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Archive for July, 2007

Trying to catch up

I’ve been a little behind on keeping up with the posts here. Contrary to what Graig would have you believe, I was not scraping shit out of the Brown’s locker room. I hope the rest of you took my lack of post a little better. I think he was in some early stage of depression without his daily J Beanie. Graig, I’m sorry. If I’m ever not going to be able to post for a few days I will make sure I email you and let you know so you can properly prepare.

I haven’t been around a computer since Thursday night and I’m doing this stupid training program at work in the morning all this week so it’s going to be difficult to get things up. Sorry.

So much has happened since my last post Thursday.

Brady Quinn is still holding out in Cleveland and says he is doing the right thing. “I have to make sure it’s a fair contract, and I have e to make sure it’s fair in the event I become the starter.” But who cares. He’s an idiot for not being there. If he wants a contract for when be becomes the starter, he can work that out when he becomes the starter. Right now he is the 22nd pick and the Browns better not give in to him.

But the best news out of Berea is Gary Baxter’s return. It’s an amazing recovery story. He shouldn’t be able to be back on the football field ever, let a lone just nine months after his injury. If nothing else, his return will inspire the Browns.

I haven’t got a chance to say Welcome Back to Cleveland, Kenny Loften. At least for one night last Friday he turned back the clock and made everyone think it was 1995. Of course, that was followed by two loses. Let’s home more 1995 Kenny is in store.

In the NBA, AKA Land of Conspiracies, a gigantic trade is moments away from happening just in the nick of time to take some attention off the point shaving scandal. Weird how a trade that was suppose to take place before the draft and was all but dead, comes up now when the NBA needs any news that doesn’t involve the words “Mafia,” “gambling,” “betting” or “Tim Donaghy.”

The trade, of course, is Kevin Garnett going from Minnesota to Boston for three-fourths of the Celtics’ roster (Al Jefferson, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, and two future draft picks and possibly Ryan Gomez), Manny Ramirez’s 500th home run ball, a year supply of chowda, five years worth of Samuel Adam’s beer, the Boston Orchestra, Paul Revere’s house, ownership of half the ports in Boston Harbor, season tickets to the Boston Red Sox and all of the Boston Bruins just for kicks.

This will leave the Celtics with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Glen Davis, Garnett, Candy Man, Brian Scalabrine and Kendrick Perkins. Seven players but really only three. But the thing is, that is probably enough to win the East. Pierce, Allen and Garnett will be, by far, the best trio on any team in the East. I hope this deal doesn’t get done just because it would make the Cavs repeat chances a little harder. (I’d still pick LeBron over them, though.) Reality is, even if the deal is complete, Doc Rivers is still the coach of the Celtics and Danny Ainge is the GM. And whatever the touch in their post playing NBA careers usually leaves everyone else with the face you make after drinking spoiled milk.

Back the NFL, sort of, Pacman doesn’t need football, strip clubs, guns or rain to continue to destroy his name. With being suspended for a year from the NFL, Pacman wants to participate in TNA Wrestling. Don’t know how this could surprise anyone but it still does. Who’s letting him make his decisions? Oh yeah, the same guys who convinced him to try and get his $21,000 in singles back after giving them to strippers.

All this excitement and it’s still July. I haven’t got to baseball trades (nevermind, those suck so far), Bill Walsh’s passing (who I loved ever since his video game came out when I was kid. All I knew about him was his west coast offense but I loved reading all the articles about how much he helped change the game and produced coach after coach), and the WGC Bridgestone coming to Firestone. Plenty more to say on that and I’ll be attending it on Sunday so there will be some good stories out on Monday.

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Thomas, Wright sign… A good start to camp

It’s finally here. The end of July (almost) and the start of training camps around the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off camping season on Monday or Tuesday, but who really cares about those terds anyway. Cleveland Browns camp starts today. And guess who will be there? No, not Drew Carey playing pricing games with fans on the salaries of the players. It’s Joe Thomas and Eric Wright. Both signed contracts yesterday or this morning and will be on the field at 3:30 when the first drill of the season is run. Hopefully this year no one will be hurt on the very first play. If they can get by that one play, the Browns are already ahead of where they were last year.

Getting Thomas and Wright to camp on time was essential. It was much more important than Brady Quinn. Quinn reporting to camp on time or not, he wasn’t going to start until at least November anyway. And depending on how the season goes, and how Charlie Frye or Derek Anderson is playing, he might not even play this year. But what he will miss is valuable learning experience.

Thomas is the key to what should be a greatly improved offensive line. By being in camp on time, it should guarantee he is the opening day starting left tackle. Kevin Shaffer, a solid but not outstanding player, would have been in that position if Thomas wasn’t at camp. Now he will have a chance to move to another position on the line, possibly right guard, or the Browns can dangle him as trade bait. Cleveland could use help on the defensive line, cornerback, linebacker or even another veteran wide receiver. I’ve always thought you can never have too many linemen, especially with the Browns luck, but with LeCharles Bentley coming back that makes 10 offensive linemen on the roster. Trading one for help at another position would be worth while.

Wright coming to camp on time is huge because he could, and should, be the starting cornerback opposite Leigh Bodden. Supposedly he was very impressive at mini camp and with the limit talent the Browns have had at that position, he should step in and make an impact right away.

With Thomas and Wright signing contracts and reporting camp all the pressure is on Quinn to do the same. Quinn shouldn’t want to be the lone draft pick not in camp. He needs to realize he was the 22nd pick, not a top 10 like he thought he was going to be. With that comes less money than he expected to get. Accept that, Brady. Get to camp. Brady’s a smart boy and I think because of Thomas and Wright, his holdout will be less than what some people were predicting. Some reports said Brady would holdout most, if not all of the preseason, and possibly the entire season. That would be the dumber than sticking a paper clip into an outlet to see if the electricity is on. Quinn will sign with in a week.

With the opening of any training camp, with any team, there is hope for the season. Of course, most of it is false hope that will be proven as such by Week 4. The Browns, however, have plenty of reason for hope and optimism. A very highly rated draft and getting all picks but Quinn in on time for camp was a great start. However the biggest reason for positive thinking this year is the way two players have recovered from what should have been career ending injuries.

Bentley has dumbfounded doctors with his ability to recover from four knee surgeries. His return to the field should be an uplifting sign to the rest of the team. The same can be said about Gary Baxter.

If Baxter can make history and recover from his double torn patella tendons, it would give the Browns two incredible comeback stories. Everyone thought their careers were over and now they are back on the field. If either can return to anywhere near the form they were before their injuries, the Browns are in good shape.

Baxter would give the Browns three solid cornerbacks. He could play the nickel back role until his recovers 100%. Between him and Wright, they would be a great combo behind Bodden. Not don’t forget Devon Holly had 5 picks last year.

Bentley would give the team great flexibility on the line. If he knows the play book well enough, he could come back at center and Hank Fanely would be his back up. Or he could come back at right guard until he is ready for the center position. Either way, the Browns are better off with him on the field.

So today is a day to be positive. I know we try it every year with the Browns and every year we are disappointed. At least this year, heading into camp, there are more positives than negatives. All but one draft pick is signed and two players not suppose to ever play again are ready to make an impact. As Browns fans, we got to take what we can get, and I’m definitely taking this. Things are good right now. At least until the first snap of contact drills.

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On yesterday’s Simpsons column, one more episode to add to my list. I watched it yesterday and couldn’t believe I forgot about it. The one with the gay guy John.

“I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals flamming.”

The list keeps growing.

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The Simpsons Movie opens today… Best Day Ever

Today’s the day. Well, actually tonight’s the night. The Simpsons Movie finally comes out tonight at midnight. I haven’t decided if I’m going to the midnight showing or just one on Friday but I couldn’t be more excited for the opening. After years of speculation and agonizing hope, the movie has finally arrived.

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The movie is exactly what the world needs right now. The sports world is more messed up than Lindsay Lohan’s’. I think anyone involved in professional sports should be required to go see this movie. All players, coaches, assistant coaches, commissioners, water boys, bat boys, grounds crew members, general managers, owners, everyone. It will get their mind off of all their problems and maybe even get them to laugh for an hour and a half. I don’t know what else to say about the movie besides I am more giddy to see it than I was when I paid that lovely lady take my virginity. I’m sure there will much more talk about the movie after I’ve seen it.

But thinking of The Simpsons Movie makes me think about some of my favorite episodes. There are so many good ones and so many funny moments that I know I’m going to miss a bunch of them so if you think of something you really like, remind me of it.

My Top 5 (in no particular order because it’s too hard to actually decided between some of them).

1. The one where Homer gets a job at Cypress Creek and Hank Scorpio. In an episode filled with classic lines, my favorite line is one that can no longer be seen in the reruns. Homer goes to see Hank, hold a cup of coffee, asks “You got any sugar?” Hank: “Sugar, sugar? (reaching in to his pocket, he pulls out two handfuls of sugar) Here you go. Want any cream?”
Homer with a confused look on his face says “uhhhhhhh, noooo.”

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I know, I know. Typing it doesn’t do it justice but if you’ve seen that part you know how good it is.

And Scorpio is a super vilian that Homer never knows about and he gives Homer the Denver Broncos.

2. The team work retreat. Homer gets paired up with Mr. Burns at a team work retreat in the mountains. As good as Homer and Mr. Burns are in the episode, the park ranger delivers the best lines in it.

After Bart and Lisa leave the cabin to help Smithers make it to the cabin, Marge tells the ranger she can’t find her children. “Did you check the forest?” his is reply. Marge and the ranger take to the ski lift to look Bart and Lisa.
“This ski lift will give us a bird’s eye view of everything directly below the ski lift,” pointed out the ranger. “I’m not going to lie to you ma’am. The chances of finding your kids are slim to mil.” Right after he says that line, Bart and Lisa yell “Hi mom.”

When it’s discovered that Homer and Burns are trapped in an avalanche somewhere, the workers form a search party. The ranger says, “OK, let’s take a minute to humor the kids. (bending down to talk to Bart and Lisa) Kids, your dad is going to just fine. (Standing back up talking to the crowd) OK everybody put on your corpse handling gloves, we got to frozen bodies to find.”
Bart: “You hear that Lisa? Dad is going to just fine.”

Doesn’t get too much better than that.

3. The power plant softball team with all the major league players. How good is this one? They got nine MLB players to all come on to the show. Quick, can you name them all, without looking at the picture below? When I thought about it I got 8 and missed the catcher? But I was able to remember why each missed the championship game. Add all that to the final song at the end, in black and white highlights and you got yourself a classic show. We’re talking softball.

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4. “Can I borrow a feeling? Can you lend me a jar of love? Hurting hearts need some healing? Take my hand with your glove of love?”

There may be no better song than Kirk Van Houten’s fabled attempt at a singing career and winning back his wife.

5. Rodney Dangerfield is Mr. Burns’s son. The episode starts out strong with the Simpsons going on tour at a apple cider mill. Homer tries to sneak off but runs into Flanders. Flanders: “How long have you been here?”
Homer: “Twenty of the suckiest minutes of my life.”
As Flanders continues to talk about cider, Homer’s brain says “you can stay but I’m leaving.” The brain floats away and Homer continues to nod for a few seconds then has the best fall ever when his body goes completely limp.

“Shouldn’t the get a pole for that sign,” Homer says after seeing the hitchhiker.

Eating dinner with Burns and his son, Burns annoying ask Homer if he has kids and if they bring around their dimwitted friends and makes you talk to them.
“Oh all the time,” answers Homer. “You ever hear of this kid Milhouse. He’s a little weenie…”

Don’t know why but I love that line.

In fact, as I think about some of my favorite lines and moments, Milhouse is in most of them. He is my favorite character in the show. Two quick examples why.

When the Simpsons use Flanders beach house on the Fourth of July, Bart, Milhouse, Homer and Marge are playing Blind Date, the board game. Homer gets the stud quarterback, Bart gets “The Dud.” Homer grabs the card, laughing, points at Milhouse, and says “He looks like you poindexter.” Just love the line for whatever reason.

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My favorite Milhouse line comes from the episode where Bart gets a credit card. After the repo company comes to get all his stuff, Bart gives up Santa’s Little Helper to keep the trained dog he ordered, Ladie (not Lady). Walking through the park, everyone loves Ladie. Milhouse comes up and says how great Ladie is, much better than Santa’s Little Helper.
“Remember that time Santa’s Little Helper ate my goldfish and you told me I never had a goldfish. But why did I have the bowl, Bart? Why did I have the bowl?”

Or how about the time the Flanders took the Simpsons kids in as foster children. At the end of the episode when Marge and Homer try to get them back, Homer is driving in the car “to find Flanders I have to think like Flanders,” he says. Thinking in his head, “To find Flanders, I just have to think like Flanders! (thinking) I’m a big four-eyed lame-o, and I wear the same stupid sweater every day and,” out loud, “The Springfield River!”

Then after the kids are back with Homer and Marge, Homer asks for all the dirt about staying with the Flanders. Lisa, “Dirt, dirt? There wasn’t much dirt.”
Bart, “But there were a bunch of old paint cans in the garage.”
Homer, “Old painty can Ned.”

I could go on and on and on and on, but that will be enough for now. Bottom line is The Simpsons is the greatest TV show of all time and after tonight, will be the greatest movie of all time, too.

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Good and bad of last night’s Tribe game

Attending last’s night Indians game defiantly had it’s moments, both good and bad.

It was good to get to Cleveland before 5:00 and to have two hours to hang out before the game.

It was bad that it took us 25 minutes to walk to Panini’s when it should have taken no more than 5.

It was good we found a parking deck for $5 instead of $10 or $15.

It was bad I had to pay for the parking.

It was good to get to Panini’s and get a 24 oz. Miller Lite for $4. ($3 cheaper than at the game)

It was bad we had to stand while we drank the first beer.

It was good when a big group of people left and we were able to grab two seats and finally sit down.

It was bad there were so many Red Sox fans at the bar.

It was good to have a table right on the corner of E. 9th and Prospect with two strippers on the corner passing out free admission passes to The Hustler Club.

It was bad that the strippers are gross and I would never want to see them naked, let alone pay to see them naked.

It was good to go to a game on Dollar Dog Night.

It wasn’t so good to wait a half hour in line for the hot dogs.

It was good to get six dogs for me and a buddy.

It was bad to eat three and realize you wanted more but didn’t feel like waiting in line again.

It was good when a hot dog vender walked down our row yelling “dollar hot dogs!”

It was bad when that hot dog from the vender turned out to be the worst hot dog of the night.

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There’s no better hot dog than $1 hot dog, unless you get it from the vender.

It was good to go to a game where C.C. Sabathia was pitching.

It was bad to go to a game where Daisuke Matsuzaka was pitching.

It was good C.C. gave up only one run on five hits.

It was bad the Indians offense couldn’t support C.C.

It was good Sizemore had two hits and two steals.

It was bad Peralta had to first pitch outs in critical situations.

It was good we sat next to next two four young ladies.

It was bad they were ugly and Red Sox fans.

It was good our seats were in right center field, directly below the Batter’s Eye bar.

It was bad I was driving and couldn’t drink like the others were.

It was good to see some friends I haven’t seen in a long time that I missed.

It was bad seeing some friends I haven’t seen in a long time that I didn’t.

It was good the game was a well battled pitchers duel.

It was bad that those games are boring to watch in person.

It was bad the Indians lost my first visit to the Jac this year.

It’s good I’ll be back again on August 12 (my birthday for all those fans who want to send me something) when the Tribe plays the hated Yankees and I will have been drinking since 9 am and ready to give those Yankee fans hell (yes Graig, I will be the drunk idiot yelling at all those fake fans, just like you).

One thing that really bothered me last night was the abundance of Red Sox fans at the game. It was probably a 70-30 ratio and that’s way to much for a home game with a team who is in playoff contention. I want to know how many of these “fans” were fans before 2004 or did they all jump on board because it was the cool thing to do. Just an example of how stupid Red Sox fans are, there was this one idiot two rows in front of us, wearing a jersey with “EROCK” on the back (gay right there) then every time the Indians hit the ball hard and a Red Sox made the catch, he’d stand up and say “oh, this close, he was this close” and hold his fingers a few inches a part. If he did this once or twice it would have been fine, but he did it at least a dozen times. Very creative. The only thing I’m not looking forward to at the game against the Yankees is seeing how much more annoying Yankees are going to be.

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The new Bob Barker… Drew Carey!!!

Bob Barker’s replacement on The Price is Right has been announced. It’s none other than Cleveland’s own Drew Carey. Go Cleveland! It’s going to be weird to see anyone other than the silver hair creepy old man on the stage.

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At first I thought they should either make a robot in the body of Bob Barker (who knows, they might have be doing that for the last 15 years) or just cancel the show when he retired. But Carey could be good at this. He’s actually perfect for it. He’s a guy everyone knows, he’s hosted other shows but no one really knows what he’s doing anymore but we all still like him. Now he has to come up with a sign-off slogan. Nothing will come close to “Help control the pet population, have your pets spade or neutered,” but Carey will have to come up with something.

How about “help control the human population, have your vasectomy or tubes tied?” Probably not, huh?

Maybe he’ll just yell “CLEVELAND ROCKS” and have the final two contestants read the final credits as two drunk cowboy in a bar fight.

Bigger question to answer, what will the Barker’s Beauties be called now? How about Drew’s Dreamgirls? Carey’s Cuties? Drew’s Dolls?

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The new beauties?

Or will he just replace all of the girls with Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops and Brad Sherwood? I think they need jobs, don’t they.

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Things to make you (well, at least me) feel good

After writing about some much negative stuff this morning, I had to turn my attention to a few things that will cheer me up.

With all the crap going on in the NFL and NBA, it’s nice to see stories like Jon Lester. Lester made his first start in almost a year last night and picked up a win against the Cleveland Indians. Even as a Tribe fan, it was uplifting to see Lester come back and pick so well. Of course, I would have rather him wait a week then pitch well against some other than Cleveland but you can’t argue with a good story.

Lester was diagnosed with a treatable cancer last August. He fought it off and fought his way back into major league form. Although not as life threatening as Lance Armstrong’s cancer or Alonzo Mornings kidney transplant, Lester making his way back to The Show is something the sporting world needed. Let’s wish him continued success in life and on the hill (but just not against the Tribe).

Speaking of the Tribe, I make my much anticipated season debut tonight at Jacob’s Field. Shame on me for not attending a game before the end of July but better late than never. My roommate offered to take me tickets he got through work and of course I jumped on the chance. After accepting the invitation, things just continued to get better.

When I took the tickets I didn’t even know who the Indians were playing. Turns out to be the Red Sox. Not a bad series to attend.

Then I realized C.C. Sabathia would be pitching for Cleveland. Not a bad guy to see pitch.

Next, I found out Dice-K (hate the nickname but much easier to write than his real name) was pitching for the Red Sox. Not a bad guy to see pitch, either, and not a bad pitching match up overall to witness.

Finally, I was watching the Indians game on Sunday and a promo came on saying Tuesday’s game was Dollar Dog Night. Oh my goodness! Could it get any better. I say no. 
First Indians game of the year + C.C. Sabathia vs. Dice-K + $1 dollar hot dogs + eating about 8 of them = one hell of a good time.

Should be a fantastic night. The only thing that would make it better would be catching a foul ball. Either that are getting really drunk and convincing one of my friends to run on to the field.

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What’s going on in the sporting world?

A few weeks ago I said I hate July because of it’s boring sports schedule. Now, not only is July boring, but it’s full of horrible stories in most of the major sports leagues.

There’s the Mike Vick dogfighting case in the NFL.

There’s the NBA referee fixing games in a betting ring with low level mobsters.

There is Barry Bonds about to break the all time home run record, but under a cloud of suspicion of steroid use.

I usually don’t like to dwell on the negatives in the world of sports but these stories are too big to ignore.

I’ve already touched on the Barry Bonds issue. It’s sad that a moment that should be one of the great in the rich history of America’s past time is going to be, at best, a very mixed emotion celebration. There’s no doubt Bonds is one of the greatest baseball players of all time and there is just as much no doubt that he is one of the biggest jerks to play the game and that he took “something” to stay on top for as long as he has. While I personally don’t care if he did or didn’t take “something,” most of the nation seems to and they aren’t going to forgive him for it. And that’s too bad. It’s going to cast a big shadow on what could have rivaled Cal Ripkin’s most consecutive games played streak and Mark Mcguire’s 62nd home run (which has it’s own shadow now) as the greatest moments in all of baseball.

The Mike Vick story was turned up a notch Monday night when Commissioner Goodell told Vick to stay away from the Falcons training camp. That probably was the best thing for the Falcons since now they don’t have to take any action yet, but it might be one of the worse things for football. Vick was one of, if not, the most popular player and now he is all but convicted of the horrific act of dogfighting. Training camp should be a time of stories where teams are full of hope. The new season brings new dreams and everyone is, at least figuratively, on level ground. Instead all the NFL headlines are about Vick killing dogs. He might not have ever killed on himself, but he allowed them to be killed and buried on his property. Unless there are some facts that haven’t come out yet clearing Vick of these charges, and I don’t know how there could be when at least four people have come forward placing Vick in the middle of this, Vick may never play football again. As a Browns fan, I would be really pissed off at the organization if they signed Vick after he is undoubtedly released from Atlanta. I don’t see any organization wanting to take on the negative criticism that would follow signing Vick. As sad as it is, Vick may never play in the NFL again.

At least Vick’s crimes, has appalling and gruesome as they are, they didn’t affect what he did on the field or the outcome of any games. The same can not be said for Tim Donaghy and the NBA. When news first broke that an NBA official had bet on games he officiated and could have possibly made calls to swing the outcome, I didn’t think it was that big of deal. As more and more comes out on Donaghy, I’m realizing how big of story this is. Reports are saying Donaghy is going to name names of others involved in the scandal. If players and other officials are, this will be the biggest damage to any sport, ever.

I’m going to bet that before he can name any other people involved, he will end up at the bottom of a lake. If the Mafia is really the ones behind this, they won’t let him speak. They’ll get to him first and shut him up the only way they know how.

And there has to be other people in on it besides low level mobsters. After a game when Donaghy made a few bad calls and it happened repeatedly, his partners would have to get suspicious, I would think.

NBA officials probably get the most heat from fans of any officials in any sport. They are seen as giving superstar treatment to superstars and no one can as easily control the game as an NBA ref. Donaghy officiated Game 3 of the Suns-Spurs series and, from what I’ve read, made some awful calls that went the Spurs way. The Spurs covered the spread by 3 points. This could be one game Donaghy influenced. How many others did he? How many others are in on the this and how many games were affected?

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