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Weekend watch

By Ron Published: February 25, 2011

Sorry for the delay in getting this post up.
The huge snowstorm that hit the area made the boys happy with the extra day off school -- it seems like they have been home 15 times this year -- but it messes with our high school coverage.
We lost the wrestling and basketball games we were going to cover tonight, and then it all got bumped a day into the Sunday and Monday editions of the ABJ. We are all set now but sometimes, especially with the space available in the paper, it is like sticking square pegs in round holes.
But enough with that, here's what's on TV this weekend.

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Cool day at the Beacon

By Ron Published: February 24, 2011

My day started by waking up to the Cavs trade of Mo Williams to the L.A. Clippers. Jason Lloyd worked on that story most of the night after covering the game against the Rockets on Wednesday night. He didn't stop either, going on numerous radio shows throughout the morning. It is always cool to get stories first in your market.
Once I got to office, I spent most of the day getting all of the blog entries and tweets from Nate Ulrich and Marla Ridenour at the NFL Scouting Combine set up for you all to read on Ohio.com. There is just so much information to report on and write concerning the NFL Draft, it can be overwhelming. We are really working to make this a one-stop shopping spree for Browns information, and this weekend is the kickoff of that coverage.
Jason tracked the Cavs moves all day and we got that up as fast as we could, too.
Michael Beaven called in the office around noon while covering state diving for us and got to report that we had a state champion in Haleigh Bartlett from Cuyahoga Falls.
All in all a lot of news and a lot of production.

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New ombudsman for ESPN

By Ron Published: February 24, 2011

Here is the release about ESPN and its new ombudsman.
The theory in the media industry is that the public needs an advocate to keep media companies in line as far as following its own policies, etc.
My question is do you guys care about this stuff or is it just media types going back and forth? Let me know.

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First reaction to Cavs trade

By Ron Published: February 24, 2011

My first reaction to the Cavs trade is that it was a good one.
Baron Davis for Mo Williams is an easy choice with the way Williams has performed this season. He never lived up to being the Robin to LeBron James' Batman.
Now Davis has had his ups and downs in his career too but he has to be considered an upgrade. He does carry a hefty salary. That Jamario Moon was dealt, again, no surprise. He really didn't fit into Byron Scott's plans.
But the big prize is at least a top 10 pick in the first round. In the end, it can be said that the Cavs are paying about $10 million to add a second choice early in the draft.
That is the prize of doing business, I would say.

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Indians put four in top 100 prospects

By Ron Published: February 23, 2011

The Indians have four of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall (25), pitcher Alex White (47), infielder Jason Kipnis (54) and pitcher Drew Pomeranz (61).
Here is the complete list from Baseball America.

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Don Banks of SI: Mock Draft

By Ron Published: February 23, 2011

Don Banks of Sports Illustrated published his latest mock draft, and he is another vote in the corner of Marcell Dareus of Alabama to the Browns.
He also sees Cam Newton climbing the draft boards quickly, going 10th to the Redskins.
Here is a link to the complete first round by Banks.

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Rating 100 NFL players chances of HOF; one Brown mentioned

By Ron Published: February 23, 2011

Mike Beacom of Pro Football Weekly goes over 100 active NFL players and rates their chances of making the Hall of Fame. Only one Browns player is mentioned and you will be surprised, drum roll, please,  -- Jake Delhomme.
Delhomme is rated in a very low category but I still thought it was interesting. I would have thought Joe Thomas might have been mentioned but at the rate linemen make the HOF his chances are probably less than Delhomme's.
Here is the link.

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Questions about NFL Draft

By Ron Published: February 22, 2011

Dennis Dillon of the Sporting News talked to three of the more well-respected NFL draftniks about the upcoming player selections. The 10 questions ranged from the deepest position in the draft to whom the safest pick might be.
Here is the first questions and answer:
1. Which is the deepest position in the draft? Mayock says: "Without a doubt, it's defensive line. You could possibly give first-round grades to as many as nine ends, and I think seven or eight will go (in Round 1). And with all these 3-4 NFL teams, that end known as the '5-technique' is hard to find. This year, there are several good ones. Most of them played as a 4-3 end in college, but because of their length and their size they fit ideally for the 3-4 teams. J.J. Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Jordan (Cal), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State)—those guys are ideal 5-techniques. Those three plus Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson), Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Robert Quinn (North Carolina), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) and Aldon Smith (Missouri) probably get first-round grades right now."
Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/feed/2011-01/2011-nfl-draft/story/draftniks-guide-to-the-biggest-issues-in-class-of-11#ixzz1EiMS54AG

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Slam on dunk contest

By Ron Published: February 22, 2011

Many of you probably don't know who DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors is but he is right in his criticism of the NBA dunk contest. In fact in watching the show Saturday night, my wife thought he was the best dunker, and she was probably right. Aren't all wives right?
Here is the Associated Press story:
Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan is finished competing in the NBA's slam dunk contest unless the myriad of props that dominated this year's event are eliminated.
DeRozan said Tuesday he thinks he was robbed when he didn't reach the final of Saturday's event despite a series of creative dunks. Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers won by leaping over a car to edge Washington's JaVale McGee.
A Los Angeles native, DeRozan says he was disappointed in how the contest played out in his hometown after spending extra time practicing and preparing. He didn't include props such as the car, a stuffed toy and using an extra basket as other competitors did.
DeRozan says he'll only compete again if it's a true dunk contest and not a prop dunk contest.

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NBA's decline means fewer teams

By Ron Published: February 22, 2011

The Carmelo Anthony trade along with The Decision are sending the NBA down a dangerous path.
ESPN this morning put the relevant teams at nine out of 30. And only two of them were in middle or small markets, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
If the season was 40-50 games it would be different but filling arenas with rookies and D League players for 80-some games is going to be tough for a lot of franchises.
Why should fans invest with their emotions and wallets, when the league doesn't care about them and when a championship is a pipe dream.
Contracting the number of teams is the only way to keep the league viable.

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Weekend watch

By Ron Published: February 18, 2011

My TV clicker will be all about NASCAR this weekend. The truck race is tonight at 7 p.m. on SPEED and a good documentary on the day that Dale Earnhardt died 10 years ago is on at 10 p.m. tonight on SPEED. The Nationwide race is on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. Saturday. The big race is Sunday at Noon on WJW, but there is a prerace show on SPEED that starts at 9 a.m. Definitely the Super Bowl of NASCAR, and its TV partners do a good job presenting it that way.
But here are other TV highlights.

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Santana among baseball's best youngsters

By Ron Published: February 18, 2011

Carlos Santana had his first season in the majors cut short by a knee injury, but he showed enough to be considered one of the best young players in the game. Sports Illustrated take a look at those players.
Ben Reiter, Sports Illustrated Last season occasioned an influx of young talent into Major League Baseball that was rare in its quality. In the National League alone, it included an outfielder elected to the All-Star Game (the Braves' Jason Heyward); a catcher who hit third in the lineup of the World Series champion (the Giants' Buster Posey); a starting pitcher who finished fourth in the league in ERA (the Cardinals' Jamie Garcia); and a slugger who ranked fifth in the league in at-bats per home run (the Marlins' Mike Stanton).
This year's crop of burgeoning stars will likely not equal 2010's, as few do. "Everybody was talking about that group even during spring training last year -- the Stantons, the Heywards, the Poseys, the Garcias," says Braves GM Frank Wren. "I don't get the sense that it's as high profile a group this year."
Not as high profile, perhaps, but potentially deeper. Leading the pack could be a 21-year-old, 6'5", 225-pound Californian whom the Braves selected in the second round of the 2007 draft, 64 spots after they picked Heyward, who would quickly become his best friend and roommate: first baseman Freddie Freeman, who enters spring as perhaps the only rookie position player with a starting spot all but locked down. "We have every confidence that he'll be our Opening Day first baseman," says Wren.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/ben_reiter/02/16/eight.to.watch/index.html#ixzz1EKfdYT00

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Keith Law's Top 50 baseball prospects

By Ron Published: February 17, 2011

College baseball takes to the field today with the first games of the season.
Keith Law of ESPN took this time to take a look at the top 50 prospects for the baseball draft in June. The Indians have the eighth pick overall.
His top five players are Anthony Rendon, a third baseman at Rice; George Springer, an outfielder at UConn; Gerrit Cole, a right-handed pitcher at UCLA; Bubba Starling, a center fielder/pitcher who is in high school but has a football scholarship to Nebraska; and Sonny Gray, a right-hander pitcher at Vanderbilt.
The rest is part of an ESPN Insider account. Here is a link for those with a paid account.

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Miguel Cabrera's DUI charge

By Ron Published: February 17, 2011

Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers seems to be fighting his demons with alcohol again. The Tigers first baseman was charged with DUI on Wednesday night, and he reportedly took a swig from a bottle of scotch in front of the arresting officer.
He was arrested at the end of the 2009 season with drinking issues. But last season, he put up near American League MVP numbers. Not sure where this will end up but there is no doubt he is a talented players.
If he misses time it will affect the fortunes of the Tigers and the rest of the teams in the AL Central.

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Top 50 NFL prospects

By Ron Published: February 17, 2011

Here is a quick look at the top 50 players going into the NFL Scouting Combine next weekend in Indianapolis, according to SI.com. As I wrote yesterday, Nate Ulrich and Marla Ridenour will be covering for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com. The Browns have the sixth pick in the draft. There is one Ohio State player in the top 50.
By Tony Pauline, SI.com One week before the NFL Scouting Combine begins in Indianapolis and it's time to revisit the draft board. Several players improved their grade with impressive performance at events such as the Senior Bowl and Shrine Game. Others were passed by and now rank lower.
Once again it looks like the first two rounds will be heavy with quality defensive line prospects. Twenty-one players who can make a living on the defensive line grace our top 50, a number that's sure to stand out in April.
An interesting side note is that no quarterback ranks among our top 10, although many mock drafts project two to be selected in the first handful of picks. More than anything else, this illustrates the dire need many franchises have at the position and, as witnessed in past drafts, the willingness to roll the dice on a lower rated prospect in the hopes of developing stability underneath center.
Here is a link to the complete story.

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NFL Draft plans

By Ron Published: February 16, 2011

I met with Marla Ridenour and Nate Ulrich on Wednesday to map out our coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine, which is next weekend.
We planned a lot of good feature ideas and nuggets for the paper and Nate's Browns blog. At the combine, they also will be getting a lot of legwork done on our stories and analysis features leading up to the NFL Draft that will run throughout April. The draft is April 28-30.
What are some of the topics you would like to see Nate and Marla cover next weekend on the blog or in print? Comment here or e-mail me at rledgard@thebeaconjournal.com.

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Balancing Ledgers -- Feb. 16

By Ron Published: February 16, 2011

I will post what I am calling Balancing Ledgers a couple times per week. Basically just some notes that I have written down and will pass along to you. I will tag them as Balancing Ledgers in case you want to find them easier down the road. Here is today's.

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Sports editor blog back

By Ron Published: February 16, 2011

I am Ron Ledgard, the sports editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, and I am bringing back my blog.
I want this to be a two-way street for the readers and myself. I will pop in with my thoughts on the topics of the day in sports, whether it is local or national. And I welcome your thoughts. If you have a question, I will answer it on the blog. I plan on making this a daily occurence, but that will take you asking questions.
I also want to show you what went into our thoughts on providing coverage, and I want to answer any questions you have on our process.
I really want this to be an entertaining and informative blog. Yes, it will be fun but it also will be a serious place for discussion. I know when I am passionate about something I want frank discussions and to be taken seriously.
My staff and I really have made a push to make our blogs, Twitter accounts and daily coverage in the Beacon and Ohio.com a one-stop shopping place for Northeast Ohio sports. And we work to make that happen every day.
My two newest additions in Jason Lloyd on the Cavs and Nate Ulrich on the Browns are developing outstanding information blogs on their beats and are working everyday to make it as interactive as possible.
I want to do the same here.
You can reach me by e-mail at rledgard@thebeaconjournal.com or on Twitter @RonLedgard.
Enjoy.

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