April 16, 2014

While We’re Waiting… Are there rivalries anymore?

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“The word “rivalry” is a sacred one in sports, used to invoke a specific and powerful bond between two adversaries. It’s also used haphazardly to leech off the appeal of the real; rivalries are so enjoyed and so coveted that we tend to look for them everywhere. Players selected in the same draft class, playoff opponents who grow a bit testy, any similarly skilled players at the same position — all are tabbed as budding rivals. It’s an understandable urge to label them as such, given the rush that comes with that particular dynamic, but in an NBA world where rivalries are increasingly rare (if they still exist at all), the inclination seems a bit silly.” [Mahoney/Point Forward]


“All that said, it’s worth remembering how successful Fickell was prior to becoming interim head coach. His official bio on the university’s web site summarized it well: Ohio State has had some outstanding defenses during Fickell’s time with the team. In 2005 the unit was fifth in the NCAA in total defense and first in rushing defense. In 2006 it was 12th in total defense. In 2007 the Buckeyes were first nationally in total defense, in addition to being first in scoring and pass defense. The team was 14th in total defense in 2008 and, in 2009 and 2010, the Buckeyes were fifth and fourth, respectively, in total defense.

Was his previous success due to the mentorship of his co-defensive coordinator Jim Heacock?” [Beale/Eleven Warriors]


“Colon has been in the league so long that he was a rookie the year that interleague play began. He’s 40 years old. He’s played 16 seasons with seven teams, but only once has he played for an NL team. He has 10 hits in his career, which isn’t bad for a pitcher considering he only has 96 career at-bats. But he doesn’t have a hit since 2005. Five of his hits came in 2002 when he played for the Montreal Expos. He actually only has on hit since then.

In other words: The last time he had more than one hit in a season, he was 30.” [Oz/Big League Stew]


“Aqib Talib is a big cornerback. At 6’1 and over 200lbs, there aren’t many receivers that can dominate him physically, but Gordon did exactly that, terrorizing Talib with his combination of size, strength and speed all game, and actually making him look small on the field. Talib was in man coverage against Gordon most of the game and by the end of it wanted nothing much to do with a battle he was on the losing end of. Of Gordon’s 151 receiving yards, 141 of them came against Talib. He was thrown at five times covered by New England’s best corner and caught all five, with Talib also drawing three holding penalties as he tried desperately to live with Gordon. To be fair to Talib one of those calls was extremely harsh, with both players grabbing hold of each other and wrestling to the floor with only Talib drawing the flag against him, but that particular penalty was the least of his worries overall.” [Monson/Pro Football Focus]


!!! “Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard was hit with a shocking diagnosis during his lone season with the Los Angeles Lakers last year. According to a physician working with the team’s medical staff, Howard was consuming “the equivalent of 24 Hershey bars a day” because of all the candy and glucose-rich carbonated soda he was drinking.” [Dwyer/Ball Don't Lie]

  • Garry_Owen

    I only skimmed the 11W article, but to me, Heacock was absolutely the key to those defenses. But, and somebody mentioned this yesterday, this is a whole new world of NCAA offenses. I have no idea how those Heacock defenses would fare today.

  • mgbode

    MichState and Stanford say they would be fine. It’s not like he didn’t rely on athletic LBer play (a big key to surviving mobile QBs).

  • mgbode

    Back when I was able to play 48 minutes, I could eat anything. But now I can’t

    That is the most telling line of the Dwight article. I hate how the media is using this storyline to make sugar and gasp processed sugars evil. No, he was eating at levels based on his previous exercise regime when he was no longer able to keep up the carb-burning. Yes, he could have had a healthier diet, but it’s not completely terrible either.

    The real takeaway should be that nutrition has to be a constantly evolving entity in your life based on your current levels of exercise, age, and medical conditions. But, that’s not an easy message for people so they just pick a few things to say are evil and move forward. sigh.

  • Garry_Owen

    And that points to the other problem. I don’t know why we’ve had such a hard time recruiting/developing LBs lately. Shazier’s a beast, but when you’re converting FBs to play LB and/or can’t name the other guys beside Shazier, something’s wrong. Dominating LB play can cover a multitude of other weaknesses.

  • mgbode

    agreed. that has been our #1 problem. we were LBer-U for so long that it is really strange to have LBer be a weak spot on our team, but it has been the past few years.

  • Jack

    Is Bron familiar with the concept of irony?

  • cmm13

    They’d be fine if OSU were recruiting the type of players that fit into those schemes.
    I said it yesterday; there is no Hawk, Carpenter, Gholston, Heyward, etc on this team.
    Those are the prototypical Heacock, Stanford and Sparty defenseive players.
    Urb is not going that route, he wants speedy ends and corners that can fly. He’s got them, Fickell just isn’t using them correctly.

  • humboldt

    I think mgbode may need to declare a conflict of interest on this issue given his wife’s business ;)

    The problem with Howard wasn’t quantity of carbohydrates, it was the quality of those carbohydrates. It seems he was consuming obscene amounts of simple carbs (e.g. monosaccaharides like high fructose corn syrup) in the candies and drinks they list, which are malabsorbed at the cellular level and can lead to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and other physiologic changes that the doctors observed in Howard. Even if he had been a marathon runner, his body could not have sustained the quantity/quality of simple carbohydrates he was taken in.

    These highly processed products (candy, pop, gatorade, etc) are an evolutionary anomaly – there is no lifestyle for which high intake is acceptable. Unfortunately they are all expertly marketed, ubiquitously available, and can be delivered in crates to the doorstep of celebrities and civilians alike.

    Glad they’ve seemingly addressed the problem with Howard, and hope he can be an educational symbol for kids at all socio-economic levels who admire him.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    For me the defensive line is weaker then the linebackers. The linebackers often have bigger guys blocking them simply because the defensive line doesn’t occupy blockers because often enough one is enough.

  • woofersus

    It was both quality and quantity. Nobody should eat THAT much candy at any age, no matter what their activity level. That doesn’t mean eating candy in moderation is unacceptable in general. If his indulgence of choice was cheese sticks, his cholesterol would be off the charts instead of his blood sugar.


    It’s hilarious and slightly outraging that they felt the need to suggest he was addicted to “chemicals designed to grab and hook” and not just a guy who knew nothing about nutrition and had bad habits. There is zero empirical evidence that alternate forms of sugar have any more addictive effect than cane sugar, or even artificial sweeteners. (studies have shown it’s the taste of sweet and not the chemical content that lights up dopamine receptors in your brain – but strong savory flavors have the same effect because this is the body’s mechanism for signaling satiety)

    There was also a lot of nutritional and scientific misinformation. Saying “these things aren’t made of pure sugar anymore” makes no sense at all. Cane and beet sugar are processed too, not just corn sugar. Differences between their glucose/fructose ratios and the associated health debate notwithstanding, they are all nearly pure sugar made primarily of the monosaccharaides fructose and glucose. (and refined Sucrose isn’t really any better despite being a disaccharide) Also, it’s nonsensical to suggest that an “unholy amalgamation of processed sugars” was somehow much worse than the “pure” Hershey chocolate bar. Multiple ingredients containing sugar isn’t any different than one ingredient containing sugar. A Hershey bar isn’t “pure” anything. Refined sugar is a major ingredient in chocolate as we know it in the candy isle. Sweetened chocolate doesn’t occur naturally any more than nougat does. (side note: Once I was baking with my wife and we were melting down unsweetened baking chocolate when she brain-farted and licked the spoon. I will replay that scene in my mind for the rest of my life whenever I need a good laugh) A Hershey bar may have a lower amount of sugar per serving than skittles or hard candy, but the article would suggest that those are better than a Snickers bar because it’s an “unholy amalgamation” and the former are “pure sugar.” In reality, the Snickers bar at least has SOME redeeming contents (cacao, protein, monounsaturated fat in the peanuts, etc.) while the “pure sugar” is solely empty calories. The bottom line is that all types of refined sugar from any source in large quantities are bad for you.

    The reality is that Howard had a mindset that is common among young athletes – that they don’t need to be concerned at all about their nutrition because they are athletes. Frankly, it’s not uncommon for people to think limiting fats and sugars is only for fat people, and that their thinness is evidence of their health. Sure, a highly active person can (and needs to) eat more calories, and may even be able to afford more indulgences in empty calories, but that doesn’t mean nutrition doesn’t matter. If anything, a professional athlete that makes their living on physical performances needs to pay MORE attention to the fuel they provide their body. Frankly I’m a little surprised that it was never recognized before this. These are grown men that have freedom to eat what they want, but if I own an NBA team and have hundreds of millions of dollars riding on the performance of the players, there’s a 100% chance I have a dietitian and chef on staff to help them learn what is healthy and how to make it.

  • TSM