Didn’t take long for somebody to use that phrase (I may not even be the first person today to say it), but it seemed right for the headline. There’s a couple of quick hits I wanted to share this afternoon before we settle in for some Browns football at Mile High.
As everyone hopefully knows, Nick Swisher has agreed to a 4-year, $56 million contract with the Tribe. If you didn’t know that, consider this the first time in history that Believing Since 1999 has broken news to anyone. Swish will undoubtedly be the starter in right field, replacing Choo. Before any commentary happens, let’s take a look at what the lineup may look like for next season, with no solid idea as to where in the order guys will be:
DH- No clue. Considering how the roster looks now, could be Yan Gomes or Mike Aviles, I guess. May see one more signing to fill this spot but not sure who that would be.
At any rate, I like this lineup on paper. There is legitimate power potential in the middle with Swish, Santana, and Reynolds. Don’t forget that Kipnis and Cabrera are easily capable of hitting 20 dingers apiece. Speed in Brantley and Stubbs can get on base and in scoring position for Chisenhall, as well as Kipnis and Cabrera when the lineup turns over. At a glance, I like where this is headed. All under the guidance of Terry Francona.
A couple more notes about Swisher, since this is his day after all:
Reading that this morning literally put a smile on my face. Similar to when Francona signed, there was a sense that he actually was happy about coming to Cleveland. Yes, Swish is going to make an ungodly amount of money. Was that a key factor in coming here? You bet. Still, behind all of that, he did say that having lunch with Jim Tressel and the whole presentation that he was given in Cleveland did actually evoke some emotion.
Cleveland isn’t (nor will it ever be) as sexy as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or wherever Swish may have thought about going. The bottom line is that for some (Francona, Swisher) there is a sense of it being home. The Indians, no matter how bad they’ve been recently, are a historic franchise that has been in operation forever. Bringing some glory back to the Tribe is a noble pursuit and one that these guys want to help in. As a Cleveland native, that means something. We should feel good about this one today, and think about the rest later.
Nick Swisher is not Josh Hamilton, but his signing is a sign that Antonetti and Shapiro are really trying to bring winning baseball to this city sooner rather than later. I love it.
In total, that brings the Indians notable offseason additions to Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds, Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw, Drew Stubbs, and Terry Francona. The brass are making moves to improve this club, and as fans in a small market with terrible ownership, we have to be at least somewhat satisfied with this.
Hopefully, there will be one or two more additions to the Tribe to talk about before Spring Training rolls around. For now, it’s time for one last little blurb about our beloved Browns.
Today’s game against the Broncos (who we all hate for reasons we all should know) will certainly be an uphill battle. With the playoff hopes dashed in last week’s disappointing loss, the Browns are playing for pride. This is alright by me, because I still would like to see one more win to prove record-wise that there was marked improvement this season.
I feel like today may not be that day, as Peyton and the Broncos continue to play for better position (a first-round bye, specifically) and are on their home turf in an environment that gives them the advantage in more ways than one.
These last two games could prove to be Pat Shurmur’s swan song regardless of the results. As someone who has defended him amidst the swirling rumors of his departure at seasons end, I hope that he at least can go out in a blaze of glory. Somehow winning these last two games would at least prove that these players appreciate and respect their coach and are willing to fight for him.
More bluntly, any coach who beats the Steelers twice in a season is a saint in my book, but I’m not overlooking today just yet. Here’s the bright and sun-shiney Believing Since 1999 prediction for this afternoon:
The Browns come into a difficult, playoff-like atmosphere in the (literally) thin air. Behind Weeden’s 2 touchdown passes to Josh Gordon, Trent’s goal line punch in, and Phil Dawson’s late field goal, they eek out an epic win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Manning throws 2 touchdowns, Moreno runs for one as well, but it’s not enough. 24-21 Browns. Chalk.
Enjoy the Browns and all of the other football today, and don’t forget that the Cavs broke their 6-game losing streak last night in Milwaukee. I’ll hopefully be covering that and a Browns win in Believing Since 1999’s first Christmas Eve special. Still thinking about what will make it special, but a win in Denver might be all it takes.
Merry Christmas Eve Eve, and Go Browns.