Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mike Polk's Latest Sketch: D-Bags United for Johnny Manziel

Posted By on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 2:30 PM

*Baller alert*
  • *Baller alert*
Mike Polk, for his weekly Fox 8 talk show the Mike Polk Jr. show, made this sketch about Johnny Manziel supporters. He sheds some much-needed light on the D-Bag genus and its constituent species. 

Mike Pettine has yet to announce a starter for next Sunday's divisional matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, but many analysts and beleaguered Browns fans have a creeping suspicion that the Hoyer era may be over. Par for the course, right? 

UPDATE: Johnny Manziel will indeed start Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. 

At any rate, watch Rizzo host Jerod Cherry interview Mike Polk's Chad Chadsworth below.

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UK in an Uproar after LeBron "Broaches Royal Protocol," Puts His Arm Around Duchess of Cambridge's Shoulder

Posted By on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Etiquette experts in the UK are in a redfaced tizzy Tuesday morning after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended an NBA basketball game last night (Cavs vs. Nets in Brooklyn) and LeBron James broached royal etiquette by putting his arm around Kate Middleton in a post-game photo op.

"Although I am sure the Duchess of Cambridge won’t have worried about it, Mr James should not have put his arm around her," royal etiquette expert William Hanson told the Daily Mail.

Americans are much more tactile than we Brits and this is another example of an American being too touchy feely with British royalty. You’d have think they’d have learned by now."

Hanson echoed the sentiments of many Brits when he said, furthermore, that LeBron's decision to appear in a "sweaty top" was bad form. 

"A shower would have been preferable but he had just finished a game – so even more reason for him not have opened his pits by lifting his arm and placing it around Her Royal Highness!'

Earlier in the game, Prince William and Kate met Jay-Z and Beyonce and shook hands while the People Magazine photographers all pooped their pants and jotted down "Holding Court" puns en masse. 

The duke and duchess attended the game, via The Guardian, to mark a new partnership between their royal foundation and the NBA. Looks like they'll be working with (or at least funding) United For Wildlife and the Coach Core program, which aims to encourage a new generation of sports coaches.


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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Browns Will Use an Actual Dog as Their Mascot This Year

Posted By on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Following up a series of high-profile sports headlines from Cleveland, the Browns rolled out a pretty strange announcement yesterday: The team will feature an actual dog named "Swagger" as its mascot. Swagger will be a bull mastiff, playing heavily off the Browns' canine canon, though it's difficult to imagine him sharing the enthusiasm that the Dawg Pound's masked marauders display on Sundays.

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.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

VIDEO: Dion Waiters Hosted Swanky Party in Philly

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 4:51 PM


Dion Waiters, Scene's staff pick for "Best Athlete" in last month's Best of Cleveland Awards, hosted a glamorous, black-tie party in his hometown of Philadelphia last weekend. No word yet, on whether it aroused the ire of neighbors as his pool party did in 2013.

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.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cavs Defy Odds, Land No. 1 Pick in NBA Draft Lottery Yet Again

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 11:38 AM


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. 

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.

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:

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.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

FiveThirtyEight Runs the Numbers on Cleveland's Sports Woes

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 7:45 AM

FiveThirtyEight, the brainchild of political data wunderkind and former New York Timeser Nate Silver, set its cross-hairs on Cleveland's recent Manzielan upswing. "God Doesn't Hate Cleveland," goes the headline, which gives us first ontological pause and then a lasting sigh of relief. Well, that's good news!

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).

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Monday, April 21, 2014

20 Memories of League Park, Cleveland's Original Ballpark

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 10:45 AM

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.

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