Sporting Views

The great collapse of 1969

For the last two years – and the first quarter of this season – the Indians have been trying very hard to make us forget 2016.

There is no arguing that we have been taking large steps in reverse ever since we took the Cubbies to 7 games before falling in the Fall Classic, and it got me to thinking about other times our hopes were raised, only to be dashed by a huge dose of what we shall lovingly refer to as "Indians reality."

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 10:28 AM, 05.21.2019

The three faces of fan

The one thing I hate most about sports is the lack of real fan loyalty. Today's fan is mostly of the "I'll-follow-them-if-they're-good-otherwise-I'll-be-playing-video-games-in-my-basement" mentality. In other words, part of the problem is that there are a bazillion more entertainment options nowadays compared to back when I was a kid (admit it, you had to see the "back when I was a kid" lament coming, right? Not to worry, it just means you're probably an old curmudgeon yourself. If not, seek help).

Professional sports franchises themselves have helped build this monster. Free agency has resulted in the pro athlete staying in the same city for a relatively shorter duration, which erodes loyalty among fans who become enamored with particular player(s). Not to the extent that restraining orders are necessary, but you get the idea: We tend to distance ourselves from players we suspect will be leaving soon. It's sort of like when you sense that your significant other is ready to dump you; you start to think up reasons you should dump him or her first. Sort of like a preemptive strike (or strike out, as the case may be).

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:11 PM, 05.06.2019

Sometimes it’s better to say nothing

Do you ever read an interview with a high-profile personality and catch yourself scratching your head, wondering why on earth that person felt compelled to comment at all?

Case in point: the recent comments by Indians owner Paul Dolan, particularly the one where he said the Indians “lose money almost every year” had me – as well as many Tribe fans, I imagine – rolling my eyes in disbelief.

I mean, I simply do not understand the motivation in making those comments. Were they said as means of justifying the trading of several of the Indians' higher-priced players for relative question marks?

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 9:42 AM, 04.02.2019

It could never be me, so it must be you

A couple of issues back, I wrote an article expressing my anger at the Browns’ signing of running back Kareem Hunt, currently under suspension by the NFL for knocking around a 19-year-old woman. I went on to suggest that the Browns could potentially damage their image and their lofty status among Cleveland sports fans if they kept Hunt instead of releasing him.

Apparently, the Browns didn’t get the memo, because somehow interest is even greater now that they went out and acquired Odell Beckham Jr., a moody but talented wide receiver who, by all accounts, should mesh well with Baker Mayfield and make the Browns offense one of the better squads in the league.

So, I started thinking about the so-called “sports mentality” that allows us to conveniently set aside our morals, or at least our good judgment when it comes to sports. I mean, seriously, what gives with that?

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 10:06 AM, 03.19.2019

Tribe slamming shut their ‘window of opportunity’

Feel a draft? No? Neither do I. The reason we don’t feel any of that warm spring air (hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?) rushing in is because the Indians have apparently decided to pull the plug on their World Series hopes (and their fans' hopes as well) for 2019.

How else can you explain their rationale behind cutting payroll before a single game has been played?

We’ve been down this road before, folks: The talk of playing in a small market and the difficulties competing in same, the need to "play the kids," as if someone will call Human Services on them and file a complaint if they don’t.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:55 AM, 03.05.2019

Browns' 'win at all costs' approach should cost them fans

Well, that certainly didn’t last long, did it?

I’m referring, of course, to the lavish praise with which I bathed Browns GM John Dorsey after the spectacular job he did in his year-and-a-half on the job by making nothing but brilliant moves in bringing the Browns back to respectability. I mean, I went “all in” with these guys. I even started to give Jimmy Haslam credit for not getting in Dorsey’s way.

And then this.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 9:56 AM, 02.19.2019

Jimmy: Don't get in Dorsey's way

With the Browns season only a couple of weeks removed, I have to admit to being surprised at the level of excitement I still have for our (notice how they are now "our") football team. I mean, as many of my (handful of) readers are aware, I'm a baseball guy first, football guy second.

Maybe it's the sheer novelty of an almost .500 season. I mean, think about it folks: The second half of the season, we (notice I said "we") didn't stink! Not only that, but management is so high on this group that they didn't even retain the coach who, in eight measly games, won more than his predecessor won in two-and-a-half years. What it means is that this organization may now actually have – gulp – standards! And high ones, at that! Who knew?

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:07 AM, 01.22.2019

Tribe doing what needs to be done

Honestly, folks, this was going to be another "Golly-I-can't-believe-how-great-the-Browns-are" column because I really am still giddy over how competitive the Browns have become. (Only in Cleveland do you wax incredibly optimistic over a football team that is 6-7-1.)

So why am I bailing on the best football team this town has seen in – literally – decades (including the paper lion team of 2007)? The thing is, the Browns have their future directly in front of them, with plenty of upside and excitement ahead as long as their owner doesn't get too involved in running the franchise.

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Volume 10, Issue 24, Posted 9:54 AM, 12.18.2018

Dollar General

I was sitting around the house the other day bemoaning the fact that I never really made it "big" financially in my life, although some might suggest that sitting around the house probably has something to do with it.

But since I don't really like where that conversation is headed, I think I will take us in a different direction. I decided to check out who the 100 richest athletes in the world were, and where all their moola came from.

I was surprised to learn that the list wasn't topped by MLB players, since I've always been led to believe the MLB palyers had the best (aka "guaranteed") contracts and the NFL and NBA simply hadn't been fortunate enough to obtain MLB-type contracts.

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Volume 10, Issue 23, Posted 10:25 AM, 12.04.2018

Lue: too few; Hue: overdue

When we last sat down and discussed the status of Cleveland sports, I expounded on how the Browns had won back the hearts of Cleveland sports fans and how exciting the Browns were. I also suggested that it would be quite some time before the Cavs were relevant again and to get ready for a prolonged stretch of losing.

Well, at least I was right about the Cavs. Hey, nobody's perfect. Besides, 50 percent accuracy ain't bad. Heck, it's almost half.

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Volume 10, Issue 21, Posted 9:56 AM, 11.06.2018

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.

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

Browns fans buy in despite marginal record

Observers have long been fascinated by the hold the Cleveland Browns have had on the sports fans of Northeast Ohio. This, in spite of being one of the most poorly run franchises in the history of the NFL for a two-decade stretch.

For most of my life, and being a baseball purist at heart, I have dismissed that notion as the result of the Indians being one of the worst-run baseball franchises in the history of MLB from the late 1950s up into the 1990s. The Cavs didn't join the party until 1970-71, and they were often one of the worst-run franchises in the history of the NBA, especially during the Ted Stepien era.

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Volume 10, Issue 19, Posted 9:49 AM, 10.02.2018

Things starting to break (down) in Tribe's favor

Have a seat my friend, since I already know what's troubling you ...

You tell me that the Cleveland Indians are falling apart at the worst possible time – virtually as we speak – with the playoffs just over the horizon. Tough to argue with that, pal.

You say that Andrew Miller is hurt – again – and without him, our chances go from slim to less than none. Yeah, losing Miller hurts big time (although I'd like to see you explain how you arrived at that "less than none" figure, Einstein).

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Volume 10, Issue 17, Posted 9:12 AM, 09.05.2018

Huey, Louis, and the news

As much fun as it’s been so far – and seriously, folks, watching the Browns for the last two decades has been nothing but one big, continuous belly laugh – it has become abundantly clear that I have a few questions that require some answers. 

First and foremost, how did Jimmy Haslam ever persuade John Dorsey to come on board as the Browns GM with Hue Jackson remaining as head coach? Even with the significant talent upgrade Dorsey has provided Hue for the upcoming season, the deer-in-the-headlights persona that has defined Jackson in his tenure with the Browns remains.

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Volume 10, Issue 16, Posted 8:44 AM, 08.21.2018

Antonetti key to Tribe’s success

Whenever anyone talks about the Indians' run of winning baseball over the last five years, the guy who invariably draws the most praise is skipper Terry (Tito) Francona. No question, it’s deservedly so, as the Indians manager has amassed an impressive resume in his 18 years managing in the big leagues.

Just the same, it would be foolish to downplay the impact Tribe President Chris Antonetti has had in shaping the roster of Francona’s Indians. Let’s take a look at the three biggest moves Antonetti has orchestrated which positively impacted Francona’s Indians as they experienced their half-decade of winning baseball:

1.) Antonetti's first may have been his worst, but it wasn’t all that bad in retrospect. He took a lot of heat when he traded prized prospects Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Matt McBride and Joe Gardner to Colorado for Ubaldo Jimenez in June 2011. This showed a marked contrast between Antonetti and his boss, Mark Shapiro, as Shapiro never wanted to trade highly regarded prospects. And although Jimenez never did much for the Indians, he did have a good 2013 season when he went 13-9 and helped the Tribe make the postseason in Francona’s first year as Indians manager.

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Volume 10, Issue 15, Posted 9:52 AM, 08.07.2018

Sometimes you just gotta mail it in …

You know what’s fun about being a writer? Fan mail.

At least, that’s what they tell me, since I’ve never actually received any fan mail myself. (A dubious record such as this sort of makes me the Hue Jackson of writing, does it not?) If you consider the notion that up to now, I’ve had to settle for profanity-laced tirades aimed at eroding the few shreds of dignity that still comprise my ego, I am pretty much a Hue Jackson clone, no?

But what the hey, at least I can say that because of those expletive-laden “suggestions,” I’ve added a number of new words (most of which cannot, since this is a family publication, be repeated here) to my vocabulary, right?

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Volume 10, Issue 14, Posted 9:55 AM, 07.17.2018

There’s always hope … even for losers

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (especially if you were walking), called Detroit, it was a period of market share war, and the Ford Motor Company wanted to inflict pain upon the evil empire (at least, that’s how Ford saw them), known as General Motors.

It was the late 1950s, and the deep thinkers at Ford decided to name a new car model they were introducing the “Edsel.” Edsel Ford was the only son of Henry Ford, and succeeded his father as president of Ford Motors until his death in 1943. It was fortunate for Edsel that he didn’t live long enough to see his vehicular namesake introduced, because the Edsel bombed – big time.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 9:24 AM, 06.19.2018

Comic relief a huge factor in Cleveland’s fall TV lineup

By now, pretty much everyone has seen the new fall lineups of the approximately one bazillion (or so it seems, anyway) TV networks operating out there nowadays, right? And, with all those choices, odds are there must be some really high-quality programming.

Oh yeah? Well then, how come in our household we still watch reruns of "Friends" most of the time? I think the answer lies in the fact that most of the programming lacks innovation. Seriously, they’re bringing back "Murphy Brown"? "Magnum P.I."? Did we by any chance get sucked into a time warp somewhere during the drive down the road formerly known as common sense?

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:08 AM, 06.05.2018

Occupants of Tribe teepee can make one weepy

They start out by telling me, reassuringly, that it's a long season. Then they tell me there's still plenty of time.

Well, you can tell "them" for me that based on the quality of Indians baseball I've seen so far, it's already been a l-o-n-g season. And as far as that "still plenty of time" remark goes, I'd like to know: Still plenty of time for what? A lobotomy? In which case sharpen the scalpel and cue the anesthesiologist, because anything's better than this. I'm ready, doc.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 9:32 AM, 05.15.2018

Driver, please pull over … this is my stop

You know, maybe I should thank the Browns. Maybe the way the Browns handled the first round of the 2018 draft is the best thing that could have happened to me, because I now have come to realize that I simply can’t take it anymore. I’m done, baby. I’m up on the I-480 bridge, and there’s no talking me down. Forget the cops, the megaphones and the psychiatrists. And nope, not even the promise of a Snickers bar (which always worked in the past) will change my mind. This is my last Browns draft. Ever. Period.

I don’t know what it is about the Browns organization that transforms formerly clear-thinking, highly-trained football talent evaluators into incompetent morons. No, I’m sorry; I misspoke: It’s not fair to use the term “morons” here. It’s way too insulting … to morons.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 9:58 AM, 05.01.2018

2018: Can Cleveland once again be the 'City of Champions'?

A number of years ago – okay, a really, really big number of years ago – when we thought a microwave was only a modest ripple in Lake Erie, Cleveland was known throughout the sports world as the “City of Champions.” No, not Cleveland, Tennessee, smarty pants, Cleveland, Ohio. If you’re too young to know what an “I like Ike” button meant, you probably think I’m making this up. But I’m not. I deal in facts, baby.

Back in the 1940s and '50s, Cleveland was the envy of the rest of the nation because all of Cleveland sports teams won pretty much all the time. The Browns, for example, won championships with more regularity than MiraLax.

The Indians, although they didn’t have many championships to show for it because of the domination of the mighty New York Yankees, were the only team to consistently give the Yanks a run for their money year after year. Check this out: from 1947 through 1958, the only team NOT named the Yankees to represent the AL in the World Series was our beloved Wahoos. Not too shabby, eh?

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 9:46 AM, 04.17.2018

Unfinished business for Tribe

Although the wait has been, well, excruciating for some of us, by the time you get the next issue of the Observer, the Cleveland Indians will have opened the 2018 campaign. And after the topsy-turvy results the Tribe experienced the past couple of seasons, it is probably foolish to try and predict what the 2018 season will bring. But the threat of good sense has never deterred me in the past, so why start now?

After all, the 2016 Indians were never expected to reach World Series – never mind play a 7th game – but they stunned baseball and did exactly that. Then last year, the 2017 edition, appearing far superior to the 2016 version and everyone’s choice to reach the World Series again, stubbed their collective toes (and that’s understating it a bit). The Tribe did a pratfall in the first round of the AL playoffs – losing a best-of-five series with the Yankees after being up 2-0 in the series.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:11 AM, 03.20.2018

Much ado about Wahoo a big boo-hoo

So now that we’ve all had a little time to digest the Tribe’s decision (due to major pressure from Major League Baseball) to “transition” Chief Wahoo (“transition” sounds much more palatable than “dump”), how do you feel about saying adios to the Chief?

I have to admit to being a little saddened, but probably not for the reasons you might think. I’m both saddened and puzzled by the Indians' decision, though not surprised. It’s just another notch in the belt for (misapplied, in my opinion) political correctness, right? Isn’t it the same “Happy Holidays” mentality that’s become the new (unrealistic) standard in our society as we move forward with the “everybody wins, nobody loses – ever” approach?

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:26 AM, 03.06.2018

Potential and loyalty make strange bedfellows

I’m a big fan of Michael Brantley. He has virtually all of the qualities one desires in a major league ballplayer: He can hit, field, run; he’s a smart baserunner, has an awesome arm and is a good guy and (not surprisingly) a fan favorite. However, the one quality he lacks – durability – has an uncanny way of quickly negating all of the plusses next to his name.

In recent years, it’s been difficult to enjoy Brantley for any length of time since he can’t stay on the field very long before he’s injured again. To say that the Indians went out on a limb in counting on Brantley for the 2018 season while letting Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce walk is a huge understatement. The Tribe might end up paying Brantley $12 million to be an expensive cheerleader.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:35 AM, 02.20.2018

The glass is half full ... until it freezes and cracks

I was talking to a friend of mine last week about the current state of our pro sports teams. I was feeling pretty upbeat about the Tribe and spring training, the new Browns management, and the Cavs (remember, they’ve been to the Finals the last three years). 

My friend, who I shall call “Jim” – primarily because that’s his real name – was complaining about not one, not two, but all three teams. Just what one needs on a cold winter day, right? 

I started out our conversation espousing my excitement about the Tribe starting spring training in a few weeks. It quickly became clear that Jim did not share my enthusiastic mindset.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:17 AM, 01.23.2018

Making an extra point after 'Perfect Season' parade

Can’t anybody in this town take a joke? Two whole decades of football ineptitude and suddenly people are afraid that holding a "Perfect Season" parade (after the Browns bucked the odds and went winless for an entire year) would make the city of Cleveland look … bad? Seriously now, could a silly parade possibly be any sillier than what the Browns accomplished – or more to the point, not accomplished – in the Jimmy Haslam ownership era?

Actually, I’m reluctant to answer my own question, because every time I think they cannot possibly get any worse (and I’ve thought that many, many times since 1999), the Browns – bless their hearts – go out and show me just how wrong a guy can be. And, let’s be honest here, I never thought I’d look back at a record of 1-15 in 2016 and think of those as the “good old days.” Come to think of it, coach Mike Pettine’s record of 7-9 in 2014 should automatically qualify him for a Vince Lombardi award … or something. I’m sure he’s having a good laugh somewhere.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 9:32 AM, 01.09.2018

Ho-Ho-Hopeless

I have a bit of a dilemma. The last two columns that I’ve written have pretty much been trash pieces about the Browns. That unto itself is not a problem since I rather enjoy regularly taking shots at those yokels. However, three similar articles in a row would make me appear either angry and/or vindictive, or egads: every writer’s worst nightmare, which is being accused of lacking in imagination.

We all know that if anyone exudes the Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy persona, it’s me. We also know that for me to write the previous sentence, I have to be pretty comfortable in the fabrication department. 

The problem lies in the fact that I can’t really write anything about the Indians, because those wounds haven’t healed yet (which probably makes me appear angry and/or vindictive, but let’s not go jumping to conclusions – it’s probably just coincidence), and the Cavs season is merely in its infancy, since they don’t start their real season (a.k.a. the NBA playoffs) until the Indians season is underway.

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:31 AM, 12.05.2017

Browns to be winners soon? Don’t bet on it …

On the other hand, perhaps betting against the Browns is exactly what you should do. I heard a Vegas gambling expert on the radio the other day who said that if you had bet a grand every week against the Browns versus the spread – for the last two and a half years – you’d be up something like $20,000 right now.

Wow. Losing hurts, but a few extra bucks would certainly help ease the pain, wouldn’t it? (This by no means an endorsement for gambling; I’m just making a painful point here). Personally, I could never do it – I feel stupid enough on the rare occasions I buy a Mega Millions ticket – but it puts in perspective just how pathetic this organization has been for the last couple of decades.

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Volume 9, Issue 22, Posted 9:52 AM, 11.21.2017

Take the Browns ... please!

Where’s Art Modell when you really, really need him? Yes, it’s obviously a rhetorical question since we all know Art has gone from that luxury box up in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium to the more basic pine version considerably lower (and undoubtedly much quieter).

Remember how upset everyone was when Uncle Artie skedaddled with the franchise back in ’95 and shuffled off to Baltimore? All things considered, how big of an outcry would there be if Jimmy Haslam moved the franchise to oh, say, Tennessee after the season? Relatively minuscule, I’m guessing.

You know the old question, “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” That mentality applies to Haslam’s Browns, because I’m thinking that this time around, there’s a good chance there’d be a boatload of fans who might actually might help the Browns pack! And once that was accomplished, it would be followed by the resounding screams of former Browns fans, to the tune of “And don’t let the door hit you in the (you-know-what), Jimmy!”

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Volume 9, Issue 21, Posted 9:54 AM, 11.07.2017

Waiter, there’s a fly (ball) in my soup

Have you ever become so invested in something that you became so confident, so sure about a given outcome that you never considered the possibility of anything other than what you expected?

“It’s a short series …. anything can happen,” they said.

“Ha ha ha,” was my knowing (and un-mistakenly arrogant) reply.

“A year ago, we blew a two-game advantage against the Cubs,” they chided.

“Yes, but that was with an Indians team decimated by injuries to the pitching staff, and they almost won the whole thing anyway!” I exclaimed, angered by their utter lack of baseball knowledge. They didn’t realize who they were talking to: me, the all-knowing, utterly infallible omnipotent one. Morons, I thought. All of them: morons!

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Volume 9, Issue 20, Posted 9:47 AM, 10.17.2017

Indians: Hot. Browns: Not. Cavs: What?

Okay, so tell me if I understand this correctly: The Cavaliers think they are a shoo-in for the NBA Finals with the signing of Dwyane Wade? The same guy who LeBron played with for a few years down in Miami – that Dwyane Wade? The guy who’s – in terms of relative ability – a mere shadow of his former self?

This comes on the heels of the Cavs acquiring Isaiah Thomas from the Boston Celtics, the same Isaiah who has a chronic hip injury and is – in terms of relative ability – a mere shadow of his former self? And this comes on the heels of the Cavs signing Derrick Rose, the same Derrick Rose who’s been a mere shadow of his former self since a devastating injury took his quickness in 2012 – that Derrick Rose? Nope, can’t see anything wrong with that pipe dream.

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Volume 9, Issue 19, Posted 10:00 AM, 10.03.2017

2017 Indians are simply amazin'

A little more than a half century ago, after New York City was blessed with an expansion baseball team known as the Metropolitans (a.k.a “Mets”), veteran manager Casey Stengel was asked to summarize his new team’s talent. Casey paused for a moment and then dead-panned, “Amazin’. Simply amazin’.” He was trying to take the high road, of course, but the message was clear. Especially since earlier in the season – after surveying his roster – he’d already uttered the infamous, "Two hundred million Americans, and there ain't two good catchers among 'em" line.

Oddly enough, I thought of Casey’s description when speaking with friends about the Indians recent – maybe you heard about it – winning streak. In just the last year and a half, the Tribe has totally redefined what constitutes a significant winning streak – at least in Cleveland. Not too long ago I thought 10 consecutive victories was a pretty good run, and I still do, in fact.

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Volume 9, Issue 18, Posted 10:06 AM, 09.19.2017

Coach, Hue can’t be serious

Okay gang, let’s hop into the Way-back Machine and return to a simpler time. Like a few weeks ago, when the Browns were still taking the “Let-the-rookie-sit-and-learn-before-we-throw-him-to-the-dogs” approach. You know, stuff that actually made sense.

I don’t know if it’s pressure from above (by a guy who goes by the name of “Jimmy”) or Hue has simply been caught up in the euphoria of winning all four exhibition games (note to Hue: these games don’t count when the real season begins). I mean, for the last year and a half or so all we have been hearing from Sashi Brown et al is that the Browns were/are “Going to do it the right way” (for a change), which included not rushing the quarterback in to play before his time. 

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Volume 9, Issue 17, Posted 9:41 AM, 09.06.2017

We'll return after these messages ...

I love sports: be it watching them, playing them, talking about them, and yes, even writing about them. I have one problem, though. The recent revelation of the fall lineups by the major television networks are essentially bereft of any quality sports shows on the tube. I suggest we put an end to that malarkey right now, and – after an untold number of sleepless nights brainstorming – I’ve come up with some suggestions for sports-related programming. Consider the following:

1. "Game of Drones": Hosted by Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, he examines the finer points of miniature aircraft aviation, including safety tips to avoid bodily harm (all purely hypothetical, of course, and not remotely related to any real-life events). Trevor will also share some of his irrepressible wit, the likes which have made him such an iconic “funny guy” figure with Cleveland fans.

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Volume 9, Issue 16, Posted 10:07 AM, 08.15.2017

When egos collide

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (which is fortunate in my case, because I’m not one) to figure out that most pro athletes today are a bit on the, um, “spoiled” side. Which is no surprise either, considering the millions of dollars athletes are paid annually to do things that most of us grew up doing (for free, BTW). That’s not a knock on these guys and gals either, because to really make it in professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey – as well as a few other “major” sports – you literally have to possess one-in-a-million type talent.

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Volume 9, Issue 15, Posted 9:27 AM, 08.01.2017

José being Manny?

A couple of decades or so ago, the Cleveland Indians had a young outfielder who went by the name of Manny Ramírez. Manny was a gifted athlete who came up through the Indians’ farm system and went on to have an illustrious career, hitting 555 home runs, including 236 during his eight years with the Tribe.

Indians fans who remember watching Manny play baseball may recall that although Manny quickly became one of the most feared hitters in the game, his fielding – and his base running in particular – also evoked fear in many who were watching the game. Especially his managers.

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Volume 9, Issue 14, Posted 9:54 AM, 07.18.2017

Gilbert's ego eliminates possibility of additional NBA championships

It’s funny how history always seems to repeat itself when it comes to sports in Cleveland. Okay, maybe not double-over-in-hysterics funny, but more like it-could-only-happen-in-Cleveland, ironic kind of funny. Some people even refer to it as “sick” humor – especially folks who’ve spent their entire lives here. But enough about me.

From the early 1960s up until the mid-'90s, the Cleveland Browns had an owner who went by the name of Art Modell. Maybe you’ve heard of him. After Modell purchased the Browns, he decided to use his expertise in advertising (where he made the bulk of his money) to help in promoting not only the Browns, but the entire NFL. The thing is, he was pretty good at it.

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Volume 9, Issue 13, Posted 9:31 AM, 07.05.2017

Will Tribe learn from Cavs’ mistake?

It was only a year ago that the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the sports world by coming back from a 3-1 deficit to wrestle away the NBA Championship from the Golden State Warriors. Slightly more than four months later, the Cleveland Indians took the Chicago Cubs to extra innings in the seventh game of the World Series before falling to the boys from the Windy City.

This past NBA season, the Cavaliers looked like anything but NBA champs, stumbling their way to a 51-31 record, despite playing in the competitively challenged NBA Eastern Conference. And they looked downright awful at times in the process. Many commentators, and fans alike, spoke of the Cavs “flipping the switch” once the playoffs began – that the regular season was merely a warm-up for the playoffs.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 9:19 AM, 06.20.2017

Be afraid: The Browns listened to me

Boy, did it get scary on draft day! It was being reported that the Browns were going to select quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the first pick in the draft and go against all of the advice I had provided to them in this paper. As that day went on, I was thinking of all of the failed first round picks and the obvious choices that were bypassed. Julio Jones and Khalil Mack readily come to mind.

It was a huge relief when the name of the consensus numero uno pick, Myles Garrett, was announced and not Trubisky. Do you realize that not one of the Browns' six first-round picks from 2011 through 2014 is on the team? These selections: Phil Taylor, Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Barkevious Mingo, Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel should be making up the heart, if not the soul, of the team now, but they do not exist. Most fans believe that the Browns got this pick right by simply not screwing it up.

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 9:39 AM, 05.16.2017

The three faces of Cleve(land)

I was thinking about the owners of our three major sports teams recently, and how the perception of at least two of the ownership groups has changed significantly over the past year or so – at least from my perspective. The third was never all that good to begin with and remains that way five years later.

Let’s begin with the most obvious of the three: Larry and Paul Dolan, the father-son team who own a majority interest in the Cleveland Indians. Anyone out there who has read my column for any length of time certainly knows I’ve spent a great quantity of ink bashing the Dolans over the fiscally-cautious manner with which they’ve run the Tribe for the better part of the last two decades. In fact, I think I can attribute the nasty case of carpal tunnel syndrome I’ve acquired largely to the columns I’ve written about those guys over the years.

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 9:35 AM, 05.16.2017