Monday, April 30, 2007

Draft Recap and predictions for the upcoming season

Now that this year’s draft is over, here’s a brief overview of our draft picks and some very early pre-season predictions on what to expect next year. Like every other Browns’ fan, I was giddy like a school girl Saturday night and am glad we addressed areas of need the second day. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to be a Browns’ fan. The moves made by that team yesterday could not have been the Browns. Draft days like that aren’t supposed to happen to us. We got pretty much everything we wanted and then some. On the flip side, could this just be a way of fate setting us up for an even bigger kick in the groin in the upcoming years? Only time will tell, but for now, I’m happy.

Round 1

Joe Thomas – I wanted to take Peterson, but I can’t really argue or second-guess this pick. This guy seems like everything you would want in an cornerstone left tackle. He’s agile, a great technician and aggressive. The Browns did a great job of smoke screening this pick.

Welcome to Cleveland!

Brady Quinn – This was the defining move of the entire 2007 draft. Everyone who is on Quinn’s bandwagon points to a stat out there that shows that college QBs with more than 40 career starts have an extremely high success rate in the NFL (Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer and others) vs QBs with only one or two years of starting experience. The Browns addressed two huge areas of need with possibly the two best players at their respective positions.

Round 2

Eric Wright – We traded a lot of picks to get this guy, so he better pan out. Everyone is saying he has 1st round talent, but those character issues are still there. If he does pan out, Phil just got 3 starters with 3 picks. I don’t know if I buy the whole “I went to Vegas to prove I could stay out of trouble for 2 years” line he is throwing out. I think it should be more along the lines of “when you have a date rape charge on your rap sheet, only a Mountain West Team will look at you”.

Long pause…

Round 5

Brandon McDonald – This CB out of Memphis is described as a versatile player who can return punts and play all of the defensive backfield positions. The NFL Network’s downside on him is that he doesn’t tackle well in the open field…just what we needed!

Round 6

Melila Purcell – This DE out of Hawaii is a project in the truest sense of the word. He has a high motor, great wingspan and tremendous upside. Did I miss any other idiotic draft day adjectives?

Round 7

Syndric Steptoe – This WR out of Arizona will poop his pants if he makes the team. He can return kicks, though.

Pre-Season predictions

Now, as is common with all Browns fans, we have sky-high projections and expectations as to what will happen in the coming season based on what we’ve accomplished in the off-season. I’m here to tell you to CALM DOWN. We still have a ways to go and none of these moves guarantee instant success. Let’s be real with our expectations and we must still have patience. With that being said, here are some preliminary predictions and a break-down of our schedule with what I feel will be the final scores for each of these games.

September 9
W, 42-0
Quinn throws for 450 yds in debut

September 16
W, 56-7
Only Bengals TD is a fumble return

September 23
at Oakland Raiders
Quinn: 420yds, Russell: -8yds

September 30
W, 35-3
Matt Stover holds off shutout, Brian Billick acts smug

October 7
at New England Patriots
W, 28-7
Belichick finally apologizes to Cleveland for sucking

October 14
W, 73-6
Cleo Lemon throws 5 INTs

W, 24-0

October 28
at St. Louis Rams
W, 45-0
Jim Everett throws 2 INTs

November 4
W, 35-9
Quinn throws 8 TDs

November 11
at Pittsburgh Steelers
W, 77-14
Hines Ward plays up his Korean roots even more by eating KimChee after a TD

November 18
at Baltimore Ravens
W, 56-8
Jamal Lewis rushes for 312 yds

November 25
W, 35-14
Dave Zastudil punts for first time this season

December 2
at Arizona Cardinals
L, 21-22
Defense is left at home by accident

December 9
at New York Jets
W, 54-12
Eric Mangini eats Phil Dawson

December 16
W, 49-16
What’s funny about Buffalo? Nothing.

December 23
at Cincinnati Bengals
W, 56-7
Chris Henry drinks a fifth for their season

December 30
W, 42-10
Brady feels a little too comfortable out on the town

I think the scores above are perfectly reasonable to expect in light of the happenings of this past weekend. I know we won’t win them all, but I think the above results are pretty realistic. I may even keep track of my scores and predictions during the season so I can rub it in your face when I turn out to be right. All of you pie-in-the-sky Brown’s fans need to come back down to earth and realize we won’t win them all.

Here are some other predictions for this season:

SUPERBOWL XLII result: Browns over Carolina, 37-21

When Joe Thomas’ and Brady Quinn’s sweat mix on a towel, the cure for AIDS is accidentally discovered. Phil Savage wins the Nobel Prize for bringing them together. Savage states that this day is the day that “turned the world around”.

Charlie’s Fryes change their names to Brady’s Quinns and come to games dressed like this:

The Super Bowl win will start a run of 5 more consecutive Superbowl trips and wins, giving Cleveland one for the thumb and another to shove right up Pittsburgh’s pooper.

Charlie Frye loses his life-long battle with the English language.

Kellen Winslow, Joe Jurevicius and Braylon Edwards become the first trio of teammates in NFL history to each catch 100 passes.

Pittsburgh Steelers finally realize that their logo of a ketchup bottle is about as retarded as you can get and change it to a tampon.

Romeo Crennel goes shirtless for the Seahawks game.

Please let me know if you have any predictions of your own in the comments section.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Did that just happen?

I love this man, but not in a Pittsburgh kind of way

I think it's safe to say we won our Super Bowl this year. Mr. Savage, thank you for showing the intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger. If Quinn really did have top 5 potential, this could be the draft that turns us around (but I'll believe it when I see it).
Update: Phil just traded our 3rd, 4th and 6th round pick for Dallas' 2nd round pick and took Eric Wright, a CB out of UNLV (wasn't that Eazy-E's real name?). Everyone seems to think he has first round potential and is a shut-down corner, but I don't know about those character issues. Drug and date rape charges? Thank God the Flats are a ghost town. Savage is still pissing excellence as far as I'm concerned

Did the Browns do something smart?

I can't believe they went with the safe and smart pick instead of the all flash, no cash pick. I seriously don't believe this. I tip my cap to Phil Savage...he practices what he preaches. Welcome to the Dawg Pound Joe! Oh yeah, that poem the NFL Network recited by the hood rat after the pick was announced was just awful.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Top 6 Music Acts to Come Out of Cleveland

Everyone’s got a draft preview on their sites, so if you want to view mine, it's at the bottom of the blog. It's a given that Cleveland is the Rock and Roll Capital of the Universe, but for my next non-sports related post, I thought I’d take a look at the best/most famous music groups/singers that have come out of Cleveland and rank them in terms of critical and commercial success. The criteria for a band or singer to be considered from Cleveland and ranked are as follows:

- either the entire band or person most associated with the band (usually the lead singer) has to have roots in Cleveland
- if not directly from the city of Cleveland, they have to be within the general vicinity (Akron, Canton, Kent, etc)

Other things things to consider on this list:

- rankings are not based on strictly commercial success, but may also include critical success or the impact on the genre they are based in
- if I personally hate them, then I can leave them off since it’s my list

As I stated before, this is all purely subjective and I’m sure I probably left someone or some group of note off of this list. If you can think of them, please feel free to add them to the comments.

6. Michael Stanley Band – Was a pioneering rocker that emerged from the early 70’s to dominate the charts and – just kidding, he sucks. Now on to the real countdown

6. Devo – formed in Akron, OH in 1972, Devo was a groundbreaking act that ushered in the New Wave scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They had experimented with all kinds of different music styles, including punk. They were formed by a group of Kent State Students who, according to Wikipedia, “were deeply affected by the Kent State shootings of 1970. Devo stands for “Devolution” which was probably a more profound statement as a band name than many of their song lyrics would indicate. They never achieved great commercial success, but are best known for their single “Whip It” and the subsequent music video, which received all kinds of air time on MTV. On stage, they are famous for their hazmat outfits and “energy domes”. They are on this list for influencing and ushering in a new music genre (whether you like New Wave or not is a whole different story). They had 3 Gold Albums and 1 Platinum Album for their career.

5. Filter – These guys were one of my favorite groups in college and high school and that was even before I found out I grew up right by the lead singer, Richard Patrick. Filter was an industrial rock act that was heavily influenced by Nine Inch Nails, which is apropos since Patrick was a guitarist for the group (I left off Nine Inch Nails since they are supposed to be a one-man band and Trent Reznor’s roots are in Who Cares, PA). Richard has a very distinct voice that can reach octaves few males should be allowed to reach. They’ve had 2 platinum albums and 2 gold albums as well as 7 singles chart on various billboard tables. They are most well known for 2 singles, “Hey Man, Nice Shot” and “Take a Picture”, which sounds nothing like their other music but is my personal favorite.

4. Gerald LeVert – This soul crooner and son of Eddie Levert (lead singer of the O’Jays) sang in two very successful R&B groups. LeVert, the group he formed with his brother Sean and friend Marc Gordon, and LSG, with fellow R&B superstars Johnny Gill and Keith Sweat (I actually bought this group’s CD). Between his solo career and 2 groups he produced over 10 Gold albums and 4 Platinum albums. My two favorite songs from his career are “My Body” with the group LSG and “Casanova” with the group LeVert. He was born in Cleveland and was living in Northeast Ohio when he passed away at the much too early age of 40 after an apparent heart attack from a lethal (and accidental) mix of prescription and over the counter pills.

3. The Pretenders – I’ll stand by them as my third choice (I can’t believe I just typed that and yes, I am laughing to myself). The founder and one constant member of this group is Chryssie Hynde who was born in Akron, attended Kent State and according to Wikipedia, “experimented with the hippie counterculture, psychotropic drugs, eastern mysticism, vegetarianism and of course, joining or starting a band”. She actually was in a band with Mark Mothersbaugh, who made this list as a member of Devo. She formed the Pretenders in the UK after bouncing around in the UK and France with failed bands as well with Mick Jones from The Clash. There have been two drug related departures by original members of the group, one after Chryssie kicked out and the second died from a drug overdose. They have been steadily recording since 1980 and had a long time in between hits. In the early 80’s they scored hit albums off of the singles “Brass in My Pocket” and “Back on the Chain Gang” and in 1994 had a hit with “I’ll Stand by You”. They have had 2 Platinum albums and 6 Gold Albums.

2. Scott Weiland – Although he was born in California, he spent much of his childhood in Chagrin Falls, so he gets to be on my list (lucky him). He was the frontman for one of the most popular bands of the Nineties and the genre of alternative rock: Stone Temple Pilots. They have had huge hits such as: “Interstate Love Song”, “Vasoline” and “Big Empty”. STP has always been derided by critics and loved by their fans, so I guess they are kind of like the Adam Sandler of Alt Rock. They also won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1994. According to wikipedia, Stone Temple Pilots is not the original name of the band and you should check the site to find out what it originally was. Unfortunately for Scott, his drug use and run-ins with the law have made him almost as popular as being a singer has. When STP disbanded, Scott formed Velvet Revolver with a bunch of former Guns N Roses members and has had commercial success with them as well. Between the two groups, Scott has 7 Gold Albums and 5 Platinum Albums (with Core and Purple going 8 and 6 times over, respectively).

And my number one choice for a music group/artist to come from Cleveland is………..

1. Bone Thugs N Harmony – There really can’t be too much debate with this one. Regardless of what your opinion of Hippity Hop is, there is no denying the lasting impact these 4 rappers from the Streets of Cleveland (“it’s mandatory we leave you bleedin”) have had. They are easily the most commercially and critically successful music group to come from this city. To date, they have over 30 million albums sold (holy reefer, Batman!) and it looks like another big hit coming in Strength & Loyalty, due out next month. Among a few of their career highlights include:

- at the time, the highest and fastest selling single of all time with “Tha Crossroads”
- collaborations with both the Notorious BIG and 2Pac
- 2 Grammys and an AMA
-15 singles on the charts, including 5 #1s
-Platinum status for all their albums with multiple status for almost all of them

Not only did they achieve great commercial success, they also introduced a new style of rap that was more sing-song and rapid fire and incorporated melodies and harmonies (hence the name). They have also embraced the fact that they are from Cleveland and state it multiple times on many albums. I absolutely love the single “Cleveland Rocks” from the album Thug World Order.

There you have it folks. Some others that I did not include on this list but deserve honorable mention are: Macy Gray, Avant, the O’Jays and Marilyn Manson. Please let me know if I forgot anyone.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cavs Recap and What's Missing?

Pinch a little harder...little more...oooooh, that's the ticket!

This game was again much closer than it needed to be. They let the Wizards hang around way too long in my opinion. It was nice to see Lebron go off when he felt like it and Drew Gooden nail 6 straight jumpers, but what was that semi-retarded dance he did afterwards? Yikes. I found out afterwards that he was “making it rain”. Drew, I hope that works out for you. Yes, I am grateful that we won and this might sound like I’m nitpicking, but I just don’t see a championship level team here yet. On paper, it seems like we pretty much have all the tools as of right now to make a run at the title

-Game-changing premier player? Check.
-Sidekick that, when healthy, can provide a very credible scoring alternative? Check.
-All-Star caliber center? Check.
-Power Forward that rebounds in bunches and is capable of going off on the offensive end on any given night? Check.
-High-energy sub that gives you an instant spark on the court and is dedicated to defense? Check.
-Token white guy that can shoot and create his own offense? Check.
-Deep bench with more than one three-point specialist? Check.

So what’s missing? After thinking about some of the previous dynasties and championship teams, I was able to find one ingredient that was common with a whole bunch of them that we definitely don’t have. A thug.

I'd take him if he had a good low post game

A down and dirty, intimidating SOB that will kick your grandma in the teeth if given the chance. Someone who makes up for whatever skill he lacks with a bad attitude and then some. Of course, it’s a plus if your thug has both skill and a bad attitude, but I’ll take one with just the latter if that’s all that’s available. The Pistons had Laimbeer. The Bulls had Rodman. The Spurs had Rodman. The Rockets had Otis Thorpe. The second go-round for the Pistons had the Wallace boys. The Lakers and Heat both had Shaq (who I think is an extremely skilled thug, or just a brute force of nature). The only recent champs I can think of that didn’t have a thug on their team is the second go-round for the Spurs, but when you have 3 All-Star caliber players, Bruce Bowen can fill in nicely. Are the Cavs soft? Does a yinzer’s family tree only have two branches? I don’t know what they can do to address this now, but I think that the intimidation factor is a vital piece missing from our roster. Here’s to hoping they can get past this anyways.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

LJ to Cleveland?

I am watching the NFL Network as am I writing this and one of the players they said is up on the trading block is Larry Johnson and they stated that the Browns are one of the 3 or 4 suitors for his services. Imagine that. I seriously don't know what I'd do if that would happen. He seems like he's kind of a pompous blowhard, but I would welcome him to my team in a second (we even have an African American coach, not that it should even matter, but apparently it does for him). Getting one of the top 3 running backs in the league in his prime would require quite a bit, I'm sure. Aside from our 1st and 2nd round picks, what else do we have to bargain with? I will believe it when I see it. I can't remember if the NFL Network is still blacked out in Cleveland, but those tidbits make it worth watching as much as possible.

Who drafts worse, the Browns or Cavs?

One of the main reasons for failure that has been pounded in Cleveland’s collective head is the poor draft record of all our teams. I don’t disagree with this notion, but I wanted to do a breakdown between the Cavs and Browns over the last few years and determine who exactly has been the suckiest of this bunch of sucks. I am starting my analysis from 1986 until now and will only be looking at the first two picks for each team for each year (since we can’t go any further than that for the Cavs after ’89). Each pick will be awarded either a:

0 – total bust
1 – marginal player at best
2 – productive starter and/or backup
3 – superstar (needless to say, not many of these will be awarded)

I will also include a bonus point up through ’89 if any steals were found in the later rounds of that year. No drafts for the Cavs from 96-98 will be included since the Browns had some time off. Since this is all completely subjective, any and all second-guessing/scrutiny is welcome (unless you’re from Pittsburgh, in which case I’ll have to ask you to stop playing with this here computer, pick up your mop and get back to work).


Webster Slaughter – 2 (I know some people would consider him to be a superstar, but let’s be realistic)
Nick Miller – 0 (if I don’t know who he is and he only played one year for us, that’s a bust)

Brad Daugherty – 3
Ron Harper – 3

Total: Browns 2, Cavs 6 (they hit the motherload this year)


Mike Junkin – 0 (this pick screwed us for years to come, read it here at
Gregg Rakoczy - 2

Kevin Johnson – 3
Kannard Johnson – 0 (when you play a total of 12 minutes for your career, it might be safe to say you are a bust)

Total: Browns 2, Cavs 4 – (I am giving the Cavs an extra bonus point for this year since they drafted Chris Dudley in Round 4)


Clifford Charlton – 0
Michael Dean Perry – 2

Randolph Keys – 1
Winston Bennett – 1

Total: Browns 2, Cavs 2


Eric Metcalf – 2
Lawyer Tillman - 1

John Morton – 0
Chucky Brown – 2

Total: Browns 3, Cavs 2


Leroy Hoard – 2 (the only reason why I’m giving him a 2 is my fatt butt used to pretend I was him in our pickup football games)
Anthony Pleasant - 2

Stefan Rusconi – 0 (who the? – I also think Ron Harper was traded around this time for the rights to Danny Ferry - ouch)

Total: Browns 4, Cavs 0


Eric Turner – 3
Ed King - 1

Terrell Brandon – 2
Jimmy Oliver – 1

Total: Browns 4, Cavs 3


Tommy Vardell – 1 (based on the expectations)
Patrick Rowe – 0
None – 0

Total: Browns 1, Cavs 0 (is anyone surprised by this?)


Steve Everitt - 2
Dan Footman – 1 (he did have one monster season in 96 with the Colts and had 10.5 sacks, but that doesn’t do us any good)

Chris Mills – 2

Total: Browns 2, Cavs 1


Antonio Langham – 1
Derrick Alexander - 2

Gary Collier – 0

Total: Browns 3, Cavs 0 (side note: I know I am not including any later round picks for bonus points, but the Browns did take Romeo Bandison in the 3rd round of this draft)

Total: Browns 3, Cavs 0


Craig Powell – 0
Eric Zeier - 1

Bob Sura – 2 (I always liked him for some reason)
Donny Marshall – 0 (definitely not to be confused for Donyell Marshall, who also went to UConn)

Total: Browns 1, Cavs 2


No points are given due to the Browns absence, but the Cavs might have made up some ground here with Z being drafted


Tim Couch – 1 (I hate to call him a total bust due to the circumstances and the fact that no more tears need to be shed)
Kevin Johnson - 2

Andre Miller – 2
Trajan Langdon - 1

Total: Browns 3, Cavs 3


Courtney Brown – 1
Dennis Northcutt – 2

Chris Mihm – 2 (hard to believe, I know, but he’s still in the league)

Total: Browns 3, Cavs 2


Gerard Warren – 1
Quincy Morgan - 1

Desagana Diop – 2
Brendan Haywood – 2
Jeff Trepagnier – 1

Total: Browns 2, Cavs 5


William Green – 1
Andre Davis - 1

Dajuan Wagner – 1
Carlos Boozer – 3 (curse his bulbous head and hard-nosed playing style)

Total: Browns 2, Cavs 4


Jeff Faine – 2 (D’Oh!)
Chaun Thompson - 1

Lebron James – 3 (I think he has shown the potential to be really good)
Jason Kapono – 2 (who knew?)

Total: Browns 3, Cavs 5


Kellen Winslow – 3 (I am giving him this grade because my brown and orange colored glasses think he’s the closest thing to a superstar that the Browns have)
Sean Jones – 2 (this might change in a year or two)

Luke Jackson – 1

Total: Browns 5, Cavs 1


Braylon Edwards – 2
Brodney Pool – 2

None – (Hello Jiri Welsch!) – 0 – is it possible to give a double 0?

Total: Browns 4, Cavs 0


Kamerion Wimbley – 2
D’Qwell Jackson – 2

Shannon Brown – 1
Daniel Gibson – 2
Ejike Ugboaja – 0 (who?)

These are based off of first impressions, so these are definitely subject to change in the future.

Total: Browns 4, Cavs 3

Now, let’s do a quick rundown via a tabled representation of these scores:

Year Browns Cavs
1986 2 6
1987 2 4
1988 2 2
1989 3 2
1990 4 0
1991 4 3
1992 1 0
1993 2 1
1994 3 0
1995 1 2
1999 3 3
2000 2 2
2001 2 5
2002 2 4
2003 3 5
2004 5 1
2005 4 0
2006 4 3

Browns - 49
Cavs - 43

What does this tell us? Absolutely nothing. But it does show that although they are both terrible at drafting, the Cavs have been even worse than the Browns (if that's possible). The average scores for the Browns and Cavs with their first two picks over this time span has been 2.7 and 2.4, respectively. That means, according to my scoring system, they have been drafting a little more than one solid player with their first two picks per draft. Not good! The Cavs have by default a better team due to the fact that Planet Basketball decided to send down its Chosen One in the form of Lebron James and for some reason, picked Northeast Ohio to place him in our midst. Go figure.

My Brother is getting out of the Army - Hooray!

Even though I am a huge fan of Cleveland and all things related to the town and its sports, there is another group that I am an even bigger fan of: The U.S. Army. My brother is an Airborne Ranger and was an Infantry Officer in the 82nd for 4 years. I read this from the AP today:

The nine U.S. soldiers killed when a truck bomb exploded next to their patrol base in Iraq were all paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division, the division said Tuesday. Twenty of their colleagues were wounded in the attack.
Maj. Tom Earnhardt, a spokesman for the division at Fort Bragg, said it was the highest number of casualties for the division since the Iraq war began.
It was also the single deadliest attack on ground forces since Dec. 1, 2005, when a roadside bomb killed 10 Marines and wounded 11 on a foot patrol near Fallujah. An insurgent group that includes al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility, according to an Internet-posted statement Tuesday.
The soldiers were members of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Earnhardt said. A civilian interpreter was also wounded in Monday's explosion.
"Fifteen of the wounded were superficial and they were treated on the spot and returned to duty," Earnhardt said. "Five were evacuated to a military hospital, but none of the five have life-threatening injuries."
Earnhardt said the unit deployed in August to Iraq. It is one of three of the division's four brigade combat teams now in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The identities of the soldiers killed Tuesday were not immediately released. Earnhardt said the families were still being notified.

It's stuff like this that makes me pause for a second and think about all of our men and women in harm's way. My brother's last day is today and he's done more and seen more than I can possibly imagine. He's a hero in every sense of the word and never brags or talks about what he's done, so I'll do it for him. His and every other soldier's sacrifice allows me to sit in my office and make asinine (but true) comments about the armpit of America and lead an otherwise normal life. I am glad he's getting out and taking some well deserved rest in Cleveland. Meeting his men was a bigger thrill for me than meeting any of the professional athletes I have ever come across (even Felix Fermin). Anyways, not to get too mushy, but thank a soldier if you know one or see one. I hope to post a pic of him when I have a chance later today.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My 5 Favorite Places to get food when I'm back in Cleveland

As I've noted in my previous posts, I currently don't live in Cleveland and am now in the DC/Northern Virginia area. I don't think anyone is from this area, but you go where the jobs are. Most of the people I run into down here have an interesting story about what got them here. Since you were wondering, here's mine: I graduated from a good school with a good degree and couldn't find jack squat in the Northeast Ohio area after three months of searching. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) suggested I take a look in Pittsburgh. I looked at her as if she had an arm growing out of her head and told her I wasn't interested in being an English language speech therapist or work in a battered woman's shelter. I moved down to DC and found a job in 2 weeks. That was 7 years ago and I still look forward to the day I can get back to God's Country.

Memo to Frank Jackson: Please stop screwing up my city. You almost have to make a conscious effort to run a city so poorly.

As my first non sports-related posting, I want to address a very serious issue that is near and dear to my heart: Food. This is a total fat boy post, but as a recovering fatty, I occassionally get back on the wagon and take it to bloated city. One of the things I miss about Cleveland is all of the excellent food. Most of it comes from mom and pop shops that litter the East and West Side. Living down here in Northern VA, all of the neighborhoods, shops and restaurants are all fairly new. It's an endless sea of Panera Bread, Starbucks, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Chipotle (which I am grateful for) and smoothie/juice bars. Basically, it's a yuppy paradise. When I get back home, even for the day, I always make it a point to visit one of the fine establishments that are listed below. If you have any others that you want to add to this list, please feel free to do so in the comments section.

5. Panini Brothers- Locations all over Cleveland - I only get one thing whenever I come here: The Overstuffed Pastrami Sandwich with an egg on top. The combination of a huge pile of Pastrami, a mountain of cole slaw and fries, 2 slices of Provolone cheese and a sunny-side up egg is enough to put any man into a food induced coma. I feel myself getting fatter as I type this. I know it is basically a rip-off of the Primanti Brothers sandwich in Pittsburgh, but there is one difference that makes the Panini Brothers' sandwich infinitely better: no filthy Pittsburgh fingers are used to make this sandwich. Scoreboard!

4. Slyman's Restaurant - St. Clair on the East Side- Quite possibly the perfect corned beef sandwich. They shave the beef in front of you and make it fresh daily. The beef has the perfect amount of moisture and saltiness to it and doesn't dry up in your mouth. Any other condiment aside from mustard should be a crime on this bad boy. Oh yeah, they also stack it about 5 inches high, so unless you have an unlocking jaw, you will need to eat this in sections.

3. Joe's Deli & Restaurant - Hilliard Road & Wooster Road - Everything on this menu is served in huge portions, but I am a big fan of the breakfast menu, and specifically, the pancakes. These aren't the light and fluffy kind you garnish with a rasberry puree or fruit compote. These are the kind you drown in syrup, wipe up excess egg yolk with, and then wonder how someone was able to shove a brick down your throat and lodge it perfectly in your stomach for the rest of the day. Absolutely awesome.

The ones above are definite favorites of mine, but these next two are just about the most perfect foods ever created in the history of man. You have something seriously wrong with you if you do not like either of them:

2. Frank's Bratwurst - Westside Market - Good Lord, where to start with this one. The most flavorful, mild and perfectly mixed sausage ever produced at any given moment in the history of earth. I think they use a veal mix to make this and it goes down smooth. Smother a ton of sauerkraut on top of this and put it on a bun (they use hard rolls here, but I prefer a soft one) and you have heaven in a processed meat form. These naughty little treats are to die for. I had my parents buy a dozen of these, store them in a cooler, and make the 7 hour drive down here just so I could have one. Awesome, awesome, awesome. And yes, I am a fat loser with body odor.

1. Fragapane Bakery & Deli - West Side of Cleveland (Bay Village, North Olmsted & others) - This is my personal food Mecca for one reason: their doughnuts. Anyone who tells you that Krispy Kreme makes the best doughnuts has never been near this place. There are two kinds in particular that are just out-of-this-world good: the chocolate sticks and the maple sticks. They bake all of their doughnuts fresh every morning and I think there is approximately 2 gallons of cream filling put into each chocolate and maple stick and about 3 inches of chocolate or maple frosting put on top of them to boot. I can only finish two of them before I am ready for a nap. If you are in the Cleveland area, you seriously need to go to this place and thank the Good Lord you were fortunate enough to experience this carbohydrate and cream filled blod-clot-waiting-to-happen.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cavs - Wizards Preview

Thank goodness the Cavs finally backed into a little bit of luck. The road to hoe as the second seed is substantially less problematic than being the fifth seed. I am writing this post as the Cavs are playing the Wiz in the first game of this matchup. It seems that they have taken this approach so far as well. The only strategy I can see being used so far is to be lethargic and hope the Wizards realize that they are supposed to lose. If I see Larry Hughes launch one more long 2 pointer with plenty of time left on the shot clock, I will drive up to Cleveland myself and teach him the basics of post play as taught to me by my middle school coach. This should not be a challenge at all. It is unexcusable if this goes to 6 games. There should be no drama, no side stories, nothing. This should be an absolute slaughter. With all that being said, I am sure this will go at least 6 games because this is Cleveland and nothing comes easy. Being down here in DC it's interesting to see the other fan base's reaction and attitude towards this series. I think the fans down here are as about as apathetic as you can possibly get for a major sports playoff series. There is no buzz on the local talk radio, not a ton of coverage on the news and by and large no big amount of hype by the fans. Even they are resigned to the fact that this should be a trouncing. I don't blame them, though. Imagine if Lebron and Larry were out for this series...we'd be toast. All this is setting up for us to let our guard down and for them to "shock the world"...stay tuned.

update: we won. whew.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Being a Cleveland Sports Fan

Being a Cleveland Sports Fan isn't easy, never has, and probably never will. The teams are are down on their luck just like the economic environment they inhabit. No team in this city has won anything since 1964. Fast forward a decade later, and I still wasn't even born. All I have to base my memories on are losing season after losing season for the Tribe, mediocre to good Cavs' teams that got owned by Michael Jordan and crushing, bitter playoff defeats for my beloved Browns, even when they had the better team on the field. I hate the horse known as Elway almost as much as the inbred valley surrounded by three rivers. Cleveland has a lot of things wrong with it, that's for sure. However, it does have one HUGE thing going for it, it isn't Pittsburgh. The people and their passion for sports and hatred of Pittsburgh are what make this area second to none as a sports town. I definitely appreciate this more now that I live down in the DC area. When I got to DC people asked me, "Hey, Hardaway Hates Pittsburgh, why do you do root for Cleveland, man? What are you? Some kind of losing junkie?" I won't say a goddam word. Why? They won't understand. They won't understand why we do it. They won't understand that it's about the fan next to you. And that's it. That's all it is. *

*If you don't know where this line comes from, this blog definitely isn't for you.

Browns Draft Preview

This is definitely the hot topic of the moment and I guess there is no better place for me to start. I am going to break down the top 5 prospects and give you my thoughts on them and why or why not they would be a good fit for the Browns. Any one of the following is going to be worth a high first round pick and will immediately make our team better.

5. Tommy Vardell - RB/Stanford - 6'2" 234 lbs - They don't call him "Touchdown" Tommy Vardell for nothing. He set the Stanford career touchdown record with 37 as well as the single season record with 20(!) his senior year! We need this kind of production in the backfield and even if he can only produce half of what he did in college, we will be good to go. His running style is similar to Jamal Lewis', the only difference being is he scores touchdowns like they were going out of style, which I'm sure he'll have no problem doing in the NFL.

4. Antonio Langham - CB/Alabama - 6'0" 187 lbs - 3 year starter at left corner for Alabama. Set school records for interceptions with 19 and INTs returned for TDs with 3. Was a first team All-American his senior year. Has excellent size and speed. I see him pairing up with Leigh Bodden to give us this millenium's version of Mighty Minnie and Top Dawg. Shutdown corners are hard to come by and it's going to be hard to pass up one with a resume like this. I see him making 4 or 5 Pro Bowls, minimum, and anchoring one CB slot for the next decade.

3. Craig Powell - LB/Ohio State - 6'4" 230 lbs - A high-motor LB that grew up right in our backyard. He has speed, speed and more speed. He plays hard all the time and was definitely not a reason the Buckeyes got their taints handed to them during the BCS Championship. He would provide more depth to one of the few strong points on the team.

2. Courtney Brown - DE/Penn State - 6'4" 285 lbs. - What's not to love about this guy? He plays hard every down, doesn't complain and doesn't have a bad attitude. He has been remarkably durable and has no injury history whatsoever. I see him being the next Lawrence Taylor at best and the next Jason Taylor at worst. This guy is awesome and should be a rock solid foundation for our D-line for years and years to come.

1. Mike Junkin - LB/Duke - 6'3" 242 - With the nickname "Mad Dog" how can you go wrong? He earned this nickname by being a nonstop force on the field, moving from sideline to sideline with his blazing 4.6 speed and eating up running backs like they had a milkbone on their back. He would be able to learn on the job from wily vet Willie McGinest and be ready for a full time starting position within a year or two. Teaming him up with Kamerion Wimbley would give us bookend LBs that would dominate the AFC North for years to come. We need playmakers, and aside from a fairly minor injury history, he's about as surefire as you're going to get. Absolutely no downside to this pick. At all.

As I said at the top of the post, any one of these picks are going to immediately improve our team and I would be happy with any one of them on our roster. Oh yeah, there's a running back out of Oklahoma named Adrian Peterson who has shown a lot of promise as well. If none of the above are available, I'd take him.

Hello Cleveland!

Hi Guys (I won't even mention girls since there are none reading anything like this),

I'm a little new to this here interwebs and I wanted start a blog since there are so few out there right now. I couldn't decide if I wanted to name my blog "Hardaway hates Pittsburgh" or "Amaechi loves Pittsburgh", but you get the point. I love all things Cleveland and pretty much hate all things Pittsburgh (except my lovely wife). I hope to post my thoughts on Cleveland sports on here from time to time.