Happy Monday, Browns fans. Hopefully you used Sunday to rest up from that whirlwind of a weekend, one that netted Cleveland 14 new faces ranging from two Colemans all the way down to a Scooby. We will obviously have plenty of Draft-based discussion over the coming hours and days, but I’d be insanely remiss if I didn’t give a special Thank You to Joe Gilbert and Michael Bode for their work over the last few weeks.
There are a ton of folks on the web who dig deep into the draft trenches, but these two guys do Yeoman’s work for this site, digging through film and scheduling out when things are going to hit your eyes leading up to the draft, only to hit it twice as hard once the picks are starting to come off the board. Those of you who know me know I have very little passion when it comes to transaction-based coverage, but I’m also aware of how much in the minority I am and that we’d be doing our readers a disservice by not going full throttle on the city’s biggest weekend. WFNY would not have been able to do that without Joe and Mike—please join me in giving huge kudos to both men.
While the draft effectively means that the NFL season is on a bit of a hiatus until the various camps roll around, I wanted to use this space to make sure we’re all aware of the Cavaliers—a team that hasn’t played in a few days, but is set to have a bit of a rematch from the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago.
Having spent a ton of time around these guys over the last few weeks, I can say that things feel very loose. There’s the whole rest-versus-rust debate about sweeping an opponent while waiting for the next round, but I’m not seeing anything that would infer the latter. Whether it’s Lil’ Kev on Richard Jefferson’s Snapchat feed or the Running Man Challenge between Kyrie and Shump (and even J.R. Smith, who doesn’t make this video), these guys seem to be in a really, really good place.
Extended club mix. pic.twitter.com/VwF5Kh6yZv
— Scott @ WFNY (@WFNYScott) April 29, 2016
After two years of teasing and a few leaked tracks here and there, we finally have Drake’s Views in hand—at least digitally. Drake, the polarizing rapper slash singer slash multi-level celebrity and ambassador of the Raptors, stayed true to his word from earlier this year, unveiling a 20-track mix of ballads and bangers rife with references to “The Six” (Toronto, for the uninitiated) and the former actor’s vortex-like lifestyle. But for all the talk of America’s hat, it’s clear that Drake’s trying to expand his horizons a bit with techno-African dance hall mixed with Caribbean beats of which even RIRi would approve.
All things considered, Views is solid. The featured tracks are quality, including “Grammys” with its Future cameo and “Too Good” which features the abovementioned Rihanna. As someone who prefers Lyric-spitting Drake over Crying in Coffee Drake, “9,” “Hype” and the previously-released single “Pop Style.”
Bur for everything Views is—a decent reminder that Aubrey Graham will continue to give zero shits about previous beliefs surrounding what hip-hop should be while churning out hit after hit—it’s by no means the perfect album as some are alluding to.
Kudos to Drake for being able to turn bragging, emoting, and lamentation into something that will undoubtedly put him in contention for multiple Grammy awards come next winter, but to open an album with a track (“Keep the family close”) that breaks the hinges off the sadness floodgates was simply the wrong move. Fans who were looking to be bobbing their heads for an hour-plus were forced to endure some borderline whining about ex-girlfriends who don’t call to check in when times are tough.
Views is an album that will stay in my rotation for a bit, but there will be plenty of song-skipping going on as a re-release of this one would hopefully lop off three-to-five unneeded tracks. For those looking to catch some of CP’s latest, I got you covered.
The NFL Draft is bound to provide a slew of hot takes. Feel free to ignore them all and take in this week’s edition of #ActualSportswriting:
“For Hire: A Defensive Weapon Ready to Work” by Emmanuel Ogbah (The Player’s Tribune): “I work. And I am my own biggest critic. I do not just study and watch film of the other team. After games, I go back and watch film of myself. Nobody’s perfect, including me, so I pick apart my own performance and I look more for the negatives than the positives because I always want to know what I need to improve on. It is about getting better every day, every game.”
“Craig Sager: Always on the Bright Side” by Lee Jenkins (Sports Illustrated): “Sager steps out of his producer’s rented Impala and ambles into The Palace for Game 3. He is wearing the lilac jacket, the purple pants, the striped shirt, the zigzag tie. ‘For Prince,’ he says, as if the outfit wasn’t planned weeks ago. While he makes his way to the court, a receiving line forms around him: security guards, building workers, ushers. Local TV reporters who say they idolize him. Fans who say they pray for him. Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith daps him up. So does Pistons center Aron Baynes. Christine Cameron, the mother of Detroit center Andre Drummond, hugs him and holds on for a few extra seconds. He signs about 100 autographs.”
“The Braves Play Taxpayers Better Than They Play Baseball” by Ira Boudway and Kate Smith (BusinessWeek): “Over the last 15 years, the Braves have extracted nearly half a billion in public funds for four new homes, each bigger and more expensive than the last. The crown jewel, backed by $392 million in public funding, is a $722 million, 41,500-seat stadium for the major league club set to open next year in Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta. Before Cobb, the Braves built three minor league parks, working their way up the ladder from Single A to Triple A.”
And finally, more applause for Joe and Mike. They deserve an encore.
Have a good Monday, you guys. I’ll be at shootaround at 10:45 a.m. and Game 1 around 4:30 p.m. You know where to find me. Cheers.