As the Cavs stomped their way to the best record in the NBA, the Wine and Gold became appointment television. I'd like to think it's because everyone couldn't enough of Austin Carr's lines, but that's just wishful thinking. I bet it has more to do with losing only two games at home, being exciting on both ends of the court, and having the world's best player. Perhaps the only thing people wouldn't want to have tuned in for this season was the horrendously ugly Cav Fanatic jersey debacle.
The numbers from Fox Sports Ohio back it up. From the Sports Business Journal:
But the biggest success story came from LeBron James and his Cleveland teammates, who set a regular-season ratings record for Fox Sports Ohio with an 8.76 rating/134,000 homes. The Cavs posted the highest rating number since the Chicago Bulls averaged an 8.9 rating in Chicago for the 1997-98 season, Michael Jordan’s final season with that club.
Even more stunning is the fact that an average of 134,000 Cleveland-area homes tuned in for each Cavs game, second only to the Lakers’ 250,000 average on Fox Sports West. Cleveland is the country’s 17th-largest TV market.
In fairness, a lot of those people probably just had the game on while waiting for the Best Damn Sports Show Period to start.
CC Sabathia's monster mansion in New Jersey is old news now. He took his ridonkulous $161 million contract from the Yankees and built a small city for his family.
What we didn't know until today is Gary Sheffield was trying to unload his own monster mansion on CC while the Sabathias were house hunting. From the Bats blog over at the New York Times:
As Sabathia, the $161 million Yankees pitcher, shopped for homes in New Jersey, Sheffield said Sabathia’s family toured his house. Alpine is a ritzy community where the likes of Chris Rock and Stevie Wonder live. Sheffield, the Mets’ outfielder, was unable to persuade Sabathia to move into his place.
“They liked the house,” Sheffield said. “But they just wanted something bigger.”
Yes, Sheffield's abode only registered 11,000 square feet. Sabathia's eventual digs came in at 12,000 square feet. Even when you're talking $12 million dollar houses, those extra square feet really matter. What if Joe Girardi needs a place to crash after he gets fired.
Randy Newsom, everyone's favorite side-arming, entrepreneurial minor leaguer has a newish business venture.
We'll get to that in a second. First, a recap.
Last year Newsom created Real Sports Investments, where fans could buy shares of minor leaguers (Newsom's cost $20), and if/when that minor leaguer made it to the majors, investors would make a percentage of that player's salary. It was creative, since Newsom argued that minor leaguers make piddly squat and could use the extra dough, but it was also frowned upon by both the SEC and Major League Baseball.
That time is now. Check out Real Sports Interactive.
This time instead of buying shares in a player's future earnings, you buy "Player's Cards," the price of which will ebb and flow based on the market. Think of it basically like a fan club. You plunk down $20 and the minor leaguer, desperately in need of cash for equipment and training, gets the cash. If it sounds a little like a sponsorship, that's because it basically is. (You can buy or sell your card in their virtual market.)
Oh, and like last time, Randy Newsom is currently the only player card available.
So what do you get? Well, it depends on how man "cards" you buy. First, there's the benefits every cardholder receives regardless of whether that player ever makes it to the majors or not. Those include: 1. Pass to attend all RSI autograph and photo sessions beginning in 2010. 2. RSI Access Card. 3. Sponsorship Card Certificate. 4. Free entry into all RSI memorabilia giveaways. 5. Invitation to play in yearly RSI golf outing with all RSI players.
If your minor leaguer becomes a major leaguer (and spends 31 consecutive days on the active roster), the options blossom. Slowly.
(Yes, this is very much like collecting Marlboro miles or the UPC's of the back of cereal boxes for prizes. The only difference is that in this case, there's little guarantee you get anything.)
1 card gets you a signed baseball, t-shirt, or mini-bat. 2 cards get you a signed poster, two tickets to a MLB game, a signed poster, or some other stuff. 5 cards get you a personal phone call. 15 cards get you a pitching/hitting lesson from your star or maybe a lunch with the player. For 20 cards you're sitting down to dinner with the player.
And for 125 cards you get the RSI Gold Package, though it doesn't say what that entails exactly. I imagine you get to dress in their uniform and play a game in their place, then maybe enjoy their girlfriend or wife for the night, and their car. Come on, 125 times $20 = a lot of freaking money.
Also, check out Randy's blog here where he talks about RSI and his daily toils in the minor leagues in Akron.
LeBron's trotting out another pair of newly designed Nike shoes for the playoffs. Don't know much about kicks, but Rich "MaZe" Lopez from Sporting News' First Cuts blog does, so I'll let him take it away:
For the third straight year, Nike and LeBron have come together to create a Nike/LeBron sneaker designed specifically for LeBron's playoff campaign. After wearing the bulky and slightly heavy Nike Zoom LeBron VI through the year, LeBron has changed into the Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier III, a sleek, lightweight, yet protective sneaker tuned for playoff domination.
The Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier III, designed by Nike designer Ken Link, features a mesh upper for lightweight breathability, two straps across the body for lockdown and fit, and Nike Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot for a smooth lightweight ride. The Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier III is billed as the lightest sneaker designed for LeBron to date, weighing in at 13.7 oz.
Hey, whatever helps, right.
Rubber City Clothing, which makes fantastic Akron-oriented tees, has rolled out a whole new colorline for its "Akron Witnessed First" LeBron tee campaign. Previously only available in black, and temporarily in St. Vincent St. Mary colors before they sold out, the shirts now come in old school blue and orange, wine on gold, and gold on wine.
Stop buy and pick one up at their online shop. Or if you see this monstrosity sitting outside the Q during a playoff game, waltz on over, because they'll also be selling them out of the back of that 1965 Series IIa Land Rover.
In case you were curious how the Browns' first round draft pick stacked up in the Madden rankings. Also, first glance of cartoon Alex Mack in cartoon Browns uniform.
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