August 1, 2014

It’s time to kill these lazy comedic sports references

we're not funny nfl

Sports and comedy don’t always have a comfortable marriage. As a rule, sports guys think they’re funnier than they really are and there’s one particular tool in the Sports Guy arsenal that I think needs to be melted down and buried. I could be talking about the incessant forced laughing that sports guys do to pump up all their bad attempts at jokes like on NFL pre-game shows. I could be talking about mis-guided skits wherein a former athlete dresses up like a woman for mild comedic effect. (I’m looking at you Larry Johnson.) I’ll save those for another day. Today I’m attacking the lazy reference.

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Setting standards for the Browns… While We’re Waiting

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It’s Friday and it’s been a great week of podcasts. Did you check them all out?

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Setting standards for the Browns isn’t easy… As the Browns sit on the precipice of starting training camp, I feel really good about the team. Shocking, I know. I’ve given in to the fact that these feelings mean absolutely nothing. I’ve talked myself down this road before where I convince myself that the defense has it together in such a way that they’ll carry the team. Or more specifically in the recent past, I’ve convinced myself that the Browns can be carried on the back of a player like Peyton Hillis. Each time there’s one thing that’s horribly consistent. I’m always wrong to be optimistic.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like Mike Pettine, Ray Farmer, Brian Hoyer, Joe Thomas, or anyone else who will be entering camp this week. It doesn’t mean that they won’t finally cancel the pity party that I seem to have annually around Thanksgiving. It’s merely to point out that the burden of proof is on them.

I like the off-season moves. I like the draft. I’ve been hard on Johnny Manziel, but you all know pretty well that I like him a lot too. I like Ben Tate and Terrance West and Jordan Cameron and Joe Haden. I liked the idea of drafting Justin Gilbert to hopefully raise the level of the secondary not named Joe Haden. I liked the free agency acquisitions of Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner. Right now, that’s not worth much of anything.

I’ve liked moves in the past too whether it was Frostee Rucker, Jason Campbell or Ben Watson. Even as some of those players worked out alright, it didn’t matter. By the end of the season those were just new names that replaced old names, both of which were only capable of winning four or five games in a given year.

That’s why last year I stopped with predictions and just set standards. That’s why again this year, even as I support this team and the moves they’ve made to improve, I won’t give them a pass just yet. Yeah, I’m co-signing as much as any fan or commentator can co-sign on a team’s personnel moves, but it’s not on me to produce results or say that the team has done enough to produce those results. It’s merely my job to set realistic expectations.

So I’m going to do it again this year and say that my expectations are for this team to win eight games. It might be a game more or a game less, but I think that’s reasonable to ask. It’s a league with year-over-year turnarounds all the time. It’s also a year where the Browns spent a healthy amount of time bringing in veteran free agents as well as newly drafted picks.

Again, I can’t co-sign for all the players they brought in, but it tells me this team wants to win more games than they did last year. It tells me that this is a team that won’t be content executing a lackadaisical first year in some pipe dream of a five year plan. And with that in mind my standard is eight wins and I think that’s more than fair. That’s still a failure in a lot of NFL cities to go 0.500. So with that, you’re welcome Cleveland Browns. Now show me something.

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Speaking of football, I would have found this interesting or funny once upon a time, but now the idea of youths pummeling each other on a football field just leads me to think of head injuries. Do we need to adopt weight classes like MMA and boxing?

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Weird Al Yankovic has the No. 1 album in the country. It’s really crazy when you think about it for a variety of reasons. The music industry is in a weird spot in terms of, you know, “sales.” Weird Al released eight music videos in eight days to promote it. He’s also an age where he’s not completely over the hill as a performer and yet his target audience that he has built since the late-70′s is probably as big as it will ever be. I grew up on “Eat It” and “Fat” and “Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White.” And here I was this week playing “NOW That’s what I call polka” for my son which parodies Mylie Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” among other songs. My favorite song, though, is one that didn’t sink in for me when it was a real song, and that’s Royals by Lorde. No, it wasn’t until Weird Al unleashed “Foil” on us that it stuck in my head like an incurable disease.

That’s enough for me this week. Have a great weekend everyone. Listen to some Weird Al.

Has Andrew Wiggins actually been included in a Cavs offer for Kevin Love?

 

flip saunders

Someday we’ll find out these things for sure, but the sources and details are flying and as is often the case, there’s disagreement or at least confusion. Most everyone who thinks about this potential trade at all assumes that Minnesota talks about Andrew Wiggins and that the Cavs likely do as well. The wording on the reports doesn’t necessarily put them at odds, but it’s confounding to try and figure out what’s actually happening.

Take this report (most recently updated July 23rd at 2:03 PM) from Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst at ESPN.

Cleveland’s offer, sources said, would be headlined by No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013′s No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a future first-round pick, with one source close to the process insisting Tuesday that the Cavs are destined to acquire Love. At least one more player might have to added to the package to satisfy NBA trade rules.

And then Sam Amico’s tweet from this afternoon at about 5:00 PM indicates that despite talk, the Cavaliers haven’t actually offered Andrew Wiggins in any trade proposal.

It’s enough to make you want to rip your hair out. So the Cavs and Wolves are talking about deals for Kevin Love. Invariably Andrew Wiggins’ name comes up to the point that he is “headlining” the Cavs’ offer, and yet when it comes to actually discussing potential proposals, the Cavaliers aren’t actually offering Wiggins in any of them?

So the conversation’s like this?

Minny: “Yeah, so if we can get the expiring deals right? Then maybe find one player other than Andrew Wiggins that we want to keep… and then also Andrew Wiggins… that’s what we’re thinking.”

Cleveland: “So we need to get expiring deals and one player other than Andrew Wiggins that you want to keep….” (trails off)

Minny: “And Andrew Wiggins.”

Cleveland: “I hear what you’re saying. Hmmm. Yeah. Talk to you later!”

Have the Cavs really technically not offered Andrew Wiggins in any scenario? Does any of this have anything to do with the timing of finally signing Wiggins today? I guess we’ll find out for sure in the next 30 days, but even with the Browns starting training camp this weekend, I don’t think that’s just going to fly by without a lot of turbulence in the rumor mill.

Not looking forward to that.

LeBron James, WWE Wrestling and Tribe playoffs with @SPORTSYELLING – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-24

WFNY Podcast LogoI like to have @SPORTSYELLING on the podcast and she’s gracious enough to make the time. Today we had another fun conversation about the following.

  • Being dragged into watching WWE wrestling with her husband
  • Dangerous tweets
  • The impact of the LeBron James signing on a hardcore Tribe fan
  • The Indians chances of making a run at the playoffs
  • Winning streaks and whether or not you can ever see them coming
  • Is there blame to go around for the Indians record so far and if so to whom?
  • The LeBron James kids book that Craig bought stinks

Check out this episode!

Cavs sign Andrew Wiggins, start 30-day “no trade” clock

Does this scream "passive" to you?

It’s finally happened. The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced the signing of their number one overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins.

[Also see: WFNY's Kevin Love Trade FAQ]

https://twitter.com/WojYahooNBA/status/492398283781054464

As Woj and Windy point out, the thing that we’ve been talking about for a long time now has happened. On the one hand, he can’t be traded for 30 days. On the other, now instead of carrying a value of $0 in a trade, he will potentially carry that $5.5 million number if he’s traded. While that helps from a salary matching standpoint, I’m sure there’s some impact on the “leverage” that might or might not exist between the Cavaliers and T-Wolves.

So have at it folks. Let’s hear another round of speculation and scenario building about the Kevin Love trade.

And… GO!

Josh Gordon’s hearing is set for August 1

Good things guiness

“Good things come to those who wait,” is a famous phrase, but in the case of Josh Gordon we’ll have to see if it’s true. Chris Wesseling of NFL Network is reporting that Gordon’s appeals hearing to determine whether and how long he’ll be suspended is August 1 in New York. At this stage of the game, I bet Gordon wishes it had happened a long time ago.

The timeline begins the day after the draft. While Browns fans were in the afterglow of a draft that saw them get one of the best corners in the draft and also one of the most decorated quarterbacks coming into the league, we were smacked by Josh Gordon news that he might have failed another drug test.

Hey, anyone know when Josh Gordon’s appeal is?

Then, over Memorial Day weekend, Josh Gordon was pulled over for speeding. No big deal, right? Most of us could get caught doing 74 in a 60 MPH zone. Oh, but one of his passengers was cited for possession of marijuana. That doesn’t look good during an appeals hearing. At minimum, it probably requires a discussion, right?

Hey, anyone know when Josh Gordon’s appeal is?

Not until after the July 4th weekend when Gordon was pulled over and arrested for DWI in North Carolina. As it turns out, Gordon’s reported BAC was 0.09 and the legal limit is 0.08. “Close” obviously isn’t good enough, but if this was an isolated incident for a guy, you might chalk it up as a one-time mistake.

But this is Josh Gordon and now we know his appeal is scheduled for August 1st. It’s scheduled after he was pulled over for speeding and one of his passengers had pot and also after getting popped for DWI while also coming off a season in which he was suspended while also trying to overcome a checkered past involving drugs throughout a shortened college career.

I’m out of breath and I wonder if Roger Goodell’s run out of patience. We’ll see on August 1st.

I think it’s safe to say that Guiness lied in their advertising, at least in the case of Josh Gordon and Browns fans.

Indians dropped by Twins fill-in starter Anthony Swarzak

This trippy combo picture froze on my screen as I was looking at pics from yesterday’s game.

(I apologize for the lateness of this recap. I’m filling in for TD today.)

I had to look up Anthony Swarzak’s name three times. Apparently Carlos Santana did too, according to Alex Smith of MLB.com. His game story says that Carlos Santana had no idea who was pitching yesterday 90 minutes before it was scheduled to start. The Indians never seemed to get to know him yesterday either. In five innings, the usual reliever Swarzak only gave up two hits while allowing one run via a Jose Ramirez double that scored David Murphy. The Indians mustered only three more hits across five relievers to fall 3-1 in a daytime game. [Read more...]

Anthony Bennett can breathe now

Anthony Bennett Box Out

Even as I used the word “bust” in talking about Anthony Bennett during his rookie year, I can be reasonable. I’m not a “no excuses” guy. Sometimes injuries and health are legitimate reasons why a player struggles. Bennett was coming off of a shoulder surgery while also battling asthma and sleep apnea. During the offseason, he had surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids. The resulting Bennett in summer league was much thinner, faster, and more athletic because his breathing was better.

“It acted up at times,” Bennett said. “There’d be times I was playing good, I wouldn’t really notice it. And then there’d be other times where it was real hard to breathe. But I just tried to push through it and do the best I can.”

What remains to be seen is if the Cavaliers will be the beneficiaries of the new and improved Bennett. Bennett’s name frequently comes up with Andrew Wiggins as a possible piece in a Kevin Love deal.

Because of the mitigating factors surrounding Anthony Bennett’s rookie year, it feels like the Cavaliers might be selling low if they trade Bennett before we get a chance to see him play this year. I guess Kevin Love is worth it, but for the first time since he’s been a Cavalier, Anthony Bennett makes me wonder at least just a little bit.

[Related: Bulls offer Gibson, McDermott and Mirotic for Love?]

Terrance West mocks injury reports on Twitter

A source is quoted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Terrance West has been put on the non-football injury list due to a failed conditioning test, but that was quickly disputed by the Browns’ rookie runner on Twitter.

Regardless of what’s happening with this story, the fact that West himself says he’s healthy, passed his test and good to go, is good news for Browns fans. It will also be interesting to see how all this shakes out.

Not that it’s a big deal, but we don’t know exactly how Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer plan to handle the information regarding injuries. Eric Mangini treated injuries with the same paranoia that the elderly treat their social security number and Pat Shurmur wasn’t much better. Although Shurmur’s communication issues were far greater than a penchant for secrecy.

So, I am a bit curious to see if this new Browns crew has any issue with a rookie player disputing reports and giving out injury status updates via Twitter.

Decisions… Greg Little or a Nissan?

There’s just something about former Cleveland Browns receivers that makes for good memes. Braylon Edwards was a favorite target (get it?) for Browns fans for years and now that we no longer have to hope that Greg Little figures it out, he’s became the latest favorite. I feel a little bit badly because Little was a hard worker and a decent enough guy, but man did he struggle to be the guy we needed to see on Sundays.

[Also see: Justin Gilbert is unfamiliar with Greg Little]

But don’t forget where it all began with Braylon.

braylon Edwards drop

(Greg Little image via the fine folks at the Cleveland Browns Reddit page)

Anthony Lima talks about LeBron, Johnny Manziel and local sports media – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-23

WFNY Podcast LogoAnthony Lima joined Craig to talk about local sports media, LeBron James, Johnny Manziel.

Anthony Lima and what it was like to break the LeBron news live on the air.

The Plane, Zydrunas and more on the reporting of the story

The risks of being wrong and getting punished

Opie and Anthony and losing your job for what you say on twitter

The pitfalls of a public life on twitter

Check out this episode!

Les Levine talks about LeBron James, Johnny Manziel and local sports media – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-22

WFNY Podcast LogoI haven’t had Les Levine on in a while, but it’s always great to catch up. Here are some of the topics we discussed.

  • Reporting in the modern world
  • Chris Broussard and needing to be right a minute ahead of the next guy
  • Les’ history of reporting things and “being wrong”
  • LeBron James coming home
  • Johnny Manziel’s partying lifestyle and social media
  • Not living dangerously
  • Joe Lull’s report on Dan Gilbert’s plane

Check out this episode!

Joe Haden shoos away kid in a Hines Ward jersey

Joe Haden was (probably) kidding, but he shooed away a child in a Hines Ward jersey who was in line for an autograph. As we all know, you should report child abuse and I’m not talking about Joe Haden. To think that some awful father in Northeast Ohio would put his kid in a Stillers jersey for an event featuring Joe Haden is just criminal.

Jason Whitlock says Canadian players “don’t want it as much” as other players

Olbermann and Whitlock

Last night on Keith Olbermann’s show, Jason Whitlock was discussing his recent podcast with LeBron James’ partner Maverick Carter. He and Olbermann got to talking about – what else – Andrew Wiggins and Kevin Love. That’s when Jason Whitlock made some pretty wide sweeping generalizations while vaguely applying it to “smart basketball people,” while also specifically not attaching it to “LeBron’s people.”

“Andrew Wiggins is from Canada. And Canadian athletes among NBA players and NBA people perhaps don’t want it as much as even some of the Europeans and certainly the American players. I think they’re going all out for Kevin Love. I think that’s what LeBron James wants. I think that’s what they believe in. I think they will move Andrew Wiggins at all costs.”

Now, I’m not offended per se because I find the statement to be pretty ludicrous. A wide-sweeping generalization that the characteristic that defines Andrew Wiggins is his nationality and that that subsequently defines his fire and competitiveness is ridiculous. Jason Whitlock should know better and while Keith Olbermann challenged him and made a joke about Whitlock’s generalization, I’m a bit surprised he didn’t challenge him even more. I’m sure Olbermann was taken a bit by surprise though.

See the clip below.

Whitlock also follows it up with some talk about Maverick Carter’s client Johnny Manziel. Keith Olbermann circles back on the Canadian thing kind of mocking Whitlock and giving him a chance to get out of it. Of course Whitlock says he hopes he doesn’t get in trouble and then doubles down on the Canadian generalization.

MTAF’s Josh Flagner talks about women in sports media – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-21

WFNY Podcast LogoCleveland Kate set the topic for this one and Josh Flagner of More Than a Fan was happy to oblige. We took our seats as men in the independent sports media environment to discuss… women in sports media.

We talked about Erin Andrews, Suzyn Waldman and a host of other females in the game. We talked about the opportunities or lack thereof. We also discussed the fact that we can’t remember a single female sports talker in the history of Cleveland sports radio.

Lastly, I played the Kirk Minihane audio for Josh and we discussed the way he talked about Erin Andrews and her reporting.

Of course there was a lot of talk about the local sports media and local sports talk radio as well, including the 92.3 the Fan’s Fan Phenom competition.

Check out this episode!

Watch Dan Patrick discuss LeBron James’ return and Wahoo with Scott Raab

Scott Raab joined us on the WFNY podcast to talk about the return of LeBron James. He also sat down and talked to arguably the best sports talk radio host in the country when he went on The Dan Patrick Show recently.

In addition to discussing LeBron James’ return, Patrick got into the Cleveland Indians and Chief Wahoo.

The Top Five Most Intriguing Players in Cleveland Browns Training Camp

Browns helmets training camp building

As we’re on the precipice of Cleveland Browns training camp, I couldn’t be more excited to see who steps up. The Browns have a lot of question marks as any team should coming off a four-win season. The good news is that there are a lot of new faces to address many of the obvious holes we all complained about at the end of last season. Offensive line, cornerback, linebacker and running back were all areas targeted by the Browns’ front office1 Without further ado, here are my five most intriguing training camp players. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. I made the decision to just skip quarterback, by the way. Everyone knows that situation all too well and I think we’ve beaten the Hoyer vs. Manziel camp battle directly into the ground. []

Indians Twitter account gets defensive of ownership’s cheap reputation

The Cleveland Indians ownership has taken a lot of bullets over the years for being “cheap.” While that’s a relative term in a game that is notoriously unbalanced in terms of payrolls, if nothing else, it’s fair to call it a facile and slightly lazy dig at this point. I’m not saying you can’t make the argument that the Dolans are cheap, but it would take far more than 140 characters on Twitter to make that case.

All that said, it only took 140 characters for the Indians’ official Twitter account to fight back a rather trollish tweet directed at Indians ownership.

Indians twitter Account longer

And there at the bottom of the screenshot you can see the follow-up response to the guy who was so swiftly repudiated.

Maybe you’ll think twice the next time you tweet straight at the @Indians account with a smart-alec comment.

All you need to know about trading for Kevin Love: WFNY FAQs

kevin love cavs

So the Cavs are willing to trade Andrew Wiggins now for Kevin Love. Maybe. LeBron wants Love on this Cavs roster. But even that’s easier said than done.

Why would they make the deal now? Why wouldn’t they just wait? Who counts as what? Is Wiggins even signed? How is the Collective Bargaining Agreement involved?

As the questions pile up, we here at WFNY have compiled a bit of an FAQ of sorts to help guide you through the process. Enjoy.

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LeBron James, Johnny Manziel, Cleveland and the concept of home – Casual Friday – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-18

It’s been a while since I chatted with Denny, but he had some time this evening so we did it up on the following.

  • LeBron James coming back to Cleveland impacting Denny
  • The vague, but unmistakable feelings of “home”
  • Cleveland and the generational preference for city living
  • athletics impact on cities
  • Raising a family in a city
  • Johnny Manziel and the negative obsession with his partying

Check out this episode!