Wednesday Observations… NFL… MLB…

So… I’m gonna get into this and it isn’t going to be pretty. First, let me be clear, I am not an expert in anything. I am a fan of both the NFL and MLB, I love my Browns and Indians, not to mention the Bucs and Rays, but the offseason goings-on that came out today as well as within the last few days have led to this post. I know I am not consistent in posting, and as @jongolson is so fond of reminding me, I don’t necessarily promote our show as vigorous as I should (Sundays 7pm eastern – on my FB page), I remain a passionate fan… a sometimes outspoken critic and always open to a debate regarding my worthiness of fandom, and my habitual acceptance of all criticism towards my allegiance to losing franchises.

As I type this, there is breaking news on the NFL CBA front. From ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there comes this: “Under the current CBA proposal that NFL owners are pushing for, the playoff field would be expanded to seven teams, while the regular season would be increased to 17 games per team, and the preseason shortened to three games per team, per sources.” He was the first to break this news, despite it being part of the rumor mill the last few days. As many of the pundits, reporters, and insiders have stated, if that policy had been in place in 2019-20 season, the LA Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers would have made the playoffs. This new format allows for just ONE team on a bye after the season ends, and if my understanding is correct, they would get to CHOOSE who they play after wildcard weekend. Ok first let me just say this is a STUPID proposal, as this past season proves that both the Rams and Squeelers were both terrible, and may I also add that the Squeelers were starting a 3rd string QB at the end of the season, so yeah, 7 teams per conference would have been an awful idea.

I don’t mind a 17 game season, as more meaningful football is always a good thing, but the other side of that coin is that the players would require less practice time during the week as well as during OTA’s and preseason. Mark my words and consider this a warning… not only would this lead to more injuries due to less training time to get in shape, and more prepared for real-game speed, but this will also lead to football that would more like the XFL or AAF as opposed to NFL Quality. Less preparation during offseason and preseason is going to be bad. More chance of season-ending injuries, more chance of the quality of the product being BAD, and most of all, leading to less fan interest because of all of it… In its neverending search for more income, the NFL is actually looking to make changes that will lessen the quality of the most popular sport in the US. Do us all a favor NFL, don’t screw with the product, it is just fine the way it is, with one or two exceptions… Active players need guaranteed contracts, and retired players need lifetime medical insurance. You are the largest non-profit entity in the US, and yet you refuse to fully take care of your employees… Change that…

As for MLB… well there are so many different avenues I could go with… however for this post I will go with Rob Manfred is the worst commissioner in professional sports. I mentioned this during the show Sunday night… The fact that he considers the most cherished trophy in baseball a “piece of metal” is insulting. I know he apologized today for choosing the “wrong words” but the fact he said it reveals exactly how Manfred feels about the very sport he oversees, he could care less about the integrity of Major League Baseball, and has insulted every team and player that has ever lifted that trophy each October. Manfred has refused to punish the players for the Astros cheating scandal and has even come out and said any retribution in the form of teams throwing at players will not be tolerated. He refuses to strip the Houston organization of their World Series victory in 2017 and ignores any and all arguments to the contrary. even LeBron James had an opinion about this whole fiasco on his Twitter Feed yesterday… THAT’S how bad this is when you have the best player in another professional sport calling out the commissioner of MLB in his inability to take the issue seriously.

The Astros need to be stripped of their title, they need to be banned from postseason play for at least two seasons, and the owner needs to put the team up for sale. This is worse than the Steroid Era, this is worse than the White Sox Scandal more than 100 years ago… this is a dark day for America’s pastime, and the Astros need to pay heavily for what has occurred, cheating is cheating, that’s the simple fact, and if the commissioner is not willing to understand the severity of the issue, he needs to step down and allow a successor that actually cares about MLB to take his place.

On a positive note… For the few out there that may follow NASCAR and have seen the scary wreck at the end of the Daytona 500 Monday night, Ryan Newman, after being involved in a scary wreck, reminiscent of Dale Earnhardt in 2001, WALKED OUT of the hospital today. This is a testament as to how far safety has come in the sport. I remember the day Dale Earnhardt died… 19 years and one day from that awful moment, and to see how brutal and violent that wreck was on Monday night, to see Ryan actually walk out of the hospital with his two daughters on each arm (although he could have used a pair of shoes), is a reflection of how serious NASCAR takes driver safety. Kudos to NASCAR, but I still want to say that stage racing is awful, and until major changes are made I will not watch outside of the Daytona 500. Oh and just to add fuel to the fire… the cause of that crash Monday Night wasn’t because of Blaney… it was the fault of NASCAR insisting on restrictor plates being in these cars on Superspeedwyas like Daytona and Talladega… this causes pack racing and the greater probability of huge wrecks lie we saw Monday Night. Dale Earnhardt was totally against restrictor plates, and it cost him his life… I don’t care how safe the cars are, restrictor plates create more danger for the drivers than anything else in NASCAR…

Rant over… Good night..

Pitchers and Catchers report…

Yet another MLB season is upon us. As an Indians fan, I am optimistic about their prospects for re-taking the division from the surprise Twins last year. The Indians traded away Cy Youg winner Korey Kluber, but despite that, the starting pitching is solid, and the question remains the lineup and can they score enough runs to make them competitive. They failed to pick up the option on Jason Kipnis, which I was disappointed in but they added Cesar Hernandez, Sandy Leon and of course Delino Deshields in the Kluber trade with the Rangers. I am optimistic that they will in fact compete in the division, but that is where my optimism ends.

So long as you have franchises such as the Yankees and Dodgers breaking the bank and loading their roster with multi-million dollar talent, the Indians will wallow in what I call the second tier of MLB teams. Simply put, the Indians will have a payroll of about $119 million for 2020. Even though that may sound solid, it pales in comparison to the Yankees $154 million, the Dodgers $236 million and the Astros with $225 million. How do I hope for the Indians to compete?

Major League Baseball needs a salary cap. The fact that teams can spend what they want, lure any ace or major hitter to a team by throwing Fort Knox at them is disgusting. A salary cap will create parody, open opportunities for all teams to compete, and provide a much better product for MLB to attract fans to come back, for those that have left. This idea of mine isn’t anything new, as it has been bounced around by any and all pundits in the media and sportswriters for years. The ultimate decision, of course, belongs to Rob Manfred, the Commissioner of MLB to lead the charge and bring the fans back to baseball. The bottom line, in my opinion, regarding why baseball has lost fans, is due to the fact that 75% of the teams in MLB have no chance to compete for a World Series due to the fact they just can’t afford to spend the money that other teams can and are willing to spend.

So anyways… Pitchers and catchers report this week for all MLB clubs… despite all the negativity, I am optimistic, in that the Indians will be fun to watch this year, and it will take my mind off the bad season the Browns had. The Tampa Bay Rays will try and improve from last season and compete for a division title in the AL East, but again I fall back onto the juggernaut that is the NY Yankees. It’s a long season and I haven’t the time to go into all the new rule changes that are happening in MLB (Three batter rule) so I will, for now, focus on the beginning of the season and look to go into more detail as the season progresses. Anyway, Go Tribe, Go Rays, and you all enjoy your evening…

I’m Back

I have a problem… those that know me, understand what it is… I’m lazy when it comes to posting, blogging, getting my thoughts out there, creating content, whatever you want to call it… I have a difficult time getting out of the comfort zone of coming home to sit in front of the TV or computer and becoming a great big pile of jello, zoning out on what I am watching, while at the same time ignoring what I created this site and blog to do… Get what thoughts I have in my head and expressing them. To be honest I have confidence issues, anxiety, and the fear of retribution (whatever that means). To be honest, I actually do have a lot to say, I just have a problem with getting those thoughts organized in my head enough to type them up and blog about it. I have a feeling I am not the only one that has these issues, but the thing is, I have a weekly Live Stream Sports Show and I have no audience, mainly because I suck at advertising it. @jongolson is on me every week about hos I don’t promote the show, @pixiepost is more polite about it, but I know she wants to see more out of me. I want to see more out of me as well… and I know there is a market for what I can bring to the table… the issue is overcoming this anxiety and fear that has taken residence in the back of my head. I don’t think I am good enough, I don’t think I can gain the attention and I also fear that should I say anything controversial, what ramifications do I face as a result??

There are subjects I could discuss that aren’t limited to just sports, and I wonder if instead of expressing these thoughts, should I just stick to sports, keep my opinions to what the majority agrees with and move on lackluster in a rut when in fact I want to scream from the rooftops about what I see and think is wrong in not only the sports world but in the real world as well. I’m not good with the quick comeback if I am hit by a troll or a person with the exact opposite opinion of mine. The debate… it scares me… I fear it… and I really don’t want to face it. But I fear that if I don’t address it… take it on… attack it… I will never truly be what I know I can be… Hard to change one’s nature, attitude, and perception at 53 years old, but I know a change has to happen, if not for my own future, but for the future of this site/blog. I will remain an afterthought, a blip in the history of online presence, where no one reads my content. I need to find that drive… that spark that moves me to the next level. I have heard it from my friends for years about the potential I have inside… But just like the rest of my life, I sit here invisible…

I am not seeking sympathy, I have a good life, a good job, people that care about me, a great family, and above all I am pretty happy with how things are right now… I just can’t help but think I want more… I want to be seen, heard, and vocal about my thoughts and opinions, no matter the cost or consequences… But the old feelings creep up into my head and tell me I will fail… the old man is talking to me from the great beyond telling me over and over again that I will amount to nothing. (yes my father was like that, and so is my step-father today) I have been told my entire life that I was a nobody, that I couldn’t be successful, and the end result is that I have no self-confidence and told I have no talent and because of this, it has resulted in me not having any ambition, accepting that doing just “ok” was enough and that I shouldn’t hope for anything better…

Man, this is depressing… here I am exposing what has held me back all these years, and not realizing most of you have already closed this post and moved on because you don’t need the negativity… lol

For those of you that have stuck around this far, here it goes. I am officially going to get out of this comfort zone of being “just ok” and move forward. I will make the honest effort to move on and be what I had hoped to be, and I don’t care if my thoughts are read by 1 or 101 people, I’m gonna put them down. you can love or hate what I write, I don’t care, cause I’m gonna write either way. I’m gonna make it a point to be blunt, obscene if necessary, and put my heart on my sleeves. I will no longer fear the ramifications, I will no longer fear retribution, I’m gonna air out ll of the dirty laundry as I see it and if there are people that don’t like it, well then too fuking bad… Buckle up… it’s gonna get bumpy…

Let me end with this…

I am a Browns fan… I am an Indians fan… I am an Ohio State Buckeyes fan… I am a Tampa Bay Lightning fan… I am also and fans of the Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Rays… most of what I write will be about those respective sports teams, but I will go off the reservation at times and bring politics, pop culture, movies and music into the fold. I have a ton of opinions and plan to express whatever is on my mind on any particular day of the week or month… Thanks for reading…

I’m Still Here

So… nearly three months later and here I am. I haven’t been invisible… I pop up on a weekly basis on my live stream with my good friends @jongolson, Eliot “Big E” Lomba, Bob “The Beer Man” Pizor and Ken Costlow on a little show that we call The Sports Nerds. The one strick in my craw has always been being consistent with my blog, posts, articles, rants… whatever they may be, but no matter the name, they have been far and few in between. the rule of thumb is inaction leads to complacency, and that is what has happened to me. I have chosen to stay in my comfort zone for the last three months because in there I am safe, I am (of course) comfortable. Well, at least for tonight I am going to step out for a few paragraphs to see what can happen. A lot has happened in the three months I have been a quiet writer, not just in the sports world, but in the real world as well. I really don’t know where to begin, but let’s try and start with the shit show that IS the Cleveland Browns…

So, with so much promise and hype leading up to the season with the addition of OBJ, Kareem Hunt, new head coach who was responsible for Baker’s success at the end of last season, they ended with a gigantic thud and finished 6-10 for the season, after being the darlings of the offseason, being anointed with a predicted 10-6, 11-5, or (gasp) 12-4 season by all of the talking heads on the boob tube, they fail miserably, yet no one saw it coming… wait.. no.. I DID… I was not on the bandwagon, didn’t buy into the hype and instead decided to go with my 50+ year experience of following this team, knew too well that the result would not live up to the hype. I had hoped for 8-8 at best, and even then it was reaching. But alas, as with all of the “experts” I was disappointed in the end result. Jimmy Haslam is the owner of this franchise, he purchased it from the Lerner family, who were the ones that brought the Browns back into the NFL, but could not succeed, alas not for fear of trying… How can we forget the Draft Picks… Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Kellen Winslow II, Trent Richardson, Brandon Weedon, and of course how could we forget Johnny “Johnny Football” Manziel. What a history this team has at drafting nothing but the best players over the course of the last 20 years.

Then we have the coaches… Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Romeo Crennel, Rob Chudzinzki, Eric Mangini, Hue Jackson, and this past seasons gem in Freddie Kitchens, who seemed to be more comfortable having a beer with the boys than he did on the sidelines. Yes, the Browns have been the worst franchise in the entire NFL since their return to the NFL 20 years ago. In that timeframe, they have made the playoffs ONCE, and have finished the season with a winning record just twice… in 20 years… think about that for a moment… how inept of a franchise do you have to be where you can only manage a winning record twice in 20 years? Well, all I can say is, welcome to my world. Despite all of the ineptness, no matter the bad draft picks and coaches, and no matter what happens on or off the field, I am still here a die-hard fan… win or lose, to the death, I will be a fan and bleed orange and brown.

Fast forward to the year 2020… We have just hired the 12th Head Coach since 1999 in the form of Kevin Stefanski, the former OC of the Minnesota Vikings (for one season) and once again the Browns have given us a glimmer of hope… they use words like “great fit” “positive influence” “he’s different” “a great leader” “very detailed” “he’s confident” and “attention to detail”… all of which are great on paper, but can he deliver when the whistle sounds? Who knows, but here we are, another year with a new coach, a new system, and the key factor being Baker Mayfield because this will be his 3rd head coach, his third offensive system and once again, we turn the page to a new outlook on the future of this franchise. I have been through many new regimes and to put it bluntly, I’m not optimistic. Like I have said MANY times on my show… don’t tell me what you can do… SHOW ME… and that is how I intend to look at 2020 with this team. I will ho0ld my enthusiasm, my excitement, and my hopes because I have been time and time again, disappointed in the end result. So ends the Cleveland Browns segment of this post…

Moving on… On a personal note… for those that don’t know me, I am a 53-year old white guy, living in Lakeland, Florida and have just recently been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes… to say this was a shock is putting it mildly. I am overweight, lead a stagnant lifestyle, and am addicted to pasta, rice, and bread. I have been told I need to give up all of it, and it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I am just over a month into the diagnosis and to say the least, I have found t very difficult to not buy that Mac-N-Cheese dinner in the grocery, nor to buy the Rice-a-Roni when it is on sale as BOGO… but.. with a focused mind… and willpower that can be compared to the 300 Spartans … I have managed to minimize my intake of pasta, bread, and rice… no matter how much it has tortured my palate. Wish me luck… I am currently at 290 pounds and have a goal of reaching 225 by the end of this year. I hope to beat this, and it is going to take every ounce of willpower and strength to see it through.

More personal issues… As I have said on-air and posted to this blog… I LOVE my job, I love the people I work with… I love going in every day, it has allowed me to work from home at times when needed… but recently I have become disillusioned… questioning whether or not all of my hard work is worth it… whether or not I am being taken for granted… If I am appreciated… If the sacrifices I am making (28 hours of OT in 2 weeks) are worth it… Recent events have caused me to question that… and only time will tell if all the hard work and sacrifices I have put in have been worth it… the jury is still out on this one… but who’s to say what is happening behind the scenes… I am still waiting for the recognition, the kudos… and to be honest, with what has happened in just the last couple of days, I am wondering if I am as valuable to my team as I thought I was… I still love what I do… and I can’t imagine doing anything else… I am here to the end… but still… Why am I here?…

There are several issues I can get into with this post, but it would take all night to type it all out. MLB cheating scandal… Butt slapping in New Orleans… NFL 100 HOF class… AFC/NC Championship games… And of course… the age-old question that has been escaping scholars for millennia… What is the purpose of referees, if they can’t call a game correctly… NFL or NCAA… but for these topics… you will have to follow me on FaceBook (I know.. evil empire) and join me and a few of my friends as we discuss the world of sports each and every Sunday night at 7:00 pm Eastern time. The Sports Nerds have been LIVE for 9 years… and we don’t care what the press of the public has to say about our opinions… because we don’t get paid to broadcast, nor do we have any sponsors… so if you want unfiltered, off the cuff, unscripted sports talk… we are your huckleberry… join us each Sunday…

Goodnight all… and as I always say… Be good… but more importantly, be good to each other…

Peace…

Scott… “The Sports Nerd”

Twitter – @the_sports_nerd

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/scottwright127

Wednesday Night Rant…

Greetings sports fans, hope you are having a great hump day… 


I have a couple of portions of beef to get off my chest tonight and they involve the ineptness of a couple of NFL teams that I consider “my” teams.  First, let me just say that I write this post under the influence of 90 proof Bourbon so take it with a grain of salt and enjoy the potential typos, irregular knowledge and most of all, emotional distress…


I will start with the least important rant…  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers…  The team I adopted after moving to the Tampa area in 1998 (has it really been 21 years???)  a shit show with a QB that can’t seem to stop throwing it to the team with the wrong colors on their uniforms.  Hey Jameis, you might want to consider getting contact lenses because either you can’t see what you are throwing at or you are as color blind as Vinny Testaverde.a  It is becoming clear each week that you may not be on this team after the 2019 season if you can’t start throwing it to the guys in pewter, red and white.  This past week you lost to a Tennessee Titans team that started Ryan freaking Tannehill…  a guy so bad the Miami Dolphins (0-7) didn’t want him on their roster in favor of Josh Rosen and Fitzmagic… so… yeah..  they are bad, and no glossing over with colorful metaphors is gonna solve the problems that are plaguing this team.  the defense can’t stop anyone and the offense can’t seem to get out of its own way.  Bruce Arians is a good coach, he proved that in Arizona, but not even he can fix the Bucs because the talent is just that bad.  I am so glad that I am not a more die-hard fan of this team because if I was as invested in the Bucs as I am in the subject of my second rant, I probably would have thrown myself off of the proverbial roof by now.  I am not a fan AT ALL of the ownership in Tampa,  the Glazer boys have buried this team into the bottom of the NFL, which is probably causing their late great father Malcolm Glazer to roll over in his grave.  The old man left you with a former Super Bowl champion, and you have done nothing to make this team better in the years following his death.  Do the fans of Tampa Bay a favor, sell the team to someone that actually wants to win, and please put us all out of our misery…


Now, on to the main event…  The Cleveland Browns made some major acquisitions in the offseason, not the least of which was Odell Beckham freaking Jr…  he of the one-handed legendary catch all those years ago…  they went and got them a running game, a solid defense, a franchise QB (supposedly) in the 2018 draft, and “on paper” clearly had some of the best talent in the NFL.  the problem with that is teams aren’t judged on what they have on paper, they actually have to play the games…  Freddie Kitchens was the RUNNING BACKS COACH last season under first Hue Jackson, then Gregg Williams (he of bounty-gate fame) he was promoted to Offensive Coordinator for the last half of the season.  In the front office’s infinite wisdom, they decided that Williams was not the right fit at head coach and promoted Freddie and got rid of Williams.  Kitchens had never been a head coach at ANY level before and just because his offense provided new life for the Browns down the stretch last year, he deserved to be promoted to head coach…


So, here we are… fast forward to the near half-way mark of the 2019 campaign, the Browns are 2-5, they have shown glimpses of brilliance, but the fact of the matter is there are a couple of things that are preventing them from transferring that “on paper” talent to the field. 


The first is the penalties… Oh my lord, the penalties…  false starts, holding, you name it, they have done it.  One of the most penalized teams in the NFL for 2019 and to be honest, I don’t know if they can make it through the season without being the most penalized team in the NFL for 2019.  It all boils down to discipline on both sides of the ball.  If you can’t get through a play without holding the attacking lineman or if you can’t remember the snap count, I hear the XFL is looking for players to fill rosters after the first of the year, why don’t you take your talents there.  The lack of discipline on this team is ASTOUNDING…  The role of the coaching staff is to COACH, and that means teaching your players not to hold, making sure they know the snap count and seeing that they are a more positive influence on the success of this team, and not just some lackey wearing a uniform.  Get on the same page gentlemen, and focus on what is at hand, not just how you may look on the field and believing the press in their praise of the talent that is on this team.  Your actions will speak volumes to the future success of the Browns than your stupid brain-dead mistakes will…


The second is turnovers…  good god what a mess…  Nick Chubb fumbled twice (or was it three times)  last week, one of which was due to an OFFENSIVE LINEMAN kicking the ball out of his hands – yes – FRIENDLY FIRE… and the second was after breaking a 40+ run that seemed destined to reach the end zone, a DB that had been originally dumped to the ground on the play, hustled and raced Chubb down and knocked the ball out of his hands as he reached the 10 yard line…   The Browns went toe to toe with the world champs on Sunday and were it not for three consecutive offensive turnovers – three plays – three turnovers… they actually would have had a chance to beat the almighty Tom “Goat” Brady and Bill “Goat#2” Bellichick (Bellicheat) in Foxboro… on national TV… with Jim Nance and Tony Romo in attendance, but no…  mistakes… penalties… turnovers… it all boils down to the head coach having control and being in charge of discipline of this team.  A team can have all the talent in the world on its roster, but unless that can translate to the field of play it doesn’t mean squat…


The entire offseason, the press, pundits, prognosticators, and ESPN all said that the Browns were the second coming of the greatest show on turf, what with their great WR’s, world-class RB and a defense that was stacked from head to toe with playmakers.  For the record… I was NEVER on that bandwagon…  go back and listen to the replays of The Sports Nerds beginning after the draft and you will see that I was impressed with what they had built on paper, but I wanted to see it on the field.  Well, I haven’t seen it yet, and although I will admit the first half of the season has presented the Browns with one of the toughest schedules in the league, it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to me. 


They have 9 games left… the schedule appears to be a bit softer than what they started with, with games against the Broncos, two against the Bungles, two against the Steelers, the Dolphins, and the Cardinals in line…  they need to show us what they promised…  I love my Browns…  have been a fan for over 50 years, and I have suffered through “Red Right 88”, “The Drive” “The Fumble” and now 20 years of expansion headaches, and frankly I am tired of suffering through season after season of 4-12, 5-11, and yes even 7-8-1 seasons.  You guys say you are better than what your record shows…  PROVE IT… SHOW US…  This fan base deserves more from the front office, the coaching staff and the players…  Get your shit together and start putting it on the field…


I’m out…


Scott “The Sports Nerd”