Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to email@example.com.
Leading off, we know Carlos Santana is playing winter ball to get some reps at third base. But how likely is he to succeed? Grant Brisbee at SB Nation has some examples. “Right now, if you’re an Indians fan, you’re thinking about Miguel Cabrera. He’s rummaging around in your brain like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, even as you’re trying not to think of him. You’re getting sad. And that’s before you consider that Cabrera wasn’t really that bad at his return to third, considering. Then remember that he had a ton of professional experience at the position, and that his conversion was much more likely to succeed than Santana’s. Sorry. But if you’re looking for optimism, think about Pablo Sandoval, who had 105 games at third in the low minors compared to Santana’s 58. There was no reason for Sandoval to work out at third, especially when you get to his … unique physical geometry. But it worked out. Sandoval’s had an up-and-down career at third defensively, but the ups are quite up. He was a Gold Glove finalist in 2011, and he deserved to be.” [SB Nation]
The Cavaliers have had trouble getting Andrew Bynum in the right spots. Alex Raffali at Stepien Rules elaborates, “Bynum has an old school type of game. Big men of his size and skill come once in a generation. He can play on both blocks, even if he seems to prefer being set up on the right side, where he can face up, go over both shoulders for a hook, or spin in the lane. He can also take a couple dribbles and finish with a nifty layup or a devastating dunk at the rim. This does not make him ineffective on the left block, where he seems to enjoy turning around towards the baseline for a fadeaway jumper that is so sweet you wonder how such a monstruous human being can move so smoothly, or a simple but extremely efficient up and under when he turns towards the paint. His combination of strength, quickness and footwork makes him a complete package guy around whom you want to build a powerful offense. It is easy to understand why Mike Brown wants to make him the number one threat on that end of the floor.” [Stepien Rules]
Is Ubaldo coming back to the Tribe in 2014? The longer it goes, the more you think maybe it’s a possibility. Steve Orbanek at IBI thinks so, “Jimenez likely realizes that he probably owes some of his success to Callaway, so he is probably open for a reunion in 2014, especially if the price is right. Also, I want to be clear that it is also in the Indians’ best interest to re-sign Jimenez. His performance during the second half of 2013 was not that of back-of-the-rotation or middle-of-the-rotation type starter. It was a bonafide ace-like performance; arguably the best performance that the Indians have seen from any pitcher in years. Because of his history, there is always going to be some risk involved, but every move that the Indians have made this offseason has risk. What if 2013 was the start of a trend and Murphy continues to struggle? What if Axford is wild at the back of the bullpen and is removed from his closer’s role by June? Those are clear and fair questions. Questions also would surround the re-signing of Jimenez, but there is a marked difference between Jimenez and the team’s acquisitions like Murphy and Axford.” [Indians Baseball Insider]
Rob Neyer penned an interesting response to a discussion about being a sports fan, as he discusses the evaporation of his own fandom, “Two, I know exactly how Patrick feels. As you probably know, I became a baseball fan because of the Kansas City Royals, and was obsessed with that team for … oh, maybe 30 years, give or take. I’m no longer obsessed. This does bother me some. I do miss that little passionate piece of me. I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe it’s just the time and the distance; I left the Midwest nearly 20 years ago, and it’s been even longer since the Royals were consistently competitive. But my physical and temporal connection to the Minnesota Vikings is even more tenuous, and my ardor for that franchise took even longer to cool. More than the time and the distance, though, I think it’s simply that I’m not the Royals’ target demographic. For 25 years, the Royals have made move and move after move after move after move that defied logic, and eventually they just wore me down. You might consider this a good thing. Dan Shaughnessy believes that one can’t want a team to win and be objective about that team. I don’t know. Maybe he’s right. But I think we’re all masses of biases and prejudices and desires, and if one of those is wanting your team to win … well, that seems manageable enough. Especially if you’re honest about it.” [Neyer/SB Nation]
Could the Bucks be in danger of moving? Sam Amico explores the whispers of the team the Cavs beat last night, “”I have a lot of fond memories of Milwaukee,” former Bucks and current Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said earlier this week. Among Stotts’ memories: The 2000-01 season, when he was an assistant under George Karl. The Bucks advanced to the Eastern Conference finals that year. After a stint in Atlanta, Stotts became the head coach of the Bucks in 2005, guiding them to the playoffs in his first season. Like everyone in the NBA, Stotts heard the news about Senator Herb Kohl, who has owned the Bucks since 1985. Kohl said he’s looking for additional ownership partners. He stressed that any potential co-owners must be committed to keeping the team in Milwaukee. Of course, all that does is lead to speculation. What if Kohl fails to find partners? What if he’s forced to sell the team to a new group? What if the Bucks become the Seattle SuperSonics?” [Amico/FSO]
Finally, Ohio State plays Notre Dame in a big out-of-conference matchup in Madison Square Garden this evening. Kyle Rowland with Eleven Warriors has your preview, “It’s the second such chance Notre Dame’s received in as many games. Last Saturday, the Irish beat the Hoosiers in front of a crimson-and-cream-clad Bankers Life Fieldhouse. After struggles at both ends of the floor, Notre Dame put together a complete game. It limited Indiana’s transition attack and forced them to shoot jump shots, which resulted in a field-goal percentage that barely crept over 40 percent. In all three losses this season, the Irish have allowed opponents to get too comfortable and dictate every facet of the game. “You’re always playing catch-up and that’s not something you want to do ever,” junior guard Pat Connaughton said. “It comes down to that mental focus to start the game.”” [Eleven Warriors]