Posted on: October 6, 2009 9:11 am
Edited on: October 7, 2009 9:53 am
 

The Indians in the 2009 MLB Playoffs?

What you say?  The Indians made the 2009 MLB Playoffs?  Didn't they just end the season on a 16 game road losing streak, longest in team history?  Didn't Larry Dolan just fire the entire coaching staff including Manager Eric Wedge?  Didn't the Indians win a mere half dozen games in September and fail to hold a lead in 70 consecutive innings? 

All the above is true.  Yet, here are the Indians that made the playoffs this year team by team:

LA Dodgers:     Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake

Philadelphia PhilliesCliff Lee

St. Louis Cardinals:  Mark DeRosa

Colorado RockiesRafael Betancourt

NY YankeesCC Sabathia

Boston Red Sox:   Paul Byrd, Victor Martinez

Minnesota Twins:  Carl Pavano

They aren't all all-stars, but some are.  Many of these players were in or approaching their contract year when the mid-market Indians traded them.  They were traded not because the Indians got more in return, but because they would get virtually nothing if they didn't.  No way Larry Dolan was going to pay them market price.  So off go all stars Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Victor Martinez and Cy Young award winners CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee.  Larry has seen falling attendance and ticket revenue, and just like Corporate America in this ugly recession is cutting payroll to match the revenue decline. 

3/5ths of Eric Wedges 2007 playoff team's starting rotation (CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Paul Byrd) are gone.  As for the other two 2007  starter Fausto Carmona had a disastrous season and Jake Westbrook was on the DL.  Eric Wedge looked long and hard for consistent starting pitching all season.  He got some from lefties Aaron Laffey, David Huff and Jeremy Sowers, but not nearly enough.  

Was it fair that Eric Wedge and his entire coaching staff were fired?  IMO, clearly not.  Eric had no chance with the trading of top notch free agents, underperforming players like Travis Haffner, the turnover in the pitching staff, and an inconsistent closer in Kerry Wood.  The coaching staff was fired to try to convince the fans management is not satisfied with the way the team is playing.  Don't be fooled into thinking it will help.  The team is young and lacking in talent right now.  No coaching staff could have done any better.

I wish Eric Wedge and his coaching staff well.  It won't be long before they will be coaching again somewhere.





 

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 27, 2009 5:29 pm
 

It's Brady Quinn Time

I must say to myself and anyone else listening that the Brady Quinn versus Derek Anderson controversy is starting to piss me off.  In February I explained why it was time to commit to Brady Quinn and trade Derek Anderson while his value was at it's highest.  Well ok, the Browns didn't trade Anderson.  No biggie, after all, he should make a good backup.  However, there will be a price to be paid for not commiting to Quinn sooner, and an even bigger price to pay if they decide to start Anderson.


By treating Quinn and Anderson as equals in a late summer quarterbacking duel, neither QB is getting sufficient reps with the starting line-up to be effective in early season games.  Some will wonder how I can be so sure Quinn is the starter with his three or so games of NFL experience.  My point exactly.  I can't be sure, and now is the time to find out.  I know Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings a lot longer than two years behind Bret Farve, but Derek Anderson is no Bret Farve.  Quinn should not have to wait behind Derek Anderson.

Derek had ten or so very nice games in 2007, and has shown very little since.  What he has demonstrated is a propensity to throw interceptions and the inability to put touch on his short passes.  With the limited offensive talent Mangini has, he really has no choice except to try for a ball control type offense that Quinn and his soft passes is much more capable of directing.   Try that offense with Anderson, and his bullet passes from five-ten yards away will result in incompletes and interceptions on deflections.  At least with Quinn there is a chance.

Commit to Quinn and end the controversy now... Let him play as the starter in practices and the last two pre-season games and give the team a chance to be prepared against the Vikings on September 13. 
Category: NFL
Posted on: February 15, 2009 11:18 am
Edited on: February 16, 2009 9:26 pm
 

The Browns must end their QB Controversy

Let's flash back together to April 2007:  Brady Quinn was one of a few players invited to the NFL draft in person that year.  He was a star Notre Dame  quarterback and one of the "better looking" prospects....... at least the ladies thought so.  He was projected to be drafted in the top 10.  Many "experts" thought the Browns might pick him up using their #3 pick as an insurance policy should Derek Anderson or Charley Frye not pan out.  However, the Browns desperately needed offensive line help, and selected LT Joe Thomas out of Wisconsin with their #3 pick.  At that moment of Thomas' selection, many local ladies hearts were broken as the attractive Columbus Ohio native and Notre Dame almunus surely would not be around come the second round.

However, even after selecting Joe Thomas, Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel had not taken their eyes completely off Brady Quinn.  As the draft progressed, the camera periodically returned to Brady Quinn and his very young and attractive blonde girl friend sitting by his side supporting him.  She was perfect eye candy for the largely male draft audience.  As the draft progressed into the late teens, Brady was beginning to look visibly uncomfortable.  You know he was wondering how far his contract potential was dropping as teams continued to not select him.  At this point, the draft was starting to get very interesting to Savage and Crennel.  In a bid to draft Brady, they traded their 2008 1st round pick to Dallas for their 22nd pick in the current draft.  In hindsight, the move backfired on Dallas, as the Browns won ten games in 2007, and the pick they got was not nearly as high as they no doubt expected.

When Brady was still unselected after the 21st. pick, the Browns selected Quinn at #22 and had gotten a first round LT and QB in the draft, and it was Miller time in Cleveland. 

Brady and his agent foolishly held out for a better contract during most of the 2007 training camp, and Frye and Anderson both stunk up the joint during pre-season.  As a rookie, Brady may not have been ready anyway, but as a late camp arrival stood no chance to earn the starting job.  Even as Anderson excelled in most of 2007 leading the Browns to 10 wins, many Brown's supporters knew in their hearts the Columbus Ohio native was in the end going to be the starter for the Browns some day. 

Romeo Crennel made the decision about half way through the dismal 2008 season to start Brady.  After about three starts, a broken finger in the Bufallo game put him on the DL.  Quinn looked okay, but only got an incomplete for his performance in my eyes.  Three games isn't enough to make a judgment.  For what it is worth, it's a fact and a dubious NFL record that the Browns did not score an offensive touchdown in any of the remaining six games with Quinn on the DL.  That would not have happened if Quinn had been able to start.

An embattled Romeo Crennel had seen enough of Brady Quinn to announce he would start the 2009 season after his injury.  Romeo's words meant little however, as few expected he would survive the offseason.  When he was fired immediately after the season ended along with the GM Phil Savage, the QB controversy of Anderson versus Quinn was rekindled.

It is time for the new team of Mangini and Kokinis to end that controversy.  It is time the local native Brady Quinn who was so astutely and cleverly selected in the 2007 draft be named starting QB for the Cleveland Browns.  Derek Anderson may be the weakest QB in the NFL to have ever played in the Pro-Bowl.  He had about ten very good games in 2007, and has shown little since. 

After March 15 when the Browns must pay Derek Anderson a contractually agreed $5M roster bonus and shortly before the draft, as teams realize they will not be able to get their dream QB in the draft, Anderson's value will be at its highest.  Derek should be traded for a first round pick or its equivalent in many lower round picks.

The Browns need a lot of help in many areas:  DL, LB, secondary, RB, WR, and some say the right side of their OL.  Derek's value is worth more as trade bait than as a back-up QB.  The Browns will have to pick up a backup, but there will be decent QB's released in the coming months looking for a job.  There always are.

Look to the NY Jets with Farve's retirement, Chicago may be looking for someone to compete with Kyle Orton.  Not sure what Tampa was thinking when they picked up Luke McCown for $7.5M.   After the Browns pay Derek's bonus, he will only cost Tampa $1.5M, and has more playing experience than Luke.  Don't give away Derek, but there will be teams interested and willing to give up something decent for him.  The time to commit to Brady Quinn has finally arrived.

 

   

Posted on: December 28, 2008 12:13 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2008 4:34 pm
 

The Elite Cleveland Cavaliers

I have to pinch myself every morning as I look at the NBA standings.  With the Browns coming off an incredibly dismal NFL season, it is hard to believe but very uplifting to see my Cavs at 25-4 and undefeated at home.  I've read the skeptics that Cleveland hasn't played anybody yet.  Just wait until they play the good teams these skeptics say.  To the skeptics I reply, they have played over 1/3 of their season already, and other than not having had a west coast trip yet, have had to play the same teams everyone else has played.

The truth is, once you are an elite team, there aren't that many tough challenges out there for you.  The Cav's guard play with Delonte West, Mo Williams, and Daniel Gibson has been exceptional.  Mo Williams has brought to the team a consistent outside shot from both sides of the arc so badly missed in previous seasons.  Mo has the starting point guard position, and has shown good leadership in distributing the ball.  Daniel Gibson, in his 3rd year now, is starting to mature as a player.  Delonte West is playing shooting guard and become comfortable not bringing the ball up court.  He has also demonstrated good shooting ability.  Best of all, these three guys are all 22 to 27 years old and play defense.

The Cav's big men are also jelling.  Zydrunas Ilgauskas shows the shooting touch better than most guards in the NBA.  He is a savy veteran that actually poses a triple threat on the court.  Ben Wallace is playing with renewed enthusiasm this year.  Management is being careful to keep Ben's minutes down around 30 or less so he will be strong deep into the playoffs.  Andy Varejao is having a career year so far.  His energy off the bench provides an instant lift to the team, especially on the defensive side of the court.  With these three big men, the Cavaliers are rarely out-rebounded.

I just realized I have mentioned six Cavaliers, and haven't touched on the likely MVP of the league LeBron James.  LeBron is the ultimate team player.  Give him 8 points, 15 assists and 7 rebounds a game, and he would be thrilled.  In reality he averages more like 28 pts, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists per game.  He is the the perfect team player not enamored with individual statistics but concerned only with the betterment of his team.  Yes, I said his team.  He is the leader of the team, and only wants to win.  Has anybody noticed LeBron is playing a career low 36 minutes a game this season?  A testament to his team orientation and to the coaches confidence in the players that now surround LeBron.

While Andy Varejao provides instant defensive energy off the bench, Wally Szczerbiak is providing instant offense off the bench.  He reminds me of what Danny Ferry was for the Cav's.  A career bench player that you can count on to play his 10 -15 minutes and score about as many points as minutes played. 

These Cavs are for real.  They are likely to lose some games on their first west coast trip in January.  They are likely to lose minutes to key players due to injury as some point in the season, as they just did with Z and Booby out for several games earlier this month, but if they stay healthy into and through the playoffs, could bring Cleveland it's first ring since the 1964 Cleveland Browns.  With JJ Hickson and Sasha Pavlovic in a deep bench, the Cavs should be able to ward off injury and continue to win most of the time. 

The attached article is from terrific Cleveland Plain Dealer Sports Writer Terry Pluto.  He discusses how trust in each other has helped the team attain its current elite status.  The Cavs not only have a lot of individual talent, but are playing tough defense and all trust in each other.  I am starting to think we may be seeing them play basketball in June, but unlike two years ago when they got swept by the SanAntonio Spurs in the NBA finals, it could have a much happier ending. 

 http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/inde
x.ssf?/base/sports-0/1230283852201820.xml
&coll=2

Posted on: December 27, 2008 10:52 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2008 10:40 am
 

7 reasons to fire Romeo Crennel - soon to be 8

In the 10 years since the Browns returned to the NFL after their three year departure, here is their record against the Pittsburgh Steelers:

The Chris Palmer years '99 - '00:   2-2

The Butch Davis years  '01 - '04     1-8 inclluding playoff loss

The Romeo Crennel years  '05 - '08   0-7

The overall record versus the Pittsburgh since 1999 is a putrid 3-17.

It's hard to believe only in their first two years as an expansion franchise did the Browns play 500 ball against the Steelers. 

So, the seven losses to Pittsburgh are seven good reasons to fire Romeo, but here are a few more I can think of, realizing that Romeo is not entirely to blame in any of them:

1) The mishandling of the Kellen Winslow staph infection in 2008.  Romeo was actually publically quoted as saying Kellen was utilizing his confidentiality rights to not disclose the nature of his medical problem.  This was a bIatant lie.  In truth, Kellen had a staph infection the team had told him to not talk about.

2) The mishandling of the Charley Frye versus Derek Anderson QB situation in the 2007 season.  Charley was named starter after a competitive pre-season, only to be released after 1/2 of the first football game of the year.  Let me repeat.  1/2 of one football game is all the chance Charley got.

3)  13 of the Browns 25 draft picks in the Romeo Crennel years are no longer in the NFL.

4)  Romeo Crennel did not have the Browns ready to play the 2008 season.  The start of their schedule in 2008 with Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore was brutal, and the Browns were not ready to play.  The same cannot be said for their opponents.

5)  Romeo Crennel has been with the Browns 4 years, the same number Butch Davis who preceded him.  He has a losing record and his 2008 season was especially disappointing. 

Whoever Randy Lerner hires as his next head coach, in the end that decision will be judged on wins and losses, and the most important games to win will be against the Steelers. 

 

 

 

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 14, 2008 12:03 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2008 5:18 pm
 

Ravens replace Browns as top Steeler rival

This Sunday isn't the first time this NFL season the game I want to see the most does not involve my beloved Browns. The Browns are floundering with nothing to play for but pride, and to be honest aren't that entertaining right now.

This morning I was thinking about the great NFL rivalries. Of course Chicago / Green Bay came to mind and Dallas / Washington. Then I thought of Cleveland / Pittsburgh before it hit me. Cleveland / Pittsburgh isn't a rivalry right now. Cleveland hasn't beaten Pittsburgh since 2003, and maybe three times since 1999. It's a slaughter. Even though Baltimore lost the Browns colors and history in the one-of-a-kind team relocation in 1996, in a way Baltimore is the continuation of Cleveland. The real Cleveland / Pittsburgh rivalry will return some day, but for now Baltimore / Pittsburgh is much more entertaining and is one of the top rivalries in the NFL.

The Baltimore / Pittsburgh rivalry has taken the place of Cleveland / Pittsburgh in the AFC North. I researched the Pittsburgh / Baltimore match-ups since 1999. Except for one Baltimore and one Pittsburgh sweep, they have split every year since 1999.... of course with this season's series being decided today. Pittsburgh has the only playoff victory over that time after the 2001 season. 10 of the 20 games were decided by a touchdown or less. I didn't need to look up the Cleveland / Pittsburgh games over that period. It's enough to know that they have lost the last 9, and didn't do well before that either. Simply awful, and not the stuff from which rivalries are made.

Since 2003, the home team has won all the games in the series, except for 2006 when Baltimore swept the series. So recent history suggests a Baltimore close win at home today for the season split. I predicted that about five weeks ago, and will stick with it today. It will be low scoring, something like 17 -13.

There are some very exciting players to watch in this afternoon's game that could fuel victory for one side or the other. I plan to look for Free Safety Ed Reed (29 tackes, 5 ints, 3 TD's, 1 FF) of Baltimore and Strong Safety Troy Polamalu (63 tackles, 7 ints, 0 TD's, 0 FF's) of Pittsburgh. Safeties are the most athletic studs on any team. They have to have great closing speed, be big and strong, agile, and have good hands. If LeBron James played football, he would be a safety. A big day by either of these two could be the difference.

I will also keep a close eye on Kent State graduate James Harrison (89 tackles, 15 sacks, 1 int, 7 FF) of Pittsburgh and Baltimore's Ray Lewis (97 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 ints, 1 FF). These two are also game breakers. WIth that said, Pittsburgh and Baltimore play terrific team defense, and it could easily be anyone that steps up and makes the big play.

Joe Flacco is having a tremendous year (2,410 yds, 60.2%, 13 TD's 10 Int, 81.3 rating), and Ben Roethlisberber his usual nice year (2,616 yards, 59.8%, 14 TD's, 12 Int, 80.1 rating). As is always the case, the ability of each offensive line to give his QB time to throw as well as the TE's and running backs ability to pick up the blitz will be key.

So, as I said before, I'm going with Baltimore. They are hot, at home, lost to Pittsburgh in week 4, and typically gain a split in the series. This could be a coming out game for Flacco. If Baltimore gets it done, it doesn't get any easier for Pittsburgh and will set up another huge game next week against Tennessee.

It wasn't suppose to be like this. It was Cleveland and Pittsburgh that were suppose to be vying for the title. One of these years one of the Browns rebuilding programs will work and Cleveland & Pittsburgh will return to being the prominent rivalry in the AFC North and one of the top rivalries in the entire NFL. For now, take off your shoes, pop open a beer, and enjoy the Pittsurgh / Baltimore game this afternoon. That's what I plan to do.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 28, 2008 11:59 am
Edited on: November 28, 2008 4:07 pm
 

Romeo Crennel's Opinion Matters No More

      One might think Brady Quinn was failing the test when he got pulled well into the second half of last weeks game against the Houston Texans.  He had just thrown his 2nd interception of the game, and in the Browns next offensive series Romeo sat Brady Quinn and sent Derek Anderson in to play.  Those of you that follow the Browns know Derek faired no better and the Browns lost a game neither team played well enough to deserve to win.       

      If you thought Brady Quinn was failing the test based on Romeo's actions, think again. 

      On Wednesday (11/26) Romeo was talking to reporters about the QB situation in Cleveland.  In stark contrast to his decision to sit him for DA during the Houston game, Romeo Crennel said he had seen all of Brady Quinn he needs to name him the starting QB for the Browns in 2009.  As far as play on the field during regular season NFL games, Romeo and the rest of the world had seen Brady for only 11 quarters of football. 
     
      Last Wednesday (11/26) Romeo said:  "I'm impressed with what the kid has done on the field, off the field, the way he handles himself in situations, the way he's run the team, not getting rattled, keeping his composure, being able to manage the game". 
     
      Asked if there would be open competition for the starting job Crennel said:  "I would say no because I had planned to go with Brady to be the quarterback.  When he comes back he is going to be healthy and he is going to be the quarterback.  Quinn is the starter at (next year's) training camp."
     
      When asked what would happen if Anderson lit it up over the remaining five games Romeo became irritated and said:  "you guys are really something.  You really are.  DA was the starter.  You guys hated him.  All right?  Quinn goes in and plays.  And now you're saying if DA lights it up, you want him to be the starter.  I've decided Quinn is going to be the starter, and I'm sorry if you don't like that.

      Brady Quinn must feel good about all the nice things Romeo said about him, but be careful Brady to take much comfort.  Romeo is becomming irrelevant.  He is showing a testiness his calm demeanor has been able to cover up until now.  He is an embattled coach that may be looking for a job this Winter.  

      I doubt it matters much what Romeo wants or thinks right now.  When the season is over Randy Lerner has said the team, its coaches, and management will be evaluated.  I don't think that evaluation will go very well, and Romeo will be gone.  There is even a good chance GM Phil Savage will be gone, and it will be a new coach and management making the decisions.  Bill Cowher has been mentioned as a possible candidate.  He would be a good choice.  The Browns haven't hired an experienced head coach since Nick Skorich in 1971 - 1974.  Pittsburgh has been the model of success.  I hope the Browns are able to hire Bill Cowher, but someone with head coaching experience this time Randy, please...... The actuaries tell me I only have thirty more years to live.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 27, 2008 11:44 am
Edited on: November 27, 2008 2:03 pm
 

Would You Buy Your Own Trophy?

I promised to write this blog on April 8 in about two weeks.  Well, I'm a little late, but for those of you that have followed my golf in previous blogs, I want to keep my promise.  These are the circumstances that led me to purchase my own golf trophy, something I thought I would never do:

I am a very loyal person that appreciates family and friendships more than anything.  I suppose that is why I remained on the same losing golf team year after year when I easily could easily have joined another.  Since the league was handicapped, my team competed every once in a while and even made the playoffs on occassion, but never won the league. 

It was frigid outside and I always looked forward to the golf league organizational meeting in February so I could start thinking about Summer activities again.  I was excited when the golf league president in the 2007 planning meeting announced there were going to be individual champions in addition to the team championships.  The rules and conditions for winning were fairly clear and laid out on a handout all the golfers received at the meeting.  In a nutshell, there were going to be three flights and three winners and the golfers with the top three rounds from each nine would win.  The treasurer and secretary were also in this meeting.  The rules were posted on my Company's golf website.

So here was my chance after ten years of losing to earn my trophy.  One of the reasons my team was bad is we didn't show up to play.  Each team was expected to play 5 people (out of about 10) each week.  Often we would only have 3 or 4.  Since forfeits earned no play points, we had no chance to win.  However, this apathy worked to my advantage for the individual championship because for the most part there was an opening where I could play every week, so long as my work schedule permitted. 

I had a pretty good year, and going into the last week noticed I was one good round away from winning the individual championship, depending of course on how a couple of other golfers played that night.  The weather was terrific this last Wednesday night of the regular season.  I had calculated that I needed to shoot a 44 to take the lead, and then hope it would hold up.

An athlete I am not at 5'10" and 225lbs.  I was 52 years old at the time, and played no highschool sports, unless playing a trumpet in the marching band counts, and have never paid for a golf lesson, although I have read , watched videos, and listened plenty.  For those reasons I think that is why this individual trophy meant something to me while other golfers in the league could care less.  The 44 I needed to shoot was 8 over par, so I knew I needed 8 bogeys and 1 par to take the lead.  When I began bogey, double bogey I thought I was cooked.  At 3 over, now I would have to make up for that double bogey, and needed two pars and five bogeys in the remaining 7 holes to get to 44.  All was not lost when I pared the par three 3rd. hole.  Then 4 consecutive bogeys, but not bad as that was the most difficult stretch of holes on that nine.  On the final two holes I needed one par and one bogey.  I knew my best chance was to par the 155 yard par three 8th hole.  I hit the green and managed a long two putt for par.  I bogeyed the 9th hole sinkng a testy 4 footer to cap off the 44.

Sorry about boring you with the details, at least for your sake I avoided the temptation to give you the shot by shot synopsis.  While I've forgotten some of the shots, I remember most of them. 

As it turned out, my 44 was good enough to win the indifidual championship for my flight.  At the Company Golf Outing in late September, I expected to receive one of the individual trophys.  After the golf and dinner, I anxiously anticipated being called up to the front of the room to receive my trophy.   Team championships, long drive, closet to the pin, and skins were announced.  Everyone got their outing present, including my very nice Ohio State jacket with a buckeye on the back, but no individual championships were announced.  With the kegs dry and everyone getting ready to leave, I asked the president when the individual trophys would be handed out.  I think he knew I was to be one of the winners.  He didn't answer my question to me personally, but annonced in the microphone to the group that was still there the individual championships had been cancelled. 

Cancelled?  What?  I was speachless.  How can you announce a format, allow the golfers to play to that format, and then at the last minute cancel the plan?  Well, this is just a Company golf league, and i wasn't about to make any trouble.  So I let it drop.  What I did do was ask a good friend and co-worker to validate the numbers and concur that I did in fact win, and went to the trophy store the league used, and bought my own.  It is actually a plaque and mounted to a wall in my office.  I am more proud of it then the four other plaques I earned over over the years for work accomplishments.  This one I earned by myself and actually had fun along the way.  As it turned out, I actually bought it myself too.

Just curious if you have ever been tempted to purchase a trophy or plaque for youself as something you had done had gone unnoticed and unrewarded.  Or phrased another way, if you were to buy a trophy for yourself, what would it be for?  Don't be bashful now.  The Community wants to know.

 

 

Category: General
Tags: Golf Trophy
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com