Dramatic power shift in Cleveland sports

This just in: Browns playing .500 after five games; now the most exciting team in Cleveland ...

Yeah, right. That'll be the day. In a city where the Cavs went to the NBA Finals last spring and the Indians have made three consecutive trips to the postseason? What are you smoking, dude?

My, how quickly things can change. At first, it doesn't seem possible that the Browns – the most pathetic excuse for pro football over nearly two decades – are now the apple of the city's eye? How could this happen? Well, let's take a look:

Take the Cavs (please): Do we really need to go any farther than to say LeBron packed up his basketball and headed west? This on the heels of their second-best player, Kyrie Irving, leaving for greener (as in Celtic green) pastures in Boston? Even in the horrifically weak NBA Eastern Conference, the Cavs will struggle to win 30 games this season.

And unless they hit the draft lottery for about 3 consecutive seasons, LeBron's grandkids will be drawing attention from NBA scouts before the Cavs have any hopes of being a force in the NBA again. There is an upside, however. It will once again be easy to get Cavs tickets for just about any game (except the Lakers).

Take the Indians (please): You have no idea how difficult it is for me to speak disparagingly about my beloved Tribe, but – and let's be honest here – they deserve it. The debacle against the Astros highlighted the many issues which need to be corrected for 2019 and beyond. Here are just a few:

Kipnis and – with the exception of Michael Brantley – the entire outfield need to go. We have a platoon outfield for one simple reason: No one is good enough to take a starting position. Much of the Indians' home run power comes from our infield (Lindor and Ramirez) instead of the traditional outfield sources. The Indians need a couple of legitimate sluggers in the outfield as opposed to the banjo hitters they have now.

The bullpen meltdown against the Astros makes it fairly obvious that it needs a makeover. Hate to pull the plug on Andrew Miller but unless the Indians are really sure he can bounce back from two injury-plagued seasons, they shouldn't give him the contract he'll no-doubt be seeking. Other than Brad Hand and maybe a couple of others, no one should feel secure about a job in the 'pen next year.

Okay, I know Terry Francona is a great manager and all, but what exactly was that nonsense about trotting Trevor Bauer out there three consecutive games against the Astros? Ever since Francona wowed the baseball world with his great trickery with a depleted pitching staff in the 2016 playoffs, it seems to have gone to his head. Bauer, who has virtually zero bullpen experience, in three straight appearances? I am fully aware of the problems in the 'pen (see the paragraph above this one) but I was always told a pitcher had to develop a mentality for pitching in relief. Apparently Tito forgot that. It's time to put the genie back in the bottle, Tito. Your wishes are not being granted anymore.

Take the Browns (seriously, please): Without question, the most exciting quarterback to wear a Browns uniform in literally decades, Baker Mayfield has had a huge hand in making the Browns fun to watch once again. Clearly, he's one of those guys who makes the players around him better, and it's fun to see. Let's hope he/they keep it up.

When was the last time I was happier with the Browns than with the Indians? I think Nixon was president. No ... that's ridiculous.

I'm pretty sure it was Eisenhower.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 10, Issue 20, Posted 10:01 AM, 10.16.2018