Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's Wrong with the Cavs?

Here we are, game two of an 82 game marathon, and the Cavs have lost to Boston in game one, and are in danger, as I write this, of losing to the Raptors. Two losses in a row is not the way to start the season, but patience is in order. Others have observed that the Cavs need more time to jell, to get used to playing with Shaq, to get used to playing without West, etc. I think all of that is true to a certain extent. But there is one thing that I have noticed in the first two games, is that Lebron seems to be deferring to Shaq on the offensive end. I know that Lebron is the Cavs' best player and playmaker, but his role is to be the best player on the floor, not to make certain that Shaq is the best player on the floor. Lebron needs to take charge and begin to take matters into his own hands. When he wants to, he is the most dominating player in the NBA. It is time for Lebron to show he is the best player and become the focal point of the Cavs offense. Your best player needs to be your best player. Lebron is the best player, not Shaq, so let Lebron be Lebron and Shaq adjust his role to supplement Lebron.

Are You World Serious?

Here it is the first game of the World Series, and I am not interested. A baseball fan like me SHOULD be watching the game, after all, the two former Cy Young Award winning Indians are throwing to start off the series. But I can't get into it. Is it because the Tribe traded away their two best pitchers (CC and Lee) and got little in return? Perhaps. Is it because the Yankees are playing and I hate the Yankees? Maybe. But more likely it is the fact that the Series is starting on October 28. Are you serious? October 28 is the middle of the NFL season, the end of the high school football season, it is the beginning of the hockey and basketball seasons. There is something wrong with October 28 being the start of the World Series. THE SERIES SHOULD BE CONCLUDING ON OCTOBER 28, NOT JUST BEGINNING.

Now, I know why the Series is starting so late, it is in large part because the regular season lasts as long as it does. The regular season is 162 games, no double headers scheduled, so that MLB clubs can maximize their ticket sales in order to pay the salaries of their respective ball clubs. But something has to be done to shorten the season so that the Series can end by October 28. How about day and night doubleheaders, where there are individual ticket sales for both games? A four game weekend series can be shortened to four games in three days, thereby giving the ball player the day off that he needs. I would even start the season earlier, at the end of March, and risk a possible snow out rather than begin a World Series at the end of October. f

MLB can thank the good Lord that two major markets are competing for the baseball world championship, because if it was anyone else other than Philly, LA, Boston or NY, their TV ratings would be in the tank. I predict that the ratings will be respectable only because it is the Yankees that are playing in the World Series. If I were a betting man, many can't get into a World Series that starts October 28. Hey, college basketball begins in a couple of weeks! Baseball should be over by this time of year. If there was any justice, bad weather will plaque the East Coast, weather that would be fitting to the time of year that it is, Fall going into Winter. Interested in the World Series? This year? Are you serious? I would rather watch the Blue Jackets and the Browns. Well, maybe not the Browns, but you get the idea.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Value of Vermette

Can you tell that I finally have some time to write on the blogs?

I have been wanting to write about one of my favorite winter sports: hockey. I have had the opportunity to watch many of the Blue Jacket games early this season, and I have noticed the play of Antione Vermettte. Vermette, a center, has had the difficult task of playing on the second line for the Jackets. I have concluded that playing on the second line has to be one of the most demanding positions in all of hockey, night in and night out.

Let me try to explain it in these terms:

In sports, coaches want to put their best defense men on the opposing teams top offensive threats. In hockey, this means that the third line is your checking and/or defensive line. Coaches, when at home, have the opportunity to match up their lines with the opposition. For example, the visitors have to put their players on the ice first, then the home team can put their players on, thereby matching up with the opponent. When the visitors put out their top offensive players (their first line) the home team will match up with the third line (their top defensive players) in an attempt to shut down the opponents.

When playing on the road tonight, the Jackets will start their first line with Rick Nash, and the Oilers will counter with their third line. Make sense? The Jackets put out their offensive players, the Oilers match up with their best defensive players.

Where does this leave the players on the second line? Who will Antione Vermette, Jake Voracek, and RJ Umberger play against? Probably the top offensive players for the Oilers, which puts the Jackets at a disadvantage, one would think. But that is hockey, it is the rules and one of the advantages of being the home team. Vermette and his team mates playing on his line MUST BE ALL AROUND GOOD HOCKEY PLAYERS. Tonight, they will have to play great defense for the Jackets to win.

Conversely, when the Jackets are at home, Vermette will be matched up against the visitors second line, or comparable players. The point is this: In hockey, the second line has to play against great all around competition night in and night out. It is so important to get great hockey from your second line, and the Jackets are getting it so far this season. This is a major factor in their early season success.

Of course, this all is for naught if the goaltender plays like a sieve. Fortunately, the Jackets have been getting good goal tending as well. If these things continue, look for a real good season for the men in the blue sweaters.

Tonight the CBJ plays Edmonton. It is on FSN Ohio at 9:30. I will be watching and rooting the Jackets on, of course, but also paying attention to Antione Vermette and his line tonight. The success of the Jackets tonight hinges, in large part, on their good play.

The Managerial Search

News reports say that the Indians are presently conducting interviews with their managerial candidates. Acta, Valentine, Mattingly, and Louvello are supposed to be the final four. Don Mattingly would be at the top of my list, followed by Chris Chambliss (who doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar), Mike Hargrove (who is out of the running), Travis Fryman, Acta, Louvello, and Valentine. Why would Valentine be last on my list when he has the most experience? I just don't think he fits. He is a journey man manager, not having done anything of note in my book. A big name, yes, but unimpressive. Mattingly, Chambliss, and Fryman would bring differing perspectives, all three were all star ball players and played in winning organizations. I think it would be beneficial to bring a perspective of a former Yankee in Mattingly and Chambliss. Chambliss was an excellent batting coach before he became a manager. Fryman is a class act all the way around who knows baseball. From what I understand of Manny Acta, he too is a class act who didn't have any talent in Washington. That being said, Acta would feel right at home with the Tribe, who didn't have any pitching to speak of last season and fielded a AAA team the last few months of the season. Whoever the new manager is, I wish him good luck. Man, will he need it. Probably a few prayers wouldn't hurt as well.

The 2009-2010 Cleveland Cavaliers

I attended the exhibition game last night at Value City Arena, against the Celtics. It is hard to have any lasting impressions after this game. It really didn't tell us much about the Cavs. I certainly believe that they will be a contender for the NBA crown (man, I hope so after watching this team for 40 years) but last night didn't tell us much if anything. The players were getting their workout in. West didn't play, and the intensity wasn't there on the part of the Cavs. I will admit that the Celtics looked very good, and it is scary to think how good they will be because Kevin Garnett didn't play last night, but it was, after all a PRACTICE game. The results didn't mean a thing. We'll learn more about the Cavs next week. But it was still fun to see them play, an enjoyable night out with the kids, and to top it off, Rachel and Charles were on kiss cam!

The Future of the Cleveland Browns

The future success of the Cleveland Browns hinges, not on who will play quarterback, but on who they will draft in the upcoming draft. The most important people on the Browns staff right now are the scouts, who will seek out talent to play on this team. This year's edition of the Browns are woefully lacking in talent. I can only think of six players who would be considered possible Pro Bowl players at their positions. I can not emphasize enough the simple truth that the Browns need more talent.

So, what kind of talent or positions should the scouts be looking at and considering? If I were the GM, I would place an emphasis on offensive and defensive linemen and linebackers. If you can control the trenches, your football team will look and be more competitive. An offensive line that can open holes will make running backs look good. An offensive line that will give the quarterback time to throw will create opportunities to move the football. A defensive line and linebackers that can stop the run and rush the passer will take the heat off of the secondary.

So the moral of the story is this.... draft quality linemen and linebackers and you will see this team improve exponentially. Sadly, though, we must suffer through another woeful season.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How Did That Happen?

The Browns won, today! Finally! The Browns beat the Bills 6-3. I don't know how they did it, but they did it! Yippee!

Derek Anderson passed for 23 yards FOR THE GAME. His passing average was 1.4 yards per pass. I might add that this is 23 yards more than I had AND I DIDN'T EVEN PLAY OR WATCH THE GAME.

Again, I don't know how they did it, but they did it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Teams Finally Have Won!

In an unprecedented move by the commissioners of the NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB have all awarded the teams from Cleveland and Columbus Ohio the Championships in their respective sports. Citing the recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, the commissioners unanimously awarded the Lombardi Trophy to the Browns, The Commissioner's Trophy to the Indians, the Larry O'Brien Trophy to the Cavaliers, and the Stanley Cup to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Fans of these teams were ecstatic, however it is understood that the fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes are petitioning the NCAA for a similar ruling for the 2009-2010 football season.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Break into the Big Time?

As you know, I have been doing color commentary for the Fairfield Christian Academy football games this fall. Tomorrow night I will be expanding my horizons, as I will be a sideline reporter. The game is against South Gallia High School down in Crown City, Ohio. As I understand it, the stadium is a stone's throw from the Ohio River. It should be a picturesque setting and a lot of fun.

I can just picture my first interview from the sidelines:

"I am here speaking with freshman Mark Davidson. Mark, tell me what happened out there tonight......"