Thursday, May 21, 2009

LeBron and Kobe Puppets Commercial Part 3

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 11:29 AM

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Grady Sizemore Has a Sore Elbow, How Much Should We Read Into That

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 11:14 AM


It was announced by Eric Wedge yesterday that Grady Sizemore, who is mired in a pretty damn terrible slump, has been suffering from a sore left elbow. Here's some quotes:

"It's something he's been battling off and on all year," Wedge said. "He's a tough cookie."


"It's hasn't been something [bothering him] every day," Wedge said. "It's just flared up on him right now."


"[It's] bothered him on and off," Wedge said. "We're listing him as day to day."

Except, if you're a very perceptive Indians fan, you know that none of those quotes by Eric Wedge have anything to do with Grady Sizemore. Those are all quotes given during May or June of last year speaking about Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez. Here's Wedge's real quote about Sizemore:

"His elbow has been a little bit sore," Wedge said. "We've been trying to do a couple of things, obviously, to get his mind off things a little bit and get him off his feet a little bit."

Notice any similarities there? Now, I'm not going to go all conspiracy theorist on you right now and postulate that Sizemore's elbow injury or soreness might be more towards the serious category that landed both Martinez and Hafner on the DL last year, as well as an operating table, but you have to wonder.

I get that veterans play through injuries. It's part of the game. But there's an eerie similarity between the horrendous slump that Sizemore has been in (.287 OBP, .381 SLG, .668 OPS) and the slumps that both Victor and Travis went through last year. And it's a similar pattern from the team. Player A slumps. Nothing wrong with Player A. Player A continues to slump. Team admits small injury to Player A.

Now, whether or not Sizemore will follow the pattern in the weeks/months coming isn't known. The next step would be for him to continue slumping to the point where the team puts him on the DL, orders an MRI, and then something bad happens, like surgery.

Just throwing it out there. It could realistically happen. And regardless of whether there's anything structurally wrong with Grady's elbow, with the way he's playing right now, there's really no harm in putting him on the 15-day DL just so that he can get some rest. Grady's got a -3.9 VORP right now, which quite literally means that a replacement player would bring more to the table. The only player for the Tribe who had/has a lower VORP this season? Tony Graffanino. Yep, that's sad.

It'll be curious to see how this turns out. Does Grady play through it and regain his form? Does Grady play through it and continue his seismic collapse? Or does this play out like the Travis and Victor situations of 2008? My money's on the latter.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Things Cliff Lee Might Be Thinking (e.g. "I want to punch everyone")

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 3:26 PM


Cliff Lee has every right to be absolutely pissed. With the exception of his first start this year, Cliff, while not regaining his untouchable Cy Young form, has pitched rather brilliantly. That, of course, is not reflected in his record (2-5) because any number of things have combined to scheme against his success. The offense doesn't score runs. When they do, not enough. If they score enough, the bullpen blows the lead. Etc. Etc. He was smiling at the edge of the dugout at the start of the ninth yesterday, preparing to watch Kerry Wood dismantle the Royals remaining batters and lock up a game during which Cliff went eight strong innings, giving up only two runs.

Of course, that didn't happen. Again. Cliff (who sports a 2.90 ERA, a 164 ERA+, has struck out 45 compared to walking only 13, a strikingly unlucky .344 BABIP [that's 15th highest in the entire league!], a 3.05 FIP, and a 2.69 DERA) is at the whims of the stunningly bad karma surrounding this team right now. He has every right (as does Victor Martinez and Asdrubal Cabrera, and, I suppose, Choo) to want to punch the rest of his teammates until the feeling leaves his hand.

He won't, naturally. But here's what he might be thinking.

— By chance, are Joe Borowski or Bob Wickman available?

— You know, Josh Cribbs has the right idea here.

— *(&#%(*#@&%(#@%*@#&%!#(*%R&!@#!

— Perhaps if I just put on a Royals jersey after this series is over, no one will notice if I'm not on the plane. Better yet, I'll knock Farnsworth out with Dellucci's bat (he's not using it), throw my jersey on him and have a decoy.

Before his start yesterday, Cliff made the following comment to a reporter.

"I feel like I've given the team a chance to win basically every time I've pitched," Lee said. "We haven't gotten those wins, but I feel like I'm doing my job and doing what I can to help the team win."

Now, that at first seems a little cranky. But you nor I are in the clubhouse on a daily basis, and there's really no good way to judge whether Cliff was lashing out a little bit. And, even if he was, he deserves it. Sure, it might be bad for team morale, but wouldn't you pull an Albert Belle and go nutso if you pitched like Cliff has and had nothing to show for it?

Anyway, I was curious, so I emailed beat reporter Anthony Castrovince, and here's what he had to say about Cliff's quote and demeanor.

Cliff used to have this problem where he’d never take accountability for his losses. He’d always say things like, “When I threw a good pitch, they’d foul it off, and when I threw a bad pitch, they’d hit it.” He finally got away from that last year and he began using his, “I just want to go deep into the game and give my team a chance to win” mantra. His postgame interviews are all the same. His basic thought process is that if he makes his pitches, goes deep into the game and keeps the Indians in the game, he’s done his job. So when he says something like what you just e-mailed me with, it’s not so much throwing his teammates under the bus at is his very simplistic view of his responsibilities to the team.

To which I replied that the first vision that popped into my head was one of Kevin Costner putting his arm around Cliff and giving him the "Just say, 'I just go out there and try my best, and, God willing, good things will happen'" speech.

And perhaps that's closer to reality than I think. Maybe Cliff is thinking right now, "Would it help if they all wore lingerie under their uniforms?"

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Remembering the Cavs' Awkward Lottery Moment

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 2:08 PM


Well, remembering might not be the right word here. I don't remember this, but, then again, after the ping pong balls bounced Cleveland's way, which meant that LeBron was coming to wear a Cavs uniform, I didn't much pay attention to anything.

If you did watch the whole broadcast, though, you might remember Jim Gray interviewing then Cavs owner Gordon Gund about LeBron. Bethlehem Shoals over at Sporting News' brand-spanking-new basketball blog, The Baseline, breaks down the awkward moment when Jim Gray asked Gordon Gund (who is blind) what he thought James looked like:

After some perfunctory questions about whether this was good for the team, or how rad it was to have LeBron staying in Ohio, Gray unleashed the question that, for me, blots out any and all memories I have of other lottery zaniness. Staring right into the face of a man who couldn’t see him, Gray asked what Gund thought LeBron looked and played like. I’ll admit, it was kind of a tantalizing line of questioning. How does the blind owner understand the game, and what goes on in his head when he lands the player he knows to be the talk of the entire basketball community? Never mind that at this point, most of us had only seen the same few highlights over and over again, as well as a couple of complete games where all Bron did was use his size in the paint. I wouldn’t have minded getting an answer.

But there are certain things that, while you’d like an answer to them, you just don’t go out and ask.

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WMJI Changes Call Letters to CAVS 105.7 for Eastern Conference Finals (Still Plays Songs Your Mom Likes)

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 12:18 PM


Oldies station WMJI 105.7-FM, is changing its name to CAVS 105.7 during the Eastern Conference Finals series.

Apparently the station's "Majic" tag bears more than a little resemblance to a certain NBA team from Orlando.

What does this mean for listeners? Absolutely nothing. Playlists will still consist of songs by the Eagles, the Beach Boys and a bunch of Motown artists — you know, stuff your mom likes.

From the press release:

“WMJI will NOT lend any credibility to the nickname of our hated rival in this round of the playoffs,” said Keith Abrams, Program Director for WMJI. He continued, “Until the Cavs do away with Orlando, as they most certainly will, our radio station will remain a ‘Majic free zone’.We will now be known as CAVS 105.7 in support of our Cleveland Cavaliers!”

Not only does the boycott include changing the name of the station, it also includes removing references to the 'm' word in songs that play on the station.

—Michael Gallucci

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Check out Posnanski's SI Cover Story About the Cavs

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Worth a read, for sure.

That is all.

Go read it.

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LeBron/Kobe, Part 10,537

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 12:00 PM


Saw this over at Partnership Activation, where it says this Nike store in Fort Banficio is gaining attention thanks to the billboard. Nope. No pressure on the Cavs and Lakers to come through and fulfill everyone's Finals dreams. None whatsoever.

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