Thursday, October 4, 2007
The Cavs and Major League 2: Redux
Hey all, sorry I haven't gotten a post up recently; I don't want you to think that I'm going into a downward spiral after that last semi-depressed post (I think the Sideways picture made the post seem much sadder than it actually was, but I liked it anyways; at the time of the post, I identified pretty strongly with both someone who was on the cusp of something supposed to be a major positive turning point in his life, only to be scared by the implications of it and retreat to doing what he had been doing before without fear of repercussion, AND the writer who was convinced that his career and life were going nowhere. So I liked it. But I'm not sad. And thank you so much to all of you who commented on the last post; believe it or not, that meant a lot to me, and is the type of thing that keeps me writing.) In fact, I finally got around to actually posting something about USC football today: here's the link.
I'd really like to get a fresh post basketball post up before the week is over, but unfortunately I have a paper due tomorrow and don't have the time; I started doing a post on how I think Boston's troika is going to work out, but ended up hating it after a few paragraphs. So I'm going to recycle a post from my message-board days, which I originally put up during the Cavs' midseason swoon, when LeBron looked officially disinterested and the general public was getting ready to write off the Cavaliers. This is definitely one of my favorite pieces I ever wrote for RCF, (my absolute favorite one is this one, which I definitely wish I had written when I was blogging; that might be my favorite thing I've ever written, and I wish more people could have seen it.) and I feel even better about it now that the Cavs' season ended up mirroring the Major League 2's Indians even more; after losing to the hated White Sox after a miraculous run to the playoffs in Major League, in Major League 2, the Indians bounced back from their difficulties and ended up beating the White Sox and making the World Series at last. (I get predictions right every now and then. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Kevin Durant fans. Also, he's officially a shooting guard to start the season.) Here's the original post, with new thoughts in italics:
As bad sports movies that regularly appear on cable go, it doesn't get much better than Major League 2. In case you don't remember, or haven't seen the movie (not a bad call), the plot goes as follows: In the first Major League, our heroes the Cleveland Indians were fresh off of an incredible pennant run, which they attained on the back of their young phenom pitcher, Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn. They were eliminated in the playoffs, but came back the next year with high hopes, as they hadn't lost anyone important from the previous year. (Except for Wesley Snipes, but he was replaced by Omar Epps.) However, things didn't go as planned for our beloved Indians. Almost all the players went into a funk for one reason or another, and it looked like their success had been a fluke, and that they would never win the World Series that they wanted so badly. You probably know where I'm going with this-if you really need it explained to you, yikes. Let's break it down, player by player-
Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, who had carried the team with his blazing fastball and bad-ass persona, came into camp with a new attitude. He held off of throwing his fastball, talking about the need to "conserve his arm" and instead attacked hitters with his new assortment of off-speed stuff, which was mediocre at best. On top of that, his newfound obession with image and making money off the court made his passion for the game leave, and he ended up losing his heat for much of the movie. Obviously, that's LeBron, despite the fact that "Wild Thing" became AV's nickname. Just like Wild Thing, LeBron came up huge at the hugest time last season; after choking early in the series, he came back with beyond a vengeance and destroyed the Pistons in game 5, although he's still spending a healthy amount of time focusing on his image. Additionally, his determination to add a jump shot and post moves to his game reminds me too much of Rick Vaughn's determination to add ineffective off-speed pitches to his arsenal to supplement his unhittable fastball. LeBron, you're completely unstoppable when you drive to the basket. Just go. Last year, his switching from an attack mentality to a passive need to shoot fadeaways nearly made me chew a hole in my own flesh; if he drives even less because of the new facets to his game, I'm going to go crazy. And, for the record, I'm a huge supporter of LeBron working his jump shot and even more excited about the possibility of post moves, but Major League 2 has been Nostradamus-like so far, and this scares me. Okay, I'm not making sense anymore. It's 2:20 in the morning and I've been trying to make progress on an immigration paper for an hour and a half. Cut me some slack.
Willie Mays Hays, played by Omar Epps, had been the fastest/most effective leadoff hitter in the league last season, but came into camp nursing his injuries and foolishly attempting to hit for power instead of just putting the ball on the ground and running. That's Larry, who's nursing his glass ankle and trying to be a 3-point shooter instead of the slasher he's supposed to be. I don't have much else to say about this one; we're all hoping for the best and expecting the worst for Larry this year.
Jake Taylor, the heroic catcher played by Tom Berenger, is a solid clubhouse leader and veteran presence, but his extreme age has deteriorated his skills to the point where he's not kept on the roster, and is instead kept on as an assistant coach so that talented, eager, and inexperienced Rube Baker can come on and be productive, eventually serving as the downtrodden team's spark plug. It's Snow and Boobie. Called it called it called it. You know what it is.
Jack Parkman is the team's most talented player other than Vaughn, but his horrible attitude and desire to get paid causes him to be traded to Chicago, where he continues to produce/be a complete douchebag, until he finally gets bitten in the ass by karma at the end of the movie. There's Carlos Boozer! Now that Boozer effectively destroyed my Warriors on the boards, I hate him even more, and the fact that the whole Drew/Andy for cheap is just as good for Boozer for expensive! argument is becoming more and more untrue makes me crazy. Grr.
Pedro Cerrano(Played by President David Palmer) is the team's cleanup hitter, a man who has boundless power but is also a complete nut, costing the team games because of his need to save a bird, and just generally being a giant vagina because of his newfound commitment to Bhuddism, which nearly cancels out his immense natural talent. Drew Gooden, everybody. Just like Pedro, Drew had his redemption early in the playoffs; Pedro was one of the only ones who stuck around for all three movies, which is appropriate because I'm sure Drew's never going away.
Isuro Tanaka is an import from Japan, and despite his limited English, he comes in, plays hard every day, and gets up in the rest of the team's face in order to inspire them to play hard. Meet Andy. Later in the season, this could also have applied to Pavlovic; in the third movie, Isuro had quit baseball to run a mini-golf place, which is like Andy going to Europe.
Roger Dorn has made the transformation from overpaid, spoiled ballplayer who didn't play defense to the owner of the team, and even though his skills are now nonexistant, he still thinks the world revolves around him, at one point asking, "Do you think April's too early to have a Roger Dorn Night?" Damon Jones. Even more true now than when I wrote it.
I can't find anyone in the movie who resembles Z, or anyone on the Cavs who resembles that cute chick from Dazed and Confused who gets Vaughn to stop being such a pussy and throw heat again, but that's not too bad.
Finally, let's not forget the team's obnoxious, loudmouth fans, who instantly turn on the team when they begin losing, and especially have it in for Rick Vaughn, who they mercilessly ridicule, giving him the idiotic nickname "Vile thing" and eventually making him want to give up pitching. Even when the Indians make the playoffs, the fan says "We'll only blow it anyways," and seems genuinely thrilled by the team's failures up until the last scene of the movie, when the Indians win the World Series after Vaughn refinds his heat and get a clutch strikeout, at which point the fan proclaims "I believed in him all along!" Bill Simmons, everybody!
So why am I posting this? A few reasons.
#1, it's really weird that our team has this many similarities between a bad sports movie about a Cleveland team.
#2, I'm optimistic that LeBron and the team in general will turn it on like the Indians did, and quiet all the doubters and haters. Not being a homer and saying we're doing fantastic, just saying I have faith that this team is going to pull through this; remember last year, when LBJ wasn't an MVP candidate at mid-season, and everyone was ready to end the season early and hand the Pistons the championship. I could say this in any number of threads, but it's not where you start or middle, it's where you finish. We've got problems now, sure, although Boobie looks like he could be a solution to our biggest one(love, love, love his shot), but that's not the same as having problems in the off-season. Maybe it's because my hometown team is the Warriors, who I can't remember ever making the playoffs, and whose "superstar" is crazy Baron Davis, but I'm thrilled to be part of a team that's definitely headed to the playoffs with a player as talented as LeBron. (Not going to get into just exactly how good he is now, this isn't the right time.) Gives you some perspective on just how hard the Warriors came out of nowhere after the Dunleavy/Jackson trade. Also, looking back over this makes me feel like Yoda. Well, thanks for reading. Fresh posts next week.