Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three minutes of amazing

Indeed, we were all Yankees fans last night. (Davis/Globe)
At 12:02 AM eastern on Thursday morning, the Orioles put the final touch on an amazing come from behind win, down to their last strike, down by one, against Jonathan Papelbon, one of the most dominating closers in the league.

Three minutes later, Evan Longoria squeaked a home run over the left field wall, sealing an even more amazing come from behind win over the Yankees.

And there you go. The Red Sox are out of the playoffs. Up by 9 games in the wild card race less than a month ago, they complete an epic collapse in extraordinarily entertaining fashion, live on tv as if it were a slow motion car wreck. One that feels oh so familiar.

I was out and about yesterday, so here's the progression of how I experienced what some people are calling the best night in regular season baseball history, and @SamDrewTakesOn summed it up with "When I'm 70 and talking about baseball with my grandkids, tonight is the first I will mention."
  • Watching the games on my phone, the Red Sox were up 3-2, but it was what seemed like a super long rain delay. Note, this is the Fairy Deion Sanders telling me "you weren't watching the game, you were watching numbers." True--but the killer MLB At Bat App does let me watch the game...I just wasn't in a place I could do that.
  • Saw the Rays were down 7-0. Thought about what MLB would do if the Rays lost and the Sox game couldn't restart on Wednesday. (You HAVE to make them play out that game Thursday, right??)
  • All of a sudden it was 7-6. And I was on the train home listening by this point (again, thanks MLB At Bat.) And heard the 2 strike, 2 out home run by .108 hittting Dan Johnson to tie it up at 7. Amazing.
  • Finally got home and next thing I knew, it was the top of the 11th in Tampa, and I believe the Yankees had men at 1st and 3rd with no outs. And the Red Sox were bringing in Papelbon to close out the resumed game in the bottom of the 9th in Baltimore. Again, figured it was over and Boston would survive.
  • Then, somehow (since MLB Network and ESPN were both showing Sox-Orioles at this point), the Rays got out of it, so there was a light. Papelbon had K'd the first two batters, so I was just hoping for a Rays walk-off and a one-game playoff. 
And then midnight struck. And this was the reaction that Dan Plesac and Harold Reynolds had in the MLB Network studio, watching the games off-camera. This is epic. Dan Plesac looking for someone to high-five and then asking "Are you f__ing kidding me?!?" is the exact same response everyone outside of Sox Nation had. Including me.

Longoria came up huge. And hammered the nail in
for the Red Sox (Getty Images)
Amazing night of baseball. Crushing loss/month for the Red Sox. 

A feeling that Cleveland fans know all too well. Ironically, many Red Sox fans are blaming the Yankees for not bringing in Mo Rivera to close the game out. First, they can do whatever they want--they need to rest their geriatric closer for important games to them. Second, if the Sox had won more than seven games in September, this wouldn't be a problem. Third--does this seem familiar to Browns fans? Remember Indianapolis not playing Peyton Manning in their last game, losing to the Titans (I think), and therefore knocking the Browns out of the playoffs a couple years ago?

Such is life, Red Sox fans. Deal with it.

PS what a great chart. These are the Red Sox playoff odds by date. From

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's your most painful Cleveland sports moment?

Tony Rizzo is asking for the most painful moment in Cleveland sports for what do you think?

The Steve Bartman ESPN special last night brought up a lot of memories for Chicago Cubs fans. But these are the same fans who celebrated a Stanley Cup championship merely 15 months ago. Not to mention one for the thumb for the Bulls in the 90s, the '85 Bears, the White Sox in 1995, yada yada yada.

Lots of cities have it bad...but Cleveland Rocks in being oh so close...

Leave comments with any others that bring a tear to your eye when you think of them...

 What's the most tortuous Cleveland sports moment for you?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Muni Lot exposed

Well as this blog is (normally) a family-friendly space of trying to see the silver lining of the darkest sports cloud, I won't link to the Deadspin report showing a couple revealing videos where the place that "society devolves to its lowest point every week"--the Muni Lot--is shown at some of it's darkest. Or brightest, depending your position. Let's just say the content out there is definitely NSFW. You can Google it if you'd like. Right after you Google Rick Santorum.

I'll just revisit my opinion of the Muni Lot. A ton of great people who want to have a few beers and get ready for a game. A smattering of total idiots in there who make it uncomfortable for some people, and a few total morons who feel it's socially acceptable to assault visiting teams' fans. And there's nowhere near enough bathrooms for everyone.

Oh and by the way, this current press is just the kind of stuff that gets City Hall's errr...panties in a bunch. And leads to a temporary crackdown, like after bottlegate a few years ago.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One great drive doesn't mask QB issues, but it helps

Colt's horrible day ended well.
If winning cures all ills, then Colt McCoy must be feeling good right around now. A two-minute, 80-yard, game-winning drive does plenty to make you forget about the 58 minutes of indecisive, skittish quarterbacking that preceded it, but it would be foolish to simply slap a colorful Band-Aid on what was until those last moments a sickly performance from the Browns' gunslinger.

Let me rattle off a few excuses first: McCoy was without Peyton Hillis while his best playmaker was effectively gimped by a groin injury. The offensive line sans Eric Steinbach is either still gelling or is just plain cheesecloth as a unit, as McCoy once again found himself scrambling outside the pocket under pressure, forcing throws off his back foot and often behind intended receivers.

What we think will happen vs. the Dolphins (Week 3)

Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns

Week 3: September 25, 2011


Browns 24
Dolphins 23
Colt McCoy may be no Tom Brady, but the Dolphins pass defense hasn't changed that much in two weeks and young Colt finds some success. It's not often I'm confident about a home win but the Dolphins look like a winnable--and must-win--type of game.

Browns 24
Dolphins 10
The Browns come back from Indianapolis feeling good about the direction they are going. Since this is the Browns, nothing comes easy. I expect a close first half with the Browns pulling away in the second half, behind a strong running game and efficient passing offense. I don't expect huge numbers for any player, but the Browns close out the game at home, unlike what happened with Cinci.

Browns 24
Dolphins 13
For this to be a halfway decent season, the good guys need to take care of business at Cleveland Browns Stadium. A home stumble against Cinci has already put them in the bad corner. Fighting their way out of it on the backs of Colt McCoy and the young guys on defense is a must against a mediocre Dolphins' squad.

Dolphins 23
Browns 20
In the words of Han Solo trapped in the Death Star trash compactor, "I've got a bad feeling about this!" The Dolphins are a desperate 0-2 bunch and have looked better than their record, including a tough fight against the Patriots. Despite getting past the Manning-less Colts last week, the Browns looked anything but convincing. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm thinking another home dud for the Brownies.


Browns 20
Dolphins 16
After another tough loss, Tony Sparano rages on a bartender at the Bing...errr the Executive Den.

Browns 27
Dolphins 17
Browns pull away in the fourth quarter. Colt continues to impress and Josh Cribbs finally takes one to the house.

Dolphins 21
Browns 17
The Browns just can't figure out how to win at home...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thome celebration a big strike out to this guy

We've all seen and heard of silly promotions at both the minor league and major league levels of baseball. Everything from $1 hot dogs, to fireworks, to bring your dog to the stadium to draw a crowd. I can even accept transforming Progressive Field into a winter wonder land to bring in some cash while the stadium would normally be dormant.

With the Browns season starting, the fallen-out-of-play-off-contention Indians had all but been erased from my mind. But then I heard an advertisement for one of the most blatant, empty, money grabbing schemes I've ever heard of from a professional sports franchise - one that would make Bernie Madoff proud: The Jim Thome 600 Home Run Celebration.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

LeBron goofs himself in new McDonald's spot, proves he'll do anything for money

In a new spot for McDonald's, TGiM gets a tiny bit of grief over the chance of him winning seven championships. Good for him, he still has a one-in-four chance of winning a Monopoly prize at Mickey D's, though. Although he might need Chris Bosh to hold the soda and Dwayne Wade to dip his fries first.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If you thought this weekend was topsy-turvy, it's because it was.

Browns win! Huzzah!

Buckeyes lose...ugghh....

Two feelings we don't exactly feel during the same weekend very often. In fact, the last time the universe flickered like this, giving the Browns a victory the same weekend as a Buckeyes defeat was almost three years ago.

Frosh sensation Terrell Pryor's late fumble led to
the Nittany Lions' game winning touchdown.
The weekend of October 25, 2008, Ohio State put up no offense (sound familiar?), losing to Penn State 13-6. But the Browns redeemed the weekend for Cleveland fans, beating the Jaguars 23-17. (Unfortunately for the Brownies, that would be their second-last win of the season. And this was October 26.)

And before that, it hadn't happened since October 2005. So I guess things like this only happen about once every three years.

Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? Given that it appears Ohio State could be in for a couple more losses at minimum this year, hopefully the Browns don't figure their fan base was satisfied by the win in Indy this past weekend.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

All the young dudes give fans reason to hope

Rookie Jabaal Sheard's skills paid bills against Indy.

One's mood when watching the Browns this year is probably going to be determined by expectations.

Those who rather inexplicably believe this team has playoff aspirations are going to be very stressed out by the end of the year. Others who center their viewership around the natural growing pains of developing talent, meanwhile, will probably have a much calmer demeanor as the season goes by.

What we think will happen vs. the Colts (Week 2)

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

Week 2: September 18, 2011


Browns 31
Colts 10
Hopefully Pat Shurmur lit a fire under the Browns asses, and not one that makes them jump offside for the entire first quarter. I can't see the team playing as poor as they did, and the Colts game is a must-win in my book with Peyton Manning nowhere in sight.

Browns 17
Colts 10
Pat Shurmur, Colt, O-Line, everyone on the Browns have much to prove this week against a banged up Colts team. The final score is close, but the Browns maintain control of the game with a steady diet of Hillis and Hardesty. At 0-2, the Andrew Luck sweepstakes begin, I'm hopeful that it won't be the Browns.

Browns 21
Colts 16
The one thing the Browns have been good at since '99 is making prognosticators look dumb. You never know what you'll get with this team, and that instability is the reason the franchise is in Dire Straits. They're still So Far Away (get it?) from being viable in the AFC North, but they CANNOT go 0-2 against the Peyton-less Colts. The other Peyton needs to run roughshod, Madden-style, while the patchwork o-line has to find a way to give Colt McCoy more than 3 seconds to get rid of the ball. And please, don't let Kerry Collins beat you.

Browns 20
Colts 16
My heart says Browns. My gut says Colts. Like an old fighter (or idiot) not willing to stay down, I'm going with my heart, which as evident from this blog, typically does not turn out well.

Colts 16
Browns 9
Certainly, the Colts without Manning is much like the Stones without Jagger. But, by that analogy, the Browns lost to Winger last week.

Browns 24
Colts 17
All I can say is they better win this or we could be in for a long, long year. I'm looking for a solid performance out of Peyton Hillis, Indi's run defense has been about as bad as the Browns over the last few years.

Browns 21
Colts 20
It actually turns out to been a fun game to watch. But 5 minutes after the game it sinks in...we got a long way to go...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

No O in Ohio State tonight

There must be a hell of a lot of H's and I's running around the state tonight, because there's not any damn O in sight. And I've been looking.

Ohio State played one of the worst offensive games I've ever seen on Saturday night in their loss against the University of Miami. And remember, I'm a Browns fan.

After the Akron game, I was gaga for Bauserman, and really impressed by Braxton Miller. After Toledo, I was concerned yet not panicked by the QB play. Now, after three games, as they say, "it's over Johnny." Before absolute garbage disposal time in the last twenty seconds, Ohio State had 13 more yards passing tonight than I did.

The game was marked by some of the worst quarterback (and receiver) play I've ever seen, as early in the game, throw after throw went behind receivers, and even those catchable balls were dropped. At one point I thought maybe the receivers were on some kind of strike. Miller had a tipped ball (on an off pass) interception. And then in the fourth quarter, when Miller started humming in the QB run-keeper offense, he coughed up a BCS-killing fumble that ended it for Ohio State.

The defense played well, forcing Jacory Harris into two interceptions in the first half. But the killers were in the fourth quarter--on two separate plays in the Miami game-clinching drive, Ohio State missed easy interceptions, one of which would easily have ended up with a pick-six.

Undoubtedly the blame will be spread wide and thick across the Ohio State program. And players and coaches who are now banned from campus aren't all to blame. Luke Fickell looked overmatched and confused against the Hurricanes, and no amount of QB-bait-and-switching could turn this offense around. The nail in his lame-duck coffin might have come in an ultimately meaningless play with about a minute and twenty left, where Miami got stopped on the one yard line of Ohio State, and Fickell basically conceded the game down by 11 (14 with a potential Miami Field goal) by not calling the timeout, letting Miami run the clock down to 40 seconds, then say "screw it" and run the ball up the middle. Even if the Buckeyes had stopped the Hurricanes, it still would have meant 99 yards.

Ultimately, they didn't anyway. But you can bet the calls for a veteran head coach will be heard from far and wide this week. Urban Meyer, hopefully you have voice mail. Because your phone might be ringing soon.

"Does this mean Ohio State's not very good?" ESPN's Brad Nessler asked at the end of the game. Yes, Brad, I'm afraid that's exactly what we are looking at. Amazing how fast the air can go out of a football program. All is not dead for Ohio State this year--but some serious work is needed on the team and the playbook this week--because we need an infusion of O, and soon.

What we think will happen today against the Hurricanes...

Ohio State Buckeyes at Miami Hurricanes

September 17, 2011


Buckeyes 27
Hurricanes 13
The mockery is coast to coast for "Probation Bowl" or "Convict Bowl" or whatever stupid t-shirts ignorant media types' bad reporting inspires. Hopefully the true Bauserman comes out to play, because Ohio State should well overmatch this Hurricane team. Only question is, who will TGiM be supporting? Probably whomever wins (after the fact.)

Hurricanes 24
Buckeyes 21
Not sure what to make of this game. Will this be the Buckeye team that walked over Akron, or barely hung on against Toledo. I'm thinking the latter. The Buckeyes will struggle as they hit the road for the first time in 2011.

Buckeyes 16 Hurricanes 13
Miami will stack the box and challenge Bauserman, so the old man better be ready to take things vertical. Jacory Harris's first game back for The U may mean some rust for an already interception-prone QB. Quarterback question marks, combined with the off-field idiocy that hit both teams, makes for a match-up that's hard to predict. But if Bauserman can fine tune his accuracy, hopefully supplanted by a dose of Braxton Miller, then OSU could sneak out of FLA with a win. Hey, I'm an optimistic guy.

Buckeyes 32
Hurricanes 28
While I do enjoy the creativity of the name "Ineligi-Bowl", it's lost a little of it's luster now that half the players have been reinstated. I have no idea what to make of either team, so I'll go homer and pick the Bucks, but being on the road scares the hell out of me.

Buckeyes 26
Hurricanes 24
The only thing I know for certain about this game is that Elton Alexander will pick Miami by at least two touchdowns.

Buckeyes 28
Hurricanes 13
I am not sure what to make of this Buckeyes team yet but Miami blows. The Bucks picked off Jacory Harris 4 times last year and I think we'll get at least 2 this year. Last week was a little scary against a solid Toledo team, I don't think Miami has the talent to put a scare into the Buckeyes.

Buckeyes 31
Hurricanes 24
Braxton gets into the game for a late comeback to force overtime and a familiar outcome & score.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sleeping with Michigan players ensures I won't vote for Sarah Palin

In to the sleazy new book coming out next week about Sarah Palin by her peeping Tom neighbor, there are many juicy details that might make Ms. Palin think twice about jumping into the presidential race. And one detail in particular might lose her the swing state of Ohio, as well. (And not "swing" in that way, Governor Palin.)

Sure, she's (allegedly) vengeful, had (alleged) affairs, violates ethics laws, isn't good at Geography, and maybe (allegedly) likes snorting cocaine off 55-gallon drums.

But all of that pales in comparison (to me, at least) to the assertion that she had a one-night stand with a Michigan player! (Not to mention an ex-husband of a Real Housewife of Miami.)  I mean, drafting Michigan players is bad enough. Certainly rooting for Michigan is a strike against you as well. (And if you're from Ohio and like the Wolverines, God help you.) But the short-term Governor--at this point in time, a starry-eyed sports reporter--(allegedly) went a lot further than this with none other than Glen Rice, way back in 1987.

As reported by Gawker (from the National Enquirer).

Sarah hooked up with Rice, a 6-foot-8 junior at the University of Michigan, while he was in town for the 1987 Thanksgiving weekend "Great Alaska Shootout" basketball tournament, according to the book.
McGinniss quotes a friend as saying Sarah had "hauled his [Rice's] ass down." While the pal coyly states: "I can't say I know they had sex," the friend is also quoted as saying: "I remember Sarah feeling pretty good that she'd been with a black basketball star," according to the source.
Their encounter reportedly occurred in the dorm room of Sarah's younger sister Molly at the University of Alaska Anchorage, according to the book.
Rice confirms the hookup in McGinniss' book, according to the source, "but he's quoted as saying he didn't think Sarah harbored any bad feelings over being with him because he was black. And he remembers only nice things about Sarah, recalling her as 'gorgeous' and saying she was a big crush of his at the time."
According to the book, Rice and Sarah continued to chat on the phone right up until she married Todd just nine months later.

Steve Kerr was also part of the shootout with his team from Arizona. Guess he's just not Palin's type. And let the record show, Arizona beat Michigan in the semifinals.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who's an Indians fan to root for now?

Well the 2011 baseball season had huge ups and stomach punch downs for the Tribe this year, for sure. A blistering start left little statistical doubt that the Indians would once again be playing in October. But then, a series of offensive lapses and debilitating injuries brought the Indians down to Earth like Superman wearing a Kryptonite vest.

It doesn't matter who plays for the Yankees.
I can't root for them
Just last week, the Indians were virtually in control of their own destiny. Despite being swept on the road by the Detroit Tigers, they could have pulled within 3.5 games with a home sweep of said Michiganers. But it was not meant to be. Detroit ran roughshod over the Indians, with former Tribesman Victor Martinez putting a final nail in their coffin with his grand slam last Wednesday. Detroit, 6 games over .500 on August 10, now stands 23 games over .500 on September 13. What can you do? I know what the Indians could do. Nothing.

So what's a Tribe fan to do in October, with dreams of the upstart Indians squashed so painfully? Boycott the playoffs? Sure, some will undoubtedly do that. But for those of us who can't ignore half of what I consider an amazing month in sports (football being the other, and if the Browns don't make substantial improvements this week vs. the Colts, October won't even matter for them either), it'd still be nice to figure out whom it's "okay" to root for.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I really hate the Browns sometimes

Why do I do this?

The guy in the chair was probably a a Browns' fan.
Why do I put myself through numbing agony year after year with this Browns team? This franchise makes me the Victorian English sense where after watching a game I feel the compulsion to be dosed with laudanum and have my skull trepanned in some gloomy gothic sanitarium on the outskirts of London.

So, why do I do this?

A tale of two Bausermans

Sure seems that Saturday, besides giving Ohio State fans quite a bit of heartburn, opened up more questions that they answered. What did we learn in the 27-22 escape from the Toledo Rockets?

First, I had thought that all the announcers saying that "Toledo is no Akron" and that we should expect a tougher matchup for Ohio State this week was all just hype, trying to maintain ratings and excitement in these in-state games that are normally yawners. But not so. Sure, Toledo might lose 9 out of 10 to Ohio State--but  they would be closely fought games. Over and over again, Toledo sprung a good play, or came away with a great defensive play. Good team. But penalties and big Ohio State plays finally did them in.

Kirk Irwin / Getty Images
By the way, I'm guessing Toledo could handle both Michigan or Notre Dame. Definitely plays better defense than either of them.  Still, that is an impressive team with some real talent and speed. Good on 'ya.

Second, a coming out party for sure for Carlos Hyde, as he ran for two nice touchdowns, including one long one in the first half when Ohio State first started feeling a little nervous and desperate for offense. I need to see him a lot more, obviously, but something about Hyde just makes me think he doesn't have that burst to be able to break free. I wonder what his 40 time is. Is there anything we can type things into to get answers? Oh who knows, It's too late.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What we think will happen vs. the Bengals (Week 1)

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Week 1: September 11, 2011


Browns 24
Bengals 13
The Bengals just keep on fighting for that chance at Andrew Luck. Because Pac-10 quarterbacks have been so good for them lately

Browns 17
Bengals 10
Bengals put up a fight and the Browns hold on for a win. Colt McCoy doesn't wow, but proves to be competent in Pat Shurmur's version of the west coast offense.

Browns 17
Bengals 10
The Browns have been awful on Kickoff Sunday since their return in '99. That changes Sunday as Cleveland harries Cinci's rookie QB and the new offense does just enough to bring a much-needed opening day win.

Browns 31
Bengals 17
The Colt era begins with a bang. It better, considering we're at home against a bad division rival with a rookie QB.

Browns 17
Bengals 10
Bengals have a very formidable defense, but mistake-free football propels the Browns to an important win.

Browns 27
Bengals 10
Here we go Brownies, here we go!! I will be down there at 5AM with a Colt 45 in hand and I am excitingly optimistic about this season. I'm saying Colt 250yds, 2 TD's. Wouldn't a Colt 45 yd TD be nice!

Browns 20
Bengals 10
Browns pull off a win this week...

What we think will happen in the NFL 2011

Browns and the NFL
2011 Season Predictions


Browns: 7-9

Super Bowl: Packers over Patriots
Not unlike the Indians, the Browns tease their fans--and jump out to a 7-4 record against an easy schedule. Unfortunately, the final five games include two each against the Ravens and Steelers. And like last year, the team ends on a sour note. But the future, finally, looks bright, as Colt McCoy uses the West Coast Offense to his advantage all year long. This could be higher if the Browns start out even better.

Browns: 8-8

Super Bowl:
Chargers over Saints
The Browns show a lot of growth, but with that growth comes growing pains. With one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, they pull out some games they have no business winning, and lose some they should of won. Playoffs are probably unrealistic, however the experience from this season should prove to be beneficial assuming the roster isn't gutted by injuries. Success might not be in the form of wins and losses, but the Browns have a plan and are heading in the right direction which hasn't been the case since 1999.


Super Bowl:
Jets over Saints
New coach, new systems on both sides of the ball, untested QB, a paper thin depth chart, and a hellacious last month of the schedule bodes ill for that ever-elusive .500 record that this team needs as a benchmark for true progress. Still, Colt does well in the WCO, Phil Taylor turns into a beast in the middle, and Browns fans thank their gods that the front office is no longer run by ass-hatted incompetents.

Browns: 6-10

Super Bowl:
Saints over Ravens
Browns and Colt surprise critics but have trouble "closing out" games as an incomplete team with several holes. It pained me to type Ravens, but they are now balanced with an offense that has Flaco, Rice, Boldin, and Evans.

Browns: 8-7-1

Super Bowl:
Falcons over Patriots
Schedule don't lie.

Browns: 10-6

Super Bowl:
Packers over Jets
I've looked over the Browns schedule and I don't see how they can't have at least a .500 record. They should be favorites in the first 6 home games. I am drinking the Colt McCoy kool-aid, I am convinced this guy has "it". Call me crazy but I don't think 12-4 is out of the question and I think anything worse than 8-8 would be a complete failure. There are certainly a lot of questions marks but there is finally some talent on this team and the future looks bright.

Browns: 5-11

Super Bowl:
Packers over Patriots
Just not enough talent on the receiving end, and the D isn't deep enough to keep them in enough games later in the season.