Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My New Browns Jersey

Mess with the king... and hit the road! Hey Jets... this is your payback for Mangini... hope you like dropped passes!
Hot off the presses....

Sunday, October 4, 2009



That is all.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yep. Sounds about right.

Ok, so I didn't post this week. Honestly... I have nothing new to say. We suck. We play bad football and lose games. There's only so many times I can put a funny spin on that. Maybe I should pick something new and less depressing to write about. Like world hunger.

I have let my loyal readers down lately. To make up for it, and the fact that I'm currently deriving no joy from this game, I am going to blog.

Actually, this is so painful to watch that CBS just crapped out. Even they don't want this game to be shown.

Its sad when I've written off the season three games in. Whether I'd like to admit it or not though, I have. I know this becuase this game isn't even getting to me. I've discussed the emotion this team invokes with me in the past. An emotion so unique to Cleveland fans, it has its own word... Brown. I've felt Brown about this whole season. I am a Browns fan until the day I die, but I'm just so apathetic right now. I honestly cannot even get excited about this team. And that's sad. The Browns being bad is nothing new, but they at least used to get me fired up. I used to get mad. I'm watching this game right now, we're playing like crap, and I don't have the urge to throw things. That's how I know things are bad. In the past, I have had to make sure there was nothing within arms reach of me during games or it would inevitably get thrown. I actually almost got kicked out of the Browns Backers bar in New York one time for throwing a fork. I didn't even realize I had done it... It was reaction. This team doesn't even do that to me anymore. I think that's part of the reason why my posts have been so spuradic as of late.

Anyway, back to the game at hand. We just reached the 2 minute warning in the first half, and I've yet to see a single postive in this game. We are bad. Unbearably, unwatchably bad. A recap so far.... according to my text messages/facebook wall, as they are infinitly more exciting than anything I'm actually seeing on the tv.

Text from Brother: Dawson and Lewis are out
Text from Brother: Blah

Yep. Sounds about right.

Text from me to friend from Columbus (who is football neutral towards both the Browns and Bengals... which is lame): This game is going to be brutal
Text from me to Columbus: I am not a happy Girl Out of Cleveland
Response from friend: Looks like it... I'm sorry

Yep. Sounds about right.

Text from friend that lives in DC: At the game totally got booed
Text from friend that lives in DC: 1 browns suck 2 there are MAYBE a handful of people in baltimore w class 3 there are less in Pittsburgh.

Yep. Sounds about right.

Response to my facebook status (which currently reads: "It's sunday... which means I'm suffering through a Browns game) from another friend that lives in DC: For some reason, DC isn't playing the Baltimore game so I had to come to a bar. It really helps drown the sorrows, thus killing two birds with one stone.

Yep. Sounds about right.

Halftime. 20 - 0. Ratbirds.

Yep. Sounds about right.

Looks like the second half Browns showed up in the first half this week... Maybe luck will be on our side and we'll come out looking like an actual football team in the second half, but I'm not holding my breath. I can probably go ahead and write about the second half now, during halftime, without even having to watch it.

Let's predict:

On the Browns first possession of the half, they surprise me and show some promise. They actually manage to get the ball down the field and into the red zone. After 3 miserable attempts to score, we kick a field goal. Actually, that gives me an epiphany. I know why we're scoreless so far. Dawson is out. Our offense is basically built around him. Without him, we're not entirely sure how to put points on the board.

Yep. Sounds about right.

Text to Brother: We suck. Do we even count as a football team right now?
Text from Brother: No- but at least we aren't Detroit.
Text to Brother: But sadly Detroit is up 10 to 0 right now... the Redskins are probably saying to themselves at least we're not Cleveland
Text from Brother: I'm gonna cry.

Yep. Sounds about right.

Oh. F*ing NO. DA is in. SERIOUSLY? I am not entirely sure I can even watch this game, scratch that, this team anymore. Although he just made a completion. I can't even handle this. CLEARLY the solution all of our problems is to start playing games with our QBs. At least I want to throw things again! I am not advocating Quinn. I'm not even entirely against DA playing, but this back and forth is not going to cut it. ARGHHH. DA intercepted.

Yep. Sounds about right.

Me to Columbus friend: This isn't even a game. I am disgusted. We are easily the worst team in the NFL right now. Even the lions are winning :(
Me to Columbus friend: They haven't won a game since 2007. Take a minute and think about that... My team is worse than that
Columbus friend: Lol this is true

Yep. Sounds about right.

New facebook status: "Oh here's an idea! LETS PUT IN DA! Don't act like you were surprised when he threw an interception. FML. jfskdafj;asfjs;alfkl;"
Response by friend:
I want to run Mangini out of town with a mob and pitchforks.

Yep. Sounds about right.

I'm done. I can't honestly have to shut this off. Right now studying for my CPA exam is the less painful option to this game. I'm not sure if this is what hell is like, but I'm assuming its pretty close.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Here we go Brownies?

Ok. So down to business. No more failed experiments trying to write about other things. I write about the Browns. No more sugarcoating.

Despite my lack of talking about the game here, I was giddy with excitement for the start of a new Browns season. For the first time in 8 years, I, Girl out of Cleveland, am Girl in Cleveland (at least temporarily, oh dear lord, I hope only temporarily). And if I have to be back in Cleveland, I can't think of a better time than on the cusp of a long, cold, gray winter. And sadly, I'm not even kidding, because in Cleveland, that means I'm here for my favorite season.... BROWNS SEASON!!!!

The tailgate was planned. We stayed at a friend's downtown so we could be at the muni lot bright and early. I even made "Here We Go Brownies" (brownies which I attempted to spell out "here we go Brownies" on in mini m&m's... you couldn't really tell what they said, but we knew... it was the thought that counts, and they tasted amazing in our 9am beer buzz).

If you have never walked through the muni lot at 8am on game day, you are truly missing out. I usually tailgate in the Pit, but the pilgrimage through the muni lot is something every Browns fan must experience. As a displaced Browns fan who has been living in NYC the past 3 years, the most Browns fans I'm used to seeing in one place is the upstairs of the UES Blondie's (miss you NYC Browns backers!!!). The muni lot is Blondies on the grandest of scales. But just like Blondie's, there's a camaraderie, and that's what I love most about Clevelanders. Anyone wearing brown and orange is instantly a friend. People high fiving you as you walk past, joining in on a loud round of barking, sharing the plentiful amounts of food and beer that they have brought for the pre-game festivities, we're truly one big Cleveland family. An admittedly dysfunctional family, but a family none-the-less. It sounds cheesy, but that's part of what I love most about being a Cleveland fan.

Anyway, moving on. Thanks to solid 4+ hours of tailgating, I was definitely sprited by the time kickoff rolled around. Those with tickets to the game headed into the stadium, and those of us without headed to the nearest establishment with a TV to watch the opening drive. As we moved the ball down the field, my excitement continued to grow. Until the field goal team came out and we settled for 3 when we should have had 7. Why do I have deja vu when I type that phrase? Oh yea, because I found myself saying that EVERY FREAKING GAME LAST YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! While most people were happy we got points on the board, I was ready to throw my half full bottle of tasty hops and barley across the bar. No! No! and NO! again.

This was not the foot I wanted to start off on. TOUCHDOWNS. The key to winning football games is SCORING TOUCHDOWNS. I know what you are thinking, its the first drive of regular season, too early to get this heated. Well I say screw you! As I stated previously, I have decided that I hate Mangini until he proves himself otherwise. While in the eyes of the law, you are innocent until proven guilty, as a Browns coach, you are the devil until proven otherwise. I love my Browns win or lose, so as a coach, you become my scapegoat. Hey Mangini, despite what Romeo may have told you on his way out, here in Cleveland we prefer 7 points to 3.

Having put some points on the board, my motley crew and I decided to move on to a more lively establishment. We hurried along, and repositioned ourselves at a more festive venue filled with like minded fans. We shook our heads and consoled each other as our meager lead became a tie, and then as Mr. Peterson showed us he meant business and the Vikings took the lead.

Then we got a tease of the Edwards of past. An awesome catch, and in the endzone? AND. THE. CROWD. WENT. WILD. Until, in typical Browns fashion, our TD was overturned and we again SETTLED FOR 3 FREAKING POINTS. Don't get me wrong. I love Phil Dawson. Phil Dawson for president. But I almost cringe when I see him head out onto the field, especially when we're close enough to a touchdown to taste it. And I think I might start to have the same reaction when I see the Cribbs formation, whatever it is we're calling it. Because if something doesn't work once... let's try it again!

While I may start to cringe when I see Cribbs on offense, I will never tire of seeing him razzle dazzle on special teams, especially when that allows us to take the lead heading into the half. This time the entire bar does explode. Celebrations and barking all around.

I'd like to think as the clock expired for the half that that's where the game ended. I like these new Browns, I would say. Mr. Mangini, while you do not have my 100% approval rating yet, you are one step closer to not being the devil, I would say. The city of Cleveland would continue in a happy buzz, and I would have a smile on my face as I began my week.

Sadly, this was not the case, as our boys were still in preseason mode. They forgot that the second half actually counts now. The starters need to come back out and play like the did in the first half, and not sit around on the bench and watch the backups and soon-to-be cuts do their thing.

Hey guys, WAKE UP. This isn't preseason. This isn't 2008. This is 2009 REGULAR SEASON FOOTBALL. We play football. For 4 full quarters. We continue to score. And not just those field goal things we let the guy who wears the number 4 kick. We score TOUCHDOWNS. And not just the ones we the guy who wears number 16 run halfway across the field after the other team kicks to us, or the ones we count on our defense to steal from the other team. That guy who likes to appear in pictures without his shirt on? Yea, that one, the one that Romeo didn't know his name? Yea, that guy. We let him throw the ball, and hope that the guy who likes to drop balls decides to hold onto them. Occasionally, we let some of the other guys out there with them take the ball and run with it. We do this while the rest of the people on the field get in the way of guys wearing different colored jerseys. That's how we win football games. And we do this before the final minutes of the game, where it's clearly a last ditch effort just to save face. Let's get a little crazy next week and actually try this. Ok?

I am not going to even try and discuss details of the second half. At this point I had probably had as many beers for the day as the Browns has scored points. Somewhere in the fourth quarter, as I was counting out how many points we needed to win on my fingers, I concluded that it was mathematically impossible for us to win even if we were a Superbowl Champion team playing a pee wee football team, and turned my attention back to said beers. You've got to numb the pain somehow. Lucky for me I had an entire bar filled with a support group and shoulders to cry on.

I will say, I saw some improvements over last year. No matter how insignificant to the outcome of the game, an offense touchdown is a step in the right direction. For part of the game at least, it looked like we actually were playing smart football. Our D made some key plays. This is not going to be a Cinderella season, but it's not going to be the train wreck last year was. Going into Denver this week, assuming we play football for 4 quarters, we could produce a W. I'm confident about that. So while week 1 left me disappointed, it does not leave me without hope.

Here we go Brownies?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ramblings of a frustrated Browns fan and Week 1 picks


Here we go again....

So I was all excited to do a one year anniversary post. I've had this blog for a year now. I've done my best to post to it fairly regularly, which is sometimes easier than others. Over the past month or so though, I've found it very difficult to motivate myself for one reason or another. I have started numerous posts, never to finish. I have come up with even more great ideas for posts, never to make it to paper (or screen, or whatever). I was gearing up for my big "IT'S FINALLY BROWNS SEASON" post. And then I find out yesterday that the news of the Browns starting quarterback broke. That in and of itself is not the issue at hand. I knew Mangini said he was going to keep it under wraps until Sunday. I had no doubt in my mind that it would leak before then. It was how this news came to light that really just made me shake my head and wonder where this team is going.

If you haven't heard, Brady Quinn is our starting quarterback. And we have Terrell Owens and his twitter page to thank for that. What. The. F*$@!? There are so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to begin. First of all, my extreme aversion to all things twitter. Second of all, my extreme aversion to all things T.O. I realize that T.O. probably had no real connection to this story and was just trying to cause trouble, because that's what T.O. does best. Still though, as a coach, why did Mangini even present the opportunity for something like this to happen? I have been fairly indifferent about most things surrounding this team since about midway through last season, but this just irks me.

I have been fairly indifferent about the whole quarterback situation in general, something uncharacteristic of me. I usually pick a side, and defend it with all my heart and soul, even long after it is apparent I have chosen the wrong side. In this case, I just wanted to see what was best for the team. I was happy to see Romeo go, yes, but I was fairly indifferent about the prospects as the Browns were attempting to choose a replacement. I just wanted to see what was best for the team. When Mangini started cleaning house, I didn't get worked up about who he did and didn't get rid of. Our team was pretty abysmal, I wasn't that attached to anyone, and I just wanted to see what was best for the team. I think you see the trend here...

Well Mangini's latest escapades are not what's best for the team. Like I said, it's not who is or isn't starting that I have a problem with. Its how he handled the situation. He is not starting off on a good foot with notoriously hard to please fans. Not only were you keeping information from the fans for no disernable reason, but you have once again opened the floodgates of everyone that loves to make us the punchline of their jokes. You are losing respect as a coach and as a team leader. Playing games is not going to work here.

Well Mr. Mangini, I am going to go on record right here, right now. On September 10th 2009, I, Girl Out of Cleveland, officially declare my hate for you. Actually, I will go so far as to borrow some choice words from a certain former GM, "Go (back) and root for the Jets... F&#@ You!" Now don't worry, this hate is not irreversible. Quite the contrary actually. I don't want to hate you. I think that you have potential to do good things for this team. This hate is more of a challenge. I challenge you to change my mind. Prove all of the horrible things I am already starting to think of you wrong. You have exactly 16 weeks to prove me wrong. A word of advice to you, start doing this early. Like say, Sunday. Show us that you've been working hard, and that it's paying off.

Now that that is out of my system, here are my thoughts going into Week 1 of the NFL season.

One of my favorite things about football season is reading Bill Simmons' weekly picks column. So I've decided that this year, I'm going to make weekly picks myself.

My NFL knowledge is kind of like a pyramid. Most of my knowledge is about the Browns, then the rest of the AFC North teams (I like to be well informed in my extreme hatred and trash talking of the rest of the teams in our division). Next comes my knowledge of your superstars and controversial teams and players, and atop my NFL pyramid, my "use sparingly", is the rest of the NFL. I just don't care enough about mediocre players on teams whose paths the Browns do not cross to waste my time on them (one of the reasons I am so scared of fantasy football, because it would make these teams and playeres relevant, turning my pyramid into more of gigantic orb that I would constantly being itching to grow).

Anyway, that being said, take my picks for what they're worth. They will be based on inconsistent knowledge, personal bias, the mood I'm in, the time of day I decide to post, the weather, the S&P 500, what color I'm wearing, and the price of rice in China.

Anyway, on to my picks:

(Oh one other thing to be noted, my knowledge of point spreads falls somewhere between my 2-3 servings of superstars and scandals and my use sparingly rest of NFL knowledge, so hopefully I don't mess this up! Also I haven't read yet, and don't plan on reading Simmons' pick columns before I write mine, but I'm going compare how I do against him for the season)


PITTSBURG -6.5 over Tennesee
As much as I hate the Steelers, and would love to pick them to crash and burn out of spite, I think they've got this one in the bag. Defending Superbowl champs, at home, against a team that I was not impressed by in the preseason (and one of the few I actually observed in the preseason since we played them)


Miami +4 over ATLANTA
I like the Dolphins here. They did a complete 180 last season from where they were they year before, and I respect that. Actually, scratch that, I envy that. I'm waiting for that from the Browns.

BALTIMORE -13 over Kansas City
Again, I hate to pick a despised team, but they're good. And the Chiefs suck. I think.

CAROLINA +2.5 over Philadelphia
Honestly, I'm going with Carolina because they are the home team, their mascot is an animal, and the Eagles (I guess also an animal, but that's irrelevant) have Vick. I see the fans doing a lot of booing even if Vick can't play until week 3 or whatever it is. Also, I'm making this all up as I go along.

Denver +4 over CINCINNATI
Between Hardknocks, Ochocinco and his twittering, and the ugly uniforms, the Bengals have a lot of distractions. I say they choke. And by I say they choke, I mean I will take great joy in seeing them choke.

CLEVELAND +4 over Minnesota
Oh dear. Please Brownies, don't make me regret this. I'll post again before Sunday with my thoughts on the game.

HOUSTON -4.5 over NY Jets

INDIANAPOLIS -7 over Jacksonville

NEW ORLEANS -13 over Detroit
At least we're not Detroit!!! Talk about B-A-D.

Dallas -6 over TAMPA BAY
Not a Cowboys fan by any stretch, but now that Romo doesn't have Ms. Simpson to worry about, I see him having a pretty good year. And this will make my Dallas friend(s) happy.

ARIZONA -6.5 over San Francisco

NY GIANTS -6.5 over Washington
The Giants are my NY team of choice, and I think they'll be good this year. I will back them for their home opener. Even though their home is in the dirty Jerz instead of actual NY. And they have to share that home with another team. I am willing to look the other way and have faith they come out on top.

SEATTLE -8.5 over St. Louis

Chicago +3.5 over GREEN BAY
This should actually be a really great game, especially to watch in prime time to wind down a rowdy Sunday. I'm going to go out on a limb and pick DA BEARS! It's just a gut feeling, and what the price of rice in China indicates is the most probable outcome.


NEW ENGLAND -11 over Buffalo
Firing personnel right before your opener will not win you confidence in my book. And Brady's back and looking to prove himself. Pats should take this one easily.

San Diego -9.5 over OAKLAND
I was tempted to give Oakland the benefit of the doubt here and say they could at least keep it to within one touchdown. But my old doorman was a Raiders fan and he would lament to me about them on a regular basis. To the point that I feel like I know the team well enough to know they will not keep it to within one touchdown. Not that anyone in the Eastern Time Zone is planning on staying awake for this one anyway.

So there you have it. My first attempt at picking NFL games. And deciphering Vegas spreads. If this week goes well, maybe I can find a new career in betting?

More on the Browns, my thoughts, fears, concerns, and what I'm looking forward to over the next few days.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Ok. So I have zero excuses for not writing lately. Football season is officially upon us. And I'm not currently working. The combination of those two things should be leaving you with more posts than you care to read. But such has not been the case. I have not really had anything funny or interesting to comment on this pre-season. But with the start of college football tonight, and the last Browns preseason game, I figured I should throw something out there to all my loyal fans.

So here you go. I'm going to give you my run down on preseason so far, and what I'm looking forward to this coming season. And a special added feature at the end for the aspiring Browns fans out there (they exist... more on this when the time comes)

First things first. What has come to be a recurring theme in Berea in recent years, The QB Competition. Because it wouldn't be preseason without a little controversy surrounding the oh so important job of starting QB.

I just really don't even have much to say on this. I feel like I'm just rehashing what I always say. Its frustrating that we have a new coach who still can't make a decision to back either quarterback. I understand he wanted to be fair and give each guy an equal chance at the job. But didn't Derek Anderson have an entire season to prove himself last year? He sure as hell didn't prove himself to me. Not that Brady Quinn did either, but he didn't see as much playing time as DA last year. I'm not 100% a Quinn fan, but I'd like to see what he can do so we can end this debate once and for all and we can decide if he was worth it. And plus, with him gracing the covers of such fine publications like "muscle fitness" how can we go wrong? After tonight, hopefully we will know with some certainty and we won't have to resort to coin flipping.

As for the rest of the offense, I won't go as far as to say I'm excited by what I've seen, but I do see improvements. I haven't been able to watch much of preseason other than recaps here and there because I was in Boston for the first and at a wedding for the second. Last weeks game against the Titans was really the only impression I have of the team. But offensive touchdowns are always a good thing.

Defense is still pretty meh in my book. I mean they got some good plays in but there's still quite a few weak points. And if I was a fantasy football person, I don't think I'd be scrambling to pick the Browns as my defense. We've got some good tools to work with though and hopefully we can improve as the season progresses. (side note on fantasy sports: I wanted soooo badly to do fantasy football this year, but am too afraid it will consume my life. To an unhealthy degree) I tried a failed experiment at fantasy baseball this year, but I lack the passion for baseball that I have for footbal. I ended up letting Yahoo autodraft for me and forgetting I even had a team until about a week ago... oops!)

Ok well I wanted to write in more detail, but I guess that's going to have to wait until after the game, which will include my much anticipated new feature which will be somewhat of an idiots guide for the new Browns fan, inspired by a friend of mine who has expressed desire to become a Browns fan this year. She's going to need all the help she can get! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shaq Vs

Ok, I'll address the elephant in the room first. We sucked Saturday. End of story. I was in Boston where apparently its against the law to televise any sporting event that does not involve a New England team, so all of my updates were via text. It got to the point I stopped checking my phone because it was killing my buzz. I'll go with the blanket "preseason doesn't count" and move on.

My regular readers know of my growing fascination with Shaquille O'Neal. So here is my recap of his new show, which debuted last night on ABC. In case you missed it, don't worry. I took notes (sadly, I am serious) and will fill you in on all the unintentional (or maybe intentional) comedy that you missed.

Right off the bat, we were treated with a gem of a quote by Mr. O'Neal himself: "This is Shaquille O'Neal, the greatest athlete ever formed. Look it up... google it"

They go on to introduce Ben Rothlisberger, superbowl champion, to which Shaq replies, "Why you gotta throw that in there... super bowl champion??" My thoughts exactly.

This is followed by some friendly trash talking between the two, including Shaq telling America he is a better quarterback then Ben Rothlisberger, and Big Ben telling Shaq that he throws like a girl scout. One of the funnier parts of this segment shows Shaq leaning out a window in a car to some random girls asking them who is better, him or Ben, the girls shriek and scream "YOU!!".

It's at this point I notice we're only about 10 minutes into the show, and while I'm sufficiently entertained thus far, I can't help but think that it is completely unnecessary for this show to be an entire hour long. We clearly could have squished trash talking and the subsequent athletic feat into a half hour. But where's the fun in that I guess?

Next we have some overly dramatic announcers on a cheesy set who I can only hope are taking themselves too seriously in an self aware, ironic sort of way. The phrase "ultimate in cross training" is thrown around quite a bit, so hopefully that equates to success come basketball season.

Another Shaq quote as they show various training montages, "No one's ever got in Ben's head... I will" If this is the case, sign him up for the Browns! THE 2010 CLEVELAND BROWNS, led fearlessly by Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James (thanks State Farm for that idea, which I will now never let go!)... I'm in!!!

So finally we learn what the rules of this little competition are going to be. Each one of them will QB a team in a traditional 7 on 7 game of football. Big Ben starts from the 40 yard line, and Shaq starts from the 20, but that is the only handicap. Two hand touch, no rushing, no field goals, only passing and you either score a TD or get stopped by the defense. Each QB gets 3 possessions, highest score wins.

Aside: I was watching this with one of my girlfriends and at this point we were having a discussion on how in general the quarterback is usually one of the more attractive players on the field. Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Brady 'pretty boy' Quinn, hell, even Tim Couch, who I hated with a passion wasn't so bad to look at. But Big Ben? Ick!

Anyway, moving on. Shaq has to do some of the combine drills and we learn (surprise surprise) that he's pretty freaking slow. But he does "possess a certain lateral quickness" and the announcers comment on how impressive it is for a 7 foot tall guy to move like that. So maybe that's good news for our Cavs?

Now comes the real competition. After a coin toss, it's decided Shaq gets the ball first. It takes him 3 downs, but TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Cavs now officially stand a better chance of scoring an offensive touchdown than the Browns do. Dear Mangini, please sign Shaq as he already has more TD passes than both of our two potential starters combined.

Ben's first possession takes a few more attempts, probably due to the fact that he's starting from further away, and he too scores a TD. Shaq's next possession is pretty boring, but yields another TD. So now going into Big Ben's 2nd possession, Shaq is up 14-7.

Ben gains a yard on the first down, and on 2nd and 9 he throws the ball, when all of a sudden... SHAQ FOR THE INTERCEPTION!!!!!!!!!! (from the sideline?!?!)

As the announcers put it, "Shaq was thinking outside the box, and WAY outside the rule book. That was in no way legal. Creative, but illegal" I freaking love it though. Amazing. I want sideline interceptions from our bench every game. Ben goes on to throw a TD (the defense is horrible, this is a little too realistic for my liking) and tie it up.

On Shaq's final possession, he decides to get a little crafty again and becomes a receiver?! "He drives down the field like a 7 foot gazelle... just look at those soft hands" (again, I hope these announcers are taking this so seriously to be ironic, but I'm not entirely sure). So we've now learned that not only can Shaq take the place of our QB, but he can also take the place of Braylon Edwards as well. I really really really hope that Mangini includes this when he's going through film with the team this week in Berea.

The rest of Shaq's final possession is not quite as impressive. He throws an incomplete pass to the end zone, followed by a pump fake resulting in an interception. Now that looks more like a Cleveland QB.

Big Ben scores on his final possession to win the game, and I find myself screaming at the TV "THIS IS FIXED!!!!"

You know what though, it was probably closer than it should have been. So eat that Pittsburgh!

So my verdict on the show? It was mildly entertaining, and something to watch on a Tuesday night in the summer when nothing else was on. It made me like Shaq a little more and Ben Rothelisbrger a little less. Like I said before, all of this probably could have been accomplished in a half hour, but I will probably tune in again next week when he faces Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh for a beach volleyball match. Although I think I was drawn to this weeks episode not just for Shaq, but for the common enemy component.

And even though Big Ben may have won, as my friend watching the game with me so observantly noted, "Yea, but who looked better in football pants? SHAQ!"

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hot Sauce in my Baaag

If you haven't seen this yet, take the next 7 minutes of your day to watch it immediately....

Mr. West at his finest. Glad to see he's keeping a healthy diet in the off season

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Training Camp: Close Encounters Edition

I haven't lived in Cleveland in the summer since I've been 19, but every year, I make a trip home to go to training camp. I consider it a pilgrimage of sorts. This year's pilgrimage is a bit different in nature, but we'll touch on that at a later date.

But I digress. Like I said, I go to training camp every summer. My family lives in Berea, so they're literally right down the road. That being said, when I go, I usually just show up in the middle of a practice, watch some drills or a scrimmage from the opposite end of the field, make a few remarks to whoever I drag up there with me, and call it a day.

This year was different. A friend of mine is a club seat holder and invited me to go to Tuesday's practice for club seat appreciation day. We showed up close to on time, and made our way towards the sidelines. We found ourselves literally 2 feet from where the practice was being held. Even though we were just watching drills or a simulated scrimmage without full on hitting, I was in awe. Being that close to the action was awesome.

I don't really have a whole lot to comment on football wise. Its still early on in training camp. I will say that from what I saw, it's either good news for our offense, or bad news for our defense. I'm hoping for the former. As has been the story in Cleveland for the past few years, "the starting quarter back job is up for grabs" so it was nice to see both DA and BQ getting reps. DA appears to be leading the race right now, but I have a feeling this is a day to day thing. I will say that the receivers were making both of them look pretty good though. On one play BQ threw into coverage, and the receiver managed to catch it, one handed, around the defender. One of the more impressive receptions I've seen from a Brown in quite some time. And speaking of Browns receivers, it was nice to see Braylon way off in the distance on the stationary bike (note: that sentence was dripping in sarcasm)

Back to being so close to the action. Like I said, we were literally 2 feet from the "sidelines" where the players were subbing in and out. Close enough to hear the comments they were making to each other. Close enough to hear them being berated by the coaches. And close enough to realize how FREAKING HUGE they are. Now don't get me wrong. I have known many football players (high school and college) in my day, and realize that they are larger than the average human being. But some of these guys are just absolutely BEASTLY.

The biggest and beastliest of them all being Shaun Rogers. I'm pretty sure I've commented in the past on his size and how I would not want him barreling towards me. But being close enough to him to reach out and touch him, I'm convinced that he is not entirely human. I think he is some strange man/bear hybrid. I mean one of his legs is the size of my entire body. And he LOST 40 lbs this off season. I have a new found love/respect of this man for his sheer size alone. When a player commits a penalty at training camp, they have to run a lap. When man/bear Rogers was sentenced to such a fate, my one friend made the comment "why does he get to walk his lap". I replied with, "I'm pretty sure that is him running". When you are the size of an industrial refrigerator, you're not exactly going to be setting any speed records. I am going to be spending some more time at training camp this summer, and my new goal is to get my picture taken next to him.

All in all it was a great day. I won a free hat, was able to appreciate training camp more than I ever have in the past, and got really pumped up for the up coming season. I love the excitement that comes with a new season. This year we've got a new coach, and a fresh start.

Here we go Brownies....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Random Thoughts

So until football season officially starts back up again (and in my mind, it officially starts back up once training camp begins), I think I'll just post some more random thoughts to pass the time. Although, I promise a Browns post of some substance and/or wit soon.

In the meantime, it has been a WEIRD few days in sports news. A run down:

1. Shaq
Seriously, this guy keeps getting better. I'm not to the point I'm running out and buying a jersey yet. But I find myself loving him more and more. He's on the Shaq Traq to my heart. (I promise this is funny in my head).

First, I find out he's got a reality show coming out where he will go up against superstar athletes in their respective sports. As if that's not going to be worth watching in and of itself, we go on to find out that one of the athletes he'll be pitted against is none other than Ben Roethlisberger. I will be glued to my tv in hopes that he just absolutely LEVELS the guy. It will instantly up him about 10 notches on the Shaq Traq.

Second, how can you look at this picture and not just laugh.


I'm seriously considering making it my wall paper on my work computer. Next time my boss is being overly demanding or my client is being particularly annoying, I can just minimize the 30 Excel sheets I have open and Shaq and his panda friend will be smiling back at me.

2. Big Ben
Shaq is the LEAST of this guys worries. If you count on ESPN for all your sports news, you have no idea what I'm talking about, as they have declined to report on this story. The story has unfolded pretty much like something on a soap opera though from the various stories I've seen throughout the day. Basically, to sum things up, an employee of a casino/hotel that he stayed at a year ago has accused him of sexual assult in a civil suit. She isn't the most credible of sources from what I've read, making wild accusations against her co-workers, and seeking therapy for being in love with a guy who didn't exist (um, yea, you heard that right). I make note of this as I'm sure it will be the subject of many tasteless jokes (from myself or otherwise) in the future.

3. Kellen Winslow's Balls
Yep. We're talking about this. Again. Even though this is old news, he apparently gave an interview with ESPN the magazine. It wasn't staph, that was a cover up. He did have some kind of weird infection of his balls and his suspension, which was later rescinded was probably warranted. If I was Phil Savage, I would have told him "Go root for your testicles.... F&@! you!"
All I have to say is glad he's gone.

4. Best Sports Story I've seen in awhile
Check it out yourself. I can't do it justice.

5. Last but not least, the above mentioned SHAQ TRAQ:
(click it to make it bigger)

Actually, I lied, one last thing. A semi advertisement. If you're looking for anything sports related (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, etc, ect), apparel, accessories, mugs, gifts, pretty much anything you can imagine, head on over to (see link to the left). One of the guys associated with the site is a sometimes reader of this here little blog and fellow Cleveland fan. If you used the code: CLVNDGRL you'll get 10% off your purchase. Check it out!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Random Shaq (and other) Thoughts

I've been MIA as of late. Partially because of work. Partially because with the Cavs and Browns dormant, and the Indians being the suck-tastic mess that they are this year, I haven't had a whole lot to say. But I'm stuck at the airport right now (oh the joys of LaGuardia airport) so I figured what better time than to share my thoughts on the Cavs news addition. (Well newest addition that anyone has previously heard of.)

Just a week ago, I hated Shaq. I was ok with our acquisition of him from a strategic standpoint. Basically a zero risk move in terms of what we gave up and what we got. A proven (although aging) superstar player with one year left on his contract? Bravo. Let me take you through my ever evolving feelings towards the newest Cavalier.

I don't really know where my hatred of Shaq originally stemmed from. Pretty much the only reason for me to hate you as an athlete is for you to be either 1. You are a complete douche bag (ex. TO) or 2. You are talented and a member of a rival team (ex. Rothlisberger... rivals, Miami Universtiy/Shitsburg). While some might argue that Orlando and LA are rivals of the current Cavs team, they weren't when Shaq played for them. And he's far less douchy than many other players out there. So I think my hate was unfounded. I think that Kazaam may have had something to do with it, but who knows.

A (New York Knick's fan) co-worker made the comment "You're not going to win championships with Shaq". I beg to differ my friend. We weren't winning championships with Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic. And who are you to talk? You're not winning championships with anyone on the current Knicks roster. Also, I'm pretty sure you DO win championships with Shaq. Just ask any one of his four championship rings.

So over the past week, I've been trying to warm up to the idea of Shaq. And after spending my evening at happy hour(s) last Friday, I came home and proceeded to familiarize myself with the lyrical genius that his rap career is founded upon. And you know what? It kind of worked. (Go ahead and surf on over to YouTube and put on something in the background... go ahead... I'll wait.....) This guy is growing on me. Move over Bone Thugs N Harmony, Cleveland's got a new rapper in town!

And he's so freaking quotable. Apparently, while he hasn't had any ACTUAL physical conversations with LeBron, he's been talking with him mentally.

And today's press conference? Golden.

Some highlights for those of you too lazy to click on over:

"Right now, my motto is 'Win a Ring for the King."

"... Everyone knows this is LeBron's team. I'm not trying to come in and change that. ... I'm now in the security business. My job is to protect the King, and that's what I'm here to do."

Or in other word, Witness Protection (Note: I didn't come up with this nickname myself, but I love it!)

I'm pretty sure that before this season is over, I'll be a converted Shaq fan.

Other random tidbits:

Indians. I think they have completely given up hope on this season. I mean I know I've given up. I don't think anyone really cares anymore. Blah.

Browns. Training camp soon. No idea who our QB is going to be. Nothing new there. Blah.

More Cavs. Ron Artest. Maybe? We'll see. That would be an interesting mix. Lebron's mom better not act up with him on the team. We know how he likes to put fans in their place.

Also, I really want Andy back. I love the guy, what can I say. I like that we're trying to build our championship team, but one thing that worked so well for us last year was chemistry. We need to keep our core players and not lose that. Re-signing Andy is a must. Plus, I love his hair.

Ok that's about it. And since I haven't posted in awhile, here's some bad photoshopping for you as an added bonus.

Shaquille O'Neal's much anticipated sequel!! Cavs-zaam: Rings for the King

Gloria feeling the wrath of 'Bron bron and Ron:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This just in: Tribe signs new player

Utility outfielder C. Gull was called up from the minors this week.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Tribute to Dick Jacobs

The Jake. That’s what I will always lovingly refer to the stadium in which the Cleveland Indians play. Now more than ever. Dick Jacobs, the man behind the revival of the tribe, passed away on Friday. He earned himself a place in Cleveland history.

The developer behind such notable Cleveland icons such as the Key Tower and the Galleria, he helped rebuild a city and a team. Like many Clevelanders, I have many fond memories of Tribe games growing up. His legacy will live on. Thank you, Mr. Jacobs. Rest in peace.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Charles Barkley's a Round Mound of Bitterness!

Let's take last night, and repeat it twice. Minus that 3rd quarter stuff. What I said in my last post still applies. If you haven't read it yet, do so. But in the meantime, enjoy this:

A perfect union of my love of Mike Polk (the guy that brought you the Hasitly Made Cleveland Tourism Videos) and my distaste for Charles Barkley!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Now Is Not the Time to Be Pessimistic

Self loathing. Self pity. Misery. Depression. Angst. Strife. Agony.

These are all words that the Cleveland sports fan knows all to well. But I'm here to tell you right now, FORGET THEM.

It's easy to (again) dismiss a season as over, to start lamenting and grumbling "next year". Resist that temptation. Now more than ever we need to stand behind this team. I'm not talking about all of the bandwagon "LeBron" fans out there. I expect this from all of you. I know who you are. You are the ones to whom the names Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, and Larry Nance mean nothing. You are the people sitting in the row behind us at game two that we yelled at for the last five minutes of that game to get off your fat asses and stand up and cheer. You are the people who are kicking yourselves for getting up and walking out or shutting off the game when we were down by two with one second left. You are the ones who dismissed this series as over after game one. No. I'm not talking to you. You've jumped ship, and you will not be welcomed back when we persevere.

I'm talking to the true CLEVELAND fans out there. Those of you that year after year endure the fates of the Cavs, Browns and Indians, and year after year return to cheer on your team. Those of you that remember the old days of the Coliseum. Those of you that coped with the struggles of the 90s team. Those of you that have been following King James since his days at St. V, salivating at the fact that there was a chance that he'd end up here. Those of you that win or lose, better or worse, are not afraid to stand up and say, yes, I'm a Cleveland Fan. Yes. I'm talking to you.

Let's not abandon this team now. Since moving from Cleveland, I've noticed something. This city has this quality to bring people together that I don't see anywhere else. Clevelanders have a common bond. Our loyalty to our teams is part of that. This Cavs team has helped revive our city. Attending the first two games of this series, I noticed how alive it felt. Let's not lose that. I spent entirely more money than I should have to attend those first two games, and if I was still in Cleveland, I'd spend even more to go tonight. I'd sell my kidney on the black market if I had to. We have the home court ADVANTAGE. Get out there and make it that.

So tonight when Mo, Z, Andy, West and King James take the floor, what are you going to do? Cheer twice as loud. Clap twice as hard. Give the Cavs energy to feed off of. Show this Magic team and everyone watching that Cleveland is proud. We refuse to go down without a fight.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sports thoughts for the ADD mind

I don't have the time or attention span to post much of anything right now, but here's some quick thoughts on some things, ADD style...

Western Conference Finals: at least the Lakers are struggling too....

Indians come-from-behind win: !!!??? um ok? I'll take it

Eastern Conference Finals: I'm terrified. Keep me away from bridges if we lose tonight.

Other Cavs News: Hey China, SHOW ME THE MONEY!

I'd go on but..

.... OOH something shiny....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

This will NEVER get old

I will be eating ramen for the next month, because I spent all my money on Cavs tickets. I have priorities you know. I debated whether or not to attend the game last night. I was pretty sure I was bad luck. But I had this gut feeling that told me I didn't want to miss this game. A part of me knew that something was going to happen, and I wanted to be able to say "I was there for that". Absolutely 110% worth it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And the city of Cleveland let out a collective sigh

Ugh. I didn't even want to write about this. But I feel like its my duty. At the very least, this blog has been an outlet for me to lament my misery, so why stop now?

It all started out so well. There was definitely magic (with a lower case "m") in the air at the Q, and it had nothing to do with Orlando. (No, just because we lost, I will not spare you the cheese).

But the game started off weird from the beginning. About a minute into it, Dwight Howard (more ranting on him to come) decided to start breaking things. An overly aggressive slam brought down the shot clock on the backboard. To make things fair, the one on the opposite basket was shut off, and two clocks on the floor were used the remainder of the first half. DH, didn't your mother ever tell you that when you go to play at someone else's house, its not nice to break their things?

After a little show from the maintenance crew at the Q, the Cavs lit up the first quarter. The crowd was electric. At one point a friend of my brother's, who does regular reporting on the Cavs and is in the press box at nearly every game, sent him a text that said he'd never heard the place as loud as it was at the end of the first quarter. I believe it. I don't know if I've ever had that much fun at a game.

The second quarter the Magic woke up a little bit, but we still managed to play strong. I turned to my brother at one point and told him, I just want to be up by 15 at the half. Up by 12 with the clock expiring, Mo Williams launched up a truly amazing shot, sinking it from behind the half court line just as the buzzer sounded. I got my wish. The place went nuts. This is what playoff basketball is all about.


I really don't even want to talk about the second half. It was like watching the most fun two quarters of play imaginable, and then getting punched in the stomach repeatedly for the next two. If I had balls, I'd imagine that's what it would feel like to be kicked in them.

I don't know if it was that we got over confident, having come to expect easy wins, or what. Our defense got sloppy. Orlando's shots started falling. And we were in trouble. I understand we don't have an answer to Dwight Howard, but that's not an excuse. I officially HATE Dwight Howard. What kind of name is Dwight Howard anyway? He's like odd combination of a dorky Office character and a duck. We need to be able to stop that. Also, LeBron had 49 points. I'm so sick of hearing people say that LeBron carries this team, because we have a lot of other talent. But last night he did. Hey everyone not named LeBron, do you hear that, STEP UP! I thought we've moved past this and learned to play as a team. Take a look in the stands. Those free t-shirts everyone is wearing, and towels we're waving all say "One Goal". Let's act that way, K?

In a discussion with a friend this morning about the game, he said we need to defend the 3. And I agree. What it ended up coming down to is they made theirs, and we missed ours. When it counted most. Launching up a 3 pointer with seconds left and down by 1 infuriated me. We hadn't been hitting them all night. I don't care how wide open you are, if you are not 110% sure that ball is going in, don't take it. Drive the lane, draw the foul, take your shots. Make them both we win. Worst case scenario, tie it up, go into OT. Dwight Howard had already fouled out. (I refuse to see missing them both as a possible outcome). But alas...

So my takeaways from last night. It sucked. A lot. But maybe it was the wake-up call that we needed. We knew we weren't going to be able to coast through this round like we did the last two. No team has ever swept all the way to the finals. We had to lose a game at some point. The NBA was not going to lose out on all that extra revenue because we wanted another 4 game series and week off between games. Yes, it sucked that it had to happen in our house. But maybe now we'll realize that this isn't Detroit or Atlanta. I see us taking this series in 6 games. Before last night I thought we could do it in 5, but I think Orlando's got one more game in them.

As we pulled into to the driveway last night, already heartbroken, i-pod shuffle decided to put its two cents in on the matter. (Hey i-pod shuffle, screw you!) The Rolling Stones, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" began to play, and all my brother and I could do was shake our heads and sigh. But you know what? When life gives you lemons... you make LeBron-ade. Ok yea, that only half makes sense, but whatever. GO CAVS.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yea, It's Kind of Like That...

Some random thoughts since I haven't posted in awhile.

So the Indians and the Browns make me want to bash my head against a brick wall. Actually, watch this:

Unlike Happy Gilmore, I love Bob Barker. Bob, I feel your pain buddy. This is kind of exactly how I feel about 2/3 Cleveland teams right now. The Indians seemed to take this woman's approach recently. We've got all the numbers there in front of us, so why not just mix them up in ways that don't make any sense? Seriously, reading this recap from a recent game, I felt like I was reading the plot line for Major League 4:

Sunday in Tampa Bay, the Indians' third baseman was playing first base, their shortstop was playing third base, their second baseman was playing shortstop, and their first baseman was playing left field.

And none of it was because of injuries.

Naturally, at a key point in the game, the opposing team's pitcher — don't ask — hit an RBI double over the head of the Indians' left fielder, who is actually their first baseman and was a catcher before that.

And I've had to create a new emotion to describe how I feel about the Browns. It's an odd combination of sad, angry and indifferent. We'll call it brown. Every time I read something about this team, it's how I feel. I feel brown. Every emotion has some type of sound associated with it. Happiness? Laughter. Sadness? Crying. Brown? this sound followed by a sigh. The latest debacle involves Josh Cribbs. And seriously, I just feel brown.

At least we've got the Cavs. Game one of the Eastern conference finals tonight. I'm in Cleveland all this week and I'll be at the Q tonight. I'm giddy with excitement. I love the atmosphere of playoff basketball. I've gone to at least one playoff game each of the past three years, and there's nothing quite like it. Like most people, I was hoping we'd be playing the Celtics. For revenge. The fact that I feel like it would have made for an easier series. The Magic have been giving us trouble all year. But again, we're on fire right now. We're coming off of an extended rest again. I saw an interview with LeBron last night where he was asked, Do you feel like you are the only one who can stop you right now? LeBron's response? I don't want to say that exactly. Well.... Actually... I do.

I. LOVE. IT. (Whether the you was a collective you meaning the Cavs, or LeBron himself is irrelevant)

So yea, there you have it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The (new) Shot: Rewriting Cleveland's History

Clevelanders, I'm sorry. I know this is one of those unspoken things in our history. But I had to bring it up. My cousin lamented about it in her facebook status today, so if its on my mind, you must commiserate with me.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of The Shot. If that doesn't immediately depress you, you're obviously one of my non-Cleveland friends that read my blog for my awesome photoshop skills (don't worry, we're getting to those). Warning to all Clevelanders, that link will make you cry. Don't read it!

But don't worry, this sad tale is not without a pick me up. With another edition of the LeBron show tonight, I'm hoping him and his supporting cast can rewrite history. So Cleveland fans behold:

This :
(sorry had to include for comparison purposes)

Becomes -->

(this guy is Atlanta Hawks rookie Thomas Gardner, he was #3, so it worked)
Becomes -->
(a preview of what's to come?)


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Draft Day 2K9

Even though it took us 30 years.... we've made our first pick. Nothing like an opportunity for some bad photoshopping.

Onto the 2nd round, where we have pretty much every freaking pick.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Public Service Announcement

So I thought it would go away. But it hasn't. And I feel like the problem is getting worse. This problem is infiltrating all aspects of our society. It's already found its way into one of my favorite hobbies (drinking) and I'm terrified that it is only a matter of time before it infiltrates something else I hold near and dear, the world of sports.

So I'm calling upon you fellow sports fans to help me. This problem is pure evil. The mere thought of it invokes nightmares. It spans generations. Young and old alike.

If you haven't figured out what I'm talking about yet, it's the Snuggie. At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. Then I slowly started to realize that people were serious about this thing. A freaking blanket with sleeves?? You've got to be kidding me. Then I thought, well at least its appeal is limited to crazy people. But you know what? People that I (once) viewed as sane, logical individuals started telling me they wanted one or thought they were a great idea. UM NO! In the god awful commercial (one that almost parodies itself) for these things, it shows people at a sporting event wearing them. "Great for outdoors!" You know what else is great for outdoors? A COAT! And guess what… it also has sleeves! And you don't look like you're in some weird Scientology sect.

With spring baseball weather always questionable, and football season just around the corner (fall will be here sooner than you think), I'm terrified these atrocities are going to start showing up in the stands. So my call to you, loyal readers, is this:

The first time you spot one of these when you're in the stands cheering on your favorite team, and you know it's going to happen sooner or later, put a stop to it. I don't care if it’s a man twice your size, a woman, or a child. You must remedy the situation. Punch them in the face. Throw your beer on them. Squirt stadium mustard in the shape of a "z", Zorro style, all over it. (or maybe an "s", for snuggie). Whatever you do, make sure this person knows what a douche bag they are. Teach them a lesson. If not, this may be our future:

As if the Yankees fans aren't bad enough.

And if you're beside yourself with excitement because of the fact I posted twice today- its because this is also HERE at Straight up Sports, where 7 out of 8* bloggers agree, the Snuggie tarnishes even A.Rod's stellar public image.

*this statistic is totally made up

Thoughts on the NFL Schedule and the NBA Playoffs

So the NFL released the regular season schedule yesterday, and its pretty much 1 o'clock games, which is about what I expected. We've got two 4 o'clock games against some west coast teams, but thats about it. Looks like I'll be bonding with my fellow Browns Backers at the bar every Sunday again this year. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

What did surprise me is that they gave us a Monday night game. At home. I was pretty sure that they were going to keep the Browns as far away from national television as humanly possible. (And probably ship us out for the crappy international game just as an extra kick in the side... if they're even still doing that this year) It's against the Ravens and we should be well rested coming off our bye week. That could actually be a good game, so nice work NFL. As far as I'm concerned this is our only nationally televised game, as I don't count the Thursday night NFL Network games as Nationally televised. If I can't watch it from my couch, it does not count.

In other blatantly obvious NFL news, the draft is next week, and if things go my way, I'll be there in person. So that should make for a fun little post if that pans out.

Moving on to the Cavs. Tonight is the last regular season game. Lebron probably won't even play. If you're reading this, I'm assuming you already know all of this, and won't dwell too much on it and the fact that we have won 66 games, only lost 1 game at home, and broken pretty much ever franchise record ever. I also won't dwell on the fact that whenever I see this team play together, I get jealous because of how much fun they seem to be having. Or the fact Lebron chances are the best they've ever been at winning MVP. Actually, I take that back. I will dwell on all of this. Because if you are anything like me, hearing these things does not get old. Hearing these things, reading these things, hell, typing these things bring a smile to my face. I look forward to the playoffs.

So thats that for now. This post was neither informative or entertaining, but whatever, it killed about 15 minutes of my time, so there you go.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


The crack of the bat. The sound of a ball snapping into a leather glove. The smell of beer and hot dogs. The sound of the announcers voice.


Baseball season is upon us. And it always makes me slightly nostalgic. As the 2009 season is heating up, everyone is talking about who's going to be hot this year. But to me, when I think of baseball, specifically the Indians, I think of 1995. This was the height of my baseball fandom, and arguable, a great year for it.

I can still spout off our starting line up from that year. From memory. I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast this morning, but without thinking I know that Kenny Lofton was our lead off guy. (And if he got on base, watch out! He might steal!) Following behind him was Omar Viiiiizzzquel, whose hands were probably still stinging from bare handing the ball the previous inning. Carlos Biiiiii-aaaiiirrrrrrrr-gggaa (Baerga) next, followed by Alebert Belle at cleanup. (Just don't call him Joey!). After him was Eddie Murray in his quest for 3,000 hits. And next up to the plate, adjusting his cup, sporting his high socks, was Jim Thome, back when he was still at 3rd base. And today's sports fans would not even recognize the young Manny Ramirez, although he was already establishing himself as a hitter. And Paul Sorrento and Tony Pena/Sandy Almor rounded out the order. And we can't forget our pitchers, Orel Hershiser, Charlie Nagy, Jose Mesa, Jim Poole and Eric Plunk*!

That year meant so many great things for the Tribe. We went from a team that was so bad, they made movies about it to a dominating force to be reckoned with. They were an exciting team to watch. If I close my eyes, I can still see scenes being played out from that year, like I'm watching my cherished "Wahoo! What a Finish" VHS in my mind. Omar flipping double plays. Jose Mesa striking out anyone he faced. Manny and Albert belting out homeruns. Games at the Jake. Talk of baseball everywhere. I can still feel the excitement of the playoffs and the heartbreak of the World Series. There is a similar buzz about the Cavs right now, and hopefully their tale will have a different ending. But I digress. Baseball has changed since then. Whether because I've gotten older (and wiser?), or because it was before all the steriod era drama came to life. I was able to enjoy the sport and the game for what it was. I didn't see overpaid media images. I didn't see controversial figures. I saw people playing a game that I loved, and I saw them playing it well. In my mind, those guys were (and still are) heros.

So here's to 1995. And hopefully we can channel some of that magic in 2009. GO TRIBE!

*side note (and by side note, I mean pointless story) : I was in grade school during this time. I remember having an assembly when the Indians made the playoffs. We were all allowed to dress in Indians t-shirts, which was a big deal because I went to Catholic school. I think Slider, Charlie Nagy, and some random bat boy came. At this assembly, we sang a song about to the tune of 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game', except it was "Root, Root Root for the Innnddiiiannns" and there was a line in it that ended "Jim Pooooollleee and Eric PLUNK!", which sadly is one of the only lines of that song I can remember, and to this day that is why I will never forget those two pitchers!

Friday, April 3, 2009


My roommate (also from Cleveland) and I are having a Cavs party tonight, so I thought I'd take this chance to reflect a bit on the team as we approach the home stretch of the regular season and the start of the playoffs.

First off, my thoughts on last night's game. Like Ron Burgandy after Baxter ate an entire wheel of cheese and then pooped in the fridge, I'm not even mad. Yea. We played badly last night. We were lobbing up shots that weren't falling. Defense looked like crap. We were pretty much letting the Wizards run all over us. No one was really even trying. I would say that we sent body doubles, but I think that you'd be pretty hard-pressed to find look alikes for most of the guys on our team. But we have played so amazing all season, that I can overlook this. Once.

I hope that we play tonight like the Cavs team I have come to expect this season. Not just because back to back losses might put a damper on the party I'm throwing (nothing a vodka soda or a couple of beers won't fix), but because even though we're on top, we need to finish this season strong. I don't want to see us go into the playoffs cold. We can't get lazy and lose that spark we've had all season.

At the start of the 4th last night, I saw a little bit of it, we closed the gap and came within one point, but we failed that final surge that we've seen so often this season. Tonight matters for Orlando. They're fighting for seeding. Tonight matters for us. We're fighting for the home court advantage. The game should and will be a challenge. It's our chance to put ourselves in a play-off like setting on the road and step up. We need to stop relying on the 4th quarter magic, and start off strong and keep it going ALL FOUR QUARTERS.

So I hope our boys enjoyed their little rest last night. Bring on the rest of the season, and bring on the playoffs!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Three Ring Circus

I started this post about a week ago, but work has me bent over like a... well.... we won't go there... so most of this is dated by now, but in attempt to keep posting semi-regularly, have at it anyway.

Barnum and Bailey's might be in town (in NYC)... but in Cleveland has their own circus in town. The folks over in Berea have been putting on quite the show this off season.

The Cavs should be my hot topic right now, but I'd like to spout off about the absolute mess that is the Cleveland Browns organization. You'd think that since it's the off season that the opportunities for them to piss me off would be few and far between. But oh no, unfortunately, this is one of those rare cases where they persist against all odds.

To your left, we have the Donte' (side note... I think from now on, I'm going to be Girl' Out of Cleveland) Stallworth-less. I mean I guess at least he's found a way to make headlines. Everything surrounding this situation is ridiculous. I mean obviously, this would happen the FREAKING MORNING AFTER WE GAVE HIM MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. But you know, while he didn't have time to, say use his breaks and stop the car, at least he had the common courtsey to flash his lights at the guy. Best "in poor taste" comment I've heard about this one: "Stallworth is innocent, when is the last time a Browns receiver ran over anyone?" Bravo Donte'. Keep up the good work. I eagerly await the outcome of this one...

Next up, to your right, we have the exodus of players. And you know what? I could care less! At this point, I have no attachment left to any player on this team. Actually, I take that back. If we get rid of Phil Dawson (or possibly Josh Cribbs), I quit. I don't know what I quit, but I quit. But seriously, I have no emotional reaction whatsoever to anyone else we rid of. Many fans made a big stink when we got rid of Winslow, but really, what did we lose? A under performing hot head? You know what Tampa? You can have him! Same goes for the Giants and Edwards. Take him. Please! Send us some draft picks. Or some hot dogs. Anything really. My only attachment to him is the fact I own his jersey. And I'm more likely to wear it in that semi-ironic, "you don't play for us anymore so its funny" type of way than a "I'm an actual fan of you" type of way.

Also in this ring, we have the Shaun Rogers drama turned non-drama. I'm just really glad that the Browns decided, "Hey! Its OK to be fat!" I mean heaven forbid that a professional athlete be required to be in shape or anything.

ANNND.... LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS, CHILDREN OF ALLLLLLL AGES.... I'm proud to present, in the center ring, the future of your Cleveland Browns Organization. The "Mangini/Kokoinis Show!" For our first act, we're going to bring you a brilliant new concept that folks in Cleveland have never seen before. A QUARTERBACK COMPETITION!!
**from the crowd** "booo" "hisss" Showers of beer bottles rain down.

Yea. That will end well. Serioulsy, you need to establish yourself as a coach and decision maker. Pick a side. I know that you want to see what you're working with, blah, blah, blah, but right now, I just see Romeo Crennel in a Mangini mask in this situation.

Clearly deriving joy from this, because, Hey! in Cleveland, quarterback controversy is fun, Mangini made another announcement this week. I about shat my pants when I read the headline on this article: "New name in Cleveland Browns QB mix: Brett Favre".

.....I'll let that sink in.....

That set me off into a tizzy, until I actually read more than a sentence into it:
Relax. Not as a player, but as a training camp "visitor." Seriously though? Why? That's all I really want to know. What is the point of this?? Can we please just exile Brett Favre to some remote island so I don't have to hear about him anymore?!?
With all this drama going on, and more inevitably to come, I'm glad that the Cavs will be playing through June and that baseball season is starting up, so I can push this team to the back of my mind for as long as possible.

In other news no one cares about- preseason opponents were announced today. We will have the pleasure of playing games no one cares about against the Lions, Titans, Packers, and Bears. Wooo. (please note my extreme sarcasm)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Promos Gone Wild

With attendance at sporting events dropping faster than a pass thrown to Braylon Edwards, many teams are turning to running various promotions as an innocent way of getting more fans to attend a game against a crappy opponent, or to put seats in the stands for a team that isn't playing so well. Like the New Jersey Nets "Resume Night". Unemployed? Still want to watch us lose?! Give us your resume, we'll give you a ticket! Or the various teams that have offered their obese fans an economical way to gorge on hot dogs AND cheer on their favorite teams with all you can eat seat nights.

Sometimes though, said promotions go horribly, horribly wrong.

Honestly, the brains behind some of these schemes were a few beers short of a six pack. A quick look at some of the more infamous promotions gone awry will show that they clearly had "bad idea" written all over them from the start. I mean, did anyone really expect events involving explosives or 10 cent beer to end well?

September 26, 1942.

Scrap Metal Night.

Yes, you read that right. Hello sports fans. Hate when things don't go the right way for your team? US TOO! That’s why tonight, we're having 'Bring Your Own Weapon' Night. Oh wait, we can't run that promotion? Ok, hmm, isn't there a war or something going on? Yea, yea, that’s a good idea. Let's let kids in free if they bring us shiny sharp pieces of metal. Cue 8th inning. Picture riotous youth storming the field and the players running for cover and squealing like little girls. Brilliant!

July 12, 1979

Disco Demolition Night.

I can just see someone sitting around making a list. Likes: Baseball, Explosives. Dislikes: Disco. Hmm, how can I combine all of these things into one stellar evening? How about let fans into the stadium for 98 cents and a disco record, all of which we will BLOW UP WITH A BOMB in between a double header. Apparently close to 90,000 people thought that this was indeed an awesome idea and showed up to a stadium with a capacity of roughly 50,000 and quickly began downing copious amounts of beer and per some reports "illegal drugs". "Woah… man… these records look like Frisbees”. I'm sure it's not easy to keep your team alive when you're being pelted in the head by "Stayin' alive" Shockingly, setting a bomb off in a stadium full of drunk, high, anti-disco fans somehow back fired. They some how managed to blow a huge hole in the outfield, inciting a riot, complete with field storming and fire-starting. (If you can't picture this in your mind, check out some great old-school pictures)

August 10, 1995

Dodgers' fans have balls!

I'm sure you've all been at a game where someone on the opposing team hits a home run and the entire stadium starts chanting "throw it back, throw it back". Now imagine all of these people suddenly realize they have all been armed with promotional baseballs upon entering the stadium. If you were an umpire in this game, would you start making questionable calls against the home team and ejecting players from the game? Or if you did, would you be surprised when the crowd started to make it rain? (And not in a way that someone who is "dancing her way through school" profits from). Yea didn't think so.

And last but not least, the biggest disaster of them all.

June 4, 1974

10 Cent Beer Night.

I really can't even do this night justice. There was an article about it on ESPN'S Page 2 this summer. Upon reading it I didn't know if I should be embarrassed or proud that this happened in Cleveland. Or that if it made me a horrible person that the article had me in tears I was laughing so hard at the absurdity of it. It was the 70s. People were drunk. And high. And for some reason came to the game armed with firecrackers. At one point, they were allowing fans to line up and get beer directly from the beer trucks. The drunken debauchery started innocently enough with a handful of streakers. But as the game progressed, and the fans got drunker, things got uglier. The end result was both dugouts emptying out and a full out riot. A quote from one of the crew chiefs (after a freaking hunting knife landed behind him) kind of sums up the whole thing: "F------ animals! You just can't pull back a pack of animals. When uncontrolled beasts are out there, you gotta do something. I saw two guys with knives, and I got hit with a chair."

Hopefully we can learn from these past mistakes and teams think twice before scheduling things like hypodermic needle night or "Hedge Fund Appreciation Night" on the same night as the mini bat give-a-way. Then again, it would make for a nice follow up post.

GUESS WHAT?!? You can also read this post on a really awesome blog called Straight Up Sports. Check it out HERE.