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Archive for July, 2008

Good or Bad?

I haven’t decided if today is a good day, or a bad day. Let’s list the good and the bad and then we can all decided together.

Good – Today is the first day of high school football practice so I’ll be out of the office most of the day going to some of the practices.

Bad – It’s still just high school football and it makes me wish I was covering real football.

Good – The Indians scored 12 runs yesterday.

Bad – The Indians allowed Detroit to score 14.

Good – The Brett Favre saga will be over in a few days.

Bad – The Brett Favre saga will still be around for a few days and get much worse before it gets better. (On the 6:00 SportsCenter yesterday, ESPN had four reporters covering the thing. Two of them were in the same place. What is the point of that? Did you see the Packers are now offering Favre money not to play? I wish I could quit my job, want to come back and then have the company offer me money to stay away. How does this work?)

Good – The Tigers traded Ivan Rodriguez.

Bad – The traded him to the Yankees. (Really? A future HOFer for a crappy middle reliever straight up? What does Cashman have on whoever the Tigers’ GM is?)

Good – Manny being a retard has taken some spotlight away from Favre.

Bad – This Manny thing is about as old as Favre and Bonds combined. (I can’t believe the Red Sox are just going to give him to Florida for three minor league players. What’s the over/under on how long until Manny regrets demanding this trade? Three weeks?)

Good – The Bridgestone Invitational starts today.

Bad – I’m not going this year. (Unless good friend/loyal reader Seal is feeling generous?)

Good (or this could also be the bad but I guess it’s good for her) – Michelle Wie is playing against the men again.

Bad – She’s doing it in a tournament no one has heard of, no one will watch and no one cares about because all the top players are in Akron. Good work Michelle. I’m pretty sure no one cares about what you do anymore (that is until your career is so worthless that you pose for Playboy.)

So good or bad? Doesn’t really matter since tonight will be good with pasta dinner at grandma’s and then the Aeros game. 

 

 

Fratello

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The Cleveland Indians season

July is just about over. The dog days of summer or coming to an end and fall baseball is right around the corner. Fall baseball means pennant races and intense divisional match-ups. The Cleveland Indians are in the middle of one of those divisional match-ups this week. The Detroit Tigers and the Tribe have split the first two games of their pivotal four-game series. The next two games will have a major impact on the rest of the season and if a team can win both of them, they’ll have the inside track on the AL Central title.

Has a homer, my bet is on the Indians. This is a team who came within one game of winning the World Series last year, one J.D. “freakin’” Drew home run, one stop sign at third base from the title of world champions. (I think we can all safely assume they would have beat the Rockies if they finish off the Red Sox in five games.) They have learned from that lost opportunity. They have matured from it. They thrive from it. 

C.C. Sabathia is on a role and looks like he will win his second Cy Young in a row. 

Travis Hafner is back to the Pronk of 2005-06 and finally earning that contract he signed before last year. 

Victor Martinez is providing great protection for Hafner in the clean-up spot. He is smacking the ball over the yard and at this pace he’ll be the greatest power hitting catcher of all time.

Jhonny Peralta has made everyone forget Omar Vizquel at shortstop. His new trim appearance allows him to get to balls up the middle and in the hole that he has never been able to get to before. But his weight loss hasn’t affected his power.

Asdfjkl;ble Cabrera has shown there is no such thing as a sophomore slump for him and that he’ll be a slick fielding, hit-for-average second baseman (or shortstop) for many years to come.

Grady has been Grady in centerfield (second gold glove in a row coming this year) and has been the most consistent hitter at the plate for both power and average.

Franklin Gutierrez is a gold glove caliber outfield and is coming into his own at the plate. His .270 average and 16 homers show that he’ll just continue to get better.

Ben Francisco has come up and done a nice job taking over for the retarded David Dellucci. His hot streak to start his year (something like .380 in his first two weeks) has cooled of some but he will be a fixture at a corner outfield spot for years. 

Shin-Shoo Choo has been great as a four outfielder and has all the potential in the world.

Ryan Garko has been a little disappointing at first but not as disappointing as the Andy Marte experience at third. But that’s why the Indians have a great GM. Shapiro made a great trade by shipping Andy Marte off to Atlanta for Mark Teixeira. His bat and presence could be the difference in that one game that stop the Indians from winning the World Series last year.

Fausto Carmona has developed into a solid No. 2 starter and has show he is as durable as Cal Ripkin.

Jake Westbrook does what he does every year; solid pitching and will win 13-16 games.

Cliff Lee has rebounded from a horrible 2007 back to his steady 15, 16 game winner and beyond.

Kobayashi is as lights out in the set up role as he is at eating hot dogs.

So are both Rafaels. 

And Joe Borowski is giving everyone heart attacks but has only blown four saves and is on pace to beat his save total from last year.

The Indians bullpen is lights out from the 7th inning on.

This team has it all; talented veteran leadership, promising youngster, better than quality starters and a rock solid bullpen. They are building from last year’s disappointment and this could be, might be, just may be… I don’t want to jinx it but… the year Cleveland finally wins a major championship.

 

Oh, Sorry. I just fell asleep. Looks like my hands were still typing while I was dreaming.

 

 

Fratello

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A PO’d GBD

Today is going to be a Grab Bag Day on things that have been bothering me.

> I’m pissed off at ESPN’s Bottomline. You know a story is overplayed when it has it’s own category on ESPN’s bottomline. The Favre saga has reached that point. Not only is “FAVRE” on the bottom line with “NFL” “AL” and “NL” but it usually is on the screen longer than any of them. It seems to run a whole transcript of quotes from someone’s press conference. I get that it’s a big story, but I think people are pretty much sick of it. Just let us know when it’s over. We don’t need to see quotes like “Brett Favre may or may not report to training camp on Wednesday” or “Ted Thompson is still undecided on what to do with Favre.” We know that. We don’t need to read it ever 15 seconds. This pissed me off when Bonds had his own bottomline category and when Tim Donaghy had his. 

>Speaking of Donaghy, his sentencing is today. There’s a five minute bottomline.

> Guarantees in sports piss me off. Guarantees in sports are about as worthwhile as signing Theo Ratcliff. LeBron James is the latest to make a guarantee. He said Team USA will win the gold medal. Why is this news? Why is any guarantee news? By saying, “I guarantee I win” what are you really saying? Shouldn’t you always feel like you are going to win? To still a line from Herm Edwards, “you play to win the game!” (Although I think Hermie forgot that somewhere along the way.) I just don’t get why someone needs to make a guarantee. But what I don’t get even more is why people are always so shocked when someone makes it. I don’t want someone on my team saying “oh, I don’t think we can win.” Give me a confident player who wants to win. And why do teams that these players make the guarantees against feel the need to use that quote as “bulletin board” material or motivation? Do you really need that to get ready to play? Shouldn’t your team be guaranteeing a win also? Don’t you think you are going to win? Let’s just make a rule that every player in every game is going to guarantee a win and therefore no one needs to say it and no one needs to feel disrespected, okay? 

> This doesn’t piss me off, it’s just funny. Sony has this new video game coming out soon. It’s called Fat Princess. I guess the idea of the game is to make the princess fat and therefore harder to capture and carry away, or something like that. Well, everyone’s favorite group not named PETA is upset about it. The Feminist say they have a problem with the game. Of course they do. What don’t feminist have a problem with. Isn’t it ironic that feminist are upset over a fat princess in a video game when most, if not all, feminist are fat and will never be called princess? Here’s her picture.

> It pisses me off that Thunder is the best name. I guess the NBA was upset that word leaked that the new Oklahoma City team would be named the Thunder. Now they have released a six name vote to determine the real nickname. I was happy about this because Thunder is a horrible name. You know how Penn State and some other stadiums play the lion roar sound? Imagine all the thunder and lighting you’d hear at a OKC Thunder game. But it wasn’t all good news. It pissed me off that Thunder was the best name on the list. The others; Barons, Bisons, Energy, Marshalls and Wind. Really? Energy? Wind? Not even the WNBA has names that bad. I’m pretty sure the NBA will stick with Thunder and picked the five worse nicknames they could come up with to ensure it. 

> I’m pissed that the Indians suck this year. There are going to be some great pennant races and I just won’t care because I gave up on baseball season a long time ago.

> I’m pissed the Pistons signed Kwame Brown. Just the Cavs luck, Brown will finally start to play like a number-one pick…. OK, maybe not. This doesn’t really piss me off.

 

Fratello

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My trip to Orlando

Welcome back J Beanie.

Thanks.

I know you all have missed me in the two days I didn’t post. I need your help in catching up on everything I missed. I didn’t really watch too much sports since I sat around the pool all day was out all night. I did try to catch some SportsCenter but not that much. So please inform me of what I missed.

Because I didn’t watch too much sports, whether you like it or not, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of my trip.

 

Why does security need to inspect your feet if you are wearing sandals?

I saw a guy who looked exactly like Zach Morris; if only Zach was extremely gay but the guy was MPG. Everything from the outfit to the hair. I yelled out Preppie once but got no reaction.

I flew out of Akron-Canton and my plan left like 10 minutes late. Not a big deal but when your layover in Charlotte is only 30 minutes, it becomes a bigger deal. By the time I got off the plane, it was down to 15 minutes. Of course my plane came in at G11 and I was flying out of B3, the farthest away you could possibly be. I sprinted to the gate and saw that there was no plane there. Crap. I missed it. Nope, it had been delayed until 9:50. Damn, but at least I didn’t miss it. 

So with slightly over two hours to kill, I did what all single travelers do, go to the bar. What a sight the airport bar is. I saw a middle age man bring a Burger King burger into the bar and pay for a $6.27 beer with exactly $6.27. Not even $6.50 or $6.30. Exactly $6.27. Quality. 

Then I saw a Mexican who I couldn’t figure out if he was a midget or a little boy. He had the face of an older guy but the body of a boy. It wasn’t the midget body where everything is short and stumpy. It was a normal 10 year old’s body. But his head was the head of a 40 year old only it was at least two sizes too big for the rest of him. Then to make the scene ever sweeter, as he was leaving his table (not drinking a beer so that didn’t help with my age question) he put on a blue blazer. Let me tell you, I haven’t see a guy look that sweet since Gay Zach Morris. 

As I sat at the bar, I talked to this guy who’s plane had been delayed since 6. It was 8 at the time. He was flying from Detroit to LA. In Detroit, he had his rental car stolen with his wallet and cell phone in it. (Remember, don’t go to Detroit, ever.) He said his day has been bad and didn’t know when his flight would leave and even when it did, he had a 5 hour trip. So as pissed I was my flight was delayed, at least I wasn’t him. (And he was black to make his situation worse.)

I made my way to my new gate at 8:50. The flight had been moved up to 9:30. The plane was there, the pilots were on board and everything was ready to go. Except we didn’t have any flight attendants. 9:10, still none. 9:25, 9:35, 10:00 still none. Where the hell are these idiots? Finally at 10:25, the two of four show up. The crowd starts cheering. I started booing and soon there were more boos then cheers. We didn’t take off until almost 11, meaning I didn’t get to Orlando until midnight and not back to the condo until 1:30 (but that’s because FD or FFIL [Fiance’s Dad or Future Father-in-law] got lost). Oh well, a crazy first day to the trip was over and now it was time to relax.

The days were spent by the pool and nothing to crazy happened. But a few lessons were learned.

I’m not the fastest water slider.

If you take a water cannon shot to the stomach it’s very comical for everyone. FB-2 took a shot to the stomach also but (G)FB was too scared. He thought it would kill you. What a wuss.

If you put more then one grown man on a water slide at the same time, it looks pretty gay.

If babies poop in water, the diaper only semi-helps.

The F learned Penguins can’t fly and the pools at Sea World are salt water. 

If you have to poop after being in the water, it doesn’t matter what kind of toilet paper you use, it’s not going to be an easy wipe.

Renting a car is a bigger pain in the ass than Yankee, Red Sox and Ohio State fans combined. (The F and I made a reservation to pick up a car at 8 am on Saturday morning to get to Sea World and our hotel and the airport on Sunday. Her family was leaving Saturday morning so they couldn’t give us a ride. We got to the rental place and the guy said our car wasn’t there yet. It would be at least 8:30 before it came in. I felt like I was in Seinfeld. We made a reservation and our car wasn’t there. I asked what’s the point of opening at 8 if you can’t get a car until 8:30. Long story short, we didn’t get our car until 10. I called the general manager and simply asked him two questions. (And by simply, I mean in the most irritated, pissed of way.) First, why do you take reservations if you can’t get us a car? (His answer, we didn’t foresee this problem coming up. You don’t know if you have a car for us when we called three days in advance? I could see the night before but three days?) Second, I asked him to give me one logical reason why it was fair for us to pay for this car when our days whole plans were messed up and people missed their ride to the airport. He said he couldn’t. Then I said I’m not paying for the car. Let’s just say Hertz hasn’t heard the last of J Beanie.

Working live shows with animals can be hilarious. When we finally got to Sea World, the first show we saw was the sea lion and otter show. Well, only the sea lions decided not to anything. The trainer would want it to follow him and the sea lion refused. He just laid down in the middle of the stage and didn’t move. Funny yes but when the third sea lion they brought out was also doing it, it became hilarious.

Getting stuck on a roller coaster is no fun. Sea World has one roller  coast and it’s a pretty good ride; except when you get stuck on it. Sitting 95 degree heat and being strapped to a chair, even for only 10 minutes, is not so much fun.

I saw a penguin poop on another one. That was pretty funny.

Since Sea World is an Anheuser-Busch park, they have a hospitality tent when you can get a free 12 oz draft of any of their beers. That came in convenient throughout the day. Then, The F and I did this beer taste test thing when we got to sample four different kinds of their beer and learn about each kind and what kind of foods go with them. It was a pretty sweet deal. Of course, when isn’t free beer a sweet deal.

Besides the beer, the best sight of the day was a little boy carrying around a backpack with “CUM” spelled out on it.

The flight home didn’t start of much better than the flight there. I was standing in line for Burger King breakfast at 10. By 10:10, we (us in line) were wondering if they still had breakfast. I really wanted French toast sticks and a croissanwich. A lady went to ask if they still had breakfast and BK said they did not. I’d say 80% of the people left the long line. No other place was still selling breakfast either. It’s only 10:15 people. It’s still breakfast time. This is an outrage. Congress needs to step in here.

After that, the flight home was on time and perfect. Minus the fact that I’m back in Ohio and at work this morning. 

So, in a nutshell, that was J Beanie’s trip to Orlando.

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Training Camp Opens

 

Football season is finally here. It couldn’t have come too soon since, as it’s been well documented here at J Beanie, the summer has sucked as for as entertaining sports go. 

The Cleveland Browns open training camp today. In past years this was a great day simply because it mark the start of football season. It also marked the start of a Browns season where everyone was hopeful this would be the year the team turns it around yet realistically knowing it probably was more of the same. 

That all changed last year. Last was the season they did turn things around. Now, at the start of training camp 2008, there is a real sense of optimism and excitement. Not that fake stuff that has followed Brownies around since the early 90s. This year is there a real, genuine possibility of it being a special season. (Of course, Cleveland teams have a way to let their fans down when it comes to “should-be promising seasons” i.e. the 2008 Cleveland Indians.) 

This training camp will be more about getting prepared more than who should play. The starters all but set, there will be no coin flip to see who should start at quarterback and the only roster questions are about special teamers. A full training camp for the offense, and more importantly, the defense to come together and learn the systems can only make this team better.

The biggest questions on the team is on the defense. Can Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright handle the cornerback positions? What about Sean Jones at safety? Can he step up and be a leader? Will the linebackers be better? Will they get more than 28 (or however many) sacks they did a year ago?

McDonald will be fine at corner. Wright played really well as a rookie and McDonald did too when he had to fill in for a few games. No reason why he can’t play solid for 16 games. 

Sean Jones has all the talent to be one of the best safeties in the league. They say last year he had trouble making the defensive calls. Supposedly, new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker simplified the defense and will make Jones’s job easier. Letting Jones simply play instead of thinking will make him a better player.

The linebackers will be better because the defensive line is better. Orpheus Roye, Ethen Kelly, Ted Washington; gone. When the offensive line doesn’t have to worry about the front three, of course the linebackers job will be tougher. With Shaun Rogers and Smith, Robaire Smith and Corey Williams, I think it’s safe to say that’s an upgrade. They’ll do their job of eating up offensive linemen and allowing the linebackers to make the plays. I think Andra Davis will see his role become less significant. Leon Williams and then eventually Beau Bell will take over. On the outside, Antwan Peek will have much better year. He showed flashes of it last year but injuries slowed him down. Now healthy, he should be a force. With Peek on one side and the Smith’s or Williams on the outside of the line, it will open things up for Kamerion Wimbley to have a much better season. I think it’s safe to say he’ll have more than the five sacks he had in 2007.

 Offensively, we know they can score. I think Anderson will be fine. He’ll have a similar year to last year with hopefully less interceptions. There will be pressure on him since Brady Quinn is ready to play and the team is ready to win. I think he’ll handle it just fine. He’s got Braylon and Winslow and a great offensive line. He’s got Jamal who will still be solid and Josh Cribbs will see an expanded role. (How about use him as third down back and run screen plays for him?) Anderson supposedly worked on his short passes and touch in the offseason. I don’t think Anderson will get bothered by the pressure if for no other reason than he is too stupid to know the difference. 

It’s looking like a great year. There is as much excitement around the opening of training camp as there has ever been. The difference this year, that excitement won’t end once the regular season starts.

 

Fratello

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Randomness

 

Today is going to be a grab bag of grab bags. Don’t understand? It’s going to be a post of random thoughts and short stories but it won’t follow the normal Grab Bag Day format. It will be more completely random and may or may not have anything to do with sports.

First, I have my first two submissions for the Creep Off. I’ll let the teller of the tale tell his tale.

“A group of us were at this bar on a Thursday night. Pretty empty. A group of 6 drunk 40ish ladies were the only ones dancing (more like trying to stay up right) on the floor so the DJ kept making creepy lines to them during the song such as Pour Some Sugar on Me turns to Let me pour some sugar on you (pointing to a girl in the group) then he kept dragging them against their will to the stage to select a song. Long story short, the DJ goes to get a beer the whole while he is watching the group and doing the old Shooter McGavin gun point-shoot. As he reaches the dance floor again, he trips over the mats, gets up and acts like nothing happens continuing the point and stare. Next time he needs a beer he does the exact same thing including tripping over the mat again.” 

I have just one question surrounding this situation. How desperate must have these women been to still be on the dance floor after the guy went to get his first beer? How long were they out on the floor if the DJ needed two beers? I think the ladies are just as creepy. 

Anyway, the submitter couldn’t think of a worthy title so here is what I came up with…

The “I’m a crappy DJ at a crappy bar playing crappy songs and I think the crappy ladies dancing aren’t that crappy so if I keep dancing and playing songs for them maybe they’ll like me” creep.

I also received this one (and who hasn’t done this one back in their day [or last weekend])…

The “I walk through a crowded dance floor making sure my hand rubs a girls butt so I can get a cheap feel and she will have no idea who did it” creep.

OK loyal readers, it’s up to you to pick which one is creepier. 

 

Now for some another random thoughts:

> I was at the library yesterday, yeah, the place with books. (Strange, I know. I needed a few books for my flight to Orlando and something to read laying around the pool. I got some books that should be entertaining but I’ll tell you about them if it is worth it after I read them.) I saw a man checking out no less than 15 movies. How can you possibly have time to watch 15 movies in a week? How can you possibly find 15 movies you want to watch at the library?

> Watched a pretty funny and off the wall movie yesterday called The Brothers Solomon. Will Arnett and Will Forte are in it. Very funny.

> For the second day in a row, I’m wearing a shirt I bought at the thrift store. Today is the one Seal turned down on Saturday.

> So for this stupid Title Town thing on ESPN (second worst idea ever behind Who’s Now?), Ohio State had what, 200 people out when ESPN was there? ESPN was in Massillon yesterday and they had more than 7,000 pack their stadium and tailgate before the taping. Not sure what it means but just saying.

> Can anyone in the Akron area stand reading the Akron Beacon Journal anymore? Pat McManamon is the worst columnist in the history of newspaper. Just read his Sunday column and you’ll want to forget how to read.

> Tribe won again last night. That’s eight of their last nine and it brought them out of last place. They are slowing moving up. I’m telling you, they’ll finish a few games above .500.

> To Frank, no, I had no idea that other driver Danica yelled at was a girl. Shows how much I care. 

> Browns training camp starts tomorrow. We’ll have a nice talk about it in the morning. But today seems like a good day to get there first HERE WE GO BROWNIES, HERE WE GO!!!

 

 

Fratello

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What we learned this weekend

This weekend was a weekend of learning. What we learned is the more things change, the more things stay the same.

What we learned…

… Greg Norman is still the Joe Borowski of the PGA. I think everyone was rooting for The Shark to pull out the British Open. Norman entered the final round with a two stroke lead and a good chance to become the oldest golfer to ever win a major. Of course, everyone knew after the first three holes that wouldn’t happen. Bogey, bogey, bogey is not the way to start a final round. So we learned the Greg Norman is still Greg Norman and that golf, as much as it a chance yesterday to be a classic ending, needs Tiger for exciting majors. Ian Poulter tried to make it interesting but he was wearing pink pants. But congratulations to Padraig Harrington on becoming the first repeat Open champion that no one will remember in five years.

… Cy Young winners can come from the worst team. Cliff Lee is going to be the Cy Young winner unless he turns in to Greg Norman over the next two months. The Indians are horrible but Lee somehow continues to win games in impressive fashion. I know yesterday’s complete game was against the horrible Mariners but it was still a complete game win. That was Lee’s 13 win of the year. The team only has 43. That means Lee has 30% of the Indians win. Safe to say that’s the highest percentage in baseball. Imagine where the Tribe would be without him.

… As much as a woman tries to act like a man around men, she is a women, and will act like it. Danica Patrick is at it again. She caused another confrontation on pit row. This time she went up to the slowest driver, Milka Duno, before yesterday’s race. Not sure what was said, but like all women, Patrick refused to leave win Duno told her too and still didn’t leave when Duno threw a towel at her. Maybe Duno wasn’t throwing the towel to get her to leave, maybe he was throwing in the white towel saying, I can’t take this anymore; You win Danica; You are better than all of us. I’m sick of Danica parading around like she is the best thing to happen to racing since Busch Light. Why is she always confronting people in the pit? She’s not even good. People should be complaining about her and bitching about her driving. After all, we all know women are horrible drivers. 

… Teamwork is key in winning a golf scramble. At the first annual Kimberly S. Denholmn Charities golf outing on Saturday, the team of J Beanie, Seal, Bub and JP, finished at nine-under. A very solid score. We had chances to be better than that but the golf gods were not looking down with smiles on us. I think it was because Seal and Bub refused to wear the purple and pink shirts I got for the team. 

 

On a programming note; just a today, tomorrow and possibly Wednesday post for the week. Then it’s off to Orlando to catch up with the F and her family.

 

 

Fratello

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