August 15, 2014

Everything you need to know about the Josh Gordon saga: WFNY FAQs

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So Josh Gordon’s appeal hearing has come and gone, but it may be a while before we hear anything in the way of an official ruling. Though he has missed a few minutes here and there to tend to some personal matters, Gordon has been in Training Camp this entire time. Oh, and the preseason starts in just a few days.

What was discussed? Who was there? Why is this taking so freaking long?

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.

Q: Let’s start from the beginning. What the heck happened? [Read more...]

Zach McAllister makes FanGraph’s “Best Wild Pitches” for July

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A pitch? A ball? A balk? Regardless of the ruling, the uncertainty surrounding the pitch depicted above, coming from the hand of Tribe starter Zach McAllister, was enough to garner consideration for one of the worst pitches of July. From FanGraphs:

Pitcher: Zach McAllister
Batter: Don Kelly
Date: July 19
Location: cannot be calculated

I’m glad that people told me about this on Twitter, because the pitch wasn’t captured by PITCHf/x and therefore I never would’ve found it. There’s one clue that a pitch was really terrible: it didn’t even register on the PITCHf/x cameras. But sometimes the PITCHf/x system just has its glitches and a pitch or an at-bat or a whole inning can just go by unrecorded. Immediately after the fact, the broadcast talked about whether the play would be ruled a ball or a balk. The runner on first advanced to second anyway, so it only mattered with regard to the count and the record books. There’s another clue that a pitch was really terrible: people aren’t sure whether it was an actual pitch. This is a pretty strong clue.

McAllister was Designated for Assignment and then passed through to Columbus not long after this fateful day. On the season, McAllister is allowing opposing hitters to put up a .276 average, twenty points higher than 2013, large in part to a .322 BABiP and other items beyond his control (His 5.91 ERA dwarfs his 4.05 FIP). Unfortunately, he has no one else to blame but himself for the “pitch” shown above.

Dick LeBeau expects Johnny Manziel under center on Week 1

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Could the Cleveland Browns really consider starting a rookie quarterback against Dick LeBeau and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Week 1? LeBeau appears to think so, taking what has recently transpired in Browns Training Camp and extrapolating it toward the first week of the 2014 regular season.

“I’m expecting (Johnny) Manziel to be the starter,” LeBeau told Cleveland.com’s Tom Reed. “That’s what I’m expecting. What he did in college is not an accident. He did it often enough against good teams. [...]

“I think he is going to be a handful for all of us,” said LeBeau, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. “You watch all his games and he created plays, he made plays, he kept plays alive.

“He has the ability to see people and the touch with the football to get it in there late in the down. I think he will be successful at this level.”

Could there be some gamesmanship taking place? Reed added that other organizations, while not as willing to go on the record like LeBeau, privately believe that the Browns are slowly moving toward making Manziel, the No. 22 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Opening Day starter.

While Brian Hoyer is presently listed as the No. 1 quarterback on the team’s depth chart, and is expected to start this weekend against the Detroit Lions, Manziel has been picking up steam, flashing his ability to create on the run, make smart decisions—throwing out of bounds, sliding before contact—and general growth when it comes to the team’s playbook.

General belief remains that Hoyer will start the season under center, allowing Manziel to take over at some point down the road as the team’s schedule becomes less onerous.

[Related: The Johnny Football smokescreen is covering the Browns]

(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)

Free Agent forward Shawn Marion visits with Cavs

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Could the Cavaliers be adding even more veteran athleticism? Free agent small forward Shawn Marion was in Cleveland on Monday afternoon, taking in a visit with Cavaliers GM David Griffin and head coach David Blatt.

Per ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, Marion is the latest target for LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers, according to sources with knowledge of the team’s plans. Griffin has a strong relationship with Marion from their Phoenix days together and Cleveland, years that featured Marion as one of the league’s best when it came to total statistical output.

Per Stein, the 36-year-old Marion is a “natural target” for the Indiana Pacers in the wake of the devastating leg injury suffered by Paul George this past weekend, but the Cavaliers—thanks to the presence of James—have the upper hand over Indiana or anyone else recruiting the veteran small forward, showing that depth (despite potentially dealing several players in the near future) should be of little concern.

In 2013-14, Marion averaged 10.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. The Cavs, largely anticipated to be on the receiving end of a Kevin Love deal, can offer Marion nothing but the league minimum.

(Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

Trade Deadline inactivity hurts Indians’ odds of repeating postseason play

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The Cleveland Indians went into the trade deadline allegedly looking for a right-handed bat and some starting pitching. Instead, they left with two prospects—having traded away two former All-Stars—who were immediately sent to Triple-A Columbus. Remember all of that “Unfinished Business” stuff? Well, for all of their efforts (or lack thereof) Chris Antonetti’s squad took the biggest hit in baseball when it comes to  the odds of October baseball in 2014.

Biggest Losses in Wild Card Odds

Cleveland Indians: -5.4%
Atlanta Braves: -5.0%
Tampa Bay Rays: -2.4%
Los Angeles Angels: -2.2%
Toronto Blue Jays: -1.7%

The Indians lost and traded away Asdrubal Cabrera, who might not be great but is definitely better than Mike Aviles. They’re punting their season, essentially, not wanting to give up the chance to land some potentially useful assets for a chance to play the Angels or A’s on the road even if they win the second wild card.

If the Wild Card wasn’t enough, the Indians were among the big losers in division odds (which weren’t that great to begin with), and the second worst in championship odds, just a hair behind the Washington Nationals. It should be noted that, from a cost-value standpoint, the trading of Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson for various pieces have been thought of highly from many around baseball. This said, said deals will not help the Indians win baseball games in the immediate future. Conversely, the Detroit Tigers saw their championship odds jump 2 percent—the highest in baseball—thanks to their acquisition of Cy Young winner David Price coupled with the inaction of those around them. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that the Oakland Athletics still have the best odds overall of winning the World Series, now standing at 4/1 while the Tigers (and Los Angeles Dodgers) are at 5/1.

(AP File Photo/Mark Duncan)

Pics: Nate Burleson rocking custom Jordan Brand cleats

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They aren’t likely to get as much fan fare as Johnny Manziel’s Volt Vapor Ultimate cleats, but Browns wide receiver Nate Burleson took to Berea on Monday while wearing a pair of custom Jordan Dominate Pro TD 2s.

To give you a better idea of what these bad boys look like up close, WFNY has you covered.

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The Dominate Pro series comes equipped with all of the essential Nike cleat technologies—Arch Beam propulsion, Lunarlon cushioning. Burleson obviously wanted to crank it up a notch for his new team, giving them an orange and brown makeover.

[Top photo from Kevin Jones/Twitter]

Are there more Cleveland Indians statues in the works?

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Are Bob Feller and Jim Thome about to have some company? It appears that the Cleveland Indians have some plans that may include a few more supersized bronze ghosts throughout the confines of Progressive Field.

Since the plans were put in place in 2011 for the tater-mashing Thome to get a statue beyond center field, many fans have been wondering where the praise is for others to have donned the Tribe jersey. Larry Doby—he of the retired number, the shattering of the color barrier and, you know, an actual championship—tops many lists. Lou Boudreau and others follow closely behind. The debates and discussions have not always to discredit what Thome accomplished, but to also acknowledge the work (on and off of the field) of many before him. Despite the fan fare directed to a certain era, there were in fact players to wear Cleveland jerseys before the mid-90s.

If team president Mark Shapiro’s tweet is any indication, it appears the team is listening.

The whole multiple statues thing is far from trailblazing; the Indians are one of just a few teams to have had (prior to Saturday) just one player commemorated in statue form. Statues of Pirates’ Hall of Famers Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Bill Mazeroski are positioned at various points outside of PNC Park in Pittsburgh; Ty Cobb, Hal Newhouser, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, Willie Horton, and Ernie Harwell can be found outside of Comerica Park in Detroit. There’s also “Teammates,” the four-man statue outside of Fenway Park that commemorates Ted Williams, Bobby Doer, Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio.

What the Indians have planned, remains to be seen, but there may be a lot more bronze in Cleveland within the next few summers. And that won’t necessarily be a bad thing.

[Related: The statue that is and maybe shouldn't be]

(Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer)

Cavs fan gets Henna tattoos of Kevin Love, LeBron James

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It’s not quite a full-on back piece like Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, but one Cavaliers fan has already gone ahead and linked up Kevin Love with LeBron James. In a story put together by ESPN’s Darren Rovell, a fan vacationing in Virginia Beach dropped $60 to get henna tattoos of the two All-Stars in Cavalier jerseys.

Nick Grossman, 16, said he was walking the Virginia Beach boardwalk when he saw a shop that made henna tattoos of NBA players. When Grossman saw both James, available in a Heat jersey, and Love, available in a Timberwolves jersey, the lightbulb went off.

“I asked if they could put LeBron and Love in Cavs jerseys instead and they said they could if I showed them what the jersey looked like,” said Grossman, who is from Richmond, Virginia, but grew up a Cavs fan (his father’s family is from the Cleveland area).

Thirty minutes and $60 later, Grossman brought LeBron and Love together on his shoulder blades.

With each passing day, it appears that Love will in fact be a member of the Wine and Gold. Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor recently conceded that the power forward could be dealt as early as August 23. Grossman was told that his tattoos should last roughly one month, meaning that they will still be on his shoulder blades once the deal is finally consummated.

Josh, Johnny and The BASW: While We’re Waiting…

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So, how ’bout the Tribe? Plenty more on them in a bit. But first…

Welcome to Josh Gordon Appeal Part Deux. Having spent almost all of Friday discussing the merits of inconclusive specimens and an NFL taking a pin to their very own public relations bubble, all parties will reportedly reconvene on Monday.  By now, you’ve likely read nearly every thought we have on the matter, but have you read this one from Grantland’s Andrew Sharp? In what may be the most eye-opening part of this whole fiasco, the fact that the NFL has a 15 nanogram threshold for marijuana—while the World Anti-doping Angency’s is 150 and Major League Baseball’s is 50—speaks volumes for the entire ‘misguided resources’ argument. Like Sharp says, regardless of how this ends, it all reflects worse on the NFL than it does on Josh Gordon. Unfortunately, it’s Cleveland fans who will have to deal with the collateral damage in the event the Pro Bowl receiver is thrown the book. “Only the NFL could act like it’s still the 1950s and expect the rest of us to just go along with it.”

***

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you likely weren’t aware of my work for ESPNDallas on Friday night for the Tribe-Rangers tilt.

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Of the five story links in this shot of the front page, four of them were written by yours truly. We have some pre-game notes: Alex Rios and Neal Cotts hope to be back next season, Rangers call up reliever Phil Klein, Wash on Cespedes: West lost a huge weapon. We have the requisite “Rapid Reaction” (filed immediately after the final pitch): Indians 12, Rangers 2: Rapid Reaction. And finally, my game story, which runs alongside the AP gamer: Williams must prove poor play is the exception

Working for ESPNDallas officially makes me one stop shy on the tour of regionals, as I’ve done some work for ESPNLA, ESPN Chicago and ESPNNY. I can think of a few assignments easier than just dropping in cold on a team that one doesn’t follow religiously—seriously, how many active Texas Rangers can you name?—and writing up a few thousand words on said organization. For some reason, ESPN lets me do it anyway. The fact that they gave me the front page was mighty nice of them.

***

This Outside the Lines video on Jim Kelly and his fight against cancer was terrific.

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The Best American Sportswriting, 2014 edition, was released late last week. If you missed it, you can check out the list here. It’s great to see some younger writers (Flinder Boyd, Eli Saslow, etc.) get the nod in addition to multiple electronic outlets like Deadspin, Grantland and SB Nation.

Some of my favorites of the batch: Chris Jones’ incredibly well-reported piece on the grueling life of being a Japanese pitcher, Flinder Boyd’s terrific story about a Rucker Park hopeful, and Jay Caspian Kang’s story on the waning career arc of Don King.

The book will be available in October of this year.

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A lot of links today, but that won’t stop us from breaking out this week’s edition of #ActualSportswriting.

All Work and No Play for JJ Watt” by Robert Mays (Grantland): “Repeating [2012] was going to be next to impossible, but Watt came closer last year than most think. He was again a first-team All-Pro and could still lay claim to the title of best defensive player alive, but after three months without a win, blame becomes a virus. “When you’re 2-14,” Watt says, “you have moments of doubt.” That’s why Watt is here, on this Wednesday in mid-June, having just finished another workout at NRG Stadium. As he sits down at a table in a half-lit room used for press conferences, his gray sleeveless T-shirt is soaked through with sweat. Four drinks — two waters and two small protein shakes — sit in front of him. It’s the Texans’ day off.”

Summer basketball and youthful struggle…” by Lee Jenkins (Sports Illustrated): “Unlike many NBA superstars, who were prodigies by 16, George can recall what it’s like to be at square one. He wasn’t invited to join an AAU program until the summer before his senior year of high school, and even then, he was placed on the B team. Fresno State was the only major local college to offer him a scholarship, and in two years with the Bulldogs, he lost more games than he won. He went scoreless as a sophomore against San Jose State. Indiana gambled by drafting him 10th overall in 2010 and head coach Jim O’Brien planted him on the bench. When George predicted at a team dinner that he would be an All Star by his third season, one Pacer laughed.”

The Hargrave Four” by Chad Nielsen (SB Nation): “Nothing could stand in their way, no obstacle and certainly no other player. Coveted by coaches, anointed by the media, the Hargrave Four were destined for collegiate glory, professional cash, and all the trappings that fame would bring. Until something odd happened: nothing. None of it happened. Today, in 2014, football has forgotten the most talented defensive line in amateur history, even as the last man standing battles for an NFL roster spot.”

Party Like a Browns Star” by Mike Tanier (Sports on Earth): “Johnny Manziel stopped for a beer at a joint called Two Bucks in Middleburg Heights, Ohio last week. As per federal law, someone snapped some photos of him and shared them with the world. A few days later, I arrived at a hotel in Middleburg Heights to cover Browns training camp. The little airport hotel was staggering distance from an official Johnny Manziel Hotspot! It afforded me a unique opportunity. I cannot sip martinis in Sinatra’s Vegas haunts as they were in the Rat Pack glory days. I cannot roam the canals of Venice in the footsteps of Casanova, catching his conquests on the rebound. But I could hunker down on Manziel’s still-warm barstool and briefly experience life as the NFL’s most notorious young socialite and quarterback-about-town.”

***

And finally: Common’s new album, “Nobody’s Smiling” came out late last month. Even if you don’t appreciate hip-hop, you can appreciate well-written album reviews. Happy Monday, folks.

Josh Gordon hearing to continue on Monday

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Read into this what you will, but the Josh Gordon-NFLPA hearing is officially To Be Continued. After convening at 9:30 a.m. EST in New York, New York, the two sides reportedly departed at 7 p.m. EST and will gather again on Monday, August 4.

Gordon’s attorneys, Heather McPhee of the NFLPA and Maurice Suh, will reportedly argue that the wide receiver—who is looking down the barrel of a season-long ban for violating the NFL’s drug policy—is the victim of inconsistent test results. His “A” and “B” specimens turned up different amounts, one below league threshold, leading  to a huge public relations push under the belief that Gordon should not be subject to banishment from the NFL having allegedly passed 70 additional tests.

No NFL player is believed to have won an appeal with a second-hand smoke defense, but with the PR push and mounting evidence, Gordon’s chances appear to be better than any of those who were heard before him. (He could still face discipline for his July 4 weekend DWI. That hearing on that case is scheduled for Aug. 26.)

Animated: David Murphy nails Adrian Beltre at the plate

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In the second inning of Friday night’s series opener against Texas, former Ranger David Murphy did his old team dirty by gunning down Adrian Beltre with a one-hopper at home plate to end the inning and inherent scoring threat.

Beltre could’ve helped his case by running a bit harder from second base, but then again—it’s not wise to mess with Good Guy David Murphy.

Kyrie Irving speaks candidly about anonymous sources and “media fatigue”

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The subject of boundless speculation and criticism that often bordered on unfair, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving opened up during an interview with Las Vegas media to discuss pressure, the last few years of life in Cleveland, and what it’s like to be in the crosshairs of daily journalism while playing for a struggling organization.

“So many false articles and so many people that have inside sources that don’t even know what’s going on inside my circle,” Irving said of the reports. “[They] said I didn’t want to be in Cleveland, it was all a bunch of BS. Now that I’m actually in Cleveland for the long term, it’s a great monkey off my back, a great relief. I was going to sign it regardless. I knew it the whole time. That’s what some media people do. They want to make a story. I’m just happy that it’s all over. I signed my contract and I’m in Cleveland for five years.”

Irving, through little fault of his own, immediately be came the face of the Cavaliers following the departure of LeBron James—the city and fans looking for a player to cling to in order to help fill that void left by the fleeing hometown hero. The team tried very hard to keep any hagiography from occurring, but as each draft and free agency period went by, yielding little in the way of star-caliber players, all of the focus was continually placed on the now-22-year-old two-time All-Star whose team was perennially among the worst in the league.

“Dealing with the daily grind of being ‘that guy’ every single day [was hard],” Irving said. “I wanted [the responsibility], but it gets a lot harder, especially as you get older and become the ‘marquee guy’. It’s something you have to go through.

Through much of the 2013-14 season, Irving was the focal point of sourced reports that painted him as a player with one foot out of the door. Continually, Irving found himself on the defensive, having nothing to use but his words. This was until he signed a five-year extension that will potentially keep him in Cleveland through 2020.

Irving, entering his fourth season, admitted that he struggled with becoming a “leader”—a role he was thrust into due to his skill set, marketability and talent level—and appears to be more than willing to take a back seat to LeBron James when it comes to reestablishing himself in the role that was his prior to July 2010. His defense will still be scrutinized. His body language should improve with each win. If anything, the fact that the contract status (and reports of unhappiness and inner circles) should be well behind him and the fans, allowing for all focus to turn to the floor—finally.

Watch: Johnny Manziel “Money Pose” done on an Etch-a-Sketch

 

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Looking to land a one-of-one piece of artwork depicting Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel? Set to the tune of—what else?—”Johnny Be Good,” GV Art & Design’s George Vlosich III bangs out the rookie quarterback’s infamous Topszn “money pose” on an Etch-a-Sketch, and captured it all on time-lapse video.

This rendering is merely the latest addition to an already incredible collection and is being given away on Twitter. Check out the entire video below.

These $295 LeBron 11 SEs sold out in minutes

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Just a few days after the Nike LeBron 11 Low SE makes its debut, the sneaker giant released a pair of high-top SE’s in a metallic red and gold colorway on Friday morning—and they sold out in mere minutes at the retail price of $295 per pair.

Featuring a red-based upper with metallic gold accents and a multi-color sockliner, the SE is finished off by a full icy blue translucent outsole complete with James’ signature on the sole.

In the never-ending game of increased technology in footwear, the Hyperposite protection and dynamic Flywire in the upper portion of the shoe combine with Lunarlon and a Nike Zoom Air unit in the midsole yearn to maximize performance. While this shoe isn’t for the casual, open-gym running player, it certainly had plenty of demand. They’re already on eBay at a $500 listing.

Given all of the fan fare surrounding James this offseason coupled with the number of LeBron 11s that hit shelves, it can be assumed that the LeBron 12 (set to hit in October) will only stand to see increased push—especially if made in a wine and gold colorway. Additional pairs of today’s limited release are expected to hit other markets later this month.

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No decision on Josh Gordon’s potential suspension is expected Friday

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And the Josh Gordon saga drags on. As the Cleveland Browns continue to roll through Training Camp, wide receiver Josh Gordon is expected to have his appeal hearing on Friday, but no ruling is expected to come out for several days.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be in Canton, Ohio for the 2014 Hall of Fame enshrinement and is expected to meet with Gordon later in the coming week. Gordon’s appeal will instead be heard by arbitrator Harold Henderson in New York with a decision will be handed down “soon.”

No NFL player is believed to have won an appeal with a second-hand smoke defense, but with the PR push and mounting evidence, Gordon’s chances appear to be better than any of those who were heard before him. (He could still face discipline for his July 4 weekend DWI. That hearing on that case is scheduled for Aug. 26.) Gordon’s attorneys, Heather McPhee of the NFLPA and Maurice Suh, will reportedly argue that the wide receiver’s test results were inconsistent—his “A” and “B” specimens turning up different amounts, one below league threshold—and that Gordon should not be subject to banishment from the NFL having allegedly passed 70 additional tests.

Gordon was naturally missing from Thursday morning’s practice session with the Browns, who deemed his absence due to “traveling.” Given that the initial news regarding the possible suspension broke during the NFL Draft, what’s another few days?

[Related: The “Help” Josh Gordon Really Needs]

I woke up in a new Bugatti! Training Camp Notes: 07.31.2014

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Blue skies, orange jerseys.

BEREA, Ohio — Is it possible that Joe Haden, a veteran member of the Cleveland Browns, has never had the chance to wear one of the infamous orange jerseys? On Thursday afternoon, the Pro Bowl, shutdown corner’s fortunes changed as the Browns’ defensive unit was awarded the kits made popular by such noblemen like William Green and Jeff Garcia. Browns head coach Mike Pettine, as a means to keep adrenaline running during Training Camp, has installed end-of-practice challenges—the winning side of the ball getting to sport orange jerseys during their next time out as a morning-long victory lap, a reminder of which side got the job done when called upon.

[Read more...]

Infographic: Corey Kluber vs. Felix Hernandez

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Corey Kluber (10-6) squares off against Felix Hernandez (11-2) in what should be a battle of the two of the best pitchers in the American League thus far. Only John Lester (BOS) and Fernandez have a higher fWAR than Kluber on the season.

During his last 13 starts, Hernandez has a 1.36 ERA, 10.3 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and .170/.209/.232 slash line. In Corey Kluber’s last 7 starts (since June 20), he’s compiled a 1.71 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and .207/.240/.335 slash line. On the season, Indians starters other then Corey Kluber: 84 games, 19-34 record, 5.01 ERA, 5.5 innings per start, 2.53 K/BB, .282/.345/.450 line.

Something has to give. I’d take the under.

Dion Waiters: I want to start, but…

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As the Cleveland Cavaliers continue talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves about acquiring disgruntled power forward Kevin Love, one of the players who could potentially be dealt is reiterating that he wants his role to be as a starter. In an interview with CSNSW’s Chris Haynes, Waiters stated that not only does he want to be among the Cavaliers’ starting five, he thinks he should be despite the team using their recent No. 1 pick on a shooting guard in Andrew Wiggins.

Dion Waiters is enormously confident in his abilities to produce on the basketball court. It’s one of the main reasons why he’s one of the best young scorers in this league. [...]

On Monday, following Day 1 of TEAM USA training camp, when CSNNW.com followed up on the matter, Waiters didn’t back down from his stance to be inserted into the starting lineup come next season.

“I want to start and I believe that I should at the two,” Waiters told CSNNW.com.

Despite what many may make it appear to be, Waiters is not drawing his line in the sand by any means. He isn’t demanding a starting role, he’s just extremely confident in his abilities (he averaged over 18 points per game last season as a starter) and feels that he’s the best man for the job. The third-year guard also says that he has dropped 10-12 pounds since the last game of the season thanks to a new diet he’s dedicated to. The results, per Haynes, are a lighter, more athletic 6-foot-4-inch swingman. It should also be noted that his comments have the backing from head coach David Blatt who wants his players to have the confidence Waiters is showing.

High knees, ya’all.

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Waiters also addressed his recent use of Twitter wherein the two-guard has been interacting with fans almost on a nightly basis. ” I’ve always been a guy that gives it right to you,” he said. “I’ve never been a guy that plays that political stuff. I was brought up that way. I’m straightforward. I give my honest opinion. I’m not going to sit here and hide.”

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Indians implementing analytics to study attendance issues

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The Cleveland Indians were in the postseason a year ago and are seeing attendance numbers continue to fall on a year-over-year basis. Despite two bouts of October baseball in the last seven seasons, they’re certain to finish outside baseball’s top 20 in attendance for the 12th consecutive year. Alas, the team is taking their use of advanced analytics and implementing a formula-based look into what moves the needle in the way of bodies through the turnstiles and how to best serve those who make it down to Progressive Field.

The formula takes historical data into account and weaves in such critical factors as the weather forecast, opponent, team performance, night of the week and time of year.

It doesn’t get fans through the gates, but it does give the Indians a much better idea of how to best serve their audience. [...] What the Indians are seeking are optimal methods of catering to their fans, whether it’s the 9,029 who showed up for an April 8 matchup against the San Diego Padres or the 40,712 in attendance when Omar Vizquel was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame on June 21.

As we have covered here many times at WFNY, dynamic pricing and the team’s urging to “Buy Early and Save” was born with similar goals in mind. Nevertheless, the majority of tickets continue to be purchased in the 48 hours leading up to games. Per Crain’s Cleveland, thanks to the formulas being utilized, the Indians now have a “much more concrete idea” of which games are most likely to produce last-minute buying sprees, and which ones will be a more intimate gathering in which the staff size should be reduced and less food needs to be ordered. Crain’s also reports that the team’s season-ticket base stands at roughly 8,000, well behind the average base in Major League Baseball. Since their playoff run in 2007 where they averaged over 28,000 fans per night, the team has trended downward to it’s current level of 18,402.

To little surprise, events like “Dollar Dog Night” and the firework displays drive demand—Friday and Saturdays continue to be the nights with the highest average attendance. Of course, plenty of factors impact the team’s ability to take advantage of such, including the schedule: the team will play nine Friday night games on the road this summer, and five of their eight Friday contests since June have been away from Progressive Field.

The team hopes that the use of analytics will better prepare them for 2015 where they continue to strive toward improving the fan experience.

[Related: Why we shouldn't be surprised about the Indians attendance]

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Internal Goals: Barkevious Mingo looks forward to his sophomore season

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With twelve minutes and twenty-four seconds left in the fourth quarter of a tie game against the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson harnessed a hand-off from his quarterback, Christian Ponder, and took two quick strides forward, finding himself just inside of his left tackle, Matt Kalil. Peterson, widely considered to be one of the best—if not the best—running backs in the league since being drafted in 2007, immediately darted to his left where he would run past several would-be tacklers for what would amount to a five-yard gain. One of those defenders, a guy tasked with doing everything within his power to meet Peterson behind the line of scrimmage, yearning to beat him to the quarterback immediately following the snap, was Barkevious Mingo.

[Read more...]