Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Plain Dealer cover sums up Ohio State fans' feelings today

No matter the nuances or blame, all Ohio State students, alumni, and fans feel sad today.  And the Plain Dealer sums it up precisely.

No matter what, The Ohio State University is bigger than one coach, or however-many players.


Monday, May 30, 2011

ESPN manages to kick Cleveland again, includes C-bus and Cincinnati too this time

What is it about ESPN?  You don't have to be an aguished Clevelander to wonder why the hell ESPN feels the need to rub salt in the wound any time they can regarding painful Cleveland Sports moments.  Not a Cavs playoff game passed by without showing The Shot repeatedly.  No elimination game could happen without mentioning John Elway or Jose Mesa.  But today is ridiculous.

Jim Tressel quits, Ohio State, and ESPN continues the "Why is Ohio so miserable" invented storyline with a graphic instructing Ohio to "shake it off."

"_______ Off" is my only response.

Oh, and this:

Indians:  Best record in the American League.  Crushing expectations of everyone at ESPN, and they can't stand it.

Browns:  Peyton Hillis gets Madden cover, to the dismay of ESPN SportsNation hosts.

Cavaliers:  Pull off amazing odds for two top 4 picks in next month's NBA Draft.

Reds:  Hanging tough at .500 in the weak NL Central.

Akron Zips:  National Champions.

--thanks to @TheRealCWilson for the picture on Twitpic.

Tressel out at Ohio State, and it's his fault

The other shoe has dropped this morning.  Jim Tressel has resigned from Ohio State in the wake of the cover-up scandal that seemed to me to doom him from the start.  News reports will be coming from all sides, and opinions from even more.  But to me, there was no other way.  The old adage is that the "coverup is worse than the crime"--look at Nixon and Clinton for that proof--and that is especially true here.  The actual "crimes" by Pryor and cohorts were so minor (and debatably "wrong"), but Coach Tressel knew about them, and purposefully failed to do his stated duty, to report the potential violations to the school.  That is what obviously and inevitably brought the Tressel era to a close.

The minute I saw this press conf, I knew it was over.
Yet some in Buckeye Nation are failing to see this.  Blame Pryor, blame Herron, blame Ray Small, blame the "mainstream media".  But at the end of the day, you have to really be inventive to think that Jim Tressel did not deserve the fate that eventually befell him.  It is beyond implausible to think that by him "reporting" what he knew to an FBI agent and to a lawyer, and NOT to the school, Coach Tressel was doing anything further than trying to protect the 2010 season, and to make sure the Buckeyes were sufficiently stocked to make another Big Ten run.

The mood in Ohio has been described as "shocked" this morning.  I can't believe that is true.  (As I write this, Aaron Goldhammer is on ESPN saying that very thing.)  A more apt description would be "saddened."  Jim Tressel was a great Ohio State coach, and is a good man.  But he broke the rules, and not just a little bit.  And so this had to go the way it did.

"Nobody is bigger than Ohio State."  That's a hollow, Texas-like statement full of bravado, but also true.  And the football team will certainly survive.

Go Bucks.

It took a little over an hour for ESPN to link this to LeBron James in the finals.  Uggh.  Is that in every reporter's contract?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

OSU's Neverending Story: Ray Small drops a dime

It seems every week there's some new dirt burying the Ohio State football program. The latest verbal soiling came Wednesday when former wide receiver Ray Small said the memorabilia sales and car discounts now alleged against a handful of players were a widespread issue when he was playing.

Ray Small small won't be getting an X-mas cards from Buckeye nation.

Small, who played with the team from 2006-2009, told OSU's student-run newspaper The Lantern  that he sold Big Ten championship rings while other players received discounts from car dealerships. Small further suggested that many more of his teammates flouted NCAA rules than just the six suspended for selling or trading memorabilia in 2009.

"They have a lot (of dirt) on everybody," Small told The Lantern, "because everybody was doing it."

Thoughts with Jim Donovan today, and memories of my tv childhood

Courtesy Canton Repository/Stan Meyers
Jim Donovan's surprising announcement yesterday that he will be leaving WKYC Channel 3 for an extended time has left many Cleveland sports fans in shock.  He apparently has been battling leukemia for over ten years now, and will be taking the next few months to undergo the very difficult process of a bone marrow transplant.

I was raised on NBC news--my dad favored Tom Brokaw, and so I did too.  And so that meant Channel 3 News as well.  My main news interest, however, centered around sports, and I spent my time flipping between Jim Donovan, Casey Coleman, and Nev Chandler to see the same (often tortuous) sports news, night after night.  And like many Clevelanders, I felt a great kinship with them.  And not just them, but Chuck Galeti, Bob Stevens (I was legitimately excited when he got that job on some network called ESPN2), Gib Shanley, and more.

Nev's voice will never be forgotten
When Nev Chandler died, a little bit of my childhood died with him.  His voice will always be the Cleveland Browns to me, like Joe Tait is for the Cavs and Tom Hamilton is for the Indians.  Sundays were often spent with the television volume turned down, and the radio turned up.  As I cut out the Plain Dealer's Browns posters from the Sunday paper, I listened to Nev set up the game to come.  When the Browns returned in 1999, Jim Donovan had the unenviable task to have to fill a legend's shoes, and he did his best.  It took a while for me to warm up to Jimmy Donovan's exciteable calls, but he's now cemented himself as the new Voice of the Browns.

[Note: the column originally mistakenly omitted the fact that Casey Coleman was the original successor to Nev Chandler after his passing, as the Browns' play-by-play announcer]

Jim's goal, which I think can be extrapolated for every Clevelander for 2011:
...to come back, healthier than I am right now, and by the time I come back, the Indians hopefully will be back in the playoffs, we'll be watching the Browns play football, and I'll be calling the games, and the Cavaliers will be all rebuilt, and it will be all better."
To echo Ramona Robinson, "hear hear"!

Good luck Jimmy, we'll miss you and hope to see you (and hear you) soon!

You can send Jim Donovan get well wishes at getwelljim@wkyc.com.

His video statement after the break.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Things ESPN.com thinks are bigger stories than Indians-Red Sox today

The Indians have the best record in baseball.  And, hey everybody!, it's not April any more, it's May 24, and the Tribe is winning at a .667 clip.  Last night, on ESPN2, sparked by Manny Acta's ejection, the Tribe put together a wonderful comeback, punctuated with the "hottest hitter in the world" Asdrubal Cabrera's game winning double.  Then our Pure-Rage-havin', mullet-sporting, fist-pumping closer Chris Perez came in, got in a jam, and got a game clinching double play.  Rejoicing throughout the land.

Someone on Twitter last night (sorry, couldn't find it), made a crack about "ESPN's top story will be 'How will the Red Sox overcome Pedroia's injury'", and continue their ignoring of the Indians.  Then in the Sportscenter open, the LeBron James 'Decision' was referenced regarding the Indians' hot streak.  Quite lazy, and also just another excuse to criticize Clevelanders if we complain about it with the tired storyline "they can't get over it."  Whatever.  I don't normally believe in grudges, but lately, ESPN's coverage of the Cavs, Indians, and Browns seem very curious.

If it's because I heckled Gary Miller at Wrigley Field in 1998, after he was arrested for urinating out a window in the Flats, I apologize to all Cleveland sports fans.

But lo and behold, here's what ESPN has featured on their homepage this morning, all bigger stories than Indians-Red Sox.

  • Dallas' miraculous comeback vs. Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals
  • Boston Bruins beat the lightning
  • Baseball Trade column
  • French Open opening day
  • Joakim Noah fined $50K for his anti-gay slur toward a fan
  • NFL lockout cancels rookie event.
  • Dodgers scumbag erased for Giants fan beating
  • Josh Hamilton returns, hits homer in Rangers win.
  • Penn State coach moving to Navy
  • Brewers win behind Corey Hart's three homers
  • And finally, a single-A game went 23 innings.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Indians game free today on MLB.com

If you are an out of market Indians fan (this is blacked out locally in Cleveland and Cincinnati), you can watch today's game live as part of MLB.com's free game of the day.

MLB.com offers all out-of-market games through a subscription model (I have it, actually), and it's pretty nice.  You can split screen even to watch up to four games at once, and for a overstimulated geek like me, that's just what the doctor ordered.

If you buy the MLB.com app for Android or iPhone for the unusually high price of $15 for the season, you can listen to all games, and watch the free game of the day.  And if you subscribe to all the games via video, you can watch through the app as well.

Enjoy as the Indians go for the sweep against the Reds today.  Some mobile screenshots after the break if you're considering it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son ? Where have you been my darlin' young one ? I've been looking out my bay window, too blind to see the rain. Watching the sidewalk for puddles, for proof. Hiding in my room from the empty refrigerator. Checking my Twitter feed after midnight for breaking news, as if I'm the only one in the world awake to digest it. Reveling in Wahoo Baseball; they say pennants aren't won in April, but I do the math in my mind after every victory. Better yet-- dicen que banderines no son ganados en abril, pero hago las matemáticas en mi mente después de cada victoria!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cavs lottery win...here's the video

The NBA isn't as strict on YouTube as leagues like the MLB, so this might stay up for a while.

Lotto luck: Thank you, Clippers!

Meet your newest Cavalier?

With the owner's son Nick behind the podium and Joe Haden, Josh Cribbs and Ser Bernie Kosar representing from the stands, the Cleveland Cavaliers came away from the 2011 NBA draft lottery with some sweet swag. Even in a reportedly weak draft, snagging the #1 and #4 picks overall is a very nice haul for a team desperate for impact players.

We're always going on about the ill luck of our pro franchises, but Cleveland beat the odds quite smashingly tonight. After the Cavaliers' natural pick dropped to #4, they had a 2.8% chance of getting the first selection by way of the Clippers' pick. Eat it, fates! C-town came out ahead this time. When this all shakes out, as Brian Windhorst tweeted tonight,  it's likely that the Cavs will have traded Mo Williams for Duke PG Kyrie Irving and Baron Davis.

Sounds like a plan. Time for the Cavs' rebuilding effort to get going in earnest. It's a rough road ahead, but tonight's a good start.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What an Indians fan wears during a monsoon at Wrigley Field

While last night in Cleveland, David Price rained on the Cleveland Indians, breaking their 14-game home winning streak, I found myself at the Cubs-Cardinals game at Wrigley Field. 

Like Doug wrote earlier today, attendance still hasn't come around at Progressive Field, despite the early season success of the Tribe.  But the Indians aren't alone.  Wrigley Field was maybe 60-70% full last night, and probably a third of those people were Cardinals fans.  Even though rain was in the forecast, it was still 80 degrees out and everyone in Chicago must have been glad to feel some warm temperatures for one of the first times this "spring."  However, attending the Cubs-Cards must not have felt like the biggest attraction in town.  Or even in Wrigleyville, as the sidewalk tables at bars across the neighborhood were pretty crowded.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cleveland will learn to love the Tribe...eventually

"Buy Indians' tickets or I'll drain the blood from your body ah ha ha."
Yup, here comes another column about the Indians’ lousy attendance in the midst of a record-breaking season of fun. These pieces appear with more frequency nowadays than spring showers or Abbott & Costello movies if you were alive between the years of 1941 and 1952 (trust me, that’s funny.)

But instead of being chased by Frankenstein’s monster or The Mummy in the style of the cowardly comedic duo, Indians fans seem to be chased away from Progressive Field by their own doubts and stubbornness (OK, that's a stretch…a subtly amusing stretch, but a stretch nonetheless.)

As AP reporter Tom Withers noted, Tuesday night’s Rays-Indians game drew the third smallest crowd (13,551) in the majors for the day. Only Dodgers-Pirates (13,497) and Mariners-Orioles (11,485) saw fewer buttocks in the seats. However, the other home teams in this scenario (Pirates and Orioles) are wallowing in mediocrity while the Indians, as of this writing, at least, have the best record in MLB.

A Heat fan we still love

Even though he played for the University of Miami, and is a Heat fan, we still love The Rock.

Vintage Rock back on Raw in Miami on May 2nd (the date on the video is wrong)...

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Tale of Two Elbows

Last year at this time, #23's elbow
was getting a lot of attention, and
even opened it's own Twitter account

What a difference one year makes in regards to elbows. Last year at just about this same exact time, the world was both fascinated and perplexed by a certain #23's mysterious elbow ailment. The so-called King's elbow even opened it's own Twitter account to keep us abreast with up-to-the minute-news on the Earth's most famous body part. While his elbow was talking, #23 was not... and we still have never learned what exactly the injury was, or how it miraculously and suddenly disappeared. (Nothing a little fun and sun can't cure). The So-Called King let the elbow situation (among other "rumors") get the best of him, and apparent from his disinterested demeanor, he was already cashing his free agency ticket during the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

Fast forward to this past weekend and we see Rajon Rondo dislocate his elbow only to courageously come back into the game in Willis Reed like fashion. With his bad arm dangling to the side, the diminutive Rondo snared one-handed rebounds, stole passes, and drove the hoop. That is the heart of a champion. Quite different from that guy who tucked his tail between his legs and took his talents to South Beach.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thanks for the memories, jerkasses

Who needs The Shot when you can look at this happy bunny?
Just in case this beautiful May Saturday was too nice for you, Cleveland fans, that pandering organ grinder of doom ESPN saw fit to remind us that today is the 22nd anniversary of "The Shot," a moment which in time would serve to symbolize both one player's emerging greatness and one town's long-standing athletic pain.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ohio State merchandise auction smacks of NCAA hypocrisy

The line between what you can do, and what will get your program put on probabtion in NCAA athletics is just plain weird.  Or confusing.  Or unfair.  But one thing it isn't is clear.

I got an email today from Ohio State asking me to bid on some game worn Ohio State merchandise. 

Yes, now YOU can officially bid on great merchandise including a game-worn Cameron Heyward jersey, a game worn Dallas Lauderdale jersey, or some Fiesta Bowl warmups!  (Not sure they got the rights to use the Steelers logo--or how they think that can possibly increase interest...)

Why does this sound familiar?  Because these auction items are very similar to items that were sold by Ohio State football players that have led to the Tressel coverup scandal, and have put the 2010 season results in jeopardy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Acceptance a bitter pill to swallow

There are certain instances in life when you just have to accept the inevitable. As hard of a pill as it is to swallow, I've reached that point (once again) in my sports world. Thankfully, in the bigger picture of life, it is meaningless. Nonetheless, it is painful.

I've come to realize that all my praying, pleading, and begging to the sports Gods has gone unheard. The... The... The Mi... The Miami Heat are going to win the NBA championship. There... I said it. It was hard. I tried to make the statement as inconspicuous as possible. I thought typing it in light gray would ease the pain, as if whispering it ever so softly would make it less real. But in a way, it's actually therapeutic.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rain on the Parade: Choo arrested for DUI

Maybe Choo took the Detroit sweep celebration a bit too far
Well April showers bring May court dates, apparently.  Details are scarce, but Paul Hoynes of the PD tweeted that Indians OF Shin-Soo Choo was arested on DUI charges early Monday morning.

The Indians play in Oakland at 7 Pacific time on Tuesday.  That's Oakland, California, not Michigan.  So at some point Monday Choo, presumably, had to fly to Oak-town with the Tribe to prepare for the west coast trip.  Guess he flys well with a hangover.

Hopefully this is an isolated, albeit incredibly stupid, incident, and once the facts come out, the Indians aren't too distracted by this unfortunate incident featuring their underappreciated outfielder.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Party in the USA

OSU students just add water in celebration of bin Laden's death.
The party-like scene at Ohio State University was one usually reserved for Michigan weekend. But instead of the traditional midnight jump into Mirror Lake on the Thursday prior to the annual Buckeyes-Wolverines tilt, a reported 1,000 students were gathered there Sunday night in spontaneous celebration of the death of Osama bin Laden.

Students draped in American flags lustily chanted “USA!” and sang the National Anthem while their shirtless young counterparts splashed in the hip-deep waters near the shore of the man-made lake. Similar flash mob-like crowds, largely drawn by the human domino effect of social networking, were seen outside the White House and at Ground Zero as well as the campuses of Penn State, Iowa State and Illinois, among others. The fervent, celebratory atmosphere was akin to that of a BCS championship or World Series victory.

This is getting real

The Tribe began the new month the same way it ended the old - hotter 'n Georgia asphalt in high summer - and is giving Cleveland media types and bloggers reason to construct such happy sentences as "best record in the American League" and "holy hell the Indians have the best record in the American League."

Carlos Santana pirouettes home against Detroit.

As the calendar flips its pages, this may also be the time for fans to start taking this ballclub seriously, if that hasn't happened already. Paul Cousineau of The DiaTribe blog suggested that seasons both good and bad can be defined by one seminal moment or inning - a single at-bat or play that acts as a linchpin for everything that comes after. For Cousineau, that "aha!" moment came on Friday night when Carlos Santana's game-winning moonshot of a grand slam landed in the right-field stands at Progressive Field.

I'd extrapolate Cousineau's hypothesis out a bit further: If the Tribe has finally arrived in our collective consciousness, it did so over the entire weekend against the Tigers. Three games, three comebacks built on the sturdy shoulders of timely hitting, lockdown relief pitching and aggressive base-running. So far in this early campaign, this Indians team feels like a lunch pail version of the power-laden 1995 squad, but with unglamorous fundamentals replacing ninth-inning home run heroics.