Monday, June 29, 2009


(Here is where I'd normally post a picture of the player I'm talking about, but if you don't know who Shaq is, you need to get out of your 1950s bomb shelter and join the rest of the population back on Planet Earth)

Well by now, everyone and their mother, their father, their uncle, their grandfather's dietitian and their next-door neighbor's nanny's grandmother's second-cousin's pediatrician has heard of the news. Shaquile O’Neal is a Cleveland Cavalier.

I know everyone has been on pins and needles anxiously waiting to hear my opinion of the Big Diesel donning a Cavaliers jersey.

I like the move for many reasons.

One, we gave up two guys who were no longer contributing to our team and will most likely never even play a game for the Suns. Wallace is serious about retiring and Pavlovic is almost certain to be waived from Phoenix for financial reasons.

Two, it provides us with our first legitimate physical inside presence in ages.

Three, if you enjoyed the pre-game antics last year, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Four, I like the idea of Big Z coming off the bench. The guy only plays 24-28 minutes a game anyway, so he should still see the same amount of minutes coming off the pine because Shaq Fu will likely only play around 25 mpg. With Z going to the bench, this gives us arguably the best bench in the NBA.

Five, no one seems to be mentioning this but this undoubtedly makes Mo, Delonte and Boobie better players. It’s no coincidence that former Heat players, (d)Amon (j)Ones and Jason Kapono had careers years playing next to Shaqamania. He’ll draw enough double teams to give our wing players enough time to catch the ball, polish it off, blow on it, wink to the opponents wives and girlfriends and then splash the ball into the ocean.

Six, if the Witness Protection move turns out to be a total disaster, we unload his monstrous contract before the trading deadline and everyone forgets what happened and we get ready to sign LBJ and Chris Bosh to contracts in the summer of 2010. No harm, no foul.

Despite the six positives and the fact that Shaqtacular is one of the most dominant players to ever play the game, if not the most dominant, I don’t feel this move makes me any more confident of winning a championship next year.

Sure we are a better team, but I question how much the Big Cuyahoga has left in him. At 37-years-old, and literally taking a beating every single game for 18 + years, he has to be on his last leg.

And trust me, Cleveland knows a thing or two about last legs with former superstars. (See: Shawn Kemp)

I think this team still needs to upgrade their starting power forward position and I wouldn’t mind a taller, more offensive minded starting shooting guard.

Unfortunately for the Cavs, there aren’t too many realistic options.

Former scumbag Rasheed Wallace seems to be on top of everyone’s list to come to the Cavaliers. I’ve always said Wallace is a guy you hate because he’s on the other team, but would probably love if he were on your team.

Yeah, six years ago.

At 35-years-old (34 now, but 35 by start of the season) his offensive game seems to become more associated with shooting outside shots, instead of playing inside of the post. He couldn’t have looked more disinterested in playing the Cavaliers during the first round of the 2009 playoffs (although in his defense, he could have just finally realized he was playing for the Detroit Pistons.)

And of course, there is his attitude which many would argue is that of a 2-year-old boy who just lost his sippie cup.

I think the best option at this point is to go after Milwaukee Bucks starting power forward Charlie Villanueva who stands at 6-feet-11-inches and can spread the floor and shoot from a pretty decent range for a big guy.

He’ll turn 25 in August and has played with James back in their high school days. He is coming off a career year where he averaged 16.7 ppg and 6.7 rpg.

Also, he wants to be in Cleveland. He has been hinting at leaving the Bucks and joining Cleveland on his twitter page and has “appreciated all the love Cleveland has shown” him the past few days.

However, money talks. He is a restricted free agent and the Cavs can only really offer him the Mid-level exception, which the Bucks are expected to match any offer. Ferry would have to work some sort of sign and trade deal in order to get it done, but he may not have the assets.

I forgot to mention the seventh best thing about getting The Big Daddy, I just wrote a blog about him and never referred to him by the same nickname more than once.

Who needs a championship when you can do that.

-Nick Carrabine

Monday, June 22, 2009


I owe all six readers of this blog an apology for a demented prediction I made earlier last week.

At 6 1/2 games out of first place, I predicted the Tribe would win the Central Division.

Within days, the disadvantaged clowns known as the Indians are now 10 games out and describing them at rock bottom would be a generous description.

Friday they blew a 7-0 lead, Saturday they blew a late lead and Sunday, they just blew.

Jeremy Sowers, who I can’t believe I’m still saying this guys name after three horrendous years donning a Cleveland Indians uniform, is simply not a major league pitcher. For starters, he looks like a 12-year-old stuck in a 8-year-old’s body.

The guy has the nerve to tell the media following yesterday’s debacle that he was exhausted from running out a ground ball. Cry me a river, Jeremy. I hope pumping gas isn’t as tiring, because in a few weeks that’s about the only job Jeremy is going to be able to get.

Any other General Manager in the big leagues would make sure that Sowers would not only be out of the league by now, but banned from standing within 100 yards of any sort of baseball equipment.

It is players like him that set major league baseball back decades.

Besides Cliff Lee, who I’m sure has one foot out the door already awaiting that 100+ million dollar contract he’ll get from New York after the 2010 season, the entire pitching staff needs a major makeover.

The entire coaching staff, as well as GM Mark Shapiro, should have been held accountable a long time ago for this discombobulated franchise.

Seriously, how is Eric Wedge still employed? By a baseball team nonetheless?

I’ve been known to stick up for “Wedgie” for the past three or four years, but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere and right now I couldn’t be drawing more lines.

He has had the same core group of players for four or five years now and the Indians have nothing to show for it. Does he have the talent surrounding him? It’s debatable. But it’s a lot harder to change the whole entire roster. The Indians need a new leader, someone who can light a fire underneath them and teach them, dare I say, fundamentals.

Bunting, base-running, patience at the plate (see: Kelly Shoppach, Grady Sizemore, Jhonny Peralta), etc. Those are all foreign practices for our ball club.

Naturally, a change is in order.

In any other division in baseball, the Indians would have been kicked out off the league by now. Fact.

This team has become an eyesore for the whole state of Ohio.

My new prediction: By August, MLB commissioner Bud Selig will say “enough is enough” and disband the team from the league.

Now that is much more believable.

-Nick Carrabine

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thank God for the Central Division

As bad as the 2009 Cleveland Indians have been — and don’t get me wrong, they’ve been downright repulsive — the season is far from over.

And thus starts the blog where I make a ridiculous prediction, not even believing it but setting my hopes up high, ruining all my credibility (as if I had any in the first place) and blowing smoke out of my ears.

For what I’m about to say, I only believe because we play in the weakest division in baseball. By far.

So here it goes: Ahem, the Cleveland Indians will win the American League Central Division this year.

Asinine? Completely.

Bold? Without a doubt.

Insane? You betcha.

Off my rocker? Fell off a long time ago.

Off the Reservation? Couldn’t be further from one.

But hear me out.

As I mentioned, the central division is the joke of all jokes. I can scrounge up eight other bums off the streets of Cleveland and seriously contend for the division crown.

Unfortunately, many of those bums already don a Cleveland Indians jersey this year.

With a monumentally disappointing record of 29-37, the Tribe find themselves just 6.5 games out of first place.

It’s the only division in baseball where teams aren’t even trying. It’s a scientific fact.

Only one team has won more games than it has lost, and go figure, it’s the scumbags from Michigan. The Piston’s ugly brother, the Tigers.

Every other division in baseball has at least two winning/respectable teams.

My theory: The tribe have already played their worst ball of the season and I can’t imagine them playing any worse, so the only way is up. And in a division where no one wants to win, that plays to the Tribe’s favor.

Oh, and I expect the Seagulls to win us at least seven to eight more games.

Currently, the Tribe are without one of their best hitters of the season, Asdrubal Cabrera, one of their most solid starters during the past three or four seasons, Jake Westbrook and every woman’s fantasy and even some men's, Grady Sizemore (I don’t include myself on that list. I prefer Shin-Soo Choo, thank you very much.) All three should be returning shortly.

The Tribe have been playing plus .500 ball for the past month and seem to be getting hotter. Cliff Lee’s last 12 starts have been absurd, with an ERA of 2.07. The bullpen (disregard last night) has been returning to planet Earth.

The offense is heating up as Choo, Mark DeRosa, Victor Martinez and Jamey Carroll are all providing sparks in clutch moments.

The biggest reasoning for my nutty prediction is, the Tribe are a second half team.

They prefer showing up to the party fashionably late, like the (un)cool college kids still attending high school parties.

It happens every year.

So if the Tribe can stay within six to eight games back of first place by the all-star break, watch out.

Who knows, by then, they could be just three or four games back.

Until then, I’ll be searching for my rocker.

-Nick Carrabine

Friday, June 5, 2009

What is a championship?

I’m not sure why I’m surprised.

I told myself all my life, as well as anyone else with ears, that this city will never experience a championship.

I’m not sure why I bought into it this past NBA season. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I actually thought the drought would finally come to an end.

The curse was lifting, the sky was clearing and God was ready to shed his bright light on what would never be called “Mistake by the Lake” again.

Instead, we got one big middle finger.

It’s a familiar finger and we’ve seen it for 45 straight years, three times a year.

For those keeping score, that is 135 points for teams not named Cleveland: 0 points for us losers.

The sports world is pitching a shutout against Cleveland and I don’t see any runs coming across the board anytime soon.

Actually, more like never.

This was supposed to be that year we got that run across the board. I thought we were getting the gold.

I thought we had it in the bag.

I planned a vacation trip to Put-in-Bay what would have been the following weekend after we won the finals planning a celebration. I’m literally not kidding. I’ve got $1600 charged to my credit card as we speak to prove my celebratory plans (speaking of which, are any of my friends going to pay me back? I’m going to submit no.)

I was going to blow off work to endure in the championship parade streaking the streets of Cleveland like an inebriated madman hugging anyone with arms. (Just kidding Tricia and Laura...kind of, but we’ll never find out.)

I had big solid dreams for this day. I had it all mapped out.

They say “life is what happens to you when you make plans,” well I’m here to officially change that expression to “Cleveland is what happens to you when you make plans.”

The Cavaliers had one of the best seasons in NBA history and what does that mean? Absolutely nothing.

LeBron James hit one of the biggest shots in playoff history - definitely the biggest shot in franchise history which was supposed to erase “The Shot” - and what does that mean? In Cleveland? Nothing.

The ball doesn’t bounce this way. It never does. When will we learn?

A Championship is not in the cards. It’s a foreign word. A culture we aren’t supposed to be apart of. We weren’t invited to the party.

There is officially nothing a Cleveland team can do anymore that will make me think again “wow, this could be our year.”

The Cavs won 66 games and I was SURE of a championship and we didn’t win, how could I possibly ever be confident of winning one when we win, say, 55 games?

Oh, the horror.

As I do every year like a sucker with amnesia, I’ll believe again. I’ll have hope and say “this is finally our year.”

But this time, it’s going to take some time.

-Nick Carrabine