Sporting Views

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

Cleveland sports: The year in preview

Yep, it’s that time of year again. As in, time for yours truly to let you know what will happen with our Cleveland sports teams in 2015. Normally, I charge big bucks for this service, so consider it my little New Year’s gift to you, my loyal reader(s). (Hey, it’s what I do). Alrighty then, buckle up, and let’s do this…

February: All you need is Love (not). In an unprecedented turn of events, LeBron James opts out of his Cavaliers contract in the middle of a game with the Miami Heat. Curiously enough, he was out with a supposed injury while on the Cavs’ roster, but, as the “jumping of ship” was announced, he tore off his street clothes, revealing a Heat uniform, and scored 38 points as the Heat routed Cleveland. LeBron later claimed he didn’t know ”how the uniform got there.” 

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 9:52 AM, 01.06.2015

Test your sports IQ

One thing is for sure about Cleveland sports fans: they love their trivia. Because of that, every couple of years or so, I run an annual "Test your sports IQ" challenge. The great thing about this is: even if you’re not really into sports, anyone can play. Of course, you’ll probably embarrass yourself, but it’s not like I can stop you or anything. That being said, the correct answers will be revealed at the end of the quiz, and I – at no additional charge  – will assess your knowledge (or lack thereof) of Cleveland sports. Sound fun? You bet, Bucco. So, without further ado, let the games begin …

1. The Cavs’ trio of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are often referred to as:
A. The Big Three
C. The Three Amigos
D. The Three Stooges
E. The Four Horsemen
B. The Big Mistake

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:41 AM, 12.09.2014

Fool me twice?

Many years ago, a great philosopher (obviously, I’m referring to Scotty on the TV series “Star Trek”) opined the legendary, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” The reference being of course, that if – after conning me successfully once – you con me in a similar way a second time and I merely allow it to happen again, the fault lies with me, not you.

I think of Scotty’s great wisdom quite a bit these days, as I watch the city go bonkers in anticipation of the many championships which the return of the “King” himself, LeBron James, supposedly guarantees.

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Volume 6, Issue 23, Posted 9:53 AM, 11.11.2014

What's everyone crying about?

Nearing the end of a very un-storied career as quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, Tim Couch broke down during his post-game press conference and shed a few tears after Browns fans cheered – during a home game – the fact that he’d been injured. Only in Philadelphia – where the fans once booed Santa Claus – have fans been so vicious to one who was once so beloved.

Of course, once the news broke that Couch had cried during his post-game comments, the criticism from the fans grew exponentially. Personally, I never quite understood the negative backlash from the fans. I mean, over the last half-century of watching this football team, I’ve been driven to tears – often during the first quarter of many games – and nobody’s ever gotten on my case over it.

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Volume 6, Issue 22, Posted 9:36 AM, 10.28.2014

Making a case for Kardiac arrest

This year’s schizophrenic edition of the Cleveland Browns has left many recollecting the 1980 version, and with good cause. Anyone with half a brain (which leaves me eminently qualified) can see the similarities between today’s Browns and Coach Sam Rutigliano’s version 34 years earlier.

The 1980 team started slowly (sound familiar, Browns fans?) by losing three of their first five games, and critics were calling for the removal of Brian Sipe at quarterback in favor of rookie Paul McDonald. Indeed, the offense had sputtered, scoring only 94 points through those first five contests.

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Volume 6, Issue 21, Posted 10:03 AM, 10.14.2014

Tribe Swishing with re-Bourn roster

It was only about a month ago on these pages I wrote about the premature decline of departed Indians players Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera. I wish the list of disappointments ended there, but unfortunately – much like John Adams’ trusty tom-tom – the beat goes on.

Recall just under two years ago when many of us rejoiced the fact that the burdensome contracts given to such players as Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner had expired, freeing up some cash which would enable the Tribe to hopefully pluck some gems from the free agent market.

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Volume 6, Issue 20, Posted 9:43 AM, 09.30.2014

Perception is reality?

I was perusing a certain well-known online shopping site not too long ago when something for sale caught my eye. It was an “autographed” Cleveland Indians baseball from the early 2000s, and it looked strangely familiar. A quick trip to my basement confirmed my suspicions; it was the same autographed ball I had in my possession. In fact, I still have a bunch of ‘em.

First, let’s back up the memorabilia truck for a moment, and allow me to explain. From 1999 to 2010, I had a part-time business selling sports novelties at Indians and Browns games. I also worked many weekends in Pittsburgh, doing Pirates and Steelers games when the Tribe or Browns were out of town. Finally, on rare occasions I’d even work some Reds or Bengals games in Cincinnati. For the most part, it was a lot of fun; when the weather was nice, there wasn’t a better job in the world.

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Volume 6, Issue 19, Posted 10:01 AM, 09.16.2014

A tale of two cornerstones

It’s funny how sports fans view professional athletes. Somehow, we have developed this notion that our beloved athletes will get better as they age – much like fine wine, but considerably more expensive – and then "peak" before starting to decline. The Indians’ Michael Brantley is an excellent example of this “Bell Curve” philosophy: He’s improved steadily over the past several years and at age 27, does not appear to have peaked as of yet. But unfortunately, he’s an exception to the rule.

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Volume 6, Issue 18, Posted 9:48 AM, 09.03.2014

Does LeBron’s return = a championship? History emphatically says “No!”

Now that LeBron James has decided to come “home” to play some hoops, I know many Cleveland sports fans have become downright giddy at the prospect of not one, but multiple NBA championships. And if the rumored acquisition of the highly talented Kevin Love also comes to pass, the prospects of a championship parade down East 9th Street certainly increase. However this being, you know, Cleveland and all, it’s only good sense to consider possibilities of other scenarios which also might happen.

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Volume 6, Issue 17, Posted 9:48 AM, 08.19.2014

Blame the Dolans for the state of the Tribe

So, how come there seem to be so many Dolan apologists running around Cleveland as of late? As the Indians enter the home stretch of the 2014 season with what might better be described as a “limp” rather than a “charge” it’s time to – yet again – do a postmortem on another disappointing season.

What I hear regarding the state of the Indians is truly puzzling. “The Dolans aren’t the ones who recommended we sign Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, etc., so don’t blame them,” is pretty much the party line of those who support the Indians’ owners.

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Volume 6, Issue 16, Posted 9:37 AM, 08.05.2014

Cavs owner Gilbert to finally win crown ... as 'court jester'

So the King is back, huh? Unless we’re talking burgers, or you spotted Elvis on Lolly the Trolley, I’m not all that interested. Really.

The news that LeBron James is returning to play basketball for the Cleveland Cavs doesn’t have me terribly excited. No question it’s a strange dynamic, because if we had lured LeBron here from Miami – and he had no prior connection or history in Cleveland – I’d probably be leading the “Welcome LeBron” parade down East 9th, and be the first to plant a big sloppy kiss on his cheek. As we all know, though, that’s not the case. And, for your own edification, I don’t generally kiss basketball players.

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Volume 6, Issue 15, Posted 9:42 AM, 07.22.2014

It's time for MLB to deep-six the DH

It’s been more than 40 years since the American League decided to give Major League Baseball a shot (non-steroidal, presumably) in the arm by implementing the designated hitter (not to be confused with the Wil Cordero/Ray Rice spousal abuse version, which is still quite popular today). I say it’s time to get rid of it.

If we hop into the way-back machine and check out the status of baseball in the early 1970s, life wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops in the land of fastballs and check-swings. Attendance was down, pitching was dominating the game more with each passing year and, speaking of passing, the NFL – thanks to the advent of Monday Night Football, which debuted in 1970 – was taking a larger chunk of baseball’s audience. So the deep thinkers of baseball decided something had to be done.

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Volume 6, Issue 14, Posted 10:07 AM, 07.08.2014