April 18, 2014

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.

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

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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...]

LeBron Brings Talents Back to Cleveland, and With Them, a Chance at Closure

The circus is coming to town. When the schedule was announced, December 2nd sounded like a long time to wait, but the “Return of the King” is now just one day away. With his return, there is a swirling of emotion and anticipation not just in Cleveland, but even nationally. Across the country pundits are peering in with morbid curiosity just to see what might happen. Will Cleveland embarrass itself? Will Cleveland prove to be a scapegoat for LeBron’s defection? Will we boo? Will we laugh? Will we chant? What’s going to happen?

Of course, nobody really knows for sure what will happen, but there’s an insulting undertow to this national storyline that has taken hold. There’s this bizarre belief that somehow this upcoming basketball game is a referendum on the city of Cleveland itself. As if the actions of the vocal minority or a crazy individual should speak for a region as a whole. [Read more...]

South Park Spoofs LeBron, Asks ‘What Should I Do?’

In the world of pop culture, perhaps no source of entertainment better has their finger on the pulse than South Park. The longtime animated series on Comedy Central is certainly no stranger to taking on more serious issues of the day from religion to politics to disasters, but they also aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and roll around in the mud. [Read more...]

For Cavaliers Fans, Tonight’s NBA Tipoff Is a Bittersweet Affair

Make no mistake Cavs fans, this was a breakup and we were the jilted lovers. We’re the ones still standing by the altar, flowers in hand, waiting for our prince charming to show up and give us what we have wanted all our lives. But he’s not coming because he has run off with our younger, better looking sister. And so we continue to wait.

That’s what life as a fan of the Cavaliers (and really, Cleveland sports in general) is like. We are the proverbial bridesmaids forever waiting for it to be our turn to be the bride. Now we have to deal with the aftermath of our very public and humiliating breakup that took place in front of the whole world on national television. I can think of no better way in the world to begin the healing process than by turning back to NBA basketball and the games themselves. And that brings us to tonight. [Read more...]

Mo Williams Continues His Tweeting Ways

The last 2 offseasons have not been kind to one Mo Williams. Two years ago, the Cavaliers were coming off a stunning loss to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. Mo Williams took a lot of heat from fans and critics in the press alike for his comments before the series and his inability to back his words up with his play. Then this offseason Mo has had to watch as the Championship caliber organization he helped build came crumbling down all around him.

LeBron James? Gone. Mike Brown? Gone. Danny Ferry? Gone. Lance Blanks? Gone. Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Gone. Delonte West? Gone. Melvin Hunt and Mike Malone? Gone. Left behind, standing in the rubble was Mo Williams. For a guy who so often allows his emotions to shine through and who loves to wear his heart on his sleeve for all to see, it became too much.

Scott touched on it earlier this week, but Mo Williams apparently told Yahoo’s Marc Spears that he had briefly considered walking away from the game he supposedly loves so much. This came much to the humorous delight of the likes of Chris Douglas-Roberts and many other fine folks on Twitter nation.

But is there more to this story than just what’s on the surface? [Read more...]

Dan Gilbert Shows No Remorse For His Criticism of LeBron James

Time will be the ultimate judge of how Dan Gilbert’s famous letter will be received in the annals of Cleveland sports history. If the unthinkable occurs and the Cavaliers actually do win an NBA Championship before LeBron James does, it will be legendary. If the Cavaliers franchise falters in post-LeBron life and the team crumbles to the bottom of the standings for an extended period of time and Dan Gilbert ultimately sells the team, it will be held as a warning sign of future failure that was to yet to come. If it falls somewhere in the middle and Dan Gilbert has a long tenure as the owner of a semi-successful franchise, then it will probably be viewed as a sign of an owner who was trying to rally the troops, so to speak, in the wake of one of the most stunning public rebukes the franchise has ever faced.

Whatever the case may ultimately be, Dan Gilbert is not backing down from his letter nor is he admitting any regret or remorse over his letter. Over the weekend, the Detroit Free Press posted an interview with Gilbert in which they were inquiring about Gilbert’s preference for next owner of the Pistons. At the end of the article, however, they managed to get a couple nice quotes from Gilbert about the Cavaliers and the letter. [Read more...]