MAY DAY! MAY DAY!

Kenny Roda will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the entire Cleveland sports universe. Check back often for his updates!

That’s the call from two out of the three professional sports teams in Cleveland on this first day of May 2006.

Let’s start with the Cavaliers. They’re coming back to Cleveland for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Wizards tied at two games apiece. Being that I predicted that LeBron and the Cavs would win this series in seven games, you would think I’d be feeling good right now. Well, I’m not!

MAY DAY! MAY DAY!

This series should be over already, or at the very least, the Cavaliers should be up 3-1. So why is this not the case? How about the fact that they blew a 15-point lead in Game 2, which I attended and felt sick to my stomach afterwards. I probably would have hurled if it weren’t for the gorgeous Cavalier Girls and their, how can I put this, Victoria Secret-like outfits!

Moving on to Game 4 in Washington. The Cavaliers blew another double-digit lead when they were up by 14 points in the second half and ended up losing by 10. Let me use my Baldwin-Wallace education for you on that one: subtract 2, add 10, carry the 3, that’s a 24-point turnaround in only 24 minutes. I know they’re young and LeBron is human, but it’s starting to feel like the old O.I.C. is happening again…”Only in Cleveland”! You know, The Drive, The Shot, Jose Mesa. Do I need to go on? Mike Brown, the Cavaliers rookie head coach, has performed or strategized like one so far. He admitted he screwed up late in Game 2 by not calling a timeout. Then in Game 4 he failed miserably, in my opinion, by not calling a timeout or two in the third quarter when the Wizards were mounting their comeback. He just sat back and watched as the team continued to shoot jumper after jumper and three-pointer after three-pointer in the pivotal third quarter.

So instead of preparing for the next round, or heading into Wednesday night’s game at The Q with a commanding 3-1 lead, it has essentially become a three-game series with the Cavaliers holding home-court advantage. And now that I think about it, it’s right on schedule for what I predicted at the beginning of this series: A Game 7 win on a LeBron James jumper over Washington’s Gilbert Arenas at the buzzer! Oh yeah, one more thing. If anyone sees Zydrunas Ilgauskas, tell him to stop catching some Z’s like Rip Van Winkle and show up for the final three games of the series because he sure hasn’t shown up for the first four!

THE RECORD IS BETTER, BUT ARE THE INDIANS BETTER?

The other “May Day” call you’re hearing in Cleveland is from Manager Eric Wedge of the Indians. Since starting the season strong at 6-1, the Tribe has closed the month of April losing 11 of their last 18 games to finish 13-12 for the month. Sure it’s three games better than last year when they finished 9-14 in April, but are they a better team?

Is Jason Michaels better than Coco Crisp? Is Paul Byrd better than Kevin Millwood? Who has replaced Bob Howry in the bullpen? C.C. Sabathia spent more time on the DL because he pulled his FAT GUT muscle. While the record says they are better, I’m not buying it just yet. Aaron Boone is hitting a whopping .247 with Johnny Peralta .at 219 and Michaels hovering around .245. Paul Byrd is 3-2 but his ERA is 8.02, almost three times that of Kevin Millwood’s from last season, which was good enough to win the A.L. ERA title. Sabathia has pitched in only two games now and the team as a whole has an ERA of 5.42. In addition, they still can’t bunt or play small ball and opponents continue to do whatever they want on the base paths. At last check, teams have gone 20 for 20 in stolen bases against the Indians so far, while the Tribe has swiped a total of just six bases. What has really changed? Eric Wedge can scream all he wants that this year’s team is better, but forgive me if I’m not buying into it. Don’t tell me, show me!

SAVAGE OFFERS BROWNS FANS HOPE

The one thing Cleveland sports fans can feel comfortable about is that Randy Lerner kept Phil Savage as general manager and fired Mr. GQ John Collins. Can you even imagine where the Browns would be if Collins stayed and Savage was fired? Yeah, sure, we’d have more G.E. Smith concerts for free and Collins would look stylish on the nightly sportscasts, but the football team would have had a malfunction as far as talent evaluation is concerned (Collins was the one who reportedly booked Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl that year). By keeping Savage, Learner scored big. All Savage did was go out and sign free agents by the likes of C LeCharles Bentley, LB Willie McGinest, DT Ted Washington, WR Joe Jurevicous and LT Kevin Schaffer. Then he went out and drafted DE/LB Kamerion Wimbley with their first-round pick, who they feel will be their pass-rusher of the future and who many scouts compare to Peter Boulware. The Browns followed that up by taking D’Qwell Jackson in the second round, the highest rated inside linebacker on the board. We all know how important those positions are in Romeo’s 3-4 defense and Savage did a wonderful job shoring up the linebacker spot with the first two selections. Considering these moves along with the other free agent signings and draft picks, the Browns are in a very good position. Add a healthy Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards to go with a more experienced Charlie Frye and things definitely are looking up for the boys in Berea and that should make Browns fans everywhere feel good.

But as is the case with most people in C-Town, the glass will always be half full. Hell, it’s bound to overflow one of these days. The question is which team will fill that glass with CHAMPAGNE first!?

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