Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Case For Mike Leake

Good Morning!

Look, I'm all for drama.  Drama makes the mundane more interesting.  It creates excitement (as long as you're not part of the drama, just watching it).   To be honest, there's been plenty of drama surrounding the return of Johnny Cueto.   It's not so much whether or not he can still do his patented El Tiante wind up (watching his rehab starts in Dayton, apparently he can).  And it's no so much whether or not he'll pull another muscle before the All Star break.  The drama has been the impending answer to the following question:  when Cueto comes back, who goes?  Mike Leake?  Or Tony Cingrani.

Turns out, it's been Cingrani all the way.

Cingrani is the wunderkind whose had a meteoric rise through the Reds minor league farm system.   A year ago right now, he was pitching in Single A baseball.  Now, instead of facing hitters who'll be selling vacuums door to door in a few years, he's facing world class baseball players.  And Cingrani is  learning fast.  But he's not there yet.  And he's not in Mike Leake's class yet.

You're saying, Ken, you're back on the "sauce" again.  Well, OK, but only at home and only when I'm alone, which is come to think of it, just about always.

Cingrani is good, for the first or second time through a batting order.  He'll look like Cy Young for five innings and then immediately become Brigham Young, or Neil Young.  Southern Man, Cingrani is not.   His problem is, he falls in love with his fastball.  I'm somewhere between like and love with his fastball.  But then again, I have a commitment problem.  Early in games, Cingrani won't throw his breaking enough to let hitter know it's coming later int he game.  He relies on his fastball.  By the time the fifth and sixth innings roll around and Cingrani has to throw his breaking ball for a strike, he can't.  And by then, opposing hitters can sit and wait on his fastball.  It's a common mistake a young pitcher makes.

Leake, on the other hand knows all about that.  He's been around awhile.  He's pitched himself in and out of trouble.  And that's important for a manager.  Dusty Baker knows, Mike Leake is a know commodity.  Cingrani is not.

Leake will always throw his complete repertoire of pitches.  He only gets into trouble when he can't locate his pitches.  He'll never blow away a batter.  Rather, Leake will nibble and tease.  And like Bronson Arroyo, Leake knows the difference between throwing and pitching.  Cingrani is still learning that.   That's why Cingrani will head back to the bushes of Louisville next week when Cueto returns and Leake will stay.  One is a pitcher, the other is a throwing learning to pitch.  It's as simple as that.

OK, the song I can't get out of my head today

One of the best studio musicians on the planet co wrote this song, David Paich.  He was/is the keyboardist for Toto, but so much more than that.  His co writer was Joe Williams, the leading singer with Toto at the time, who's also the song of noted film score composer, John Williams.  Joe has done some film scoring himself.  Anyhow the song is from Toto's "The Seventh One" album, a song that peaked at #22 back in 1988.  Hard to believe this is 25 years ago.

Hard to also believe that Thursday was the 47th anniversary of the Beach Boys classic album "Pet Sounds"  Glenn Campbell played guitar on this album and Leon Russell was on piano.  But the star of the musicians, prejudiced as I am, was one of my heroes:  drummer Hal Blaine

OK, go out and make it a great Friday.  I'll see you on WLWT News 5 tonight at 6p & 11p and I'll be talking sports on 700 WLW Saturday from Noon-3:30p and Sunday from 9am--12:30p.  Lots of baseball talk and a few football tidbits as well


Monday, May 13, 2013

The Case For Tim Tebow

All Tim Tebow does is win.   Check his college resume, check what he did with the Denver Broncos.  Forget the Jets, they never gave him a chance.   All Time Tebow does is win.

Ask Dick Lebeau.

Tebow is a man without a home today.  Notice, I said 'man' not quarterback.  And I'm proposing a new home for Tebow:  your Cincinnati Bengals.

I offer several compelling reasons.  First, Tebow offers numerous possibilities as an alternative weapon.   You can line him up  as a fullback, an H Back, a tight end.  He can play special teams.  And, yes, in very contained situations, Tebow can be under center.  Opposing defensive coordinators would have to spend time during the week before playing against the Bengals, figuring out ways to stop Tebow.  And that would take away from time they'd need to prepare to stop A.J. Green, or Tyler Eifert, or the "Law Firm" or anyone else that may line up on that side of the ball.

Tebow needs to play on a team that has no quarterback controversy or need.  The storyline is fairly simple here:  Andy Dalton is the starting quarterback.  Period.  He needs to play on a team that has a strong willed head coach, who will not be bent by public pressure.  Obstinate is a word that comes to mind when describing Marvin Lewis.  And, he needs to play on a team that has a creative offensive coordinator.  Jay Gruden fits that description.

And here's something else that Tim Tebow will do:  sell tickets.  The last I checked, the Bengals were exactly playing to sold out crowds every Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.  The Steelers game, season finale against the Ravens sure.  But consistent sell outs haven't been the norm lately.  You don't think that Tebow would sell tickets?  Really?

I heard some fear expressed by callers to my Sunday Morning Sports Talk Show on 700 WLW, that Tebow would bring with him the same circus that dogged him in Denver and New York.  I offer two reasons why he would not.  One, this is not New York, it's Cincinnati.  We're not awash in media here.  We have four television stations, one newspaper and one radio station that does news.  That's it.  Remember when TO came to town?  It was a big deal for a day, maybe two.  And that was it. And two, even if Cincinnati was inundated by national media during the season, the team knows full well how to handle it (see TO and Ochocinco).  Most important, Tebow isn't about Tebow, as TO and Ocho were.  It's the media that causes this.  Someone, please save us from ourselves.

Look, he's going to sign somewhere.  And right now, I can't think of one team that would bring him in to compete for a starting quarterback's job.  Jacksonville?  After two years of Blaine Gabbert?   Tebow, of course, must get past wanting to be exclusively a quarterback.   That's not happening.  But when (and if) he does come to the conclusion that his NFL future doesn't including dropping back to throw, the Bengals should be waiting, and ready to sign him.   Think of the possibilities.

But for another point of view, here's my buddy Gregg Doyel at 

So does anyone, besides Mark O'Meara get along with Tiger Woods?  Oh, that's right, Lindsey Vonn.  But Sergio Garcia needs to get a grip if he thinks His Tiger-ness was trying to distract him with this:

If Garcia thinks Woods needs to do that to win a tournament, or even a shot, he and reality are going in separate directions.

Which brings to mind a song....

I've always liked Foreigner.  But only the original line up with Mick Jones and Lou Gramm.  But, like most things anymore, I digress.

Now, to the Bengals.  They've got half of their draft picks signed up already.  With a rookie salary cap, gone are the days of hold outs.   Their first and second round picks remained unsigned.  But it's a mere formality anymore.  Both Tyler Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard (and the Bengals other second round Pick Margus Hunt will all be in camp come July.  You know what the best part of this recent Bengals draft is?  None of the players will have to play.   Some will.   I think Bernard and Eifert will play a lot, actually.  But none will be necessary to whatever success the Bengals have this season, unless there is some catastrophic injury.   It says a lot about where the Bengals have come from.  Last year, the only draft pick that logged significant playing time was offensive lineman, Kevin Zeitler.  The team won ten games.  They've come a long way.

Playing golf tomorrow and testing some new clubs.  Got new set of Razr Hawks (Callaway) and a vintage set of Ping irons (I3 Oversized).  But as a wise man once said about golf:  it's not about the arrows, it's about the indian.

See you tonight at 6p and 11p on WLWT News 5.