Sunday, May 01, 2011

Bin Laden dead
This is not a victory for President Obama, President Bush, or even for just the United States of America.

It is a victory for the world. I congratulate everyone -- past and present -- who had a hand in this. The War on Terror does not end, and Usama bin Laden's death does not free the world of pain or of evil.

But it's nice, on this evening, to know bin Laden will never be responsible for another innocent's death.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Browns Draft, the INDIANS and all that other stuff
The Browns traded down, got an extra first and second round pick, and got a run-stopper from Baylor.

Yeah, I feel pretty good about this. While Phil Taylor has entered the race with Joe Smith for the most generic name in Cleveland sports (Smith still is favored).

Taylor is 6-foot-3 1/2,337 pounds. Basically, he gets weighed at truck stops. But moreso, he's a defensive tackle who can be paired with Ahtyba Rubin as part of a 4-3 allignment.

I've heard the phrase "when motivated" applied to Taylor. I was getting Gerard Warren flashbacks, but then I remembered that the Browns are now being run by professional football minds, who turned in a strong 2010 draft.

Overall, I'd call it a win. I wanted A.J. Green, the wide receiver at Georgia, but with him gone, I think the Browns gave themselves the best chance to be successful. Cleveland has nine picks in this year's draft. And unlike during the Eric Mangini years, they are not all backloaded.

- The Indians are 16-8, have won 10 straight home games, and are 4 1/2 games ahead in the Central. It might be time to start taking them seriously.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Baseball, in it's most wonderful form
The Indians are 15-8, but the most impressive thing is that they've won nine consecutive home games. I'm not sure if they'll match what the 1994 squad did (18 straight home wins), but it's a start.

The Indians still are not drawing. Even with a forecast for bad weather which, as it turned out, never materialized, the Tribe still ought to be able to bring in more than 9,000 fans.

The numbers will get better, but that's not the point. I am beginning to wonder if the fans just don't like the organization for breaking up the team of the 90s, or, worse, if the economy has made this a two-sport (at best) town.

Still, the pitching has been excellent. Carlos Carrasco became the second starter to go on the DL, which makes one wonder if the Tribe can get by relying on a seventh starter for any amount of time.

Still, the team is winning right now, and that's all that matters.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Casey Blake Watch
Casey Blake is one of those guys who surprises you.

Never a superstar, never really a prospect, he's a man who has made a career out of being good. He also appears to have done it out of pure willpower. From 2005-2007, I took great joy in looking for every error (defensively and otherwise) the guy would make, then ridiculing him for it.

He represented everything I hated about the Indians at the time. He was average, but management insisted on telling us he was more than that. Tom Hamilton never had enough good things to say about him. He went to the same college as Eric Wedge, the Tribe's manager, and it seemed like Wedge was going to play him no matter how bad the slump.

But Blake surprised me. In '05 and '07, he had horrible averages with runners in scoring position, but did everything else very well. He became a very good No. 2 hitter, and a better than average third baseman. By the end of '07, with the Indians in the playoffs and Blake a big part of their success, I finally admitted that Blake was a really good player.

Then he hit into a big double play and made a key error in Game 7 of that year's ALCS.

Nevertheless, Blake made a big contribution to the Indians, one that continues to this day. His trade to the Dodgers netted Carlos Santana, a future star catcher.

Blake's in LA now, hitting .333 with two homers and six RBIs. There will always be a spot for him (or guys like him) on a team. He has earned all of his success.

But no matter what, his doings on the field will always be tied to this blog in some way. He's earned that, too.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Big comebacks
Down 5-0 Tuesday, the Indians get within a hit of the lead. Down 2-0 Wednesday, with no baserunners through five innings, the Indians come back, and win 7-5.

Maybe this is just a hot April. But the Indians are getting to the point where you never feel they are out of a game. This is what winning teams do.

Justin Masterson looked like he was in for a rough game. Three walks, two runs, 31 pitches in the first inning. And then ...

Five shutout innings.

I still see Cliff Lee in Masterson.

As far as everyone else... I love what Orlando Cabrera has brought to the Indians. Chris Perez is starting to remind me of Goose Gossage, a hard throwing righty who doesn't care. He makes a 3-pitch save and goes on Twitter. He grows a big beard and looks like the intimidating presence he is.

The Indians are eight games over 500, and are off to their best start since 1999, when they won the division.

No one knows where this is going.

But it sure is fun right now.


Monday, April 18, 2011

If this were football, the Indians would have locked up a first round bye and probably would be hosting the Packers at Progressive Field.

Sadly, it isn't. But the first 10 percent of this season has gone better than anyone could have imagined. The pitching has been better than it has been in four years. The hitting has been reasonably consistent, with Travis Hafner of all people among those leading the charge.

But Monday night in Kansas City was a big deal -- it was the first time all season that the Indians fell behind and came back to win. And the Indians bullpen, despite some control issues, got it done.

No one can talk pennant yet, but did anyone believe the Indians would be eight games over .500 at any time this season?

If the season ended today, Manny Acta would be manager of the year and Justin Masterson would get Cy Young votes. It doesn't, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy things right now.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

10 quick (and I mean really quick) thoughts on the Browns
1. Up 7-0, and with a fourth and two at the Bengals 40, the 5-8 Browns punt, thinking it'd be a close game. Then they manage to lose yardage at the end of the half and have to punt. Then they kick a field goal on fourth and one deep in Bengals territory down 9. If this is Eric Mangini's version of playing to win, I'd hate to see what other modes there are.

2. Hate to say it, but I hope Josh Cribbs is hurt. I'd never question his desire,his effort or his intensity, but he honestly looks a half step slower this year. He's my favorite player, but I am worried about him.

3. The Browns touchdowns went to Robert Royal and Brian Robiskie. Think about the odds of that happening.

4. The Bengals tried to give the game away late; the Browns wouldn't take it.

5. Not sure how anyone can look at a losing season that included defeats to Buffalo and Cincinnati and ascertain progress from last year.

6. Yes, I remember New Orleans and New England. But I also remember the win over Carolina.

7. You can't take away Mangini's success in October and November. He'll always have New Orleans and New England.

8. Romeo Crennel will always have the Seattle and Giants games. Butch Davis will always have Baltimore and Atlanta. Chris Palmer always has Pittsburgh.

9. Colt McCoy looks good, but I'm not ready to hand him Otto Graham's jersey yet. But yes, he should be the starter in 2011.

10. I blame LeBron James for this season being so depressing.