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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “David Beckham”

Reds leave Chelsea feeling blue

Time for a quick look around the football world.

Liverpool came up big on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, handling Chelsea a 2-1 defeat. Glen Johnson’s goal at the 87-minute mark extended Liverpool’s unbeaten run in the league to seven matches and lifted the team above Arsenal into sixth place, level with Chelsea at 22 points.

“It’s not easy to collect the points, but we’ll keep doing everything we can,” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said after the game. “If we do have a secret, you can guarantee one thing, it’ll not be announced.”

While the Reds have been on a nice run, we still that they have left too many points on the pitch that they will need later in the season – most notably at home to Swansea City, Norwich City and Sunderland, but also even against Manchester United and Stoke City.

Hopefully they can roll out the secret again on Sunday, when Manchester City, currently resting comfortably at the top of the table in the Premier League, visits Anfield.

***

Congrats to David Beckham and the Galaxy for winning the MLS Cup on Sunday night.

We like Beckham as a player (we wish we could have seen him in his prime at Manchester United) and winning a title was a nice way to close out the final year of his contract with the Galaxy.

Beckham wants to continue playing and it seems likely he will make a return to Europe after the first of the year as he has been linked to Paris St. Germain, which currently sits at the top of the table in Ligue 1.

“I have a decision to make and I haven’t made it yet,” the 36-year-old Beckham told The Daily Mail. “I’ve got options, which is amazing at my age. A couple of big European clubs are after me. I need to decide what’s best for me.

“Whenever a big club comes in for you it’s a temptation. At 36, to still have a big Euro club after me means a lot.”

It will be interesting to see if Beckham can make the transition back to top-flight football in Europe. We’re still on the fence about the quality of play in the MLS, which seems the equivalent of AAA baseball compared to the top leagues in Europe.

And when you consider that Beckham, at 36, and Thierry Henry, at 34, were named to the league’s Best XI squad this year, we wonder about the overall talent in the league.

***

The group stage of the Champions League is nearing an end, with Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Benfica all punching their tickets to the knockout stage on Tuesday.

The news isn’t so bright, however, for the two Manchester Clubs.

Because of its 2-2 draw with Benfica, Manchester United needs at least a point at Basel in its final game to advance to the knockout stage for the sixth year in a row.

Meanwhile, Manchester City is in a tough spot following its 2-1 loss at Napoli. Now, Napoli only needs a win at Villarreal to grab the second spot in Group A and leave City on the outside looking in.

“I think we have a 30 percent chance of going through but if we don’t, we will make do with the Europa League,” Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said in published reports. “Our life does not finish if we don’t go through. I’m disappointed with the result, but not the performance.”

***

Finally, if you are an NBA fan wondering how to fill your time with no games being played, why not check out the Premier League?

Cavs hit jackpot in draft lottery

The Cavs hit the jackpot in Tuesday night’s NBA Draft lottery, taking home the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the upcoming draft.

Things broke right for the Cavs as their pick fell into the No. 4 slot while the pick they received from the Clippers in the Baron Davis deal landed them the No. 1 pick.

Maybe the draft lottery was karma from last summer and the injury-plagued season the team just endured? In any event, the Cavs now have a very real opportunity to accelerate the rebuilding process.

The Cavs should be able to walk away with two solid picks in what “experts” are calling a weak draft class. If it turns out to be true that this draft is thin, having two of the first four picks is definitely the way to go.

The gold standard for the Cavs is obviously the 1986 draft, when the team selected Brad Daugherty and Ron Harper in the first round and traded for Mark Price, a second-round pick by Dallas.

But since then it’s been more miss than hit for the Cavs when it comes to the draft lottery as they have only hit on four picks – Kevin Johnson, Terrell Brandon, Andre Miller and LeBron James.

And just look at some of the draft misses – it’s not pretty: Vitaly Potapenko, Derek Anderson, Trajan Langdon, DeSagna Diop, Dajuan Wagner and Luke Jackson.

But that’s ancient history. It’s a new day in Cleveland basketball.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

***

How bad was Vin Mazzaro’s performance Monday night against the Indians?

Try historically bad.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mazzaro was:

  • the first pitcher in modern baseball history to allow 14 runs in less than three innings of work
  • the first reliever to allow 14 runs since Tommy Warren in 1944
  • the fifth reliever to allow 14 earned runs (he was the first to do it since Les McCrabb in 1942)

Oh, and he was sent down to the Royals’ AAA team after the game.

***

Say what you will about David Beckham – he certainly has his share of critics – but the dude still knows what to do with a free kick.

It’s ridiculous what he does here – and he knows it. Beckham tries to keep his cool after the goal, but he breaks into a smile pretty quickly.

Amazing.

Now batting cleanup …

Browns president Mike Holmgren?

OK, not really, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

First off, general manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur obviously got the message from Holmgren about Colt McCoy and what Holmgrem wants the team to do.

“I would say that based on what I know to this point, I’m extremely excited about working with Colt and him being our guy. I think that’s where we’re going,” Shurmur said in his first extensive interview since being introduced as Browns coach Jan. 13.

“I thoroughly evaluated Colt last year (as Rams offensive coordinator) when we went through the (draft) process with Sam (Bradford). He’s very talented, works extremely hard, football’s important to him, he’s an accurate passer, he understands timing, he’s a good decision-maker. I think he has all the things you’re looking for in a guy that can be your guy.”

Heckert echoed Shurmur’s comments.

“I think there are some teams saying we need to get a quarterback in free agency or the draft. We’re definitely not at that point,” Heckert said. “We have all the confidence in the world Colt’s going to be good.”

On the upcoming draft, it sure sounds like the Browns are leaning toward filling a hole on defense with their first round pick:

”I think we’ve got two really good (cornerbacks), and the third one, we’ll see,” Heckert said. ”We have a couple guys that we like on our team, but is that a position that we would look at? . . . I think corner is just as good a possibility as anything.”

The one positive to the Browns drafting so high – again – is that, with several holes to fill, they should be able to land someone who can help them (see Joe Haden from last year’s draft).

If defensive linemen Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers, Auburns’ Nick Fairley or North Carolina’s Robert Quinn are off the board, they can select LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson to pair with Haden. Or Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller. Orthey can go with Georgia’s A.J. Green to fill the gaping hole at wide receiver.

Or, if one of the top quarterbacks is still on the board, they may be able to swing a deal with a team desperate to make a mistake on one-year wonder Cam Newton and bring in extra picks to restock the roster.

So, for now, things are looking good.

As for Holmgren, earlier in the week he said the team is looking to draft “a home-run hitter.”

While he may have mixed up his metaphors, Holmgren’s desire for an impact player signals the team is continuing to think touchdowns (i.e. home runs) instead of field goals (singles?) as they continue to rebuild the team.

And with everyone on the same page maybe, for once, the rebuild won’t end up looking like a condemned building.

***

After losing to the Bulls on Thursday night, the Heat are now a combined 0-5 on the season against Chicago and Boston, 0-2 against Dallas (second-best record in the West) and have yet to play San Antonio (best record in the NBA).

The Heat are also just 12-14 against teams with winning records.

Sounds like Miami should have built a better supporting cast for LeBron James.

***

Finally, David Hirshey at ESPN missed the mark with his criticism of David Beckham this week: Thanks for nothing, Becks.

Hirshey’s main complaint is that Beckham didn’t live up to Hirshey’s expectations after arriving in LA four years ago to play for the Galaxy, writing that:

Great news, everybody: David Beckham is back!

Remember when those words meant something? When the thought of Becks stepping onto an American soccer field made your heart soar because he was going to transform the Los Angeles Galaxy into the second coming of the Cosmos? When it was presumed he would spread the gospel of MLS around the world, just as Pelé did with the NASL back in the day?

Yeah, I remember those 20 minutes too.

So because Hirshey chose to buy into the hype thrown out by MLS and the Galaxy – hype that no one could ever life up to – Beckham is to blame.

We don’t know why anyone chose to believe Beckham alone would somehow transform a minor-league operation like the MLS into something bigger.

Beckham was used to playing on the some of the world’s biggest teams in some of the world’s biggest competitions. Somehow playing in front of 10,000 people in Kansas City isn’t the same.

So Hirshey got duped and now he wants to blame someone. That’s on him; not Beckham.

Hirshey did get one thing right: Grant Wahl’s book, The Beckham Experiment, is a terrific book.

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