Spencer Davies and Jonah Spoerndle discuss the Zips’ close loss to the Rockets at home, 68-66.
Listen to Zips freshman guard Antino Jackson’s press conference:
Listen to Zips head coach Keith Dambrot’s press conference:
by Spencer Davies
Pitchers and catchers reported to their respective spring training areas Wednesday, which means one thing: baseball season is creeping upon us.
That also, of course, means the Cleveland Indians are getting ready for their 2015 campaign.
The Tribe went 85-77 last year, missing out on a wildcard spot by just three games. The team had started out the year on a rough note and almost ended it on a high one, but a mid-September sweeping in Detroit by their rival Tigers crushed the Indians’ hopes of reaching the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
However with two straight winning season for the first time since 2000 and 2001 under skipper Terry Francona, Cleveland will look to make the third season the charm.
Besides the addition of All-Star power hitter Brandon Moss, the Tribe had a fairly quiet, albeit beneficial offseason.
General Manager Chris Antonetti added veteran Gavin Floyd, a 32-year-old inning eater that will most likely be part of the starting rotation.
He also brought in other possible back-end rotation starters with the signings of former Twin Anthony Swarzak and former Royal Bruce Chen.
The organization wasn’t all that involved in free agency, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a productive winter. The higher ups in the organization are banking on the farm system to prepare the developmental talent for the big leagues. In fact, six minor league talents were invited to spring training last month. This includes highly touted shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor, outfielder Tyler Naquin and James Ramsey, the center fielder acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Justin Masterson.
The Indians are also going to rely on some familiar faces to step it up after a disappointing 2014.
Both Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher are due for a bounce back season after the injury-plagued year they had. Kipnis was constantly bothered by his oblique and Swisher was dealing with knee issues, so a lengthy offseason will have proved to benefit them in getting healthy. As far as productivity goes, fully expect Kipnis to get back to his 2013 self with more power than he’s ever displayed. It’s going to be a year where he proves his worth.
Speaking of proving worth, to say Nick Swisher hasn’t lived up to his ridiculously lucrative contract is an understatement. Besides a decent turnaround in the hunt for the playoffs two seasons ago, he has had his issues at the plate. He hit a career low .208 in a career low 97 games played last year. What Nick Swisher will do this coming season is an unknown, but one has to think that he is determined to turn it around- not for the fans or media, but for himself.
And then, of course, there is the heart of this baseball team. Players like Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, MVP-candidate Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana, Yan Gomes and of course, the bullpen. The difference between a good team and a great team is consistency. If these players can produce like they did last year, or at least similarly, the Tribe could be a force to be reckoned with.
Offensive X-Factor(s): Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Bourn
Let me be the first to say that I thought Lonnie Chisenhall was another Matt Laporta, 4-A baseball player at the start of last season. Boy was I wrong. The third baseman came out on a tear in the first half of the season, hitting everything that crossed the plate with 87 hits and an incredible .915 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage for those who don’t know). However, Chisenhall came back down to earth in the second half of the year and struggled at the plate. 2014 first-half Chisenhall will most likely never happen again, but if he can get back on the right track that would be a tremendous help at the back-end of the lineup.
Michael Bourn is another player that needs to produce for the Indians. Last season, he showed signs of losing quickness and speed, as well as being injury-prone. Though he provided some decent contact hitting, Bourn stole a career-low 10 bases. Cleveland signed Bourn two years ago to be the spark plug, and if he isn’t stealing bases, he’s not doing what management brought him in to do. If he can truly get healthy and back to 100%, Bourn can still be a solid asset on this team.
Pitching X-Factor: Trevor Bauer
It seems that so far in his young career, Trevor Bauer has been either a major hit or a colossal miss. His most lethal weapon is his 12-6 curveball that leaves the opposition cross-eyed at the plate. But his most glaring issue is getting deep in to games, as well as having the mental toughness to face adversity. In 26 games started last year, Bauer only had 13 decisions with a 5-8 record. The 24-year-old’s flashes of brilliance should serve as a foreshadowing to what he can become on a consistent basis if Mickey Callaway can get to his head. And everyone knows what happens to pitchers when Mickey Callaway works with them (see Ubaldo Jimenez and Carlos Carrasco). If Bauer gets on the right track, the Tribe could have a dangerously underrated rotation.
Defensive X-Factor: The Entire Team
The fact that the Indians went 85-77 is a testament to how great of a manager Terry Francona is. Most teams that commit an MLB-worst 116 errors wouldn’t be caught even close to contending for a playoff spot. Cleveland was a mess of a team on defense last year, with most blunders coming at the worst possible times. Third base was literally a black hole with a team-worst 31 errors at the position (Chisenhall- 18 (also an individual team worst), Aviles- 7, Santana- 6). If the team wants to have any chance at competing for a World Series hunt this upcoming season, this has to change.
Overall, the Tribe is looking like a solid contender in the AL this season. I have them penciled in at 92-70.
But will it be enough firepower to compete with the defending AL Champion Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers? Only time will tell, and the journey begins on Wednesday.
As DJ Mylor mentioned earlier Drake has surprised us with his new album, and he is continuing to break records. The catch is he is breaking his own records! His newest album, If You’re Reading This it’s Too Late, just set the record for most streams in it’s debut week. The album that held the title previously, was also by Drizzy, Nothing Was The Same.
Shout out to Drake!
Name: Jonah Spoerndle
Major: Athletic Training
Date of Birth: August 16
Year in School: Senior
When did you start working for WZIP/ZTV: Spring 2012
Primary Dept. WZIP: Sports and Music Programming
Best Memory so far of WZIP/ZTV: Covering the Charleston Classic with Sports
Your favorite place to visit: Hilton Head, South Carolina
You wouldn’t catch me dead: Broadcasting Dead Air
I am most like this animal: Polar Bear because I like to break ice.
My hobbies include: Playing piano, watching soccer, listening to music
Favorite Ice Cream: Chocolate
Favorite TV Show: The Office
Personal Motto: Never stop working towards your dreams
Favorite Quote: “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Advice for New Members: Get involved early and meet as many new people as possible.
Something No One Knows about you: I’m a really good tap dancer.
We are a little over half way into the season in the NBA and we have already had our share of surprises and disappointments. One of those surprises this season are the Milwaukee Bucks. It has been a total team effort from the Bucks as no single player is averaging 7 rpg or 6 apg. Brandon Knight is their leading scorer with 17.8 ppg, but they have had great first halves from newcomers Jabari Parker and the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks have already doubled their win total from last season and sit as the 6 seed in the East.
The Cavaliers have also climbed their way back into relevance after their season was pronounced over. They are winners of 14 of their past 16 games and have seemed to right the ship. The new additions are starting to gel as Timofey Mozgov is shoring up the desperately needed rim protection, while JR Smith is providing consistent scoring and Iman Shumpert is holding it down on the defensive end. It has yet to be seen if these Cavs can perform in a seven game series, but they do look like they are on their way to a high seed in the East.
You can check out the complete Power Rankings below and let us know what you think by leaving a comment or sounding off on Twitter @SportsPowerTalk
|1||Golden State Warriors|
|10||San Antonio Spurs|
|11||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|13||Los Angeles Clippers|
|16||New Orleans Pelicans|
|30||New York Knicks|
Photo Credit: Drake
He’s done it! Drake has pulled a Beyonce! I hope this trend continues in music. I’m curious to see how much it sells and if he can match or beat Beyonce’s numbers. Listen to the iTunes preview here.
AKRON, Ohio- A 30-point effort from the bench and six three pointers in the second half was all the Akron Zips needed to defeat their arch rival Kent State Golden State Flashes, 61-52.
“First one to 60,” Akron head coach Keith Dambrot said with a smile, referring to the Wagon Wheel rivalry history.
The Zips started the game off sloppy, committing three turnovers in the first four minutes of the game. But after the rocky start, Akron took over down low, scoring 20 of its 30 total points in the paint in the first half.
“We’re big,” Dambrot said. “Pat Forsythe’s 6-11 and [Isaiah Johnson] is huge. I mean it’s hard to keep them from getting it and when they’re playing at a high level, it becomes difficult.”
The Golden Flashes (16-8) were only down 25-23 at halftime, but it was difficult for them because they had to pay attention to the Zips’ big men duo, which left Akron with some wide open looks on the perimeter in the second half.
“The hard part is we’re ninth or eighth in the country in three pointers made,” Dambrot said. “So do you come off of those three point shooters or do you stay at home? They chose to stay at home early and we didn’t make any, but we scored inside.
“And then we also got to the rim driving because they stayed at home,” Dambrot continued. “In the second half they came off a little bit and we threw back out. So when you play good team simple basketball, it’s a hard pick your poison, simple as that.”
With Kent State in the ball game down seven, Flashes center Khaliq Spicer flunked a dunk that turned into a Jake Kretzer transition three on the other end to ignite the JAR, giving Akron a much-needed momentum swing and a ten point lead with 8:56 left in the game. The Flashes wouldn’t get any closer than that for the remainder of the game.
“We were right there,” said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff. “Khaliq [Spicer] tried to, I don’t know what he tried to do. He tried to rip the rim down or whatever he tried to do and it hit off the back iron. And then they ended up with a transition three. Big swing when the game’s tight the entire time.
“That certainly was the back breaker, but that’s not the total story of the game,” he continued. “They had eight steals, we had one. My senior guards had two assists and seven turnovers. We got to take care of the ball better.”
Pat Forsythe led the Zips in scoring with 12 points and tied Deji Ibitayo for a team-high five rebounds. The Brunswick native also had two blocks, a couple of assists and a steal. Ibitayo added in 11 points as well for Akron.
Without leading scorer and rebounder Justin Hall, Kent State needed someone to step up.
Senior guard Devareaux Manley led the Flashes in scoring with 20 points, but shot just 5-17 from the field. When asked about why he thought the game got away, Manley said he believed they got worn down.
“We just had to keep fighting,” he said. “We tried to throw punches and they threw punches right back at us, so I think we wilted. At the end of the day, they threw punches and we got knocked down. We didn’t throw them back when we needed to.
“I think it’s toughness,” he continued. “It’s something we didn’t have tonight.”
With the win, the Zips stayed atop the MAC East standings tied with Bowling Green. Each team is 8-3 in MAC play.
Akron (17-7) will travel to Eastern Michigan (15-9) to take on the Eagles on Saturday night.
Tamera Mowry Housley announced she’s pregnant with baby Number two who is due in July, and now fans are chomping at the bit when it comes to her twin sister, Tia Mowry.
“Getting sooooo excited!!!!! Can’t wait to share!! I can’t hold in my excitement!!” Tia tweeted on January 8. “This will have to do!!”
Her 1.8 million fans were quick to assume that the 36-year-old was about to announce her second pregnancy with her husband Cory Hardrict and took to the comments to field their questions.
It was only a few minutes later when Tia took to Twitter again to set the record straight about the rumors. “I hate to bust your bubble but I’m not pregnant,” Tia posted, along with two smiley faces. Looks like everyone was too quick to assume.
Cash Money is refusing to pay the $51 million dollars Wayne believes he’s entitled to. Wayne claims this is more than enough reason to walk away from Cash Money Records and terminate all ties.
Not only is he asking for this staggering figure, but he’s also suing for the joint copyright ownership of Young Money Records, allegedly making the rapper entitled to a cut of the royalties acquired by both Nicki Minaj and Drake.
The Cash Money millionaire wrote fans “I want u to know that my album won’t and hasn’t been released bekuz Baby & Cash Money Rec. refuse to release it…I want off this label and nothing to do with these people but unfortunately it ain’t that easy.”
Looks like this family is breaking up for good.
Backstage, after almost repeating the stunt he pulled on Taylor Swift on rocker Beck, Kanye West called the Grammy voting system “flawed”. Basically, Grammys are awarded based on who the academy votes for from the vast list of nominations. Nominations that most of the general public haven’t even heard of. Although I do not claim to be an expert on how Grammys are handed out, there is some truth to this. Such a small group of people, who have been a part of the academy for a long time, should not have a monopoly on how the vast number of awards are decided. Perhaps the voting should be handed to the people like the People’s Choice Awards? Who knows if there will ever be a change?