Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Huggins has to be apoplectic.
On a lighter note, unless you're the affected mascot, this is pretty funny:
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Here are some of the things you can find in Goodyear, Arizona: Peter Piper Pizza, a shuttered up horse track that went under because it was inaccessible and the Arizona State Pen.
If I’m Sarasota, I’m talking up my very viable dog track today. And the low crime rate.
The Reds have been trying to get the Sarasota county government to pony up about 15 million to help renovated Ed Smith Stadium. The total bill is about 40-million, but the state of Florida and the Reds are willing to toss in some dough.
Last week, the the Sarasota county commission essentially voted the tax deal down. Not surprising. I lived in Florida for seven years. If the second coming was a tax issue down there, trust me, it would be voted down.
Ed Smith Stadium isn’t delapitated. It’s certainly not new. But as spring training venues go, it’s not bad. It’s not handicap access friendly. But it won’t take 40-million to fix that. Some of the baseball field flood when it rains. Just about every field in Florida floods when it rains.
Bob Castellini doesn’t really want to go to Goodyear Arizona. And really, has anyone ever said to you they want to go to Goodyear, Arizona? He’s willing to pitch in $9 million to the 40-million dollar project to make it work in Sarasota. In Goodyear, all Castellini would have to do is show up. Maybe bring a nice bottle of Merlot as a calling card. But that’s about it. He could, presumably, take that $9 million he was going to give Sarasota and go out and buy a decent pitcher.
But if Castellini takes his team to Goodyear, Arizona, here’s what he won’t get. Fans from Cincinnati to spend a spring vacation watching his team. How many of your friends are gonna hop in a car and drive three days to watch spring training games? You can make Sarasota in about 13 hours.
You’ll hear some boasting on message boards from people who’ll say they’ll have no problem making the trip to Goodyear, Arizona, to watch Reds baseball. But mostly, those people live in their parents’ basement.
If Castellini takes his team west, here’s what he won’t get. Complete coverage on TV and in the Enquirer and Dayton Daily News. Afternoon games won’t be over in time for the 6p news. Night games won’t be over in time to get in the morning editions of the paper. Maybe he doesn’t care about that. But he should.
If Castellini takes his team west, here’s what Sarasota loses: a newspaper by line everyday, nationwide. Proof that there’s life beyond early bird specials at the local cafeterias. Admit it, when someone mentioned the city of Sarasota to you before the Reds landed there in the late 90’s, what did you think of? Right, grandma. Sarasota was then, and is now, a pretty neat place. Art, dining, the beach. But the thing that city has fought, forever, is the image of retirement haven, a slow moving burb with every bad driver from the north.
Base Salary: $300,00 annually
Radio-TV: $400,00 annually
Speaking Fees: $300,00 annually
Coach's Camp: $100,00 annually
Shoe's & Apparel: $100,00 annually
--------------------$1.2 Million annually
And this is just guaranteed dough. There is a lot of incentive money along with this, including $100K for qualifying for a BCS bowl game, 50K for being named the national coach of the year and $50,000 for UC football finishing in the final Top 25. Kelly also gets a car, expense accounts and membership to a country club.
Football coaches are the faces of major universities. Faculty members, whose roles in the collegiate experience are far more important than a football coach, have a tough time making sense of all this. But the fact remains, a school gets infinitely more exposure from a football game on television than any study, research or publication done by a professor.
It is, the way it is.
It's been three years and two jobs since Huggins was effectively run out of UC by school president Dr. Nancy Zimpher. Their pubic feud deeply damaged the school's basketball program, only recovering from the fallout. Huggins bigger moment will come next season, when West Virginia must come to Cincinnati. That will be an event. But Wednesday night's game in the hills of West Virginia will be 'must see TV' for any basketball fan in Southwest Ohio.
And it's not like Mick Cronin isn't getting his 'love' in the hills. Check out this story in the Charleston Gazette.
Countdown to Opening Day continues. Check out the clock! Nice piece on the outlook for the 2008 Cincinnati Reds on mlb.com.
More cool stuff on my web site: www.kenbroo.com
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Xavier plays Sunday at UMass, another winnable road game for the Muskies. Here's their problem: the Muskies have to prove they can win AFTER playing and winning an emotion filled game. In December, Xavier beat UC, then went on the road and got waxxed by Arizona State. Thursday night, Xavier demolished number 16 Dayton. Now, can the Muskies parlay that win, with another at UMass. If they do, it will be a major step for Xavier, a team that seems to have the components to play deep into March.
I don't know what I'm more impressed with, Ohio beating Ball State at the horn Saturday OR over 10,000 fans watching it go down at the Convocation Center in Athens. That attendance figure is very impressive. This current Ohio team has shown a propensity to fall behind in games it should win and then rally late to do so. It can't become habit for the Bobcats, as the season gets more difficult as it gets later. But with Jerome Tillman and Leon Williams, these Bobcats have an excellent chance to win the MAC and get the automatic bid to the NCAA. But 10,000 plus for a MAC game in rural Ohio is pretty impressive.
I'm talking sports, as always, Sunday morning on 700 WLW in Cincinnati. You can listen on line, if you're outside the greater Cincinnati area on http://www.700wlw.com/ And if you have an XM Radio, WLW is on channel 173. Among my guests will be former Cincinnati Bengals lineman Max Montoya and former UC basketball coach, Bob Huggins. His West Virginia Mountaineers play UC this coming week in Morgantown (after WVU plays a tough Georgetown team at home tonight).
Sunday night at 11:35, it's another round of Sports Rock! on Cincinnati's WLWT channel 5. Our guests include former Bengals Eric Thomas and Dave Lapham.
Did you see where Odell Thurman was given the OK to begin practicing with the Bengals again?
Here's the foxsports.com article. Sounds to me like Thurman's complete reinstatement is going to happen. Marvin Lewis issued a statement that Thurman will have to earn his way back on to the team. Lewis had to say that at this point. But the Bengals will take him back. They've got bonus money they're obligated to pay Thurman and Thurman has litigation pending against the NFL that says, in essence, he has a disease and can not be denied a chance to make a living at his chosen profession. The bigger issue is, when he comes back, can the team count on him? Years ago, players like Thurman were deemed 'coach killers', in the sense that you game planned for an opponent fully believing you'd have the services of a player. When that player couldn't (or wouldn't in some cases) play, a coach had to substitute other players and take plays out of his playbook. Ultimately, it caught up with the coach, who usually lost his job.
Thurman is a terrific talent, when sober. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stories like his in professional sport. I'm hoping he's got his act together now, for his sake, and the Bengals.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Reds made it official with Jeremy Affeldt today. He says he chose the Reds because they're giving him a chance to start, which a lot of other teams apparently weren't prepared to do. More on the signing from our good friend, Mark Sheldon at reds.com.
I'm not completely sold on Affeldt as a starter. I know he couldn't crack the Rockies rotation last season, but no shame in that, as the Rocks had a young and talented staff. Is he better than Matt Belisle? I hope so. But if Johnny Cueto is major league ready coming out of the spring, I don't see Affeldt as any more than a number 4. And that's assuming Homer Bailey is better than what he was, for the most part, here in Cincinnati last summer.
See you tonight at 11p on News 5 Tonight on Cincinnati's channel 5. I'll have coverage from the UC vs Uconn game and from the La Salle stag, the kickoff to the Reds season.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Think I’m a bit paranoid? No, I just think everyone is out to get me. But I’ve also seen some co workers at various places I’ve worked leave on a trip with one job and come back to work with a job that’s not quite so good. That’s adage number one in broadcasting: never take a vacation.
Adage number two, buy if you must, but it’s better to rent. People come and go in my business. Here today, gone tomorrow. What happened to good old Joe who used to do the weather? Or Frank the affabled sports guy. He hasn’t been on the air for a couple of weeks? What happened? Probably, as they like to say in broadcasting…he caught the blade, or he got ‘launched’. Adage number two in broadcasting: rent.
I’m not saying all this today because I’m paranoid. I’m not. You’re not paranoid if you think everyone is out to get you, right?
I’m saying this because I watched our beloved Bengals hire yet another defensive coordinator this week. If you’re scoring at home this morning, that’s three defensive coordinators in the Marvin Lewis era.
The Bengals defense, collectively under Marvin’s watch, has been bad. Not horribly bad, just bad enough to submarine any chance the Bengals have had to accomplish much. It’s been Kendrick Allen bad, Tory James bad, Rogers Beckett bad.
Not Reinard Wilson horribly bad, or George Hinkle horribly bad. But it’s been bad enough to ruin just about every one of the five seasons Lewis has been here, save one.
I don’t think it was Leslie Frazier’s fault, to any great degree. And if it was, how come Frazier is running around the country now interviewing for head coach’s jobs?
I don’t think it was Chuck Bresnahan’s fault. If it was, how did he get stupid on the drive from Oakland to Cincinnati?
Now comes Mike Zimmer, a self proclaimed yeller and screamer, the big noise out of Atlanta. He runs a 4-3, wants a defense that has an identity and will preach accountability in between tirades. He might be the second coming of Buddy Ryan, but excuse me, we’ve heard this before.
Zimmer’s resume is impressive. He not only was the defensive coordinator in Dallas for seven years, he also kept that job when Bill Parcells arrived in the Big D to run that team. If there’s one thing The Tuna loves more than prime rib dinners and sparring with the media, it’s cleaning house on arrival. Zimmer had some of his play calling taken away by Parcells, but he survived. No small trick.
Zimmer may or may not be the difference maker we all want for our Bengals. Benefit of the doubt, at the very least for now. But here’s something that will help him succeed immensely. And a lot of it will be out of his control.
First thing: sign some big name playmakers. I mean some real playmakers, not some stiffs that can’t make it out of training camp. Instead of signing this year’s version of Ed Hartwell, sign this year’s version of Adalius Thomas. Today, Thomas will try to help his team get to the Super Bowl. Hartwell will presumably help himself to some chips and dip watching Thomas.
Bottom feeding in the winter and spring delivers the same meal in the fall. With the salary cap heading toward $116-million this year, you either play with the big boys or watch them play. In this free agency arena, the Bengals have been spectators far too long.
Second thing that’ll help our new Mister Zimmer: draft players who can not only make plays, but stay out of the NFL’s version of jail. We’ve been over the Odell Thurman pick ad nauseum. But Thurman has now missed two full seasons because he couldn’t stay out of trouble. Do you know what players the Bengals could’ve selected, instead of Thurman in that 2005 draft?
How about Kalif Barnes, who now starts at left tackle with the Jaguars…he went four picks after Thurman. How about the player that went three picks after Thurman? Nick Collins, who’ll start tonight at free safety for the Packers? Or Justin Tuck, whom the Giants took in round three? What do you think he’s doing tonight?
Sometimes, it’s not the player you take, it’s the player you pass up. And when the player you take doesn’t pan out, it makes your ‘whiff’ even more devastating.
Matthias Askiew of roud four of ’04, Kewan Ratliff of round two of ’04, AJ Nicholson of round three of ’06…and on and on.
The Bengals aren’t alone in this. Plenty of other teams have had busted picks. That’s why there are plenty of other teams who’ve been watching the playoffs this month along with our Bengals.
But if you want your new guy Zimmer to succeed, Bengals, draft better. You don’t want to add more scouts, make the ones you have work harder. Not their fault, but because of the fewer numbers of scouts, they’ll always be held to a tougher standard.
Changing position coaches after seasons is as way of life in the NFL. But the Bengals have changed their defensive coordinators-out far too often in the last five years.
You want this third time to be the charm? Give Zimmer what he two predecessors never got. Maybe then, you’ll give us what we haven’t had but once in 18-years.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I like this on a number of levels. It's a relatively cheap signing (1yr/$3mil) and it gives the Reds a left handed arm in the starting rotation..
Here's what Affeldt's career has looked like.
Even more of an insight into what's going on inside the Reds organization is in this recent article in Baseball Prospectus.
Maybe things are looking up. Opening Day? The countdown clock is just to your right.
Check out my web site: http://www.kenbroo.com/.
I'm talking sports Sunday morning on 700 WLW in Cincinnati. I'm on from 9am-Noon EST. Among my guests will be former Bengals David Fulcher and Jim Breech. Mark Sheldon from mlb.com will stop by and we'll have a report from Green Bay on the Packers vs Giants NFC Championship game. You can listen on line at www.700wlw.com or on XM channel 173. Or just dial in 700 on your AM dial.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I think even thinking about trading Bruce is cause for dismissal from the Reds front office. He's literally the best prospect this franchise has produced since the Adam Dunn-Austin Kearns class.
I think the Giants have a puncher's chance against the Packers. But you'd have to be nuts to pick against the karma Green Bay has going for it now.
Same deal in New England. The Chargers are a nice story. But they won't beat the Patriots on the Pats' home turf.
The Bengals may have gotten themselves a 'steal' when they hired Mike Zimmer today to be their defensive coordinator. Zimmer spent 13 years in Dallas, the last seven as defensive coordinator. Part of those seven years as a 'DC' included time under Bill Parcells. Parcells inherited Zimmer from the outgoing staff and kept him. That's no small feat, as "The Tuna" is reknown for cleaning house when he arrives at a team.
Zimmer spent this past season at the coordinator in Atlanta. But when Bobby Petrino took a hike on the Falcons, his entire coaching staff was free to look elsewhere.
Zimmer's biggest challeng will be the same as his predecessor's: whether or not the Bengals front office can get him enough good players. To be sure, Chuck Breshnahan got some players to work with. But the Bengals made a habit of 'bottom feeding' on defensive free agents. How else do you explain Kendrick Allen and Ed Hartwell never making it out of training camp last summer?
I think the Bengals defense will be better in '08 than '07, simply because it can't be much worse. But unless Zimmer is given better talent to work with, that upgrade may not be so great.
Check out my web site: www.kenbroo.com.
Monday, January 14, 2008
When the word came down Friday that the Reds had lured Walt Jocketty out of his short-lived retirement, my first reaction was…whoa, wouldn’t want to be Wayne Krivsky. Look at what Jocketty did in St. Louis. He only built the team that has more regular season wins than any other team on that half of the baseball equation. And there was that little piece of hardware the Cardinals won a couple of falls ago.
Jocketty was nothing in St. Louis if not the ultimate trade merchant. And he seemed to have an uncanny ability to trade nothing to get something. Sure the Mark Mulder deal stunk. Danny Haren will be a star for a long time in baseball and Mulder seems at the edge of washed up.
But how about these names that found their way to St. Louis on Jocketty’s watch: Mark McGwire, Scott Rolen, Larry Walker and Edgar Renteria.
His critics will argue that Jocketty built those Cardinals teams and worked those trades at the expense of his minor league system. The Cardinals had to trade for Mulder because their minor league pitching was awful.
But he also had the brains…and the scouts, to draft baseball’s best player at the moment: Albert Puljos.
With Walt Jocketty, there’s good with the bad. But there appears to be much more good.
But you wonder about Krivsky. He’s been on the job only a couple of years. So his drafts, unlike Jocketty’s, are tough to score right now. But they both seem to be cut from the same cloth. Jocketty was aggressive pursuing big name players. Krivsky has been aggressive trying to rebuild his bullpen.
My guess is Wayne Krivsky isn’t comfortable about all this. Even though he’s Bob Castellini’s hand picked general manager, Krivsky can’t be happy with Castellini bringing in the former GM of the National League team of the last decade and the former GM of the team Castellini once had a piece of. Jocketty will report directly to Castellini. Not good for Wayne-O.
But if Castellini can keep everybody in the sandbox happy, this has a chance of working out. Think about it: Jocketty’s experience and aggressive nature helping Krivsky with trade evaluations and draft pick assessments. Both have keen eyes, both have excellent contacts. It could be magic.
But it could also be a disaster. Invariably, when any company hires someone to over see the work of another with equal status, the atmosphere is tense. Distrust is the immediate by-product and camps can form. Jocketty apparently was in the middle of that scenario, when Cardinals owner, Bill DeWitt brought in a vice president for player development last season. Reportedly, that’s what led to Jocketty’s resignation in October.
If this is Castelllini’s way of lighting a fire under Krivsky, he’s done it. Never comfortable in front of the media, the current Reds GM appeared more uneasy than ever Friday. But Bob Castellini didn’t build a produce empire by fostering office politics. He knows, I’m sure, that if his front office gets bogged down in ‘camps’, he hurts his product. And remember, just about everyone in that baseball operations office is a Krivsky hire.
I would bet, that Castellini has told both Jocketty and Krivsky to play nice.
If they do, this will be a great ‘play’ for our ‘local nine’. If they don’t, it’ll be a great ‘play’ for the controversy loving media.
All you have to do is qualify. Look at the Steelers, the sixth and final seed in the AFC after the 2005 season. They caught a major break when Carson Palmer went down in their game against the Bengals. The Steelers went all the way to a Super Bowl win that year, even being that final team that qualified.
Now, I see the Patriots and Packers playing in the Super Bowl next month. With LT and Phillips Rivers recentaly injured, I don't believe either will be at full strength this Sunday. And while the run the Giants have pieced together has been impressive (and the fact that they're a much better road team than home team lately) I can't see the Packer getting caught now. Brett Favre is hot and the Pack's running back is a Giants cast off. With the home field advantage, Green Bay will have plenty of motivation.
A good high school football coach is out of work tonight. Reading has fired Ken Minor. This is not only a good coach, this is a good man. Minor told us today that he was given no reason why he was dismissed. But he is gone. Now, I imagine, the Elder football faithful will hold their collective breath. The athletic director at Reading is the brother of Elder coach, Doug Ramsey. Ramsey has done a terrific job under sometimes stressful circumstances in front of one of the Tri-State's most demanding fans. He might be ready to move on. We'll see.
This week, on Sports Rock, we'll welcome back the gifted singer-songwriter Ryan Parker. You can view some of his work at http://www.ryanparkersongs.com/. But here's his latest.
Sports Rock! airs every Sunday night at 11:35pm and only on Cincinnati's Channel 5. It's the last, best word in sports!
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
The Bucs and Raiders did this six years ago, when the Bucs sent four picks (two #1's and two #2's) to the Raiders in exchange for head coach Jon Gruden moving to Tampa. Sounds to me like that'd be too steep of a price for the Ravens, needing to rebuild their offense. And remember, the Bengals owner, Mike Brown, once turned down an offer from the New Orleans Saints that would've netted the Bengals every one of the Saints' picks in the 1999 draft in exchange for only the Bengals first rounder.
Today, the Bengals said this is "simply the musings of a reporter" and that the team would have no further comment. I don't see it happening. But it sure made for interesting reading on what otherwises was a boring Wednesday.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
One of my favorites guest on 700 WLW's Sunday Morning Sports Talk is Mike Florio, the power behind profootballtalk.com. Mike has his latest TV segments posted. Here's one about Cleveland Browns coach, Romeo Crennel, and his request for a new, three year contract.
If I'm the Browns, I'm waiting to see if 2007 was the fluke, or the norm. If Romeo wins ten in 2008, he'll have a huge payday. And, he's still under contract now through 2009.
Uh Oh, trouble in Buckeye paradise in the middle of last night's BCS championship loss to LSU. Great read in the Tuesday's Dayton Daily News.
This can't play well around here. Bronson Arroyo loves to sing. And he was warbling well in Boston the other night, when he changed the lyrics to a song that makes you wonder just about committed he is to the Cincinnati Reds.
I'm off to anchor the 11p sports. Check out my web site: www.kenbroo.com, when you get a chance.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Dumping the defensive coordinator and a position coach should've been a start for the Bengals. They've grown stale on both sides of the football. Marvin Lewis needs fresh ideas on offense and needs to take a more active role coaching his defense....
I was shocked the Giants beat the Buccaneers this weekend, mildly surprised that the Steelers defense couldn't do a better job against the Jags offense. The other two games were no surprise. If TO isn't healthy enough to play this Sunday, the Cowboys are vulnerable. The Giants are a completely different team on the road than at home...
I want to believe Roger Clemens. But he looked very uncomfortable in his 60 Minutes interview and playing that phone conversation he had with his accuser at a news conference Monday actually hurt Clemens, I think. Let the lawsuits begin....
UC basketball fans should see light at the end of the tunnel. Monday's news that Nick Aldridge has finally enrolled in school (Bob Huggins recruited him before leaving and Aldridge wound up at Western Carolina until this transfer) along with a nice recruiting class coming in next fall could finally make the Bearcats competitive in the Big East.
There are a lot of reasons to believe Xavier will be playing deep into March this year. But here's the biggest reason: the Muskies have balanced scoring and an unselfish attitude. Whenever you get five players averaging double figures this late in the season, it means the head coach is doing a terrific job. Sean Miller is.
Think it gets easier for the Bengals in 2008. My friend Chick Ludwig in the Dayton Daily News has this to report today: the combined 2007 record of all the Bengals opponents next season is 115-93. The only teams the Bengals play next season that had losing records this year: Baltimore, Kansas City and the Jets.
Pete Mackanin, the Reds interim manager for the last half of the 2007 season, found work today. Mackanin has signed on to scout for the Yankees. Apparently the Reds offered him a similar deal, but Mackanin felt returing to the team he still wanted to manage would be a little too awkward.
If you're looking for him in his post Cincinnati Post life, you can find the blog-crazed C. Trent Rosecrans at this address: ctrentrosecrans.com. Yes, he's blogging on his own now and I'm told is 'this close' to finding a soft landing spot here in the greater Cincinnati area.
Check out my web site when you have a moment: www.kenbroo.com.