Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guess what happened in the past 3 months?

I haven't blogged in a little over three months. You know what exciting stuff has happened with Cleveland sports since then?

Nothing good.

Shocker, I know. Let's see...the Indians finished up their epically awful 2nd half of the season and finished under .500. The Browns are (once again) on pace for a 5-11 season at best. The Cavs will certainly still be one of the worst teams in the NBA once the season finally starts. So in other news, everything's normal in Cleveland.

The Browns have regressed like crazy since last season, which is pretty damn disappointing. Colt McCoy has looked MUCH worse than last year and doesn't look like a long-term answer at QB (another shocker, I know). Joe Haden has been getting burned by far too many WR's to be considered an 'elite' cornerback in the NFL. Pat Shurmur has done a horrible job in his first year as coach.

The Indians have made some minor transactions during the offseason, adding Derek Lowe (yay?), and picking up options on Fausto Carmona/Grady Sizemore. Other than that, they haven't done anything of note. Hopefully they go out and find a 1B and another OF, otherwise there's a few significant holes on this team.

The Cavs should be better than last year (once the season starts), but that's mainly by default considering they only won 19 games last year. I'm looking forward to seeing Kyrie Irving play in a Cavs uniform. Tristian Thompson doesn't excite me at all, so hopefully he proves me wrong.

Sadly, just nothing to really be excited about in Cleveland right now (you know what's coming--shocker, I know), outside of watching Irving play once the season starts at the end of this month. So at least we can look forward to that. And Spring Training is only like three months away.

After all, the Indians are the 'best' team running in Cleveland right now. (Sadly.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Welcome home, Thome

See those posts down below? In case you forgot what it was like to be following a baseball team that wasn't absolutely terrible, there's some flashbacks for you.

Since the last time I posted, the Tribe have managed to fall back to Earth, going from what at one point was a 7-game lead in the AL Central to now being 6.5 GB, and virtually eliminated from playoff contention.

Now, under normal circumstances, I'd still feel pretty good about the season--giving us hope that we have young guys that could continue to get better and maybe even turn the Indians into contenders. However, our (idiot) general manager felt our best move at the trade deadline was to trade away our top-two pitching prospects (Alex White & Drew Pomeranz) for a pitcher with a season ERA close to 5. You all know who I'm talking about--Ubaldo Jimenez.

The ONLY good thing about this trade (and trust me, I dug for days trying to find a positive) is that he'll be under control through at least 2013 (2014 player option as well) with a team-friendly contract. So if we somehow can manage to make a playoff push in the near future, he should still be on the team. (As for how much he can help, who knows. He's been rocked in half of his starts, and he's pitched great in the other half.)

Now, onto the reason for this post. One of the greatest Indians of all-time made his return to Cleveland in an Indians uniform tonight. I'm talking about Jim Thome, the Indians all-time leader in HR's. With Travis Hafner out for the season, the Indians picked up Thome as a fill-in DH for the rest of the season. It's awesome to have him back, even though we most likely won't see any monster Thome playoff HR's from him.

Oh well. Childhood flashbacks are good enough for me.

On to the Browns!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Midseason Tribe Talk

Today the Indians played their 81st game of the season, which officially signifies the midway point of the 2011 season. Coming into the season most predicted the Tribe would finish with close to 100 losses, and finish at or near the bottom of the Central. Instead, they're currently 44-37, 1.5 games in front of Detroit for 1st in the Central.

Not bad.

The craziest part is that Travis Hafner has missed roughly half of the season. Grady Sizemore has missed close to half of the season. Shin-Soo Choo is currently injured and out for the next two months. Three of your best players have had injury problems and the Tribe are still in first.

Not to mention...Choo and Carlos Santana have both had horrible years thus-far, both struggling to even hit .230 on the season.

If you would've told me three of the five best hitters on the team would have missed significant time by being on the DL, and the two bright young talents on the team would both struggle to hit .230, I would've told you the Indians would probably be 30-51 at best right now.

Instead, they're in first.

A very solid rotation (not great, but not terrible) and one of the best bullpens in all of baseball have carried the Tribe so far. If they can continue to get good starts from Masterson, Carrasco and Tomlin throughout the season, and figure out a way to get Fausto Carmona on track, there's no reason to think the Tribe can't tread water in the AL Central. If they can just hang around until September, anything can happen.

Choo should be back in September, and Alex White will also be healthy by then. Adding him to the rotation (over Fausto should he continue to struggle, or Talbot if he can't get it together) would certainly make the rotation even stronger.

Either way, it was a fun first half of the season. Hopefully it continues and we have some meaningful baseball in September/October in Cleveland.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cavs hit the lottery

Random preface: Something that's always drove me nuts....why does my blog name appear as "Believeland." on any blog roll? There's no period after it in the heading. There's no period after it anywhere. I don't like being OVERLY grammatically correct.

Moving on....

The NBA Draft Lottery was held last night, and the Cleveland Cavaliers entered it having two lottery picks. If the draft fell based off of records, they would've had the 2nd and 8th picks. (That 8th pick came with Baron Davis from the Clippers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. You might've read about it here.) Anyways, lady luck had other plans for the Cavs. Or maybe it was karma. Or maybe it was rigged. I don't know, and quite frankly, I don't care.

That Clippers pick didn't end up being 8th. It ended up winning the lottery and becoming the #1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Our original pick ended up 4th, so instead of the projected 2nd/8th picks, we ended up with 1st/4th. Tough to complain about that, even if it is a weak draft class.

Surely two top-5 picks will help move the rebuilding process along much faster than just one pick would have. On the other hand, the Clippers essentially traded Baron Davis and the #1 pick (Kyrie Irving?) for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.

We'll see what the Cavs do with those two top-4 picks in next months draft.....assuming the world doesn't end this Saturday like the Mayans claim.

BUT, if it does, at least we'll all go out with the Indians still in first place!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Random nonsense

Some (probably nonsensical) thoughts about Cleveland teams currently...

Well, the first season post-LeBron has come and gone, and honestly, I'd call it a success (in my eyes at least). I know a lot of Cavs fans wanted to see the Cavs do everything they could to make a run at the playoffs this year, and hope to build the team through deadline deals similar to the way they've worked over the past couple years, but I was 100% against that. At the beginning of the season, I said this season would be considered a 'success' (I use the term loosely) if the Cavs managed to do three things: 1.) Manage to trade away some of the older veterans for either draft picks or young players, 2.) Lose as many games as possible to get the most ping pong balls for when the Draft Lottery comes around in the summer, and 3.) Find a way to beat LeBron and the Heat just once.

All three things were accomplished for the most part. They got rid of Mo Williams and Jamario Moon for a top-10 pick from the Clippers and Baron Davis. Davis wasn't that big of a deal, but the top-10 pick is. I said on this blog when the season started that I was hoping for a 16-66 record. The Cavs finished at 19-63, good for 2nd worst in the league. That should land us a top-3 pick in the draft. And lastly, they not only found a way to beat the Heat, but they went wire to wire on them, leading for ALL 48 minutes of the game.

Going into the off-season they now have two top-10 picks in the draft, and have found some young players that could be contributors in the future for this team. Varejao and Hickson are both big time players in their own right, so that's a nice cornerstone to build off of. Add in two top-10 picks, and the continuing progress of guys like Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga, and you might just have a young nucleus that can contend in a few years.

Thankfully for all of us Dan Gilbert realized he needed to go all-in with the rebuilding process, and so far, it looks like this might take less time than everyone thought--and in Cleveland, there's nothing better than hearing that.

Even though there's a chance the 2010 season doesn't happen (which would be awful), the draft is coming up in a little over a week. As usual, the Browns have a top-6 pick, and I'm kind of torn between what I want to see the Browns do. On one hand, the thought of adding Patrick Peterson into a secondary with Joe Haden, TJ Ward and Sheldon Brown sounds amazing. That would instantly become one of the toughest secondaries in the NFL to throw on. On another hand, we need a dominant pass rusher that can get to the QB on a consistent basis and cause havoc. On a nonexistent third hand, adding a playmaking WR would really help Colt McCoy, Peyton Hillis, and the rest of the offense.

Sadly, we don't have three top-6 picks, so we can't fill all of those holes, but on the bright side, we should be able to address one of those three, regardless of who gets drafted before we pick. I'm leaning towards wanting a nice WR the most, but as long as the Browns address one of the three mentioned above, I won't be able to complain. Also, if they do go defense in the 1st round, I'd love to see a nice WR like Jonathan Baldwin (from Pitt) fall to them in the 2nd round, and then hope that a guy like Casey Matthews (Oregon) is available in the 3rd. It would be awesome to see one of Clay's sons rocking the Brown & Orange just like daddy did.

Somehow, this team has managed to start the season off 10-4, and currently sit tied for the lead in the AL Central. Now there's about a 99% chance that the Indians can't keep this up for the whole season, but that's fine. No one expected the Tribe to win more than 70 games anyways. What I do like, however, is the fact that this team is 10-4 without their top two hitters doing anything so far. Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo have both been virtually nonexistent this entire season, and yet the team is still winning. Also, the lineup should only get better once we can add a (relatively) healthy Grady Sizemore to the lineup, as he's clearly a huge upgrade over the current platoon of Austin Kearns/Travis Buck.

But as I've mentioned before on this blog, once we get some of our top of the line prospects in Cleveland, there's no reason to think we can't make a run at a World Series. If Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis are as good as they've been in the minors, they make the offense 10x more powerful. If Alex White and Drew Pomeranz are those front-end-of-the-rotation guys everyone expects, the pitching staff looks 100x better. If these four guys all pan out the way they're expected, I'm 100% convinced that the projected 2012 (2013?) Indians team as a whole is much better than the 2007 Indians that were one win away from making the World Series.

There might not be much hope in Cleveland right now for any of the teams, but if we can get two good drafts this spring/summer out of the Browns & Cavs, all three teams will certainly be looking much better than they all did the year before. And you can't ask for much more out of Cleveland teams than forward progress, opposed to the backwards progress we've been so accustomed to over the past decade or so.