Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's Robiski Day in the NE Ohio Papers

The Beacon has a nice article about Brian while in the Plain Dealer, Bill Livingston has a column about Terry, a Browns coach if you haven't heard, watching the OSU game.

I always find it amusing when publications run similar stories the same day. I get both Time and Newsweek and everyonce in awhile they'll both run stories on a movie star or artist. I mean, I understand why, they're both weekly magazines and a big movie will come out that week and they'll cover it.

It just struck me as odd that both the NE Ohio papers ran Robiski articles today. I don't know if you heard, but Terry is a coach on the Browns (also, Jerome Bettis is from Detroit and AJ Hawk is married to Brady Quinn's sister).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bud Shaw really likes Charlie Frye

He really does:

The Browns were listless against New Orleans, clueless against Cincinnati. So long as the quarterback can remember his name without a cut man administering smelling salts, the competitive gut-wrencher must qualify as improvement.

Long-range success for the Browns is still a crapshoot. But it isn't a matter of finding a quarterback. They have found one.

The whole column goes on like this. Don't get me wrong, I like Frye as well, but I feel like we're watching Couch all over again. Sure, I think he can be really good, and he shows signs. But how much can we really tell with him on his back more than Paris Hilton (HA!).

I really don't know how many wins the Browns are going to get this year (if you would've asked me after the Bengals game, I'd have said zero, but after the Ravens? Anywhere from four to six). But say they get a high draft pick, the only 'star' player I'd be looking at is Adrian Peterson (based on absolutely nothing, I'd say he'll be coming out this year). I'd pass on every QB out there and add Peterson to the mix of Winslow, Edwards and Frye. Then I'd use every other draft pick on linemen (offensive and defensive). (and if Peterson isn't there? Trade for more draft picks and draft more linemen!).

Is it stupid to be thinking about the 2007 draft in September? Probably, but hey, I'm a Cleveland fan. I've been looking forward to the Indians' 2007 since June.

Anyways, sorry for the light posting the past few days, my hard drive crapped out on me so I've been kind of busy with that. Plus there isn't much really going on anyway, Kellen Winslow hasn't called out any coaches this and the Indians are winding down their season (though C.C. did rock tonight). At least the Cavs start training camp in a week.

On a couple of personal notes: once the Cavs get going (and there's Cavs news to discuss) I'll begin writing over at That should be fun, though I have to admit, I am a bit nervous.

Also, my final follow up for my March shoulder surgery this Friday (in Columbus). This means I'll be able to play basketball for the first time in 2006 (injury occured in a January hockey game). You really have no idea how much I've been looking forward to basketball.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Random Thoughts from the Weekend

1. Color me surprised that the OSU-PSU game was close. After I saw ND smack Penn State around, I figured OSU would do the same thing. OSU's remaining opponents better hope for rain/snow when they play the Buckeyes. That is the only thing that can neutralize their speed.

2. So OSU's brand new defense (have you heard? 9 new starters!) hasn't let up a rushing TD yet, huh? That is pretty neat.

3. The Iowa game scares the shit out of me. Ohio State hasn't exactly played well at night over the years (Wisconsin, Northwestern, Texas '05, Penn State...). Plus, Iowa is pretty good.

4. Drew Tate will be the first really experienced quarterback this team has faced all year. I'm not overly worried, but it's something to think about.

5. I don't think OSU's defense is getting the credit they deserve. They given up 12, 7, 7, and 6 points in their games so far (and that first 7 should've been 3).

6. The ABC guys talked about how the Penn State game was closer than the final score looked and that Ohio State didn't look great. Really? I can only speak for myself here, but I was never worried about Penn State scoring a TD. Besides that end of half drive (which had a pass interference and some penalties if I'm not mistaken), when did Penn State remotely look like they had a chance scoring?

7. And credit OSU's defense for putting Penn State in that passing situation at the end of the game. People talked like it was no big deal that those interceptions occured. OSU put PSU in a position to have to throw the ball and they took advantage.

8. Troy Smith didn't have guady numbers, but he sure did have a 'wow' play.

9. Jenkins spiked the ball before he got to the endzone. Heh, that TD shouldn't have counted.

10. If I hear one more person call that Notre Dame-Michigan State game an 'instant classic' , my head will explode. Seriously, what about that game was classic? Both teams played like absolute shit, just at different points in the game.

11. Michigan State choked. End of story.

12. Sure, OSU didn't exactly dominate Penn State (offensively that is, the defense was lock down), but at least they were playing a ranked team. Auburn played Buffalo, USC played Arizona, West Virginia played freaking East Carolina, and Florida pounded Kentucky. People are impressed by this? Oh yeah, Texas played Rice. Well done.

13. I know I should want Michigan to be undefeated when they show up at OSU. But I can't help rooting against them. It's like when the Steelers were in the Super Bowl, people would tell me "Gotta root for the AFC, man" Really? Do I?

14. The Bengals look really, really good.

15. If I see that God damn NFL Network Replay commerical again... "But you missed 85 and there was nothing you could do" SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!

16. Chad Johnson called the hit by Russell clean and isn't upset about it:

"I haven't been hit since I've been in the NFL, so that's my one," he told reporters on Monday. "It was a good hit. He has a great story for his grandkids.

"As a defensive back or a safety with that opportunity to hit the person who talks all the trash, I think I would have done the same thing."

17. I was with Vinny on this. I thought the Browns had no shot at all to win yesterday. I thought Frye was going to get killed. Well...

18. Frye was sacked 7 times yesterday 7! And he was knocked down another 19. That's ri-God-damn-diculous.

19. Oh yeah, he also threw for 298.

20. The Browns finally gave up on running the ball. They just flat out stopped trying. Frye was throwing the whole game and ya know what? They looked good doing it.

21. Even with that interception at the end, I think Frye has the respect of every man in that locker room.
"This is the most physical division there is. You need a tough quarterback like Charlie," Winslow said.

"It takes a man to play quarterback in the NFL, a guy who knows he's going to get hit. I take my hat off to him. I myself could not do that job," Edwards said.

Browns safety Brian Russell, the man who knocked Bengals receiver Chad Johnson into Never-Never Land a week ago, said "That's a tough guy there. As a defensive player, you have to respect that."

22. Much like Tim Couch, I haven't heard Frye bitch about his protection at all. He's getting mauled out there. I can't even imagine what a pocket passer would look like under center.

23. Speaking of that INT, I am totally with Tom Reed on this, at least they were playing aggressive. Edwards says it was the right call and that if Frye had one more second to throw, it's a touchdown and the game is over (I think he's right).

24. For a brief second (2nd quarter and that last drive before the INT) it looked like The Future. Frye was hitting his stars and Winslow and Edwards were making plays.

25. Do you realize this is the 3rd game in a row where Frye has connected with Edwards deep? Sure the first game there was holding call, negating the play, but still.

26. Hey Ted Washington, Willie McGinist, nice of you to join the rest of the defense this week. Speaking of the defense, it looks like Kamerion Wimbley and D'Qwell Jackson are going to be playing here for awhile.

27. Roger Brown didn't really write anything inflammatory on Sunday. I was actually kind of shocked. But don't worry, on Monday he quoted John Kruk's reason why the Indians are a disapointment:
ESPN baseball studio analyst John Kruk recently declared the Indians were the majors' most-disappointing team this season - and made a good point in pointing to catcher Victor Martinez as a major culprit. Kruk said Martinez's inability to throw out base stealers caused the Indians to lose numerous opportunities to end innings with double-play grounders - and greatly affected the psyche of the team's pitching staff. It was insightful, thought-provoking stuff - and only confirmed why Kruk ranks among the best baseball analysts.

Now, I kind of find it hard to believe that Victor's throwing arm is a major reason the Indians under-achieved this year. See, I always figured it was the fact that early in the season, no starter could get past 5 innings (*cough* CliffLeePaulByrdJasonJohnson *cough*. I also thought the bullpen blowing late inning leads was the major culprit. Guess not. Damn you Martinez, if only you could throw out all the baserunners the pitching staff lets on! (Also, WTF, Victor wasn't exactly Pudge last season and they won 93 games, now he's slightly worse and that's the reason they tanked? Really? Thought provoking?)

28. Did anyone realize Grady Sizemore hit 2 home runs yesterday and that one of them was an inside the park? I doubt he'll be the leadoff hitter next year, look at his stats: 52 doubles, 11 triples, 27 HR and 74 RBI. He leads the league in extra base hits with 90.

29. Rumor has it that the second episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is better than the pilot. And I've watched the pilot 3 times thus far (the boys over at Free Darko loved it as well). Watch this show!

30. Some quick hit music thoughts:

a) I'm really digging Time without Consequence by Alexi Murdoch (apparently he had a song on The O.C., I wouldn't exactly know). He's kind of a mix between Nick Drake and Jack Johnson. And if you don't know who Nick Drake is, shame on you.

b) Elton John's new album, The Captain & The Kid, is billed as sequel to his 70's tour de force Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. The Captain & The Kid isn't a bad album by any means, it's very pleasant if a bit boring. It doesn't hold a candle (in the wind. HA!) to its predecessor Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (my review).

c) I enjoyed The Frays' How to Save a Life much more than I thought I would.

d) I've just really discovered The Mars Volta and My Morning Jacket. Frances the Mute is just nuts (in a good way) and Z is much trippy-er than I thought (I was expecting much more annoying emo-type).

Friday, September 22, 2006

Brady Quinn For Heisman

Tell me this isn't awesome

Dajuan Wagner is back

and he'll be playing for the Warriors.

I was really excited about the Cavs drafting "Allen Iverson with muscles" 5 years go. Hell, I even own a Wagner-Boozer rookie/special autograph card (that was a great investment).

I had hopes of LeBron playing point while Dajuan would be playing an undersized 2. Alas, it never happened. I really thought the Cavs a trio of the future in James, Wagner and Boozer. Wagner never stayed healthy and Boozer left town as the second most hated figure in Cleveland sports.

Well, at least that James kid has worked out.

(and I really hope Wagner does well in Golden State. He should fit in with Don Nelson pretty well.)

So THIS is why Roger Brown likes John Kruk

A couple days ago Brown named his favorite announcers and the list went something like this:
Joe Morgan (ESPN): The no-nonsense Morgan remains the gold standard for baseball game analysts - he's insightful, informative and, at times, controversial.

John Kruk (ESPN): The "Baseball Tonight" studio personality clearly does his homework - he has an impressive ability to dissect each team's strengths and weakness.

Tim McCarver (Fox): There's no denying McCarver's ability to combine baseball wisdom and wit - even if he's often guilty of talking too much.

Steve Phillips (ESPN): A former New York Mets general manager, Phillips is blunt and opinionated.

I still think he picked these guys because no one else likes them, you know, just to piss readers off. But I think I found a reason why he likes John Kruk:

During a recent ESPN "Baseball Tonight" broadcast, analyst John Kruk suggested the Indians were the majors' most disappointing team this season.

Brown never passes on a chance to take a shot at a Cleveland team, does he?

Now, I'm not saying the Indians aren't disapointing- they are. But most disappointing? How about the White Sox or Red Sox? Both teams were thought to be shoe-ins for the playoffs and both have had down years. The White Sox contended for a little while; but the Red Sox? They traded for Jason Johnson. Ouch.

WTF? Hudson Football?

I'm watching TV last night, minding my own business and I happen to turn the channel over to Fox Sports Ohio.

Now, I don't watch a lot of FSN Ohio, mostly because the Tribe is over on Sports Time Ohio (and the Cavs haven't started yet). I watched a little of the Kent St. - Miami game last Saturday mainly because my sister and brother attend those colleges, respectively. The video for for the KSU-MU game were awful. The announcers were bad, the production was awful and the camera could barely follow the ball.

You can imagine my surprise last night when I turned to FSN Ohio and they were showing the Hudson-Solon High School football game. And not only were they showing it, it was really well produced. They had the score, time and down on the top of the screen, they had coach and player cutaways on the field and sideline and they had Jeff Phelps announcing the game. What the hell was this?

side note: I love Jeff Phelps. When I was in high school, before we had cable, my brother and I would always watch Channel 43's sports segment at 10:45. Phelps was funny and always seemed to have good information. I foundly remember the 1998 season, when the Tribe purused free-agent-to-be Roberto Alomar at the trading deadline, but the deals fell through. It was common knowledge that he would sign in Cleveland that following offseason. And during the telecasts Phelps would always show Alomar highlights and refer to him as "Future Indian Robert Alomar" (playing off the "former Indian Albert Belle" type stuff). Shut up, I liked it. Anyways, I'm rambling, but it was kinda cool/weird to see Phelps calling my former high school's (Hudson) football game.

Not only that was that weird, but Terry Pluto, far and away my favorite columnist, wrote an excellent column on attending the game at Dante Lavelli Stadium. He mentioned a ton of kids by name, praised both team's coaches and even mentioned the bands. You can tell he enjoyed himself by the whole tone of the column.

As for the game itself? Hudson lost to Solon in overtime and by all accounts it was a pretty good game.

The game was well played, well coached, the bands did a joint halftime show and it was a beautiful night. As my dad (who attended the game) said, "it really was a slice of Americana".

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mannix: Bulls Will Win the Title

Really? The Bulls?

Needless to say, I disagree.

I made a lot of these points when the Bulls signed Wallace, but let's do a quick rehash:

Last year the Bulls strengths were: outside shooting (guard play) and defense
Their weaknesses: inside scoring (no scoring big man) and lack of free throws (stemming from the jumpshooting and lack of inside game)

Ben Wallace brings: great off the ball defense, good rebounding and terrible, terrible shooting

So how does a 41-41 team go from a 7th seed to title winner with an addition that doesn't address any of their weaknesses?

I'm not saying they won't be improved. They will be. But when they lost to the Heat last year, their problem wasn't defense.

In my opinion, the best part of the Bulls signing Wallace was that it weakened a division rival in Detroit.

If you want to make an argument for the Bulls coming out of the East it would go something like this:

The Heat are too old and if Dwyane Wade gets less calls, they can be beaten.
The Pistons lost Ben Wallace and now have to rely on Rasheed Wallace. Enjoy.
The Cavs are a one man team (with no reliable point guard) and the Bulls should be able to cause havoc on the defensive end.
The Nets have even less inside game than the Bulls.
The Pacers are decent but not great.
The Bucks are too young.
The Raptors are too Euro.
The Knicks, well, um, Isiah Thomas.
The Sixers are terrible.
The Magic are too young and unproven (though I think they'll be really good this year).

(Did I miss anyone?)

Every team in the East has a rather large question mark So that would be my argument for the Bulls coming out of the East. Somebody has to, right?

But the title? You trust the Bulls getting a big basket down the stretch versus the Spurs or the Mavs?

I don't.

More thoughts on Wickman

After reading Erik's take over at Papa Cass, I wanted to flesh out my Wickman thoughts.

At the time of the trade, I agreed with the move, and honestly, I still do.

Most Indians fans didn't like the guy to begin with; he had a great save percentage, but his saves were always nerve racking. I listen to too much talk radio, and trust me, this guy wasn't exactly loved here.

Everyone assumd that this was Wickman's last year; he was going to retire and he didn't seem as sharp this year. When you play with fire as much as Wickman does, it doesn't take a whole lot of slippage from completing a save with 2 men on and blowing a save with those two men scoring.

The idea of trading Wickman I agreed with; the result? Meh. A low level catching prospect? We have Victor Martinez, an All-Star, Kelly Shoppach, a great defensive catcher, and Ryan Garko, who can hit and emergency catch. Why just a catching prospect?

But fine, this kid, Max Ramirez, could have a high ceiling, so I bought into it. That being said, the trade was kind of iffy; this wasn't exactly an easy deal to defend.

What made matters worse was right after the trade, the Indians bullpen imploded. No one could get guys out and the Fausto Carmona closing experiement was a complete and utter disaster. (Why would Wedge keep throwing him out there? Why? I'm not a big Fire Wedge guy, but his handling of Carmona is a great way to convince me).

So now Wickman re-signs with Atlanta, and we're all kind of confused. But I think if Wickman had stayed here he would've retired after the season. I think the only reason he is around for next year is because he was traded to the Braves.

It looks like Braves GM John Schuerholz has been trying to get Wickman for the past few years now:
"I was very close to signing with this team twice, to the point where I was scheduled to report to Atlanta the next day for a physical before Cleveland came back to sign me," Wickman said following the July trade.

I think if the Tribe traded Wickman to Houston or Florida or any other team, he'd be done. I don't think he'd have signed with Atlanta for 2007 without having played there.

Wickman had some success in Atlanta, had thought about signing there before and when offered a chance to re-up (for almost $7 mil) he decided to stick around.

Also, don't overlook the fact that Atlanta is in the NL. A lot of pitchers go to the NL as their career winds down. Look and Clemens and Pedro? These guys were pretty good in the AL, but they went much than 6 innings. However, in the NL, with the weaker lineups, they could last longer.

In my opinion, Wickman wouldn't have been an Indian next year, so the trade is still justified. In retrospect, I still would've liked a better prospect but what can you do. The real revisionist argument against trading Wickman is that if Wickman was still around, Fausto Carmona wouldn't have been abused by Boston.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'm glad we traded him for a single A catcher

Wickman re-upped with the Braves for 2007.


Terry Pluto was mentioned on Around the Horn today; J.A. Adande brought him up during the Winslow discussion and the Tim Cowlishaw made a terrible joke ("now that Pluto is no longer a planet, shouldn't Pluto get his column taken away?" HAR!). Personally, I think I'd rather read Pluto than just about anybody (well, maybe Peter Gammons).

Anways, I know this is a few days late, but he has some thoughts on the Browns game and ends his column with this:
I hate to bring this up, but a game like this makes you grumpy. In 2001, the Browns' second-round pick was Quincy Morgan. Later that round, the Bengals selected star receiver Chad Johnson.

Also, speaking of Gammons, I'm sure most of you know this, but he's back to writing again. With Gammons back writing about baseball, the world seems just a touch better.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yes! This Means More Ralph Brown!

Daylon McCutcheon is out for the season.

Who knew that McCutcheon would end up being this valuable... I was really looking forward to McCutcheon coming back (something I never thought I'd say) so we could stick him in nickle coverage and stick Ralph Brown on waivers. Oh well.

(Do the Browns get any good news, ever? Seriously, this is getting ri-god-damn-diculous)

Winslow goes off

I know we've all been waiting for it (though it's taken a few years) but Kellen Winlsow Jr (or as Papa Cass calls him "Mount St. Kellens") went off:

``I think some of the coaches might just be holding us back a little bit,'' Winslow said Monday at the end of the team's open locker room with the media.

Winslow, a tight end, spoke calmly and quietly, but his comments were pointed -- and might not sit well with offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon and coach Romeo Crennel.

``I don't mean to try to go behind their backs or whatever,'' Winslow said. ``But we're 0-and-2. We have nothing to lose. Let's go. Let's air it out. Let's run the ball. Let's make plays.

``Let's be exciting.''

Winslow said the Browns need to do a ``a better job of getting the ball in our playmakers' hands.''

``Basically that's it,'' he said. ``We got to execute, and when the ball comes, we got to make the play.''

Is it not in the game plan, he was asked?

``That's exactly what it is,'' Winslow said. ``I think we're being a little too conservative right now. We just need to unleash it. You know, why wait? It was a division game and we're 0-2, so we have nothing to lose.''

I like it, and I'll tell ya why.

This team has sucked for awhile. Sure, they made the playoffs one year, but they sucked then too. The offense looked bad, the defense looked bad, Ralph Brown looked (really really really) bad, and I'm glad someone spoke up and said things have to improve.

This wasn't Butch Davis making excuses or veterans trying to keep their jobs (Tom Reed brings up Jeff Garcia and Trent Dilfer). This was the one guy out there who looked like a honest to God NFL starter. Winslow wasn't dropping passes or screwing up, he looked like a guy that opposing teams actually have to game plan for; he's the one of two guys in that locker room (Leigh Bodden is the other, but he stays to himself) who have the talk the talk and back it up (and yes, I know Winslow has only played in 4 games, so what?).

I had Kenny Rhoda on yesterday afternoon, and surprise surprise, fans were calling in wanting Maurice Carthon's head. I know Carthon sucked last year, but Crennel wanted to bring him back. But if this season turns out like we all think it's going to turn out, Carthon won't be back next season. Rhoda brought up a decent point (for a Steeler fan): if the Browns offense stinks and the Browns are 0-5 heading into the bye week, why not dump Carthon then? You're going to have to install a new offense next year anyway, why not start then?

Anways, maybe Winslow's rant will jump start this team. I'm sure he's not the only guy in the locker room feeling this way; he's just the one with the balls (or stupidity) to say it.

The NBA is Coming!

In 2010.

All week is asking basketball reporters to predict what the NBA will look like in 2010, and todays question is which top 10 team is most likely to make the lottery.

Marc J. Spears from the Denver Post actually brought up that Miami doesn't exactly look like a long term contender:
Expect the Miami Heat to go from NBA kings to lottery in a couple years. NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Dwyane Wade will be a free agent in 2010. By then, superstar center Shaquille O'Neal will be retired, as will several other key Heat players in Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton and possibly Antoine Walker. Pat Riley will be retired for a couple seasons by the time Wade's contract is up. So with all the key teammates gone, his franchise in rebuilding mode and a championship ring in hand, it will be time and also fair for Wade to be selfish in 2010 and go sign a contract with one of the NBA's premier teams.

For what Wade has given to the franchise thus far and will give by 2010, it wouldn't be fair to ask the perennial All-Star to stick around during a rebuilding period. Moreover, since the Heat have been an NBA power in recent years, they haven't been adding big-time draft picks to complement Wade. What the Heat should do is figure out a way to get Wade to convince LeBron James to come to Miami once he becomes a free agent in 2010, too. Hey, South Beach is a lot warmer than Cleveland.

Of course, as ESPN's NBA rule, he had to throw out a 'LeBron leaving Cleveland' scenario at the end there (he threw out a 'LeBron to the Knicks' yesterday). But he's right, Miami is a really old team and in 2-3 years most of this roster is going to be old or Antoine Walker (or both).

Both David Thorpe and Chris Sheridan mention Cleveland as a possible team.

I know that we are all supposed to hail Bron Bron. That he is "next" -- the guy who can carry his team to great heights. I know that he has already been anointed by the vast majority of experts to be the true superstar of the next decade, and I know that it is not a question of if he will win a ring, but how many. But here's what else I know; unless he gets some serious help in the next two years, the Cavs have as much of a chance to get a lottery pick as they do a berth in the Finals.

I don't doubt LeBron's talent and drive to win. In fact, I place his 2005-06 season among the all-time best we have ever seen from any player. He averaged more points than any two of his teammates combined, and had 2.4 more assists per game than the starting point guard. On the other end of the floor, he led the Cavs in steals per game and defensive rebounds!

Asking him to keep performing the miraculous is a recipe for failure (read: lottery). Consider that the Cavs added no one who can be considered a lock to contribute, they lost super-sub Flip Murray to the Pistons in free agency, their incumbent super-sub Anderson Varejao has a mysterious leg fatigue problem, Drew Gooden just signed a new contract (not often a good omen for increased production), and it is easy to see how the Cavs can fall back to the pack in the improved East. And don't overlook the loss of Murray. The Cavs were 18-6 in the final 24 regular-season games with him, 32-26 before.

The Cavs are just one ankle twist away from a certain lottery slot.


Again, another question that assumes a drastic change in fortune, not just into the lottery, a la the recent Wolves, but all the way to the top of the lottery. Whew. The only way I could see that happening to any of these teams is through a devastating early-season injury to a superstar with a fragile supporting cast. The Lakers with Kobe Bryant and the Cavs with LeBron James obviously fit that bill, same for the Heat and Dwyane Wade a year or two from now when Shaq's decline will be even more pronounced than it was in the Finals. But if healthy, all 10 of those teams should be in the playoffs for at least the next couple of years.

I agree with both of them. If the LeBron went down, the Cavs are sunk. Like, really really sunk. Actually, I wouldn't mind a LeBron injury right now.

Now hear me out, I'm not talking a Jimmy Jackson knee injury anything like that could linger, but say LeBron broke his left (non-shooting) wrist and had to miss the bulk of the season. The Cavs would stink and get a high draft pick in one of the deepest drafts in years. Then LeBron could come back at full strength with Greg Oden anchoring the middle. That wouldn't suck. (This is basically the Spurs did to land Tim Duncan. David Robinson went down early, some other key guys got hurt and they all took their sweet time rehabbing. All while losing a ton of games. The draft roles around, they grab Tim Duncan and it's all titles and Edge Pro Gel commericals after that.)

Anyways, they both are right, if Kobe or LeBron went down (Windhorst adds Steve Nash to that list) then their teams are sunk.

However, Thorpe is a little misleading with his Flip Murray stat. Yes the Cavs were only 32-26 without Murray, you know why? A good chunk of those games were played without Larry Hughes. So that meant the Cavs shooting guards were... Sasha Pavlovic and Ira Newble. It wasn't that Murray was so great, he was just better than those two bums.

I hope he sues

innocent until proven...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Basketball Academy?

I like this idea, a lot.

The basketball system in this country needs an overhaul. With the AAU teams, the sneaker companies and the dumb dumb NCAA rules... this could be a step in the right direction.

Roger Brown is expanding

The fine folks over at FireJoeMorgan have discovered the joy that is Roger Brown.

Random Thoughts from the Weekend

1. OSU looked damn good. Sure they were a bit slow out of the gate, but after Cinci's TD, OSU didn't let them smell another scoring chance.

2. Speaking of that TD, that drive had a lot of busted plays. Their QB scrambled for 20 yards and then scrambled and found a guy open. Not saying they didn't deserve the TD or anything, but not a lot of their designed plays really fooled the Buckeyes.

3. I learned something this weekend, I'd rather watch Notre Dame get blown out than watch a close LSU- Auburn game. That's just the way it is.

4. I hate ND even more for making me root for Michigan. I need a shower.

5. I hope Michigan continues their hot play, right until they visit the Horseshoe.

6. That loss could knock Quinn down a peg or two in the Heisman race. Troy Smith has to be the favorite right now.

7. I still can't get over that ND loss. It was a week after they ran up the score on Penn State. Not that I like PSU, but they were running fake punts while up by 20+ points. Assholes.

8. That OSU-Michigan game is going to start at 3:30 this year. That's the first time it hasn't been a noon game in... well... as far as I know this is the first time. The noon game forced the OSU kids to wake up early and drink (which we did). But with a 3:30 game, kids will be able to get up late and pound a few. That's gonna be a rowdy stadium.

9. They'd never do it, but if both teams are undefeated, make it a night game. Come on, you're telling me that wouldn't be a ratings bonanza? Last game of the year, OSU-Michigan undefeated at night?

10. I'd like to say good job to Texas for edging out Rice 52-7. North Texas, then OSU and now Rice. So one team that is good (and they are really good) and two really shitty teams. Well done, coach Brown, well done.

11. So lemme get this straight, the Indians lost 3 out of 4 to the Twins at home, and they only game they won was started by Fausto Carmona and against Johan Santana? WTF?

12. How bout those Browns? My God they looked awful. And I mean really awful. Not in the same class as the Bengals awful. Shouldn't be allowed to be in the league awful.

13. I figured the offense would stink early on, didn't we all? Frye's second season, Edwards and Winslow coming back from injuries and an injured O-line. But come on... where's Jerome Harrison? Where the hell are Winslow and Edwards?! They were catchless in the first quarter, and I don't think they were even thrown too.

14. These guys need to start catching the ball. Frye had another INT because some one (Droughns) let the ball bounce off his body. Awful.

15. Sure the Browns had 5 sacks on Palmer, but that looks better than it really was. He had all day to throw and just picked apart the secondary.

16. Leigh Bodden is good.

17. Baxter tries, but he's hurt. The safties did okay. The front 7? Not so much. Are the Browns paying Ted Washington in hamburgers? Cause if they are paying him in dollars they got a raw deal.

18. This season I've really enjoyed how after the Browns score, the opposing teams offense marches right down and gets those points back. The offense sucks, so when they do something positive, the defense can't just give it right back. And don't tell me how they're on the field all day. The Bengals first drive was sickening. I don't think they were stopped once. They didn't have an incomplete or a run less than 6 yards that drive. Awful.

19. When do the Cavs start?

20. Pre-season starts Oct. 10th. Whoo!

21. I don't know if I've mentioned this, ever, but Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip debutes tonight. Watch it. Please? This is all I ask.

22. I just finished the second season of The Sopranos, and hey, that show is pretty good. (I've never had HBO and we're finally starting watching the DVDs, I knew it was a good show, but damn. I think my next TV/DVD project is The Wire).

23. So if the Browns have a high draft pick, what do they do? Like say they get the #1 pick (and they look like they deserve it right now). What would you do? Do they take Quinn? I think that depends on how Frye looks the rest of this season. But part of me wouldn't mind them trading it (especially if they are #1 overall and teams want Quinn). The Browns (still) have a ton of holes. They need to pick some young linemen, on both sides of the ball. What's the use of drafting Quinn if they can't protect him? A trade that could net them a high first, a low first and second (with a pick for next year) could set this team on the right path.

24. Why do I think they'll get the #1 pick? Well, from the looks of it, they aren't going to win a division game this year. Anyone feel comfortable facing Balti-less next week? They also play at Atlanta, San Diego and Carolina.... They have home games versus Denver, the Jets and KC (and none of those are sure things). They do play at Oakland and end the season at Houston. Those are winnable. And they have Tampa Bay at home, a game they might actually be favored to win.

25. I was hoping for a 6-10 season, 7-9 would be nice and 8-8 would've been amazing. Now I'm looking for them to finish with 4 wins. Ugh.

26. LeBron is going to be on Letterman this Friday. Set the Tivo.

27. MMQB

28. Today Roger Brown (I know, I know, I should ignore him, but I can't) called Joe Morgan the gold standard in baseball analysts... number 2? Jon Kruk. I believe Kruk predicted that Randy Johnson was going to get 30 wins last season. These guys are awful.

29. I took an easy pick in survivor this week, Indy vs Houston. I know, I know, I probably wasted Indy too early, but the only game I was fully comfortable with was Cinccinati vs Cleveland and I wasn't going to pick against the Browns. Not this early...

30. I'm up 2 points in my fantasy matchup tonight, I have Joey Porter and Jeff Reed going tonight, while my opponent has Matt Jones... it's gonna be close.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

More Norm

The full Norm MacDonald Daily Show interview has been posted, it is a delight

Norm has a new CD coming out, and you better believe I'll be getting it/reviewing it. For all your Norm news go to

Separation Saturday, eh?

Notre Dame vs Michigan? What am I supposed to do here?

I know it would be better for OSU if Michigan won today (and then lost to OSU at the end). But having to root for Michigan? Ugh.

I'm rooting for an earthquake.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Home Games shouldn't be on TV?

Unless sold out? Dwight James (via TrueHoop):
Ah, you say, television also is a form of advertising and exposes your team to new fans. That’s an argument a lot of minor-league teams use when they pay or barter to get their games on the air.

Our junior hockey team, the Winter Hawks, is going to try to play that game this year – televising home games on cable. That’s almost suicidal, in my opinion, because at the same time they’re trying to lure people into buying tickets to sit in ancient Memorial Coliseum.

I think, in today’s television world, that philosophy of local TV exposure is fool’s gold. In the old days, there were four or five local stations, no cable, and it was entirely possible that someone would accidentally bump into your games on the air and become a fan.

But no more. There already are too many options on cable and dish. I don’t think there’s much accidental viewing anymore.

You can argue with me about these conclusions, but I’d just point you toward the one league that’s still thriving in the area of TV rights fees and home attendance. That would be the NFL.

And what’s the NFL’s single, longest-running television rule? That’s right – if the game isn’t sold out, it’s not shown on local television. Period. That’s where it all starts for sports’ most successful business.

The NFL is using television, you see. The rest of the sports world is being used by television.

I see his point, but the NFL can afford to do this, while other leagues cannot. Each NFL team only has 8 home games a season while the NBA and MLB have 41 and 81 respectively. If the NFL wants to play hardball with the locals it can, because each of their games have a greater chance to sell out.

But why would the Atlanta Hawks put in a black out rule? Sure they might draw a few more fans here and there; but these games are expensive and just showing the away games may not be the best way to get new fans.

Obviously he isn't saying that other leagues should impose a full time black out rule and maybe he's right saying less home games on television could spur game attendence. But I don't think it's fair to compare the Cavs 41 home games with the Browns 8. They're too different animals.

Yankees done in Columbus

They're getting a new baseball stadium and now a new team (they just don't know who yet). From the Columbus Dispatch:

If the Columbus Clippers are to be affiliated with a New York team next season, it will have to be the Mets and not the Yankees, their major-league partner for the past 28 seasons.

The Yankees informed Columbus Baseball Team Inc. last week that they will explore other triple-A options, possibly moving their top prospects to Moosic, Pa., in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.

Immediately I thought about the Tribe, but if they do move their AAA team from Buffalo, it won't be til 2008:

Huntington Park is scheduled to open sometime in 2008 but possibly as late as the start of the 2009 season. The Clippers are looking for a two-year deal, but it won’t be with Cincinnati or Cleveland. The Reds (Louisville, Ky.) and Indians (Buffalo, N.Y.) have working agreements through 2008.

Schnacke would not rule out pursuing those clubs in the future.

I can't say I've ever been to a Clippers game, why? Well, the stadium was a little bit of a drive, not much, but wasn't easy to get to if you didn't have car like I did my first 2 years at OSU. But the main reason? They were the Yankees team. I hate the Yankees. Maybe I'm shallow, I know it would probably be a good time at the ballpark and a nice evening. But these were Yankee players...

In 2008 should the Indians move their AAA team to Columbus? I dunno, but I do that there's a greater chance of me seeing a game in Columbus if they do.

Honestly? It makes too much sense. The A team in Lake County, AA team in Akron and AAA in Columbus? Waaay too much sense.

Screw the 'Nati

With the Browns playing the Bengals and OSU taking on the Bearcats, it's basically Fuck Cincinnati Weekend up here in Cleveland.

Now, I hate the Bengals. I hate Bengal fans and I hated having to watch the Bengals last year in Columbus instead of the Browns. Ironically, the Dispatch said the Bengals games get about the same ratings as the Browns games (nice job boys, you're even with a team that considers 6-10 a good year, good fans).

But I do have a hard time hating Chad Johnson. The guy is kinda a dick but also pretty funny. His celebrations seem a lot less asshole-ish than TO and others. I dunno why, but it just is.

And before today, I didn't really have an opinion on Carson Palmer. I mean, he was good, I respected him for coming back from that injury and I give him props for saying he hated the Steelers, but he was Cinci's QB and that was that. However, today he was on Jim Rome and was asked about this weekends USC-Nebraska game said this about Nebraska (I'm paraphrasing, the interview isn't up on Rome's website yet), "I wasn't aware that they still had a football program".

Now I don't care who you are; that's awesome.

Though, an upset this weekend in Cinci would be pretty badass.

Daily Show and Colbert

Usually, when I watch The Daily Show or Colbert Report, I look forward to the interviews. These guys have had some of the most powerful and/or influential people on their programs and I really enjoy seeing these guys. But a lot of times they'll have celebrities, and while sometimes I enjoy these (the Denis Leary one was great), I'm always kinda bummed.

Stewart has eluded to this himself,
"You've been rough on your own interviewing skills. Is it easier for you when George Clooney walks out on stage as opposed to, say, Richard Clarke?

No. Nothing against him, but it's a lot less interesting to talk to the guy in Ocean's Twelve than the guy at the helm of the war room on 9/11. But I understand that people have just sat through 15 minutes of world events, so how about letting them see a handsome and rakish man from ER?"
I was really looking forward to last night's guests; Norm MacDonald was on the Daily Show and Bill Simmons (the Sports Guy) was on Colbert. Basically, one of my favorite comedians and favorite sports writers on my favorite shows? Delightful.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Norm, sometimes his humor works, sometimes it doesn't. I love the dry humor, personally, I think he had maybe the greatest opening monologues (isn't the full video) ever SNL. But last night was awesome, he went off on some rifs that just killed. He's the first person I've seen touch the Steve Irwin situation:

And he was really funny during the new "Seat of Heat" feature. So far, I can only find the Irwin joke on YouTube, but Comedy Central has parts 1 and 2 (though I have a harder time with these videos).

With Simmons I kind of knew what to expect. He's name dropped the Report a few times in this columns, so I knew he was a fan. That means he knew what he was getting into, and since he's a sports writer, not a sports announcer, I knew he was going to be nervous.

I thought Bill did a good job, I just don't know if anyone who watches that is going to be compelled to go find his articles. Former Daily Quickie writer Dan Shanoff (who I don't always care for) live blogged the appearence and said if Bill could speak on TV like he writes, he'd be a god.

More YouTube Fun

I love Aaron Sorkin. A Few Good Men is one of my favorite movies.

Sports Night? My God what a show. The only thing my friends know about it came from Family Guy ("It's too smart to be funny"). It's a shame, cause Sports Night was a much better show than Family Guy ever was (and don't get me wrong, I love me some Family Guy, but they are really on different levels here). But then again, these are the same people who were confused by Stewie's Shatner impression.

And West Wing? What can I say, I think the Emmys speak for themselves.

So needless to say, I'm beyond excited for the premiere of Sorkin's new show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

I found the intro on YouTube. And well, it looks pretty damn sweet.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Take one down, pass it around 98 guards on the Cavaliers roster

the Cavs have one less guard, Stephen Graham was cut.

Dirty Brown Towel

this is stupid

If the Browns are going to copy the Steelers, lets copy the football parts.

We already got a MAC QB, so thats a start, but we can do better. How about impact players on defense? Offensive linemen who are good?

Mark Stein Ranks the Easts Offseason

He says the Cavs have had the 4th best offseason of any team in the East:


What's better than winning a championship? For the Cavs, it's getting LeBron James' signature on a contract extension. That alone made it a celebratory offseason in Cleveland, even if James signed for only three extra years as opposed to the maximum five ... and even though Cleveland lacks the financial flexibility to chase more glamorous free-agent help for LBJ than Scot Pollard and David Wesley.

The flip side to the glee, of course, is that pretty much everyone signed by the Cavs in their summer of 2005 spending spree -- Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall, Damon Jones and Zydrunas Ilgauskas -- faces an uncertain future with the club because Cleveland is pressed right against the luxury-tax threshold. The Cavs are thus forced to trade their way into roster upgrades between now and LeBron's free-agent summer of 2010, meaning everyone not named James is at risk for possible relocation.

If anyone wants to wonder why Cleveland fans can get pissed off at the World Wide Leader, this is a perfect example:
That alone made it a celebratory offseason in Cleveland, even if James signed for only three extra years as opposed to the maximum five
See, Stein is saying the James signed for 2 years less. But he didn't. The max contract James would've signed was a 4 year deal with a player option for a 5th year. So yes, 5 year max, but 4 years guaranteed. The contract James did sign? A 3 year deal with a player option for the 4th year. One year difference. That's it. Am I overly touchy about this? But when comparing the two contracts he uses the maximum number of years for the longer one and the minimum number of years for the shorter one, he's being dishonest.

Naturally, Dwyane Wade's shorter deal didn't come up in his blurb about the Heat.

(Not so) Random You Tube Videos

There isn't much going on in the world of Cleveland sports today. Kellen Winslow came out and guaranteed a win this weekend.... er... season. Not this week. But this year. Ballsy.

I actually don't mind K2's bravado. At least someone on the Browns needs to step up and light a fire under their asses. If Winslow wants to keep the media focus on him and not the terrible line and play calling, I'm all for that. Winslow also said he has confidence in Bodden (to stop Chad Johnson) and in Maurice Carthon's play calling (which makes him the first).

Meanwhile, Terry Pluto wrote a nice letter to Chuck Amato, basically telling him to suck it. Personally, I think Pluto is the premier sports columnist of NE Ohio. Anything he writes I just eat up.

Besides those two incidents it's been pretty slow, so here's some videos that I've enjoyed.

First is this bit from the Daily Show.

Now, disagree with Stewart and Colbert all you want, and I'm fine with that. I can see how some people may not like these guys. But that sketch is why this show is an American Institution. Not only is it amazing that theres a politcal show that college age kids watch (I mean, just think about that for a second) but it brings up issues that no one talks about.

This whole question mark business is a great example. Who's going to criticize CNN and Fox? I mean really, who on television is going to find fault with how they present their news. This is a great dialogue and can inspire some critical thinking of how news information is presented to us.

This next video is by and it is one of the best political ads I've ever seen.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh, Roger Brown (and the rest of the Plain Dealer)

Wow, what a day for the PD.

Roger Brown went after Phil Savage today, because, my lord, the Browns lost their first game. Fire the bastard!:
Why, after two years of spending tens of millions of dollars on offensive linemen (Joe Andruzzi, L.J. Shelton, Bob Hallen, Cosey Coleman and Kevin Shaffer, among others) do the Browns still have a line incapable of keeping a quarterback from running his rear off all game - merely to survive all four quarters?
Agreed, what the hell is Savage trying to do here, upgrade the line? What an asshole.
Really, in your heart of hearts, do you think this offensive line would be a top-quality NFL unit even if injured center LeCharles Bentley had played this season?
I think that if the Browns had A) a pro-bowl center and B) the same unit working together for the entire preseason (with the aforementioned pro-bowl center) they'd be un-gawd-awful. But that's just me.

Since it's obvious rookie inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson and veteran Chaun Thompson are of equal talent - Jackson barely won the starting job over Thompson - shouldn't you have devoted the second-round pick you spent on Jackson to taking a promising offensive lineman? While the best OL prospects were still available on the draft's first day?

Doesn't it raise a red flag that Jackson, an experienced college inside linebacker, struggled to beat out a guy (Thompson) who hadn't played the position in years?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but shouldn't the red flag be raised because Thompson, a veteran player, lost to a rookie? Jackson did have 7 tackles last week, and by all acounts draft experts liked this pick. And really, in your heart of hearts, do you think this offensive line would be a top-quality NFL unit even if Savage drafted linemen in the second round?

Isn't it an indictment of your 2005 draft that only two picks are starters (Charlie Frye, Braylon Edwards) - while two are low-wattage backups (Brodney Pool, Antonio Perkins), two are totally gone (Nick Speegle, Jonathan Dunn), one is a practice-squad player (Andrew Hoffman) and another was put on the inactive list against New Orleans, at Crennel's behest (David McMillan)?

Isn't it an early indictment of your 2006 draft that third-round pick Travis Wilson was, like McMillan, a "healthy scratch" for the New Orleans opener?

Oh I agree, is says so much that a rookie 3rd round pick, who held out, didn't play the first game of the season. Says sooo much.
Doesn't your signing of free-agent receiver Joe Jurevicius look, more and more, like a move high in sentimentality - but low in actual productivity? (Jurevicius is a Lake Catholic High grad.) And wasn't that the case even before Jurevicius was injured in the season opener, sidelining him for several weeks?
Yes, this move was high in sentimentality. Savage was sentimental for a possesion reciever. The sentimental baby.
Can't the same be said regarding your signing of free-agent linebacker Willie McGinest, the former New England star whose leadership ability seems to exceed his playing skill?
Yes, Savage is a terrible GM because he signed a veteran leader who sucked so bad that he had 3 sacks in the playoffs last year. Awful.

It's classic Brown. Good times. Though maybe I'm not hard enough on the Browns. Though really, it was one game. The line has been together for about 60 minutes. Let's wait and see just how awful this team really (and it could get bad).

(if all you want is sports, stop reading here)


Then I turned to the Editorial page and read this goodness:

I am amazed by the oversim plification of reality that pac ifists espouse in their reactions to Kevin O'Brien's Sept. 6 column (Letters, Sept. 10). Consider, if you are against unleashing the "dogs of war," what would you have your nation do when it is attacked? I never get an answer to that question. Roll over and play dead? Become their slaves, like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, France, Spain, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Holland, Egypt and a host of others did during the World War II?

How firmly will you stand on your pacifistic ideals when your nation is run by the Muslim Taliban demanding that you "convert or die"? Will you, in fact, choose to die for your beliefs, as opposed to acquiescing to violent resistance?

It is equally amazing that I have never seen a pacifist object to the existence or use of police force to enforce order (through the threat of violence, arrest or disarming a violent offender). How is the use of an armed police force any different from that of an army, protecting and enforcing the laws of a civilized society? If you are a pacifist, threatened by an armed robber or a rapist, would you refuse to call the police in response to the crime against you? With what depth of conviction and consistency do you hold to your ideals?

Rev. Bob Higgins Painesville

Higgins is pastor of Here's Hope Baptist Church.

My question is this: In what scenario is our nation in danger of being overtaken by the "Muslim Taliban" When would we ever be told to convert or die? When? If the worse case scenario ever happened (a nuke goes off in an American city) whoever's group set it off would cease to exist. Done. The nation harboring that group? Gone. And most likely we'd just bomb the shit out of other nations in the region. There is no scenario that we'd be over taken by the "Muslim Taliban". Not saying the complete pacifism is the answer, but come on, let's have a realistic view of the world shall we?

Then, I read this colum by Kevin O'Brien. I'm not going to into a whole lot of detail here, but he accuses people of not recognizing that we're at war and that some people who read this column would have a hard time identifying between the good guys (The US) and the bad (Terrorists). Well done. Nevermind the fact that we went to two wars and we cut taxes (um, I believe we're the first nation ever to do so). Never mind that the only thing we're asked to sacrifice is our personal liberties. Are we asked to carpool (Ride alone and you ride with Hitler)? No. Who has a victory garden? Anyone?

He also says the time of war is not the time question our national security policies. Right, cause the Constitution gets put on hold when we're at war.

Needless to say, they got some letters to the editor today.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hey, Remember Tom Knott?

Back during the playoffs, Tom Knott was writing some hate filled tirades against LeBron James (I wrote about him here, here and here). Remember, this guy is a (terrible) journalist:
LeBron James skipped down the floor like a little baby after incurring a player-control foul late in the first half of Game 5 last night.
This is the face of the NBA?
This is not a face anyone should have to see.
The only item missing from this sad, sorry spectacle was a stuffed animal.
As wimpy as this display was, there were others.
And these shallow bursts of immaturity seemed to work on the decision-making abilities of referees Bernie Fryer, Mark Wunderlich and Joe Forte in the early going.
The trio indulged every whimper of the Cleveland Crybabies.
It is a wonder the referees did not hold the Crybabies close to their bosoms.
James was the Most Valuable Crybaby, as he employed a wide variety of tormented faces.
Miss him? I know I did. Now Knott is going after Etan Thomas for having the gall to talk about this:
Etan Thomas, the power forward/center for the Washington Wizards, saw the military presentation on NBA TV and knew in his gut that it was wrong. He said to me, "I don't have a problem with the troops talking to the players on their own. But for them being brought in to build a better basketball team just feels wrong. If I was there, my reaction would have been completely different. The fact that...Scott Smiley has lost his sight would not have made me feel patriotic pride. It would have made me feel ashamed, angered and saddened that this soldier was blinded at the service of a war we shouldn't have been in in the first place."

Okay, so Thomas feels a bit icky about having our wounded soliders trying to pump up a basketball team. What as asshole. Knott sets the record straight:
Etan Thomas supports the troops but not the war in Iraq, which is not unlike supporting the Wizards but not the games in the NBA.
The contradiction eludes the morally smug.
The far-left politics of Thomas are well-known, and his objections to the Bush administration and all things Republican are usually about as subtle as a sledgehammer.
It should come as no surprise then that Thomas took exception to Team USA's various functions with members of the U.S. military last month.
He thought it tasteless, exploitive, if not a sign of USA Basketball's tacit approval of America's war on terror.


It is doubtful Thomas would have an objection to a wounded veteran speaking in an anti-war forum.

Um, I thought his whole point was he didn't like using these guys to build a basketball team? I don't think he would object to soliders speaking at pro-war rallies either, I think his objection was about using soliders wounded in war to better a basketball team.

Knott continues:
It is necessary to note the NBA's Hoops for Troops program because of the left's urge to cite Mike Krzyzewski's West Point background and Jerry Colangelo's GOP work in Arizona as the only impetus behind Team USA's embrace of U.S. troops.
They politicize an affair that the NBA intends to be apolitical, if that is possible in these highly polarized times.
See what he did here? God damn you Etan Thomas, you sonofabitch, this is why guys like you (Jermaine O'Neal) weren't on this team, they didn't want to politicize this. See, when there's no other voices, there's no political bickering. Kinda reminds me of this:

OBSCENE. Both the Times and the Post note this morning that Bush laid two wreaths at ground zero last night in the company of George Pataki, Mike Bloomberg, and Rudy Giuliani. The Post goes well out of its way to remark that the event “left aside the partisan rancor” that…well, that Bush & Co. have enforced on the country since about 9-14.

If this event was so nonpartisan, where were Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton? Neither paper makes any mention of their having been there. I’m told that in fact they were not invited (they were at St. Paul’s church, where Bush went after laying the wreaths -- and where there were apparently no photographers!!). In what sense does an event that features four Republicans but excludes the two senators who were representing New York at the time of the event, but who happen to be Democrats, leave aside partisan rancor?
As Atrios says, partisan rancor is easy to avoid if you only invite one party.

Knott ends with this:
Yet to be genuinely supportive of the troops is to be at odds with the far left, which limits its support to lip service.
Thomas, alas, is of this ilk.
He finds little to celebrate in America.
Or if he does, he keeps it to himself.
His screeds masquerading as poetic musings touch the customary talking points of the far left. He sees all kinds of social inequities in America. He sees poverty, racism and the broken-down public schools of the inner city. He sees that which he disdains but offers no solutions.
Darkness is inevitably a tough sell, even more so for a person who lives incredibly well.
To ease some of the injustices and inequities, at least in his tiny corner of the world, Thomas could start with himself.
He could start performing at a level worthy of his contract.
Etan Thomas, you dick, how dare you point out that America isn't perfect. Ignore the bad things and just clap harder.

Knott ends with a cheap shot, calling Thomas overpaid. Which is fine I guess (and completely in character for Knott), Thomas (like most big men) probably is overpaid (though one could argue that compared to jobs that actually matter, like teachers, all athletes are overpaid, but that would be focussing on the negative).

Knott's point is that Thomas should STFU and play better ball. Fine, whatever. But Thomas shouldn't talk about poverty and racism because he may not live up to standards on the fucking basketball court? That's absurd (in the same vein, based on Knott's hatchet job columns filled with one sentence paragraphs, Knott shouldn't voice his opinion ever).

Thomas responded to Knott, via Truehoop:
It is so amazing how a reporter like Tom Knott, because of his far right politics, is absolutely blinded to reality. For some odd reason, he and unfortunately other right wingers like him always equate being against the war with somehow being unpatriotic. They feel that if one points out the way that their country could be better whether through fairer practices regarding the public school system, health care, lack of a response to Hurricane Katrina, an unjust war etc. that somehow is reducible to, as Tom Knott described me in his article, simply being a person who “finds little to celebrate in America”.

If Tom Knott and others who share his opinion feel that they support a war that has cost us the lives of over 2600 US troops, then they are free to do so, but don’t claim that someone is somehow un-American if they have an opposing view.


(P.S. I love that the title of Knott's column is "Injustice? Look at Your Contract, Etan". Bravo, comparing an bad NBA signing to poverty, racism and the war in Iraq. You, sir, are a delight)