July 31, 2014

Is there a difference between lucky and good? While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday WFNY!

I have to be honest, for sports fans like myself, the period from MLB post-All Star break to the start of the NFL season can be a bit of a drag. It’s not that I dislike watching the Indians. In fact, I have them on right now as I am writing this (yes, I write these on Monday nights, not Tuesday mornings). But in terms of really exciting events in sports, there just isn’t much.

NBA free agency has mostly wound down. Sometimes there are still some big trades, but August is typically the time most team executives take their vacations. NFL training camp is starting, and that’s fun, but it’s not always the most exciting thing in the world. English Premier League soccer doesn’t start until August 16th. These next couple weeks can be somewhat slow on the hard hitting headlines outside the annual Browns QB Competition.

I say all of this not to be a downer, but more to serve as a pre-emptive explanation/apology for today’s WWW being a little shorter than what I normally do and a little more outside the Cleveland Sports box. I just don’t have a ton of Cleveland Sports related things to talk about at the moment.

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What does it mean to be a “well run” NBA team?

I’ve been thinking about this a little bit lately. I’ve seen some talk about how lucky the Cavs are to have LeBron back and how it’s unfair that the Cavs are rewarded for their incompetence. I can’t sit here and say those people are wrong. I said last week that nobody in the Cavs organization deserves credit for LeBron’s return. Heck, we all know that if LeBron was from Omaha, there’s no way he’d be on the Cavaliers right now.

Scheiner and MoreyBut there can be a fine line between perception and reality within the confines of being a well run team. The Spurs are often credited as being the best run franchise in sports. Very few people would disagree with that. But the Spurs haven’t had to deal with losing Tim Duncan yet. The Detroit Red Wings were considered the best run NHL franchise just a few years ago. But after Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement, the Red Wings have struggled to regain their status as an elite franchise. Now some are question both GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock. Being a well run franchise is so much easier when you have that superstar anchor.

But perhaps the most fascinating case study falls with Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently after reading Matt Moore’s take on the Cavs’ “petulance” being rewarded with LeBron. In particular, Moore writes:

The big winners of the 2014 NBA offseason are the Cleveland Cavaliers and the big losers are the Houston Rockets. Except Houston has been run well, and Cleveland has been a disaster. Go figure.[…]

Meanwhile, on the other side, here’s Daryl Morey. He turned Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and picks into James Harden. He cleared space for Dwight Howard and successfully pitched him after years of building a competitive team while also accumulating assets. He found takers for Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, contracts he signed because at the time, they were major talent upgrades. He offered Chris Bosh the chance to compete for a title now, in a role preventing him from having to bang down low and would maximize his talents in a tech-savvy organization with no state income tax.

Instead, he got Trevor Ariza.

The NBA’s not fair. And you can ask Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Greg Oden … or former Bucks owner Herb Kohl, who tried to build a winner the right way during his tenure. But the events of the past four days reveal more than just that simple imbalance. It reveals a legitimate flaw in the NBA’s design.

These are points that most people across the NBA would probably agree with. But not everyone is buying into this line of thinking, especially when it comes to Morey. Last week in a post on Medium.com, T.D. Williams wrote a scathing rebuke of Morey’s reputation among those in the media.

Whereas Moore listed the great moves Morey has made, Williams looks at it a little differently:

A close examination of Morey’s signings and trades raises as much skepticism as reason for praise: when the Rockets were forward-heavy and in need of a point guard, he traded Kyle Lowry and let Goran Dragic leave, only to replace them with an overpaid Jeremy Lin — a player the Rockets had on their roster the season before, at league minimum salary, before they waived him. He traded Nicolas Batum — a do-it-all small forward who might be an even better piece on a title contender than Parsons — for Joey Dorsey and a draft pick that became Sam Young. He overpaid the offensively limited Omer Asik, then gave max money to Dwight Howard, whose presence made Asik redundant. He wasted a mid-first-round draft pick on Royce White, a red-flagged prospect who provided Houston more headaches off the court than minutes on it. He has boasted about advanced strategy while employing a coach who is known more as a player favorite than a tactician. Houston’s supposedly revolutionary offense of driving and shooting 3s has often looked disorganized and short-sighted down the stretch in playoff games.

So which one is right? They probably both are. To paraphrase Pat Riley, “this stuff is hard”. Building a team requires a lot of things, some of which is scouting talent, but a lot of which is luck. Daryl Morey is hardly faultless as a GM. And yes, I would argue he is pretty severely overrated as a front office executive. He makes a lot of moves that look great on paper, but his big picture plan is never really in focus. He cycles through player acquisitions at an insane rate, endlessly searching for that magical fit that will work. However, most teams would absolutely be thrilled to have Morey working for them.

As for the Cavaliers and their plan, well, up to this point the post-Decision plan hasn’t been working at all, and there are plenty of fingers to be pointed and plenty of deserving recipients of said pointing. However, if I have a point of contention with the likes of Matt Moore and Bill Simmons who have questioned a system that they feel rewards teams who are run poorly, it’s that I think the system is actually kind of doing what it is supposed to.

Basketball is a funny sport where teams like the 76ers and Celtics who try to lose and succeed at it are perceived as doing things right while teams like the Cavaliers and Bucks who have tried to win and failed are perceived as the ones benefitting from a flawed system. The NBA Draft Lottery was designed to be a safety net for teams that fail. The whole purpose of using a lottery instead of a pure record-based draft order is to prevent teams from tanking. The fact that the Cavaliers won the lottery from the ninth position this time or from the eighth spot with the Clippers pick in 2011 should be a sign that the system is working. Now, it’s bizarre that the same team keeps winning, but there’s nothing strange about teams jumping up to win the lottery. That’s how it is supposed to work.

Again, none of this is to say the Cavaliers have done things right. Their plan was not to finish outside the playoffs and then jump up to the number one slot. They got insanely lucky. And they are lucky that LeBron James is from Akron, Ohio. And they are lucky that LeBron is willing to stop chasing rings to instead try to bring that elusive title back to Cleveland. This isn’t a defense of the Cavaliers last few seasons, but rather, a defense of the system and a closer look at what makes a team a well run team. Morey’s reputation has been largely untouchable, but what separates him from RC Buford in San Antonio? Is it all structural and organizational, or is some of it luck that the Spurs have had Tim Duncan, a once in a lifetime kind of player and person? What happens to the Spurs when he eventually retires? Will the Spurs continue to be the class of the NBA, or, like the Red Wings in the NHL, will they become a franchise that flounders through continuous seasons of mediocrity and early playoff exits? Only time will tell.

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Kyrie Irving’s adjustment

I said on Twitter last week that in some ways, I kind of feel sorry for Kyrie Irving. Sure, he just signed a massive long term contract extension and now he gets to play with LeBron James and thus, for the first time in his NBA career, not be the sole point of focus for opposing defenses. So maybe feeling sorry for him is a bit strong.

kyrie editHowever, after everything he went through last season, all the insane levels of criticism, the doubting of his desire to be in Cleveland, the constant string of article after article questioning his commitment to the franchise and his commitment to winning, the fact is that Kyrie took all of about five seconds to agree to an extension with the Cavaliers. And he did so well before the LeBron rumors had really heated up. He answered at least that aspect of his critics’ questions about his commitment to Cleveland.

Sure, some will say “of course he signed right away….nobody else was going to offer him that kind of money”. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t criticize a guy all season and say there’s no way he’s going to stay in Cleveland, but then turn around when he does sign and say “well of course he did”. For many, maybe even most, Kyrie staying in Cleveland was not a certainty. So on a certain level, Kyrie deserves some credit for doing what so many thought he wouldn’t do.

And for a day or two, he did get the credit and recognition he deserved for it. But then the LeBron avalanche started and suddenly Kyrie’s commitment was an afterthought. No longer is Kyrie answering questions about himself, but instead it seems like every question he is asked is about LeBron. So where I feel sorry for Kyrie a bit is in my fear that fans are overlooking how important it was for Kyrie to buy in.

But now come the questions about Kyrie adjusting, and those are certainly fair. For the last couple years, despite being just 20-21 years old, Kyrie has been asked to be a leader on this team. Everything has been about building around Kyrie. The Cavaliers were his team, and when he signed his extension, we assumed it would be his team for the future. All of that changed when LeBron decided to return.

Now, this will immediately become LeBron’s team again and Kyrie will have to adjust to not being “the guy”. In late game situations with the game on the line, the ball will start in LeBron’s hands, not Kyrie’s. If Kyrie embraces this adjustment, though, it can be a huge thing for him. LeBron’s presence can finally give Kyrie a veteran mentor who can show him how to lead, and how to win, and how to deal with being the focal point of a team. LeBron’s presence could be and should be positively liberating for Kyrie.

And eventually, as LeBron gets older and starts to slow down, the team can transition into Kyrie’s hands when he’s more ready for it. Similar to how the Spurs slowly morphed from purely being Tim Duncan’s team into Tony Parker’s team. The same kind of mentorship program can exist in Cleveland. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see how Kyrie accepts his changing role on the team.

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Dare we talk about prison on a sports site?

Ok, I’m going to go way off topic here. When we initiated the change in format to WWW with Scott, Rick, Craig, Jacob, and myself each taking a designated day of the week, I wrote that one of my goals for this change was to allow all of our personalities and interests to carry through. Some of that will extend beyond sports. Obviously sports will always be the main topic of WWW, but sometimes we like to show some of the other sides of our personalities and the things that interest us. So, with that being said, why not try talking about something quite different here?

By now you guys who read WWW every day know that I am an enormous fan of John Oliver’s work on HBO’s phenomenal “Last Week Tonight”. This week, his main segment touched on America’s broken prison system:

This was a pretty coincidental topic, because another one of my favorite forms of entertainment is listening to NPR podcasts and, in particular, one of my favorite shows “This American Life”. In Act Two of this week’s show, “Mind Your Business”, they talked about the recent scandal involving Los Angeles County’s abuse of inmates. So, with two of my favorite shows talking about incarceration this week, I thought I would share these links and encourage everyone to watch/listen.

I’m far from qualified to offer up any kind of solution, but it’s clear to see we have an issue in America. Our prisons are becoming increasingly overpopulated, creating an increasing burden on tax payers. And while some feel the solution is the privatization of jail services, these cost cutting businesses open the door for severe human rights issues. The treatment of prisoners is pretty alarming in some situations, particularly with what happened in Los Angeles County. And while I know some people feel that we shouldn’t care what happens to people in prison, that they deserve whatever happens to them there, I struggle with that line of thinking when these kind of studies exist.

At the end of the day, like I said previously, I recognize that I don’t have the answers. Yet I feel like turning our backs on issues because they don’t personally affect us isn’t the best way to find answers. There are so many bleak stories on the news and we are trending toward apathy. I’d love to exist in a world where issues like this, and the environment, and energy, and equality would transcend politics. I get disheartened when conversations boil down to liberals and conservatives rehashing tired party lines. I’d just like us to at least be able to agree on what the problems in America are. It’s hard to figure out answers when we can’t even agree what the issues are.

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Anyway, that’s it from me this week. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your week, and I’ll be back next Tuesday where we might have some actual Browns stuff to talk about! Cheers!

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.

NBA Musical Chairs, ClevelandRox, and Losing My Voice, While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday WFNY! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend. Now it’s time to get back to business.

It’s July 8, 2014…exactly four years after the original Decision. I don’t expect the 2014 Decision to happen today, but I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on what it was like around this time in 2010. There were so many emotions involved in those final days of the 2010 free agency process. It’s interesting to look back at the roller coaster I went on back then. On July 7, when we found out about Wade and Bosh going to Miami, I wrote this. I still was feeling confident. I just couldn’t believe he would join Wade and Bosh in Miami.

On the morning of July 8, we woke up to the horrible reality that LeBron was going to Miami. But even then, I still wanted to hold on to hope. Even in the face of overwhelming reports of LeBron going to Miami being a virtual certainty, I just couldn’t allow myself to give up. Then, after the aftermath of The Decision, I wrote on July 9 that loyalty in sports was dead.

It’s a little tough to go back and re-read the things I thought on those days. It’s funny to see how much my perspective on sports has changed in the four years since. Of course, a lot of that is probably a direct result of everything that happened on the night of the Decision. Just remembering how raw the emotions of that night were, it makes it seem even crazier to me that there seems to be a chance LeBron could return. I have no clue what’s going to happen in these next few days. I honestly feel like all of these recent reports and optimism have all come from external sources. By all accounts, LeBron has shut himself off from everyone. I remain pretty skeptical that he’s going to come back to Cleveland. But if nothing else, this week has been fun. Unlike last time, the Cavaliers have nothing to lose. And that has been a very fulfilling point to keep in mind.

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The NBA’s game of Musical Chairs

If nothing else, the NBA’s free agent market this offseason is starting to feel like a fun little game of Musical Chairs. Or maybe “Duck, Duck, Goose” is the better game. With so many rumors swirling, you wonder which free agents and which teams are going to be safe inside the circle, and who might potentially be left out.

As of Sunday, the Knicks were pretty confident that Carmelo Anthony would be returning. They were reported to be expecting Carmelo to announce his return on Monday. However, on Monday afternoon the Rockets reportedly offered Chris Bosh a max contract. This is where things get interesting. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was on Mike & Mike in the Morning on Monday morning, and he said that LeBron has cut off communication to pretty much everyone, including people with the Heat. He said there have been a few texts between the Big 3, but beyond that, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are just as in the dark as everyone else regarding what LeBron is going to do.

With the uncertainty of LeBron’s future, Chris Bosh is now said to be at least considering taking the Houston deal, even though his preference remains to return to Miami with LeBron. But now Carmelo has held off on announcing anything. Some speculate it’s because he remains torn between the Lakers, Bulls, and Knicks, but others have suggested that perhaps Carmelo is now waiting to see if Bosh takes the Houston deal. If he does, then Carmelo could see if he could sign with the Heat and bring LeBron back.

Of course, knowing this, Bosh seems likely to wait and see what LeBron does first before deciding what he’s going to do. But what if in the meantime Carmelo goes back to Houston and, seeing how much they offered Bosh, says he’ll take that deal? In that way, Carmelo could actually put pressure on Bosh to act first or risk losing out on the Houston deal and possibly seeing LeBron sign somewhere other than Miami.

Phew. Did you get all that?

I’ve said from the beginning and I continue to maintain that I think these rumors have gotten out of hand and that the odds of LeBron returning to Cleveland are being blown way out of proportion. In reading the tea leaves, it just seems like the source of all this speculation comes from external sources on the periphery of LeBron’s inner circle. In other words, some of the Akron/Cleveland people who want LeBron to return are using the media to put pressure on LeBron to do just that. By all accounts, LeBron has gone completely ghost. So I just don’t trust all these reports. Windhorst said there’s only three people he believes when it comes to info about LeBron’s future: one is LeBron and the other two are unnamed sources presumably in his extreme inner circle. Windhorst said he hasn’t heard anything about LeBron returning from any of those three.

I fully admit there seems to be something weird going on. I think when Bosh and Wade opted out, they fully believed that they were working with LeBron. But there have been reports that Wade and Bosh are a little confused by LeBron’s silence and isolation. There are reports that Miami is starting to feel a little uneasy and unsure. But at the end of the day, Pat Riley is going to get his face to face with LeBron, and I have a feeling Riley will get the job done and secure LeBron’s return. I think LeBron will have a hard time saying no to Riley and perhaps to a greater extent, a hard time saying no to Dwyane Wade after Wade opted out of $42 million just to facilitate keeping the Big 3 together. From there, Bosh and Wade will return, as will Ray Allen most likely. That gives them a core of LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Allen, Norris Cole, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger, and Shabazz Napier. Udonis Haslam would probably return as well.

That’s not the greatest team to project going forward, and the Heat will always have trouble finding cap space to sign free agents. But it’s good enough to walk through the pathetic Eastern Conference the next couple years, and from there, the Heat would be playing for a Championship every year. There are plenty of good reasons for LeBron to return to Cleveland, but Dan Gilbert continues to be one gigantic reason for LeBron not to. And you better believe Pat Riley will spend a good portion of his meeting with LeBron making that exact point, while illustrating the obvious differences between himself and Dan Gilbert. I want LeBron to return to Cleveland, but as long as Gilbert owns the team, I just don’t see it happening.

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Guess who’s back?!

One of the most beloved Cavaliers of all time is finally back in the NBA…sort of. Delonte West has seen his shares of ups and downs. Recently Slate.com ran this amazing feature on Delonte, asking the question ‘Why isn’t Delonte West in the NBA?’. Well, it appears Delonte is being given a chance:

Now, obviously, being on a Summer League roster isn’t the same thing as being on an NBA roster, but it’s a start. And this is the beautiful thing about the Summer League. In addition to rookies and undrafted free agents trying to make their way into the league, the Summer League also offers a chance at redemption for players who have somehow found themselves adrift from the league.

I think I speak for almost all Cavs fans when I say I wish Delonte the absolute best of luck and I truly hope that this can lead to a future back in the league for Delonte.

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#ClevelandRox!

I think this is one of the more interesting PR campaigns I’ve seen in quite some time. For anyone who may have missed it, the Indians and Rockies are teaming up to ask their fans to vote for Corey Kluber and Justin Morneau for the final All-Star spots in the AL and NL, respectively. The campaign is using the hashtag #ClevelandRox.

The Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies have teamed up to get Tribe starter Corey Kluber and Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau into the All-Star Game through the All-Star Game Final Vote.Fans can vote online at Indians.com or MLB.com/vote through Thursday, July 10 at 4PM ET. Votes on Twitter will count on Thursday from 10AM-4PM; fans are encouraged to use #VoteKluber, #VoteMorneau and #ClevelandRox.

I don’t know if it will be effective or not, but it’s just fun to see these two small market teams combining efforts to try to get their guys voted in.

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Album of the Week

Finally, we have our new music release of the week. Now, I know this is going to look like favoritism, but my vote for new album of the week goes to WFNY’s own Craig Lyndall, whose new album “Losing My Voice” is out today under his band’s name, The Company Line.

Yes, Craig is a good friend of mine so I’m hardly objective here, but in case you guys haven’t figured out by now, I take music discussions seriously. I wouldn’t recommend this album if I didn’t think it was up to par. To begin with, you need to read Craig’s backstory on how and why this album came to be:

During that consultation the surgeon casually mentioned that part of the surgery would temporarily relocate a nerve connected to my vocal cord and that one of the risks of surgery was that I could lose my voice.As a singer and songwriter, this was terrifying to me. I am not prolific as a songwriter, but I always go back to it when I have something I really want to say. It was eating me alive that I had unrecorded songs that could be lost forever so I decided to do something about it. A week before surgery, I recorded these six songs to document that moment in time when I thought I might lose the ability to ever sing again.

And that’s my favorite thing about this album. I absolutely love music that carries a purpose, and Craig delivers on allowing that sense of urgency to carry through. There’s a great dichotomy between the fragility of the future of his vocals and the way he pushes his vocals to the limit on some of these songs.

Thankfully, the surgery was a success and Craig’s worst fears weren’t realized. But there’s still a very real and raw power in this songs. Despite his simple setup of just an acoustic guitar and his voice, you can hear his resolve in his delivery and the lyrics themselves.

I hope you guys at least read the backstory and then listen to some of the songs. I hope some of you will enjoy it, and if you guys want to learn or hear more, you can check out the following links:

Backstory | iTunes | Amazon MP3 | Spotify

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Anyway, that’s it from me this week. Between the Cavs Summer League games starting on Friday and the free agent market coming close to reaching it’s resolution, I have a feeling we’ll have some more good stuff to talk about next week!

WFNY Roundtable – What is Miami’s next move?

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Hey, did you guys hear the news? LeBron is coming back!!!!!!

Well, ok, that might not be true. It’s probably not true. But somehow we find ourselves in a world where there seems to at least be a realistic possibility of The Return happening. So naturally, we decided to discuss the issue in one of our Roundtables. Specifically, Craig wanted to find out everyone’s thoughts on what the Heat can realistically do to improve their roster.  [Read more...]

Learning from the Spurs, While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday, Cleveland!

Not a bad couple of days, eh? First we got to enjoy a little Schadenfreude on Sunday night as the Spurs won the NBA Championship over the Heat. The Cleveland Indians have now won three straight games and are 2.5 games behind the Tigers. Then last night we got to experience the incredible US victory over Ghana in their opening game of the World Cup! It was two of the most fun sports days I’ve had in quite some time. For the USMNT, though, that was theoretically supposed to be the “easy” part. Now the US has to move on to play two of the top four teams in the FIFA World Rankings in Portugal (No. 4) and Germany (No. 2). Joe Mastrantoni will have more on this later today, but Portugal surely didn’t look like the No. 4 team in the world in their 4-0 loss to Germany yesterday. If the US can muster a draw against Portugal, they will be in decent shape to advance as long as they don’t get blown out by Germany.

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When will it be our turn?

As fun as watching the Spurs beat the Heat was, I found the feeling a little bittersweet as well. Watching Tim Duncan hug his kids and seeing all the emotion in the players, I found myself reflecting on how much fun winning Championships are. I was in Tempe when Ohio State beat Miami, and I’ve seen my beloved Red Wings hoist four Stanley Cups in my life, so I know the feeling. But I so desperately want to experience the feeling with a Cleveland team. I don’t care if it’s the Cavaliers, Browns, or Indians. Any of them will suffice.

Yesterday Terry Pluto some notes on what the Cavaliers could learn from the Spurs. I thought it was a pretty good piece, as the only way to be the best is to learn from the current best and to try to find ways to achieve and surpass their level. One thing is abundantly clear, though. The Cavaliers are so far away from playing at a level even half of what the Spurs showed in that series. Of course, then again, even the Heat couldn’t achieve a level half of what the Spurs brought. But the point is, the Cavaliers have some work to do.

It starts at the top. I talked a little about Dan Gilbert last week, and I continued to be conflicted about the Cavs owner. Yahoo;s Adrian Wojnarowski talked about the Cavaliers’ coaching search this weekend. In it, he wrote:

Cleveland has narrowed its known field to three candidates, including Los Angeles Clippers assistant coaches Alvin Gentry and Tyronn Lue, but owner Dan Gilbert has continued to pursue high-profile college candidates in a far less public, far more clandestine process, sources said.

So, yeah, that’s still going on. This was put into stark contrast with the Spurs owner Peter Holt two nights ago. After being awarded the Larry O’Brien trophy, Holt was asked what his secret was to the team’s prolonged success. His answer was pretty simple. “My secret is these guys behind me [the players], Coach Pop, and [GM] RC Buford. That’s my secret. It doesn’t start at the top, it starts with them.”

Well, he’s half right, there. It does start at the top, but it starts by hiring the right people (not the “flashy” people, but the “right” people) and then staying out of their way and letting them do their job. If Gilbert doesn’t trust David Griffin to hire the coach, then he never should have given the job to Griffin.

Anyway, this will be a big week for the Cavaliers. They are interviewing David Blatt on Wednesday, and there are rumors of a second interview for Mark Price this week. The Cavaliers will also host Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker for workouts this week. Ideally the coaching search will conclude this week, and then next week the Cavaliers will have to either make their #1 overall pick or else find a suitable trade. It kind of feels like the first step in trying to get to the Spurs’ level starts this week.

In addition to Gilbert staying out of the way of his basketball people hired to make basketball decisions, the Cavaliers can learn a couple things from the Spurs. For starters, a franchise big man goes a long way. To expect any big to have the kind of career Tim Duncan has had is probably a fool’s errand, but still, the Spurs have shown the value of having an anchor to build around in the front court.

A lot has been said in recent years about the declining value of big men. I don’t quite see it that way. Just because we haven’t seen many franchise centers in recent years doesn’t make them any less valuable. I’m not saying Joel Embiid will definitely be a top 3 center, but having a top 3 player at any position in basketball is so valuable. Kyrie Irving isn’t there among PGs yet, but if he continues to learn and adapt his game, he has the talent to be close to a Top 3 PG. If Embiid can grow into the player I think he can, he’s got a great chance to be a Top 3 center. We just haven’t seen many (any) players quite like Embiid in such a long time. Yes, the back is a question mark, I realize this. But if you want to model yourself after the Spurs, locking up a big man like Embiid might be a good idea.

Then, if Kyrie signs his max deal, you can go to work with Irving and Embiid. You need a couple guys who can defend and rebound, you need some floor spacing shooters, and you need a coach who can get the players to run a system, buy in, and sacrifice good shots for better shots with quality ball movement. That’s where David Blatt comes into play. I didn’t know much about Blatt other than his name prior to him being discussed as a candidate. But I’ve been watching some videos of his teams, and I love the offense he runs. He emphasizes movement and passing in a way that isn’t totally unlike the Spurs.

Look, I don’t know for sure how good any of these guys will be. I’m not a scout, I’ve never interviewed any coaching candidates. So I’m not saying these are for sure the best moves for the Cavaliers. I’m just saying if you want a blueprint to follow, I think Embiid and Blatt are the best guys to try to replicate what the Spurs are doing.

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Yes, I really, really, really want the Cavaliers to draft Embiid

This isn’t a new article, but back in January the Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy had an excellent profile on Joel Embiid. It’s remarkable when you reflect on just how new Embiid is to the game of basketball and how incredibly far he has come in his short time playing it. He is such an impact player already, but he hasn’t even scratched the surface of what his real potential is.

I also love that he learned basketball by studying tapes of Hakeem Olajuwon. Olajuwon is one of my favorite centers I’ve ever seen play the game. He had such control and grace for his size, and he was capable of dominating opposing centers of all shapes and sizes. While everyone was reflecting on how dominant the Spurs were in this NBA Finals, I was reminded of when Olajowon’s Rockets faced off with Shaq’s Magic in the Finals, and Olajuwon absolutely ate Shaq alive.

Again, in the interest of slowing expectations, none of this is to say Embiid will be what Olajuwon was. I’m just saying that if there’s anyone I would want someone with Embiid’s size, athleticism, and coordination to emulate as best as he could, it would be Hakeem. I just think Embiid is the player most capable of impacting games equally on both ends of the court. And he seems like a really great kid and the kind of teammate and worker I would want on the Cavaliers.

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Were LeBron’s teammates worse in 2014 or in 2007?

The 2007 Cavaliers are sometimes cited as one of the worst teams to ever make the Finals. After getting swept by the Spurs, the team was recognized as being little more than LeBron James carrying a bunch of other players who couldn’t pull their own weight.

The 2007 team was a lot different than the 2010 team that LeBron turned his back on, but it was still said that LeBron had to leave the Cavaliers because he had to do too much by himself in Cleveland. He needed his superstar teammates in order to find Championship success, they said. But by 2014, those superstar teammates are starting to resemble the 2010 Cavaliers more and more. But is it possible that in reality they have been playing even worse than that 2007 team that got swept by the Spurs?

Deadspin thinks so:

Here’s how bad it was: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to post a game score of 18.5 (7.9 and 10.6, respectively). In 2007, when LeBron and the Cavs were swept by the Spurs, Drew Gooden and Boobie Gibson combined for 17.5. This is not flattering company, obviously. If you expand to the teams’ top seven non-LeBron rotational players, the ’07 Cavs actually pull ahead, with a combined Game Score of 42.2 to the ’14 Heat’s 36.2. (The average cumulative game score average for the numbers 2 through 8 players in a Finals is 47, because generally, teams in the Finals are good. The Spurs 2 through 8 combined for 66.) Which is to say, LeBron had more help in the Finals in 2007 than he did this year.

Obviously the 2014 Heat have more talent than the 2007 Cavaliers had, but this year’s Heat team has easily looked like the worst iteration of the super team that assembled in 2010. LeBron finds himself in a tough spot. If he leaves Miami, he will earn a bit of a reputation as a guy who kept changing teams and chasing glory rather than bringing glory to his teams. But on the other hand, staying in Miami will probably still guarantee the Heat an annual trip to the Finals thanks to the pathetic Eastern Conference, but winning Championships will get increasingly more difficult every season.

Whatever LeBron decides to do this summer1, there’s a certain irony in finding himself looking at a scenario not all that unlike the one he left in Cleveland just four years ago.

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Red, White, or Blue?

Have you ever wondered how teams in the World Cup decide which color uniforms to wear? Well, it turns out, they don’t. FIFA makes the first choice, and then it’s up to the officials to confirm the pick of colors. I’m not the biggest uniform guy in the world. We have Rick and Kirk here at WFNY who cover that stuff much more closely than I do. But I found this piece on how US Soccer’s equipment is handled to be a really fun and interesting read.

In a tournament the size of the World Cup, there are just so many little details that you don’t even realize that people are thinking about. This is just one small part of it, but it sort of puts into perspective just how much work goes into making the World Cup run as smoothly as possible. This article handles the individual team’s equipment, but there are issues of accommodations, safety, fan experience, contingency plans, etc, etc, etc.

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Album of the Week

Some pretty decent new music coming out this week, and my absolute favorite album coming out this week is the debut album “If Anything” by the Canadian band Greys. Coming from the Toronto scene and having a very similar sound to Metz, the comparisons are only natural. But whereas Metz has a consistent sound throughout their whole album, Greys push the envelope a little and try to color outside the lines a bit more and perhaps take a few more chances.

So far, Cloud Nothings’ “Here and Nowhere Else” has been my unquestioned favorite album of 2014. Greys is the first album that I think can legitimately give Cloud Nothings a run for their money for my top spot. Yes, I think this album is that good. Anyone who likes punk influenced music that tips its hat back to the glory days of grunge with a little Fugazi mixed in, all while still sounding modern will enjoy this album.

Other albums coming out today that I’m looking forward to checking out include:

  • Boris – “Noise”
  • Cerebral Ballzy – “Jaded and Faded”
  • Lower – “Seek Warmer Climates”
  • The Antlers – “Familiars”

That’s all I have for you guys today. I hope everyone has a great weekend and hopefully next week we’ll have a new Cavaliers coach to talk about.

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Footnotes:

  1. for the record, I think he stays in Miami. I just don’t think he says no to Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade []

While We’re Waiting: Welcome to the new WWW

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We’ve been going through some changes here at WFNY in recent weeks. The latest change is to the format of While We’re Waiting. First, you might notice that I’m not Rick Grayshock. Rick deserves a ton of credit for suffering through WWW for so many years. Some might think it was an easy post to do, just throwing some links together. But it was so much more involved than that—carefully curating tips sent to us, pouring through every last nook and cranny of Twitter for any and every last interesting bit of info to share.

[Read more...]

Scott Raab talks about LeBron’s MVP, Questlove, Tribe winning streak and cheap hotels – WFNY Podcast – 2013-05-06

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Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

I was a bit tired this morning and you’ll just love how I sputter out at the end with an awkward laughing at myself moment. Really though, a very nice conversation this morning about sports and culture and Questlove, who Scott spoke with for the most recent issue of Esquire.

  • Scott Raab talking to Questlove

  • People who work hard vs. people want you to think he works hard

  • Behind the Q&A with Questlove

  • Questlove and D’Angelo’s last minute show

  • The Roots in Philly

  • LeBron’s MVP and just how far away it is from a Cleveland storyline

  • LeBron not winning his 5th MVP because of The Decision

  • LeBron is even better today than he was

  • The burned jersey and how it represents us

  • Reactions and whether you should feel badly about it

  • San Diego and just how perfect it is

  • Developing the lakefront in Cleveland

  • The Cleveland region

  • The Indians winning streak

  • Chief Wahoo

  • Terry Francona and faith in coaching for the first time since Charlie Manuel

  • Charlie Manuel as one of the greatest hitters ever

  • Omar Vizquel’s hitting improvements under Charlie Manuel

  • Cheap hotels in the Poconos

  • The wonder of travel

  • The wonders of modern technology and how lucky we are to live in the future

  • Profiling Dan Patrick for Esquire [Read more...]

Do the Cavaliers Need LeBron James to Contend Again?

LeBron James and Kyrie IrvingIn the podcast I did with Craig over the weekend, we talked a bit about the Miami Heat winning streak and whether it’s actually as impressive as it seems. Now, don’t get me wrong, winning 27 straight games in the NBA is always impressive. I cannot emphasize this enough…Their run is amazing.

Yet, I still can’t help but feel underwhelmed by it when I look at the rest of the NBA. I think this is a one team league right now. We can debate whether that’s more about the dominance and greatness of Miami or more about the lackluster play of the rest of the Association. I personally think a team doing this in the late 80s/early 90s when every team had a star would have been more impressive. In this current climate where all the stars are migrating to a select few teams, it has created a situation where Miami can beat arguably 85% of the other teams without breaking a sweat.

But even on those teams who have been arms race winners (Clippers, Knicks, Lakers), only the Clippers are really a threat to Miami1. Instead, it’s the two home-grown teams (Thunder and Spurs) who appear to be the biggest threats to the Heat’s throne. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. and probably not a serious threat even at their best []

WFNY Podcast – 2013-01-22 – Craig and Andrew Talk All Things NBA

WFNY Podcast LogoCraig has had a pretty long string of guests on who, when talking about the NBA, have prefaced their opinions with a disclaimer that they don’t really follow the NBA much. So I begged Craig to let me come on and talk about the sport. He was nice enough to oblige. Some topics we touched on:

  • Post-LeBron NBA hangovers
  • Did the old system fail?
  • Will the new system work?
  • The disgrace that is the potential move of the Sacramento Kings
  • Will Byron Scott be around when the Cavaliers make the playoffs?
  • Where the Cavaliers are in the rebuilding process
  • And more

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Some Thoughts on the NBA on the Eve of Season Tip-Off

Happy NBA Season Eve everyone!

Tomorrow the NBA season kicks off with a TNT double header featuring prime matchups between the Celtics and Heat, and the Mavericks and Lakers. But there is one other game tomorrow night, and it’s the most anticipated and sure to be the most watched game of the three.

That’s right, tomorrow night one of the great “rivalries” in the NBA resumes when the Washington Wizards visit our beloved Cleveland Cavaliers. Ok, yes, I’m being facetious. Nobody outside Washington and Cleveland cares about this game, and the Wizards and Cavaliers are not “rivals”, and they never were. But that doesn’t mean we Cavalier fans shouldn’t be filled with excitement over another season about to tip off.

We’ll cover more on the Cavaliers specifically tomorrow, but for today, I wanted to kick off general NBA coverage with some overall generic thoughts on the NBA as a whole. There’s been some huge moves in the offseason, and another monumental shift occurred this weekend when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. So lets get into some of the main storylines of this NBA season (along with some musical interludes to enjoy as we go along). [Read more...]

So, Dan Gilbert Was Wrong

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.”

–Dan Gilbert, July 8, 2010 [Read more...]

Cavs Fans and Kyrie Irving Both Can Benefit From Lessons of the Past

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

I don’t know who originally said that quote, but I think in life that’s probably a good rule of thumb. Obviously this quote would seemingly apply to romantic love, but love can come in many different forms. So too, then, can this quote have many far reaching applications in life.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in recent weeks, as we as a community of Cavaliers fans continue to deal with the fallout of LeBron James turning his back on us. This holds especially weighty context as Kyrie Irving continues a meteoric rise toward stardom.

To compare and contrast LeBron James and Kyrie Irving is wholly unfair. The two couldn’t be more different in almost every way: as people, as basketball players, as ambassadors of the Cavaliers franchise. Well, we’ll get to that 3rd one in a minute. But certainly they are different men, different players, different backgrounds, different futures. [Read more...]

ESPN.com: Kyrie Irving Having Better Rookie Season Than LeBron James?

ESPN.com’s Justin Havens has a fascinating article posted in which he uses several statistical measures to show that Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving is having a better rookie season than Chris Paul or LeBron James had.

The whole article is pretty fascinating, but Havens especially points out what Kyrie Irving might ultimately mean to the Cavaliers organization:

Previous to Irving, the last time the Cavaliers had the first pick in the NBA Draft, they took LeBron James, and we all know how that turned out.

The good news for Cleveland fans is that Irving’s performance as a rookie is on pace to best what James did his first year in Cleveland, outdistancing James in scoring and assists per 36 minutes, as well as Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares per 48 minutes.

In fact, his current 21.8 PER would place him 11th on the all-time Cavaliers list, not just among rookies, among players with at least 2,000 minutes played.

When you limit it to non-LeBron James seasons, Irving would jump to fifth, trailing only the best seasons for Brad Daugherty, Terrell Brandon and Mark Price.

Obviously the season is still very young and Irving could end up getting hurt or seeing his performance fall back to rookie levels. And truth be told, comparing a rookie in a 66 game schedule to a rookie in an 82 game schedule is never a fair comparison to make.

But still, the numbers are what they are. Through 13 games this year Kyrie Irving has played like a superstar, and he’s only a rookie. The kid is going to get better and the Cavaliers have to feel awfully good about where they sit with Irving today.

[Related: Elias: Kyrie Irving Enters Cavaliers’ Record Books]

Shaquille O’Neal Says LeBron James Was Not Accountable to Mike Brown in Cleveland

When the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Shaquille O’Neal before the start of the 2009-10 season, it was certainly met with mixed reviews. But whether it was ever really the smartest move or if it was instead a reactionary move meant only to deal with the Orlando Magic, the fact remains that Shaq represented a symbol of hope in Cleveland.

Fans here in Cleveland were smart enough to know that the Cavaliers were not getting THE Shaquille O’Neal. No, they were getting the watered down version. But still, the hope was that pairing Shaq and LeBron would be enough. That it would be just the push the team needed to get over the hump.

Of course that never happened. Instead, Shaq was injured for most of his tenure in Cleveland and the Cavaliers never got a shot at revenge with the Magic, instead flaming out spectacularly against the Boston Celtics in the 2nd round. That was the painful end of the great LeBron James era in Cleveland.

A lot will probably be written in the future about LeBron James. I expect a time will come when books will be written explaining more about The Decision, and LeBron’s meltdown against the Celtics, and other less than scrupulous rumors flying around town. Nothing that scandalous has been written now, but still, Shaquille O’Neal has written a book that gives us our first real look behind the curtain in Cleveland. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Travis Hafner hits a walk-off blast to win it

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Nice work, Travis: “On Friday night, in front of a packed house at Progressive Field, a rarity so far in this magical season, the Indians did all they could to make people believe. The latest hero was Travis Hafner, who used a titanic blast in the bottom of the ninth inning to send Cleveland to a 5-4 victory in walk-off fashion.

“That’s what you have to do in front of big crowds,” Indians outfielder Michael Brantley said. “You have to win them over, kind of. We believe in this locker room that we’re going to be a great team all year round and, hopefully, we’ll get to the playoffs and win a World Series here.”

Wins like the latest one make such lofty goals seem less far-fetched.

After an anemic night in the batter’s box, spoiling a solid effort from sinkerballer Fausto Carmona, the Indians did what they have done so often at Progressive Field this season. The Tribe rallied late and partied hard, spilling out of the dugout and storming the field under a sky aflame with fireworks.

The Indians have captured victories in their last at-bat in each of their past five wins at home. Overall, the Tribe now boasts a 24-13 record with a Major League-best 15-4 mark at home. On Friday, the Indians found the win column in front of an announced crowd of 33,774, representing the largest gathering since Opening Day.”  [Jordan Bastian / MLB.com] [Read more...]

You don’t have to boo LeBron today, thanks to the Indians

If the Indians had continued to play as bad as they did in their first two games this season, a lot of us obsessive sports fans in this town would be sitting on our couches today in a tough spot.

Or sitting outside in the beautiful Cleveland weather this afternoon watching on our porches, assuming we had a porch and the associated technology to support sports watching on it.

Think if the Tribe was 0-8, or 1-7, or even 2-6, it would be a depressing decision for people round herr to have to make; assuming they don’t watch or play golf like I don’t, my bad on that I blame my Dad though.

Regardless, if the Masters don’t do it for you and you’re looking to get in a quality root in this afternoon, there’s two other options.

The NBA Eastern Conference game of the year between the Heat and the Celtics where they’ll battle for the second seed in the playoffs /  or / Wahoo Baseball versus TheGrind Time Mariners as Manny Acta and fellas go for their second straight series sweep.  [Read more...]

Forgetting LeBron James

I love the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and not just because Mila Kunis is in it.

For those who have never seen it (*spoiler alert*….but why haven’t you seen it yet?), the movie stars Jason Segel as a guy named Peter Bretter, a musician who writes and composes the musical score for a hit television show. He’s been dating the show’s star actress, Sarah Marshall (played by Kristen Bell) for a long time and he assumes everything is going great. He’s shocked when she drops the hammer on him and tells him it’s over and that she’s leaving him for a rock star named Aldous Snow.

Anyway, needless to say, Peter Bretter is absolutely crushed by this. His work begins to suffer and everything in his life seems to be crumbling to pieces. He decides that he’s going to get away from it all and he books a vacation at a Hawaiian resort. The joke is on him, though, as Sarah Marshall is staying at the exact same resort with her new boyfriend Aldous Snow. I won’t get into what all happens from there on, but the crux of the movie is about the manner in which Peter and Sarah are trying to coexist in this awkward situation as well as how Peter works to move on from Sarah and find both new love and personal fulfillment in his professional life.

By now I can hear you asking “what on earth does any of this have to do with LeBron James and/or the Cavaliers?” Well, let me explain. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Preview Game #25: Cavs at Heat

Cleveland Cavaliers (7-17) vs
Miami Heat (18-8)
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
7:30 PM EST
FSOH/WTAM

Well, here we go again. The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to take on our dear old friend and his freshly rejuvenated Miami Heat. 2 weeks ago in my Miami preview, I climbed upon my soapbox and I preached about closure and beginning to let go before approaching the game with a mixture of excitement, sadness, anxiety, and most importantly, hope. Most of those feelings are gong this time around. And not because the Cavs aren’t playing good basketball. My passion for this team hasn’t changed one bit. What’s different this time around is that I honestly don’t care that the Cavs are playing against LeBron. Maybe it’s just me, but this game doesn’t feel all that much different than any other game. I think I was able to exorcise most of my anger and sadness last game and now I’m all business. So let’s buckle up and get ready to try to figure out how the Cavaliers can win this basketball game. [Read more...]

It Just Might be Dynamite Time for Dan Gilbert, Cavs… Unfortunately

Driving home from the Q on Thursday night I began this conversation with myself.

“Don’t be irrational,” I thought. “It’s just one game.”

You’ve been saying all summer long that you hope to see this team play their way into the playoffs this season, only if it is for a few nights.

On paper, I really thought they could win 41 games.  Maybe I was just trying to make myself believe that.

Maybe I thought that if they did respond that way on the basketball court this season, after all that’s transpired off it,  the Cavaliers organization would send some type of message about Cleveland.  A message sent by actions as opposed to words, which reads: we’re still here, we’re still fighting.

For some reason I thought that would matter.  Only this team doesn’t fight, and it’s tough to believe that bothers them.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Woj on LeBron’s night and Colt McCoy’s walking boot

Woj on LeBron’s night in CLE – he’s also standing to LeBron’s left in the picture:  

“Gilbert had watched James move uncontested to the rim, and watched him mockingly chat with the Cavs’ bench players in the Heat’s 118-90 victory.

The night had started with a standing ovation for Gilbert as he walked to his seat, and ended with a chorus of derisive chants which assailed what had been lost here as much as they assailed James, who had taken it all away…

Soon, there were all these old Cavaliers employees standing to the side in the bowels of the arena, watching James walk out of their lives again. 

The giant steel doors soon shut and they could no longer see James. The clock on the wall had pushed past midnight – 12:01 a.m. – and that bus would soon roll to the airport, to where all those sneaker reps and handlers and superstar Heat teammates had always wanted to take the NBA’s two-time MVP: up and out of Cleveland.”  [Yahoo /Wojnarowski] [Read more...]