Oh hey, let’s do The Boots again this week. I’ll share some Ups and some Downs from around the world of sports, focusing on Cleveland things, as usual.
Boot Down: A Blast from the Past … Back in 2013, I compiled a log of 60 mock drafts from around the internet. Largely, the exercise helped shape the landscape for what players may be available at No. 6, where the Cleveland Browns picked that season. Tackle Eric Fisher, tackle Luke Joeckel and linebacker Dion Jordan went at the top, as anticipated. Future All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson was a bit of a surprise for Philadelphia at No. 4, while future Pro Bowl defensive end Ezekiel Ansah was expected at No. 5 for Detroit.
There was a clear consensus from the mock drafts about the likely pick for Cleveland after that: Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. In reality, Milliner slipped down to No. 9 and the New York Jets, where he played only 21 career NFL games. The eventual selection, defensive end Barkevious Mingo out of LSU, was oft-expected to be picked closer to the middle of the first round. Mingo lasted only three years in Cleveland himself.
Why do I bring all of this up? Obviously, mock draft research for 2018 would be a lot more clear-cut. It’s easier to assess availability at No. 1 (duh) and No. 4 than it was for No. 6 five years ago. But there are also a ton of other places already doing this kind of analysis: SB Nation has some nice visuals, Eat Drink and Sleep Football has a metric ton of links.
My two cents on all the draft mania: I really, really want a Rosen Browns jersey. And I just do not understand how Josh Allen could plausibly rank ahead of any of the other top quarterbacks in this draft. Give me Rosen, give me Darnold, Mayfield, heck, I’d be fine with Lamar Jackson later, too! I just don’t get the Josh Allen hype at all. (This means I staunchly disagree with Cleveland.com’s Hayden Grove gut-driven argument to the nth degree.)
Boot Up: Playoff time again … Let’s repeat the most absurd fact I can recite from memory: LeBron James has won 21 consecutive first-round playoff games. His last loss came on May 6, 2012, in Game 4 against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Miami and Cleveland have won these games by an average of 104.4 to 95.0 (+9.4). After the Game 5 victory over the Knicks in 2012, there have been sweeps of Milwaukee, Charlotte, Boston, Detroit and Indiana in the past five seasons. Now, the Cavs face off against the Indiana Pacers yet again. The bet to make: Will it be a sweep?
Overall, the Cavs are 36-5 (.878) in the last three years of Eastern Conference playoffs. Miami was 48-16 (.750) in the four years before that. That totals up to an astounding 84-21 (.800) record. Considering how just two weeks ago I was flabbergasted by 10 consecutive years of .600-plus regular season records, the playoff accomplishments are just even more spectacular.
Boot Down: April baseball … It seems worse than ever before, no? Maybe I can blame the rose-tinted lens by which I look at baseball overall from my childhood. In the ‘90s, baseball tickets were a hard sell in Northeast Ohio. This was even true during April. But nowadays, the cold weather nationwide has led to minor league-esque attendance numbers around the league of late.
Tonight's paid attendance for Mets-Marlins of 7,003 is the smallest announced crowd ever for a game at Marlins Park. Before tonight, the worst attendance at the park was 10,428 on April 1 of this year.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) April 10, 2018
That was Monday’s attendance in Miami. The Marlins promptly announced only 6,516 in the house on Tuesday. The Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer wrote about how the franchise actually changed the way with which they announce reported attendance. So, things might not be that different. But it’s not a Miami-only issue. The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck wrote about the rough April numbers for the Orioles. The Oakland Athletics announced sub-8,000 attendance numbers twice during last week’s homestand against Texas.
The season started earlier than normal this year, sure. And it’d be a schedule nightmare to force warm-weather cities to host the first week or two of the season. (That also doesn’t alleviate Miami’s issues, of course.) But at this point … it just seems hard to rationalize a 162-game schedule anymore. Revenue will always be king, which makes this a long-shot for change, but in the sake of health, business aesthetics and common sense, one can hope all parties could meet closer to the 150-ish range in the future. It just makes so much sense! Start the season two weeks later and call it a day.
Boot Up: The Andre Ingram story … There are some wonderful moments that happen in the sports world. One of them is the story of 32-year-old Andre Ingram, who played the last two games of the season with the Lakers. See below to enjoy something very, very special. And someone give him a shot at an NBA roster in 2018-19!
You stay on the grind and at the end of your 10th year, you finally get the call.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 10, 2018
— NBA (@NBA) April 11, 2018
great story aside Andre Ingram is a 46% 3-point shooter on 1,500 career G-League attempts and I feel like that should get him a legit roster spot somewhere
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) April 11, 2018
Sam Amick, USA Today | Kobe Bryant floored by Lakers’ rookie Andre Ingram’s debut: ‘Are you kidding me?’
Barry Petchesky, Deadspin | Andre Ingram Is The NBA’s Best Story
Christian D’Andrea, SB Nation | Andre Ingram’s NBA dreams came true after 11 years of G League excellence
Colin Dwyer, NPR | 32-Year-Old NBA Rookie Steps Off Bench And Floors Crowd In ‘Helluva Opening Night’
Boot Down: NE Ohio Newspapers … And finally, sending some love to the journalists in Northeast Ohio after some big news went down this week.
More financial woes at https://t.co/0I4vjtGlBA. Owner company Advance offering buyouts . 29 staffers with 15 or more years PD/ .com experience eligible.Veteran reporters and familiar columnists among those who have until Monday to decide to stay or leave.
— Tom Beres (@TomBeres) April 10, 2018
Beacon Journal being sold to Gatehouse..paper will survive but employees’ futures uncertain
— Amanda Garrett (@agarrettABJ) April 11, 2018