In the Fletch-Rant and Rave

November 25, 2008

In Fletch’s defense, the editor has been slacking and didn’t get this up in a timely fashion…More good stuff to come.

 

BROWNS

 

As I sat at work, daydreaming of a season that didn’t end with disappointment and more questions than answers, I heard something coming from the sports department that I have been expecting to hear for weeks. “Brady Quinn is getting the start”. That one simple sentence has a number of implications. First, as much as the CC trade symbolized a white flag for the Tribe…the Browns are beginning to extend their own white flag. They have, officially, not fallen out of anything at this point, but it would take the type of miracle that Clevelanders are just not used to. Second, it marks the beginning of an era. If all the hype and the belief in his talents are accurate, Brady Quinn will never relinquish his position. If he in fact is the future of this organization, Brady Quinn will be under center for the rest of his career…no more clipboards.

 

The third implication is one that I may be reaching on, but I truly feel this to be true. Romeo is fighting for his life. The man has made a million mistakes and in turning to offense over to Quinn may buy him more time. The Browns should be in the playoffs at the end of this season. That is bold, but it is true. They have talent all over the field and the gross mishandling of them falls on the bulldog-like head of Romeo Crannell. He is desperate and by removing DA…one year removed from being the “savior” of the team…he is trying to appease the media and the fans. My opinion…he will be a sought after coordinator come next August.

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

           

I have done everything I can to keep myself occupied on Saturday afternoons this season. I have even gone as far as registering for baby stuff while my beloved Wolverines were on television. I can rant and rave about all the mistakes and injustices that have occurred in Ann Arbor, but I won’t. Because I have, for the first time in many many years, allowed myself to enjoy the game as a whole. I have stepped back from my team and enjoyed unbiased football viewing. In doing so, I have enjoyed the game because it is a great game, not because I was worried about the Wolverines standing or who they needed to beat.

           

I rarely sit and watch a non-Michigan Ohio State game. I have to lean on the fact that I hate OSU so much that I refuse to watch them and their “fans” rejoice in victory after victory. Makes me sick. But I did sit and watch most of the Penn State v. Ohio State game a few weeks ago, and I loved it. The ending was the icing on the crapcake of the season. But I have to feel sorry for the guys in blue and white, because even though they beat the Buckeyes, it is the Buckeyes that will keep them out of the National Title game. Why? Because the Big Ten is considered weak. Due to the way the Buckeyes have been beat in the past two championship games it would take a two loss SEC team to put the Lions in the title game, and even then it would be close.

           

However, I would have to put that PSU v. OSU game as the second best game I’ve seen this year. To no one’s surprise the Texas Tech and Texas game this past Saturday was the best ending I have seen since the LSU v. Kentucky game of 2003. I have a tendency to root for the underdog in those types of games. I have nothing against the Horns, but I always seem to root for the guy that isn’t expected to win. The poise and the play of that Raider team was incredible and I was left speechless by the conclusion.

           

I doubt that Tech will make it through all the way to the National Championship game, because they have a brutal schedule to finish the season, but it is great to see a program like that stepping up and making a name for themselves. It put to rest the idea that the Red Raiders are a pass all over the field, shoot out type team. They played a complete game on both sides of the ball and showed that they are (at least this season) one of the best teams in the country.

 

           

INDIANS

           

Come on…you didn’t think I was going to write an entire piece without mentioning the Tribe? I have nothing to rail on and on about. But I want to take a second to mention the free agents (or additions) that I feel could be a great fit for this team. The first name on my list is Adam Dunn. For the first time I read another Cleveland writer agree with that. Dunn has flaws and with teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Mets and Cubs focusing on names like Sabathia, Texiarra, Peavy (maybe), Ramirez, etc…a guy like Dunn won’t be commanding a huge payday. He is only 29 and plays left field pretty well. Put him in the shallow left field at the Jake and he is an above average outfielder. What makes him a great fit…he hits the ball. We don’t know if Hafner will ever hit again, and a guy like Dunn is a natural 3 or 4 guy in a lineup. You can chalk in at least 30 homeruns, and that is low-balling it. Plus, he is the low key, no flash type of player that Wedge works well with.

           

Next, Bob Howry. He is familiar with everything Cleveland. He played here and was the best reliever the team had. He is a little older now, which financially gives the team more flexibility to sign him to a short contract. He is a veteran (which this team needs badly) and he gets outs. However, EVERYONE in the league needs relievers and he may become expensive as the winter plays out.

           

Third, make a trade for Houston Street. He is still a very young man who has shown he can be a very good closer. He plays for a bad team and his chances to finish games dwindle in June every year because his starters get traded. He has good stuff and given a chance to play for a contender would make him one of the better closers in the league. We have more prospects than we have teams to play them, which makes a trade very very possible.


In The Fletch-Remembering Herb Score

November 14, 2008

I know that I have a tendency to write about the Cleveland Indians more than anything else does, but I feel it is important to take a minute to note that the Indians family lost one of their greatest members of all time. Indians great, Herb Score, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 11 in Rocky River at the age of 75.

 

Score was known as one of the best pitchers of his day, until a line drive hit him in the face in May 1957…his third year in the league. Score was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1955 and led the league in strikeouts in both 1955 and 1956.  Teammate and Hall-of-Famer, Bob Feller, remembered Score on Tuesday. “He would have been probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, left-handed pitchers who ever lived.” He continued, “Herb Score had just as good a curveball as [Sandy] Koufax and a better fastball.” High praise from one of the game’s greatest.

 

Score never was able to realize his potential, but it was what he did in his later years that younger generations, such as myself, remember fondly. For over 30 years, Score was the voice of the Indians. “The only thing people could rely on here from year-to-year was that Herb would be there.” Said Tom Hamilton, who partnered with Score during the 1990’s.

 

That is what I remember of Score. My father and I would spend hours during the summer, sitting in front of the television watching the Indians lose much more than they won. I didn’t understand at the time, but my father liked to watch the game with the sound down, and he would turn on the radio to listen to Score, whose love of the game and his team was apparent, every night, no matter how badly the team played.

 

It was Score who stepped outside of his even and calm broadcast when the Indians clinched Game 6 of the 1995 ALCS against the Orioles sending them to the World Series for the first time since 1954…a year before Score’s rookie season.

 

What I remember of Score was the last game he called. Game 7 of the 1997 World Series was building into the end of a great storybook. Score has been in the broadcast booth for the team he loved for 34 years, and was going to walk away at the end of the season. The Indians were poised and ready to take home the World Series trophy when a bit of bad luck struck the team again. As the Marlins celebrated their first championship in team history, Score calmly and graciously walked away from the game for the last time.

 

Although his playing career faded and ended before he had a chance to show his true greatness, Score was able to preach the greatness of the game to thousands of young fans all across Northeastern Ohio. Simple moments of families sitting together on warm summer evenings listening to Score. I remember spending many of those evening in the backyard, pretending to be a ball-player, while I listened to Score’s play-by-play on my battery powered radio.

His health had diminished over the past few years, suffering a debilitating stroke in 2002, and he never returned to the broadcast booth after he signed off in 1997. But his impact on the game and the team that he loved will never be forgotten. The only way I can think of ending this is to print the last words many of us heard Herb Score speak. I will always remember hearing these words as I hid my face in my hands and cried,

           

“Line drive, base hit, the game is over.”

“And so that is the season for 1997, and there’s very little else we can say except to tell you it’s been a pleasure. I would like to thank all the fans for their kindness over the years. You’ve been very good to me. And we hope that whoever sits in this chair next, you’ll be as kind to them as you have been to me.”


Guns up…

November 3, 2008

Well, consider me officially impressed.  I’ve always thought that Mike Leach’s Red Raider offense was fun to watch, but that they’d never get anywhere against the big boys.  I was wrong.  Leach’s latest version of th Raiders are the compelete package.  This week, Texas got to look down the barrel of a fully loaded Red Raider gun.  That puppy was loaded, and they got themselves a nice piece of Bevo.

So where do we start, how about with something that you wouldn’t think we would. The Texas Tech defense.  Yes that’s right, I said the Texas Tech defense.  They stoned Texas at the point of attack and holding them to just 80 yards.  They picked off Heisman front runner Colt McCoy, which resulted in a touchdown.  They also sacked him 4 times.  Not to mention the constant ass whooping they served up on the offensive line.  Colby Whitlock lead the way with a safety on Texas’ first play from scrimmage and was in the backfield the rest of the night.  Although, the second half did bring a different story as Texas was able to get some things moving on offense, getting ignited by a Jordan Shipley punt return.  The first half was punch you in the mouth, the second half was a little more of bend but don’t break.  Either way they were flying around making plays.

Next, there was Graham Harrell and the Red Raider offense that came to play.  Texas had no answer for Michael Crabtree most of the night, including the last 10 seconds.  Crabtree proved to me that he is probably the best pure wide receiver in college football.  More surprising were the performances of the Tech running backs,  Shannon Woods and Baron Batch.  Their cutting and slashing kept the Texas defense honest all night, while the offensive line handled the Texas pressure most of the evening.  Harrell’s 474 yards passing surely puts him on the Heisman short list if he wasn’t already.

For the record, here is my short list:Graham Harrell of Tech, Tim Tebow of Florida, Colt McCoy of Texas, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, and Javon Ringer of Michigan State.  You could also make a case for Knowshon Moreno of Georgia, Max Hall of BYU, and Daryll Clark of Penn State.

When the polls come out on Monday, Texas Tech should find themselves at #3 but looking for more.  The schedule in front of them doesn’t get any better as well.  They still have Okie State, who is putting up points in bunches, Oklahoma who is doing the same, and upset minded Baylor who’s talent is developing every week.  They’ll DEFINATELY need their GUNS UP for the next three weeks.