Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Chris Russo”

Dreaming of championship bling

It’s been so long since we’ve seen a championship team here in Cleveland that many people probably don’t remember that when a team wins a title they are rewarded with gaudy rings.

But they used to win championships in this town (seriously) and they gave out some cool stuff in the pre-ring days.

The 1954 Indians gave players these sweet cuff links, along with tie tacks and stickpins with the same motif, all cast in gold and set with rubies for winning the American League.

Those are so cool we would have no trouble running out and picking up some French-cuff shirts just so we could wear the cuff links.

These cuff links were presented to Tris Speaker in 1920 for leading the Tribe to its first World Series championship and hitting .388 along the way. (And that led to the Indians wearing the greatest uniforms in the history of forever in 1921).

After the Browns won their third consecutive All-America Football Conference championship, the team gave players these tie clips.

When the Browns, Indians or Cavs next win a championship, they need to remember their heritage and make some of these items available for fans.

We know we’d have no trouble dropping some coin on them.

(Major h/t to Uni Watch)


They had to go extra innings, and closer Chris Perez made it more interesting than it had to be, but the Indians beat Oakland on Thursday to take 2-of-3 from the A’s.

The Tribe starters were in a groove in Oakland, as Fausto Carmona, Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez combined to throw 21 innings in the series, giving up just 14 hits and four earned runs (a 1.71 ERA).

So the Indians are halfway through their West Coast trip and the second-place Royals haven’t made up any ground.

So far, so good.


We heard an interesting stat this afternoon on Sirius Mad Dog Radio.

Only three times in major league history has a team made the playoffs after being 10 games or more back after the first 30 games of the season. (We tried to catch the teams Chris Russo named, but he was going so fast we only heard the 1914 Boston Braves).

So we can pretty much write off the White Sox this season (11 games back) and we’ll throw the Twins (9.5) in there as well.

Indian Fever, baby. It’s spreading.

Can Anyone Follow this Logic?

Earlier this year we talked about how older members of the media are scared that soccer will become popular in this country, with Chris Russo on Sirius leading the way by saying “no one cares” – meaning he doesn’t care – about the upcoming World Cup.

But, of course, TV ratings blew that idea out of the water with the final game between Spain and the Netherlands bringing in more than 15.5 million viewers.

Russo was back at it again this week, in response to an article in USA Today that compared the local TV ratings on Sunday to NFL games vs. Major League Baseball. Despite the NFL crushing baseball in the ratings, Russo said “it doesn’t matter” because the people he talks to “all want to talk about baseball.”

So let’s see if we can follow the logic here: TV ratings are high for the World Cup but people don’t care, even though they are watching; TV ratings are low for the baseball playoffs but everyone wants to talk about it even though they are not watching.

Glad we cleared that up. As Cleveland Frowns would say, “DERP!”

Why So Angry?

We were was listening to Chris Russo’s Sirius radio show this afternoon and he went off on a rant about a subject – the upcoming World Cup – that hit all the usual cliches and was filled with ignorant statements.

The thing we don’t get is, why? Why is soccer, and the possibility that someone might actually want to watch a match and enjoy it, so threatening to so many people, primarily members of old media?

We first noticed this in the run up to the 2006 World Cup. We stumbled across Greg Brinda on WKNR – this was pre-satellite radio – and he was on a tirade about how he “wasn’t going to watch the World Cup just because it’s on TV. No one cares about it.”

As with most of the things that came out of his mouth during his radio career, Brinda was wrong. TV ratings in the U.S. for the tournament were strong, with the final being watched by 16.9 million viewers – which was more people than watched that year’s NBA Finals and on par with the World Series and the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

We kind of understand Brinda’s fear of the World Cup as he is trapped in a 1950s view of America, where baseball and horse racing are the dominant sports in the country and kids gather on sandlots to play pick-up baseball games. There’s not room in his tiny world for anything else.

Fast forward to today. We’re once again on the eve of the World Cup and Russo decided to unload his insecurities about the tournament. He hit all the usual, tired points:

The games are boring because there is little or no scoring.

But somehow, we’re supposed to be orgasmic over a 1-0 baseball game where one team only gets three men on base and none of them ever advance past second base? May want to rethink that one.

The team that scores first almost always wins.

That’s one we don’t understand. Sure, scoring can be at a premium, but that assumes that a team trailing doesn’t generate any scoring opportunities.

There are never any “bottom of the 9th” comebacks or “late drives” to win a game.

If you say so. But you are so, so wrong.

Too many teams make the knockout stage of the World Cup – 16 out of 32.

In the NHL and the NBA, 16 out of 30 teams make the playoffs and I don’t hear anyone complaining.

The final game is decided by penalty shots and that’s not fair.

You mean like an NFL playoff game being decided in overtime when only one team gets the ball?

Americans don’t watch the tournament. ESPN can hype it all they want.

We’ve already blown that myth out of the water, but here are two additional points on that nonsense:

Sports Illustrated‘s Grant Wahl was on the phone and he rightly pointed out that Russo should expand his definition of “Americans.” With the number of Spanish-speaking Americans on the rise, Americans do watch. Maybe not in Russo’s WASPy Greenwich, Conn., neighborhood, but in plenty of other places.

The second point is the nonsense of the argument “just because it’s on TV I don’t have to watch it.” Well no kidding. That’s true of any sport and there are far more sports we don’t watch and have no interest in than we do. Such as:

  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Bowling
  • NHL
  • MSL
  • Auto racing

But do we care if anyone watches those sports? Of course not. Why would we or anyone else? But for some reason, soccer threatens the old school media in this country.

Look, if you don’t want to watch it’s not a big deal. We can’t get too preachy because we’ve only been a fan since the 2006 World Cup. With all the hype surrounding the U.S. team that year we decided to give the tournament a shot. The U.S.-Italy game was the first time we’ve ever watched a match in its entirety and we were hooked. Now, four years later, we can’t wait for the tournament to start. It sure beats watching the Indians lose again.

But if you’ve never been a fan, why not give it a shot? You never know what you might see.

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