Tuesday, July 19

Browns Sporcles!

With literally nothing going on with regards to the Cleveland Browns until August, and flat-out nothing happening on FCF, I thought now was an ideal time to tide sports fans over with a collection of Cleveland Browns-themed Sporcle quizzes. Good luck!

Can you name the Cleveland Browns starting QBs since 1999?
I missed one, and I suspect I'll be the only member of the site who does so.

Can you name the Cleveland Browns Draft Picks since 1999?
I sure can't. I only put up 44 in this one. Drafts are not my bag, baby. Warning: taking this quiz might make you depressed.

Can you name the Cleveland Browns head coaches?
I posted an 11/15. Can you believe we've had THREE interim coaches?

Can you name the Cleveland Browns in the Hall of Fame?
9/16. Do I even follow this team?

Can you name the Players who 'contributed' in 2010 for the Browns?
A more recent one for you. I got 71/101. Strangely, there are a few guys on that list of whom I've never heard.

Can you name the Cleveland Browns who wore each uniform number for the most regular-season games?
Wow. Just wow. I guarantee you get fewer of these than you expect.

Can you name the career leaders for the Cleveland Browns in the following categories?
A good one to finish up on - I got 55 of these.

Monday, July 11

AT&T Park

Chief Wahoo and I in San Fran, representin'. If this were a video, you'd be able to see my teeth chattering.

Tuesday, July 5

Yankees Suck! Yankees Suck!

What a game! I just saw the Indians defeat the yankees 6-3 at Progressive Field, in a terrific come-from-behind victory on Independence Day. Winning is always fun - winning against the yankees is extra-fun. It's so refreshing that this year, the Tribe is good enough to draw enough fans to drown out their "let's go yankees" nonsense and start our own solid "yankees suck" chants. None of this nonsense where we have 8 000 fans and so do the visitors. Also: the Indians were good enough to beat them 6-3.

Against my better judgement, I logged on to espn.com after the game - check out the screenshot I took of the espn.com homepage shortly after the game. Yeah, that's about right. Nothing about the FIRST PLACE INDIANS' big win, just a picture of and accompanying story about Derek Jeter, a complete nonfactor in the game and a completely undeserving starting shortstop in next week's all-star game. Great coverage!

Well done. BTW, there were plenty of post-game fireworks, ESPN.

Can you see the headlines at the side of the frame? Here's the topics regarding tonight's game:

Jeter hitless in return | Indians edge yanks

Which one of those things is more important? Jeter's meaningless ohfer, or Cleveland's big win? How badly have we lost the plot here? Chases for arbitrary numbers of hits are now this much more important than the results of games between first-place teams? And just fyi, Cleveland didn't "edge" New York - the final score was 6-3. No amount of ESPN New York-loving can change that. Embarrassing. Why do I even go to this site anymore?

Having not learned this lesson and having arrived too late to catch the highlights on STO, I dumbly flipped on...ESPN, to see the postgame highlights. Instead, I was treated to John Kruk and Barry Larkin chattering about...Derek Jeter. Of course. Nothing about the Indians, nothing at all. Just Larkin and Kruk trying to out-cliche one another, and Kruk mindlessly saying how Jeter's "veteran presence" will help the club, without much discussion about how much his .649 OPS (77 OPS+) and -0.3 dWAR will help New York win games.

Also: baseball does not have captains.

For the record, CNNSI's front page is a photo of the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen and a story from Joe Posnanski that is, get ready, ESPN, actually about baseball. Their Tribe headline could be better ("Jeter hitless in return; Kearns homer lifts Indians") - we're still second-class citizens, but not in a second, separate article, and not totally misrepresenting the game itself.

Go Tribe.

Sunday, July 3


I'm not sold on this Hickson trade. I know management questioned his focus and defensive commitment, but the guy is only 23 and had an obviously high ceiling. He was already a 16/10 guy, clearly developing skills and a greater awareness of rebounding, even if he was prone to defensive lapses on an already-poor defensive club.

Clearly he didn't see eye to eye with Coach Byron Scott, and that certainly hastened his exit. It's just frustrating to watch such potential only net Omri Casspi and a low first-round pick, thanks to the extensive protections on the pick.

As for the Cavs' other recent roster moves, via the NBA Draft, the same is true as usual - we'll just have to wait and see. Bill Simmons had this to say in his NBA Draft diary:

You know, because any time you can grab a freshman point guard who missed two-thirds of the season when you have $20 million of point guards on your roster, you have to do it.

This is purposely misleading. Almost all of that $20 million is Baron Davis' $13.9 million, and neither he nor Ramon Sessions nor Daniel Gibson are the Cavs' long-term answer at point guard. The Cavs are clearly just waiting out Davis' deal, and only made the trade to get the #1 from the Clippers, a deal that netted them the pick they used to select...Kyrie Irving. Simmons knows all this. Now, if you think Derrick Williams has a better NBA future, fine, say so, but this analysis is way off-base.

As for Tristan Thompson...I couldn't possibly know less about the guy. I do like the reports that defense is his strength, because the Cavs were an absolutely terrible defensive team in 2010-11.

Also: there's probably not going to be a season.

Friday, July 1

Halfway Home for the Wahoos

This Saturday's game in Cincinnati with the Reds (Ohio Cup!) will mark the halfway point of the season for the Wahoos, and they'll find themselves no more than 2.5 games out of the top spot in the AL Central once that game ends. I think we all would have signed up for that at the beginning of the campaign, despite the club's recent struggles.

It remains to be seen how well the Indians will be able to hang in the race. Many other interested parties, from Paul Cousineau to Paul Hoynes to Manny "Paul" Acta have freely stated that the Indians' pitching has been their team strength so far and will need to continue to be so, and have the bats start contributing as well for them to contend through September.

Unfortunately, this is not correct. There's a tendency to overvalue pitching over batting when analyzing a team's prospects for success, or breaking down success already experienced. I don't understand this - pitching and hitting are equally valuable, and it seems to me folly to suggest that one has more to do with a club's record than the other. Am I missing something?

Consider the Indians, whom everyone curiously seems to agree has been carried by their pitching so far. Their team OPS+ is 102, slightly above average. Their ERA+ is 99, ever so slightly below average. Unless I'm missing something, this suggests that they're a somewhat better batting club than a defensive team. Their team offensive WAR is 9.8, while the sum of their pitching (6.5) and defensive (2.3) WAR is 8.8, again suggesting a team that's had more success at the plate than in the field. As for the defensive component of baseball - the Tribe's defensive efficiency is .700 and its fielding percentage .983, both of which are exactly AL-average to three decimal places. (Seriously.) Regardless of how much you trust defensive stats, I think it's telling that we're right on the mean no matter how you look at it.

Not a fan of advanced metrics? Prefer the more classic "runs"? OK, then. The Tribe's runs per game is 4.30, bettering the AL average of 4.26 by 0.04, or a run every 25 contests. The Indians allow 4.18 runs a game, also 0.04 better than the league average of 4.22. These numbers have been compiled while playing home games in the confines of Progressive Field, historically a slight pitcher's park.

My point is simply that the Indians are almost exactly balanced, and perched at the league average in all three facets of the game; pitching, defense, and hitting. I'm not sure how this notion of us being a pitching-dominated team started, but it certainly isn't backed up by any numbers, so let's stop saying that it is.