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!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fifteen straight national quarterfinal appearances. Eight national championships. A coach with 20 losses in 21 seasons.

Haven’t heard enough? How about winning streaks of 55 and 54 games over the past decade? How about leading every single second of every game this year? How about holding four teams (including Capital) to negative rushing yards?

That’s enough perverse pleasure for the masochists reading this column. But the fact remains; Mount Union is a very, very good football team, and the Crusaders will once again have their hands full this Saturday if they want to move on to the national semifinals.

Earlier this season, Capital traveled to Alliance, fell behind 17-0 early and never found a rhythm in a 38-12 loss. I was there, and the elements were as unkind to the Crusaders as was the running of stud back Nate Kmic (240 yards, three TD’s), who enters the rematch with four 200-yard efforts this year and 23 touchdowns.

Heck, Mount Union’s rushing attack is so strong, their second-string running back earned all-conference honors. Wow.

Though the Purple Raiders have (rightly) earned their status as the top dogs on the block, you can’t completely discount the Crusaders in the rematch. Capital’s 41-13 victory over North Central (Ill.) College pushed the football team to a school record 11 wins, and the Crusaders have maintained a top-five national ranking all season.

Capital’s success over the past few seasons hasn’t gone unnoticed: “We hope to someday consider Cardinal football a powerhouse, not necessarily just on the regional level, but on the national level with the likes of Capital and Mount Union,” said Kam Kniss, North Central’s quarterback, following Saturday’s game.

Senior quarterback Rocky Pentello has been the focal point of the resurgence of the Capital football program, which before this season hadn’t hosted a playoff game since the 1970 Stagg Bowl. Pentello became just the fourth quarterback in Division III history to surpass the 12,000 career yard mark Saturday while throwing for a career-best five touchdowns.

But the Crusaders are more than just Pentello’s gaudy passing numbers. Coach Jim Collins and defensive coordinator Jim Bickel have developed a defense that’s allowed Capital to win games in other ways besides shootouts. This year’s defense yields less than 12 points per game and holds its opponents to under 250 yards per game.

People have asked me all week, “Scott, is it worth going up there for the game? Do we even stand a chance?”

The answer: Yes. The behemoth that is Mount Union football, while not an easy task, is also not an insurmountable feat to accomplish. Remember, in this same round last year, Capital battled hard before dropping a 34-31 decision.

“They’re a great team,” Pentello said. “I don’t want to say we have to play a perfect game because we’re a good team too, but we’re going to have to go up there and play well and execute on both sides of the ball.”

“It’s the playoffs,” said sophomore safety C.J. Steele. “It’s anybody’s game.”

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Cleveland Browns – the Losers on the Lake, the Wretched by the Rock Hall, the Chokers of the Cuyahoga – did it again to all Cleveland fans Sunday.

After totally dominating the Shittsburgh Steelers in every facet of the game in the first half, the Browns entered the locker room – with a 10-0 lead. We all know how today’s game ended.
Fumble. Missed field goal. Interception return called back. Penalty out of field goal range. Hail Mary ohsoclose. And that was just the first half. We left more points on the board than Drew Carey during an episode of Whose Line is it Anyway.

I don’t even know where to start. For as much as I, and all other Cleveland sports fans, invest in our teams, we get nothing back. Today served as yet another example of the disease that’s plagued the Browns, Indians and Cavs since 1964.

The second half proved as frustrating as any I’ve seen. Shittsburgh totally abandoned the run game and let Big Ben sit back in the pocket, where he picked the Browns secondary apart on short crossing patterns. The pass rush was ineffectual and nonexistent.

Fourteen of Cleveland’s 20 points came off of special teams and defense. I thought, oh I thought, that Josh Cribbs’ kick return would have deflated the high tide rushing in. Alas, alas…

Here’s how devastating this loss was – I watched the game with my buddies Rosen and TJ, and driving back we contemplated shooting up heroin and driving my car off the pier by Browns Stadium. The Winking Lizard, home of the Buckeyes Browns Backers, fell deadly silent after Charlie Frye’s final pass bounced off several pairs of hands in the end zone.

In fact, the loss even sapped away the joys of Ohio State’s triumph over hated Michigan. This had the potential to be the sports weekend EVER, and it ended with a giant thud.

I tried to wait a few hours to write this, to cool off, to pray that a level head would prevail. The cooling off period failed to soothe my burning intensity.

Five of the Browns’ seven defeats have been one possession. Saints, week one? Ugh. Ravens, week three? Please. Panthers, week five? Ehhhhh. Chargers, week nine? Six field goals kicked. Steelers, week 11? Well, just see above.

TJ aptly pointed out the Browns entered today just two games – two games! – out of the Wild Card, even with a 3-6 record. Even better, we’d leap ahead of the dreadful Steelers in the division and remain one game back of the Bungles if we were to win.

Of course, the Steelers didn't really win today's game.

The Browns lost it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

While my friend John Carlisle took a more serious approach to previewing the most important game in college football history (well, maybe), I decided to go a different route. I can't compete with John or ESPN or any of the other thousands of media outlets that have done something to cover the game...in the conventional manner. Like my OSU-Texas preview, here's a special twist on Saturday's Big Game. So please enjoy (and understand that I'm an unabashed Ohio State fan - cryptic message at the end.)

So now that time has come,
The biggest rivalry of them all,
An encounter between two and one,
College football’s come to call.

Capital and Wittenberg will be a battle,
(Oh wait, that’s a different game!)
Sorry, I didn’t mean to prattle –
That “other” contest has a bit more fame.

How about OSU-Michigan?
Saturday at the Shoe?
Will the Bucks win again?
Or will it go to the Blue?

When last I wrote,
To preview for the Buckeyes
We turned the Longhorns into goats
Much too weak to beat our guys.

I talked about Teddy and Troy
And their big play potential.
Nothing’s changed, not a ploy
Nothing too substantial.

Michigan counters with Henne and Hart,
Super Mario and a tough defense.
Certainly must get off to a fast start,
Else there might be no suspense.

Woody and Bo
Two coaching legends.
Jim and Lloyd have another go
Four out of five – Carr tries to make amends.

Before we delve any deeper
End right now this debate
And pray Michigan goes home a weeper
That, yes, was written with much hate

My devotion lies true
I will most certainly admit it
Chance Saturday’s winner wears blue?
Haha – that’s bullshit.

In time we’ll see
Gather all ye ‘round
And watch the game in glee
Not a vacant seat to be found.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

NOTE: I had the opportunity to travel with Capital's volleyball team to the NCAA tournament at Washington University in St. Louis, working for the athletic department and announcing our matches. Obviously, I couldn't turn this trip down, and couldn't pass up the chance to write about it. Here's the story:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

7:40 a.m. (Eastern time): With my bags all loaded up, I left my dorm room and made my way across campus to the Cap Center, where the bus departed from. I’ve got so much stuff weighing me down – book bag, duffel bag, radio equipment bag, laptop - I feel like I’m going to war, not a volleyball tournament. The Mound Street construction doesn’t help, either; my legs started to drag hauling all that stuff around the “detour”, and I’m feeling pretty grateful that I remembered to grab that Gatorade out of the fridge. And yes, feel free to berate me for whining about having to carry 60 pounds of crap about 2,000 feet – I’m the one getting an all-expense paid trip to St. Louis.

8:00 a.m.: “Have you ever been on a bus with so many girls before?” asked Pam Briggs, the head coach. “Can’t say that I have,” I replied. “Oh, it’s an experience,” Briggs answered, as one of the players brings up a stack of DVD’s to watch on the drive. Top two on the list: ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Elf’. Yikes.

10:15 a.m.: Rest stop somewhere in the midst of the great state of Indiana. I’m trying to figure out the difference between western Ohio and Indiana and came to the realization that it’s all just one strip of land. This epiphany, coupled with the USA Today I just picked up with all the election hoopla, makes me temporarily question why it’s even necessary to have state boundaries in the first place. You have three or four major cities in each state, and that’s really it. I mean, what’s the difference between Urbana, Ohio and New Lisbon, Indiana? Maybe a few cows, a streetlight here or there? Sadly, this is what happens to my mind after having to watch Lindsay Lohan try to act for two hours. The only cure: opening up the Sports section. Ahhh…

12:00 p.m. (Indiana time – idiots have to be different out here): We stop in lovely Terre Haute for lunch at the Golden Corral, which is like a Hometown Buffet for you Cleveland readers (I didn’t know what it was, either – my initial guesses were a Longhorn or Texas Roadhouse-type place, based off the name). Anyway, I immediately text my friend Rosen, telling him I’m looking out for Larry Bird; if you don’t understand that joke, just stop reading this right now and go back to your Cosmo or Newsweek.
As we sit down to eat, I’m reminded of past experiences eating on the road with teams, such as the buffet in Marietta with the Solon baseball team (“Coach Cisar better not step on that stress machine, it’ll make his head explode!”) to the Spaghetti Warehouse and McDonald’s in Toledo with the Solon boy’s basketball team (“Coach…can we go to McDonald’s instead?”).
Of course, sitting at a table with three volleyball players (Kara Guster, Heidi Rose and Heather Kwiatkowski) is a little different than being in a room full of baseball and basketball players. “Don’t pretend like you’re not listening,” Heidi says as the conversation turns to the number of shoes brought on the trip. OK, I won’t, but don’t expect any contributions to the topic, either.

1:05 p.m.: After a delightful meal, we’re back on the bus, where Coach Briggs loads up some game tape of Coe (Iowa) College, Capital’s opponent tomorrow night. “We have to attack and stay aggressive,” Briggs says. Coe appears to be pretty similar to Capital, but our coaches and players alike seem very confident.
I’ve noticed the bus is real quiet. Riding with my high school basketball team senior year, they would rap loudly and dance as if performing on stage, not in the back of a coach bus. I guess I’ve seen both extremes. I also couldn’t help but think that the movies we watched heading to Toledo were ‘Remember the Titans’ and either ‘Hoosiers’ or ‘Rudy’ – a little more apt choice before a sporting event then, say, ‘Mean Girls’ or ‘Elf’. But that’s just me.

1:40 p.m. – ‘Annapolis’ is the next DVD choice. Well, we’re getting there, but I’m still not holding my breath for ‘Field of Dreams’.

1:40 p.m. (Central) – Gotta love the time change. This movie isn’t half bad, actually – it’s like ‘Rocky’ meets ‘A Few Good Men’. All we’re missing is the soundtrack by Survivor and guest appearances from Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson.

3:10 p.m. – Welcome from the “Lou”! (Is it ok if I call it that? Nelly won’t be mad?) We drove in past the Arch, the Mighty Mississippi, and New Busch Stadium. Wait, is that a guy being handcuffed on the side of the highway by two cops? And another guy lying facedown on the ground? Some real life drama in the Lou! I can’t wait to spend some time in the most violent city in the country. Seriously.
We get to the hotel, the Sheraton, and unload. I have a room (1118) to myself, three floors above everyone else. Sweeet. I get into the elevator with some of the girls and ask Jordan Centers to hit floor number 11. She pushes it a few times but it doesn’t light up – we discover that I’m staying in the “SPG” or “Starwood Preferred Guest” area and have to swipe my room key to get up there. “Ooooh” choruses the girls. “I didn’t realize the athletic department held me in such high esteem,” I said.

3:36 p.m. – I unpack and turn on the TV. Guess what movie’s on? ‘Rudy’. I hate Notre Dame but it’s a great movie. I thought about skipping dinner to stay in and watch it, but my stomach told me otherwise.
As I’m about to leave, my friend John calls me about the Indians trade, acquiring second baseman Josh Barfield from the Padres for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andrew Brown. I can’t believe I’m in St. Louis with a group of girls when this trade goes down – the Tribe picks up a player who can be the second baseman of the future (I’m trusting John’s gut here) and I’m so far away from it all? There are times when analyses need to be discussed, damn it, and I don’t think I’m going to get it done with the Capital volleyball team.

4:03 p.m. – We leave the hotel and walk a little ways to a restaurant/bar called CJ Muggs, a kind of place where the office buddies get together for a few drinks after work. The culture shock of sitting at a table with about 18 girls continues to set in – I try to focus some attention to the news about Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation, mostly in vain.

5:08 p.m. – Back in the room. Holy crap, why is ‘Sportscenter’ on now? Oh yeah…

6:45 p.m. – The team has headed off to practice at the stadium, and I decide to wander around the area a little. I don’t really travel much – this is the furthest west I’ve gone – so I want to do some venturing. We’re in a pretty nice part of the city, a business district, a courthouse, lots of new-ish type stuff. Nice little town, this St. Louis…

6:46 p.m. – Oh my God, is that man being robbed? Just kidding, just kidding.

7:17 p.m. – I had stopped in a little convenience store called World News to get something to drink, buy a disposable camera and look for a few magazines. While I was in there, a woman asked the clerk if they had the latest Jewish Press. I listened to see if they did, because I would have bought about five on the spot to send to all my friends back home. Regrettably, the World News did not carry any.

7:30-11:30 p.m. - I spent the rest of the night watching ‘Coming to America’ (“You must be outta your god damn mind! Joe Louis the greatest boxer to ever live!”), doing some homework and exploring the hotel (sorry, Sam, didn’t pick up any chicks at the hotel bar.) Back in action tomorrow.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

9:10 a.m. – It took me about seven minutes to figure out how to turn off my alarm clock. But here’s some free pub for Sheraton Hotels: Most. Comfortable. Bed. Ever. I don’t ever want to leave St. Louis.
I shower and make my way downstairs for breakfast, where I eat with Roger Welsh, the athletic director, and his wife. We spent some time trying to figure out the rather pedestrian number of students who attend Capital sporting events, especially since they’re free to students. It’s definitely an issue, especially given the success our teams have enjoyed the past few years, and sadly there don’t seem to be any clear answers.

9:50 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – We visit the famous Arch. Wonderful tourist attraction, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s about 75 degrees and sunny. Is this really November 9? I’m glad I brought along some shorts.
Underneath the Arch is the Jefferson National Museum, and that’s where you buy tickets to get to the top of the Arch. The method of transportation to the top are these little Star Wars-esque space pods that fit five people, rather uncomfortably. It’s just a five minute trip up there, but I smacked my head on the ceiling no fewer than five times. I don’t see how anyone over 6’2” or 230 pounds could fit in there. Apparently the people of St. Louis are a bit smaller than average.
Once you get to the top, and ignore the migraine, the view is spectacular. Just stunning. I won’t even try to describe it here – wait for the pics from my disposable camera to tell the story.

1:00 p.m. – We get back to the hotel and walk over to a cozy little Italian place called Pasta Plus. This might be the only fast food Italian restaurant on the planet. It was pretty cheap, good quantity, good quality and my chicken fettuccini even came with two pieces of bread. Plus it smelled like an authentic Italian restaurant. The only downside was seeing some guy in a bright yellow shirt lick his plastic plate, like a dog, after he was done with his meal. I mean, he was really getting after it. I threw up a little in my mouth watching that display.

1:40 p.m. – Back to the Sheraton aka the Best Hotel On the Planet (you can send me a check whenever you want, Mr. Sheraton). The girls are still amazed about my “VIP” room on the 11th floor. Hey, I can’t help the celebrity treatment.
While they have study tables until we leave for tonight’s match, I’m free to surf the internet and watch TV. I discover we get ESPN Classic in the hotel. Have I mentioned how much I love this place? I watch Tennessee-Arkansas from 1997 (Payton Manning, Jamal Lewis, Peerless Price – what a team) and then ‘Stump the Schwab’. That’s entertainment enough for me, thanks.

3:30 p.m. – Game time. Well, not quite, but we head out to Washington University to watch the other teams and give the girls plenty of time to prepare. It’s only about a five-minute drive from the hotel, and the campus looks pretty nice.
I meet up with some the sports information staff from Wash U., who show me around and point me to where I’ll be doing the radio broadcast. They also mention that the school is hosting the NCAA regional volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer tournaments this week, as well as playing a home football game Saturday. I’m glad I’m not working in that athletic department.
We don’t play until 6 p.m., so the sit-and-wait game is on. I review my notes on Coe. I’ll spare all the tedium, but I think we have a good chance to beat them. This is their first time in the tourney, and we have a lot of experienced players.

5:50 – 8:50 p.m. – I’m all set up and on the air. Wow, what a thrilling match. Capital won it 3-2 (you can read my recap here: http://www.capital.edu/internet/default.aspx?pid=10037) and it was tight the whole way. Every time one team jumped out to a lead, the other would inevitably respond. You couldn’t ask for much more, except for the back pain I experienced being wedged between a table and the backrest of a bleacher for two and a half hours.
I talk to my boss Lenny for a few minutes and get a few text messages after the match. It’s too bad Mike, our other announcer, couldn’t make it down here. Of course, he is a Michigan fan, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to tolerate him for the week. I also call home and inform the parents I won’t be coming back to Solon this weekend (Capital football plays at Baldwin-Wallace Saturday). Bummer.
I walked out of the upper deck, where I announced from, and out into the hallway – smack dab into fencing practice. Yes, you heard me right – a bunch of students were fencing in the hallway. St. Louis is an interesting place.

9:45 p.m. – After watching a little of our future opponent, Washington University, beat up on Nebraska Wesleyan, the team leaves and picks up pizza from a place called Imo’s. We bring it back to the hotel and eat in the employee lunchroom downstairs. Let’s just say the pizza tasted like pizza would if it came from a place called Imo’s and leave it at that.

That’s all for tonight, day three and four updates coming tomorrow.

Friday, November 10, 2006

9:00 a.m. – Up for breakfast, an all-you-can-eat buffet. I’m not one much for a big breakfast and get some grief from the girls about my relatively small portions and the lack of syrup on my pancakes. Man, I thought I was sarcastic…girls can be ruthless sometimes.

9:50 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – We had originally intended to visit St. Louis’ Science Museum, but found out that entry cost $10 a person. So we make a trip to the hallmark of the city – the Anheuser-Busch Brewery! That’s right, they have a guided tour, a small museum, and a nice gift shop. People over the age of 21 even get two free samples of whatever A-B beer they want at the end of the tour. “Did I see your hand go up?” Coach Briggs said to me after the tour guide asked how many beer drinkers were in our group of about 40 people.
The tour itself was pretty extensive – the place is HUGE. We saw the stables where the Clydesdales reside and learned about the entire brewing process. It was pretty interesting to learn about the different things A-B did to stay in business during Prohibition, making a variety of products. Of course I used up my disposable camera at the Arch yesterday and didn’t have time to buy another. We walked around for about 45 minutes and took a shuttle bus back to the main building where the tour started, and where the free samples would be passed out. “Are you going to have any?” Jordan Centers asked me as we rode back. “I’m only 19,” I responded, once again catching every one off guard (FOR THE RECORD – I’m 19 years old and in my second year at Capital. And I’m not Jewish, either.) Then the elderly lady sitting to my right offered me her ID, which broke up the whole bus. I think she was serious, too.

12:45 p.m. – We’re back at the hotel and walk over to the St. Louis Bread Company (or Panera, whichever you prefer) for lunch. On the way over, a pigeon just sitting on the sidewalk freaks out half the team. Despite the shrieks, the pigeon still sits motionless. I hadn’t paid much attention to it walking past, simply noting its presence, but I guess St. Louis pigeons are a bit more innocuous than their brethren nationwide.

1:35 p.m. – Back in the hotel room and doing some research on Capital’s opponent, Washington (Mo.) University. The Bears, which are hosting this tournament, are No. 2 in the country with a 34-1 record. They’re 15-0 at home and their only loss came against No. 1 Juniata back on September 15. They had five players named to the All-Region team, including one who is 6’3”. And oh by the way, they have eight national championships to their name – they’re the Mount Union of volleyball. Grrrrrreat.
We’re not leaving until 5:00 and I have a lot of homework to do, so sadly that’s how I spend most of the afternoon. The weather, which had been so picturesque yesterday, turned windy, cold and rainy in a heartbeat. Ahh, the comforts and joys of Ohio, 450 miles away from home.

5:00 p.m. – Load up on the bus. “Stay loose and have fun,” Coach Briggs tells the team. I’m sitting in the front by the coaches and they feel pretty confident that they have a game plan to knock off the Bears.
On the drive over to the campus, we pass a large statue of a fat man riding a turtle. I’m not making this up. St. Louis is a strange place.
We get to the stadium and sit in the bleachers to watch the first match between Rhodes and Simpson Colleges. I pull out my notes and start reviewing, and the girls ask me how hard it is to announce a volleyball match. “It’s a lot easier when it doesn’t take three hours,” I say, referring to last night’s marathon.
Overheard in the bleachers: “She’s a tree!” The tree in reference was in fact Washington’s 6’3” player.

6:45 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – I’m all set up and ready to get on the air. I will admit, I get some jitters before announcing, especially since I’m still learning the sport. I’m also decidedly biased because (obviously) I want Capital to win and it’s tough to keep the broadcast balanced – plus I knew that a lot of people listened to last night’s contest and said I did a good job, so I wanted to match that effort.
I sat a few feet away from the radio announcer for Washington University, who was broadcasting for an actual FM station locally, not just the live internet stream that we have. They take their volleyball pretty seriously here in the Show Me State, I guess. Anyway, after every single point that the Bears scored, this guy would pumping his fist, slapping the table, convulsing his entire body. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry watching his antics – I think he missed the first day of Broadcasting 101: “Thou shall not openly cheer in the press box.” I’m not exactly sure if he realized that his team was supposed to win; they’re only number two in the country.
The Crusaders played well, especially in the second two games, but just didn’t have enough firepower to counter the Bears. The players and coaches were pretty upbeat afterwards, and they certainly had no reason to hang their heads after their effort.
We waited around for a long while afterwards for one of the players (who will remain nameless here to protect her identity from the greater community) to get mandatory drug tested by the NCAA. The team was getting pretty restless (and hungry) so we boarded the bus and headed back to the hotel, leaving previously unnamed player at the stadium with her parents until she could, umm, finish.
I was looking forward to seeing some more fencing (see yesterday’s blog), but they must not practice Friday nights. Too bad – I was going to ask to get some tips while we were waiting to see if any of our players were doping up.

10:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. – I type up the recap for the website upstairs in my room, then change and head back downstairs, where the team was gathering for pizza. While we waited, a rousing game of Apples 2 Apples picked up, where I am proud to say that I won the first two rounds and finished with a total of three cards. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
Thankfully we ordered from Papa John’s, and not Imo’s, which was universally agreed to be terrible. No one had to pretend to like the pizza tonight.

We left at 8 a.m. Saturday to go back to Columbus. Some notes from the bus ride home:

* We pulled up to a rest stop somewhere between Illinois and Indiana around 10:30. We got into the bathrooms just moments before a busload of senior citizens could walk in. “The old people were complaining about all the teenage girls,” Laura, the trainer, told me as we walked back to the bus. “It would have taken us forever if we had to wait for them first.”

* Movie selections: ‘Anchorman’ (very, very good choice) and ‘Fever Pitch’ (very, very bad choice). How does Jimmy Fallon have a job? Why on earth were the girls on the bus laughing at this movie? They think this garbage is funny? Please. Atrocious film. I had secretly been hoping for a good sports movie and this is how I was rewarded. If I was a Red Sox fan, I would want to strangle both the Farrelly brothers and Jimmy Fallon.

So that was it. We got back to Columbus around 4:00, unloaded the bus and dispersed.

Now, if you’re looking for some great personal epiphany that I experienced after spending with four days with a college volleyball team, or just some truly bizarre or crazy exploits, I hate to disappoint, but they didn’t happen. Or I’m just not telling – after all, besides for assistant coach Greg Peters and Coach Briggs’ husband, I was the only male riding around with the team the whole time. I’ll let you decide.

This is Scott Miles signing off. Thanks for reading, Crusader volleyball fans – have a good night, everybody!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Even though the Cavs went 15-for-30 from the free throw line and committed 16 turnovers -they had so many passes intercepted in the first half, I thought Tim Couch was playing out there - they pulled out a 97-94 season opening win against the Washington Wizards.

I don't know how happy to feel right now. We held Gilbert Arenas to seven points on 2-of-12 shooting, Larry Hughes was lights out in scoring a game-high 27 points, LeBron James was LeBron James...and we still only won by three at home?

You know what? I'll take it. It's game one of an 82 game season, the Wizards are a respectable enough opponent, and I'm sure the Cavs will make some improvements. Right? Right. Please be right.

Now, some other quick thoughts:

- I love the new floor at the "Q". Very, very nice touch.
- It's nice to see the Cavs let Ira Newble keep his jersey this year. I think he's going to be one of the ball boys next season.
- LeBron James is... (fill in any apt adjective, they all work).
- Eddie Jordan and the actor from "Crash" and "Hustle and Flow" are exactly the same people. No doubt in my mind.

And some reactions to the game from the Solon boys:
Stuart Zaas - "Nice way to start the year"
Brian Rosen - "Life's good"
Brian Marks - "Back the fuck up!"

("He's not the best colorman in the league for nothing, folks!" Thanks Marks).