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Sports

Commentary: Twenty Cleveland players you can't ignore, even if you want to

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Because you have the right to know, here they are. The 20 most watchable players on Cleveland’s three professional sports teams.

What’s my definition of watchable?

Players who, when plying their trade, as we like to say in the trade-plying business, you — or, at least, I — can’t take your eyes off them. Good, bad or indifferent, if these guys are doing something, I’m watching.

So here they are, The Cleveland 20:

  1. LEBRON JAMES — What, you were expecting Brien Boddy-Calhoun? Nope. LeBron’s No. 1, for all the obvious reasons, plus this one: Even when someone else is doing something, it’s hard to take your eyes off LeBron.
  2. KYRIE IRVING — Maybe the greatest in-the-paint, in-traffic shot-maker in NBA history. The greatest ball spinner-off-the board of this generation. Leads the league every year in “wait, what?” shots. And owner of the greatest 3-point field goal (In-Steph’s-Face Division) in Cleveland history.
  3. JOSE RAMIREZ — “Jose! Jose! Jose! Jose! … Jose! Jose!” Never before has an idolatry sing-along so encapsulated every fiber of a player’s charisma, style, personality and lovable cockiness. You not only can’t take your eyes off him, you want to give him a ride home. Best of all: the way he so confidently struts onto the stage. Sir Swag!
  4. COREY KLUBER — This is not pitching. This is surgery. That’s not a curveball, that’s a scalpel. For those too young to have seen how Greg Maddux carved up hitters in his prime, this is how it looked. There’s pitching, and then there’s the art of pitching. Kluber pitching is art.
  5. MYLES GARRETT — All you need to know about the state of Myles Garrett and the state of the Browns, is this: He’s their most watchable player, and we haven’t even seen him yet.
  6. FRANCISCO LINDOR — One hopes that his lackluster year so far is not the result of too-big-too-soon, because style should always ride shotgun to substance, not the other way around. Even, and especially, for players with plenty of both.
  7. KEVIN LOVE — The player everyone seems to want to trade, criticize, nit-pick, dis, that and the other thing, is also the Cavs’ best rebounder and arguably their best 3-point shooter and foul shooter. All that in a GQ package? What’s not to like … or at least watch?
  8. ANDREW MILLER — There’s getting outs, and then there’s stripping batters of their manhood. Miller’s character-crushing slider frequently leaves hitters in a heaping pile of hopelessness, to the embarrassment of their team, their immediate family and all their ancestors. … Cool!
  9. DeSHONE KIZER — You know, this year’s Browns quarterback. Maybe. Whoever is playing the most-watched position on the least-talented team in the NFL is, by definition, going to be watched a lot. At least until next year’s quarterback shows up.
  10. JABRILL PEPPERS — I know, it’s hard to watch a player until you know what position he’s playing. But assuming he’s playing one of them, and assuming we can find it, and spot him, I don’t know about you, but I’m watching.
  11. J.R. SMITH — The best way to get people to watch you is to be a player who’s liable to do anything. Ladies and gentlemen, J.R. Smith.
  12. JOE THOMAS — He’s so good, he’s boring. Watch him anyway. Because (A.) This is what a Hall of Fame player looks like and (B.) He’s the only one the Browns have.
  13. KYLE KORVER — The ultimate gunslinger. When Korver checks into a game, he should be wearing a cowboy hat.
  14. JAMIE COLLINS — When the Browns are getting blown out in the second half, I like to watch Collins for clues to why Bill Belichick told him to get lost.
  15. TRISTAN THOMPSON — Want to be more watchable? Date Khloe Kardashian.
  16. CAMERON ERVING — It’s not often you see an offensive lineman drafted in the first round who is physically overwhelmed on almost every play. I don’t blame Erving. I blame the misguided team that drafted him, the team that once fired Bill Belichick.
  17. TREVOR BAUER — So much to watch, so few opportunities to do so. There’s that mysterious training thing he does with that long pole. The foul-pole-to-foul-pole heaves he makes as part of his marathon hour-and-a-half warm-up to each start. The Indians’ catcher waving the unsuspecting home plate umpire out of the way as Bauer, with a running-start, javelin-like delivery launches his supersonic fastball on his first warm-up pitch each inning. Then there’s the woe-is-me body language when things don’t go right. What a package! It’s baseball as Kabuki theater.
  18. DANNY SHELTON — Dude weighs 335 pounds. How can you NOT watch?
  19. BRADLEY ZIMMER — It’s too early to know how his career will turn out, but his speed and defense is already wow!-friendly.
  20. BRANDON GUYER — He’s the guy on the Indians who enjoys getting hit by pitches. He deserves our support.

Contact Jim Ingraham at 329-7135 or jingraham4@gmail.com and follow him @Jim_Ingraham on Twitter.

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