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The Sportsman of the Day
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By Bob Frantz
Like the Browns' hard-target search for a veteran QB to push Brandon Weeden, let's go here, there, and everywhere…
-- Yes, they finally got their man — for what it's worth. The man, of course, is Jason Campbell, the former first-round pick of the Redskins who spent 2012 with the Bears, signed by the Browns Tuesday night to challenge incumbent starter Brandon Weeden for control of Norv Turner's new offense.
Campbell is a long-shot to unseat Weeden, but Joe Banner or Mike Lombardi or whomever is really calling the shots in Berea probably didn't tell him that. After all, if you're going to be a backup quarterback somewhere, would you rather be in Chicago behind Jay Cutler, one of the league's best passers? Or in Cleveland, behind a guy you probably think you can outplay?
Campbell will get a legitimate chance to win the job, but his career record of 31-40 and his modest 82.5 passer rating suggest that he's much better suited to carry the clipboard until called upon. It's a marked improvement for the Browns' brass, who recognize the need to have two quality quarterbacks on the roster, and who don't appear to be any more impressed by Colt McCoy as the No. 2 man than the previous regime was.
-- Nice decision by Indians GM Chris Antonetti and Manager Terry Francona to keep Carlos Carrasco on the 25-man roster for a couple series to start the season, just to get his six-game suspension out of the way by the time he returns to the Tribe's starting rotation.
Not such a great decision, I'm afraid, to keep Scott Kazmir as the fifth starter over Carrasco to begin with. Kazmir was a two-time all-star in Tampa Bay, but those days seem like decades ago for a guy who hasn't pitched in the big leagues for two calendar years.
Here's hoping Kazmir can complete his improbable comeback and contribute some wins to his new club, but I'm banking on Carrasco being in the rotation before May is out, if not sooner. I'm a believer in Carrasco and his surgically repaired right arm. When the Indians look back on the 2013 season come October, my guess is they'll describe Carrasco as having been one of the three best starters on the club.
-- Kazmir's performance at the back of the Tribe's rotation won't mean a thing, of course, if the guys at the front of it can't rebound from their terrible performances in 2012. Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez are the keys to the Indians' chances of making a run in the AL Central, and they darn well know it.
This Indians' team will score far more runs than last year's did, and the bullpen looks even stronger than it was a season ago. The team's fortunes lie with the starters. It's time for Masterson and Jimenez to establish themselves as difference-makers.
-- Keeping former AL MVP Jason Giambi on the club is an interesting gamble. Some fans are calling him Johnny Damon, v. 42.0, a reference to his age, and to the painful experience of watching the washed-up Damon last season. But Giambi won't be asked to play nearly every day in the field, as Damon was, so the wear and tear on whatever's left of his body won't be as damaging to the slugger.
Additionally, Giambi's eyes seem to shine with the same optimism and exuberance that the newly acquired Nick Swisher displays every day, and that can only be a positive influence on a clubhouse full of young, talented players yearning for leadership.
-- Basketball star Brittney Griner, the 6-foot-8 post for top-seeded Baylor, has been called the "Shaq" of the women's game for her ability to play above the rim. With three dunks in her final Baylor home game, a rout of Florida State Tuesday night in the NCAA tournament, Griner established herself as the clear favorite in the upcoming NCAA women's dunk contest against, umm, no one.
-- Tiger Woods has returned to his rightful place atop the world golf rankings after his eighth win at Bay Hill on Monday, and has earned the right to celebrate. Or not.
Women's rights groups and other critics are blasting Nike for their congratulatory online ad, featuring Woods eyeing up a putt behind the bold letters spelling out, "Winning takes care of everything."
The phrase has been Woods' go-to statement when winning or losing golf tournaments, but the critics have assailed Nike for suggesting that winning tournaments makes up for his marital infidelities.
Message to those with little to do in their lives but find nits to pick in others: Lighten up. It's a golf reference, not relationship advice.
-- Placed by good fortune in the upset-laden West Region of the NCAA tournament, whose top seed — Gonzaga — was the worst No. 1 seed in recent memory, Ohio State finds itself with an easier road to the Final Four than Lindsay Lohan to a courtroom. If the Buckeyes can stay focused against No. 6 seed Arizona Thursday, they should be heavy favorites over the winner of LaSalle v. Wichita State in the round of eight.
Thad Matta will have them ready.
-- In 1985, the Big East became the first and only league to place three teams in the Final Four, as Georgetown, Villanova and St. John's advanced to Lexington, Ky., in a tournament ultimately won by eighth-seeded ‘Nova.
At the start of this tournament, I predicted this is the year the feat is duplicated — by the Big Ten. Now down to the Sweet Sixteen, I'm feeling stronger than ever about the picks: Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State will be joined by Louisville in Atlanta. And who knows: Michigan State could easily upset the Cardinals and make it an all-Big Ten affair. But three out of four wouldn't be bad, for the baddest conference in the land.
Bob Frantz hosts "The Bob Frantz Show" on WTAM-AM 1100 from 7 p.m. to midnight weeknights, and following Cavaliers, Indians and Browns games.