Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Be careful what you wish for

In some parallel universe, Larry Dolan has enough money to run the Indians. In that parallel universe, instead of having the sixth-lowest payroll in baseball, the Indians kept Kevin Millwood, Bobby Howry, Scott Elarton, Coco Crisp, even Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez. Larry Dolan has so much money in that parallel universe that the Indians have a $100 million payroll, rivaling the Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And in that parallel universe, the Indians have the second-worst record in baseball.

Of course this will happen in that parallel universe, for two reasons. First, God hates Cleveland sports no matter in what universe our teams play. And second, the parallel universe already exists. It's in Madison Square Garden in the middle of New York City, the arena which houses the New York Knicks, the team owned by Larry Dolan's nephew, James Dolan.

That's the team with the $125 million payroll full of stiffs; the team run by Isaiah Thomas, a GM who everywhere you look is getting mocked for his pick in last night's NBA draft; the team that finished with 23 wins last year; the team that just fired Larry Brown as its coach and made that GM take over. The team run by a Dolan with a lot of money.

Of course, one sports lawyer says James Dolan is trying to get out of paying Brown as much money as Brown's contract calls for, so maybe rich Dolans are not much different than not-so-rich Dolans.

Maybe when Larry Dolan's son Paul said, "Just because you have money to spend doesn't mean there will be the opportunity to spend it wisely," he was actually talking to his cousin rather than talking about the Indians. Especially since Larry Dolan doesn't have a lot of money to spend.

So wishing for a parallel universe where Larry Dolan spends a lot of money might be The Monkey's Paw of sports wishes. Anyone who wishes for a parallel universe where Larry Dolan spends a lot of money forgets two things: that God hates Cleveland sports no matter where the teams are and no matter how much money is spent on them, and that it would still be a member of the Dolan family spending the money.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Indigestion from innings eater

Which is your favorite Cleveland sports phrase from the last 20 years:

* Diminished skills?
* Competing while rebuilding?
* Innings eater?

Well, our innings eater Jason Johnson is headed off to Boston to eat some innings for them, and presumably Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein will put him on a stricter diet. At least no one will hit any ground balls to Ben Broussard or Ronnie Belliard in Boston, so there is the possibility of a few more putouts.

Ironic that the sale of our "innings eater" comes the day after Vinny Testaverde's agent announced that the old-timer would be happy to play backup QB in Cleveland, more than a decade after he replaced Bernie Kosar's diminished skills as the Browns starter. And the day before Bernie sounded like a Sopranos extra in talking about divorcing his wife. Oh, and as long as Vinny doesn't have to play in training camp.

Meanwhile, the Tribe is neither rebuilding nor competing, they are simply losing and losing and losing. Apparently the stink of Jason Johnson's 52-86 lifetime record heading into this season rubbed off on the Indians, not the other way around. Now he's gone to Boston, the Tribe's gone to the cellar, and God's gone to bed, another day's work done good.

A tale of two cities

Our first-round 2004 draft pick: crashed while riding his motorcycle in a parking lot while wearing a helmet.

Their first-round 2004 draft pick: crashed while riding his motorcycle in a city street while not wearing a helmet after bragging for months about riding his motorcycle while not wearing a helmet.

Our first-round 2004 draft pick: landed in a bush.

Their first-round 2004 draft pick: landed face-first on a car windshield and then on a city street. As their first-round 2004 draft pick's teammate Joey Porter said, "Concrete is undefeated."

Our first-round 2004 draft pick: hasn't played since.

Their first-round 2004 draft pick: expected to be ready for the beginning of the season and not miss a game.

Our first-round 2004 draft pick: hated by God.

Their first-round 2004 draft pick: not hated by God.

A summer
of this?

This space has been empty for the last month, since the day after the Cavs bowed out of the playoffs, but really what has there been to say?

If there were something here about the Indians over the past month, it would look something like this: loss, win, loss, loss, win, loss, win, win, win -- hey, we're over .500 and beating the White Sox this year! -- loss, win, loss, loss, win, loss -- OK, the White Sox are back, let's get back over .500 and start a streak, oh never mind -- followed by who cares, who cares, who cares, who cares, who cares, who cares, who cares, who cares and who cares.

The Indians are now 32-39, haven't won two games in a row during June, and are 33% closer to last place than first. And it took them about two weeks longer than the rest of us to give up on the season. Last night, about three innings after manager Eric Wedge said if one of the Indians makes an error, the pitcher comes back and strikes out the next guy, two Indians made boneheaded plays and pitcher C.C. Sabathia struck out nobody and gave up.

But at least he's sorry!

Now not only does God hate Cleveland sports, not only do all the fans hate Cleveland sports, but C.C. Sabathia hates Cleveland sports. God showed his pleasure with the Cubs eight-run third inning by laughing so hard he cried, generating a downpour of near Noah's Ark proportions that washed away the game after seven innings.

The rest of us just cried, for the Cavs season -- which ended just as expected, just not how it was expectged -- is a month in the past and the Browns season is three months in the future. Which means nothing is in our present, because no one cares. Fitting that the Indians have closed the gap with the White Sox by beating them seven of 12 times so far this season, but are still 15 games behind the Detroit Tigers for first and 14 behind the White Sox for the wild card.

Well, except for God. He cares because he hates, and you can't hate if you don't care. The rest of us will be waiting for next year with our hands covering our heads.