Cleveland Sports Insiders

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The Sunday Drive with Santana, Salazar, Bauer and LeBron James

With Mother’s Day and Easter behind us, and with the Indians’ locomotive heading towards Father’s Day and the hopeful heat of summer, it’s time for me to dust off the trusty old Smith-Corona PWP 5000 Word Processor (look that one up) and start writing about Cleveland Sports again. With the off-season Cavs and Browns actually becoming more interesting than the in season Indians, there’s plenty to talk about in this week’s Sunday Drive.

I really don’t know where to begin with the Cleveland Indians, so I suppose I’ll start with Carlos Santana.  I was all for the Santana experiment when it started. I was excited even more to see Santana start there when the Tribe announced early in Spring Training that he was going to be the starter.

I’m less excited now.

This is when I wish I utilized my brain for my decision-making skills, and not my heart. Look. We all knew that learning the third base position at the major league level starting in December was a long-shot at best. Hell, I would even go so far as to say that it was an impossible shot, from December through March.

Instead, my trust for Francona-decisions allowed my sense and sensibilities to get thrown out the window. Instead, I kept thinking to myself, “Boy, if he gets out from behind the plate, his offense will improve.”

Think about that. On one hand, Santana won’t be catching all those games, so his legs should be fresh. Of course, he’s learning a new position…and third base to boot. I did talk about one offsetting the other, but my blind belief that he could overcome this without physically seeing him or talking with him was simply idiotic. Continue reading

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500 words or more…on LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

LeBron and Z during the good ole' days (Tony Dejak/AP)

LeBron and Z during the good ole’ days (Tony Dejak/AP)

Hero-Worship.

It’s a phrase that’s often uttered in reference to our favorite sports players.

To some, it’s more hyperbole than anything else.

To others, it’s a right of fan-dom. If there’s a player you love, you treat him above all else.

In Cleveland, nobody had epitomized the term hero-worship more than LeBron James.

If you’re reading this, there’s no reason to go into too much detail with regards to LeBron’s history. He grew up in Akron, less than an hour from Cleveland. He led his high school, St. Vincent-St. Mary’s to three state championships and one national championship. He declared for the NBA draft, and when the Cleveland Cavaliers won the right to the first pick that year, words such as Kismet and Destiny were uttered more than once.

His career in Cleveland was special, but certainly not perfect. Yet, Cleveland Cavaliers fans realized that for perhaps the first time in many, many years, the best player in the world in a major sport played for a team with Cleveland stitched on the front. Continue reading


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The future of Kyrie Irving in Cleveland

1It was bound to happen.

At one point or another, someone was bound to report that Kyrie Irving wanted to leave Cleveland. If you want to be honest about it, someone already did report that Kyrie Irving was going to leave Cleveland long before Chad Ford made his flippant comment yesterday in his online chat. I seem to recall CBS Radio’s Brandon Tierney saying the same thing.

The point is that at the end of every season, when Cavaliers’ fans take stock of the team, the first question everyone asks is, “Is he going to leave?”

It’s habit.

It’s what happens when the greatest basketball player in all the land grows up an hour from Cleveland, gets drafted by his “hometown” Cavs, nearly leads them to the Promised Land, then toys with the fans for year before taking his talents to South Beach.

I don’t blame LeBron for leaving. That was his right. But Cleveland fans are now gun-shy with their meaningful basketball players.

Kyrie Irving isn’t LeBron James. He’s not the best basketball player on the planet, nor is he going to be. He likely is the best basketball player in Cleveland though, and nearly from the time he was drafted with that #1 pick in June of 2011, Cleveland fans have been wondering:

“Is he going to leave?” Continue reading


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Deluded Ralph on the Luol Deng Trade and Business Sense

From childhood, I, Ralph-onse James de Rothschild, have always had a healthy respect for business sense. Regaled on my grand-uncle’s knee with epics of Cleveland oil baron John D. Rockefeller, the glory of business acumen was impressed upon me from when I was but a tender babe. ‘He rose from obscurity to business greatness,’ grand-uncle misted. ‘Get back to the mines,’ my grand-uncle continued – Wisdom that guides me to this day.

Yet while these tales molded me in youth, I have outgrown these fables and have acquired my own eye for big business – namely, I have a friend who owns a used video game store, I watched ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ and have played Roller Coaster Tycoon. So I feel uniquely qualified to commend the Cavaliers’ business savvy in trading for Luol Deng, since it gives the Cavs a better chance to make the playoffs, and if they make the Playoffs, LeBron will love us again and come back.

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The Sunday Drive with Luol Deng, Greg Roman and the brilliance of Aaron Craft

Deng Debut (Russell Isabella / USA Today Sports photo)

Deng Debut (Russell Isabella / USA Today Sports photo)

With the NFL playoffs plodding along with the Cleveland Browns once again not a part of them, it’s time to look around and find an NFL team that’s just tolerable to watch. I’ve been trying, but so far, to no avail.

I can never back the New England Patriots for any reason. I so loathe the greatness of Tom Brady, and I’d like to tell you there is sense in what I just said, but it begins and ends with one word: Michigan.

Ugh.

I tried to support Seattle yesterday, and their fanbase is interesting to me for many reasons. Every time they showed Pete Carroll yesterday though, I wanted to punch him in the mouth. Why? He’s such a low-level individual, and if you put him up side-by-side with Jim Tressel, they wouldn’t be in the same moralistic neighborhood. Of course, success is rarely measured by morals, but following a team for me is in this instance. I just can’t stand Carroll.

The 49ers have a head coach named Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), and I don’t like him. They also have Colin Kaepernick, who I do like, and a team overall that I do like. But it’s San Francisco, and they have a head coach who played for Michigan. Ugh.

They are playing the Carolina Panthers, and I truly have nothing to say about them…and I could keep analyzing…but I realized one thing.

I could care a less about any of these teams. I hope you enjoy the games better than I do.

Let’s get driving. Continue reading


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Cleveland Sports Insiders: The Podcast 58: Here Comes LeBron

Michael Hattery and Jim Pete focus their attention on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and in particular, on the return of one LeBron James. Will the Cleveland faithful be more receptive to the man that took his talents to South Beach three years ago, and since has won three MVP awards, two NBA finals MVP awards, and two NBA titles?