The Tribe won tonight 5-0, shutting out the White Sox. Westbrook threw 7 strong innings and actually looked really good. Just as importantly, the bullpen threw a couple of shutout innings.
On another note, I was looking at the cover of Time Magazine that had the Dixie Chicks on it. I don't know what it is about her, but I'd definitely do the chubby one in the middle.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The Tribe won tonight 5-0, shutting out the White Sox. Westbrook threw 7 strong innings and actually looked really good. Just as importantly, the bullpen threw a couple of shutout innings.
Posted by Vinny at 10:29 PM
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
That's where you have to look in the AL fielding standings to find the Tribe. Our starting pitchers have been nothing to brag about, but boy the fielders haven't helped. Victor Martinez committed the Tribe's league-leading 39th error today. That number doesn't count missed double plays, balls dropping between fielders, and the utter incompetence of the pitchers and Victor in controlling the running game. The Tribe's still scoring a bunch of runs each game, but as long as they keep giving up extra at-bats, they're gonna keep losing.
The good news is that they squeaked by the Sox tonight 4-3 thanks to Carsten Charles. He pitched a hell of a game. The other good news is that while his pitches were diving straight over the plate, his hat was crooked on his head as usual. Jhonny Peralta(who should be playing 2B or 3B) hit a big fly that plated two, and no one screwed up so much that it cost runs.
Earlier in the day, Mark Shapiro deflected criticism from Wedgie and made statements that, on the surface, appeared to support him. Hopefully, that's the usual GM double speak they use whenever they start looking around for another manager. Wedge is a problem. He and his coaches aren't getting results. They don't appear to get too upset with crappy play, idiotic baserunning, or poor pitching decisions. Wedge keeps running out the same guys no matter what they did the prior night. Moreover, Brandon Phillips is not here solely due to Wedge's inability to deal with him.
It made no sense to trade Phillips, at age 24, for a big fat nothing. Remember, Phillips was the lynchpin to the Colon deal. He was the guy baseball people compared to Jeter and Tejada. He happens to be hitting .309 for the Reds. He's also playing excellent defense at 2B and is 10 for 10 in stolen bases. Don't forget that the Tribe traded Phillips to keep Ramon Vazquez. That's Ramon friggin' Vazquez folks. He's the least feared hitter in all of baseball. Or, I should say, he was the least feared hitter in all of baseball. Now, he's back where he belongs---AAA. The funny thing is that no one believed Vazquez was better than Phillips. So, why did the Tribe trade him? Why not keep a 24 year old talented guy who was way above average defensively and who only needed to work on his hitting rather than a big league bum?
I can't think it was motivated by Shapiro. There was no upside for him to do it. When sitting around with all the other GM's, he'd have liked nothing better than to be able to say that, in his signature deal, he got a stud centerfielder (Grady), a very good left-handed starter (Lee), and his starting shortstop/second baseman for the next 10 years. Shapiro's too good at talent evaluation to think Vazquez was anything other than a bum or that he could develop into anything other than an older bum. Don't tell me it was his defense. Phillips was and is better defensively. Shoot, Johnny McDonald was 10 times the player Ramon friggin' Vazquez ever could be. Phillips was nowhere close to arbitration or free agency. That means that money wasn't a problem. So, Shapiro utterly lacked any motivation to trade the guy.
That leaves Wedge. Wedge already demonstrated that he couldn't or wouldn't deal with a talented head case in Milton Bradley. But, Bradley's an extreme example. He was a bit of a lunatic. He had been that way even when he was in the minors. Every analysis of Bradley as a player ended with something like, "the only thing that can hold Milton Bradley back is his mental make-up/emotional development/lack of maturity...." You get the picture.
The difference is that no one said that about Phillips. People said he was "cocky," that he exuded "supreme confidence," and that his demeanor bordered upon "arrogance." So what? So he was a cocky horse's ass who was playing great defensive ss at Buffalo. Big deal!
My personal theory is that Wedge couldn't deal with him. I don't know if Wedge is thin-skinned or lacks self-esteem (he is, after all, a lifetime .233 hitter in 86 major league at bats), but something soured the manager on Brandon Phillips.
Posted by Vinny at 10:06 PM
This year's Indy 500 was one for the ages. It was the second closest race in history, ran under the green flag most of the way, and was won by a Buckeye. What more could you ask for?
Picking up on Vinny's comment on my earlier post about the race, I'd love to be able to write an article about the Indianapolis 500 that is along the lines of Hunter S. Thompson's The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, but I can't. There are two reasons for this. First, I lack the talent, and second, my travelling companions were my brother and my 13 and 10 year old sons. While my sons are great company, it's hard to write in the Gonzo style while you're accompanied by minors. I think it's also technically illegal.
If you want something a little more edgy than what you'll get from me, check out Jalopnik's coverage of the race.
The race itself was memorable. It didn't get off to a great start, with P.J. Chesson crashing on the second lap, but that was followed by almost 60 laps without a yellow flag. The rest of the day pretty much followed an almost ideal script--lots of racing, with just enough yellow flags to keep the race intriguing and just enough crashes to keep my 10 year old (and the 10 year old in me) interested. As for the last four laps, well, they were simply insane.
As I said before, TV just doesn't give you a sense for the real speed of the race. I was able to find a video that I think gives you more of a feel for that. Check this one out, which was taken at the start of Sunday's race and posted on Youtube.
Unfortunately, there's still no way to duplicate the sound of the Indianapolis 500, short of sticking your head in a jet engine. If you're a sports fan, you owe it to yourself to see this race in person at least once--although if you go to one, you'll be be back for more.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 10:03 PM
What the hell is it with this town? I go away for one weekend, and when I return I find the Indians 10 1/2 games back and one of their relief pitchers hiding in the bushes at 5:00 a.m.
Of course, since Scott Sauerbeck's pitched less than 10 innings this year, his arrest isn't exactly earth shattering news--just add it to the rapidly growing list of miscues by the underachieving 2006 Cleveland Indians.
Since I know it's everybody's first question, yeah, Sauerbeck's married (at least according to his bio). Explaining this little incident to his wife ought to be a barrel of laughs. Yikes!
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 1:03 PM
Friday, May 26, 2006
You won't hear much from me this weekend, because I'm off on a pilgrimmage to one of the greatest spectacles in sports--yup, I'm going to the Indianapolis 500.
I went to my first Indy 500 last year. I'm not a racing fan, but Indy was on my list of sporting events that I had to see before I died, and when my brother said he had extra tickets, I said, "why not?" Before the race, I bought into the whole "go fast and turn left" stereotype. I just took it as a given that unless you were a total gear head, there wouldn't be much to see.
Then the race started, and I was blown away. If you've only seen the race on TV, you haven't seen it. Our seats were in Turn 1, at the head of the straightaway, and when the race started, the cars roared toward us, five abreast, at over 200 mph. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was literally the most jaw-droppingly awesome thing I've ever seen--TV can't begin to do justice to the sights and sounds of the Indianapolis 500.
I've been to two World Series, an AFC Championship Game, NBA Conference Finals, and more ACC basketball games than I can count. Hell, I've even seen Pele play soccer. (I'm starting to sound like Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner, aren't I?) Anyway, there's nothing I've seen that compares to the adrenaline rush you get watching the first lap at Indy.
Unfortunately, the Indy racing world has been devastated by a decade-long civil war, and the marketing dynamo that is NASCAR has almost completely eclipsed Indy racing. However, the Indianapolis 500 is still the biggest single day event in sports, and there will be at least 250,000 people who will spend Sunday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the edge of their seats.
I'm lucky to be one of them.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:02 AM
...why not have one of the guys the Browns will be leaning on heavily get arrested? Well, that's exactly what Reuben Droughns did...again. This time it wasn't for allegedly driving around while liquored up. This time, he is accused of assault and harassment. A warrant was issued for his arrest on May 12th, which was four days after he was named the Browns' Player of the Year and three days after he was acquited of those drunk driving charges.
Do ya think Reuben's got a little too much time on his hands?
Posted by Vinny at 3:23 AM
Thursday, May 25, 2006
I've been chided in the comments section for not giving any love to Casey Blake. What can I say? The guy's start has been nothing short of astonishing, but my guess is that his offensive numbers ought to come crashing back to earth any time now.
If you're interested in some hard core analysis of why Blake's not likely to maintain his blistering pace, click here, but only if your SAT math score was over 650 and you're not afraid to refer to the Baseball Prospectus online glossary. Anyway, according to this prognosticator, Blake's not going to maintain his current pace. However, the good news is the rest of his season is more likely to be on a par with the career year that he had in 2004 than with his more disappointing performance in 2005. If he does that, I'll be happy.
Of course, Blake may have sold his soul to Joe Buck, in which case he'll keep this up all season, but will have to spend eternity reading Buck's columns in The Sporting News.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:21 PM
Did you think these guys were fictional? Well, guess again (via Deadspin).
Update: Bravo, Edmonton for your very classy response to the boorish behavior of the Anaheim fans. Now can we stop booing each other's anthems?
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:05 PM
Here's one reason why the 275 people who watched along with me as the Sabres beat the Hurricanes last night feel that we got a better deal than the millions of you who watched the Suns beat the Mavericks.
I like basketball, but I think there's a flaw in the way the game's designed. The rules and strategies employed by teams often combine to turn a game played at lightening speed for 46 minutes into something that moves at glacial pace during the final two minutes. Many times, the more hotly contested a basketball game is, the more tedious it becomes down the stretch.
After the Sabres game, the entire TV audience decided to go out for a beer together, and we talked about how the opposite is true in hockey. For example, the Hurricanes' desperate efforts to score a tying goal turned the last two minutes of yesterday's game into a frenzy of non-stop action. That's the way it almost always is in the NHL, but especially in the playoffs.
Plus, they fight a lot more in hockey.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:14 AM
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Okay C.C., I apologize for calling you Fatty McLardass when you were on the DL.
While we're on the subject of the Tribe, Cleveland Sports Perspective has some interesting thoughts on their recent moves. In particular, I thought they raised a good point about the decision to send Shoppach to Buffalo. If the Indians think he needs more playing time, they can give it to him here. As I've said before, Martinez catches way too many games, and Tim Laker's a waste of a roster spot.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:42 PM
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Tribe lost tonight 6-5 in extra innings. I could pick at things Wedge did or didn't do, or point out some stupid shit, like Michaels getting doubled off first base on a flyball to centerfield, but those are really minor points. When the Wahoos went down in the 9th without scoring a run, I had a sense of certainty that the game was over, even though the game was tied and the Twinks hadn't made much noise with the sticks for a few innings. The interesting thing was that I didn't have a sense of impending doom that the Twins would suddenly put something together in their half of the 9th. Instead, I just became resigned that this team and this manager would not win a one-run ballgame in extra innings.
I think that's the shame of it all. Last year, the White Sox won the division because they won one-run games. On the other hand, the Indians lost the division and the wild card because they couldn't win one-run games. In fact, they sucked in one-run games. This year, they really haven't been any better.
On paper, this isn't a .500 club. They're scoring 6 runs a game. There have been World Series champs who didn't do that. But, those have to be the softest 6 runs anyone has ever scored anywhere. They sure don't add up to wins.
The good news is that STO showed Wedge blinking 41 times. That's more than usual, but it was extra innings.
Posted by Vinny at 11:31 PM
This is Joe Buck, Fox Sports' lead man on the NFL and MLB. He's a charter member of the lucky sperm club and a talentless hack whose voice was once described as being "absurdly fake, like it’s being relayed through one of those giant plastic horns you get at the circus."
One of the many unlikeable things about Joe is that he seems oblivious to the fact that his status as Jack Buck's son may have helped his career a teensy-weensy bit. In fact, in every interview I've ever seen with him, he comes across as the classic example of a guy who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.
Anyone who has ever watched him cover a game can attest to the fact that Buck is also a big-time know it all, even though his comments are frequently mindless. New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick laid into Buck just the other day for his vacuous pontifications during Saturday's Mets v. Yankees game, but I doubt Mushnick's comments will have any effect. After all, Joe's part of the self-esteem generation.
As you can tell, I'm not a Joe Buck fan, but what prompted today's rant was a column he wrote for The Sporting News last week that I wish was available on-line. It was an effort at humor that failed miserably. How bad was it? Here's a little taste:
"Have we all heard enough about Teri Hatcher's dating life? Turns out, by the way, she was never married to Howie Long. I bought a radar detector from Radio Shack in '99 because I thought they were a cute couple."
"And finally there is David Blaine. A week in a water tank in New York City is a trick worthy of network television? I've been married for 13 years. I call what Blaine did a guy's trip."
Funny stuff, huh?
Did I mention that he's won six Emmys and makes tons more money than you do?
Buck's dreadful column made me wonder once again how on earth he's done so well for himself, and I've concluded that the meteoric rise of a guy as untalented and unlikeable as Joe Buck can only be attributed to supernatural forces.
I'll be blunt: I think Joe Buck may be the Antichrist, and since we're less than two weeks away from June 6, 2006 ( 6/6/06), I think we should be afraid. Very afraid.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 8:30 PM
Monday, May 22, 2006
Teepee Talk has a post discussing Sports Illustrated's photo essay on the 26 most memorable home runs in baseball history. Teepee Talk points out that they left off what may be the most famous dinger of all--Babe Ruth's called shot.
I have a different problem with the list, namely that it is so New York centric that it brings to mind Saul Steinberg's famous New Yorker cover illustration. Granted, the Yankees are, well, the Yankees, but of the 26 home runs featured in SI's photo essay, 11 involve the Evil Empire.
Some of these selections are indisputable. For example, Maris's 61st home run, Reggie Jackson's three homer performance in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, and Mazeroski's blast to beat the Yanks in the 1960 World Series would make anybody's list. Other Yankee selections are more questionable, and a few are downright bizarre. I mean, was Jeter's non-home run to Jeffrey Maier one of the most memorable dingers ever? Would you put Brett's pine tar home run on the list to the exclusion of some others that actually meant something (like maybe his 1980 pennant winner against the Yankees?)
Reading the SI list, it also seems like the Yankees are the only team that has ever won a pennant with a dinger. Chambliss's 1976 blast and Boone's 2004 home run make the list, but other than fellow New Yorker Bobby Thompson, no other pennant winner does.
The list also seems to have been prepared by guys who think baseball history began around 1960. Only two of the home runs on the list, Ted Williams' walk-off homer in the 1941 All-Star game and Bobby Thompson's 1951 "shot heard 'round the world" predate 1960.
Some earlier and/or non-New York dingers that should be considered for a list like this include: Gabby Hartnett's 1938 "Homer in the Gloamin'"; Frank Robinson's home run on Opening Day 1975 (the day he officially became Major League Baseball's first black manager); Hank Greenberg's 9th inning grand slam to win the 1945 pennant for Detroit; and Willie Stargell's 1979 World Series clinching blast.
Finally, if you're talking about memorable home runs, how about the two that Fernando Tatis hit in a single inning back in 1999? Since nobody's ever done anything like that, I think it merits a mention.
Anyway, those are just some examples. Somebody should really tell SI that baseball wasn't invented by the baby boomers and that interesting things happen outside of area code (212) every now and again.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:29 PM
Sunday, May 21, 2006
We name disasters like this, right? Red Right 88, the Drive, the Fumble, etc. I suggest that we call this one "The Full Cleveland."
As you may remember, the Full Cleveland is a term that was coined back in the 1970s to describe the particularly unfortunate combination of a polyester suit, white shoes and a white belt. In addition to its ugliness, the Full Cleveland outfit managed to not-so-subtly send a message that its wearer was clueless, incompetent and someone to be pitied.
If today's utterly atrocious performance by the Cavaliers wasn't the basketball equivalent of the Full Cleveland, I can't imagine what would be.
The Cavs shot 38% in the first half. Who would have thought that this would have been the high water mark of their day? LeBron James is the greatest athlete this town has seen since Jim Brown, but he didn't take a shot for nine minutes in the third quarter, and then played the rest of the game like that little hot dog on your kid's 8th grade team that all of the other parents complain about. Still, LeBron was merely bad; judging by their second half performances today, the rest of the Cavs would've been cut from that same 8th grade team.
They scored 61 points in an NBA playoff game. Sixty-one points! The Cavs scored 23 points in the entire second half! The mind reels. Has anyone ever seen a worse offensive display by a playoff team? I don't know if you can find one, but I bet that if you can, it took place well before teams stopped wearing shorty-shorts and canvas Chuck Taylors.
I do know that those 61 points were the lowest output in any Game 7 ever played.
The Pistons were ripe for the taking this afternoon, and the Cavs walked out in their powder blue leisure suits, white shoes and white belts. The had a chance to do something great, but not only did they fail to do that, they also lived up to their new uniforms. They were clueless, incompetent, and a team to be pitied.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 6:16 PM
I'm probably going to make a lot of people angry with this post. So, if you want to feel good regardless of the outcome of today's Cavs game, skip this and just read Brian Windhorst's latest blog entry. He'll tell you that no matter what happens today, the Cavs are likely to embark on a run that will make them the NBA's next dynasty.
Me? I think the Cavs damn well better figure out a way to get the job done today, because there are no guaranteed tomorrows for any team in Cleveland.
Windhorst's happy view of the future is premised on the assumption that the Cavs will quietly re-sign LeBron, and that The Q will then mysteriously be transformed into the NBA's "field of dreams." The current core group of Cavs will just keep getting better and better. Every disgruntled free agent superstar will come to Cleveland--at a discount--to be part of King James' court. The Q will become the toughest place to play in the NBA. Championship banners will follow, etc.
Sorry, but I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid. First, while a lot of people are saying that LeBron's a cinch to be in Cleveland for a while, others aren't so sure. Second, even if James does hang around, it's incredibly difficult to manage one superstar's ego, much less a team full of them like the one Windhorst assumes the Cavs will build. (They didn't call Phil Jackson the "Zen Master" for nothing. )
Finally, there's the Cleveland factor. Look, I like it here, and you probably like it here, but the simple fact is that we've been a national joke for more than a generation--and there aren't a lot of superstars who would jump at the chance to play the role of Scottie Pippen in what most people view as a depressed and crumbling backwater. If you think otherwise, you're smoking crack.
It's Game 7, and they say that there's no tomorrow for the loser. If you're a Cleveland fan and you let anybody tell you that's just a cliche, you've got only yourself to blame.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 9:35 AM
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
At least the Tribe came through tonight, downing the Pirates 4-1. Three runs in the first inning were all C.C. Sabathia needed, as he picked up a complete game win. Let's hope the Indians feast on the senior circuit the way they did last year. The Indians posted baseball's best interleague record in 2005, and have the AL's 4th best record against National League competition since interleague play began a decade ago.
Has it really been 10 years? Wow. Here's an article from MLB.com with all the details.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 10:15 PM
There hasn't been a day like this in Cleveland since 1997. The Cavs don't have a chance to just win a series; they have a chance to knock out one of the NBA's Goliaths--a team whose virtues this week's issue of Sports Illustrated spent several pages extolling, having already written the Cavs off by press time.
Every Cleveland fan knows how these stories traditionally end, but we also need to remember that before Jose Mesa shakes off Sandy Alomar and throws sliders, we sometimes get something like Game 5 of the 1997 ALDS against the Yankees. Every sportswriter and baseball pundit in the country had written off the Tribe in that series, but I guess the Indians didn't read the papers. They came from the brink of elimination in Game 4 to pull off one for the ages on that night 10 years ago. Game 5 still sticks in the craw of Yankee fans, and ranks in the all-time top ten for Yankee haters.
I was lucky enough to be at Jacobs Field that night, and I've never seen a baseball crowd like it. There were 42,000 people living and dying on every pitch, and when Bernie Williams flied out to Brian Giles to end the game, the ballpark was literally shaking from the noise.
That brings me to my point. I was amazed at the lack of support the Pistons' crowd provided to them when the going got tough on Wednesday night. The NBA's dreaded "suit" factor appears to have kicked in big time in Detroit, and with decent seats going for north of $500 on StubHub, I'm more than a little worried about the same thing happening tonight. Listen, if you've scored a ticket to the game, leave your laptop and blackberry at home, and turn your cell phone off. Tonight's not a night for business deals; it's a night to tear the roof off the place.
Hey gang, Detroit's wounded, but they're still very dangerous. Nobody in this town wants to see a seventh game on the Pistons' home court. Stealing one game there was miraculous enough, grabbing two would be loaves and fishes material.
So do your best to make tonight the most miserable 48 minutes that the Detroit Pistons have ever experienced. Make the noise so oppressive that the Pistons can't think, talk or even breathe--and for God's sake, if the Cavs fall behind, don't let yourselves be taken out of the game. The rest is up to the Cavs, but the way they're playing, that's fine with me.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 6:01 AM
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Jake Westbrook pitched a complete game shutout victory tonight. Pronk hit a big fly that plated four. The Tribe won 5-0.
I was flicking back and forth during CAVS timeouts and commercials. Jake looked good. He made pitches and moved them all around. Yeah, I know it was against the Royals, but they've been beating us like a rented mule lately.
I'll take it.
Now, we need to reel off about 5 or 10 in a row. I'm not gonna sit here all year looking up at the Tigers or the hated ChiSox at the top of the division.
Posted by Vinny at 10:22 PM
I'm not a huge NBA fan, but these last three CAVS playoff games have been thrilling. This one had me glued to my big overstuffed chair from start to finish. Everyone in the universe knows about LeBron, and he was great tonight. But, I was really impressed with the offense and defense when Varejao was in the game. He's nobody's idea of a star, but boy, he's the definition of role player. Flip Murray has to be the unsung hero. Where would the CAVS be without him? He was everywhere. Snow and Jones were also big when the CAVS needed it. The team really gutted it out, even when they went cold in the second half.
I can't wait for the next one.
Posted by Vinny at 10:04 PM
"Even the sun shines on a dog's ass" were the words Rasheed Wallace used to explain the Cavs' victory in Game 4. I can't wait to hear his explanation for Game 5.
Rasheed, take my advice--you and your teammates need to put this game behind you. Just relax and do something to take your mind off things. If you want, you could read a good book. I recommend this novel by the author of Fight Club, which is must reading for the Pistons. Not a big reader? Yeah, I heard that. Well, take in a movie. How about this one? Better yet, learn something new. Here's a course that might interest you guys.
See you on Friday.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 9:53 PM
Yankee fans are pumped about last night's victory over the Texas Rangers, in which the Bronx Bombers overcame an early 10-1 deficit to win 14-13.
Not bad New York, but not enough to impress us more jaded Clevelanders. Give us a call when you trail 14-2 in the bottom of the 7th, and then come back to win. That's what the Cleveland Indians did on the night of The Impossible Return.
Do you remember? In case you don't, or if you just want relive one of the few things Cleveland fans have had to smile about during this millennium, here's a flash presentation that takes you through the entire comeback, complete with the play-by-play from Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan. (Click on "Watch this Movie" and the site will take you to the presentation).
As you listen to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when the Indians could put the fear of God into a team that would go on to win 116 games, keep your fingers crossed and hope that this year's edition of the Tribe can make it two in a row against a team that just may lose 116.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 2:59 PM
Monday, May 15, 2006
That was a great game. I kept waiting and waiting for the shot, the fumble, red right 88, anything that would bring anguish and pain to our beloved city, but it never came. I actually had to put my drink down with a 3:26 to play because I didn't want to spill it all over the place when something bad happened. I'm still pessimistic about the series, but hell, it's been nice to win a couple.
That leads me to something that's been bugging me about the series with the Pistons. What's up with Richard Hamilton? How much weirder could that guy look? I guess I don't care now that we won, but he was kind of freakin' me out: the 'rows, the goat, the plastic shield, and the way he juts his head way too far from his body. That's too much.
The rain made it a kind of a perfecta here in Cleve. I had tickets to the Indians' game, but it was washed out. So, I was saved from watching the dreaded Royals stick it to us again. Instead, I watched the Cavs game. The Indians don't lose to a batch of no-name bums, and the Cavs give us another home playoff game. Very, very nice.
Posted by Vinny at 10:58 PM
There's no denying that between his big mouth and his swollen ankle, Rasheed Wallace played a major role in the Cavs' victory tonight. Fans may want to show their appreciation to Rasheed by joining his fan club. It's only $19.95, which is an incredible value as far as NBA superstar egos go these days, and you do get a Rasheed Wallace pennant and a pen, not to mention an authentic certificate.
After reading his post on tonight's game, I'm almost certain that Rasheed can count on Chris from C-Dub's and Bitterfans to sign up.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 10:29 PM
I'm a reasonable man, so I know that what I just saw simply could not have happened.
There's just no way that the Cavs could beat the Pistons with LeBron going 2-12 from the field during the second half and looking like Shaq (or even Wilt) on a bad night from the line.
There's no way that Flip Saunders would let Mike Brown dictate the last two minutes of the game to the Pistons by using a small lineup that put Rasheed Wallace on the bench (okay, the ankle was a factor too).
There's no way that in a scramble under the Pistons' basket with less than 10 seconds left and bodies flying into each other everywhere, it's the conference champs who don't get the call.
Most of all, there's no way that the Pistons come out on the losing end of a game where the winning team scores 74 points.
None of those things could have happened, but they sure as hell did. So now they're all tied up goin' back to Motown, and the monkey's on the Pistons' back.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 9:50 PM
After all, they answered one of my mean-spirited little prayers. As those who read us occasionally know, I've been hoping that some ill would befall the San Francisco freak before he started blaspheming baseball lore. Although it hadn't worked when he passed some other guys I like, including Willie Mays, I was still hopeful that it would. This week, a lesser god must have answered my prayers. BB didn't hit a homer to tie the Great Babe. That's important to me. If he does hit one soon, it will be in another ballpark, where the fans won't kiss his ass. Instead, he'll be subjected to some form of indignity.
It's not much, but it's all I got.
Posted by Vinny at 2:47 PM
When Danny Graves and Steve Karsay were signed last December, I said that the Indians may have trying to appease the baseball gods, but when the Tigers sweep you for the first time in 16 years and only need a grand total of 11 runs to do it, the gods obviously ain't appeased.
The Indians released Graves after Friday's game, and sent Karsay to Oakland for cash yesterday. By dumping Graves and Karsay on the same weekend, the fourth place Indians have officially thumbed their noses at the baseball gods.
In light of the team's performance, maybe that's for the best. Perhaps it's time for the Tribe to take some advice from their fictional teammate Pedro Cerrano:
"I'm pissed now, Jobu. Look, I go to you. I stick up for you. You no help me now, I say, fu** you, Jobu. I do it myself."
Update: Looks Like Dude, WTF is on the same wavelength that we are today in terms of channeling Pedro Cerrano and Major League. I know I speak for Vinny when I say that we applaud and encourage her willingness to get nekkid to help the Tribe snap out of this slump. Still, I'm sure you'll be thankful to hear that there's no chance I'm going to make a similar offer (even though I've also been told that I have a nice rack).
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:20 AM
Sunday, May 14, 2006
The Indians currently are one of the AL's worst pitching teams, so naturally they get an outstanding performance from Sabathia and hold the Tigers to three runs. The Indians currently are the best hitting team in baseball, so naturally they post a goose egg on the scoreboard.
Along the way, there were the usual defensive lapses (Boone and Peralta in the 6th) and--most disturbing of all--a lack of hustle (Peralta waiting for his dribbler to roll foul in the 8th).
This is a team that's finding a way to lose. Time for a little inspirational speech in clubhouse, accompanied by some throwing of equipment.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 6:32 AM
The Buffalo Sabres officially knocked off Ottawa in OT and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals. It's time for another Sabre Dance.
By the way, Khachaturian's Sabre Dance has been the Buffalo Sabres theme for as long as I can remember, and while it's kind of a sentimental favorite, it definitely needs more cowbell.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 5:15 AM
Saturday, May 13, 2006
You can accuse the Indians of a lot of things, but being unrealistic about their pitching staff isn't one of them. Shapiro was pretty direct in his comments to the media on Thursday, and he didn't wait long to shake things up. By now, you've read that Danny Graves was designated for assignment, Fausto Carmona was called up as a reliever, and Mota's moving to middle relief.
A lot of people had speculated that Steve Karsay, who's pitched well in Buffalo, would get the nod as Graves' replacement. But Karsay's not a guy who's going to give them a lot of innings, and the Tribe's moves show that their top priority is finding guys who can eat up some innings in relief.
The other thing about Karsay is that he's not on the 40 man roster, which means that the Indians would need to make another roster move in order to purchase his contract. They've still got Miller on the 15 day DL, so I guess moving him to the 60 day would be the likely move if they wanted to free up a roster spot. (Update: Sorry, I'm an idiot--They've got room on the 40 man. I forgot about Graves).
The Tribe's beleagured pitching staff did get some good news yesterday. According to this article, Betancourt's back has come around more quickly than expected, and he may be back as soon as Tuesday.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 9:09 AM
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Last month, I said that prosecutors were engaged in a witch hunt against Barry Bonds. Today, Vinny tipped me off to this story, and this amazing website. Seriously Barry, how stupid can you be? What's your next trick, sleeping with the U.S. Attorney's wife?
I honestly can't believe that he did this. If there's one thing a prosecutor can't stand, it's somebody who rubs his nose in the questionable conduct the prosecutor decided to let him skate on. That's exactly what Bonds' unfathomable decision to maintain--and flaunt-- his ties with Conte does. He's almost forced the prosecutors to come after him, regardless of the merits of the case.
Barry, you deserve everything that comes your way, you arrogant jackass.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 10:30 PM
Vinny's suggested Lou Pinella as a possible fix for what ails the Tribe. I've always liked Lou, but there are other managers I'd rather have. In terms of lighting a fire under the asses of the Indians' pitching staff, it's time to think outside the box.
Sure, he's got no baseball experience, but there's nobody in sports that the collection of gas cans that currently comprise the Indians' bullpen would like to meet on their way to the dugout after blowing a lead less than Bobby Knight.
If he's not available, let's get Earl Weaver. Earl would shake things up some as well.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 6:20 PM
There's no doubt that Cleveland is America's most tortured sports city. Case closed. That being said, Buffalo is a closer runner up than you'd think. Not only did Buffalo suffer through Wide Right and three increasingly aimless and depressing Super Bowl performances thereafter, but it also has had to endure No Goal, the loss of its NBA franchise, the Music City Miracle, and no championship in any sport since 1965 (we've got them beat by one year).
Let's not even bring up O.J. Simpson, okay?
Much like Cleveland, every victory by a Buffalo team merely sets the stage for an utterly crushing defeat. That's why, even though the Sabres are up three games to none on Ottawa, all you need to do is just mention the name "Dominik Hasek" to make me very nervous.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 8:13 AM
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Meanwhile, 180 miles east of Mudville, there is a happy place (at least for tonight). J. P. Dumont scored five minutes into overtime tonight to give Buffalo a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Sabres lead the Eastern Conference semi-final matchup 3 games to none.
Ottawa is a great team, and they're by no means out of this series. Still, the Sabres' victory helped take some of the sting out of the Tribe's fiasco in Kansas City for me, so I'll allow myself a quick sabre dance before I call it a night.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 10:19 PM
"Slip slidin’ away. Slip slidin’ away. You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip slidin’ away."
Maybe Paul Simon was singing about the Tribe. Well, the Tribe was swept by the World Champ...uh, um, well, they were swept by the most inept organization in the majors. This is a stunning defeat. The kind that gets people fired. So I say, quit screwing around. We're in a division with the best team in baseball. We can't afford to give that team another gigantic head start. Hire Lou Pinella now. He's a motivator, a scrapper, and most importantly, a winner. He made it pretty clear years ago that he'd love to manage here. We opted instead for good ol' Charlie at a big discount. Don't get me started "and things of that sort."
I know it's not solely attributable to Wedge. He's an okay manager. He doesn't lose many games, but he doesn't win many or save many either. And the apologists say it can't be all Carl Willis' fault. After all, last year the Indians' pitching was the envy of most every other team.
But, these two have been sitting on their arses while Rome burns and opposing teams steal ridiculous numbers of bases against us and win games they shouldn't.
Posted by Vinny at 8:16 PM
Yup, it's official--and by the worst team in the American league. Nice work guys. The Indians got another stellar performance out of a starter, as Westbrook gave up seven runs in 5 2/3rd innings. Things went from bad to worse when Wedge went to the bullpen. Here's Anthony Castrovince's article with all the gory details.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 6:22 PM
I don't think I've ever seen a three second, five second and 24 second call against one team in a single quarter, but at least the Cavs made enough of an effort in the second half to make last night's game watchable. Of course, they were helped by the Pistons' decision to play the fourth quarter like they were the Washington Generals. I guess you can do that when you've toyed with your opponent for seven quarters.
If the Cavs don't win on Saturday, they're done in four.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:12 AM
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
My head is going to explode. The Tribe can't win against the powerhouse Royals, and Jeff Datz, the Tribe's third base coach, proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he's an imbecile. With no outs, he just tried to have Sizemore tag and score on a flyball to deep short. To borrow a phrase from our friend, thatchick, "Dude, WTF."
This is getting stupid.
Thankfully, Victor just bailed him out with a two-out single to score two. Maybe they'll win in spite of their manager and coaches.
Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
Posted by Vinny at 10:24 PM
When I pick up my kid at lacrosse practice, I sometimes like to sit in my car and crank Tupac, just to freak out the other parents. I own a "Free Traficant" t-shirt. I've seen Pulp Fiction at least 50 times. I think that Janeane Garafolo wouldn't look too bad if you had a couple of drinks in you. I watch English soccer. Chicks don't dig me (although they do dig Vinny). I once got marked down on a performance evaluation for "general unpleasantness." I drive an old beater of a car and think I'm morally superior to you because you don't. I quit smoking five years ago, but if I make it to 60, I plan to celebrate my birthday with a carton of Lucky's. If I appear rude or ill-mannered, it's not because I'm having a bad day, it's because I genuinely dislike you and don't care to hide it. I'm thinking of spending $200 on a new hockey stick, even though I suck. Gin gives me headaches, so I had to switch to Scotch. I really miss Gin. I like a Mojito even though it's gay (not that there's anything wrong with that). I want to go to Vegas, but I don't know how to play anything except craps, roulette and black jack. I think Dean Martin was cool. For some reason, dogs really like me. I get nervous when I go fishing, because I really don't know what I'm doing. If you are doing something for me, rest assured that I have no confidence whatsoever that you'll do it right.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:25 PM
That's what the Royals' fans have to be saying tonight. The KC Royals, one of the most poorly-run professional sports franchises, beat the Indians tonight. But, that's not some aberration. Although the Royals have now only won 8 games, three of them have been victories over the Tribe. The Royals-Indians series is now 1-3 in favor of KC. 9 hitters that no casual baseball fan knows about beat the Injuns 4-3. They were aided by the efforts of 5 pitchers no one knows about and no one else wanted.
Great job guys. Wedge just keeps blinking and chewing sunflower seeds. Carl Willis still hasn't figured out why Tribe pitchers are giving up so many bases on balls, but he's doing a hell of a job on the big barrel of sunflower seeds in the dugout.
Posted by Vinny at 3:40 AM
Monday, May 08, 2006
After taking a few months off, it looks like the Berea Spin Machine is back in action. Once again, the Browns appear to have delegated to Jim Brown the responsibility for putting lipstick on yet another pig. When we last heard from Brown, I believe he was trashing Phil Savage to the Cleveland media just before the coup that toppled John Collins.
I'm not angry at Jim Brown, although I'd like to think he'd know better by now. I am annoyed at Randy Lerner and the rest of the front office, who don't seem to have a problem with using a Cleveland Browns icon as a shill.
Shame on you guys. I think Frye's got some potential and I'm all for giving him a shot, but you made a bad trade and you know it. Stop pissing on our heads and trotting out #32 to tell us that it's raining.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 11:06 AM
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I'm going to need to get into some pretty technical basketball terminology in describing the Cavs v. Pistons game this afternoon, so I apologize if my analysis goes over the heads of those of you who aren't quite the basketball savant that I am. Okay, here it goes.
That game was uglier than my ass.
You know, we really ought to make this a pay site. I can't believe I give this kind of stuff away for free.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 6:46 PM
In case you missed it, yesterday's Kentucky Derby was won in convincing fashion by a horse named Barbaro. I'm not a huge horse racing fan, but I like watching the Derby and the other Triple Crown races. Unfortunately, ever since NBC got the TV rights to the Derby, my favorite part of the race has been missing.
I'm talking about announcer Dave Johnson, and his signature "Down the stretch they come!" call at the Derby. Nothing captures the excitement of the Kentucky Derby quite like the sound of Johnson's voice as the horses gallop towards the finish line, but he works for ABC and ESPN, so we don't get to hear from him anymore.
Anyway, being the intrepid Internet explorer that I am, I did manage to find a sound bite of Dave Johnson's call. So if you need a fix, here it is.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 8:38 AM
Saturday, May 06, 2006
When my usually cynical friend gives some love to the Cavs, you know there's something afoot. Well, let's not go crazy about lavishing praise on King James or The Best Shooter in the Whole Wide World for his last second shot. Yeah, those guys helped, but the real key to victory was yours truly. Yesterday, I ate my son's bowl of Lucky Charms at breakfast. I hadn't had Lucky Charms for something like 30 years.
I hadn't planned to affect the outcome of the game. I was just hungry and those hearts, and moons, and clovers...well, they were just swimming around in some bluish milk amongst some of the other cereal stuff. I couldn't resist. Without thinking, I deprived my son of his nutritious breakfast, but it clearly was worth it. Hell, his mother probably gave him some toast or something. The shit I do to support my teams is amazing.
The only damn problem is that now the pressure is on for round two. "They're always after me Lucky Charms."
Posted by Vinny at 8:36 AM
Friday, May 05, 2006
I guess we can all agree that I can shove this, this, and especially this, right up my rhino-sized ass. The last two games of that series were just amazing performances by a team that picked an opportune time to show the heart it's been lacking for years.
Now it's on to Round 2, and the dreaded Pistons. Sure, it's not much of a matchup on paper, but where there's life, there's hope--and the Cavs are most definitely alive and well tonight.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 11:20 PM
I originally posted some generic highlight film in honor of the Buffalo Sabres, but considering they've drawn the top-seeded Ottawa Senators in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, I thought something a bit more inspirational was in order. So, here's a video of Sabres goon Andrew Peters whomping the snot out of Senators goon Brian McGrattan.
Incidentally, Peters is a classic hockey goon. He's not a very good player, but he is nuts. When he played for Rochester in the AHL, he once fought his own brother.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 8:14 AM
Dilfer doesn't have a smokin' hot Playboy playmate girlfriend. He's actually a big time family man. You're thinking of our last bum, El Nervioso (the Skittish One), whose Playmate of the Year girlfriend did end up in court for some catfight.
It is hard to keep track, isn't it?
The Browns have created a nice little problem for themselves at the QB position. Why is every step forward that this team takes followed almost immediately by at least one step back?
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:33 AM
The Browns continued manuevering by sending deposed starting quarterback, Trent Dilfer, to San Francisco for Ken Dorsey and an undisclosed draft pick.
At first blush, this looks like the Browns sent a weak but serviceable QB to San Fran for a bum. However, a closer look reveals that we received...well, a bum. We also got a draft pick. That's why I chose that title for this post. I'm just screwing around. We won't get a good pick. This was a chance to get rid of a disgruntled player (with a smokin' hot Playboy pet girlfriend) who would be owed a ton of dough if he stayed on the team.
I suspect Savage is clearing a little room under the cap for the next wave of free agents---the cuts from teams following the draft.
That means, Charlie, you da' man. You'd better be 'cause all of a sudden you're working without a net.
Posted by Vinny at 12:58 AM
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Have you flunked one too many NFL drug tests? Did the airport police confiscate your Whizzinator? No problem. Go north, young man, where it's always 4:20 p.m. That's what Onterrio Smith and Ricky Williams are both reportedly looking into doing next season. In the CFL, players apparently are allowed to pass de cutchie as well as the pigskin.
There's only one drawback -- Ricky and Onterrio may have to start buying a lower grade of stash, since the maximum salaries in the CFL are around $150,000 per year.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 12:41 PM
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Vinny, what the hell is going on at your alma mater?
First somebody allegedly slips Frank Solich a date rape drug mickey, and then one of your Tight Ends gets arrested for punching a police horse. Seriously, the kid supposedly punched a police horse, just like Alex Karras in Blazing Saddles.
What's even more interesting is that according to the Cowopolis Dispatch, this is apparently the third time that an Ohio U student has allegedly taken a poke at this cop's horse (whose name is "Chip," in case you're interested). The officer in question suggests that "alcohol is usually involved" in these incidents. Imagine that.
Cleveland fans are no strangers to police punching jocks, but this is a new one on me. For the record, Chip weighs about 1,100 lbs, while the accused weighs in at 233 lbs. My money's on the horse, but if this is the kind of heart Solich's players show, then the Bobcat football program is heading in the right direction.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 6:49 PM
Again, thanks to Dawg Bones, we have news on additional undrafted free agent signings. Over the past few days, the Browns have signed LBs Dontez Sanders (Wisconsin) and Kenny Kern (Del. St.), QBs Darrell Hackney (UAB) and Dustin Almond (Southern Miss), and S Jeremy Modkins (TCU).
The Browns have also invited TE Brian Cutright (UNI) and FB Brandon Schnittker (Ohio State) to try out at the team's upcoming mini-camp.
The Browns continue to target players with ties to the Cleveland area. Sanders is from Bedford and played his high school ball at St. Peter Chanel, while Schnittker is a Sandusky native. Akron Buchtel's Charlton Keith and East High's Steve Sanders are the other undrafted free agent signees from Northeast Ohio.
As Jimbo pointed out in his comment on the previous free agent post, you'll find nothing on the Browns' website about these signings. I'm afraid some people in the organization still don't fully appreciate the passion that fans have for this team.
Listen guys, if you change your shoelace provider, I guarantee you that there are thousands of Browns fans who want to know about it.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:15 AM
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Sunday's overtures to the Lions about a trade for Joey Harrington apparently were just the start of efforts to move Trent Dilfer. It looks like the Browns are trying to engineer a trade for Dilfer, but don't want to be left with Charlie Frye as their only alternative at QB.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the 49ers are interested in acquiring Trent Dilfer, but that the Browns won't part with him unless they're able to find an experienced QB to compete with Frye. The Browns appear to be trying to do just that. According to this report, the Raiders turned down a trade proposal from the Browns involving backup QB Marques Tuiasosopo.
Kerry Collins and Steve McNair are the two biggest names being shopped right now, with the Titans reportedly engaging in on again, off again talks with the Ravens about a deal for McNair while also playing footsie with Collins. Tommy Maddox is also on the market, but he's a disaster.
Dilfer's obviously not happy with the situation here, so stay tuned.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 10:06 PM
ESPN has an article about the latest baseball card mix-up. This one involves Royals minor leaguer Alex Gordon, who apparently shouldn't have appeared on a card at all. Topps discovered the error, but a handful of his cards escaped destruction, and they're currently going for $2,500 apiece.
The ESPN story refers to one of the greatest card foul-ups of all time: Billy Ripken's infamous 1989 card. Poor Billy. His brother breaks Lou Gehrig's record and will be a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee, while Billy's career is remembered primarily for this.
Baseball cards are big business, and people really do seek out these mistake cards as investment opportunities. Still, I personally think the best cards aren't the mistakes, it's the ones like this 1975 Oscar Gamble masterpiece that are really worth their weight in gold. So, I have my doubts about how Gordon's card will fare as an investment. My guess is that if you buy one today, you'll find that in six months it's worth about what your beanie baby collection is worth (although it takes up a lot less space).
But what do I know? After all, I paid $10 for a Jared Wright rookie card shortly after the 1997 World Series.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 9:07 PM
I know this because I've had MLB Gameday running on my computer, and every 30 minutes or so for the last three hours, I've clicked on it to find out what was going on.
This is the late Dr. Jonas Salk. Not only was he the spitting image of Larry David, but he also saved millions of people's lives by inventing the polio vaccine. Dr. Salk was clearly a great man, but for office-bound baseball fans whose teams have a day game, whoever came up with the MLB Gameday gametracker software gives him a run for his money.
Thank you, MLB.com.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 2:49 PM
First, the ridiculous. It occurs to me that if the U.S. had an Olympic trailer trash team, we'd have a tough time picking a flag carrier. I mean, we could go with John Daly, who now adds a gambling problem that would shame Bill Bennett to his list of vices. But then we'd overlook Tonya Harding, whose kneecapping of Nancy Kerrigan is now being made into an opera. No, seriously--and the author swears it's not a parody.
Maybe we should just compromise and let Mike Tyson carry the flag. If you haven't been following the squared circle's answer to Hannibal Lector recently, then you've missed his moving tribute to Chairman Mao and his possible entry into the world of Mixed Martial Arts, whatever the hell that is.
Now, the sublime. David Maraniss, who wrote a great biography of Bill Clinton and whose biography of Vince Lombardi is one of the best sports books I've ever read, has come out with a new book on an equally compelling subject: Roberto Clemente. From the reviews I've seen, Maraniss has done another first rate job with his Clemente bio, and I can't wait to read it.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 8:12 AM
Monday, May 01, 2006
The Browns didn't sign Mike Kudla, but they did sign several other players today. According to Dawg Bones, the list includes Tennessee Guard Rob Smith, Kansas DE Charlton Keith, Florida Tackle Lance Butler, Bowling Green WR Steve Sanders, Ferris State WR Carlton Brewster, Washington State Punter Kyle Basler, and Southern Illinois WR Brent Little.
The Browns most high-profile free agent signing was probably Wake Forest RB Chris Barclay. The good news: Barclay is the ACC Player of the Year. The bad news: he's 5'8" and 180 lbs.
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 7:08 PM
Despite a spectacular Fiesta Bowl performance and a jaw dropping display of strength at the NFL combine, Ohio State's Mike Kudla went undrafted yesterday.
Pittsburgh signed him today (see second to last paragraph). Another Northeast Ohio kid goes to the Steelers. It figures, doesn't it?
Posted by Hornless Rhino at 4:16 PM