Saturday, November 21, 2009

Browns Team of the 2000s (Part 2)

Browns Defense and Special Teams of the 2000s:

DL- Orpheus Roye, Shaun Rogers, Kenard Lang; LB- Andra Davis, D'Qwell Jackson, Kamerion Wimbley, Jamir Miller (not pictured); S- Robert Griffith, Sean Jones; CB- Daylon McCutcheon, Leigh Bodden; K- Phil Dawson; P- Chris Gardocki; KR- Joshua Cribbs; PR- Dennis Northcutt

Browns All-2000s Team

I gave you a taste of it earlier in the season, but now we'll reveal the entire Cleveland Browns Team of the 2000s! It isn't the best team, but it's what we've been watching the last 10 years.

Let's start with the Offense:

QB- Tim Couch, WR- Braylon Edwards, WR- Kevin Johnson, LT- Joe Thomas, LG- Eric Steinbach, C- Jeff Faine, RG- Shaun O'Hara, RT- Ryan Tucker, TE- Kellen Winslow, RB- Jamal Lewis, FB- Lawrence Vickers

Friday, October 30, 2009

PROTEST The Monday Night Game

Fed up with losing, Browns fans organize protest at Nov. 16 game

Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio -- One of the most loyal Dawg Pounders is done barking about the sad state of his beloved Cleveland Browns. It's time to bite.

Mark Duncan / Associated Press
Mike Randall, also known as "Dawg Pound Mike," is heading a Nov. 16 protest aimed at showing fans' displeasure with the Browns.

Lifelong Browns fan and season-ticket holder Mike Randall, aka "Dawg Pound Mike," is encouraging other Cleveland fans to stay away from their seats for the opening kickoff of the Browns' Nov. 16 home game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Sickened by the nearly constant losing since the NFL team's return in 1999, Randall hopes the sight of empty seats for the start of the nationally televised Monday night game will send a loud message to Browns owner Randy Lerner and other club officials that fans have had enough.

"We're tired of losing," said Randall, 39. "We're tired of the booing, of seeing fans leave in the fourth quarter. There are fans who have had tickets for 30 years who are turning their seats in because they can't take it anymore. So many fans are fed up."

Randall and his friend, Tony Schafer, decided to go ahead with plans for the protest following last Sunday's 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers. As they walked out of the stadium, they heard fans grumbling about how they're wasting their Sundays and money on an inferior product that seems to be getting worse.

Their hope is that fans stay outside the stadium, on concourses or in the restrooms, for the start of the game.

The Akron Beacon-Journal first reported the protest, which Randall and Schafer announced on their Web site,

"We don't want to see fans with bags on their heads or booing," Randall said. "We love the Browns and will do anything to support them. But we're not being heard. Our goal is to say to the Browns' organization, 'Hey, listen to your fans.'"

Under first-year coach Eric Mangini, the Browns are 1-6 this season and have scored just four offensive touchdowns in 81 possessions. Cleveland's defense is the league's worst.

Since coming back as an expansion team 10 years ago, the Browns are 55-113 with one playoff appearance and appear to be on their way to their eighth season of double-digit losses since 1999.

Lerner is aware of the response and said in an e-mail that he understand the fans' frustration.

"On the grounds of frustration and irritation with performance, then that's the medicine I (we) are going to take, and I accept that," Lerner said. "The goal this year was to rebuild the culture at the Browns. We felt at the end of last year that we lacked any overall philosophy, approach or direction regarding recruiting, drafting, coaching, preparation or training. As a result, each season was feeling like starting over and 4-12 following 10-6 felt painfully not all that surprising."

Lerner added that the team remains open to feedback and support to help the Browns improve.

"We won't become entrenched or stubborn and despite my allergy to be more conspicuous, I do remain eager to seek help and guidance from any and all corners," he said.

Randall, who sits in the front row of the Dawg Pound, the notoriously rowdy bleacher section, doesn't know where to assess blame for the Browns' misery. He has met Lerner and appreciates the ultra-private owner's attempts to turn around the franchise. He knows Mangini needs time, and Randall wishes general manager George Kokinis would let fans in on the team's intentions.

"We have no one who talks to the fans," Randall said. "Randy isn't out front. The GM is invisible, and Mangini has said this was going to be a process and that things would improve. Well, nothing has improved."

Randall said there is no energy in the crowd at home games and that fans are still being told to sit down in their seats or risk ejection. He has spoken to Browns officials about reconnecting to the team's past, but he has met mostly with resistance.

"There's nothing in the stadium that even shows the eight championships we did win," Randall said. "This team has lost generations of fans."

During last week's game, Randall said a young fan approached him and asked, "Will we ever win?"

Lerner recently brought in former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar to serve as a consultant to the team. Although Kosar's role with the team hasn't been clearly defined, Randall sees the addition as a positive.

For more on the Cleveland Browns, check out the latest
from our bloggers.

» Blog Blitz: Browns

"I love it," Randall said. "Bernie is an offensive mastermind, and I think Randy is seeing we need to bring some of the former guys back. It's a good first step."

When Art Modell took his NFL franchise to Baltimore in 1995, Browns fans fought to regain their team. Randall was one of the fans who helped jam the league's fax machines and carried thousands of signatures to meetings, hoping pro football would return to Cleveland.

It worked, and Randall, who wears something shaded in Cleveland's brown and orange colors every day, is hoping this protest helps the Browns return to winning.

"We did this as a positive," he said. "We want to send a statement that the status quo cannot go on."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Some Interesting Media Clippings

Many interesting articles I found online:

Time for Browns to Admit Mistake, Fire Mangini <-- agreed

Sabathia and Lee Shine, Shapiro Watches <-- gut wrenching for us fans

Central Preview: Championship or Bust for Cavs <-- probably true

Grading the NFL's worst: The Browns <--depressing... the fan grade was low I thought. We're angry, yes. But still good fans.

Acta Spells out his Goals for Tribe <-- I'm surprisingly happy for this move... let's see how it plays out

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cavs Offseason Recap

The Cavaliers' season is just a few days away! With that being said, let's take a look at how the 2009 version of Cleveland's best team was formed:

Cleveland Cavaliers 2009 Offseason

C: Shaquille O’Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Darnell Jackson
PF: Anderson Varejao, J.J. Hickson, Leon Powe
SF: Lebron James, Jamario Moon, Jawad Williams
SG: Anthony Parker, Delonte West, Danny Green
PG: Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson, Coby Carl

Overseas rights: Christian Eyenga, Emir Preldzic, Ejike Ugboaja, Sasha Kaun

Free Agents

Wally Szczerbiak, unrestricted
Lorenzen Wright, unrestricted
Joe Smith, unrestricted, signed with ATL, 1 year vet min
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (player option), activated option for 1-year, $11.5 mil
Anderson Varejao, unrestricted, re-signed to 6-year $50 mil deal


Free Agency:

G/F Anthony Parker, TOR, signed to 2-year $6 mil deal
F Jamario Moon, MIA, signed to 3-year $9 mil deal
F/C Leon Powe, BOS, signed to 2-year, $1.8 mil deal


C Shaquille O’Neal, from PHO, 1 year remaining on contract
G/F Emir Preldzic, rights from PHO, overseas in Turkey

NBA Draft

1st Round (30): G/F Christian Eyenga, signed 3-year contract in Spain
2nd Round (46): G/F Danny Green, signed to 2-year $1.2 mil deal

*from Chicago

Training Camp Invitees

F/C Rob Kurz, waived
C Darryl Watkins, waived
G Coby Karl
G Andre Barrett, waived
C Luke Nevill, waived
G Russell Robinson, waived



G Tarence Kinsey, signed overseas in Turkey


G/F Sasha Pavlovic, PHO, released by PHO, signed by MIN
F/C Ben Wallace, PHO, released by PHO, signed by DET
2010 2nd Round Pick, PHO

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hughes: Lebron Will Stay

A former teammate of Lebron James, one Cleveland fans know well and who knows New York well, believes #23 will remain in northeast Ohio when his contract expires this summer.

New York Knicks' Larry Hughes believes LeBron James will stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers

BY Frank Isola

Thursday, October 15th 2009, 4:00 AM
Larry Hughes understands that the chances of him returning to the Knicks next season are slim to none. Unfortunately, the same may be true of one Hughes' best friends as well.

Hughes reiterated Wednesday that he believes LeBron James, the Knicks' primary free agent target, will re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers when James becomes a free agent next summer.

"I still feel that way," Hughes said following the Knicks' practice in Greenburgh, N.Y. "He's got a good opportunity to win there. And I know a lot of people talk about him playing in a big market, but he just wants to win a ring. It's not about playing in a big market."

Hughes speaks regularly to his former teammate with the Cavs and maintains that James is content with the direction of the club. Hughes was with Cleveland when James reached his first NBA Finals in 2007. After the Cavs were eliminated by Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals last May, the club acquired Shaquille O'Neal, Anthony Parker, Leon Powe and Jamario Moon.

Like LeBron, Hughes will also become a free agent next summer, but his future and present for that matter remain unsettled. Hughes is versatile enough to play three positions, but with the Knicks committed to their younger players - Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Nate Robinson and Toney Douglas - and with Mike D'Antoni committed to using a shorter rotation, Hughes could be the odd man out.

"Well, I expect to be playing," Hughes says. "But it's the coach's decision to make. But I'll do whatever the team needs."

Hughes doesn't think of himself as an older player. He's only 30, but Hughes is entering his 12th NBA season, and the wear and tear is catching up to him. He's lost some of his athleticism, and his durability is a question. Hughes has appeared in 70 or more games once in the last seven years.

Nor does he get much of a grace period with fans. Hughes was booed in his first game last season after being acquired from Chicago and he heard the same derisive cries in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's preseason loss to Philadelphia. Hughes missed all eight shots he attempted against the Sixers, but his teammates weren't much better.

David Lee was 2-for-8, Jared Jeffries and Chris Duhon both shot 2-for-7 and Gallinari was 1-for-6. But only Jeffries and Hughes heard boos.

D'Antoni has two weeks to figure out which eight or nine players will become part of the rotation. If Douglas, the rookie point guard, struggles, Hughes could find himself on the court on opening night chasing after Dwyane Wade. His experience and toughness could be valuable assets for a young team hoping to reach the playoffs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Fan's Attempt to Convince #23

Not the prettiest of sites, but the attempt is there: to convince Lebron James to stay in Cleveland. Check it out, sign the petition and make your voice heard!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quick Liftoffs: 10-7-09

Changes Abroad in Cleveland

Times are changing in the City of Cleveland, and this past week has certainly highlighted that.

-Eric Wedge coached his last game with the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, a loss to the Red Sox completing a 4 game sweep. Wedge finished his Indians career with just two winning seasons and one AL Central Title in eight seasons. His 561 wins were the fifth most in club history and his 573 losses were the third most. Only Lou Boudreau, Mike Hargrove and Tris Speaker coached more games for the Cleveland Indians thank Wedge's 1,134. I'll always appreciate Wedge's role as the Manager of the Year in our 2007 ALCS run and in general for bringing this team out of the darkness. I wish him the best as I'm sure his managerial career is just beginning.

-Braylon Edwards was traded from the Browns to the New York Jets today, ending a five year saga that had its ups and downs since the club drafted Edwards #3 overall in 2005. You know the drama. From the rookie year injury, to the best season by a WR in club history, to the trade rumors and drama on and off the field the last two years, Edwards has seen it all with the Browns. In just four seasons worth of games, Edwards caught 28 TD passes, 7th in team history, 22 of which from Derek Anderson, the 6th best QB-WR duo the Browns have ever seen. Edwards caught a pass in 61 straight games, the second most in team history and posted 11 100 yard games, T-4th all-time. I was always a BE fan but kind of see why this move needed to be made. I just don't know why we waited until his value was this low to move him.

-Shaq made his debut a winning one for the Wine and Gold. He posted 6 points, 3 boards and a blocked shot in the Cavs' preseason opener vs. Charlotte. I'm looking for big things from the big man.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Was Eric Wedge a Scapegoat?

Here's what the nation had to say...

Browns All-2000s Team (Part 2)

The Pass Catchers

Kevin Johnson: KJ was the Browns best wide receiver from 1999-2002 and one of the only Dwight Clark draft picks to have any success. Johnsn caught 84 balls for 1,097 and 9 TDs in 2001. His most famous catch as a Brown was the 1999 Hail Mary catch from Tim Couch to get the expansion Browns' first win in New Orleans. He is 4th on the Browns all-time receptions list with 315. He caught a pass in 73 consecutive games, the 2nd longest streak even for Cleveland. Tim Couch to KJ was one of the best combinations in Browns history. They combined for 19 scores.

Braylon Edwards: One of the most explosive players the Browns have ever had, Braylon set almost every Browns single-season receiving record in 2007 when he had 80 grabs for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns. Edwards has been criticized for his drops, but there is no question that when he has the ball delivered to him accurately, he will go up and get it and make a play. None of the others Browns WRs of this decade remotely compare to this talent.

Kellen Winslow: Love him or hate him, K2 is the best tight end we have seen since Ozzie Newsome. Winslow caught a Browns record 82 passes in 2007, for 1,106 yards, arguable the best season by a tight end in team history. Despite his subpar blocking, Winslow was a threat over the middle and down the field, and won a lot of games for the Browns from 2006-2008. One wonders what his career could have been if Butch Davis didn't put him on the hands team in 2004 and if he didn't ride his crotch rocket in 2005.

Up Next: the Big Boys up Front

Monday, September 28, 2009

Browns All-2000s Team

Hey guess what everybody? The Cleveland Browns are picking in the Top 5 of the draft again this year (that is, if they don't trade down to pick a center)!

But let's put this year's awful squad in the back of our minds and take a look at the best Browns of the last 10 years. It may be the worst all-decade team in Browns history, but this group gave Browns fans some things (if not a lot) to cheer for and be proud of from the Comeback in 1999 to where we are now.

Over the course of the next week, we will take a look at this team, starting with your backfield:

QB Tim Couch: you may not like him, but Tim Couch is the best quarterback this team has had since 1999. Putting aside the fact that he was the #1 overall pick (and looking at the lack of talent around him), Tim did the most out of a group of Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson or (so far) Brady Quinn. Couch took the team to the playoffs in 2002 with an 8-6 record under center, including a number of excellent come from behind wins. Perhaps his highlight game as a Brown was a dismantling of the Steelers on SNF in 2003, where he tossed two TDs and ran for another in a 34-13 win. Couch has the Browns franchise record for career completion % and is third in completions.

RB Jamal Lewis: Lewis beat out a group of William Green, Lee Suggs and Reuben Droughns for this honor. He has rushed for 1,000 or more yards in his first two seasons as a Brown including a fantastic 2007 season in which he had 1,500 total yards and 9 TDs. Consistency, power and leadership make Lewis the best Browns RB of the 2000s.

FB Lawrence Vickers: it was a tough choice between Terrelle Smith, a punishing blocker, and Vickers, who can block, catch and run. Vickers was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2007 and has helped paved the way for Jamal Lewis to rush for 2,300+ yards in two seasons which helping the team on short-yardage situations and out of the backfield.

Up Next: The Pass Catchers

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Delonte West's Shocking Arrest

This was not the news Cleveland needed. Not with the Browns forever muddled in sub-mediocrity and the Indians in the midst of a 5 game losing streak that all-but assured they will lose 90 games in this disastrous season. Not from the Cavs, the only team with hope in this city. Not from our starting 2 guard who has bipolar disorder. Not now.

Delonte West arrested outside Washington, D.C.

by Pat McManamon on September 18, 2009

in Cavs, Delonte West, McManamon

Cavs guard Delonte West was arrested in Maryland last night because he had two pistols and a shotgun on his possession. All were loaded.

West was originally pulled over for making an unsafe lane change on Interstate 95 while driving a three-wheeled motorcycle and confessed to carrying a pistol. Police eventually found the other two weapons.

Details are sketchy, though the picture painted by the Washington Post is not pretty.

The guns on West's possession included a .357, a 9-millimeter and a shotgun in a guitar case he was carrying.

All were loaded.

West apparently cooperated with authorities, according to the Plain Dealer, and was released on his own recognizance.

The Cavs Danny Ferry released this statement:

"We are aware of the situation and take this matter very seriously. We have been in communication with Delonte and his family. We are gathering more information and will not have further comment until the appropriate time."

Obviously there are a lot of unanswered questions in this story, but it just doesn’t seem like much good can come from a guy driving erratically while carrying three loaded weapons. West grew up in a tough area … but … wow.

Among the questions lingering:

Where was West going?

Why carry so much firepower?

What will the league do about this?

Will the Cavs have their own discipline, or will they play the "let the legal system run its course" card?

West is prone to depression, and gave a very touching news conference last season discussing his struggles. Could this be a dangerous symptom?

Is there a medication issue involving the depression or other struggles at work?

The Cavs have prided themselves on signing and acquiring good guys. West has always been cooperative and fun to be around.

But two pistols — including a .357 — and a shotgun is an eye-opening reality.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Phil Savage Draft Analysis

On my return to the blog, let's take a look at Phil Savage's draft classes and how they look after cutdown day with the new regime. I posted this on Message Boards also for those who think I may be stealing it from there.


1/13. Kamerion Wimbley (not playing up to the level we drafted him but could develop)

2/34. DQ Jackson (I liked the pick at the time and he is our best LB now, great pick but consider we traded Jeff Faine to get him)

3/78. Travis Wilson (a SWWWWIIIIINNNGGG and a miss, out of NFL)

4/110. Leon Williams (never has played to potential on scrimmage plays but valuable as a special teamer. made this year's team, maybe ManKok can get the best out of him)

4/112. Isaac Sowells (finally released in year 4 after showing nothing on the field nor getting on it much)

5/145. Jerome Harrison (jury's still out but he sure has given us more already than most Day 2 runninbacks do)

5/152. DeMario Minter (it was a low-risk high-reward pick that didn't turn out. he's now with the Florida Tuskers of the UFL, good for him)

6/180. Lawrence Vickers (great pick low in the draft, he's an above-average NFL fullback)

6/181. Babatunde Oshinowo (I had more hope for him than what he did -- not much. has bounced around from 5 teams and is currently a free agent)

7/222. Justin Hamilton (made the team for a year but got hurt in 2007 and was waived from Washington in 2008. out of football)

Overall: 5/10 players still on the team four years later, including 2/3 first day picks and a very solid 3/7 second day picks. the other 5/10 are out of the NFL, oddly enough

Starters: Wimbley, Jackson, Vickers

Potential Pro Bowlers: Wimbley, Jackson, Vickers

Overall Grade: B+ (the Wilson pick was a waste and I wish we would have taken Ngata over Wimbley. At the time that's who I wanted. Also, you never want to trade down with a division rival. But Wimbley has shown flashes and DQ was a great pick for the 2nd round. Getting value like Harrison and Vickers on the 2nd day balanced out the Wilson bust)

2007-2008 up next...


1/3. Joe Thomas (I didn't want him, I wanted Peterson. Overall, he has been a stud of a LT, one of the best in the game, but still we missed that HOF running back...)

1/22. Brady Quinn (jury's still out but if he turns out to be our franchise QB, this draft's stock jumps tremendously)

2/53. Eric Wright (has played well at times and bad at others. jury's still out but he needs to take more steps this year. our best DB playmaker)

5/140. Brandon McDonald (getting the production we have out of this 5th round pick is very solid)

6/200. Melila Purcell (waived by the new regime, didn't show much)

7/213. Chase Pittman (never made the active roster)

7/234. Syndric Steptoe (did some good things but shouldn't have been a starter last year. burned his bridges here)

Overall: 4/7 players still with team

Starters: Thomas, Quinn?, Wright, McDonald

Potential Pro Bowlers: Thomas (2), Quinn, Wright

Overall Grade: we traded a LOT of picks to get Quinn. If he turns out to be our answer, this draft gets a MAJOR A due to Thomas being a Hall of Fame-looking left tackle. Wright and McDonald are both starters and solid and still improving. Couldn't expect much from the three picks in the 200s. If Quinn becomes average, this draft gets a B+, if he's a total bust, it gets a C+


Didn't have many picks in this draft due to trades. I will insert the player as if we drafted them in that round.

1. Brady Quinn trade

2. Corey Williams trade (not getting a good value on our investment as he isn't even starting this year. needs to continue to learn the 3-4 and figure some things out or this is a huge miss)

3. Shaun Rogers (packaged this pick with Leigh Bodden looking like a steal. I still have questions about his attitude but he's a Pro Bowler)

4/104. Beau Bell (bust of a 4th round pick who we just cut. maybe a practice squad candidate)

4/111. Martin Rucker (not progressing how we have hoped but has some potential. not a bad value-gamble)

6/190. Ahtyba Rubin (solid player as our backup nose tackle, still have yet to see how good he can be)

6/191. Paul Hubbard (never made our team in two tries)

7/200. Alex Hall (excellent value pick could be a stud at OLB)

Overall: 3/5 still with team, 2/5 just released from roster

Starters: Rogers, Hall?

Potential Pro Bowlers: Rogers (1 with us), Hall

Overall Analysis: Considering the Rogers and Williams acquisitions and disregarding Quinn as part of last year's draft, I give this draft a B-. The 2nd round "pick" of Williams was a bad trade, the Rogers trade was one of the best in our team's history to this point. Bell was a bust, Rucker still could be good. Rubin is solid depth and Alex Hall was one of Savage's yearly 2nd day gems, a player with a higher ceiling than Wimbley in my opinion.

Other Notes:

Chris Perez's 20 2/3 scoreless innings streak is the longest by a Tribe reliever since Paul Assenmacher tossed 23 1/3 straight scoreless in 1997.

Michael Brantley has a hit in each of his first six Major League games. It's the longest such streak to open a career by a Tribe player since Josh Bard hit in his first nine games in 2002.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quick Liftoffs: 7-13

Goals for Cavs' regular season:

-win the Division
-stay healthy
-TRY and get homecourt

Then the fun begins. How will we match-up with the top dogs?

C: Shaq - Rasheed - Howard - Bynum
PF: Varejao - Garnett - Lewis - Gasol
SF: Lebron - Pierce - Pietrus - Artest
SG: West - Allen - Carter - Kobe
PG: Mo - Rondo - Nelson - Fisher

Benches: Z/Parker/Gibson - Perkins/Tony Allen/House - Gortat/Johnson/Redick - Odom/Brown/Walton

Honestly, those are some stacked teams. And yet, I'm not going to put Detroit or Dallas or San Antonio into that mix. On paper, Shaq can guard Howard and Bynum well and against Boston we can put AV or Z on Rasheed on the perimeter. Shaq will dominate Boston in the paint and should handle LA. Varejao guards Garnett as well as anyone in the league AND now we have Anthony Parker/Lebron in our small lineup for Orlando. Lebron is still the best player in the game and Ron Artest as a "King stopper" is an absolute joke in my book. Pietrus starting in the absence of Lee and Turkoglu KILLS Orlando's bench. Delonte can hold his own defensively against all those SGs and if not, we have the bigger, stronger Parker. Mo is the 2nd best pure PG on that list and the best shooter/scorer. He can't defend Rondo or Nelson off the dribble but thankfully, Rondo can't shoot so you just give him some space.

Sports fans/media: WE'RE NOT TRADING VICTOR MARTINEZ OR CLIFF LEE!! The Indians management is going to make a run at things next year with guns ablaze because honestly, Shapiro's job is on the line.

The following guys will be likely moved or attempted to be moved due to contractual situations/depth at the position:

-Jamey Carroll (I almost guarantee it)
-Kelly Shoppach (Santana's time is coming)
-Ben Francisco (no room for him, any takers?)
-Ryan Garko (I'd rather see Jordan Brown and LaPorta playing at 1st)

If we are going to contend next year, we need to keep A. the young talent and B. the veterans who are cheap and useful. That means Victor, Lee, Pavano, Betancourt, all are here to stay.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Time

It's time for the summer league where fringe roster players will try to make the Cavs and rookies and other youngsters will look to show what they have for more regular season minutes. Along with the names you are familiar with, look out for center David Harrison, a tough center formerly of Indiana. He's a legit contender to make the roster as a 6th big and a third 7-footer behind Z and Shaq. Leo Lyons was impressive as Missouri and may be a longshot to make the roster as a combo forward. Remember, it's not about wins or losses but you do want to see solid performances from people like Darnell Jackson, Tarence Kinsey and Jawad Williams who we may look for at times to contribute this season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers release summer league roster and schedule
by Starting Blocks/Plain Dealer

Friday July 10, 2009, 2:05 PM
APCleveland Cavaliers rookie Danny Green.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will begin summer league play on Saturday in Las Vegas. The summer league runs today through July 19 at the Cox Pavillion and Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.

The Cavaliers, with a roster of rookies and free agents, will play the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

Here's a look at the Cavaliers' schedule and roster:


Saturday, LA Lakers vs. Cavaliers
6:00 p.m. EST COX Pavilion

Sunday, July 12 Milwaukee vs. Cavaliers
10:00 p.m. EST COX Pavilion

Tuesday, July 14 Washington vs. Cavaliers
7:30 p.m. EST Thomas & Mack

Thursday, July 16 Dallas vs. Cavaliers
8:00 p.m. EST COX Pavilion

Friday, July 17 Detroit vs. Cavaliers
4:00 p.m. EST COX Pavilion


Christian Eyenga, G/F, 6-5, Congo
Jamont Gordon, G, 6-4, Mississippi State
Danny Green, G/F, 6-6, North Carolina
David Harrison, C, 7-0, Colorado
Robert Hite, G, 6-2, Miami
Darnell Jackson, F, 6-9, Kansas
Tarence Kinsey, G, 6-6, South Carolina
Leo Lyons, F, 6-9, Missouri
Maureece Rice, G, 6-1, George Washington
Jawad Williams, F, 6-9, North Carolina

Sunday, June 28, 2009

You Say Goodbye, And I Say Hello

TRANSACTIONS APLENTY for the Cavs and Tribe over the last two games. Let's take a look at who is coming in and who is going OUT.

First off, the one you all know about, Shaquille O'Neal traded to the Cavs for Sasha Pavlovic, Ben Wallace, a 2010 2nd round pick and $500,000. Shaq brings his four championship rings to Cleveland with his massive presence in the middle and a natural chemistry with Lebron James. The move will push Z to the bench for the first time in his very solid career and will add some much-needed physicality to the Cavs interior defense.

Sasha Pavlovic ends a career with the Cavs that was up-and-down with minutes that, in my opinion, were unfair to him at times. He had some very memorable moments in the 2006 season including a chase-down block for the ages vs. Jason Kidd in the playoffs, a monster dunk in a home game vs. Miami (I was there!) and helping us a starter to the NBA Finals.

Sasha ranks in the Top-10 in Cavs playoff history in a few statistical categories including 42 games (7th), 26 3 pointers (8th), 76 3 point attempts (8th), and 90 personal fouls (10th). Overall as a Cav he played in 302 games over 4 seasons, scoring 1,843 points and making 207 three pointers.

I will miss Sasha as a still young wingplayer who bought into Mike Brown's system and went from being a defensive liability to one of our best perimeter defenders. If Phoenix releases Sasha and his non-guaranteed contract, I would be open to bringing him back. Good luck with the rest of your promising NBA career, Sasha!

Big Ben Wallace
, whose NBA career may be over, was also included in the trade as mostly a financial piece. Big Ben was in the twilight of his (maybe) Hall of Fame career as one of the best defensive players in league history.

Ben finished 8th in franchise playoff history with 18 blocks and 9th with 50 offensive rebounds. In a season and a half for the Cavs, Wallace played in 78 games and grabbed 526 boards and blocked 110 shots. Big Ben, a team captain, brought a defensive mindset to the Cavs and grabbed some big rebounds in his tenure he. If his NBA career is indeed over, he will have played in 903 games and finished in the Top 100 in some significant All-Time NBA categories including offensive rebounds (2,989 for 22nd), defensive rebounds (6,277 for 24th), total rebounds (9,266 for 41st), steals (1,182 for 73rd) and blocks (1,947 for 17th).

Thanks for everything, Big Ben!

The Indians recently picked reliever Jose Veras off waivers from the Yankees and sent Jensen Lewis down to the minors, a move I have been clamoring for for quite a while. Hopefully he will figure things out down there.

But in the biggest move, they traded Mark DeRosa to St. Louis for reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named later. It was well-known the Tribe were shopping DeRosa, who brings value to a team needing any kind of infielder with a strong bat, and he knows the NL Central well, while playing with the Cubs. Perez is a flame-throwing 23-year old who hopefully will develop into a solid pen arm for a while for the Tribe.

Two teams going in two different directions. The Cavaliers are gearing up for a title run and the Indians... well, they are sellers. Again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Goodbye, Michael Aubrey

The Michael Aubrey experiment in Cleveland has officially ended. Aubrey, the Indians top draft pick (11th overall) in 2003, was traded to Baltimore today for a player to be named later. He had a brief stint in Cleveland last season where he hit .200 with 2 HR and 3 RBI in 15 games. Aubrey was a .295 hitter in 7 seasons the Indians' minor league system including a .292 average with 5 HRs in AAA Columbus this year. Injuries ravaged Aubrey's young career but he appears to be healthy now. With the Indians log-jam at 1B, je was removed from the 40-man roster last spring but cleared waivers and was sent to AAA. Aubrey will probably never be a power hitting 1B, but with a high average and great defense, could be a poor-man's Sean Casey.

Good luck with your career, Michael!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Indians Roster Updates

Here's how my "master plan" (which may be too late) to fix the Indians now looks with some changes. Sizemore was up for Crowe this afternoon with Sipp up for DFAed Vizcaino. Greg Aquino cleared waivers and is back in Columbus.

UPDATE/CHANGES: (until we officially start selling)

Tony Sipp UP (a lefty that can actually get people out) - CHECK
Vizcaino DFAed - CHECK
Sizemore back to CF, Crowe back down to AAA - CHECK
Greg Aquino DFAed (maybe sneak him back to AAA) - CHECK ON BOTH

When Laffey comes back FROM INJURY...
Jensen Lewis DOWN (work on things because not getting important innings up here)
Sowers TO BULLPEN (long relief, best suited for at this point)

Chris Gimenez DOWN (more AAA experience, no help up here)
Jordan Brown UP (get Brown some starts in LF, less Francisco and Crowe)

Asdrubal Cabrera back to SS FROM INJURY
Valbuena utility, Peralta full-time 3B, Barfield back to AAA

Betancourt back to pen FROM INJURY
Pick 1 from Gosling/Perez/Scott Lewis as 2nd lefty in pen, other two to AAA

Trade Shoppach, Wyatt Toregas UP FROM AAA

Jake Westbrook back to rotation FROM INJURY
Ohka/Huff (back to AAA, if Ohka can clear waivers)

Last-Chance Lineup/Rotation (by Mid-July):

SS Cabrera

CF Sizemore

C Martinez

RF Choo

LF DeRosa

DH Hafner

1B Garko

3B Peralta

2B Carroll

Bench: Toregas, Brown, Valbuena, Francisco


Bullpen: Herges, Joe Smith, Sowers, Sipp, Perez/Scott Lewis/Gosling, Betancourt, Wood

Guys worth keeping an eye on in AAA:

Jensen Lewis, Masa Kobayashi, Andy Marte, Michael Aubrey, Matt LaPorta, Trevor Crowe, Greg Aquino, Tomo Ohka, Chris Gimenez

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cavs Ranked NBA's 19th Best

John Hollinger of recently ranked the 30 NBA franchises based on historical results. The Cavs, thanks in large part to the last six years, ranked 19th/30.

Wins: 1,460
Playoff wins: 64
Series wins: 13
Titles: 0 All-Stars: 30
Best player: LeBron James
Best coach: Lenny Wilkens
Best team: 2008-09 (66-16, lost in conf. finals)

Contrary to popular belief, the story of the Cleveland Cavaliers does not begin with the selection of LeBron James in the 2003 draft; it doesn't even begin with their winning the NBA draft lottery. No, the Cavs were a real, live NBA team for three decades before that. Unfortunately, most of that time was spent near the bottom of the standings.

The Cavs joined the league in 1970-71 and produced the "Miracle at Richfield" in 1976 when the team made the Eastern Conference finals after having never won a playoff series or had a winning record. But that would be the Cavs' only playoff series win in their first two decades of existence.

• Cleveland Cavaliers (1970-present)
Instead, the Cavs became synonymous with the incompetent ownership of Ted Stepien, who caused the league to establish the rule that a team can't trade draft picks in consecutive years in order to thwart his destructive tendencies.

Eventually he sold the team, and the Cavs built a very solid club in the early 1990s ... just in time to be repeatedly victimized by Michael Jordan. Led by Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and Ron Harper, the Cavs won 57 games in 1989 and 1992 and 54 in 1993, but Jordan's Bulls beat them all three times -- most infamously on the shot by Jordan over Craig Ehlo at the buzzer of Game 5 of the first-round series in 1989.
After a couple of playoff series wins in the mid-1990s, things were quiet until James' chapter began. He took Cleveland to the Finals in 2007 with an epic outburst in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Detroit, but the overmatched Cavs were swept by San Antonio in the Finals. They were much better in 2009, with 66 games and an MVP award for James, but were foiled by Orlando in six games in the conference finals.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Moves to Help Tribe

My moves to help fix this awfully below-average Indians team:

Rich Rundles, Tony Sipp UP (a lefty that can actually get people out)

Jensen Lewis DOWN (work on things because not getting PT up here)

Greg Aquino DFAed (maybe sneak him back to AAA)

Chris Gimenez DOWN (more AAA experience, no help up here)

Jordan Brown UP (get Brown some starts in LF, less Francisco and Crowe)

More starts for Barfield at 2B (hitting well this year)

After Injured Return

Laffey to the rotation, Ohka back down to AAA

Cabrera back to SS, Valbuena back to AAA, Peralta full-time 3B

Betancourt back to pen, Vizcaino DFAed

Sizemore back to CF, Crowe back down to AAA

Scott Lewis up to the bullpen if needed (Perez to AAA)*

Jake Westbrook back to rotation, Huff/Sowers back to AAA

Last-Chance Lineup/Rotation (by Mid-July)

SS Cabrera

CF Sizemore

C Martinez

RF Choo

LF DeRosa

DH Hafner

1B Garko/Shoppach

3B Peralta

2B Carroll

Bench: Garko/Shoppach, Brown, Valbuena OR Barfield, Francisco






Bullpen: Herges, Joe Smith, Rich Rundles, Sipp, Perez or Scott Lewis, Betancourt, Wood

Guys that may play themselves back onto the team from AAA

Jensen Lewis, Masa Kobayashi, Andy Marte, Michael Aubrey, Matt LaPorta, Crowe, Huff/Sowers, Perez/Scott Lewis

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rex Hadnot Saves Browns

Browns finish camp on positive note
Zac Jackson, Staff Writer

As Rex Hadnot stood on the 10-yard line Saturday afternoon, all that stood between the Browns and summer vacation was one catch.

Eric Mangini ended the Browns' morning minicamp practice by making his players a deal. If an offensive lineman could catch a punt -- or if a defensive lineman could catch a kickoff -- minicamp would be over. Meetings would be cancelled. So, too, would the last practice session.

So the players chose Hadnot, and he jogged towards the goal line. Dave Zastudil's first punt missed him, but it was deemed a warmup. Hadnot caught the next kick and was mobbed by his teammates.

"He nailed the second one," Mangini said.

"I took a little spin off it the second time," Zastudil said. "I know there was a lot riding on that catch."

Mangini joked that though he wasn't sure about Hadnot's run-after-catch ability, he'd see about adding the guard/center to the list of punt return prospects.

THAT'S A WRAP -- There won't be any returns (or drills, or 7-on-7's, for that matter) in Berea for the next month-plus. The end of minicamp marks the end of the offseason program. The veterans will report back July 31, and the Browns will open training camp Aug. 1.

"I told the guys, ‘You don't want to just head off to the beach, throw on some suntan lotion and pick up a book,'" Mangini said. "The book you want to pick up, if you are, is the playbook. You want to be studying and making the information that you have been given just second nature. So now you are not thinking, you are reacting and you are playing, and your true ability comes out and you give yourself the best chance to be successful.

"The same thing physically, you need to maintain the level of fitness that you have currently and improve upon it, because it is a challenge, physically, during camp and then moving into the season. Those were points of emphasis that I worked on and talked about with them this morning. I've just seen a lot of progress in the past in this block of time, and hopefully we will see the same progress here."

FINISHING STRONG - The Browns' final practice of the spring was heavy on situational work - two-minute offense, four-minute offense, and scenarios that forced the offense to drive 30 yards and kick a field goals in some situations, and in others the offense needed 60 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

"I could see the progress," Mangini said. "I could see it in the situational awareness, the things that we did today. A lot of practice was winning plays and two-point plays. Everything was scripted that way.

"I saw a lot of progress in situational awareness from (previous) days to here this morning. There are definitely a lot of things to be encouraged about."

THUMBS UP - Robaire Smith, who's been rehabbing from a torn Achilles that ended his 2008 season last September, said he's encouraged with his progress and hopes to be back on the field for training camp.

"I'm just working hard to get back," he said. "I feel good, so we'll see. There's a lot of energy out there and I'm just trying to be a part of it. It's up to the doctors and the trainers, but I'm going to keep working and following their lead."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brown on Hot Seat - Replacements?

By now, I'm sure you've all heard that Mike Brown is on the hot-seat in Cleveland. Rumors from ESPN say that Dan Gilbert and other higher-ups not named Danny Ferry believe Brown was badly out-coached by Stan Van and needs to go.

My two cents:

Rick Carlisle was ousted after winning Coach of the Year in Detroit so there certainly is precedent.

I feel like we were out-coached and Brown was outsmarted by SVG in that series and that the bench was used very wrong. Unless we can get a committed star coach (Riley and Larry Brown do NOT qualify for the "committed" part) I wouldn't make a change however.

A first year or young coach would be a terrible fit. I wonder what Rudy Tomjanovich is doing these days. Don Nelson, despite his lack-of-defense style would be an excellent fit. He is great with rotations and is loved by his players. He has also never really had a superstar player and you can bet he'd jump at the chance to coach Lebron. I'd also accept George Karl if he's willing to leave Denver, Mike Fratello if he gets his personal life cleared up and maybe even a guy like Del Harris.

Here's a stretch, perhaps Jerry Sloan or Rick Adelman would be ready to jump off their sinking ships to win that elusive title with LBJ in Cleveland. They can bring Carlos Boozer or Yao Ming with them, too. :D

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cavs Season Over/Akron Aeros Report

After a season of excitement, Cavs depart in a night of embarrassment
by Terry Pluto/Plain Dealer Columnist
Saturday May 30, 2009, 11:30 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- For the Cavaliers, the season ended with a dunk in the face, a defensive collapse and a total breakdown of what made them the winningest team in the regular season.

Final score: Orlando 103, Cavaliers 90 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The real story is the game didn't feel that close, that somewhere along the line, the Cavs' will was broken, it's confidence slammed by Dwight Howard scoring inside or Rashard Lewis and the rest firing away while wide open from the 3-point line.

The word that comes to mind is embarrassing.

How could the Cavs be so passive, so uncertain in a Game 6 with their season on life support?

"We feel like we have to win this game at home," Rashard Lewis told the Orlando media. "We don't want to come and play in their arena where they feed off the crowd."

Before the game, James said: "I think a team is most dangerous when it's down to its last limb."

Not if the guys plan to just jump off, which the Cavs did for whatever reason -- be it pressure or a sense of the season slipping away.
Joshua Gunter/The Plain DealerLeBron James and the Cavaliers again had their season end amidst the celebration of their triumphant opponents. It was an especially painful end to a stunning season, says Terry Pluto.
Yes, Orlando is the better team, proving it by winning all five games here -- two in the regular season, three in the playoffs. Of course, had the Cavs capitalized on that 16-point lead in the opener, there would be a Game 7 in Cleveland coming up. They lost their home court advantage in the opener, which ended up a 107-106 loss.

But the Cavs had to be better than they were Saturday night.

They seemed uncertain on offense. James was not driving with authority, his teammates were reluctant to aggressively look for their shots. What exactly was the plan? Go inside? Set up James on the wing or at the top of the key, where he was so effective in Game 4? How about James in the low post?

"They jumped out to an early lead, Mo (Williams) got in foul trouble and because we got behind, we had to play quick and never could get control of the tempo," said Cavs coach Mike Brown.

The last thing you want to do to steal a road game is to be out-rebounded, 25-16, in the first half when the road team needs to set the tone. But the Cavs were out-hustled for what Mike Brown calls 50-50 balls. They seemed to disappear like Magic into the hands of Orlando players about 90 percent of the time.

At that point, the game was over.

"I never would have thought with the way this series has gone that we'd have been up 20 points in the fourth quarter," said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy.

But when a team is soft defensively on the road, it happens. Orlando dominated the boards, 47-34, with a 15-4 scoring edge on second shots. Howard consistently set up near the basket and overpowered the Cavs big men.

OK, here are a few second-guesses:

1) What were the Cavs doing with James on defense? It was hard to know exactly who he was supposed to be covering.

2) Whatever happened to Joe Smith? It's hard to believe they couldn't have used another big man have helped underneath where Dwight Howard was terrorizing them.

3) What was the deal in the third quarters, where the Cavs were outscored in five of the six games? What happened to adjustments?

There's so much more.

Brown made his reputation as a defensive coach, but never could come up with a scheme to stall Orlando for long, much less shut them down. The Magic averaged 103 points in this series, shooting nearly 49 percent.

He stubbornly refused to maximize James on defense by assigning him to defend either Rashard Lewis or Hedu Turkoglu for most of the series. He was not able to find a way to either stop Dwight Howard (40 points, 14 rebounds) inside or Lewis and the other shooters outside.

Even James (who averaged 38.5 points per game) seemed a bit out of sorts, as he didn't drive to the basket with the same authority. After three quarters, with the Cavs trailing 86-70, James had attempted only six shots in the paint, making three.

James finished with his worst performance of the 14-game postseason, scoring 25 on 8-of-20 shooting.

As Orlando prepares to head to Los Angeles for the NBA Finals, the Cavs go to their summer vacation feeling empty and, hopefully, a little angry. This was a lousy way for what should have been a very good season to end.


First-Eye Akron Aeros Report

I got a chance to see the Aeros play the Erie Seawolves in Erie this afternoon, a 7-2 Seawolves win.

Jeanmar Gomez, who pitched a perfect game for Akron earlier in the season, started for the Aeros did not have his usual stuff getting lit up for 7 runs in only 4 innings. Gomez showed excellent breaking pitches and got 2 strikes on the majority of the batters. However, he could not put them away. His fastball clocked around 90 mpg, an area he can surely improve on in his young career.

Carlos Santana had two sac flies for the only Aero RBIs of the game, one with the bases loaded and 0 outs in the first inning.

Beau Mills and Nick Weglarz did not have very good days at the plate.

The Seawolves starter Marte really shut down the Akron bats in a 3 game Erie sweep of the series. The Aeros still lead the division by 3 games over Erie.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Season Saved, For Now

That's the kind of game we need to see from Mo Williams to save this series!

The season continues: James' brilliant fourth quarter keeps Cavaliers alive in Game 5, 112-102

by Brian Windhorst/Plain Dealer Reporter
Thursday May 28, 2009, 11:37 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cavaliers made several statements on Thursday night. The most important may have been the one they made to themselves.

They can beat the Orlando Magic, a concept that has seemed doubtful at times during this rocky Eastern Conference finals. They can do it playing their own way, even if it means having to absorb body blows and intense and sometimes unrelenting pressure.

The Cavs took what they hope is their first step in a comeback by out-battling the Magic, 112-102, in Game 5 at The Q.

It was a high-scoring game that saw an early 22-point lead turn into an 8-point deficit with stunning swiftness, not your typical Cavs effort. But it also showed just what it is going to take to eliminate the Cavs from the playoffs.

Quite a bit.

Now the series shifts back to Orlando as the Magic get their second chance for a closeout game. But they will have to do so under pressure for the first time all series.

If the Cavs are to steal one in Central Florida, it will probably take the same sort of effort they put forth in Game 5. Not only was it the deepest performance of the five games but it also saw some of the Magic's unsungs stop playing like such heroes.

That and yet another superior effort from LeBron James, who doesn't yet seem to be tiring of them yet.

James had his best all-around game of the series and his first triple double of the postseason when the Cavs had to have it. He scored 37 points with 12 assists and set a career playoff high with 14 rebounds. Those numbers can seem numbing without this context: From late in the third quarter to late in the fourth, James scored or assisted on 32 consecutive Cavs points.
John Kuntz/The Plain Dealer The Cavaliers, as Wally Szczerbiak showed on this second-half play, were determined not to let Dwight Howard get easy baskets inside. Howard scored 24 points before fouling out.
Coach Mike Brown took a page out of the Magic book and put James in the high post at the center of the floor not unlike the way the Magic use Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard in their middle pick-and-rolls. Surrounding him with a small lineup and a couple of teammates who were hot, notably Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson, turned out to be a perfect adjustment.

"I knew there was going to be an opportunity to press the gas on the offensive end," James said. "It was something the players and coaches came up with to exploit their defense and take advantage of my shooters."

When the Magic gave him space, he repeatedly bulled into the lane and into Howard, drawing fouls until Howard was disqualified. The final foul for Howard came with 2:22 left as James crunched into him and somehow got the ball on the rim and into the net. When he finished the three-point play, the Cavs had pretty much finished the Magic and earned new life.

James scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and dished out four assists. Three went to Williams and Gibson for 3-pointers.

"They're giving him the ball in the middle of the floor. The game is all LeBron all the time," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "It is a difficult area to double team in because of shooters and his passing. It gets real tough because he has shooters and if he gets in the lane it is automatically a foul."

Williams finally was able to summon the sort of All-Star performance he gave for much of the season. He made his first four shots, seeming comfortable on the floor for the first time in about a month. He finished with 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Four other Cavs scored in double figures, again the sort of team-wide production that was a characteristic of so much of the season.
Tracy Boulian/The Plain DealerWally Szczerbiak and LeBron James enjoy the biggest basket of Thursday's Game 5, a fourth-quarter drive and score that drew the sixth foul of the game on Dwight Howard (rear).
Zydrunas Ilgauskas made 6-of-8 shots and put up 16 points despite having his hands full dealing with Howard, who presented a problem just about every minute he was on the floor. Ilgauskas, as in Game 4, finished the game on the bench after fouling out -- as did Anderson Varejao.

Delonte West had another strong game with 13 points though he, too, had struggles on defense. Daniel Gibson followed up his good shooting in Game 4 by hitting three more 3-pointers in Game 5 on his way to 11 points.

The Cavs played a more standard style of defense than they had been using in the first four games. They did not cross-match James on Rafer Alston and played straight up and attached to the Magic's strong shooters when they could. It had both positive and negative effects.

Alston came back to earth after his 26 points in Orlando and went just 1-of-10 from the floor. His missing production turned out to be a difference for the Magic. So did Rashard Lewis, who had 15 points but went just 4-of-12 shooting. Without as much space, the Magic made just 8-of-25 3-pointers.

The Howard/Hedo Turkoglu pick-and-roll was still a problem. Orlando got 24 points from Howard before he fouled out on 8-of-10 shooting with 10 rebounds. Turkoglu had his best scoring game of the series with 29 points. But the Cavs simply had more support.

"Our mental focus and awareness were there," Brown said. "Especially down the stretch."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thanks For Nothing, Mo Williams

All season I wondered what could derail this season and the answer is that Mo Williams is a playoff choke

The Shot, the Drive, the Fumble, The MO

Biggest disparity between a regular season and playoff player I have ever seen in sports. Without Mo, we are last year's team and this year's Magic beat last year's Cavs every time.

I'm not gonna waste your time with his awful playoff stats, are you watching the series? That's enough proof right there.

Let it be known I am officially ending the Cavaliers season. Lakers over Magic in 6.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Blame Z, Look at Backcourt

Before we blame Z and his defense of Dwight Howard for the Game 1 loss, let's take some things into consideration:

Z's +- was a plus 12 where as Ben Wallace was a minus 14. I know those stats can be misleading but it is interesting to think about. Honestly, this would be a perfect series to get Lorenzen Wright some minutes as a big physical body to D up Howard but alas, he is hurt. Ben is just too small to be effective in this series.

Mo and Delonte shot 10 for 32. It's bad enough to shoot 28% but when your duo takes 32 field goals in the process, it's tough to win. The rest of the team shot an outstanding 33/56, the two guards really need to step it up.

The point is, yes Z had some trouble with Howard defensively, but so did everyone else on the team! Howard didn't beat us, the three point shooting in the 2nd half (particularly from Turkoglu and Lewis) did! Z had a double double and did his job. This was a team effort but let's look at the back-court who we have praised all season, and take into account that Mo and Delonte need to step up!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quick Liftoffs: 5-17

I know Tribe fans are getting impatient and panicking, calling for every young prospect from AAA to be brought up, but ITS NOT WORKING.

These guys are not helping us win games and many of them haven't had enough time in AAA to have any business being up here in the first place.

Crowe was outmatched at the plate (and is still in AAA, batting under .200), Francisco has been outperforming LaPorta (ditto when Laporta plays 1B over Garko or DeRosa), Carroll is a better option than Valbuena (also putrid at the plate), and at this point I'd take Sowers or Zach Jackson as the 5th starter over what we saw from Huff today (not enough time at Columbus!). Bringing up Hector Rondon would be another mistake!

The veterans are going to need to turn it around to save this team. I have faith in Francisco, Peralta, even DeRosa and Carmona to help turn things around over the youngsters who aren't ready!

On the injury front, Hafner coming back will bump LaPorta back to AAA (unless Dellucci's .270 average plummets in that time), Westbrook will eventually bump out the #5 starter (I want Jackson, Sowers or Tomo Ohka right now), and Joe Smith will bump out one of the over-the-hill pen arms (Herges, Vizcaino).

Right now, I think there are a couple moves that can be made to help the team in the short-run.

Sent Jensen Lewis down to AAA, bring up Rich Rundles
- A lot of Tribe fans are anxious to see flamethrowing Jon Meloan (acquired in the Casey Blake deal) but the fact is that his over-6 ERA and tendency to walk people in AAA make him an unsafe option. Rundles has been pitching well for Columbus and has experience for the Tribe last September where he performed well in a short amount of time. He's also already on the 40-man roster which is a plus. I think everyone agrees that Lewis needs a sabbatical to figure out what is going wrong.

Give Sowers another shot
- I know what he did in his first two starts, but the fact is that there isn't anything left to prove for Sowers in AAA where he has an impressive ERA hovering around 2 and won a 2-1 decision tonight. I'm all for giving him a handful of starts until Westbrook comes back later in the summer and deciding his future at that point. I'm still waiting for the 2006 Sowers to reemerge. I know, though, that even if Sowers will never work out for the Indians, that we can boost his trade value in that time with some more exposure and some good starts. David Huff hasn't been in AAA long enough to be up here in the bigs (3.2 innings and 7 runs today) and Laffey is our best bullpen arm at this point, no sense moving him from that role.

Barfield up, Valbuena down
- Luis Valbuena is a promising young IF but he is just overmatched at the plate, batting around .100 at the time of this post. Josh Barfield was 3-3 with some runs scored in a very brief appearance earlier this month and I'd like to give him another shot as the starting 2B. Valbuena needs more time at AAA (see a pattern?) to work on his bat and Barfield can work at 2B with Peralta at 3rd, Cabrera at short with Garko/DeRosa getting a day off or DH-ing. At the worst, he can provide speed off the bench, something Valbuena does not.

Bringing em back - At some point, Lewis and Perez will need to come back to Cleveland and contribute to the pen. Perez may be ready soon, with an ERA of 0.00 in a handful of appearances, but Lewis would need some time. I'm gonna give Luis Vizcaino a chance to prove himself but if his one pitch walk-off Friday night was any indication, he's just another journeyman stiff. I'd consider removing some of those type of guys in our bullpen with those who have proven themselves for us in the past (Perez, Lewis, even Zach Jackson).

God bless us all

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quick Liftoffs: 5-12


Jim Thome, we hate you. I refuse to listen to Indians fans who still love "Big Jim" or are willing to forgive him for spurning the Tribe for the money the rest of American baseball provides. I will never forgive him, or Manny, or Carlos Boozer, or any of the others. When athletes leave a team for money, just say it. Don't hide behind excuses or claim you were just "testing the market." You aren't fooling anyone, we are smart people here! It wouldn't be enough just to leave, but to come back to THE CHICAGO WHITE SOX and constantly torment us (2 HRs 4 RBI tonight) is just too much...


Will the Cavs ever lose? At 8-0 with 8 double-digit wins, it sure doesn't look like it. I won't be foolish enough to say that the Cavs an sweep the Celtics and Lakers/Nuggets, but I don't think Boston is a legit threat any more. It will take them a minimum of 13 games played (and 7 overtimes or more) to get to the same place the Cavs are at with 8 games. They are old, tired, and don't have the unquenchable hunger that is driving, Lebron and Co. to their ultimate goal. Like Mo said earlier this postseason, I sure won't feel bad if that series goes 7!


The way the Indians are going, it is possible the Browns can come up from the cellar they have held in the Cleveland sports rankings since pre-Lebron days. Eric Mangini better be a pretty damn good coach though....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Another Day, Another Bullpen Meltdown

The team with the most 8th inning runs allowed in baseball was at it again on Saturday blowing a game that would have been a great comeback and a series-winner.

The Indians rallied from 5-0 down after starter Aaron Laffey was chased in the 4th to take a 7-6 lead thanks in part to solid bullpen efforts from Vinnie Chulk and Tony Sipp. However, all of that came undone when Rafael Betancourt gave up 3 runs in the 8th inning and Jhonny Peralta blew a chance to make things interesting in the 9th, stranding runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs.

This team is the most frustrating in baseball. One day you get double-digit runs, then you get 12 runs in 6 games. The starters are up and down and the bullpen is mostly down, with no bridge whatsoever to closer Kerry Wood (perfect in 5 save opportunities).

I propose a complete bullpen shakedown to save this pitiful season.

Send Jensen Lewis and Rafael Perez to AAA Columbus and bring up youngsters John Meloan and his firey fastball and Zach Jackson who started the season as a longman with the Tribe. The Indians need to strongly consider designating Masa Kobayashi for assignment if he can't prove to be effective and think about moving Scott Lewis or Anthony Reyes to the pen for another effective arm. Betancourt will be reduced to a mop-up guy until/if he can turn things around and Chulk and Sipp moved to the 8th inning responsibilties as the only guys in the pen with ERA even close to being under 3.00.

God help us all if this bullpen can't turn things around. Why did Wedge fire Luis Isaac again?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quick Liftoffs: 4-26

Draft Day is complete for the Cleveland Browns and the Cavaliers advance to the Eastern Conference Semis with a four game sweep of the Bad (as in skill, not attitude) Boys from Detroit.

After trading down three times in the first round, helping the Jets acquire franchise QB Mark Sanchez, the Browns took a center in Alex Mack from Cal. They went on to use two 2nd round picks on young wideouts, Brian Robiskie from Ohio State and Mohamed Massaquoi from Georgia. Both should complement "non-traded" Braylon Edwards and stretch the field for also non-traded Brady Quinn. They closed out the first day by taking a versatile DE/OLB from Hawaii, David Veikune.

On the second day, the Browns filled depth holes at CB, LB and picked up a young runningback, James Davis from Clemson.

Overall, the Browns selected players with high marks in character and were generally safe picks. Needs were filled on the outside and inside and depth was added across the board. All of these picks should be relatively cheap and easy to sign and many may contribute to the team right away.

Overall Grade: B-


1st (21):^ Alex Mack, C, California

2nd (36): Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State

2nd (50):* Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, Georgia

2nd (52): David Veikune, DE/OLB, Hawaii

4th (104): Kaluka Maiava, LB, USC

6th (177): Don Carey, CB, Norfolk State

6th (191):* Coye Francies, CB, San Jose State

6th (195):^ James Davis, RB, Clemson

*from Tampa Bay

^from Philadelphia

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cavs Win, Playoff Milestones Set

In the Cavs' win over Detroit tonight, bringing the series to within one game of a sweep, two Cavaliers set playoff franchise records:

Lebron James passed Brad Daugherty for the all-time lead in defensive rebounds with 333


Zydrunas Ilgauskas passed Daugherty for the all-time lead in total rebounds with 424

Congrats to Lebron and Z!

The Cavs will look to close out the 1st round series on Monday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tribe Heating Up

Don't look now, but the once 0-5 Cleveland Indians are getting hot. Sure, a 6-5 stretch isn't exactly world-beating, but compared to what the Indians did in the first week of the season, it is a godsend. After splitting a 4-game series at Yankee Stadium where the offense came to life, the Indians won their series at home against Kansas City with a 5-2 comeback win today after a fantastic start by the Royals' Gil Meche. The Tribe will look to continue their hot streak vs. the Twins, another contender in the closely contested yet mediocre Central Divison.

Players of today's game: Grady Sizemore, 3 R GW-HR and Kerry Wood, a 1-2-3 save with 2 Ks! Boy is it nice having a flamethrowing, stud closer! Now if only the rest of the bullpen would catch up...

Columbus Watch: David Dellucci has hit .417 in three starts at DH in AAA Columbus for his rehab start. Josh Barfield is hitting .300 since being sent down to make room for SP Aaron Laffey.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Congrats Coach Brown!

Congratulations to Cavaliers Head Coach Mike Brown, the 2009 NBA Coach of the Year!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Quick Liftoffs: 4-18

Great Day for Cleveland Fans

What more could we want from this 18th of April, 2009? The Cavs did what they were supposed to in crushing the Pistons in Game 1 of the First Round of the NBA Playoffs with TheKing dropping in 38 points. The day got even better for fans who were flipping back and forth from ABC to FOX and saw the Indians stomp on, decimate, and light on fire the lifeless corpses that were the New York Yankee pitchers today. The Tribe beat the Yanks 22-4, bringing back memories of a 2006 Fourth of July in New York where the Indians beat the Bombers 22-0. Mark DeRosa had 6 RBI and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a Grand Slam while Fausto Carmona picked up the easiest win of his career. Eric Wedge picked up career managerial win #500 in the rout.

Box score from the awesome performance here


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Quick Liftoffs: 4-16

A new segment with random talk throughout Cleveland three major teams...

Cleveland Cavaliers

The debate will rage on for a long time on whether Mike Brown should have sat his starters for Game #82 against the Sixers. The Cavs lost only their second game at home this season and were denied the NBA record of 40-1. In the end the only thing that matters is that the team get healthy for the playoff run. In other stats, no NBA team has ever gone 66-16, the Cavs' current record, and not won the NBA Championship (2-0)...

There sure were some crooked numbers in that game with season-highs from Wally Szczerbiak and Daniel Gibson (also a career-high) as well as 4 blocks from Lorenzen Wright (.02 per game this season) and a career high 8 points from rookie D-Leaguer Jawad Williams. Despite the loss, the game was an excellent chance for the Cavs to show off their depth and reward the veterans like Wright and the youngsters like Williams and Kinsey who have patiently waited their turns...

Cleveland Indians

A win streak?!? The Indians won their 2nd in a row and pounded the Yanks 10-2 at Yankee Stadium's opening today defeating CC Sabathia in the process. The big lefty got a ND in the game but the Indians forced him to throw over 120 pitches in 5.2 innings and knocked the Yanks pen around to the tune of 9 runs. Cliff Lee went 6 innings and gave up only 1 run in his first win of the year, a surely welcome sign for the Tribe faithful. Grady Sizemore hit a grand slam, the first in the new park...

The "streak" will look to continue when Anthony Reyes faces Joba Chamberlain tomorrow at 1:05...

Cleveland Browns

I have no idea what the new regime is doing dangling Brady Quinn and Braylon Edwards for the NFL's viewing (and trading) pleasure. Our one-time franchise QB/WR paring will both likely be elsewhere come the end of the NFL Draft which makes no sense considering you have one of the NFL's best WRs in Edwards and a young QB who wants to be here (shocking, really) and hasn't gotten even a remotely long enough chance to prove himself. You can argue that Braylon will walk as a free agent after this season but in reality he loves Cleveland and if the fans get back on his side (helped by fewer drops, of course) there is no reason to think he won't re-up with the Browns... for the right price

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tribe Offseason and Opening Day

A finalization to my original Indians Offseason post. Opening Day is Monday @ Texas at 2:05 PM. Cliff Lee vs. Kevin Millwood

Cleveland Indians 2009 Offseason

Free Agents

IF Jamey Carroll (club option for ’09) option exercised
RP Brendan Donnelly (filed for free agency) signed by Texas
C Sal Fasano (filed for free agency) signed by Colorado
RP Scott Elarton (filed for free agency) un-signed
RP Juan Rincon (filed for free agency) signed by Detroit

Minor League Free Agents

OF Brad Snyder, placed on waivers, claimed by Chicago Cubs
RP Reid Santos, placed on waivers, claimed by Toronto
IF Andy Gonzalez, signed to minor league deal by Florida
P Bryan Bullington, signed by Toronto
P Brian Slocum, signed by Pittsburgh
OF Ryan Goleski, released


OF Franklin Gutierrez traded to Seattle for RP Joe Smith and IF Luis Valbuena
IF Mark DeRosa acquired from Chicago Cubs for Ps Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub
OF Mickey Hall acquired from Boston to complete Paul Byrd trade
IF Isaias Velasquz traded to Tampa Bay for RP Juan Salas
RP Shawn Nottingham traded to Pittsburgh for PTBNL
RP Edward Mujica traded to San Diego for PTBNL


RP Kerry Wood (signed to 2-year deal)
SP Carl Pavano (signed to 1-year deal)

RP Greg Aquino (non-roster invitee)
C Damaso Espino (non-roster invitee)
IF Andy Cannizaro (non-roster invitee)
P Tomo Ohka (non-roster invitee)
IF Jesus Merchan (non-roster invitee)
IF Wilson Valdez (non-roster invitee)
P Kirk Sarloos (non-roster invitee)
RP Vinnie Chulk (non-roster invitee)
RP Matt Herges (non-roster invitee)
P Jack Cassell (non-roster invitee)

RP Joe Smith (trade from SEA)
IF Luis Valbuena (trade from SEA)
IF Mark DeRosa (trade from CHI)
OF Mickey Hall (trade from BOS)
RP Juan Salas (trade from TB)
IF Andy Marte (assigned to AAA)
IF Tony Graffaninio (non-roster invitee)
RP Jae Kuk Ryu (claimed, sent to AAA)
Played to be named (trade from PIT)
RP Juan Lara (signed to minor league deal)


OF Brad Snyder (claimed by CHC)
RP Reid Santos (claimed by TOR)
IF Andy Gonzalez (signed by FLA)
P Bryan Bullington (signed by TOR)
P Brian Slocum (signed by PIT)
RP Tom Mastny (sold to Japan team)
OF Franklin Gutierrez (traded to SEA)
P Jeff Stevens (traded to CHIC)
P Chris Archer (traded to CHIC)
P John Gaub (traded to CHIC)
OF Ryan Goleski (released)
RP Brendan Donnelly (signed by TEX)
C Sal Fasano (signed by COL)
RP Juan Rincon (signed by DET)
IF Isaias Velasquez (traded to TB)
RP Shawn Nottingham (traded to PIT)
RP Edward Mujica (traded to SD)
RP Jae Kuk Ryu (sent back to SD, transaction voided)

Non-Roster Invitees


Greg Aquino
Tomo Ohka
Kirk Sarloos
Dave Huff
Ryan Edell
Vinnie Chulk
Matt Herges
Jack Cassell


Damaso Espino


Andy Cannizaro
Jesus Merchan
Wilson Valdez
Michael Aubrey
Stephen Head
Beau Mills
Jordan Brown
Wes Hodges


Michael Brantley
Matt Laporta

Signed to 1-Year Contracts for Season:

IF Josh Barfield
OF Shin-Soo Choo
SP Aaron Laffey
RP Jon Meloan
P Adam Miller
SP Anthony Reyes
RP Tony Sipp
SP Jeremy Sowers
C Wyatt Toregas

Reassigned to Minor League Camp:

P Ryan Edell
P Tomo Ohka
RP Rich Rundles (AAA)
RP John Meloan (AAA)
P Adam Miller (AAA)
P Hector Rondon (AA)
RP Tony Sipp (AAA)
2B Luis Valbuena (AAA)
C Carlos Santana (AA)
P Jack Cassel
SP David Huff
C Armando Camacaro
1B Jordan Brown
3B Wes Hodges
IF Jesus Marchand
1B Beau Mills
OF Stephen Head
LHP Jeremy Sowers (AAA)
C Wyatt Toregas (AAA)
P Greg Aquino
IF Michael Aubrey
OF Michael Brantley
OF Matt Laporta
P Kirk Saarloos
IF Andy Cannizaro
SP Aaron Laffey (AAA)
C Chris Gimenez (AAA)
RP Vinnie Chulk
C Damaso Espino
IF Tony Graffanino
RP Matt Herges
SS Wilson Valdez
3B Andy Marte

40 Man Roster


Rafael Betancourt
Fausto Carmona
Zach Jackson
Masahide Kobayashi
Aaron Laffey
Cliff Lee
Jensen Lewis
Scott Lewis
John Meloan
Adam Miller
Carl Pavano
Rafael Perez
Anthony Reyes
Hector Rondon
Rich Rundles
Juan Salas
Tony Sipp
Joe Smith
Jeremy Sowers
Jake Westbrook
Kerry Wood


Chris Giminez
Victor Martinez
Carlos Santana
Kelly Shoppach
Wyatt Toregas


Josh Barfield
Asdrubal Cabrera
Jamey Carroll
Mark DeRosa
Ryan Garko
Jhonny Peralta
Luis Valbuena


Shin-Soo Choo
Trevor Crowe
David Dellucci
Ben Francisco
Grady Sizemore

Designated Hitter

Travis Hafner

Opening Day Lineup:

CF: Grady Sizemore
3B: Mark DeRosa
1B: Victor Martinez
DH: Travis Hafner
SS: Jhonny Peralta
RF: Shin-Soo Choo
C: Kelly Shoppach
LF: Ben Francisco
2B: Asdrubal Cabrera

Bench: 1B Ryan Garko, IF Jamey Carroll, IF Josh Barfield, OF Trevor Crowe

Starters: Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona, Carl Pavano, Scott Lewis, Anthony Reyes
Relief: LRP Zach Jackson, RP Masa Kobayashi, RP Rafael Betancourt, RP Jensen Lewis, RP Rafael Perez, RP Joe Smith, CP Kerry Wood

Disabled List: David Dellucci (15 day), Jake Westbrook (60 day)

Friday, April 3, 2009

CBS Likes Indians as Sleeper in Central

You can imagine my shock today when I clicked on the baseball preview on and saw the Cleveland Indians represented in first place and major postseason awards.

Three CBS analysts have the Indians picked to win the AL Central ahead of the Twins. The fourth has us in 4th place ahead of only Kansas City.

Those same three analysts have tabbed Eric Wedge as the AL Manager of the Year which would be the 2nd time in three years he has won the award. All found in the Award section are Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera as Surprise of the Year, Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner as Comeback Player of the Year and Hafner as Disappointment of the Year.

There wasn't any love for Cliff Lee or Fausto Carmona to pick up the tradition of the Tribe's ace winning the Cy Young Award for the 3rd straight season.

Full predictions can be found below and remember, only three days until Opening Day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Congrats to Ilgauskas

Congrats to Z for becoming the Cavaliers' all-time leading shot blocker and reaching the 10,000 career point mark this week. He is the 4th Cavalier to score 10,000 points and passed Hot Rod Williams with 1,202 blocks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Great Clevelander of the Week 3-17

Great Clevelander of the Week

Highlighting the Best of Cleveland (other than Lebron)

Joe Smith

The veteran power forward signed with the Cavs last week after being bought out by Oklahoma City. Smith is making his 2nd stint in Cleveland after being traded in the deal for Mo Williams. He has averaged 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game adding depth off the bench for the Cavs, including 10 points and 7 rebounds in a win over the Knicks. The Cavs are 5-1 since Joe’s return.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Out With the Old and in With the... Old?

The past couple weeks have seen a whirlwind of comings and goings for Cleveland's three pro sports teams. Browns Pro Bowl TE Kellen Winslow was traded to the Tampa Bay Bucs for two undisclosed draft picks, long-time LB and captain Andra Davis was signed by Denver and starting S Sean Jones was picked up by the Eagles. When looking at one of my old posters from last season, I saw that with those three gone, less than half of the players on the poster remained with the Browns!

The Browns were not alone in "cleaning house" as the Indians designated IF Andy Marte, a bust from the Coco Crisp trade, for assignment and the Cavs waived Jawad Williams who had spent the whole season with the team. They also chose not to re-sign Trey Johnson whose 10-day contract with the team expired.

Whew! That's a lot of Clevelanders booted out in a short period of time.

Apparently, according to George Kokinis, Mark Shapiro and Danny Ferry, sometimes the best way to replace what you have lost is by brining back what you had once had. That's exactly what the Cavs did when the brought back Joe Smith after he was waived by OK City. The reliable front court scorer was acquired by the team in the mega-trade last winter and traded the following summer for Mo Williams. To top it all off, Marte ended up rejoining the Tribe after clearing waivers!

One thing in all this is for sure, Eric Mangini and the Browns will not look to bring back players from the Browns' recent, unsuccessful past. As they traverse ahead, Mangini is brining back "the old" however, as many former Jets have been linked to or signed with the Browns. DL C.J. Mosley and CB Hank Poteat are two of the former Manginites to sign and reunite with their old coach.

Call it a blast from the past or a retro renaissaince in Cleveland, but for these three professional sports teams, old memories are becoming new again and new ones will be made -- hopefully involving championships.