It's over. The epic losing streak is a thing of the past. It stopped one game short of the record. Sure, we tied it, and that's good I guess, but it's not quite the same thing as owning it all by yourself, especially when you consider that for the Cavs to match the Buccaneers' streak in relative terms, they would have needed to lose 152 straight*, and that's really asking too much for any basketball team, no matter how many minutes Jamario Moon plays.
*If you extrapolate 26 loses in a 14 game schedule over 82 games you get...THE NUMBER 23!!! OH MY GOD!!!**...wait, no...152 games. Whew, that was a close one.
** Wow. What a lame movie reference. I'm keeping it.
It just figures, though. I've watched as much Cavs basketball this season as ever. I've seen most or all of a good majority of the games. A good part of that is because I absolutely loath leaving the house, but some of it is because the Clevelander in me welcomes the suffering because I don't want to feel like a fraud when that most glorious of days finally arrives (and it will). It's probably 78% the former, though. There's only so much one man can take.
But this Friday was one of those days. My wife dragged me to a work function so I missed the game. I caught the tail end of it on the radio on the way home from the shindig, but it was almost to overtime by then. I couldn't help but feel like maybe I've been the problem the entire season.
I'm sure we've all probably felt like that from time to time.
Anyway, the Cavs won. Maybe it was one game too soon, maybe it was one game too late. I guess that depends on your worldview. There's only one thing I'm absolutely certain about anymore.
There's not anything even remotely interesting about the team anymore.
An Awkward Glance At The Browns
It has begun. The great rebuild started in earnest last week when (as I'm sure you know) five Browns players were given their outright release. For the most part they were kind of old, kind of slow, no longer fit the scheme, a giant (literally) pain in the ass, or some unholy combination of all of those. There were no real surprises among the group.
Eric Barton and David Bowens, linebackers with a combined age of 66, were in the cut group. Originally brought in by Mangini to help with the conversion to "the Mangini Way", they had pretty much outlived their usefulness. The Browns need more talented linebackers weather they are running the 3-4 or the 4-3. Bowens and Barton are nice guys, but they were no longer part of the solution. And if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Bowens will always have the Saints game where he returned 2 interceptions for touchdowns. Barton, well, he'll always be better than Clifford Charlton was.
John St Clair, the (alleged) right tackle was also cut. This is not a surprise, and it's also for the best. If he wasn't cut I was going to be left with no choice but to go full Gillooly on his right knee. Although it probably wouldn't have affected his effectiveness, it would have hurt like hell, so John is better off. And although, as with Samuel L Jackson in A Time To Kill, it would have been completely understandable and justified, the law is the law and I don't know how I could have avoided jail time. I'm not sure whether or not getting St Clair off the line is worth a few years being a prison bitch (and make no mistake, I would be a prison bitch), but the fact that it's even a question tells you all you need to know. I'm just glad that the Browns took the possibility off the table.
Robert Royal was a casualty of numbers. There just wasn't really any room another tight end behind Ben Watson, Evan Moore, and Kellen Winslow Jr. Wait, not Winslow, he's gone. No, I meant Martin Rucker, the kid from Missouri they drafted a few years ago. What's that you say? He's gone too? Well, I'm sure there is another very talented TE on the roster better than Robert Royal, no matter what his name might be. Royal did have that one good catch that one time, though. That was nice.
And last but not least, Shaun Rogers. Rogers is the only cut player that raised many eyebrows. I have to admit, I initially found it a little curious that the Browns would release one of their few (allegedly) talented defensive linemen when trying to switch to a 4-3. That's before I realized that Rogers was talented to the tune of 17 tackles last year. And he was on the field for less than 40% of the defensive snaps. That's not a lot of production from someone so "talented".
The truth is that Rogers' talent, while undeniable, is useless to the Browns. He's a front runner of the first order. When things are bad, he checks out, makes excuses to get out of practice, and spends most of his time going for leisurely rides on the stationary bike. That's when he's not complaining that his coach snubbed him, or that the season is over after 3 games. He's old, expensive, and chronically and irreversibly injured. His injury is in his brain. Whatever part of a person's brain that prevents someone from being a lazy, self important, entitled, arrogant asshole has been broken for a few years now. If that can be repaired it will be the first time that I've seen it.
In other words, sayonara sucka.
But if you're reading this you probably already know that stuff. Here's something that's a little more recent that you may have missed. Tony Grossi shared some interesting quotes from Tom Heckert in the PD yesterday. Tom doesn't beat around the bush and is a little more candid than you might be used to seeing.
First he lays into Eric Wright saying "We thought we had three really good corners. Eric Wright, whatever happened to him I have no idea. If Eric Wright would have played like he played the year before, we probably would have had one of top (groups of) three guys around. But Eric Wright didn't play very well."
Obviously, every word of it is true. It's nothing that any Browns fan watching last year didn't think to themselves multiple times. It's just kind of strange hearing itÂ directly form the GM's mouth. Anyone out there still think Eazy E will be a Brown again next year?
Heckert then spends the next few paragraphs throwing Eric Mangini under the bus. Repeatedly.
On the running game: "But once Eric wanted us to get rid of Jerome, that's when it started [going bad]. Once you get rid of that guy then it's just tough to find guys."
On the receivers: "The guys we loaded up on are guys we kind of liked and those guys are still going to be here. Why we didn't use them? That question I can't answer."
On Jayme Mitchell, who the Browns traded a 7th round pick to acquire: "He was by far our best pass rusher and never got on the field, so I can't answer that one."
That's good stuff right there. Whatever possessed Heckert to be so forthcoming is a mystery, but I like it. Maybe he was inspired by Brian Cashman. He probably would be better off not doing that very often, players being so sensitive and all.
With the combine still about a week away, and the coaching search over, there isn't a whole lot of Browns stuff going on this coming week. Free agent signings are pretty much put on indefinite hold until a new CBA gets done, and that doesn't look likely anytime soon. I suppose there could be more players cut (I'm not sure how Jake Delhomme has avoided it thus far) but it seems unlikely at this point.
So, it will be a boring week. But rest assured, all of our questions will be answered soon enough when a bunch of guys get together to see how fast they can run 40 yards in their underwear and how many times they can bench press 225 pounds, an arbitrary number that I can only guess is important because it's exactly what you get when you put two 45lb weights on each end of a 45lb bar. Seems like a silly reason to make that the magic number, but there it is.
An Awkward Glance At The Cavs
I'm calling my shot. After the big win on Friday night to break the streak, the Cavs took the rest of the weekend off. They are heading into this week on a roll. They are confident. They are ready. I feel perfectly comfortable making the following proclamation.
The Cavs will only lose one game this entire week.
Mark it dudes.
An Awkward Glance At The Indians
It's finally here. Pitchers and catchers report on Tuesday with the rest of the team set to join them on Friday. Next week the games begin.
The Indians were busy last week rocking the world of Major League Baseball to its very core with the signing of Orlando Cabrera, the biggest Indians free agent signing since Austin Kearns, and possibly Jack Hannahan, who is apparently actually going to get a shot to play third base. Anyway, it's looking less and less like they were kidding.
The signing of Orlando Cabrera, as earth shattering as it isn't, does take some of the drama out of the infield competition. Unless something unexpected happens, it will be LaPorta at first, Orlando Cabrera at 2B, and Asdrubal Cabrera at SS.* Chris Antonetti has said as much, and it's really the only thing that makes sense with this signing. Cabrera was signed to be the starting 2B and is going to have to play himself out of that position. On a team full of utility infielders, the Tribe didn't need another one, although it is nice having someone on the roster who can fill in at SS if necessary.
*And God help the person who dubs them O-Cab and A-Cab. I swear I will shoot you in the face with a potato gun.
That leaves 3B as the only question mark with the unholy quintumverate of Larry Nix, Larry Donald, Larry Valbuena, Darrell Everett, and that pederast Hannahan vying for the spot. I could spill about 100,000 words on the subject but I won't for 2 reasons.
First, Steve Buffum already has in his awesome Hot Corner Series of nine articles during November of last year (which was perfect as I was starting to exhibit signs of B-List withdrawal at that point). If you missed them, now's your chance to go back and catch up.
Second, I'm not at all convinced that it matters. I wouldn't at all be convinced that it mattered even if it weren't for the existence of Lonnie Chisenhall. The fact is that none of those guys matter much in the scheme of things. Having to pick between them is kind of like walking into Pinky's Gentleman Club and deciding which bartender you'd like to find giving your wife a back rub when you get home from work.
We need a third baseman and one of those guys will be it because it would be slightly worse to play with none at all. They are all like the Dungeons and Dragons character I had the one time I played Dungeons and Dragons.* Wake me up when we don't have a second baseman playing Third.
*I played D&D once. I went to a friend's house to play and the others became immediately annoyed when I asked where the board was. For a while I thought they were mad because I was supposed to bring it. They kept telling me there was no board. I kept asking how we were supposed to know who won. They tried to explain it but in the end, it pretty much seemed like we all had to sit around talking and when we were done my friend Robbie would decide the winner.
Then they got annoyed again when they had to spend 20 minutes waiting for me to make my character. I decided to be an Elf because I figured they were fast or something. Then I had to roll one of those cool dies with all of the sides on it. I kept getting low numbers which ended up meaning I was the slowest, dumbest, weakest Elf in the history of Mordor (or wherever). They also didn't think Larry was a very good name for an Elf but I was steadfast.
I was first (why they made me go first when I was clearly an idiot I'll never know) and Robbie, the Dungeonmaster, told me I had to fight someone else or a monster or something. This didn't make a lot of sense because I never rolled any dice and I didn't spin any spinners, so how the hell does Robbie know how many spaces I went? Either way he asked me what I wanted to do. I had no idea (By this time they were all trying to decide who's fault it was that I was invited) So someone suggested I shoot my bow and arrow at it. "OK, sounds like a plan." I rolled the big die again at which point Robbie told me I missed and I was dead.
"Huh? I'm dead? Just like that?"
"Yeah, your character was weak."
"Well, let's make him stronger."
"We just can't."
So I sat there and watched these guys play D&D for what seemed like forever (you have to understand that this was before I could drink so it was especially painful). I never got any closer to understanding what the hell was going on.
The worst part, I think, is if I had a different experience, I would have probably gotten into D&D. I'd probably have something like a million Dungeonmaster points by now, which makes me a sort of D&D dork who never actually played D&D, which is about the most pathetic and depressing thought I've ever had in my life. Thanks a lot Valbuena.
That's what the Tribe's 3B options are to me. A collection of Larry the Elfs. When the baseball God's were making players, they rolled really low on those guys. And the first time they are asked to shoot someone in the face with their bow and arrow, they are probably going to die, and then have to watch the remainder of a game that they clearly don't understand.
I promise that made a lot of sense in my head when I started it.
An Awkward Glance At The Buckeyes
The Buckeyes lost their first game of the season Saturday in Madison Wisconsin. There's no shame in that, Wisconsin is a good team and that's a hell of a tough place to play.
It's probably a mixed blessing of sorts. I think it would be much more difficult to go into the NCAA tournament undefeated with the added pressure that would bring. Or maybe I'm just rationalizing a loss.
What is clear is that the same Buckeyes walked off the floor after the game that walked on prior to the game. Losses happen, even to the best Buckeyes team that I can remember. There is nothing wrong, and there is no reason to panic. This team should waltz into the tournament with one of the best records in the nation and a #1 seed. There are 6 more games over the next few weeks before tournament time.
Actor In My Movie
I have a lot of older people in my movie so far. It's like I'm making Cocoon 4 or something. Obviously it's because I'm getting old myself and I want to put in all of my favorites from my misspent youth, when I would sit for hours watching the same movies over again, day after day.
It's time to get some fresh blood in there. So here's some. Rami Malek. Not too long ago I finished The Pacific. It was outstanding, with great performances all around. The one that stood out to me the most was Snafu Shelton. There was just something about the guy. The way he talked, the way his eyes are kind of puffy, how he seemed almost ruined by what he'd seen, and how that seemed to make it almost easier to cope with the war.
I don't know. But I always liked it when he was on the screen, and he's probably going to be the character I remember the most.
I'd only seen him in one other thing. He was in a few episodes of the last season of 24, but we won't count that against him. I have a feeling we are going to see a lot more of him.
He's in my movie.
Youtube Clip Of The Week
Pitchers and Catchers are reporting! Tribe baseball is about to start. And as usual,
I don't know's on third.