Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fields of Dreams

ESPN.com has posted its list of the 14 best high school stadiums in the nation. Ohio is the only state with two stadiums on the list: Canton's Fawcett Stadium, and -- of course -- Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. These are both great facilities and worthy representatives of The Buckeye State's proud tradition of high school football.

Of course, when it comes to Ohio high school stadiums, the real problem is narrowing the list of classic venues down to only one or two. We are blessed with some of the greatest high school football stadiums in the nation, and many of those can give Fawcett and Massillion -- as well as the rest of the stadiums that ESPN selected -- a real run for their money.

For example, I think ESPN overlooked what just may be the crown jewel of Ohio high school gridirons -- Steubenville's Reno Saccoccia Field at Harding Stadium, better known as "Death Valley." If you want even better views of Death Valley, go to this website, then click on "Death Valley" on the menu, and then click again on the photo of the stadium. (Yeah, the website designer could've done a better job with navigation, but his photos are worth the effort.)

ESPN also bypassed Cincinnati's Elder Stadium, better known as "The Pit." Home of the legendary Elder Panthers, The Pit was rated one of the nation's top ten high school venues by USA Today.

ESPN selected one field in an urban setting, San Francisco's George White Field. I've seen this place, and it's more quirky than anything else. It is carved into a very small spot of land in San Francisco's Russian Hill neighborhood and its goal posts are only a few feet from the street. You want a first rate urban stadium? Try St. Vincent-St. Mary's John Cistone Field at Green Street Stadium in Akron, or Toledo Central Catholic's Gallagher Stadium.

There are other gems scattered throughout the state. For example, there's Martin's Ferry's haunting Alumni Stadium, where you can almost hear the poet James Wright's lines as you look out at the field; Dover's Crater Stadium, Lima's Lima Stadium, Toledo-Waite's Jack Mollenkopf Stadium, and Chagrin Falls' C.S. Harris Stadium (which looks like it was designed by Norman Rockwell).

There are other states with some spectacular high school venues, and the list that ESPN has compiled is worth a look. Nevertheless, there's no reason to plan a trip out of state to take any of them in -- there are plenty of fields of dreams right here at home.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things only get better.

Next week the Browns go to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars at 4:05 pm. The Jags are 3-3 but I think they'll be tough to beat.
The former expansion teams, Jacksonville and Carolina, have been able to assemble some impressive talent. Here's an example of the type of athlete Carolina can run out on the field (LEFT).
How the hell are the Browns supposed to compete with that?
Nuff' said.

O Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore art thou Romeo?

The Browns lost another one yesterday. With six games in the books, they're 2-4. That means that, to get to a ten-win mark, the Browns have to go 8-2 the rest of the way. Ain't gonna happen.

I'm not going to waste time this morning writing about how Braylon dropped a couple more balls; how D.A. just sucked; or how I'm tired of K2 looking for a flag every single time he doesn't catch the ball. I'm more pissed off about the way this team just doesn't seem ready for the season, even though they're seven weeks into it.

The team lacks urgency, organization and discipline. Other than that, Romeo and his staff are doing a helluva job. Actually, RAC, as the players refer to him, must be doing at least one thing right---the guys love him. Through all the false starts, dropped passes, bad passes, poor clock management, and dumb coaching decisions, every single player continues to praise him. That's 'cause RAC has their backs. And I don't mean that he's holding them by the shoulders and sticking a boot in their asses. In RAC's rosy world it seems there's never any fault to go around. One of his favorite post-defeat phrases is "we just didn't get it done." Really? No shit. I thought you did and that the scoreboard just got it wrong.

In light of the high expectations for his team, Savage went out and acquired defensive playmakers and Donte Stallworth for this year...to win it all this year. Although mathematically speaking, the Browns' playoff hopes are still alive, even the most rabid fan has to admit that, other than for four glorious quarters against the Giants, this team hasn't remotely looked like a playoff team, nevermind a champion.

At some point, Savage is going to intervene, call the season a loss, instruct RAC or the interim coach to play Quinn, and start manuevering for April's draft.

It's heartbreaking.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Same Ol' CC

Well, I guess it's fair to say that CC Sabathia is in post season form. He got lit up last night by the Phillies. In 3.2 innings, he gave up 6 hits, 4 walks and 5 earned runs, including a 2nd inning bomb from Shane Victorino.

Fans of the Brewers have to be bummed. After all, the guy pitched like Superman after they acquired him from the Indians. Maybe 252 regular season innings were too many for the big fella.

I'm just glad that he got them to the playoffs. I've always liked the Brewers, even though Proud to Be Your Bud Selig was one of the worst owners in baseball. I like them even more now that he's not around and now that their drafting and player development are both, as Judge Elihu Smails would say, "top notch, top notch!" More importantly, I'm happy the Brewers made the playoffs because it improves Cleveland's choice of minor leaguers for the PTBNL ("player to be named later") from the deal. If Milwaukee hadn't made the playoffs, it would have chosen who the Indians received. Since they're in, the Indians get the choice. The top two candidates are Michael Brantley and Taylor Green. You can read about them here. I suspect they'll grab Brantley; stick him in LF; and let him leadoff.