Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's not just Ted Stevens

who is a douchbag. Looks like Democrat Robert Byrd also has a hold on the transparency bill. Fuckers.


I've added a few more links (All Things Idiotic, The Dissapointment Zone, Bitter Fans, Red Right 88, Real Cavs Fans and Cleveland Sports Blog) over there-ish ------->

Check 'em out.

The Indians and Expectations

The Indians are looking better of late, sweeping the Blue Jays last night. It's weird, I watch these games now and I expect them to win. I'm waiting for them to find a way to pull it out. It wasn't like this earlier in the season, it was the opposite; we would wait for the bullpen to blow it, didn't matter how big the lead was (remember that White Sox game? ugh).

The Hornless Rhino mentioned the Tribe being the Kings of Garbage Time and I'm wondering if I agree. Papa Cass goes much deeper and wonders if it's the Indians' culture:
To me, it perpetuates the idea that the Indians are breeding a culture more concerned with computation than competition. When winning is an abstract concept, when problems can be solved with hypotheses and players can be quantified with software, this organization seems to operate at its best.

When the focus shifts from the hope of the future to the demands of the present, then there are problems.

I'm not sure I totally agree, but I am thinking about it (I do know that I'm enjoying these wins and watching the kids play).

Then today, Bud Shaw got in on the act:

Making a turnaround after trading off veterans, though, doesn't mean the Indians have found the kind of young talent that won't be denied next year. The Marlins charged back, too. So did the Phillies.

Teams sometimes hit this gear when young players do the driving late in a lost year. The supporting cast that has played well enough in the last month to make .500 seem plausible offers as much reason for pause as anything else, if only because it hasn't gone through a season when contention was expected.

This organization needs you to believe in next year so deeply that you take from the college fund to buy tickets. But it should have to do something more than recycle optimism to gain your trust, let alone your credit card number.

Two years ago, the Indians raced into contention in August when no one thought them capable, and then promptly fell into an open manhole. The added cannon fire to their charge last season was impressive in that it sent the Chicago White Sox reeling. But look what happened. The Indians couldn't stand prosperity.

They gave back the wild card. Lugging the same expectations into this season, they shied from the acclaim almost immediately. That "quick" start in April amounted to 13-12 for the month.

That's not a statement unless it spoke to a growing lack of faith in the plan inside the clubhouse. Players who were told the agonizing experience in the last week of the season was a character builder sure to make them stronger in '06 saw the roster made weaker with the losses of Bob Howry, Kevin Millwood and Coco Crisp.

The Dolans need to give General Manager Mark Shapiro some financial room to make mistakes. He's hardly the problem. He's the same GM who acquired Sizemore and Hafner after all.
Just a few things, I may be misunderstanding the veterans remark, but we're all aware that the guys Shapiro traded away this season wouldn't be back next year anyway, right? It wasn't like he was trading off people under contract for the next few years.

And about the Howry, Millwood and Crisp line. Texas gave Millwood a "Nene" type deal. A deal where the player signs it and is immediately over paid. Who blames the Tribe for that? As for Crisp... Boston isn't exactly thrilled with him right now; he's been hurt all year and has underwhelmed (trust me, he's on my fantasy team). Even if Marte doesn't become the Tribe's third baseman for the next decade, I think I'll be alright.

More Papa Cass:
2. At times, it seems like this team has no idea how to translate talent into winning

Talent is a must when building a winner. But a team must also consistently empower and motivate that talent. So far, I'm not seeing that out of the Indians. Manager Eric Wedge deserves some of the blame, but I think it's an organizational thing.

There is no reason why the Indians, a team with a very capable offense and starting rotation, should be as bad as they are. It's all between the ears.

3. Wedge and Shapiro are vanilla and vanilla

No smoke, no fire. Heck, not even a palpable difference of opinion. The brain monster known as Wedgiro brings the same ideas, same philosophies, same leadership style and maybe even the same hair care products to the table. That's not a good recipe when things grow stagnant, as I think they have in the Indians' front office.
Though I kinda like Wedge, part of me wonders A) if the Indians could use a new voice in the clubhouse and B) is Wedge saving his job by going on this late surge towards .500?

I mean, Lou Piniella is out there, isn't he?

Keith Olbermann

I loved the old Sport Centers with Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick. I mean, come on, those were sweet. Olbermann has started apearing on Dan Patrick's radio show. At first it was every Friday, but I think it's now up to an hour a day (I could be wrong, Cleveland doesn't have a decent ESPN radio station, and I could only listen so often to Patrick when I was at Ohio State).

Anyways, Olbermann's TV, Countdown, is pretty good. I don't watch it religiously, but if I'm gonna watch a non-Comedy Central cable news talk show, it's gonna be Olbermann. He's gotten some flack (or praise, depending how you look at it) recently for going after Bill O'Reilly and he's slowly turning into a liberal boogeyman.

Anyways, I read this speech he gave last night on his show and it was so good I just had to give a link. The speech is a response to Donald Rumsfeld comments that people who disagree with this administration are Nazi appeasers. Here's the transcript:

The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.

For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril—with a growing evil—powerful and remorseless.

That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the “secret information.” It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s -- questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all — it “knew” that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty — and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy.

Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscient ones.

That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count -- not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we -- as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding.

But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.”

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.”

Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

And so good night, and good luck.

And if you're still reading this post and you think I've been being too politcal lately, don't worry (too much), once the NBA and NFL actually start I'll be much more sports oriented. Though, I imagine I'll still post some political links I find interesting (I also have some mini music reviews brewing as well).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

College Football is better than the NFL?

Now look, I love my Buckeyes, but I hear this every year, "College Football is better than NFL Football". Really? I cannot satand bowl season, "hey, 50 games that don't mean anything!" With college basketball's postseason it's "Win or go home" With college football's postseason it's "Win or lose, go home. And we're playing for 13th place". Not me. Let's hear Stewart Mandel's list:

1) Fight songs performed by actual, live bands and written prior to 2003.

Cool I guess, but that makes the NFL worse?

2) Tailgating at The Grove rather than some municipal parking lot.

3) Cheerleaders without silicone.

Really, this counts as a reason the college game is better than the NFL?

4) Stadiums without retractable roofs.

who cares?

5) Players who actually make mistakes sometimes.

Two words: Aaron Brooks. Two more: Bret Favre Two more? Ross Verba. Fine, final three: Jake the Snake. Bonus two words: Jeff George
6) Star players who actually care about practices.
Says who? Does this not account for the guys who blow off class?

7) Coaches who actually talk about things other than safety blitzes from time to time.

Again, huh? Bill Parcels talked about the Cuban Missle Crisis.

8) Coaches who go for it on fourth-and-2.

Marty Morningweg and "We'll take the wind" Also, Mike Martz.

9) Rivals that only play each other once a year.

I guess. I mean, the Browns play the Steelers once in Cleveland, once in Pittsburgh. This is bad? Each city gets the game once a year?

10) Teams that still run the option.

The option sucks.

11) Mobile quarterbacks who are actually allowed to run.

Yea, I hate the fact that the NFL is full of good athletes too.

12) Walk-ons.


13) Students who dress up to go to the games.

Agreed, if only Browns Fans dressed up.

14) Students who can roll out of bed and walk to the stadium.

15) Games with national-title implications in September.


16) Games with national-title implications in October.


17) Bear Bryant barking from a JumboTron seconds before Alabama takes the field.

18) A Seminole on a horse riding to midfield and throwing a flaming spear.

Ahhh, racism

19) The Vol Walk, The Tiger Walk, the Dawg Walk, et al.

20) Every other tradition at every other school I haven't already mentioned.

I see some of the points, but really? Fight songs? Walk ons? And nice ending "Every other tradition at every other school I haven't already mentioned".

Ben's reasons why the NFL is better:
1) no BCS
2) no polls
3) hey, a playoff system
4) you can lose a game and still do okay
5) instant replay
6) John Madden
7) no BCS
8) no BCS
9) no BCS
10) no BCS

Coach Brown

count me as one of those fans who didn't receive this well.

Random USA-Germany Thoughts

Some random observations from the 85-65 US victory...

The first half was awful. In the first half the US played into every NBA stereotype. The was no team game, a lot of one-on-one, they couldn't hit a jumper and they played lax defense. They were jumping the passing lanes looking for easy scores, instead of playing the lockdown defense they showed off versus Australia. The US only lead by a point at halftime and looked nervous and unsure of itself.

The second half wasn't too great either. Yes, they won by 20 points, but they more or less outlasted Germany. The US stepped up the pressure D, got some easy transition buckets and just overwhelmed the Germans. If Dirk had played well (see next paragraph) who knows how the second half had been.

Dirk didn't play very well. Maybe he was too excited to play against his NBA foes, maybe he was just worn out from playing basketball for 2,430 straight months or maybe it was Team USA's defense. I dunno. But Team USA did a great job defending him all game. LeBron did very well versus Dirk, as did Battier and Bosh. Coach K kept throwing different looks (and fresh legs) at Dirk to keep him off his toes.

Team USA's captains didn't play very well either. I thought LeBron had the strongest game out of the three. Wade and Anthony seemed to just keep shooting. They both had awful nights from the floor, but I got the feeling that even though the shots weren't falling, because of how well they've played, they were just going to keep jacking them up. 'Melo was 7-19 (3-9 from three) and Wade was 1-11 (0-5 from three). They played right into Germany's hands; the Germans played zone and Wade and Anthony didn't make them work and settled for jumpers (to be fair, a lot of team USA did the same thing, but Wade and 'Melo stood out the most).

More LeBron. He had a lot of good and a lot of bad. LeBron played great defense on Dirk, just phenomenal. However, when guarding other players, he seemed to lack the same intensity. James also took his fair share of jumpers, but he also took the ball to the hole more. At the end of the third period Team USA started to run plays for James in the post (Mike Brown pay attention!) and he dominated the Germans. While James was posting up, 'Melo was on the bench just screaming "take him" and "post him up", it is almost as James is unsure of his post moves and 'Melo was trying to give him confidence. Well, it worked (also, I've never seen James go into the post, in any game, and not accomplish something, like score, draw a foul or kick out for a jumper. Cavs fans need to see more of this).

Still more LeBron. He had more than his fair share of turn overs, 7. A lot of these were trying to make too fine of passes and little things, but a few were off of charges. At least one of these was bullshit and the refs blew it. Which brings me to my next point...

The refs were awful. The first half was exceptionally bad. One of the reason why 'Melo and Wade's field goal numbers were so awful was lack of fouls being called. In the first half, on the few times Wade and 'Melo did drive, they were hacked or bumped with no calls. And the bad calls didn't just hurt the US, Dwight Howard got possibly the worst continuation call I've ever seen. The play was dead and he layed it up afterwards, and the refs counted it! It was terrible.

Team defense stunk, but induvidual defense didn't. While the US seemed to play too many passing lanes and had too many break downs, Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Kirk Hinrich played exceptional defense. Hinrich applied constant pressure the entire time he was on the floor. He was all over the place. Bosh played good help D and (I thought, though the announcer didn't) played Dirk very well. Speaking of Bosh...

Bosh played really really well. Twice Bosh sneaked behind Germany's zone defense for an alley oop. Bosh guarded guys in the post and on the perimeter. He was all over the place and really left his imprint on the game. This is night and day from the Italy game, where he looked lost and unsure.

Greece is next. Hopefully this game is a wake up call for Team USA. They didn't look impressive this game (after the ran away with the last two) and let's hope Coach K makes sure that these guys know they have to play a team offense.

Finally. Stop shooting threes! They were 10-40. 40! I know teams are going to play zone versus the US, but come on, the US has the biggest, strongest, tallest guys on the court at all time. Use that height. Post up or attack the rim please. Shooting threes with 15 seconds left on the shot clock is not fun to watch (and it doesn't seem to help you win).

Ted Stevens

Really, you're kidding

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Secret Hold Update

We're down to the final 10. My money is on Ted Stevens.

From TPMmuckraker:

Who's trying to stop the government from telling its citizens where their tax dollars are being spent? Help find out.

Just before the August recess, the Senate was set to vote on a bill introduced by Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would create a public, searchable database of all federal grants and contracts. Envisioned as a Google-like website, it would provide free, immediate access the information, which can be alarmingly difficult to obtain.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously passed the measure July 27th, and S.2590 seemed to be speeding on its way to full Senate passage when, in the dark of night, an unknown Senator placed a "secret hold" on the bill. According to Senate courtesies, the bill will never come to a vote as long as the hold continues.

Wanna see a white guy dunk over a car?

Sure ya do

Windhorst on Team USA's Unselfish Play

He says that Team USA's unselfish style is a product Wade and LeBron's leadership.

The ownership of this edition of the Dream Team quickly ended up in the hands of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. The overall attitude is really a product of James and Wade, who have founded an unselfish style that is shocking the international basketball world that long ago tagged American stars as snobbish and self-centered.

It was Wade, owner of an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy and a forthcoming ring, who openly volunteered to come off the bench. It is a move that has proved to be brilliant; his entrance when the opposition is huffing and puffing almost always leads to a swing in the score.

He also wonders how this team would've (and will) work out with Kobe Bryant.

There is no doubt Bryant is one of the best players in the world. He owns three NBA titles and is coming off one of the most prolific scoring seasons in league history. His ability is unquestioned.

Were Bryant on Team USA, however, he probably would have been named a captain, if not the only captain, as one of the oldest and most experienced players. The team wouldn't necessarily have belonged to the three guns from the class of 2003, and the theme, as Bryant's game often suggests, might not have been to share before all else.

I recently expressed similar concerns, not just about Bryant, but about most of the stars not participating in the World Championships:
I really don't want Kobe on this team in '08. I also don't want Chauncey Billups or Paul Pierce. This team is like a new (next) generation of players. This team is Wade, LeBron and Melo's team. This is their generation. Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kirk Hinrich and Chris Bosh were all from the same draft class (2003). Dwight Howard was from the following year and Chris Paul the year after that (2004 and 2005). And the older players on this team, Elton Brand (1999), Brad Miller (1998), Joe Johnson, Shane Battier (both 2001) and Antawan Jamison (1998)? These are the under appreciated players from the previous generation of stars; these guys are just now getting their due. But Kobe (1996), Chauncey Billups (1997) and Paul Pierce (1998) have already gotten their time in the spot light (Billups not as much, but he did get mad love after the championship). They're established stars, they are from the generation who passed up these international competetions. I don't want to see this team gel together and win a gold, only to have it's chemistry screwed up by adding Pierce, Bryant and Billups in 2008. I feel like the under appreciated older players and the newer, younger supstars work really well together. I'm not sure how the older superstars (Pierce and Kobe) will work out with the younger ones (James and Wade). And honestly? I don't want to see them play; I've seen them play, I want to see the young guys now (and guys like Brand and Johnson, who never get to be on TV due to their teams).

Personally, I'd like the Olympic roster to be as close as possible to the current roster. This team is growing and playing the right way; I like it and I don't want to see changes in 2 years.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Great article on Larry Hughes

I just found the other day, and it is great. The latest post is about Larry Hughes and the Cavs offense and it hits all the right points. I have nothing to add.

Update man, how did I miss this site, they have a great chat with Cavs-uber reporter Brian Windhorst.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Reasons 9,235 and 9,236 why LeBron can't wait to leave for NYC

the best way to get a LeBron quote? Go through the Akron Beacon Journal (hat tip to Sepe):

I have a tip, however, for any of you journalists here looking for a LeBron James quote: Get there early and find Windhorst. Here's why. Most players from each team will talk -- either on their way to the locker room or a few minutes after they have a chance to grab a bag of ice and a dry shirt. Those players that do talk usually walk out, pick a random spot and stick around for a few minutes. But one thing I've noticed consistently since day one in Sapporo is that LeBron makes a beeline for his local sportswriter -- almost always answering every question Windhorst can throw his way
LeBron hates Akron so much, he has a '330' (hey! that's my area code too!) tatoo on his arm:
James has two new tattoos he is sporting at the worlds. On his right calf is the word ``Witness,'' a reference to the highly successful Nike campaign during the playoffs. Also, on his right arm, below his elbow, is a large ``330,'' a reference to his hometown, with four stars around it. It is popular for NBA players to get tattoos referring to their telephone area code.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

This is probably the funniest show on TV and the first show I've seen that reminds me of Seinfeld. This clip is from the episode where the gang volunteers and coaches youth basketball. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Washington and Politicians

Ever wonder why people distrust politics and Washington? Stupid shit like this.

Fantasy Football Extravaganza

Alright, we just completed our draft (I briefly thought about live blogging the goodness, but it went by too fast) and I am pretty happy with my team. The one problem is, I have a lot of players who are good, but I hate. Let's review the Cuddly Muffin's (did you see the Shatner roast?) roster, shall we?
Tom Brady
Dante Culpepper

Corey Dillon
Thomas Jones
DeAngelo Williams
Laurence Maroney
Jerome Harrison

Chad Johnson
Laveranues Coles
David Givens
Ashlie Lelie
Dante Hall

Antonio Gates
Jerramy Stevens

Josh Brown
Jeff Reed

Tampa Bay

Defensive Players
Simeon Rice
Michael Strahan
Ed Reed
Quentin Jammer

I like my team a lot. I got some running backs later on (Williams, Maroney and Harrison) who could produce (Harrison was my last pick). I love and hate my quarterbacks. Both Brady and Culpepper could net me some points, but I hate both of them with a passion. I hate Culpepper's little dance and I hate the fact that no one mentions that Culpepper may not be that good without Randy Moss (looks at what Moss/Denny Green did for QBs in Minn. I mean seriously, they made everyone look good. I'm not saying that Culpepper is on the same level as Brad Johnson and an old Randal Cunningham, but could someone have mentioned last year that Randy Moss makes life a bit easier on QBs?).

And Tom Brady, ya he's good, but I hate the dude. Patriots, a Boston team? Michigan QB? A team full of "football players" who "just play football"? I hate that fucker. Plus I got the Patriots running game AND a former Patriot at WR (Givens). This just in, I hate the Patriots.

And Chad Johnson? He plays for the Bengals, enough said. My defenses should be not bad (I'm not expecting great things, just not awfulness). My kickers should get a lot of scoring chances and my defense is made up of players who should create some plays (what more can you ask for?).

Finally, for any reader(s) out there, I started a Pick 'Em League and Survival Football League on Yahoo!, so if you want to compete (assuming we actually remember to pick this time) against my college (OSU) buddies the info is as follows:

Yahoo! Survival
league ID #: 9999
password: firefight

Yahoo! Pro Pick 'Em
league ID # 33892
password: hammertime

Scoop Jackson confuses me

He has some advice for team USA:
Carmelo's comment after the Italia game said it all: "When you're used to beating teams by 20 or 25 points, we came in thinking we'd beat them by 25, too." That right there needs to freeze. Because that right there led the U.S. to playing the way it did, trailing Italy 45-36 at halftime. That right there almost lost the game. The days of winning games in blowouts every night out are done. The world has gotten better and the separation simply isn't what it used to be. Therefore, there is no room for BS-ing on the court once the ball is tossed. Coach Krzyzewski said it more diplomatically: "If we win and don't play at the level I want, I'll be disappointed. If we play at that level and someone plays at a higher level, I'll shake their hand." In real terminology: Stop the BS. That right there is all that needs to be said.

and this

But it's got to be controlled anger. The U.S. cannot let other teams or the FIBA refs expose them as uncool, uncalm and uncomposed under pressure. They cannot get "rattled" or "chippy" as the L7 announcers call it. Elbows, knees, bumps, getting pushed while in the air, hard fouls, cheap fouls, unnecessary fouls, no calls, foreign four-letter words, saliva, fists -- they need to kill opponents with smiles and 12-point runs, "nice tries" and 30-point leads. That chip on their shoulders (one that D-Wade almost let slip) needs to be shelved. They must remember Zidane. Whatever they do they can't go out like Zidane. Even if someone says something about their mamas.

So I'm confused, when they think they should win by 25, they're wrong. But they should stay cool and under control by getting 30 point leads? I know what he's getting at, which is basically this: respect your opponents and don't be dickheads (and don't let their dickheads piss you off).

But still, don't tell them not to expect to blow out their opponents and come back and say "wanna shut them up? beat them by 30".

Little update

I messed with the template a little bit, I think it looks not terrible. Also, I added a doo-hickey, which shows the reader(s) what I've listened to recently.

You may notice that there's a lot of Maynard Ferguson on there, the reason? Well, Maynard has passed away. I've always enjoyed the Chameleon album, thought that's just the tip of the iceberg (my favs are "Gospel John" and "Superbone meets the Bad Man", but honestly who doesn't love "Chameleon")

Friday, August 25, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006

World Basketball Prospects

I've seen every game (except one, Slovenia- damn you Tivo!) that the US has played so far. And while the team has looked pretty good, there have been a few non-US players that have caught my eye.

I'm with Windhorst on this one, I like the kid from China, Yi Jianlian. He's a young forward/guard type player, who is quick and big. He is physically gifted, though I suspect he's part Dominican. The reason? China says Yi is in his 20s. Wait, no 19. Hold on... no 17. Either way, he looks like he belongs out there with the NBA athletes; all the age does is down grade him from 'awesome NBA prospect' to 'really good NBA prospect'.

The other player that stood out to me was Marco Belinelli of, you guessed it, Italy. He is tall and athletic as well. But whenever the US team seemed get a big lead or a little to comfortable, Belinelli seemed to get Italy right back into it. Belinelli is only 20 and if he's not draining 3's for some NBA team in a couple years, I'll be shocked.

I've only seen the US games, so there's a ton of international talent I haven't gotten to see. Fortunatly, others have.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Cavs have a lot of guards

And they're looking to dump... er.. trade some of them. So says Terry Pluto:

The Cavs are trying to move some of their guards -- possibly Luke Jackson, Ira Newble, Sasha Pavlovic and Damon Jones. They'd like a point guard with some speed. Fans want to dump Eric Snow, but unless the Cavs can find a viable starting point guard, that makes no sense. He's experienced, unselfish and does play defense. He's still the best point guard on the roster. Yes, rookie Shannon Brown has been impressive in the summer leagues, but the Cavs see him mostly as a shooting guard at this point in his career.

Let's review the Cavs current roster shall we?

Zydrunas Ilgauskas - 7-3, C
Drew Gooden - 6-10, F
LeBron James - 6-8, F
Larry Hughes - 6-5, G
Eric Snow - 6-3, G

Eddie Basden - 6-5, G
Shannon Brown - 6-4, G
Daniel Gibson - 6-2, G
Luke Jackson - 6-7, G/F
Damon Jones - 6-3, G
Donyell Marshall - 6-9, F
Ira Newble - 6-7, G/F
Sasha Pavlovic - 6-7, G/F
Scot Pollard - 6-11, F/C
Anderson Varejao - 6-10, F

Look at that backcourt. The only real top flight guard out there is Larry Hughes, who has underwhelmed so far. When Hughes sits and/or gets hurt that means the Cavs' backcourt will consist of two people from the following list: Eric Snow (old), Shannon Brown (rookie), Eddie Basden (this person does not exist), Damon Jones (old), Daniel Gibson (second round rookie), Ira Newble (terrible), Luke Jackson (probably hurt) and Sasha Pavlovic (the definition of mediocre).

That doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it?

I'm with Pluto, a lot of fans want to dump Snow, but who the hell starts at point? Damon Jones? Who else is an actual point guard? Both Brown and Gibson are combo-ish type guards, not to mention that they are rookies.

This is kind of similar to when Z was a free agent, many people, like say... Roger Brown, wanted Z gone. Z was too weak, too slow and looked funny; he had to go. Nevermind that if Z left the Cavaliers would have had... um.... nobody starting at center. And while I could see the Z-haters points, I just wanted to know: who was replacing him?

Same thing with Snow. Believe you me, I could go for a point guard upgrade, but if the Cavs dump Snow, who starts?

So ya, the Cavs go about 9 guards (not counting Stephen Hunter, who I assume won't be back) on a 15 man roster. A move has to be made (even if it's just to free up some minutes). Pavlovic and Jackson seem the most likely to me. They're both young and relatively cheap. Jones and Newble are both older and overpaid; Jones is still useful (at least he can shoot) so he could draw a little interest. Newble? If Danny Ferry can dump him for anything, I'll be happy.

One last thing, look at that big man rotation: Z, Gooden, Marshall, Varejao and Pollard. When the hell did this happen, that looks like a rotation for a playoff team. Some veterans, some bangers, some energy guys and a 3 point specialist. I really like that big man group (it's no Nance, Daugherty and Williams, but it's not Hill, Potapenko and Cage either).

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tim Couch

I've always been a Tim Couch backer (even when people were calling for Kelly Holcomb). I argued that if the Browns had taken McNabb, they still would've sucked because A) they had no line B) they no running backs and C) they had average recievers. I could go on, but I'd rather you just read The Burning River.

Random USA Basketball Thoughts

I've finally finished watching the USA wins over Puerto Rico (box score) and China (box score), and here are my thoughts on the games, in no particular order:

There were some early game jitters. Not as much in the China game, but in the Puerto Rico game, the US started slowly. They missed some early jumpers and they just looked out of it. You could tell that they were really excited and really wanted to play well. Eventually they settled down.

Puerto Rico's guards gave the US trouble. The Puerto Rican guards were all experienced international players and they gave the US fits. It always seemed like they were the lane making a "Steve Nash floater".

China's guards? Not so much. The Chinese team was playing for '08 meaning: get the young players some experience, let them get beat, let them face these guys one-on-one (China didn't play any zone at all). China has experienced big men, but the guards couldn't get Yao the ball on the post cleanly. If a team is going to beat the US in this tournament, they are going to need very strong guard play.

Melo looks damn good. The talk of team USA's training camp was that Carmelo Anthony was a man on a mission; he wanted to prove he belongs in Wade and LeBron's class. Point well taken. Carmelo has dominated while staying within the flow of the offense. He's gotten a ton of points, but in a variety of ways. He hit some threes, he drove the lane, he posted up, he got some jumpers off of screens; he's done it all.

Wade scores in bunches. Wade will go stretches of time where you forget he's even out there, but then he'll just rattle off 6 points in a blink of an eye. A jumper here, a layup here and then a break away dunk. Just like that he'll go from 'playing in the flow of the game' to dominating. He's pretty good.

LeBron looks lost. Now hold on, hear me out. The worlds remind me a lot of LeBron in high school. LeBron could've averaged 50 points a game for SVSM, but he didn't. He played within the flow of the game and got his teammates involved. To me, it looks like LeBron is trying to do too much. He's often looking for that spectacuar pass and trying to make a play. He's really been looking to set guys up and he takes himself out of the flow of the game.

LeBron's jumper = not pretty. LeBron may not have confidence in his own shot right now, he's taken some ugly looking jumpers (he's 0-3 from three and he's 2-6 from the line). He is fading away a lot, and most of the time it's unnecesary. His jumper could be another reason why he's looking to pass so much. You can tell he is still figuring out how he wants to play on this team. In the NBA, the Cavs need him to score a lot for them to win, but Team USA is filled with scorers, so he's looking to set up his teammates.

Player who has impressed me so far? Dwight Howard. Howard has been what John Madden would call a Manster; half man, half monster. He blocked a shot with his God-damned elbow. His freaking elbow. He may have have elicited the most 'ooos' and 'aahhs' from the crowd with his monster dunks. Howard seems to have embraced a role player role on this team; plays don't get run for him, he crashes the boards with a fury and collects rebounds like a man possessed.

Player who has disappointed me so far? Chris Bosh. I was really looking forward to see Bosh in action, as I don't get to watch a lot of Raptor games. Bosh looks a bit lost out there, like he doesn't know his role. He's really thin and doesn't have the strength to overpower people like Howard does. It's only been two games, but Bosh hasn't looked comfortable out there.

Speaking of role players. Joe Johnson has become Team USA's three point specialist. He is always taking (and making) threes. You know Johnson can do more than just hit jumpers, but he also seems to have embraced his role player role. As has Shane Battier (who starts with Johnson, along with James, Hinrich and Jamison). Everytime I look up I see Battier taking a charge or diving on the ground. He's doing the dirty work.

Team USA has good point guards. Both Hinrich and Paul have played really well. Paul seems to be able to get to the lane whenever he wants. Paul looks like he has a little bit of LeBron syndrome; he's not looking to score enough. There have been a few times where Paul has made an extra pass in a situation where it would've been better for him to take the shot himself. He's being too unselfish. That is a good problem to have. Kirk Hinrich looks really comfortable out there; the more and more I watch this kid the more and more he reminds me of Mark Price. Hinrich always seems to be in the lane making some kind of play, and he is money at the 3 from the corner (it's like a layup for him).

The captains are always on the floor. You rarely see a play where at least one captain isn't out there. LeBron has started so far, with Wade and Melo coming off the bench, and each guy leads the unti they're out there with (if that makes sense). They play together as well, I love the Hinrich, Wade, Melo, LeBron and Howard lineup. Scrumtulescent

I really don't want Kobe on this team in '08. I also don't want Chauncey Billups or Paul Pierce. This team is like a new (next) generation of players. This team is Wade, LeBron and Melo's team. This is their generation. Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kirk Hinrich and Chris Bosh were all from the same draft class (2003). Dwight Howard was from the following year and Chris Paul the year after that (2004 and 2005). And the older players on this team, Elton Brand (1999), Brad Miller (1998), Joe Johnson, Shane Battier (both 2001) and Antawan Jamison (1998)? These are the under appreciated players from the previous generation of stars; these guys are just now getting their due. But Kobe (1996), Chauncey Billups (1997) and Paul Pierce (1998) have already gotten their time in the spot light (Billups not as much, but he did get mad love after the championship). They're established stars, they are from the generation who passed up these international competetions. I don't want to see this team gel together and win a gold, only to have it's chemistry screwed up by adding Pierce, Bryant and Billups in 2008. I feel like the under appreciated older players and the newer, younger supstars work really well together. I'm not sure how the older superstars (Pierce and Kobe) will work out with the younger ones (James and Wade). And honestly? I don't want to see them play; I've seen them play, I want to see the young guys now (and guys like Brand and Johnson, who never get to be on TV due to their teams).

I am mad at Yahoo! I've been taping the games, which have aired at 1 AM and 6:30 AM respectively and purposfully not reading any sports webpages until I watch the games. But I go to check my email at Yahoo! and they have the USA-China score on their front page news stories. Damn you Yahoo!

I like Chris Broussard. I like Broussard, he's one of the only guys who hasn't bought into the 'Wade is better than James because Wade has a championship' theory. I heard him on the radion saying how stupid that argument is, saying, "all that means is Shaq is better than Z". I totally agree, however, I really agree with his blog's take on Team USA (insider).

and finally,

Don't put a whole lot into Team USA's win over China. China wasn't really playing to win that game. They were playing a lot of man to man, to give their young guys an idea of how fast the US team is. They really want to beat the US in 2008, not right now. Team USA faced almost no zone defense in the China game, which played right into the US style of basketball the NBA players love so much. When facing the better teams, the US is going to face a ton of zone defense; the game versus China didn't prepare them for anything coming down the road.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Cavaliers sign Scot Pollard


I'm not sure how big this deal actually is. I mean, Pollard is what he is, a verteran big man who will do the dirty work. He was Varejao before Varejao was Varejao (think about that). This isn't a signing that will tilt the balance of power in the East, but it does help bolster the Cavs bench.

Also, "much hyped" center Martynas Andriuskevicius was traded to Chicago for 6-5 guard Eddie Basden. Who you ask? Well, a google search gave me his stats for the Charlotte 49ers and his '05 NBA draft bio. Awesome.

hmmm... only one 't' in Scot...

The Cavs are Rebuilding

No, not their roster. The Cavs are building a new practice facility (or secret headquarters?) and are looking to upgrade The Q.

I'm not against upgrading The Q, it's not a bad arena, it's just so... 'meh'. Even when it opened (and I was there for the opening) it was really nice, but kind of bland; nothing really stood out. It could use a tune up.

I like to think I'd trust Gilbert to upgrade The Q nicely, but I dunno. The new ownership seems to be obsessed with the non-basketball aspects of the team. By non-basketball I mean the new, hotter cheerleaders, a breakdancing squad, giving the Cavs a (really annoying) mascot, trying to copy the Pistons' Mason and adding a ton of pre-game pyrotechnics. It's true that before Gilbert got here, the Cavs didn't really pay attention to these aspects, but hell, they didn't really seem to care about the basketball aspects either ("Darius Miles could play some point", "Let's run some plays for Lammond Murray", "Let's trade for Chris Gatling"). Cavs games were boring because the team sucked; the dance team had nothing to do with it.

Do casual fans actually care about this shit? Do people leave the game and go, "You know, the Cavs looked out of it tonight, it's too bad they lost, but how about those kids break dancing, huh? I'll be back to The Q, but not for the basketball, I need to see more of those sick moves!"

Look, if Gilbert was really interested in improving the 'Game Day Experience' he'd hold off on the fireworks and near-strippers and get the Cavs an actual point guard. I guarantee that I'll have a better 'Game Day Experience' if I get to see a point guard not named Eric Snow. Also, a Cavs roster that doesn't include Ira Newble would greatly enhance my enjoyment as well.

Finally, a revamped Q won't just help out the Cavaliers (this made me throw up a little in my mouth):

But Cleveland needs The Q for its plan to attract the 2008 Republican National Convention. The effort, led by Jackson, proposes using the 21,000-seat arena as the convention's main venue. The Cavs have offered the use of the arena - worth about $3 million - at no charge.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cleveland Fans are Women

or something. From Bill Simmons column on the best teams in the AL:

10. Cleveland
Not sure what happened with these guys. The Indians would have made a much better roto team.

(Note: Normally I'd have more to say, but I'm tired of Cleveland readers complaining every time I write something even mildly negative about one of their teams, no matter how accurate that assessment might be. Now I'm thinking that Cleveland fans are like women -- if they ask you how they look, just tell them, "You look fine, you look great" or else you're in for 20 minutes of pure hell. So to recap, the Indians look fine, they look great. Let's move on.)


Look, I love Bill Simmons, I really do. I love the fact that there is a national columnist who gives a shit about the NBA. Most guys either A) never write about it or B) actively hate it (lookin at you Peter King). Trust me, I love the guy, I'm just sick of his take on LeBron and the Cavs.

Simmons has been leading the "LeBron is leaving for a bigger market" charge (to be fair, he's not the only one involved). Nevermind that being in a larger market helps lesser players more than great ones (it sure has hurt Kevin Garnett). Nevermind that the 'big market' teams either A) suck, B) have no cap space or C) both (Knicks). He was also unaware of LeBron's work in the community and how LBJ might take classes at Akron.

Cleveland fans are giving him shit because he pulls crap like making a huge deal over LeBron waiting a week to sign his extension. That is stupid. And this past season, while everything pointed toward LeBron re-upping with the Cavs, Simmons was writing horseshit about LeBron wanting to leave. Now he's sick of getting 'complaints' from disgruntled Cleveland fans. You don't say?

Can you blame Cleveland? We've gotten to hear about the poor Cubs fans and Sport Guy's Red Sox brethren. We hear about unlucky Chicago and Boston fans, while the Celtics, Bulls, Bears and Patriots win (sometimes multiple) championships. There are multiple documentaries about the plight of Cubs and Red Sox fans.

What do we get?

Our losses get names and become famous. Hell, our losses get edited into wins to sell sports drinks. Free agents get hurt in practice. Players acquired by trade get hurt warming up. Fuck, if you're even rumored to be coming here you get season ending back surgery.

Look, I don't care if you criticize Cleveland teams. Hell, rip on Victor's throwing arm, Wedge's managing and Eric Snow's offense. Make fun of Z's beard. Talk about how the Browns are relying on a second year third round pick to carry the team at QB. Rip coach Mike Brown for not devising an offense. Make fun of the Tribe's bullpen. Trust me, we may not always like it, but we can undersand, those are legitimate concerns.

But making up rumors about our home grown superstar, the one guy who looks like he could end Cleveland's championship drought, leaving? That might piss a few of us off.

But who knows, maybe he's right. Maybe I'm just a bitch.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dirty Pretty Things - Waterloo to Anywhere

[This is a repost of my review of Dirty Pretty Things' Waterloo to Anywhere from June 10th, (Waterloo to Anywhere was released this past Tuesday). Rolling Stone gave it 3 1/2 stars in the last issue, but labeled it 'Must Hear' in the current one. The review I linked to is good, but it tends to focus more on what Dirty Pretty Things aren't; they aren't the Libertines and they aren't Pete Doherty. True enough, but they are a pretty kick ass band who made a very very good album]

Alright, for my final review of the day, I'm going to review a CD that hasn't come out in the US yet.

Dirty Pretty Things is Carl Barât's new band. Barât is the 'other' lead singer of the Libertines. Peter Doherty gets all the press, what with the dating Kate Moss, stealing cars, getting arrested and having a massive drug habit. But Barât's new band is pretty good. Waterloo to Anywhere is their debut CD and I must say, I love it. Where Doherty's Down in Albion was a kind of rambling mess, Waterloo to Anywhere is tight and focused.

Dirty Pretty Things - Waterloo to Anywhere

The album starts off with "Deadwood". The opening guitar riff kick ass and the song just bolts out of the gate. It is frantic and almost out of control; a perfect opening song. Fun stuff.

The second track is "Doctors and Dealers" and it is also pretty damn good. Again, frantic and fast. At one point the guitar line mimics the vocal and the effect is pretty cool. The main riff of that same guitar is really catchy. There is a steady back beat in the drums which just drives this song. Very nice.

The third track is far and away the stand out on the album. "Bang Bang, You're Dead" should be blaring from every radio station this summer and fall. It is perfect rock and roll if I've ever heard it. I have yet to play this song for someone and have them not like it. It starts off with some horns rumbling along and then just takes off. There is just rhythm guitar pulse that just drives the song; while the lead guitar just fuckin rocks it. The song rocks, it's vaguely pop-ish, it's catchy, it's distorted, it slows down, it speeds up, the drumming rocks, the guitars rock. Look, I don't know what else to say; if this song doesn't become a hit... I dunno. It's 3:30 of rock and roll perfection. Enjoy.

After "Bang Bang, You're Dead" the mood slows back down for a little bit with "Blood Thirsty Bastards". The song is good, catchy enough to sing along to, but nothing really special. I mean, I like it (okay, I like most of these songs), it isn't bad, there are better songs on this album. Like the next one.

For some reason "The Gentry Cove" reminds me of pirates. It isn't explicitly about pirates (unlike some of the songs of the Coral's self titled) and there are some sea sailing references, but nothing big. The guitar riff just paints this pirate 'yo ho ho' picture for me. I love it. "Gentry Cove" also has quite possibly my favorite moment on Waterloo to Anywhere; at about the 1:20 mark Barât starts singing "On and on and on and on and on and on we go/Traipsing over bridges/Over corpses down below" and the music becomes almost whimsical. At first I thought it went to 3/4 or 6/8 time, but it stays in 4, but it has some triplet drumming behind him. It's awesome. Have anyone ever heard a song before and it just made you smile? Ever had that feeling, where you hear something that takes you by total surprise, but is great?

(The last time I had a moment like this was on George Harrison's last album, Brainwashed. Well into the album Harrison throws "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" on there; it's basically dixieland or jug band track. Out of fucking nowhere. But it was so perfect.)

"Gin & Milk" follows with a much different feel than "Gentry Cove". This song is just a romp with lyrics like "I put gin in my milk/it kills all the germs" and "no one gives a fuck about the values I would die for/Not the faceless civil servants/The rudimentary crack whore/No one gives two fucks about the values I would kill for/Give them something to die for/Give me something to die for". Just a good song all around. The ending sounds like an explosion (or maybe implosion). Just sweet.

The second half of the album begins with "The Enemy". It starts off kind of 'nicely'; just voice and guitar (playing high) and then breaks into a jaunt of a song. Sounds happy; a toe tappin song, just fun. I really like this track; very strong effort.

"If You Love a Woman" is decidedly darker. It reminds me a lot (the beginning especially) of Soundtrack of Our Lives' "Sister Suround"off of Behind the Music. It's a good song, Barât sings about need "a lover who's kind". "If You Love a Woman" has a fuller sound than most of Dirty Pretty Thing's other songs, if that makes sense. More dense, not louder per se, just a bigger sound.

The next track, "You Fucking Love It" is a force of nature. Clocking in under two minutes, "You Fucking Love It" just assaults the senses. Can you understand what Barât is saying? I mean, I can get "you can never ever ever ever" and "you fucking love it". I think I catch "money" in there. Who cares. This song rocks. Kinda (and by kinda I mean very) punkish.

The next song, "Wondering" is another kind of filler track. It fits in with the whole album's 'feel', but when the album is done with, you really be talking about "Wondering" if that makes sense. Again, not a bad song.

"Last of the Small Town Playboys" starts off with gunfire like guitars. The song varies between slow jaunts and hard gun fire like guitars. Pretty badass if I say so myself (and I do). The bridge just blows right through; fuckin rocks.

The album's closer is "B.U.R.M.A." Do I know what that means? No. Could I probably look it up? Yes. Am I going to? No. Do I like the song? Yes, a lot actually. I think it's a good closer. Kind of sunny; more 'sunny-ish' really. The end of the song feels almost like a 50's rocker; I could imagine a show in an auditorium closing like that. Really fast, the drums booming, the piano wailing; just blazing through.

I was eagerly awaiting Babyshambles Down in Albion and I was mildly disapointed. Much like Beatles fans await new 'Beatles lite' songs on every post break up solo release, I wanted more Libertines. I didn't even know about Dirty Pretty Things until a few months ago and they pulled through where Babyshambles failed. I highly recommend Waterloo to Anywhere. If nothing else at least check out "Bang Bang, You're Dead", you won't be disapointed.

Track Highlights: "Bang Bang, You're Dead", "You Fucking Love It", "Gentry Cove", "Gin & Milk", "The Enemy" and "B.U.R.M.A". You can download "Bang Bang, You're Dead" and "You Fucking Love It" over at Rock 'n' Roll Star.

This Song is Not Safe for Work

warning: liberal song

Varejao hurt?

Windhorst says it isn't serious, but this just proves why keeping Gooden around at a decent price is a good deal.

Even if you think that Varejao is better than Gooden and should be starting (cause he tends to finish the games), Varejao's style of play can lead to injuries. Apparently this foot injury isn't a big deal, but if the Cavs let the 'soft' Gooden walk, the Cavs would be counting on Anderson to play big minutes and stay healthy. And while he might be able to do it, he hasn't proved it (he missed a lot of time last season due to an injury suffered in international play).

You're Kidding

The Browns all Oklahoma secondary dreams have been put on hold as Lee Suggs failed his physical and the trade to Jets is called off.

[Also, is anyone else having trouble accessing today? The front page loads, but none of the links or articles work. I thought it was my computer, but it's only for]

Monday, August 14, 2006

Drew Gooden has Re-signed

Now, if you've read any of my Cavalier stuff, ever, you know I'm not the biggest Drew Gooden fan.

You were also aware that I wasn't against re-signing Gooden, I was against overpaying for Gooden.

The Cavs had offered him a 6 year $48 million dollar deal, which he turned down (thank God). Gooden was looking for a Nene-esque 6 year $60 million, which just wasn't going to happen.

There was sign and trade talk, there was one-year-deal-and-try-again-next-year talk but Gooden signed today for.......

3 years and $23 million.

That is awesome. Cavs fans were hoping to give Gooden something around 3 years and $30 million, but this is even better. I wasn't a fan of a $10 million a year Drew Gooden, but I can definitely get behind a $7-ish million dollar Gooden.

This was a great signing by Danny Ferry, retaining Gooden at a reasonable price was the right move. This offseason has to be qualified as a success; the Cavs got two draft picks that could help their year, Drew Gooden signed at a good price and LeBron re-upped.

The second Danny Ferry era looks a lot more promising than the first.

Michelle Wie

This is stupid

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Sports Round Up

Ah, I love Sundays, the Cleveland papers actually discuss basketball (in the offseason?!), Terry Pluto writes a lot and Roger Brown says at least one thing that pisses me off, lets begin shall we?

The US team brought the hammer down on Lithuania 111-88, LeBron scored 13, Wade had 14 and Carmelo lead the Americans with 19. I find it amusing watching Jay Marrioti on Around the Horn saying the US won't win the Worlds. Marrioti also said that it doesn't matter what they do in the Worlds, they'll win the gold in the Olympics in Beijing. Really? First of all, the US should win the Worlds, they look ready to go. Second, international players value the Worlds more than the Olympics. It's true, just ask Bill Walton (in a great article by the ABJ's Tom Reed about the US sucking in international play- in all sports, not just basketball):

Walton said international players take a different view of world tournaments. American-born basketball players consider winning an NBA title the pinnacle. No so for some foreigners.

"Toni Kukoc (of Croatia) always has said winning the world championships is the most important thing to him, followed by the Olympics,'' Walton said.

For the US (and writers like Mariotti), the Olympics are all that matters, but for the rest of the field, these are the games that truely count. I think the US players are aware of this and should be just as focused on winning the Worlds as they are the Olympics.

In other international Cavs news, Brazil lost to Germany 76-75 but Anderson Varejao had 25 points (I have no idea how many rebounds he had, I can't seem to find box scores for the non-US games).

Varejao's strong play in the Worlds may not be a good sign for restricted free agent power forward Drew Gooden. Personally, I'm getting sick of talking about Gooden and I'm pretty sure Brian Windhorst is as well. Nothing has happened on the Gooden front and Windhorst, needing a new way to explain why the Cavs aren't going to pay Gooden $10 million a year, went into detail on the Cavs salary structure pretty (even went into the luxury tax, sexy). In Pluto's bit about the Cavs, he again mentioned Gooden wanting 'Nene money' and that the Cavs aren't going to give it to him.

Both writers touched on the Cavs offseason being boring, especially after last year. And it's true, there's been no free agent splashes or big trades. However, Pluto mentions how the Cavs only had Larry Hughes for 43 games last year (and he missed some playoff games). Getting Hughes for a full year (fingers crossed) is like a free agent pick up. Also, Varejao got hurt in international play last offseason and missed some time. If the Cavs have Varejao and Hughes for the whole year, they should improve on their 50 wins. Plus, maybe this training camp coach Brown will install an offense, that'd be neat. (Not that I blame him, the Cavs couldn't guard a pick and roll before Brown got here.)

Now we get to my favorite Sunday ritual, no not church, being pissed off at Roger Brown. Brown always likes to throw negative news and opinions at the Cleveland fan and today is no different. He starts off his Sunday column with this:

While Ohio State has college football's preseason No. 1 ranking, opinionated ESPN "College GameDay" analyst Lee Corso doesn't believe the Buckeyes deserve it.

"Is Ohio State a top-10 team? Sure," Corso says. "But no way are they the No. 1 team. It's very difficult to win a national championship and rebuild a defense at the same time. And that's exactly what Ohio State is doing [this season]."

Corso notes that Ohio State's defense is missing nine of its top 10 tacklers from last season. "That's a huge hole to fill," Corso says. "You just don't do that overnight."

Thanks Roger, just in case OSU was enjoyign a week of being number one, lets take 'em down a peg. Then, in his most insane moment of the column, Brown takes on the Indians:

Here's some numbers to ponder for the Indians:

Number of AL Central Division titles by Indians since 2002: 0.

Number of the four remaining AL Central teams who have won - or likely will win - the division since 2002: 3.

Number of AL pennants won by Indians since 2002: 0.

Number of AL pennants won by other AL Central teams since 2002: 1 (the 2005 Chicago White Sox, who also won the World Series).

Number of playoff appearances by the Indians since 2002: 0.

Number of winning seasons by Indians since 2002: 1.

Number of winning seasons by the now-visiting Kansas City Royals - long considered one of baseball's worst-run organizations - since 2002: 1.

All of the above lead to some intriguing questions about the Indians:

Has any other franchise in baseball rushed to lock up so many players to long-term deals - six over the past 16 months - before it ever actually won a single thing?

Why can other teams, like this year's Los Angeles Dodgers and the 2005 Atlanta Braves, quietly have six, seven or eight rookies play key roles on their playoff-caliber teams - while the Indians, who brag incessantly about their minor-league system, play prospects only after this season has been lost (and there's less pressure on them to quickly back up the organization's self-serving boasts)?

At the moment, doesn't the real evidence suggest the Indians current "blueprint" is a clear failure - and may continue to be one? And not that it's some genius plan that just needs one more (and one more . . . and one more) season-- before it blooms into multiple division titles, pennants and World Series appearances?

Wow, where to start... First of all, lets tackle the Dodgers and Braves shit. The National League sucks. End of story. Sure, the Indians are under .500, but the Twins (3rd in the AL Central) would be winning the NL West by 6 games (which the Dodgers currently lead).

As for the 6 players locked up in long term deals, lets review:

Grady Sizemore - 144 hits, 54 RBI, .303 BA, .919 OPS, 39 2B, and 18 HR
Travis Hafner - 119 hits, 83 walks, 100 RBI, .300 BA, 1.052 OPS, 27 2B and 34 HR
Victor Martinez - 131 hits, 66 RBI, 49 strike outs(!), .313 BA, .843 OPS, 27 2B and 12 HR
Jhonny Peralta - 108 hits, 48 RBI, 21 2B, .252 BA, .701 OPS and 10 HR

CC Sabathia - 8-8, 3.29 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 8.15 K/9
Cliff Lee - 10-8, 4.64 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 5.94 K/9

Of the six players signed to long term deals, Peralta and Lee could be the ones to bitch about. But come on, Peralta was badass last year (and even in a down year, he's not gawd awful) and Lee is an above-average-to-good left handed starter. Could the long term deal and trade of Brandon Phillips have made Peralta too comfortable? Maybe, but this looks like a sophmore slump and it's a little bit early to call Peralta a bust.

As for calling the rebuilding a failure and comparing the Indians to Kansas City (despite winning 93 games last year), the Indians have two absolute studs in Sizemore and Hafner, something KC does not. Sizemore is leading the league in extrabase hits with 66 and Hafner is 3rd with 62 (Big Papi is second with 64). Hafner is also 3rd in the AL with 100 RBIs and 3rd with 34 HRs.

The reason the Indians failed this year is not because of these signings, it's because of these signings: Danny Graves, Steve Karsay, Scott Sauerbeck, Guillermo Mota and Jason Johnson.

Here's the Tribe's 5 man rotation for next year: CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jason Westbrook, Jeremy Sowers and Paul Byrd. That is not a bad rotation. And here is their lineup: Sizemore, Hafner, Martinez, Peralta, Choo with Marte, Garko, Blake, Luna and Michaels rounding it out. Could the Indians use a right handed bat? Of course (*cough* Carlos Lee), but hitting and starting pitching isn't the problem. The bullpen is.

If Larry Dolan and Mark Shapiro actually spend money to get competent relievers, (not guys off the scrap heap), then there is no reason why this team can't compete next year. However, this doesn't convince me they will: Do tell, the Tribe renews interest in Dotel.

Despite all this nonsense, Brown does provide on tidbit that makes me happy:

No, the Cavs don't plan to hire John Mason, the Detroit Pistons' extremely loud, colorful and popular public-address announcer, to replace Ronnie Duncan, dumped last week as PA man.

Last month, the Cavs fired longtime TV voice Michael Reghi and replaced him with Fred McLeod, a former Pistons play-by-play man.

I think we can all agree that no one wants Mason here.

Last but not least, the Plain Dealer has a great article about how LeBron James is HUGE in China. It just makes me sad knowing that LeBron could be much a bigger star if he only played for the Knicks.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Tribe Falls to Kan- What the Hell?

A comeback? Wha?

And is this, no, a win streak? Well I'll be...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

John Hart Syndrome

In the late 1990's, my dad and I used to joke that whenever the Cavs or Browns made big news an Indians trade or signing was sure to follow.

Cavs on an 11 game win streak in 1997 (Kemps first year, Z, Brevin Knight, Cedric Henderson and Derek Andersons rookie year)? John Hart signs Doc Gooden and Kenny Lofton.

There were more of these, bigger and smaller (I used to be able to come up with a few more examples, but it's been awhile and this isn't the easiest thing to look up). It always seemed that whenever the Cavs or Browns made a signing or fired a coach or made a trade, the Indians would do something within the next two days.

They didn't always do something huge or Earth shattering, but they would do something to push the other teams off of the talk show airwaves and sports pages.

Why am I bringing this up? Cause in the 2004 elections whenever the Democrats or John Kerry did something (like have a convention or pick a VP) there always seemed that a terror alert soon followed. Have you noticed any terror alerts since the elections? Me either. But on Tuesday Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont. I know most of you don't care about this, but Lieberman's big mistake was that he got too close to Bush (on Iraq, on saying people who disagree with Bush hurt the War on Terror and loads of other stuff) but Lamont's victory sent shockwaves through Washington, Lieberman was a 18 year incumbent, these guys do not lose primaries.

Needless to say, this has been all over the networks. So what happened today? Bush raised the terror alert to red- for the first time ever.

Is it political? Is it related? I dunno, but it doesn't pass my smell test (the nose knows). All I know is that, somewhere, John Hart is smiling.

Update: "This is going to play big"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ronnie Duncan Gone

Wasn't the problem with Duncan was that he was too much like Mason? That Cavs fans didn't want some dude yelling the entire game? Just say who scores the baskets.

And I know Gilbert thinks by emulating the Pistons he's doing something right, but it's one thing to emulate how Joe Dumars builds a team and how the franchise is run, it's another to try to copy everything the Pistons do.

Personally, I think that the Cavs are too focused on the "Game Day Experience"- the dance teams, the mascot (I HATE Moondog), the music, the pyrotechnics. How many people do you hear talking about the Bulls cheerleaders from the 90s? Anyone?

If the team wins then fans will have a great "Game Day Experience". Focus more on getting a point guard who can shoot AND play defense instead of what kind of fireworks to show at the game.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Great Report on Team USA

though I could do without stuff about Jim Gray's love life.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Impossible Return

5 years ago today.

Back on August 5th, 2001 my buddy Scott and I took in an Indians-Mariners game. Scott was in town from Los Angeles and I hadn't seen many games that year, so we were looking forward to a night at the ballpark.

Then the game started.

The Tribe was getting their ass kicked; they got down early and got down big. However, like any good fans, we didn't leave. It was a wonderful night, Scott was from out of town and I only see a few games in person a season- we were staying til the end.

The crowd was having fun, most of the older fans left and die hards and drunken college kids remained. The game was meandering along and though the Tribe was getting killed, we were enjoying ourselves.

The 7th inning stretch came along (the Tribe was down 14-2 at this point) and we all happily sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (this was pre-9/11, so no "God Bless America").

Then the Tribe's bats woke up:

Bottom 7th: 3 runs
Bottom 8th: 4 runs

Though the backups were in, you could feel something was 'happening' at the Jake. Sure the Tribe was still down 5, but the Indians had come alive. The pitching hadn't let the Mariners get anymore than 14 and the Tribe's bats had woken up. Then the Miracle occured:

With Charlton still pitching, the bottom of the ninth was led off by Eddie Taubensee, who promptly singled. He was followed by Thome, who flied out softly to right field. Russell Branyan struck out next. The Indians were still down by five, and found themeselves literally down to their last strike. Marty Cordova doubled off the left field wall, missing a home run by a few feet. Jeff Nelson came in to relieve Charlton of his pitching duties. Wil Cordero, on a 3-2 count, walked to load up the bases. On yet another full count, Einar Diaz then singled to left field scoring two runs. Kaz Sasaki was then substituted in to relieve Nelson of his pitching duties. Kenny Lofton singled to center field which loaded the bases for Omar Vizquel.

Vizquel, already having a big night, hit a triple past a diving Ed Sprague, the first baseman, and down the right field line. Miraculously, all three runners scored. The game was tied at 14, With the winning run at third, Jolbert Cabrera grounded out softly to third on a close play.

Unbelievably the Indians had brought the game to extra innings.

After the Tribe tied it up, you knew they were going to win, everyone in that stadium knew. It was one of the greatest things I have ever seen in person. Half the stadium had left, but at the end you would swear it was a full house (listen to that crowd!).

I've always stayed for entire games on a matter of principle; you don't leave early unless you got a damn good reason. Sometimes the game ends harmlessly in a blow out, but sometimes... sometimes something magic happens.

Danny Ferry on Jim Rome

A lot of people hate Rome, and while I'm not the biggest fan, I always do love his interviews. Cavalier Attitude has a MP3 of Cavs GM Danny Ferry's recent appearence on Rome. Check it out.

I, for one, am shocked


Friday, August 04, 2006

Arthur Lee died

He was pretty sweet.

Who's Arthur Lee? He was the leader of the 60's rock band Love. Love was pretty sweet, check out Forever Changes, which is by all accounts a classic.

We're Number 1!

My alma mater is ranked number one in the preseason coaches poll. I'm not sure how I feel about this, I mean, I love the fact that people love us. However, starting off number one just kinda feels like you're waiting to be upset.


Jason Davis, not Fausto Carmona, ended up closing the game tonight. Davis has been closing at Buffalo, so we might start seeing Carmona and Davis split some closing duties and see who comes out unscathed.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Couple Things

It is currently 9:45 and the Indians are heading into the 9th inning with a one run lead. Does Carmona pitch? Do the Indians give him a chance to blow three save chances? I say if he wants it, he gets it. (Though tonight really could be make or break for him, if he gets the save, the confidence boost will be awesome; redemption and all that stuff. But if he blows it? That could crush him.)

At 11:00 pm Team USA faces Puerto Rico on ESPN. You bet your ass I'm watching that.