Monday, December 31, 2007

The (Duh) Browns Report: Is that a Chudzinski in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

So, Browns fans, I'm just a tad curious: Did anyone see LeBron James wearing a Tennessee Titans baseball cap down at Cleveland Browns Stadium yesterday?

Hey, fair is fair, I know I certainly wanted to wear a Danny Ferry jersey to Anderson Varejao's contract negotiations a couple of weeks ago...

But enough about that. Let's get right to our beloved Cleveland Brownies. First, I have to say "thank you" because I haven't enjoyed watching the Browns this much since the days of Bernie Kosar and Marty Schottenheimer (in a backwards, Cleveland karma-chameleon sort of way, I guess).

But honestly (all terrific 10-6 records aside), the Browns did not deserve to be in the playoffs after they choked against the woeful (and less superior) Cincinnati Bengals. That was their chance (their one big chance) ...and they blew it.

So, no, I don't want to talk about "Cleveland curses" concerning the Browns or the Colts resting their starters against the Titans. That's about as lame as emailing Jim Sorgi for "help." I didn't have to watch the Colts-Titans game last night to know the dreaded outcome and, quite frankly, I'm done "wishing upon a star" when it comes to Cleveland sports teams and their collective fate(s).

The Cleveland Browns had their chances. Derek Anderson had his chances (all season). So if you, as a professional football team, want to throw away your chances for the playoffs down in Cincinnati, then don't be surprised when the fans are clamoring to see Brady Quinn as your starting quarterback here in C-Town (And a mass emailing to Jim Sorgi in Indianapolis falls flatter than the Brady Quinn football "dropped" by Kellen Winslow in the end zone on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers).

Sure, head coach Romeo Crennel did a better job this year with some more talent around him (thanks to Phil Savage) ...but I'm not sold on him just yet. I just think that newly-acquired offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski, did a far better job in moving this team ...forward.

So, yes, a 10-6 record is impressive here in Browns Town, to be sure (and more impressive than the 8-8 record than we predicted here preseason for the Brownies). But I honestly don't want to hear about "rewarding" Romeo Crennel with a contract extension. Here's an original thought here in Cleveland: Why don't we "reward" Romeo Crennel with a contract extension after he gets this talented team into the playoffs - and not a minute before.

Romeo still has two years left on his contract, so let's see what he can do in that time as Phil Savage contiues to deliver the groceries to Crennel's brown-and-orange kitchen. And, hey, if Bill Parcells wants Crennel as his head coach ...let The Big Tuna have him! I'll take the Dolphins #1 draft pick (and Darren McFadden to back up Jamal Lewis) any day, as long as we get to keep Rob Chudzinski in the house.

The local media might not see this ("Gasp! Who knew the Browns were going to be this good?!? I didn't!") as clearly as they "predicted" the Cleveland Indians would be in 4th place in the American League Central last season ("Gasp! Who knew the Indians were going to be this good?!? I didn't!") - as opposed to a MLB playoff contender.

I mean, I'm confused: Do you actually need a Pro Bowl player at EVERY SINGLE POSITION before you could ever possibly make the jump from a 4-12 to 10-6 record ...or what???

Well, apparently some of us "amateurs" knew this much. As well as we know that Brady Quinn deserved a shot to play most of the game against the 49ers yesterday ...for the good of the organization (despite Derek Anderson's hurt feelings). Yes, Anderson got us this far, but not when it mattered the most.

And, hey, let's not forget this: Joshua Cribbs, Jamal Lewis, Braylon Edwards, Phil Dawson, Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach (among MANY others) ...helped out a lot more than Jim Sorgi ever did, too.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Mitchell Report and Major League Baseball: Chicken Soup for the Steroid Era Soul?

"Don't waste your hate on something you don't love." -- Jack Nicholson

Joltin' Joe, say it ain't so! What a sad day in baseball - and baseball history.

But this wonderful-waste-of-a-witch hunt does absolutely nothing to ease my mind as ESPN continues to pound this issue into the cold, hard, ground of mindless media mania.

Some players cheat, some players skate free, the baseball owners and unions bury their collective-bargaining heads in the shifting sand, and the fans always seem to suffer in the end, do they not? (McEditor's note: Makes you appreciate Grady Sizemore, Pronky Pronk and The Funky Bunch, even more, don't it, Tribe gang? Feel the vibration!)

But, in regards to such "talents" as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire ...or otherwise, it all seems to go back to a favorite Irish proverb of my people: "You can't polish a turd."

And, oh yeah: "Cheaters sometimes prosper..."

Tell THAT to George Zipp: Somewhere Abner Doubleday is rolling over in his Wrigley-enhanced, foil-lined, grave!
Are these guys (alleged steroid abusers) wrong for using HGH (or any other illegal substance) to gain an "unfair advantage" amongst their peers in the game of baseball? Absolutely.

Does Major League Baseball (as a whole) need to crack down on this abuse and do something to save "the integrity" of our national fascination, baseball? You betcha!

Is this "report" anything more than a semi-retarded waste of time and money in the grand scheme of things? Perhaps.

But all great debates aside that would make a Robert Redford movie blush with angst, I think I speak for at least some of the fans of baseball when I say this: WHO CARES!

Well, a hearty "WHO CARES!" with an asterisk (*), I suppose. Sadly, as fans of the game of baseball, our only crime is that we care ...we care just a tad too much.

Yes, the game of baseball needs to get tough and clean up it's act and, yes, some good in all of this will hopefully get younger athletes to reconsider using steroids during the span of their sports careers.

But beyond that, I'm really not interested in the finer details of how some ball boy "shot up" Roger Clemens in the ass with performance-enhancing drugs. That was then ("the steroids era") and this (for better or worse) is now.

This "report" (like everything else in the national media) is rather "New York-centric" to a Midwest fan of a team like the Indians, to say the least. So (ultimately) it seems, as a fan of the Tribe, all yellow brick roads must lead back to Cleveland, do they not?

Regardless, in the swelling sea of all this ugly nonsense, isn't it worth a tip of the hat to note that these CURRENT crop of Cleveland Indians - my Cleveland Indians - are performing at such high levels without any pulse-pounding, performance-enhancing drugs?

All allegations, innuendos, and Paul Byrd's aside: How amazing is it that most of these Cleveland players in the game today (like Grady Sizemore, C.C. Sabathia and Travis Hafner, to name a few) are playing the game of baseball (at such exceptional levels) without cheating and the help of any illegal advantage? I say most, because of Rafael Betancourt getting caught with steroids back in 2005.

And, hey, maybe YOUR favorite little baseball team makes you feel the same way - all tingly inside - without the use of any artificial stimulants, additives, or otherwise.

So, goodbye Yellow Brick Road: It is CLEAR to me, at least, that these players (with nothing more than their hard work and dedication to the game) need to be recognized. I hope the fans of the Cleveland Indians (and baseball as a whole) notice this fact as well.

Please, George Mitchell, inject that into your report, won't you?

Listen to BC Sports Treehouse Fort on internet talk radio

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Teepee Talk: All I want for Christmas Is Miguel Cabrera, but he's "out of stock" at Tribe-Mart

As a diehard fan of the Cleveland Indians, the trade for third baseman Miguel Cabrera by the Detroit Tigers this week goes down like a gift basket from Hickory Farms: Bitter and hard to swallow.

What were the Cleveland Indians thinking letting Miguel Cabrera slip through their fingers and - WORSE - letting him go to their arch-rivals, the Detroit Motor City Kitties? Here are a few of the presents that Cabrera is capable of leaving under the proverbial Christmas tree for the Tribe, had they traded for him:

A batting average of .310!
34 home runs!
91 runs, and
119 runs batted in!!!

Oh yeah, the Indians certainly don't need a power bat like that - at THIRD BASE! Third base, he says! What are the choices we have now at that position? The Brawny Man and Andy Marte? Okay, yes, Eric Wedge: Casey Blake's a good guy - WE GET IT. But all of those semi-awkward baseball "man-crushes" aside, I would think Miguel Cabrera might make any Tribe fan's heart go all-a-flutter, don't you?

My own heart is certainly erratic right about now!

What? Is Tribe general manager, Mark Shapiro, deliberately trying to ruin my Christmas? I certainly wouldn't do the same to him!

Hey, a middle-market team like Cleveland will certainly never be able to afford a mega-superstar like Alex Rodriguez at third base, to be sure. But wouldn't a potential young All-Star like Miguel Cabrera be the next best thing? The Tigers sure think so!

And, hey now, the former #24 from the Florida Marlins - is only 24 years old! And those above-mentioned statistics (look at them!) - those are the kind of numbers that Cabrera has been averaging the last four years with the stinking Marlins - Argh! It's the cherry on the cake of my Seasonal Affective Disorder...

Reportedly, the Cleveland Indians "inquired" about Miguel Cabrera, initially, but supposedly bowed out after deciding that the Marlins wanted too much in return for him, in regards to their young prospects. It's "decisions" like these that make me want to impale myself on the jagged horns of my Cleveland State Viking bobblehead doll, no doubt.

The Detroit Tigers had to brandish six top prospects to the Marlins for Cabrera and pitcher Dontrelle Willis - and supposedly mortgaged the future to pay for the present. But is that too hefty a pricetag if the Tigers win a World Series next year - and beyond? Regardless, if nothing else, the Cleveland Indians have a surplus of young talent in their farm system ready to bump into each other in the outfield (and on the pitching mound). Not to mention pitcher Cliff Lee (a tip of the hat) who is reportedly on the Tribe trading block, as well, could have been thrown into that marvelous mix.

No, I'm not bashing Mark Shapiro because he still is (I believe) one of the best general managers in baseball - and Cleveland is damn lucky to have him. But as a long-suffering fan of the Indians, it's still frustrating, nonetheless. Cabrera could have been the final piece of the puzzle to help Cleveland get over the hump - and back to the World Series next year (where they haven't been, sadly, since 1997).

Well, that and signing our ace-pitcher, C.C. Sabathia, to a new four-year, $72 million dollar, contract extension (which is a possibility, according to my sources, and when I say "sources" ...I mean one of the many voices in my head). The Indians are pushing Sabathia hard to sign before the beginning of spring training - but. at this point, it's just "wait and see" for C.C. on whether or not he signs on the line which is dotted.

Either way, it's a basic baseball consensus that the Detroit Tigers (on paper) are a better team - if not now the best team in the American League. The Cleveland Indians are no slouch, either, for that matter - and, hey, that's why they still play the games, nonetheless.

But, with the scary mind-numbing possibility of pitcher Johan Santana going to either the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians may need all the help they can get for the upcoming 2008 season.

Sure, there is always a possibility that the Tribe may still trade for Pittsburgh left fielder Jason Bay in the near future - and that's not a half-bad, half-baked, move either if the Indians can ultimately pull it off in the end. Grady Sizemore and Jason Bay playing ball together in the Cleveland outfield is certainly nothing to sneeze at, for most baseball enthusiasts anyway.

Regardless, I was truly looking forward to Miguel Cabrera stuffed into my Tribe stocking for the holidays. Jason Bay might be okay, too, I guess - but, um, does he come with a gift receipt, as well?

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Festivus New Year!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Postcards from the Cleveland edge and a memo to Anderson Varejao: "Um ...Mi casa es su casa?"

Got a telegram from Western Union this afternoon:

Charlotte Bobcats sign Anderson "Wild Thing" Varejao to an offer sheet. STOP. That's not the big news. STOP. The Cleveland Cavaliers and GM Danny Ferry have matched the offer to Raggedy Andy. STOP. He's not going anywhere fast nor soon, you idiot. STOP. What the hell were you thinking bashing Varejao before he actually left town? STOP! STOP! STOP! Is it too late to join Dick Feagler down in Public Square for some hot peanuts circa 1958 Cleveland? STOP. You could never live without your TIVO or other modern conveniences, you smug fool! STOP. Truth be told, I prefer Vincenza's pizza (circa 1998-Present) or The Tap House burgers (circa 1997) me self. STOP. Hot damn, now that I think about it, does Western Union even exist anymore??? STOP. Can you imagine, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were my Beatles...? STOP. Holy crap, does that make Courtney Love my Yoko??? STOP. Sooooo ...what the hell was I babbling about again? STOP!!!

Oh yeah, Anderson Varejao is coming "home" to the Cleveland Cavaliers... Wait, what? Where did Miguel Cabrera GO in all of this?


Note to self and all Cleveland sports fans: Anderson Varejao is a Cleveland Cavalier (again). But he still firmly expressed before, during, and after his initial "hissy fit" that he has no desire to play for Cleveland, did he not? Or maybe I'm just ...wigging out.

So, no doubt, even though the Cavaliers are a better team with this "fan favorite" and "slightly above-average role player" - where, ultimately, does that leave the Cavs in the grand scheme of things?

All past Carlos Boozer/Manny Ramirez/Jim Thome "how dare you scorn Cleveland for more money, you traitor!" indiscretions aside: In the end, really, aren't all we left with NOW is an angry (and not much richer) Anderson Varejao who may or may not "give his all" for these Cleveland Cavaliers with egg all over his face ...and intangibles?

Honestly, for the city of Cleveland itself, I truly hope not.

But, hey, I'm willing to forgive and forget for the greater good of the team. Only because I pretty much couldn't care less, either way, about this team (or the NBA) who "trap" their unappreciative prima donna players thanks to their shady agents with the help of their "friends" at the Charlotte Bobcats in a you-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-sign-your-hack bonus round. So what exactly, as Cleveland sports fans, are we going to do as we stand semi-helpless on the sidelines? Return to sender?

Or much like Handy Andy (and myself), hop back on the bandwagon at a later date? Either way, right or wrong, it's most certainly time to collectively move on, past our petty squabbles, to bigger and better things in the universe, don't you think? I do, amigos.

STOP. And think about it for a minute, won't you?

Listen to BC Sports Treehouse Fort on internet talk radio

Monday, December 03, 2007

Postcards from the Cleveland edge and a memo to Anderson Varejao: "Adios, amigo!"

So Anderson Varejao feels he is underpaid and underappreciated by the Cleveland Cavaliers, huh?

Well, the boy from Brazil is getting a rather rude awakening now, don't you think? Sure, the young Cavs are talent-thin around the nucleus that revolves around mega-star, LeBron James, no doubt.

But the amount of money he is reportedly asking for (whether it be $10 million a year, $8 million a year, anything over $4-5 million a year OR more than whatever Sasha Pavlovic was granted with his new contract) is absolutely insane.

Varejao is a "very talented role player on defense" - at best. Oh, and he is (was?) a "fan favorite" as well - but, really, how much is that worth in the end? Apparently, every other team in the NBA believes: Not that much (to throw bricks).

I find it equally ludicrous that Cavs' GM, Danny Ferry, actually flew down to Brazil to talk to Varejao about his contract (or whatever happened down there) - and then Andy threw a major "hissy fit" to the media in the process. That's how things can change on a dime, huh?

I have very little interest in the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, regardless - but this entire situation makes me care all the less. I wish them the best simply because when they do well, the city of Cleveland does well (by association).

In any case, my bleeding heart will always belong to the Browns and the Indians, first and foremost, I suppose (despite all the penalties, blown leads, and blown opportunites). Sorry, but the NBA (as a whole) simply makes me ...queasy.

Whatever the case, I'll be talking about all this, the Browns losing to the woeful Arizona Roadrunners, and more tonight as a guest on Blog Talk Radio: BC Sports Treehouse Fort for tonight at 8:40 pm (Gotham City time).

Hey, just like "The Janitor" from Scrubs, I work the "pre-dawn slot" on Mondays down at The Giggle Pit, it seems - and, hey, rightfully so! Regardless, I'm pretty sure (nay, absolutely positive) that Jim Donovan and Mike Greenberg can sleep well tonight...

I'll just have to lose the marbles in my mouth, try not to embarrass myself too much, and "muddle on through the best I can." If nothing else, it should be fun and a nice flashback to my time as a "co-host" on late-night Cleveland State college radio, right?

Internet/satellite radio is the wave of the future, it seems. Huh. Who knew? Not me if the performance of my Sirius stock is any indication! Regardless, thanks to Matt Sussman (our fearless BC Sports ringleader) for the opportunity, nonetheless.