Sunday, May 3, 2009

First Day on the Job: Matt LaPorta

New Cleveland outfielder Matt LaPorta parks his Kia in the 'Insurance Company Field' parking lot and approaches the clubhouse entrance. As he walks through the doors he hears a voice mumbling behind him. LaPorta turns around to see a man in cut-off jean shorts and a 'Twisted Sister' tank top. He's also wearing thick black rimmed glasses, a blond wig and what is clearly a fake mustache.

Man in Hall (in an exaggerated low voice): Hi newbie, my name is Marcus. What do you want?

LaPorta immediately recognizes the man to be Travis Hafner.

LaPorta: Umm, hello. I'm Matt. Aren't you--

Hafner: Why don't you shut the hell up Matt! No one even wants you hear you idiot! Everyone hates you!

LaPorta gives confused blank stare. Hafner stares back and after about 6 seconds he bursts in laughter.

Hafner (taking off wig, glasses, and mustache): Oh man, I'm just messin' with ya! Welcome to Cleveland dude!

Hafner hugs LaPorta, who is relieved but still a bit confused.

Hafner: Come on man, let me show you around. I've volunteered to be your mentor for the next few days.

LaPorta: Oh, okay.

The two begin to walk a hallway towards the clubhouse. On their way, they stroll by Asdrubal Cabrera.

Hafner: Hey Ah-blob-bo, I want you to meet our newest teammate, Matt.

Cabrera (annoyed): How many times Travis -- it's As-dru-bal. Asdrubal. (to LaPorta) Hi Matt.

LaPorta: Hi, nice to meet ya Asdrubal --looking forward to playing with you.

Asdrubal smiles and keeps walking.

Hafner: Bye, An-ber-blur! (to Matt) That guy is kind of 'touchy feely' sometimes, so watch out.

The two enter the clubhouse. Inside, several Indians players are walking around and preparing for the game. Hafner whistles to get their attention.

Hafner: Hey everyone, I want to introduce you to Matt LaPorta -- he's the new guy. Walking in here, he just told me that his favorite singer of all time is Mariah Carey. Make what you want of that -- personally, I think he's weird. Okay, that's all.

Everyone goes back to what they were doing. LaPorta shoots a stare at Hafner.

LaPorta: Hey, I never told you my favorite singer is Mariah Carey.

Hafner (confused): You didn't? I could have sworn you did. Oh well. Hey, let me take you over to my area, I got some awesome stuff to show you.

Hafner leads LaPorta over to his locker. When they get there LaPorta notices that Hafner has decorated his locker with magazine pictures and baseball cards of himself. Hafner sees LaPorta staring at them.

Hafner: Oh, you like? He's my favorite baseball player. (Hafner reaches into his locker) Hey Matt, gotta ask you? You like steroids?

LaPorta: Uhhhh--

Hafner pulls out a giant 4-foot-long novelty hypodermic needle from his locker.

Hafner: (laughing) Come on, pull your pants down. (laughs) Man, this thing gets me every time. My mom gave it to me for Christmas last year.

Just then, without notice, Hafner picks up a baseball from the bottom of his locker and wings it across the room and into the back of Grady Sizemore. As Grady turns around to see who threw it, LaPorta notices Hafner looking straight into his locker and pointing a finger right at him. LaPorta is speechless. He stares at an angry Sizemore and tries to nod his head 'no', but before he can Grady walks away.

LaPorta: What the hell man, why'd you do that?

Hafner: Hey, I got something else to show you man. (Hafner pulls out a 2-gallon steel bucket) This is my 'punching pale.' It's filled with orange peels, cottage cheese, Jell-O and whale blubber. I punch the shit out of it for like 10 minutes before every game.

Hafner lets out a load scream and begins slamming his fists into the bucket.

Hafner: Give it a try.

LaPorta: Naw, I'm alright.

Hafner (slightly offended): What?! Come on man, give it a punch, you'll love it.

LaPorta throws down a meek punch and nods to Hafner.

Hafner: Awesome, isn't it? Wanna know something crazy, I made them hire a guy just to maintain and refill this thing. He even travels with us. His name is Ted, you'll meet him later.

Hafner unexpectedly begins walking away.

Hafner: Come on man, let me show you the showers!

Hafner leads LaPorta into the bathroom and shower area. Mark DeRosa and Victor Martinez are inside and once they notice Hafner they immediately look away.

Hafner: Watch this.

Fully dressed, Hafner walks into the showers and starts singing the lyrics to "I'm Only Happy When it Rains." He then slaps a bar of soap out of DeRosa's hand and tells him, "Hey buddy, you dropped you're soap."

Drenched, Hafner leads LaPorta back to the lockers.

Hafner: Hey, I almost forgot, I have a surprise for you.

Hafner then pulls down a piece of cloth from the locker next to his to reveal the name "LaPorta."

Hafner: You're right next to me man! How cool is that?

LaPorta (monotone): That's great.

Hafner: Oh man, oh man!

LaPorta: What is it?

Hafner: I got an itch on my arm. My arm is totally itching.

LaPorta stares at Hafner. Hafner then gets a very serious look on his face, one that LaPorta has not yet seen.

LaPorta: What's wrong?

Hafner: Scratch it. Scratch my itch right now rookie.

LaPorta: What? No way, scratch your own arm.

Hafner: Listen, this is no joke. You are new and you do as I say. One time a rookie didn't scratch my itch and within a week I had him pitching batting practice in France.

Hafner presses his nose up against LaPorta's face.

Hafner: (whispers) Scratch it. (screams) Scratch it!

LaPorta scratches Hafner's arm. Hafner turns away and leaves the room. LaPorta then walks over to his locker and begins unpacking.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

4 Quick Facts You May Not Know About Former Indians OF Marty Cordova

Being an avid fan of Cleveland Indians baseball my whole life, I occasionally like to look back in the past and reflect on ballplayers that have come through this great city. Guys such as Alex Cole, Jerry "The Governor" Browne and Bill Selby will always hold a special place in my heart. Thinking of these amazing athletes, Martin Kevin Cordova popped in my head. I decided that I did not know enough about this man and dug up 4 things that you may not know about him. Here are my findings.

1. It is public information that Marty Cordova was born in Las Vegas. What most people don't know is that as a 2 day old baby, he illegally pulled the lever of a slot machine and had a lifetime ban placed on him at the Bellagio.

2. After receiving his plaque for winning the 1995 Rookie of the Year for the Twins, Marty secretly went to a local engraving business and had the letter R in Rookie changed to C because of his life long obsession with Chips Ahoy! Cookies.

3. It is also known that Marty Cordova fell asleep in a tanning bed and had to miss a few games while with the Orioles. What people don't know is that on that same day right before the incident, he had signed a lucrative deal with Tanning Bed Warehouse (TBW) and was to be featured in an issue of Time magazine. Unfortunately for Marty, he had breached page 37 of his contract and TBW quickly and quietly terminated his contract to save face.

4. Marty hit 122 career homeruns over his 9-year career. Marty secretly thought if you played at least 5 years in the pros, that at the end of your career you could trade in your doubles for homerun credit. Marty argued that every 2 doubles he hit, he should have had a homerun added to his career total. After 3 months of a behind-the-scenes struggle with Bud Selig and Major League Baseball, Marty Cordova lost. Cordova, who would have ended up with 218 homeruns if given the credit said in 2006 that he only wanted it for one reason. He wanted to boast and brag to fishing buddy Jeff Conine about having 4 more career homeruns than him.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ryan Garko's eHarmony Questionnaire

Below you'll find the questions and answers to Cleveland Indians first baseman Ryan Garko's questionnaire. Surprisingly, Garko choose the "write-in" option for every single question he answered:

Which of the following marriage issues do you fear most?

A: fear of growing apart
B: fear of marrying the wrong person

C: (write-in) fear the DJ forgets to play The Safety Dance at our reception

What are your body-type preferences for your mate?
A: Thin and very lean

B: Muscular and athletic
C: Two boobs and a butt

If you decided to stay at home for the evening would you tend to:
A: read

B: watch TV

C: play “Hot Potato” with a cactus

If you were taken by your date to a party where you knew no one, how would you respond?
A: stay close to my date, letting him/her introduce me

B: strike out on my own, introducing myself and making friends

C: hide in the bathroom and masturbate until everyone has left

Which of the following scenarios would make you more nervous?
A: making a presentation to 500 people

B: talking about your deepest fears with your lover

C: sharing an elevator ride with Mark Shapiro

What do you think of "Soul Mates?"
A: there is no such thing

B: each person has one soul mate, whether they find them or not

C: It’s my favorite C. Thomas Howell movie

Financially, how would you characterize yourself?
A: Very frugal and financially conservative

B: Good at saving money with occasional unplanned purchases

C: I could buy a roller coaster if I felt like it

How do you feel about food?
A: I consider myself a gourmand and love to dine on elaborate meals as often as possible

B: I just eat to live, trying to be healthy and consume little

C: With my hands

Outside of a romantic relationship, are you competitive?
A: I'm extremely competitive

B: Most of the time I'm pretty competitive

C: Not really – unless I'm competing in a Fred Flintstone look-a-like contest

What is your opinion on your mate having opposite sex friendships?
A: I believe that both partners should have and actively pursue opposite sex friendships

B: I'm comfortable with a few well-established opposite sex friendships

C: I don’t mind as long as the person’s name doesn’t rhyme with Shady Pizemore

Which of the following indoor activities sounds like the most fun to you?
A: cooking

B: shopping

C: going to the bathroom

What best describes your attitude toward work?
A: it is where I am at my best and my main focus

B: I like my job but my focus is elsewhere
C: it’s just a way to earn money so I can focus on my real passion – starting my own line windbreaker turtlenecks called "Garks"

Your idea of adventure is:
A: whitewater rafting

B: karaoke singing

C: grounding into a double play

How would you assess your verbal intimacy skills?
A: I am extremely comfortable talking about my innermost needs and desires.

B: With the exception of a couple areas, I'm comfortable being verbally intimate.

C: I would assess them verbally, with words, at a fairly skillful level, using my mouth

Your idea of a romantic time would be:
A: a quiet candle-lit restaurant
B: cooking dinner together at home
C: making out while watching Con Air

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Very Brief Chat with Mel

With the NFL draft coming up this weekend, I had the chance to track down Mel Kiper Jr. at the Cleveland Browns headquarters in Berea. He was visiting all 32 NFL teams in 40 hours prior to the draft to get a better analysis before he put out his final updated mock draft. Here is what went down.

First of all, I know you are a busy man and I appreciate you taking the time to ---

Mel: Yeah yeah what is your question because I probably have the right answer kid.

(A little hesitant and somewhat terrified)

Uhh, as you know the draft is right around the corner and--

Mel: Oh it is?! I must have been in my "Mel bubble" the past year and have totally forgotten that their is a draft amongst the 32 franchises in the National Football League! I have been an ESPN draft analyst since 1984 and for some reason you think that somewhere along the way I would erase the 2009 NFL draft from my memory? Is that what you think?

(Most definitely terrified now) No sir, I just wanted to ask you what you thought the Browns were going to do with their first round pick this year.

(Mel stares at me for about 7 seconds and then combs his right hand through his hair)

Mel: Sorry for snapping at you kid, I've been up analyzing players from the MAC conference for the past 89 hours to see if they have that "X factor" when they wear black mouthguards as opposed to clear ones. Besides my hair is not parting the way it should be today.

Sorry about that Mel, I kn--

Mel: Please call me Mr. Kiper Jr. ... Now what was the question you were asking me?

(My pants now soaked with urine) Mr. Kiper Jr., what do you think the Browns will do with the #5 overall pick?

Almost like he has done this before, Mr. Kiper Jr. goes into a robotic ESPN analyst mode and looks past my head as if into a tv camera and breaks down the pick.

Mr. Kiper Jr. : What you have to look at is a player's body of work and if it will translate to the NFL. Looking at the Browns roster and their needs, they can go a number of ways. For this pick I think the best value is Michael Crabtree. Regardless of Braylon Edwards leaving or not it is still a position of need and according to my immaculate mock draft, he is the best available talent at that spot. Could you make an arguement for Brian Orakpo here, sure, but their are durability issues their. I think Crabtree provides the best value at that number 5 slot.

(Feeling absolutely satisfied with the response, I look to quickly end this chat with the erratic Mr. Kiper Jr.)

I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. I understand that you have to get back on the plane to visit the remaining teams and compare notes with your fellow colleague analyst Todd McShay, so I hope all your mock draft dreams come true.

Mr. Kiper Jr.: Did you just mention Todd McShay.

No, no I did not. I better go.

Mr. Kiper Jr.: If I hear that name again I swear I will drop kick a guy named Murphy. Where does this young punk get off trying to take over MY air time for an event that I basically brought into the mainstream by MYself. First of all, like I said earlier, I have been on ESPN since 1984 doing this network a favor and this McHotShot guy comes in and thinks he invented the wheel because he predicts Matthew Stafford will go #1 to the Lions. Do I wish I had his young, chiseled face? Maybe, but there is one thing that never dies and that is firm, vibrant, and energetic hair. I am outta here, good day to you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ebayin' Cleveland

Don't have enough Cleveland sports garbage? Great, because it's time once again to jump into the Internet and do a little Ebay window shopping.

First up we have a 10 inch collectible plate featuring former Cavalier Mark Price. At $12.99 I'm not sure how anyone could consider this auction anything but a steal. In my "Commemorative Plate Power Rankings" I have Price at number 4, sandwiched in between Kyle Petty and John F. Kennedy.

And I'm aware an item like this is solely meant for decoration, but honestly -- if I owned a Mark Price plate I would eat every single meal off it. How much better would a pile of nachos taste knowing you had the angelic face of number 25 waiting for you at the bottom?

Up next we have a cut-out paper mask of former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar. Perfect for the goofy football fan or aspiring serial killer in your family. Really though, I've been trying to come up with legitimate reasons why a person would buy such an item and could only think of three: 1. buyer is producing a low-budget student film with some sort of futuristic "Orwellian" theme, 2. buyer is going as Steve Guttenberg for Halloween or 3. buyer is Bernie Kosar.

Also, I'm pretty sure that if you stare into the eye holes of that picture for more than 30 seconds you'll end up burning down a school or something. I can't look for more than 10 without foaming at the mouth and banging my head against the floor.

I suppose this next item proves just how little fanfare the Cleveland Rockers actually had. For about $50 you can own the Rockers 1998 Eastern Conference Championship banner, autographed by half the team. The key word there is "the." This is not a replica or old promotional item -- this is THE banner that once hung in the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena. I wonder what the conversation was like when they decided to finally rip it down:

DAN GILBERT: Hey, I was talking a pass through the floor today and have a question. What are the Cleveland Rockers?

ASSISTANT: They were the city's WNBA team sir. They won the eastern conference in 1998 but were---

DAN GILBERT: I stopped listening after you said "W." Tear that banner down right away.

ASSISTANT: Do you want to replace it with anything sir?

DAN GILBERT: I don't know. Is it too early to retire Kevin Ollie's number?

And finally we have a Cleveland Indians silk tie. Ah, novelty ties. Perfect for saying, "hi, I don't dress up often. I'm more of a jean shorts and tank top kind of guy. And when I'm put in a position where formal attire is required, you can expect me to push the envelope. Tasmanian Devil cuff links, a "Big Johnson" undershirt and a pair of tinted eyeglasses usually round out my get up. If you see me standing alone on the other side of the room it's best to leave me be. That is unless you want me to talk your ear off about my idea for a 4th Matrix movie. Because I will baby, I will. Don't test me. I wear a neck tie with a baseball team on it."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mike Brown vs. The Call

Last night the Cavaliers were victims of a questionable call that ultimately cost them their 40th win. Up by one with less than a second left, official Joey Crawford called a foul on LeBron James that resulted in the Pacers winning the game via free throws. Afterwards no one was more agitated with the officiating than Cleveland coach Mike Brown:

"I went back and I watched the last two plays and that last call on LeBron was the worst call I've ever been a part of. I cannot imagine another worse call than that by that official. It was an awful call and for him to take away a basketball game from a team with .4 seconds on the clock is irresponsible. That is an irresponsible call."

Brown continues on.

"It was predetermined from the call that was made on the other end of the floor and it was very unfortunate because there were a lot of men out on the floor that were working their (butts) off to try to win the ball game. We got that game taken away from us on a horse shit -- excuse my French -- horsecrap call with .2 seconds left on the clock by that official. Absolutely horrible."

Brown then leaves the room, only to return moments later.

"Listen, I don't want to leave any of this unsettled or open for interpretation. Witnessing that call on the court tonight made me sad for basketball and sad for America. Calls like that only come around once in a generation. If that call were a color it would be the darkest of pitch black. If it were a sound it would be that of babies crying. And if that call were a person, so help me -- it would be Jeffery Dahmer. What I saw tonight with .1 seconds left in the game was the Jeffery Dahmer of NBA officiating."

Brown leaves once again, gets in his car and hops onto the freeway. Before the first exit however, he turns around and heads back to the arena and every reporter he can find.

"When I was 6-years-old I spent the night at my friend Brian Bolley's house. Late into the night we were woken by his drunk mother screaming on the telephone. On the other line was child services. Mrs. Bolley was calling to tell them she no longer wanted her son and that they should come get him within 24 hours or else she'd leave him at a bus station. The next day Brian was taken away and placed in a foster home, abandoned by his own mother. I've always said that call was the worst call I'd ever witnessed. Well, I can now safely say I've seen a more despicable call." Brown begins to weep and takes a seat. "I'm sorry guys, I don't even know what I'm saying anymore. What's going on? Where am I?"

Finally, Brown leaves the arena and goes to his hotel room. But at 2:30 AM he grabs his phone, dials up every Cavs reporter he has a contact for and puts them on a conference call. He speaks in a whisper.

"I'm sorry to wake you guys but I just don't want to be alone tonight. I think the call is beginning to get the better of me. I can't get the sound of that ref's whistle out of my head and thoughts of physically harming myself are now starting to accompany it. I don't know what to do. I'm scared. Okay, I gotta go. I think the NBA might have this phone bugged."

Brown hangs up the phone.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

After Hours with LeBron James

How do you celebrate a 52 point triple-double in New York City? Here's a glimpse into how LeBron did:

11:02 PM: LeBron, Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Mo Williams exit Madison Square Garden and head towards the Hummer limo waiting for them. LeBron suddenly stops, "Hey, I forgot something, you guys go ahead."

11:03 PM: LeBron approaches MSG, checks no one is around and gently presses both of his hands onto the arena. "You're the reason I wake up in the morning. I love you," LeBron says aloud. "I love you too," he then replies back to himself in a high pitched squeak.

11:28 PM: LeBron and company arrive at Jay-Z's 40/40 Club. "You guys got your ID's on you, this place will totally card...just kidding," LeBron says before laughing hysterically. Everyone fake laughs at LeBron's comment as though they've done so 1,000 times before.

11:32 PM: LeBron flags down a waitress and orders a round of what he calls his "Triple Double Cocktail" -- 1 double shot of Gin, 1 double shot of Bourbon and 1 double shot of contact lens solution.

12:40 AM: Wally Szczerbiak and Zydrunas Ilgauskas show up to the club. LeBron, who is chatting with Jay-Z, calls the two over. After being introduced to Jay-Z, Szczerbiak asks him if he's the same rapper who sang "Whoop! There it is." An angry LeBron tells Szczerbiak to wait outside until he's called back in.

1:52 AM: An NYU student purposely catches LeBron's attention from the bar. After filling his hands with salt, he throws his arms up in the air, imitating LeBron's talcum power pregame routine. LeBron immediately orders Zydrunas Ilgauskas over to break the kid's thumbs.

2:38 AM: LeBron decides he wants a change of scenery and the group leave 40/40. As they climb into the Hummer, LeBron notices that Wally Szczerbiak -- shivering from the cold -- is still waiting outside the club entrance. "Hey Wally, you wanna come with us?" LeBron yells. "Yes," Wally replies. "Too bad, go home," LeBron says as he closes the car door.

2:50 AM: Back in the limo, LeBron tells the driver to shout out any letter in the alphabet. "Um, R," the driver says. LeBron then pulls out his phone and types in R and indiscriminately chooses a contact and hits "call." It's Ricky Davis. Davis picks up and LeBron puts the phone on speaker for everyone to listen. "Hello? Hello? Who is this, hello? Come on!" Everyone in the car bursts into laughter and LeBron hangs up.

3:03 AM: The group stops in for another round of "Triple Doubles" at an Irish Pub.

3:59 AM: Delonte West asks the limo driver to pull over so he can vomit. While idling, LeBron notices a homeless man hunched over on a bench. "Follow me guys," LeBron says as he gets out of the limo.

4:02 AM: "Hey, you want to make some money?" LeBron says to the homeless man. "Sing the theme song to 'Cheers' and I'll give you 2,000 dollars." But before the man can even open his mouth LeBron and company begin shouting the lyrics to the song themselves. Afterward, James hands the man around 3,000 dollars in cash and says "good job."

4:28 AM: LeBron and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, eyes half open, sit in an all night diner eating a couple of gyros. "Z, I think my next NY shoes are gonna have to be designed with a gyro theme. That'd look awesome."

5:12 AM: LeBron stumbles into his hotel room, collapses onto a bed and falls asleep to a TV playing highlights from his historic triple-double a few hour earlier.

Monday, January 26, 2009

8 Things You Probably Didn't Know About New Browns GM George Kokinis

1. He doesn't celebrate Columbus Day.

2. He hates his first name and if given the choice would rather be a "Derek."

3. Is an avid tank top enthusiast.

4. Has never actually touched a football.

5. Has a lower back tattoo that reads "You Wish."

6. In college he had an internship with the "Little Debbie" company.

7. Combs his hair an average of 42 times a day.

8. His favorite Destiny's Child song is "Bug a Boo."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Presidential Choices

Today's inauguration of President Barack Obama is the mark of new era in America. And with the theme of "change" in mind, some of Cleveland's most popular sports figures were recently given the chance to answer the following question: What would be your first course of action as the 44th President of the United States?

Travis Hafner: I'd officially change the national anthem from the "Star Spangled Banner" to "Mother" by Danzig.

Hank Fraley
: I'd make it legal to shoot and or stab a person if you really really really don't like them and had a good reason why.

Brady Quinn: I'd issue a full Presidential pardon to my right hand. Then I'd walk around the mall and just slap weird looking people in the face.

Mo Williams: Government issued Snuggies. I got one for Christmas and it changed my life -- I think every American should have one.

Eric Mangini: I'd get rid of the NFL playoff system, because in the end, it proves nothing.

Wally Szczerbiak: Citizens with last names that begin with four consonant become eligible to receive social security at age 31.

Josh Cribbs: I'd create a new position in my cabinet -- Secretary of Awesome -- and offer it to either Keanu Reeves or that guy who hosts "Man vs. Wild."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


When I lie my head down to sleep and shut my eyes for the night, I'm usually welcomed by 5 images. These faint illustrations flash into my mind without warning and I count on them to help me rest. They are comforting. They are warming. And most of all, they are awesome.

My first 4 "shut eye images" are nothing out of the ordinary -- things most good natured Midwestern folks probably think of. In no particular order, they are:

1. Time lapse footage of a Rubik's Cube being put together.

2. A million of the brightest stars in the galaxy forming a constellation of Dennis Quaid's grinning face.

3. A burning Fender Stratocaster guitar being played by a reptile/human hybrid.

4. Myself cruising around out West in a Ferrari made out of strawberry Fruit Roll-ups.

Then today I saw the following pictures on the Internet and almost freaked my seat:

That's my number 5! When I close my eyes at night I see these exact images!

Now I know this is just some commercial shoot for a fancy shoe or beverage, but I can't help feeling like LeBron has Freddy Kruger powers and is invading my thoughts. Either way, I'm going to start thinking about Wally Szczerbiak in a Pistons uniform a lot more often.