Friday, June 29

Pseudo-Live Blog of ‘02 Title Game

There are a couple of things that happen each year around mid-summer. One, I get that itch for college football because it’s been so long since I’ve seen a game so I’ll watch the Ohio St/Miami 2002 National Championship game. Second, I start to feel bad that I’ve been neglecting this blog with both OSU squads in the off-season and Andy is left holding the bag and forced to nitpick at Cleveland Indians radio commercials just for material. (J/K, those commercials annoy me too.) So I decided to kill two proverbial birds with one VHS tape, as I popped in my video of the game and thought I’d jot down my random thoughts as the game goes on. Enjoy!

Keith Jackson does the voice-over as he runs through both teams' incredible seasons, campaigns that played in drastically different ways. Miami was just invincible, steamrolling their way to 34 straight wins and berth in second consecutive Championship game. Ohio St, on the other hand, had a magical year with miraculous finish after miraculous finish, from the “Holy Buckeye!” win at Purdue, to the Will Allen goal line interception to seal the fate of that school up north (another phenomenal but less popular call by Mussberger, "Let's party, Columbus!"), to all the rest. At this point after just hearing his powerful voice, I’m thinking - I miss Keith Jackson. (This thought left me after roughly his 150th mistake in the second quarter.)

Coin Toss
Can anyone tell me why Cal Ripken is here? His presence would make for a good trivia question, I suppose. As would, “What was the first commercial?” (A Jay Leno spot for Tostitos, FYI)

15:00 1st, 0-0
12 men in the huddle call on Ohio St. Good start. This prompted Dan Fouts to say, “Lot of pressure in these big games for everybody, Keith.” Immediately, I thought of this.

13:09 1st, 0-0
Andy Groom boots a 59-net-yard punt, inducing two responses from me: (1) Boy I miss this guy, and (2) Fuck Ben Buchanan.

12:33 1st, 0-0
Miami’s first offensive play results in a Will Smith sack, where he just crushed Ken Dorsey. I wonder if he got paid for that? (Yes, that was both an OSU players getting paid and Saints “Bounty Program” joke. I’ll be here all night, folks.)

10:45 1st, 0-0
Cie Grant limps off the field with an apparent leg injury. Fouts says it’ll be a huge loss for the Buckeyes if he can’t return. (SPOILER ALERT: Luckily, he does.) On a side note, he’s replaced by little-known freshman A.J. Hawk.

8:04 1st, 0-0
Miami’s Antrel Rolle “allegedly” downs a punt inside the 1. The thing is, he was clearly in the end zone.

6:42 1st, 0-0
We’re welcomed with the first of what will be hundreds of Wild Card Playoff football promos for games the following day, when Michael Vick’s Falcons will take on Brett Favre’s Packers. The thing I find funny is their lead-in to this game - a Sixers/Mavs game that they are promoting just as heavily. Forget the NFL playoffs - we got Allen Iverson vs. Dirk Nowitzki!

6:29 1st, 0-0
Another three-and-out. Ouch.

4:10 1st, 7-0 Miami
On 3rd and 15, Dorsey somehow eludes a Donnie Nickey sack and Dan Fouts’ mouth approaching his penis to find Roscoe Parrish for the TD. The thing that always stands out with me about this was that Parrish, the team’s third wideout most known for his returning prowess, was my brother’s pick for getting the first score. What a guess.

3:48 1st, 7-0 Miami
Krenzel makes a total un-Krenzel move and just tosses a ball up in the air. To make matters worse, it’s intended for Chris Vance. Sean Taylor easily out-duels Vance for the INT. Things are not off to a good start.

0:40 1st, 7-0 Miami
Hey, a first down!

13:44 2nd, 7-0 Miami
That didn’t last long. At least Groom pounds another 60-yarder to pin Miami back.

11:37 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Dorsey throws a ball directly to Dustin Fox for the pick. He was the worst winningest quarterback ever.

9:48 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Maurice Clarett at this point has 7 carries for 0 yards. Either Mo “got his goose on” before the game started or that’s just what happens when you’re running against a front-seven consisting of Vince Wilfork, Jerome McDougle, William Joseph, D.J. Williams, and Jonathan Vilma.

9:00 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Aflac Trivia Question: “Who was the last National Championship team to have a freshman as their leading rusher?” I got this live, NBD.

7:58 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Ohio St fails a fake field goal attempt. Not very Tressel-esque, but I was OK with this at the time. They were the underdog trying to make a big play. Interesting side note #2 - Luke Fickell was the special teams coach on this team.

5:37 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Dorsey’s pass deflects off of Andre Johnson’s fingers and is picked off by Mike Doss. This one was more Johnson’s fault than Dorsey’s.

4:19 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Aflac answer - Herschel Walker for the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs.

2:31 2nd, 7-7
Tressel makes his second bold call of the game, this time electing to go for it on 4th and Goal from the 1. This one pays off, as Krenzel sneaks it in to tie the game.

2:15 2nd, 7-7
Kenny Peterson sacks Dorsey and forces a fumble, picked up by Darion Scott. It seems every big defensive player for the Bucks made at least one crucial play in this game. This marks the third consecutive Miami possession resulting in a turnover.

1:10 2nd, 14-7 Ohio St
Clarett gets his longest run of the game thus far, a 7-yard score. Suck it, Miami!

Halftime, 14-7 Ohio St
Warren Sapp is a total ass. What the hell is he wearing? Eddie George on the other hand, all class.

You’re damn right both of our cheerleaders made their kicks and Miami’s didn’t. Plus, our chick was way hotter.

11:02 3rd, 14-7 Ohio St
Chris Gamble beats his man like he was Chris Brown’s new girlfriend, but has to slow down for the ball as Krenzel can’t quite lead him into the end zone. Nonetheless, the 57-yard connection is good for the Buckeyes’ longest play of the season.

10:25 3rd, 14-7 Ohio St
On the very next play, we have quite possibly the play of the game. Sean Taylor picks off Krenzel for the second time on the evening in the end zone, and has a good return going. Clarett chases him down and with Taylor carrying the ball in the wrong hand is able to strip the ball and take back possession for OSU.

8:35 3rd, 17-7 Ohio St
The Bucks can't collect a first down after the Clarett play, but the effort still nets us three points as Mike Nugent knocks in a 44-yarder.

5:05 3rd, 17-7 Ohio St
Groom shanks a punt and sets up the ‘Canes with by far their best field position of the night at their own 45.

4:17 3rd, 17-7 Ohio St
Kellen Winslow makes a 25-yard catch, the start of a dominance that he will continue for the duration of this game.

2:11 3rd, 17-14 Ohio St
Willis McGahee finally breaks free after being stifled all game long, getting to the outside for a 9-yard TD run. This score sends McGahee past Ricky Williams for third all-time for touchdowns in a single season with 28. Almost as impressive a stat, this is only the fifth rushing TD given up by this Buckeye D all year.

11:53 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Doss jumps a swing pass intended for Johnson but can only muster a couple fingertips on it. He was inches away from possibly sealing this game.

11:39 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Will Allen just killed Willis McGahee. (Don’t watch if you’re squeamish.) After seeing this injury for about the 4,000th time, it still amazes me that he ever played football again, let alone have the good and lasting NFL career that he did.

11:26 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Todd Sievers misses a 52-yard FG attempt. Unfortunately, this is not the last we’ve seen of him.

10:30 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Vilma absolutely levels Krenzel. Again, Krenzel goes against everything he’s done all season and just tosses the ball into the air instead of taking the sack. Luckily, the ball lands in between four Hurricane defenders.

9:40 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Something that is very Krenzel-like: staying in the game after that hit left him with an apparent shoulder injury, and quickly connecting with Gamble for a 15-yard strike on 3rd and 9.

6:35 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Talk about uncharacteristic - Nugent misses a 42-yard attempt. Every time I watch this, I still expect him to make it even though I know the outcome. I’m just not used to seeing him miss.

5:54 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Three straight catches for Winslow and Miami is quickly across midfield.

5:08 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Roscoe Parrish has a huge catch and run but is sandwiched by Fox and Nickey and the ball pops loose. Will Allen recovers and the feeling begin to sets in that we may be National Champions.

3:39 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Facing a 3rd and 9, Krenzel pulls the ball down and runs for 9 yards and the conversion. Just unbelievable guts and toughness.

2:18 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Gamble seemingly makes a catch good for the first down on 3rd and 6, but the pass is called incomplete. Whenever people bring up the “bullshit” pass interference call in OT, I always go back to this play, but of course no one remembers it. First of all, Gamble was being held heavily, then he still makes the catch in bounds anyway. This should have sealed this game, which never should have gone to overtime anyway.

2:00 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Parrish rips off an incredible punt return, setting the ’Canes up to start their drive already in field goal range

0:36 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Simon Fraser sacks Dorsey, forcing a 3rd and 14 from the 30.

0:08 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
After a quick screen pass to get a little closer, Miami inexplicably rushes the field goal team out and tries to set up before a freshman realizes what’s going on and calls a time out. Man, I wish they would have let Sievers rush in and kick it right there. I have no idea what Larry Coker was thinking.

0:00 4th, 17-17
After two OSU attempted “icing” timeouts, Todd Sievers’ kick is true. This season was so much fun, why stop now?

1st OT, 24-17 Miami
Winslow continues to plow the Buckeye D. After being held and drawing a flag, Kellen makes a fabulous catch, literally grabbing the ball off of the top of Will Allen’s helmet.

1st OT, 24-17 Miami
On 4th and 14, Michael Jenkins keeps the season alive with a 16-yard catch down the sideline, showing great awareness by keeping his feet in bounds. It was a poor game throwing for Krenzel and Jenkins was held to a mere two catches up until this point, but the two big time playmakers still come up with the huge play. Goosebumps.

1st OT, 24-17 Miami
“The Call.” We all know the play. Fourth down and Krenzel throws an incomplete pass attended for Gamble (a ball that absolutely should have been caught, by the way) and the Miami celebration begins. The only problem is Glenn Sharpe is called for pass interference. No, it was not an obvious call, and I’m not so blindly in love with Ohio St that I can’t admit it probably shouldn’t have been called. I will say that Sharpe did have one arm around Gamble’s waist, and as Jackson pointed out it looked like there could have been contact before the camera found the two players. Regardless, P.I. was called and the Bucks have it 1st and Goal at the 1.

1st OT, 24-24
Craig Krenzel gets his second rushing TD of the game on another QB sneak, sending the game to double overtime.

2nd OT, 31-24 Ohio St
Less theatrics from the Buckeyes on this scoring drive. After Krenzel picked up a 3rd and 1 with yet another sneak, it was Mo Clarett hitting paydirt for the lead.

2nd OT, 31-24 Ohio St
Matt Wilhelm just flattens Dorsey, forcing him out of the game and replaced by a guy named Daryl Crudup on a crucial 3rd and 11. Crudup hits FB Quadtrine Hill for a 7-yard gain. I’d be willing to bet it was the most important Crudup-Hill pass connection ever.

2nd OT, 31-24 Ohio St
Dorsey comes back in on 4th and 3 and gets the conversion by completing a pass to (who else?) Kellen Winslow. A facemask penalty gives the ‘Canes another five yards and sets up 1st and Goal.

2nd OT, 31-24 Ohio St
After an interference call on Gamble, Miami now has it 1st and Goal from the 2. The ensuing four plays looked like this:

Payton 1-yard run
Dorsey incomplete pass
Hill 0-yard run
Dorsey incomplete pass

On the final play, it was (Andy’s high school’s own) Cie Grant rushing untouched off the edge and getting in Dorsey’s grill immediately. Dorsey’s errant pass was closest to four different Buckeyes, with Donnie Nickey, making sure no more miracles would happen on the night, knocking it down.

Final 2OT, 31-24 Ohio St
This win was just so improbable, the monumental David and Goliath battle. Miami comes in with a roster loaded with future NFL Pro Bowlers, a 34-game winning streak, and as 19-point favorites. Sure, the haters will go back to The Call and the McGahee injury, and of course those were important events and the outcome would have been different had they not happened, but it just seemed that Ohio St was a team of destiny all year. I described it earlier as “magical,” I think that’s the best way to express it.


Thursday, June 28

What if the Indians stopped running these stupid commercials?

I hate the "What If" campaign. Sorry, Indians organization, I'm still as much a fan as ever, but these ads have spiraled out of control and are starting to encroach on my enjoyment of your radio broadcasts. I know I'm being a spoilsport here, but hear me out.

At first, when they premiered last year, the ads made sense. They spoke to a certain sense around the surprising club - what if everything came together, what if this ragtag club went the Major League route and crashed the playoffs? It was genuinely inspiring.

Now it's confusing and weird, like how the Carfox from the Carfax commercials went from the puppet the salesman used to divert attention from a Carfax request to suddenly and inexplicably being their spokesperson. Now all the "What if" questions (backed by music more creepy than spine-tingling) are either hypotheticals or questions whose answers are unimportant.

What if this were your house?
Progressive Field, that is. Seems like an odd place to live, but if you mean it in the sense of it being your club's home field...well, it is our house. Where is the hypothetical to be considered.

What if you could be here?
I can, I go to games all the time. I really, really don't get it.

...or here
What if you stopped airing these commercials?

What if you could show your pride
YOU CAN SHOW YOUR PRIDE! No 'what if'! People wear jerseys and hats and pins and all sorts of pride-showing things. This isn't a what if. This has nothing to do with the original intent of the campaign

and scream and cheer
You can absolutely, 100% do these things. "What if you could breathe...what if you could eat food at a game..."

What if it was your passion that brought them home

What if this was the house that you built?
Are you referring to the tax that funded Gateway? If so, then again, I'm sorry, not a hypothetical. End this.

Tuesday, June 26

Tribe Trivia Round 7: Final

As part of the annual Tribe Weekend festivities, I constructed an Indians-themed trivia game and decided to post it here on FCF just for fun. Here's the final round: nine general Indians questions and one final seven-point question. I hate quiz games that have everything riding on one arbitrarily-weighted final question (yes, Jeopardy!, I know it's better for TV that way, but it's a terrible way to decide a winner) so this game has no such thing.

Answers can be found here. Take your best guess first!

Good luck, and no Googling!

1) What rank does Wahoo hold?

2) What was the most recent Indians minor-league affiliate to win a league championship?

3) What number does Jack Hannahan wear?

4) Who owns the Indians in Major League?

5) Where is the Spring Training home of the Indians?

6) How many home runs did Duane Kuiper hit in his 3754 career plate appearances?

7) Who is the Indians' third-base coach?

8) Progressive Field's address is at 2401 _________? (State, City, and zip not necessary)

9) Amuse me with something Indians-related.

10) Name the seven years the Indians have claimed AL Central championships.

Monday, June 25

Downtown Report, Rehabbin' Again

Well, here I am, sitting on my couch, recovering from an arthroscopic knee surgery.


The first one didn't quite take, despite a once-promising rehab, so I had to get some more "work" done on the old knee. Non-invasive as they've gotten this game to be over the years, I still have to park it for a few days, so here I am with some time to bang out some commentary about our favorite clubs.

I've spent more time on the DL this summer than Travis Hafner!

No good? How about: I've spent more time on the DL this summer than Grady Sizemore!

Enough injury jokes - even without the services of their two one-time stars for most (if not all) of the campaign so far, the Tribe has managed to claw its way to a 37-32 mark and first place in the AL Central, with more than 40% of the season in the books. This, despite some team numbers suggesting that the Indians are really, really fortunate to be where they are:

- Run differential of -27 (13th of the 14 AL teams, only bettering abysmal Minnesota)
- SRS of -0.3 (again, 13th/14 clubs - Minnesota is awful)
- Pythagorean W-L of 32-37 (an actual mark which would drop them to 12th in the AL in W-L)

Fun fact on the run differential stat: every AL East team is in the positive, three of four AL West teams are >0 ... and then only one AL Central club (the White Socks) have scored more than they've allowed. The Indians owe a good of part of their first-place status to the underperforming white socks (only 2 games up on .500 despite a +33 differential) and the surprisingly mediocre Detroit Tigers. This division is there to be run away with...and no one has bothered to do so thus far.

A fair question to ask is just how the Tribe has managed this feat. As a team, the Wahoos haven't been too bad at the plate. Their team OPS+ is 101, and they've scored 4.38 runs a game, 6th in the American League and just under the league average of 4.44. They've been paced by Asdrubal Cabrera, the team's MVP so far in my view (and who just now hit a HR as I typed this) who owns an OPS+ value of 145 from the shortstop position. His infield partner Jason Kipnis has shined as well, posting a 114 OPS+ number. Even Shin-Soo Choo has had a resurgence, upping his on-base (.365 from .344) and power (slugging at .444 from .390) numbers from a year ago and giving the Tribe good production from the leadoff spot.

The Captain Jack/Chisenhall tandem has been decent at 3B (OPS+ 0f 105), while Carlos Santana (100) and Michael Brantley (100) have been good as well, though in the backstop's case I think we all expect more. Santana's OBP has held steady at .350, where it was a year ago, but his power has fallen considerably, with his SLG dropping from .457 last year to .354 this year. This confirms what I think we all see when we see Santana approach the plate: a guy who doesn't really seem like a threat to crush one anymore. Let's hope this shift reverses itself.

Brantley, on the other hand, has recovered from a slow start, boosting his on-base to .320 (and posting a SLG of .392 that trails only Cabrera, Hafner, Kipnis, and Choo) and continuing to play a solid CF. You'd like to see him walk more, but his progress this year has been notable. On the topic of those walks, here are the walk percentages for Indians hitters this year:

Santana: 16.1%
Hafner: 15.7%
Lopez: 14.8%
Left fielders Duncan + Damon: 12.0%
Cabrera: 11.1%
Choo: 10.2%
Hannahan: 9:8%
Kipnis: 7.3%
Kotchman: 6.7%
Brantley: 5.3%
Chisenhall (just for fun): 1.6%

My point is that, to really join the ranks of the Indians' top players, Brantley needs to "put the ball in play" a little less and be a tad more selective. In that department, unlike the others, we're not yet seeing upward movement from past years.

Oh, and I don't feel like talking too much about our "production" from LF or 1B. So let's get to the pitching.

It's no surprise to people who have followed the Indians thus far this season that the pitching staff, especially the starters, has been the team's weak point. With a club ERA of 4.44, the Indians rank next-to-last in the AL (surprise! the Twins are dead last) and have put up a dismal ERA+ of 86. A lot of the "credit" goes to the Indians' woeful starting staff:

Masterson 96
Lowe 89
Jimenez 83
Gomez 77
Tomlin 75

With not one starting pitcher even above league average in ERA, it really is a miracle that the Indians still find themselves atop the division. This is remarkable, and I would have to say unsustainable through a full year. Someone - and Masterson and Jimenez have shown flashes recently - needs to step up and start giving Cleveland quality starts, or this first-place adventure will start to crash and burn.

The reason why the Indians have won so many games with so-so hitting and poor starting pitching? Mr Vinnie Pestano and Mr Chris Perez. Pestano has been absolutely lights-out, dominating the 8th inning with an ERA+ of 208 and striking out almost 11 men per 9 innings. Perez has been almost as good, posting 23 consecutive saves since blowing one on Opening Day and striking out almost exactly one batter an inning, a rate improved by 50% from last year.

Simply put, the Indians have been able to score enough to get leads through 7 innings despite weak starting pitching...and just haven't lost those games, ever. Eventually they'll drop a few close ones, and will need their starters to come through (and to get some production from 1B and LF) to balance things out. Go Tribe!

I'll defer to my colleague Doug on the CaVs, as he's promised some basketball comments in the upcoming days. I will offer a few thoughts on the NBA Finals, though.

Someone asked me prior to the series who I thought was a better player: James or Kevin Durant. I just sort-of laughed. James is a better player than everybody right now, and by a lot. He's historically good. There is no stopping him. Durant can fill it up, and Derrick Rose does tremendous things in Chicago, but no one has the all-around game and complete package like #6 does at this moment.

And with his first NBA title, he's achieved, at 27, everything significant in the basketball universe. Rookie of the Year. Six-time first-team All-NBA. Four-time first-team All-NBA Defensive Team. Scoring champion. Three-time NBA MVP. Finals MVP. NBA Champion. There isn't anything left to check off. Oh, and he'll be the best player in the world for a few more years, at least - his incredible run in these playoffs hinted at that.

And I've softened a bit on #6, because I really think he developed as a person and player this year. He doesn't appear outwardly to be nearly as much of a douche, seems to genuinely feel remorse about the way he stiffed Cleveland, and has a renewed focus and approach to team play. He simply isn't as villainous anymore.

All that having been said, it's not like I have any intention of rooting for the guy. The fact remains that he quit on and then sold out the Cavaliers (both in the '10 playoffs and in taking so long before The Decision), and then constructed the awful-to-watch Heat so he could play in front of a bunch of non-fans in Miami. And then he won everything, the latest chapter in Cleveland's unfortunate sports history. It's a tough hand for Cavaliers fans to be dealt, but at this point what can you do? I still don't want him to win - I want the Cavs to win - and I still hope this remains his only title because there are far worthier players who haven't crippled my favorite franchise who I can root for in the NBA.

But I have a sinking feeling he isn't done yet.

I gotta tell you, football is pretty far off my radar at the moment.

I know a lot of sports fans like to follow the Buckeyes' spring practices and the Browns' OTAs...but I can't feign a lot of excitement for those warmup practices. The lack of meaningful football activities in the spring and summer means we're treated to non-stories like the Jim Brown/Trent Richardson press sniping (Brown, apparently, felt that he hadn't been a douche in pubilc recently), and that's as uninteresting to me as the Jerry Sandusky, car racing, and golf headlines I see on ESPN each day. This lull between the end of the winter sports and the start of the fall ones is a slow time of year.

There seems to be an undercurrent of optimism around the Browns this year...and I'm still worried about them. They had a serious shortage of talent the past four years, posting a pair of 4-12 marks and two 5-11 campaigns, and they're starting 2012 with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Sigh.

The Renegade Buckeyes could be something interesting, though. Hoepfully we'll hear more about them from Figgs as the season approaches. It's been a year and a half since we beat michigan, and I'm ready to get back in that win column.

Tribe Trivia Round 6: Potent Potables

As part of the annual Tribe Weekend festivities, I constructed an Indians-themed trivia game and decided to post it here on FCF just for fun.

Answers can be found here. Take your best guess first!

I know I didn't post a Round 5 - during the competition, it was in fact the Music Round. Last year's songs were all Cleveland sports- and Indians-related, but frankly I ran out of those, so this year's edition was all Ohio bands. One player jokingly accused me of culturally-biasing the music round, and so perhaps I did, but I didn't feel like shelling out $1.29 for "Tha Crossroads." The tunes I played snippets from were( see if you can guess the band):

"Lonely Boy"
"My City Was Gone"
"The Beautiful People"
"Funk #49"
"Whip It"

Round 6 was, in best Celebrity Jeopardy! tradition, the "Potent Potables" round. Good luck to you all:

1) How big is the biggest unit of beer one can buy at Progressive Field this year?

2) What product's advertisement on the LF scoreboard did Mark McGwire memorably tag with a 1997 home run estimated at 523 feet?

3) Whose "Honey Brown" is available at Progressive Field this year?

4) What local brewer (other than Great Lakes)'s wares are available at the ballpark?

5) What beer did Major League star Bob Uecker shill for back in the '80's?

Saturday, June 23

Tribe Trivia Round 4: From the Archives

As part of the annual Tribe Weekend festivities, I constructed an Indians-themed trivia game and decided to post it here on FCF just for fun. Here's round four, which I called "From the Archives," as it deals with some less-than-recent Tribe history. Good luck, and no Googling!

Answers can be found here. Take your best guess first!

1) What Indians player recorded an unassisted triple play in the club's first World Series? (Bonus for correct spelling).

2) Who preceded Mike Hargrove as Tribe manager?

3) What former Indian broke the color barrier in the American League?

4) What two years were the Indians World Series Champions? (1 point for each)

5) Who was the last primarily knuckleball starter to pitch for Cleveland?

6) Who was the last Indian to be named league MVP?

7) For how long did the Indians' longest pennant drought last?

8) Where did the Wahoos call home before Municipal Stadium?

9) What was the Akron Aeros franchise called from 1989-1996?

10) Name as many of the Indians' six AL batting champions as you can (six names only).

Friday, June 22

Tribe Trivia Round 3: 2012

As part of the annual Tribe Weekend festivities, I constructed an Indians-themed trivia game and decided to post it here on FCF just for fun. Here's round three, all about the Wahoos' 2012 campaign.

Answers can be found here. Take your best guess first!

1) What Tribe reliever struck out a batter in each of his first 21 appearances this season?

2) Among the 14 AL teams, where do the Indians rank in attendance?

3) What is the former Fausto Carmona's real name?

4 )Which Indians regular currently sports the highest OBP (fyi Travis Hafner does not have enough plate appearances)?

5) Who leads the club in both HR and RBI?

6) Which Indians starter leads the club in ERA (Hint: it's not Ubaldo Jimenez)?

7) Two Indian position players put up OPS+ values of 4 in limited duty this year. Name them (1 point each)

8) What is the Indians' record?

9) Which two players have walk-off hits for the Indians in 2012? (1 point each)

10) Do the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox suck?

Wednesday, June 20

Tribe Trivia Round 2: Photos

As part of the annual Tribe Weekend festivities, I constructed an Indians-themed trivia game and decided to post it here on FCF just for fun. Here's round two, the photo round (click to enlarge).

Answers can be found here. Take your best guess first!

Monday, June 18

Tribe Trivia Round 1: General

As part of the annual Tribe Weekend festivities, I constructed a trivia game, and since there's not much else going on these days with the Tribe slumping and everyone else in off-season, I thought I'd roll out the questions this week just for fun. Here's round one, a General category. No Googling!

Answers can be found here. Take your best guess first!

1) Who hit the home run off of Jose Canseco's head in 1993? (Bonus: what word does Canseco end many of his tweets with)?

2) For what university does Tom Hamilton's son, Nick, play baseball?

3) What color did the Indians phase out of their uniforms in the 2000's?

4) Who is the Tribe fan who has been pummeling his bass drum at games since 1973?

5) Who won the 1995 AL MVP in a criminally unfair vote over Albert Belle?

6) Which of the 8 primary compass directions does a ball struck to CF in Progressive Field travel?

7) Who holds the Tribe's single-season mark for home runs, with 52?

8) What is the name of the Indians' Class-A affiliate in Carolina?

9) What is the Indians-Reds season series nicknamed?

10) Who is the Indians' General Manager?

Thursday, June 7

Reilly on LeBron

Like this column wasn't going to be fun to mess around with...

Rick Reilly
LeBron being LeBron

Two of my favorites!

This whole We Hate LeBron thing reminds me of a story.
Do tell.

A woman is in front of an apartment house that's engulfed in flames. She's screaming, "Help! Help! My baby's in there!"

A man sprints up and says, "Which floor?"

"Tenth!" she screams. "In the back!"

He rips off his coat and goes running in. Five minutes later, he's back, coughing, choking, and handing the woman the baby.

She looks at the man with a frown and sniffs, "He had a hat."

That's life for LeBron James.

Not the way I would have gone about making my point, but I understand. Expectations are certainly high for LeBron.

Anything short of an NBA title makes James a useless wad of pre-chewed pork gristle in your eyes. Whatever he does - three MVPs in nine seasons - it's never enough.
I will never understand where this guy gets his similies. Even disregarding its strangeness, his one is not particularly apt. I will regard him as the best basketball player in the world, regardless of the Heat's fate in these playoffs. However, it's hard to deny that he's set himself up in a situation where not winning the title would viewed by him and many observers as a disappointment. This isn't particularly complicated.

You hate him - still! - for the way he botched the announcement of his free-agent move from Cleveland to Miami.
Also how he quit on the Cavs before he left, don't forget that.

Forget that hundreds of people move from Cleveland to Miami every year.
I will, because it has absolutely nothing to do with your thesis whatsoever. A completely disingenuous argument. Rick, surely you can offer me better than this.

Forget that dozens of NBA players change teams every year.
We are not going to sit here and pretend like LeBron bolting Cleveland to join the South Beach Superfriends (quite possibly colluding in violation of league rules) is the same as Ramon Sessions going to the Lakers, are we? We are not. Another disingenous "point."

It was only one mistake. Has he showed up in any police reports since? Has he cheated on his fiancée ? Has he left his children stranded in the pick-up circle at school?
We have set our standards low indeed.

Has he refused to speak to reporters after a single game this season? Has he called out his teammates for their poor play, as Kobe Bryant did twice this postseason? Has he gotten his coach fired? Been fined for criticizing refs? Asked to be traded, released or named general manager?
1) Don't know, 2) probably but not publicly, 3) no, 4) don't know, 5) no, and the GM part is ridiculous because Dwyane Wade is already the Heat GM.

Has he punched anybody? Choked anybody? Screamed at any parking valets? (Mom doesn't count.)
Why are we still doing this?

Smashed a chair? Drop-kicked any equipment? Tiger Woods does that on the front nine.
[Falls asleep.] Oh right, your point was that LeBron doesn't deserve the animosity that comes his way because he hasn't done anything seriously wrong. And I agree with that. What Reilly seems unable to do is separate Sports Hate from Actual Hate. Sports Hate is when you don't like a player, often irrationally, because he plays for a rival, or went to a college you don't like, or, to take a random example, held a one-hour primetime special to announce that he was leaving your favorite team. This is different than Actual Hate. I don't actual-hate LeBron - no one does - I just don't like him within the context of sports because he's not on my team and I don't care for the way the Heat were assembled. This is so much different than genuinely hating someone, and Reilly seems determined not to grasp the distinction.

OK, LeBron is not perfect. Threw a Gatorade cup. Punched a walking stick. Carries that stupid little man purse. But if you were to fill a plane with the most spoiled superstars in the country, he'd be boarding in the D group.
Disagree. I think enough stories were written about the special treatment James received from the Cavaliers to pretty handily refute this claim.

You despise him because he passes too much.
STRAWMAN ALERT! No one despises LeBron because he passes too much. This assertion makes my head hurt.

Imagine that. You hate a modern NBA player for not being selfish.
[Sigh.] To the extent that LeBron receives some criticism for passing, it involves late-game scenarios where the analyst thinks that passing, in that particular instance, doesn't give the Heat the best chance to win. This is so much different than Reilly's generalized notion of some non-existent fan that hates LeBron for passing.

OK, I'd like to see him use his bag of hoop tricks to drive more at the end of games, too. But it's not like he hasn't done it, dozens and dozens of times, including huge fourth quarters against Boston and Chicago in last season's playoffs.

You people seem to want him to take it every single time, even with Dwyane Wade as a teammate.
Nobody wants this. Reilly is just dismembering this strawman, straw by straw.

And Chris Bosh. But it's The Big Three, isn't it? Not The Big One.
2.5, perhaps?

And just so you know: In playoff games, LeBron has taken 13 final shots in tight games in regulation and hit five of them to win or tie. Kobe has taken twice that and hit only seven. Can we all just take a Xanax?
This is at least partially a function of Kobe's clutch shotmaking being wildly, comically, exaggerated, a perception that ESPN's Henry Abbott completely dissected a while back.

Besides, he passes so exquisitely. His passes are clairvoyant, leading teammates to places they didn't even know they were supposed to go. They're as soft and buttery as croissants. Why wouldn't you want him passing?

And why is the hoops world so hypercritical of this one thing


when he's so brilliant at every other part of the game? Defense? He's guarded every position against the Celtics - the 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. "He's guarded everybody but me," says Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Only Rajon Rondo is even close in all-around brilliance this postseason. James is second in points, fourth in steals, 10th in assists, second in minutes.

Again, he is easily the best player in the NBA. Even those who HATE HIM FOR PASSING recognize this.

He leads his team in double-doubles and the league in double standards. Wade missed an open jumper to lose Game 4 in overtime - how come he's not "scared"?
It was a three-pointer, in the interest of full disclosure.

Last year, you hated him for being a shrinker. Now you hate him for not being a closer.
Aren't these sort of the same thing? And I feel the need to reiterate that I don't hate LeBron for either of these reasons. I don't like him because he ditched the Cavs and formed this awful Frankenstein beach basketball team with shitty fans and had that stupid, stupid Dance Party.

Every game, he must CLOSE. Was Magic Johnson a closer? A few times, yes. Every freaking time? No. And by the way, most of the time James doesn't need to close because he has been so drop-your-popcorn good the entire game. LeBron good?

Aren't we still playing the game of basketball?
Isn't this America? I thought this was America!

What happened to attacking the defense where it's softest?
The NBA made that illegal in 2006. I'm sorry, it was such a dumb question, I couldn't come up with a proper answer. Every team tries to do this on every possession, every game. LeBron happens to be very good at it.

What's wrong with looking for the open shot? Aren't his 12 teammates getting paid, too?
LeBron makes more salary than the bottom 10 members of the Heat roster combined. I think it's fair to expect more. Not saying he doesn't give more - saying this is a dumb way to argue it.

People - enough. This whole "Crown or Drown" thinking on James has to stop. Grown men are actually strapping microphones to their ties and saying that if James doesn't win the title, the Heat ought to be broken up.
Have you examined the substance of those arguments? It's been pointed out that James and Wade play a very similar style of game and that having both on the same team might not be the most efficient type of offense. I'm not saying that breaking up the Heat is the right thing to do, only that it can't be rejected out of hand.

For what? For making the Finals last year? For making (at least) the Eastern finals this year? James has been with these guys only two seasons. It took Michelangelo four years to paint the Sistine Chapel. You people would've fired him in two?
These are exactly the same two situations.

But I think the reason you hate LeBron James the most is that he just doesn't seem to suffer his failures as much as you'd like him to. You want him to brood like Kobe after losses, glare like Jordan when things don't go his way, scream at teammates like Tom Brady when they're behind.
Almost nothing in the world is less important to me than how LeBron James reacts to losses.

That's not James. His spirit is too light. He's too much fun. He's a 6-foot-8 pixie, a 27-year-old kid who's addicted to kidding. He's a genuinely sweet person. You think of the great athletes of our generation - Jordan, Woods, Lance Armstrong. They all had a bit of the jerk gene in them. James is missing it. He is loved by his teammates, not feared. So sue.

That's probably going to work against him in the long run. It will keep him from being Jordan or Kobe or Kareem. It will keep him from being enough.
So..."enough" is the last word in that sentence?

But isn't that somebody you want your kids to have as their hero?
I'm not sure I'd want my non-existent kids to have any athlete as a hero, but if I did have to pick one, I think I'd look elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 6

The Perfect Concession Stand

This gem of a concession stand can now be found in the 100 level at Progressive Field. Marvel at its majestic simplicity - there is one tap, PBR, and nothing else. As far as I can tell, that is the only thing you can order, as it should be. yes, it does appear that some menu items are listed above, but I suspect you need to go to the larger stand adjacent to this for those things.

Here we just have the PBR logo, a tap, and some random shots of the state of Ohio and its flag, because apparently that's where Milwaukee is. Awesome.