Monday, November 30, 2009

Derf Week Twelve Reaction

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 3:52 PM

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Calling for All Turkey Bowl Stories...

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 12:41 PM

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This was the first year since I was 15 or so that I did not play in a Turkey Bowl. Sad, I know. Our regular game looks like it finally may have fizzled out completely after slowly fizzling for the last few years. Perhaps it was because fewer and fewer friends were returning to Cleveland for Thanksgiving every year; perhaps it was because we're all damn close to 30, out of shape, and lazy.

It started as a congregation of guys who were on the debate team at St. Ignatius — I know what you're thinking and, yes, it was just as athletic and graceful as you would guess — along with some friends of friends. It grew to include some people who could actually pass and catch a football with some regularity, and games ended up lasting a couple of hours or more. And just as quickly, it seems, the athletic people stopped coming and the game shortened to whatever amount of time it took to justify to yourself putting on eight layers of clothes and getting covered in mud and snow. Once that magical benchmark was hit, it was time for lunch.

No more. I got an invite to play in another Turkey Bowl this year but passed. It snowed, I was hungover, and, to be honest, it wasn't my game. The joy of the annual tussle is the familiarity of it all — the running jokes (we have a friend that we nicknamed "The Pylon" because that's about all he was good for), the heated rivalries (no one liked "Chop Block Guy"), and the affirmation that you're not completely out of shape yet because your friends are still woefully slow (sprinting past a diminutive astrophysicist with a Jew-fro will make you feel like Barry Sanders).

Anyway, I'll throw the offer out there: If you have any good Turkey Bowl stories you can e-mail me at vgrzegorek {at} clevescene {dot} com and I'll collect them and put 'em in a future blog post.

Two quick stories from our games:

1. My Failed Chad Johnson Imitation: Must have been when I was still in high school. I returned a kickoff for a touchdown, as I was wont to do those days before I got fat and slow. We played in the Metroparks and the end zone I was rushing towards backed up to the gravel parking spots. Upon reaching the goal line I decided I would celebrate by running up on the hood of a car. Bright idea with wet shoes and a wet car. Predictably, my first step onto the vehicle was an unstable one, sending my right leg sliding up the side of the windshield and the rest of my body plummeting to the ground below like the worst possible pummel horse accident you could imagine. Sat out the rest of the game. Surprised I didn't break my leg.

2. Forget the Porcelain God, Try Hart Crane: Our game eventually moved to the field behind the Kelvin Smith Library on the campus of CWRU. A friend of ours had a propensity for showing up at the game disastrously hungover. Combine that with his tendency to vomit during any physical exertion, sober or inebriated, and you can see where this is going. One fateful year he must have made at least a half-dozen trips to this statue, which is just behind the library, to vomit all over the base of the Hart Crane statue. Who is Hart Crane?

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Statue honoring the poet Hart Crane, located along the north wall of Kelvin Smith Library. The sculpture was executed in 1985 by William McVey, whose likenesses of leading figures and other works can be found in several locations on campus as part of the Putnam Collection and in major museums nationally and internationally. Crane was born in Ohio and grew up primarily in Cleveland, living for a time in the University Circle area. He died in 1932 at the age of 33, leaving a body of lyric poetry that remains popular today.

I like to think the Turkey Bowl vomiting episode will have the same lasting legacy as the estimable Mr. Crane.

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Not a Bad Idea

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 9:48 AM

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From the Sports Guy's latest mailbag column:

Q: You know how when top recruits in basketball or football make their college decision, they often call a press conference and put the three hats of the schools that made the final three in front of them ... then pick up the hat of the school of choice and put it on? What if LeBron announces he will pick his 2010-11 team live on ABC on a certain date for a show called "LeBron's Choice?" What type of crazy ratings would that get?
— Drew, Columbus, Ohio

SG: "LeBron's Choice" sounds too much like a Lifetime movie — like, he became the first NBA player to make himself pregnant and now he can't decide whether to give up the baby for adoption or not. I'd go with something more newsy, like "Decision 2010: LeBron's Verdict" or "The LeBron Sweepstakes." Actually, it might make more sense to make this a six-episode show, along the lines of "The Bachelor" — maybe "The LeBrachelor"? — in which he'd start out with 29 GMs, then narrow them down to eight, then six, then four, then three, then two, then one.

Regardless, you're right — this should be a televised event. If LeBron were smart, he would market the event through his company, sell the rights to a network and reveal his choice on that show. We know what the offers will be. (New York, Miami, Chicago, Memphis, New Jersey, the Clips and the Zombie Sonics can offer the max. Cleveland could offer the max plus an extra year. Nobody else could offer as much.) It's a cut-and-dry thing. So why not? He could even make it pay-per-view. If people were willing to pay $44.99 for a UFC 106 card headlined by Jenna Jameson's washed-up husband fighting a guy who hadn't won in two years, I'm pretty sure they'll pony up $44.99 for "Decision 2010: LeBron's Verdict."

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eBay Item of the Day: Cleveland Browns Motorcycle Helmet

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 8:22 AM

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If you love your motorcycle and love the Browns then this is the eBay purchase for you. Of course, karma from this headgear will probably make you fall off your bike and injure yourself in some horrible way. Such is the lasting legacy of Kellen Winslow.

One huge complaint is that whoever designed it got the striping completely wrong. Perhaps whoever buys it can even that out by pasting a green sticker on the back, just to let all the other riders on the road know who has the radio device in his helmet.

Only $8.99 right now!

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Video: The Complete History of the Cleveland Browns

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 7:40 AM

Got a few hours to kill? Good, you're not gonna be able to turn away from this stuff.

The complete history of our Brownies in 20 parts, with the second part, which begins at the beginning, embedded below (part one is just an introduction). It really is a must-watch — from the early travel accommodations and planes having trouble climbing when all the lineman sat in the back to the Browns' dominance during the team's first ten years and the amazing archival footage of Graham and Motley and others — not to mention the multitudes of interviews. All subsequent parts can be found on this dude's YouTube page.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, Folks

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 5:00 PM

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Nothing says Thanksgiving like John Madden and genetically-engineered, gigantic turkeys, so that's the image that will take us into the holiday break. Eat, drink, be merry, don't get hurt playing in your Turkey Bowl, and we'll meet back here on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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Choo: Korean Documentary Star

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 3:58 PM

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Shin-Soo Choo is taking the world by storm. Okay, maybe just Cleveland and Korea. And, actually, maybe just Korea, since Clevelanders still don't grasp how productive Choo was the last two years — .946 OPS in 2008 (albeit in 370 PA), and a .883 OPS in 2009 (137 OPS+, good for ninth best in the AL). He's not flashy, got jobbed over — unsurprisingly — for a Silver Slugger award, and continues to dole out doubles and throw people out on the base paths.

Anyway, onto the point: There's now a documentary on Choo in Korea called “Choo Shin-soo, Hitting Major League At Last” (aka “Choo”). It covers a lot, including his career in the majors, but it's not all about baseball, at least that's the best I can tell from the translated story found here. Seems as if Choo reaching the 20-20 milestone was a nice capper for a documentary that started well before it was evident that he was going to reach that plateau.

There's a nice little Q&A with the director in the story I linked above that you should read, but below is an excerpt that I love just because it's strange. Enjoy.

Q: There were some scenes in the documentary that I couldn’t understand. Before he leaves for the locker room, he waxes his hair at home. But at the locker room, he didn't have any wax on his head.
Kim: You have a keen eye. (laugh) It’s a long story. We first tried to shoot him going to the locker room and inside the locker room as well. We talked it over with the team, but there was miscommunication with the Korean manager and when we went in there with the cameras, Choo Shin-soo was very surprised. No journalist had come into the locker room at such a time. So we couldn’t shoot that day and we told him we were going to shoot him in the evening inside the locker room. I don’t remember exactly, but we went there three times to shoot that scene.

And finally, since there's no embeddable or linkable video from the documentary, we'll finish this up with a video of the Wonder Girls — a popular Korean girls group — during their time in Cleveland.

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