Jack City

My name is Scott Miles. I'm a Cleveland native and a die-hard Cleveland sports fan. I am in my second year at Capital University where I write for the school paper, work in the Sports Information Department, and used to play baseball and golf. This blog focuses on Cleveland and Ohio State sports, along with Capital. Feel free to give me feedback!

Monday, October 30, 2006

After Phil Dawson's field goal put the Browns up 20-3 in the second half yesterday against the Jets, a strange feeling hit me.

"I can't remember the last time the Browns had a 17-point lead," I said to my friends TJ and Brian as we watched the game on TV.

I just checked it out - last year, a 22-0 week 11 win against the Dolphins.

That was 13 games ago. Almost a full season between having comfortable leads in a ballgame. I had completely forgotten what it was like to cheer for an NFL team with a lead.

Of course, the Browns being the Browns, the Jets cut quickly into that "comfortable lead" and only a controversial call in the end zone - the Jets receiver pushed out by safety Brodney Pool before landing in bounds - kept the game from being tied.

(Good call by the refs - you can't assume the receiver would land with both feet in bounds on that play. And a great job by Pool to get over there and hit him hard. And most surprisingly of all, the call didn't go against the Browns!!!)

It's amazing what a few good plays can do to a fan base. After Droughns's first two carries Sunday gained first downs, TJ, Brian and I came to the consensus that we would win the game. This was halfway through the first quarter with Cleveland trailing 3-0.

I woke up this Monday morning with a stomach ache and a head ache. But I thought back to the euphoric thoughts of a Browns victory and voila! Back at 100%!

Better yet, both the Bungles and Steelers lost Sunday. So now the Browns are tied for third with Pittsburgh in the division, and I think their fans are calling the Dr. Kevorkian hot line.

The Browns are 2-5 and head out west to face the San Diego Chargers. Will they be underdogs? Yeah. Should they win that game? Probably not.

But I'm not even worried about that right now. I'm still basking in the glory of this week's win.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Two weeks ago, I bought a Reuben Droughns jersey at TJ Maxx for $25. It's bright orange and even better, it's an extra large - I look like Oprah Winfrey in a pumpkin costume.

Anyway, I was so excited to wear this jersey today, because the Browns had their bye last Sunday. Being the superstitious sort, I secretly hoped it would be a good luck charm for Droughns and a spark to the struggling Brownies.

What did I get instead? Droughns had 12 carries for 33 yards, including a fumble, and the Browns laid an egg against the Denver Broncos, losing 17-7 at home and falling to 1-5 on the season.

While I didn't think Cleveland would win this game, I expected a much better effort out of the team. Though Denver has one of the top defenses in the league, allowing just over seven points per game, the Browns had two weeks to prepare for this game - you have to step up your game at some point. And the Browns just didn't do it today.

The offense looks like a quagmire, and I'm not really sure why. Is Charlie Frye the answer at quarterback? He's had his ups and downs. What's the deal with the offensive line? Would LeCharles Bentley make the difference at center? Is Braylon Edwards (two catches, six yards Sunday) the playmaker he's been advertised as? And offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon's playcalling always leaves something to be desired - sometimes I wish we had the "Ask Madden" or "Ask Corso" feature enabled.

I think my friend TJ summed it up best today while we watched the game at Damon's: "If the Browns played on offense the whole game, and the other team just had to play defense, who would win?" Everyone agreed it would be a close game, because the opposing defense would likely return a few interceptions or fumbles for touchdowns.

Still, there are some positives for the Browns. Save for the Bungles Disaster in week two, the defense has played pretty well - it gives up some yards and isn't always the best at preventing third down conversions, but it also keeps teams out of the end zone. And I'm a firm believer that Dave Zastudil is probably the team MVP right now.

Sadly, the road for the Browns doesn't get much easier - games against the Jets, Chargers and Falcons are looming the next few Sundays. I hoped this team would finish around .500 this year and ready to make the leap to playoff contention next season, but right there are just too many unknowns in personnel and coaching.

Some other thoughts:

College Football - OSU keeps rolling on its collision course against The School Up North. Overheard in the Capital University football press box yesterday: Neil (the PA announcer) - "Any more announcements to make?" Me - "It's 3:53...and Michigan still sucks."

I've been asked, quite frequently, if I'd rather see the No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle or see Michigan lose. Frankly, I don't really care - if Michigan loses against Ball State, I'll be pretty happy.

As for Capital's football team, the Crusaders (ranked No. 4 in the www.d3football.com poll)dispatched of Otterbein 26-0 yesterday, setting up a match up with No. 1 Mount Union next Saturday. Honestly, the Crusaders will have to play a lot better up in Alliance than they have played the last few weeks - Capital made six trips inside the Cardinals red zone in the first half Saturday but only scored 16 points before halftime.

I'm not saying that Capital has to play a perfect game against Mount Union in order to win, but they need to do a better job taking advantage of those opportunities. The offense, which has been stuck in neutral since the second quarter of the John Carroll game, will have to find the end zone more than twice to win. The defense, which has struggled a bit stopping the run, will also have to shut down Nate Kmic, who rushed for over 200 yards against Baldwin-Wallace Saturday.

If you're not making the drive up to Alliance, I'm going to be blogging live from the stadium at www.d3football.com. More details to come later.

World Series - It's the Cardinals and the Tigers. I can't wait for the game three pitching matchup between Bob Gibson and Mickey Lolich.

Honestly, how did the Tigers get this far? You could anticipate Pudge, Kenny Rogers, Magglio, etc. having good years. But Craig Monroe, Curtis Granderson, Nate Robertson? Monroe just hit his fifth homer of the postseason, breaking the Tigers record. Not Al Kaline, not Hank Greenberg - freaking Craig Monroe.

The Indians will have some work to do to stay alive in the AL Central, which might produce two straight World Series champions.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I promised to my favorite cross country runner, Brandon Laks, that I would update the blog this week. While I've had plenty to write about (the Browns play heading into the bye, a farewell to the Indians, LeBron James, etc.) I haven't had the time to put anything together.

So what you will see in this post is an excerpt from my short story, entitled "The Carpool", for my Creative Writing class. If you like what you see, leave me a comment or send me an e-mail and I'll send you the full story - it'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, it'll make you question everything you've learned in life. OK, I made that last part up, but you get the point.

So without further ado...

Rainy days in the summer are such a waste, almost like spending nine bucks to see that big blockbuster movie that’s just terrible. My friends and I are still young enough to avoid the 9-to-5 jobs of our parents, so we try to enjoy the sunny summer days as much as possible before entering the real world. Golf, basketball, home run derby – if the sun was out, so were we.
Usually a day of rain means a day of Madden or Grand Theft Auto, but my buddy Dave called me and said a group of guys were going up to the Weston Rec Center to play basketball. In the midst of an eight-game road trip, the Captains didn’t require my interning abilities for another few days, so I readily agreed.
Our pickup games carry the intensity of a championship heavyweight fight. First to 11, win by two, we’re tied at nine and Dave finds me in the corner spotted up for a deep ball. Swish. Ballgame. I tapped my heart twice and pointed to the sky, the way I honored Katie after every made basket and every strikeout.
As we paused to catch our breaths before starting round two, I heard a familiar voice behind me. “Nice shot,” Ashley said, as she emerged from the weight room.
“Thanks,” I replied with a smile, using my shirt to wipe the sweat from my brow. “How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough to see you make that shot and” - she paused for dramatic effect – “airball that 10-footer the last possession.”
Oooooooh!” echoed seven guys at once, and my face, already reddened from the long, tough game, turned a deeper shade of crimson. I grabbed the ball, sitting innocently underneath the basket, and tossed it to Ashley. “Let’s see what you got,” I challenged.
She shrugged and took the ball back behind the three-point line. Ashley checked the ball to me, then took two dribbles to the right and froze me with a stutter step. She broke my ankles with an Allen Iverson-esque crossover dribble and blew by me for an easy left-handed layup.
Ostensibly my friends, the guys howled with laughter, jeers and cheers. Muttering angrily to myself, I stormed to the three-point line and waited for her to come back and check the ball. Ashley strolled back leisurely and tossed me the ball. “I don’t think I mentioned this, but I was the conference player of the year my junior and senior year in basketball,” she stated matter-of-factly.
“Wonderful,” I gritted through clenched teeth, preparing for my patented dribble-drive-spin move that kept the boys on their heels. On my first dribble, though, she reached out, slapped the ball away, and in one motion grabbed it and stepped behind the arc. Her shot rang pure and true, and the slaughter was on.
I managed to score three points on her, more luck than skill. She polished me off with a step back jumper that rivaled Michael Jordan’s. “Good game,” Ashley said, before walking away to the exit and leaving me shaking my head in wonder.