Monday, April 30, 2007

Random Thoughts from the Weekend

1. You may not have heard, but the Cavs are going for the sweep tonight (I refuse to start with the Browns. I love their draft and all, but enough. One Cleveland team is actually in the playoffs, can we focus on a team that doesn't suck ass? Continuing that thought... I wore my throw back LeBron jersey to the draft party on Saturday. Again, I love the Browns and the draft, but the biggest day of the Browns year shouldn't fall on a Saturday. The Cavs get the love, as much as they're playing down to Washington, at least they are in the playoffs).

2. Bill Livingston writes about the 3pt shot and I think he comes to some kind of conclusion (though I'm not sure what).

3. The Cavs are looking towards the conference finals. This really should be their goal. However, New Jersey scare the crap out of me. That's not a good matchup for the Cavaliers. They'll need Pavlovic to be 'on' in that series. They'll be able to get past the Wizards with Pavs playing so-so, but they'll need him to make Vince Carter work on both ends of the court.

4. Anderson Varejao wears 3-D sunglasses? Awesome.

5. About those DC parties: Branson Wright reports that there was nothing to them while Windhorst says that this kind of thing goes on all the time.

6. Should the Cavs take as stab at Sebastian Telfair this offseason?

7. I don't see why not. First of all, Telfair will be on his last chance, so he'll be on his best behavior. Also, it might help him to be on a good team, rather than a shitty one (plus, he'll be going in with no expectations). Who knows, maybe the Cavs could salvage his career. All I know is that I'd rather them throw a 1-year deal at a guy like Telfair rather than a David Wesley-esque guy.

8. For those of you who missed the Warriors-Mavs game last night: shame on you! It was awesome. As The Cavalier says:
...but this is, after all, THE STORY of the first round. (Especially when 3/4 of the Eastern bracket are sweeping, and the other 1/4 is Vince Carter bastardinzing all that is good and decent in basketball.*)
9. Dirk is going to get a lot of flack (Reggie Miller was on him all game, saying he should averaging 35 a game) but I thought he did all he could last night (the Daily Dime gave him a pass, which surprised me a bit). People are going to compare Dirk to the Kobes, T-Macs and LeBrons of the league, but that isn't exactly fair. Yes, he's probably going to win the MVP and the MVP shouldn't let his team lose to the 8 seed, but I thought Dirk played great (at least in game 4).

10. Dirk is a big man and he doesn't the opportunities to go 1 on 4 like the swing men do. He still needs someone to get him the ball on the block. And if the Mavs don't look his way, he isn't going to get shots (Miller was criticizing him for not shooting enough. I'm not sure what he wanted, Dirk to take bad shots over double teams as opposed to hitting his wing men?). Dirk finished with 23 points on 9-19 shooting with 15 boards. It's not like the guy didn't show up. If I'm Dallas, I want to see Dirk demand the ball more and I'd send guys to the rim off of the double team, not just spotting up for 3. Golden State defends well, but they aren't the best down low

11. That being said, how can you not be rooting for Warriors fans and Warrior nation? The crowd was electric last night; loud the entire game and always on their feet (and jumping). They love their basketball and you can tell that they are ecstatic that the Warriors are back in the playoffs.

12. It actually reminds me a lot of the 1995 Indians. First playoffs in forever and everyone goes from happy-to-be-here to how-far-can-they-take-us-? If you aren't watching game 5.... I don't even know what to say. You suck.

13. Speaking of the Tribe... Fausto Carmona? He beats Santana and then goes 8 scoreless? And for that he earns a trip to Buffalo? This is a good problem to have.

14. So how long before Paul Byrd is traded (especially if Cliff Lee does well)?

15. Hopefully, this season Lee will be able to make to the 7th inning without imploding.

16. The Indians are protesting Saturday's game against Baltimore.

17. Buster Olney says they should (but probably won't) win:
Now, if you believe in fallacy of the predetermined outcome, then this run wouldn't have made a difference. The Orioles wound up winning, 7-4, and not by one run. But baseball games are like road maps, each turn leading to the next. Anybody who has watched baseball knows that managers and players will make their decisions according to the game situation, and the score always frames the game situation.

So if Major League Baseball rejects the Cleveland protest and retroactive decisions become acceptable practice, what happens in the future?

Let's say that down the road the Orioles are playing the Angels, and Vladimir Guerrero pulls a ball down the left-field line, right near the foul pole -- and Montague, the umpire, rules it a foul ball. And then two innings later, Montague realizes that the ugly mark on the foul pole actually is due to Guerrero's line drive. Maybe he sees a replay while stopping by the men's room between innings. If his bottom line is only getting the call right, could he then, at that point, correct a mistake and give Guerrero a three-run homer? According to the precedent established on Saturday, it would seem he absolutely could do that.

What if an umpire inadvertently awards a walk to open an inning, on a 2-2 pitch, nobody says anything, and the team at bat goes on to score four runs -- and then the other umps realize, later, that the hitter shouldn't have been award first base. Can they go back and change the play?

And here's another horrifying thought: What if the exact same play that happened in Cleveland occurred next year, in a game that was ultimately decided by one run. Imagine if Montague realized his mistake during extra innings, or after the game was over? Should Montague then go back and add a run to the score, and make it a tie game? And if you were the team that lost by one run, wouldn't you absolutely expect to have your run added, since retroactive run-scoring would theoretically be the umpiring standard?

18. OK. The Draft. First of all, a hearty 'well done' to Vinny and the Hornless Rhino and Mistake by the Lake to their second day draft coverage. I refreshed those sites all day long.

19. The Browns picked 7 players and 3 of 'em are legitimate first round talents (and two were top 5). Not bad.

20. I know they gave away a lot of picks, but they still came away with 7 new guys. It's an end loaded draft class (not many middle round picks) but I think they did alright.

21. Draft Grades from around the net: Mel Kiper J.: B+, Jason Cole: A-, Dr. Z: A, John Czarnecki: A+

22. This week, Peter King wrote a giant love letter to Phil Savage in the MMQB and he included this quote (which may have been elsewhere, but I'm using it from King):
"Is Joe Thomas an impact player?'' Savage said. "Yes, because he'll let our skill players make plays. Without taking him, a quarterback would have the [same] problems our quarterbacks had last year, when we had protection problems. Same thing with our running game. Our staff was sold on Joe Thomas, but not as sold on Brady Quinn, at three.''

23. Terry Pluto liked what the Browns did:

Here's the problem facing any Browns quarterback: There hasn't been one embraced by the fans since Bernie Kosar. Since Kosar departed, only Tim Couch has lasted more than two full seasons. Fans wanted the quarterback to be the savior, and most games, he's just trying to get by without suffering a fracture.

Of all the Browns quarterbacks since 1999, Quinn comes into the best situation. The revised line has to be better with such veterans as Eric Steinbach, Ryan Tucker, Kevin Shaffer, Hank Fraley, Seth McKinney and the rookie Thomas as possible starters. He has an experienced 1,000-yard rusher in Jamal Lewis, a top pass-catching tight end with Kellen Winslow and a corps of receivers with talent: Joe Jurevicius, Braylon Edwards and Tim Carter, with youngsters Joshua Cribbs and Travis Wilson.

24. King doesn't care for the Randy Moss deal (I am shocked):
I think -- and I need some more time to look into this over the next few days -- I find it hard to support Moss to the Patriots, regardless of how little they paid for him. And it's looking like they got the guy for an absolute song, though the exact money details haven't filtered out yet, except to say that has Moss getting either $3 million or $3.5 million in base salary in a one-year deal, down from the $9.25 million the Raiders owed him this year.

As we know, assuming there's not a signing bonus involved -- and says there is none -- the Patriots can basically have Moss on a five-month trial now, for free, because nothing he'll make is guaranteed until the first game of the season. But I'm still not sure this is right.

I'm about to get preachy/sappy. Even when the Patriots took a chance on guys like Corey Dillon, they were using roster spots on guys who were never accused of not hustling. To me, and to Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli, cheating the game is the worst crime a player can commit. Moss has done it regularly, going back to the infamous dogging it that Merril Hoge proved on ESPN years ago.

25. Personally, I think Moss gets way too bad pub (compared to what he warrants). Sure, did he give up on Oakland last season? Ya (to be fair, that was a horrible situation. Does it excuse him? No But it wasn't like Moss was the only one on that team to quit). I feel like most of his problems stem from not answering reporters' questions with bullshit. He says he takes plays off and that he doesn't always have confidence in his coach. Do we really think that other players run hard every single play? Are we that dumb? I'm willing to bet that other receivers don't sell their routs 100% on running plays either, Moss was just dumb/truthful enough to say it.

26. Moss makes every quarterback he plays with into a pro-bowler. He made Randal Cunningham and Jeff George MVP candidates. Daunte Culpepper hasn't had a decent season since he and Moss parted ways. Imagine what he's going to do with a hall of fame quarterback.

27. I still can't get over the fact that the Patriots got him for a 4th round pick. Ridonkulous.

28. I highly recommend this Bill Moyers interview with Jon Stewart (I also recommend the interview with Josh Marshall of TPM).

29. So we have the Cavs going for a sweep, game 4 of Spurs-Nuggets, game 5 of Rockets-Jazz and a new Heroes tonight? God damn the tivo will be busy.

30. Music: I've been playing Mika's Life in Cartoon Motion on and off for the past week. Pretty good album, if a little front loaded. Mika is like an Lebanese version of Freddie Mercury, only gayer (if that is possible). He is pretty big in Europe (and you won't be shocked after you watch the video) and Rolling Stone calls it "hate-yourself-in-the-morning pop".

Mika - Love Today (off of Life in Cartoon Motion) [Acoustic Version here]


Erik said...

With the Cavs up 3-0 and the Nets up 3-1, I guess it's pretty safe to assume that the Cavs and Nets will meet in the semis.

I've never thought that the Cavs matched up well with the Nets. But they didn't match up well with a full-strength Wizards team a year ago, and still managed to beat them. You can never get too sure of yourself as a Cleveland fan, but I still think the Cavs can and should win a series against the Nets, especially with games 1,2,5 and 7 at home.

The Bulls are the team that scares me. They destroyed the Heat in the fourth quarters of each game. If they go into Detroit and come out tied 1-1 or up 2-0, I'm going to know something. If the Bulls knock off the Pistons, they are my odds-on favorites to represent the East in the NBA Finals. The Cavs or Nets would be well-challenged to take them out in the conference finals.

Still, I think I'd rather face the Bulls than the Pistons, if only because I think the Cavs believe they can beat the Bulls moreso than the Pistons. Just the intimidation factor.

Regarding the Browns draft, I'll just direct you to my blog to get my thoughts, rather than write a small novel here.

graham said...

I'd much rather face the Bulls, the Cavs matchup much better against Chicago than Detroit, and Detroit has the Cavs number. Plus, you'd have to like homecourt advantage.

Ben, quick question: From everything you've seen on the field from Quinn and Troy Smith, who do you think is the better QB?
I've seen a lot of both as I know you have, and it was clear to me Smith was better and they played against similar opponents in the Big Ten. In fact, Brady played against inferior competition for the most part.

Ben said...

Going into the draft, I would've liked the Browns to grab Smith in the 4th round. I do think Smith is going to be a fine NFL QB and could end up being better than Quinn. But people said he was out of shape and gained weight, which hurts his draft status but shouldn't really impact his career too much.

Can I take a cop out and say they'll have similar success (It wouldn't surprise me if Smith turns out better and vica versa)? I think if Smith works hard he can be as good as anybody. It blows my mind that he has one terrible game and he drops to the 5th round. Its not like he played crap teams the entire time...
I'd rather face the Bulls as well, mostly for the mental aspect. The Cavs should have more confidence against the Bulls (though while I think that they have the talent to beat both Detroit and Chicago, I'm not sure they have the coaching/mental toughness to beat the Pistons)