Thursday, June 26, 2008
My kinda golf!
Meantime, back to the Bengals, James Walker has this 'take' in his espn.com column.
And if this column on whatifsports.com is true, yikes! A 2-14 Bengals season ahead?
Personally, I don't think the Bengals will be that bad this season. But I don't see anything better than 6-10. The schedule is brutal and the defense hasn't been fixed all that much. And according to Marvin Lewis, they want to run the ball a lot more in 2008. Great, far too ften in 2007 the running game disappeared. But the Bengals line didn't show a whole lot in '07 when it was asked to run block. Perhaps moving big Bobbie Williams to center would be a start. Too often in '07, Eric Giachuc appeared to be wearing roller skates, getting forced back into Carson Palmer far too much.
Looks like a good hire for my alma mater. Mike DeCourcy of thesportingnews.com among many reporting tonight that Ohio has hired Ohio State's top assitant, John Groce, as the next head basketball coach of the Bobcats. Groce worked with Thad Matta at all of his stops, including three years with Xavier, here in Cincinnati. Go Bobcats!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
From June 24, 2007 through June 24, 2008 (last night) no major league pitcher has allowed more home runs than Arroyo (66). How ya likin' that $22.5 million that the Reds have tied up in
the remainder of Arroyo's contract now?
I still think Ken Griffey, Jr, retires at the end of this season or works out some sort of deal to remain with the Reds. For those of you who still think Seattle is a destination, remember the Mariners have fired their manager and GM. And now comes this from si.com's John Heyman.
The Adam Dunn-JP Ricciardi saga took another little twist last night when Ricciardi says he called and apologized to Dunn for the disparaging remarks he made about the Reds slugger last week. News to me, says Dunn. I talked with no one named Ricciardi. Ricciardi is adamant that he spoke with Dunn, but offered that he'd be disappointed if he actually talked with someone posing as #44. Ricciardi says he deleted the number he called off his cell phone.
Ricciardi would have more credibility, if he hadn't admitted to falsifying injury reports about players in the past.
As for Dunn's cell phone number, I've got it, if JP wants to call.
I hope you were watching News 5 tonight when we ran this story on Chris Henry. The man is a walking, living disaster.
More to come....let me know what you think. Leave comments, I'll answer every one of them.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Now comes foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal who has this 'take' on the Dunn-Ricciardi flap.
Odd that there's been little, in fact nothing, from the Reds front office on the dust up last week or on Dunn's future for that matter. It appears that if they can't trade Dunn, the Reds may be willing to let him walk at the end of the season, and take draft picks for compensation.
I hope you join us every Sunday night at 11:35 on Cincinnati's channel 5 for "Sports Rock!" It's hard driven, sports opinion and only on WLWT. Now check out some "Sports Rock Behind The Scenes". It's a typical Sunday evening in the channel 5 "Sports Rock" nerve center.
Hopefully this isn't like watching sausage get made. Hope to see you this Sunday night. And if you don't live in the greater Cincinnati area, we always post "Sports Rock" the internet only edition every Monday on wlwt.com. Check out my web site: www.kenbroo.com
Monday, June 23, 2008
Clark Judge, the fine national football writer for cbsports.com was one of my guests Sunday on 700 WLW's Sunday Morning Sports Talk. He doesn't care much for Chad Johnson and says Rudi Johnson holds the key to whether or not the Bengals have a successful 2008 season. He told me he likes the Bengals young cornerbacks. But apparently they're not in the NFL's Top5, as Clark writes in this latest article.
For my two cents, I think Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall have a ways to go, before being mentioned with the NFL's elite. Hall got schooled by several big time receivers last season, most notably Hines Ward. Joseph has dropped too many interception chances.
My buddy Mike Florio, from profootballtalk.com, also moonlights for The Sporting News and has a strong 'take' on the NFL's code of conduct policy in this send up.
The NFL Network On Greg Cook
If Cook had not had his injury problems, the Bengals would've have never drafted one of their greatest quarterbacks, Ken Anderson. But Cook had a chance to be an all timer.
teamed up to tape a car commercial. Check this out
Piniella appears to be a grandfather, trying his best to be 'hip'.
The Reds added more than that. They got Junior and Dante Bichette. And Joey Hamilton wasn’t far behind. That was nine years ago. How did all of that work out?
Sometimes, you just know you’re on the verge of figuring it out, putting it all together. Of course, the opposite of that is true. Sometimes, you just know things are in total disrepair. The future seems hopeless and the present need to be torched. I’ll bet you think that’s where the Reds are today. It’s not a tough opinion to form. They have a line-up right now that appears to have four automatic outs. Their ‘ace’ is 3-10 and Bronson Arroyo’s best work this year appears to be JTM commercials. And as bad as those are, that’s not saying a whole lot. Until three months ago, the franchise hasn’t developed a decent starting pitcher since Tom Browning. The Reds minor league system hasn’t produced a decent catcher since Joe Oliver and there appears to be no major league ready outfielders within three years of patrolling Great American Ball Park.
It would appear that the the present is in need of torching.
And yet, anyone who’s watched this team play the last two nights knows it might be a good idea to put down the matches. I’m a big believer and have said here on this radio station numerous times, I don’t think you should ever trade a player who can win a game for you every night, for one who can win a game for you every five days. I don’t believe you should ever trade an everyday player for a pitcher. But I would do the Hamilton for Volquez deal again in a heartbeat. Volquez was simply electrifying on Friday night. Aaron Harang may be the ‘ace’ of this staff. But the crown sits on his head, precariously. Edinson Volquez has the uncanny ability to pitch well under the glare of big city lights, and behave as if he’s tossing a game of backyard whiffle ball. He’s that unaffected.
Darryl Thompson threw too many pitches for five innings of work Saturday. But the Yankees still haven’t hit many of them. In his big league debut, in that same big city glare, Thompson was terrific. In a trade that was brutal for both teams, turns out that deal with the Nationals may be a win for the Reds. Thompson was a throw in, which again proves the point that Jim Bowden wouldn’t know good pitching, even it hit him in his leather pants.
And today, Johnny Cueto gets his turn against the Yankees. Yep, he’s been erratic. His fastball can go flat at times and his breaking ball doesn’t always break. But his ‘stuff’, the catch all baseball term for pitching repertoire, his stuff is big league. Volquez, Thompson, Cueto.
Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips. Jeff Keppinger for that matter too. I heard Chris Welch say this Saturday: In his 17 years in and around Reds baseball, this is best group of young talent he’s seen.
Here’s my point: the best deals are often the ones a general manager never makes. And when I heard this week that a New York newspaper was reporting that Walt Jocketty was on the verge of a fire sale, I cringed, then laughed.
Most of the names that were mentioned, for one reason or another, are untradeable. The numbers may suggest otherwise, but I don’t think this team needs a housecleaning.
The Reds are seven games under ‘500’. They’re 13-and a half games out of first place. They aren’t going to the playoffs this season and they may not deliver to us a winning record. But as we sit and talk here today, we should be thinking like we did in the fall of ’99.
What if the Reds find another arm to go with Harang and the three young guns? What if they can find another good bat, right handed even better, for that line-up…best case scenario a right handed hitting catcher? What else would they need besides ‘that’?
My guess is, there won’t be much of a house-cleaning. Jocketty will be tempted, all general managers are. Maybe Junior leaves, maybe he retires. Maybe they let Dunn walk. Maybe not.
Team owners, GM’s and manager like to say ‘we’re only one or two players away from being a contender’. And the punch line, of course is, yeah and those two players are Lance Berkman and Chipper Jones.
But the feeling I have today is this team is a lot closer than we think to being pretty good, maybe good enough to be something really special next season.
I haven’t felt this way in awhile about our Reds. But that’s what the last couple of games have made me believe. At least I think they have. It’s either that….or last night’s dinner coming back on me.
Where are you on all of this?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
If those negotiations falter, the Reds would simply pay him the $4 million buyout and let him walk. His trade value right now is minimal. Griffey isn't have a particularly good season and his salary is rich for just about any except the big market teams. Knowing how Bob Castellini feels about hometown pride and knowing that Junior is from here, my guess is my scenario is at least in the mix of options for 2009. We shall see...
Chad Johnson finally had his ankle surgery today. It went well. But surgery just five weeks before the start of training camp? It's far too late, so says our friend Chick Ludwig of the Dayton Daily News in his recent "Ludwig At Large" post.
Who knew? Tiger Woods has played the last year with a torn ACL. Now, as he announced on his web site today, he's gone for the rest of this season.
And you've got to love the Bengals refereces in this piece by espn.com's Gene Wojciechowski on the Tiger-Rocco playoff. Will the Bengals ever be able to climb out from under the garbage they've buried themselves under?
Speaking of our men in stripes, 2008 first round draft pick, Keith Rivers, has a rookie diary that he's posting on foxsports.com. They're picking up his blog and reposting it....which, I guess is what I'm doing here.
One of the funniest post game interviews after the Celtics beat the Lakers in game 6 last night, turned in by the Celts' Brian Scalabrine. Check this out.
I'll see you tonight at 6 & 11p only on Cincinnati's Channel 5 WLWT!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I was thinking about this, as I was driving in from Columbus. I’ve been out of town the past couple of days. Our daughter graduated Saturday from our alma mater, Ohio University and with family in from all over the country, we were using Columbus as a base…largely because hotel rooms in Athens that go for about 35-bucks a night were 150-a night with a three night minimum. Believe this if nothing else, unless you’re attending OU, there’s absolutely no reason on earth to spend three days at 150-per in Athens. But, that’s a whole nother story.
I was thinking that every so often, we get to see the good and the bad in sports all in one week. And we got that this week. We are witnessing the things that drive us to games and things that drive us away from them.
We saw Junior reach another milestone this week. 600 of anything in sports is a monumental accomplishment. But when you’re talking about the quintessential play in baseball, the home run, 600 is amazing. I was listening Saturday, driving from Columbus to Athens on one of the channels XM radio has, an all baseball channel. And they were playing a one hour special that XM had pieced together about Ken Griffey, Junior’s career. It had all the high notes, the home runs, the great catches, scoring the winning run against the Yankees in the 1995 playoffs. And it occurred to me that one of the reasons you have trouble embracing Junior is because we never got his best here. His best was when he was in Seattle, when he was young and healthy. And while the promise was great when he arrived back in Cincinnati, remember he was not 30 and still considered one of the 25 greatest players all time in baseball, injury would rob him of his greatness. If you add the numbers up, it’s staggering: Junior has missed the equivalent of three full seasons here in Cincinnati because of injuries. And because of that, some fans around here became frustrated and took that frustration out on Griffey, either by booing him at games, railing on him on radio stations like this one or simply not going to see games.
But yet, his body of work in baseball is unrivaled, certainly by contemporary comparison. Bonds and Sosa hit more home runs. But they played at least under a cloud of suspicion of HGH use. Junior? You ever hear anything about him away from the field? Anything?
We’re witnessing this weekend, what could be one of the most remarkable accomplishments in the game of golf. I watched a little bit of the US Open on Saturday. If I’m not mistaken, Tiger Woods has taken the lead on one leg. If I’m not mistaken, Woods at one point Saturday, was using his three wood as a cane, walking up a fairway. Wincing on most of his shots, Woods is taking on the greatest golfers in the world right now and winning a race on one leg. It is compelling television, the kind of stuff that will live forever on places like ESPN Classic, if he wins this thing. It’ll be right up there with Willis Reed leading the Knicks past the Lakers dragging a leg behind him and Kirk Gibson limping around the bases after a game ending home run in the 1988 world series.
Last night, 74-thousand racing fans had the Kentucky Speedway bursting at the bolts that hold that facility today. If I’m not mistaken, it was the largest crowd ever to witness an event at that facility. And if so, it would be the largest crowd ever to witness a sporting event in the Tri-State. Maybe it was a farewell and thanks to the money and brains behind the place, Jerry Carroll. Maybe it was a show of force to the new guy who bought the track and NASCAR that has constantly turned its back on the facility. Or, maybe, it was just another indication that the Tri-State is one of the best sports areas in the world. All I know is this, the population of Gallatin County doubled for about five hours Saturday. People drove from Cincinnati, Louisville, Dayton, sat in traffic got there early and left late and by all indications had a blast.
Those were the things that happened this week that told us all again why we get interested in athletes, storylines and games.
And then, we got to see the under belly.
The NBA has a major problem. It could be a cataclysmic problem, if a former referee is telling the truth about game fixing. The NBA has shouted down Tim Donaghty. But shouting won’t win any battle in federal court. And as Donaghty awaits sentencing, he may only have to prove, softly, that one or two of his former compadres were complicit in game fixing. And if you have that, you have a conspiracy that goes right to the heart of the NBA’s credibility. And if that happens, professional basketball will become nothing more than Vince McMahon’s WWE in shorts.
And then, we witnessed the entire Chad Johnson soap opera this week. As I like to say, with the Bengals, you never just get football. There is always drama. Always.
I feel used today. Every journalist in this town should feel used, Channels 5, 9, 12 and 19, the Enquirer, this radio station, Homer, pick one. We were used this week by Johnson and his mouthpiece (he’s not talking to anyone locally you know, not since Halloween, ironically)….Johnson and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus used us. They wanted to create a circus atmosphere, get it caught on tape and in print and then wave it under Mike Brown’s nose. Because if there’s one thing Mike Brown doesn’t like, other than getting beaten in a contract negotiation, it’s a circus involving his team.
Maybe, after the past four years, he should be used to it.
Johnson showed up, avoided the $8 thousand dollar fine. He didn’t practice at first. It was an ankle, a back it could have been both. The accusations flew: the team said he reported no problem with either during his routine physical, Rosenhaus said he had documents that the team wanted Johnson to have surgery on the ankle, the team said Johnson refused. All of that played out over the course of minutes, culminated with an arm and arm walking and talking picture of Rosenhaus and Johnson leaving the practice field.
That’s why Rosenhaus came to town. That’s what he and Johnson wanted. That’s why every journalist who covered that fiasco should feel a little dirty today.
We in the media lapped it up. Our bosses told us to get the story, get the picture and get it on the air. Because, we were told, that’s what you want. But do you? Was it that big a deal?
The good with the bad. It doesn’t often happen to the extent it did this week.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Johnson was late to the practice field. Didn't participate in drills because, he told the medical staff, he had a bad back. Wait a minute said the team, you didn't say anything about that when you passed your physical this morning. The Bengals then issued a statement that Chad "refused to practice". Wait a minute, said his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who flew to Cincinnati to preside over the circus, Chad had a bad ankle, a left over from last season, that the team wanted him to have surgery on. Well, yes, said the Bengals front office, we did but Chad refused to have that done. Each side said they had the documents to prove it.
Oh, by the way, the rest of the team went through two spirited drills in high heat and humidity.
Welcome to your 2008 Cincinnati Bengals.
Read all about it, in this offering from espn.com.
Of course, no one has a 'take' on things like our pal Chick Ludwig in his latest "Ludwig At Large".
Meantime, up in Buffalo, the Bills Marshawn Lynch has his own problems. Our pal Mike Florio from profootballtalk.com has more in this video
Meantime, the Reds finally beat the Cardinals tonight. Bronson Arroyo should have gotten the win, but had to leave in the 7th with an muscle cramp in his arm. Jeremy Affeldt took care of thing for Arroyo, giving up the lead to the Cardinals and ending Arroyo's chance for a win. The Reds came back with four in their half of the 7th. The Red Sox are in town this weekend. It's the first time that franchise has played a game in Cincinnati since the 1975 World Series.
Meantime, interesting 'take' on the Reds continuing problems at short stop by si.com's Gennaro Filice.
I'm off for the weekend. My daughter is graduating from my alma mater, Ohio University, and there's nothing better in life than watching your kids succeed. Wait a minute, yes there is: the end of tuition payments.
Talk to youthis Sunday morning on 700 WLW's Sunday Morning Sportstalk on 700wlw.com, XM Radio channel 173 or on the 50,000 watt flame thrower itself!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Here's an even better question: do you even care? I don't. Frankly, I don't care what any football player does in June, so long as it doesn't involve a criminal offense. Call me in late July when the real deal starts.
And in case you're fearing that Johnson may be traded, check out what Clark Judge writes this week in his cbssports.com column.
Maybe Chad could sit out the year and help Sam Wyche get elected to a council seat in his South Carolina district. SI.com has the story of Sam's primary win Tuesday night.
Meantime, our pal Chick Ludwig has a great idea, if the Bengals are going to take a risk (no not on a reformed criminal). In 'Ludwig At Large' the Chickster is floating the idea of the Bengals buying a Bentley.
Junior has finally hit his 600th, but the controversy has nothing to do with him. It's all around the baseball and who caught it, or didn't. Check out this story in the Miami Herald.
I like Scott Miller's take on Junior reaching 600 in his cbssports.com column.
The NBA has a major problem on its hands right now with its disgraced former referee Tim Donaghty on the verge of getting thrown in the federal pen. Donaghty is the referee who admitted to taking bribes to fix the outcome of games. He's now claiming other referees were in cahoots with him and that NBA playoff games were fixed. Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Stars puts this whole thing into proper perspective, I think, in his column.
Right now, Donaghty is just a rogue ref. But if he gets only one more of his former compadres to come forward, you now have a conspiracy. And the NBA as we know it could cease to exist if tht happens.
I'll see you with more tonight at 6 & 11p on Cincinnati's Channel5 WLWT!
Monday, June 09, 2008
It occurred to me this week that most of us in this town have a problem with at least one of the big three. Some of us, with issues, have problems with all three. What got me thinking about this, was the conspiracy theory that was floating around our town that the real reason why Junior was out of the starting line up three games our of four in Philadelphia, was that he really wanted to hit his 600th home run in Florida, where his family would be in attendance. The fact that he pinch hit in those three games, drew walks and swung away mightily and missed in the fourth game should be enough to debunk that theory. Mix in the fact that Junior has been nursing a sore knee for the last month and that it had really flamed up in the last week would be more evidence. So too should the knowledge that below the waste, Junior doesn’t have a body part that hasn’t been rebuilt at least twice.
And yet, there are people in our town that don’t buy it, don’t buy him and would sell him to any major league baseball team right now, Japan if they were interested. And you know who you are.
Adam Dunn has been consistent in his stats over the last four seasons. 40 home runs and 100 rbi. He’s on his way to the same kind of season this year. He plays, on the average, over 150 games per season. He rarely gets hurt. His defense isn’t the greatest. But statistics and a pair of eyeballs tell us that he’s playing better in the field this year that any. Yet I hear constantly, a lot on these Sundays, that Dunn isn’t worth the 14 million he’s making this season. Like it’s their money. Someone called in last weekend and suggested the Reds dump Dunn in this off season, let him walk, and pursue Pat Burrell, a potential free agent who could leave the Phillies.
Forgetting for a moment that the Phils are always in a dog fight with the Mets and Braves for the NL East division title and would be fools to let Burrell walk, why would the Reds play that game? If you look at the numbers, Dunn and Burrell are about as similar as hitters get. And if you look at the numbers, Dunn, at his age, compares favorably to Harmon Killebrew and Reggie Jackson, who just happen to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dunn’s in no danger of getting to Cooperstown anytime soon. But at 28, to give up on that kind of talent is something that championship teams don’t do.
Chad Johnson is allegedly coming back to town this week to participate in the Bengals annual mini camp. He missed voluntary workouts because he’s in a snit with the Bengals front office. First, they didn’t have his back when some un named Bengals personnel were anonymously bad mouthing Chad to the media. Then it was because the Bengals didn’t get enough…quote here from Ocho No show…difference makers on defense in this off season. The hot rumor is that he’s broke, too many lawsuits, too big a traveling posse or he has a new agent that wants a new deal so the agent can get paid. That’s the trouble with things like this: in the absence of information, anything can be true.
I mention all of that, because there are people in this town, some who work on this radio station, who think the best thing for the Bengals to do is give Johnson what he wants and trade him to another team. Maybe not now, but certainly before the draft this past April.
Like Junior who’s one of the 50 greatest baseball players of all time, like Dunn who gives you 40 and 100 every year, you don’t let a wide receiver who gives you 1400 yards a season take a hike.
All of this got me thinking this week about a topic I raised here back in the winter. It seems to me, in Cincinnati, we embrace the team, but are wary of the superstar, wary at best. In the bigger markets, LA, New York, Chicago, they manage to love both. In LA, it’s the Lakers and Kobe, New York it’s any franchise and pick a star. In Chicago, the Bulls and Mike, the Cubs and Zambrano. Here, it seems like we can’t wait to run the stars of our teams out of town.
Admit it, we were over Boomer long before he was dealt away to the Jets. Before Cory Dillon threatened to ‘flip burgers’ a lot of the fans around here were done with him. Junior and Dunn both could have slinked away in the night three years ago, and a boat load of fans would’ve been happy. I know, I here the calls, I get your emails. My guess is, another 7-9 season, and a lot of fans will be plenty happy to says adios to TJ and Rudi.
Maybe it’s not so surprising. Maybe it’s the fallout from neither the Reds nor the Bengals being legitimate contenders since 1990. My guess is, if the Lakers went 18 years without a title, Kobe would be getting rung up like Dunn, Junior and Johnson are around here. Maybe that’s the logical answer.
But don’t tell me the barometer you’re using is 1975 and the Big Red Machine, or the 1980 Bengals super bowl team. And please don’t tell me it’s the ‘dirty uniform syndrome’, that you know a player is hustling because his uniform is dirty. That was one player, at one time and there haven’t been a Pete Rose since..
If you’re going to run a player out of town, have a legitimate reason for it. But here’s a better idea. When you embrace the team, embrace the players who make up the team. You don’t have one, without the other,
Friday, June 06, 2008
Gotta thank #1 son for sending along this video of the Reds top draft pick, Yonder Alonso, the left handed hitting first baseman from the University of Miami. The dancing scenes are priceless...
Thursday, June 05, 2008
When Homer Bailey arrived on the major league scene about a year ago this time, he was touted as the best Reds prospect in decades. Bailey proceeded to not only fizzle on the field, off the field he was, to put it gently, a handful. He snapped at the media and reportedly wasn't so keen on taking instruction from his coaches or veteran teammates. Thursday, he made his 2008 MLB debut, after starting this season in the minors. He gave up five runs in 6.1 innings, but only two of those runs were earned. And later, among the people he impressed was Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News in his game report.
Junior played today, over his 'general soreness' that apparently is centered in an aching knee. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a nice story on Griffey, who just his week was voted the most popular active major league player by his peers in a Sports Illustrated poll.
That's it for now. Back with more later. Check out my web site: www.kenbroo.com
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Of course, like anything Chad does, it's all about money, as expertly laid out by espn.com's James Walker.
Johnson has zero leverage in this deal. There is no way Mike Brown is going to be bullied by any player with a contract that runs through 2011. Remember, Brown is the man who beat the IRS in tax court, twice. If I'm not mistaken, that's two times more than any other human being has beaten the IRS in anything. Johnson, reportedly, is strapped for cash. So he won't run the risk of getting fined some money for missing mini-camp and big money for skipping the real deal in Georgetown next month.
Ken Griffey, Jr. is out of the Reds line-up again tonight. He jokingly said he didn't want to hit home run #600 in Philly, because his family wouldn't be traveling there. He said, jokingly, he wanted to wait until the team got to Florida, later this week. Now, I'm not so sure he wasn't being serious.
But, they still love Junior in Seattle, as we read today in the Seattle Times.
Monday, June 02, 2008
If this is the case, then the Bengals had no choice but to cut ties. Thurman seems to be a troubled man, on a collision course to a very short life. The Bengals, because they took on so many troubled players under Marvin Lewis and now seem intent on cleaning out their locker room, couldn't afford the luxury on waiting to see if Thurman would ever be well enough to play again. But, they should've known when they drafted Thurman, this could be the outcome. Very sad.
Former Red, Josh Hamilton has been named the American League Player Of The Month for the second straight month! Hamilton says his dream, before becoming a professional baseball player, was to win the Home Run Derby at the all star game. He's going to get that chance. Hamilton leads all AL outfielders in voting. It's great that Edinson Volquez has made this trade a 'win win' for both the Rangers and Reds. But think about this: if the Reds under general manager Jim Bowden had been able to develope starting pitching, the Reds would've been able to keep Hamilton because they would've already had pitchers the cablibre of Volquez.
Of course, if Jay Bruce keeps this up, he may make us forget about Hamilton and a lot of other former Reds.
More Jay 'love' today from USA Today.
Cast your vote at the top of my blog for the most likely scenario for Bruce this season.
Check this out. Do you think the pitcher and catcher in this Georgia high school game were out to get the umpire?
If they weren't out to get the umpire, they missed a helluva chance.
Check out my web site: www.kenbroo.com. I'll have this week's "Broo View Podcast" posted midweek. But you can access and download the archives in my "Podcast and More" section.
See you tonight, at 6 & 11p on WLWT Channel 5 in Cincinnati!
Sunday, June 01, 2008
He is straight out of central casting. Wanted, one young ballplayer who looks and acts the part. Clean complexion and sparkling white teeth required. Must be able to hit the major league curve. Must be able to hit for average and power, deflect post game compliments and heroics to fellow team mates. Must possess speed, throwing ability and excellent defense. Commonly referred to a as a five tool player by former general manager who liked to wear leather pants. Do not confuse with Brandon Larson.
There it is, the job description that Jay Bruce Almighty is a living, breathing poster boy for.
You feel like giving thanks to someone today for all of this. Thank Dan O’Brien and his front office staff. They drafted Bruce in 2005. O’Brien took on a lot of water in his short stint as general manager, although that made Wayne Krivsky’s tenure look like a change of planes. But O’Brien knew good, young talent. He couldn’t make what he had at the major league level work. But he helped set the table for Walt Jocketty and the guy who fired O’Brien, Bobby C.
Finally, we’ve got a first round draft pick who has hit it out of the park, literally. Maybe some of Krivsky’s picks will do the same thing. Jury is out on Drew Stubbs and Devan Morasaco.
Leather Pants? That group whiffed more in the first round than a guy with gold chains and a leisure shuit at La Boom, circa 1986. Ty Howingson, Chris Gruler, Richie Gardner, Ryan Wagner, the aforementioned Larson and, oh, how could we forget, the tantrum pick of the new millenium, Jeremy Sowers. But we digress.
Jay Bruce has done more in one week to rejuvenate Reds baseball than any player on any Reds team in the last nine seasons. This team was dead in the water, on the field and at the box office until he arrived on Tuesday.
You think I’m lying? Did you see those crowds Friday and Saturday? 37-thousand and change Friday night. 38-and change yesterday. Another near sellout Sunday. Good weather?
Braves in town? Junior closing in on 600? Sure to a degree. But those numbers are about Bruce, and a team that’s had a life transplant in the last two weeks.
The series sweeps of the Marlins and Indians gave us a hint this team was on the verge of a pulse again. Bruce made the corpse sit up. Now, the Reds appear to be a living, breathing contender again. They’re scoring runs. Lots of runs. The starting pitching seems to be settling down. The team is winning, and more important perhaps, winning at home.
It’s my opinion, that the Reds were bordering on the most dangerous territory for any sports team: apathy. The opposite of fan adulation isn’t anger, it’s apathy. You might want to consult Mike Brown about that. Like a generation of Bengals fans, close to a generation of Reds fans had grown up knowing nothing but losing baseball. The Bengals had one trip to the playoffs between 1990 and 2005. The Reds had one trip to the playoffs between 1990 and this year. Think about it. If you’re 30 years old, what have you seen from the Reds in your lifetime. You got that great wire to wire run in 1990...a division series win over the Dodgers in 1995....and a lot of Joey Hamilton, Jimmy Haynes and Pokey Reese. Your dad can tell you about the Big Red Machine. Your grandmother can fill you in on Gene Freese, Joey Jay and Wally Post and the ‘61 Reds. But what have you seen with your own eyes that got you geeked besides 90 and 95.
When you’re missing that, you find other things to do. Movies, video games, mall escapes. Going to baseball games, downtown, for how much a ticket? Not so much, not if they don’t win. That, is apathy. And that’s any team’s greatest fear. That’s the turf I saw the Reds dancing far too close to.
Look, I’m not saying Jay Bruce is a savior. There are no saviors anymore. There don’t seem to be very many heros anymore. You can thank guys like me for that. We in the media have done a pretty good job of tearing down good stories. We’ve become obsessed with finding warts. Just wait around for that to happen. Somewhere, out there, is morther of all slumps waiting for Jay Bruce. It happens to every ballplayer, even the great ones. We’ll all be waiting to jump on that one.
But even the worst cynic this week has to admit this: Jay Bruce has kicked this team’s game up a notch. Maybe the rest of the club played off the buzz of his call-up, Maybe some guys don’t want to be the next Scott Hatteberg or Corey Patterson. Maybe this team was going to wake up and play this way, anyway.
But what we’ve witness this week is something we, you and I, may not witness again: a phenom in waiting, legend proceeding him, an underachieving major league team still lurking around with the other contenders, salivating for a kick start. How many times has that happened around here?
Bruce is no savior. The mother of all slumps may be here before you know it. The Reds may revert back to pretenders instead of contenders.
But it’s been a helluva week, hasn’t it?