Sporting Views

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


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

Garrett an obvious choice, but Browns still Myles away

Okie dokie, someone needs to explain something to me.

First of all, why did all of the Browns faithful go berserk (with euphoria, presumably) when the Browns made Myles Garrett the first choice in the first round of the draft a few days ago? I mean, this guy was consensus pick numero uno in the NFL for the last three months at least, right? So let's tone it down with the pats on the back of the Browns' "brain trust" (sorry, I have to put those words in sarcasm quotes until proven unnecessary – if indeed that ever happens). Who else could the Browns have drafted at No. 1? Seriously. Giving the Browns credit for choosing Garrett with the first pick would be like crediting the Cavs for drafting LeBron. Or Kyrie.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 9:30 AM, 05.02.2017

Is the Tribe better than last year? The Sequel

When we left off last issue, I believe – and trust me, at my age nothing is a “given” anymore – we had examined the Tribe’s infield and were about to look at the outfield and pitching when – alas – I ran out of column space. Fortunately, I haven’t been canned yet and have a clean slate this issue, so let’s kick things off (since the Browns can’t) with the outfield.

Outfield: Having given this some serious thought, I don’t see much reason to attach a name to a particular position in the outfield, since the way the outfield is constructed so “fluidly”, most guys play multiple positions out there anyway. Some of those guys – most of whom are not (or at least weren’t most of last season) household names – were Tribe outfielders last year.

In 2016, guys like Abraham Almonte, Marlon Byrd, Lonnie Chisenhall, Collin Cowgill, Coco Crisp, Rajai Davis, Brandon Guyer, Michael Martinez, Tyler Naquin and Jose Ramirez somehow combined to form one of the most productive outfields in the American League last year. Since Naquin was recently sent down to the minor leagues, the only guys who remain who had an impact on the team last year are Chisenhall, Almonte, Guyer and Ramirez (who is now an infielder).

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:51 AM, 04.18.2017

Could the Tribe really be better than last year?

Opening Day in the Major Leagues has finally arrived. We can now get down to the business of enjoying Indians games that count. While discussing (with some friends at work) this year's Tribe and how they compare to the 2016 version, a co-worker said I made it sound like the 2017 version will be far superior to last year's almost-champion.

So let's take a look at the infield for 2017 version (or at least what I presume it to be).

First base: Edwin Encarnacion has to be considered – at the very worst – as good as the departed Mike Napoli. But Edwin shall be platooning with Carlos Santana, whom I can't see duplicating his 2016 season. Regardless, Encarnacion is an upgrade, and even if Carlos slips a bit as anticipated, the worst I see is a wash, because Encarnacion is the real deal, folks. But I truly think overall production at first will be a plus over last season.

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 9:15 AM, 04.04.2017

Injuries can be a real pain

What attracts us to sports? The magnetic effect which draws us to sports is its inherent unpredictability; hence the ever-famous “Wait ‘til next year” phrase, probably repeated more in this city than anywhere else in the civilized (and uncivilized, for that matter) world. The sport doesn’t really matter; for after every contest in any sport, there is a winner and there is a loser. (And yes, I know about “ties” in football, hockey and soccer, but stay focused here or you’ll miss the point). 

The promise (often confused with hope: see Cleveland Browns) that this year will be much better than the previous one is what compels a typical sports fan to continue following his/her team(s) even after a year (or years) of “entertainment” that is usually more easily equated to excruciating torture. Just the mere chance of players improving upon their previous season’s performance is what gives that fan the inner strength to soldier on, no matter how depressing the odds might be. And in reality, those odds are pretty long, because generally, when one player improves, another one struggles, which typically results in a “wash” anyway.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:09 AM, 03.21.2017

Could it be déjà vu for the Tribe?

"So buckle up, Tribe fans, it's going to be special."

Those were the final words in my column a year ago when I predicted good things for the Indians during the 2016 season. And sure enough, the team delivered with a trip to the World Series – its first in two decades. 

There’s an old adage in sports – and baseball in particular – which states that even though it’s hard to get to the top, it’s even harder to stay there. Baseball fans in Cleveland will be quick to agree with that argument, as the Indians have – over the last 116 years – never appeared in consecutive World Series.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:28 AM, 03.07.2017

Letters from a dwindling fan base

Okay, gang. While the Indians are unpacking their gear in Goodyear (that has sort of a poetic ring, doesn’t it?), the Cavs are playing and Browns fans are praying (I know, I should have quit while I was ahead), now seems like a good time to look in the old mailbag and see what my loyal reader(s) have on their mind(s).

Let’s start with one from a “J.B.” in Westlake.

“How come you always rip the Browns, dude? Cut Jimmy and his boys some slack. Don’t blame him for all of the team’s problems. Lighten up – you depress me.”

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 9:48 AM, 02.21.2017

Want to recall special sports memories? It’s all in the cards

I made a surprising discovery recently, quite by accident. With my son – who lives out of state – turning 40 next year, I wanted to do something special to celebrate the big 4-0, and I also wanted it to be a gift he might want to hold onto and (hopefully) treasure for many years to come. 

Jason became a father recently, but it wasn’t without some scary moments. I will spare the details of my grandson’s birth out of deference to his family’s privacy and the space limitations for this column. The important thing is that my grandson is now 5 months old and getting stronger every day – the little dude is a fighter – and appears to have left the worst behind him. 

After trying to recall things my son and I did together when he was a boy, it dawned on me that there was one thing he really enjoyed as a kid: collecting baseball cards. I’m pretty sure he also dabbled some in the other major sports too, but baseball cards were the runaway first choice. We spent a lot of time going to baseball card shows, card shops, and the like in our never-ending pursuit of whatever the “hot” card at the time was. We had a blast chasing those mutual goals together, which I will always treasure.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:56 AM, 02.07.2017

Checking in on the local sports teams

With the Browns having recently completed their season, the Cavs halfway through theirs, and the Tribe’s equipment truck about to embark on its annual pilgrimage to Goodyear, perhaps now is a good time to give the three franchises a good look.

The Cleveland Browns: Well, don’t look too hard at these guys; it might trigger a migraine. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on the latest management team, since their first draft has brought mixed reviews. And while it appears they have drafted a few guys who might actually become serviceable NFL players, my guess is that the majority of them are destined to be nothing more than the answers to trivia questions a few years from now. And that’s not good. Another lackluster draft this spring and Jimmy Haslam will have no choice but to call in the demolition boys to blow up yet another front office.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:36 AM, 01.24.2017

Browns successful at one thing this year: lowering the bar

After nearly two decades of horrific football (which equates to 140 years in dog years; no, make that “dawg” years) the Browns in 2016 decided that a new approach was necessary. I mean, after the seemingly annual replacement of head coaches and front office personnel bore little fruit, Jimmy Haslam and company finally decided to go in a different direction.

This year, they decided to go “cerebral.” In other words, since they couldn’t beat the opposition with the talent on the field, maybe they could beat ‘em at the brain game. You guessed it: we’re talking “analytics,” baby. 

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Volume 8, Issue 23, Posted 9:36 AM, 11.29.2016

Now don't mess this up, Dolans

The recent World Series appearance by the Indians certainly has created a much-needed surge in favorable publicity for the Tribe, translating into a bump in season ticket and – presumably, come next spring – general ticket sales as well.

Now, with everything looking rosy in Tribe Town, it's easy to get caught up in the hoopla and maybe even get the idea that – suddenly – Indians management is nothing short of "brilliant."

Well, not so fast, Bucco.

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Volume 8, Issue 22, Posted 9:44 AM, 11.15.2016

Read this column (if necessary)

As most of the baseball world (at least that which is centered in Cleveland, anyway) watched the Indians dismantle the mighty Boston Red Sox in the first round of the MLB American League playoffs, the Wild Card Toronto Blue Jays were doing an even more impressive number on the top-seeded Texas Rangers.

The first thing that went through my mind as this was occurring was, “Awesome … now we’ll have four home games against the Blue Jays (if necessary).” Immediately, that got me to wondering why, whenever there is a playoff series in any sport, the schedule always lists all the possible games but with the disclaimer “if necessary” for the games which are dependent upon the distribution of victories in the playoff series.

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Volume 8, Issue 20, Posted 10:21 AM, 10.18.2016

October could be downright scary

It’s hard to believe, but fall is here. The Tribe is gearing up (painfully) for the MLB playoffs, training camp has begun for the Cavs, and the Browns? Well, let’s just say the Browns have been every bit as painful as the Indians, but in a totally different way. So let’s take a peek at all three franchises.

Way back in the spring I predicted a World Series appearance for our beloved Tribe. I was absolutely certain they had the horses to get us to the postseason, and I was correct in that regard. Unfortunately, one by one, the “horses” – and I’m of course referring to our starting pitching – started falling by the wayside. First Salazar, followed by Carrasco, and then the coup de grâce was when the guy we couldn’t afford to lose under any circumstances, Corey Kluber, bit the dust.

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Volume 8, Issue 19, Posted 8:57 AM, 10.04.2016

Nuthin’ from nuthin’ leaves nuthin’

The old Billy Preston tune came to mind as I was thinking about the Browns and how they will fare in the upcoming season, and the song title pretty much sums it up. In fact, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam might want to seriously consider it as the Browns “fight” (or lack thereof) song. 

Now, just in case the masses have forgotten, a year ago I predicted on these very pages that the Brownies would finish the season at 3-13, and you know what? Perfect prediction. I don’t like to brag – well yeah, I kinda do – but in the office pool at work I also predicted the Indians would have a 93-69 record this year, including a trip to the World Series. As of this writing, the Tribe was sailing along with a .576 winning percentage. Now, apply that percentage to 162 games and you get something like 93.3 victories by the Indians this year. So, you’re not dealing with the prognosticating equivalent of chopped liver here. Just sayin’.

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Volume 8, Issue 17, Posted 11:05 AM, 09.07.2016

Tribe managers always manage to keep it interesting

Now that the Indians appear (hopefully) to have recovered from a lackluster stretch of ho-hum baseball while the pitching staff appeared to have forgotten how to pitch, we can once again return to dreaming of a World Series appearance, along with (maybe) a world championship. 

Manager Terry Francona’s recent bout with chest pains got me to thinking about the first Indians manager I can remember, George “Birdie” Tebbets, who suffered a heart attack as manager of the Indians in 1965. Birdie, who had a degree in philosophy and was always good for an interesting quote, had a fairly decent team in 1965, but the team faltered in 1966 and Bridie was canned. He retired from managing, but scouted for numerous teams (including the Indians) until his death in 1999.

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Volume 8, Issue 16, Posted 9:39 AM, 08.16.2016

Browns need more coaches

As our beloved Cleveland Browns open training camp with a squad destined to finish in double-digit losses yet again once the season begins, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. A couple of migraines later, I've came to one obvious (to me) conclusion as to what the Browns could do to improve the team immediately in 2016: more coaches.

A perusal of the current Browns coaching staff indicates there are (including head coach Hue Jackson) twenty-seven – count ‘em, 27 – guys who make a very good living helping football players make an even better living than they do. There are eight offensive, eight defensive, three special teams, and seven strength & conditioning coaches. And with a 53-man roster it means there is essentially a coach for every two players! Obviously, this is a wise investment for the organization, since the same strategy last season resulted in a whopping three wins.

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Volume 8, Issue 15, Posted 9:07 AM, 08.02.2016

The more the Browns change, the more they stay the same

I’m sure everyone is familiar with that old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” I don’t know who said it, but whoever coined the phrase most likely was a Cleveland sports fan. At least up until recently.

Look at the changes – and I mean positive changes, folks – regarding the Cavs and Indians over their most recent season. The Cavs stun the world by going out and winning an NBA Championship, and the Indians follow suit by looking like a very good bet to make the postseason. I mean, really, who’d a thunk it?

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Volume 8, Issue 14, Posted 9:44 AM, 07.19.2016

Post-party confession

Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have ended Cleveland’s infamous 52-year championship drought (sorry Lake Erie Monsters, you don’t count), I think it’s time for me to come clean. Sure, I sat (and sometimes stood) there and cheered on the team for the last couple of months, but quite honestly, I never approached the level of excitement I would have had if it been my beloved Indians (and yes, their time is coming soon), the Browns (be patient another decade or so) or even my Cavs teams of the late 1980s/early 90s (Nance, Daugherty, Price, Harper, Hot Rod).

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Volume 8, Issue 13, Posted 9:27 AM, 07.06.2016

Tribe getting it done, but taking different path

The wonderful – and frustrating – thing about sports is that whenever you examine a team, you have a plethora of statistics to help you measure a player’s value in a particular sport. The more time an athlete has in the sport, the easier to project his stats for an upcoming season.

It was based upon those stats I predicted a World Series trip for the Cleveland Indians this year and – the recent sweep of the Tribe by the K.C. Royals notwithstanding – the Indians have performed like a playoff team most of the year. But there have been some surprises, as well as disappointments, this season. Let’s take a look at the Tribe so far.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 9:30 AM, 06.21.2016

It takes real gall – and then some – to ignore Tribe, Cavs

So there I was: Minding my own business, working for the man, coming home each evening to a beautiful woman (don’t tell my wife) and settling down to watch the Indians and/or Cavs for a while before repeating the whole process the next morning.

The day was Monday, May 16, and my wife was out of town visiting our daughter who had given birth to her third boy two days earlier. I started having some serious stomach issues (at first I thought it may have been from the coffee at work, as it had been known to pack a pretty good punch on occasion).

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:47 AM, 06.07.2016

The ultimate two-party system

Ever wonder what it’s like being the guy who writes the “Sporting Views”? Actually, and this is a little more to the point, ever wonder what the wife of the guy who writes the “Sporting Views” thinks about all this?

I’ll bet there are a few of you out there who are curious, and if there are at least a few of you, I won’t have to worry about my readership numbers taking a hit as a result of me choosing this topic.

First, perhaps a little history about my wife: Patti and I met 46 years ago in the field behind St. Bernadette church in Westlake. Ironically, we would be married at the same church seven years later (much to the chagrin of her parents). 

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:42 AM, 05.17.2016

Cleveland's unique NFL Draft Day perspective

Draft day in Cleveland.

Is it me, or is it nothing short of ludicrous how it happens that year after year, massive failure after massive failure, Browns faithful nonetheless religiously plant their posteriors around the tube to witness the NFL draft? I have to assume it's the never-ending hope – indelibly etched into the collective psyches of all Browns fans – that the odds will be with us this year because of the against-all-odds run of drafting failures. Sort of like "even the blind squirrel finding an acorn on occasion" mentality. (The same way I approach the possibility of writing a good column).

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:46 AM, 05.03.2016

The island of misfit teams

P.T. Barnum once proclaimed, "There's a sucker born every day."

There are times, when I look back upon the many years I've spent rooting for the pro sports teams in Cleveland, with very little return on my – always psychological, sometimes monetary – investment, I invariably arrive at one question: Why? As in, "Why have I spent so much of my life enduring the torment associated with our, ahem, "professional" franchises, when the 'pattern of pathetic' was established so very long ago?"

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:43 AM, 04.19.2016

Why the Indians will do it this year

When it comes to sports in Cleveland, the Indians have always been number one with me. Given their overall track record since 1901, invariably the reaction to that statement is "Why?"

It's a valid inquiry. I remember following the Tribe starting in the early '60s. Unfortunately, for most of my early life, every time the Indians would shock the world with a respectable season – "respectable" usually being defined by making it through the season without 90 or more losses – the Tribe would annihilate our dreams the following year by doing a deep-six.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 10:03 AM, 04.05.2016