April 20, 2014

Casual Friday podcast talking cities and stadiums and The Long Winters – WFNY Podcast – 2013-12-06

WFNY Podcast LogoThis week’s casual Friday Podcast with Denny was a lot of talk about Cleveland and it’s development. We talked about the land bridge from at the Horseshoe casino and also the city’s deal with the stadium.

  • Hanging out in downtown Indianapolis for Thanksgiving
  • Not traveling with a pregnant wife
  • Spatchcocking a turkey
  • How big a turkey fan are you?
  • Denny’s slashed tire
  • Denny painting with a stencil
  • The Long Winters
  • When a record label holds together with like bands
  • The Cleveland music scene
  • The development of Cleveland as a city
  • How do you pronounce Oregon?
  • Landbridges, casinos and Cleveland
  • Regionalism and where Cleveland needs to start
  • Taxes, stadiums and Jeff Saturday
  • The Washington Nationals stadium
  • D.C. United playing at RFK [Read more...]

Cavs vs Wizards Behind The Box Score: Too Little, Too Late…Again

BtBS WizardsThey say box scores don’t tell the whole story. Behind The Box Score is a new series where from time to time we will attempt to look behind the box score and tell more of the complete story of what happened in the game.

For the 2nd time in this young NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers attempted a furious late game comeback. And for the 2nd time, they fell short in the end. In this one, the Cavaliers appeared well on their way to a 30 point home loss to the Washington Wizards. But undrafted free agent rookie Matthew Dellavedova used his effort to spark some life in the Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving began taking over.

With 6:35 left in the 3rd quarter, John Wall hit a shot to put the Wizards up 73-46. Mike Brown called a timeout and made wholesale substitutions, bringing in Jarrett Jack, Dion Waiters, Matthew Dellavedova, Anderson Varejao, and Henry Sims. That unit began chipping away at the Wizards’ lead. In the 4th quarter Kyrie Irving came back in and began scoring and attacking and the Cavaliers would climb all the way back to within 4 points at 90-86 with 1:39 left in the game.

The Cavs defense got a big stop on the ensuing Wizards possession, but Earl Clark was called for a brutal loose ball foul that negated the Cavaliers rebound and gave Marcin Gortat a pair of free throws. This was followed up by a Dion Waiters travelling violation and with that the comeback lost steam and the Cavaliers eventually fell 98-91. [Read more...]

NFL News: Cleveland Browns and city of Cleveland announce stadium agreement

The details are coming in, but here are the high level bullet points based on what I heard during the press conference. I’ve tried my very best to get these as accurate as possible. It’s difficult with dollar amounts flying around, but here they are.

  • The Cleveland Browns are fronting the money for the stadium improvements.
  • The city of Cleveland will pay $2 million per year over the next 15 years. Mayor Jackson stated that this is in essence $22 million due to the time value of money.
  • The city will look to pass a renewal of the sin tax (as was expected.)
  • Mayor Jackson claims that the $2 million per season will not affect the current levels of service the city is providing.
  • The city has $24 million sitting in a capital fund today as a result of the sin tax earmarked for repairs
  • The city will use $12 million of the $24 million after the second year of Browns spending to further maintain the stadium via capital repairs. These improvements are unknown other than the dollar amount today.

So there you have it. Right now, the city is going to contribute $42 million if you use really elementary calculations and something less than that if you used more nuanced financial calculations. Assuming the Mayor’s calculations are correct, the value of the 15-year contribution is $22 million and then sometime in 2016 (I think) the city will give $12 million.

We’ll keep you updated as more details come out.

[Related: Cleveland Browns stadium funding is a tale of taste and technicalities]

Cavs vs Timberwolves Behind The Box Score: Another Blowout

They say box scores don’t tell the whole story. Behind The Box Score is a new series where from time to time we will attempt to look behind the box score and tell more of the complete story of what happened in the game.

Kyrie IrvingI’ve been staring at a blank page for about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to start writing about a game like this. I rarely second guess myself when it comes to basketball. I watch a lot of basketball and it generally makes sense to me. That’s not to say I’m never wrong about things. I most certainly am. But I never doubt my understanding of why things happen and how I came to the conclusions that I have.

Yet tonight I find myself questioning a lot. I don’t have any answers for what’s wrong with the Cavaliers this season. I can’t figure out whether this is just a young team going through some early season growing pains, or if this is a serious problem. I find myself questioning if I was wrong about Byron Scott. Is it possible that this is just a collection of players who don’t care and who give up at the first sign of things going sideways?

I generally try to trust my instincts, so here’s what I think after a game like this. I think outside of Indiana and probably Miami, the Eastern Conference is filled with nothing but flawed basketball teams. I think making the playoffs is still something the Cavaliers will be fighting for all season. I think the Cavaliers will eventually start playing better basketball and go through some stretches of winning basketball. I think Mike Brown is doing everything he can to get through to this team. Whereas Byron Scott was content to sort of just let games like this play out, Mike Brown was continuously calling time outs, mixing up lineups, and searching for anything to spark this team. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Still Searching For First Road Win of the Season

Dion Waiters vs Minnesota“Are the Cavaliers at home or on the road tonight?”

If you ever find yourself pondering this question, there’s a simple exercise to help you figure out the answer.

Step 1: Look at a Calendar and notice the month

Step 2: If the calendar says “November” the Cavaliers are almost certainly playing on the road.

The end. The Cavaliers are basically living out of suitcases in November thanks to an unfriendly schedule draw to start the season. On Wednesday night the Cavaliers must travel north to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves for what feels like about the 20th road game of the season1. While playing on the road obviously isn’t preferred over playing at home, it certainly isn’t the end of the world for most teams. For the Cavaliers, it has been.

The Cavaliers join the Utah Jazz as the only 0-5 teams on the road this season2. Cleveland could certainly use a road win to get this monkey off their back, but breaking the streak in Minnesota is no small task. [Read more...]



  1. it’s actually “only” the 6th road game of the season []
  2. there are a few 0-3 road teams as well…Brooklyn, Detroit, Chicago, and Memphis…Orlando is 0-4 on the road []

NFL News: Cleveland Browns Audition Three Running Backs

After the Cleveland Browns traded Trent Richardson following Game 2 of the season, they added Willis McGahee to take his place. The results of that pickup have been less than overwhelming, as McGahee has rushed for 262 yards on 100 carries with 1 TD. With the aging McGahee being the only thing standing between the Browns being without a featured back, it would make sense that the team would be keeping an eye on the free agent pool for potential help. Especially as the Browns suddenly find themselves in contention once more.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, the Browns are doing just that:

None of the 3 RBs were signed, but obviously the Browns are continuing to keep their options open at RB.

The Browns travel to Cincinnati this Sunday to face the Bengals with a chance to draw even in the loss column.

[Related: Redemption Song: Davone Bess’ bounce-back]

Game 8: Cavaliers vs Bulls Behind The Box Score

They say box scores don’t tell the whole story. Behind The Box Score is a new series where from time to time we will attempt to look behind the box score and tell more of the complete story of what happened in the game.

Kyrie Irving Derrick Rose BullsThere are different degrees of losses for sure. Some losses are better than others. I’m not sure I would go so far as calling something a good loss. That would imply value in losing, and that’s such a dangerous proposition. I certainly don’t want to be back in a position where losing games is a good thing, especially this early in the season. But on the sliding scale of losses, this loss to the Bulls wasn’t as bad as some of the other losses.

It’s not that the Cavaliers played particularly well. In general, this was an ugly game with a lot of bad basketball being played. But the Cavaliers showed a lot of spirit and heart in this game, coming back from a 2nd half deficit to get within 1 point in the 4th quarter before things fell apart a bit. But playing Chicago hard on the road really is progress. After seeing so many 20+ point blowouts over the years, it was just nice to see the Cavaliers come out and play the Bulls tough for once.

Now lets get into the numbers: [Read more...]

Cleveland Browns News: Quentin Groves Out For Season

Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski announced Monday that outside linebacker Quentin Groves needs to have surgery on his injured ankle and will be placed on Injured Reserve, thus ending his 2013 season.

Groves came to Cleveland from Arizona along with Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton. A natural leader and someone with experience in Horton’s system, Groves was looked to as someone that could help the Browns’ linebackers with the transition from 4-3 to 3-4. Groves initially injured his ankle in week 2 and the injury has slowed his productivity all year and kept him off the field for much of it.

Groves will end the year with 4 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble in the limited action he was able to see on the field.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Film Room: Blitzing the Ravens]

Kyrie vs Rose: (Almost) The Matchup We’ve All Been Waiting For

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago BullsIt’s the matchup three years in the making that all of us have been waiting to see. Well, sort of. On Monday night in Chicago, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose will play against one another in an NBA game for the first time. That’s the good news. The bad news is that neither player is really playing like themselves so far this young season.

Rose is certainly struggling more than Irving this season, and perhaps that’s to be expected. After not playing in more than a year recovering from his ACL tear and surgery, Rose has a lot of rust to dispose of. After averaging more than 21.8 points and 7.7 assists per game in his previous two seasons, Rose is down to just 14.4 points and 4 assists per game this season. Rose is averaging more turnovers per game than any other player in the league (5.0 turnovers per game) and his PER is a staggering 5.271. A career 46.1% FG shooter, he’s shooting just 32.0% this season. Never one to struggle going at the rim (he’s never shot worse than 52% from inside 8 feet), he’s suddenly shooting just 35.9% from inside 8 feet this year. In other words, getting back to his form has been a bit of a struggle for Rose.

Irving, on the other hand, is experiencing some troubles of his own, but very different struggles from Rose.

[Read more...]



  1. the previous two seasons he had PERs of 23.62 and 23.10 []

Cavaliers Seek First Road Win of the Season in Milwaukee

Jarrett JackWriting about basketball teams on a micro game-by-game basis is sometimes a daunting challenge. Not that it’s hard to find things to write about. In the NBA season, there are almost always storylines galore. No, the hard part is deciphering what matters at the 5-game point of the season.

A lot of us get over eager to project early season results in the context of an 82 game season. It’s only natural. We don’t know what the future holds. We only know what little evidence we have.

So when the Cleveland Cavaliers have been so wildly inconsistent through 4 games, it makes it even harder to separate fact from fiction. This gets amplified even more when you consider this is an all new coaching staff, there are 4 new players getting meaningful playing time1, and a new focus on defense that these players aren’t used to.

My point here is this, the Cleveland Cavaliers we are judging today are almost certainly not what the Cleveland Cavaliers will be when we look back on this team after the 82nd game of the season. But when we formulate our final verdict on the 2013-14 Cavaliers, these 4 games will be included in there. It’s a small part of a larger story that is being told. We just don’t know how the story ends yet, and in that context, it seems pretty foolish to say anything definitive about this team. [Read more...]



  1. 5 if you count Anderson Varejao []

Game 4: Cavaliers vs Timberwolves Behind The Box Score

They say box scores don’t tell the whole story. Behind The Box Score is a new series where from time to time we will attempt to look behind the box score and tell more of the complete story of what happened in the game.

David Liam Kyle/NBAE

David Liam Kyle/NBAE

A win is a win, right?

Blowing 20 point leads is a sore subject for the Cavaliers and their fans. After blowing many 20 point leads the last few seasons, as things began to fall apart in this games, the inevitable seemed to be closing in around the Cavs.

But outcome is all that matters, really. When the final record is tallied at the end of the season, this will count as a W, same as if the Cavaliers won this game by 20. While Byron Scott had to live with the record of losses after holding 20 point leads, Mike Brown will carry this one as a win on his record. Never mind that the Cavaliers did indeed blow a 23 point lead and had to rely on Minnesota not converting on the final possession of the game. When people tally the number of times that this year’s team blows 20 point leads, they won’t count this one. That’s why winning is the only thing that really matters. The Cavaliers beat a hot 3-0 Minnesota team. That’s the only thing that counts.

But you better believe Mike Brown is going to have a few things to say to his team about this game. I know I sure have a few things to say as well. So let’s get into the numbers… [Read more...]

Game 2: Cavaliers vs Bobcats Behind The Box Score

They say box scores don’t tell the whole story. Behind The Box Score is a new series where from time to time we will attempt to look behind the box score and tell more of the complete story of what happened in the game.

Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

In Game 1, the Cavaliers played like a Mike Brown team. In game two, they played like a Byron Scott team. Of course, that’s not entirely fair to Byron Scott. If Coach Scott is going to take the blame for lackluster energy and defensive effort, then Coach Brown deserves the blame for the way the Cavaliers started this game.

The Cavs fell back on old bad defensive habits in the first quarter and dug themselves a hole early. Unlike the Nets game, when the Cavaliers were able to regroup and take a lead, the Cavaliers just never could seem to overtake the Bobcats. Every time the Cavs went on a run to close the gap, the Bobcats would quickly extend their lead.

The second  half was a little better on the defensive end, and the Cavaliers’ bench was able to do some things to get the Cavs back in the game. Once again the game down to execution in the final two minutes, but in this game it was Bobcats who made the plays and got the stops to secure the win.

Now let’s get into the numbers… [Read more...]

Cavaliers Look To Escape Slow Starts of Past Seasons

20131101-190143.jpgYou wish the excitement of an opening night win by the Cleveland Cavaliers would last forever, but ultimately, the excitement fades and the grind of the regular season begins.

The Cavaliers aren’t strangers to opening night wins. Well, at least not in the post-LeBron era, anyway. Believe it or not the Cavaliers were 2-5 in openers with LeBron James on the roster, and are 3-1 in openers in the time since. Of course, some of that1 is due to the Cavaliers being scheduled in a lot of prime opening matchups against other good teams. But still, the post-LeBron Cavaliers have had a lot of success on opening nights.

Of course, those opening night wins haven’t turned out to be the best indicators of how the season was going to go. In 2010, the Cavaliers won what was one of the most memorable opening night games of our lives. It sounds shallow now, but in that moment, playing the first game without LeBron, the fans bonded and stood behind that team for that one night as the Cavaliers knocked off the Boston Celtics, the very team that put an end to the LeBron era. Unfortunately, the team lost their next 3 games en route to a 7-10 record through November. [Read more...]



  1. and by some of that, I pretty much mean all of that []

Game One: Cavaliers vs Nets Behind The Box Score

They say box scores don’t tell the whole story. Behind The Box Score is a new series where from time to time we will attempt to look behind the box score and tell more of the complete story of what happened in the game.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Opening nights are generally fun regardless, but there’s simply nothing better than getting that first win under your belt in game one.

The Cavaliers got off to a slow start, but after a Mike Brown timeout with the Cavs trailing 10-2, both teams settled into a nice groove and for 3 quarters this a pretty solid, well played basketball game. Then the 4th quarter happened.

In the 4th, things devolved into an ugly defensive grind-fest which carried with it an almost playoff like atmosphere. The crowd was into and the game felt like it hinged on every single possession for the last 4 minutes. In the end, though, the Cavaliers were able to make plays to get the needed baskets and they were able to get defensive stops when they needed them.

And defense was the story of this game for the Cavaliers. Lets get into the numbers.

[Read more...]

Cleveland Cavaliers Open the Season with Hope, Excitement, and Something New….Expectations

Cleveland Cavaliers

Season 44 of Cleveland Cavalier basketball tips off tonight at 7:00 at The Q when the Wine and Gold host the new-look Brooklyn Nets. That much we know for sure. Beyond that, so much of this upcoming season is a mystery. But the nice thing about the unknown is that it can offer equal parts hope and excitement.

Hope is nothing new for Cleveland. People often mistakenly assume that Cleveland sports fans are miserable and hopeless. Well, we might be miserable, but for some reason we never let go of hope.

There was hope that the post-LeBron Cavaliers would still make a playoff run with the likes of Mo Williams, JJ Hickson, Antawn Jamison, and Daniel Gibson. There was hope that Byron Scott would bring a fresh, new, exciting brand of basketball to Cleveland. There was hope that Brandon Weeden in his 2nd year would make the leap into a competent QB and lead the Browns to a meaningful season. There was hope that an overachieving Indians team could ride their hot streak into the playoffs and make an improbable run at the World Series.

So maybe our hope isn’t paid off very often. But this unrequited hope is what makes Cleveland sports fans so great. And never is hope more abundant than on opening day of any season. None of this is new. I feel like every year on opening night I write about the hope of a new season and the quality of the unknown and blah, blah, blah. It’s all a fine sentiment, but all it’s ever done recently is precede a gut-wrenching season of miserable basketball. [Read more...]

Thoughts on the Cleveland-Detroit rivalry


Pittsburgh gets most of the sports hate in this town thanks to the Steelers, but 2.5 hours the other direction sits Detroit, a city that collectively may be Cleveland’s biggest rival.

With Detroit sitting across the border in that state up North, it’s reason enough for Northeast Ohioans to harbor some hatred, but throw in the fact the Pistons were the a consistent roadblock for the LeBron era Cavs to overcome, and the rise of the Tigers meant the AL Central champion would have to go through Detroit as opposed to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario and the plot thickens.

In college I had the misfortune of gaining a best friend from that state up North who rocked his Tiger’s hat proudly, believed in the “legend” of Mr. Big Shot, and hung a Barry Sanders poster in the corner of our living room. Perhaps the only reason we stayed friends was that he wore Sparty Green on Saturdays instead of Maize and Blue.

Luckily for me there were four other Cleveland fans in the house to pile on our poor buddy. Some of the most strenuous moments in all of our friendships resided over drunken debates between the collective sports successes of the two cities we supported. [Read more...]

It’s time to say goodbye to Chief Wahoo

wahooI have spent a lot of time and energy in my life defending Chief Wahoo. In many ways, I love Chief Wahoo. It’s an image that reminds me of my youth, of my mom and dad taking my brother, sister, and I to a game every year. It reminds me of talking Tribe with my late grandfather. It reminds me of Albert Belle, Carlos Baerga, Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Charles Nagy, Jim Thome, and Sandy Alomar Jr. It’s a sacred image for many fans of the Cleveland Indians.

I also believe that it’s time to put Chief Wahoo out of his misery and remove the image from any association with the baseball franchise. The sooner the better.

My change in stance on this issue has been a slow one, but it really picked up speed in recent weeks. Things really started to change with the Indians’ recent playoff game against the Rays. The TBS crew at one point aired a shot of a group of Indians fans who had painted their entire faces red with an enormous, exaggerated white toothy grin. [Read more...]

2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview

Kyrie All StarThe 2012-13 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers was an up and down season. Mostly downs, but there were some nice stretches of good basketball mixed in. But the recurring theme of an almost defiant refusal to play any defense whatsoever night in and night out became too much for head coach Byron Scott to survive. And so the Cavaliers begin the 2013-14 season with a new head coach, a new identity and philosophy, a new hope in a veteran All-Star center, a new potential in the #1 overall pick, and a new sense of purpose for achieving a higher goal. And oh yeah, they still have Kyrie Irving, too. Will the new season deliver new results, or will the Cavaliers continue to watch the playoffs from home? Let’s take a closer look at the 2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Team Name: Cleveland Cavaliers
Last Year’s Record: 24-58 (5th in the Central Division)
Key Losses: Wayne Ellington, Marreese Speights, Shaun Livingston, Daniel Gibson, Omri Casspi, Luke Walton, Byron Scott (coach)
Key Additions: Andrew Bynum (free agent signing), Jarrett Jack (free agent signing), Earl Clark (free agent signing), Anthony Bennett (first round draft pick), Sergey Karasev (first round draft pick), Carrick Felix (second round draft pick), Mike Brown (coach) [Read more...]

Cleveland Cavaliers’ C Tyler Zeller out for first preseason game

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced Monday afternoon that 2nd year center Tyler Zeller has suffered a left hip flexor strain and will miss Tuesday’s preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Cavaliers describe the decision to hold out Zeller from the first preseason game as “precautionary”.

Zeller injured the hip when he slipped on the slick court and fell in the 3rd quarter of Saturday’s Wine and Gold Scrimmage. Due to the unseasonably warm weather and unusually high humidity for October, condensation was an issue for much of the scrimmage and when Zeller went down, coach Mike Brown called off the rest of the scrimmage.

Zeller was given an MRI at the Cleveland Clinic which confirmed the hip flexor strain. Zeller is being treated and limited to non-contact drills in practice. Zeller averaged 7.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game in his rookie season with the Cavaliers.

[Related: CJ the Great, Masfresco the Mentor]

A Twitter-free AL Wild Card Experience

twitter-freeWhile the genesis and timing of the actual decision are still unknown, there was a point leading up to Wednesday night’s American League Wild Card game where I decided that I was going to watch in solitude. Not alone, in a closet, with some tin foil antennae attached to a 16-inch television while I consume beef jerky and water, but free from the thousand-or-so individuals who populate my Twitter feed at any given time1. Though the beef jerky itself sounds delightful, I wanted to be free from the noise—the pitch-by-pitch analysis and valueless play-by-play and electronic onomatopoeias, the “I told you sos” peddled as “truths” and the potential for glass-half-empty garbage that would otherwise take away from the fact that the baseball team I root for had somehow put together a 90-plus win season and was still playing the game I love into the month of October.

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t curious what others were saying. I’d also be lying if I said that the fact that many of the opinions I valued—the cavalcade of WFNY writers who were inside of Progressive Field, thus likely having trouble tweeting due to depleted cell signal—didn’t help make this decision that much easier. I could hear the crowd, I could see the towels. I knew how electric the atmosphere was; the 5.1 surround sound helped propel the waves into my living room. The last thing I needed was to see some local troll or national pundit spew something negative. As easy as it would be to ignore, why invite any ounce of potential negativity into my experience? My thoughts on baseball in the Information Age are well-documented by this point. If the night-by-night noise was excruciating enough, a minute-by-minute account of what was unfolding would have put me over the top.

[Read more...]



  1. Before anyone wants to cast this as some sort of sign of dependency, Twitter is simply the nature of the beast when it comes to this Internet world we trade in. Not experiencing one of the biggest games of the last several years with those who I interact with on a daily basis is, well, kind of weird. []