Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “despair”

Thanks for the memories, Jose

It was 14 years ago last night that Jose Mesa soiled himself on the mound at Pro Player Stadium, killing the best chance the Indians have had to win a World Series in our lifetime.

We all remember what happened that night in Miami: Jaret Wright, Paul Assenmacher, Mike Jackson and Brian Anderson combined to through 8 innings of two-hit, one-run baseball and turn over a 2-1 Indians lead in the ninth inning to Mesa.

Mesa, of course, let in the tying run in a game the Indians would go on to lose in extra innings – the last time the Tribe was close to winning a title.

We still remember that weekend like it was yesterday.

We were working at a newspaper in New Jersey and when we left the office on the day of Game 6, the publisher asked us what we thought was going to happen. There was no doubt in our mind that the Tribe would win Game 6 – losing to the Marlins in six games would have been disappointing but not soul-crushing.

Plus, the Tribe had been there, done that in 1995.

No, we said, the only way this will play out is the Indians will either take the last two games or lose a Game 7 in some kind of horrible fashion.

Little did we know at the time how right we were.


The latest out of Browns town is that Oakland’s Aaron Curry claims that one of the Browns offensive lineman tips off the play “about 70 percent of the time” before the snap.

“One of the O-linemen from Cleveland, they gave it up every play, most of the time, I’d say about 70 percent of the time, whether it was run or pass.,” Curry told The San Francisco Chronicle. “They had no clue they were doing it, but I figured it out from just watching the film.”


Right tackle Joe Thomas doesn’t think it’s an issue, though.

“He must be a wizard because after being there one day, he figured it out?” Thomas told The Plain Dealer. “He must be really smart. . . . I’m sure if a guy was leaning really far back or really far forward, maybe [he could see it]. But for one day? That is very impressive.”

It’s interesting to note that this comes out the same week that Pro Football Focus had a less than stellar review of right tackle Tony Pashos (h/t Waiting for Next Year):

From one end of the line where there was near perfection to the other where there was a disaster waiting to happen, Tony Pashos’ performance in the run game (-4.7) can be summed up in one word: dismal. It didn’t matter who was lined up in front of Pashos, everyone had the pleasure of beating him off the ball and making him look silly. When the Browns ran behind him they averaged 2.4 yards per carry, almost a full yard below the team average. Even though everyone took their shots on Pashos, no one enjoyed the day more than Alan Branch. The former Cardinal forced Pashos into committing a penalty, as well as beaten him badly on two other plays.

Hmmm, a lineman may be tipping off the play and Pashos was abused by the Seahawks last weekend?

We’re sure it’s just a coincidence.


And Peyton Hillis missed practice today with his sore hamstring.

But there’s no such thing as a Madden curse.

It Always Ends Badly

Everything in Cleveland sports ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t be Cleveland. – Coughlin’s Law

LeBron James took the easy way out: he’s going to Miami to play with the Heat. The LeBron Era is over. We all saw it happen live on national TV.

This time it was supposed to be different. This time the free agent wasn’t supposed to leave.

This time Brian Sipe threw the ball into Lake Erie, Ernest Byner held onto the ball, John Elway went three-and-out, Michael Jordan missed the shot, Jose Mesa got the save.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. This time it wasn’t supposed to be about money. It wasn’t about a team unable or unwilling to pay top dollar.

You’re supposed to be rewarded for trying to build a winning franchise, for putting money, facilities and passion into a team; not for intentionally destroying your franchise for a pipe dream of signing a free agent.

This wasn’t supposed to be a press conference in a parking lot in Baltimore.

But, of course, it was. T.I.C.

So now we pick up the pieces and move on. And we will, because we’re Cleveland fans; it’s what we do. We will show the country that Cleveland sports fan can be beaten, but we can never be broken.

We’ve lived through far worse and survived. We will get through this.

And when the championship finally comes – and we have to believe it will, because without hope what are we left with – men will say, “This was their finest hour.”

What Did We Just Witness?

Was it really just four days ago that the Cavs left Boston for dead, rolling over the Celtics in Game 3 in the worst home playoff loss in Boston’s history?

It sure seemed like a lot longer than that Tuesday night as the Celtics returned the favor and put the Cavs season on the brink.

We’re now left to wonder what went wrong, how did the Cavs lose control of this series, and what’s next with Game 6 looming Thursday night?

Maybe the Cavs believed they broke Boston’s will after Game 3. If that’s true, the last two games should have told the Cavs that they need to do more than just show up to win this series.

The Cavs now face a must-win game in Boston to force a Game 7 and salvage the season. They were in the same spot last year against Orlando and we all remember how that turned out.

The team is also faced with the possibility of being the only team in NBA history to post consecutive 60-win seasons and not make it to the NBA finals. Just another feather in the cap of Cleveland sports. We can put that one up there with the Indians being the only team to lose a World Series to Atlanta.

Can the Cavs win two consecutive games against Boston? Sure. Will they? Well, here are two trends to ponder:

The Cavs are 0-4 when they trail 3-2 in a seven-game series.

The Celtics are 31-1 when they lead 3-2 in a seven-game series.

Since T.I.C., which trend seems most likely to continue?

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