August 29, 2014

While We’re Waiting… Browns breakdowns, Tribe wins and Bennett’s ROY chances.

While We’re Waiting is the daily morning link roundup that WFNY has been serving up for breakfast for the last several years. We hope you enjoy the following recent collection of yummy and nutritious Cleveland sports-related articles. Anything else to add? Email us at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Ubaldo took a no-no into the 6th. And then was immediately pulled when he gave up a single. “Asdrubal Cabrera, mired in a slump was inches away from driving in the game-tying run last night, but he may have broke out of his slump this evening. Cabrera had two hits, including two RBIs as part of a 7-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics. The win evens the series at a game apiece with the rubber match tomorrow afternoon. The struggling Tribe shortstop broke loose in the early innings before the rest of the offense did damage late.

Ubaldo Jimenez and Dan Straily matched up in pitcher’s duel of epic wildness. Each pitcher had command of the opponent, yet it was their own control that deceived them.

The Indians took the lead quickly in the top of the second inning when Nick Swisher hit a solo home run to right center field on the second pitch of the game. Swisher’s 13th home run of the season gave the Indians a quick 1-0 lead. After Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley each walked, Cabrera singled down the right field line to plate Santana and stake the Tribe to a 2-0 lead before Oakland came to the plate.

Jimenez made short work of the Athletics through the first half of the game. His biggest nemesis was his own control. While not allowing a hit, Jimenez allowed two walks in both the third and fourth innings. He logged an unconventional 88 pitches in the first five innings.” [Mike Brandyberry/Did the Tribe Win?]

Great long read on Maurice Stokes and the charity game. “Three days later, Stokes played slow and heavy-legged in the loss in Detroit. (He still had 12 points and 15 rebounds.) Then Stokes began to feel ill. “On the way home, I was sick, too,” said Jim Paxson. That threw everyone off the scent. Maybe Mo and Jim have the flu, the Royals thought. The flu made sense.

At the Detroit airport, Stokes handed his bags to a teammate, walked into a bathroom, and threw up. Sometime later, he threw up again. When he got to the ramp of the plane, his whole body began to ache. “He kind of keeled over,” said Tom Marshall, a Royals forward. “Dick Ricketts and Jack Twyman were there, and we helped him to the plane.”

Stokes could have been packed in an ambulance and sent to a Detroit hospital. But a hangover or a little flu was surely something the Royals doctor could handle back in Cincinnati. The Royals’ plane took off. Within a few minutes, Stokes was covered in sweat. “I feel like I’m going to die,” he cried. He said nothing else. Stokes’s teammates thought he’d passed out.

But Stokes was very aware of the events of the next several minutes. He saw a flight attendant place an oxygen mask over his mouth. He heard Richie Regan, a Royals guard, invoke the emergency provision that allows a layman to baptize a dying man into the Catholic Church. Stokes had been toying with Catholicism — the baptism pleased him. But Stokes could not respond. A rigid, neurological barrier had formed between what Stokes could see and what he was able to do. It was a lonely sensation he later compared to being buried alive.” [Byran Curtis/Grantland]

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The NFL is cracking down on facemasks. Of course they are. [New York Times]

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A look at the Browns’ preseason win over Detroit. “In the two games that he has been on the field, quarterback Brandon Weeden has looked more comfortable in Norv Turner’s offense than we can remember looking at any point last season. Against Detroit, Weeden played four series and looked crisp, completing eight-of-12 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

While there was some talk that Weeden’s performance against St. Louis in the opening preseason friendly was aided by the Rams playing a vanilla defense, the Lions front seven were active on Thursday night, although the Browns line did a nice job of handling them. The Lions defensive linemen may run around a lot, but that doesn’t mean anything if they are not making plays.

“I was pleased with Brandon,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said after the game. “He was efficient out there, accurate and had a couple of really nice throws where he was able to get into some tight areas. He looked comfortable out there.

“(The Lions) were getting some pressure on us and (Brandon) was able to step up a few times and make some plays and adjust in the pocket, which is what you have to do in this league.”” [Tom Moore/The Cleveland Fan]

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ESPN doesn’t think highly of Anthony Bennett’s ROY chances. “As for Bennett, Ford sums up my feelings pretty well, and why I think the panel didn’t have him in the top 5. If everything goes according to plan, the Cavaliers have 96 minutes in the front court to split among Bennett, Tristan Thompson, Andrew Bynum, Tyler Zeller, and Anderson Varejao. It will be hard for him to garner enough time to really stand out among rookies that are in worse situations. However, much like the rest of the Cavs, projecting him is wide open. With two notoriously injured centers on the roster, playing time for Bennett could open up very quickly.

Finally, remember, the Rookie of the Year award is mostly meaningless. Sprinkled among the great players that have won it, there are names like Emeka Okafor, Tyreke Evans, and Mike Miller. What we need to focus on with Bennett is his production in the time he does get, and how efficient he is with that time. I’m willing to bet he will turn in a season we’ll all be proud of.” [Ryan Morton/Fear The Sword]

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The Browns’ defense has been solid thus far. “In the preseason opener against the Rams, Phil Taylor forced a fumble on the Rams first drive, which Buster Skrine recovered. On the Rams second series, the Browns forced a three-and-out punt, which turned into a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown by Travis Benjamin. By the Rams’ third drive, many of the starters were already on the sidelines for the night.

In the second preseason game with the Lions, the defense forced the Lions to three straight three-and-out punts on their first three possessions. The Lions didn’t pick up a first down until their fourth series, but that resulted in a punt, as well.

On the Lions, fifth possession, they drove 47 yards for their first score as David Akerskicked a 48-yard field goal to give the Lions their only score against the Browns first unit.

Strong safety T.J. Ward has missed both preseason games as a precautionary measure with a hamstring injury. Chris Owens and Leon McFadden, projected to be two of the team’s top four cornerbacks have also missed time McFadden has yet to play with a groin injury and Owens missed the first game with a foot injury.

Horton’s defense was billed to be disruptive and predicated on the unexpected with a lot of pressure from the front seven. However, that hasn’t been the case, thus far. The only sack generated by the front line was by rookie Barkevious Mingo in the first game with the Rams and it was negated when Rob Chudzinski accepted a penalty.” [Fred Greetham/Orange & Brown report]

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The latest weird twist in keeping the Kings in Sacramento. “Chris Hansen never learned the most important lesson of Sacramento’s unlikely, successful bid to save its Kings: all things being equal, relationships make the difference. Sacramento got a shot at matching Hansen’s huge bid to buy the Kings precisely because the city’s mayor, Kevin Johnson, had such a strong relationship with David Stern and other heavies in the league office and throughout the ownership ranks. The Kings stayed in Sacramento because, yes, Vivek Ranadivé and friends ponied up $535 million. But also because Vivek and friends were known to other NBA owners — Vivek was in fact a minority owner with the Warriors – and had been vetted by the league. Sacramento won because, in part, over the years the folks in Sacramento had played by the rules and done everything asked of them by the NBA. Sacramento always lived up to its end of the bargain: the family selling the club was the weak link. The NBA understood that, valued its relationship-building in Sacramento over the previous half-decade and, in the end, set the stage for the owners to vote overwhelmingly to keep the Kings there.

If Hansen understood the importance of all of that, he wouldn’t have given an anti-arena effort in Sacramento $80,000 a month after the NBA rejected him. A lawsuit by California’s Fair Political Practices Commission revealed Friday that Hansen was the source of the mystery $80,000 in funding for petition gatherers in Sacramento who are trying to derail the arena by putting it to public vote. (The funding mechanism used to include public funding for the project is not a tax, and thus not subject to a popular vote. The Sacramento City Council has repeatedly approved the mechanism by an overwhelming margin.)” [Tom Ziller/SBNation]

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Who doesn’t like reading about Rocky Colavito? “Much has been written about Rocky’s legendary throwing arm.  Rocky was also one of the few position players to record a win in a relief appearance as a pitcher.  His career pitching line included 5 2/3 innings pitched with a 0.00 ERA. With his accurate, powerful right arm, Rocky recorded an incredible 123 assists from the outfield in his career.  Tribe third baseman Max Alvis shared the following story that serves as additional confirmation.

The Indians were playing Minnesota and Twins star Tony Oliva was on first base.  The next batter hit a single to right field. While Oliva rounded second and was motoring to third, Rocky fired a bullet to third base. As Alvis reached for the throw, Oliva started his slide, and the throw deflected off his arm. The ball smacked Alvis squarely on the forehead.  The ball ricocheted all the way to the first base coaching box.  Alvis said that was proof of The Rock’s powerful arm.  Rocky, countered that it really showed what a hard noggin Alvis had.

Rocky liked to play catch with catchers, for two reasons.  First, not too many other players wanted to catch his fastball. And second, he inadvertently helped break in new catcher’s mitts.” [DJ Sebastian/Indians Prospect Insider]