Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I'd like to start off by saying I read that book and thought it was amazing. And that is all the nice things I am going to say about Mitch. Let the rip session begin. For those who don't know, Mitch is all about Mitch. On Sunday, he wrote a 10 year anniversary column in the Free Press that was about as self-serving and ego-maniacal as a piece could have possibly been. The article was supposed to be about how Morrie's teaching still resonate today. Instead it was more about Mitch and his success with the book. The column started with Mitch patting himself on the back as his agent told him that nobody would read this book. He followed with this:
People read the book. Oh, not at first. At first, you couldn't find it. The story of my beloved old college teacher, Morrie Schwartz, who was dying from ALS, was something I wrote to help pay his medical bills. A labor of love. And initially it was published that way. About 20,000 books were printed -- total -- and I had visions of giving them away from the trunk of my car. Today, there are 14 million copies in print around the world.
First off, does anybody buy the statement that he wrote the book "to help pay his medical bills?" Come on dude, you wrote the book because it was a great story you thought would sell and make money for you. The rest of the column was essentially re-telling the story of the book. Hey Mitch, have no material so you figured you'd try to catch some buzz and sell more books maybe? Maybe I am way off base, but I don't think so.
He has no material because this "sportswriter" DOESN'T ATTEND GAMES. I'm sorry, he is seen at Lions home games from time to time, mostly because there are only eight. My Detroit insiders tell me that when he does actually attend a Lions game, he sits off by himself, acting aloof and as if he is better than everyone else in the press box.
At least he goes to see the Lions.
The next time you see him at a Pistons, Red Wings, or Tigers game that isn't opening day, a playoff game, or a meaningful late-season regular season game, it will be the first. Remember the infamous Michigan State Final Four story, in which he spoke of former Spartans Jason Richardson and Mateen Cleaves jumping up and down in their MSU Green? Great stuff right? Except neither attended the game. You can't find that story anywhere on the net anymore. Albom was killed for it nationally and rightfully so.
So we move to Opening Night 2007 with the Dallas Mavericks coming to town. There will be plenty to watch tonight. A team in Cleveland actually raising any kind of banner, this one representing an Eastern Conference Championship. You will see if all is forgotten by Cleveland fans with Lebron and the Yankee hat incident. Most importantly, you will get to see major minutes from the great Dwayne Jones, who the ABJ's Brian Windhorst described on the More Sports and Les Levine TV show as "one of the bottom five offense players in the NBA."
What you won't see tonight is Mavericks All Star Josh Howard who is serving a suspension for instigating a fight in the preseason. You also won't see Juwan Howard in a Cavaliers uniform. Howard opted to sign with Dallas, spurning the Cavs and Boston, his other two suitors. Howard will get instant minutes in the frontcourt in Dallas with starting Center Erick Dampier out with an injury.
On the Cavaliers side, you won't see freshly signed Sasha Pavlovic in uniform either. He will most likely be arriving in Cleveland this morning to finalize and sign the deal. According to Windhorst this morning, The contract is for three years averaging between $4 million and $5 million per. Patrick McManamon followed up with a solid piece stating the Pavlovic holdout hurt both Sasha and The Cavs. Terry Pluto, the best writer in this town by leaps and bounds and one of the best sportswriters in America, penned a column this morning worth a look talking about "The Disease of Me."
Now with Pavlovic back in the fold, the Cavaliers won't be forced to give extra minutes to the human turnover Shannon Brown and the prettiest man in the NBA, Damon Jones. It is still going to be a struggle for the Cavs to start. The early season schedule has been well documented. After home games with Dallas and New York, the Cavs head out West for a six game road trip, and it looks like that trip will be without Varajao.
The good news is that they have Lebron James. Speaking of the King, lets give you all something good to peep to start the 2007-08 season. Relive the best of Lebron in Game 5 against Detroit.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Lebron James has other ideas.
The King himself, fresh off a world tour playing basketball and attempting to become the "global icon" he intends to be, told the press yesterday that he doesn't intend to back down to all the negativity surrounding his teams 1-6 preseason. As told to the Akron Beacon-Journal's Brian Windhorst, Lebron wasn't bashful:
In his latest, Sheed is yacking away about his meltdown during last year's Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Cavs. You remember don't you? When we last left our pal, he was busy getting two technicals and screaming at the officials with the full intentions of getting tossed when the game out of hand. Had the Pistons made a miraculous comeback, Sheed would have been suspended for Game Seven as he received his seventh playoff techinical, signalling an automatic suspension. Now he wants us all to know the truth; well, the truth according to Sheed in this Detroit News article:
"I still don't think they (Cavaliers) beat us, we beat ourselves," Wallace said. "And I think we also fell victim to that personal NBA thing where they are trying to make it a world game and get (television) ratings. They wanted to put their darling in there (the NBA Finals) and they did, and look what ended up happening.
Classic Bitterman. Is there a bigger disgrace going in the NBA right now? Just for more fun, lets take a look at another classic Sheed meltdown moment caught on tape, after the Cavs took down the Pistons in Game Four:
Darius Washington - I can't stand the fact that he has made the league; the Spurs no-less. He bolted Memphis early, a giant mistake, a screwed John Calipari in the process.
Maceo Baston - Seriously, this guy is still hanging around? He has been a perpetual inactive for 10 years. He must have naked pictures of David Stern.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Who would have thought that on the 15 year anniversary of the Fab Five at Michigan, Juwan would be the last man standing. C Webb is a stand-still jump-shooting statue who was so badly exposed during the playoffs last year that he has not caught on with any team this season. He still sits at home wishing Pistons GM Joe Dumars would call. That ain't happenin'. Jalen Rose has successfully turned himself into an NBA analyst for ESPN. As for Jimmy King, according to his wikipedia page, In a phone interview on the Jim Rome Show on November 30, 2006, Jimmy stated he was currently working as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch on Wall Street. Ray Jackson, according to Wikipedia, Jackson now lives in Austin, Texas where he runs a moving company and Rise Up Inc., a not-for-profit organization that assists children socially, educationally and on the basketball court.
In other Cavaliers news, they still have no real point guard, Anderson Varajao and Sasha Pavlovic are still holding out, the sky is blue and water is wet.
I emailed this weekend with the creator of the pre-eminent sports blog in the business, The Big Lead. I asked for advice on how to get the buzz out there and how to get my readers to keep interested in what I have to say. His advice: "In a word? Dedication....I don't know if a blog can be successful if you just do one post a day.....You have to keep people coming back for more. You need updates to keep them coming back." So I will do my best to update as much as I can in smaller pieces rather than a long article per day. We will see if time permits me to keep this format going.
The Browns are 4-3, a game over .500 and now the national press in climbing aboard. I think it is still a little premature to do so, given the state of the defense. Lets be honest, this may be the worst defense in the NFL. The 0-8 Rams, with THREE third-string offensive lineman yesterday, gained close to 400 yards of offense. Cornerback Leigh Bodden was atrocious or as the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi described it "bordering on awful." The pass rush is as existant as me at Temple on Sunday mornings. But it is an offensive league, and the Browns are a juggernaut. Did you know that Derek Anderson's 17 TD passes is second in the NFL to Tom Brady's 30? That's right, DA has more TD passes than Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, et all. SI.com's Peter King in his Monday Morning QB column lists the Browns at #11 in his "Fine Fifteen." Foxsports.com's John Czarnecki gives Anderson more props this morning as well.
Just think out loud, but..... if the Browns continue their success with Anderson at QB and he has say, a Pro Bowl season, does Phil Savage consider trading the Savior himself Brady Quinn? The argument for says that Anderson is now ready to explode onto the scene, he has a year as a starter under his belt, has a cannon arm, and great chemistry with Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, and Joe Jurevicius. Quinn's contract isn't nearly as bad as it could be, since he was drafted #23 overall and has a ton of incentives in it. Teams like Chicago, Jacksonville, and Miami would LOVE a do-over with the chance to get their hands on Brady. Nobody knows how he will be in the NFL yet, and this can only be a good thing for the Browns brass. His value will never be higher.
The argument against is that Derek Anderson could be nothing more than Kelly Holcomb, the former Browns QB who had a cup of coffee as a starter and showed a great touch and ability to move the team. But when the defenses figured him out, he went right back to being the backup he really was. Everyone knows that you need two good QB's these days in the NFL. Other than Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre, every QB seems to get hurt at some point. Trading Quinn who you just traded a first round pick to get would be conceding that Phil Savage and his staff made a mistake by not giving DA the job from day one and sticking with him. Plus, you wasted a first round pick, which is sacred these days int he NFL.
Big shocker that the Red Sox completed the sweep of the Rockies last night. I am proud to say I managed not to watch more than 10 pitches the entire series. Like I want to see Jonathon Papelbon go jump and down in celebration, or those morons wearing goggles in the clubhouse to shield their eyes from the champagne. The insufferable group that is the Red Sox nation is all over the net today. Tribe fans, if you enjoy throwing up, Click here and scroll down, Boston Dirt Dogs have covered the celebration to to bottom. The only good thing I can say about the Red Sox at this point is that cancer survivor Jon Lester pitched 5 2/3rd of shutout ball. Good for you Jon, you deserve it. Hey, Rockies. thanks for playing!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I will never use the "P" word with this team, but the offense is virtually unstoppable since DA took over the reigns. Its amazing what a good offensive line will do for you. You think Tim Couch would have liked to have had this line blocking for him? The good news for Timmy, he is retired with at least $40 million in the bank and he is married to former Playmate of the Year Heather Kozar. Anyways, with all of that time to throw, DA once again showed off his cannon arm to the tune of 248 yards and three TD passes. The key was no interceptions. He hit Edwards on several big plays; eight of the 18 completions went Braylon's way. Jamal Lewis seemingly went for five yards a pop. Jerome Harrison and Jason Wright were great changes of pace backing up Jamal. Joe Jurevicius is finally being used they way he should be; three of his five receptions were on third downs that extended drives. Even Josh Cribbs showed up in Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski's game plan, gaining 18 yards on a customized run.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
This should be OUR year. I've said it before, this set up so well for the Indians. A 3-1 lead with 19-game winners C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona set to pitch. Home Field advantage for the World Series against a team who has had nine days off to think about how good they are. Yet, this is Cleveland and we always manage to screw this up somehow. Looking at how badly the Rockies have performed, this was it for us. Naturally though, instead of enjoying this week, I am blogging bitterly about it. Ah, the joys of growing up a Clevelander.
Though I am not an Ohio State fan, its time to give them the props they deserve. They have just gone into a very hostile Beaver Stadium at Penn State, a sea of White no less, and literally owned the Nittany Lions. At this moment, its 34-10 and it isn't even that close. Lets call a spade to spade - Jim Tressel can flat out coach. He is at the top of his profession with Urban Meyer and Les Miles. First year starter Todd Boeckmann has done very little wrong at QB. He manages the game well, makes few mistakes, and seems to thrive throwing the deep ball to stud WR Brian Robiske. Oh, and that defense - it may just be the best in the country. I fully expect and undefeated Buckeye team to take the field in Ann Arbor in three short weeks. How much fun is that game going to be?
I've been silent long enough, the Kansas FOOTBALL Jayhawks are for real. Ok, so they played three out of conference cupcakes to start the season. They still haven't had to play a ranked team. Oklahoma and Texas are not on the schedule. But you cannot argue with 8-0 start, a defense that is shutting everybody down and an offense that can score on anybody. They won at Colorado, something Oklahoma couldn't do. They won at Kansas State, something Texas couldn't do on its own home field. Tonight, they won at Texas A&M's Kyle Field, home of the vaunted 12th man. Lastly, have you seen coach Mark Mangino? The man is big. Very big. Big on talent. His "Donnie Brasco" sweatsuit tonight was the stuff of legend. I've posted a pic above. The guy is intense. Here are two of his classic meltdowns:
The Browns head to St. Louis tomorrow to play the 0-7 Rams. What are the odds that CBS actually puts this game in HD? I'd say slim to none. Jamal Lewis is still a gametime decision.
This SEC is something else. So Florida rips Tennessee. LSU beats Florida. Kentucky beats LSU. South Carolina beats Kentucky and Georgia. Vanderbilt beats South Carolina. Mississippi State beats Auburn and Kentucky. Auburn beats Florida in the Swamp. Georgia beats Florida and Alabama. Alabama beats Tennessee. Tennessee beats South Carolina. WOW. Oh my goodness, I know South Carolina doesn't really have a player named Captain Munnerlyn, do they? That may be the name of the year.
Last night, The Cavs were disgraced by Toronto 111-78 after trailing at half by only five. No big deal right? Well when you follow it up with a 114-89 loss to Boston to finish your preseason at 1-6, its a concern. Especially when said team is coming off an Eastern Conference Championship. Lets start with the fact that Boobie Gibson is out with a hamstring injury. Eric Snow is out with his injured knee, and the much publicized pair of holdouts Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varajao are still MIA overseas with no return date in sight. That leaves Lebron without little talent beside him and essentially no depth.
What I watched tonight was pathetic. Dwayne Jones, Ira Newble and Devin Brown are playing the roles of The Wild Thing and Sasha? Ugh. Damon Jones in the starting lineup and being counted on for a large role? Scary. Newble hit 4-5 shots for 10 points and DJ buried all three of his triples, but Newble is supposed to be helping in the post - he had as many rebounds as I did tonight. Amon Jones once again lived up to his nickname - "No D." While he admired his jumpers on one end, C's point guard Rajon Rondo was busy running circles around him, penetrating and dishing to KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Eddie House, and even Big Baby Davis. The Cavs double teams were as slow as the security line at O'Hare on a Friday afternoon. Last year, Newble was inactive at least 50% of the season and when he was active, he was the 12th man. DJ was the 11th man. Devin Brown - what did he have to offer? A suspect J, four turnovers, and five fouls in 18 minutes.
The "new" offense looks like the same old Cavs, four guys standing and watching while Lebron dribbles around and tries to make something happen. Drew Gooden had one of his in and out games, scoring just six points with six rebounds in 32 minutes. Without Andy backing him up, he cannot take nights off the way he seemed to do tonight. Z was Z. Larry Hughes actually looked decent, hitting 7-17 shots for 18 points, but running the team is still not his forte. Jason Kidd, he ain't - four assists and five turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Celtics looked revitalized with The Big Three. Experts say they don't have enough surrounding them, but Rondo is a keeper at the point as long as he keeps defending the way he does and can limit his turnovers. Twinsburg native James Posey is a solid role player off the bench who can do a little of everything. Kendrick Perkins is still a work on progress in the middle, but I think Cavs GM Danny Ferry would be delighted to have him over Jones and Cedric Simmons any day of the week. Big Baby Davis was a steal in the second round and will be a solid 10 year pro - mark it down.
I know, this is a typical Cleveland "the sky is falling after the preseason" view, but you can't argue the fact that the Cavs stood pat this offseason, got a year older, and are sitting idly by while two of its key cogs are holding out for money they will never see. To me, getting out of the first round in the East will be a chore, even with Lebron James on the squad. Boston is better. Toronto is better. Orlando is better. The Bulls are better. The Pistons still have Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, and company. Yet the Cavs seem worse. It's not just me. I linked this article yesterday, but it bears another look. Other than former Clevelander (and Cavs honk) Chris Broussard, nobody at ESPN is picking the Cavs to repeat or even come close. The average consensus is between 4th and 5th.
I can't say I disagree. Make sure you read this Brian Windhorst piece about the Varajao contract dispute and his agent, Dan Fegan. Windhorst, of the Akron Beacon-Journal, is the only source for Cavaliers inside scoop. Here's another solid piece by Windhorst about the alleged Cavaliers "new offense." Windhorst makes the PD's Branson Wright look like an amateur (well, lets call it what it is).
RANDOM SPORTS THOUGHTS:
1. Big Ohio State/Penn State game tomorrow night on ABC in primetime. People here are really jocking this team, but I ain't buying it. Their defense is National title caliber, but they have yet to play real competition (sorry, winning at Purdue and at Washington - the 8th best team in the PAC-10 doesn't count). I don't know if Penn State is real competition either. Their best win was over perhaps the biggest fraud in the country, Wisconsin. The Buckeyes next four games will show who they really are: at Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, and at Michigan. If they win Saturday, I bet they go to Ann Arbor undefeated for another shot at the BCS title game in what will most likely be Lloyd Carr's swan song. Can you imagine that drama?
2. Red Sox manager Terry Francona has decided to go with David Ortiz over Kevin Youkilis at first base in game three in Colorado. Youkilis killed the Indians in the ALCS and is hitting .396 with 12 RBI this postseason and hasn't made an error at first in over a year. I don't care how clutch Big Papi is, this will prove to be a mistake when he butchers balls in the field tomorrow night. You know what, what do I care?
3. Kansas has been listed at #4 in ESPN/USA Today's preseason college basketball poll. Preseason polls mean as much to me as this year's World Series, but it's nice to see us back in the top five. I'll give you my top five without my research right now - this is subject to change:
1. Tennessee - Nobody believes, but I do. Bruce Pearl is my guy.
2. North Carolina - Roy's squad is loaded
3. Memphis - I'm drinking the Derrick Rose kool-aid
4. UCLA - They took us down last year and only lost the extremely overrated Arron Afflalo
5. Kansas - Memo to Bill Self: Final Four or bust. Your talent well dries up in 200 days.
4. Friday Night Lights - The best show on TV bar none.
5. The Red Sox nation has officially become insufferable. It was cute for years, the whole curse of the Bambino and all, but now, it's just tired. They have become what they despised all of those years; they are as arrogant as the Yankee fans (Seth, you aren't included). Jimmy Kimmel had a hilarious take on this. Peep it below.
6. You want to know why I love Jayhawk basketball? What this eight minute tribute. To quote my boy The Danimal after watching this: "One word - Chills." Fast forward to
the 2:29 mark.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Anyways, the lazy man approach is in full effect. I stumbled across some solid reading material on my beloved teams that I thought I should share with you. After all, we are sitting around in C-Town awaiting Sunday at this point with the Cavaliers season still a week away (Oct 31 vs. Dallas) and my KU Jayhawks first preseason is the day after (Nov 1 vs Pittsburg St.) We can discuss how dumb Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varajao are for holding out when they have no leverage. We can talk about dumbass Rams Tight End Randy McMichael guaranteeing a win this Sunday in St. Louis over the Browns. Love smack talk from a Tight End on an 0-7 team. We can always talk about the Tribe's 2008 schedule which was just released. Nothing like starting at home on March 31st. Lock that one of the first three games is snowed out. What about the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees each come to the Jake only once - both in April. The Padres play as many games at the Jake as the Yankees do. That sounds right, doesn't it. Interleague Play is weak....LAST WEEK.
Anderson Seizing his Opportunity - Jeffrey Chadiha, espn.com
Collins, Kansas Shooting for a Better Ending - Lindsay Willhite, USA Today
What Indians Fans Don't Want to Hear - Jeff Kallman, Sports Central
Daily Dime - Cavaliers Preview - espn.com
Indians Release 2008 Schedule - Anthony Castrovince, mlb.com
Two Rams Guarantee Victory - Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Tribe's Offseason Moves Already Hinted At - Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon-Journal
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
But I digress.
Selig hired his buddy Mitchell to oversee this investigation, but since nobody will talk, all he has to work with are the book Game of Shadows, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, and anything he can get his hands on from FBI reports. Recently, names have come out - Scott Schoeneweis of the Mets, Jay Gibbons of the Orioles, fringe guys like this. Still no stars though. Another you would consider a "fringe" guy was outed on Sunday by the Chronicle. His name is Paul Byrd and he pitches for the Cleveland Indians.
How is this different than Gibbons and Schoeneweis? Well, Byrd is a member of the Indians, the team that on Sunday was about to play a one game, winner take all game for the right to go to the World Series. Byrd was expected to be the first guy out of the bullpen if their was early trouble. What day was this story leaked? Sunday - The SAME DAY AS GAME SEVEN. As if the Indians weren't distracted enough by losing a two game lead in the ALCS, now they had to listen to questions about Byrd's alleged HGH usage.
Again, what am I getting at here? Former Senator Mitchell, a man of "integrity" also happens to have a current affiliation as Director of the front office for a Major League team. What team is that you ask? The Boston Red Sox. The same Red Sox team that was about to play game seven against the Indians.
Do you think this is a coincidence that on this particular day, the story about Byrd was leaked? Mitchell claimed it was. Yet, he felt the need to make the following statement to defend himself on Monday: "Neither I nor any member of my investigative staff had anything whatsoever to do with the publication of the allegations about Mr. Byrd," the statement said. "We had no prior knowledge of those allegations, and we first learned of them, along with the rest of the public, through news accounts."
Ken Rosenthal on foxsports.com wrote this excellent piece and replied to Mitchell's statement by stating "If Mitchell had no prior knowledge of these allegations, then you have to wonder just how well his investigation is going. But the perception of bias might be an even bigger problem." Well done, Ken.
He couldn't be more right on. I'm not saying Mitchell leaked the story, but how does that come out the day of Game Seven? How does Selig appoint an "independent investigator" who isn't independent. He is listed right on the Red Sox Website as "Director." Could Uncle Buddy really be that short sighted and NOT see this is a GIGANTIC conflict of interest? Just when baseball is ready to take a step forward, it once again shoots itself in the foot and takes two steps back.
So now that our baseball season has come to a sad end, the Browns, Cavaliers, and Kansas Jayhawks will be getting the majority of the focus, but you can bet I will be talking Tribe offseason and do a wrap up at some point soon. I have pretty much neglected my other teams since October 1st, but the Tribe will always be at the top of my list. Lets start this morning by going around the horn.
Browns - The bye week actually came at a pretty good time for Browns fans, so they could give their full focus to the Tribe, but now, the eyes of Cleveland are focused back on Berea. At 3-3, the Browns unbelievably are only a game out of first place thanks to the Steelers loss at Denver Sunday night (not like any of us watched a second of that game as it was on at the same time as Game Seven.) With the winless Rams on the schedule this week, can the Browns actually put together back to back wins for the first time in four plus years? With the offense rolling the way it is, anything is possible. It also helps that the Rams are maybe the worst team in the NFL right now and has an offensive line that si.com's Peter King calls "one of the worst in recent NFL history. Maybe in all of NFL history."
Monday, October 22, 2007
I read the Cleveland papers and some of the national articles, and it seemed that Skinner got off lightly. As did Blake. You cannot deny that Skinner's gaffe completely changed the complexion of the game. Had Lofton scored, the momentum would have turned to the Indians. Maybe Hideki Okajima pitches differently to Blake. Maybe Blake takes a strike instead of swinging at that first pitch. Maybe Blake isn't so distraught over his 5-4-3 double play, that he has his head together and makes that routine play he booted to start the bottom of the seventh off of the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury. If, If, If. Yeah, and if my grandma had balls, she'd be my grandpa. The bottom line is that the Red Sox are going on, the Indians are going home, and a city had to live through yet another in a series of misfortunes that we will not soon forget.
1. Nobody was talking about it today, but the Fox coverage last night was disgustingly pro-Boston. You can understand why. The Rockies/Diamondbacks series average a 2.3 TV rating. Last night's Indians/Red Sox game seven delivered over an 11 rating. Trust me, it wasn't because the Indians were playing. I don't know when it happened, but Boston has become America's team.
2. To that point, announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were brutal. I marked down three references that were painful:
-In the first inning, right after Manny Ramirez's ball hit the spot where the dirt meets the grass and skips over Jhonny Peralta's head, Buck and McCarver scoffed at it as if it were no big thing. Had the ball not hit the lip, its a tailor made double play ball to end the inning. McCarver made the statement two minutes later "another two out RBI by Ramirez." IT WAS A DOUBLE PLAY BALL!!!! They gave no credence to the fact that it was a fluky bounce.
-Kenny Lofton lines one off the wall in the fifth that Manny Ramirez played perfectly and threw to second base. Lofton was called out by umpire Brian Gorman. All replays showed he was clearly safe, as does the picture above (props to Brian Kuntz of the Plain Dealer). Yet after the Indians followed with two more hits, McCarver asked the rhetorical question "how big is the defensive play by Ramirez now?" How about "How big was the blown call by Brian Gorman now?" On three other occasions, Buck and McCarver mentioned the "great defensive play by Ramirez."
-When Victor Martinez took a 3-1 pitch from Okajima that was clearly high, it was called a strike. Buck and McCarver sat silent. The Fox Pitch Trax replay showed the ball a good 10-12 inches out of the strike zone, yet didn't comment.
3. The national media seemed overly giddy that the Red Sox pulled it out. I tried to avoid it at all costs, but I did see parts of Around The Horn and PTI on ESPN. Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times, ever the negative nelly, brought up the Cleveland Curse and said Joel Skinner will go down with Earnest Byner, Craig Ehlo, and Jose Mesa in the pantheon of Cleveland sports goats. Worst of all, typically unknowledgeable Mariotti, said "Ryan Garko's quote before game six that 'the champagne tastes better on the road' was posted in every Red Sox locker and was a mistake to say." Guess what Jay - do your research - Garko made that statement AFTER THE YANKEES SERIES when the Tribe won game four on the road.
Michael Wilbon of PTI was one of the few who agreed with me that Skinner's blunder changed the entire complexity of the game. Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio made this statement to start the show: "Yes, I picked the Indians to win the series, but I was rooting for the Red Sox, because they just are much more interesting." He also stated the obvious that MLB clearly wanted the Sox to win and that the Sox and Yankees are a must every year for ratings sake.
4. Lets talk about Paul Byrd - The Byrd saga was leaked Sunday morning. The San Francisco Chronicle showed credit card statements that Byrd spent over $25,000 on HGH from a Florida Pharmacy, which has had its license suspended for shady practices. Do you think it was a coincidence that this story happened to be leaked the day of game seven? The Former Senator George Mitchell-led steroid investigation is popping up new names almost weekly. Byrd says he had taken HGH under a doctor's supervision for a growth on his pituitary gland from 2002-2005. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but the point is that this story could have been printed next week or three weeks ago, yet it came out the day of game seven. FYI - George Mitchell is the listed on the Red Sox website in the front office as the "Director." He has also been in John Henry's owners box for every game.
5. If you want to play the blame game for the series, it must go to four men - Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Fausto Carmona, and C.C. Sabathia. Sizemore went 3-17 with two RBI. The straw that stirs the Indians drink was a complete non-factor. Pronk's horrible series was well chronicled; 4-27 with 12 K's. From Game Three on, he went 1-19 skid with 11 K's. His three pitch strike out to Jonathon Papelbon in the eighth inning representing the tying run said it all. He couldn't touch three straight fastballs. Carmona and Sabathia were supposed to be the X-factors in the series. Oh they were allright, but because of what they didn't do. Here's a chart for you to look at that says it all. C.C. and Fausto Regular Season vs. ALCS:
2007 - 38-15, 3.14 ERA, Hits per 9 innings 8.6, Walks per 9 innings 1.9
ALCS - 0-3, 12.67 ERA, Hits per 9 innings 14.9, Walks per 9 innings 8.8
That's four of your five best players who didn't show up when the lights were the brightest. Yet with all of that said, the Indians were just one win away from making it to the World Series. Pretty Amazing.
Skinner Explains Giving Lofton the Stop Sign - Joe Maxse, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Wait Continues for the Indians and Their Fans - Bud Shaw, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Walks Defined Starting Pitcher - Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Collossal Collapse - Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon-Journal
Game Seven Flukes Not the Problem - Patrick McManamon, Akron Beacon-Journal
Indians Finish Off a Complete Collapse - Howard Bryant, espn.com
They'll be Back - Joe Lemire, si.com
Indians Reflect on Series Gone Wrong - Albert Chen, si.com
Mitchell Denies he Leaker Byrd Story - Associated Press
How many more bad breaks can one team get? Lets make a quick list of the Game Seven breaks and blunders so we can all see them together:
4. Blake boots an easy grounder to start the bottom of the seventh allowing Lugo to reach base. Pedroia, the next batter, hits a two run homer.
The Cleveland Curse is alive and well. Sweet.