Sunday, May 23

The Downtown Report

We are potentially a month away from the Browns being the best top-tier professional sports team in Cleveland. Yes, the same Browns who were once 1-11. But consider: the local footballers have made strides towards mediocrity while the Indians are one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball and the Cavaliers could be headed for a precipitous drop-off, dependent on certain off-season roster moves.

But hey, it's super-nice outside, the summer road racing and triathlon seasons are getting into full swing, and I've installed myself as the leadoff man and shortstop on a softball team whose membership goes to the bar after the games. So hey, the guys who get paid to play ball might not be delivering the goods, but Francis sure is.

I'm now 0-3 on the season in attendance at Progressive Field, having gone to Friday's run-of-the-mill 6-4 loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds with Nick and Figgs. I know they're bad, but they do sport a 6-12 home record. This means there's roughly a 30% chance of me being 0-3 at this point. Fortunately, the odds that I go all season without seeing a Tribe W at their current home win % and my current attendance rate are just under 1%, so I'm bound to go home happy once before this season ends. This analysis does not account for the presence of Kerry Wood.

I was going to take a look at the numbers for the Tribe at the 1/4 point of the season, but it kinda doesn't sound so fun anymore. Our team OPS+ is 93 and our team ERA+ is 89 - what do you want me to say? Choo, Kearns, and Hafner are the only three guys who've really hit well this year, Branyan and Peralta are both somehow slightly above league average, and the rest of the lineup is scary bad. Oh yeah, and both of our young stars, Cabrera and Sizemore, are currently residing on the DL. Runs should continue to be at a premium, even with the impending call-up of Carlos Santana.

Fausto Carmona and Mitch Talbot have pitched well in the starting rotation, though Talbot's peripheral values suggest a drop-off in the near future. Jake Westbrook is still finding his way back, but will probably not be in a Cleveland uniform by the time he gets all the way back to his old form. The less said about our other two starters, Huff and Masterson, the better. The bullpen is simple: Chris Perez and Tony Sipp have been outstanding, Aaron Laffey has been effective as a long man, and the rest of the 'pen has been pretty ugly.

The bottom line is that our team simply isn't that good. What one hopes for is the emergence of a few young guys and maybe a few fun W's sprinkled in among the already-impressive roster of heartbreaking L's we've already asembled. Yes, I am managing expectations.


I'm not losing a minute of sleep worrying about the Cavaliers' near-term future; I've got too much going on to concern myself with off-season dealing five months before the season, enjoying my time away from the game.

I'm aware what's going on in the rest of the NBA playoffs, but not because I've actively sought out any information on it. I honestly don't care. OK, I'm happy that those dummies in Orlando are starting their summer earlier than they anticipated, but that's it.

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