Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
Scott Sargent provides quick-hit thoughts on the state of Cleveland's teams.
Buckle up, kids. Cleveland sports fans could be in for a long two weeks.
First Quarter: Could the bye week actually be "buh-bye" week?
Just as the rain, clouds, and depression caused by Hurricane Sandy left Cleveland, a new weather system may be rolling in and it wears a bright orange tie. Obviously disgusted by another stretch of plays (not) executed by his Cleveland Browns, new principal owner Jimmy Haslam III has two weeks to let the moment soak in. Surely, Haslam is an emotional man, wearing his heart on the sleeve of his fitted pinpoint shirts, but the true test will be whether or not his heat-of-the-moment angst bleeds through to his long-term decisions.
Shurmur took to the podium on Monday -- with the stench of his team's recent 10-point loss still lingering -- and made it a point to emphasize that his team was playing very well for certain stretches and also highlighted the vast improvement in his special teams unit since its abhorrent play earlier in the season. But he reiterated that his team is angry and disappointed, however, not discouraged. While it's great that those below Shurmur are not discouraged, if body language means anything, the one-man jury above him is experiencing all of the above.
Given what Haslam said upon his arrival in Cleveland, about not making any impromptu decisions regarding personnel, it appears that Shurmur's job should be safe through the duration of this 2-7 season. That said, an early dismissal wouldn't be without justification.
Second Quarter: Must be 48" tall to ride this ride
The Cleveland Cavaliers came out swinging against a bruised, battered and Beal'd Washington Wizards team on the NBA's opening night. WIth Kyrie Irving leading the way, Anderson Varejao playing like a Brazilian Bill Russell and Dion Waiters easily winning the first round of the career-long battle between he and Washington rookie shooting guard Bradley Beal (selected one pick ahead of the Cleveland guard, shooting 2-for-8 on the night with a team-worst -16 point differential), the Wine and Gold put on a show for the capacity crowd. Unfortunately, the lake front roller coaster took on the shape of the Millenium Force as they were embarrassed on the same court just three nights later.
In the midst of a six-games-in-11-nights road trip that takes them to Los Angeles, California and Brooklyn, New York before heading back to Cleveland, the Opening Night ticker tape will have long been swept up and disposed of in hopes that the Cavs don't return with a record that matches that of their football brethren. If the rest of the trip goes anything like the opening night show put on by Waiters and Irving, Cavs fans could be in for a fun ride.
Third Quarter: Even the Buckeyes can't dodge the two-week test
Potentially lost in the fact that The Ohio State Buckeyes are 10-0 and ranked fifth in the country (AP Poll, of course) is that the Scarlet and Grey finally won a game they were supposed to by a considerable margin. Though starting with their trademark sputtering, Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde and the rest of the Buckeyes offense handed it to the Fighting Illini, providing their biggest margin of victory since the onset of conference play; given that the Buckeyes put up 63 and 52 points against Nebraska and Indiana, respectively, it also shows just how much the defense has struggled at times.
Good news is, after allowing an average of 44 points over a two-week span, the Buckeyes defense has tightened up, allowing just over 22 points per game over the last three weeks. Given that the next two games come against Wisconsin (on the road) and Michigan, the timing couldn't be any better.
Fourth Quarter: Grading on a curve on Carnegie Ave.
Quietly, the Cleveland Indians -- in addition to declining the options of Travis Hafner and Roberto Hernandez -- acquired a pair of right-handed bats to provide some semblance of balance to a predominantly left-handed lineup. On the flip side, these acquisitions led to rumors and innuendo surrounding the trading of several core members of the 68-win Indians; the only two players actually under contract beyond next season coupled with several arbitration-bound arms.
Some of the fans who are a part of the select group to have not given up on the Tribe will throw their hands up in disgust if Chris Antonetti ships off any of the All-Stars of past, in addition to those with the only chance of being one in the future. However, given the successful model used by the Oakland Athletics who opted to ship off their select few talented players in order to bolster their rotation, it would not be far-fetched to see the Tribe attempt to follow the lead. After all, the team was 13th out of 14 American League teams when it came to attendance. What do they have to lose?
While he will have a bit longer than the two weeks allotted to the other three teams in this here exercise, how Antonetti handles his off-season exam could prove to be just as costly when it comes to gainful employment in Cleveland. At least it would if his proctor didn't value the bottom line of his income statement more than the top line of the AL Central standings.
Scott Sargent is a co-founder of WaitingForNextYear, where he writes about all three professional Cleveland teams. He's been voted "Ohio's Best Sports Blogger" for his work at WFNY. Scott will be covering all things Cleveland, providing feature writing and weekly snapshots of what mattered and where we're headed in the world of Cleveland sports.