The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 11, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Business pretty much as normal

Sports Editor

— Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, at least not if you’re a fan of Cleveland professional sports teams.

Where to start, you ask?

That, Loyal Readers, is perhaps the most difficult of questions, but we’ll make a run at it.

Going to pot

Let’s see if we have this straight — Indians closer Chris Perez is ineffective, apparently hurt and obviously disinterested.

At least we now know why.

In a possible wag-the-dog explanation, the Tribe’s two-time All-Star closer and his wife, Melanie, were charged with misdemeanor drug possession Friday after his wife signed for a package containing more than half a pound of marijuana that was sent to their Rocky River home.

It’s just the most recent dustup for the volatile Perez, who came under fire last season for calling out Indians fans, team management and former manager Manny Acta.

The most amazing aspect of this story isn’t the fact a professional athlete is (allegedly) smoking pot, but this:

The package was addressed to “Brody Baum.”

Brody is the name of, get this, the Perez family dog.

Baum is Melanie Perez’s maiden name.

Perhaps PETA should get involved.

From here, it sure seems the Tribe’s Senor Smoke and his wife involving the family pooch is cruelty to animals.


While we’re on the subject of Perez, seeing his recent police mug shot triggered one of those “wait, he looks just like someone! Who is it?” moments.

Take a look for yourself, Tribe fans. Doesn’t Perez resemble Silent Bob from the “Clerks” and  “Jay and Silent Bob” flicks character, played by Kevin Smith?

And, considering the allegations against Perez, his wife and, yes, their poor pooch, and the tone of the “Clerks” and “Jay and Silent Bob” films, separated at birth seems to fit like a... well, glove.

June swoon

The Perez fiasco just mirrors what’s happened to the Tribe in recent weeks, the team suffering a rash of injuries and plagued by poor pitching and a sudden collective lack of punch with the lumber.

An Indian summer does not appear to be on the horizon... again.

Brown and out

Then, there’s the Browns.

First, the new multi-billionaire owner, Jimmy Haslam, and his company Pilot-Flying J, is implicated in a scheme to rip off companies in a rebate mess.

Second, Trent Richardson, the team’s top draft choice from 2012 and the third pick in the draft overall, is on the sidelines — again — this time, because of a pulled muscle in his shin area.

Finally, the team’s best deep threat and most talented wide receiver, Josh Gordon, is suspended for the opener against Miami on Sept. 8 and the Week 2 clash at Super Bowl champion Baltimore on Sept. 15 for testing positive for codeine.

The second-year player blamed the violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy on cough syrup that was supposedly prescribed by a yet-unnamed doctor to combat a bout with strep throat in February.

Striking it rich?

Yes, the Cavaliers hit the lottery for the second time in three years, beating the odds and being awarded the first selection in the NBA Draft.

However, unlike two years ago with Duke’s Kyrie Irving, there is not a consensus No. 1 pick, as was the case last season with Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.

Which makes the first selection even more of a crap shoot than normal, and that selection belongs to the Cavaliers.

And finally...

All of which means college football can’t start soon enough, specifically, the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Urban Meyer (who will be in town next month, along with Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood for their second youth football camp at Spire Institute), a beleaguered fan base turns its lonely heart to you.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at