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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Bryant arrested

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Antonio Bryant was arrested on reckless and drunken driving charges after his Lamborghini was seen speeding faster than 100 mph on a freeway.

Bryant showed “signs and symptoms” of being drunk, Raffaelli (the police captain) said, and he was uncooperative, combative and verbally abusive. He refused to step out of the car, he said.

The officers were forced to use leather restraints to put Bryant in a seated position with his legs straight and his hands cuffed behind his back, Raffaelli said.

Hilarious. Anyone still wish we had this bozo on our team?

Butch goes back to school

Former Browns head coach Butch Davis may actually land another job. Sources say he is close to an agreement that would make him the University of North Carolina’s new football head coach.

A deal “hadn’t yet been finalized, but it seems we’re headed in that direction,” the source told ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach.

A source said an announcement of Davis’ hiring, barring late complications, could come as early as Monday.

FrankenButch obviousuly wasn’t cut out to handle an NFL head coaching job so I guess it’s good for him to return to the college ranks. One thing he’ll have difficulties with early on is recruiting. At the “U”, Davis could get pretty much every prospect he wanted because of Miami’s status and the state of Florida being a hotbed for quality high school football talent. Things will be a little different at North Carolina.

Roda Ramblings

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!

Tribe woes

If you feel like you had a rough week or a not so good weekend, then this should make you feel good. Put yourself in Fausto Carmona’s shoes, or spikes in this case. The Indians’ 22-year-old closer, for now, went 0-4 with 3 blown saves and an ERA of 37.08. And three of the losses were walk-off wins for the opposition. Which was more devastating, Big Papi’s three-run walk-off homer to dead center at Fenway Park or Pudge’s two-run rocket in Detroit? After seeing Carmona’s reaction after Pudge’s ball left the yard, I would say that’s the winner. Here’s hoping this doesn’t ruin Carmona for good. And here’s hoping the Indians take him out of the closer’s role immediately so, if his head isn’t totally fried already, they can do something he couldn’t…save something. Save what is left of a career for this kid for the future!

By the way, Jason Davis should take Carmona’s place. In his last four outings, he’s picked up one win, one save (the only one the Tribe has since they traded Wickman), and hasn’t given up a run in eight innings of work. He also picked up his teammates after they made errors behind him on defense in Detroit. The 26-year-old right-hander didn’t wilt under the pressure and rose to the challenge. Unlike C.C, Cliff Lee and others on the staff, Davis made the pitch to get out of the inning and showed great emotion walking off the field. Give him the ball in the ninth!

Indians GM Mark Shapiro told me last week on my radio show that he still thinks Eric Wedge is part of the solution and not part of the problem for the Indians. Shapiro, who I respect a great deal, and I disagree on this. Maybe it’s because of the team’s slow starts over the last four years. Or their poor base running night in and night out. Or their inability to play small ball. Or, I don’t know, maybe the fact that, counting Sunday’s loss at Detroit, in the last two years the Indians are a combined 31-55 in one-run games. That’s right, a winning percentage of just .360 in tight games where a manager does make a difference!

At 47-63, the fourth place Indians are a season worst 27.5 games behind first-place Detroit in the Central Division. By the way, all three losses in the Motor City this past weekend were by one-run (7-6), (4-3) and (1-0). Last year after 110 games the Indians were 58-52, good for second place in the division, 13 games behind first-place Chicago. But only 4.5 games out of the wild card.

Wright’s new deal

A few blogs ago we told you we thought All-Star third baseman David Wright could be to the Mets what Derek Jeter is to the Yankees, both on and off the field. While Wright still has a long way to go to accomplish that, he’s off to a good start. At last check, he’s hitting .308 with 22 homers and 82 RBI. The Mets obviously agree with us about the 23-year-old stud because they just signed him to a 6-year, $55 million contract. Now with the pressure on after inking a big deal, let’s see if David can be like Derek and produce the Wright stuff!

Browns’ first preseason game

Players I’ll be watching during Thursday’s exhibition game between the Browns and Eagles in Philadelphia. Rookie linebackers Kamerion Wimbley and D’Qwell Jackson. Center Bob Hallen, if he returns in time from his back injury, and right tackle Kirk Chambers. Mr. “Even at 90% I’m still better than any tight end in the league” Kellen Winlsow Jr. It’s time to shut up and put up for him. And last but not least, quarterback Charlie Frye. It recently came out that he suffered an apparent thumb injury which was why he exited early in the scrimmage Friday night. We’ll see how it affects him Thursday night in the city of Brotherly Love as number 9 is supposed to play about one quarter.

Strong start for LBJ and the USA

LeBron and Team USA was impressive the other nite in Las Vegas as they destroyed
Puerto Rico 114-69 in an exhibition game as they’re tuning up for the World Championships and down the road for the 2008 Olympics. LBJ’s linescore: 10 pts, 5 ast, 4 rebs in limited playing time. I love the fact that he’s finally getting some good coaching (sorry Mike Brown) from Duke’s Coach K!

Tiger

Congrats to Tiger Woods, the greatest sports star on the planet. All he did was record career PGA Tour win number 50 at the Buick Open on Sunday, becoming the youngest to reach such a mark. Sam Snead holds the all-time PGA record (for now) of 82 tour wins. When it’s all said and done, Tiger will break that and the record he covets most, the 18 major wins set by Jack Nicklaus. Tiger is at 11 majors with one more to play this year after winning the British Open.

Bucks #1

No surprise here. The USA Today coaches pre-season poll has Ohio St. ranked as its #1 team. Should the Buckeyes win the national title this season, they’ll be deserving champions considering they have regular season matchups at Texas and Iowa along with home contests against Penn St. and Michigan. All four teams are pre-season top 20 teams with the defending national champion Longhorns ranked #2. This year’s title game is Ohio State’s home away from home, the Fiesta Bowl, where they won their last national title five years ago and beat Notre Dame last year.

Talledega Nights

And finally…Went to see Talledega Nights this weekend. I’m a huge Will Ferrell fan and couldn’t wait to see him as NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby. Problem is I felt like I had already seen the movie. From all of his appearances on talk shows and with the trailers being played everywhere, when I went to the theater to watch, I had already witnessed all the funny scenes. Well, with the exception of his potty-mouthed sons Walker and Texas Ranger. Don’t get me wrong, it was still funny and I enjoyed the movie, but not as much as I thought I would. Sorry, Ricky Bobby. As you like to say, “If you’re not first you’re last!” So in this case, you’re last and the checkered flag for first place goes to Ron Burgundy!

Bryant is impressing in San Francisco

Former Browns wide receiver Antonio Bryant is feeling comfortable with his new team, the San Francisco 49ers, and is starting to develop a strong relationship with his new quarterback, Alex Smith.

The chemistry brewing between Smith and Bryant this camp seems to be the start of something special. As the days go by, Smith has found Bryant more and more down the field which was the 49ers plan this off-season when they went looking for playmakers in free agency.

“Absolutely, he’s a go-to guy,” said Smith. “He’s a guy who is going to compete for you, get open, be in the right spot, work for you when the ball is in the air. That’s very reassuring as a quarterback.”

Bryant sums it up by using one of his ever ready analogies.

“When When Mike (Jordan) got in a jam, the first person he looked to dish it to was (Scottie) Pippen,” said Bryant. “I feel like I’m Alex’s Pippen.”

With his abilities, Bryant possesses the characteristics that coaches want in a playmaking receiver. With Romeo Crennel’s philosophy of building a team with character as well as talent, the Browns chose not to re-sign him in the off-season. Bryant has always carried a bit of a temper with him wherever he has gone and Crennel wanted to eliminate that, even though Antonio had the best numbers of any Browns receiver last season.

Could re-signing him have helped the Browns? Certainly. But it’s understandable the path the Browns took, going with a more character-oriented player in Jurevicius rather than sticking with Bryant, who potentially could have provided some issues in the locker room.