Monday, July 31, 2006

Big shock from Big Papi

The only thing surprising about Big Papi's three-run, walk-off shot against Indians' "closer" Fausto Carmona is that anyone's actually surprised.

After his blast that gave the Red Sox a 9-8 victory Monday night, Ortiz now has five game-winning hits this season. He has 15 such hits in three seasons with the Red Sox, including nine walkoff homers. Monday night's blast will certainly be added to this montage very soon.

Really, team up God and David Ortiz against the Indians, and you have a duo as effective as Batman and Robin, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Brooks & Dunn, and Crockett and Tubbs. It's not a fair fight. It's the ultimate pairing they had in mind when they created the Marvel Team Up comic book. Heck, Ortiz just knocked in the winning run in the 11th inning against the Los Angeles Angels two nights ago. Even a hack could have written this script.

Now it's seven runs allowed in 1.1 innings over the last two games by our "closer." A byproduct of the Bob Wickman trade was finding out if Fausto could close. Guess what? If there's an open window somewhere, Fausto Carmona couldn't be trusted to close it.

There's only one closer in Cleveland right now. His name is God. He's closing the door on our sports hopes and dreams on a daily basis. And what with the 100 degree temperatures, it feels like our own sports hell right now.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

God hates Cleveland sports Hall of Fames, too

Since God hates Cleveland sports, you can be sure He also hates Cleveland sports Hall of Famers. Tonight before the Indians game with the Seattle Mariners, seven former Indians will join the club's Hall of Fame. But in slasher-movie fashion, only one of them made it through his Cleveland career unscathed.

How cursed is this group of Indians HOFers? Two of them had books written about how cursed they were!

RAY CHAPMAN -- When Carl Mays hit Ray Chapman in the head with a pitch on Aug. 16, 1920, Chapman collapsed while walking back to the dugout. He died 12 hours later. His body was buried in Lakeview Cemetary, right across the street from where Jacobs Field now stands. Mike Sowell's book about the tragedy, "The Pitch That Killed", is often listed among essential baseball books.

ROCKY COLAVITO -- Here's where God fooled us. Everyone knows about the curse of Rocky Colavito thanks to Akron Beacon Journal columnist Terry Pluto's book "The Curse of Rocky Colavito". Rocky, a Cleveland fan favorite, was traded to the Detroit Tigers after the 1959 season, and the Indians didn't have another winning season until The Rock returned in 1965. And they never won more than 87 games until 1995. Curse of Rocky Colavito? Nice trick, God!

ADDIE JOSS -- He pitched in the Aughts, so no one remembers that Addie Joss compiled a 1.89 ERA in nine years with the Indians (or Blues and Naps, as they were then known). No one remembers that he never had a losing season and posted a 160-97 career record. No one remembers that he tossed 45 shutouts and a perfect game. No one remembers that in three of the seasons in which he recorded a shutout he also earned at least one save. No one remembers that Addie Joss's career ERA of 1.82 is second all-time. No one remembers that Addie Joss was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978. No one remembers any of this because just before the 1911 season, at age 31, Addie Joss was stricken down by tubercular meningitis -- two days after his birthday.

AL LOPEZ -- Hooray for Al! He escaped God's wrath!

SAM McDOWELL -- A six-time All-Star, "Sudden" Sam pitched for the Indians from 1961-71, leading the American League in strikeouts five times. He's second behind Bob Feller on the Tribe's strikeout list, but would be first if alcoholism had not shortened his career. One-time teammate Dick Radatz said about "Sudden" Sam, "We thought he was stupid. It turned out he was never sober."

AL ROSEN -- Every year Al Rosen and his supporters hope for his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. And every year they end up waiting for next year. You'll find Al Rosen's name on many a short list of players believed to deserve admission to Cooperstown. But God also reads such lists.

HERB SCORE -- He made the cover of Sports Illustrated as a rookie in 1955 and went 36-19 in his first two seasons. Then in 1957, a Gil McDougald liner smaked Herb in the face, breaking several bones. Herb recovered, but not long after returning in 1958 he hurt his shoulder. He went 19-27 for the rest of his career. Then, after retiring as Indians broadcaster, Herb was injured in a car accident in 1998, then suffered a stroke.

It sure requires a lot to get into a Cleveland sports Hall of Fame. Not only do you have to be better than most of the hundreds of players from the Indians' long history, but you also have to put up with God hating your team.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Looking on
the bright side

So much negativity on the Cleveland sports scene these days. The Cavs choked away a playoff series against the Detoit Pistons. We sat by the telephone longer than we should have waiting for Lebron to call us for an extended date, only to find out he's not sticking around for the maximum. Now we listen to conspiracy theories that put Lebron, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Superman, the inventor of the Internet, and the cast of Lost in New York for the 2010-11 season. The Indians folded like lawn chairs. And the Browns season ended before it began.

And that's only in the last couple months.

To all that we say RUBBISH! It's time to look on the right side of Cleveland sports. But danger! It's so bright over there you could BURN YOUR EYES OUT if you're not careful. So grab one of those pinhole cameras used for viewing a solar eclipse and check out all the great things going on in Cleveland right now:

* BE SECURE in your knowledge that the ground still cannot cause a fumble, only rare, franchise-devastating, fan-crushing patellar tendon ruptures!

* WATCH Ben Broussard hit three homers at Jacobs Field tonight -- for the Seattle Mariners!

* LISTEN to Tribe broadcaster Tom Hamilton try to pronounce names like Shin-Soo Choo and Maximiliano Ramirez.

* PREPARE for the Browns and Steelers to renew their rivalry, which no one with Time Warner (nee Adelphia) cable will be able to watch on Dec. 7 because the cable system is dropping the NFL Network!

* MARVEL at the ability of Indians GM Mark Shapiro and assistant GM Chris Antonetti make trade after trade without using the word "rebuilding"!

* GASP at the power of God as He demonstrates His hatred of Cleveland sports again and again and again ...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sorry, LeCharlie

As LeCharles Bentley has found out, it's just as dangerous playing for a Cleveland sports team as it is rooting for one. Of course it took him only two days of training camp to find out; the rest of us have learned it over the past 42 years.

LeCharles is now out for the season, thanks to a snapped patellar tendon. He might end up being lucky if he's only out for the 2006 season. Not only is he a very large man, making recovery from such an injury much more difficult, but God doesn't like anything good happening to Cleveland teams.

With that in mind, here are a few things LeCharles can do during training camp next season to try and stay healthy:

* Lead a rally to change the team name to the Akron Browns
* Stay away from Ted Washington
* Wear the red "don't touch me!" jersey the quarterbacks wear.
* Yell, "Look, there's Art Modell!" if he feels any danger.
* Sign with the Chargers. San Diego's about as far away from Cleveland as you can get.
* Ride his motorcycle without wearing a helmet. Very fast. On city streets. In Pittsburgh.
* Pray to God -- oh, wait!!!!

A knee to the stomach

Cleveland now has its own Kennedy assassination tape. The grainy, hard-to-see video of LeCharles Bentley's career ending has now made it to all the local news station web sites. There's Charlie Frye calling the plays. Then there's a mass of bodies. Then there's Romeo Crennell blowing his whistle. And then there's one player not getting up. That's LeCharles, and he's not getting up because his patella tendon has been sliced in two.

But even with the miracles of modern technology no one can tell just who rolled over LeCharles and ruined the Browns season. Two guesses?

First, Kellen Winslow. Wouldn't it just be perfect if after spending the last two years on the injured list himself, Winslow returned to the Browns as the prodigal son and savior and then knocked out their top free-agent signing? Winslow better hope no one cleans up this grainy image, because if we see him on top of LeCharles, we might just not forgive him this time.

Second guess? God. And God doesn't even need to roll His body over top of LeCharles; He can just point his finger like a gun and say, "Bang." Especially if he's aiming for Cleveland.

What'd you expect?

We're shocked. We're speechless. We're incredulous. We're stunned.

But surprised? Heck, no.

As far back as March, LeCharles Bentley should have known. As far back as 42 years, we've known. Good things just don't happen to our sports teams here, no matter what. And if you couldn't have predicted that Bentley, the Browns' top free agent signing in years, would be carted off the field with a serious knee injury during the team's second day of training camp, you just aren't paying attention to Cleveland sports. This the same day The Plain Dealer labeled Bentley a "luxurious necessity."

On the message boards, they are writing {slams head into desk}, "feels like someone stuck a knife in my stomach," "I f'n quit", and "I hate God for this." Hey, come on over and join us around the campfire, folks!

Hey, at least the Indians don't have to worry about the remaining fans abandoning them because of Browns fever!

Look, if you needed ANY further proof that God hates Cleveland sports, you got it today. Some advice for LeBron James -- pull the covers up as far as you can and close your eyes. Don't get out of bed until training camp. Oh, wait. Better make that the regular season. Even then, look both ways twice before crossing the street, check your brake lines before driving, and hold your breath until your contract runs out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Michael Young, hero of Cleveland

Thank you, Michael Young! Because of your two-out, two-run, ninth-inning triple in last week's All-Star Game, the Indians still have a chance to host Game 7 of the World Series!

And to think, we thought the second-worst defense in the AL had already doomed our chances. Or the league's third-worst starting pitching. Here we thought the Detroit Tigers' 108-win pace had already finished us off. Or maybe it was Jason Johnson.

Whatever reason we Clevelanders had for crossing Game 7 of the World Series at Jacobs Field off our to-do lists, Michael Young has erased it. Thanks to Michael Young's triple and the American League's 3-2 All-Star Game victory, the AL champion will have home-field advantage in the World Series this year.

It's not only Michael Young giving us hope, either. Nope, the Indians still have a 5.4% chance of making the playoffs at this exact moment. And they've got a .7% chance of winning it all! It probably would have been more like a .3% chance of winning it all had it not been for Michael Young. After all, the team with the home-field advantage has won 17 out of the last 20 World Series. Heck, a 5.4% chance of making the playoffs is pretty good for a Cleveland team at any time during any season. Consider -- in this, their 106th season of playing baseball, the Tribe has made the postseason nine times. So pick any Indians season from history at random and you have an 8.4% chance of picking a playoff team. This year's edition of bumblers has as good a chance as any Tribe team of making it!

Thank you so much, Michael Young! And take that, Trevor Hoffman. You gave up Michael Young's triple, and that's what you get for staying in San Diego instead of coming here. NO GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES AT PETCO PARK FOR YOU!!!!!!

So circle Saturday, Oct. 30 on your calendar, not for the big Ohio State at Iowa nationally televised football game, but for Game 7 of the World Series which still can be played at Jacobs Field!

The Cleveland Curse

It's kinda funny, the first couple minutes of this YouTube video. You see all the ghosts from Cleveland sports past, all the famous losses that have become our legend -- The Catch, The Drive, The Shot, etc. You know, our mythology.

But the thing is, it just won't end. And about three minutes in something grabs your heart and just squeezes hard. Maybe it's the picture of Art Modell. Maybe it's Big Dawg leaving an empty Browns stadium -- the end of innocence in Cleveland sports. Maybe it's the picture of Ray Lewis holding up the newspaper that says "Ravens win Super Bowl", since they are the REAL Browns, and you know that Art got over once and for all and there's nothing you can do about it.

By the fourth minute you're shaking and ready to punch the computer screen. That's when our players all leave, like they're deserting a sinking ship. Then we're reminded of last year's Indians abrupt choke. And there's not even an Indians game to go lose yourself in, because even though they just beat John Lackey, who had thrown 30+ scoreless innings before the Tribe got to him, it means about as much as a free haircut does to a bald man. Still 10 games under, still 20 games out, still waiting for the Browns to start training camp with the quarterback situation ranked worst in the league and a team expected to finish last.

God hates Cleveland sports so much that even 18-year-olds in Ashtabula know everything there is to know about heartbreak, despite not being around most of this sadness. That's who made this montage. God hates Cleveland sports so much that He's made sure you can go to YouTube, search "Cleveland", and be reminded of His hatred by people who were in middle school when Art Modell moved the Browns. God hates Cleveland sports so much that in this lost Indians summer, with nothing but unispired baseball to watch, we can't even escape into our glorious past and remember the good times.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Taking the challenge

The storm clouds have lifted. Fans are climbing down from their rooftops. The pitchforks and torches have been put back in the basement.

LeBron James has not forsaken us. After nearly the maximum amount of time of waiting, LeBron will take the Cavs' max offer of five years for $80 million. That keeps him here through the 2012-2013 season.

Hell, if we can't win a title by then with LeBron in his prime, we might as well just pack everything up and turn in the keys, cause it ain't ever gonna happen. Besides, the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, meaning the world will end in LeBron's last season. And if Cleveland can't win a title by then with LeBron in his prime, the world might as well just end.

Apparently the "secret" $100 million Nike clause that doubles if LeBron goes to New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles wasn't enough to entice him away. But so what? New York, Chicago, and L.A. have all been done before. LeBron's up for a bigger challenge. He's taking on God.

For 42 years now we've been wandering the sports desert. The Browns won the NFL title in 1964 thanks to Jim Brown, perhaps the greatest football player of his time. Now Cleveland's greatest athlete since Jim Brown is ours to keep. It's kind of been no contest for the last four decades, with God vs. our assortment of clowns over the years. But now the game is on, and LeBron's going to put on the biggest show Cleveland has ever seen.

LeBron James vs. God. Mark it on your calendars from now until 2013.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hanging on the telephone

The Miami Heat did it. They've apparently agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract extension with Dwayne Wade, their budding superstar.

The Denver Nuggets did it. They've apparently agreed to a five-year, $80 million maximum contract extension with Carmelo Anthony, their budding superstar.

The Dallas Mavericks did it. They've apparently agreed to a six-year, $50 million contract extension for budding superstar Jason Terry.

The Chicago Bulls did it. They lured the top free agent, Ben Wallace, away from the Detroit Pistons with a four-year, $52 million contract.

Heck, even the New Orleans Hornets did it, signing Peja Stojakovic and Bobby Jackson.

But the Cavs? They sit by the phone waiting for the call from the guy whom they gave their number at the bar the other night. Yes, even though the Miami Heat have done it, even though the Denver Nuggets have done it, even though the Dallas Mavericks have done it, even though the Chicago Bulls have done it, and even though the New Orleans Hornets have done it, the Cavs have still not done it. They have not received that phone call from LeBron James.

Of course, LeBron has a lot to think about before upping for another five years with the Cavs. There's that no-championships-since-1964 thing. There's that Drive/Fumble/Shot/Mesa thing. And there's that God-hates-Cleveland-sports thing.

So as the Cavs sit by the phone sighing while all their friends get hitched, all kinds of scenarios go through our minds. We're too ugly. We're too fat. He doesn't like us. He's just not that into us. It's happened plenty of times before. Remember Jim Thome? Carlos Boozer? Art Modell? They all SAID they liked us and wanted to spend time with us, and next thing we knew they were with someone else. Jerks!