Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tomahawks Breaking Bad

Fresh off of a 4-4 road trip and about to welcome the Royals, the not-as-good-as-their-record Reds, and the somehow-behind-the-Indians-in-the-standings White Sox to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, the Indians say goodbye to two of their best players (one of their best players who was actually playing well this year and the one who has an OPS .008 higher than AJ Pierzynski), suddenly destined for stints on the DL.

Say it with me here…“ah, 2010 Indians baseball”, and while attempting to choke down the bile that has accompanied those 3 words, let’s release some mid-week Tomahawks:

Obviously, the news of the week revolves around the former Tribe shortstop exacting some measure of revenge on the current Tribe shortstop for taking “his” position (yes, I’m kidding…I think) and Grady heading off to the 15-day DL with a deep bone bruise. So, let’s put on the stethoscopes and the scrubs and immerse ourselves in some medical intrigue and the accompanying fallout.

While a nasty rumor has floated around that characterizes Asdrubal’s injury as potentially season-ending (and I suppose anything is possible), I’ll rely on Will Carroll at Baseball Prospectus to lay out a timeframe while he also addresses the other Tribe player who could have been hurting more than we know:
Cabrera should be out until about the All-Star break, but shouldn’t have any long-term consequences. As a lot of young kids can tell you, arm bones heal pretty cleanly. I am curious to watch the timing on this with a lot of the interesting research on bone stimulation coming out of the Cleveland Clinic. The Indians are all about the bones right now, as Sizemore had an MRI to see what his problem is. His knee was thought to be just bruised, but he has had severe pain and some inflammation. He’d had some minor issues with this same knee back in April, so there may be some connection or we could be seeing some underlying pattern that suggests a problem.

Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t remember ever hearing that Sizemore had “minor issues with this same knee back in April” and this idea that an “underlying pattern” could “suggest a problem” just gave me the shivers, as does the intimation that surgery is possible for Sizemore, which is no small procedure given that it would take place in the knee.

Regardless of the results of the MRI for Sizemore, perhaps he can benefit from the 15-day DL stint to rest his body and his mind and if this is a lingering issue (Acta was on the pre-game radio broadcast saying that Sizemore injured it in Los Angeles in the final days of Spring Training), then perhaps an explanation for his slow start (to be charitable) finds an answer. As both Cabrera and Sizemore hit the DL, it would certainly seem that we have an answer to that question from earlier in the week as to “how are the Indians going to work the young guys in” as opportunities and plate appearances seem to be there for the taking all around the diamond.

The obvious beneficiaries of Cabrera’s injury are Jason Donald, whose timeframe for promotion was accelerated as he now takes over at his natural position of SS for about 2 months, and Louie V, who lives to fight another day in the Indians’ lineup despite not really doing much on the field for the parent club this season to merit his stay in Cleveland. Of course, the pessimist would say that Cabrera’s injury screws up the management of Valbuena’s service time issue which was about to be rectified when he was sent down in favor of Donald, but if Valbuena continues to perform as he has (even with a long leash considered), he’s going to find himself in Columbus for that service clock maintenance/wake-up call soon enough.

Certainly, nobody is suggesting that Donald (who is actually 14 months OLDER than Cabrera and has played 98 games above AA) is going to come in and save a listless offense or even replace Cabrera’s presence in the lineup, even if Cabrera was struggling in terms of comparing them to his 2009 season. Rather, Jason Donald has now been handed the opportunity to play for 2 months, likely without respite, for the parent club and is probably going to be paired (intermittently) with Luis Valbuena in the middle of the diamond. During the course of Cabrera’s rehab then, the Indians will have the opportunity to evaluate both Donald and Louie the Fifth in a convoluted “battle” to see which of the players remains in the lineup as the 2B when Cabrera returns.

Is there a chance that Donald going to go all Chase Utley on the Indians here, as a late-blooming middle infielder who came up through the Phillies organization?

I suppose in a happy, dream-filled world, I could make the comparison as Utley’s career totals in MiLB (.282 BA / .357 OBP / .465 SLG / .822 OPS IN 1,877 PA) compare with those that Donald has accumulated (.284 BA / .371 OBP / .434 SLG / .806 OPS in 1,694 PA) to date in the Minors. Utley also made his first extended appearance in MLB as a 25-year-old in a year in which he had 144 AAA plate appearances, whereas Donald is a 25-year-old hitting MLB for the first time after logging 165 AAA plate appearances.

Is this pie-in-the-sky thinking and simply thinking of a best-case scenario while pointing out what could be largely coincidental similarities?

No question, as Utley has outperformed his MiLB line for each of the last 6 years in Philly (posting an OPS over .900 every year), but Donald’s going to get the opportunity in 2010 to see if he can become a legitimate option at 2B going forward for this team. That doesn’t presuppose that he’ll suddenly become Chase Utley (however the transition to the one we see know in Philly happened from a prospect who cracked the Baseball America Top 100 prospect list once…at #89), only that if he puts up average offensive numbers from the middle-of-the-infield while playing above-average defense for the next two months, you can likely pencil him in as the Indians’ starting 2B for the next 4 to 5 years at a position that has largely been a long-term problem (other than Asdrubal playing out of position there) since the trade of Roberto Alomar.

As for Grady’s injury, the Indians have already made the corresponding move to bring Shelly Duncan up from AAA. While the move is confusing in that Duncan does not exactly fit into the future of the team, my guess is that the promotion of Crowe for Marte and Duncan for Sizemore essentially balance each other out as Crowe will take the place of Grady in the lineup and Duncan will take the place of unused RH bat off of the bench until Marte is ready to return from the DL.

Not that anybody asked, but if it were up to me, I'd promote Brantley to play CF (and I do think that he gets the call if Sizemore undergoes surgery as they try to avoid the yo-yo game with Brantley from Columbus and Cleveland) and play the mildly-resurgent Matt MaTola (.838 OPS in his last 7 games) in LF. The benefits would be two-fold, to get both Brantley and MaTola some needed MLB AB, but more importantly so we’re not subjected to Crowe’s defensive deficiencies in CF (and he cost the Indians the game on Monday by misplaying both Crawford’s triple AND breaking back on Blalock’s single before diving for it unsuccessfully), much less hoping that Crowe is able to go on some Ben Francisco-esque hot start to build up the hopes of Indians’ fans that Crowe is anything more than a “poor man’s Ben Francisco” which, if you think about it means that he’s a “poor man’s 4th OF”.

Lest anyone forget, Crowe is a 26-year-old OF (15 months older than Grady) whose cumulative OPS by level above A ball are .636 (OPS in A-ball), .724 (OPS in AA), and .761 (OPS in AAA); so while he may look the part and provide some athleticism and speed for the team, athleticism and speed without ability or instincts will take a player only so far. Nevertheless, Crowe will get the opportunity to show that everything that he has done in the Indians’ organization is an aberration and that he belongs on the 40-man roster as much more than a fill-in.

Even before these injuries, it appeared that the plate appearances are going to be there for these young guys to assert themselves into the mix for 2010 and beyond. Now, with these injuries presenting more opportunities (and with Carlos Santana just hammering away at that MLB door), the rest of the season looks to be shaping up to be an audition of sorts for a lot of young players.

How do they balance all of those youngsters with attempting to win, or at least generating some interest at the box office (although that ship may have already sailed) at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario?
I suppose we’re about to find out…

In terms of this development and attempting to win, if you remember the hypothetical question from last Sunday on playing time and developing young players, Joe Posnanski has a similar piece on in which he asserts that the built-in “advantage” that small-market teams have over teams (he uses the Royals as the example) with higher revenues is time to allow players develop:
Well, the big thing is to know that while, sure, you want to win, the goal must be bigger than that. You are building a team to win down the road. Everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING -- must be pointed in that direction. Every break you take, every move you make, every smile you fake, every bond you break should have 2011 and 2012 and 2013 in consideration. And with time, you can do things. If you have some young and reasonably talented players, you can give them opportunities to learn and grow at the Major League level. If you have prospects you are not quite sure about you can FIND OUT what they have inside.
But it seems to me that if they are going to be about developing young players, they actually have to DEVELOP YOUNG PLAYERS. No, nobody wants to go through another 90-100 loss season. But the Royals are going to lose those games anyway. The question is: What will they get out of all those losses? What will they get out of this season?

This is certainly the intent of the thought process from last Sunday (and the comments by Acta that they did have a laid out plan in terms of working these young players in is comforting), and if you want to see the manner in which this “treatise” applies to the Indians (or at least a realistic application of it in the here and now for the Tribe), Steve Buffum tackles the whole Indians’ roster and who should and should not be seeing the field at the present time. Going through Buffum’s assessment, I can’t say that I could make a compelling argument against any of his assertions in terms of where playing time should be allotted.

That being said (and back to the Posnanski “treatise”, as Buffum calls it), I think that the fundamental truth that Posnanski ignores is the idea that this “time” and development is certainly well and good, but that the seeds of that development don’t always bear the fruit all at the same time to make winning feasible.

That is, the endgame of successful development needs to happen in such a perfect timeframe for these small-market teams that it also becomes nearly impossible. As the Indians have proven (in the not-too-distant-past), not only does this development of talent need to occur in the small markets over “time”, but it has to occur up and down the lineup and throughout the pitching staff simultaneously to close the talent gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” in MLB in any given year, much less consistently.

If you think that the situation that occurred in Cleveland from 2007 to 2009 was the aberration or the result of faulty leadership (and truthfully, some of it was), take a look at what Dave Cameron at Fangraphs wrote about the situation unfolding in Milwaukee:
With 124 games to play, assuming that they’ll need to win 92 games to give themselves a good chance of winning the NL Central or the Wild Card, they would have to play .621 baseball the rest of the way to make that happen.
Realistically, the playoff chances for the Brewers appear slim for 2010, and with that reality staring them in the face, it’s probably time for them to put Prince Fielder on the trading block.
It’s not the outcome that Milwaukee had in mind when they put this roster together, and they do have enough talent to right the ship and get back to a winning record, but they are far enough back in the NL Central where its getting to be time to change directions. Six weeks of bad baseball can sink a season, and in the case of the Brewers, it probably has.

Where have I seen that situation unfold before, where “six weeks of bad baseball can sink a season” causing a team with limited resources and with their best players staring Free Agency in the face to confront very harsh realities and perhaps attempt to fight another day?
That’s right…I remember now.

And it’s not just the situation in Cleveland and Milwaukee, which DID develop and acquire young talent that DID mature and succeed together. As great of a story as Tampa is these days, the Yankees likely have already made Carl Crawford pinstriped jerseys to sell in the team shops in the Bronx and Carlos Pena will likely find himself elsewhere next year as well. As stocked as the Rays’ farm system is purported to be (and 10 years of Top 5 picks SHOULD do that) and as great as their young pitching looks, all that needs to happen is a couple of bad breaks and the Rays are back to this state of limbo that most small-market teams encounter as they hope that Desmond Jennings can succeed in short order and hope that their starting pitching holds up and isn’t done in by a bullpen or any other extenuating circumstances or before David Price (only signed through 2012) and Matt Garza (signed through 2013) find themselves inking contracts too large for the Rays to legitimately consider or before they’re considered trade bait 1 ½ years before Free Agency as Fielder may be.

Those “extenuating circumstances” deep-sixed the Indians’ intentions of contending in 2008 and 2009 and are threatening the talented squad in small-market Milwaukee. Whether Tampa’s next on the list of teams to follow the slow ascent and quick descent remains to be seen, but the “blueprint” is there, as are the system-imposed limitations that lead to following that “blueprint”.

Attempting to lighten the mood, since we’re nearing that “magical” 40-game mark at which teams often say that they can start to get a sense of the team that they have, how about a quick look at what was thought to the be the weakness of the team going into the season – the starting pitching.

April Numbers for Starters
Carmona – 4.05 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 15 K, 14 BB in 33 1/3 IP
Westbrook – 5.53 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 18 K, 13 BB in 27 2/3 IP
Talbot – 2.05 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 7 K, 11 BB in 26 1/3 IP
Huff – 4.10 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 11 K, 10 BB in 26 1/3 IP
Masterson – 5.68 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, 24 K, 11 BB in 19 IP

May Numbers for Starters to date
Carmona – 2.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 11 K, 7 BB in 18 IP
Westbrook – 2.41 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 13 K, 8 BB in 18 2/3 IP
Talbot – 4.71 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 12 K, 10 BB in 21 IP
Huff – 7.47 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, 5 K, 6 BB in 15 2/3 IP
Masterson – 5.63 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 22 K, 13 BB in 24 IP

What does all of that mean?
If I would have said at the beginning of the season that the Indians would have three legitimately even-average starting pitchers on a semi-consistent basis at the 40-game mark, how surprised would you have been?

If I would have said that two of those three legitimately even-average starters would be Carmona and Talbot, how long would it have taken for me to peel you off of the floor?
As frustrating as it is to go watch Masterson and Huff completely come off the rails as starters, it can’t overwhelm the pleasure in seeing Carmona hold opposing hitters to a .630 OPS or when he strikes out 7 in 6 2/3 on Monday night (in a game he should have won) against the Rays. Nor can it cast a gray cloud over the unexpected sunshine inexplicably coming from “The Fury” as he continues to pitch well despite all the numbers (and the eye test) that say that he simply shouldn’t be doing as well as he is. Westbrook’s days are numbered in Cleveland, but the way that he’s pitching (and doesn’t it feel strange to root for some of these guys so their trade value is peaking in July) should net the Indians more than what they could have expected in return for him when the season started.

While the inclination and the knee-jerk reaction would be to send Huff off to AAA and Masterson off to the bullpen, I hate to be the one to break this to you but the Indians aren’t going to contend in 2010 for the Central or the Wild Card and giving these guys a long leash (even if it means that they hang themselves with it) is the prudent path to follow.

They tell me that patience is a virtue and, as Cleveland fans, ours has certainly been tested. However, this Indians’ season is built on development and answering questions about players in this organization going forward. That development and those answers aren’t going to come without ugliness and dark days, so until the light at the end of the tunnel becomes visible (and it isn’t yet), we’re left with a young team that’s about to get younger and less experienced due to injury/injuries.

How the young players adjust to those opportunities in 2010 are going to go a long way in determining where the Indians find themselves in this new age of development, whether the players struggle (as Marson, Valbuena, MaTola, Huff, and Masterson have) or whether they thrive (as Talbot, Sipp, and…well) will give the Indians a better idea as to when contention (and by that I mean legitimate contention) is plausible.


Elia said...

I thought I would throw out something to think about as Wood blows another save tonight. (Remind me again why Chris Perez isn't our closer? Oh, right. Building Wood's trade value...)

Could Westbrook be the second coming of Charles Nagy? What I mean is is Westbrook the one guy who would resign with the Tribesmen, coming back for another couple of years? He already signed one deal when he could have been a free agent, giving up no arbitration time in the process (I think) and he did spend the past two years of his three year contract injured, which may means he feels some sense of commitment to the Tribe.

I don't know why but my gut tells me he might be worth holding onto and then attempting to sign to a multi year deal. They will actually have some money next offseason to pay him, given his, Peralta's and Wood's salaries all coming off the books.

Anyway.... Just a thought that has been rolling around my brain.

BrainOfJ said...

I don't know. Assuming he continues pitching well, he's much more valuable as a guy who nets us a legit prospect or two rather than a guy who gives us two or three extra years in the downside of his career in years that likely won't be spent in contention. I get what you're saying, but I don't know that I want to sign him just to prove we can keep a veteran. Not when he could bring us back something now. I tend to think that's what the FO is thinking, too.

Elia said...

I wasn't thinking about it that way, just that having a solid veteran pitcher who can eat innings is something we will go out and sign next winter anyway. Why not keep the one we know?

BrainOfJ said...

Again, I get what you're saying. But if we're going to "sign one anyway" why not concede that and trade W'brook when he can bring back something. If we have a choice between two pitchers of the same pedigree (W'brook and his replacement) and one could bring us back a legitimate pitching prospect in a trade, I'd gladly take the other guy. and don't get me wrong - I like Jake and would have loved to have seen him stick around. But it doesn't really make sense not to trade him. Even if he promised tomorrow that he would sign for dirt cheap next year. The next year or two mean nothing and he'll never be worth more than he's going to be come July (assuming he keeps pitching like he did Sunday).

Cy Slapnicka said...

my guess is, if he keeps pitching well he'll cost us $10M+, which we won't want to spend. and if he's cheap enough for the FO's current budget, he won't be worth keeping around.

he may seem like a nice guy, but i see no reason he takes a club friendly deal to stay if he's pitching well. that seems to be the exception, not the rule.

Halifax said...

He seems like a great guy because he is a great guy. I think Jake has tremendous character and he knows he just received $22 million from the Indians to not pitch. I could see him reaching a reasonable understanding for around 5-7M annually over 2 years.

BrainOfJ said...

Right and right on your first two points. And maybe you're even right on the last point. But my question is, why would we want to do that? If option A is to sign him to $5-7 million per year for 2 years and have a feel good story; option B is to sign a similar guy for similar money and get a prospect or two for trading Jake. 2011 and maybe even 2012 aren't about contending. You've got to go with B. Especially when you consider what people are willing to give up at the deadline for marginal-to-solid guys (are you listening Dodgers and Mariners?)

Halifax said...

Raffy Perez needs to go!

Hyde said...

Could Westbrook be the second coming of Charles Nagy? What I mean is is Westbrook the one guy who would resign with the Tribesmen, coming back for another couple of years? He already signed one deal when he could have been a free agent, giving up no arbitration time in the process (I think) and he did spend the past two years of his three year contract injured, which may means he feels some sense of commitment to the Tribe.

Let's not canonize the guy for high character. Truth is that like Travis Hafner, what the Indians decided to pay Westbrook was pretty close to the best he was going to get anywhere. How many teams are paying a #3 starter--and that's what Westbrook was here when he signed the current deal--over $10 million? The one player from that 2007 free agency trio who didn't re-sign with the Tribe was the one who was never offered a market deal, Sabathia.

And of course, Nagy's last contract here proved to be an historic millstone, to the point where he barely pitched his last 2 years because he was so bad, but the front office couldn't bear to see him getting paid for doing nothing at all so they refused to release him.

I wouldn't be opposed to trading Westbrook for a prospect or two assuming he continues to pitch well, though I have lost all confidence in the ability of this organization to make such trades. Unloading CC and Lee on the first bidders rather than waiting for the best bidders is killing both our present and our future.

Meanwhile, the first place Reds are in town over the weekend: yet another huge market team that the likes of itty bitty Cleveland can't possibly hope to compete against.

Halifax said...

I agree, if Jake has suitors, send him on his way. I think he'd be quick to re-sign, unless he thinks he has a chance to actually win a ring somewhere or the Braves come calling.

If you can get Carlos Santana for Casey Blake's 3-month rental, Jake should at least get you a Scott Barnes and another mid-level guy.

Then, if he'll re-sign, you sign him AND get the return on the trade.

As for Perez, he needs to be optioned out, if he's claimed on waivers I believe that claiming team needs to pay him his MLB salary. If nobody claims him, just leave him down there to get his head out of his rear end.

Halifax said...

Hyde, I am curious as to A) how you know that those players were sent packing for the first teams to come calling; and B) how you are so certain that the players they received in said deals are failures already. Considering LaPorta is in the bigs, Brantley has been, Donald and Marson are up and Carrasco is knocking on the door I think the jury's still out on that one.

I'm guessing you are in the "we shoulda waited for the Phillies to give us Drabek" camp. I have news for you, they used Drabek for exactly what they saved him for -- Roy Halladay.

Give the kids a chance to develop, there are very few Evan Longorias in the world.

Halifax said...

By the way, here the current status and tale of two pitchers -

Kyle Drabek (age 23) in AA:
4-3 / 3.60 ERA / 40 IP / 35 H / 41 K

Carlos Carrasco (age 23) in AAA:
2-1 / 3.41 ERA / 34 IP / 35 H / 29 K

I don't think in the current climate teams were lining up to unload their cheap, young talent to get established, expensive players who were FA to be soon.

Also, Rob Bryson and strikeout machine Jason Knapp have both been injured and both are extremely talented power arms. Bryson is back throwing and is 4-0 with 21 strikeouts in 13 IP at Lake County as they are bringing him back slowly.

BrainOfJ said...

Agreed, Halifax. Hyde had me then lost me. We can lament the fact that every prospect we got for Cliff and CC hasn't hit the ground sprinting so as to shut up the knee-jerk naysayers. But we certainly can't close the book on those trades. What we can do, however, is look forward to watching Carlos Santana whom Shapiro managed to snag for the low low price of some guy with a beard. Surely that deal did nothing to blow up your faith in the F.O.'s ability to pull off a trade.

Halifax said...

Actually, historically, Mark Shapiro has a pretty decent trade record when dealing vets for talent, it's the other way around and his FA signs that make him look inept.

Hyde said...

We can lament the fact that every prospect we got for Cliff and CC hasn't hit the ground sprinting so as to shut up the knee-jerk naysayers. But we certainly can't close the book on those trades. What we can do, however, is look forward to watching Carlos Santana whom Shapiro managed to snag for the low low price of some guy with a beard. Surely that deal did nothing to blow up your faith in the F.O.'s ability to pull off a trade.

It's been 23 months since Sabathia was traded. Is it really that unrealistic to expect that somebody from that trade would be paying dividends by now? (Compare with the Rick Sutcliffe trade: two years later, Joe Carter led the American League in RBI. And Sutcliffe was no CC when he was dealt.) I'm not giving up on the deal, but so far it's looking more like Dennis Eckersley trade than the Colon trade.

I wouldn't have traded Lee to begin with because he was signed for 2010 at a reasonable price, and because it's crystal clear by now that we didn't receive such a bumper crop of talent that it made it impossible not to pull the trigger. Right now, I'd be happy if only one of the four guys we got in that deal ever amounts to anything (no, a career backup like Marson doesn't count); and since the Phillies got a league championship out of that deal (one they surely would never have had without Lee), I'd say they got him cheap. But that's been the case with Shapiro all along: he can talk a good game about needing to be "blown away" before trading one of our key veterans, but all of baseball knows he's just out to dump salary, and thus potential trade partners know they can lowball us on talent.

The Santana trade looks like a major winner, though it would be nice if the man who may already be the organization's best hitter were, you know, in Cleveland. But since the Indians lost nearly 100 games last season and are likely going to exceed the century mark this season, I'm going to be a little stingy with my hallelujahs for the time being.

Halifax said...

Good insight. Maybe those players aren't paying immediate dividends but I still see them as having nice upside. If Bryson doesn't get hurt he's probably in Akron or Columbus this year, and Brantley and LaPorta (hurt also) have been topside. Granted, they may not be Joe Carter, but who is? The biggest shortfall from that deal was the Tribe received no starting pitching in return for one of the game's best. But I hardly think LaPorta, Brantley and Bryson are next-to-nothing for a half year of CC pitching for a team going nowhere.

As for the Lee deal, the brass saw the need to replenish the minors with arms, and through Lee and Victor they did just that. Granted, I checked the stats and none of those ex-Bostonites are lighting up the minors, but Hagadone continues to rate extremely high on many national lists. The guys from the Phillies, with two in the majors now and one who will be before the year ends, should be allowed the benefit of a little time to adjust to systems and the major leagues. Remember, that deal happened at last year's deadline. This is a first appearance in the bigs for these kids. Donald has already shown he fields circles around Valbuena, and if V continues to hit under .200 he'll outhit him as well.

I wouldn't crucify Shapiro for his deals. Any GM has mixed results. I'd say unloading Edwardo Perez and Ben Broussard for Shin Soo Choo and sdrubal Cabrera was pretty shrewd, while the Gutierrez deal (he could be useful right now) looks like a poor one.

Elia said...

Don't forget DaRosa for Chris Perez. Not a bad deal either.

Cy Slapnicka said...

Ah, I miss talking about Benwardo. Speaking of Broussard, I just googled him and found his website:

If you do one thing this weekend, listen to his youtube video ( of "Deep", which is also on his website's home page. If you only have a few seconds to spare, ffwd to 2:18.

At first I thought that was the greatest thing I've seen on the interweb this week (I don't throw that around loosely), but was quickly proven wrong. As this very song was used in a promo for a show on one of Nickelodeon's channels called South of Nowhere and features girls making out:

I also learned something new, "He is in the Baseball Hall of Fame (tied with another player from 1918) for the most pinch-hit grand slam home runs."

My mind is officially blown.

In light of the fact that the Indians blow and all things Cleveland appear to be jinxed (including the prick in a Brady Quinn jersey that sat at my blackjack table in Vegas last September...but I'm not bitter), I may have to use my time usually spent on Cleveland sports on other endeavors, like new music. Perhaps I'll start with Broussard's new CD.

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