Sporting Views

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

When MLB cheating makes sense

Shortly after the announcement from Major League Baseball that Indians projected center fielder Abraham Almonte was suspended for the first 80 games of the 2016 season after testing positive for steroids, a friend and I were discussing the suspension.

While we weren't about to christen Almonte as the second coming of Grady Sizemore, Abe did play an above-average center field, and showed enough pop in his bat last year to be a competent hitter in the Tribe lineup, at least until Michael Brantley had recovered from surgery. The news that Almonte was popped for using Boldenone, a horse steroid, had us tempering our optimism for the upcoming season before it even began.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 10:02 AM, 03.15.2016

Musings of a fanatic

I've always been very critical of the Dolan family and the manner in which they've succeeded in alienating what was once a sizable Indians fan base, due to their apparent complete lack of urgency in building a winner. I know some folks who have vowed not to follow the Indians until the Dolans sell the team, and while they are in – hopefully – the minority, it still aggravates me that the owners even let it reach this point.

That being said, the Indians have also quietly assembled perhaps the best starting pitching rotation in the American League, if not all of baseball. Assuming they all stay relatively healthy, the Indians boast at least seven starters who are on the upside of their careers, so they should be able to withstand a couple of injuries or bad years if anyone falters. Add to that a healthy Yan Gomes, who is a huge key to the success of the team, along with Francisco Lindor, who may be the best shortstop in the American League already. Add to that new acquisitions Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis, and the offense will be much better than last year.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 9:33 AM, 03.01.2016

Start the antibiotic drip, Doc: It’s Indians fever

Good afternoon, Mr. ...uh… let’s see here … ah, yes, Mr. Bing! And how might we be of help to you today?

I think I’m delusional, Doc.

Hey, you’re the guy who writes that column for the Observer, right?

Yeah, so?

Then I can confirm that you are indeed delusional, sir.

Ha. So how come you’re practicing medicine when stand-up is obviously your calling?

It puts my patients at ease when I inject a little levity into the office visit.

Why don’t you save that for when you hand me the bill?

Touché, Mr. Bing. I’ll make sure it lives up to your expectations. So, you think you’re delusional? Why do you say that?

I think the Indians are going to the World Series this year.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 9:35 AM, 02.16.2016

Cavs championship no longer a sure thing

It wasn’t all that long ago the city of Cleveland was celebrating the return of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the roster improvements GM David Griffin made after LeBron returned, it wasn’t a question of "if" the Cavs would win a world championship – it was more a question of when, and how many?

Last season, the Cavs were granted a mulligan when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were derailed during the playoffs with season-ending injuries. Most fans – including this one – were impressed by the Cavs taking Golden State to six games before the Warriors won the NBA Championship. The prevailing opinion was along the lines of, “If we came to within two victories of a championship without two of our big three, we’ll be unstoppable when healthy.”

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:50 AM, 02.02.2016

Will Browns’ latest new coach work out? Are Hue serious?

From 1946 through 1995, the Cleveland Browns had 10 head coaches. Even more amazing: It was only eight head coaches if you don’t include Dick Modzelewski, who coached the last game of the 1977 season after Forrest Gregg was fired, and Jim Shofner, who did similar mop-up duty for the deposed Bud Carson in 1990. Just the same, by sticking with the figure of 10 head coaches over a 50-year period, you don’t have to be a math major to see that the average coaching stint was five years. That would indicate at least some degree of stability, wouldn’t you say?

From 1999 into 2016, the Cleveland Browns will have had at least nine head coaches. (I say “at least” because it would be presumptuous to assume the latest coach will make it through the entire 2016 season.) But, just for argument’s sake, let’s say that he does. Even with that lofty goal, it would mean that in the 18 seasons since the Browns “returned” (some argue that we’re still waiting) we have had nine coaches in those 18 glory-filled seasons.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 9:54 AM, 01.19.2016

Lowering the Bar

Sometimes writing about a current, popular topic can be challenging. This is particularly true when addressing sports in Cleveland, where the Browns, with their ever-changing organizational structure, were expected to make changes after their final game Sunday, Jan. 3. The tricky aspect of writing about sports versus something less fluid, of course, is the changeability factor, particularly when addressing a currently "volatile" topic.

While online information is often presented immediately, traditional print media requires lead time, understandably, to allow for the physical manufacture of the final printed product. A good example of how that can impact my situation was illustrated in the fact that, due to the production schedule, I had to write this by Friday, Jan. 1, for the issue you will see on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 9:53 AM, 01.05.2016

Believeland: A Christmas wish list

“So this is Christmas, and what have you done?” I never got the chance to ask him, but I’m pretty sure John Lennon had Cleveland sports franchise owners in mind when he penned the first line of “Happy Xmas.”

Last time I looked, the Browns’ fan base was finally beginning to disintegrate, the Indians’ fan base had already disintegrated, and the Cavs’ fan base – well, you saw how they responded after LeBron went bye-bye half a decade ago – is a house of cards, at best. When LeBron decides to retire or play elsewhere, it will be like a giant sneeze onto that same house of cards. Gesundheit!

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Volume 7, Issue 24, Posted 9:41 AM, 12.15.2015

Playing to Johnny's strengths

Unless you reside under the proverbial rock, you’re painfully aware of Johnny Manziel’s latest, um, “transgressions” with his employer (at least as of this writing, anyway), the Cleveland Browns.

As we all know, the Browns have gone to great lengths to try and keep their young, party-loving quarterback in line. But now, with a fairly large sample size to reflect upon, it appears most will agree that so far the attempts have yielded disappointing results. In other words, it ain’t workin’, gang.

I suggest it’s time to think outside the box with Johnny Manziel.

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Volume 7, Issue 23, Posted 9:47 AM, 12.01.2015

This is only a test

As I was watching the Bengals administer a beat-down of the Browns on the telly (that’s what we call it across the pond) the other night, I thought now might be time for you – as a highly-motivated sports fan – to have your sports knowledge checked. I mean, you go to the doctor on a regular basis, right? You go to the dentist on a regular basis, right? So why should your “sports health” be any different?

This will be a word association quiz. I will provide you with a name or phrase, and you choose the word or phrase that best matches the item given. What could be easier (other than finding something better to do with your time)?

So stop arguing with me, and answer the questions. You’ll be a better sports fan for it.

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Volume 7, Issue 22, Posted 9:20 AM, 11.17.2015

Pearls of wisdom

Sports fans are a curious lot. Anyone with half a brain (that’s my cue to enter the conversation) knows that “fan” is short for fanatic, right? So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise when people make some of the comments they do about our sports teams in Cleveland.

But it continues to surprise me anyway. For example, take this exchange (please):

There I was at work, working away. [Note: I have to say I was working (wink-wink) because my boss claims to read my column (probably another wink-wink); I guess this is a definitive way of finding out for sure.] We were talking football, and out of the blue, a coworker who shall remain nameless (because I don’t know his name) said, “I wonder what kind of extension they’ll (the Browns) give to Josh McCown after the season.”

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Volume 7, Issue 20, Posted 10:01 AM, 10.20.2015

'Meaningful games in September' a stretch

Ever since Terry Francona became manager of the Indians a few years back, the mantra of the Cleveland Indians has been to play “meaningful games in September.” Now, one would have to presume that the context of those words suggests that the Indians would be involved in a playoff race to some degree; correct?

Well, my friends, the true mantra of the Indians over the last three seasons has been to lull Tribe fans to sleep for the first two-thirds of the season, then – well after most have declared the team dead and buried – somehow manage to make themselves relevant come September … only to fall short of the playoffs.

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Volume 7, Issue 19, Posted 8:54 AM, 10.06.2015

Prediction? Pain. Lots of it.

“So, where do you think the Browns will finish?” That’s the question making the rounds in Cleveland these days. A quick perusal of the schedule says the Browns will finish at FirstEnergy Stadium on Jan. 3, 2016, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“No, wise guy, where do you think the Browns will finish record-wise?”

Oh. Now that’s a horse of a different color. Regrettably, in truth I think the Browns season will end much earlier than next January. In fact, it might be over before we see a stinkin’ frost, for that matter. Anyway, I went over the schedule and tried to be realistic in choosing who was likely to win. I know, I know: If Browns fans can’t dream, what on Earth is left? So I apologize in advance for this …

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Volume 7, Issue 18, Posted 9:08 AM, 09.15.2015

Unfettered wisdom

Every so often, my mail bag gets swamped with letters. Questions from sports fans throughout northeast Ohio come pouring in – most of them wanting to know when I will finally stop inundating them with useless drivel – but that’s not always the case. So, rather than answering each one personally, I will address them here so everyone may take joy in the wisdom that has catapulted me to the top of the sports writing pyramid. Sort of like multi-level marketing, except there’s no multi-level. Or marketing. Anyway, sit back, crack open a new bottle of Excedrin, and endure …

Q: I’m concerned about the Browns’ quarterback situation. Who will be their starting quarterback?

A: As Bill Murray stated so eloquently in "Meatballs": “It just doesn’t matter.” Let me elaborate: It doesn’t matter in the context that every quarterback on the roster stinks, so pick anyone. You’re not planning on actually watching any Browns games this year, are you?

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Volume 7, Issue 17, Posted 8:47 AM, 09.01.2015

Stubborn Indians must learn from mistakes

Now that the Indians have pretty much admitted that the 2015 season is beyond saving – witnessed by their trading David Murphy, Brandon Moss and Marc Rzepczynski before the July 31 trade deadline – it becomes clear that many errors in judgement occurred in the evaluation of the talent level on this roster.

The question to ask is: Will anyone be held accountable?

Recent history says it won’t happen, but circumstances scream that it’s certainly about time it does.

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Volume 7, Issue 15, Posted 9:47 AM, 08.04.2015

Lack of All-Stars indicative of Tribe’s troubles

The recent MLB All-Star game in Cincinnati – which I didn’t watch, by the way – did get me to thinking about the Indians and their exasperating (at least so far) season. It was the second straight year the Indians were represented by a lone player, which is also usually a barometer of what kind of year a team is having. And that goes for any team, not just the Tribe.

As everyone interested in baseball around here knows, Jason Kipnis was Cleveland’s All-Star representative, and deservedly so. Kipnis is in the midst of a monster year at the plate and in the field, and without question should have been the starter.

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Volume 7, Issue 14, Posted 9:23 AM, 07.21.2015

Minor league mentality

Tribe fans, the transformation is complete.

In case you hadn’t noticed – and that’s the underlying problem, apparently no one has – the Indians have succeeded in turning what was once one of the premier organizations in all of sports less than a decade-and-a-half ago into the minor league operation it is today. Well done, guys. Here, have a “dollar dog” on me.

Yes, the franchise which was once the model of success for everyone else in baseball has succeeded in wiping out the last trace of the goodwill they had going for themselves at the turn of the century, and transformed themselves into a circus sideshow.

The reasons behind this still-hard-to-fathom nosedive are easy to trace: Dolan ownership. 

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 9:32 AM, 06.16.2015

Cavs MVP isn’t LeBron

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: The Cavs never would have made it to the NBA finals this year without LeBron James’ return to Cleveland. There’s no disputing that James is one of the NBA’s best ever.

There is also no disputing that even with the return of LeBron, a healthy Kyrie Irving and the much ballyhooed arrival of Kevin Love, the Cavs were a team in trouble mid-January. They were stinking up the NBA with a record of 19-20, good for sixth place in the Eastern Conference seeding, and looked confused more often than not. There were rumors coach David Blatt had lost control of the team, and was perhaps even on the verge of being canned.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 9:28 AM, 06.02.2015

More than just a game

When it comes to great summertime fun, nothing beats a day down at the ballpark. So – not having had the opportunity to see the Indians in action “live” yet this season – I thought it would be nice if my wife and I took in an Indians game.

The weather was great on Mother’s Day, and being the big spender that I am, off we went. Actually, if you want to get technical, a guy at work won the pair of tickets in a raffle and didn’t want to go (“The Tribe stinks!”) so he unloaded the tix on me. But nobody else has to know that, right?

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 9:44 AM, 05.19.2015

Little Love for the SI jinx

Let me make one thing abundantly clear: I don’t believe in jinxes. I don’t carry a rabbit’s foot. I don’t freak out whenever Friday the 13th rolls around. In other words, I’m not superstitious.

Consequently, I had no worries when the Cavs began their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics. It would merely be a tune-up for a presumably more difficult series against the Chicago Bulls in the following round.

In fact, a much younger coworker had asked me about Cavs playoff teams of the past and I immediately thought of the “Miracle of Richfield” team of 1975-76, primarily because the team Cleveland lost to in the Eastern Conference finals were the same (then-)mighty Boston Celtics. That season, the Cavs seemed like the team of destiny until Jim Chones broke his foot, ruining a legitimate shot at winning a world championship.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 9:20 AM, 05.05.2015

The emperor’s new clothes

I’m sure that at one time or another, everyone has received the email in which some dude (maybe even a prince) named Rakeesh has inherited countless millions (or perhaps, no doubt due to inflation, countless billions) of dollars. The problem is, our beloved Rakeesh can’t collect because he has visa problems, or he lost his visa, or who knows, maybe he simply forgot to pay his Visa bill.

But that part’s not really important. The point is that poor Rakeesh – all by his lonesome – can’t get his grubby little paws on the money. (Feel free to shed a sympathetic tear at your discretion; I’m welling up as we speak).

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 9:43 AM, 04.21.2015

No reservations about ’95 Indians

With the start of the MLB season right around the corner, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 2015 Tribe. The pitching should be solid enough to sustain a legitimate run at the postseason, and with talented players such as Francisco Lindor waiting for their chance, it just might be a season to remember.

Speaking of which, it only recently occurred to yours truly that it’s now been two full decades since the Indians took MLB by storm and went on a magical run, almost becoming world champs in 1995. Yep, there are now folks in their early 20s who were too young to experience the thrills of 1995. So for their sake – as well as mine – let’s take a peek back to the “good old days” before it becomes even more of a distant memory.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 10:00 AM, 04.07.2015

Browns channel featuring another season of reruns

So there I was, two weeks later, still scratching my head over the Browns’ (allegedly sincere) giddiness over “winning” the race to quarterback Josh McCown; he of the 17-32 lifetime record as a starter. And I found myself wondering if things would ever change, or if instead we were watching the NFL’s version of "Groundhog Day."

So then I started considering how comical it is that the more the Browns try to change, the more things stay the same. Every year we tune in hoping for something different, and indeed, the names change, but in the end, the results are most often those to which we’d become accustomed: awful.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 9:46 AM, 03.17.2015

Send in the (Mc)Clowns

Okay, somebody’s going to have to help me out with this one:

In 2014, Browns start 6-3 with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, who looks outstanding, even with a group of receivers regarded as average at best. In spite of a group of running backs who are virtually unknown and unproven, they perform well behind a strong offensive line and the offense actually looks professional.

Unfortunately, Browns center Alex Mack breaks his leg, the first in a series of injuries which help return the Browns to the picture of dysfunction they’ve been since 1999. Hoyer, without a running game, is the epitome of desperation trying to find open receivers among a group headed by a very disinterested Josh Gordon. They end up losing six of their last seven games, giving the quarterback job to Johnny Manziel, who looks far more capable when he is on the bench rather than on the field.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 9:39 AM, 03.03.2015

Bad hair day

Now that it’s February and spring training is a reality for the Indians, perhaps now would be a good time to look at our beloved Tribe and assess their chances for 2015.

Notice I wasn’t specific in stating exactly what chances I’m referring to with regard to the upcoming season. I mean, if I’m asking about the chances that fans will like the improvements made to Progressive Field for 2015, then heck yeah, I’m all in. Most folks will no-doubt like the ballpark’s upgrade.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 9:10 AM, 02.17.2015