April fools, lunacy rules: Cleveland sports predictions, part 2

Today, we resume our continued exploration of the year 2012, as I make even more incredibly accurate predictions involving the Cleveland sports scene...

APRIL: Embattled Browns president Mike Holmgren – already on the hot seat with the fans and media over the rate of supposed progress (?) of the team – shocks the entire NFL on draft day. Citing the fact that "we need help everywhere," misguided Mike trades the team's first, second, and third round picks to the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals for 114 lower-round picks. Browns fans hope some of the picks will be used to secure much-needed help in the front office.

The Indians confirm that they are undergoing an investigation by Major League Baseball, suspicious of an inordinate number of games being canceled due to "inclement weather" during the first month of the season. April cancellations – while not at all unusual at this time of year – arouse suspicions as they only seem to occur when the Indians are trailing in their home games, and always arrive in the form of a "freak" snowstorm; appearing particularly freakish since temperatures were well above freezing.

MLB determines that the Indians never fully removed the snow-making equipment from their winter "Snow Days" promotion, and apparently were "flipping the switch" whenever things looked bad for the home team at Progressive Field. Tribe President Mark Shapiro vehemently denies the allegations, stating there "isn't a shred of truth" to the rumors. He makes the statement while at the Cleveland Clinic, reportedly there to check on members of the grounds crew suffering the effects of injuries consistent with those suffering from frostbite.

MAY: Speaking of the Indians, the team which stunned the baseball world a year ago with a surprising 30-15 start and parlayed that record into a summer of contention, find life a little more difficult this spring. In a manner of speaking, they sort of have exactly the same record as a year ago, provided you flip-flop the wins and losses. It's hard to see where things went so wrong for the Tribe, what with the acquisition of Derek Lowe, he of the 9-17 record and 5.05 ERA in 2011, and the re-signing of Grady Sizemore, the author of an inspiring .224 batting average last season. Couple that with the awesome results the Indians historically have realized when over-paying questionable talent – look no further than the likes of Matt Lawton and Ricky Gutierrez – you just sit back, scratch your head, and actually start to look forward to Browns training camp.

JUNE: Mike Holmgren once again grabs the headlines – and once again, in a negative way – when it is revealed that he has petitioned the NFL with a truly radical realignment proposal. Mike proposes the Browns be moved into their own one-team division beginning with the 2013 season. The obvious advantage, according to Mike, is that the Browns will most assuredly remain in contention for the division title 100 percent of the time. "That's almost always!" an excited Holmgren gushes.

Well, gang, that takes us to the 50 percent mark of my 2012 predictions. And, as a certain somebody might say, that's almost half! Tune in next issue for more...

I leave you with this to ponder: Shouldn't a guy with a name like "Mitt" really be a ballplayer instead of a politician? 

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits.

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 1:51 PM, 01.24.2012