July 25, 2014

A Brief Return of The Journal of Emotional Hygiene

Nike Homecoming King

LeBron is back, and so now it’s time to figure out how that makes us feel.

A story: The hood and roof of my car have a few long scratches in their paint. They showed up sometime this winter, long silvery gouges on the otherwise-pristine field of metallic blue. The scratches in the roof sit just above the driver’s seat and are obvious to anyone who may be getting into the driver’s seat. That person is usually me, and I see the scratches every time.

My wife pointed out the scratches to me sometime in the late winter, maybe early March. Our initial theory was that our car got keyed. This seemed plausible, and was infuriating. Random damage happens to cars parked in cities; one of my tires had been slashed just a few months prior on Thanksgiving weekend. It sucks, but it’s part of city life. The idea that someone came onto our property and damaged my vehicle angered me, but that anger quickly subsided. C’est la vie.

One morning a thought occurred to me: I had used a metal shovel to clear snow off of my car. The metal-on-metal friction likely caused the scratches. Another thought occurred to me: I’m a goddamned idiot. [Read more...]

LOL we really are waiting hardcore now, While We’re Waiting

The nest.Hello. Scott asked me yesterday at 3:44 pm to write his morning post for him so that he could spend another day on vacation with his family (see image). It seemed reasonable to do so because I am not on vacation and Scott is a good friend.

As of the scheduling of this post (10:50 pm EST), something may or may not have happened regarding the Cleveland Basketball Cavaliers and LeBron James. There will be no breaking or recently broken news contained in this post, just meandering and navel-gazing thoughts about sports and LeBron and life and etcetera. Don’t worry: I’m not “writing mean” this time.

Craig wrote a piece this weekend that got me thinking about LeBron and a potential return. Craig’s writing has, in general, seemed to me to shift focus over the past year and a half or so and taken a wider view of sports and their impact on the community writ large, and I have enjoyed the result. But what hit me in his piece on Saturday was this paragraph, a much more introspective bit:

But that was a long time ago. My four-year-old was just three months old at that time. I remember because I recall not caring if I woke him up when I cursed at the top of my lungs. But I’ve changed a lot since then. I’ve re-learned a ton about not only apologizing but to accept apologies. There’s something about being a dad and teaching your kids about grace and humility that you can’t help but remember to try and be a decent example for them, at least to some approximation of your own capabilities.

The notion of ‘I’ve changed a lot since then’ struck a chord with me. (I suspect the parts about apologizing/children will resonate more when my daughter is older than six months. Also I think the chord was Fadd9.) I don’t follow sports like I used to. There are reasons behind that, and those reasons are essentially a Gordian knot; it seems better to commit to non-fandom than to dip my toe into non-fandom and seeing how it feels. So now I’m at a point where I’m trying to figure out how exactly I feel about all of this LeBron business. This makes me no different from most people, except that I also am trying to figure out ‘sports’ as a thing in my life.

Before I read Craig’s post, I knew there was potential for LeBron to return, but I hadn’t really thought about what that may or may not mean to me. Craig’s piece was written Saturday, before Cleveland sports things generally devolved into chaos. Since then, I have only tangentially payed attention – too much is “happening” too quickly for me to have the energy to keep up. (Plus, my daughter just started eating solid food, and one of my dogs has some sort of stomach bug, the weather and holiday last weekend were marvelous, and I’m spending a lot of time reading about dual fuel ranges.) I’ve been thinking about what LeBron James playing basketball in Cleveland might mean to me and how it may effect the way I view sports. That last point is a really hard thing to pin down.

In 2010, LeBron James left Cleveland. On the same night (and on a much, much smaller scale) I left writing about Cleveland sports after publishing a half-drunk piece that I am somehow still mostly satisfied with four years later. Looking at what I wrote, it’s clear that some previously-important thing broke in me that night. I’m pretty sure it was the part of me that was invested in individual professional athletes (also broken was some of my remaining naivety–but not my optimism).

It’s also clear, looking at the tail end of that piece, that I’ve failed in some ways of living up to what I had hoped to accomplish. To wit:

[I]t’s never a good thing to be that old, frumpy, joyless person who thinks that it’s their job to poop on everyone’s parade. Bitterness and cynicism rarely accomplish anything of note. I sincerely hope that I won’t become such a person. If that happens to me, I imagine that I will view this as a failure to live a happy life. I hope that none of us become severely embittered because of this – living in a downtrodden, angry place is not any sort of way to live our lives.

My tendency to piss in other people’s Cheerios over sports has not subsided, even though I live a generally happy life. The amateur etymologists in the room will tell me that “fan” is derived from “fanatic”, as though that in some way justifies taking pictures of an athlete’s young children at an airport because it might mean something about sports ball. There are many, many facets of fandom that I feel deserve to be mocked. Reading over how I felt immediately after LeBron left in 2010, I can’t say that I’ve lived up to what I wrote. I’m trying, but maybe I need to try harder.

What’s remarkable about this whole free agency thing, at least on an existential level, is that this LeBron free agency extravaganza is an instance that so very closely mirrors the first time around. The only thing different is that we all are a little older. You, me, LeBron, Chris Broussard, Chris Broussard’s Multiple Sources. All of us. Amin Vafa alluded to that point at HP yesterday:

Again, I can’t speak for him, but I can speak for myself as a 29-year old who’s more self-aware than he was at 25. It’s likely that James wants to do what’s right by him, what’s right by his career, what’s right by his family, what’s right by his friends, and he wants to hurt as few people as possible in the wake. There’s no “right” answer to his choice here.

And so taking that self-awareness into account, we get to this point where we can look at the outcomes from the first time around (and our personal reactions to the outcomes) and really reflect on them. How did we react, and how can we look at that reaction and use it to better-prepare ourselves this time around? How will our own personal reactions in 2010–and our subsequent feelings—inform our reaction in 2014?

In 2010 I lost a lot of my love for the NBA. That was the first of many steps that’s gotten me to where I am now: circumspect of fandom in general and not really even watching the World Cup, which is my favorite sporting event of them all. Some of missing the World Cup has to do with work scheduling, some with having a six month-old, some of it has to do with not having cable, some of it has to do with planning home renovations. But underlying all of that is the fact that I don’t care as much as I used to, probably because I don’t want to allow myself to be hurt by sports like I was when LeBron left.

It’s been difficult caring about all of the trickle of  ‘information’ surrounding the tightly-held decision-making process that LeBron is going through. The absurdity of Twitter dot com has grown exponentially by the day, to the point where trying to follow anything related to NBA free agency is more tiring than anything else. If I wanted to chase short little serotonin bursts derived from steady input and ever-increasing desperation, I’d start mainlining heroin.

LeBron is a grown-ass man, and it’s his decision alone to make. He’s not leading anyone on at this point. Nobody is entitled to his services, nor is anyone entitled to force him into making his decision before he’s ready to.

I can’t guarantee how I’ll react to whatever LeBron chooses. Maybe I’ll give the NBA another shot. Maybe I’ll shrug and keep on going as I have been. I just hope it doesn’t drive me further away from sports, because I want to enjoy them. Especially if LeBron is part of those sports again. He’s really damned good at shootyhoops, and it’d be a shame for me to miss out on that.

Random thought-like substances:

  • As mentioned, I am currently in the late planning stages of a kitchen remodel. The stages or planning, as I see them, are as follows: 1) Early: you think ‘oh, a new kitchen would really be nice’, as the whole thing is an abstraction; 2) Middle: events happen and that kitchen work becomes far less abstract and almost tangible. This is the exciting stage; 3) Late: You’ve spent way too much of your life trying to figure out just what needs to line up and how things are going to work, and really you’re mostly there and just wish it were over with. To the point where I’m waiting on other people to get to where I want things to be, and they’re just standing in the way and my GOD why can’t they just get it over with already?
  • Designing a row home kitchen is a really fun challenge, except for the part where you realize you’re going to hate aspects of it and only have yourself to blame.
  • Trying to figure out what parts of the kitchen work you’re willing/able to do yourself is even more challenging.
  • As part of kitchen renovation we are considering buying a new cookware set, likely all stainless. This is exciting but also leads to a lot of probably unnecessary research into pots and pans.
  • It seems like I’m always about three weeks from really having the time to start running again. Just need the baby to sleep through the night better, is all. Not running is all the baby’s fault, not my own.
  • I really liked Brendan’s piece last week on The Colony. If you missed it over the holiday weekend, be sure to check it out.
  • Okay. Go Sports.

While Y’all Are Waiting: A Jeremiad of Sorts

[Editor's Note: With Craig being out today, we thought it would be awesome to have Denny Mayo return and do WWW today in Craig's place. For those who are new to the site and may not know who Denny is, he was one of the original weekend editors at WFNY and he gave this site a unique and interesting voice that we lacked before and have never quite been able to replace. But a lot has changed in Denny's life in recent years since he left WFNY to focus on his doctorate. Because he's touching on some hot button topics below, we are of course obligated to say that his opinions are his own. There is no unified stance from WFNY, as we are made up of many different voices and opinions. Some of us stand with Denny, while others disagree. But no matter where you stand, whether you agree or disagree with his opinions, this piece is incredibly well thought out and well written and, well, it's just awesome to have Denny back at WFNY, even if it is only for one day and for one piece. -- Andrew Schnitkey]

Dr StrangeloveGood morning. Craig is out today; the inmates have offered to run the asylum in his absence. Management acquiesced to our request.

It has been 1344 days since I last wrote words here. It’s nice to see you all. Things have changed, but you haven’t aged a day. When I decided to stop writing here to focus on graduate school, the NBA had just died a young death, never to rise from its ashes. Craig and I have talked about this on the podcast, but as I’m growing older, I’m finding it difficult to enjoy sports as much as I used to. At this point, I very well may like making esoteric jokes about sports more than I actually like sports. So it goes.

There are a number of reasons why I’m not digging on sports so hard anymore, and I’m writing whatever I want to write, so let’s get into them:

1) It really bothers me that Chief Wahoo is still a thing. Not the ‘debate’ about Chief Wahoo, mind you, but that the actual logo is still in use—and that any semblance of a ‘debate’ among the Cleveland fan base continues. The logo is racist dreck from a (mostly) bygone era and is generally condemned by the National Congress of American Indians. Yet we annually drudge up a ‘debate’ that begins and ends up with mouth-breathing talk radio hosts denying any evidence that Native Americans oppose the use of Native American likenesses as athletic logos, in order to get radio listeners to call in to their show so that they can convince advertisers to keep paying them. This debate is an auroboros of stupid.

I know that this topic is 1) stale and 2) not a lot of fun to discuss, but this is not an issue where there is much nuance, yet it is treated as such by many who cover it in order to frame the ‘two sides of the debate’ with a wonderful veneer of false equivalence, as though there should be equal weight given to each side. The AV Club review of the excellent series premiere of Neil Degrasse-Tyson’s COSMOS reboot (which you should be watching this show, by the way, because science is wonderful) gets to the heart of the matter of the show, but also the issue at hand here as well:

“The show is also unabashed in its commitment to truth—it matter-of-factly presents what we know about the universe, what we’re pretty sure about, and what we don’t know yet. Cosmos doesn’t hedge: You won’t hear the narrator, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, neuter any of his statements with a gratuitous “some people believe…” counterpoint. … In a media environment where truth has to compete with a “balance” designed to prevent hurt feelings, Cosmos’ straightforward tack is quaint—laudably so.”

There are facts about the history of America’s treatment of American Indians that are not pretty and that are not touched on during our primary education (probably because they are not pretty!). But they are facts, and they are ever-relevant when discussing the ongoing plight of the American Indian.

Sports should be fun, harmless, and inclusive. Chief Wahoo is none of these things—enough so that I refuse to put onesies with Chief Wahoo on my infant daughter that were given to us as gifts. To gloss over the nasty nature of the logo because [a largely non-Native American base of] fans want to keep using a Samboface logo because it reminds the fans of the halcyon days of their youth, or because the logo is ’tradition’, or because ‘only whiny white people don’t like the logo’, or because ‘it doesn’t matter because it’s only a logo’ are reasons that are at best selfish and juvenile and at worst come from a place far, far more pernicious.

2) It’s increasingly difficult to enjoy tackle football in its current incarnation. I’ve never been a huge Browns fan (cf.), but the NFL’s—and Roger Goodell’s—staggering ability to whistle past the graveyard and spread false information regarding the effects of brain injury does not sit particularly well with me. The tried-and-true delay tactics of pointing out that ‘the science is not conclusive’ and ‘more studies are needed before taking action’ are especially pernicious when you realize that every season that involves a delay in instituting some sort of acknowledgment and subsequent change to the game is another season in which 1) the powers-that-be profit wildly at the expense of other humans’ lives, while marketing their business as safe and humane and 2) another cohort of impressionable (and brain-capable!) children put on their Pop Warner helmets and start crashing into each other.

3) Add the labor issues involved in collegiate athletics on top of brain injury seriousness, and it’s even becoming hard to enjoy my beloved Ohio State Football Team. This does not mean that I do not watch, nor does it mean that I do not cheer for my team. But a lot of the fun is gone knowing that every time the crowd is cheering a big hit, the man who made the hit likely did so at the expense of a part of his life—and that he will go pro in something other than sports™ after being subject to the capricious gaze of the “Non-Profit” Arbiters of Amateurism.

4) Sports franchises aggressively hold their host cities hostage for absurd tax breaks in order to renovate perfectly good (yet highly land-inefficient) facilities, and will move if their deal isn’t sweet enough. This is no different from plenty of other businesses, except that sports teams are viewed as some sort of public trust—that just happen to be banned by law from being publicly-owned. And the leagues are non-profit entities.

So what we end up with are carpet-bagging team owners who come in, run roughshod over any semblance of tradition that the fan base is proud of, and then contribute little, if any, to the actual community where they make their sportsball happen. Immediately upon purchasing the team, we are inundated with PR blasts that tell us how we’ve turned a corner and that Everything is now Coming Up Cleveland, and This Owner Totally Gets It!

And then down the line these owners whose arrival and general existence has been lauded at every opportunity may even decide to build a casino and have their sportsmen happily remind stadium-goers to remember to vote for the casino referendum. And then after that, a land bridge to hermetically seal the casino-goers from the public. But if you hesitate to give them everything they want in terms of land and infrastructure, you’d better watch it—they’ll be gone before you know it.

5) That sports fandom seems to requires some caveman-like viewpoint of masculinity. This doesn’t manifest so much in dealing with actual sports, but often creeps in when sports and culture collide such as to allow the real men in the crowd to step forward and assert KNOWN KNOWNS, such as: the inability for a grown human adult to effectively play sportsball because of who they happen to be romantically involved with; that using statistics as a lens through which one can evaluate sports is invalid; or that Richie Incognito is anything but a racist bully.

Many of these collisions involve spectacular non-sequiturs, such as but not limited to: ‘WHY IS THIS NEWS?!’; or ‘I JUST KNOW A GOOD PLAYER WHEN I SEE ONE’; or ‘WHY CAN BLACK PEOPLE USE THE N-WORD BUT WHITE PEOPLE CANNOT?’ (For answers to these questions, you could do far worse than reading Ta-Nehisi Coates on two of these topics. Seriously, go do so. I’ll wait.) These questions reek of desperation and deflection from the issue at hand: that it is indeed possible that people of differing backgrounds can all participate in sport effectively, and that masculinity and personal background have little to do with it.

It’s also increasingly difficult for me to stomach the ‘suck it up and play’ aspect of fan culture. This is particularly bad with respect to hockey fans but happens across all fanbases. It’s not our place to demand injury upon others, or that someone over-expose themselves to the risk of further injury because we want their team to win at a sports.

Sports are an extension of humanity. It’d be nice if fandom were more humane.

6) I don’t like that I don’t like sports as much because of these reasons. This is much more inward-gazing and meta, but even with all of these issues I still do like sports. I enjoy going to Nationals games and DC United games, and I’m ecstatic that the Buckeyes will be playing in Baltimore and College Park this fall and I’ll be able to take a short train ride to go see my alma mater play tackle football. But I don’t view sports fandom as a very significant facet of my life at this point, and that’s weird and off-putting because it’s a pretty big shift relative to the majority of my life. It’s going to take a long time to come to grips with this, and I’ve only recently begun to really acknowledge it.

Falling out of love with sports has been a change that has been slowly developing, the sort of thing that’s been hard to track the evolution of. It’s been like watching a puppy grow, where suddenly three years later you look back at a picture and realize ‘wow, our St Bernard used to be tiny‘. The changes have been incremental and additive, and now I’m to a point nearly four years removed from writing about sports frequently where I can’t imagine trying to write about sports with any sort of frequency. Though I’m firm on the points above, please don’t read them as value judgements—not long ago I cared a whole lot about Cleveland sports, and I may care about them again at some point. Most of my good friends love them some sports, and I continue to make good friends with whom sports fandom (or, maybe more accurately, making sports jokes) is our initial common thread. I want to love sports again. I really do.

But part of growing up is realizing that life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to view sports in a vacuum anymore. So it goes.

So rather than link to actual sports things that are happening as is customary in these pieces, I thought I’d point out some cool stuff that I’ve been learning about in lieu of learning about sports rosters and statistics (and if you guys have other fun things to talk about, bring them up, because quite honestly the community aspect of sports fandom is like its most positive aspect and why I still do hang around from time to time).

*One place I make time to visit every time I’m visiting family in Canton is the I-76 Antique Mall. It is wonderful. I am not joking.

*Cooking is something that I’ve been trying to learn more about. This came up somewhat frequently in discussions with Craig when we were doing the Casual Friday podcast, but I thought I’d point out some things that I’ve taken to recently:

*I’ve read Adam Perry Lang’s Serious Barbecue twice and started reading Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio. Serious BBQ is a hefty book with a whole lot of recipes, but it lays out some broadly useful stuff at the front end and includes a lot of tips that are quite interesting (like using an herb bundle to butter-baste meats during cooking). Ratio strips back recipes to their foundational bases, based solely on ingredient ratios and the order of ingredient addition. For me, this is hugely useful, because it’s easy to follow a recipe, but far more difficult to be able to grab a bunch of things off of a shelf and throw together a meal. Both books are super, super insightful and I recommend both if BBQ/cooking are things you like.

*The tri-tip is a fantastic cut of beef that I’ve recently gotten familiar with. So is eye round. Pork shoulder remains the meat of the gods. Bourbon is still king of spirits (I’ve recently been enjoying Weller Reserve).

*Internet Friend Sarah Sprague’s 2014 Chili Roundup is well worth your time. In brief: never, ever use store-bought chili powder in any dish ever again. But you already knew this, you smart devil, you.

*You should be reading everything that Kenji Lopez-Alt writes at The Food Lab. The chocolate chip cookie recipe is sublime (sea salt on cookies = advanced move) and the tacos al pastor recipe is absolutely worth the work (I made this last Friday and used leftover meat for nachos).

*Successfully growing vegetables and herbs is not trivial.

*Freshly-roasted coffee is sublime and remarkably inexpensive.

*If you want to find old pictures to make prints, the Library of Congress’ website is amazing. For instance: this old picture of Municipal Stadium during construction is incredible, and is free for download. Seriously. I printed, matted and framed a copy for my father-in-law this year for Christmas. There are lots of pictures of Olde Cleveland (and old WPA posters as well). Use this information to your advantage.

*As I haven’t been in Ohio this calendar year, I thought I’d ask a friend who has been to Cleveland this year about his experience. His response:

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport – I’m assuming it’s named for Sir Anthony – is entirely successful from a functional perspective: planes land there, and then they take off again. It gets a solid A for Being An Airport, and that shouldn’t be ignored; there are still delayed flights from 1994 in Dallas-Fort Worth, for instance. Beyond that? It’s the airport you would design if you were too cheap to pay for an architect and just downloaded the first “airport_plans_eminem_freestyle.jpg” file you found on LimeWire, a choice reinforced by the fact that the dining/shopping options are places you think you’ve heard of maybe once. Look: the Chili’s Too people wanted a crazy franchise fee. You’ll eat at Burgers of Calais and like it. (Burgers of Calais is not actually a restaurant in Cleveland Airport, and if you steal that name I’ll sue.) This is an airport designed to be forgotten quickly. I was there six weeks ago and already it feels like a particularly unremarkable dream.

That friend is Celebrity Hot Tub, and he was stuck in Hopkins for something like 22 hours. It sounds like y’all wow’d him.

*Home organization is an incredibly difficult and never-ending process. Case-in-point: I lined the wall under my basement stairs with pegboard and spend ten minutes or so a week wondering if I could better-arrange my tools. The same goes for kitchen organization and wall-mounting of frequently-used items. These things do not matter, yet they matter.

*Babies: really cool, and quite anxiety-inducing. I’m gonna take my kid to go meet Brendan’s kid today, which is kind of weird, but also pretty awesome. Hooray Internet.

I’ve come a long way from photoshopping Kelvin Sampson’s head onto Bruce Willis, y’all. Growing up is weird.

OK, it’s been fun. Go sports.

A Confiscated Letter from Kanye West to Dan Gilbert

Don’t believe me? Look closer.

[Read more...]

These Bears Are Riding Horses. Let’s Smile About That, At Least Briefly.

I don’t write out of character often, but I think I owe it to you all to sit down and be as bare and honest with you as I can because of the turd-rito that we just got served at Señor Yames’ Cafe. I can be bare and honest because I’m sitting on my couch naked, and I want you to know that I’m determined to get through this even if my laptop burns a hole through my thigh. It doesn’t help that I keep getting emotional and stopping because this is my last post here*.

Very often sports and our favorite teams are a diversion for us. Though we have athletes who represent our city, we more or less are aware that they are just guys who are really good at what they do and happen to play in the city that they happen to play in. Even when they sign multi-year deals and do charity work around the city, we kind of know that they’re more or less mercenaries or sorts, playing for our team because we pay their bills.

There are times when the players that we cheer for transcend that. [Read more...]

Friday World Cup Quarterfinal Recap

So, many of us like the footy. A few don’t. Cool. Those of us who watched today, let’s discuss. There’s some video at the end for those who don’t like to read lots of words.

Brazil v. The Netherlands:

Brazil played a beautiful first half which displayed their fantastic footskills. While the lone goal occurred on a brilliant through ball to Robinho, the entire first half was a steady wave of Brazilian offense, occasionally broken up by a dive by a Dutch player. Going into the half, the Dutch looked broken. [Read more...]

NBA Free Agency Report: Anonymous Exec Thinks LeBron To Bulls A “Done Deal” (UPDATED)

To borrow from Frowns, it’s Stupid Time. So, we get to hear a report every day or so about LeBron and things happening (even when nobody really knows what’s happening, except for LeBron). Today’s story du-jour comes from The New York Times (the Times!). While the Times were careful with their wording, ESPN Chicago has run with it and used much more absolute language.

Since I’m a bigger fan of quoting the less sensational, here’s what The Times had to say:

[T]he meetings might not be much more than a formality. The executive, who did not want to be identified discussing a player who is not yet a free agent, said he had gathered from discussions with his fellow N.B.A.executives that James was strongly leaning toward joining the Bulls in tandem with another free agent, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors. [Read more...]

Hey Let’s All Be Twitter Buddies

Twitter can be a very useful tool. I enjoy it to gather information about sports, politics, news, science, and also jokes (mostly jokes). It’s also a great way to interact. I realize that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a tool that a lot of folks that are part of this community use.

With that in mind, I thought it would be good to let folks leave their Twitter handles in the comments on a post in order to further the interaction between folks. I know this isn’t going to be for everyone, but hey – it’s a slow day. [Read more...]

Matt LaPorta Called Up, To Start Today at 1B

Following last night’s trade of Russell Branyan to Seattle for prospects Juan Diaz and Ezequiel Carrera, the Tribe are seemingly without a first baseman. To remedy this, Matt LaPorta has been recalled from AAA Columbus, where he has been hitting .353 since being sent down. According to Terry Pluto, LaPorta has fixed his swing while in Columbus to remedy issues that lingered following surgery for turf toe and a bad hip.

LaPorta should be playing every day at first base, getting experience at the major league level. Hopefully now that the team’s gone all-in as a “rebuilding” team we’ll see the young guys contributing and growing as they get every day play in Cleveland.

Photo Credit: Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com

Reds Hand Tribe Seventh Straight Loss

Before last night’s exciting Branyan news came out, the Tribe played a baseball game in Cincinnati. Justin Masterson started the game with a solid first four innings, but made an error on a comebacker in the fifth that allowed the Reds to tie the game at 3-3. Masterson took the mound again in the sixth, giving up a single, advancing the runner on a wild pitch, then giving up an RBI double and a single. By the time Masterson left the game, he’d fully earned the loss and had two more runs charged to him, as David Herrmann gave up two sacrifice flies to the Reds.

Offensively, the Tribe opened the game with a nice first inning, as Shin-Soo Choo walked, stole second, and scored on a Carlos Santana double. The Tribe capitalized again in the fourth, starting the inning single-double-double to score two runs. Following a strikeout, a Trevor Crowe walk loaded the bases, but Choo grounded into a double play to end the inning. The Tribe managed to manufacture one more run in the top of the ninth, but could not climb back into the lead.

The Tribe will be playing in Cincy one last game today at 1:40 to close out interleague play for the season. As things currently stand, the Tribe are 4-13 against NL teams this season.

While We’re Waiting: LeBron’s Decision, John Simon, Midfield Woes, and Hardesty

While We’re Waiting is a place to sulk and recover from saddening/maddening losses. If you’ve got some linkage for us, pass it along. We certainly appreciate the help.

LeBron’s gonna decide for LeBron: “Has this process sometimes led to mistakes? Of course it has. But James has no qualms with his belief system. One of his favorite things to say is that he doesn’t have any regrets about his major decisions. If he stays true to himself, he won’t have any regrets about this huge decision, either. Because he’s going to be the one to make it.” [Windhorst, PD]

[Read more...]

America Needs You Open Thread

Guys, I’m not gonna fuddle around with this. The USA is in the elimination round of the World Cup. Awesome, awesome things happened at the end of the Algeria game to make this a possibility. Bro Biden would say that today’s game is a big [something] deal. Chill Clinton stayed in South Africa just for this game. I’m out at the bar with Eli (Pour House, Penn Ave SE DC – Steelers bar yes, but today we’re AMERICANS, folks). Those of you who are around, leave your thoughts here as the game progresses – and even afterwards!

And get pumped. You know, for ‘Merica.

Photo Credit: (REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Is this our Armageddon?

One of you guys said yesterday that Kelvin Sampson as coach of the Cavs is our Armageddon scenario. This is the mental image I got. Don’t blame me. Blame the fine folks at Pabst.

<BRIGHT FLASHES>

<A phone rings>

Kelvin Sampson answers his phone. It is Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, calling him back. “No”, Gilbert says. He hasn’t heard from LeBron. Quite frankly, nobody has. Even the great Tom Izzo could not get a hold of LeBron, Gilbert tells Sampson.

Furiously pacing, Sampson tries to think of a way to reach out to LeBron. Even a one-way dialogue is better than no dialogue, he thinks. He thinks “what would Bruce Willis do?” and it hits him. Pen comes to paper. Things finally come together.

<Strings, some piano, and a little bit of love> [Read more...]

Indians 3, Reds 10

The Indians opened a weekend series in Cincinnati last night, and came away losing the 9th of their last 10. While managing 9 hits, the Tribe only managed to produce 3 runs which come off of home runs from Carlos Santana (2-run) and Jhonny Peralta.

Pitching-wise, the Aaron Laffy got hit early and often by the Reds. Laffey went 4 innings, giving up 5 runs. Reliever Joe Smith did the team no favors, giving up 4 more runs in 2 innings of work. In a sharp contrast, Cincy starter Aaron Harang went 7 innings, giving up 3 runs on 8 hits. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting: Zone Blocking, End of an Era?, Footy Fun, and Burnin’ Stones

While We’re Waiting is where we chill every morning. If you guys see things that are proper chillin’ and want us to share, send them to our tips email address. If you want to proper chill with me today, I’ll be at the Pour House on Capitol Hill watching America go all America in Ghana’s faces. To the links!

Dawgs By Nature is running very thoroughly through Zone Run Blocking schemes for Joe Thomas et. al. I don’t know what it all means, but I like abstract art, and it resembles that. [Rufio, Dawgs By Nature]

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This Week In Sports: Furthering Our ADHD

Quite a week, yes? There were some Izzo-to-the-Cavs rumors. Stephen Strasburg made his first start, and now Carlos Santana has finally been called up. The MLB Draft occured. The NBA Finals are on, with a random role player from one of the two teams stepping up to help win every game. College football is looking to change significantly on the horizon. USC got hit extremely hard with sanctions by the NCAA. Somewhere in the footnotes of the week, you’ll see that Oregon’s starting quarterback was kicked off the team. Lord Stanley’s Cup was just awarded to the delegates from Chicago. Oh, and the World Cup kicked off this morning.

With all those things being listed, I’m gonna go all Buddy The Elf on you guys. What’s your favorite sports story of the week?

Some Clarification On The Izzo Story

To borrow from Brian Cook, “apologies to the locals: this is pure meta”. Disclaimer up front: I am not trying to be self-congratulatory or shower ourselves with praise. I want to put things out there so that we can all be on the same page.

Earlier today, we broke the news that Tom Izzo told his team he is going to take the Cavaliers’ coaching job. We have since been bandied about as ‘some blog’, had our credibility denounced, and been generally cast aside. There are numerous people who claim contrary to our reports. We stand by what we have reported. This post isn’t about the rumors in specific, but a look at what transpired today, and how it all fits into journalism, bloggery, and where we fit into all of this.

All of this began over the weekend, when we got a report that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is pushing very hard to get Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. I published this information Sunday afternoon along with other rumors that had been covered elsewhere. At this point, Izzo had been rumored but we had the first report that things really were picking up. Soon afterwards, Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski put out tweets that solidified our story that talks were picking up. [Read more...]

Is LeBron James the Apple Inc. of Sports?

I really like sports. I also really like technology, and more specifically Apple products. My Macbook, though held together by duct tape due to my own stupidity, is my baby. My iPhone is indispensable. I’m looking forward to the day when I can change my setup to desktop + iPad for my computing. So this is an article that will likely interest me and no one else. It’s either one of the most lucid comparisons I’ve ever drawn, or it’s completely contrived. OK, the disclaimers have happened. Read away.

Two (non-political) things that impossible to avoid over the past few weeks in the media have been LeBron’s impending free agency and Apple’s newest devices – the iPad and the likely-to-be-announced-Monday new iPhone. In thinking about the two parties involved (LeBron and Apple) I’ve come to the conclusion that the two are extraordinarily similar in many aspects. I’ve listed a number of areas they’re similar and drawn examples of each so that it’s clear.

Hype: [Read more...]

NBA Rumors – Izzo, Mo, Delonte, Toronto

Note: there is a Finals game today. OK – got that out of the way. As Brian Windhorst pointed out in a recent column, this is the time of year where NBA trade talks start to gain traction. Most teams prefer their trades made before the draft, which is on June 24th. In addition, many teams hire their new coaches prior to the draft. The Cavs are one such team that needs a coach, and is likely to look at trade scenarios.

Touching on the coach rumors first, sources close to WFNY have let told us that talks between the Cavs and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo are picking up steam. While Izzo is a Michigan guy, so is Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. It’s quite apparent that Gilbert is not afraid to throw money around, and though Izzo has passed up the chance at NBA jobs before, the money offered may be so much that it would be very difficult for Izzo to turn down. [Read more...]

Tribe Pitching Shuts Down Chicago Once Again

The Indians took the field last night in Chicago coming off of Justin Masterson’s first win of the season, with The Fury facing off against Jake Peavy. The Indians got a superb performance from Talbot, who guided the Tribe through seven innings, allowing one run on six hits. Talbot was supported by two runs off of Peavy, who went seven innings as well.

The Indians scored two in the fourth frame, off of singles from Trevor Crowe, Shin-Soo Choo, and Austin Kearns. Kearns drove in Crowe, and eventually scored after a passed ball and a subsequent balk by Peavey. The White Sox got one run back in the bottom of the fourth after a two-out RBI single by Ramon Castro.
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