July 24, 2014

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #1 Haslam and Banner Replace Lerner and Holmgren

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one.

Sometimes something so big happens that it renders almost all previous opinion and criticism useless. That’s the ultimate takeaway for me after watching the Browns get sold this year. I’d always targeted my Browns criticism and tried to figure out what I thought were the best possible solutions to fix the Browns with the assumption that Randy Lerner was going to sit at the top of the organizational chart. That was the crux of my position that Randy Lerner’s outsourcing of himself to Mike Holmgren was one of the best of all possible solutions. It just never occurred to me that Randy Lerner was actually going to sell the team. But he did. And this being a Browns town, this is obviously the biggest story of 2012 in Cleveland sports. [Read more...]

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #2 The Indians Hire Terry Francona, Spawning A New Direction For the Franchise

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. We started the Buckeyes Final Four trip. Number nine is something that happened just a short two weeks ago. The Ohio State perfect 12-0 season was number eight while Chris Perez’ harsh and honest words clocked in at number seven. Our sixth-biggest story saw our first of two straight from the Cavaliers, the drafting of Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller. Up next was Kyrie Irving receiving the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Coming in at number four is was the firing of Manny Acta. Our third biggest story was the picking two cornerstone offensive players in Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. Up next on our list, is the franchise-changing managerial hire by the Indians.

2. Terry Francona is named the new manager of the Cleveland Indians signalling a new era for the franchise [Read more...]

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #3 Trent Richardson Headlines Browns’ Youth Movement

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. We started the Buckeyes Final Four trip. Number nine is something that happened just a short two weeks ago. The Ohio State perfect 12-0 season was number eight while Chris Perez’ harsh and honest words clocked in at number seven. Our sixth-biggest story saw our first of two straight from the Cavaliers, the drafting of Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller. Up next was Kyrie Irving receiving the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Coming in at number four was Manny Acta’s fall from managerial grace.

#3 Trent Richardson Headlines Browns’ Youth Movement

This season the Browns were led by rookies in passing, rushing and receiving. (Still mad I didn’t get so much as a cap tip from the Browns stat department. You’re welcome.)

Trent Richardson’s 950 yards didn’t just lead the team this year, they were the most by a Browns rookie RB ever. Yes, he played in more games and had more attempts than Jim Brown in his rookie season. Stop for a moment though and think about the comparison. You want to split hairs about Richardson’s season compared to Jim Brown? Ok. I fully submit Richardson’s rookie year was only the second best in franchise history. And that’s good enough. He also set a club rookie marks for rushing touchdowns. [Read more...]

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #4 The Indians Fire Manny Acta

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. We started the Buckeyes Final Four trip. Number nine is something that happened just a short two weeks ago. The Ohio State perfect 12-0 season was number eight while Chris Perez’ harsh and honest words clocked in at number seven. Our sixth-biggest story saw our first of two straight from the Cavaliers, the drafting of Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller. Up next was Kyrie Irving receiving the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Coming in at number four is a story that developed over a three-month collapse, culminating in the end of a managerial era.

#4 The Indians Fire Manny Acta

I will admit it. I have admitted it on this site for close to two-plus years. I was in the tank for Manny Acta. After watching Eric Wedge Belichick his was through media sessions, it was refreshing watching Acta’s approach. He was up front, amicable, and a great quote. He was extremely witty and seemed to relish the fact that he was lucky enough to have one of the 30 managerial jobs in the majors. The Indians trotted Acta out on Mall Tours and other public appearances because, after all, he was the anti-Wedge.

Could you see The Grinder taking the microphone at Beachwood Place to talk to the fans about anything under the sun, from the lineup he wanted to put out on the field to Shelley Duncan’s beard? What about Wedge standing at home plate after Sunday afternoon home games high-fiving kids after the ran the bases? How many appearances at Landerhaven or the Wahoo Club did Wedge make? And if he made any, did he have the crowd eating out of his hands the way Acta did?

[Read more...]

WFNY Top 10 stories of 2012: #5 Kyrie Irving wins NBA Rookie of the Year

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. We started the Buckeyes Final Four trip. Number nine is something that happened just a short two weeks ago. The Ohio State perfect 12-0 season was number eight while Chris Perez’ harsh and honest words clocked in at number seven. Our sixth-biggest story came around the same time of the year, as the Cavaliers added to their young core. Ranking fifth, the man those two additions joined.

No. 5 Kyrie Irvingwins the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year

Kyrie Irving came into the league as a 19-year-old rife with question marks. He had only played 11 games as a collegiate Freshman thanks to a fluke injury to his toe. He was neither as explosive as John Wall nor as athletic and physically gifted as Derrick Rose; both point guards who just so happened to be selected first overall in their respective draft classes. What Irving would go on to do, however, was nothing short of dramatic — game-winners, a never-ending a smile and a city that had been emotionally rendered to ashes arising all on his accord.

He provided excitement. He provided hope. He provided a can-do attitude that had vanished a summer earlier. He, at the ripe age of 19, led a team in dire need of leadership; the box scores were merely an added bonus. The end result: much-deserved hardware (After taking 117 of 120 first-place votes despite a cult-like Internet push for Mineesota’s Ricky Rubio) and the belief that the epic losing streak of 2010-11 was not only worth it, but that Cleveland was somehow being compensated for all of its undue angst.

[Read more...]

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #6 The Cavaliers draft Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. We started the Buckeyes Final Four trip. Number nine is something that happened just a short two weeks ago. The Ohio State perfect 12-0 season was number eight while Chris Perez’ harsh and honest words clocked in at number seven. Our sixth-biggest story came around the same time of the year, but for a completely different team.

#6 The Cavaliers draft Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller

Cloaked in speculation and fan in-fighting, the mid-summer NBA Draft was undoubtedly one of the biggest nights of the 2012 calendar year in the city of Cleveland. What would take place on this night, however, would wind up being even bigger.

After multiple mock drafts and rumor mills had the Cavaliers leaving Secaucus, New Jersey with either Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, fans were treated to a curve ball when their fourth-overall selection was on the clock. Kidd-Gilchrist, one of the team’s admitted targets, was selected two picks earlier. Kansas’ Thomas Robinson was, per many draftniks, the top player on the board. Some were beginning to sour on the lack of aggression possessed by Barnes. So the Cavaliers did what every other team would do in their position: they took the player rated the highest on their draft boards.

[Read more...]

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #7 Chris Perez’s Comments Set Off A Firestorm

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. We started earlier today with the Buckeyes Final Four trip . Number nine is something that happened just a short two weeks ago. The Shin-Soo Choo trade came in at number nine. The Ohio State perfect 12-0 season was number eight. Up next was an incident that started on the field, and exploded off of it.

#9 Chris Perez sets off a firestorm with his comments on the fans and Indians ownership

It started innocently enough and came out of nowhere.

After saving a 2-0 win against the Miami Marlins on May 20th, a few days after having a shaky outing in front of the home crowd, Perez got in front of reporters and let loose.

The commentary was shocking, honest, and true. But the way it came out stunned everyone, including his teammates, manager, and especially his bosses in the front office.

Let us recap some of the highlights… [Read more...]

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #8 Meyer’s Buckeyes run the table

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. We started earlier today with the Buckeyes Final Four trip . Number nine was the trade of Shin-Soo Choo.

Twelve months ago the Buckeyes were a hot mess. They were on their way to losing the Gator Bowl and finishing 6-7. The offense was abysmal. The defense not a lot better. We knew Urban Meyer would be taking over as head coach, but what kind of turn around could he really do with this group?

It turns out he could do quite a bit.

The first thing Meyer did on his way to an undefeated first season at Ohio State was surround himself with quality assistant coaches and then hit the recruiting trail. Meyer started flipping recruits at a pace that alarmed other Big Ten coaches. Without the luxury of SEC over-signing, Meyer had to make his recruits count. And my were there holes to fill. [Read more...]

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #9 The Trade of Shin-Soo Choo

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one. We started earlier today with the Buckeyes Final Four trip . Number nine is something that happened just a short two weeks ago.

#9 The Indians send Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati in a blockbuster three-team deal that netted them the ace of their future, Trevor Bauer.

It literally came out of nowhere. Sure, there was a lot of speculation both at the 2012 trade deadline and all winter long that the Indians would move perhaps their best player, Shin-Soo Choo, but the price was reported to be very steep. No true rumors have been floated or names bandied about. All seemed quiet on the Choo front. After the Winter Meetings ended with Choo’s name never mentioned, I was resigned to the fact that the Tribe would hold Scott Boras’s flavor of the month, hope he had a great year, and then move him to the deadline.

Then it happened. [Read more...]

WFNY Top 10 Cleveland Sports Stories of 2012: #10 Buckeyes March To Final Four in New Orleans

2012 was one crazy year in the wild wacky world of Cleveland Sports. Some would tell you 2012 was as bad as it has ever been here. As the year comes to a close, like we have done the last four years, WFNY will take a look at what we view to be the 10 biggest sports stories affecting our local sports scene. Each day through the rest of the year, we will be counting down from ten to one.

10. The Ohio State Buckeyes Reach the Final Four

I’ll always remember the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes as an immensely talented team that had all the tools to go the distance and nearly did so. Your tenth biggest story of the year is Thad Matta leading the Buckeyes to their second Final Four under him and the 11th in school history. The Buckeyes got there by capturing a number two seed after a 25-6 regular season that included a share of the Big Ten regular season title with Michigan and Michigan State. They also reached the Big Ten Championship game, falling to Michigan State in their third matchup of the season 68-64 after having beaten them in East Lansing just seven days prior to claim their share of the conference crown.

The Buckeyes dispatched of 15th seeded Loyola Maryland in the tourney opener with relative ease 78-59. Deshaun Thomas led the team in scoring with a career-high 31 points, the start of what would be a magical tournament for both Deshaun and the Bucks.

The next day, I had this to say:
[Read more...]