Panic At the Jake?

From the look of my Twitter feed last night, we sure have a lot of Clevelanders hanging off the side of the Inner Belt bridge ready to jump off the Tribe bandwagon, don’t we?  But before you make the final leap to your fandom death, let’s go back one year to 2010 and, for $200 pretend dollars, answer this question:

In the 2010 MLB season, which team went 14 -14 in May, 13-14 in June and 13-15 in August before whipping the Texas Rangers 4 games to 1 in the World Series?

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One Word: LeChoke

And now a word from LeBron James:

“I understand a lot of the backlash that came with me going to Miami, but I understand also that I did what was best for me, what was best for my family and what was best for me being a professional athlete,” James told reporters.

“I understand what this league is all about. I wanted to team up with some guys that would never die down in the moment. The opportunity presented itself with this great organization, and we made it happen.”

And LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.

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Derek Jeter. REALLY?

The first round of All Star voting is in and I know we have awhile to go but are you really kidding me with this one:

Derek Jeter :  931, 410 votes  and Asdrubal Cabrera 672, 105 votes

Let’s look at their stats eventhough I know this is a New York popularity contest and not a real live skills honor.

        Jeter:  Batting . 264 , 16 RBIs, 6 doubles, 1 triple and 2 homeruns, 20 walks  and 5 stolen bases

       Cabrera: Batting . 296, 36 RBIs, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 10 homeruns, 14 walks and 7 stolen bases

Yea, Jeter soooooo deserves to start over Cabrera.  (insert snarky eye roll here)

Now get in there and vote Asdrubal Cabrera for the starting shortstop or my head will explode and nobody wants to see that.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE. 

You can vote up to 25 times. Get on it.

(I mean it)

Where did the WIndians go?

June 13, 2008

Do you know what happened on that date?  Unless you’re a die hard Blue Jays fan, you probably don’t so I’ll just tell you. On June 13, 2008, Toronto pitcher, Jo Jo  Reyes won his last game.

That is, before last night.

It has been a bad sports week in Ohio.   I always think that Ohio sports can’t get much worse – and then it just does. With the Heat opening the NBA Finals against the Mavs tonight, Jim Tressel resigning at The Ohio State, the Reds still struggling to get themselves on track, Mike Brown being hired by the Lakers and the Indians struggling to put the W back in WIndians, I expect that the collective heads of this state may explode by 5:00 today.

Be glad that I’m only going to talk about the Indians.

Continue reading Where did the WIndians go?

Life, The Cleveland Indians and #Batmagic With @Jobu_Lives

The rare 1988 Jobu rookie card. He hasn't aged a bit.

A funny thing happened at the beginning of the 2011 Cleveland Indians season; the Tribe started winning.  They pitched well, they fielded well, and they hit.  And hit and hit and hit. The Indians were mashing, but they weren’t supposed to be.  Sure, Shin Soo Choo was going to hit and Grady Sizemore always has pop in his bat, but missing the beginning of the season while still rehabbing his knee injury left his situation a little uncertain.   No one knew what to expect from Travis Hafner, Carlos Santana was too green to predict and, well, I’m a die hard Tribe fan, but the rest of the lineup wasn’t exactly known for it’s prolific offensive production.

As it turns out, there may be more to the Indians offensive success than meets the eye.  On April 24th, 2011, the world was re-introduced to the legend behind the home run stroke of Pedro Cerrano and the success of the 1989 movie, Major League.  Jobu himself joined twitter, and it hasn’t taken long for Indians fans, players and management to embrace #batmagic.

We’re Back

Did you miss us?  Those of you that used to read Josh and I when we covered the Indians for the national sports network probably noticed that we were missing in action for a few weeks and now we’ve popped up here. Nothing much has changed other than we were there and now we’re here and we’re talking more than just the Indians.  Just to be clear, though, I let Josh do the hockey talk because you’d all find out very quickly that hockey is just not my game.  We have imported our favorite posts from the other site here, in case you want to scroll through them to find something.

Now, on to the business of the day.

I really had hoped that my first post on More Than a Fan would be one about a series win over the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately, today’s game was a mess of a train wreck from the word “Go”.  Too bad that great big storm that rolled all the funnel clouds through here this evening didn’t show up  around noon instead. But what are you going to do?  Mother Nature is a cranky witch today and apparently wanted us all to see her hometown of Oz. She just didn’t want Boston to share in the trip, I guess.

I can think of a lot of adjectives to describe Mitch Talbot’s performance in his first start after coming off the DL  – none of which should be read by anyone under the age of 18.

Who am I kidding?  Those words should not be read by anyone over the age of 18 either.

So, rather than looking at this mess of a game, how about we just say the Red Sox had 20 hits, scored 14 runs and Carl Crawford tried his hardest to hit for the cycle. He failed but he only failed when he missed the triple and got two doubles instead.  The Indians? Well, they scored two.

Let’s just move on and recap the last month since we’ve been gone.

Since we’ve been gone, the Indians have the best record in baseball, are 19-6 at home and lead Detroit by 5.5 games in the Central Division.  Asdrubal Cabrera has emerged out of nowhere to lay claim to the best shortstop in the American League and some kid named Josh Tomlin is 6-1 with a 2.41 ERA. To put that in prespective, Tomlin is pitching better than both Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia. Even that guy that I love to hate, Matt LaPorta is hitting – and hitting well. (Although his defense makes me want to drink tequila everytime he takes the field).

I could go on and on about all of the good things that have happened to the Indians since Opening Day. Today’s game wasn’t one of them.  That was bad so we’ll just pretend it didn’t happen.

I’m ready to get back into talking Tribe – and all baseball for that matter – and I know Josh is, too.  You can follow either of us on Twitter, follow our Facebook page and even get our posts in your email minutes after we push the button if you use the links to the right.

Welcome Back!

The Diary of A Lottery Fan and A Cavalier (Not) Mock Draft

During the NBA draft lottery in 2003 I sat with a small group of friends in the pool hall waiting to see if our Cleveland Cavaliers would get the chance to draft the only can’t miss Hall of Famer of our generation.  We all know what has happened since then, but that moment was something that I can honestly say I’ll never forget.  We jumped up and cheered.  We high fived.  We spent weeks chasing excitement that we had no guarantee of catching, and then we caught it.

It’s only been eight years since that last lottery experience, but it feels like so much longer.  I’ve been a Cavalier fan since I could dribble a ball, and aside from distant memories of Mark Price giving a short white kid hope, it seems like my only Cavalier memories involve Lebron is some way or another.  Under the imperfect, but ambitious and aggressive leadership of owner Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers are moving on.  And they’re taking me with them.

(Take a moment to appreciate the symbolic moment that we’re having right now.  We’re turning our back on the past, on that last lottery experience and all that came with it.  Maybe someday things will be different, but for now, let’s face forward.  It’s bright in that direction.)

Instead of a group of friends, I watched the NBA Draft Lottery with my girlfriend, and instead of a smoky pool hall, I stood in front of the TV wearing sweatpants and thinking about my day job.  Almost everything was different about this draft lottery, but one thing was the same; I was excited.  I raised my fist when I saw that the pick the Cavaliers got from the LA Clippers as incentive to take on Baron Davis‘ contract in the Mo Williams for Davis trade was guaranteed to be a top three pick, and absolutely quivered in anticipation as envelope after envelope were opened without seeing the Cavaliers logo be revealed.

NUMBER FOUR!  Oh boy was I excited.  I did the really loud clap that guys do (you know, the one where the pets run out of the room and you get “that look” from your significant other) and pumped my fist…

UTAH JAZZ!  There’s not much time in between lottery picks, but my immediate thought was picking ahead of Utah means that the Jazz won’t steal Derrick Williams away…

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES!  The T-Wolves are picking second.  Wow.  That means that…

So, that Cavaliers have the 1st and 4th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, and it’s almost a lock that Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert are going to pick Kyrie Irving, the one and done point guard phenom from Duke.  Irving is a pure point guard, with great vision and court awareness.  He’s going to be a star, he can help this Cavalier team from day one, especially since he’s able to have Baron Davis as an NBA mentor.  I have nothing but good things to say about Kyrie Irving, in fact, my only reservation about picking him #1 overall has more to do with the logjam of talent at PG in the NBA right now than it does with Irving’s skill set.

Here are the point guards in the NBA that I don’t think Kyrie Irving is going to be better than: Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Russel Westbrook, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Stephon Curry, Steve Nash.  This list isn’t in order of who I think are the “best” point guards, or who my favorite point guards are, but merely guys that I think are playing above what I think Kyrie Irving’s ceiling happens to be.  I’ve said a few times today that Irving won’t make an NBA All Star team because of the point guard talent in the NBA, but I may have jumped the gun.  Not that I think he’ll be a top five point guard, but it’s conceivable that Rondo will slump at some point, and in that case, all Irving would have to do is be better than Lou Williams (Philly 76ers) or Rodney Stuckey (Detroit Pistons) to make an East All Star team.  I’ve been dumping myself into draft research, and the more I look, the more I like Kyrie Irving.  It’s usually the other way around, so I’m paying attention to this trend.  You’re not going to sell me on Irving being a top 5 at his position guy because of Rose, Westbrook, Paul, Williams, Parker, Rondo, Curry, and whatever guy jumps up in the conversation in the coming years, but Irving will be a cornerstone.

I really like Derrick Williams, and so does everyone else.  The Minnesota Timberwolves are going to pick Williams with the #2 pick, bringing us around to the first real drama of the draft.

With the third pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz select… Brandon Knight?  The Jazz have needs at forward and center, but unless Derrick Williams falls past the Timberwolves (Don’t assume that it can’t happen, there’s a reason why people yell “KAAAAAAAHHHHHHHNNNNNN” on a regular basis), I can’t imagine Utah taking a flier on Jan Vesely or Enes Kanter.  I know Vesely isn’t valued quite this high, but he’s my second favorite power forward in the draft behind Kanter.  Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor isn’t the kind of guy to make a high draft pick based on a Nike Hoops Summit game, and I think I’m the only person in the country who like Vesely even close to this much, so he’ll pick Knight.  Knight is a smart, hard nosed point guard who isn’t afraid to play defense or take big shots.  He’s what happens when you open up the cookbook and put together the recipe labeled “Utah Jazz Point Guard”.  Unless David Kahn pulls a David Kahn, that is.  You never know.

That leaves the Cavaliers back at #4.  Regardless of the possible Kahning of the second pick, Derrick Williams is going to be gone, so the no brainer pick is off the board.  Chris Grant isn’t going to pick a guard here since Anthony Parker is irreplaceable, so that leaves a big man.  (Calm down, I was being sarcastic)

My prediction here is Enes Kanter.  You’re not going to catch me jumping up and down over drafting a 19 year old who hasn’t played competitive basketball in two years, but I think Kanter has a shot at being good.  (In related news, “has a shot at being good” is in the top five on the “Things You Don’t Want To Hear About A Top Five Draft Pick” list.)  I hate the fact that we’d be drafting Kanter based on one Nike Hoops Summit game and a handful of practices in a Chicago gym.

Kanter started his career playing pro ball in Turkey, and was off to a great start.  Until someone advised him to move to the United States and enroll in college to get in on the NBA minor league.  Great idea.  Except he was a professional basketball player and received compensation for his services.  Apparently the internet doesn’t exist in Turkey, if it did, I’d have to imagine that Kanter’s advisors would have taken 10 minutes and looked up the NCAA’s eligibility rules.  That’s the sort of thing that makes me worry about the kind of guys that my team’s players have hanging around.  Stupid doesn’t equal nefarious, but it’s still stupid.

I’ve heard some rumors that the Cavaliers were going to go after Greg Oden in free agency, and if Oden signed here, they’d package the #4 pick with JJ Hickson and go after a big time player on the trade market.  Yes, Please.

After the Toronto Raptors pick a big Lithuanian who’s name I can’t pronounce with the fifth pick, there will be more picks than I’m going to predict.  Like I said in the title, this is a (Not) Mock Draft, which means that I can sit around and hope that Jimmer Fredette will be available in the second round.

 

Vinnie Pestano: Sprinting Into The Hearts of Tribe Fans

“That guy in the Cleveland game just ran to the mound in 3.2 seconds” was a Tweet in my timeline last week.

My response:  “It took him that long?”

Vinnie Pestano doesn’t mess around when he gets the call to the mound, running full speed out of the bullpen to the cheers of Tribe fans. But that’s not the only reason the fans cheer when Pestano appears. Pestano has been a solid presence in the Cleveland bullpen with a 1.13 ERA and 11 strike outs in 8 innings pitched.  In the game last night against Kansas City, Pestano came in with a bases loaded mess left by reliever Tony Sipp and pitched 7 for 9 strikes, retiring the side without any damage done.

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Sizemore Adds Pop To Down Week

Player of the Week: Grady Sizemore, CF

Grady Sizemore may not be back in his full time lead off role yet officially, but barring any major setbacks, he’s back on the job.  As much as I’ve talked about liking Michael Brantley better in center and how Sizemore’s bat is better suited to hitting third, there’s something reassuring about seeing Sizemore back in the role that we all know he can play.  And play well.

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The Snark: Are We Worried About Chad Durbin Yet?

I have to admit that when the Tribe signed Chad Durbin to a one year contract, I was totally on board.  Despite the strong finish by the Tribe bullpen last year, I felt like the added experience that Durbin would bring could only work to the advantage of the young relievers.  After all, Durbin had a decent season last year which helped the Philadelphia Phillies get to the championship game – something that is only a dream in the minds of a very young Cleveland team.  Over 3 seasons with the Phillies, Durbin went 11-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 226 innings pitched and, with a strike out rate of 8.26 per nine innings, he wasn’t a bad choice.  Those aren’t numbers that are going to get him into the Hall of Fame and Durbin has some well publicized control issues but, to prop up a young bullpen, the Tribe could do worse.  

Boy, was I wrong.

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