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All I want for Christmas

Kenny Roda from WKNR SportsTalk 850 will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the sports world both locally and nationally. Check back often for his updates!

I haven’t written a letter to Santa in a long, long time, but the last time I did he brought me everything I asked for. So I figured what the heck, he didn’t leave me hanging last time, so why not see if he’ll hook me up again. So here’s a copy of my letter I sent to the North Pole.

Dear Santa,

I know Christmas is supposed to be a time for giving and not receiving, but you do such a great job with the giving thing and I know a lot of people who are in need, so please take a look at my list. You can look at it twice, and you know, like you always do, determine whether I’ve been naughty or nice. And with the exception of that one night, that featured tequila and a hot waitress who kind of looked like Anna Kournakova, I’ve been really good. Just ask her, she’ll tell you how good! Anyway, I’ve got some things I’d like and few things for my friends. If you could deliver ASAP it would be greatly appreciated.

1) A new owner for the Cleveland Indians who isn’t related to Ebenezer Scrooge. Maybe that new owner will be like you and give, give, give to the fans! Instead of asking us to spend, spend, spend.

2) I know you have a lot of tiny elves who work for you and build great toys. Do you need any really tall, useless guys who could help the Abominal Snow Monster from your great TV hit Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? We call him “Z” and he too could put the star on top of the tree without a ladder. Although he may miss 2 or 3 times before he gets it done. We’ll trade you him for a few of the old leather NBA basketballs.

3) You have reindeer who pull your sleigh and lead the way for you. The Browns could use 5 guys who would act like reindeer and lead the way for their running backs and quarterback. This is probably the biggest wish that anyone and everyone in Cleveland would like granted, especially Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson. This wish, if granted, could save lives, that’s how important it is.

4) While we’re dealing with football. How about a lifetime contract for Jim Tressel to remain as the head coach at “THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY”. He, unlike the other coaches in the state of Ohio, brings joy and happiness to many people and isn’t that what the Christmas spirit is all about?

5) Oh yeah, one more lifetime contract. Please make sure that fine gentleman in Ann Arbor, Michigan gets a lifetime contract too. His name is Lloyd Carr and he too brings joy and happiness to many people in Ohio.

6) To all the presidents of all the great universities in this country. Could you please place under their trees and in their brains why it would benefit them and the NCAA that a playoff system in college football would make everyone happy. The players and coaches would be happy because a national champion would actually be crowned on the field. The fans would be happy for the same reason. They themselves and the suits that run the NCAA would be happy because they could make as much money as they do now, if not more. It’s a win-win for everybody.

7) Along the lines of Christmas again. We have a King here in Cleveland. You may have heard of him, his name is LeBron James. King LeBron is such a great person and such a great giving person (check his career assist stats in the NBA) that he wouldn’t dare ask you for anything, since it seems like he already has everything. Everything but a point guard on his basketball team. Could you please check in Sacramento (Mike Bibby), in Charlotte (Brevan Knight) or anywhere else and see if you could drop one off at The “Q” sometime real soon. A guy by the name of Eric Snow will gladly give him his locker.

8) A Magic 8 Ball to help Browns GM Phil Savage on draft day 2007. That toy is never wrong. You can shake it and toss it and it always answers your question. Heck, it can’t do any worse than the Browns have done in selecting draft picks in the first 8 years.

9) I almost forgot what I wanted. Remember that naughty thing I mentioned earlier with that waitress? How about this time you bring me the real Anna Kournakova so we can play a little one-on-one?

10) And in closing, a closer for the Cleveland Indians who isn’t over 40 years old, or coming off some kind of arm, or shoulder, or elbow injury.

That’s what my friends and I would like for Christmas this year. It’s only 10 things, but if you could grant all of those Christmas wishes you would be making a lot of people very, very happy.

As we say on the golf course Santa…”You Da Man!”

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Questions and answers

Kenny Roda from WKNR SportsTalk 850 will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the sports world both locally and nationally. Check back often for his updates!

Q: Is Troy Smith the greatest quarterback ever at Ohio State?

A: Absolutely, 100% YES. Heisman Trophy winner, 25-2 as a starter, 3-0 vs Michigan and after January 8th, 2007, a National Championship!

Q: Should the Browns draft Troy Smith if he is available with their pick in the 1st round in 07?

A: Yes and No. Yes… if they go out and address the offensive line through the draft and free agency. No…if they expect him to come in and be the savior behind this crappy O-line. The Glenville and Ohio St. grad deserves better than that.

Q: Were those tears in Jim Tressel’s eyes as Troy Smith was accepting the Heisman?

A: Yes…so for those of you who thought he doesn’t show any emotion, he is human! Beneath the sweater vest and that cool and calm demeanor on the sideline, is a man who cares about his players as human beings more than as just quarterbacks and linebackers.

Q: Does Derrick Anderson deserve another chance to start for the Browns?

A: Without a doubt. You already know what you have in Charlie Frye from his 17 starts. Anderson has only started one game and played a total of 6 quarters. At 4-9 with 3 games left, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by playing him more and finding out if he can be your starter, a back-up or doesn’t belong in the NFL.

Q: What’s it say about 3rd pick, wide receiver Travis Wilson if he can’t play ahead of Dennis Northcutt, who dropped 3 more balls against Pittsburgh?

A: He must really suck or is not smart enough to pick up the offense.

Q: Is Romeo Crennel the answer at head coach?

A: My gut tells me no. My head tells me no. But my heart tells me… maybe. Not a resounding vote of confidence for Romeo like he got from Phil Savage. Sorry, that’s the best I can do right now.

Q: Does Larry Hughes really make that much of a difference for the Cavs?

A: Yes and it counts! Cleveland is 7-2 with Hughes in the lineup and 5-5 without him.

Q: Can Greg Oden lead Ohio State basketball like Troy Smith has in football?

A: Most definitely! I watched him in person this weekend and, granted it was Cleveland St. that the Buckeyes beat 78-57, but he is a man playing amongst boys. If Oden stays healthy the rest of the season, Buckeye Nation could be celebrating two National Championships this year.

Q: How much have the Indians helped themselves so far this off season?

A: They’re much better defensively at 2nd base with the trade for Josh Barfield. As far as the bullpen goes. Even if the guys they signed are 100 years old or not 100% healthy, they can’t do any worse than last year’s pen did. Can they? As for David Dellucci in left field? I felt that money could have been spent on more bullpen help or in a trade to bring somebody here, by picking up the remaining years on their contract.

Q: Are the Buckeyes going to beat the Gators?

A: Yes and yes! December 23rd in basketball at Florida, 82-78. January 8th in football for the National Championship, 34-24!

This and that

Kenny Roda from WKNR SportsTalk 850 will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the sports world both locally and nationally. Check back often for his updates!

BCS Surprise?

It was no surprise to me that the Ohio State Buckeyes will play the Florida Gators for the National Championship on January 8, 2007 in Glendale, Arizona. As a Harris Poll voter for the last two seasons, I’ve watched more college football than I ever have in the past and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I took my job seriously as a voter and tried to provide myself with as much information as humanly possible to help me make my decisions each week, including purchasing the college football package from DirecTV. Also attending the Ohio State-Michigan game in person gave me a better feel for those two teams and seeing Florida play at least five times on TV helped me in accessing their squad.

For me, when it was all said and done I voted this way in the final Harris Poll:
1) Ohio State 2) Florida and 3) Michigan and here’s why. Since there is no playoff system in college football (that’s a topic for another day), you have to take what you’ve watched, what you’ve read and what you’ve heard and put all that together in determining your choice. Having seen OSU and Michigan up close, to me the final score of that game (42-39) made the game seem more close than it was. Ohio State controlled the contest throughout, even though they turned the ball over three times and led by 11 late in the 4th quarter. Then the Buckeyes went into a somewhat prevent defense which allowed Michigan to score their final touchdown to make it a three point game. So to me Ohio State was more impressive than the final score indicated and the Buckeyes won the Big Ten title and Michiagn didn’t.

Florida, like Michigan, ended the season with one loss, but played in the toughest conference in the country and ended up winning their conference, the SEC. Also add in that the Gators beat nine bowl teams against the Wolverines’ six. Florida finished 3-1 versus ranked teams, while Michigan went 1-1. And throw in my gut feeling and what my brain was telling me after watching over parts of more than a hundred games this year and that’s why I voted the way I did. Florida’s total body of work over the entire season was more impressive to me than Michigan’s. One other note in case your interested, prior to this past weekend’s games I had Ohio St. #1, USC #2, Florida #3 and Michigan #4. So for me Florida didn’t have to leapfrog Michigan, they were already ahead of them in my voting, and when USC lost and Florida won that sealed the deal for me.

An Early Christmas Present For Browns Fans

While I wasn’t surprised that the Gators ended up being the Buckeyes opponent, I was surprised that the Browns rallied for an exciting 31-28 victory over the Chiefs. I thought for sure the Browns were on their way to loss #9 when they trailed Kansas City 28-14 in the 4th quarter on Sunday. With everything that transpired this past week it looked like more doom and gloom for the fans of Cleveland and then out of nowhere the Browns failed to die and came back for a much needed victory. Give credit to Romeo Crennel, his entire staff and most importantly the players for showing the guts and courage that this town has been looking for in a football team for a long time. Derek Anderson stepped in for the injured Charlie Frye and got the job done, along with the rest of his teamates on offense, defense and special teams. It was a total team victory. The big question now is, was it a one time thing, or can they actually build off of it to help turn this season around? The Browns haven’t won back-to-back games since 2003 and the opportunity presents itself this week, on Thursday night, in Pittsburgh to accomplish that feat. By Friday morning we’ll know if they’ve really made progress, or if it was just one lucky afternoon on the Lakefront.

Dolan’s Discounts are at it again

Go get your Indians playoff tickets now. Don’t wait, or you’ll get shut out. Are you kidding me with the moves the Tribe has made so far this off-season. David Delucci in left field? Forty-two year old relief pitcher Roberto Hernandez? Left-handed reliever Aaron Fultz? And maybe Joe Borowski, who flunked a physical for Philadelphia last week as the possible closer?

What a joke. The trade for 2nd baseman Josh Barfield has some promise, but these other moves are insulting to the fans of Cleveland who want and will support a winning baseballteam (455 straight sellouts-a major league record).

Who’s to blame?

Kenny Roda from WKNR SportsTalk 850 will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the sports world both locally and nationally. Check back often for his updates!

When you look at the 3-8 Browns of 2006, there are so many things that are wrong, that you don’t know where to begin. But let’s try and see if there’s one major problem or a ton of little problems.

A second year head coach in Romeo Crennel who has a combined record of 9 & 18 and is losing this team game by game, minute by minute. Those Super Bowl rings as an assistant coach only go so far in the respect category.

An owner in Randy Lerner who may be more concerned with his football (that really means soccer) team in England, than his football (that really means football, all though you’d never guess it by watching them) team in Cleveland.

A wide receiver in Braylon Edwards who’s dropped as many balls as he has one liners. Calling out coaches, teammates and opposing teams in the media. If he grabbed the passes thrown his way like he grabbed Charlie Frye Sunday on the sidelines, he’d be a Pro Bowl candidate.

An offensive line that acts like turnstiles, allowing opposing defenses to get to Charlie Frye faster than Browns fans can get into their seats at the stadium.

A quarterback in Charlie Frye who created more turnovers than Martha Stewart and the Pilsbury Doughboy combined.

No real veteran backup quarterback to tutor Charlie Frye through these tough times.

An offense, who now with it’s second offensive coordinator, hasn’t scored a touchdown in six quarters and was shut out today by the NFL’s 32nd, that’s right, the last ranked defense in the entire league.

A general manager in Phil Savage who needs to be held accountable for his talent evaluation so far in the draft, free agency and in trades. It now makes you wonder if indeed it was Ozzie Newsome who was the brains behind the Baltimore Ravens. By the way, Baltimore is now 9-2 and running away with the AFC North.

The Fans. For continually showing up and selling out the stadium even when you know the product sucks!

I could go on and on about the secondary, the running backs, strength and conditioning. But I think we’ve figured out at least one thing here. That it’s not just one major problem. It’s a bunch of major problems that the Browns need to correct just to be considered a respectable team. Because right now with all the chaos and confusion going on, they’re considered a laughing stock in the NFL.

O-H-I-O!

Kenny Roda from WKNR SportsTalk 850 will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the sports world both locally and nationally. Check back often for his updates!

Thoughts on an unforgettable football weekend in Ohio:

42-39…I was confident that the Buckeyes would win, but not in a fastbreak, trackmeet, shootout! But I’m not complaining. The only ones who are hail from Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was a joy to watch in person. The atmosphere was unbelievable at “The Shoe.” Talk about living up to the hype and then some. WOW!

About those complainers from up north wanting a rematch, especially running back Mike Hart. You’re ragging on Ohio State’s defense? Look in the mirror, Mr. Hart. Your defense gave up over 500 total yards and six times the amount of rushing yards you had been averaging and you only recorded one sack. Shut up and take it like a man. They say a player and the team takes on the personality of the coach. I guess that’s definitely true here!

Michigan came in giving up only 1.6 yards per carry in the first 11 games of the season and 29 yards on the ground per game. The Buckeyes rushed for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns on 29 carries. That’s an average of 6.4 yards per carry. Mike Hart, are you paying attention? How about giving some credit to the Buckeyes’ offensive line and running backs Antonio Pittman (139 yards) and Chris Wells (56 yards).

With Troy Smith throwing for 316 yards and 4 touchdowns and running for 17 more yards against Michigan, he raised his career totals in 3 starts against the Wolverines to 1056 yards of total offense with 9 touchdowns. And he did so while posting a 3-0 record as a starter! Nobody loves hunting and killing wolverines better than Troy.

With those numbers against that team from up north, a record of 25-2 as a starter, a Heisman Trophy coming his way on December 9th, playing for a National Title, and with a win on January 8th, 2007, Troy Smith has the chance to cement himself as the greatest quarterback to ever play at THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY! He may have done so even before playing in the championship game. Not bad for a kid who was one of the final recruits in that class of 2002!

Eight different receivers caught balls from Troy Smith, while six different players scored touchdowns against Michigan. Talk about balance and depth. Nobody else in the country can match that.

Name me a better BIG GAME coach or, for that matter, a better every day coach than Jim Tressel. You can’t. He’s simply the best in college football right now. He’s now 5-1 versus Michigan and 4-1 in bowl games with a 3-0 mark in BCS bowl games. His overall career record at Ohio State is now 62-13, good for a .827 winning percentage. The man in the sweater vest has led the Buckeyes to 4 BCS Bowl games, 3 Big Ten Titles, 2 National Championship appearences and 1 National Championship and possibly a 2nd National Title to be decided on January 8th, 2007. Counting his time at Youngstown State, Jim Tressel is making his 8th appearance in a National Title game. He won 4 championships in 6 tries at YSU and is going for his 2nd in 2 tries at OSU.

Rematch, Part 2…If Ohio State has to play Michigan again, then so be it. If that’s what the pollsters and the computers say, then let’s get it on again! The Buckeyes are the best team in the country and can beat anybody, anywhere, especially in their home away from home in Arizona. Would I like to see USC or Florida as the Buckeyes’ opponent? Yes. That way they’ll have beaten the defending National Champion Texas Longhorns, the best the Big 12 has to offer, their arch-rival Michigan for the 5th time in the last 6 years, and the best that either the PAC 10 has to offer or the winner of the highly praised SEC conference.

Any way you look at it, the Buckeyes have the chance to do something that no other team, to my knowledge, has done, and that’s beat three #2 ranked teams in one season. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Lee Corso and Skip Clue-Less!

Hats off to all the policemen at the game on Saturday. I was on the field for the final five minutes of the game and they handled things as well as you possibly could. I asked one officer what the game plan was once the final gun had sounded and the Buckeyes and all of their fans wanted to celebrate. He told me we’re here to protect the goalposts and make sure nobody gets hurts. He said you’re not going to stop them from running on the field, so we’ll let them and just make sure nobody gets close to the goal posts. Well done. To my knowledge it went well and nobody was seriously hurt. Which is amazing since they had a record crowd of 105,708.

Also a tip of the cap to the fans. While it was a little crazy down on the field, the fans controlled themselves, especially around the players and The Best Damn Band In The Land. I thought to myself, how awesome is it, that not one fan ran into a band member as they were playing Carmen Ohio after arguably the greatest regular season victory in school history. Now that’s respect!

On to the other game over the weekend. We go from the Game of the Century to the Battle for the Basement. Bad teams find a way to lose and that’s exactly what the Browns did in their rivalry matchup with the Steelers…24-20. Cleveland led by 10 points on three different occasions, including a 20-10 cushion with 4:30 minutes to play and still blew it. Pittsburgh scored 21 fourth quarter points to make it 6 straight wins over the Browns and 12 wins in the last 13 meetings. The Browns may have gained some respect, but the Steelers, even in an off year, posted the victory.

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