The state of Cleveland sports

Written September 22nd, 2009 by Jeff

Subtitled – “Thank God for LeBron James”

The Cleveland Indians

The Major League Baseball season is wrapping up at the end of next week, and much to my chagrin, The BBC hasn’t discussed the Cleveland Indians much at all this season.  Truth is, I WANT to have the Tribe be a regular discussion at The BBC…but I can’t see why I would spend time, effort, and bandwidth writing about a team that clearly doesn’t care about my enjoyment of their own baseball club.  I’m not going to be covering them and promoting them until I feel pride for them again.

I honestly can say that since they traded Victor Martinez, I have not watched a single inning of Indians’ baseball, nor do I plan to.

But I’m watching the standings right now, and it is for one reason only.

Will the Cleveland Indians win more games this year than the Cleveland Cavaliers did last year?

I say no.  The Cavaliers ended the 2008-2009 season with a 66-16 record.  66 wins is a LOT for an NBA team (since they play only 82 games a year), not so much for a MLB franchise (162 games a year).

The Indians have 13 games left in their season, and they stand at 61-88.  Their remaining games are littered with teams that must win, and will therefore take the games more seriously than the Tribe.

Tonight they start a three-game set with Detroit, who are in first place of the Central Division, but only by 2.5 games over Minnesota.

Friday begins a 3-game set against Baltimore, who is equally as bad as we are.

Monday starts a 3-game series against Chicago, who are fighting for a playoff spot but will likely be eliminated by the time they come to town.

Thursday, we travel to Boston for four games against the Red Sox, who will make the postseason, but want to do so as a division champ instead of the wild-card team they are now.

Can the Indians go 6-7 over their final 13 games and salvage the embarrassment of having their hometown NBA franchise earn more wins than them in 80 fewer games?

I doubt it.

Hell, I think I’m cheering against them.

The Cleveland Browns

Once again pitting our franchises against each other, I have to ask myself….who will win a game first this year, the Cleveland Browns or the Cleveland Cavaliers?

The Browns have a decided head-start for this question.  They’ll play seven full games before the Cavs get underway at home on October 27th against Boston.  But will they win before LeBron and Shaq, or will the Cavs again reign supreme?  Here’s the Browns’ schedule;

  • This weekend -at Baltimore
  • October 4th – Cincinnati
  • October 11th – at Buffalo
  • October 18th – at Pittsburgh
  • October 25th – Green Bay

Other than Cincinnati, I’m not holding ANY hope that this current Cleveland Browns team will win a single game before the Cavs have a chance on the court.  Come to think of it, after watching Cinci beat Denver (save for a miracle tip) and take out Green Bay IN Lambeau, I’m not so sure we will win that one either.

The Cleveland Cavaliers

In 35 days, the pain will be over and we can begin another quest for a title.

The Cavs picked up some HUGE bonuses in Shaquille O’Neal, Anthony Carter Parker, Leon Powe, and Jamario Moon.  On October 27th, we will get to see how they fit into our game plan.  And if you’re not excited for this era, then you’re not paying attention.

We will get further into discussion of the Cavaliers as their season approaches, and we will cover them wall-to-wall as they gun for an NBA Finals trophy.  And to help you get geared up for the 2009-2010 season, here’s the trailer for “More Than A Game”, premiering in Cleveland on October 2nd.

I can’t wait for that film, and I can’t wait for the season.

Dear LeBron and Company – please save us from the current state of Cleveland sports. We can at least believe in you!

Hmmm….road trip, anyone?

Written August 20th, 2009 by Jeff

No, we’re not planning to drive down to Florida and beat up Ralph Decker.  Despite the heavy traffic coming from EDSBS and others who claim The BBC is on a mission to hunt him down, we’ve actually made it clear that we want the law (and not vigilante justice) to prevail…and we have refused to post any private information, even deleting his address when it popped up in the comments.

No, instead we’re planning a road trip up North.  TSUN, to be exact.  A full weekend of football.

  • Saturday, November 21st – Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines
  • Sunday, November 22nd – Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions

Can you taste it now?  Road trip to Michigan, third week of November.  All are welcome, into the light.  Allllll are welcome.

I’m thinking by then, the Buckeyes will be looking to secure another BCS bid, Michigan will be wondering if Lllllloyd Carr is still available, and the Browns and Lions will be playing to lose and be declared the winner of the next NFL Draft, otherwise known as “Tebow-Bowl 2010″

Hell, if I’m feeling a little spry, I might even extend the weekend.  Go up to Windsor, Ontario for a couple days of blackjack, come back down to Auburn Hills on Wednesday, November 25th to see the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Pistons.

Rashard Lewis = Manny Ramirez

Written August 6th, 2009 by Jeff

Time and time again, as we watched the Eastern Conference Finals, we saw Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic hit shots from the outside. Two things often left my throat after he buried long shots.

1) Somebody GET ON HIM!
2) No way is this guy that good….he must be on something!

Turns out, I was right about both of them. The Cavs left that guy open way too much….and Lewis WAS on something. From ESPN;

All-Star forward Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic has been suspended without pay for 10 games for testing positive for an elevated testosterone level, the NBA announced Thursday.

“First and foremost I take full responsibility for the situation and accept the corresponding penalty,” Lewis said in a statement released by the league. “Toward the end of the season I took an over-the-counter supplement which at the time I did not realize included a substance banned by the NBA.

Lewis didn’t realize that testosterone-based steroids were banned? Give us a break. You can’t “take full responsibility” unless you actually OWN UP to the wrongdoing. Claiming innocence is not accepting responsibility.

In the end, this means nothing for the city of Cleveland….but now we know what it took to defeat our Cavs.

It took cheating.

“I feel like it’s the f–king 80s again”

Written July 30th, 2009 by Jeff

Last night I was sitting at the bar of a local restaurant, waiting to pick up the gf and hang out with her. I wasn’t paying attention to the TV set and was instead fiddling around with my cell phone. I had no idea what was on that TV, and I never had to look up, because a guy on the other side of the bar made his feelings known;

“Jesus Christ, they traded another one! I feel like it’s the fucking 80s again!”

I never looked up. I just knew. The Indians had traded the defending Cy Young Winner, Cliff Lee.

If you’re old like I am, then you know exactly what that guy meant when he shouted his displeasure across the room.  Back in the 1980s, the Indians were well known as the official farm system of the Toronto Blue Jays.  We traded away more talent every year (usually to the Blue Jays) and we got what is commonly known as “prospects” for our big-name athletes.

The 1980s got to be such a joke, that we used to go to Cleveland Municipal Stadium just for laughs….and we always got seats really close to the action because the place was empty.  One day, my brother and I went up to the game just to see if Julio Franco, Willie Upshaw, Joe Carter and Ron Kittle would finally be placed in the lineup in the right order.  That day, they finally were.  The scoreboard showed the lineup as such

  • Franco – 2B
  • Upshaw – 1B
  • Carter – LF
  • Kittle – DH

I’ll allow you a minute to look over that lineup carefully to see what we were looking for…..

See?  It was funny, wasn’t it?  True story.

To the best of my recollection, only one of those trades ever truly brought us a pack of prospects that would eventually work out for us, that trade being when we sent Joe Carter to Toronto and got Carlos Baerga and Sandy Alomar Jr in return.  However, Carter got his World Series ring.  But Sandy and Carlos did give our team a big turnaround.

The Indians have done it again with this recent bevy of trades concocted by Mark Shapiro and Larry Dolan.  Dolan’s refusal to spend money, combined with Shapiro’s wholesale sweep of the clubhouse for guys who have the letters A, AA, and Triple-A in front of their positions have put us in another long-term down period.

Ryan Garko is gone.  So is Mark DeRosa.  Betancourt is no longer is session.  Now Cliff Lee is gone.  And that’s just this year.  C.C. Sabathia was in uniform here one year ago.

To top it off, Victor Martinez is being shopped around.

Wasn’t it just two weeks ago that we lost a series to Seattle because Ben Francisco and Russell Branyan beat the crap out of us?

Enough is enough.

Dan Gilbert, if you’re reading this, please heed this call.  Save this team and purchase it now.  You’re a genius with our Cavaliers.  Please buy the Cleveland Indians and turn them around.  We’ll name the whole damn sports complex after you.  We hated the named “Progressive Field” anyway (or as WFNY likes to call it, “Regressive Field”).  Gilbert-ville is the first thing that comes to mind, but we can work on that.

Mrs. Larry Dolan, speaking to her team about their new prospects

Mrs. Larry Dolan, speaking to her team about their new prospects

Which reminds me….if Dolan claims to have no money to spend on guys like CC, then what happened to the money that Progressive spent on naming rights?  Whatever.

Ready for a wake-up call?  This team is in the dumper and trading away it’s starting lineup….and two years ago, we were one win away from the World Series.  That’s how fast Dolan and Shapiro have killed this team.

The city of Cleveland has a long history of watching its’ baseball team get sent into the crapper by poor management and greedy ownership.  The time has come to stop going to Indians games and take a stand.  Wedge must go, Shapiro must go.  Dolan must sell thsi team to an owner that doesn’t see it as merely an investment, but also as a source of pride.

Because that’s what the Indians mean to us…they are a source of pride for us.

Well, at least they used to be.

Wait, where was I when that happened?

Written July 9th, 2009 by Jeff

Oh, yeah…I was out of town and turned off my cell phone.  Tuesday I took a trip to Cedar Point and Wednesday I was in Pittsburgh for a concert, so I missed the news about the Cavaliers.

The Cleveland Cavs signed Tony Parker to a contract.  Let’s see what Eva Longoria says about having to live in Cleveland NOW, huh??  Yeah!

Oh wait….wrong Parker.  The Cavs went out and signed Toronto shooting guard Anthony Parker to an undisclosed deal.  Eva is still a big bitch and I can still hate her skanky ass.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the wine and gold also avoided the long drawn-out process they went through in 2007 by re-signing Anderson Varejao quickly.

With the rest of the major players in the NBA making moves over the past two weeks, the sportswriters have been looking at every possible angle to see who is now the “team to beat”.  These two signings (plus the Shaq trade) put the Cavaliers back on top of that list, in my own biased opinion.

We can actually go big against the teams that require it and we can likewise go small and fast.

Imagine having a lineup that consists of LeBron, Mo Williams, Delonte West, Anthony Parker and Shaq or Varejao.  Fast, tenacious, and with four shooters that can hit from 3 with no trouble.

Or putting a big lineup on the floor with Shaq, Zydrunas, Varejao, LeBron and Mo Williams.  Holy crap.  And that lineup is not only big and strong, it has FOUR All-Stars in it.

I’m liking what I see here.

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By the way, the whole search for a Shaq nickname is over.

I’m calling him “Witness Protection”.

The Cavs make a new Shaquisition!

Written June 25th, 2009 by Jeff

Yeah, it’s true….what was reported on for weeks has become a reality.

Shaq is a Cleveland Cavalier.

We got him for Ben Wallace (who was retiring), Sasha Pavlovic (our 8th man on the bench), the Cavs 2nd round draft pick (the 46th pick) and some money (500 thousand dollars).  HELL of a deal!

Think of our inside game now.  A force of a shot-blocker, and a man who averaged 18 points per game last season.  Yes, Shaq’s older, but this is the push for a title NOW.  If we’d pulled this deal off three months ago, we’d be hoisting a Finals trophy right now.  The inability to stop a strong inside game was the only reason we came up short this year.

Congrats, Cavs fans.  You’re back on top again.

———-

Get this….the Cavs are already talking about it possibly being a one-year-only deal with Shaq, then taking his 20 million dollars and moving for Chris Bosh in 2010.  the key in this….NOBODY is talking about using the money for LeBron.  It’s almost as if re-signing LBJ is a done deal.  And considering the moves that Danny Ferry is making for this team, LeBron will stay.  That was the ONLY standard he put on re-upping his contract.  Good job, boys!

Shaq may be in Cavaliers uniform soon

Written June 14th, 2009 by Jeff

The Cleveland Cavaliers may be making a trade very soon, and the deal would be huge.  The Cavs are in talks with Phoenix to trade for Shaquille O’Neal in exchange for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic.  ESPN News has been all over this story today, with a few twists to it.

Executives from both teams are claiming that the deal is “not imminent”, but any long-term talks for trades will eventually find the exact same comments from front-office people.  This trade is the same trade that was being discussed before the trading deadline, and the weaknesses that were exposed by Dwight Howard resurfaced talks with the Suns.

If this trade happens, it will be extraordinary, enough to push Kobe Bryant into a headline-sharing day of events.  Furthermore, it will not harm our salary situation.  Shaq makes 20 million dollars next year, and Wallace and Pavs combine for 19 million next year.

So do you make the deal for a guy who averaged 17.8 points per game this season and give up two bench players? That’s a no-brainer. Make the deal and stop bluffing with the other GMs. Though the NBA is somewhat similar to elite poker in many ways, making the most out of the free agency period plays a key role in winning the championship.

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Additional point #1 – If we make the push and get the championship next year, expect Laker fans to bombard us with “LeBron can’t win a ring without Shaq” taunts, turning the tables on us.

Yeah, who cares.  If this city gets a ring, let the Laker haters say anything they want.

————–

Additional point #2 – If this trade happens, thank former GM Wayne Embry for it.  Embry made the move which brought Danny Ferry to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a player in the 80s.  While here, Ferry made good friends with one of the Cavs’ guards, Steve Kerr.

Their friendship continues strong today, and this trade will have been made easier considering Kerr is now the GM of the Phoenix Suns and Ferry is the Cavs’ GM.

Hell, yeah.

Well…..dammit. Now what?

Written June 2nd, 2009 by Jeff

Yeah, I’ve been avoiding writing this because I was just too irritated, but the time has come to sit down and begin planning for the ’09-’10 Cavaliers season (and beyond).

Frankly, the discussion about Game 6 has been played out already.  We had our runs at it and Orlando just had everything working for them (including getting the calls when Anderson Varejao touches Howard’s back, but not when LeBron gets tackled on his way to the basket).  But whose fault is it?  It’s everybody’s fault.  Nobody had a full game Saturday night and as a result, everybody has the summer off.

Now for the good news.

After his brief hiatus from the media, LeBron James stepped forward and discussed his satisfaction with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including their front office and the direction of the team. Contrary to popular belief, LeBron has NEVER said that he wanted to leave this city (that’s the product of a frenzied media and several thousand internet trolls).  What he DID say was that he wanted to stay in Cleveland as long as the Cavaliers continue building towards success and keep him happy.

Monday’s press conference with LeBron brought some sighs of relief to a city.

“I’m great. I feel great about this situation that’s going on.  You want to continue to get better, that’s all you can ask. We got better and I feel this team will be better next season. You don’t want to take a step backward. I think we went forward from the Boston series last year.  Hopefully we can go forward next year.”

Upon being immediately deluged with claims of LeBron going to New York after the Eastern Finals loss, this was a welcome sound for Cavalier fans worldwide.

Now, LeBron did NOT say he was going to re-sign with the Cavs, but this was a STRONG step towards that inevitable conclusion.  The facts are laid out before him, he knows it, and everybody with half a brain knows it too.

The Cavaliers are the only team that can offer him everything he wants and needs, and his family is here.  No major city, especially one that is in a rebuilding phase of it’s own, can give him anything more except money…..and the Cavaliers just got a HUGE infusion of cash to offer James.  The news of a Chinese investment group offering to buy 15% of the Cavs will all but seal the deal to keep LBJ in wine and gold.  With that move, LeBron can successfully market himself, his shoes, his jerseys, and anything else he wants to a billion chinese people who are starved for NBA stars.  The Chinese government doesn’t allow an open and free market as much as we do, but with part-ownership in the team, expect to see Hu Jintao open the gates for anything with LeBron’s name on it.

But that won’t happen if LeBron leaves the Cavs….because the Chinese ownership is NOT of LeBron, it’s of the Cavs.  Sucks to be you, Knicks.

Here’s our current money situation, seen through the eyes of an optimist like me;

  • Currently, LeBron makes 14.4 million dollars, and he’ll want to sign for more before the next season begins.  We can lock him up for a long-term deal at around 20 million a year plus bonuses that do not count towards the salary cap.
  • Wally Szczerbiak has played his last game as a Cavalier.  His contract is up, and we will not sign him again….making 13.8 million per year to be a bench player is not what we want or need.  We loved you, Wally….but sorry.
  • Joe Smith’s contract is also up, but he’s making 1.2 million.  Give him more if he needs it, he’s a big part of this team’s chemistry and he’s inexpensive to boot.  If he wants to break the bank though, we’ll have to let him go.
  • Ben Wallace is talking retirement and he might want a buyout of his final year.  Hell, we KNOW he’ll want a buyout.  Anything we spend on the buyout also does not count towards the salary cap, so we should offer him that and wish him well.  It’ll add to our coffers, as Ben was making nearly 15 million this year.  Again, Ben…we loved you, thanks for your dedication and spirit.
  • Anderson Varejao will be looking for more money.  Again.  His current 5.8 million dollar contract is not going to be enough to keep him, and we’re going to have to up that to 9 or 10 million per season.  There’s very little question about that right now, especially with the possibility of losing Wallace and Smith.  Also, Z’s age doesn’t make anybody comfortable in C-town.

This all adds up to good fortune for the Cavs.  We’ll have to add 10-12 million a year to LeBron, Smith and Varejao’s contracts, but we save about 19 million with the losses of Wally and Big Ben.  That leaves us with 7-9 million dollars left to grab a strong player to add to LeBron’s arsenal, and that’s only if we want to keep the same salary as 2008-09.  We can go over the limit and pay a luxury tax to the NBA since we have that money to spend (hello, China!).

Translation – relax, Cavs fans.  LeBron will stay, and with the mastermind known as Danny Ferry at the helm, we will get everything we need and start fresh again in October.