Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Not exactly local...but an interesting thing on the new contract Barry Bonds has signed. If he's indicted by the federal government in its steroid investigation of major league baseball, the San Francisco Giants can void his contract. Bond's personal trainer is in prison for refusing to testify before the jury whether or not Bonds perjured himself in 2003. Then, Bonds told a grand jury he didn't knowingly use any steroid or performance enhancing drug. Stay tuned on this one. Almost $16 million dollars are on the line.

Just posted today on my web site, www.kenbroo.com is the latest "Broo View". I've got an interview with Cincinnati Reds pitching phenom, Homer Bailey in this latest edition. Also, brand new and on the front page is my latest feature: the Broo Ha Ha of the week. Check it out.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Chris Henry, spending the night as the guest of Kenton County, Kentucky. Mister Henry, you'll be in the third cell to your right.

A judge in Kentucky put Henry behind bars for 90-days today and then cut that to only two days in jail. And while so light a sentence in real time is interesting, so too were the judge's words to Henry, calling him a 'cancer' on the team and telling Henry he may have cost his teammates their only shot at playing in a Super Bowl.

It was the kind of talk, caught on camera by news photographers in the greater Cincinnati area, that should have been delivered to Henry by his head coach, Marvin Lewis. Maybe it was. Lewis never reveals what he says to any of his players. But he should have made an exception with regards to Henry. What he did started the Bengals down into the legal abyss that nuked their season.

What if Lewis had revealed what he said in private to Henry. Would it not have served as a warning alarm to the rest of that locker room? And what if some one of the other legal offenders who followed Henry to the local police stations this year had heard what Marvin said and were deterred from breaking the law themselves? Would not that have been considered as big a coaching maneuver as any touchdown play? We'll never know.

But we know this. Lewis and the Bengals can't help themselves. The day Marvin promised to get tougher and go back to the kind of disciplinarian he was when he first arrived here, the same day he said that, Lewis went out and signed a free agent who spent almost 300 days in jail for assault and robbery.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Just posted on my web site www.kenbroo.com is an excerpt from last Sunday's Sports Rock! on WLWT Channel 5 in Cincinnati. It's an interview George Vogel and I conducted with UC head basketball coach, Mick Cronin. Just click here and it will take you to the page on my web site with the Cronin interview and other cool audio. Go to the "Ken's Other Gigs" paragraph!
Finally....finally Carson Palmer has spoken out. I say finally because Palmer rarely says anything that close to noteworthy. He's a direct disciple of Marvin Lewis, the king of non informational comments. In this day of 'gotcha' journalism, I'm not sure I blame him. But it was refreshing to hear what Palmer said today regarding the latest Bengal to spend time behind bars, Johnathan Joseph. The rookie cornerback was arrested Monday night and charged with posession of marijuana.

Palmer said, "It has to stop. If it doesn't stop, we're not going to have any fans left." The Bengals quarterback went onto say about nine of his teammates being arrested in the past nine months, "It's ridiculous. We can't get through a month without getting a guy arrested."

The mere fact that Palmer is talking this way publicly may be the best indication that things will be getting better. For years, almost a decade, the Bengals have had no vocal leader in their locker room. Team management did a terrific job of extracting that from the equation, not wanting to be publicly embarrassed by something one of their employees said to the media. They traded that, I suppose, for being embarrassed by DUI's, drugs and resisting arrest charges.

A great way for the Bengals make the jump from pretender to contender is what Palmer finally did today: stand up and assume the responsibility of his position. Like it or not, the quarterback position is one of leadership. It goes with the turf. Look at the Indianapolis Colts, or New England Patriots, the Eagles. All have vocal leaders at quarterback. Let me ask you this: do you think for a minute any of this garbage that's been going on around the Bengals would be tolerated for a moment by Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? They may not have been able to stop it completely. But they'd be vocal enough to prevent some of it.

Palmer took a giant step today. He needs to take another. Next time something blows up on the Bengals, like their playoff hopes did this year against the Broncos and the Steelers, Palmer needs to name names. Nothing drastic mind you, just a gentle 'calling out'.

I could be wrong on this. But I think that may be as big to the general health of the Cincinnati Bengals, as any touchdown pass he'll throw.

Just posted on my web site, www.kenbroo.com is the latest Broo v. Broo. It's the hottest sports opinion show in cyber space. We're talking NFL playoffs, NCAA hoops and whether or not the NHL will ever be on the same level as Major League Baseball, the NFL or NBA.

When you get to www.kenbroo.com, check out some of my other interviews. Go to the menu bar on the left hand side and click "Podcasts & More"

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just posted on my web site www.kenbroo.com is my latest Broo View podcast. Click here, if you're in a hurry and can't get there. I don't take it easy on the Bengals.

Also, I've finally posted a radio interview I did with Ohio University football coach, Frank Solich, earlier this month. It's in the "Podcasts & More" section in the "Ken's Other Gigs" category. But, I'll save you some time today, just because it's Monday. You can click here to listen to my interview with the man who's resurrected the Ohio football program.
It’s beyond embarrassing. It was past that long ago, probably around the third or fourth arrest....or Chris Henry’s second. The Bengals now officially have more player arrests this season that wins.

When rookie cornerback, Jonathan Joseph was busted early Monday morning on a drug charge, the Bengals officially went past their win total for this season. In case you missed it, and the Florence cops didn't, Joseph was traveling with a female companion on Route 42 in Northern Kentucky very early today. The car was weaving, she was driving. When they asked Joseph to exit the vehicle, the cops say they smelled a strong scent of marijuana. Suspicion became a charge, when Joseph, according to the police, told them he had a bag of weed in a back pack he was toting. Making this story a complete mess, the back pack had a Super Bowl logo on it. Welcome to the Bengals in the new millenium. You ain’t nothing unless you got an arrest record.

Oh how I love them, let me count the ways. Chris Henry, the record holder with three arrests in four states over six months, Eric Steinbach, Deltha O’Neal, Frostee Rucker, Reggie McNeal, AJ Nicholson, the year long suspended Odell Thurman. And for a little garnishing, how about Ahmad Brooks who was bounced off the University of Virginia football team for allegedly testing positive for weed. And then, to celebrate the new year, the Bengals go out and sign a player who spent close to 300-days in jail for assault and theft while in college. And today, Jospeh and "the amazing techno-color trip through Florence".

These are our men in stripes...or orange jump suits.

There can be only one of two things going on here. Either the Bengals don’t bother to do serious back ground checks on the people they’re employing these days,or they simply don’t care about the type of people they hire.

They may assume, and sadly, rightly so, that winning trumps whatever else happens to a professional football team, off the field. It doesn’t matter what transgressions an NFL player has, all is forgiven with a timely TD catch or a game saving sack. Just listen to the cheering or look in the stands at the fans wearing the player's jersey. In Cincinnati, chances are, it’s the number of a player who’s been to lock up.

More later today, as this story developes

Friday, January 19, 2007

OK, OK...I know it's been a long time (OK a loooooooong time) since I've been here. Apologies up front and now excuses. My resolution (this week at least) is to be better at being more consistent.

I like the Bears and I like the Patriots this week. Which means, the Colts and Saints can start making Super Bowl plans. But here's why I think this will be a repeat of the '86 game. The weather in Chicago will be the mitigating factor. And the indoor friendly Saints will have trouble dealing with it. I don't think the Bears are the better team. The elements will be the deciding factor.

I think the best, big game coach in the NFL, maybe in all of sports, is Bill Belichick. I have no doubt Indy is the better team and the Colts are playing at home. But when you have to win a game, what coach do you want doing your scheming? Exactly. I think Lawrence Maroney will have a large game and the Pats will do just enough to slow down Peyton Manning. Though the Bengals aren't yet in the same league as the Colts, I watched the Patriots grind the Bengals to a nub in Cincinnati this fall. I think they'll do it again and punch their ticket to Miami.

Have you been to my web site this week? It's www.kenbroo.com. Check out the lastest edition of Broo v. Broo, the hottest sportstalk show in cyber space. There's other cool audio there for you to download too.

What will make the University of Cincinnati basketball team shoot better (and let's face it, they're not real good at it)? Better passing. That's the diagnosis from head coach Mike Cronin. Mick told me this week the better you pass, the deeper you go into the shot clock. And while admitting his poor shooting team has to shoot more to increase its percentage of actually making a basket, Cronin also tells me deeper you go into the shot clock increases the chances of your opponent suffering a defensive lapse. If your best shooter takes a shot early in the clock, chances are the opposition has him defended. If he shoots later in the clock, chances are better for a better shot. Honestly, most UC fans would say...whatever, just make more shots.

It gets no easier for UC. Here comes West Virginia Saturday.

You think the San Francisco Giants will back away from their deal with Barry Bonds? If Bonds faces any suspension time, they'll be tempted. And given steroid investigator George Mitchell's latest comments, that if owners don't cooperate with his investigation into 'roid abuse they'll run the risk of government involvement, the Giants may ultimately believe Bonds isn't worth the trouble. If they back away, will any other team try to sign him? If no team does, then Bonds, who's been convicted of nothing, could play the collusion card. The owners could have the federal government attack from the right flank, and the players union from the left. It's a mess.

Do you have "Beckham Fever"? Me neither. I've been down this road before, aging international soccer star leaves Europe or South America and heads to the USA where he will single-handidly raise the sport to the same level as baseball and football. Pele, Chinalgia, Beckenbauer, Best and on and on. It never happened in the now defunct NASL and it won't happen now in the MLS.

Americans haven't taken to soccer for two very basic reasons: we have too many other professional sports and soccer simply doesn't offer enough pertinent statistics.

We are a stats driven society. We want to know how man RBI a baseball player in a given game, how many home runs, stolen bases, strike outs. In football, we want to know how many tackles, completed passes, receiving yards and sacks a player had. In basketball, how many points, assists, rebounds and steals a player had. In soccer, the stats are limited, because most of the games don't offer more than two or three goals.

It's big in Europe, because there is no MLB or NFL or NHL or NBA. Soccer is all they've got.

Sorry, it hasn't happened here in 50 years of trying and as good as Beckham is, or has been, it's not going to happen now.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I've been away from here for awhile. Sorry about that. Busy times around Cincinnati. I do have some random thoughts about what's gone down in the last four or five day....

UC fans should be happy about what they saw in the International Bowl. Yep, the second half comeback by Western Michigan is a concern. But don't you love your new coach, who isn't afraid to open things up?....OSU got exposed by Michigan's offense and you know Urban Meyer and the Gators went to school on it....But how does that account for what Florida's defense did to the Buckeyes?.....After watching the wild card weekend in the NFL, do you think the Bengals would have stood a chance against any of the AFC teams playing last weekend?.....Maybe the Chiefs, maybe....Did Kyle Larson feel any better after seeing what happened to Tony Romo? My guess is no....The Eagles could run the table, the NFC is so wide open....The best thing the Bears will have going for them in the playoffs is Chicago's iffy weather. It sure isn't Rex Grossman....

Ohio fans, relax. Frank Solich isn't going anywhere. As great as this past season was for Bobcat fans, the MAC Championship game and the GMAC bowl showed that Solich's work isn't finished. He's talking like a man who's found a home....let's hope the Ohio AD, Kirby Hocutt has, as well. He's done a superb job, occassionally dealing with crisis, and it hasn't gone unnoticed nationally.

Have you been to the new ice hockey facility in Oxford, Ohio? Stellar. There can't be a better place in America to watch college hockey....I keep waiting for the Reds to make a move, any move, to improve their team BEFORE spring training....Last year, the late arriving Wayne Krivsky swung two killer deals in the spring, one that brought Bronson Arroyo in from Boston, the other Brandon Phillips from Cleveland. Maybe Wayne-O is waiting for the trees to bud again...Victor Santos could be a find. He has 73 big league starts in the last three years, more than any other suspect for the Reds' fifth starters spot...

UC's basketball team needs a lot of help. It's small and it can't shoot very well....that's why they've got the perfect guy as head coach. Mick Cronin has the patiences to deal with the present and the savvy to make the future better....most experts think Xavier will have no trouble making the NCAA Tournament....the bigger questionis how far will the Muskies go?....their inside players are steady if not spectacular and point guard, Drew Lavender needs to get over his sometime shaky play....As Greg Oden goes, so go the Buckeyes....no scoop there...but the deeper we get into the season the more it becomes a big man's game.....


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sometimes, you have to get up early to get the 'scoop'.

I was up before sunrise today, filling in for Richard Skinner on 1530 WCKY "The Sports Animal" in Cincinnati. I'd forgotten there was another 6 o'clock in the day. That's what happens when you work nights.

It was a full range of sports talk. Chick Ludwig, the talented writer from the Dayton Daily News who covers the Bengals for a living, was one of my guests. He isn't putting much stock ni the 'back to the future' Marvin Lewis, who is vowing to get tough with his team again. Chick believes the only way that will occur is for the Bengals to clean house, somewhat, and get rid of some of the players that Marvin needs to get tough with.

Among other issues we talked about: Marvin Lewis leaving to coach the Steelers. Not going to happen. Marvin is under contract through at least 2010 with the Bengals and because of the relationship between Mike Brown and Steelers owner, Dan Rooney, Pittsburgh won't be robbing the Bengals stable.

What do the Bengals need most now? A pure, pass rushing defensive lineman is the top priority. That may have to be addressed through free agency, as the Bengals draft 18th this year and the top rushers may be gone. Defensive back, Chick says, is another priority, given the age and attitudes of Deltha O'Neal and Tory James.

Ohio University football coach, Frank Solich, was another of my guests. His Bobcats (my Bobcats) will play Southern Mississippi in the GMAC Bowl Sunday night. Solich told me he had no doubt his team would rally after starting the year 2-0, then falling to 2-3. It did. The Bobcats ripped off seven straight wins. Solich also agreed with me when I mentioned the Bobcats workhorse running back, Kalvin McRae, reminded me of some of the running backs you'd find in the Big 12, where Solich spent his entire coaching life before arriving at Ohio.

There's a lot of buzz out there that Solich may be ready to move on after only two years at Ohio.
The University of Minnesota is one rumored place. I asked Solich if he'd 'found a home' in Athens, Ohio. And while not specifically addressing his immediate future, he took great pains to compliment the people he works for, Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt and Ohio President, Dr. Roderick McDavis.

Personally, I don't think he's going anywhere. He's got scholarship offers out all over the country to high school seniors and he appears to be motivated more by situation not money.
He works for a university president who wants to make athletics the 'face' of the school. How many schools want that in this day and age? Frank is 62 and has worked in the 'big time'. He's made a lot of money. And while a Big 10 or SEC school could offer him more 'dough' in one year than he'd make in five at Ohio, I know he's living comfortably with what he's making coaching the Bobcats.

As long as McDavis remains school president and Hocutt stays at AD, I believe Solich remains. I'm no visionary on any of this. It's merely a gut reaction, after talking with the man on live radio today.

Finally, Marc Lancaster, the talented Cincinnati Post writer joined me. Marc has covered the Reds the past four seasons. He's leaving to take a similar job with the Tampa Tribune. He and his daily blog will be missed.

Marc thinks the Reds still have one more major trade or signing left before heading to spring training and it may involve Ryan Freel. Like me, he thinks signing Alex Gonzalez to play short stop is a big time move, shoring up the defense. But, losing Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez last season put a serious dent in run production. The Reds may be trolling for offense now.

And, he doesn't see pitching phenom Homer Bailey in the rotation to start the season.

Friday, I'm back on 1530 Homer again. Among my guests, the national writer for cbssportsline.com, Gregg Doyel and the head coach of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, Brian Kelly.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm just back from the US Bank Arena here in Cincinnati. I saw a lot of purple in the stands for tonight's game between Xavier and Kansas State. But I think most of that purple was on Cincinnatians and not K-State alums.

Bob Huggins was back in town with his Wildcats. That was the reason for all the purple and the over 12,000 that showed up to watch Xavier pound Huggins' new team.

But it was good to see Bob again. We forget what it was like around here, back in the late 80's an early 90's. Sam Wyche with the Bengals, Lou Piniella with the Reds and Huggins at UC. Those days were a reporter's dream. The quotes just kept on coming, from all over.

Huggins has his hands full at Kansas State. But he also has Bill Walker. And Walker's special guest tonight with courtside seats was his former running back at North College Hill High School: OJ Mayo. Mayo has verbally commited to Southern Cal. But seeing him there tonight makes you go "hmmmmmm". Did Huggins get a chance to talk with Mayo? You think?

If you live in the greater Cincinnati area, you can catch me tomorrow morning and Friday morning subbing for Richard Skinner on 1530 Homer WCKY.

My guests tomorrow between 7am-10pm will be Chick Ludwig, the Bengals beat writer from the Dayton Daily News, Frank Solich, the head coach of the Ohio Bobcats and soon to be ex-Reds beat writer from the Cincinnati Post, Marc Lancaster.

Friday, my guests include UC head football coach Brian Kelly, CBS sportsline.com national writer, Gregg Doyel and my boy, George Vogel.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Lousy way for the Bengals to start it off. What made this team feel worse: losing to the Steelers or watching Denver lose to the 49ers? If the Bengals had beaten the Steelers Sunday, they'd've been in the playoffs. Now, it's an off season of second guessing, talking about fixing things and probably an arrest of two.

I made this statement on "Bengals Feedback" Sunday night on 700 WLW: if you don't believe all the off field troubles this team endured this past season didn't affect the on field performance, you're wrong. They did, and here's why.

Sitting out a three game suspension, one game from the Bengals and two from the NFL for his off field escapades, Chris Henry missed the Bengals game at Tampa, a 14-13 loss. Being the playmaker that he is, would it not be beyond the realm of reason to suggest that Henry would have made a handful of plays that either would have resulted in a touchdown or simply keeping a drive alive? I think so. Could his presence have led to a touchdown or field goal that would have won the game? I think so.

Second year linebacker, Odell Thurman, sat out the entire season for failing substance abuse tests multiple times. Last season, Thurman was a playmaker, with 84 tackles, five interceptions and four forced fumbles. Could his presences have stopped the Buccaneers in their field long drive to the game winning touchdown? Could Thurman have come up with a play that would have stopped the Chargers in their second half rally against the Bengals this year? I think so.

So the next time someone tells you what a player does off the field is no distraction to the players who're trying to win games, you've got two good examples.

This Bengals teams needs to grow up, shut up and start concentrating on the things that matter.
Championships aren't won in night clubs, in the media or with endorsement deals. They're won by carrying yourself as a professional on and off the field.

See who wins the Super Bowl this season. I'll bet they'll have more wins than player arrests. Our 2006 Cincinnati Bengals can't make that statement, can they?