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Clearing the decks.

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New Miami unis. As far as *new* uniforms go, these are as subtle as it gets. (While still fitting in some chrome, of course.)


Tarted-up uniforms done right, done wrong, and John Greco.

UPDATE 7/26, MUST READ:  Training Camp Dispatch from @zachluby via Reboot.

Miami’s new uniforms, very prodesse quam conspici.

Miami University (my alma mater) is out with new football uniforms.  Ever since Miami dropped the Redskins nickname in favor of Redhawks (1997), there’s been a struggle -in my opinion- to hit the mark for Miami’s sports teams’ uniforms.  After all Miami is a school heavy on tradition.  Kissing under the Upham Arch.  Beta, Sigma Chi, Phi Delt alpha chapters.  Miami was a school before Florida was a state.  Et cetera.


Prodesse quam conspici.

So do you capture the tradition of a school founded in 1809 when your new nickname sounds like a NY-Penn short season Class A minor baseball team?

Welp they did good with this iteration.  And, it seems, they did it by using their seal as the main design element.  Prodesse quam conspici translates roughly to “Progress without being all proud and showy about it.”

That’s what this uniform does.  It brings in new design elements like the shiny helmet and a new approach to the shoulder treatment.  But it stops short of glitzing it up with lots of stripes or piping or fluorescent color tones.

I’m thinking of Michigan as a case study in doing it wrong.  Don’t know the latin for “Conspicuous regression” but Michigan represents it in a football uniform.  Michigan’s contract with adidas is worth $80m.  Maybe they should have taken $60m from Russell and kept their soul.  Or maybe they should have just kept control over what their jersey should look like.  Whatever the case:  Michigan, take a cue from Miami and get back to your best-in-the-country uniforms that you used to have.

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Great uniforms with great tradition are not to be screwed with.

Well done Miami; Adidas, you surprised me in a good way. (more…)

Clearing the Decks, bitchy edition.

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Minor gripe session this morning.

I try hard not to be “that blogger.”  Bitch, bitch, bitch.  “You know what grinds my gears?”  All that stuff.  I did What’s Great about Cleveland and Adopt a Brownie.  Pointed out the good side of Dan Gilbert.  Hell, I’ve even got a “What if SUNY-Stony Brook got serious about football” piece in my drafts.

I try to bring more than bitch.  For example, you won’t see me saying:

  • It’s Pronounced “Lajaway” is a horrible name for a blog; just feels unfriendly.  I deliberately avoid the site because it’s already presumed to talk down to me before I’ve even clicked on it.
  • Cleveland-focused SBNation sites are absurd with their ‘no-use-of-the-subject-line-in-the-forum’ rules and the self-policing of the silly rule is consistently petty and unfriendly and actually dickish to any hapless newbie who makes that blunder.  “IT MAKES IT HARD TO READ!  ALSO: NO GIFS!!!!”  Geez, lighten up Francis.  Go check out EDSBS, they seem to be doing alright.  Not for nothing, some (all?) of us scan before reading.  Your Asik post has 700+ comments… sure would be nice if I could scan subject lines instead of [not] reading 700 comments.

Disclaimer now out of the way, I’ve got three bitchy items to bring up.

“The Official Energy Partner of the Cleveland Browns.”

FirstEnergy Stadium is now the home of the Browns.  The signage went up last week.  It’s a “meh” item until you stop and think about it.

My understanding on stadium naming rights is that it’s basically a high-profile billboard and, like any advertising, intended to help companies gain share or increase sales.

So why does a regulated monopoly need to advertise?  Here’s what FE says:

By joining two Ohio traditions, this partnership and regional branding opportunity makes good business sense,” said FirstEnergy’s Alexander. “FirstEnergy and its predecessor utilities have been serving the energy needs of customers throughout northern Ohio for more than a century, while the Browns’ rich legacy in the same regional footprint dates back to 1946. It is clear the team is headed in the right direction and we look forward to being part of the new energy in FirstEnergy Stadium.

But how does this “regional branding” improve your captive customers’ service or make that service more cost-effective?

If this is a ‘giving back to the community’ thing, is giving $100,000,000 to a billionaire the best idea you could come up with?

Don’t ask questions Kanick.  The Browns now have an official energy partner.  Here’s what Joe Banner says:

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If you’re in a shaded area, you’re a First Energy customer.
I.e., not cell phone service; you don’t choose.

Having a stadium naming rights deal in place was extremely important for us as we look toward the future, and it was just as imperative to accomplish this with a strong, regional company such as FirstEnergy,” said Banner. “We are excited about what this long-term partnership means, allowing both the Browns and FirstEnergy to derive many benefits from this association. This deal is a great example of why we feel very good about the direction our organization is headed, and we believe it can serve as a catalyst for many other positive developments moving forward.

[Ugh.  What utter gobbledygook.]

Terms weren’t disclosed, but reportedly FE will pay about $6 million a year for 17 years.  Call me crazy, but public monopolies with $6M x 17 = $102M cash on hand should be plowing that into the physical plant or rebating their customers or cutting their rates.

If you’re stroking a check to FE from Pennsylvania or New Jersey… are you not even more in the WTF boat?

The Official Energy Partner of the Browns.


Update:  here are some comments from the ABJ readers who observe many of the same problems with this arrangement.  (Thanks Titus!)

The Mayor of Akron since 1987.

Mr. Mayor.

If you missed it, Don Plusquellic showed up on the Baskin-Phelps Show Wednesday to address a perceived slight from Andy Baskin.  The Mayor had made demonstrably wrong, borderline stupid, obviously uninformed comments on Dan Gilbert’s lack of spending causing LeBron to leave:

I wish Dan Gilbert would have spent some of his money and gone out and bought a couple of all-stars and then said to LeBron, ‘Hey, I’m giving you a team that you can win a championship here.’ Instead, everybody waited, held their cards close to the vest and said, ‘OK, LeBron please sign.

Baskin responded with a very strong piece that rebutted Plusquellic’s misinformation point by point.  Seriously, good work by Baskin up until he closed with a cheap shot:

The Mayor of Akron needs to be worrying about jobs and economic growth in his Summit County city.

I set out to write a piece defending Plusquellic.  After all, being mayor and making stupid sports talk are not mutually exclusive.  As dumb as Plusquellic’s comments were, he’s not the only one getting the Lebron-Cavs era wrong.

But after listening to the radio interview, I was moved to write a j’accuse screed directly toward the people of Akron.

You elected this guy your mayor seven times? (more…)

Clearing the decks.


Just try not to laugh at the Mets fan falling down. I dare you.
(Longer version below.)

How about a grab bag of quick hitters this afternoon?  Here’s some randomness and some items from my favorited tweets file.

Does TBDBITL take requests?

When I workout, there’s usually fair amount of light cardio preceding some weight circuits.  When I’m doing cardio, I listen to a workout playlist set to random.  Don’t judge me … but KC and the Sunshine have an underrated gem in their catalog.

I like Hang On Sloopy as much as the next guy.  But tell me “I’m Your Boogie Man” wouldn’t be perfect with OSU horns.

Wait, wait hear me out.  Go two-thirds in, (actually, go 2:45 in) where there’s a piano and when it starts its crescendo.  Not hard to picture mellophones, then flugelhorns, then trumpets… then the cornets knocking it out of the park.  Fits neatly into a punchy minute or 30 second version too.

I dunno man.  I think it’d be speck-tack.

(I’d also be in favor of working Bruce Channel’s Hey! Baby into the repertoire although I think it’s in circulation at other schools now, isn’t it?)

These are the things one thinks about in a 45 minute Cybex session.

Best Ohio High School stadia.

Tiger Stadium… #2?

Going back a month ago, Zac Jackson offered a link to one man’s list of the best Ohio HS stadiums.  The blog lists the top ten like this:

#10 Grove City;
#9 Steubenville:
#8 St. X;
#7 Middletown;
#6 Sidney;
#5 Mansfield;
#4 Elder;
#3 Harding;
#2 Massillon, annnd… (more…)

Clearing the decks.

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With the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select…

NBA Draft items.

Very cool to win the NBA Draft lottery.

NBA Draft picks? Truly.

Alex Lin Len.  7’1″ 255 19 years old from the Ukraine.  We haven’t had a real “5” since Brad Daugherty.  Sign me up.

It’d be one of the more Cleveland things ever for the Cavs to sign Lebron, win 65 games in the 2015 season, blow through the East … and then lose 4-1 to the Warriors who somehow acquired Dwight Howard and employ an offense of Howard abusing Nerlins Noel down low and kicking out Steph Curry/Klay Thompson drilling threes on the perimeter as a baffled Mike Brown looks on.

(That’s a reference to the 2009 playoffs vs. Orlando.) 

But you don’t want to know from me.  In 2011, I’d have taken Derrick Williams and then hoped for Enes Kanter.  (And I still really like Kanter.)  (And I just clicked this link and learned Kanter started two games for Utah last season.)  (See dog at right.)

I’m content to ride with Chris Grant’s call.  In my opinion, he’s been stellar with every transaction he’s made.  Seriously… I can’t think of a move he’s made that looks bad.  And he left himself open for second guessing with the TT and Waiters picks.  He’s got a courage of convictions which, it appears, is derived from doing lots of homework.  We in good hands.

Final draft thought:  gotta give an assist to Byron Scott.  It would have been easy to win three more games and draft in the New Orleans, Sacto range.  But Scott stayed true to the mission:

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Scott did his job and did it heroically.

Only partly tongue-in-cheek here.  We’re not pro tanking.  No not at all. And yet …

The good citizen.

Good on Chris Perez for dropping twitter.

I know some like the ability to interact with the athlete via twitter but it’s such a double-edged sword, especially for the thin-skinned.  Once you show a chink in the armor, there’s always someone out there to tweak it, just for sport.  (Didn’t anyone have little brothers?)

If you’re an athlete with twitter, it’s pretty good policy NOT to interact.  Take a tip from Alex Mack:  he still hasn’t responded to my request for updates on his contract extension and whether he’ll go into free agency if it’s not done by end of camp.  Wise man that Cal grad.

As you may know I’ve been hard on Perez.  But let the record show that I’ve noted a more focused Perez this year and duly sent the props.

Regarding last weekend, I think I’m willing to chalk up it to a sore shoulder.  And even as I write that, I don’t really believe it.  Perez has always had a lot of loud outs.  With Perez’ commitment to first pitch strikes, it was a matter of time before batters would get the scouting report and starting opening up on him early.  Home runs are to be expected.

To be honest, I’d rather have him giving up homers than walks (if that makes any sense).  You’re the closer:  close.  Attack.  Challenge.  Closers have to have that kind of attitude and sometimes it bites you in the ass. Perez ain’t Gossage and never will be.  He’s not overpowering.  His strength is, ironically, that god damn attitude that I haven’t liked but could grow to as it matures. (more…)

Clearing the Decks: BASEBALL edition!

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Nice playing guys. But about those socks…


I see you Tribe.  I don’t know what to do with you though.   You have a history as a tease.

But I see what you’re doing.  Leading MLB in homeruns.  Leading the AL in the all important OPS (On-base percentage plus Slugging) number; trailing only the Tigers in the old-fashioned Batting Average stat still favored by Kanick.  The strikeouts I was concerned about aren’t a big problem so far, 15th in MLB there.

Mark Reynolds in particular has been a great surprise.  The homers are great of course but he projects as 30 HR guy.  It’s his work on the strikeouts that’s got my notice.  He was a 200 K/yr guy from 2008-2011; a solid 33% SO percentage.  So far this year his SO% is 23%.  But more than the numbers, you can see that he’s shortening his swing with a two strike count; looking to protect the plate, to make contact.  Much like Tristan Thompson and his free throws, the first step improvement is a willingness to change.  Reynolds is showing us a lot of that so far.

‘This ain’t Lucky Lager!’ said Josh Reddick last nite.

On the pitching side, the starters began slowly.  But they’ve looked better lately.  Kazmir’s last performance reminded me of his early years in the Rays when he was a 10+ SO/9 all-star.  Bauer, McAllister, Kluber are showing promise.

And then there’s Ubaldo.  That’s three wins in three starts after last night.  You have to go back to his Colorado days to find another such streak.  (Naturally this accomplishment was performed in the same month he was traded to us.)  Still, he was hitting 96 mph out of the stretch after 100 pitches thrown last night.  You can’t look at that without having some optimism.  Added bonus:  if he wins five in a row, the whole team will wear stirrup socks for his starts.

I’ll even give Chris Perez an acknowledgement.  He looks like he’s lost weight.  He’s seems determined to throw first pitch strikes.  He’s still and will always be a heart-attack closer, but it’s good to see him tending to his business and keeping his mouth shut.

There’s a lot to like with this Tribe team.  I haven’t even mentioned Santana or the bullpen or Raburn.  Swisher hasn’t caught fire but he looks to be doing the right things, feels inevitable that he’ll get hot.

You have to give the Indians’ front-office credit.  They weren’t afraid to go out and add pieces.  And they aren’t even forced to by a salary floor.

Jason Giambi: MLB’s Charles Woodson. (Well kinda.)

  • Swisher, 32
  • Raburn, 32
  • Reynolds, 29

—– Banner/Lombardi would stop here. —–

  • Stubbs, 28
  • Aviles, 32
  • Bourn, 30
  • Kazmir, 29
  • Myers, 32
  • Giambi, 42.

Can you imagine if Shapiro/Antonetti adopted the Banner/Lombardi ‘No Signings over 28’ tack toward free agency?  I can.  Suffice it to say, Shapiro/Antonetti would not be enjoying the same slack. (more…)

Clearing the Decks.

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We live in a world full of risk.
To wit: it was awfully dangerous to choose between William Beatty and William Moore in 2009.

Trade-back phobia from the Rizzo show.

I caught the Rizzo-Goldhammer-Grossi interview from 4/9.  First observation:  damn.  How does this guy Goldhammer have a job on radio?  How do you guys listen to him?  He’s positively prototype in being the uninformed-and-loud-and-whiny Browns fan.  Is he the one who’s actually a Steelers fan?*  (Really, I don’t know, but I’ve heard there’s a radio host in Cleveland who is a Steelers fan.. could you troll any harder?)

Anyway, he doesn’t want to trade down.  Here’s what he says (3:15 in the clip) and when you read this, try to adopt the voice of a petulant 14-year-old:

[regarding trading back] Tony I think that’s an awfully dangerous road to go down.  If I’m a Browns fan, tell me if I’m looking at this the wrong way, the last two times the Browns have traded down in 09 and 2011, both times pretty much it was a disaster and the team didn’t get any better and they passed on really good players and I don’t want them to do that again.  Why is this time different?


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The dangers of trading back… having to choose between Beatty and Vollmer.
O the carnage!

Says here that the famous 2009 trade back had some great players on the table.  See right:  Veikune was the Jets’ ‘trade-back’ pick.  (MoMass was from Kellen Winslow.)

There were nine players selected immediately after the ‘awfully dangerous’ trade-back second round pick and those players are sitting on a sum total of over $260,000,000 in NFL contracts four years later.

McCoy 6yr/47m; Loadholt 4/25m; Moore 5/28m; Kruger 5/40m; Vollmer 4/17m; Beatty 5/39m; Smith 3/16m.  (And Levitre is 6/47m.)

So the average current contract for these ‘dangerous’ picks is $30,000,000.


Here is the lesson to be learned:

Trading back is not the problem.
Making crappy draft picks is the problem.

Cutler:  already prepared for Cleveland radio hosts.

Corollary:  if you’re a bad draft picker in the second round, you’re also a bad picker in the first round.  So the draft can be an ‘awfully dangerous’ place wherever you are in it, radio talk show guy.  Prepare accordingly.


Smokin’ Jay Cutler to Cleveland in 2014?

When I look at the Browns’ cap space and try to figure out a plan, I keep coming back to throwing a mountain of signing bonus cash at a 2014 free agent.  The biggest FAs expected to be available are Jimmy Graham and Jay Cutler.  (Packers will get the extension done with Clay Matthews.)

I don’t want to get busy with the viability of my theory today.  But now that Jay Cutler is on my radar, I’ve been getting the biggest kick out of the Smokin’ Jay Cutler and DON’T CARE!!! memes.  The DONT CARE story is especially priceless.  In case you missed it, here’s the report from KSK:

Friend is in a bar in Chicago during the off-season. He goes to the bathroom and sees Jay Cutler, hat on backwards, taking a piss at the urinal. So the guy starts going to the bathroom and says, “Hey, I’m a huge fan, also went to Vanderbilt… ”

Jay throws his head back, still pissing, eyes half-closed because he’s drunk, interrupts him with, “DOOOONNNNTTTTTT CAAAAAARRRREEEEEE.”

Jay Cutler to Cleveland?

Want. (more…)

Clearing the decks.

Two quick hits today:  John Clayton, bad GM; random pro-day draft prospect biases.

Clayton proposes bad deal for Dolphins.

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You think?


So let me get this straight:  Clayton is pimping a deal for the Dolphins to replace their anchor LT, Jake Long, with an under-achieving 28 year old on a one year 9.8mm contract that they’ll have to figure out a way to extend against their hopelessly back-loaded cap structure.  And on top of the huge contract that the Dolphins can’t afford, they should give up one of their second round picks?


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Talk about ‘all-in’ for 2013.

There is a better solution we’ll get to, but first:

What do you mean ‘back-loaded contract structure’ Kanick?

You heard that the Dolphins signed Mike Wallace for 60mm, right?  Ellerbe for 35mm?  But did you notice that both of those contracts are carrying only 1mm against their cap this year?  What happens to the rest of the contract?

It gets pushed out, of course.  Check out how the 2013 ‘all-in’ contract shenanigans will affect the Dolphins’ 2014 contract sitch to the left. –>


Get the idea?  Re-signing/extending Branden Albert might be a bitch.  John Clayton.  Ass.

But Clayton is correct that the Dolphins’ two second round picks could become most useful.  As we reviewed in our piece last week, the Dolphins could also do this:

Browns’ #6 and #68 (3rd) for Dolphins’ #12, #42 (2nd), and #82 (3rd).

In so doing, they can be assured a top 10 LT (from the Joeckel/Fisher/Johnson crop) and sign him to a rookie contract.  In other words:  for the same draft pick and less money the Dolphins can get a comparable/better/younger LT by swapping picks with the Browns.

Meantime, we get the CB we want (Xavier Rhodes) and who knows what TE (Eifert??) might slip into the middle of the second round.

Let’s bang this drum.

John Clayton:  get your head out of your ass.

Will drafting this guy shut everyone up on the QB talk?

Miscellaneous draft prospect chatter.

Walter Football is tracking the pro days here.  Some memory is being jogged looking through these.  Here’s some random takes on the names so far.  Will have a part two on this at the end of the month.

Tyler Wilson.  I prefer to go to war with Weeden and whatever can be picked up cheaply.  (Unless it’s Mallett whom I support picking up with a 4th rounder.)  But if forced to choose between Tyler Bray and Tyler Wilson, I take Wilson.


Clearing the decks.

Sorry to be dark the last couple days.  It was not from writer’s block.  It was worse..

What do you do when your research does not fit your narrative?

I’ve got two posts on the shelf that I can’t get 100% behind after writing them.

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Dustin Keller: too pretty.










Excerpt from ‘Dustin Keller, FA target #4.’

Morin: all the glam you want.

“… First round pick from Purdue, 28, he’s got the athletic chops to be a top five tight end. 6-2/240, 4.53 40, 41in vertical, 26 225 bench reps. His numbers are good when you factor in the Jets lethargic offensive system. He led the team in receptions in 2010 and 2011. Even in his injury marred 2012, he put up the 2nd best DVOA, behind only Gronkowski.”

But I the more I dug, the more I see the Jets franchising him.  The tight end tag is the cheapest, under $6MM.  Keller is their most popular player and not that that should be a factor… but with the Jets… it’s a factor.

The other thing that bugged me was the number of glam shots when I was looking for a primary picture for the post.  In the screencap above, that’s 13 photos, one helmet:  NOT a ratio for a Browns tight end.

I still think Keller would be a nice pick-up, but I think it’s unrealistic.


Excerpt from ‘What to make of Margus Hunt?’ (more…)

Clearing the decks.

Saluting Athens and Holmes counties.

Frozen with indecision on the direction to take with the next post,,, so hows about a Frowndup so to speak?  One replete with employment of the royal ‘we’ .. use of which is also a subject of indecision this morning.


Can you write about the history of the game without using that person’s name?
We were struck to find this phrase used to describe the number one criterion for HOF induction in Newsome’s piece yesterday after it had been employed by Jamison Hensley in his pro-Art column yesterday (here).

But we’re growing to disturbed after unearthing two more HOF voters working the same bogus-ness:

This question is pretty touchy-feely.  Philosophical questions are raised.  If we introduce Kierkegaard’s concept of “Truth as Subjectivity,″ then we suggest that you can’t write the history of pro-football without using the @jimkanicki twitter handle.  Kant might agree.

To our thinking, this premise reflects base laziness and absolves the voter from any responsibility for research.  Much like our attempt to the move the discussion of Modell’s HOF induction toward review of his credentials, here is another challenge presented to us to topple ingrained thinking.  It do get wearying.


Clearing the decks.

No strong opinions on the Manti T’eo saga here.  We have a rich heritage of poor decision-making here and making judgements on or sport of others’ personal missteps is something we avoid.  My take is that it’s sad for T’eo to be so publicly embarrassed, disappointing to observe the Piranha-like tendencies of our sporty commentariat, and only moderately interesting in a sociology case-study context.

Jason Lloyd, national celebrity.  Nothing like breaking some LeBron James news to raise the profile of an Akron sportswriter, right?  Here’s the common sense article that kicked off LeBron-to-Cavs-in-2014 talk.  Lloyd:  “… more and more people around the league believe there is a strong possibility James will indeed return to Cleveland after next season.”  Here’s ABJ alumnus Chris Broussard getting out front of the story (cue the stock footage of burning ’23’ jerseys):  “It’s not crazy!”  Of course LeBron returning would be good news.  The question of ‘forgiveness’ is not whether LeBron will be forgiven by NEO fans;  it’s whether did anything to require forgiveness.  On the last question, for me, yes there was a betrayal of his home tribe so yes some contrition is expected and BUT OF COURSE he will be welcomed back.  (See above about personal poor decision-making and diligent non-judging.)

Kanicki, blog troll?  Here’s a suggestion of my having an agenda to drive page hits.  Surprising?  Yeah, actually I was surprised.  Now is as good a time as any to reiterate my intent here:  to keep the seat warm for we-know-who.  I actually tried to blog before.  Couldn’t do it on a regular basis.  Don’t expect to do so this time.  But at the same time Frowns and Frowns’ community have been part of my daily routine for years:  I both miss it and want to do what I can to sustain it.  Ok, nuf ced.