Monday, September 29, 2008

Here, in Cleveland? I didn't know we still had a team

Yes, the Indians are still playing ball, at least until today. The Tribe closed out an interesting year with a 5-1 loss to the White Sox. With future Cy Young winner Cliff Lee nursing an injury, Orel Hershiser, er, make that Bryan Bullington took the mound for the Indians.

The kid didn't pitch too badly, calling upon his inner-Bulldog to hold the Chi-Sox to 2 earned runs in 5 innings. That's pretty good for a guy who was recently cut by the perennial cellar dwelling Pittsburgh Pirate organization. Hopefully, one day, he'll become the player he was meant to be as the number 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft. Unfortunately, I don't think he'll be in the bigs next April. And that is what this season became about early, next season.

So what did this season teach us about next season?

1) Andy Marte is a bust. 80 games and he struggled to reach a .221 average. The biggest concern is his lack of power, which was much more prevalent in the minors than his batting average. 3 home runs just won't cut it for a third baseman. At 24 years old, he still has time to get better. But with no more options, are the Indians willing to wait to find out?

2) Shin-Soo Choo is a ball player. 94 games and a .309 average, easily tops on the team. This was a refreshing change to the .240 averages put up by his outfield predecessors Guterriez, Dellucci, Michaels. His development also provides solid insurance for the organization in case corner outfielder of the future not named LaPorta, Trevor Crowe, is unable to develop into a major league talent.

3) Jeremy Sowers is done. After two straight seasons with an E.R.A. over 5.53, Sowers has fallen too far down the depth chart of young starting pitchers. We should see a rotation next year of Lee, Carmona, Reyes, Laffey, and Scott Lewis. Westbrook will find a way into the rotation at some point mid-season following his rehab. Of course, if superstud Adam Miller can go 2 weeks without a blister, he might finally get a chance in the bigs.

4) Jensen Lewis might be a good closer, possibly, perhaps. 13 saves in 14 chances is promising, but so was 10 wins in 15 starts last season for Derek Anderson. After a horrendous June and July where he had E.R.A.s of 6.00 and 6.97, Lewis settled down and had E.R.A.s of 3.38 and 1.00 in August and September. Not surprisingly, 12 out of his 13 saves came during August and September. And at only 24 years old, Lewis has his best years ahead of him.

So here's to the summer of 2008, as it leads us to the summer of 2009.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cripple Fight

A win is a win and the Browns needed this one badly. In what amounted to a slapfest between two 0-3 teams, the Browns swung it's crutches right into the jaw of the Bungles. And it wasn't pretty.

For about 3/4's of the game it looked as if DA "Jack McCoy" needed to be put out to pasture. Perhaps the low point of his afternoon came at the beginning of the 3rd quarter with the Browns driving down the field. Missing a wide open K2, DA giftwrapped another interception in enemy territory, forcing the ball towards the well covered Josh Cribbs, right into the arms of Chinedum Ndukwe.

But, against all logic, Battletoad Crennel left DA in, rode the legs of Jamal Lewis, finally got K2 involved in the passing game and good prevailed. Braylon also finally hit pay dirt, breaking out perhaps one of the best touchdown celebrations performed by a Browns player in history.

There are several positives to take away from this game. DA appears to have gained back some of the confidence of last season, allowing for something to build upon over the bye week. I still believe DA has a chance to turn this season around once the offensive line has fully healed and Donte Stallworth takes off his skirt and decides to justify his 35 million dollar contact. Alex Hall had a nice sack, forced fumble and appears capable of making a necessary big play. The Ghost, Jerome Harrison, finally got several touches on offense. Mike Adams and Eric Wright actually came away with interceptions, though Eric Wright, the Human 5-yard cushion, promptly gave the ball right back on a fumble.

The Browns are still making far too many stupid penalties. Four offsides calls in one game is inexcusable. Louis Leonard managed to lineup in the neutral zone twice and yet failed to make one tackle. Maybe against the Giants, King Louis needs to lineup on the bench. Additionally, allowing speedster, Ryan Fitzpatrick, he of the career 58.2 QB Rating, which by the way tops DA's rating of 43.5 on the season (coming into the game) two third down scrambles (one a 3rd and 6; one a 3rd and 7) of 11 and 13 yards is disgraceful.

This bye week calls for some serious self-reflection for the Browns and Romeo Crennel. Beating the Giants on Monday Night Football at home would go a long way to ease the pain of these early season losses. Romeo needs to show that he can make adjustments necessary to install confidence in him as a head coach. DA needs to gain back this team. Now is the time to figure out who we are. The Giants lost their first two games last year and won the Superbowl. Who says this team can't turn it around and do the same. Read the rest of this article

Worst Win Ever

I have never been more disappointed by a win in my life. This win sets the organization back a ton. Romeo stays. DA stays. Terrible team stays.

What is worse is that Romeo all but guaranteed that DA would be pulled at half time if he stunk. Romeo is a big FAT liar. If that performance in the first half didn't get DA pulled, nothing will. DA was good in the 4th, but he never should have been in there in the first place.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Casey Blake? Really?

As I sit here beginning to write this, the Indians are "beating up" on the second place White Sox. I use the term "beating up" loosely, only because the White Sox pitcher's inability to throw strikes is hardly grounds for the Indians delivering a whuppin. This post will pop my proverbial cherry as a writer for this site, and to begin I will touch on a few things that stick out from a lost season. First and foremost, while its fresh on my mind, last night after the Dodgers clinched, Joe Torre said something like "It all started to come together when Casey Blake arrived here..." Casey Blake? Really? you just landed Manny Ramirez... and Casey Blake is the difference maker? maybe Eric wedge was onto something when he kept him in the lineup all those years when Blake was hitting .210...

Buster Olney did a piece this week for about the end of the Yankees dynasty, noting that their neglect of the draft ultimately led to their downfall. while only 10 position players drafted by the Yankees from 97-05 made it to the bigs. Who was second "worst"? The Indians, with 11. You may say to yourself, yea but Shapiro has placed an emphasis on depth at pitching in the organization so we must have had a bunch of pitchers come through the system over those nine years... The real number is 14. Good enough to be tied for last in the league. Has there ever been a more astute GM at making trades for prospects and signing international talent, while being so terrible at drafting. Of course this falls on the GM but trickles down to the scouts who give their opinions on these players. One last thing about this, those who did not want Sabathia traded, if CC walked after the year and the Tribe received a few compensation draft picks, would you be confident Shapiro would land a Laporta type player? or even a PTBNL type player?

One player who Shapiro should take credit for is drafting Ryan Garko. While he has been mired in what seems like a season long slump, and everyone seems to be down on him, he has actually turned it around and will at the very worst finish with 89 RBI. In what can be considered his sophomore season, Garko's actual power numbers have dipped, his OPS is down almost 100 points from last year. But it is his second year when pitchers typically make adjustments. Hitters make adjustments in their third year. Garko, a third round pick out of Stanford, certainly has the pedigree to make intelligent adjustments. I have always been a Garko fan, ever since watching him mash his way through the College World Series.

This seems like a good time to talk about the ground rules for the posts on this blog. I have a few laws I must follow as set forth by the Commander in Chief. I must write about the Indians. If I don't write about the Indians it must be baseball. And if I don't write about baseball it must be about sports in general. A little confusing you say? Just know that unless something outlandish happens (and by outlandish I mean the Buckeyes open up the offense, the Browns do anything right, or Todd Lowber plays a snap in a real NFL game) this will be a baseball column.

My rules are as follows:

1. Eric Wedge game management is donkey-like. This needs to be read into a little bit, because I do respect the clubhouse he keeps and the way players will run through walls for him. But he routinely puts the wrong guys in the wrong place in the games. If we could keep Wedge as the manager but surround him with a very good bench coach we would be in business.

2. Derek Anderson Sucks

3. Todd Boeckman is the Derek Anderson of Cbus

4. Platoons are not fun

5. Jacob's Field will always be Jacob's Field

6. List is subject to change at any point

There you have it. I will touch on all levels of Indians baseball. I do follow the draft closely every year. There is a player the Indians passed over in the draft this season who played for me over the summer, and I tell you he very well could be the next Grady Sizemore. We will touch on that at a later date. Currently I live in New Jersey and am surrounded by Yankees and Mets fans. And fake Yankees and Mets fans. Which is nice this year because they have not been out in full force. You will catch some comparisons on here between the Cleveland fan base and the NY teams. You will also catch me bitching about these people. My next post will most likely be an end of season wrapup on Monday or Tuesday. I know you'll be looking forward to it... Read the rest of this article

Friday, September 26, 2008

Romeo Must Die, Savage too

This topic has been beaten to death in other blogs and forums, but I have to put in my two cents. Romeo Crennel is the worst coach in the league. He has to be. We all know why so I don't need to repeat it here to inform you of the reasons. Instead, I will repeat here the ones that come to mind because I am so angry about them. In no particular order:

1) Can't coach-a very important aspect of coaching
2) Can't manage the clock
3) Too loyal to incompetents around him to get rid of them while there is still time-See Carthon and Anderson
4) Can't make a good decision on anything. I liked it better when he was flipping coins. At least then he had a 50-50 chance of getting it right. I've never seen someone mess up so many challenge calls and starting lineups and play schemes, yada yada.
5) Can't evaluate talent.

Romeo must die (get fired). He wasn't any good last year during Cleveland's 10 win season. Don't let the record fool you. He exhibited every one of these problems all last season. We won in spite of him (and Derek Anderson for that matter, but I digress).

Why isn't he fired? Because Phil Savage has no sack. It's hard to believe it, but the Browns actually have someone in the organization with less testicular fortitude than Romeo. Savage repeatedly sits by while Romeo takes the ship to the bottom of the river. Romeo is stubborn. We know that. As the guy actually responsible for the personnel decisions, it is Phil's job to know when to make the changes and when to re-sign the players.

Carthon stunk. It took waaaaaay too long to get rid of him over Romeo's objection. Shaun Rogers had 3 years left on his contract when he came here and we gave him a brand new deal without playing a down.

Derek Anderson had about 5 decent games last year, against turrible (as spoken by Sir Charles Barkley) teams. Watch the games, it's true. The man got a new contract. Romeo had no good games, and he got an extension. I don't understand this philosophy that if we win games, we must be doing well. That is bull shit. Yes, winning games is what matters. But that doesn't mean we must reward people who happen to be on the team in key positions of coach and qb when they didn't play like 10 win guys. Yes the coach and the qb always get more share of the credit when the team wins and more share of the blame when the team loses. But isn't it the job of the team general manager to look past that and evaluate based on talent and performance, and not the record? Trent Dilfer won a super bowl. He must be very talented, right? Terry Bradshaw is probably one of the most overrated qb in history thanks to his 4 super bowls that the Steelers defense got him.

Yes, Romeo is god awful. Everyone knows it. But that's not his fault. It's just who he is. The problem is why is he here being god awful for Cleveland? Phil Savage, the man who gave Romeo an extension. This isn't to say that Savage hasn't done anything right. Unlike Romeo, Phil has some hits to go along with his misses. The Frye trade, the Joe Thomas pick (a very ballsy and great pick). However, the problem with the team right now is Romeo Crennel, and he is Phil Savage's responsibility.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Polls Archives

Which statement best describes Varejao's new contract??

Should the Indians trade Cliff Lee before the trade deadline?

Do the Cavs Beat the Magic?

What's the Most Embarrassing Thing about Orlando?

Who is Most to Blame for the Indians' Bullpen Woes So Far this Season?

If you were in Vegas with $1,000 to put down on an NBA Champion futures bet, which team, given their current Bodog odds, would you bet on??

In Their Matchup with the Pistons, the Cavs will?

How Many Home Runs Will Pronk Hit This Season?

How Many Games Will the Indians Win This Season?

How Would You Define a Successful Season for the Cavs?

Who is Most Likely to be an All-Star This Year?

What's Your Biggest Fear in the NBA?

If given the opportunity today and without knowing whether he'll re-sign next summer, which of the following groups of players, if any, would you trade Lebron for?

What are your feelings as Browns and Buckeye fans on the Steelers winning the Super Bowl, and Buckeye Santonio Holmes as MVP?

Who Should the Cavs Target at the Trading Deadline?

Who Will Lead the Indians in Homeruns this Season?

What is the Biggest Reason Ohio State Lost the Fiesta Bowl?
Who will be the next Browns coach?
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Monday, September 1, 2008

About Us

We are a collection of Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians and Ohio State fans who have gathered along the banks of the mighty Cuyahoga River to shed our tears and share our cheers over the fates of our beloved sports teams. Some of us met in high school, some of us in graduate school, and some of us are family, however, we have all bonded over our passion for Cleveland and Ohio States sports and our desire to rise from the complacency of failures and mediocrity to the championships which all passionate Cleveland and Ohio State fans deserve. Join us, read our thoughts, and share your own, so that one day we can once again celebrate along the banks of the Cuyahoga River. Read the rest of this article