Monday, April 30, 2007

You read the experts, and most of them give the Bengals a "C" for their draft. I'm not into giving out grades. But I am into some second guessing.

Like why they had to draft a running back in round two. Or a quarterback in round 5? I simply don't get it. This is a team that did not make the playoffs last season, largely because it couldn't tackle and had trouble defending the run.

I doubt seriously if running back Kenny Irons or quarterback Jeff Rowe have the ability to stuff the run.

Don't get me wrong. These two players are good and each will have a chance to craft a career in the NFL in Cincinnati. But....both have to be considered luxury picks. And for a team with needs, I'd rather see a big of a reach for a player who can help, then a slam dunk for a player they don't really need.

Other draft day observations....the Lions are certifiably stupid. Another wide receiver? I don't care if he's Jerry Rice in his prime....the Browns made the right call with Joe Thomas at number three and a better call spending next year's number one to get Brady Quinn later in the draft....The Dolphins are certifiably stupid...Ted Ginn, Junior? The actually took a specialist rather than a quarterback who could be their franchise player for years....

The Reds had an expensive meal over the weekend. They ate the contract of relief pitcher Rheal Cormier. They've been trying to deal him since spring training started. Nobody wanted him. Cormier appeared to be finished when the Reds traded for him last summer. It happens. But why did general manager then sign Cormier to a new $2 million dollar deal after seeing what he did (or didn't do) when Cormier got here? I'm guessing Bob Castellini is asking the same thing today...since it's his money Krivsky is playing with.

Check out my web site Tuesday mid day for the latest Broo v. Broo podcast. It's simply the hottest show in cyber space and the opinion are flying again this week.

Check back...

Friday, April 27, 2007

With apologies to fellow Ohio University alum, Arsenio Hall, things that make you go hmmmmm...

The Reds bullpen is in shambles. Like every year from here to back of memory, there is no one in that pen that Jerry Narron can count on consistently, to give him a top notch performance every night. So why then, did the Reds used today to give Todd Coffey a nice raise and sign him through next season?

Is the baseball world not full of Todd Coffeys?

Look, Coffey is another guy I really like. He got that easy going Texan approach to life and can, on occasion, be an effective reliever. His schtick of running in from the bullpen is charming. But Coffey has done nothing so far this season to make anyone believe that he's approaching consistency. Nor, has Coffey done anything to stake claim to the Reds closer role, something he had last year and lost.

It's another confounding move by Reds GM Wayne Krivsky, who I also like a lot. I like a lot of people, so sue me. Krivsky can knock it out of the park with some moves (Brandon Phillips, Bronson Arroyo, Josh Hamilton). But sometimes, I wonder...

Everywhere I went today, people asked me...who are the Bengals going to take in the draft. If I knew, I'd make a bet and retire. I have only a guess. And my guess is, they will take Darrelle Revis, the cornerback from Pitt, who is dropping in a lot of mock drafts. Revis can return kicks as well as play stout 'man' coverge. That's my guy, and I'm sticking to him.

Check back....and check out my web site, I've got my latest Broo View podcast posted, as well as the hottest sports talk show in cyber space, Broo v. Broo.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Look, I like Jerry Narron. I think he's a good manager and knows the game infinitely better than I do. But occasionally, he absolutely confounds me.

Wednesday night was a great example. Here he was, locked in a great battle with his counterpart in the the Cardinals' dugout, Tony LaRussa. The Reds and Cards were tied at one, with Bronson Arroyo and Braden Looper tossing terrific games. Narron had to know two things: one, Arroyo had thrown only 96 pitches through seven innings. Two: his bullpen has been anything but trustworthy lately.

Rather than allowing Arroyo to start the eighth inning, Narron elected to pinch hit for him, leading off the seventh. The fact that Ryan Freel, who hadn't picked up a bat since Sunday, failed to get on base is one thing. But why would you trade Arroyo for the bullpen, just to try and jump start your offense?

The Reds manager tried to defend himself on the Reds radio pre-game show Thursday. It didn't work, at least not for me. Lifting a starter who'd thrown only 96 pitches, allowed only five hits for the chance of scoring a run...given the shaky indefensible.

I like Jerry, but it was the wrong call.

Check out my web site, Just posted today the latest "Broo View" podcast. I've got comments from Marvin Lewis, Carson Palmer and other Bengals about the upcoming draft. It's in the podcast and more section.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Marvin Lewis appeared to have learned a lesson. We'll know for sure Saturday. But at his pre-NFL draft news conference today, Lewis said the Bengals won't be drafting players who are in need of reshaping their lives.

Apparently, he's been Frostee Rucker-ed and Odell Thurman-ed and Chris Henry-ed to death. Marvin can't blame anyone else for his troubles with troubled players. He brought most of them here through free agent signings and the draft.

Lewis is convinced he'll get a solid citizen and an impact player, when the Bengals pick 18th in round one. Most projections have the Bengals getting a corner back, either Darrelle Revis from Pitt or Aaron Ross from Texas. Either could come in and start a 'nickel'. But with the secondary as sparse as it is today, either may have to start.

The Reds open a ten day, nine game road trip tonight. They're in St. Louis, where they handled the defending World Series champs very well last season. They went 5-4 in Missouri, 4-2 at Great American Ball Park. It's not a stretch to say that the NL Central is baseball's most competitive division (competitive another word for weakest). Each team does a pretty good job of beating up the other. But what kept the Reds in the race until the last weekend of 2006 was their record against the Cardinals. If they want the same kind of ride this year, they'll need to do the same thing.

Just posted on my web site is the latest Broo v. Broo podcast. We've got some of the hottest opionins in cyberspace. This week, we're all over the NFL draft, the NBA and NFL playoffs and Barry Bonds. Check it out, in the 'podcast and more' section.

Check back soon...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I'm back from Vegas and lost only eight bucks....but wondering about a few of these things on this Monday morning....

How can the Reds fix their anemic batting order? There are four stone, cold lock 'outs' in the batting order: Edwin Encarnacion, Brandon Phillips, David Ross and whomever is pitching. Does this make this year's hitting coach, Brook Jacoby look bad, or last year's hitting coach, Chris Chambliss look good?

What does it say about a team that has a Rule 5 player hitting clean up? Josh Hamilton was out of organized baseball for four years, yet Sunday, he hit fourth. What does it say that a guy out of baseball almost four years is your best hitter?

After Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang and Kyle Lohse (for the moment at least) who can the Reds rely on for decent starting pitching? The answer, no one.

Why do I believe that the only reason the Reds keep running Eric Milton out to the mound is hoping he'll string together three or four decent starts so they can trade him?

If character is so important in the NFL draft this coming Sunday, was it wise for three players to admit they smoked marijuana in college? A report in Pro Football Weekly claims three sure fire first round picks lit it up. Or, was it wise for the three to admit it, with teams knowing full well infinitely more players did dope and lied about it?

Just wondering....

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Vegas excursion continues....ate a one of those truly Americana places last night, off the strip and a spot that only veteran Vegas go-ers really know about. It's called "Batista's Hole In The Wall", a 1950's throwback Italian place where you get an entire meal, plus all the red or white wine you can consume, for about $25. Actually, that's exactly what the bill was, dinner for two was $50, even.

The place is littered with pictures of 1950-1970 Hollywood celebs who've dined there. Autographed pictures from people like John Wayne, Jerry Lewis, Oliver Hardy....just about every dead celebrity who's ever eaten at the place (sorry Jerry, we know you're still with us).

If you're ever out here, it's about two blocks off the strip on Flamingo. You can thank me later.

I have to walk through the Hilton sports book on my way to the breakfast buffet every morning and get to see the daily odds posted on their 'big board'. They also have hand out sheets. The NFL odds for this coming season are intriguing. The Bengals are three point favorites for their season opener against the Ravens. Cincinnati is right now 8-1 to win the AFC championship, 15-1 to win the Super Bowl. Interestingly, the Bengals and Steelers are both 2-1 to win the AFC North, behind the 8-5 Ravens.

Of course, two good injuries and another suspension and all of that changes, right?

I've yet to see anyone famous out here, not even Joe Piscopo, who spends three days a week here at the Hilton entertaining at the cabaret. Joe doesn't get the 'big room'. That's reserved for the semi-permanent act, Barry Manilow. I had to admit, I wasn't sure Joe was alive or dead. He's basically disappeared from show biz the past 15 years, except for those hideous power drink body building commercials he did back in the mid-90's. He, at one point, looked like he'd ingested a lethal dose of the Incredible Hulk.

I didn't get to see his act (he apparently not only tells jokes, but dresses up like Sinatra and sings. Remember that parody he did of Sinatra on SNL back in the 80's? Apparently now, life has imitated art). But I hear it's an entertaining 90-minues or so with Joe. I know this, it must be a tough ticket. The discount booths where you can buy half price tickets for same day shows don't carry his.

Check back...I'm here all week...try the veal.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hi from Vegas, the city that doesn't sleep, or stops taking your money. Thank God I don't gamble. I don't see how anyone with even a remote addiction to 'action' can survive in this town. But in all honesty, when you get beyond "The Strip" this is a pretty cool area, big growth area. I've done Red Rock Canyon, beautiful topography and only about a half an hour drive out Charleston Avenue. But one of my more favorite places is Valley of Fire, about an hour north of the city. I'm there Friday. It's simply breathtaking.

Spent a large chuck of today inside the world's largest broadcast technical show, the NAB. Lots of gadgets for tech-heads (I don't like the word geek, in this sense, probably because I am one.) Let me just say this about what's here, the world as we know it is exploding with communication technology. Equipment that was cutting edge just a few years ago is obsolete. And everthing is digital.

I was helping some friends of mine who are in the sports production business shop for new equipment. In the process, we ran into their funder (venture capitalist) and got into the discussion of where all of the anologue equipment is going to go when over the air television must go digital in Feburary, 2009. The short answer is there will be no after market for the tape machines and microphones and editing equipment that has been broadcast standard for the last two decades. Expensive boat anchors, I belive is the term that was used. Oh well, enough with the technology, onto sports.

Why did Jerry Narron lift Aaron Harang so early tonight? I guess Harang was still woozy from his bout with the flu. Great for second guessing, considering how awful Todd Coffey and Rheal Cormier were. My guess is, Cormier is headed for a DFA, as soon as someone down on the farm separates themselves from the pack. I know that Reds' GM Wayne Krivsky tried to deal Cormier in the spring. But he also signed him to an extention last fall.

Josh Hamilton again??? Is there a better story anywhere in sports than this guy?

Mick Cronin recruits better than the Marines. First, he gets the best player in the city to commit earlier this week. Yancy Gates will be a huge, huge college player. I'd like to say you heard it here first...but I've got to be at least top 20 on that call. Now, Anthony McLain is in for a visit. He could, could sign by the end of the week. But if he does, by my math, somebody has to go from the current UC roster.

The Bengals continue to court middle linebackers. Now, they've got former Falcons starter, Ed Hartwell in for a visit. That's something that has to make you go 'hmmmmmm". First, they annoint Ahmad Brooks as their starting middle linebacker and now Hartwell is here for a visit. Is this an indication that Odell Thurman may be fading again, from the proverbial picture?

Check back again....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hi again....
Spent a lot of Monday searching Vegas for a video camera (I know, I'm at the largest broadcasting convention in the world and I'm looking for a video camera). But, those $5,000 rigs are a big out of my price I settled on a tricked out Panasonic DVD recorder, records right onto DVDs which you can then slap into your computer to look at or edit.

I've been audio podcasting, several shows, on my web site, I think I'm going to get into some video podcasting as well. I'll never abandon audiocasting, it's too cool. But, I think video will be fun to try. So....stand by for that.

Saw the end of the Reds game against the Brewers last night, sitting in the sports book at the Las Vegas Hilton. You can't spot the other guy ten runs in any game and expect to win. Eric Milton was, at the very best, serviceable last night. But he's not the answer in any of the five spots in the rotation. My guess is, two more starts at the most for Milton. If it doesn't turn around by then, look for Homer Bailey.

It was great to see Josh Hamilton go 'yard' again. The home run was basically meaningless, exccept it was another chapter in his comeback story. The next step for Hamilton is hitting consistently when a game is on the line. But there's no denying this: he knows how to work a count. "Professional at bats" is the way the old per-fessor Bob Boone would call it.

I'm on my way to the NAB show to check out gadgets. Check back soon!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Good morning!

Two weeks into the season and the Reds are in first place. Who'd have thunk it? And who would've believed that the key to all of this decent start has been starting pitching. Kyle Lohse, with 12 strike outs on Sunday? If you told me that guy would be able to do that, I'd've said he was pitching to a net, not a decent Cubs line-up.

The concern now is the lack of hitting, particularly in with men on base. "Situational hitting' is what managers and baseball geeks call it. But it is a major, major problem. The bottom half of the order is getting killed by David Ross' inability to replicate his 2006 season. The top half of the order has been bothered by Brandon Phillips slow start. 7-5 after 12 games is good. But the lack of hitting will eventually catch up with this team. It's been pitching good, and lucky so far.

I'm traveling. I've in Las Vegas for the annual NAB (National Asssociation of Broadcasters) convention. I'm not involved in it, at all, out here as my wife works the floor for her company. So I get to play this week. My first order of business was nothing in the casinos. I took in a minor league game Sunday. The Las Vegas 51's (Dodgers AAA) vs the Salt Lake City Bees (Anaheim). I didn't know it until I arrived, but the game featured a rehab start for Angels pitcher, Bartolo Colon, who was terrifc, tossing shut out ball for seven innings. Colon has been nothing but injury prone since signing a big dollar deal with the Angels. He had a partial tear of his labrum that developed last season. Rather than surgery, the prescription was for exercise and non baseball activity for the past nine months or so. I guess it worked. This was his third rehab start and all have gone very well. I was told by a scout at the game that Colon has one more rehab start and then will probably get the call to rejoin Anaheim.

That's it for now. Check back....who knows, the dice may be hot tonight and I'll have a wonderful story to share. Right...