The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for August 2nd, 2006

OSU pay O’Brian $2.2M; safe haven for cheaters

Posted by disappointmentzone on 2 August 2006

In June of 2004 OSU men’s basketball coach Jim O’Brian was fired for 1) giving money to a recruit, Aleksandar Radojevic, 2) lying that he did so, 3) and trying to cover it up. O’Brian sued OSU for $3.6 million for unlawful termination of his contract. No one though O’Brian would be rewarded $3.6 million for cheating, lying, and lying.

Instead he was given $2.2 million.

Now, the judge who presided over the case, Ohio Court of Claims Judge Joseph T. Clark, agrees that paying O’Brain so much money is “seemingly unfair”, but Judge Clark was unable to do anything about it because “the parties in this case negotiated a contract virtually guaranteeing (O’Brien) that he could not be terminated for an NCAA infraction.”

Clark says that “Ohio State was victimized by a contract that heavily favored the ex-coach”, which is curious because OSU’s lawyers drafted the contract in an attempt to keep O’Brian as coach.

It is not important whether OSU put in provisions that would make it nearly impossible to fire O’Brian if he violated NCAA rules because they acquiesced to O’Brian’s whim for such provisions or because OSU really wanted to keep O’Brian as coach and such provisions would significantly decrease the chances of him being fired. What matters is that the provisions would be in the contract at all. This is ultimately sadder than paying $2.2 million to a cheater.

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No more “FOR THE LOVE OF LEVITATION THERE GOES FLIGHT NUMBER 23 TAKING OFF FROM THE CORNER OF ONTARIO AND HURON AND FLYING DOWN FROM THE RAFTERS WITH AN ABOSOLUTELY THUNDEROUS DUNK BRINGING THE PACKED HOUSE HERE AT THE Q TO THEIR FEET!”

Posted by disappointmentzone on 2 August 2006

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that longtime Cavs play-by-play man Michael Reghi has been “let go” and will be replaced by Detroit sportscaster Fred McLeod. Reghi had two more years left on his contract but the team bought him out today. Reghi will remain on FSN Ohio as a host for a nightly studio show on the Cleveland Browns training camp.

I have never been a huge Reghi fan. I can understand his appeal—he often sounds like an overly-excited, smooth-speaking uncle; this can be nice for broadcasts—but I was never his largest fan. That said, Austin Carr is the Joe Morgan of basketball commentary and Steve Williams is a cheerleader (though he did improve late last season). Both of them should have been replaced before Reghi.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers, flotsam and Jetsam | 1 Comment »

If Bill Simmons cared about Cleveland sports…

Posted by disappointmentzone on 2 August 2006

Perhaps he’d write something like this:

The Sports Guy Goes to an Auction

So I’m sitting there the other day watching ESPN2 and I see that AJ Pierzynski had a great game. There is nobody, with the possible exception of Charlie Manuel, that I dislike more than AJ Pierzynski. In the pantheon of people that ‘Make the Sports Guy pissed off,’ these two are a nail-biter.

The phone rings. It’s my friend Bish. Awesome! Bish is always willing to discuss our mutual distaste for AJ Pierzynski. Don’t get me wrong–we respect his abilities. But he’s the Phoebe from “Friends” of sports. Totally annoying, yet on TV all the time. Bish mentions that it would be nice if AJ Pierzynski caught a case of herpes at the beginning of September, opening a Ron Dayne on HGH-sized hole for the Indians to cruise to the playoffs.

Bish points out that the chances that AJ Pierzynski will come down with herpes in September are minimal, but that if we expanded the possibilities, there would be a greater chance for debilitation of some sort. As usual, Bish is a crazy genius.

Here is what we came up with:

4. AJ Pierzynski receives a vicious suplex from Travis Hafner in front of 40,000 fans jammed into Jacobs Field.

(On a side note, has there ever been a greater moment in sports than when Bret Hart beat Stone Cold Steve Austin in Wrestlemania XIII? That and when all the starters on Notre Dame’s football team hand in their jerseys and say they won’t play unless Rudy can dress for the final home game of the season are the winners of the ‘Most Awesome Non-Real-Life Sports Moment Competition 2006.’)

3. AJ Pierzynski is informed by his wife that their child was not fathered by him but rather by either Jose Mesa or Isaiah Thomas.

2. AJ Pierzynski hangs a homemade collage featuring scrabook-style clippings of Steve Sanders and Daniel LaRusso in his locker. He is immediately placed on the DL with ‘flu-like symptoms.’

1. AJ Pierzynski meets Johanna from Real World: Austin, falls in love, and leaves team to begin filming ‘Eight Men Out.

After we finish with the conversation about AJ Pierzynski we turn ourselves to the real topic of conversation, the upcoming draft of the Suzy Kolber is Sexy Memorial Baseball Association, a new fantasy league that Bish and I will be joining this year.

Ordinarily, I’m never an advocate of partnering up to own a fantasy baseball team. That’s like getting picked up by Posh Spice and going back to her place, only to find out that Shawn Kemp is already there. If the best you get is to share, sometimes it’s not worth it at all, right?

However, this league only had one slot open, so Bish and I agreed to partner up, in the hope that one of us could switch over and manage the next vacancy. After much debate, and eliminating the excellent possibilities of ‘Naked Monopoly with Muffins’ and ‘Cecil Fielder’s Shiny as a Prostitute’ as potential team names, we settle on ‘Sporting Wood.’

The thing that’s exciting about this league is that it is an auction format league, which is totally different than a draft league. I mean, it seems as though it would be the same as a draft league, but it’s not. It’s like the difference between NHL ’93 and NHL ’94–you take out fighting and add one-timers, you’ve got a whole different game, even if they are both hockey. Any good sports fan knows that the Cavs are good, but not everyone knows how to conduct an auction.

Pre-Auction preparation is important. First, it is important to choose a date when the auction will take place. This is easy. Choose the date when the whipped guy in the league does not have to tend to his wife, and that’s your date. Finding the whipped-guy-can-make-it date is a crucial part of auction success. (Speaking of which, what is with all these girlfriends who think that ‘fantasy draft’ is code for ‘I’m going to have my buddies over to watch John Daly perform Guns N Roses while greko-roman wrestling?’ Don’t they realize we’d rather play fantasy baseball? Though that would be cool.)

Next, and more difficult, is the auction location selection. Many times people will choose to have auctions in the sports bar. This is a bad idea. Nothing good can come of this; every person in the room is going to be sad and have an extremely sore ear after four hours. No, the auction must be held in someone’s house–best furnished basement wins. The coolness of the wife/significant other can be a deciding factor if two people have similar options–say, if owner A has a Super Mario Brothers arcade game, but owner B has a case of PBR. Nothing will kill a fun evening faster than the host’s wife emasculating him with a ‘Stop being an ass, ass.’ We have selected next Tuesday night, at 8 pm, at a guy’s house where his wife will be gossiping, and therefore unable to disrupt the festivities.

I will not be sharing with you my player ratings for this coming season–after all, Johnny Chan doesn’t play poker with the hand face up–but I will give you some insight into my auction strategy. The thing is, an auction has so much more of an influence on your season than a draft does. In an auction, every player in the league is at your disposal. Everyone starts out equal. It’s the communism of fantasy sports.

It’s also like a marathon. It requires endurance, it requires stamina, it requires concentration and planning. Without further ado, here is my ‘Sports Guy Auction Strategy Guide’:

Round One-When you move around on the balls of your feet, make sure you put your feet on the ground before you throw a punch. You will get about 60% more power guaranteed

Once the auction starts, timing and strategy are much more important than they are in a traditional draft. The first hour or so of the auction has to be spent feeling out your opponents. Are they particularly loyal to the Kansas City Royals? Do they have a tendency toward farting in poorly vented rooms? You are looking for weaknesses that you can exploit later on. Store these like Money.

Here is a good place to test people by chucking out a few names of guys you’d never want on your team-aging, oft-injured players, like Gary Sheffield, or over-hyped rookies that never panned out, like Brandon Philips.

Everyone is going to get some good players at this point, so make sure you don’t overpay and find yourself begging for money like Johnny Drama asking for Vinny Chase’s AMEX Black.

Round Two-Have a Sense of Sociology

In round two, there will be one moment that defines your draft. Things will be going along smoothly, and all of a sudden you’ll get involved in a bidding war on a player. It’s not unlike a big pot in a no-limit hold-em tournament–you’ll have your the Joker-Batman in Batman moment, and you need to decide what to do.

Oftentimes, this will come down to a single dollar, here or there–if you bid $28 for Jason Michaels, you know you’ll get him, but you’re facing a bid with the clock ticking. Are you going to be a hero, carried off the field like David Ortiz? Or are you Lloyd Carr, skulking off the field into the jeering history of your team’s fans, with only your family still willing to speak with you. Now is your moment. Set the tone.

Round Three-Moving Day

Phase three of the draft is moving day, like day three of The Masters. You need to shoot a four under 68. This is where you’ll fill out a lot of the players that, while less sexy, make up the core of your team. Do not discount the importance of moving day. If you wait until the next phase to build the core of your team, you’ll find yourself as lonely as Paris Hilton in a room full of Mormons.

Moving day is the time to make things happen for your team. This is where you are going to define the season that you have. If you end up moving day by taking an accurate mix of future stars, injury-risk players, and Jhonny Peralta, you’ll be okay.

Round Four-The Game of Trivial Pursuit

By the end of the fantasy auction, the endeavor has become mind-numbing. The only thing it can be compared to is a game of Trivial Pursuit, played among friends. Something that, at the beginning of the day, seemed like such fun, but by the end of it, is just a group of people banging their heads against the wall, adamantly trying to finish what they started, the joy of competing against your friends replaced with a desire to prove that you are The King of All Trivia and that is that.

In this phase of the auction, you must be careful. This is the ‘It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business’ moment of the draft. People will be exploding like a supernova, screaming incomprehensible things like Fenster from The Usual Suspects and threatening to punch each other if they do not get their way.

Just bite your lip, set your jaw, and try and endure. It’s a long season coming forward.

‘Help me, Luke. You’re my only hope.’

This was generated with the Write Your Own Bill Simmons Column generator.

UPDATE: This will be the only Bill Simmons-esque post on this site. There are already about 500,000 Lesser Simmonses blogging about sports and the Karate Kid, and they are all boring and wildly derivative. Simmons owns the market on infusing columns about sports with pop culture references and he’s been doing it for about 10 years. He’s very good. No one else need try. And for those who keep trying, please stop.

Posted in Cleveland Sports, flotsam and Jetsam | Leave a Comment »

Who’s a big winner?

Posted by disappointmentzone on 2 August 2006

The Indians! Or so says SI.com scribe Jon Heyman, who listed the Indians as one of 10 winners this trade season. Said Heyman:

GM Mark Shapiro can conduct a clinic on how to stage a selloff. Unlike some of the other sellers and should-be sellers, he found new homes for everyone in the last year of their contract who couldn’t clear waivers. Nice work.

Fox Sports writer Ken Rosenthal doesn’t share Heyman’s enthusiam, but does rate the Indians as Honorable Mention for their trades this season. He writes:

A disappointing season prompted five trades that netted the Indians with a number of interesting prospects, including infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in separate deals with the Mariners.

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Cavs rumor update 8/2

Posted by disappointmentzone on 2 August 2006

According to a report in the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cavsmet Tuesday with free-agent forward Reggie Evans at an undisclosed location outside of Cleveland”. The Reggie Evans Sweepstakes has come down to two teams: The Nuggets and Cavs. To sign Evans both teams would have to dip into their $5.2 million mid-level exception money, but since the Nuggets are only $3 million under the luxury tax line–and unwilling to cross it–the Cavs are able to offer Evans more money. The Sweepstakes will come down to whether Evans is willing to take a hometown discount to stay in Denver.

The Willoughby News-Herald reports that movement on either the Evans signing or Gooden resigning could happen as soon as today. According to the article:

Sources say something major is going down with the Cavaliers today.

Since there have been no reports that the Gooden conversations have yielding anything in the last two weeks, it’s probably safe to assume that, should this bold claim turn out, Evans signing with the Cavs would be the major something.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers, Trade Rumors | Leave a Comment »

The bullpen is how bad?

Posted by disappointmentzone on 2 August 2006

In 1.1 innings stretched over Sunday and Monday, Indians’ relief pitcher Fausto Carmona gave up seven runs and lost one game. He’s been one of the best relief pitchers the Indians have had this season. So now you have an idea what the team has been working with. OK. This is not fair to Carmona. Until last weekend he’d been very good working out of the bullpen. His ERA as a relief pitcher was below 2. It’s a little higher now. So the bullpen has been bad. How bad?

The second-worst bullpen this decade in the American League.

Using Baseball Prospectus’s Win Expectation above Replacement, Lineup-adjusted, statistic (WXRL), which is a measure of how a relief pitcher has affected the outcome of a game, the Indians bullpen has cost the Indians 1.158 wins relative to what a bullpen of fringe major league pitchers would do. That’s right, a bullpen of guys struggling to stay in the majors would actually do better than the actual major league pitchers in the Indians bullpen, to the tune of about an extra win. This is really quiet spectacular. Until this season only two times has a team had a bullpen with a negative WXRL since 2000: Kansas City and Texas, both in 2002, with WXRL of -1.539 and 1.030, respectively. Kansas City joins the Indians this season on the negative side of the spectrum with a WXRL of -.454. Misery loves company, I guess.

The sheer crappiness of the bullpen this season wouldn’t be nearly so insidious if last season the Indians didn’t have on of the best bullpens in the AL. Last season the bullpen had a 12.524 WXRL, trailing only the Angels and White Sox. How far the mighty have fallen.

So what did the bullpen do last night? Here is the line: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1B, 0K, 1HR.

Quick. Who was it?

If you guessed Fernando Cabrera…you’re right!

Fortunately, the Indians, riding the rare great-pitching/great-hitting night, with Sabathia giving up one run in eight innings and the offense scoring six runs on 13 hits, won, 6-3, to improve to 46-59.

Posted in Cleveland Indians, statistics | Leave a Comment »