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Life as a Cleveland Sports Fan

Archive for the tag “Cleveland Cavaliers”

From the editor’s notebook …

Man U Liverpool LiveAfter five years of frustration, Liverpool walked out of Old Trafford on Sunday with their first road win against Manchester United since 2009.

The 3-0 beating pushes Liverpool 14 points clear of United in the Premier League table and, more importantly, leaves the Reds just four points back of league-leaders Chelsea (and holding a game in hand). With a spot in next year’s Champions League almost locked up with nine games to go in the season, the question now becomes: can Liverpool claim its first Premier League title in 24 years?

Captain Steven Gerrard thinks so.

“We’ve showed today that we are genuine contenders and we are going to fight to the end for this,” he said in published reports. “We believe it, but I’ve said many times that in football the easiest thing to do is talk the talk. We’ve got to go and treat Cardiff like Manchester United and we’ve got to treat Sunderland like Manchester United. If we do we will win a lot of games until the end of the season. The rest of the teams around us have to believe we’re going for it.”

The win was Liverpool’s fifth consecutive in the league – they haven’t lost since their Dec. 29 match with Chelsea – and the club has taken 26 points out of its past 10 games.

And much of the credit goes to manager Brendan Rodgers.

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From the editor’s notebook …

tribe starting pitchingThe Cleveland Indians are just 22 days away from the opening of the 2014 season and so far they are only having the good kind of spring training problems.

The Tribe hasn’t had to deal with any major injury issues; the outfield rotation is looking good, particularly left fielder Michael Brantley, who is now hitting .615 in Cactus League play after going four-for-four on Saturday; Carlos Santana is doing what he can in the field at third base; reliever Vinnie Pestano seems to be on the right track to fixing what ailed him last season; and, most importantly, the starting pitching is looking solid.

The top three of Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Zach McCallister have quietly gone about their business this spring, and with Danny Salazar expected to make his first start with the regulars on Monday, the rotation is shaping up nicely.

The best part of the rotation may be at the No. 5 spot, of all places, as is it looks like manager Terry Francona is going to have a hard decision to make when it comes time to make the final roster decisions.

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Tonight should be about Zydrunas and nothing else

cavs to retire zydrunasTonight at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers will retire the No. 11 jersey of former center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who played for the team for 12 seasons.

Ilgauskas is the Cavs all-time leader in games played, offensive rebounds, total rebounds and blocked shots, and is second in points scored. He was also a two-time All Star and a member of the only team in franchise history to make the NBA Finals.

And he did it all after overcoming foot injuries that, at the time, seemed certain to stop his career before it even got started.

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Kyrie will do what Kyrie wants to do

kyrie irving leavingWill he stay or will he go?

That’s the mega question that the Cleveland Cavaliers and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving will face … at some point.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is the latest to tackle the question, laying out both the best-case scenario – Irving signs a multi-year extension when the Cavs offer one on July 1 – and the worst-case – Irving rejects an extension and the Cavs decide to trade him by the Oct. 31 deadline for third-year players to accept a new deal.

No one knows how this is going to play out and there is really only one certainty in the whole situation – Irving will do what every pro athlete has done since the dawn of free agency in professional sports, and that is make the decision that he thinks is best for him.

And that’s why we’re not going to worry about this.

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From the editor’s notebook …

2014_01_mack_browns_rightNothing is ever concrete until a player signs a new deal, but it is encouraging to hear reports that the Cleveland Browns are working to resign All Pros Alex Mack and T.J. Ward before they hit free agency next month.

The season-long fear was that the Browns would let Mack and Ward walk in free agency because they play positions that then-CEO Joe Banner did not deem worthy of a big-money contract. But now that general manager Ray Farmer is running the show, things may be different.

Say what you will about Ward and Mack – we know they have their detractors – but they are very good players (especially Mack, who has yet to miss a game in five seasons in Cleveland) and they both seem to get more credit from outside of Cleveland than they do closer to home. If the Browns are serious about getting better, they are the kind of players the team needs to keep.

The Browns also have numerous other holes to fill across the roster and it seems counter-productive to create more problems for yourself by not signing two of your best players and creating even more holes. You also don’t want to run the risk of letting them hit free agency, where all it would take is one desperate team to throw a bunch of money at them, and having them walk away.

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Never underestimate the power of a good day in Cleveland

Steven GerrardIt’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day – U2

When we woke up this morning we were afraid that Tuesday’s blockbuster news from the Cleveland Browns had only been some beautiful dream.

But then we realized that it was true, Jimmy Haslam really had rid the Browns of general manager Mike Lombardi (and CEO Joe Banner) and we knew it was going to be a beautiful day.

The day only got better with the news that new general manager Ray Farmer is not only talking with Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden about a contract extension, but Farmer may also value Pro Bowl centers and Pro Bowl safeties more than Banner.

The news was so positive surrounding the Browns that the good vibes spread far beyond the walls of 76 Lou Groza Blvd. in Berea.

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From the editor’s notebook …

cavs dan gilbertWith revenue down at the Horseshoe Casino in January, casino owner Dan Gilbert had some free time on his hands and that helped him remember that he also owns a basketball team in town.

Without the casino distracting him for a few minutes, Gilbert discovered that the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently in the midst of their fourth consecutive dismal season and realized that he need to make some kind of move to show that he still cares about what happens inside Quicken Loans Arena.

Once Gilbert decided to do the ever popular “something” to show the fans that he still cares, the question became what to do.

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Cavs seeing their season slipping away

cavs losing seasonA few weeks, or in some cases even just a few days, can make a big difference during the season for a professional sports team.

Don’t believe us? Just ask Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown or anyone affiliated with the team.

When the Cavs were able to turn an immature, injured and malcontented Andrew Bynum into the talented Luol Deng on Jan. 7, the deal left many fans believing that the Cavs, while maybe not turning the corner on the season, were at least ready to occupy a better place in the NBA landscape.

The believe was strengthened when the Cavs went a respectable 3-2 on Deng’s first road trip with the team and returned home with a renewed sense that the playoffs were a possibility in the weak Eastern Conference.

Then the past eight days happened.

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From the editor’s notebook …

davone bess troubleIt was quite the week for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Davone Bess, one where every time you thought you’d heard it all something new would come out.

Things started when Bess was arrested on Friday at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and charged with simple assault on an officer, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence. It then escalated on Saturday when Bess posted a naked photo of himself on Twitter; later in the day Coral Springs police officers came to the hotel where Bess was staying at on Saturday for what police are calling a medical call.

Then there is the fact that this isn’t the first time that Bess has had a problem. In March, it took six Broward County sheriff’s deputies to restrain Bess at his home. According to police reports, Bess was allegedly screaming, “Hide the guns!” “Where is my weed?” and “I want to get in the end zone; throw me the football!” That incident did not come to light until Friday afternoon, which will be an important point to remember in a moment.

There are three takeaways from the ongoing situation with Bess, the first dealing with Bess himself.

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Cleveland is ground zero for dysfunctional franchises

cleveland dysfunctionAs the Cleveland Browns coaching search marches along to what we all assume will eventually turn into a coaching hire (we’re pretty sure the NFL bylaws require teams to have a head coach) the Browns have turned into a punchline, both nationally and locally.

The situation has been described as being “radioactive,” with a front office known for its “shadiness,” and some have even gone as far as to suggest that new uniforms will entice a quality coach to take over the team.

The thing is, as dysfunctional as the Browns may appear to be, it’s not anything we haven’t seen before in Cleveland. And, truth be told, the Browns are not the only dysfunctional franchise in town, at least from a historical perspective.

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