Monday, October 17

Downtown Report with nothin' to report

My Dad has a theory that he advances periodically, despite my strenuous objections, that the major American sports seasons shouldn't overlap, that once, say, baseball ends, football begins, then once that's over, basketball ends, and then baseball starts again and so on. His "reasoning" is an unsupported assertion that "the seasons are too long," whatever that means. I really can't seem to convince him of the vacuity of this notion.

Anyway, I think we're seeing right now that only having one sport active isn't the best thing. Yeah, it's still fun to watch the Bucks and Browns every Saturday and Sunday, but it's so much more fun to have more than one season going on. Football season, in particular, really benefits from having some midweek baseball or basketball games going on, which we lack at present.

One other consequence of single-seasoning it: not a whole lot for me to write about here. I did want to check in with a couple of thoughts on our teams, however, so let's get to it.

Did you catch Part I (the players and numbers) and Part II (the highlights) of my Indians season in review articles? I hope that you did.

As of now, I have only two Tribe-related tidbits:

1) Our comrade Paul Cousineau at The Diatribe is taking a well-deserved hiatus. If anyone's earned it, it's Cousineau. At least he'll stop making us look like such hacks for a while.

2) I went to Harpo's in Parma last night and totally was sitting right near John Adams of Tribe drumming fame. He did indeed have on an Indians sweatshirt.

Can't say that I'm particularly eager to write about the past few weeks of Browns football. They just seem to make an inordinate amount of avoidable errors, and teams like that can't afford to allow two special-teams TD's and think they're going to win. It's still hard to get a read on Colt McCoy as a prospective long-term solution, especially when he's constantly under siege from defenders and doesn't have much of a WR corps to work with. This could be a long year.

Consider that, despite how difficult this season has seemed for the Buckeyes, that they were a twisted ankle away from beating two ranked conference opponents on the road in consecutive weeks, after toppling Illinois 17-7 last week in Champaign. Rumors of OSU's death have been greatly exaggerated.

The headline from Saturday's win was, of course, that they won a game in which they registered exactly one pass completion, a rather unorthodox route to victory in major college football. Of course this brought out a cavalcade of cliche about "old-school" and "smashmouth" football and evocations of Woody Hayes' pass-eschewing philosophy, and how great rushing the ball is and blah blah blah.

The fact is, Ohio State did what they had to do on a day where they had an inexperienced QB playing in strong wind. Their gameplan was enabled by two things: 1) a tough defense that yielded just seven points and forced three turnovers, two of which led directly to OSU's two touchdowns and 2) a much-improved rushing game highlighted by the return of Dan Herron. Wax philosophical about three yards and a cloud of dust all you like - without Herron and that monster defensive performance, this win doesn't happen. This win isn't some sort of validation of an all-rushing offense, because you need balance to be successful against good teams. To continue to compete this year, they will need to develop some success in the passing game. Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later, with powerful Wisconsin coming to Columbus after the Buckeye bye week.

As you've likely heard, however, NBA games aren't going to be forthcoming right away, possibly for a long time. As a sports fan, I'm going to miss basketball a bit because it's a good game and I enjoy watching the competition and heading down to the Q for a game here and there. But it's not really going to bother me and, based on the deafening quiet that greeted the NBA's announcement of games being canceled, the rest of the nation is going to shake it off pretty easily too. I'll catch a few more hockey games, find other stuff to do - like a high percentage of Ameican sports fans, this is a whole different thing than if the NFL had lost time. So go ahead, NBA, cancel all you want and watch your fan base's indifference grow.

Seriously, guys, keep overestimating the extent to which America's sports fans care. It won't even be a challenge for me to get behind the Monsters and Penguins.

There's one angle I haven't seen mentioned yet about the NBA greedfest lockout. Maybe they're tacitly acknowledging the superiority of football in the hearts of the nation's fans. Even if they miss the first few months of the season, those are months where football is going on, reducing the urgency to get a deal done. May as well bide their time, let football do its thing, and get things rolling in January or so.

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