The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for the ‘flotsam and Jetsam’ Category

“The Quarterback Position”

Posted by disappointmentzone on 20 November 2007

Quick question: When did it become popular to say “the quarterback position”?

More important question: Is there ever a justifiable excuse for saying “the quarterback position”?

Answer Q1: Beats me.

Answer Q2: No.

I find this the most absolutely unnecessary and frustrating feature of all NFL talk today. Did coaches and announcers and analysts huddle up and decide that since they’re now referring to injuries by the body part — he’s out with a knee — that they’d take the extra information they’re saving there and add it to talking about quarterbacks?

Here is one example. During Monday’s press conference Ravens coach Brian Billick was talking about preparing his team for adversity during the season, including “a change at the quarterback position.”

Why not say a change at quarterback? What is the utility of the word position here? It’s completely redundant! Is there ever a time when the meaning of quarterback is not at least implicitly tied to the concept of a position?

Answer: No.

A quarterback is above all else a position. The American Heritage Dictionary defines quarterback as “a player positioned behind the center who directs a team’s offensive play.” The word position is right there in the definition! That’s the A1 definition of position (i.e., location). But the 3rd definition of position is also implicit whenever we discuss quarterbacks (i.e., situation or circumstance that affects one’s power to act). Hell, why else does the NFL restrict which uniform numbers a quarterback can wear?

I’m going to start collecting unnecessary uses of the phrase ‘quarterback position’ and keep a running tally on a page here at the DZ. My prediction is that Shannon Sharp uses this phrase the most, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Steve Young is right there with him. Any help with this effort will be much appreciated.

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Posted in flotsam and Jetsam | 11 Comments »

MLB is the new NFL!

Posted by disappointmentzone on 30 September 2007

One of the selling points of the NFL that gets talked up by everyone who advocates for its awesomeness is that it is a league of extreme parity. Each training camp is a site of new hope because you never really know how well a team is going to do, then suddenly the Browns are 2-2 and the Chargers are 1-3 and it’s a whole new season.

A lot goes into achieving competitive balance in the NFL and the reasons usually cited are the same reasons usually cited for why there will never be competitive balance in baseball. But wait!

As of Sunday morning there had only been one season in modern baseball history when no club finished above a .600 winning percentage and no club finished below .400. That was in 2000, when the Giants finished at .599 and the Cubs and Phillies finished at .401.

As of Sunday evening there have now been two such seasons, with the Indians and Red Sox finishing at .593 and the Devil Rays at .407. Notice that the gap between the best and worse records shrunk .12 points between 2000 and 2007, indicating…well, probably not much. But for the moment at least it is the Major Leagues where the sophisticated sportsmen will find his parity and not, as it has been said by cruder men, in the NFL.

Perhaps MLB needs to adopt the slogan, “Any given Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with an off day on Monday followed by another four game series on Tuesday!”

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Grading LBJ on SNL

Posted by disappointmentzone on 29 September 2007

LeBron James hosted the season premier of Saturday Night Live. Here’s how he did.

Opening monologue: LeBron comes out looking very tall and very velvety and also a little nervous. Fortunately his monologue is mostly a pre-recorded commercial for Nike. That’s one way of dealing with stage fright. And now we’re back to LeBron. The joke is that he solved the universal health care crisis while the Nike commercial pre-recorded bit was running, only we missed it. Seriously, do you think LBJ has ever thought about universal health care in his life? I say no. Does that make the monologue funnier or sadder? I say both. LBJ Grade: C

Sketch 1: Charity Speech Hey, it’s LeBron playing a professional basketball player named LeBron James! Interestingly the character LeBron James is playing holds many of the same records as the real LeBron James, like youngest player to score 1000 points. I wonder how many SNL writers it took to come up with this character. Four? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers, flotsam and Jetsam, media | 2 Comments »

Cleveland and The Power 100 List

Posted by disappointmentzone on 27 September 2007

Anyone around here tired of blog posts that involve Cleveland and power rankings? Well you might want to skip over this post because Business Week just dropped its list of the 100 most powerful people in sports and Cleveland is well represented. (1)

LeBron James is the only Cleveland athlete to make the list. He comes in at #19. That might seem a little low until you realize that he’s the fourth highest ranked professional athlete. Only Tiger Woods (2), Peyton Manning (13), and David Beckham (17) are more powerful than LeBron James, but that could all change this Saturday when he hosts SNL. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in flotsam and Jetsam, media | 2 Comments »

Quick hits: college football

Posted by disappointmentzone on 11 September 2007

* The University of Michigan is 0-4 since Bo Schembechler kicked the can. Is it too early to suggest that there is some sort of Schembechler hex affecting Michigan?

* Ohio State moved up in the rankings this week, from 12 to 10. Other than Michigan beginning the season ranked #5 this has to be the most bloated ranking this season. Of course Michigan dropped from the rankings after the first week of the season. Ohio State has managed to move up despite two less than stellar performances against teams that had no right being on the field with the Buckeyes.

* Put it this way: Ohio State would have lost last weekend had they played Oregon.

* There is a black hole at quarterback for the Buckeyes. It’s not quite as bad as what we are seeing with the Browns, but there is definitely consistency among football teams in Ohio.

* Wisconsin is eminently beatable this year, which is usually not what you find yourself saying of the team with the nation’s longest winning streak. But after watching their uninspiring game against UNLV the smart money is on the streak ending before bowl season. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in flotsam and Jetsam, Ohio State Buckeyes | Leave a Comment »

What’s the matter with Kansas?

Posted by disappointmentzone on 6 September 2007

Each week the AP releases a list of the top 25 college football teams in the country as decided upon by a corp of 65 media members. Each week the AP also releases the ballots of the individual voters. As time permits the Disappointment Zone is going to highlight the best and worst voters each week in a feature that doesn’t yet have an official name, but that could all change depending on Mr. Tom Keegan of Lawrence, Kansas.

Tom Keegen writes for the Lawrence Journal and has a vote in the AP Top 25. This week he gets the honor of voting Ohio State higher than anyone else in the country. How high did he vote the Buckeyes? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in flotsam and Jetsam, media, Ohio State Buckeyes | 3 Comments »

SWEET

Posted by disappointmentzone on 1 September 2007

We have sources inside the Horseshoe reporting that Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has just called Jim Tressel to see if he could purchase a copy of Tressel’s Guide To Beating D1AA Schools At Home In The Home Opener After Beginning The Season Ranked In The Top Twenty-five. It’s the same manual OSU used this afternoon to beat Youngstown State University.

Tressel politely declined and went back to ironing his sweater vest.

In other news Appalachian State just earned honorary Disappointment Zone Adopted Team status, joining the illustrious group of the Milwaukee Brewers and Aston Villa. Usually the favorite college football teams of the DZ are Ohio State and whoever is playing Michigan. Now it’s Ohio State and Appalachian State. (1) The rest of the teams on Michigan’s schedule no longer matter (exception: OSU). Why? Because Michigan’s season no longer matters. Nice to get that taken care of so early.

Oh, and this baby is superb:

PS: I hate Michigan.

fn 1: Tucked somewhere deep in the bowels of my dresser is an Appalachian State softball tee shirt (don’t ask). It might be mailed to my Michigan friend come Monday morning.

Posted in flotsam and Jetsam, Ohio State Buckeyes | Leave a Comment »

Excellent. Awesome. Super.

Posted by disappointmentzone on 17 August 2007

Homegrown grittiness wins over maudlin sentimentalism every time. It’s the Rick Vaughn vs. The Natural, via College Humor. Watch it here. Fantastic.

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New college football rule

Posted by disappointmentzone on 16 August 2007

A few football coaches are unhappy with the new rule that moves kickoffs back from the 35 yard line to the 30 yard line, from where the big boys in the NFL kick off. The worry is that the extra five yards will result in more injuries as injuries tend to happy more often during big open field plays when a lot of big, strong guys are running fast at each other. The defenders won’t benefit from the extra five yards but the return men will, presumably, which will create more exciting plays and more opportunities from freak TD celebration injuries in national championship games.

The concern for the players’ safety is lovely and all, but it comes wrapped in a blanket of insincerity. But I’m not going to get into that right now.

What I want to say is that five yards won’t make much of a difference. Without rules regulating the condition of the footballs used for kickoffs coaches need not worry much about the rule change pushing back the kickoff line. Instead of kickoffs sailing through the endzone — wasn’t it fun to see if the guys could make it through the uprights? — kickoffs will sail about seven yards deep into the endzone. If a D-1 team doesn’t have a kicker who can’t place it that deep into the endzone from the 30 yard line then they need to hire a ball boy that knows how to use a microwave. Put a ball in there and it’ll be flying.

If the NCAA is interested in increasing kickoff returns then they ought to put in place an NFL-type rule about the kicking balls. If the coaches are interested in the safety of their players they ought to be calling for this rule change as well. (1)

fn 1: This post sucks. Sorry about that. There really are good reasons why football condition rules and not kickoff line rules are the way to simultaneously increase kickoff return while decreasing the likelihood of injuries. I just don’t have the energy to type them out right now.

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More on attendance: revised edition

Posted by disappointmentzone on 26 July 2007

Over at Let’s Go Tribe there is a discussion going on about why the attendance numbers at Indians game are so poor despite the fact that the team is so good. Some people think it is an issue of economics. It’s not. Here’s why.

The Indians are averaging about 20,000 fans each home game. There was a while there that the team averaged a sell out. Why isn’t this happening any more? The answer is not the economy. The answer is winning.

The economy sucks (anyone want to hire me for a job??). Cleveland has been hit hard. But is the economy really so bad that there are not 10,000 fans within driving distance of Jacobs Field who can afford to pay the attendant costs of attending an Indians game (ticket, parking, food, etc.)?

No, the economy is not that bad. A few million people populate the Greater Cleveland and out of those few million there are tens of thousands of people who can afford the cost of attending a game. They were there in 1995 and 1997. In those years they were eager to pay to watch the Indians play. Now, not so much.

Where did they go? Nowhere. Why aren’t they at Jacobs Field?

Because in 1997 the Indians were winning and in 2006 the Indians finished under .500 and missed the playoffs.

Cleveland has a whole bunch of fair weather fans (as do most places). When the Indians were winning in 1997 people showed up. Going to an Indians game was the hip thing to do. People wanted to be part of that crowd. People who otherwise weren’t interested in spending their extra change on Indians tickets decided to do so.

Then the Indians stopped winning and started rebuilding and people stopped showing up to games and the reason they stopped showing up to the game is because the Indians stopped winning.

If the team makes it to the playoffs this season the Jake will suddenly sell out and it won’t be because of a sudden economic bump. It’ll be because about 15,000 people who couldn’t be bothered to go to a game during the regular season will find going to a playoff game enticing. Bandwagons are like that. These people will gladly pay their money to watch the Indians in the playoffs. Should the team win the World Series, these same people will gladly buy up tickets next season. It’s the same cycle that affects every single major sports franchise in a market the size of Cleveland. You win, people come. You don’t, people stay away.

When you are dealing with a market as small as Cleveland the biggest factor for whether the Indians have high attendance numbers is a combination of winning and how winning contributes to the appeal of going to a game. There just isn’t a big enough fan base in Cleveland to sell out a stadium featuring a .500 team. That’s an issue of population, not economics. In New York it’s possible. In Philly it’s possible. In Cleveland it’s not possible.

When the Indians start winning and the fans will come back. Just look at the Cavs.

The culprit is not economics and unless there is another Great Depression the culprit probably will never be economics.

What matters is winning.

Posted in Cleveland Indians, flotsam and Jetsam | 4 Comments »