The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for the ‘Cleveland Sports’ Category

Thoughts on Blogs

Posted by disappointmentzone on 30 April 2008

So there was a roundtable on HBO last night hosted by Bob Costas and dealing with sports media. One topic covered was The Blog (duh duh duhhhhh). On the right: Buzz Bissinger, vocal critic of blogs. On the left: Will Leitch, founder and editor of Deadspin, arguably the most influential blog in history. If you didn’t watch it here’s what you missed: Bissinger boiling to the point of hysteria over the flilth that is The Blog and how it’s a disgrace to the written language, and so on and so forth. There was nothing original about his position or his argument. It’s the same one you’ve heard countless other times in countless other forums. In fact, this anti-blog position is growing so tired I thought it would be worth breaking my blogging silence to help guide this misguided discussion.

First, you can be no more against blogs than you can be against paper or the printed press. A blog is a publishing platform. There is nothing inherently evil about the platform. Likewise, there is nothing inherently positive about the platform. The platform has no agency — it’s a platform. Whatever qualities critics like Bissinger apply to blogs apply to the content of blogs, not blogs themselves.

Furthermore, what distinguishes a blog from other forms of online media is a set of extremely loose guidelines that might be so loose as to be irrevocably vague. Has anyone tried to define what a blog is recently? Sure, we know one when we see one, thanks in large part to entities like Blogger and WordPress, both of whom are marketed as blogging tools. But what distinguishes a blog from, say, a person who publishes her poetry on her website? At one point it seemed like comments were a distinguishing feature of blogs. But there are highly successful blogs without comments (Andrew Sullivan, for example) and there are websites like the New York Times, the Gray Lady herself, that allow comments on editorials. Certainly “Blogger” isn’t on Frank Rich’s business card, but that’s only because his column is also published in the print edition of the NYT. Were that not the case he’d be a blogger.

Another feature of blogs seems to be timely updating. But The Disappointment Zone is proof enough that that’s no distinguishing criterion! Some blogs are updated 50 times a day. Others 50 times a year. How about the length of the post? Well, on one end you have Joe Poz, who will not hesitate to write 3000 words on 1987 nonroster invites to the Royals spring training, and on the other end you have something like Twitter, which at least looks blog-like, right?

If you push on the definition of ‘blog’ it quickly unravels into a category too broad to be useful. It’s certainly too broad to be the object of furor for someone like Bissinger.

So what’s really bothering Buzz?

Why, that’s simple: bad writing!

Buzz hates blog because so many of them are poorly written junk. Gee whiz, how novel. Let’s have nineteen more forums and spill fifty more gallons of ink bickering over something we all agree upon — bad writing is, um, bad.

The whole blog debate is a non-issue. But that doesn’t mean this ‘debate’ is benign. Far from it. This debate is distracting us from more pressing issues. Here’s one:

Loud mouths who won’t stop being annoying in public places like bars or stadium restrooms. Seriously. These people pose such a far greater threat to our civic virtue than blogs. You can’t navigate away from the person-equivalent of bad blogger. You can’t unsubscribe from his RSS feed. You can’t, you know, not look at his webpage. He’s just there, annoying the crap out of you, being a blowhard. Why can’t we have public forums on these doofuses?

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 5 Comments »

Remeber When The Cavs Were Good?

Posted by disappointmentzone on 12 April 2008

It seems like years since the Cavs looked like a legit contender to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Turns out it’s only been a year, and there’s video evidence in case you don’t believe me.

If you click here you can watch the entire Game 5 from last year’s ECF against the Pistons. This is LeBron’s 48-point game where he scored 29 of the Cavs’ last 30 points. It’s a nice trip down memory lane.

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 5 Comments »

The Cavs: Now 50% More Glamorous

Posted by disappointmentzone on 23 February 2008

Thanks, Wally!

42e8a10b5277005e871451bec50252ca-getty-76075550_dlk027_cavs_v_wiza.jpg

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 6 Comments »

Back To Normal

Posted by disappointmentzone on 12 February 2008

Call me Mitt Romney because I’m switching my position to pander to my audience. Rather than integrate media stuff into a Cleveland sports blog (really, what was I thinking?) it makes much more sense to just start a new blog. Which I’ve done. From hereon out The Disappointment Zone will be back to how it was before I had that brain fart and you can read my film/television ramblings over at The Dark Room, which I encourage you to visit, bookmark, and subscribe to.

Disappointment Zone: Cleveland sports

The Dark Room: Film and stuff

Never the twain shall meet (starting….now)

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 1 Comment »

Shaq Trade Thoughts

Posted by disappointmentzone on 6 February 2008

I’m breaking my hiatus to chime in on the news that the Suns are on the brink of acquiring Shaq.

Simply put: This is a terrible trade for Cleveland.

If Miami trades Shaq they don’t have to pay the remainder of his salary, which is $40M over the next two seasons. That cap relief puts Miami in position to sign pretty much anyone they want this off season. So let’s say the Heat sign Elton Brand.

Wade + Brand > Wade + Shaq

Right now Miami has the worst record in the NBA and the inside track to the first overall pick in the upcoming draft.

Wade + Brand + Michael Beasley = Yikes!

Pay Riley must be calling in a favor here. How else can you explain the good fortune of this trade? Instead of the Heat being tremendously burdened by Shaq and his albatross of a contract for the next two seasons (which coincide with Wade’s last two seasons under his current contract) suddenly the Heat are six months away from having one of the most exciting off seasons imaginable. Who doesn’t want to play alongside a perennial MVP candidate in South Beach while making a truckload of money? On top of that add a lottery pick. Now the Heat are a threat in the Eastern Conference. This is wizardry!

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 4 Comments »

On Hiatus

Posted by disappointmentzone on 31 January 2008

The Disappointment Zone is on temporary hiatus with the hope of returning to regular posting by mid-February. Thanks for your patience.

PS: Larry Hughes still sucks.

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 2 Comments »

Get Ready For OSU in the BCS…Again

Posted by disappointmentzone on 14 January 2008

OSU finished the season with the possibility of returning 20 of 22 starters. So far they’ve lost only Vernon Gholston, which will do some damage to the defensive line.

But the real story this evening is that James Laurinaitis will return to Columbus. Losing Laurinaitis would have been a crippling blow to the defense. His return will mitigate any other defensive losses the team might suffer.

Meanwhile all signs are pointing to everyone returning on offense. Which means that when Ohio State takes the field next season they’ll be poised to play in the BCS title game once again, much to the chagrin to the rest of the nation.

Going forward the key to next season will be the game at USC early in September. If OSU wins that game there will likely be nothing any other team can do to keep OSU out of the title game should they win out. There likely won’t be two other teams that, even if they go undefeated, will have more impressive resumes than an undefeated Ohio State.

So third time is a charm, right?

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 5 Comments »

Colts Got What They Deserved

Posted by disappointmentzone on 14 January 2008

So the Colts lost yesterday to huge underdog San Diego. These are the same Colts who were coming off a bye week and had sparingly played their starters two weeks prior in their final game against the Titans. That’s roughly a three week break heading into the playoffs. The team yesterday looked rusty, to say the least — receivers dropping passes that turned into interceptions, the league’s best scoring defense giving up a lot of points, including a huge drive at the end of the game by a backup.

The Cowboys, also huge favorites at home, lost as well, this time to the Giants. The Cowboys did not play their starters in week 17. Like the Colts their first stringers were operating on essentially a three week lay off, coming off the bye last week. The Cowboys lost to the Giants, who played all their starters in a week 17 tilt against the Patriots — who, it should be noted, played all their starters as well in that game, and then beat the hot Jaguars on Saturday.

Meanwhile the Packers, who played their starters for almost the entire game in week 17, blew the Seahawks out of the water.

So of the top four seeds the two that played competitive football throughout the entire season, particularly heading into the playoffs, won their two games. The other two teams lost at home to road underdogs after benching their starters in the final week of the season. For the Colts, this is the second time in three years this has happened.

As a Browns fan it was particularly sweet to see the Colts lose. They made no attempt to beat the Titans in week 17. None whatsoever. They mailed it in. The league apparently had no problem with what transpired in the waining minutes of the game, when the Colts and Titans basically agreed to not play the final snap of the game, which clearly came as a welcomed gift to the Titans. It may as well have come in a velvet box with a lovely note penned by Mr. Dungy himself.

If you don’t try to win you may as well lose. The integrity of the game took a sever blow in week 17 — amazingly no one in the media, as far as I can tell, has made any attempt to further investigate this — and seeing the Colts get their comeuppance was wonderful.

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 1 Comment »

Oh The Irony!

Posted by disappointmentzone on 11 January 2008

Say goodbye to Jacobs Field and hello to Progressive Field, this according to the Plain Dealer which sites sources familiar with the situation. An official announcement is expected later today.

Setting aside the sadness of losing the Jake, how ironic is it that a team (mis)named after Native Americans with a grossly offensive caricature as its mascot will now be playing in Progressive Field?

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 8 Comments »

Enough SEC Fast! OSU Slow! Talk

Posted by disappointmentzone on 8 January 2008

Lance Armstrong is the greatest cyclist ever. He won the Tour de France — the most demanding and challenge race in the world — seven consecutive times, more than any other cyclist in history. It’s a record that is bound to stand for many years to come and it was his near constant ownership of the famed yellow jersey worn by the leader of the race that inspired those ubiquitous yellow bracelets.

But for all his dominance, for all the yellow jerseys, Armstrong never wore the less-famed green jersey, awarded to the sprint leader. Overall Armstrong was the fastest rider in the race, but on the particularly flat stages where the sprint points are highest Armstrong hardly ever battled it out to finish first to wear the maillot vert. If you put Armstrong on a short track he would be smoked by countless other cyclists. He won the race because he was incredible in the mountain stages, where no sprinters ever seriously contend and where the most time towards the overall standings is earned.

Armstrong was strategic and adapted his racing philosophy to suit the terrain upon which he raced.

The same is true of any sensible football coach who has any input over the type of players on his team (which is every football coach in Division 1 football in a BCS conference whose team is remotely competitive). When you play on turf in Hawaii it makes sense to accentuate the competitive advantages of a fast track (as turf is commonly called) by installing a wide open passing attack. When you play on the shores of Lake Erie it helps to have a punishing running back because there will be days of freezing temperatures accompanied by howling winds that render a passing game impossible.

Which is why the cries of “THE BIG TEN IS SLOW!” are growing so tired. True, the lack of speed on Ohio State’s football team — however valid this claim may be — is a weakness when playing indoors against a southern football team. But transplant LSU to Wisconsin and let’s see how that speed does in 12 inches of snow when the terrain calls for a bruising running game founded on punishing lineman and running backs who are more in the mold of Dickerson than Sanders (which, admittedly, LSU had in Hester).

LSU was a better football team that OSU this season. Anyone who watched the two teams play more than twice could see that. By earning a berth to the BCS title game OSU overachieved on a tremendous scale while LSU was a preseason favorite to win the title in a game practically played in their back yard. At the start of the season LSU was better and it turns out that at the end of the season LSU was better. This is not to detract from OSU’s accomplishments. It’s just a fact.

With all that said, it’s time to recognize that warm weather teams have an advantage in bowl games, which are predominantly played in warm weather (be it in the south or indoors). Warm weather schools have teams adapted to compliment the conditions in which they play. It’s smart. It’s what they should do. It’s also smart for cold weather schools to have teams that are designed to play well in freezing temperatures and snow. Let’s be honest here: football in snow is a qualitatively different game that football in 80 degree temperatures. It requires different strategies and personnel. Move the BCS title game to Boston and see how warm weather teams respond to playing in sub-freezing temperatures. Maybe the cries of too slow from the south will be muffled by the three layers of facial coverings it takes to avoid frostbite while standing outside rooting on your football team in a Nor’easter, replaced instead by the beefy growls of now that’s football from bearded, bare-chested northerners who prefer their football to look like a manly pursuit.

Posted in Cleveland Sports | 10 Comments »