Indians need to win, Cavs need to lose?

Last Sunday the Indians got their first win of the season in a 7-1 victory over the White Sox and the Cavs lost…again.  Now the Cavs have a handful of games left and the Indians have approximately 159 games left after this weekend.  But both of these teams need to hope for different results to help bring back the passion and support of Cleveland sports fans.

Cleveland Indians

Winning is the best way to get fans back into the seats of Jacobs/Progressive Field (it will always be the jake to me).    To bring fans to the game this year the Indians had to get off to a good start but opening day was a worst case scenario.  Midway through the 4th inning the Tribe were down 14-0 and people were already leaving the sold-out venue. 

The magic needs to return ASAP

The reason why I am stressing a fast start for this team is to keep the interest of the fans.  A 162 game season is hard enough to keep interest in, but if the Tribe can put some hope and belief back into the fans within the first couple weeks of the season then good things will happen.  Last year the Indians averaged the lowest attendance in all of baseball and I do not want that to happen again.  The only way to do that is to win and win now!  I am not expecting the Indians to be playoff contenders this year but I am expecting some improvement from last year.  At this point Cleveland fans are just looking for something respectable.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers are on a completely different spectrum.  Their season is finally coming to an end, I never thought it would, and they need to lose the rest of their games to get better.  Now I stated in one of my first posts that losing might be the best way to improve this team but the urgency to lose now needs to be at an all time high.  Kenny Roda, ESPN Cleveland radio host, has endorsed the acronym APPBITH (Another Ping Pong Ball In The Hopper) and the city of Cleveland needs to get behind this creative saying. 

Losing this season may lead to more wins next year

The Cavs currently have a 1/2 game lead on the Minnesota Timberwolves for the worst record in the NBA.  It was a 1 1/2 game lead but the Cavs had to win tonight and the T’wolves had to lose…go figure.  If the Cavs lose out then it gives them the best chance to nab the first pick in the draft.  Because the NBA is stupid and does not automatically give the worst team the first pick in the draft then the Cavs need to give themselves the best chance to get the first pick and that means lose.  The draft order is based on a draft lottery and the worse a team is the better chances they have of getting a high draft pick.  The first pick is not a guarantee by any means but a win or two at this point in the season might cause the Cavs to draft 3rd instead of 1st and that’s not good.  

Losses for the Cavs = a faster rebuilding process.  Losses for the Indians = a loss of interest.  That is the formula of these two Cleveland sports.

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Its Tribe Time!

March is coming to end along with another long, harsh winter and that means that the Cleveland Indians are finally ready to start their season.  This Friday is the official season/home opener for the Tribe but that could change because of the lovely northeast

Opening day 2007

Ohio weather that always seems to cause problems.  We all know what happened a couple of years ago when the entire opening series with the Seattle Mariners was postponed due to a blizzard…Gotta love this Ohio weather.  I just find it funny that Major League Baseball always finds a way to schedule Tribe home games the first couple weeks of the season.  If it was up to me I would put Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota and any other northern city baseball franchise on the road for at least the first week of the season.  Either way the start of a new season means new-found hope for Cleveland sports fans and I couldn’t be any more excited!

The Indians have a lot of young talent this year and that gives us a chance to make some noise if certain players develop…sounds like the same old crap we have heard the past 2 years.  But there is a different feeling around this team.  The young talent might finally live up to their potential if the dreaded injury bug doesn’t come around again.  Indians manager, Manny Acta has a lot to prove in his 2nd year here and if he doesn’t improve from his less than satisfactory season last season then he might be looking for a job.  Here are some players that might be key elements to the success to this team this year.

Players to watch

  •  Catcher, Carlos Santana.  Last year he became the full-time starter midway through the season.  Right when he was starting to come on he severely injured his knee and was forced to sit out the rest of the year.  If he can get back to where he was last year and live up to his potential then the Indians will be considerably better. 
  • 1st baseman, Matt LaPorta.  If the Indians want to improve they have to get more production out of LaPorta.  He has been projected to be a 30+ home run hitter and that hasn’t happened yet. 
  • Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo

    Outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo.  Last year Choo was the Indians best all around player.  He was the best offensive and defensive everyday player.  If he can keep his production levels up and someone else can step up offensively then this team will improve. 

  • The entire starting rotation.  If there is one glaring weakness with this team it’s starting pitching.  There is not one stand out pitcher in our rotation this year.  Fausto Carmona is consistently inconsistent, Justin Masterson is at best the 5th guy in a rotation and he is our 2nd and no one knows what to expect from Mitch Talbot, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin.  It is the one thing on this team that could derail any potential improvement.

  Opening day for the Indians holds a special place in my heart.  I remember being in 4th grade and watching the season opener in class.  The Indians in the late 90s and early 2000s had the hearts of every person in the northeast Ohio region.  I just hope that it gets back to that level sometime soon.

And the Cavs finally got some revenge on Lebron!  This season is a success in my eyes! 

 

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Where is the Excitement?

There is no doubt in my mind that Cleveland sports fans are the greatest fans in the world.  With that said, I noticed there has been some sort of lull in the excitement before, during and after games.  That is no surprise when it comes to the Cavs this season but I haven’t heard that much from the Indians.  Spring training is underway and the only thing I have heard regarding the Indians is that Fausto Carmona will be the opening day starter…thats it!

I’m not going to lie this time of year in the sports world is quite boring.  The NBA is still mid-season, baseball is in spring training and football just ended.  The only thing Cleveland has to look forward to in the next few weeks is the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (Quicken Loans Arena plays host to games in the 1st and 2nd rounds of the tournament).  Call me crazy, but I still have the same amount of excitement this year as I did last year.   

Last Friday I watched the Cavs play the New York Knicks, in Madison Square Garden, and it was the debut of Baron Davis.  I was excited just to see him play but add the newly formed Knicks with Carmelo Anthony and you had one exciting game.  This was the 2nd time in a week that these teams played each other.  The Cavs had stunned the Knicks earlier in the year before the addition of Carmelo and they did it again after the addition of

The Cavaliers version of ochocinco Baron Davis

Carmelo.  This was the first game in New York and Carmelo marked it as a “revenge game” against the worst team in the NBA.  Seemed like the cards were stacked against the Cavaliers but Baron Davis had other plans.  The Cavs were down ten with about half of the fourth quarter left to play but then Davis and the rest of the Cavaliers came back to upset the Knicks…again. 

The game was sealed by Davis who hit a deep three in the final 30 seconds to push the lead from a one possession game to a two possession game.  I was at my friend’s house watching the game and the excitement we had when he hit that shot was amazing.  I jumped out of my chair and screamed like a school girl.  I didn’t care that this win was only the 12th out of 61, it was special and meant a lot to me as a Cleveland fan.    

For me, the excitement is still there even during this lack-lustered time for Cleveland sports.  I don’t care that the Cavs are terrible and that the Indians are projected to finish last in the Central Division.  As long as there is a game or two that gets me out of my chair screaming at the top of my lungs I’ll be alright. Don’t get me wrong, a nice long playoff run by any Cleveland team is awesome but that’s bonus for me.  If the playoffs are out of the question then an exciting game or two is all I am asking for.

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Trades, Injuries and Draft Picks oh my!

The past week for the Cleveland Cavaliers has been arguably the most entertaining week of the year.  I planned on writing this post about the Cleveland Indians since spring training recently kicked off but I just couldn’t stay away from my Cavaliers. 

Baron Davis will make his Cavaliers debut Wednesday

The Cavs were involved in two trades that will help this team greatly in the future.  The Cavs first deal sent  Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Clippers in exchange for Baron Davis and their 2011 1st round pick.   The second deal sent a future 2nd round pick to Boston for back-up bigs Luke Harangody and Semih Erden.  Honestly, I feel that the Cavs got away with highway robbery in both deals.  Mo Williams and Jamario Moon probably would have gone elsewhere once their contracts expired and Baron Davis will probably do the same but he comes with a well needed draft pick.  The deal with Boston is just comical because we gave up basically nothing to get two young players. 

 

The trade deadline for the Cavs has been quite entertaining the past couple of years.  Last year there were talks about the Cavs making a move for Amar’e Stoudemire but ended up landing Antawn Jamison instead.  In 2008 there were talks about the Cavs picking up Shaquille O’Neal mid-season but got Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and Joe Smith.  The Cavs ironically ended up trading Ben Wallace after the season to pick up Shaq.  So we are accustomed to the Cavs making a move or two this time of year but no one could have predicted this.   

The Baron Davis trade broke around 1 a.m. on Thursday and sent shock waves across the league.  For those that don’t know, Baron Davis’s contract was considered immovable and of course he gets moved to Cleveland. He is supposed to make around 30 million for the next 2 years and he has never lived up to that massive contract since he signed it in 2008 with the Clippers.  But he is not the reason why I think this deal was great.  The 1st round draft pick they received from the Clippers was magnificent!  That pick most likely means that the Cavs will have 2 picks in the top 10 which is huge.  The only way this team is going to get better is with draft picks and they secured that with this trade. 

The Cavs move with the Celtics was also quite unexpected because of what little we gave up.  The Celtics must have been slightly intoxicated to trade two players in exchange for a 2013 2nd round draft pick.  Now Luke Harangody and Semih Erden may not be the answer to our problems but they are young and have potential.  I was extremely excited about this trade because they will hopefully take minutes away from Samardo Samuels and Ryan Hollins…They are pathetic. 

Antawn Jamison underwent surgery today

The trades that went down on Thursday gave this team the spark they needed to upset New York on Friday, but something bad just had to happen.  Antawn Jamison, the Cavs leading scorer, will most likely miss the rest of the year after undergoing finger surgery today. This really isn’t that big of a deal since this season is basically over but it would have been nice to see Jamison with the new additions.  Either way, I am excited to see what young talent we pick up in the upcoming draft.  It’s just ironic how last year we were excited for a playoff run and this year we are excited for next year.
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Playoffs: Which Cleveland team will get there first?

Cleveland Sports are not very attractive right now.  The Cavs are currently the worst team in the NBA, the Browns are once again going through a coaching change and the Indians seem to always be rebuilding.  So which one of these teams has the best chance to make the playoffs?  I figured I would weigh the pros and cons of each team to come up with a definitive answer…but we all know that’s pretty tough to do with Cleveland sports.

Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald "G Force" Wallace

The Cleveland Cavaliers

Pros:

  • They have some young pieces to work with in the future.  J.J. Hickson, Anderson Varejao, Daniel Gibson and Christian Eyenga seem to have a bright future ahead of them if they stay healthy. 
  • The huge trade exception that we got from Lebron’s departure.  This trade exception can help us in acquiring a big time player via trade.  Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace has been rumored to be on our radar because of that trade exception. 

Cons:

  • They are the worst team in the NBA right now.  Normally it takes a couple of years for a team this bad to dig themselves out of this kind of hole.  It took three years for the Cavs to make the playoffs after drafting Lebron.
  • The Eastern Conference is getting stronger.  The Knicks just picked up Carmelo Anthony in a blockbuster deal and the Nets just traded for Deron Williams.  Not to mention the already strong Boston, Miami, Orlando and Chicago.  That leaves only two spots open for the playoffs.

The Cleveland Browns

Pros:

  • The Browns also have good young talent in Colt Mccoy, Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Peyton Hillis.  Plus they have the 6th overall pick in this years draft which will hopefully give us more young talent.

    From left to right Mike Holmgren, Pat Shurmur, Tom Heckert

  • The front office seems to finally be in line after the hiring of Pat Shurmur.  President Mike Holmgren and General Manager Tom Heckert will hopefully keep this team on the right track.

Cons

  • Pat Shurmur may give us balance in the front office but he is a first time head coach.  He is unproven and we don’t know what we have with him.  
  • With a new coaching staff comes the long process of learning a new system, which could set this team back a year or two.
  • The AFC north is arguably the toughest division in the NFL.  Pittsburgh made a trip to the Super Bowl this year and Baltimore is consistently making playoff runs.  In order to make the playoffs we have to get past these teams first.

The Cleveland Indians

Indians catcher Carlos Santana

Pros:

  • The Indians have a solid young core of players.  Catcher Carlos Santana has a world of potential and Grady Sizemore has the potential to be one of the best players in the Central division if healthy.
  • The signing of utility man Orlando Cabrera was under the radar but a good move.  He seems to find himself on good teams every year so hopefully he did the same this year.

Cons:

  • Injuries have diminished the production of key players.  Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore are far from consistent due to injuries and they need to stay healthy in order for this team to move forward.
  • Starting pitching.  Fausto Carmona has yet to live up to expectations and no one else has stepped up.  We have a young group of pitchers and someone needs to step up and take the reins.

 The Cleveland Indians have the best chance to make the playoffs first because every year it seems like a team sneaks under the radar and makes the playoffs.  A prime example of this is last years World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.  The Cavs and Browns road to the playoffs is too tough right now and will take a number of years to breakthrough.  In a perfect world all of these teams would be playoff bound this year but then again it’s not a perfect world and its Cleveland we are talking about.

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Should Cavs Fire Scott?

The Cleveland Cavaliers record-setting losing streak finally came to an end on Friday but who is to blame for this collapse?  There is no question that this team is completely different from the team last year but, no one could have predicted the Cavs to be the front-runner for the 1st pick in the draft at this point in the year.  Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott hasn’t been scrutinized nearly as much as he should have because people pity him for coming into this situation.

"We've got to play better and it's got to be a committed effort every single night." Byron Scott said

Byron Scott was brought in here to help persuade Lebron James to stay in Cleveland and once that didn’t work Scott was given somewhat of a free pass from the media and the front office.  Sure, the talent on this team cannot compete with the majority of the teams in this league and injuries to key components have played a role as well but the primary flaw with this team is motivation.  Before the season opener against the Boston Celtics, Scott gave a speech about how this team was going to play hard no matter what.  After the Cavs upset the Celtics in that season opener i was a firm believer in that speech but oh how quickly things can change. 

During the 26 game losing streak there were many times that this team seemed to be disinterested.  But this teams most recent loss to the Wizards really ticked me off for a number of reasons.  For starters, The Washington Wizards were in the middle of a 25 game road losing streak and the Cavs were just coming off their first win in 53 days.  There was reason to believe that the Cavs would not only win but win convincingly.  Oh but that’s why they play the game.  The Cavs turned the ball over, gave up offensive rebounds and flat-out lacked the effort to win this game.  

Byron Scott is struggling in getting this team motivated to play hard night in and night out.  In his post-game interview, after the Wizards game, Scott said that “the effort just wasn’t there.”  The effort hasn’t been there for a handful of games this season and this team obviously can’t be successful playing that way.  Byron Scott has a great basketball mind and he has all the potential to become a great coach but his one flaw is his motivational skills.  In order to become a great coach in any sport a coach must be a great motivator.  If a coach can get his team to play with a sence of urgency and desire on a consistent basis then there is no doubt in my mind that team can be successful. 

Byron Scott is a great coach but for some reason he cannot get this team motivated.  Scott has won championships as a player and has taken teams to the NBA finals as a coach but he needs to figure out how to motivate this Cleveland Cavaliers team as soon as possible.  His job is probably safe for this year but if the losing continues into next season then Byron Scott might be looking for a job.  The pity card can only last for so long.

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With the 6th pick, the Cleveland Browns select…

With the 2010/11 season coming to an end this past Sunday it is not too early to start looking ahead to the draft on April 28th.  For a Browns fan this is the most exciting time of the NFL season because the expectations of the incoming draft class give its fans some well needed hope.  Mock drafts are already being made by ESPN draft experts and Browns fans everywhere are hoping for the next young superstar to be wearing the brown and orange next year.

Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur

The Browns have already had a busy off-season.  They fired head coach Eric Mangini two days after the season ended and hired a young and unproven Pat Shurmur as a replacement.  The hiring of Shurmur means that the Browns will have a completely different philosophy on offense and defense.  The change in scheme means the Browns have more holes to fill then they originally had after two back-to-back 5-11 seasons. 

Believe it or not, the Browns made some improvements even if their record didn’t show it.  The arrival of running back Peyton Hillis was a nice surprise and last year’s draft class made a huge impression on this team. Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Colt Mccoy were arguably the best part of this team and they were all rookies.  But the fact of the matter is the Browns still need a big play wide receiver, a consistent pass rusher, maybe a linebacker or two and some depth at the running back position.  The chances of addressing all of those holes in this draft are slim but every little bit helps.

Draft scenarios:

  1. Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green. The 6’4”, 212-pound vertical possession receiver would fill a gaping hole in this offense.  His big play ability is what was lacking for this team the past two years.  If he falls to the Browns I cannot see them passing him up. 

    Alabama WR Julio Jones

  2. Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. The 6’4”, 220-pound all-around receiver would also be what the Browns needed but he may be the better option compared to Green.  The Browns will be running a west coast offense which focuses on ball control and run after the catch.  Jones is known for his run after catch ability while Green is more of a go up and get it type of receiver.  Taking Jones would be a reach but he may be the better fit of the two.
  3. North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn.  The 6’4”, 254-pound pass rusher would hopefully give the Browns what they need on the edge.  He missed all of last year due to a rules violation which makes him a scary pick.  He hasn’t played in a year and he has character issues but if he can play up to his potential then he would be a great fit for this transitioning defense.
  4. LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.  This may seem like a head scratcher considering they drafted cornerback Joe Haden with their first round pick last year but here is my logic. The 6’1”, 222-pound defensive back would be a perfect complement to Haden and together they could shut down some of the best passing attacks in the league.  Also if the Browns were to draft Peterson then I would like to see them trade back into the first round to get Julio Jones. 

Making the right selections could put this team in the right position to finally become a consistent contender in the NFL.  Hopefully they won’t find a way to screw this up!

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