Friday, June 30, 2006

Out to Lunch

That's the name of the category in which's Mike Silver places Randy Lerner in his ranking of the NFL's owners. While Silver credits Lerner for being willing to spend money, he questions his commitment to winning, citing his decision not to live in Cleveland.

I can't argue with his ranking of Randy Lerner (#21 overall), but Silver's "he doesn't live in Cleveland" comment is a cheap shot. Yeah, Lerner lives in New York. So what? Dan Gilbert lives in Michigan, and so does Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, Jr. Last time I checked, Gilbert was doing back-flips trying to turn the Cavs into an elite team and keep LeBron in town, while Karmanos was hoisting the Stanley Cup.

The Butch Davis resignation fiasco and the Savage vs. Collins mess give fans and the media legitimate reasons to question Lerner's judgment on football matters, but I don't think where he lives has anything to do with his commitment to winning. In fact, I don't know how much more commitment an owner can show than putting his money where his mouth is, and Lerner did that in a big way during this offseason.

The Indians Make a Deal

In an effort to address their shortage of minor league middle infield talent, the Indians sent Eduardo Perez to Seattle for minor league 2B/SS Asdrubal Cabrera. The switch-hitting Cabrera is a good fielder who hasn't shown much offense so far this season at AAA Tacoma. He's only 20 years old, however, and is regarded one of the Mariners' top ten prospects. You can read a profile of him here and, to the extent you put much weight on these things, a three year projection on him here.

The Indians also called up first baseman Ryan Garko from Buffalo. Although Garko's only batting .255 for the Bisons, his OBP is 100 points higher thanks to 33 walks, and he's driven in 49 runs. As this article at the Indians' website suggests, Garko's stay with the Indians may be brief, possibly lasting only until Jason Michaels returns from the DL.

The article says that Mark Shapiro denies that the trade of Perez is a "textbook pre-trading deadline cash dump," to which I think the appropriate response is "don't piss down my neck and tell me that it's raining." What else do you call a deal where a team that's 18 games out on June 30th swaps a guy making almost $2.0 million for a minor league prospect?

Shapiro also reportedly said the deal had nothing to do with concerns about Peralta. While that's probably true, after Wednesday night, it's a little hard to believe.

Despite Shapiro's little bit of spin doctoring, I think he and the Tribe made a nice trade. Perez is a journeyman whose value will probably never be higher, and Cabrera addresses a need in the organization and looks to be a decent prospect. Frankly, the Mariners appear to have given up a lot in exchange for a guy whose primary role is reportedly going to be platooning with Carl Everett in an effort to increase the team's productivity from the DH spot.

I'll also go way out on a limb and predict that this won't be the last trade involving the Indians that we hear about before the July 31st deadline.

Colonel Sanders: An Enemy of the People

I guess this was inevitable. Looks like the lifestyle Taliban have now set their sights on the Colonel's finger-lickin' good chicken. Can my Hostess Twinkies be far behind?

I have it on pretty good authority that nobody lives forever. ("By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Gen 3:19.) Sometimes I think our entire society is based on an effort to prove otherwise.

Everybody dies. Chill out and have some fried chicken.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

NBA Draft

I've proven time and time again that I'm incapable of saying anything about the NBA without making an ass of myself. While that doesn't usually deter me, I've decided that discretion is the better part of valor when it comes to tonight's draft.

As a public service, I will point you to some sites with people who know what they're talking about. Deadspin has a post directing readers to its own list of the top sites for draft coverage, but there are some Cavs sites you'll probably want to stop by tonight as well. There's YAY Sports!, the 500 lb. gorilla of pro-Cavs NBA sites, but you should also check out Cavalier Attitude, which appears to be on top of the latest trade rumors involving the Cavs. Last but not least, Ben Cox knows his hoops, and he's promising to live blog the draft, so be sure to pay visit to his site tonight.

Let Them Play, But Play to Win

You may have seen this article in The Plain Dealer last weekend. To make a long story short, the Cleveland Diocese is adopting mandatory participation rules for its CYO programs. These are intended to make sure that kids get a chance for meaningful playing time in basketball, football and other youth sports offered through the CYO program. I agree completely with this idea, but I also think it's important to distinguish between making sure kids get into the game, and buying into the idea that participation is all that youth sports should be about.

Listen, I've coached everything from tee ball for four year-olds (talk about herding cats!) to junior high football, and I've never once coached a game where the kids didn't know who won and who lost. New age parents and psychologists might claim that youth sports should just be about getting exercise and having fun, but any kid who ever picked up a ball can tell you it's no fun to lose. They keep score for a reason, and the kids know it, even if the adults like to pretend that winning doesn't matter.

I'll go even further. As far as I'm concerned, coaches who just want to cheerlead instead of teaching kids the fundamentals of their sport and challenging them to excel as part of a team have no business coaching anyone. Coach Lollipop, who doesn't teach anybody how to hold a bat or hit the cutoff man, but buys everybody ice cream, win or lose, is every bit as pernicious as Coach Mussolini, the nutcase who shrieks at everyone and thinks the other kids on the team are just there to provide a supporting cast for his kid, the budding superstar.

I've read that coaches are the most important role models for children aside from parents--even more influential than teachers. I once heard an insight as to why this may be the case: for most young athletes, their team represents the first time they've ever worked jointly with an adult to accomplish a common goal. In other words, it's the first time that many kids have had an adult take them seriously. Coach Mussolini doesn't fit this model, but Coach Lollipop sure doesn't either.

Kids who are told "it's just for fun" and "the score doesn't matter" are cheated out of some of the most important lessons that team sports have to offer. By all means, let 'em all play, but play to win, and coach them like the game matters to you because they matter to you -- all of them, not just the ones gifted with natural talent or your DNA.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Asheville Outburst

Meet Asheville Tourists manager Joe Mikulik, who was none too pleased with an umpire's call in the Tourists game against the Lexington Legends. The Tourists visit the Lake County Captains for a three game series on July 24th. The first 5,000 fans through the turnstiles at each game will receive their very own Joe Mikulik autographed straight-jacket.

In the immortal words of Arthur, King of the Britons,"What an eccentric performance!"

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Top Stanley Cup Moments posted its list of the top 10 moments from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Their best moment? Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour raising the Cup after Game 7. Wow! Way to stick your neck out.

For some reason, the hit of the season didn't make ESPN's list. To ESPN's credit, however, Edmonton's classy response to Anaheim fans who booed the Canadian national anthem did make the cut.

Also, not that anybody gives a shit except me, but the Blue Jackets picked Derick Brassard in the first round of the NHL draft.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I Miss My Cigarettes

Watching the Indians this season has really made me long for a smoke. I quit smoking five years ago, but damn, I do miss cigarettes. No, I'm not crawling up the walls, I just really liked the little death sticks, and they did make watching infuriating performances by Cleveland sports franchises a little more bearable.

I wish cigarettes didn't kill you, so I could keep smoking them. Of course, even if they didn't kill you, the anti-smoking fasci di combattimento would find some other reason to shame you into not lighting up. My guess is they'd probably contend that cigarette smoke contributes to global warming or increases third world debt. The reason really doesn't matter--the point is that there's always been a large subset of the population that gets their rocks off by defecating all over anybody who appears to be having fun, so they'll always find a reason to do so. Just because the killjoys are right this time doesn't mean I have to like it-- or them, for that matter.

It's amazing--and a little scary-- to see how effective the anti-smoking people have been. A little more than a generation ago, almost everybody smoked, including professional athletes. In fact, the first "Marlboro Man" was Charlie Connerly, the QB for the New York Giants. Now, a lot fewer people smoke, and the ones who do are treated like lepers. You can't smoke indoors. You can't smoke in the outdoor stadiums that were built with cigarette taxes. You can't smoke in public parks. Even the smokers' ghettos outside office buildings are being phased out. Soon, you'll only be able to smoke in your home-- but if you have kids, you probably should expect a knock on your door from the duly authorized representatives of the Nanny State.

Want to see how much times have changed? Check out this television commercial from 1961:

Okay guys, you got my smokes, but you'll have to pry my Hostess Twinkies from my cold, dead fingers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Visit from the ghost of Arnie Rothstein

I can finally stop gnashing my teeth each night when the Tribe loses. I figured it out, and as the saying goes, the truth will set you free.

The Indians aren't as bad as they've played. They can't be. Otherwise they'd be called the Royals.

I think they're just throwing games.

No one's told me that, but after the shenanigans of the third inning tonight, what can a reasonable person think? Both Broussard and Belliard fielded balls and got no one out. Belliard's came with the sacks juiced. He picked up a grounder on one hop---a tailor-made double play. Belliard faked the throw to second, and then faked the throw to first. But, he didn't throw the ball at all. The inning turned into a nightmare for Carsten Charles and another irritating night for the rest of us. Eight runs later, it was finally over. Tonight was one of those nights that had me wishing for a mercy rule, like most softball leagues use. Look, the Indians don't give a shit, and now neither do I. I turned off the game, and spent time with my kids.

Keep watching this site. I just may have to give away my season tickets.

D-Wade and King James

The Miami Heat's victory over the Dallas Mavericks last night only increases my unease about LeBron James' long-term status with the Cavaliers. The on-court rivalry between Dwyane Wade and James has the potential to develop into something that could match the one that developed between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The only trouble is, LeBron doesn't have a ring yet.

What made the Johnson and Bird rivalry special was the fact that, in addition to their own skills, both guys led their teams to multiple NBA Championships. Wade's got his ring, and LeBron knows that until he gets one, Dwyane Wade's the top dog among the NBA's young guns.

How do you think something like that sits with a guy who has a giant tattoo across his back that says "The Chosen One"?

LeBron James doesn't want to be Charles Barclay when he grows up. The Heat's NBA title and Wade's pivotal role in it can only make James more impatient for a championship of his own. Despite their decent playoff run, the Cavs have to find several missing pieces before they're a championship caliber team. They'd better get to work.

Sure, the rules will allow the Cavs to keep James for a while. But unless the Cavs move quickly into the ranks of the NBA's elite, my fear is that his tenure as a Cavalier may be a lot shorter than any of us would want.

Cliff Lee

It's nice to have something good to say about the Indians for a change. Cliff Lee looked to be on the brink of a complete meltdown when the White Sox lit him up for 7 runs in 2 2/3rds on Memorial Day. Since that disastrous outing, however, Lee has been perhaps the most reliable arm on the team.

Last night's win against the Cubs was just the latest in a string of solid performances from Lee. He's won three of his last four starts, gone into the 7th inning in each of them, and his ERA for the month of June is an impressive 3.10.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hip hip hooray

The Indians just designated Jason Johnson for assignment. 'Nuff said.

Len Bias

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Len Bias' death. I'm not a basketball expert, but I was fortunate enough to attend many ACC basketball games when I was in school, and saw both Michael Jordan and Len Bias play. Jordan was amazing (I remember watching him literally jump over Virginia's Jim Miller on a drive to the basket), but I think Bias was the more electrifying of the two.

Like I said, I'm no expert, and my views may be colored by the fact that I watched Bias play for three seasons and Jordan only for one, but Len Bias is the best college basketball player that I ever saw.

Angry Drunks and Empty Seats

Holy crap! It's worse than I thought. There really isn't a team in the majors that the Indians can beat right now. It also looks like yesterday's comment about angry drunks and empty seats was pretty accurate, and may well be a preview of what the rest of the season will look like.

I watched Eric Wedge's post-game press conference, and I really felt bad for the guy. He truly seems at a loss to explain what's happening to this team. Sure, I'll turn on him soon enough and start demanding his head, but last night, he had my sympathy. Or maybe just my pity.

Fortunately, I had Game 7 of the Stanley Cup to distract me from the Tribe last night. By the way, congratulations to the Carolina Hurricanes, whose fans deserve the Stanley Cup every bit as much as the Florida Marlins' fans deserve their team's two World Series championships.

Monday, June 19, 2006

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Steeler-Hatin'

Looks like Ben Roethlisberger is not only okay, but already talking about looking forward to training camp. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh media has seen fit to question the mental health of those people who, in lieu of fasting and rending their garments, have reacted to his injury by coming up with gems like "Ben Toothlessberger."

Sure, some of this stuff is over the top, but the sanctimonious prattle from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette rings a little hollow when you remember how Pittsburgh fans turned on Tommy Maddox last season.

Anyway, all this leads me to declare that our moratorium on Steeler-hatin' is more over than Brad and Jen. To celebrate its end, I'll let a very distinguished friend of the blog throw out the first pitch. So, here's a little jab from CWRU Law School's Peter Friedman. Nice job, Peter-- that one will leave a mark.

P.S. By the way, if you aren't a regular reader of Peter Friedman's RAWBLOG, do yourself a favor and wander around the site while you're visiting. Peter has thoughtful comments on everything from law to culture to politics to the war to Argentine soccer (Argentine soccer?). Check it out.

Pick up the phone

Come on Shapiro, pick up the phone and start the firesale. They're done.

Get whatever you can for Boone, Byrd and Johnson (just kidding about Johnson---who other than the Tribe would let him pitch at the major league level?). Then when Blake gets healthy, trade him too. Just bring up the kids. They're going to have to learn how to play this game sooner or later. It might as well be now.

You know that short-arms Dolan isn't going to pay for real talent. So, the team will have to play kids. That's why we might as well let the future start.

I'm miserable.

I Am the Luckiest Guy in Cleveland

I was out of town this weekend, and didn't see a single inning of the last three games of the Indians' season, err.., I mean road trip. That doesn't mean that my weekend was completely free of bad baseball. In fact, I was in Chicago and went to see the Tigers dismantle the Cubbies on Saturday. (I'm not asking for sympathy--even though the baseball sucked, there's still nothing like an afternoon at Wrigley Field.)

Having watched the Cubs this weekend, I can assure you that this week's Interleague epic between the Tribe and Chicago is shaping up to be faaaannnn-tastic! The Cubs are beyond terrible, and the Indians return from their 2-7 road trip trailing Detroit by two touchdowns. So Cleveland fans, get ready for a spectacle featuring two special needs teams facing off in front of a crowd that could end up consisting mostly of angry drunks and empty seats by the 7th inning stretch.

Interleague play? I Live for This!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tribe Takes the Pipe Again

Did you know that Jason Johnson's ERA is now higher than my 40 yard dash time?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Vacation tips for the family

Sorry that I haven't been posting for the last week. I was with my family at Disneyworld. It was a pretty good time, and as a result, I thought I'd share a few nuggets of wisdom. Now, I know there are a few billion pages written about what to do at Disney. So I won't try to do that. My humble submission isn't meant to be exhaustive. I just noticed a few things that I wanted to pass along.

First, if you want to know what it's like to be a white man in America, get any Fastpass that's offered. It's a special ticket that permits the holder to jump to the front of a ride line during a specified range of time. During the interim, you can eat, ride other rides, or stroll around, but you don't have to stand in line at all. When your time rolls around, you just stroll past everyone standing in line like a big white man and hop into the cab of whatever ride it is.

Second, never, and I mean never, stand in the park entry line behind a family from the south or North Dakota. For some reason, Disney's advanced technology escapes them. To get into the park, you have to slide a key card into a reader, and put two of your fingers on the top of the same machine. People from the south just don't get it. They stand there. They look in the hole where the key card disappeared. They call over Uncle Jimmy to look at it. Uncle Jimmy looks in the hole. The friendly Disney gate worker tells them how to do it. They try again. They bend over to look in the hole again. The friendly Disney worker explains it again but more slowly. Uncle Jimmy lays on the ground and looks up at the card reader like it's some kind of friggin' Buick. Uncle Jimmy shouts out, "It looks like it's workin' allraaat." The friendly Disney worker puts the card in the hole. Uncle Jimmy tries to look again, but the friendly Disney worker gently shoos him away. Then she takes the hand of the lady from the south and places it on the scanner. It works. Pandemonium follows. The whole family of chinless freaks comes over and takes turns peering in the card reader to see what it will do next. The mom starts cackling some bullshit about "what will they think of next?" Uncle Jimmy starts telling some horseshit story about some weekend at Guard duty when he fixed a jeep. About ten minutes later, the mom, the dad, Uncle Jimmy and the whole family figure out how to get through the gate.

The next day, I spent the ten minutes on the monorail and walking into the park, bitching to my wife that there was no way I was going to stand in line behind a family from the south. She almost got in the wrong line behind some guy wearing a "Roll Tide" baseball cap, but I shepherded her to a line that just had one family in front of us. The dad was wearing a shirt that said, "Thank God I'm from North Dakota." Incidentally, he and his wife and kids all had chins. So, despite the shirt, I thought my prospects for a speedy entry were good. They weren't. I went through the exact same drama, minus Uncle Jimmy. Even though I was pissed off but good this time, I found myself kind of missing Uncle Jimmy. No one crawled under the machine to check it out. The whole family just meandered around asking rhetorical questions. I was gonna watch until they figured it out just to write something nasty about them, but unlike Tosca, there's only so much I'll suffer for my art.

Third, the hazelnut torte at Tony's Ristorante in the Magic Kingdom is pretty good.

Fourth, do NOT, under any circumstance miss MGM's "The Voyage of the Little Mermaid." It's a 20 minute mixed media retelling of part of "The Little Mermaid" with film, puppets and actors. The kids will love it. Plus, it's air-conditioned in the theater, but most importantly, dads (and you lesbians and bi-sexual women), Ariel---the Little Mermaid has some really big gourds. So big, that even my wife turned to me and mentioned it during the show. That shocked the hell out of me. We met all the Disney princesses during our visit, and generally they were young and very wholesome. Most were very modestly dressed. Ariel had big jugs covered by a couple of big seashells and a cut stomach. My guess is that she's done a little pole work in her career. I pondered that all the way back to the hotel for dinner. Then I started thinking that the other poor schmucks, who work at Disney for the summer, probably all try to bag a princess before they go back to school.

Oh yeah, the fireworks are nice too.

Tribe's Now 11 Games Back

They lost a tough one last night, despite great pitching from Paul Byrd. If you want to get really depressed about the hole they've managed to dig for themselves, read this.

The Indians shipped Jason Davis to Buffalo after his dismal outing against the White Sox, and recalled Jeremy Guthrie to take his spot.

Speaking of Buffalo, The DiaTribe has an interesting post discussing the Bisons' performance. While the Indians have struggled, their AAA affiliate has six pitchers with ERAs under 3.00, including Edward Mujica, who has pitched 36 innings with Akron and Buffalo without allowing a single earned run. Mujica's performance is starting to get noticed, and he's being mentioned as a possible replacement for the horrific Guillermo Mota.

In other Bisons' news, Jeremy Sowers was just named the International League's Player of the Month. What a shame that the Tribe's staff is just too deep to give this kid a shot.

"Just Do It"

That's what the guys at Nike must have said when asked whether they thought it was inappropriate to capitalize on the death of Tiger Woods' dad through a maudlin Fathers Day advertisement. (via SportsFilter)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Rejected Sopranos Plotlines: The Danbury Trashers

Here's one you don't see every day--a guy who supposedly has mob ties owns a hockey team and allegedly gives his players no-show jobs at his waste disposal company to get around the league's salary cap. The feds catch wind of it, and lots of people get indicted.

Hey, this may not be as good as some of The Sopranos story lines, but it beats the hell out of watching Vito Spatafore make out with "Johnnycakes." (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Old Leagues Never Die

This year's Stanley Cup final includes two teams that trace their lineages to the old WHA. That's the first time something like this has happened, and it reminded me that there are many fans with fond memories of the competitors to the established leagues that have come and gone over the years. Many of those fans have taken to the Internet, and have established sites devoted to their favorite extinct pro sports league.

Older Browns fans have fond memories of the AAFC, but I think it's fair to say that the American Football League was clearly the most successful of all of the leagues that emerged to compete with the NFL. It is well remembered at this site, which I think most football fans could spend hours at. But it isn't just the AFL that has fans. There are comprehensive sites dedicated to the mostly unlamented WFL, USFL and--believe it or not--the XFL.

If the AFL was the most successful competitor to an established league, the American Basketball Association was probably a close second. Not only did it produce stars like George Gervin, Moses Malone and Dr. J, but four of its franchises made the jump to the NBA and had success there as well. In light of that success, it isn't surprising that nostalgia for the ABA has found its own home on the Internet.

Major League Baseball is a special case--it has not had many formal competitors, but until 1947 it didn't allow black players on major league rosters. The Negro Leagues were the only professional leagues in the United States in which black players could compete. There are several websites devoted to the Negro Leagues, including The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and

I already mentioned the World Hockey Association. Sure enough, not only is this year's Stanley Cup final a tribute to the WHA, but there's a website devoted to that league as well.

Did I overlook your favorite extinct league? Then check out this site. It has information on everything from the NASL to Roller Derby.

Big Ben in Motorcycle Accident

I am sorry to report that Ben Roethlisberger appears to have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident late this morning. You won't find a more rabid Steeler-hater than me, but this transcends all that nonsense. He is a fine athlete and I sincerely hope that he recovers fully and quickly. Still, you just gotta shake your head over these guys and their bikes.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Indians are a Bad Baseball Team

The bullpen blows harder than Hurricane Katrina, they can't run the bases or play defense, and they constantly figure out ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Still, even taking all of that into account, I think the worst part is that their recent performance has been a constant reminder of how nice it would be to have Bob Howry and Brandon Phillips on the roster.

Now it looks like they can't even keep a lid on clubhouse conflicts. You know what? At this point, if Wickman and Byrd want a piece of each other, I say let 'em go at it. Hell, the Tribe ought to sell tickets--their fight can't help but be more entertaining than the crap the team puts on the field every day.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

World Cup

The biggest sporting event in the world got under way yesterday, with Germany defeating Costa Rica 4 to 2.

Like most Americans, I wouldn't classify myself as a huge soccer fan. Although I love to watch my daughter's teams play, I've never been able to get into the style of soccer that's played at higher levels here in the United States. Based on what I've seen, the collegiate and MLS referees tolerate little physical contact, and seem to award a free kick every time one player gives another a dirty look.

Fortunately, I discovered the English Premier League a few years ago, and I can tell you that it's a different story across the pond. The English teams are not only incredibly skilled, but they whomp the snot out of each other on a pretty regular basis. In fact, if you watch English soccer, you can easily understand how the game morphed into sports like rugby and football.

Anyway, in honor of the World Cup, I'm posting a video of what was voted the greatest goal in World Cup history. It's a truly breathtaking display of athletic ability from Argentina's Diego Maradona against England in 1986.

One of the fascinating things about this goal is that it happened only minutes after what has become the most infamous goal in World Cup history--and both were scored by Diego Maradona. Click here to read the story of the "Hand of God" goal.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tribe's Hitting the Road Without "Stay Up Late Boy"?

Looks like Sauerbeck is on his way out. That's a shame -- particularly after Vinny came up with a great nickname for him.

The Tribe starts out on what could prove to be a critical road trip tonight. They play three against the White Sox, and then it's on to the Bronx for three before finishing the trip in Milwaukee.

When all is said and done, we may come to look on this last home stand as one of the season's key missed opportunities. The Indians took three out of four from Chicago, but then dropped two series in a row to mediocre AL West teams. By only managing to go 5-5 on this home stand, they failed to capitalize on the recent lackluster play of both Detroit (3-7 over the last 10 games) and the White Sox (4-6 over the last 10 games).

As a lot of people have already noted, the Indians don't have the pitching to duplicate last year's post-All Star break heroics. Eight and a half games in early June isn't an insurmountable lead, but if they are going to make a move, they need to do it soon.

Right now would be nice.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jason Grimsley

Remember a more innocent time when the only crime Jason Grimsley was accused of was stealing back Albert Belle's corked bat? As everybody's heard by now, the feds paid a visit to Grimsley yesterday. Based on this affidavit, it looks like there's no omerta in baseball, because Grimsley appears to be singing like a bird.

A Little Gas for the Fire

That's what Stay Up Late Boy did tonight. The Tribe lost to the A's 7-6, after going into the 8th leading 6-4. That's when Blinky pulled Westbrook and put in Sauerbeck.

Stay Up Late Boy served up a meatball to Eric Chavez, who thanked him by mashing a two-run shot to tie the game. Shit, if that's the kind of stuff we wanted, we'd still have Joe Table on the team.

Anyway, it wasn't all Stay Up Late Boy. This was a classic team effort. Boone booted another one to put the winning run on base. And to show he's a team player, Martinez let Bobby Crosby steal second to put that same winning run in scoring position. Did he score?

You bet he did. Then the A's relievers came in and finished off six Indians for the win. Wedge was left blinking and shuffling around the dugout while the A's celebrated, and Indians' fans filed out trying to figure out what the hell just happened.

The one interesting thing in this loss was that Wedge dropped Peralta from third to sixth in the order. Peralta responded by going 0-4 with 3 strikeouts.

What's Belliard's picture doing here? Nothing, except I get a kick out of his crooked hat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bob Wickman is the greatest player ever.

That's not what I think. I'm just spreading the love.

At Sunday's game, 34 seniors from St. Ignatius High School commandeered two contiguous rows in the bleachers to bare their chests, each with one letter (including a period) to let the world know who's their guy.

Hey, Wickman's not the greatest player today. He's not even the greatest player on the Indians' current roster. But, I'm glad he's around. You've got to tip your hat to a guy who never bitches, never makes excuses, takes the ball every single time the phone rings, and looks like he could knock down a few Rolling Rocks and shots of Black Jack right after each game.

Captains v. Clemens

Roger Clemens is facing the Tribe's Class A affiliate tonight, and is supposedly "preparing like it's the World Series." Based on his performance last October, that's probably good news for the Lake County Captains. I hope they light him up like a Christmas tree.

In recent years, Roger Clemens has been getting the kind of fawning press coverage that future Hall of Famers tend to get late in their careers. However, I remain firm in my belief that he's one of the biggest jerks in sports. Why? Maybe it's because I remember that he once threw a ball at his pregnant wife during a pick-up game, or because I haven't forgotten the bizarre, obscenity-laced tirade against the umpires that got him ejected from Game 4 of the 1990 ALCS.

Or maybe I don't like Clemens because I'm a little suspicious about exactly how he revived his career during the late 1990s. Don't forget that from 1993 through 1996, Clemens' career appeared to be on a downward path. During those seasons, he posted a mediocre 40-39 record and recorded 200 Ks only once. After he was traded to Toronto, however, Clemens rebounded. He went 21-7 (2.05 ERA) with the Blue Jays in 1997, and raised his strikeout number to 226. He went 20-6 (2.65 ERA) the following season, and then, of course, he signed with the Evil Empire. Over the next several seasons, Clemens earned World Series rings, AL and NL Cy Young awards, and notched his 300th career victory.

In short, the last ten seasons of Clemens' career have been a feel good story about an aging player who suddenly found the fountain of youth. Hmm...where have we seen that before? Anyway, I'm probably way too cynical. I'm sure Clemens' performance is just the result of clean living, proper nutrition and a fanatical work-out schedule.

I mean, what has any aging superstar done recently that would make me think otherwise?

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution has been the rage in corporate litigation for at least two decades. Clients love it because it allows a chance to resolve conflicts without World War III. The key to its success, however, is having a good mediator. I do a lot of that stuff, but the one thing I can say with absolute certainty is this: Don't ever, and I mean ever, have The Sopranos' Little Carmine Lupertazzi mediate a dispute.

Little Carmine is great. The guy was on the air, in episode 77, for about 2 minutes in a sit-down with Tony and Phil Leotardo, and in that time, used at least a half-dozen malapropisms. However, he did drop a nice quote on the guys. It went something like, "The one thing my father taught me is that a gallon of gold is cheaper than a pint of blood." That made all the guys pause for a moment, and it looked like the peace was made. But Little Carmine had to revel in his fleeting importance. Right after T and Phil agreed to "wipe the slate clean" for a few deaths and the bombing of Phil's wire store, Little Carmine continued listing the items that were cleaned from the slate. When he mentioned to Phil "that thing that happened to your brother," Phil lost his mind and left. No deal.

The nice touch about bombing Phil's wire store was that located right next door to it is the Sheepshead Hair Design shop. That's got to be where Phil gets his hair done.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Sunday's performance by the Tribe was just obscene. Chone Figgins led off the game with a homer. A couple of outs later, Vladimir Guerrero went yard too. After that first inning, I wouldn't let my kids watch. They don't need to be exposed to stuff like that at such a young age.

Like most jerk-offs who write blogs, I tend to point out the negatives after a loss. The Tribe didn't make errors. They just didn't hit. John Lackey just shut them down. He twirled a two-hitter. The only Cleveland runs came against one of the best closers in baseball, Francisco Rodriguez, when Victor and Broussard banged back-to-back homers off him.

Victor's homer was the first since the end of April. He went 0 for a ton in terms of homers in the month of May. When your big stick in the middle of the order does that, you probably don't win many games. That is doubly true when your three hitter is in a 1-19 slump. What does that mean? It means that, unless he's fired, Wedge'd better shake up the batting order a little.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Birthday BASH

The Tribe won big yesterday 14-2. Pronk came through on his 29th birthday with a grand salami, and the good guys scored some runs (a lot of them in fact) for Cliff Lee. Most of it was made possible by one of the most feared hitters in the game, Vladimir Guerrero, making a nonchalant attempt at a fly. It popped out of his glove. Later in the inning, Orlando Cabrera booted a Jhonny Peralta grounder. After that, the game became a pasting. The funny thing is that this was one of those games where the score was not indicative of what was happening. But for those two errors, it was a completely different game. Nevertheless, Cliff pitched well and I'll take the win.

I was at the game with my family. In addition to watching the Tribe win, we all got beach towels. My kids thought that was pretty cool. They were also pretty happy with Grady's bomb and the fireworks that followed it. Unfortunately, we missed Hafner's shot because we left early to get to a T-ball game. That sucked, but the good news is that my son (like everyone else's kid) got a hit and scored a run.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tribe 14, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2

I know I'll offend the purists of Anaheim in the audience, but I love being on the winning end of a blowout of Anaheim. It was nice to see Cliff Lee of Anaheim get his first solid outing in a month, and a grand slam by the birthday boy of Anaheim made it a very enjoyable afternoon of Anaheim overall.

Currently, the Detroit Tigers of Anaheim are losing to the Boston Red Sox of Anaheim 1-0, and the Texas Rangers of Anaheim are beating the Chicago White Sox of Anaheim 2-1. It's early, but keep your fingers crossed-- the Cleveland Indians of Anaheim could make up some ground in the AL Central of Anaheim.

Jason Johnson

Okay, let me ask the same question that everyone has been asking -- how the hell does this guy stay on the roster in light of what Sowers (and Guthrie for that matter) have done in Buffalo?

It's gotten to the point where I'm becoming convinced that the answer must be that Jason Johnson has pictures of Wedge and Shapiro with a live boy or a dead girl. Not only does Johnson dig the Indians a first inning hole last night, he then makes a snide comment about Blinky's decision to pull him after five innings ("I wanted a chance to keep the team in the game, but Eric Wedge had a different idea.")

Sure, Mota was his customary disaster, but a guy with these numbers has no business even looking cross-eyed at his manager, much less dissing him to the media.

Friday, June 02, 2006

You Can't Make this Stuff Up

I suppose there could be something stranger than this, such as the Chicago Cubs renaming Wrigley "Steve Bartman Field," or the City of Cleveland erecting a statue of Art Modell in Public Square, but I think you'll agree that this is still pretty bizarre.

Anyway, according to The Washington Post, Jeffrey Maier--yes, the Jeffrey Maier-- is a potential Baltimore Oriole.

All-Star Game Voting

The Indians won a wild one last night, or so I'm told. I watched the injury-plagued Buffalo Sabres lose their series to the Carolina Hurricanes, and only tuned in to the Tribe in the 8th inning, after most of the fireworks had already gone off.

I went to the Indians' website to look at the box score and saw a pitch for me to vote for the Tribe's representatives on the All-Star ballot, which reminded me what a bad idea fan voting is. I'm one of those schmucks who actually likes the All-Star game, but I think having fans vote for the starting lineups is just dumb, particularly since--let's say it together, shall we-- this time it counts!

If you're an ordinary fan like me, your idea of following the game involves reading the sports section, watching the Indians and following other teams mainly through Sportscenter and Baseball Tonight. I don't think that really qualifies us to make intelligent choices, but it won't stop millions of us from voting.

Fan voting not only leads to really bad selections, but it also leads to pathetic vote begging by clubs, disturbing antics from looneys like these two, and attempts to highlight the problem by getting the likes of Neifi Perez and Juan Castro elected as starters.

Fan voting really needs to end. It isn't fair to the players, and it isn't fair to the teams whose home field fate is going to be decided by the game. While they're at it, they probably ought to do away with the whole idea of a mandatory representative from each team. This bad idea from MLB's marketing department has led to selections like former Pirates closer Mike Williams, who was added to the NL team in 2003 at a time when he was carrying an 0-3 record and a 6.29 ERA.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Let’s go do some damage to Pittsburgh for a change"

That's what Phil Savage said yesterday, and it sums up everything I like about the guy. The jury's still out on some of his personnel decisions, but isn't it nice to finally have somebody in this town who gets it?

For Browns fans, the game isn't about guys "playing their guts out"-- it's about winning, and it starts with tearing off the Steelers' heads and crapping down their necks. That's something that this franchise hasn't been capable of doing in recent years. Fans have been frustrated by the Browns' futility, but have been outraged by the relentless spin from the front office and the apparent indifference to the Pittsburgh rivalry that was evidenced by the previous regime.

Savage has proven himself to be relentlessly honest (he sticks his neck out quite a bit in the Canton Rep piece I linked to in the first paragraph). In fact, he's taking some heat from the media for sharing his view that one of the things that is conducive to player success is "having a relationship with Christ." Not surprisingly, the intelligensia (or at least what passes for it at the editorial desk of The Dayton Daily News) is taking him to task for this.

Thank you, Dayton Daily News, for taking a courageous stand on behalf of diversity, inclusiveness, and most of all, political correctness. Now go piss up a rope.

Like most fans, I don't give a damn if the Browns have a team full of fundamentalist Zoroastrians or reformed Druids, so long as they win, but don't give grief to Phil Savage for saying what he thinks. The guy's not up for a seat on the Supreme Court, and he's most definitely not a spin doctor. He's a GM trying to figure out a way to consistently win football games, and is offering an opinion on things he thinks are conducive to that.

After seven years of relentless propaganda from the likes of Carmen Policy, Dwight Clark and Butch Davis, Savage's candor is downright refreshing--and if the Jewish guy he works for doesn't mind him invoking the name of the Jewish guy many of us pray to, then neither should the media.