Friday, September 26, 2008

Tribe Seeks Revenge

From, written by Anthony Castrovince

BOSTON -- A smile creeps across Jhonny Peralta's face when he thinks about the final weekend of the 2005 season.

Not because of the way it ended, mind you. He will never smile about that.

This smile relates to what could happen to the White Sox this weekend at U.S. Cellular Field.

Revenge, anyone?

"Maybe we could do something to them," Peralta said through that smile. "You never know."

You know how '05 ended. The Indians had a chance to reach the postseason for the first time in four years, but the White Sox, winners of the American League Central, swept them on the Tribe's own turf in the season's final three games. And so Cleveland sat at home in October, its 93-win season rendered moot.

The lasting image of that series is White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen grasping his throat -- his little way of telling the Indians that they'd choked.

It's been three years, and only a handful of faces (Peralta, Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee and Rafael Betancourt) remain in the Tribe clubhouse from the list of '05 regulars.

But as the White Sox, embroiled in a brutal battle with the Twins for division supremacy in these waning days of the regular season, fight for their postseason lives, the Indians, who close out '08 with three games at U.S. Cellular, can have a say in how the AL Central shakes out.

"Knowing they're trying to make the playoffs might boost us a little bit," Lee said. "That gives us a little more momentum. But we're going to play hard and try to win no matter who we play."

Lee's playing days might be done for '08. He's been bothered this week by a stiff neck, and the Indians might hold him out of Sunday's regular-season finale if it turns out to not have any bearing on the postseason setup.

Peralta, on the other hand, will most definitely be playing. In fact, with Andy Marte's season over, he is expecting to get the start at third base on Friday night.

He's hoping that the Indians can put an exclamation point on a season that fell short of expectations.

"We have to play hard," he said. "We have to try to win every game."

That's what the White Sox did in '05. And if the Indians have their way this weekend, the choke joke will be on Chicago.

Picture added by me

Friday, September 12, 2008

10th Time's the Charm

For one night, everything went right for Tim Couch. The offensive line protected him, the running game was clicking, the receivers were making all the catches and the defense stepped up big. On that one shining night, Sunday Night no less, the Cleveland Browns went into Pittsburgh and won 33-13 and Couch (2 TD, 0 INT, 1 rush TD) was a hero.

That seems so long ago, doesn't it? That's because for a number of reasons (porous defense, absent running game, paper line, putrid QB play), the Cleveland Browns have lost the last 9 games with their archrivals from the Steel City since that fateful night. Now is the time for redemption. The Browns will get another crack at Pittsburgh, number 10, this Sunday night (sense a deja-vu?) in front of a national audience all wondering the same thing: is this the time? Is this team for real? The Browns will need to step up big as it seems all odds are against them. The Clevelanders are coming off a 28-10 beatdown at the hands of Dallas while Pittsburgh was on the giving end of one of their own, smashing the helpless Texans. The Browns are hurt (see below) and the Steelers (as usual) are almost completely healthy. It's been almost 8 years since we have defeated Pittsburgh at home and in a recent CBS fan poll, 93% of fans picked the Steelers to win.

I'm not sure what to expect or what to hope for, but this seems to be as good a time as any. We are hungry: the fans, the players, Phil, Romeo and perhaps most of all, Randy Lerner, a man who deserves more for what he has put into this team than the team has given him. The Steelers are content, the "fat cats" of the division and they have little reason to get fired up. After all, many of the Steelers' players and fans have declared that this is no longer a rivalry due to the team's dominance over the last 5 years. I don't know if we can do it, but I do know that we have to. There is no other option.


As usual, the Browns have a host of injuries heading into Sunday night's game with the Steelers, here's a brief recap:

S Sean Jones, OUT (knee surgery)*
TE Martin Rucker, OUT (knee surgery)
KR Josh Cribbs, QUESTIONABLE (ankle)*
LB Kris Griffin, PROBABLE (elbow)
G Rex Hadnot, QUESTIONABLE (knee)*
S Brodney Pool, QUESTIONABLE (concussion)*
OL Ryan Tucker, DOUBTFUL (hip)*
WR Donte Stallworth, DOUBTFUL (quad strain)*
LB Kamerion Wimbley, PROBABLE (groin pull)*

WR Joe Jurevicius, PUP (out until Week 7)
OL Lennie Friedman, IR (out for season)
CB Daven Holly, IR (out for season)
OLB Antwan Peek, IR (out for season)*

*projected starters

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Simmons: Cleveland Will Stink

I'm posting this here as a reminder this season when we make our presence known throughout the league. Call it "blog lockerroom bulletin board material."

From, Bill Simmons

Prediction No. 4: Cleveland will stink.

I'm not a big fan of this formula: Artificially high expectations + too many nationally televised games (five in all) + brutal schedule + too much luck last season (what are the odds of them getting 32 games from Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards again?) + brewing QB controversy + horrible preseason = Yikes.

Also, their two biggest offseason moves were fundamentally illogical: Trading for Shaun Rogers and keeping Derek Anderson. In the salary-cap era, you can't keep Anderson (who had two good months and tailed off) after dealing a future No. 1 and committing all that money to Brady Quinn. It's like drafting QBs in the first two rounds of a fantasy draft -- yeah, you can do it, but it never works. Why not trade Anderson for two draft picks and back the guy who you loved so much a year before? And why compound the error by trading your 2nd and 3rd round picks plus a valuable cornerback (Leigh Bodden) for expensive and possibly shaky defensive linemen (Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers). That's a swing of four draft picks plus Bodden! Didn't they see what happened with the Giants last year? If you made a "How to win the Super Bowl" formula, would "Pay two quarterbacks big money" and "Don't get anything from your draft" be two of the pieces? OF COURSE NOT!!! On the bright side, "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl" remains my favorite euphemism for making a doody.

Also from ESPN, why Rick Reilly thinks that Cleveland is a Browns town while ripping on the Cavs:

CLEVELAND Browns. Name one other city that lost a team and had the league give it back! Name, uniforms, everything! If the Cavaliers left, two janitors might look up.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Buffalo Plays Last Game as Tribe Affiliate

A 9-6 loss to the Rochester Red Wings on Monday was not only the end of a season for the Buffalo Bisons, but also the end of an era. For 14 seasons, the industrial New York city was the host of the Cleveland Indians' AAA farm team and what a marriage it was. Bisons fans didn't quite have the final season with the Indians they wanted going 66-77 for 4th place in their 5 team division, but they did go out with a bang, getting to see Aaron Laffey, Travis Hafter, Josh Barfield and Victor Martinez play for the last 10 or so games of the season. However, with multiple division championships and an International League Title in 2004, there were many great moments for the fans in Buffalo, but those will not be gone. Buffalo fans will still have a AAA team in 2009, likely the affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, while the Indians will move closer to home in Columbus.

On the year for players who played the majority of the season in AAA, Mike Aubrey led the team in average (.281), Todd Linden was the MVP and leader in homers (14), Brad Snyder was the leader in RBI (61) and pitcher John Halama led the team in wins (8). Young starter David Huff stole the show for the Bisons after being called up from AA Akron going 6-4 but with a 3.01 ERA. Rick Bauer led the team in saves with 18 and Eddy Buzachero had an excellent season out of the pen with 10 himself.

All in all it was a sad but reflective year for Bisons fans but an exciting one for the Tribe. With a new start in Columbus, better facilities and home in Ohio, the future is looking up for Indians Minor League Baseball.

NOTE: The Akron Aeros begin their playoff series with the Bowie Baysox on Wednesday looking for their third championship since 2003.

Source: Cleveland