Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pro Football HOF Fan Fest Giveaway!

This weekend you can head to the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest at the I-X Center on Saturday and Sunday. Fan Fest is comprised of nearly 1 million square feet of interactive football activities, including, a full size 100 yard indoor field, 3 custom built theaters, games, exhibits and more

The Saturday Fest activities and Sunday Fest activities will be broken into four shows, which will each spotlight different Hall of Famers. The various sessions are:

Show 1: Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Show 2: Saturday, May 3: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Show 3: Sunday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Show 4: Sunday, May 4, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m

Among the hall-of-famers scheduled to appear are: Jim Brown, Paul Warfield, Joe Namath, Barry Sanders, Lynn Swann, Marshall Faulk, Franco Harris, Thurman Thomas, Warren Moon, Bruce Smith and Terry Bradshaw.

General Admission tickets for each show are $39.99 for adults, $19.99 for kids 7-12. An all-day pass (both sessions) is $64.99 for adults and $39.98 for kids 7-12. A two-day pass to all four shows is $129.99 for adults and $79.96 for kids 7-12. Kids 6 and under are free to all shows, and parking is free. Click here to buy your tickets now

Continue Reading for more information about the event and your chance at FREE tickets

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Vox Review: Draft Day

Midway through one of the most annoying and unrealistic sports flicks of all time, an ambivalent Mrs. ExVox asked me, "Is this a good movie? I mean...take Cleveland out of it...Is this is a good movie?" I didn't answer because, thankfully, that would be an impossible task. Draft Day wears Cleveland like a badge of honor. Our city is beautifully dressed, from the Eleven River Condos near the Westlake Marina to fist-pumping shots of the C-town skyline and First Energy Stadium.  90% of the movie was filmed in Cleveland, and there's a heartwarming landmark at every turn. I was so giddy seeing Dennis Leary, proud and defiant, in a Browns jacket that the details of DD might as well be insignificant. This is our long overdue moment on the silver screen, considering that the majority of Major League was shot in Milwaukee. Major League, however, benefitted from a funky spirit accentuated by a politically incorrect script. Draft Day, directed by Ivan Reitman, isn't nearly as fun or creative. On a bust scale, it rates somewhere between disaster and dud. For my readers thirsty for real life Browns analogies, think Gerard Warren and Tommy Vardell.

Needless to say, Kevin Costner is pretty darn good at being Kevin Costner. That's not necessarily a compliment or an insult. Costner just has a knack for representing all of his past characters in each new role. Playing beleaguered Browns GM Sonny Weaver Jr., Costner channels the conviction of Crash Davis, the idealism of Ray Kinsella, and the perseverance of Jim Garrison. I would normally say he carries the film, but there's no place to carry it. He's saddled with a ridiculous opening premise...Weaver trades three future first round draft picks to Seattle for the first pick overall, despite the fact that he's not even sure who he'll select! At 59, Costner's onscreen romance with 41-year old Jennifer Garner is almost as far-fetched. Cool Kevin can pull it off, but there's no saving the vapid archetypes surrounding him. Leary, famous for liking football, porno and books about war, spews forced, cliche-laden bravado as Coach Penn. Garner talks a good game, but lacks the tools to be believable. Ellen Burstyn, as Weaver's widowed mom, is a contrived waste of space and dialogue. The bright spots are Josh Pence, in a snarky turn as the projected first overall pick, and his agent, played by Sean Combs with convincing swag.

For all of Draft Day's purported realism, it feels like an advertisement for the NFL and ESPN. Chris Berman kicks off the flick with his grating, tired shtick and Jon Gruden makes a cameo or twoservin' up his trademark bland blather and droppin' any G at the end of a word. The fact that Commissioner Roger Goodell makes an appearance is a testament to the film's safe, vanilla themes; after all, would Goodell have signed off on any script that dared to truly examine the boundaries of pro football—a la Any Given Sunday? Draft Day's supposed baseball counterpart, 2012's Moneyball, was much more nuanced and truthful even with it's MLB license. The mood of Moneyball is accurately stark and melancholy, while Draft Day is at the opposite extreme with it's lighthearted, sappy overtones. That's not to say Draft Day fails because it's a romantic comedy disguised as a football drama. No, Draft Day is a victim of its own shallowness. Like most characters in DD, NFL General Managers are presented as exaggerated stereotypes. Even at the film's semi-entertaining climax, Jacksonville's naive GM is the intellectual equivalent of Rick Moranis in Reitman's Ghostbusters—eager to be maneuvered and hoodwinked for the sake of the plot.

I felt a pulsating tension in the theater during Draft Day that reminded me of seeing 1986's Howard the Duck, a worse than forgettable motion picture based in Cleveland. Lea Thomson sported a WMMS Buzzard sticker on her backpack and the Severance Mall crowd erupted with prideful cheers. It was a similar vibe during the equally-awful Light of Day, an intense 1987 drama about a blue-collar Cleveland bar band. See, we were ready to buy-in despite the artistic pile of shit that was shoveled at us. Moviegoers were seemingly on edge during Draft Day, maybe because of what's at stake at the actual upcoming NFL Draft. The film offers some uncanny parallels to the Browns' current situation. Does Sonny Weaver stay with Brian Drew, his current, gritty, modest-armed signal caller coming off an injury, and surround him with elite talent or does he dump his game-manager QB and rebuild with Wisconsin's All American consensus stud. Bo Callahan. Surely, new Browns GM Ray Farmer faces a similar dilemma with Brian Hoyer and the all-important fourth pick that could land a top college quarterback. I won't spoil Draft Day by revealing Sonny Weaver's decision, but I'll use this space to lobby for the following to happen on May 8...

"With the 4th Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select"...ANYONE BUT A QUARTERBACK!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What we think the Indians will do in 2014

altCleveland Indians 2014 Season 

April 1, 2014


Barely out of first place in the AL Central
I guess this year I am more optimistic than some, and more than Vegas. Last year starting pitching and offense was the mystery and the bullpen was supposed to be king. This year I'm thinking some big years from some contract players--who will be here past the trade deadline if the Tribe contends--carries the team to a successful year. But will need more than this to play meaningful games in October again.



Second place in the AL Central

The Tribe falls short of the playoffs after an up-and-down season. The pitching staff will be the Achilles heel for the team as the campaign winds down. To that point, ace Justin Masterson won't make it past the trade deadline.




Second place in AL Central

This is a solid Indians club even with the losses of two key members of the pitching staff from 2013. You've got to love the chemistry, and the lineup should be good enough to put the Tribe back in one of the wildcard slots. However, a quiet off-season has sapped some of my optimism. I'm hoping we don't have another 2007-08 situation, when the front office added nothing to a team that finished one game from the World Series, only to falter the following year

Second place, AL Central
Hard to handicap most MLB pitching staffs, but I don't see a Kazmir or 2nd half-Ubaldo on our roster. We learned last season that Tito's team will scrap, persevere and feed off the small successes of bench players. Still, the key to another playoff could be in Columbus right now- Trevor Bauer and his four-seam fastball.


Normally a stupid wresting analogy would go here. Maybe Justin Masterson is The Undertaker. Is Carlos Santana Randy Orton?


Second place, AL Central

Last year the starting pitching was better than anyone could have expected, they will need that again and I just don't see it. The good news is last year just about every offensive regular under performed, if even half of them could live up to expectations there is hope to be in playoff contention in September. I love the make up of the team, but Detroit just has too much talent.



Second place in the AL Central

My brain tells me 89 wins but my heart aches for 92 or more. Unfortunately, I see the Tribe finishing in second and just out of reach for the post-season.