Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The column you were going to read in the West Life

This is the missing column that was supposed to appear in the Jan. 25 West Life, but got bumped by last minute inspiration. It is here so that anyone who types Zachary Dzurick Lofa Tatupu Joe Carter in the right search engine will find it. But I think you will agree it was ditched for a reason.

Cleveland sports fans never overreact, do they?

I guess everyone is allowed to have an opinion. And it seems silly to get worked up when someone else’s opinion is light years away from yours.
But here are some words uttered in my direction over the last 24 hours.
“If LeBron doesn’t want the ball for the last shot, then I don’t want him on my team.”
“Larry Dolan is a cheap (edited by management) and by trading Coco Crisp, the Indians are giving up on the 2006 season.”
Let’s start with the second one first. All Sunday as the rumors that the deal was done with Boston, I tried to find some news. Since that was scarce, for the first time, I ventured to the Indians forum on a local website.
Let me start by saying, I love Coco Crisp. While the Indians bats were silent early in the season, Crisp was the one clutch player you could count on. Over the last few years, the Indians tried in vain to make Crisp a fourth outfielder. But whoever they put in his way (Alex “Five tools” Escobar, Jody Gerut, Ryan Ludwick, Matt Lawton, Milton Bradley, Brady Anderson, Russell Branyan, Wil Cordero), Crisp kept plugging away and won an every day job. I have also interviewed Coco and he is just a great guy. There is no way that I wanted him to be traded.
That said. Apparently Coco Crisp is the second coming of Joe Carter. I love the guy, but the venom spread on this website about how trading Coco Crisp was unreal. It seems this is akin to parting with Rocky Colovito. (My dad is still a little steamed about that one.)
I know nothing about the guys involved in the main deal or the supposed secondary deal. I will won’t even pretend to interpret their stats or what so called experts believe.
I will say this instead, Mark Shapiro has given me no reason to doubt him. Phil Savage and Danny Ferry’s first moves can easily be questioned. (drafting Brodney Poole instead of Lofa Tatupa and signing career journey man Damon Jones for four years and $16.1 million years) But Shapiro, I think he has earned the right to be trusted. He has built this team the right way at the right price.
To just suggest Crisp is being traded for money reasons is silly. The Marte kid must be worth the risk. I know everyone who calls into radio shows and has a blog is qualified to be a MLB general manager, but seriously I am positive these are the same people who didn’t show up for the games until late in September.
The White Sox GM isn’t resting on his laurels and every other team in the division spent money this off season. The Damon Jones signing proves it doesn’t make sense to throw money around on free agent just because the media and the “fans” tell you need something.
I love Coco but in Shapiro I trust.
As for the rapidly falling career of the Chosen One. Again are you kidding me? For the sake of the argument, I will accept the ridiculous notion that James doesn’t want to take the last shot. So because of that you want to get rid of someone who has an opportunity to put up a triple-double every single night. As Bill Cosby used to say, “Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.”
James is 21 years old. He may not admit it, but he has to be a little tired both physically and mentally. There is a lot of internal and external pressure on being the Chosen One. His recent misses and passes at the end of these road trip games are really the first time he has ever failed in his life. This is the first time he is getting questioned and nailed by critics. You know certain elements have been waiting for a reason to pile on.
How about we give the kid a little grace period before jumping off the bandwagon? I don’t know why he passed to Sasha, but in my book if you really believe that Sasha had no business getting the ball then that is on the head coach. Because anyone on the floor at the end of game should be ready to take a game winning shot. But if you insist that James has to be the one to take it just because he is the Superstar then tell me why Jordan passed the ball to Steve Kerr to win that one championship. And was it Kobe and Shaq that took those big game winning shots during their championship run or was it Robert Horry?
What matters is that with the flu and a bad knee, he made sure against Utah that no last shot would be needed. That is more important than a few missed shots.
The point is big shots are taken in the playoffs and not in the regular season. And LeBron can’t be the man until his team gets that far. He may be the best all around player in the league, but lets not forget he is still growing up on the court and his team is still trying to find the pieces parts, he needs to fulfill his destiny.
In other words, relax.