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The Magical Fixing Tour
The Magical Fixing Tour
Full of pent up anger, Cris Sykes has a laundry list of suggestions for all three of the Cleveland pro sports teams. In his latest, he proposes radical changes that he feels will change the fortunes of our franchises as we move forward. Iverson, Tomjanovich, Valentine, and Vermeil are some of the names he throws out there as guys that could make immediate impacts here in CTown.
Eureka! I have found the magical answer that all Clevelanders have been in search of since the 1960’s. It came to me in a nice clear picture, sitting around watching the end of the latest Cleveland Browns nightmare and in the midst of another winter of bargain basement shopping for the Cleveland Indians.
First up, your Cleveland Browns. Some of the biggest complaints I've had with the Browns since 1999 has been their reluctance to hire anyone with a true passion for the game. It has been a line of stone-faced coordinators, with a college guru mixed in to change things up. Why can’t we hire a guy who will get a team to play with some fire? Why am I forced to sit around and listen to a press conference of boring coach-speak from a guy who thinks the fans are too stupid to know the difference? How many more head coaches do I have to listen to blatantly lie to me about injuries? Remember Daylon McCutcheon, who was only going to miss the first week? Now I am supposed to trust Romeo to be straight with me about the progress he sees from this team? No.
The second part of the new coaches resume must include previous head coaching experience in the NFL. He has to know his way around an offensive playbook. He can keep Todd Grantham to continue the solid play of our defense, but the offense needs to have some life pumped into it. Whom do I suggest Randy Lerner make a play for this off-season? Is there a guy who has a reputation of an offensive innovator, with head coaching experience and a passion for the game? I believe there is, and if we are going to back up a Brinks truck for another coach, it might as well be Dick Vermiel.
I can promise you something with Dick Vermiel as the head coach. Our Cleveland Browns will treat every Sunday as the most important day of their life. They will begin to understand and maybe even enjoy the Steeler rivalry once again. We will even get some straight answers during the pressers, though they might not be as entertaining as his Coors Light commercials. The approach up to this point has been unsuccessful, so why need go in a complete different direction?
Next up in my Magical Fixing Tour is the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is a team with the best player in the world, with a unique window of opportunity in front of them. The first move I will suggest is to get active on the trade front. The latest report is that Allen Iverson is finally demanding to be traded out of Philly, and if he can’t bring some energy and excitement to this team, nobody can. I don’t know if it is enough, but I would start with a package including Gooden, Z, and Shannon Brown. If a draft pick is needed to get them to include Samuel Dalembert, throw in the draft pick. AI, Hughes, LeBron, Wild Thing and Dalembert. You would still have Snow, Gibson, Marshall, Sasha to give you a nine deep rotation that could compete with anyone.
You might think there are not enough balls on the court to have Iverson, Hughes and LeBron on the court together. I think Iverson and LeBron would be able to co-exist just fine if the end of the road was Titletown. It also brings us to move number two of the Cavs fix. Fire Mike Brown. He has shown zero ability to formulate a game plan, get his team to play defense for 48 minutes, or convince anyone that shooting jumpers is not the only way to score. Go out and find an experienced coach, who has some titles in his background. Look for a guy who has handled multiple star players in his past, successfully. My first choice would be Rudy Tomjanovich, currently serving as Director of Scouting for Team USA. Rudy T has some health problems, which could keep him from wanting to be a head coach again, but I would give him a call and find out.
If Rudy decided that he did not want the job, the next phone call would be to Larry Brown. After his debacle in New York, where he was given about zero chance to succeed with that roster, Larry is rumored to already be re-energized and is looking to get back into coaching. There could be some relationship issues to clear up with LeBron, but I am pretty sure, if all LeBron cares about is winning a title, these issues could be cleaned up pretty quick.
Where do I start with the Indians? I guess with this: Wedge is going nowhere until Shapiro goes somewhere. So these plans will have to be put on hold for another season, but the first step is to let Mr. Shapiro go, enabling Wedge to follow him out the door. It has gotten to the point that Shapiro is simply using the Indians as a resume builder. He is in a no-lose situation because of the success of 2005. If the Indians win games, it is because he found all of the cheap talent available. If they lose it is because he was so hamstrung with our budget. I think he goes out of his way to find reclamation projects, because there is no negative to his resume for doing so.
Shapiro’s unflinching faith in Wedge is another reason for his departure. Do you think, since they are so close, that Shapiro will demand wherever he goes as GM in 2008, he will insist that Wedge comes with him? Hell no. Why? Because he knows Wedge is a mess, but as long as winning isn’t the main goal, it doesn’t matter how many one run games Wedge costs the team, as long as is it here.
I see no reason that Larry Dolan should look into selling the team. The $60-70 million dollar payroll is fine and a competitive team can be fielded with that amount of money. Instead, Mr. Dolan, what you need to do is find a real baseball man for the job of General Manager. Find someone that has been around a MLB team that has dealt with the same budget constraints as we have. My choice would be a man by the name of Rob Antony. He has been in the Minnesota Twins front office for over 10 years, and was recently promoted to Director of Baseball Operations. His role was recently expanded to handle the negotiation of contracts, which is a big hurdle that he has jumped over that most candidates who have never before been a General Manager have not.
As far as a manager goes, it is time for an experienced game day manager to take over the reins. If I told you there was a guy available with 15 years managing experience, 11 of them with a record over .500 and a World Series appearance in his past, wouldn’t you be intrigued? Well, I found one. My nomination for the next manager of the Cleveland Indians is none other than Bobby Valentine.
Well, as you can plainly see, my Magical Fixing Tour involves one thing. Acquiring experienced men to lead the youthful players within our organizations. Sparking some interest back into the fan bases that have lived through nothing but misery for fifty years. The most important aspect is hiring leaders who will reinvigorate players with more than enough skill, but not nearly enough passion.
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