Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's an NBA Lottery Conspiracy! (Just not the right one)

Well, well, what do we have here?

In the same spirit as the (in)famous Knicks "frozen envelope" which landed Patrick Ewing, conspiracy theories were rampant before the 2012 NBA Draft lottery last night. And what ended up happening? Let's just say that the NBA owns one franchise out of 30. And that team won the lottery. Not only that, but the soon-to-be-owner had to be negotiated into paying the NBA's asking price, only recently acquiescing to the purchase on David Stern's terms. What was the swaying factor? Yes, the New Orleans Hornets will be picking number one, and we apparently will be seeing the Unibrow on the Bayou. (Patent Pending)

Fear not, young Nick. #4 isn't that bad.
(AP/Jason DeCrow)
Uggh. All Cavaliers fans had their visions of Kyrie-to-Anthony-Davis lobs for the next 10 years. If not, then KI-to-MKG sounds like a great scoring punch. Unfortunately, with New Orleans jumping up to number one, that moved the Cavs down to #4. The world isn't falling--the #4 pick will can bring a great player to complement Irving and keep the Cavaliers on their rebuilding path.  But I was sure that the fix was in for Cleveland this time. Of course last year's #1 pick was the league's settlement with Dan Gilbert for the tampering charges that Gilbert eventually stopped investigating. But I had figured the settlement included two #1 picks. Oh well. Sometimes conspiracies have to battle each other, and this time Cleveland lost out.

I'm no college basketball Mel Kiper. I, like most NBA fans, will be focused on the draft a lot more the closer we get to June 28. But I know what my gut is telling me. I'm very nervous about Harrison Barnes. I've never got the "he's got it" feeling from him. Plus, does he not look a little soft? (The "he's got it feeling" I'm referring to is the one I got watching Trent Richardson run, even though I'd have much rather have RG3 in Brown and Orange this year.)  I'd be happy, of course, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, or Bradley Beal, to give Irving the scoring help the Cavaliers desperately need. But I guess my hope is for Thomas Robinson from Kansas. Strong, athletic, hard working big man. Great rebounder. Not as much upside as some (see Drummond, Andre). But not as much risk either. Any way you slice it, there will be some prime talent for the Cavaliers to take at #4. All is not lost. (And I suppose there is a chance for a trade up--I just don't think that's very likely. Unless Charlotte or New Orleans is really in love with Tristan Thompson or Anderson Varajao.)

The Cleveland contingent did their best to sway the odds, bringing down the lucky charms in Nick Gilbert, Joe Haden, Bernie Kosar, Josh Cribbs, and even bow-tie aficionado Dhani Jones. It just hasn't been the luckiest week for Cleveland. Maybe next time the Cavaliers are in the lottery, Kenny Lofton can come along. I think he'd look pretty swell in a bow tie.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's Justin vs. Justin in a lunchtime Indians special

The Tribe and Tigers wrap up their early-season showdown today at noon at Progressive Field. I, for one, am loving this preponderance of weekday afternoon games this year. This is something like the seventh "businessman's special" (as they used to be called), and not much is better than passing a few hours of a workday listening to baseball. Unless, of course, it's playing hookie and having a couple beers and dogs down at the park.

Jason Kipnis slides in with the go-ahead run on
Wednesday (AP)
It's foolish to assign too much a value to a May series. Especially when looking through the lens of 2011, where the Indians also stood in first place at this part of the season and beyond, with the Tigers in a similar six game deficit on May 24. Of course, the Indians faltered in the second half of the season, particularly in their 10-game losing streak to the kitties, and the rest, as they say is history.

Ancient history, if you haven't noticed. And judging from the attendance you haven't. Chris Perez has gotten all the attention for his comments this week about the fan reaction (and lack thereof) to the team in general, and him in particular. Much has been written and said about Mr. Perez' comments, and what can I add? I'm sure the Indians brass and other players are secretly glad that someone did their dirty work--trying to light a fire underneath the supposed fanbase in Cleveland. No matter the facts about economics, salary caps, and blown saves, the Indians' attendance is embarrassing. Not just last place. Last place by a longshot.

All I can guess is that if the Indians keep winning, the fans will show up. This team seems to have great chemistry, as shown in their early season dustups with opponents and how they have closed ranks around Perez. And the fans, who could have easily reacted frostily to Perez, instead welcomed him with standing ovations on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This afternoon's game should be a doozy. Sure, the prospect of facing Justin Verlander will not give any team great confidence, but the fact it, this series is already won. Justin Masterson has scuffled a bit this year, but he can match up with the best of them if he is on his game.  This could be a low scoring, run-manufacturing game. Which happens to be the Indians' specialty.

The Tigers don't appear to be the juggernaut that they were billed as. The Indians have a good team, and win or lose today, it's been a good week overall  for Indians baseball. Sunshine and baseball. What could be better?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's Beat Up Cleveland day at

Well, when it rains, it pours I guess. And despite the beautiful weather in C-town today, the folks a few hundred miles east are trying to send rain clouds against the jetstream.

Mere hours after I read Craig's article on WFNY about the baseball page cover story featuring the Indians' attendence, I meandered over to the site myself to check out what Miami Heat players would be banished for their thuggery mere flagrant-1 fouls in last night's game.

And what greets me there, right smack on the very front page?  A "future power rankings" from 2015, (accessible via ESPN Insider only) projecting where each of the 32 NFL teams will be in three years. Thanks Trent Dilfer, Mel Kiper, Gary Horton, and Matt Williamson for being such clairvoyants.

Naturally, the Browns are in dead last place. Can't complain about the prediction, but the timing stinks.

And also for the "Sorry Cleveland" sentiment. I'm sure you are. (Not that we don't need the pity sometimes.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Perez rant shines ugly light on Cleveland fans

In Cleveland, perception is reality.

If you want a look into the mind of the petulantly angry Cleveland fan, at least as perceived by closer Chris Perez during his outburst to reporters over the weekend, look no further than the small table set up on the outdoor patio of Panini's Bar and Grill on E. 9th St. in downtown Cleveland.

There stands a young capitalist selling homemade t-shirts of the kind offered outside most every stadium in the nation. Invariably cheap-looking cotton shirts embroidered with swears or in the case of Wrigley Field,  gay slurs aimed at the top players of rival teams, i.e. "Albert takes it in the Pujols."

The table at the Cleveland Panini's contains similar wares, boasting the usual anti-Steelers slogans and the like. One shirt stands out from the lot due to its deep red coloring and mocking sentiment against the very franchise that most people have come downtown to root for. "What If" The Dolans Weren't So Cheap, the shirt reads, a not-so-subtle dig at the Tribe's nostalgia-laced ad campaign of the last two seasons. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kyrie Irving grows up before our eyes as "Uncle Drew"

It didn't take a genius to realize that Cavs rookie (and until recently, teenaged) phenom Kyrie Irving had basketball skills and maturity beyond his years. But who knew how old a soul young master Irving truly had?

In this new video sponsored by Pepsi Max, Kyrie Irving writes, directs, and stars in a short entitled, and about, "Uncle Drew."  In the five minute video, Kyrie goofs on the current "rappity hippity hop" generation of ballers, and pays homage to street ball in Bloomfield, New Jersey, at Clark's Ponds Court. Quite hilariously, I might add.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Greg Oden breaks it down with Mark Titus

Greg Oden. The name brings up many emotions among basketball fans. For Ohio State fans (and many Cavaliers fans, like me), fond memories of his one (half) year in Columbus. And a desire to see him dominate in the Association.  For some columnists, it's a history-ignoring habit of suggesting that the Blazers were idiots for passing on Kevin Durant, when in fact same columnists might have done the same thing.  For Blazers fans--I'm sure ripping of hair and gnashing of teeth is a common response to a career cut short in Portland. And for snarky Deadspin-worshippers, it's a little (poor word choice) snicker about the nude cellphone-self-photos that leaked of Oden a couple years ago.

But little has been heard from the big man himself. On Grantland, former Ohio State self-described "scrub" (and author of the brilliantly named blog Club Trillion) Mark Titus sat down with his friend and former teammate, and some interesting insights definitely came out.

Check the full article at the link at the bottom, after the jump.

On the wrist injury Oden suffered that cut his freshman year at Ohio State in half:
What actually happened? He damaged ligaments defending himself in a fight with his hotheaded younger brother, Anthony. The incident occurred shortly before the Indiana state tournament, when Greg was a senior leading Lawrence North High to a third straight state title. Greg and Anthony's occasionally ugly sibling rivalry is similar to a lot of brothers' relationships, but the fact that one brother, Greg, was the best basketball player in the country during his high school years only intensified things.
On the problems that hit him during his second year in Portland, living with a cousin:
My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time. So I got wrapped up in it too. When I played well, I'd drink to celebrate. And when I played poorly, I'd drink to forget. That second year in Portland I pretty much became an alcoholic."
On the nude cell phone picture:
"I wish it wouldn't have happened," he said. "But I'm not going to apologize for it. After all, I'm human and there are worse things that 21-year-olds could do. I just got caught up with women throwing themselves at me. When a girl sends me 100 pictures, I have to send something back every now and then. I'm not an asshole." 
Summing up his frustration:
"That's the worst part about all of the injuries and the criticism. It would be one thing if I had been healthy for five years and just sucked when I was on the court. But I can't prove what I can do because I can't stay healthy. Not having control over the situation makes it tough." 
I've always like Oden. When healthy, an absolutely dominating, amazing player. I wouldn't mind, after his year off living in Columbus, seeing him make the trip two hours north to give the wine-and-gold a try. Given his personality, I'm sure Cleveland, Indiana, Detroit, or Chicago would be his preference; something close to his Indiana roots.

But no matter where he ends up, I'll be rooting for him.

"You can't let the other team beat you with your seventh guy out of the pen instead of your best arm."

Ironic quote of the day, courtesy of Manny Acta, after the Indians fall in extras to the White Sox, thanks to an Alex Rios triple off Chris Perez.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Suite life of CST's Doug and Tom

Social media is a tool that's brought us closer than ever to our well-loved sports' teams. It allows us to follow the innermost breakfast plans of our favorite athletes, who, it turns out, enjoy slices of banana in their Frosted Flakes just like us mouth-breathing commoners. How interesting!

The Cleveland Indians already have a reputation as being one of MLB's most Twitter-friendly teams. The Tribe upped the ante this year with the Indians Social Suite, billed by the club as “the first social media-only space in professional sports." The suite, situated along the left field line right above third base, gives attendees wireless Internet access from whence to send their undoubtedly insightful and entertaining electronic messages to friends and followers. Invitations to the social suite are distributed on a game-by-game basis. 

My initial taste of the suite was during last night's game against the Texas Rangers. As guest of CST webmaster Tom, the two of us sent out a handful of tweets and blog posts from Tom's Android phone.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tribe game goes to extras

We're in extra innings after a late tribe rally. The bats were deader than Dillinger for seven innings, but a passed ball and other super moon craziness lead to two runs in the bottom of the eighth. If the tribe wins now we can hang out outside the casino construction site with CST's very own SamVox.

Tonight's game not so 'super'

Not much offense tonight for the wahoos. Instead cst members Tom and Doug are waiting on the appearance of the super moon, which could frighten more superstitious members the Rangers into making a game changing error or two.

Where can we get Vegas odds on this possibility?

Live from Progressive Field

CST contributors Doug and Tom are reporting live from the Indians social suite at Progressive Field. A chill wind blows through the stadium, but we're barely feeling it as we look down at the riff raff below from our lofty perch. Kidding!

Thanks to the Indians for including two members of our growing blog into their social media campaign.