Friday, April 08, 2005

These are savage times

A sampling of recent e-mails/comments:

"Hey Windhorst, if you spent less time eating and more time updating your blog everyone would appreciate it." -- Matt Neff

" There are three factors involved in appreciating New Orleans: 1. Bourbon Street is NOT what New Orleans is all about. It's what it's all about for tourists who visit New Orleans. There are cool places in the Quarter, but none of them are on Bourbon and tourists don't know about most of them. 2 . The place grows on you and grows on you -- after a while, you don't even notice the fact that it's run down and dirty because it has so many other charming qualities. 3. What New Orleans IS about is life, and how it should be lived. It's about being cordial to strangers, having good friends, slowing down and enjoying life and a good meal. It's about art and culture and quirkiness. It's about France and Spain and America, about black and white and everything in between. It's quite simply the best city I've ever lived in and you can bet that I'll retire there in about 20 years -- 15 if I'm lucky." -- Jim Banks.

"Here comes that (blanking) Mr. (blanking) negative mother(blanker) Windhorst" -- Jeff McInnis at practice the other day

"Hey, I really enjoy your blog," guy on Continental Airlines Flight 2952 yesterday.

Can't you just feel the love? And I'm supposed to be in freaking Philadelphia, city of, well nevermind.

Things are going just wonderfully in Cavalierland. Jeff McInnis officially hates me because I correctly wrote he was wearing his practice jersey backward to send a message that he no longer cared about the team. He now curses me out just about every time he sees me. Brendan Malone knows he doesn't stand a chance with anything -- his players, his owners, or the media -- so he's doing his best to just finish out the season so he can focus on the real love of his life...baseball. No, that's not a joke. Dan Gilbert is being questioned by everyone from LeBron James to Pete Vecsey for his actions since taking over the team.

With the exception of three or four players, I don't think the Cavaliers really care about making the playoffs - read about all the laughing on the bench here - and they're certainly tired of seeing me around everyday. I think LeBron cares, I think Eric Snow cares, I think Andy Varejao cares, I think Z probably cares, after that I'm not sure. Drew Gooden will follow the crowd. I'm not sure Sasha Pavlovic has emotions. I'm pretty sure Jeff McInnis, Lucious Harris, Robert Traylor, Scott Williams, DeSagana Diop, they all know they're gone and are making vacation plans. Or at least they're playing that way. Ira Newble seems cool either way.

I haven't been blogging much because I'd prefer to think about what has happened to this team as little as possible. Frankly, they're not that pleasant to be around, certainly much less than last season when they were a losing team the whole way.

As a member of the media, we don't have rooting interests. In fact, when a team is going bad like they are now, it often makes for some of the best stories. But the real issue is that if the team is awful, then they become irrelevant and if they become irrelevant, fans don't care. That hurts the fan and it hurts the reporter.

Since Gilbert took over the Cavaliers my enthusiasm to see what happens with the franchise has been completely zapped. Now, I'm wondering just how they can avoid totally screwing it up. The Cavaliers have become a mess, the thing they worked hard to emerge from when the got James and Paul Silas. They will fire Jim Paxson as I wrote last week in my Sunday Column before Stephen A. Smith started spouting falsehoods. So that means a new GM, a new coach, or a new GM/coach and $25 million in cap room to deal with this summer. Some would see that as a chance for a fresh start, my current thinking is that it is a chance to screw everything up even more. So, what of LeBron's future? I don't think anything more has to be said at this point. The clock is ticking quickly.

Look at what wins in the NBA: A star, stability, character role players and defense. This is what the Spurs have, this is what the Pistons have, this is what the Heat have, this is even what the Sonics have. Yet there is no stability whatsoever in the Cavalier organization and I don't think I have to mention the lack of role players or defense. All they have is a star, one that is growing more upset by the day. They win when they shoot well, which is why they only win at home. When they don't shoot well they have no chance because they can't play defense.

This is the end of the season, when teams fall into two categories, those rising and those falling. Last season, even though they missed the playoffs, the Cavs were rising. Now, well, I think you know. It is also the time when players, coaches and even snarly beat writers get sick of it all.

Take care,
Brian