Archive for April, 2015

1. In last week’s column I wrote that the Cavaliers would bring the city Cleveland its first championship in 50 years. I should of prefaced that by adding, ‘barring injury.’ Now that Kevin Love is done for what appears to be the remainder of the season, the Cavs will more than likely get beaten by the Chicago Bulls in the next round (Yes, the Bulls will get by the Bucks). Fans and media alike have ‘loved’ to pile on Love this season unnecessarily, as those that truly understand the game of basketball were aware of his importance and what his role was with this team.  In his absence, the Cavaliers won’t be able to space the floor as they had been doing, and the open lanes that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving had been accustomed to will be gone. Tristan Thompson was valuable in his role coming off the bench, but his flaws will become much more glaring now that he will be forced to play more minutes. To use a phrase that my former colleague Kenny Roda coined long ago, OIC (only in Cleveland).

2. It’s truly a shame that Kevin Love was taken out by a dude that cannot even grow facial hair, instead opting for the peach fuzz look. In hockey there’s a term for mediocre players that are just put on the ice to get physical with the opposition. They’re called a goon. That’s exactly what Kelly Olynyk is. There’s a difference between setting a hard screen with a push like what Kendrick Perkins did to Jae Crowder and putting a guy in an arm bar and pulling his shoulder out of its socket. Truly a bush league play.

Cavaliers Celtics Basketball

3. For those that are worried about reigning American League Cy Young award winner, Corey Kluber, don’t be. Kluber AKA Klubot will be just fine. Here is a look at his numbers from last April compared to this April.

2014: 2 W, 3 L, 37 IP, 35 K, 10 BB, 2 HR allowed, 4.14 ERA, 1.51 WHIP

2015: 0 W, 3 L, 34 IP, 36 K, 7 BB, 2 HR allowed, 4.24 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

Nearly an identical start from last season, look for Kluber to start dominating hitters in the near future and hopefully the Tribe will start giving him some run support.

4. One player who could help the Indians with their hitting woes is their top prospect, Francisco Lindor. Current starting shortstop Jose Ramirez is hitting a paltry .186 and the Indians as a team are hitting just .234 which is third worst in the American League. Lindor recently went on a 10-16 stretch and appears to have come out of his own early season slump. He’s hit safely in 10 of his last 14 games. The time is right for Lindor to get promoted to the ‘Big Show.’

5. The NFL draft is here which means it’s the time of year that the Cleveland Browns usually waste their picks on garbage players. There’s a report that the Browns are attempting to move up in the draft to take Oregon quarterback Marcus Marriota. That would be a mistake. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner was a great college quarterback, but his talents favor that game, not of the NFL variety. Marriota ran an up-tempo, no huddle, spread option offense taking snaps from the shotgun in college. In the NFL he will be huddling every play, taking snaps from under center, and won’t be able to leave the pocket as frequently as he did at Oregon. He was also injury prone, and while he was never hurt in a major way, that’s sure to change when he’s hit game in and game out by NFL players. This guy has bust written all over him.

6. A lot of Browns fans want to take a wide receiver in the first round. This is another foolish option. The rules in the NFL so highly favor receivers now that an average receiver can be a good receiver while a good receiver can become a great receiver. This was proven just last year when two of the Browns undersized receivers (Andrew Hawkins & Taylor Gabriel) both had successful seasons and proved that they could make plays despite their physical appearance.  There are an abundance of receivers in the college game nowadays that enter the NFL much more ready than previously due to the spread offenses that are being run. The Browns shouldn’t take a receiver in the first or second round when they can still find value in that position later in the draft. It would be a waste of a pick to do so early. Besides, take a look at this years Super Bowl combatants. Neither the Patriots nor the Seahawks have what you would call a playmaking wide receiver. The fact is, you don’t need one to succeed in this day’s NFL. If the Browns are smart (a HUGE if there) and stay where they’re currently sloted to pick in the first round (numbers 12 and 19) they should get NT Danny Shelton, who should be there for them at twelve and if DE Shane Ray falls to them at 19, they should run to the podium and take him.

7. Speaking of Shane Ray, yeah I know he just got pulled over and the officer found weed on him. So what? Marijuana is now legal in over 30 states and will soon be legal in all 50. The majority of NFL players smoke it and it’s really not a big deal. Hell, I’m sure more than half the people reading this column are doing so while puffing on a joint right now. If Ray were a QB, that would be different. You don’t want your quarterback smoking out. But a defensive player that partakes is fine by me. There have been plenty of NFL players that were busted for weed that were among the games elite. Ray has the talent to be among the best DE’s in the league and if other GM’s are afraid to draft him, hopefully Browns GM Ray Farmer won’t be.

8. Another name being thrown out there for the Browns is running back Todd Gurley. That is an absolute joke. If the Browns would draft him, or any other RB in the first or second round, I would seriously consider jumping off the 480 bridge. The NFL is a passing league. The rules are set up for the quarterbacks and receivers to succeed. Running backs are a dime a dozen. There are no ‘featured’ backs anymore with the exception of maybe a few guys. Nearly every team has a RB by committee approach and the Browns should be no different. Why should the browns take a RB that may carry the ball 10-15 times a game in the first or second round? That makes absolutely no sense! And I didn’t even get into the fact that Gurley was hurt twice getting hit by pimple faced college kids. What’s going to happen when he gets hit by grown men? I’ll pass on that option. Besides, the Browns already have two young running backs that complement each other very well.

9. It’s fight week for one of the most anticipated boxing matches in years. Floyd Mayweather is taking on Manny Pacquiao in a fight that is five years in the making. Some people are discouraged that the fight took so long to take place but the fact of the matter is that the fight will be much more competitive and entertaining now then it would have been had they fought five years ago. Mayweather is a defensive wizard, and he’s spent the majority of his career as a ‘hit and not get hit’ defensive minded fighter. Many of his fights have been lackluster due to the fact that he has simply outboxed his foes with tremendous hand speed and perfect foot work to escape without taking any real damage. Mayweather would have taken Pacquiao to school five years ago. Now though, Mayweather isn’t as fleet a foot as he once was and has taken more and more punches in the ring over the last two years. Pacquiao still has that blazing hand speed and with his non stop aggression and constant punches coming from a variety of angles, has a chance to land some shots on Mayweather. I don’t anticipate an upset here (Mayweather is a heavy betting favorite in Vegas) but I do think these two will offer an entertaining fight that will give the fans their money’s worth ($99 on PPV).

10. My dude Casey Kulas has made it official. It’s the ‘Summer of Brisket!’

I’m up for the challenge. If you start to smell the smoke in South Lorain, just follow your nose to La Casa De Castro. I’ll probably have enough to share.

11. There are just 126 days until the college football season begins! Pre-order the Phil Steele College Football Preview aka the College football Bible here:

https://www.philsteele.com/store/

12. Shoe pick of the week. I don’t have these but word on the street is these are the shoes that Manny Pacquiao will be wearing during the Mayweather fight.

pac shoes

13. I know most of you reading this don’t like soccer but so what. This is my column and I do. The Columbus Crew are on fire as they’ve outscored their last two opponents by a 7-1 margin! That’s like 118-3 if you were watching football lol. Oh and Kei Kamara is tied for the lead with the most goals in the MLS this season!

Cleveland-BrownsClick the link below to see this story about the Browns and GM Ray Farmer

http://vocerolatinonews.com/browns-need-a-better-draft-from-ray-farmer/

 

2015-schedule-announce_web

Last week after the NFL released the schedule for the Cleveland Browns, I did a quick analysis on each game. click the link below to see how I project the Browns to do.

http://vocerolatinonews.com/the-way-too-early-schedule-game/

 

1. Now that the NBA playoffs have started I’ll make my prediction. Those that know me personally can vouch I’ve said this well before the playoffs even started but now I’ll put it down on my column. The Cleveland Cavaliers will win the NBA Finals, ending the city’s 50 years Championship drought, and Kyrie Irving will be named the Finals MVP.

2. Speaking of the NBA playoffs, assuming the Chicago Bulls get by the Milwaukee Bucks, they’ll be next for the Cavaliers. Here’s to hoping D-Rose stays healthy. I, for one, believe the Bulls are a better team WITHOUT Rose. Give me more Rose and less Jimmy Butler. It Just makes the series that much easier for my Cavaliers.

3. Speaking of the Bulls, the series with the Cavs should be fun. We all know how Joakim Noah feels about the City of Cleveland, but do you know what he thinks of LeBron? Well, see for yourself.

 

4. The mega fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is less than two weeks away. Boxers usually walk to the ring with a hype song to get them fired up, however, Pacquiao is going to extreme measures with his ring entrance song. He actually recorded his own song to enter to. Chances are you’ve never heard of it, but lucky for you, I’ve got your back. Check it.

Not my idea of a hype song to say the least. If I was advising Pacquiao, I’d have him enter to something a bit more up-tempo. Something like this.

At least there’s an Ivan Drago reference in my pick.

5. Speaking of the fight, Mayweather is rumored to be making north of $100 million for this fight! ‘Money May’ is already the highest paid athlete in the world and when you have that much money and can have pretty much anything you want, you start purchasing silly things. Case in point. Mayweather has a $25,000 mouthpiece that has actual $100 bills sealed on the inside. Crazy, right? Here’s a look at a few of them.

mouthpiece

6. Recently I was home during the week in the middle of the day and did what any normal American would do when at home during normal business hours. “What’s that, you ask?” Watch The Price is Right of course. Now I have immense pride in Cleveland, the city I was born in, but even I had to question this. Either Cleveland is truly blowing up, or The Price is Right is on the decline. Get this. One of the prizes on the ‘Showcase Showdown’ was a trip to Cleveland with tickets for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! I’m not making this up just to get a laugh either, and yes, you read that correctly. I’ll repeat. One of the prizes on the ‘Showcase Showdown’ was a trip to Cleveland with tickets for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! I’m not talking about one of the prizes that everyone bids on beforehand, now. I’m talking about one of the grand prizes at the end of the show! My jaw is still dropped from that moment lol. I love my city, but even I know that a trip to my hometown shouldn’t be a prize worthy enough for a ‘Showcase Showdown.’ Or am I missing the boat on this one? Cleveland family, feel free to share your thoughts.

7. Got a case of the Monday blues? I’ve got just the answer to wake you up and get you ready to accomplish damn near anything after a party filled weekend. Listen to ‘Pitbull.’ Here’s one such song that should fill your Monday with a little joy.

 

8. I love Spring, mostly because that means winter is over, but I also love spring because of what it brings. No, I’m not talking about the rain or the flowers that begin to bloom. I’m talking about the Aut-O-Rama drive-in movie theatre and the Dog n Suds drive-in restaurant. I’m a sucker for history and how simple things used to be.

dog and suds

9. One of my favorite shows growing up was the Dukes of Hazzard so I was saddened by the passing of Roscoe P. Coltrane. How can you not be entertained by this sheriff.

 

10. If you haven’t seen ‘The Gambler’ starring Mark Wahlberg, don’t even waste your time.

Yes, the trailer makes this movie look good, but just believe me. It’s not.

11. If you’re anything like me, you miss the sound of real Hip-Hop. Today’s version of the genre is horrid, so I was beyond excited to learn that De La Soul was coming out with a new album.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1519102394/de-la-souls-new-album/widget/video.html

12. The College football season is just 135 days away!

13. I picked up a new pair of shoes recently. Here is the latest addition to my addiction.

adidas-supercolor-26

Cleveland_James_Lebron_News

Click the link below to see my story published by Vocero Latino about LeBron James

http://vocerolatinonews.com/lebron-james-is-the-real-nba-mvp-this-season/

 

gg

The 87th annual Cleveland Area Golden Gloves tournament gets underway this weekend at the Brook Park Recreation Center, 17400 Holland Rd in Brook Park. The preliminary bouts will begin Friday, April 10th at 7PM with the quarterfinals taking place on Saturday at 6PM.

 

Among the storylines for this year’s tournament are the number of former Cleveland Golden Glove Champions that will be in action.

The 132, 178, and 201 pound Open Division all will have three former champions each competing to add more hardware to their trophy case along with being a part of the Cleveland team that will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada in May for the right to become a National Champion.

At 132 pounds, Zi Stalnaker, who trains at Terminator Boxing Club in Akron should be familiar to those who attended last year’s tournament as he was the Novice (between 1-9 bouts of experience) Division champion in 2014 and has now moved up to the Open (10+ bout of experience) Division. He’ll be joined by a couple of former Sub Novice (No experience) champions in Frank Brown from the Westside Boxing Club in Cleveland, who won in 2012 and Elhan Nevzadi from Bob Davis Boxing Club in Cleveland, who won in 2010 at 125 pounds.

The 178 pound Open Division will be highlighted by the defending champion, Octavius Webb. Other former champions at 178 pounds are two-time champion Ronnie Pratt from Empire Boxing Club/Zelma George Rec Center in Cleveland, who is looking to add the Open Division title to his resume after being crowned the 2013 Sub Novice Division Champion at 165 pounds and the 178 pound Novice Division Champion last year in this weight class. Matt Brown from Terminator Boxing Club in Akron was the 2009 Novice Champion at 165 pounds.

The 201 pound Open Division will feature 2012 Novice Division Champion Kato Montgomery from Bob Davis Boxing Club, 2013 Novice Division Champion Roney Hines, also from Bob Davis Boxing Club, and 2013 Sub Novice 178 pound Champion Darion Peterson from Old School Boxing Club/StrongStyle Fight Team in Independence.

Both fighters competing for the 141 pound Open Division title are former champions. Marty Adams from Iron Fist Boxing in Cleveland is the defending Novice Division Champion, while William Flenoy from Cleveland PAL/Thurgood Marshall Rec Center is a two-time champion, winning the 125 Open Division in 2008 and the 132 pound Open Division in 2011.

Isaiah Steen has been crowned the best at 152 pounds in the Open Division the last two years. Daywaun Roseberry from Iron Fist Boxing was the 2012 Novice Division Champion and will look to add an Open Division Title of his own.

The 165 pound Open Division will feature former Champions Fred Wilson Jr from Cleveland Inner City Boxing Academy, the 2012 and 2014 Open Division Champion as well as Levi Patterson from Empire Boxing Club/Zelma George Rec Center, who was the 2011 Open Division champion at 152 pounds.

Two former champions will add 2015 champions after their name as they will be uncontested in this year’s tournament. Aurel Love from Bob Davis Boxing Club is the defending 114 pound Open Division Champion and Alante Green from Empire Boxing Club/Zelma George Rec Center was the 2012 Sub Novice and 2014 Open Division champion at 201+ pounds.

 

1. The Cleveland Indians were featured on one of the regional covers of the Sports Illustrated MLB preview edition. Naturally, Cleveland fans panicked and brought up the dreaded SI cover jinx. Relax folks. There have been plenty of examples that defunct that so called jinx. Here’s one such example.

russell-wilson-sports-illustrated-cover

 

2. Speaking of the Tribe, they’ve announced their starting rotation. Taking the mound for the home opener next Friday will be Zach McAlister, who earned the number 4 spot. So far this Spring McAlister has a 3.32 ERA in 19 innings pitched with 24 strikeouts and just four walks. While McAlister had a 5.23 ERA in 2014, he did finish strong, posting just a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings in the month of September.

3. The best marketing department among the Cleveland professional sports teams easily belongs to the Indians. Their latest “Mean Tweets” video is priceless. If you haven’t seen it by now, check it out!

 

4. We are down to the Final four in college hoops. The baseball season is about to start. The two month long NBA playoff season is about to start. But you know what I’m really excited about? The start of college football season! Yes, I’m aware we’re still about five months away but I get the privilege to work on the “Bible” of college football. Of course I’m talking about Phil Steele’s College Football Preview. The official “on sale” date is July 1st, but there is a way to get it three weeks sooner! How, you ask? We are accepting pre-orders right now by clicking the link below.

https://www.philsteele.com/store/

5. Speaking of College Football, spring practices are underway. Want to get a heads up on the season? Well we at the lovely offices of Phil Steele have put together our annual Spring Preview and it’s available for free.

http://philsteele.com/Pdf/SpringGuide/2015/2015_Spring_Guide1.pdf

6. Time to recognize some Cleveland hoop stars doing big things. Former Shaker Heights High standout & current Louisville Cardinals point guard Terry Rozier has announced his decision to turn pro after two seasons in the college game. The 6-1 Rozier led the Cardinals in scoring, averaging 17.1 points/game. He is projected as a late first round/early second round pick. Hmmm. I know of a particular pro team that plays its home games at Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland that could use a backup point guard.

Louisville may not have to look that far for a replacement as former Garfield Heights High star and current Cleveland State Viking guard Trey Lewis is exploring his options as a graduate transfer and the Cardinals, among many others, have shown interest according to his high school coach and former Ohio Mr. Basketball winner Sonny Johnson.

Lewis set the Viking single season three point record with 93 while averaging a team high 16.3 points/game en route to being named to the Horizon League first team. He played two seasons at CSU after transferring from Penn State after his freshman year following a coaching change there. He will be eligible to play right away because he will have graduated already. To clear up any confusion, it’s the exact same thing Russell Wilson did when he transferred to Wisconsin from NC State for his final year of college eligibility. I have no issue with Lewis transferring at all. I wish him the best. If you never went down to the Wolstein Center to see him play, shame on you.

7. Speaking of amateur hoops, anyone catch the McDonalds All American skills challenge on ESPN? Note to girls that think they belong in a dunk contest with a bunch of dudes. Stop it. Just stop it. I may sound like a chauvinist here, but so what. These are my thoughts and I’m surely not alone in thinking this. This girl for some reason thought it was a good idea to enter the dunk contest and proceeded to miss EVERY SINGLE one of her attempts. I can’t make this up. Every time I see girls on the basketball court I think of this greatly thought about video game concept.

 

8. Those of you who know me or even those of you who don’t but are among the privileged to be among my Facebook friends (I’m being sarcastic here folks, relax, I really don’t take myself that seriously) are aware of my dislike for one Lebron James AKA ‘LeQuit’. That being said, there is no doubt whatsoever that he is the MVP this season. He won’t win it, which is a disgrace, but can you name another player in the NBA that can make his team among the elite in the game, leave and the aforementioned team sucks so bad that they win the draft lottery THREE times while failing to make the playoffs for four straight years, then come back to make the same team among the elite once again? No you cannot. Also remember, the MVP is a regular season award, so you can bet come crunch time in the playoffs or NBA finals, something will come up with LeQuit that will cost the Cavaliers a championship. Mark it down. It WILL happen.

lebron-james-carried-off-court-leg-cramp-nba-finals

9. The Browns were of course in the news again this week but the news wasn’t that bad for fans of the team. The NFL handed down its punishment from the result of GM Ray Farmer sending text messages to coaches during games. The team wasn’t docked any draft picks, but Farmer will be suspended for the first four games of the season and the team was hit with a $250K fine. The punishment was fair. They shouldn’t have lost any draft picks. What Farmer did had absolutely no bearing on the outcome of any games. Now let’s hope the team can get some solid contributors in the draft. Here’s a hint. GO INTERIOR DL WITH YOUR FIRST PICK!

10. Boxing is once again on Free network TV this weekend! This time it will be on CBS. Like the March 7th NBC telecast that featured some of the top fighters in the world, this weekend will be no different. The Light Heavyweight division will be the focal point as the main event features the lineal Light Heavyweight Champion of the World, Adonis Stevenson against Sakio Bika. The opening bout will be between a battle of legit top 10 contenders in the same division as Ring Magazine #9 ranked Gabriel Campillo takes on #10 ranked Artur Beterbiev. Don’t miss it as there will surly be fireworks. The broadcast starts at 3PM ET.

 

11. Speaking of boxing, Cleveland’s Mickey Bey, the IBF World Lightweight titlist, is making the first defense of his title on April 30th in Las Vegas against Denis Shafikov in a fight that will be televised on ESPN2. Bey is a former US Olympian and is a slick boxer with great footwork and defense to go along with excellent hand speed. He is rated as the #4 Lightweight in the world by The Ring and is a member of Floyd Mayweather’s famed TMT.
***Update 4/3. The fight is now off as the two promoters, Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank couldn’t compromise. Instead the fight will be promoted by the highest bidder. Stay tuned for more details.

12. Okay enough about sports. When I do find time to relax and watch something on TV non sports related, it usually consists of something comedy related. I’ll admit, I am a bit of a sitcom guy. Right now there are two shows that I am extremely enjoying. Broad City and Fresh off the Boat. If you enjoy laughing and want to take the edge off, I suggest these two silly shows. Below is the trailer for one of the shows.

 

13. And finally I’m a bit of a sneaker head. Don’t judge me. Picked up a fresh pair of Kyrie 1’s last week. If you want to be cool like me go cop yourself a pair as well.

My new Kyrie's

My new Kyrie’s