The Cavs looked like a real team, LeBron looked like a man on a mission and Travis Hafner looked like the slugger he is suppose to be. Yesterday was a good day for Cleveland fans. Indians beat the Los Angels Angels of Anaheim 4-2, on a Travis Hafner 3-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Cavs pounded the New Jersey Nets 94-76 to tie the Chicago Bulls for the second-seed in the East. The win also ensured home court advantage for the Cavs in whatever first-round match-up they find themselves in in eight days.
First some Tribe thoughts.
I wasn’t able to watch the game yesterday but I was listening to it on the radio, which is better most of the time because of Tom Hamilton. Not only does he have the best voice in radio but he shows the most excitement. He’s the Gus Johnson of baseball. After Grady “the girls want to be with me, the guys want to be me” Sizemore hit his MVP quality fourth home run of the season, Trot Nixon was up and “swung on and hit hard… deep to center field… Matthews going back… at the track… looks up… and makes the catch.” I start pumping my first when I heard “swung on and hit hard” and the excitement in Hamilton’s voice. Hearing him get like that is like hearing the ice cream truck when you were 10-years old, you can’t help but be fired up. Yeah, it was just a long flyball out for Nixon but Hamilton made the play thrilling and that’s why I enjoy him.
Right before Hafner hit his first blast of the year, Hamilton and Mike Hegan were talking about how dominate Scott Shields had been this year. Then Shields walked Sizemore and Nixon and you could tell, without even watching it, Shields was in trouble. Hegan said “wouldn’t this be a good time for No. 1.” Hafner didn’t disappoint. He blasted a ball into the centerfield concourse. Hamilton and Hegan talked about how hard the ball was hit but until I saw the replay on the news later and saw how far the ball traveled, you couldn’t appreciated how hard it was hit. Hafner has been pitched around all year. He showed way he has been intentionally walked three times in six games. Give him a chance to beat you and he will.
Too bad the Tribe couldn’t put a rally together earlier in the game. Jeremy Sowers pitched another solid game but didn’t get the win. In two starts, he has two no decisions and have given up only 3 runs in 13 innings with just five walks, all of which came in his first start. I hopes it’s not to early to say I don’t see a sophomore slump for this lefty. Now if he could just get some run support and boost his record.
Overall, what a great trip to Milwaukee. The fan support was great. If you get a chance to read the Cleveland Plain Dealer today, take a look at the sports page 2, in the section call PutItInWriting. A guy from Milwaukee sent a letter in expressing how nice it was to have the Indians in town. A short letter said it all.
I think the only person more happy than me to see all the home runs the Tribe hit this week (2 on Tuesday, 1 Wednesday, 2 Thursday) was Slider who got to slide down slide every time. I want to do that just once in my life. I was also happy to see Milwaukee still did the traditional sausage race and even more excited to see the Italian Sausage win all three days.
After a sluggish first half (a whopping 36 points) the Cavaliers and LeBron erupted in the second half. They scored as many points in the third quarter as they did in the first half. How did they do this? Well, obviously, the LeBron led the way. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is how he did it. He posted up, drove to the hoop, cut away from the ball and was active defensively which always makes the team play better defense. He acted like it was a playoff game. He played like he did last April and May. Now he just has to keep it up for another month and a half. Watching the third quarter was a lot of fun. My girlfriend even enjoyed it saying, “They sure are making a lot of dunk shots.” Maybe not the most intelligent way of saying it, but if someone who doesn’t know basketball very well can point out how easy it was for LeBron to score inside, maybe, just maybe, he should be doing it more often.
Big game for the Cavs tonight; Chicago home against Charlotte. A Charlotte win will put the Cavs into the second-seed. Everyone say it with me now, “Here we go Bobcats, here we go!”
It’s articles like this that make me nervous about the NFL Draft in two weeks.