and mundane activity as ranking the starting quarterbacks? 

32-28: How many points is your bookie giving? 

32. Blaine Gabbert
31, Mike Glennon
30. Brandon Weeden
29. Christian Ponder

28-23: Pick Six

28. Carson Palmer
27, Matt Schaub
26, Cam Newton
25. Sam Bradford
24. Eli Manning
23. Ben Roethlisberger

22-18: Incompetently Competent

22. EJ Manuel
21, Geno Smith
20. Andy Dalton
19. Joe Flacco
18. Robert Griffin III

17-13: Disrespected Every Time They Drop Back to Pass But Making You Pay Anyway

17, Ryan Tannehill
16, Terrelle Pryor
15. Jake Locker
14. Alex Smith
13. Phillip Rivers

12-8: Soft-Hard Yet? 

12. Jay Cutler
11. Michael Vick
10. Russel WIlson
9. Matthew Stafford
8. Matt Ryan

7-1: Straight Ballers, Shot Callers

7. Colin Kaepernick
6. Andrew Luck
5. Aaron Rogers
4. Drew Brees
3. Tom Brady
2. Tony Romo
1. Peyton Manning

---

Packers (-2.5) over Ravens, 1 dime
Broncos (-27) over Jaguars, 1 dime
Jets (-2.5) over Stillers, 1 dime
Bills (+7) over Bengals, 1 dime
Chargers (-1.5) over Colts, 1 dime

Last week: No Action
Two weeks ago: 1-2 (-2 dimes)
Season: 4-6-1 (-6 dimes)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Steve Harvey hosts Browns fans today, with a surprise switcharoo

If you're looking for some fine afternoon television viewing this afternoon...

The Steve Harvey Show reached out to some fine Browns fans here in Chicago a few weeks ago, inviting some to a show about football fans and their spouses. I couldn't make it personally, but Terrence, a fine, rabid Browns fan who frequents the Red Ivy Browns Backers on Sundays on Clark Street, was able to make it downtown, to talk with Steve about the interaction between a diehard football fan and a "football widow."

Steve Harvey, it turns out, is a huge Browns fan. He's a Glenville High School grad and in fact, started his comedy career at Hilarities in Cleveland in 1985. And his new show, of course, has a ton of Cleveland roots as well.  But this date, the joke, unintentionally, turns out to be on the Browns fans (and Steve Harvey producers,) (or at least, on this day, it appeared it did.)

During the taping, the video screen lit up and showed (then-)star (then-)Cleveland Brown running back Trent Richardson come on and give Terrence a shout out, inviting him and his wife, all expenses paid, to Cleveland in December to see the Steelers game. As can be expected, the couple was ecstatic! All was well...until the show ended and they left the green room, switching their e-devices on again...

...to find, waiting from them, dozens of texts and Facebook taunts, breaking the news that, during the show, the Browns traded Trent Richardson to the Colts.

At the time, in the midst of "The Browns are punting the season", "Tanking For Teddy," and all that, this looked like yet another nut punch for Browns fans. Of course, since that date, the Browns haven't lost a game and many people who thought the Browns were just waving a white flag now think the Browns may have won this trade, and not just by a little bit. Some may think Trent Richardson is the cause for this "Ewing Theory," but perhaps Steve Harvey is the talisman the team needs. Cleveland may not be the home of championships (lately), but certainly we have our share of talk show hosts.

 Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing how today's episode turns out. I'm rooting for (a) Mr. Terrence being given a First Class Bus Ride to Indianapolis to see Mr. Richardson run in his new colors, or (b) the Steve Harvey show editing the clip, Japanese kung-fu movie style, putting the words "Chris Ogbonnaya" where "Trent Richardson" once existed.

The Steve Harvey Show is on Fox 8 WJW in Cleveland at 2PM Eastern, WMAQ NBC 5 in Chicago at 2PM Central, or check your local listings.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What we think the Browns will do against Buffalo tonight... (week 4)

altCleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills

October 3, 2013

(Limited picks this week since work led straight to tailgating...)
Actual result: Browns 37, Bills 24. And Hoyer torn ACL.








Browns 23
Bills 17


Cleveland is fired up after the Tribe heartbreak and I'm thinking (likely) Tribe fan Hoyer can lead the Browns to victory.


Tom 





No pick this week


No pick this week.


Doug 



Browns 20
Bills 10


A fanbase's tired eyes turn to the Browns after the thud that ended the Indians' season. Tonight is a huge swing game both standings-wise and psychologically, and as crazy as it seems, the Browns improved D and quarterbacking play are up to the challenge. 






Browns 24
Bills 20


Top 5 Browns QBs since Bernie: 1: Garcia 2: Testaverde 3: Couch 4: Brian Hoyer  5: McCoy






No pick this week



No pick this week


Ryan 



No pick this week

No pick this week



Sean 




No pick this week




No pick this week