Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Random thoughts for this random Thursday....

Best thing about Reds rookie pitcher Mike Leake? He's always around the strike zone, which means the ball gets put in play a lot. He also works very fast. No games go beyond three hours, if Leake pitches into the seventh..

Best thing about Aroldis Chapman's night in Wilkes-Barre, PA? He went six innings, the deepest he's gone into a game this season. He gave up three runs, two earned on a couple of solo home runs. But his control was a lot better than in previous starts...

The Cyclones skate on after winning their second series in these 2010 Kelly Cup playoffs. The 'Clones beat Charlotte Wednesday night, 2-1 in North Carolina. It's starting to feel like 2008 all over again. Next up, Reading, in a series that starts Friday night at US Bank Arena....

How bummed is the NHL that one of it's top young players, Washington's Alex Ovechkin, is done for the season? His team was knocked out of the playoffs Wednesday night by Montreal...

I like getting home in time to watch late NBA playoff action. I watched the Nuggets stay alive Wednesday night by beating the Jazz in Denver. But what I really like is watching Charles Barkley in the TNT studio. Must see TV.....

Clip and save, as they say, the Mets are in first place in the NL East. Anybody want to make book on where the Mets will be a month from now?.....

I think Joe Torre has got trouble. The Dodgers GM spouted off Wednesday about his underachieving team and the the Dodgers husband-wife ownership group is in divorce court. Watching Joe in the dugout Wednesday, he looked like a guy who needed a beer....

Tiger Woods tees off Thursday in his second tournament of the spring. Pardon me while I yawn. We in the media, some of us anyway, have turned professional golf into US Weekly......

The Bengals open rookie camp Friday. Here's who I want to see: former Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe. He did a free fall to round five, largely on off field issues. But on the field, this dude caught 31 touchdowns in 37 games at KU.......

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just posted to my web site is the latest Broo View Podcast. Pete Rose joins me to talk baseball, and whether or not it's more difficult to hit a 102 mile and hour fast ball, like Aroldis Chapman throws or to hit a pitcher who tops out at 86 mph. You can find the latest Broo View Podcast on the front page of my site. But if you'd like to listen while reading my blog, just click here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Welcome To Tuesday....

Pete Rose says send Aaron Harang to the bullpen. Rose was one of my guests this past Sunday on 700 WLW Sunday Morning Sports Talk. Rose told me if the Cubs can do that with Carlos Zambrano (who incidentally tossed and inning and two thirds of relief in Monday night's Cubs win) then surely Harang can pull it off. Pete says it will give Harang a different view of the game, and maybe help him regain his confidence. Rose says Harang's big problem right now is he's not pitching with confidence, something every major league pitcher needs to be successful.

It's great to see that Ben Roethlisberger is acknowledging that being a lout in public (to say nothing about the way he's treating women) is a bad thing and is apologizing for his behavior in a Georgia bar. But honestly, I've heard that song and dance far too often from professional athletes. Roethlisberger needs to 'walk the walk'. And he needs to do that for a long time, like say the rest of his life. I believe he'll wind up with only a four game suspension, barring any other occurrence of sexual deviancy. I think that was commissioner Roger Goodell's plan all along, as the Steelers 'bye' after their fourth game this next season. Roethlisberger's rehabilitation aside, the issue for the team is finding a way to get through those four games without a complete disaster. The prospects of Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch running that offense should offer no comfort to any Steelers fan, not since the team refused to address its woeful offensive line in the latest draft. Nice first round pick. But this team needed to draft offensive line a lot more (just two picks total) than it did.

The NCAA will surely now expand from 65 to 68 teams. All it needs is the OK from its board of directors later this month. But here's the bigger issue: why even bother? All of that build up to the possibility of expansion and it's only three teams? That will solve nothing and certainly not end the debate about teams left out of the tournament. Once again, the answer to this question is the answer to every question in life: money. The NCAA got its television partners (CBS and TBS) to pony up a record $10.8 billion in a new 14 year agreement without losing the NIT, which the NCAA now operates. Had the tournament expanded to the rumored 96 teams, the NIT would have folded. Chances are, added more than three extra teams would not have significantly raised the rights fees. So the NCAA gets money on the front end of this deal from CBS and TBS and retains rights (and other TV fees) from the NIT. Win-Win for the NCAA, but for you and me? Not so much.

Read more about it in this article from the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Later today, I'll have my latest Broo View Podcast posted on I'll have that entire Pete Rose interview, among some other tidbits. It should be posted right after you get back from lunch.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's Monday! Don't worry, it's all downhill from here....

Two questions I heard a lot this weekend: what did you think of the Bengals draft and what can be done to fix the Reds Short answer for both questions: Bengals draft, OK. Reds? Not much.

I liked the Bengals first round pick. If you were with me last season for Bengals group therapy or for this show before the games, I consistently said the teams that are successful in the NFL now throw the ball and they consistently throw it to the tight end. San Diego, Antonio Chapman. Indy, Dallas Clark. Dallas, Jason Whittman. Pittsburgh? Heath Miller. Pick any team that wins, they’ve got one. The Bengals finally got one. By all accounts, Jerrmaine Gresham can catch and run and is a big target to work the middle of the field. You don’t have to send an under-sized wide receiver to work that territory anymore against big linebackers. You got yourself a horse. Gresham, good pick.

Second round pick Carlos Dunlap? Don’t like the pick. It’s got nothing really to do with the DUI. Yes I know, the Bengals have had too many of those on their resume. I don’t like the fact that they drafted a guy who has some motivational problems. The rap on Dunlap is that he doesn’t always work hard and takes plays off. You don’t get better with guys who have to be motivated and takes plays off. Now I know he said all the right things when he was in here yesterday for his session with the media. You’d expect that at least. I watched Dunlap play a lot this season. He made some plays. He plays high. I think that’s going to be a problem. I heard Mike Zimmer say Friday night that if motivating Dunlap is necessary, he will. But you expend a lot of coaching energy doing that. And there were plenty of other players available to the Bengals in that second round who didn’t appear to need motivation. I hope I’m wrong. But I’m not buying it yet.

Third round, Jordan Shipley is a nice addition. I saw a lot of his games the past couple of years. I watched him against Oklahoma a couple of years ago. He was one of the best players on the field. Saw the game the Longhorns played against Central Florida this past season. Even though it was an overmatched opponent. Shipley was all over the field. He reminds me a little bit of TJ. He’s not the fastest guy in the world. But he gets open and has good hands. And he runs precise routes. Good clean, crisp cuts. That’s crucial in an offense like the one the bengals operate out of. pp2 Brandon Ghee, the cornrerback out of Wake Forest, the other third round pick I thought was a reach. I didn’t see a lot of Wake’s games this year. I know he played for an excellent coach and a good system down there. But when you’re a starting cornerback in a conference like the ACC and you have only one career interception, that’s a problem for me. The Bengals defense is at its best when it takes the ball away. That’s how it helps the team win. If Ghee is a guy they’re looking at to eventually replace one of their two starting corners, they’ve got a lot of coaching up to do.

Anything after round three is a crap shoot. The Bengals have had their share of guys drafted late who’ve been solid players. Bernard Scott in round six last year. Jonathan Fanene in round seventh in ‘05. TJ in round seven back in 2007. But by and large, after round three, you’re hoping. And I have to laugh when I hear some ot the talking heads on the cable channels grading drafts. You can’t grade a draft the day after it’s completed. They don’t, you dont’ and I don’t know how any of this is going to play out for any other these picks. But I thought on the whole, the Bengals draft was OK.

The Reds? I think Dusty Baker and Walt Jocketty, and probably Bob Castellini have some serious decisions to make. And I hope they turn out better than the one big decision they made this week. Because moving up Bronson Arroyo to start a day early to give Johnny Cueto an extra day’s rest was a disaster. Arroyo gives the Reds their best chance to rest the bullpen. He may be a ‘500’ pitcher, but he eats inings. Except when the Reds did what they did this week. If Arroyo pitches better in the daytime than at night, then why move him from a daytime start to a nighttime start? Makes no sense. And Cueto didn’t benefit from it.
There are serious issues with both Cueto and Aaron Harang.

You know what I’d do? I’d put Harang in the bullpen. If the Cubs can do it with Carlos Zambrano, this team can do it with Harang. For whatever reason, he refuses to pitch inside and because of that, too many pitches are left over the plate. Long relief, 7th inning work, set up anything that will give him a different look at the game. It may help him become an effective pitcher in the rotation again.

Someone whose opinion I trust worked in the Reds front office when Cueto was drafted. He was projected as a bullpen guy. It makes sense now, given how many pitches it takes him to complete five innings. Saturday was actually good by his standards: six inings 88 pitches. I think it might be time for Cueto to take a trip to Louisville. He needs to relearn how to pitch ahead in the count, not get swept up in trying to strike every batter out. He needs some quality time with Louisville pitching coach, Ted Power.

I don’t know a whole lot about Bryan Price. I just know he had some success in Arizona and Seattle before that. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. But a different voice, particularly one who is a very good tactical teacher like Power may be the best course for Cueto.
So even though this team can’t hit consistently I’d start with pitching. Cueto goes to Louisville for awhile and Harang goes to the pen.

That opens up two spots in the rotation. I think you’ve got three candidates. One option is Micah Owings. The other two are in Lousiville. Sam Lecure is 2-0 with an earned run average of 2.08. Opposing hitters are hitting .222 off him. Matt Maloney is 3-0 with an ERA of 2.16 and the other guys are hitting .242 off him.
I think there are options right now, before this thing gets completely out of hand.As we said last week, this is looking a lot like last year. Before it morphs into it, it’s time to be proactive.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Friday!

The Bengals got their man last night. In a sense, selecting Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham was probably their strategy all alone. The only drama was whether or not he'd be available when they picked. Not even the thought of Dez Bryant lining up next to Antonio Bryant and Ochocinco could sway the Bengals in their quest to finally find a pass catching tight end.

Think how much frustrating it must be to have to take a tight end with a first round pick just a year after taking a tight end with a third rounder. That Chase Coffman couldn't get onto the field last season is an indictment of his position coach, the few Bengals scouts that exist and Coffman. It's probably a combination of all three.

Gresham now gives the Bengals something they haven't really had since Rodney Holman: a tight end who can both block and maneuver over the middle of the field. How many times did we see a tight end exploit the Bengals defense last season (too many, as I remember some of my rants on Bengals Group Therapy on 700 WLW) Todd Heap, Heath Miller, Ton Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, the Bengals saw them all. Now, they've finally got one.

The uniqueness of this year's draft, with only the first round on Thursday and rounds two and three Friday, gives the Bengals front office and coaches a chance to re-assess their position on players. Will they now combine their third round picks (they have two) and try to trade up in round two to get Southern Cal safety, Taylor Mays? Will they use one of their three Friday night picks to take former UC wide receiver, Mardy Gilyard? Or maybe take Southern Cal running back and kick return specialist, Joe McKnight? A lot of big names remain to be chosen.

Some other thoughts on round one of the draft....

Jimmy Clausen watched millions of dollars float away, as he went into a free fall. Clausen, believed to be the second quarterback on the board behind Sam Bradford, remains in play as the draft moves into day two...

My pal Ross Tucker of Sports Illustrated had the tweet of the night when he said "Its turning out to be a bad night for former Notre Dame quarterbacks." Clausen was one of them. The other was the last Notre Dame quarterback to go into a round one free fall: Brady Quinn. He's now with the Broncos, who selected Tim Tebow with their first round pick....

How about this theory, courtesy of as to why Clausen is probably fuming right now. By the way, that Gruden series with the top college quarterbacks that ESPN ran leading up to the draft is some of the best television I have ever seen.

Speaking of Gruden (whom I really believe will coach again and win big time. He makes Bill Cowher seem meek) did you catch him coming out of a taped feature leaning over and telling Mel Kiper Junior "It's a dumbass league....." He forgot the first rule of broadcasting: every mic is a live mic. But it was priceless.

Mel Kiper Junior doesn't thing Tebow can play in the NFL. But he's now with Bill Belichick protege, Josh McDaniels in Denver. I think he'll find a way to get Tebow on the field, a lot.

Incidentally, Tebow's first exhibition game this summer is at Paul Brown Stadium, against the Bengals.

Guess with CJ Spiller now in Buffalo, Marshawn Lynch will be shuffling off...

You think Clausen will last until the Browns pick, seven into round two?....

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bucs, with the third overall pick in round two, take Notre Dame wide receiver, Golden Tate.....

Although Southern Cal tackle, Charles Brown would be a great early round two selection.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Random thoughts on a random Wednesday....

If the Bengals take a tight end with their first round draft pick Thursday night, they'll continue a trend of paying for past draft day mistakes. Two years ago, wide receiver Jerome Simpson was their second round pick. With as little time as Simpson has played, he might as well be in the witness protection program. He's been so much of a bust, the Bengals had to spend $28 million on Antonio Bryant this off season.

Last year, the Bengals took Missouri tight end, Chase Coffman with a third round pick. Coffman has yet to play a down in the NFL. He didn't appear strong or bright enough to make an impression during training camp (remember how the Bengals TE coach ridiculed him during the "Hard Knocks" segments?). Then Coffman hurt his foot, effectively ending his season. Because the Bengals don't know what they have in Coffman (who could wind up being a Simpson like draft day mistake), the Bengals are rumored to be leaning toward taking Oklahoma tight end, Jermaine Gresham Thursday night.

Best rumor out there: the Pittsburgh Steelers will draft Florida's Tim Tebow. Wouldn't that be a statement to their fans about the disdain they must hold Ben Roethlisberger.....

Of course, as many people are saying Tebow will be anything but an NFL quarterback as those who believe he'll be a productive NFL quarterback.

If the Bengals draft a quarterback in any of the first three rounds, it'll say a lot about how much longer they believe Carson Palmer will be an effective quarterback. Think about this, if there is no NFL in 2011 because of a labor dispute, Palmer will finish the 2012 season 33 years old, clearly an age when a quarterback is 'on the back nine'.......

I still believe Mardy Gilyard will be the best bargain in this draft, particularly if he slips to the third round....

Scott Rolen went three for four Tuesday night and the Reds rallied to beat the Dodgers. Think that's just a coincidence? Since Rolen arrived on July 31, 2009, the Reds have won 67% of the games Rolen has played in. Without him, they've won just 25% of the time....

I tend to believe Edinson Volquez when he says that the banned substance he tested positive for was a fertility drug. He claims he was taking it, hoping it would help he and his wife conceive a child. OK, I buy it. But if that's true, then Volquez is flat stupid for not informing the Reds or MLB about it BEFORE taking the drug...

Besides, 50-games? He'll still be at least a month away from pitching in a professional game when the suspension is over...

Man, could Mick Cronin use a big time recruiting commitment right about now....

Bearcat Bowl IV should be very interesting. It's this Saturday night at Nippert. The word out of the UC spring football drills is that Butch Jones' offense is even faster and more explosive than Brian Kelly's. And, that Jones actually cares about his team playing defense....
Just posted a new Broo View Podcast on the front page of my web site, Episode 236 is all about the NFL draft with the editor and publisher of Pro Football Weekly, Hub Arkush. If you're in a hurry, you can download it here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just posted to the front page of my web site, are two new interviews. From the National Football Post, Wes Bunting the site's college football guhru, joins me to talk about the upcoming NFL draft.

And I caught up with former Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher, Wayne Granger. We visit about the final game and the final pitch (which Granger threw) at Crosley Field some 40 years ago this summer.

A new Broo View Podcast, featuring Hub Arkush, the editor and publisher of Pro Football Weekly will be posted midday Tuesday.
It's Tuesday, already....

If you're a Reds fan, you're walking the tightrope today. On one side is what appears to be more of the same, more of what we've seen from this team the past ten or so years. That would be poor fundamentals, starting pitching that can't get past the 5th inning and a team that's simply inadequate in the art of situational hitting. On the other side is the fact that the Reds are just 13 games into the season and only 3 1/2 games out of first place. It's a delicate balance between cynicism and hope. What side do you come down on?

I'm always a 'glass half full' kinda guy. So the side I choose is the latter. I know we've seen far too much of the same, through 13 games this season. I wonder how, despite managerial changes and coaching changes, the Reds simply can't develope decent prospects into serviceable or better Major League players. It's astounding, really. Austin Kearns was a complete bust. Adam Dunn went from being a power hitter, who also hit for average, to a power hitter who had trouble cracking the .275 ceiling. The latter day incarnates are Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs. Bruce is baffled continuously by the breaking ball. Stubbs swings like a rusty gate.

Hitting coaches come and go, from Jim Lefebvre to Chris Chambliss to Brook Jacoby and little changes. By the way, just an aside: whose Wheaties did Dave Parker spit in? One of the most prolific and feared hitters in MLB history lives within five miles of Great American Ball Park. Why is it that the Reds won't give him a whiff of a job interview? Is it because he was caught up in the infamous Pittsburgh Pirates drug bust? How many years ago was that? All I know is this: Parker could hit better than any hitting coach the Reds have had in my memory.

Starting pitching has been a cronic problem for the Reds. Under Jim Bowden, the Reds couldn't find, draft or kidnap a decent starting pitcher, even if they had a map, compass and a picture of Cy Young. Do you remember Ty Howington, or Richie Gardner or Ryan Wagner? All first round picks who turned out to be busts. Or how about the second round pick the year the Reds drafted Wagner: Thomas Pauley. Where is that dude now? The current starting five they employ now have 13 starts so far in 2010 and none has been credited with any of the Reds five wins. That's an astounding fact. Worse, few of them have managed to take a game into the seventh inning. Johnny Cueto pitches like he's been told there's a prize for throwing the most pitches in one ballgame. By the fourth inning, consistently in his short Major League career, Cueto is approaching 80 pitches. Worse, Homer Bailey and Aaron Harang have fallen into that trap as well. That means Dusty Baker is going to his bullpen virtually every game in the 5th and 6th inning. That will kill a team quicker than any batting slump.

So I'm not ready to give up on 2010 just yet. But the day for bailing on the Reds is quickly approaching. Wait 'til next year keeps coming sooner and sooner it seems at Great American Ball Park.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Very busy weekend coming up, on both radio and television. Sports Rock! Sunday night on Cincinnati's channel 5 is must see TV this week (every week, of course). Sunday in studio, UC head football coach, Butch Jones joins us. He'll have an update on spring football and a look ahead to the Bearcat Bowl on Saturday night at Nippert Stadium. Geoff Hobson from and the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy are in to talk NFL draft...

Saturday and Sunday, you can catch me on 700 WLW. I'm on Saturday from 3p-6:30p ET, then again Sunday from 9am-Noon EDT for Sunday Morning Sports Talk. Among my guests this weekend are Hub Arkush, the editor of Pro Football Weekly, Ross Tucker from Sports Illustrated, Seth Livingstone from USA Today and former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Wayne Granger. The draft, the Reds and the ongoing saga of Ben Roethlisberger will be the hot topics, I'm sure.

And keep checking my web site for updates along the way.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just published to the front page of my web site: is the lastest Broo View Podcast. My guest in this episode is Frank Coyle from We preview the upcoming NFL Draft.

NFL 2010 schedule will now be released next Tuesday night.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Wednesday.

Who knew the Reds could hit? After the first week of the season, the buzz was about the pitching and the buzz kill about the Reds inability to hit the ball. Did you watch the game Tuesday night? Ten runs, two big three run home runs from Ryan Hanigan and Jonny Gomes and the Reds have now won three straight.

Look, I don't think this team is going to be in the World Series this year. It'll do well just to be in a position to play for a post season spot when the month of September rolls around. But finally, the team has some life to it. The Reds have given their fan base a lost generation. They've been to the playoffs exactly twice in the last 20 years. And if a generation is defined as 25 years, there is really no one alive under the age of 25 who can remember what it's like to have a good baseball team in our town.

When you have a lost generation, you're really talking about 50 years, not 25. Because not only is the under 25 crowd missing the thrill of growing up with a winning team in their town, they're also less likely to support that team when they have kids.

I used to be the color commentator on the University of Maryland football games a few years back. Because of that, I always watch the Terps when they're on TV. I saw several of their games last season and became a fan of offensive tackle, Bruce Campbell. He's big, 6-7 about 325 and looks to be a power blocking pure left tackle. I've said I'd love him to be available when the Bengals pick at #21 in the first round of next week's draft. But I'm hearing this about Campbell from a lot of football watchers I listen closely to: his stock rose dramatically after a terrific NFL Combine and pro workout day. But the game tapes tell a different story about him. I'm told he's going to have a tough time adjusting to the pro game. Oh well....

The Bengals wouldn't consider trading a high pick for the Broncos' wide receiver, Brandon Marshall, would they? Probably not, after signing Antonio Bryant this off season. Marshall is available, after signing his tender offer this week. But imagine him lining up alongside Ochocinco, Bryant and Andre Caldwell. Would there be a better four wide receiver set in the league?

Draft expert, Frank Coyle, from joins me again this Sunday morning on 700 WLW. Frank's one of the best in the biz and his draft yearbook is a 'must' for anyone who's into the NFL. A lot of mock drafts have the Bengals taking Oklahoma State wide receiver, Dez Bryant. Coyle told me the Bengals should run from this guy. Bad news, he says, on and off the field.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Good Monday Morning!

Who told Lance Stephenson it’s a good idea to leave the University of Cincinnati’s basketball team. This is a really dumb idea on his part. Stephenson, as we all know, is the wonder kid who chose UC to play his college basketball. It was widely assumed before he arrived in town that he’d be one and done. He was just that good and the lure of the NBA would be so great, he wouldn’t stick around Clifton for more than one year. So OK, he plays well enough to win the Big East Conferences rookie of the year award. But I think that’s more of a commentary of how weak the freshman class of players was this season in that conference. And now, this week, after what was at best a mediocre first season, the kid known as Born Ready declares himself a candidate for the NBA draft.

Did I mention this is a really dumb idea?

For openers, a lot of underclassmen with a lot more talent and better resumes are declaring for this draft. They’re doing it for the money, of course. But they’re also declaring for THIS draft because there could be a very good chance of strike or a lockout in the NBA after next season. Patrick Patterson, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Evan Turner, they’re all coming out early.

Unless Stephenson upgrades his game, and a lot, I don’t see him getting drafted. If he does get drafted, it’ll be late second round. And the NBA only has two rounds in its draft. Why do I feel that Stephenson will be in the NBDL next season, or Europe? He should have stayed in school. I hear that family members, in need of money, urged him to leave UC early. Had he played another year in Clifton, those same family members would have been able to harvest a bigger pay day. Now, Stephenson could be out of the game in a couple of years.

Did I mention this is a really dumb idea?

Not exactly efficient pitching by the Reds in this first week of baseball.

Opening Day, Aaron Harang needed 93 pitches to get through just five innings. He improved Saturday, going seven and throwing 99 pitches.

Friday night, Homer Bailey went five innings. But he needed 106 pitches to do it. And on Wednesday night, Johnny Cueto tossed six innings, but used 109 pitches to do it. It’s early. But I think the Reds starters may want to work on their pitch efficiency.

Did you see that TV commercial with Tiger Woods staring into the camera? I didn’t become nauseous watching it, as some people have claimed they did. But did he really have to exume his dead father to see golf shirts and balls? Really? What would have been better would have been Tiger staring into the camera and simply thanking Nike for sticking with him while he male whored it up and say once again that he’s sorry he let you down. That commercial didn’t want to make me go out and buy a bunch of Nike stuff. And here’s the really troubling part. The web site, Sports By Brooks researched where the words of Tiger’s father really came from. Apparently, Earl Woods wasn’t talking about Tiger, though the commercial would have you believe that. No. According to Sports By Brooks, the words you heard Earl Woods speaking came from a DVD, released in 2004, on the life and times of Tiger Woods. Earl spoken words were about the break up of his marriage from Tiger’s mother. They’re not about Tiger. So you not only have Nike trying to sell material on Earl Woods grave. You also have his words taken out of context.

If I’m the old man, I’m spinning in the grave like a Texas tornado.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Random thoughts from Opening Day....

Why in the world would Dusty Baker go through an entire spring training, have Drew Stubbs win the starting job in centerfield and then sit him in the opener? He's either your starter, or he isn't. He is a former first round draft pick. If you're protecting a player (from Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter) then you really don't have a starting player. By the way, when Stubbs got into the game, he had two hits, both off a right handed pitcher.

Laynce Nix and Chris Dickerson are and should be, the fourth and fifth outfielders on this team. And they start while Stubbs and Jonny Gomes sit? This is what will get Baker in hot water with the fans and his team's owner quicker than anything. He pulled the same stunt last season by sending Gomes to the minors to begin the season and starting Darnell McDonald in left field.

I don't know if Aaron Harang can be an effective every fifth day starter anymore. I hope he can, but I really don't know. But I do know this: when the count is 2-2 with two on and two out, you attack the hitter and end the inning. Instead, Harang, either on his own or from dugout instruction, tried to pick a runner off first, threw wildly and allowed the runner at third to score. Bad baseball.

Is Mike Lincoln on this team simply because he had guaranteed money? Yes. But if it were a choice of 'eating' Aaron Miles' $2.7 million or Lincoln's $3.1 million, I would have given Miles the chance to hit his way onto the team, rather than paying Lincoln. Besides, why was Lincoln the first choice coming out of the bullpen? And could Logan Ondrusek only pitch one inning Monday? He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Instead of letting him pitch in the 9th, when it was still a two run game, Baker opted for Nick Massett. He promptly gave up five runs. Another strange piece of strategy...

The new ballpark sushi is over priced at $12. I don't care how good it is......

There was no way the Reds were going to allow Aroldis Chapman to begin the season with the major league club. His contract is structured so that if he become a "Super Two" player (arbitration eligible after two seasons, which he would have become almost assuredly by starting this year with the Reds), the money due him would accelerate ahead of the five years it's due. But by starting him in the minors for at least the first couple of months, the Reds miss out on his gate appeal. Think about it: Wednesday night is game #2 of this series. If history tells us anything, it's that the second game of most Reds seasons is played before friends and loved ones. With Chapman pitching, this next game had an excellent chance of being a sell out. But that won't happen this year....

And how do you let the Cardinals best player, Albert Puljos, beat you? It's not like he's an unknown commodity...

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Good Monday Morning!

Opening Day in Cincinnati. Nothing like it anywhere, any place else. The Reds go 86-76 this season. You heard it here first.

It's also NCAA Championship night. Duke by 9, but that's just a guess. Maybe it's the last, great game in what until now has been America's greatest sports tournament

What would possess the NCAA to want to want to screw up the single best thing in sports. Why would it want to take its showcase, the field of 65 NCAA Tournament and turn it into a high school tournament?

I knew the answer to that before I even asked myself the question and you do too. It’s money. As we like to say on Sunday Morning Sports Talk, the answers to all of your questions in life is money. There are television dollars, from ESPN, Comcast, CBS, whomever that will pay the NCAA more money to televise more games and that’s why it’s going to happen.

You don’t think money drives the bus in sports? Why is the NFL going to play 17, maybe 18 regular season games? Money. The broadcast networks want more product so they’ll be able to charge more money to their clients so they can pay the exorbitant rights fees that they have to pay to televise the games.

Why are there no afternoon World Series games? Why do they start at 8:30 at night rather than two in the afternoon, or seven at night? Money. Prime time starts mean prime time advertising dollars.

Increase the teams that make the NCAA Tournament from 65 to 96, you get more product to televise and more money from advertisers, a large part of which can be flipped to the NCAA in rights fees.

The answer to everything in life is money, but even more so when you’re dealing with television.

Here’s what I’ve heard in the last week, maybe you have too. Coaches want more teams in because it’ll help them keep their jobs. Make the tournament, keep your job. Really? How ‘bout when the 96th team in knocks off the 70th team in. You think that’s going to help the coach with the 70th team?

Coaches want this because it will give their players the great experience of playing in the NCAA Tournament. No it won’t. Because the experience won’t be the same. You wouldn’t be one of the select 65. You’d be one of close to a hundred. Bigger isn’t always better.

Tell that having a field of 95 wouldn’t render the regular season meaningless. Tell me how the regular season of Xavier basketball will be enhanced by an expansion to 95 NCAA Tournament teams? Do you honestly think any Xavier fan, let alone someone who just has a passing interest in that team, will be all engrossed in whether or not they can knock off Richmond twice in January? Not when an expanded field pretty much guarantees that six or seven Atlantic 10 teams would be locks to make the tournament.

I heard the bracketology guy, Joe Lunardi say this last week. If the field was 96 this year, 12 Big East teams would have made it. Wasn’t just a couple of years ago that only 12 made the Big East Tournament? The number 12 team in the Big East this season was Connecticut. It was 7-11 inside its conference. Teams that are four game below ‘500’ inside their own conference is going to make this a better tournament?

If you’re going to do that, why don’t you just become the Ohio High School Athletic Association and let every teams in?

I could point out that expanding the tournament would render post season conference tournaments meaningless….I’m not sure that such a bad thing actually. And all of the late February, early March talk of last four teams in, first four teams out, meaningless. My buddy Jerry Palm would have to fold his web site, collegerpi-dot-com. RPI numbers wouldn’t matter.

But here’s the real thing that tells you all you need to know about the hypocracy of expanding the tournament: more games means more time in the classroom missed, right? You play more games, you miss more classes. In fact, another good friend of this show, John Feinstein, did the math. A team could conceivably stay at one venue for a week, while it plays its way through the first and second round of a tournament. Is the NCAA OK with that, or does time away from class only matter when the discussion is about a playoff in Division One football?