Turn Out the Lights and Leave Me Alone
Now is the time of the year when we put on our brown and orange colored glasses and make up things about the Browns to get us excited. You know, how Eric Barton is going to be a difference maker in the middle of the defense and how first round pick Alex Mack will steamroll NFL defensive lineman starting in September and the football team will become relevant again.
Well not me. See me in late August with that stuff. Maybe I'll be ready for it by then.
Right now I'm in a Sports Fetal Position. Not in real life where it matters. That's all reasonably good. Still have a job, family is healthy and happy and I'm headed to Nashville later in the week for work and then to attend CMA Fest 2009 with my wife (save the derisive laughter) so that's all just fine.
(This is also a good time to advise the editor here at TCF that ‘The Wrap' will be on sabbatical next week.)
But as far as Cleveland sports go I'm in need of a decompression chamber. Thinking about the Browns, Cavs and Indians just makes me want to lock myself in a cold, dark room, yank the cable out of the back of the television and cancel my internet service.
66 regular season wins and two straight playoff round sweeps set my head nicely on a tee for someone or something (God, Buddha, Mohamed, Jobu, a curse, etc.) to take a huge swing.
And that swing connected. I've taken a couple standing eight counts in the past week. Add in the Tribe's rotten start and trying to watch their uneven play every night and I feel like one of those inflatable punching bags that has sand at the base and looks like Popeye.
They say it's always darkest before the dawn. But they never tell you just how long it's going to remain that way. And by my observation it's pretty freaking dark.
And no, I don't think it's ridiculous or overblown just because it's James nor because of the name of the city on his jersey. It's ridiculous because no one cares and because a cliché-ridden interview featuring, "We had a good regular season", "Credit to Orlando" and "We'll work hard to get better next season" can wait 15 hours. Anything James could have said or would have said Saturday night after being eliminated would have either been irrelevant or not in the best interest of the Cavaliers.
Jefferson would be back in a familiar finishing role with the Cavs and that improved mid range game and a return to defensive focus would benefit him and the Cavs immensely.
Jefferson made $13million this past season with the Bucks and has two seasons and about $28million remaining in his deal. That works out to about $14million per year by my math.
How much is Ben Wallace due next season? Hey, look at that. Big Ben is due to haul down $14million next year.
That would still leave the Cavs searching for some bulk out of the center spot but Jefferson would give LBJ his ‘Robin' for sure.
Carroll's production and 4 solo home runs (Victor Martinez, Chris Gimenez, Shin Soo Choo and Luis Valbuena) gave the Indians a series win over the sputtering White Sox Sunday in Chicago.
Those of you who were bent about the acquisition of Carroll back in December of 2007 and who vented your spleen and threw out names like Mike Rouse and other such demeaning terms to describe the former Expo and Rockies utility infielder can send your heartfelt apologies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carroll wasn't, isn't and will never be a main cog in a Major League lineup. But you can't overlook the fact that he has produced for the Indians and you can't NOT like the way he goes about his business. The guy is a legit Major League ballplayer which was the point a year and a half ago when people were lamenting that minor leaguer Sean Smith was sent packing for Carroll. Well, 18 months later Carroll has done everything the Indians have asked him to do, solidified the UIF spot on the roster and has done so at the highest level the game is played.
The Rockies let Sean Smith walk after he posted a near 6.00 ERA and he's now with the Pirates organization. Anything can happen and Smith may yet develop to the point where he's a viable player for someone. But as it currently stands, Smith's next Major League pitch will be the first one he throws at that level and Jamey Carroll just continues to play well in the big leagues.
I don't have to tell you how important Carmona is to the Tribe. Carl Pavano has given more than any of us could have hoped since the beginning of May but Carmona's complete collapse has put a hole in the rotation that was feared but not expected to be this severe. Had Carmona just been mediocre the club may have been a few games closer to the top of a weak AL central and the bullpen may have not had to go through the Gates of Hell in April and May.
At just 25 years old Carmona is not a lost cause by any stretch. His stuff is too filthy to just write him off. Hopefully this move works like it did years back when the Blue Jays sent Roy Halladay back to the lowest levels for a complete confidence and mechanical overhaul. Of course, for every Roy Halladay who comes back to win Cy Young awards there are a thousand guys who get sent out and fade away forever. For the Indians sake you have to hope the move is more Halladay than holiday for Fausto.
The one year I was able to move down (started in section 119, row 30) I told them my wife had a knee surgery that made climbing difficult. That lie was rewarded with row 27. There were a couple of years when we moved no closer. This season, due to waning interest in the team and also due to the economy, the Browns offered multiple payment options as well as installment options. I again requested a seat move (without any injuries to my wife). And when I checked my account online a few days back I was shocked to see section 119, row 16.
Moving 11 rows closer to the field in the Pound would typically take you years. Not now. Thirteen rows forward in a couple years is crazy for that section of the stadium. Look, you might argue that I'm just close enough now to smell the rotten talent on the field. But the new seats are about 25 yards closer to the field and a good 20 feet lower than my original tickets. And that provides a very different perspective on the football game.
Well, at least I'm hoping for a new perspective as opposed to the perspective I've gotten in the last ten years.