Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Arbitration Avoidance Winterfest!

(Chris is a long suffering Tribe fan, guest writing here for CST. He can be seen on Twitter at @Cheech99.)

As the winter starts to press through to the back half of January, and that small speck of light on the horizon may well just be Tribe pitchers and catchers in Goodyear, AZ, the Cleveland Indians continue to sort through roster management to put their best foot forward in 2012.

As of this writing, January 17th clearly represents Arbitration Avoidance Fest as the Tribe has already agreed to one year deals with Joe Smith ($1.75MM), Jack Hannahan ($1.3MM), Shin Soo Choo (4.9MM) Justin Masterson ($3.825MM), Chris Perez ($4.5MM) with only Raffy Perez and Asdrubal Cabrera the lone unresolved cases.  With the Tribe having avoided formal arbitration since the Governor (Jerry Browne) and the Flounder (Greg Swindell) in 1991, it would be a pretty big shock if Cabrera or Raffy P actually went before the arbitrator.

What this does is begin to cement the 2012 opening day payroll which, by my math, would seem to shake out around $65MM (not including various incentives like the Sizemore escalators).  If the Dolans have given General Manager Chris Antonetti a budget ceiling, he obviously knows what he has to work with to augment the team via that oft-discussed first baseman/left fielder/ideally right handed stick, one of the more amusing off-season pursuits in recent memory.

The Chosen One has company

Kyrie IrvingComparing current Cavaliers rookie and overall #1 pick Kyrie Irving to another certain Cavalier #1 overall pick may be as unfair as comparing WWE's diminutive but lightning-quick Rey Mysterio to the muscular, larger-than-life legend Hulk Hogan. So I did it anyway, comparing their first twelve professional games. I knew Kyrie was having a very good start to his career and it would be at least worth looking at the stats next that Guy in Miami's, but I was shocked by how comparable the stats are - particularly the points per game (PPG), considering Kyrie is averaging thirteen LESS minutes per game. Ultimately, there is one stat that matters when comparing Kyrie to LeBron in a Cavaliers uniform: Championships.God willing - Kyrie will be on the plus side.

Kyrie vs. LeBron - the First 12 Games

Averages LeBron Kyrie
Minutes per game 40.75 27.75
Field goal % .444 .482
3 pt. % .355 .419
Free throw % .620 .867
Assists per game 6.7 5.3
Rebounds per game 6.5 3.2
Steals per game 1.3 .8
Blocks per game .8 .6
Turnovers per game 3.67 3.25
Points per game 17.5 17.7
Team Record 4-8 6-6

Monday, January 16, 2012

Are the Cavs too good for their own good?

2011 is a rebuilding season for the Cavaliers, the first real attempt at repairing the destruction of the "Decision" tsunami. Last year's wrong-headed stab at quasi-contention could have set the franchise back years, but a 26-game losing streak, a moronic dance partner willing to trade an unprotected lottery pick for Mo Williams, and a rare piece of good luck that landed the Cavs a No. 1 draft spot all combined to set the foundation for the future.
Not much was expected much from this year's Cavs, however. Kyrie Irving was a clear-cut top pick in an on-paper weak draft, but a toe injury had limited him to 11 games the year before at Duke. Tristan Thompson, the Cavs' second lottery pick selected fourth overall, was a larger question mark, with many fans wondering why the team took the relatively unknown Texas center/forward tweener over a couple of high-ceilinged European prospects.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Frozen Faceoff is over; could hockey work in Cleveland?

On a giant sports day Sunday, many eyes in Cleveland were on an unusual event taking place at Jacobs Progressive Field. While the Packers dream season was crushed by the G-Men at Lambeau Field, the Ravens unfortunately won (hopefully their last game of the season), and the Ohio State (Basketball) Buckeyes paid Indiana back in spades in the Columbus rematch, the Ohio State (hockey) Buckeyes faced off at Progressive Field against their archrivals--at least on the football field--in the form of the Michigan Wolverines.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dreams of the playoffs running through my head...

Winter seems finally to be approaching (and none too soon, as there's supposed to be an ice hockey game at the local ballfield this weekend, and last time I checked, ice was needed for that.) Christmas may be long gone, but I know that poem has something about kerchiefs and caps and long winter's naps, and dreams of point guards running through their heads.
Or something.  But that's what I'll be thinking about, Kyrie Irving led the Cavs to a huge win Thursday during a very tough road trip, in Phoenix. This team is nothing like last year's. At least not like last January's.
Opinions differ here at CST on what is the best outcome to the season for the young Cavs. And I sure as hell don't know. But I'm rooting for the playoffs.
Here's a link to a disgusting move by Irving, since NBA.com doesn't allow embedding.

Kyrie Irving

Thursday, January 12, 2012

25 years after "The Drive", Browns still have the better quarterback song

The Broncos may be flying relatively high this week, especially compared to our (un-)fair team, but even now, 25 years after "The Drive", the Cleveland Browns have one clear advantage over the Denver Broncos.
"Tim Tebow's Fire" is not even in the same league as "Bernie, Bernie."
I refer, of course, to the longtime (and some had thought, lost) tradition of football songs. When I was a kid, I distinctly remember sitting with my tape recorder NEXT to the radio on playoff Sundays, recording songs from WMJI and WMMS such as "Bad, Bad, Cleveland Browns" (hold your jokes, please,) "Return to Denver," "Bernie's Back", and of course, the song that will live as long as Cleveland does, "Bernie, Bernie." Even now, sports bars play that during Browns games, and only those early 20's fans look confused, as all of us 30-and-above sing at the top of our intoxicated lungs. There had to be 20-something songs played every Sunday, over and over, and I wish I still had those cassette tapes around here.

Well, John Parr has rewritten his only #1 hit "Man in Motion (St. Elmo's Fire)"  into an homage to none other than Denver quarterback Tim Tebow. I suppose the song is about the Broncos' quarterback--after all, his name is in there. But to be honest, there not too much reference to the sport of football. The whole world is talking about Tebow this week, so Parr must have felt there's no time like the present to try to get some pub. Hell, wish I had thought of it first.
Let's compare, and then you can judge for yourself:

Parr ("Tim Tebow's Fire"):
I can see a new horizon
Underneath the blazin’ sky
I’ll be where the eagle’s
Flyin’ higher and higher
Gonna be a man in motion
All I needs my Broncos team
Take me where my future’s lyin’
Tim Tebows Fire
Bleacher Bums  ("Bernie, Bernie):
Takes the snap, drops back, looks down the field...
Brennan breaks open the victory seal...
Cody and Baab keep the blitz at bay...
Give Bernie some time to make the big play.
As you can see, Parr's lyrics are just a mishmash of metaphors, with some Broncos and Tebow references in there, although he does mention "down on one knee, tryin' to break free." Bonus points for that. Too bad he didn't work "gut punched a rapist's team, sent him home a few weeks early...."
To compare, the Bleacher Bums are virtually writing up an offensive gameplan for the Browns. Very specific, not that Bernie needed the help.
"Enjoy" the two songs, but as you're watching Tim Tebow most likely throw for 4 touchdowns and run for a couple more against the Patriots this weekend, just keep humming "Bernie, Bernie" to yourself. You know you want to.

We gotta go, Super Bowl. We gotta go now, Super Bowl.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First and foremost, the Browns need a QB

With the 2011 Browns season at a merciful end, those with the strength to look ahead to next year should realize that Coach Pat Shurmur is not going anywhere. Reports that the Browns intend to hire an offensive coordinator to take some of the pressure off Shurmur all but ensure Cleveland's first-year coach isn't going to be one and done.  

Whether or not fans equate a potential OC hire with shuffling deck chairs on a doomed luxury vessel, there's a bigger iceberg floating out there in the dark, and it's hard to believe that some people can't see it. Say it with me, now: The Browns need a top-flight quarterback, or they're never going to win. 

To borrow a meme that all the kids are using these days, Obvious statement is obvious. I'm not trolling, either. Even so, there's a reluctance among some fans and media types to use a high draft pick on a quarterback. This hesitation is coupled with a curious insistence that a mid-range talent like Colt McCoy will somehow blossom with the help of a true No. 1 receiver and some sturdier bodies on the offensive line.

What we think will happen vs. the Steelers

alt Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

January 1, 2012


No Pick

Steelers 21
Browns 6
The Browns end their season with another crappy game. Many issues loom in the offseason. Next year they have to show major improvement or the Browns will once again probably be starting over with yet another new front office.

Steelers 20
Browns 10
The only interesting aspect of this game will be the percentage of Steelers' fans in the stands. Take note, Lerner.
Steelers 28
Browns 10
Don't screw up our draft position Shurmur! Just keep doing what you've been doing.
Browns 12
Steelers 10
Going Terry Pluto on you today.
Steelers 20
Browns 14
Browns go down fighting.
No Pick