Red Right 88

Life as a Cleveland Sports Fan

Archive for the tag “Cleveland Indians”

From the editor’s notebook …

browns final rosterThe final roster cuts have been made, the practice squad players have been signed and the Cleveland Browns have begun preparations for Sunday’s season-opening game against Pittsburgh.

We’re less than a week away from Browns football, whether anyone is ready for it or not.

The only real surprise among the player cuts was MarQueis Gray, who seemed like he might be able to help the team as a fullback. But the Browns apparently decided that if they were going with a fullback on the roster, why not have Ray Agnew – someone who has actually played the position – over trying to convert a play like Gray to the spot. It’s a radical idea, we know, but it just may be crazy enough to work.

The Browns didn’t waste any time parting ways with cornerback Leon McFadden -who was selected about three rounds too early in the 2013 NFL Draft – and guard Garrett Gilkey, leaving Barkevious Mingo and Armonty Bryant as the only players remaining from the one and only draft from Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi. So much for that duo’s continued claims that they set the team up for long-term success.

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From the editor’s notebook …

hoyer starting quarterbackCleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine made if official earlier today, naming Brian Hoyer as the team’s starting quarterback.

The decision ends what we can only hope was not an ill-fated quarterback competition between Hoyer and rookie Johnny Manziel. Now Hoyer can work exclusively to get not only himself but the offense ready for the season-opener on Sept. 7 against Pittsburgh.

“(Brian) was the clear leader from the beginning,” Pettine said in announcing the decision. “We’ve maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room.”

Pettine probably made the right call (we’re pretty sure he did, but we won’t know until the season starts). Even though it is only a few games, Hoyer has more experience running an NFL offense than Manziel. Hopefully having him play most of Saturday’s preseason friendly against St. Louis, combined with giving him all the first-team reps in practice from here on out, will help him shake off the rust from not having played since injuring his knee last October.

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How did that happen?

tribe playoff raceIt has been an interesting summer so far, with plenty of attention on the World Cup; the return of LeBron James to Cleveland, and the possibility of a deal for Kevin Love; and all things Johnny Manziel as the Cleveland Browns work their way through training camp.

The Cleveland Indians have pretty much just been an afterthought, sitting on the periphery of Cleveland’s collective sporting conscience with a .500 record.

But take a closer look at the standings in the American League and, heading into Tuesday night’s game against Cincinnati, we realized that the Tribe is just 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.

Wait … what?

We’re not sure how they are doing it, but manager Terry Francona once again has the Tribe in the race for a playoff appearance.

In light of this surprising development, it seems like a good time for a quick Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down on the Tribe so far.

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From the editor’s notebook …

kyrie reacts to injuryWhen we heard the news that Indiana’s Paul George had suffered a major leg injury during Friday’s scrimmage with USA Basketball it reinforced our belief of club over country.

We understand that injuries can happen at any time (see Winslow, Kellen) and that this is the first  major injury suffered by an NBA player since they started playing on the national team in 1992, but we’ve never been worked up if a Cleveland player is passed over for an All-Star game or for an international competition. It certainly is a nice honor for a player, but from a fan perspective we never saw the value in it.

Why do we need to see Kyrie Irving (who has enough trouble staying on the court as it is) or LeBron James spend the off-season putting extra miles on their bodies? Or watch Joe Thomas or Alex Mack at the Pro Bowl, just waiting for someone to accidentally roll up their leg and blow out a knee? How did playing in the World Baseball Classic work out for Vinnie Pestano?

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From the editor’s notebook …

david blatt cavsThe Cleveland Cavaliers landed their man on Friday, naming David Blatt as the team’s latest head coach.

We admit to knowing next to nothing about Blatt before the Cavs undertook their third head coaching search in the past four years. But the more we learn about him the more we are intrigued by the hiring.

Blatt comes to the Cavs fresh off leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague championship. His coaching job in the tournament led one NBA general manager to observe that “Maccabi was outgunned at every position except coach. David took down two Goliaths in a weekend. He belongs in the NBA.” (h/t to @WFNYJacob for the link to that story.)

Over the past four seasons, Blatt’s teams went 222-55 and, in addition to this year’s Euroleague title, won the Israeli Cup and Israeli league title. He’s been a head coach in Europe for 15 years and coached the Russian national team from 2006 to 2012. (So at least he will be used to the harsh winter weather in Northeast Ohio.)

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The Tribe’s $56-million question

Nick+Swisher+Cleveland+Indians+v+Minnesota+DIPqAEf9VfllAs the Cleveland Indians continue to try and keep pace in the American League Central Division, manager Terry Francona faces an important question.

What to do about the Tribe’s $56-million man, Nick Swisher?

Since signing the largest free agent contract in franchise history prior to the 2013 season (more on that in a moment), Swisher has been average at best and pretty horrible at worst, considering that he has batted .225 or less in five of the nine months he has been a member of the team.

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Lonnie Chisenhall has a night to remember in Texas

lonnie chisenhall big nightRaise your hand if you saw this coming from Lonnie Chisenhall.

Chisenhall entered the season with a lifetime batting average of just .194 against left-handed pitching (and a pedestrian .254 against righties) but something has clicked for the Cleveland Indians’ third baseman this year – in a major way.

Chisenhall has seen his average go up each month of the season, and since he hit .362 in April, that’s saying something. He batted .373 in May and through the first nine days of June he is hitting .452. More importantly, he is ripping left-handed pitching, batting .520 on the season. He may only have 25 at bats against lefties, but that’s still impressive.

His season may have reached its high point Monday night in Texas, as Chisenhall had what may have been the best offensive night in the history of baseball. It was certainly the best in Tribe history.

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From the editor’s notebook …

Emre Can liverpoolLiverpool continued its summer makeover with the news on Thursday that they have agreed on a transfer deal for Emre Can from the German club Bayer Leverkusen.

The 20-year-old Can for four goals in 39 games with Leverkusen last season after joining the club from Bayern Munich. He was a key figure as Leverkusen finished in fourth place in the Bundesliga.

“Emre Can has developed very quickly at Bayer 04 Leverkusen over the past 12 months,” Michael Schade, the club’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We wanted to keep Emre at Leverkusen but the release clause is part of his contract. So we wish him all the best and lots of success in his time in the Premier League.”

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We’ve been doing the fan thing wrong all these years

red right 88We have been a Cleveland sports fan our entire life. And while there have been more disappointments than triumphs, we’ve never thought about being anything other than a Cleveland sports fan.

It hasn’t been easy, of course. And looking back over the decades, the level of sub-par play from the local sports teams has, if we’re being honest, rather depressing more often than not.

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Did the Tribe save its season by sweeping Detroit?

tribe sweeps tigersWe are always a bit hesitant when people try to add extra significance to a particular win, thinking that one night of success will somehow fix all that ails a struggling team.

That is especially true in a sport like baseball, with its 162-game marathon of a season. For example, when the Cleveland Indians scored 15 runs last week in a win against Toronto, there was talk that game would finally wake up the anemic offense. That didn’t happen, of course, as the Tribe was embarrassed over the weekend by Oakland.

But the three-game sweep the Indians just handed Detroit may truly have saved the Tribe’s season.

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