Getting Respect on the Streets: Night of Champions Quick Quts

Respect

We like Night of Champions.

Or, we should a little more than we do.

A pay-per-view where all of the belts are on the line should qualify as a major event, but it often comes off as a throwaway event (like Battleground, or Over The Limit or Hell in a Cell, or one of the many events that used to be called “In Your House”).

All that being said, Sunday’s PPV was actually a treat. Here’s how I felt in the moment. Spoilers and other unnecessary things ahead: Continue reading

Dombrowski and Ausmus: A Civil Conversation About Bullpen Usage

A brisk wind blows through Comerica Park when Brad Ausmus and the Tigers arrive for a three-game series against the White Sox. Ausmus had the least inkling of suspicion upon arriving – a baseball ops intern typically delivers the series scouting reports; GM Dave Dombrowski himself delivering it was not unprecedented, but it was certainly unusual given the fact that Detroit’s series was a White Sox series with a relatively safe divisional lead. ‘If anything,’ Ausmus muses, ‘he’d have delivered this before the Kansas City series.’

With that asymmetry loitering in his mind, Ausmus raps a hesitant knock on Dombrowski’s door. “Come in,” echoes the murmur from within. Ausmus pressed down, but the handle did not turn.

“It’s locked, Dave,” Ausmus sighs.

“Oh, is it?” Dombrowski crows. “Strange, I’m not used to things being locked down around here. Let me get that,” he assuages as the door opens to Dombrowski’s genial presence. “Come on in,” he continues, ushering in Ausmus and locking the door behind them.

Continue reading

Orbiting Cleveland: What changed with Carlos Carrasco?

Orbiting

1If you had to take a guess as to how the 2014 season might look for Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, look no further back than March 19.

Carrasco had just pitched in a spring training game for the Indians, and the results weren’t pretty. The right-hander allowed eight runs (five earned) in 2 2/3 innings of work.

After the start, the usually hyper-positive Terry Francona described Carrasco’s performance as “a frustrating outing.” Francona has probably not used the term “frustrating” in regard to one of his players before or since this incident.

It appeared as if 2014 was setting up to be more of the same for Carrasco — his talent level has always been tantalizing, yet outside of one month in 2011, he’s seemed to struggle to put it all together.

Still, Carrasco remained the heavy favorite to exit spring training with a spot in the starting rotation. He and his 97-mile per hour fastball remained a valuable commodity, and he was also out of options. If he was not in the rotation, he would have been in the bullpen, and it just had to work this time, right? Could a guy this talented really continue to struggle for this long?

The answers to those two questions are both yes and no.

At the onset of the 2014 season, it appeared as if Francona’s words in spring training were indeed a precursor of things to come. In his first four outings, Carrasco was dreadful.

His control was off.

Hitters were teeing off on his fastball.

He quickly fell to 0-3 in those four starts and sported a 6.95 ERA.

Just like that, Carrasco was now the latest member of the Indians’ bullpen.

Yet, then, something changed. Continue reading

The Cleveland Browns Postgame Week 3: The Game They Gave Away

 browns-vs-ravensFor the second time this season, the Cleveland Browns were beaten by an AFC North opponent with a field goal as time expired.

The first game was against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and while a letdown, it came at the end of a frantic comeback.

This second game, against the Baltimore Ravens, it came at the end of a game that the Browns gave away. Continue reading

Cleveland Browns Week 3 Preview: Bring It On Home

browns-vs-ravensToday the Cleveland Browns have an important game against the Baltimore Ravens. This game looked like it would be an important one when the schedule came out. It looked like the Browns would come into this game 0-2 and a loss would make the Browns 0-3 heading into the bye week.

Here we are and the Browns are a game better at 1-1. That’s not a huge surprise, but that 1-1 is more significant than we could have ever imagined.

The Browns have raised a few eyebrows with their play the last six quarters. Nobody (sane) is picking them to go to the Super Bowl, but here’s a team that could be on the rise. And that’s what makes this game so important: It will determine, in the minds of fans and the team, the “could be”. If the Browns want to be taken seriously, then they need to win this game today. Continue reading

Movie Review: “The Drop” isn’t perfect…on purpose…

Gandolfini and Hardy steal the show in "The Drop."

Gandolfini and Hardy steal the show in “The Drop.”

I walked into “The Drop” looking forward to taking in every bit of James Gandolfini’s final performance.

I walked out of “The Drop,” looking forward to taking in Tom Hardy’s next performances.

I didn’t know much about the movie heading into it, only following it through a less-than-zealous media campaign that pushed this film as a Gandolfini tour-de-force, which is the way it should have played, being it is his last role prior to his surprising death last year. Gandolfini certainly doesn’t disappoint as the singular talent that he will be remembered for.

What surprised me wasn’t that Gandolfini was brilliant in a smaller-than-I-thought role, it’s that Tom Hardy showcased the type of acting chops that will likely carry him on to Oscar aspirations in the future, if not for this movie, than certainly others. Hardy is most known for his blockbuster turns as Bane in “Batman Returns,” and Eames in “Inception.” This, is certainly not that. Continue reading

Movie Review: “This Is Where I Leave You” is good, but leaves you wanting more

1“This Is Where I Leave You” has everything that it needs to succeed: an amazing cast, a director with a comedy track record, a successful novel at it’s root, and a dysfunctional plot that seems to equate with today’s movie-viewing populace. On one hand, the movie turned out to be one that I enjoyed. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but feel as though there was more left on the table.

Before I get to the review, if you haven’t read Jonathan Tropper’s book of the same name, make sure you make the trip to your nearest bookstore and take the time to do so. It’s a fantastically written book, full of nuances and character development that you just can’t match in a two-hour movie. The fact that Tropper wrote the screen-play certainly helped, but reading the book will help fill in the holes that the movie inevitably had. Perhaps that was my fatal flaw with the movie in the end, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the two hours I spent watching this phenomenal ensemble cast do what they do. Continue reading

10 Orbservations: Indian Fever, Silver Sluggers, T.J. House, and the Browns’ success

10 Orbservations is a regular Saturday piece at Everybody Hates Cleveland where EHC Managing Editor Steve Orbanek offers 10 quick sports takes, both on Cleveland topics and national ones.

Carrasco-710x4341. I’ve got Indian Fever. Why even try to deny it? Okay, so, I get what you’re thinking. Why in the heck do I have Indians fever when the team is 79-74, remains an extreme long shot to make the postseason and just suffered an excructiatingly painful 5-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins in 10 innings? Sure, that’s the glass half empty approach, but I prefer to see the glass half full. And what I see is a pitching staff that has posted a 3.04 in the second half of the season, which is the fifth-best mark in the Major Leagues. I also see four starters (Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer) with front-of-the-rotation potential, who are only going to get better. Since I’ve already used a couple clichés, I’m going to stick with another — the future is bright. Except, in this case, the future is phosphorescent bright. I cannot ever recall a time where the Indians had more young, controllable, talented starting pitchers in the fold. Continue reading

Carlos Carrasco and the right of being wrong

Carrasco dominates the Astros

Headcase.

Injury-problems.

Failed expectations.

Wasted trade.

Lost Cause.

All are just some of the phrases that I’ve heard (and used) with regards to the Indians’ starting pitcher, Carlos Carrasco.

If I’m to be honest with you about Carrasco and his expectations, I would have been perfectly content had the Cleveland Indians released him earlier this year.

Why lie? Continue reading

The WWE makes a ‘Super-Cena-sized” mistake

Will Lesnar stand tall at Night of Champions?

Will Lesnar stand tall at Night of Champions?

Sometimes the WWE gets things right…

…sometimes.

Brock Lesnar destroyed John Cena at SummerSlam.

It’s what should have happened.

It’s what needed to happened.

It was brilliant, and it should have been clear to both Vince McMahon and Triple H that life can continue on without John Cena as their heavyweight champion. It should have let the WWE hierarchy realize that re-setting John Cena’s “Super-Cena” character was the way to go. It was a chance to create the type of layers in the Cena character that so many detractors have been wanting for years, and they could do it without turning him heel.

It was set up beautifully six months earlier, when Brock Lesnar shocked the world by dismantling the Undertaker at Wrestlmania 30. As the always brilliant Paul Heyman pointed out several times since, “Brock Lesnar is the one, because Brock Lesnar is the one in 21-1.”

Daniel Bryan was crowned the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion that same night though, and it appeared as though Bryan and Lesnar were heading towards a David and Goliath run later that summer, with Lesnar returning for a SummerSlam run carrying the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania mantel. Continue reading