It was a busy weekend in Cleveland and I spent almost all of it out of town and away from a computer, so let’s take just about my favorite thing in the history of blogs–BULLET POINTS!–and wheel our way around the weekend that was along America’s North Coast.
- Ohh… the Indians. People often look for turning points in seasons when a team figures it out and goes from mediocre to contending. Friday’s game was pretty much the opposite of that, I’m willing to wager; an anti-turning point, if you will, that took a team that was starting to get it together and kicked it right in the mommy & daddy button. The bullpen is not getting better and there is seemingly no end in sight.
- When I was still at (the infamous) SportsTalkCleveland.com, I had a lengthy discussion with Bruce Drennan on how Major League Baseball umpires were, of the big four sports, the best in-game officials. I am officially ready to retract that opinion after watching the men in blue absolutely butcher calls with and without the aid of instant replay. The call on Garko’s would-be double yesterday was an absolute farce. And don’t even get me started on Troy “Jim Thome’s Bitch” Percival not getting tossed in the ninth. Here’s my 2009 order of competence among major professional in-game officials, from best to worst: NHL > NFL > MLB > NBA — that’s right, MLB umpires are now behind the crew that once upon a time botched a coin toss. Think about that.
- About that almost-double by Ryan Garko. Here’s my reason why I think Wedge was ultimately not thrown out of that game: the umpires said to him, “Um, even if that was a double, your next batter is David Dellucci. Do you REALLY think that runner will get to the plate with rally kryptonite on deck? The point is moot, sir.”
- Eric Wedge should have been immediately fired, with prejudice, when Kerry Wood didn’t put a fastball in Carl Crawford’s earhole Sunday. While I will admit that it may have been nearly as good to watch Crawford stand on the back edge of the batter’s box and submit one of the most cowardly strikeouts in league history, it should’ve never gotten to that point. Wood should’ve dotted Crawford before he even stepped onto the back line of the box. Say what you want about Jagmaster General Ozzie Guillen but, if he was managing the Indians, Wood would’ve either drilled Crawford or been handed a bus ticket to Columbus. Period.
- The Cavs have an actual opponent for the Eastern Conference Finals! That’s super! Obviously the Cavs matched up poorly a couple times against Orlando during the regular season, but the rest of the extra week off will ultimately be the difference. Plus, you know, that whole “the regular season means absolutely nothing” stuff. I just wish Game One was tomorrow instead of Wednesday.
- I know many Cavs fans who were screaming “We want Boston!” all through the conference semis, but I’m telling you right now that I got exactly what I wanted from the other series: seven games. Sure, Orlando didn’t exactly have to press too hard to win Game Seven, but they’ve now played five more playoff games than the Cavs in the same time span; arguably a whole extra series. That will matter if this series is extended.
- I wish Channel 3 had set up a way to view the Red Wings-Blackhawks game yesterday afternoon somehow, some way. Not only was I getting increasingly frustrated with the Indians during the middle portions of yesterday’s game, but because of how the system works, there is no channel on the NHL Center Ice package for a conf. finals game when it’s being aired nationally by NBC, even if your particular market is airing another event in its stead. Fairly frustrating, and I’m not even a Wings or Hawks fan. I imagine my uncle in Brecksville, who is a die-hard Wings fanatic, was losing his freaking mind waiting to be able to view Game One.
- Seriously… how lame did Crawford look during his at bat in the 8th? He couldn’t have been any deeper in the far corner of the batter’s box when he watched the first two strikes sail by and that wimpy little defensive swing for strike three was downright comical. I can’t get over how unimaginably weak Crawford came off in that AB despite being one of the main instigators (along with Joe Maddon) of that phantom fracas.
At least now we can start getting amped up again about the Cavs, since the Indians did not exactly provide a pleasant diversion this past weekend. Look for lots of Cavs stuff this week, including my attempt to get some Orlando hatred built up. We’ll see how it goes.