Friday, June 25, 2010

Rivalry Building Between Browns, Jets

The Cleveland Browns and New York Jets have had an interesting history. Cleveland topped New York in the first Monday Night Football game ever and in double overtime in the 1986 playoffs. However, since that exciting Bernie Kosar-led victory, the franchises have gone in different directions. While the Jets haven't been the model of an NFL franchise, they have reached the NFL playoffs a number of times in the last decade and have been far from the disaster our Browns were.

Now it seems, the two franchises are linked once more. First, Cleveland hired Empire State-hated Eric Mangini from the Jets. Then, they traded mercurial wide receiver Braylon Edwards to the Big Apple. And now, the teams find themselves opposite one another on the 2010 schedule. A fact not lost on Edwards (see below). Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York. If the Browns win only five games this season, those are the ones I want.


Braylon Edwards can't wait to play the Lions, Browns (from
Posted by Mike Florio on June 24, 2010 9:52 AM ET

Braylon Edwards is launching his first full season as a member of the New York Jets. And he has circled on the calendar games against teams that reside in much smaller cities.

The Lions and the Browns.

Per Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press, Edwards looks forward to his November 7 return to Michigan. "I'm excited to play back home," Edwards recently said. "It'll be fun because I have so much family here that supports me. So I can't wait for them to get a chance to come to the game."

The next week, he returns to his adopted home.

"Seven days later is the game I'm worried about," Edwards said. "We go to Cleveland. You know I've got a little chip on my shoulder the size of the golden nugget. So I can't wait to go out there."

Edwards may want to think twice about that one. We hear that the 130-pound guy he beat up last year on his way out of Ohio has been working out. Word is that he's already up to 140.

Five more and he can definitely take Braylon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Vote Choo!

Vote Shin-Soo Choo to the American League All-Star Team:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Look Back on a Cavalier Decade

Courtesy of, great feature


June 8, 2010
Deciphering the Decade

For the first time in several summers, the Cavaliers are a team totally in flux. On Tuesday afternoon, owner Dan Gilbert will announce Chris Grant as the team’s new general manager. But there are still questions to be answered after that.

So, while we ponder the Wine and Gold’s future, decided to take a look at the past – a thumbnail sketch of the previous decade of Cavaliers basketball.

From the franchise’s early depths to their recent heights, a decade is a lot to capsulize, so we tried to get it done in under 1,000 words.

So, in 982 words, here is an abridged version of the last ten years, in which the Cleveland Cavaliers …

… began the decade by naming Mark Price, Austin Carr, Shawn Kemp, Larry Nance and Brad Daugherty members of the 30th Anniversary team.

…witnessed Akron native LeBron James’ incredible brilliance – becoming the first Cavalier to be named Most Valuable Player (twice). In seven years – beginning with a 25-point 9-assist night in Sacramento on Oct. 29, 2003 – James has already established Hall of Fame accomplishments, leading the Cavaliers franchise to unprecedented heights.

… clinched their division for the first time in 33 years in March, 2009 – eventually taking the Central by 25 games and repeating the next season by a 15-game margin.

… reached the NBA Finals in 2007 for the first time in franchise history – topping their nemesis Detroit Pistons in six games behind LeBron James’ heroic 49-point effort in Motown and Daniel Gibson’s second-half explosion in Game 6 at The Q. Unfortunately, Cleveland was swept in four games by the Spurs in the Finals.

… were purchased in March 2005 by Dan Gilbert, chairman and founder of Quicken Loans – who shortly thereafter invested over $30 million in Quicken Loans Arena renovations, as well as upgrades to the Cavaliers executive offices and the development of the Cleveland Clinic Courts.

…saw Paul Pierce get in a mid-game shooting contest with Moondog, saw Ricky Davis shoot at the wrong basket in order to get a triple-double, and watched Drew Gooden grow a “Gucci patch” on the back of his head.

… were presided over by three General Managers – Wayne Embry, Jim Paxson and Danny Ferry.

… opened a brand new 50,000 square foot state-of-the-art player development facility – the Cleveland Clinic Courts – in Independence.

… sported two totally different uniforms and color schemes in the decade – and donned as many as five different threads in 2009-10 alone.

…featured players named Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, Smush Parker, Flip Murray and Zendon Hamilton – as well as a Yogi (Stewart), a Jiri (Welsch), a Bimbo (Coles), and a Bruno (Sundov).

… saw players hit some of the biggest and most dramatic shots in franchise history – Damon Jones’ 18-foot series-clinching baseline jumper in Game 6 against Washington in 2006, giving Cleveland its first trip to the Second Round in 12 years and LeBron James’ game-winning three-pointer against Orlando in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals at The Q.

…watched Zydrunas Ilgauskas and LeBron James rewrite the record books – leaving only field goal percentage (Mark West, .533), defensive rebounds (Brad Daugherty, 4,020) and Mark Price’s 3-pt. field goals made (802) and his all-time assists marks (4,206) still intact.

…compiled Playoff records against: Detroit (11-6), Washington (12-4), Chicago (4-1), Atlanta (4-0), Boston (5-8) and San Antonio (0-4)

…watched LeBron James become the first Cavalier since their first year in existence to score 50 points when he dropped 56 on Toronto in 2005. He’s scored 50 or more in seven games since.

…saw Andre Miller become the first Cavalier to lead the league in assists in 2001-02 – averaging 10.9 helpers per contest on a team that finished 16th in the league in scoring.

…knocked the Washington Wizards out of the First Round of the playoffs in three straight seasons.

…knocked the Chicago Bulls out of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

…saw one player leave the Cavaliers and proceed to win the Euroleague Championship (Trajan Langdon) and signed another who won two Euroleague titles (Anthony Parker) before coming to Cleveland.

…won the 2003 Draft Lottery in Secaucus, New Jersey when the four ping-pong balls pulled from the tumbler added up to “23.”

…welcomed Tractor Traylor and Joe Smith back for two tours of duty.

…were jilted by Carlos Boozer in July, 2004, but proceeded to make lemonade from lemons – trading Tony Battie and a second-round choice for Drew Gooden, Steven Hunter and 2010 All-Defensive first teamer, Anderson Varejao.

…saw Andre Miller turn in the Cavaliers’ first four double-doubles of the 21st century, with LeBron James notching the next 34.

… began the century with Danny Ferry as a ballplayer and a 25-year-old center, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, considering retirement after playing just one full season. Both still had hair.

…had only one player in the last decade turn in a 20-point/20-rebound game: Carlos Boozer, who did so twice.

…traveled to China in the summer of 2007 – taking on the Orlando Magic in Shanghai and Macao.

… saw Mike Brown become the only Cavaliers coach besides Bill Fitch in 1976 to be named “Coach of the Year.”

… selected these players in the first-round this decade: Jamal Crawford (2000), DeSagana Diop (2001), Dajuan Wagner (2002), LeBron James (2003), Luke Jackson (2004), Shannon Brown (2006), J.J. Hickson (2008) and Christian Eyenga (2009).

…averaged 11,497 fans per contest with two total sellouts in 2002-03. In 2009-10, they averaged 20,562 – selling out every game of the season.

… have had three players make the All-Star Game in the past ten years. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who made two trips – in 2003 and 2005. Mo Williams, who made his first mid-season classic appearance in 2009, joining LeBron James, who played in his sixth All-Star Game in 2010. LeBron was named All-Star MVP twice (2006 in Houston and 2008 in New Orleans).

…featured some local products like Jawad Williams, J.R. Bremer, Earl Boykins, Eric Snow and, of course, LeBron James.

… dealt for a four-time Defensive Player of the Year (Ben Wallace) and four-time NBA Champion (Shaquille O’Neal).

…lost 65 games in one season (2002-03) and won 66 in another (2008-09). In the 66-win season, the Cavaliers won one less game in March (16) than they did all season (17) in the campaign before landing LeBron.

…have seen six coaches come and go, including Randy Wittman (62-102), John Lucas (37-87), Keith Smart (9-31), Paul Silas (69-77), Brendan Malone (8-10) and Mike Brown (272-138).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Concerned About Gilbert

For all the money Dan Gilbert has spent, all the wins the Cavaliers have accumulated since he took over as majority owner, all the success of this franchise, I'm afraid that in the end his presence may be a curse.

The ousting of Mike Brown and Danny Ferry, two solid, well-respected basketball people, in an obvious attempt to gain more power for himself, reeks of egomanical pro sports owners Daniel Snyder and Mark Cuban (and their zero combined championships).

I'm concerned with the fact that Gilbert doesn't know basketball, but he knows $$ and will do anything to keep LeBron. Do you hear that Cleveland? To keep LeBron. That's a good thing right? Well, partially. There is no guarantee that if LeBron re-signs we will be a better team than we were under Ferry and Brown. And I know that in the end, all us true fans really want is a championship.

Brown and Ferry wanted to build a defensive team but trades for Williams and Antawn Jamison (who truly pulled the trigger on those?) seemed to set the team back on that end of the floor. I suspect Gilbert and James had quite a bit of say there and that Ferry and Brown, the two people whose say matters most, didn't.

But the straw that broke the camel's back for me is the Tom Izzo rumor. This potential hiring is preposterous. Upon hearing the rumor, I immediately made the Gilbert-Michigan connection and realized that he is hiring people he thinks will be good NBA people, not people who are considered by the league to be good NBA people. What background does Izzo have coaching professionals? At least Coach K of Duke won an Olympic gold medal coaching with James.

Gilbert may have the deepest pockets this side of the Mississippi, but we've seen in that past that that doesn't equal winning. I'm just concerned that if things continue the way they are, that whether LeBron re-signs or not, we won't be any better off than we were the last 7 years.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wild Night in Comerica

The Cleveland Indians have never had a perfect game thrown against them. For years after last night's ballgame, decades perhaps, baseball fans will ask whether that statement remains true or not.

The game itself will be talked about and analyzed ad nauseum, but I want to take a look at it from the perspective of a Cleveland Indians fan. Obviously, I was rooting for the Tribe to get a baserunner and break up the perfecto, but when Austin Jackson made that amazing Willie Mays catch (1950s Tribe fans shudder at the sight), I knew it was meant to be. But not like that. I didn't want Armando Galarraga to lose his once-in-a-lifetime outing on a blown call by first base umpire Jim Joyce (not to be confused with the famous Irish author by the same name). At that point, I was confused. I immediately understood the impact that call would have on Joyce for the rest of his life, and based on his postgame comments, he did too.

At this point, it's bigger than the Indians keeping their decades long streak of not being "perfected." It was about a man being able to live his life without shame and regret, a journeyman pitcher being recognized as one of a group of 21 all-time, and a sport instituting instant replay. There was no instant replay last night, but hopefully Bud Selig will do what needs to be done: reverse the call. It would certainly be the right thing to do. And I'm sure Jason Donald wouldn't mind. He'll have plenty of infield singles in his future.


Three-fifths of the Indians starting rotation gives the team a chance to win every night. Unfortunately for Tribe fans, the other two-fifths have been plain awful. David Huff and Justin Masterson, a combined 2-11 on the season with a ballooning combined 5.50+ ERA may still be a part of the Indians future. But I really don't want to see them in the present.

Luckily, the Tribe brass sent reliever Aaron Laffey down to Columbus to be stretched out as a starter. The idea was that he would replace Justin Masteron in the rotation, who would either be sent to AAA as a starter or moved to the bullpen. But after Masterson's strong outing in Yankee Stadium and David Huff's disastrous last two outings (sandwiched by a line drive to the head off the bat of Alex Rodriguez), I'm beginning to think he deserves a few more chances.

It's time to send Huff (a pitcher I think was rushed to the majors last year anyway) to Columbus to work on his mechanics and give Masterson a couple more starts with Laffey in the mix. If Masterson continues to struggle, it's time to move him and his electric stuff to the bullpen where I envision him as a back-end setup man. We certainly could use a couple of those. As for replacements in AAA? Yohan Pino, Josh Tomlin, Carlos Carrassco or even Jeremy Sowers could get a look.

I do know one thing: we can't keep sending out this group of five starters if we want to finish out of the basement of the AL Central.