Summer Check In
CAVALIERS – If you are the Cavs, where do you go from here? They just got played by John Calipari to max out his Kentucky contract before he is finally excommunicated from the NCAA for good sometime in the near future. Let’s all be honest here. Calipari is great at getting 18 year olds to play for him for a year in exchange for cash and prizes. That’s his edge. He loads his teams up with pros to compete against lesser teams. That isn’t going to happen in the NBA. I have never heard anyone wax poetically about how Memphis State was unbeatable because of game planning and the Xs and Os drawn up on the chalkboard. They won games because guys that couldn’t read at all got to play against guys that could read a little. Then he ramped it up at Kentucky, where no one in the entire state cares if a kid on the basketball team killed someone with a meat cleaver as long as he can hit a three and rebound at crunch time.
So now the Cavs will run in some retread B team coach and hope that 3 of the 4 last #1 NBA picks can somehow play together before a city they really want to play in comes calling with a mountain of money. Do you give Kyrie a max deal despite the fact he hasn’t shown himself to be able to put a team on his shoulders? Let’s not even factor in that he seems like a fragile sports car not ideal for the 82 game regular slog of an NBA season. They have to pay up though, right? Who else even close to his caliber is coming here? Does Mo Williams need another payday? It’s grim. The good news is that the press conference where everyone pretends to be really excited about Vinnie Del Negro is coming up. You’ve seen this press conference before, but it was with the Browns and Pat Shurmer. Just switch the key facts out to make it work with the NBA.
INDIANS – As soon as Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher got off the diamond the team started to win. Coincidence? Maybe, but getting two almost automatic outs removed from a batting order can’t hurt. Swisher is who he always was, a .250 hitter that strikes out a “shit ton” (an old baseball term as I recall) with limited power. If he finishes with .240 and 20 HRs, that should be considered a successful year. Meanwhile, I don’t know what the hell happened to Santana. Even I can tell he is swinging up at everything, and is guessing at pitches. My guess is that he has either been battling malaria or has started using bath salts before games. It’s the only thing that makes sense. It doesn’t even appear like he has played baseball before. Is this one of those Dominican Republic situations where his family sent his near identical older brother to play while they work out kidnap demands on Carlos? “Javier will go play. We will take the game checks to free Carlos! We must never tell the policia!” That makes sense to me as well.
As long as the starting pitching can hang in there, they will contend. Detroit is not the same unbeatable team of old. Verlander looks human. Scherzer hasn’t been himself for weeks. With him in a contract year, maybe he is trying to work through a nagging injury. If those two aren’t dominant, suddenly the Tigers are a really good baseball team instead of a great one. The Indians need to play their ass off, win the close games, and call up Lindor already so The Astrubal Cabrera Era can mercifully end. I still think they finish second, but with the baseball playoffs the way they are now; they just have to get in. I am standing by 85 wins.
BROWNS – The worst person to be right now is Brian Hoyer. If you do well, the fans will be pissed because Manziel didn’t get in the game. If you suck, they will hate you because you played instead of Manziel. Knowing the rich history of the Cleveland Browns, Johnny Manziel will probably be injured seriously in the first pre-season game as an obscure 300 pound Detroit Lion DT will fall across his knee. The good news is that Hoyer will have been injured earlier in that game resulting in a nagging shoulder injury that will keep the zip off his passes. He will be just healthy enough to play, but just injured enough to be totally ineffective. It’s like it already happened. Buckle up for another 4-12.
I am not buying this happy talk from Berea about the receiving corps they picked up at the NFL scratch n’ dent sale. There is a reason these guys got cut loose elsewhere. They have lost a step, or never could compete to be a top 3 receiver. The drama to come from Josh Gordon’s inevitable suspension for drugs is the only thing to look forward to here. With Greg Little and his camouflage Lamborghini now out of NE Ohio; I believe that Josh Gordon may be the worst decision maker in the region. I don’t know the guy, but from the outside, he appears to have the intellect of a Dalmatian. Maybe I’m shortchanging him. Maybe he has another plan for financial security. He may have his sights set in another industry to make $50 million dollars. I don’t remember. Was he a double major in pre-med/engineering at Baylor? Maybe he’s working on a new heart valve or something. Guys get big ideas when they are high.
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