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Batboys Gone Bad 

Slow-footed teens cause Tribe's collapse. Plus: Chris Rose changes hair product.

Is there any reason the Browns shouldn't give Shaker Heights native Chris Rose a shot behind center? - GETTY  IMAGES
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  • Is there any reason the Browns shouldn't give Shaker Heights native Chris Rose a shot behind center?

After three preseason games the Cavs are looking far from ready to challenge Detroit and Chicago -- or even Milwaukee -- in the much-improved Central Division. Does management still insist that LeBron James was a better draft choice than Central Michigan star Chris Kaman, who was available five slots later than "King James" and has strong local ties? (As a boy, Kaman stopped at an Ohio turnpike rest stop on many family trips.)

LeBron, part 2: Insiders say James is totally down with the new single from his pal and New Jersey Nets owner Jay-Z. Do we really need more evidence before we acknowledge that James will ditch Cleveland at the end of this season to pursue a career as a rapper?

Fans -- and local media -- seem ready to dub Danny Ferry GM of the Year for drafting former Michigan State guard Shannon Brown, who reportedly shattered a backboard in high school. But while it will be nice to have a guard who can actually touch the rim, doesn't anyone else think Brown's accomplishment is a tad overrated? After all, we're talking about high school fiberglass here, folks. When he shatters some NBA glass, let us know.

Shaker Heights native Chris Rose is thrilled about his recent switch from forming cream to the slightly greasier pomade -- and if you ask us, he has every right to be. Rose, best known as the host of Fox Sports' Best Damn Sports Show Period, is a talented interviewer and deserves to have his hair shine.

"I stuck with the forming cream for a while," Rose told us. "And I liked it. I really did. But I just wanted a change, you know?"

We don't want to say we told you so, but it was in this very space that we told you -- four months ago -- that the Tribe's batboys weren't cutting it, and may be the reason behind the team's collapse. Now we hear the Tribe is shopping around for new teenagers. Just some of the problems with this year's crew, according to an Indians source:

· Too slow. Our source tells us that before he was traded, Ronnie Belliard regularly got hunger pains while waiting for Jake Hellman, a 14-year-old from Hunting Valley, to bring back his Krispy Kremes. And Hellman was in his second year as a batboy. Is it a coincidence Belliard's bat resurfaced after he was traded to St. Louis, where the batboys actually run?

· Limited language skills. With several Spanish-speaking players on the roster, is it too much to ask to have at least one batboy who speaks fluent Spanish? Apparently, yes. "They didn't even try," our source said. "One boy, Jason, he would say Hola to Fausto every once in a while. But if Fausto told him to Llévame mi sombrero, the kid would just stand there. It was embarrassing."

· Poor spelling. Apparently Manager Eric Wedge, right before the Indians' meltdown, asked 11-year-old Corey Thompson of Strongsville to write the starting lineup on the clubhouse whiteboard. But Thompson spelled shortstop Jhonny Peralta's name "Johnny," apparently confused by the uncommon (but not impossible) spelling of Peralta's first name. The shortstop became enraged, stormed into Wedge's office, and demanded the boy be traded. The manager -- Mr. Undying Loyalty himself -- refused. "Jhonny never recovered," our source tells us. Does Wedge still want to stand by his spelling-impaired batboy?

Ohio State fans may lament the fact that Michigan will -- that's right: will -- upset the Buckeyes on November 18, but let's be honest about who's really at fault. Is it the Wolverines' fault? Or is it Jim Tressel's fault for wearing those sweater vests? Does he really think his players -- almost all of whom went to Cleveland's Glenville High -- can respect a man in a sweater vest?

SportsTime Ohio has purchased new desk chairs. STO President Jim Liberatore says the old chairs "just didn't swivel."

Weren't we hearing the exact same rhetoric about Jeff Garcia -- tough, throws well on the run, looks slightly retarded -- that we're now hearing about Charlie Frye? And didn't Garcia at least have a track record before the Browns front office anointed him the franchise savior? Yes, we know, Frye has local ties. But so does Shaker Heights native Chris Rose. Would it hurt to let Rose take a few snaps -- at least as the backup?

Isn't it time Phil Savage got a lineman with some scary-looking body art? Are we the only ones who think stopping Julius Peppers might be a little easier with chains tattooed around your neck? (And please spare us the "LeCharles Bentley's got tats, but he's hurt" routine. It was Bentley whose ACL couldn't stand up to the pounding of practice. Did Ross Verba's knee tear during practice? No. And Verba had some freaky tats.)

With that said, wouldn't Romeo Crennell look cool in one of those old Tom Landry hats?

The November issue of Cleaning & Maintenance Management Magazine lists Sagamore Hills native Jesse Malinoff 64th on its list of the nation's Top 100 athletic-department maintenance workers. Malinoff is the janitor for the Rams of Shepherds University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Rose, part 2: Apparently he's switched back.

"Did you know pomade costs five bucks more than forming cream?" he told us. "I mean, I want some shine, but I'm not made of money."

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