Saturday, May 13, 2006

Motown showdowns

I miss the good old days.
Only once a year did us Northern Ohioans have to feel completely inferior to Michigan. Each year, the John Cooper-coached Buckeyes would cave and lose to the Wolverines on the gridiron, causing much consternation for about a week. Then we could spend the other 51 weeks of the year comforted by the fact that the Lions were every bit as bad as the Browns, and watch the Indians routinely beat up on the sorry Tigers.
Now, the Jim Tressel Buckeyes are 4-1 against Michigan, and the pro sports teams of Detroit are surging (with the exception of the Lions).
It's a great trade-off for one week in November. The rest of the year, it kind of stinks.
Today, Cleveland teams must negotiate a Motown two-step. In both cases, Cleveland is fighting an uphill battle.
The Cavaliers host the Pistons at 5 p.m. in a must-win Game 3. Already down 0-2, if the Cavs are going to make this series competitive, today is probably their best chance. Lose today, and all you are trying to do is avoid a sweep in Game 4.
The Cavs will be without Larry Hughes, who is absent in the wake of his brother's death. No timetable has been set for his return.
At 7 p.m., the reeling Indians, losers of four straight, will host the surprising second-place Tigers, the only team within a stone's throw of first-place Chicago in the AL Central.
The Indians are 2-3 against Detroit after losing to Kenny Rogers last night. At 17-19 overall, the Indians are at a critical point in their season. Either they are going to rattle off a series of wins in the near future, or they are going to slump into the abyss of mediocrity and spend the next four months playing out the string with no real hope of making the playoffs.
The Indians, purely and simply, do not have the pitching to overcome a deficit of 15-plus games as they did last year. If they fade this year, odds are they aren't going to come roaring back down the stretch again.
Detroit has our world on a string right now. Their teams could make for a quick end to Cleveland's NBA season, and help ensure a long, boring summer of non-contending Indians baseball.
And all along I thought Pittsburgh owned Ohio. Turns out, they have a timeshare with Southeast Michigan.

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