PETA has been fairly vocal over the years when it comes to live sports mascots (the Seahawks, Broncos and Ravens each employ live animals as hype machines as well). "Nothing says “Go, team!” less than an unhappy animal," the organization writes. "[T]here’s no reason to subject a real animal to the stress of being a mascot. Costumed human mascots can lead cheers, react to the crowd, and pump up the team—all things that a frightened animal cannot do."
A fruitful point to ponder, no doubt.
Here's Kevin Griffin, vice president of fan experience and marketing for the Browns, talking with 92.3 The Fan: "We're gonna have a new dog, a live dog lead the team out. We're going all in with this Dawg Pound thing."
And, in truth, this is the same office that rolled out WEINER DOG RACES last year.
There's not much newsworthy to report, other than the presence of a few rising NBA stars (Phoenix's Morris twins, notably) and Waiters' gold ring with a watch face on it that he dons in slo-mo, in the video below, at 1:04. Really an epic shot there.
Say what you will about Waiters on the court — we love him, and aren't ashamed of it — but please acknowledge for the love of God that this man knows how to wear a gorgeous suit.
Keep struttin', Dion. Keep struttin.
Cavs' GM David Griffin stood alongside Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius Irving and new internet sensation Mallory Edens, waiting to hear who among them would secure for their team the coveted number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
Griffin's eyes were roughly level with Dr. J's nipples, but the new GM stared straight and humorlessly ahead, Nick Gilbert's bow tie tucked away on his person.
As you've no doubt heard, the Cavs snagged the top pick. The odds of that happening were 1.7 percent.
Just got done w/ a speech &they told me we won when I sat down.I said "that's not a funny joke".It's true? I am speechless.I love Cleveland!
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) May 21, 2014
Though the sentiment among Cleveland sports fans is part elation, part surprise and part embarrassment — can success at a draft lottery really even be deemed a success? — consensus among sports writers is that this is a really shitty situation, and indicative of a broken lottery system.
Mary Schmitt Boyer, who attended Tuesday night's lottery proceedings, wrote that the grumblings among rival GMs were somewhat less than polite. There is a feeling that a team as poorly managed as the Cavaliers don't deserve all these assets to squander.
BREAKING: Yet another first overall pick's career will be ruined by the Cavaliers.
— NOT NBA Tonight (@NOTNBATonight) May 21, 2014
The Cavs certainly earned low marks in Bill Simmons karma rankings, published prior to yesterday's lottery:
"I can’t decide what makes them more ineligible for karma," wrote Simmons on Grantland, the sports and culture website of which he is purveyor and czar. "Would you go with “two no. 1 overall picks and two other top-four picks just in the past three years, but they batted 25 percent,” or would you go with “rehired the same shaky coach they already fired, gave him a five-year deal, then fired him again after Year 1”?
Good points. Can't forget, though, that the number one pick which brought Kyrie Irving to Cleveland would have been the Los Angeles Clippers', if they hadn't packaged the beard, paunch and bloated salary of Baron Davis and an unprotected first rounder for Mo Williams, in what is still regarded by the sports punditry as one of the worst trades in the recent history of professional basketball.
Anthony Bennett was an unqualified disaster, but his draft class was remedial across the board — Otto Porter, anyone? — and he may yet develop after his current medical woes:
This has to be top 5 worst surgeries of life ...
— Anthony Bennett (@AnthonyBennett) May 20, 2014
But it is what it is, and GM David Griffin is committed to getting "radically better" in a very short period of time. Worth noting that that was last year's game plan as well. Except this year's draft is Marianas-Trenchianly deeper than last year's — Anthony Bennett, were he among the current crop, would presumably fall within the 9-11 range.
Three studs are atop everyone's draft boards. Kansas Center Joel Embiid (described as a seven-foot Serge Ibaka), Kansas wing Andrew Wiggins (another Canadian!) and Duke's athletic forward Jabari Parker are virtual locks for professional success. David Griffin really can't go wrong with any of them, though debate will surely persist over the course of the next six weeks about the comparative liabilities they each represent.
Griffin has also indicated that he would "absolutely" trade the pick, provided it made the team better. It's unlikely to expect a superstar caliber player on the order of Kevin Love to sign a long-term contract with Cleveland, given the organizational clusterfuck and on-court schizophrenia, but look for Griffin to swing for the fences with this new, improbable ammo.
Our city's history of sports tragedy is well documented and likely burned on your mind for all of eternity, and thankfully writer Neil Paine digs up some silver linings.
When I plugged Cleveland teams’ basic championship probabilities (i.e., if a team played in a 30-team league, its chance of winning the championship would be 1 in 30) into the simulation, their expected number of championships since 1903 was 12.4. That’s only 0.4 more than they actually won in real life, even after going nearly a half-century without any titles at all. So, if you take the long view, Cleveland hasn’t been cursed at all. Its teams simply front-loaded their championships, winning 5.2 more than random chance says they should have over the 62 years between 1903 and 1964.
A nice way of looking at things, it would seem. Paine admits he's oversimplifying things there (seasons being variable in terms of individual team/division dynamics and such), which makes the rest of his stats-heavy article well worth the click.
(It's worth noting that he does concede the point that "[e]xactly why Cleveland’s been so bad for so long is beyond the scope of this article.")
But give us the bottom line, good sir! Paine transposes the probability of post-season success in Cleveland against that in New York, which makes for a less than thrilling perspective. Overall, he claims (variables and all) that the odds of city going 49 years without a championship (Cleveland!) clock in around 2.9 percent (about, say, 1-in-34ish).
League Park, Cleveland's original ballpark, boasted a lengthy resume of baseball accomplishments— it's where the Indians won the 1920 World Series, where Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run in 1929, and where Cy Young threw the park's first pitch back in 1891— before it was mostly demolished in the 1950s.
It was also a place where folks could enjoy a hot dog and a strong coffee, where commoners would fraternize with the Mayor's cabinet, and where box seats could be yours for under $2.
As the Cleveland Indians usher in another season, take a jaunt down baseball memory lane and tell us, what are your favorite stories from the stadium on Lexington and 66th?All photos are courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project.
20 Memories of League Park, Cleveland's Original Ballpark
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