The start of summer is always a good time to pause and see where sports will lead us in the next few months.
The Cleveland Browns are about to embark on what should be the most interesting season since Bernie Kosar. Most experts think we are looking at a season with franchise goals never achieved. Most years, I would challenge those lofty expectations, but not today. It feels good to feel good about the Browns. Let’s roll with it until someone stops us. Imagine what FirstEnergy Stadium will be like if the Browns can win Week 1 in Kansas City.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ season is over. Simply put that is a good thing, but the future is super murky.
Even looking at the core of the team, chemistry and good health is the biggest hurdle to success. Things will clear up when the NBA Draft lottery rolls out on June 22. The Cavs have an 11% chance of getting the top selection and can pick no lower than ninth. Hope for a top three pick because General Manager Kobe Altman is on the hot seat.
Despite what the payroll and injuries might look like, the Cleveland Indians should be hanging in for most of the summer to keep you interested on if they can make the playoffs. The stands will now have the chance to be filled with post-COVID-19 pandemic restrictions being lifted. First-year players like Owen Miller, Nolan Jones and Tristan McKenzie are worth investing in for the future. Now hope pitcher Zack Plesac has a speedy recovery after injuring his hand due to “aggressively” taking off his shirt.
Local long jumper eyes Olympics
I’m hopeful the Olympics will happen in Japan this summer. There are serious concerns about the games being canceled again due to another COVID-19 state-of-emergency. The vaccine roll-out has not gone as smooth as we have had it here in the United States. Reports say Japan is hoping to have those over 65 vaccinated by the end of July. Restrictions are hoping to be lifted by the end of June.
Keep your eyes on the son of WKYC-TV anchor Jay Crawford, Corey Crawford, who is a long jumper. In the last month, he had been jumping 27-feet plus with regularity. He has the third-best mark in the USA, and the fifth best in the world. His shot to be an Olympian happens on June 19.
What’s happening to college hoops?
I’m hoping the new basketball leagues will give college basketball a return to what made it great in the past. Keep an eye on some new options for developmental basketball players. According to ESPN, the NBA and the NBA G-League could offer $500,000 for top high school players to forgo college basketball. Overtime Elite has selected Atlanta to be the new home to teen basketball players looking to cash in $100,000 a year.
This will take away from the talent level of college basketball programs. It should eliminate the top high school players from playing one year and then heading to the pros. College programs will still have to get into the money game as we hear more stories about athletes being considered “employees” of the university. Paychecks are coming for college athletes with name, image and likeness on the horizon.
The thought of watching players for four seasons and growing as a team is exciting. The ability to get to know college basketball players again is an exciting thought. The odds of getting to the NBA are so slim. Being a legend at state university may not pay as well, but the game will be better for it.
Paying tribute to Jewish War Veterans
The Memorial Day weekend is always a good chance to reflect on what is important. I hope that if you ever find yourself driving or walking through Mount Olive Cemetery in Solon, you will take notice the monument of the Jewish War Veterans who have been laid to rest. Not only at Mount Olive, but no matter where you may be, I hope you notice the small American flags across our great land. I would not be writing this column if it were not for them. You would not be reading it, either.
If you have a suggestion for a column idea for Andy Baskin, send him an email at email@example.com. He can be heard on “Baskin & Phelps weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 92.3 The Fan.