Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oh, what a new feeling

Everyone knows our folklore -- no championships since the Browns NFL title in 1964. Devastating playoff losses (The Drive, The Shot, The Fumble, The Mesa). Art Modell stealing our Browns away to Baltimore. A plague of locusts, all city residents covered in boils, and a river that turned into blood. Well, at least it seems like all those bad things have happened, kind of like how your parents tell you they had to walk uphill to school both ways in the snow without a jacket, and every time they tell you the story it gets even worse.

But it actually does get even worse in Cleveland. And that's why the Cavs are on the brink of something historic in Cleveland sports history. Not only have our teams not won a title since 1964, we've only enjoyed ONE playoff sweep. That's right, nineteen playoff series for the Cavs and not a single sweep. Heck, they've only even won five of those series, and in only one of those did their opponent not win multiple games. As for the Tribe? They've been in 15 playoff series, winning seven while sweeping just one. That was their first-round series against the Red Sox, which the Indians won 3-0.

So between the Cavs and the Indians we've seen 34 playoff series and enjoyed only one sweep. ONE.

Now the Cavs are on the brink of a sweep with the Washington Wizards. Hey, there's pretty much no question that the Cavs are going to advance. No NBA team has ever overcome a 3-0 series deficit in 78 tries. Heck, we pretty much had the Cavs penciled into the second round as soon as the second-round date with the Wizards was set.

But still, a sweep? That's bucking decades of Cleveland playoff futility. They sweep dirt roads more often than our teams sweep playoff series. Our river's caught fire 10 times! It might as well be a foreign language when you're talking sweep in Cleveland.

Here we are, though, one win away. Monday night could be a whole new feeling in this town.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

All we wanted for Christmas
was two top draft picks

We finally got what we wanted for Christmas.

And then some.

Like Ralphie, we've been begging for our own version of a Red Rider BB gun for years -- an offensive lineman.

"Bring us an offensive lineman!" we've been shouting for years.

"You'll shoot your eye out!" they kept telling us.

Until now. Now we've got Joe Thomas, who most likely will be knocking a lot of eyes out of defensive linemen. And then we got ANOTHER top-three draft pick when the Browns traded next year's first-rounder and this year's second-rounder for Dallas' No. 22 pick and took Brady Quinn. A possible franchise quarterback. A guy from Columbus who wanted to play for the Browns. A guy who told Suzy Kolber on ESPN that "this is a childhood dream come true" right after hearing the news.
Joe Thomas AND Brady Quinn are Browns. Now can our childhood dreams come true?
Next someone will tell you that the Cavs are on the verge of sweeping a playoff series and the Indians are in first place after winning seven straight.
The Browns are destined to get an A+ for this draft. And that's before their final two picks of the day, which very well could include a running back (Arizona's Chris Henry?) and a defensive back. The decision to move up to get Quinn, even though it cost the Browns next year's first-rounder (making Dallas the latest city to root against Cleveland), is already getting rave reviews.
Really, has the rest of the league finally screwed up and allowed a Cleveland team to pull one over on them? The irony is that a Cleveland guy allowed the Browns to land Quinn. Miami's shocking choice of Glenville grad Ted Ginn Jr. knocked Quinn off the cliff.
Phil Savage finally reached out and grabbed Quinn. And now a beleaguered fanbase is hoping it's been saved as well.

Your 2007 NFL Draft boo rankings

T-minus not much longer until the Browns make the Pick That Changes the Direction of the Franchise, aka the third pick overall in the 2007 NFL Draft.

And t-minus not much longer than that until the booing and second-guessing begins.

Pretty much everyone you can think of has been projected to be there by someone. Tony Grossi of The Plain Dealer forecasts QB JaMarcus Russell. ESPN's Mel Kiper and Patrick McManamon of the Akron Beacon-Journal give OT Joe Thomas to the Browns. The Dayton Daily News and Jeff Schudel of the Lake County News-Herald/Lorain Morning Journal say it's going to be RB Adrian Peterson, The Canton Repository says it's going to be QB Brady Quinn,

And a collective Browns nation says enough already, just make the damn pick!

Seems these days if you don't make a mock draft it's time to turn in your man card, even if you're a woman. And if you don't make a mock draft, you make a mockery of the draft. Blame Mel Kiper for starting us down this slippery slope, but we all know if we didn't sit here with our mouths wide open like baby birds waiting for food to be shoved down our gullets, none of this would have happened.

So after digesting the 127,346 online mock drafts, the 573,976 hours of draft previews on television, and the 6,743,225 draft conversations we've had with friends, it all comes down to this -- which Browns' draft-day decision will draw the most boos at draft parties? Here's the God Hates Cleveland Sports rankings of top prospects for boos:

1) BRADY QUINN -- The Notre Dame quarterback will draw the most boos, especially by those who have been dumped by their girlfriend for no good reason and are afraid to dive back into the pool. He's Tim Couch II, these people say, another guy who will just be pounded into submission behind a leaky offensive line. (Funny, no one ever worried about that when they put Charlie Frye back there.)

If that's not enough, taking Tim Couch II would be an indication that the Charlie Frye Era has been a mistake. (Guess what -- the Charlie Frye Era HAS been a mistake! Better to admit it then keep him under center, don't you think?) And taking Quinn would be a death sentence for coach Romeo Crennell and probably even GM Phil Savage, who wouldn't be allowed to stick around long enough for Quinn to mature. (Guess what, neither of them's sticking around if Charlie Frye sticks around either.)

2) ANY DEFENSIVE PLAYER -- This choice would be akin to falling for another used-car salesman's ad, the ole bait-and-switch tactic that sends you home with a lemon. Our draft possibilities are as ingrained as Santa's reindeer, but not once has that list ever included a defensive player. Heck, most mock drafts only have one defensive player in the Top 5, and that's defensive end Gaines Adams. Give us a player we're not familiar with as the new face of the franchise? Prepare for a Level 7 boo.

3) WR CALVIN JOHNSON -- All those worried about Tim Couch II should be especially worried about Braylon Edwards II, or K3. Or even Kevin Johnson II. Learn from Matt Millen's mistakes -- and your own. Haven't the Browns taken enough first-round pass catchers who have done nothing? If the best wide receiver has no one to throw him the ball, will he make a sound? Well, besides squawking to reporters.

4) TRADING DOWN -- It's the decidely unsexy option, but just like reading Playboy for the articles is actually not that bad of an idea, trading down gives the Browns what they really need -- the chance to take a LOT of new (and hopefully good) players. Word is that Swiss cheese is thinking of changing its name to Browns cheese, this team has so many holes. And if you can hold a player for ransom that plenty of teams covet, i.e. Calvin Johnson or JaMarcus Russell, you can turn your team over in a hurry.

5) JaMARCUS RUSSELL -- You get the feeling the Phil Savage would adopt JaMarcus Russell if he good. Ever since Russell attended Savage's football camp eight years ago, Savage has envisioned their wedding day, errrrrr, the day that Russell turned pro. Today's the day. And with all the good press Russell has received, not too many Browns fans would boo -- even if there's the danger of him turning into Akili Smith II.

6) JOE THOMAS -- Someone will boo. There's always someone. But ever since the Browns returned to the field in 1999, fans have been clamoring for the team to boost their offensive line. "Draft a lineman!" we yell every year. Heck, the very first new Brown was center Jim Pyne, taken in the expansion draft. So there should be absolutely, positively no booing if the Browns finally do draft a lineman with their first pick. Anyone who does should immediately start rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Best Week Ever?

Usually here in Cleveland we watch our sports teams like dateless high-school wallflowers watch the prom. We'll look at the girls in their skimpy dresses and make clever comments, all while leaning against the wall and playing cool like we never wanted to dance with any of them anyway. Nope, not us, we're way beyond something as ridiculous as dancing with a GIRL. We're not even going to try and dance with any of them, because they might say no or something.

That's how we've been watching our teams here this past week -- leaning back, one foot propped up on the wall, and one eye on the dance floor. It's all great, really, all this winning, all these fantastic finishes, all these playoff victories. Heck, we might even get the nerve up to think we should actually ask one of the girls to dance!

Check it out:

  • The Indians have won five of six after their meltdown in NYC last week, while the mighty Yankees have lost every game since. The new Kardiac Tribe has won two of those in the ninth inning and two others in extra innings. And now they're in first place by a game. Roberto Hernandez has picked up two victories during the stretch while Trot Nixon smacked a homer in Thursday's game. Then there's Jhonny Peralta, who knocked in the game-winning run Wednesday. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, it's all going just like Mark Shapiro said ...

  • The Cavs have done just what everyone predicted, winning the first two en route to a possible sweep of the shorthanded Washington Wizards. No, the James Gang hasn't exactly been like King Leonidas whalloping the invading Persians, but they've done just enough to get us thinking about the second round -- and perhaps even look ahead to an Eastern Conference Finals rematch with the Pistons. OK, so the Cavs haven't won by a Phoenix-like 30 points in either of the first two games, but they haven't trailed at the end of any quarter yet.

  • Then there's the Browns, who culminated the week with the ultimate shall-we-dance? moment, the NFL Draft. Should they ask Brady Quinn to the prom? Or Joe Thomas? But what if no one's asked that hottie JaMarcus Russell out yet -- think he's too nuts? At the same time, we all want whoever the Browns take to be the same one WE want to spend the rest of our lives with. Is it too much to hope for???
Really, what a week. The Kardiac Tribe, an unbeaten NBA playoffs run, and the NFL draft, all within seven days. This might just be the greatest Cleveland sports week since the Indians playoff run of 1997. And it all followed the most devastating regular-season loss for the Tribe in the Jacobs Field era.

Consider our best weeks of the past decade:

2006: During the Cavs' first-round playoff victory over the Wizards last year, the Indians went just 6-7.

2005: The Indians went 17-2 from Sept. 5 to Sept. 24. But the Browns were just 1-2 during that stretch. Both teams lost on Sept. 25, the Tribe in devastating fashion when Grady Sizemore lost a fly ball in the sun in the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals.

2004: The Tribe won 10 of 11 from Aug. 4 to Aug. 14, but was the only game in town. Then they lost a battle for first place with the Twins on Aug. 15, the beginning of nine straight defeats and a plunge from contention.

2003: LeBron James outplayed the hype, debuting on Oct. 29 with 25 points, six rebounds, and nine assists in the season-opener on the road against the Sacramento Kings. Predictably, the Cavs lost this along with their next four while the Browns were losing 9-3 to the New England Patriots heading into their bye week.

2002: It was a great week until about two minutes left on Jan. 5, when Tommy Maddox and the Pittsburgh Steelers completed their comeback in the AFC wild-card game against the Browns.

2001: The Tribe's last foray into the playoffs was great for a few days, but ultimately a 2-1 series lead against the Mariners ended with a five-game series loss on Oct. 15. The Browns didn't help with a loss to division-rival Cincinnati on Oct. 14.

2000: Browns -- three wins. Cavs -- losing season in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. Indians -- winning season, but missed the playoffs by a game. All good weeks were rendered irrelevent.

1999: The Browns returned to play their first game of their second life against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 12. They were crushed 43-0. We remained excited all week, until the Tennessee Titans whipped the Browns, 26-6. In between, the Indians went 2-6. Still, it was the greatest week of the year, even though the Tribe made the playoffs.

1998: Both our best weeks ended up the same. The Cavs lost a four-game playoff series to the Indiana Pacers in the first half of the year. The Indians lost a four-game playoff series to the New York Yankees in the second half of the year.

So there you have it. Since the magical Indians playoff run of 1997 that took us all the way to the World Series, all our Best Weeks Ever have been tinged with sadness, the proverbial dark cloud behind the silver lining. But not this one, not the one we're in the midst of. The Cavs haven't let us down, the Indians have provided several heart-stopping victories, and the Browns are poised to draft the franchise-saving hero.

Of course, there is always Saturday and the end of the week.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Paying the fiddler

Eric Wedge fiddled around, Joe Borowski burned up, and A-Rod handed the Indians their most devastating regular-season loss of the Jacobs Field era.

Two outs, no one on base, bottom of the ninth on the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium, and Josh Phelps -- about as non-hallowed a Yankee as there's ever been -- up to bat with his team trailing 6-2. The Tribe's closer on the mound. Fans heading toward the exits. The white flag slowly being raised.

Even Phelps' home run didn't send more than a ripple through the emptying Yankee Stadium ocean. The Yankees were still a long ways away from even sniffing victory.

Then Jorge Posada singled. Johnny Damon followed with a walk.

And Eric Wedge fiddled.

Then Derek Jeter singled in a run. Bobby Abreau did the same.

And Eric Wedge fiddled.

Up came Alex Rodriguez representing the winning run. With one walkoff grand slam to his credit already this season, everyone left in Yankee Stadium was now standing.

Except for Eric Wedge, who continued to fiddle.

Borowski threw a wild pitch, then a worse one, a flat fastball right across the heart of the plate. A-Rod swung, sending an A-bomb to center for the victory. With first base open, A-Rod was allowed to swing away and drive a knockout punch out of the park.

Only then did Eric Wedge get up from the spot on the bench to which he'd been Superglued. He had to make his way to the clubhouse. Not once did he go out to talk to his closer. Not once did he send his pitching coach to calm Borowski's nerves. Instead he spent the entire ninth inning acting as if the foul lines were Invisible Fence and he was a collared dog.

He fiddled, and the Tribe's season burned.


1) Yankees 8, Indians 6 (4/19/07) -- Six runs in the bottom of the ninth after the first two were retired.

2) Royals 5, Indians 4 (9/25/05) -- In the bottom of the ninth, Grady Sizemore lost a ball in the sun, and the Royals scored the winning run. The loss sparked the Indians to a final-week record of six losses in seven games, erasing a chance at making the playoffs.

3) Twins 4, Indians 2, 10 innings (8/15/04) -- The surprising Indians had taken the first two of a three-game set for the Twins and needed just one more win to tie for first place. Graybeard Terry Mulholland was all that stood between the Indians and first. And he did, limiting the Tribe to two runs through eight innings. That allowed Corey Koskie to stroke a two-run homer in the 10th inning, giving the Twins the victory and a two-game lead for first. The Indians fell apart, losing nine straight and before two weeks were up, they found themselves eight games out of first.

4) White Sox 3, Indians 2, 13 innings (9/25/05) -- Still with a chance to tie the White Sox for the division title and with the wild card still in hand, the Indians lost to a White Sox lineup featuring Brian Anderson in center, Ross Gload at first, Joe Borchard batting cleanup, Timo Perez in right, Chris Widger behind the plate, Geoff Blum at short, and Willie Harris at second. Two days later Ozzie gave Tribe fans the choke sign.

5) Royals sweep Tribe (5/8/06 - 5/10/06) -- With high hopes heading into the season, the Indians found themselves 17-15 and 5.5 games out of first place. A visit to Kansas City, which held the worst record in the league, looked like the prescription for the Indians pain. Instead, the Royals swept the Tribe to start a six-game losing streak. The Indians never recovered.

6) Rain 1, Indians 0 (4/14/02) -- Mark Shapiro expected the Indians to "contend while rebuilding." Everyone laughed, but the Tribe amazed with an 11-1 start to the season. An exciting victory over the Royals with six runs coming in the final two innings for an 8-7 win was the 11th. Then the Tribe was rained out a Sunday. With Monday an off day, the Tribe's momentum was stopped cold. They lost 15 of their next 17 en route to a 74-88 record.

An A-bomb destroys Tribe

Two outs, no one one, Tribe up four, our closer in the game, and Josh Freaking Phelps at the plate.

Ten minutes later A-Rod parks one over the center-field fence and the Tribe is a stunning 8-6 loser.

No wonder everyone leaves this town.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

They must have found a live chicken

The last time the Indians played home games in Milwaukee, they made the playoffs. Well, kind of. That was back in 1989, when the Indians making the playoffs was so much a fantasy they made a movie about just exactly what would happen if the Indians DID make the playoffs. Yep, "Major League" actually had its baseball scenes filmed at old Milwaukee County Stadium.

Now, thanks to Mother Nature, the Indians have returned to use Milwaukee's Miller Park as their home stadium. This time it's for real. And it just so happens to coincide with the DVD release of "Major League: Wild Thing Edition."

The Indians used a little of the Wild Thing magic to attract more than 20,000 fans to the opening game of the series with the Los Angeles Angels, and to hold on for a 7-6 victory. To honor the bizarre turn of events that has sent the Indians a few hundred miles west for some home games, and to honor one of the best sports movies of all time, here's the "Major League" awards for the first game of the series.

Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn Award -- to Tribe reliever Joe Borowski, who gave up two hits and one run to "earn" the save. For the second time he was bailed out by his defense, this time when catcher Kelly Shoppach gunned down pinch-runner Erik Aybar trying to steal second to end the game. Don't feel bad, Erick, Babe Ruth was once thrown out stealing to end a World Series! Perhaps Borowski needs glasses. Hey, he was serenaded to the Wild Thing music when he entered the game, so why not?

Harry Doyle Award -- to Sports Time Ohio color man Rick Manning, who sported the Wild Thing glasses during the pregame, although there was a nice big piece of masking tape holding them together in the middle. Rumor has it a couple pitches were even thrown just a bit outside.

Jake Taylor Award -- to Ryan Garko, who would have found himself behind the plate for the first time in the bigs if anything had happened to Kelly Shoppach, like an anvil falling out of the sky and landing on his head. The Indians believe Victor Martinez can return to action soon, perhaps the only blessing from the snowed-out series, meaning Garko is the only option for the tools of ignorance should disaster strike. And who could ever believe that anything would?

Eddie Harris Award -- to Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, who was accused last week of using an illegal substance which he supposedly hid under the bill of his cap. K-Rod stayed in the bullpen during this one, and no one accused him of anything, be it Bardol, Crisco, or Vagisil.

Willie Mays Hayes Award -- to Grady Sizemore, who stole a career-high three bases, though he did not whip out an American Express card when he slid safely into any of them. He even mixed in a popout, though no push-ups.

Jobu Award -- to Slider, who made the trip with the rest of the team and even got to be a real slider when he slid down from Bernie Brewer's platform after home runs by Shoppach and Casey Blake. Or was it renamed Bernie Kosar's platform for this series? And no one told Slider to fuck off!

Pedro Cerrano Award -- to Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, who never met a pitch he didn't like. But even though he liked them all, they didn't like him yesterday, as he apparently had problems with the curveball, going 0-for-5 with a strikeout. Who knows, though, maybe Guerrero will grow up to become president of the Dominican Republic some day, at least on a television show.

Lou Brown Award -- to Eric Wedge, who didn't have to worry about his opposing manager pulling any stall tactics to get the game canceled due to bad weather. Even the 10 inches of snow predicted to hit Milwaukee overnight won't affect the rest of this series, thanks to the Miller Park retractable roof.

Roger Dorn Award -- NOT to Josh Barfield, who did dive for a ground ball off the ball of Orlando Cabrera, starting a nifty double play in the third inning. No word on whether Barfield wants to be an interior decorator when his playing days are over.

And now that the first game of one of the craziest series you'll see is over with, there's only one thing left to do.

Win the whole fucking thing.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

That did not happen

Paul Byrd's no-hitter? Didn't happen.

Mariner third baseman Adrian Beltre's three errors? Didn't happen.

Global warming? Didn't happen.

Victor Martinez's quad pull that will probably land him on the disabled list? Oh, yea, of course -- that happened!

Apparently, not only God hates Cleveland Sports. After the Indians short-circuited Opening Day game, it looks like Mother Nature hates Cleveland Sports as well.

After a day in which snow delays took longer than actual game play, the Indians came away with not just nothing, but less than nothing. In a microcosm of how achingly close this city has come to, well, anything over the last 43 years, the Indians were one strike away from not only winning the home opener, but no-hitting the Seatte Mariners. Then it all went away.

All of it except for Victor Martinez's strained quad muscle.

Ex-Tribe skipper Mike Hargrove turned into the Human Snow Delay, making the first good move of his managerial career since he left the Indians. After Mariners second baseman Jose Lopez complained that he couldn't see with his team down 4-0 in the top of the fifth, Hargrove stalled the umpires just long enough for the snow to come down hard enough so that no one actually could see. Byrd needed just one more strike to finish off Mariner second baseman Jose Lopez and make it an official game. He still needs that strike.

The snow began falling harder. And harder. And harder. And then the Mariners left the bases while the Indians stayed in the field. Reminiscent of "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training," fans began chanting "Let them play! Let them play!" But no one did. A Coldplay song was broadcast over the PA system. Almost an hour and a half later, after the grounds crew had used about a dozen leafblowers to clear the outfield, the umpires called the game. Instead of a shortened victory, instead of a no-hitter, instead of a satisfied Opening Day crowd, the Indians had nothing. Once again.

Oh, except for an injured Victor Martinez. The quad pull he suffered running out a grounder stands. When the Indians refused to cancel the game before the first pitch, the surest bet became that someone would get hurt. That it was the Indians most indispensible player -- the Indians will call up Mike Rose if Victor goes to the DL??? -- is just par for the course.

As soon as noon passed with snow flying sideways in downtown Cleveland and the Indians not calling the game, someone getting injured became a 1/5 favorite. Secretariat in a claiming race at Thistledown couldn't get those odds. That the injury happened to one of the Grady Sizemore/Travis Hafner/Victor Martinez triumvirate was more expected than turning on NBC and seeing some version of Law and Order.
So now the Indians will be playing a day/night doubleheader Saturday in the same conditions with a depleted pitching AND catching staff, all because the schedulemakers are stupid enough to send Seattle -- a team with its own dome -- on the road to Cleveland during the first week in April for its only trip here. The forecast for Saturday calls for 2-to-4 inches of snow and temperatures under 30 degrees.

It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Snowpening Day

No fair-weather fans in downtown Cleveland today.

Nope, the weather's just not that good.

The Indians won't be playing their home opener today in Cleveland Browns Stadium, but they will be playing it in Cleveland Browns weather. Snow has been falling all day and forcing fans to bundle up football-style. Most likely the Indians and Seattle Mariners will be wearing mittens under their gloves to withstand the cold temperatures.

Not since Game 4 of the 1997 World Series have the Indians played a game in such horrendous conditions. In that one, it snowed during batting practice and intermittently throughout the game as the Indians beat the Florida Marlins 10-3 in freezing temperatures.

But hey, what do you expect in a football town?

3:44 p.m. What a surprise. The first pitch has been delayed, but no one will say how long. WKYC says it has just been announced on the scoreboard. That's right, wait 20 minutes before the game is supposed to start to tell people something you have known would happen all day long. Apparently the Indians want as much beer money as they can get.

3:51 p.m. Nice job, Tribe. Now that everyone's making their way into the stadium, they can sit on their butts and freeze for an hour before anything happens. The game is now scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Winners: Bars in the Jacobs Field area, as people planning to the game now plan on getting even drunker. Losers: Everyone crazy enough to head into the stadium expecting a baseball game to be played in the snow.

3:57 p.m. What a snow job! Mother Nature Hates Cleveland sports, too.

4:04 p.m. WKYC is really feeling the effects of this snow job. So far on the pregame show in the past 15 minutes, they have had a bad interview with an army reservist who will be singing the National Anthem today, and a story on a father and son who are going to the game today after saving someone out of a raging river. Their ratings must be plummeting lower than the temperature. PLEASE JUST CANCEL THE GAME!

4:10 p.m. Please explain this. The Twins game in Chicago scheduled for tonight has been postponed because of a forecast that calls for cold temperature and high winds. In Cleveland, the game has merely been delayed, thereby pushing it closer to being played after the sun goes down when the temperature will be even lower and the snow will still be falling. Doesn't Chicago weather usually make it to Cleveland eventually?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Live blogging the opener

Opening Day fills everyone with optimism. Even in Cleveland. Right now the Indians are unbeaten and unscored upon, and that's the way they'll stay if we have our way. Of course, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates are also unbeaten. But at least the Devil Rays aren't still unscored upon; they've already given up two runs in the first inning.

So before the oppressive weight of a new season crushes our optimistic outlook, here's the first GHCS live blog, as the Tribe and White Sox prepare to start The Season of Optimism ...

1:45 p.m.
What is this? C.C. Sabathia is healthy enough to get the Opening Day start after all, the Tigers are already down 3-0 in the first inning, and Gold Glover Derek Jeter has made an error in the second inning. Well, not everything's backwards as this season starts -- the Yankees scored two runs in the first inning and probably won't trail all year.

1:50 p.m.
Boy all these Baylor/Oklahoma State fans are going to be pissed when they cut away from this game in a few minutes. After all, it's only half over!

1:49 p.m. What, this game was played yesterday? Man, these Oklahoma State/Baylor viewers must be REALLY pissed!

2:02 p.m. Apparently someone else is about to be really pissed off. In an apartment about 750 yards from Jacobs Field, the STO broadcast is BLACKED OUT. Yes, the team's own station not allowed to broadcast the season opener in downtown Cleveland.

2:06 p.m. And Grady Sizemore starts the season with a second-pitch homer run off Jose Contreras! Not since John Rockefeller discovered oil has there been such a great start in Cleveland.

2:08 p.m.Of course, everyone in downtown Cleveland just saw some Oklahoma State kid thrown out at the plate. Or Baylor kid. From yesterday. Sports (Some)Time(s) Ohio is at it again.

2:13 p.m. STO has been located! Apparently it was hidden on Channel 17 on your dial, even though every other thing ever broadcast on there is on Channel 30. Interestingly, the radio broadcast is a full five seconds behind the TV broadcast. Keep this in mind when you want to win some easy bets from your friends.

2:17 p.m. The Face of the Indians, Casey Blake, comes to the plate. Or is it the chin of the Indians?

2:18 p.m. And The Face of the Indians becomes the first to not even hit the ball out of the infield.

2:20 p.m. Man, Jose Contreras looks even older than Greg Oden!

2:21 p.m. And Tom Hamilton just questioned Jose Contreras' age as well. Contreras is listed as 35 years old. Which Means Oden is at least 33.

2:22 p.m. Jhonny Peralta starts the season with an RBI single, which positions himself for the biggest comeback since the guy who played Kelly Leak was nominated for an Oscar for his work in Little Children last year.

2:23 p.m. And Josh Barfield delivers a two-run double. That was the greatest trade ever, Mark Shapiro!

2:25 p.m. Even The Season of Optimism wasn't this optimistic. 5-0 Tribe after a half-inning. Or, as Tom Hamilton just called it, 15 minutes of pleasure for the Indians. Lucky them!

2:30 p.m. Looks like no swelling on C.C.'s left arm as he makes his fourth Opening Day start. As for the rest of him, there's plenty of swelling.

2:32 p.m. And maybe his head is swelled up as well. Darin Erstad, who should be out of baseball, just hit his first home run since 2005.

2:38 p.m. Five first-inning runs might not be enough today. Three warning-track outs end the first inning for the White Sox. Unless the Indians bats plan to provide more action than Ron Jeremy in his heyday, this lead won't last. Not even in The Season of Optimism.

2:43 p.m. And Trot Nixon is now on pace for 1,458 hits after doubling in the second inning. That would absolutely shatter the single-season record. Mark Shapiro, this Bud's for you!

2:46 p.m. Bye-bye, Jose Contreras, as Travis Hafner hits one up the middle that turns into a Juan Uribe throwing error, two runs, and a 7-2 Indians lead. Contreras strolls to the dugout as fast as his 55-year-old legs can carry him. Which makes Greg Oden 53.

2:52 p.m. The White Sox are now waving the white flag, otherwise known as Nick Massett. He's now the pitcher. All you need to know about him is that the Texas Rangers traded him. And that he just gave up a double to Casey Blake. If the Texas Rangers can't find a place for you on the mound, it's time to retire. That's like a politician not being able to find a way to accept a donation from a special interest group.

2:53 p.m. God Loves Cleveland Sports! Jhonny Peralta two-run single and it's 9-2 Indians. Charge eight of the runs to Contreras. And one to Massett, who's been in the game for five minutes.

3 p.m. Two innings in, and the Indians have already scored more than the Browns did in five of their 16 games this past season. If the Tribe can score six more runs, it will give them a higher total than the Browns had in half their games. Touchdown, Indians!

3:01 p.m. Sabathia chugs through the second inning and the Indians come back to bat leading 9-2. Should we get used to seeing Sabathia? Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, the most prized free-agent-to-be among pitchers, has been offered between $75 million and $85 million for five years. That's $15 million a year at the high end. There's your Sabathia comparable. Zambrano's a year younger. Sabathia's pitched about 200 more innings. Both have a career winning percentage right around .600. No way Sabathia goes for less than $15 million a season once his deal expires after next season.

3:08 p.m. And Trot "The Babe" Nixon is at it again. He's 3-for-3 with a hit in each of the first three inning, keeping him on pace for the all-time single-season hit record of 1,458.

3:23 p.m. Thousands of Chicago-area TVs click off as we go to the third with the Tribe up 11-2. Chicagoans haven't seen anyone throw a ball this bad since the Super Bowl.

3:26 p.m. STO wants to know how many games people think the Indians will win this year: 95 or more, 85-94, 75-84, or 74 or less. Odds are if they did the poll before the game, people would have picked 75-84. Now, in The Season of Optimism, people might be picking 95 or more.

3:27 p.m. and Trot Nixon's hitting streak has ended at three -- innings. But only because he didn't bat in the fourth as the Tribe went down 1-2-3.

3:40 p.m. And it's a Bob Wickman sighting. First, some satellite activity spotted a disturbance. A closer glance showed Wickman on the mound in the bottom of the ninth as the Braves visited the Phillies. It's a tie game, a situation Wickman rarely found himself in with the Indians, which is why the satallite thought the activity was suspicious at first. That and an all-you-can-eat buffet are the two worst place someone would want to put Wickman, though, as he is just 2-15 since 2002. He either saves 'em or blows 'em, but he doesn't win 'em.

3:45 p.m. If LeBron James played with Bob Wickman, he would be gnawing on more than just his fingernails. After two outs, Wickman gives up a double to Shane Victorrino. He throws a couple balls to Ryan Howard, the 57-home-run man from last year, then intentionally walks him. Now Chase Utley's up. He had a 34-game hitting streak last year. Maybe Wickman needs Jerry Tarkanian to manage him; that big towel the Tark always had would come in handy for wiping nervous brows when Wickman's on the hill.

3:47 p.m. Utley pops out! Wickman grabs a chicken wing and a beer!

3:55 p.m. Back to the Indians, and they are still up 11-3. Time for the rest of us to grab a chicken wing and a beer!

4:14 p.m. A-ha! It helps to look for STO on the correct channel instead of on the Fox Sports Ohio channel. Stretch time with the Indians still holding their Season of Optimism lead, 11-3.

4:18 p.m. The Braves do it for Wickman, scoring two in the 10th to give him the victory. And there's another ex-Indians reliever getting the save, Chad Paronto! It's Wickman's third victory since 2002 and Paronto's first career save. Meanwhile, the Tribe turns to its own bullpen with Rafael Betancourt starting the seventh, and hope its from somewhere other than Hell this year ...

4:28 Trot "The Babe" Nixon takes a walk. He's been on base four times today. Last year he was on base 39 times via hit or walk. Nine more games and he tops last year's total!