Monday, June 30, 2008

How Far Has Jay Bruce Fallen?

This far: Javier Valentin--quite possibly one of the twenty worst position players in all of baseball--was called on to pinch hit for Bruce in the eighth inning, with two outs, runners on first and second and the Reds trailing 3-2. Let's just say I didn't see that coming four weeks ago.

-Brad Spieser (

Dear Dusty Baker...

While Bill Bray is capable of retiring left-handed hitters, he isn't your typical lefty-versus-lefty specialist; Brian Shouse, he is not. If anything, Bray should be used as a lefty-versus-righty specialist.

The facts: In 43 at-bats against Bray this season, lefties have an OPS of .888. In 49 at-bats, righties have an embarrassing OPS of .505.

This means that not only can you allow Bray to face the almighty Jamey Carroll (which you didn't Saturday), but it's the best possible decision you could make for the professional baseball team you currently manage.

You're welcome for the advice.

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, June 29, 2008

For What It's Worth (Edinson Volquez Is Still Good)

If you considered murdering yourself with a knife or gun after Edinson Volquez's first dud as a Red, I found something on Buster Olney's blog that might buoy your spirits:

I e-mailed 25 players, scouts and executives this week asking for a response to one simple question: Who are the five most dominant starting pitchers in the game right now? I tabulated the number of times anyone was mentioned on a ballot (and counted the dimpled and hanging chads).

The results:

No. 5: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati Reds (eight votes) -- He mixes a mid-90s fastball with a changeup that seems to disappear. He has 110 strikeouts in 99.1 innings this year, with a 2.08 ERA.

No. 4: Rich Harden, Oakland Athletics (nine votes): In his start against the Phillies on Thursday, he consistently threw in the 93-94 mph range in all eight innings he worked, and Philadelphia seemed to have no chance when he used his changeup -- the off-speed pitch he prefers now, since ditching his splitter. A no-hitter seemed within the realm of possibility, writes Susan Slusser. Harden has 83 punchouts in 67 innings.

No. 3: Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox (11 votes): He has struck out 82 hitters in 72 2/3 postseason innings, and this year -- in which he has not necessarily been at his best -- he has 97 strikeouts in 94 innings.

No. 2: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants (14 votes): He has been in the big leagues for about a year and has made an extraordinary first impression, racking up 103 strikeouts in 102.2 innings this season.

No. 1: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners (16 votes). He has pitched well this season and early in his career, but there is a still a sense that he has much more to offer as he gains consistency. He has 95 strikeouts in 107.2 innings, with a 2.83 ERA.

By the way, is anything more interesting than anonymous player polls? Sports Illustrated does there part but I still feel like this is a relatively untapped area. Have you ever not read an anonymous player poll?

New podcasts are on the way. In the meantime, check out the latest batch.)

-Brad Spieser (

Friday, June 27, 2008

NBA Draft: Not That You Care

This one is dedicated to one of my favorite people: Me.

It seems odd for me to return from the dead with an NBA post, but that's precisely what I'm doing. The way I see it, I have no choice.

Here's how it works: I started writing almost two years ago because I was rarely allowed on the air (at my radio job) and I needed an outlet. I basically wanted to make French Open predictions (not really) and remind people of the greatness of chaps like Barry Larkin and Nick Van Exel (really). I also wanted to tell nobody in particular that Edinson Volquez would be better than Johnny Cueto (which I did). Essentially I wanted to allow myself the opportunity to one day tell the world I TOLD YOU SO.

Which is why--after a week of infrequent posting, due to a move and a broken computer machine--I'm making an Ali-like return to the ring NBA draft recap. Deal with it. In seven years you'll be telling strangers things like, "This one guy, Brad Spieser of, accurately predicted D.J. Augustin's place in history as a lottery bust." So you have that going for you, which is nice.

Anyway, my reactions to the things and stuff that happened last night (and the ban on bullet points is still in place)...

(One other thing: If you're not sure who went where, Draft Express has it covered.)

1. As previously stated, I think Michael Beasley is the best player in the draft. That said, Derrick Rose would be the toughest player to pass up, if that makes sense. With young point guards virtually taking over the league it would be impossible to skip over a shockingly-athletic true point like Rose. The prediction here is both Rose and Beasley become superstars.

2. The trade sending Todd's brother to the Grizzlies for (among other things) Kevin Love and Mike Miller made me happier than (insert lame joke here). Couple that with the draft-day trade to acquire Darrell Arthur and I'm loving what the Grizz have going for them. Plus, with the glut of talented point guards--Mike Conley (the obvious keeper), Kyle Lowry and Javaris Crittenton--they will almost certainly turn one of them (probably Lowry, but hopefully Crittendon) into a much-needed banger or shooter (the loss of Miller makes their current roster one of the weaker bunches from long range). Hell, as my buddy (and resident NBA expert) Cam points out, the Grizz could move both Lowry and Crittenton if they wanted, since Todd's brother is capable of playing some point guard.

My opinion is that getting rid of Lowry would be stupid. He's an A+ athlete/defender. He's got Lindsey Hunter's bulldog mentality, but unlike Hunter is a strong finisher at the hoop. You win championships with guys like Lowry coming off the bench.

Regardless, you're now talking about a team with a relentless up-tempo philosophy and pieces fitting that style. With Conley, Lowry or Crittenton (one will be playing elsewhere), Todd's brother, Rudy Gay, Hakim Warrick and Arthur, plus whoever they add, that's a roster of thoroughbreds. The Grizzlies will wreak havoc on plodding teams, sooner rather than later.

3. The Sonics shocked the world (relative term) by drafting Russell Westbrook higher than expected. Facts: He hasn't shown the passing skills of a pure point and he's a suspect shooter. You know what, though? I'm signing off on the pick. The Sonics needed athleticism, unselfishness and lockdown perimeter defense, and they got that with Westbrook. Kevin Durant is a gunner (meant positively in this case) and needs someone who won't be looking to get his own (perhaps that's why they didn't go after Jerryd Bayless). Durant is also weak defensively, but now he's flanked by Westbrook and Jeff Green. I really like this pick.

4. My thoughts on Eric Gordon, Joe Alexander and D.J. Augustin can be found here and here. In short, I think Augustin will be a bust; Alexander, a star when he refines his game; Gordon, a below average NBA player.

5. When Portland made the deal to acquire Jerryd Bayless I immediately received a phone call from Cam, and we slurped Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard. Bayless detractors say he's a shoot-first point guard. Hell, everyone says this. But Portland runs their offense through Brandon Roy, so Bayless basically just has to knock down open jumpers and penetrate when he sees fit. Great trade.

Which reminds me...

6. Why didn't Cleveland trade up to get Bayless? They need to improve their athleticism and outside shooting, which is what Bayless brings to the table. Instead the Cavs selected PF J.J. Hickson from NC State, who I didn't see enough of to form an opinion.

7. I think picks 21-23 were all smart ones. I believe Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee and Kosta Koufos will be contributors for a long time - and that's all you can ask for in the bottom third of the first round.

8. I think Donte Greene slipping to No. 28 shows how far scouting has come in the last fifteen years. Had someone with Greene's exact skill set entered the draft in 1997 there is no doubt he would've heard his name called in the top five. For the record I think Greene is a great pick at No. 28.

9. D.J. White is a terrible basketball player.

I have no thoughts on foreign players or unknowns like Jason Thompson and George Hill...but...I know which second rounders will overcome the odds and stick in the league.

10. Joey Dorsey is a lock to stick. You know, assuming he stays out of the pen.

11. Mario Chalmers is another player Cleveland should have targeted. He brings something they believe in (defense) with something they need (outside shooting).

12. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Kyle Weaver offer too much defense and versatility not to make it in the NBA.

13. If memory serves, Sonny Weems is a knucklehead. But he's not without ability. He was an excellent second-round flier.

14. Chris Douglas-Roberts had the biggest chip on his shoulder before the draft - and then he slipped to 40th overall. I say his quirky offensive game (he plays like he's left-handed) will overcome his shaky athleticism - CDR is a rotation player within the next few years.

15. Patrick Ewing, Jr is an excellent selection at No. 43. He has no offensive game to speak of, but he's powerful enough to guard the new-age PF, and built perfectly to take a shot at Carmelo Anthony. He has the potential to be a stopper.

16. I could write 3,000 words about Bill Walker, or I could write 30. Not surprisingly, I'll stick with the latter. It's an outrage he wasn't a first rounder. An outrage, I tell ya. With his baggage (ACL injuries to both knees and now a torn meniscus, plus he's a temperamental and seems uncoachable at times), I understand the risk. But he has legitimate All Star potential, something very few in this draft can claim. How D.J. White gets taken in the first round while Walker waits it out is beyond me. The Wizards might have taken the steal of the draft with Walker. (Hey, teams once shied away from Anthony Munoz because of pre-existing knee injuries...)

17. Darnell Jackson, taken 52nd, will soon join Jason Maxiell, Reggie Evans, Chuck Hayes, et al, as effective undersized bangers who seem to love doing the grunt work.

That's about it, boys and girls.

I'm not into assessing draft grades, but I loved what Portland, Miami and Memphis did. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I'm a big Brandon Rush fan. He seems like the type of player who will contribute for a champion some day.

UPDATE: The Wizards sent Bill Walker to the Celtics for cash money. The opportunity to absorb tongue-lashings from Kevin Garnett increases Walker's chances of stardom by about 330%.)

(Go listen to the eleven new podcasts.)

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bronson Arroyo Plays Baseball In Cincinnati (For The Reds)


1. I am a Bronson Arroyo apologist. And then some.

2. He's been dreadful this season.

Note the use of the words "this" and "season."

There seems to be a notion that Bronson Arroyo hasn't been able to get anyone out since the All Star break of 2006. In fact, that's precisely what Mr. Marty Brennaman said during Tuesday's debacle in Toronto (which is in Canada).

As much as it pains me to say it, my first broadcasting hero is just plain wrong. And so is everyone else who believes that nonsense. I've already been through this (read No. 13), but let me explain it again...

While Arroyo has been lousy this season, his 321 innings--spanning the '06 All Star break through the end of the '07 season--were pretty solid. And way above the league average. Over that time Arroyo had a 3.98 ERA with a WHIP in the respectable 1.35 range (Carlos Zambrano's WHIP this season is 1.33).

Again, I'm not defending anything that Arroyo has done on the mound this season; he's been awful. But the belief that the National League caught up to him in the summer of '06 is patently false. Something happened from last year to this, and I have no idea what.

(Note: The problem isn't his music "career." Can we stop assessing blame on Arroyo's guitar, and/or his time spent playing it?)

Now, as far as Arroyo's plummeting trade value, I have the solution: Don't trade him. You can't, anyway. He's highly paid and ineffective. What could the Reds possibly receive in a trade that would be worth it? I say stick Arroyo in long relief for the rest of the year and let him attempt to iron out the kinks - and move him next year if he does. I'm guessing he's not a washed-up bum at this point - while his walks and hits are way up, his K's/9 are at an all-time high.

Thoughts? Email me.

(Note: I'm either getting my computator back later today or sometime Thursday. Regardless, I'll give pre-NBA draft thoughts Thursday.)

(One other thing: The eleven new podcasts can be found here - the media player still isn't cooperating. Also, Craig and I will be recording new stuff in the next week or so.)

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Have A Famous Reader. Jealous?

Did you hear that noise? It was me patting myself on the back. And why?

Because Dusty Baker is a reader of this very fine website. It's true. I mean, how else do you explain this quote from Monday's Enquirer:

"Three well-pitched starts by three young men - real young men," Baker said. "Our future looks bright if they can keep developing."

I'm guessing he read this and changed his ways.

(Also, go listen to the eleven new podcasts I posted. I'm still having trouble with the media player. Start with "rockin robin hates the podcast" and scroll up.)

-Brad Spieser (

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Podcasts!

I hate your face (not Alan Cutler's face, pictured above, but your face). But...I'd still like you to listen to the podcasts. I posted eleven new ones today--scroll down to the podcast titled "rockin robin hates the podcast" and move up. Feel free to provide feedback.

(Blog note: I'm in the process of moving, and my computator is being repaired. Because of this, I'll be posting infrequently for the next week or so. In the meantime I strongly suggest checking out Joe Posnanski's take on the Adam Dunn-J.P. Ricciardi situation.)

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hi, Hello and Welcome: Part Thirteen

George Grande was at it again Wednesday:

"For Joey Votto and Jay Bruce today, kind of a special day--they had a chance to meet and greet and talk with Don Mattingly, the great first baseman. Outstanding hitter, .300 career hitter, and a guy who I think in both of our minds is a hall of famer. No, his numbers didn't warrant that simply because his career was cut short with back difficulties, but a hall of famer on the field, a hall of famer off the field, too."

Let me get this straight...

Don Mattingly doesn't have the numbers to get him to Cooperstown--everybody agrees with this--and yet Grande thinks he belongs in the Hall of Fame. I'm guessing this has something to do with Mattingly being a "hall of famer off the field." Okay.

(Also, do you think Jay Bruce has any idea who Don Mattingly is? Bruce was nine-years-old when Mattingly retired, and two-years-old when Mattingly last made an All Star team.)

Other Grande stuff...

Grande's pre-game interview with Mattingly saw him say "Donny Baseball" three times in less than two minutes.

He also called Gary Majewski "The Magic Man" and simply "Magic" about five seconds apart. Earvin Johnson has company.

George Grande, your Reds television announcer since 1993!

-Brad Spieser (

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Me Want To Punch Faces

Ken Griffey Jr, in his pre-game "speech" Tuesday, brought up something we all know - something that makes me want to blow things up with dynamite.

This is the most talented Reds team in his nine years in Cincinnati.

In case you forgot, I wagered several American dollars on the Cincinnati Reds winning more than 78 games this season. I made said wager because they are loaded with talent.

The Redlegs are currently on pace for 74 wins.

Pass me the Zippo.

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, June 16, 2008

How Not To Treat A Living Legend

Why in the world would anyone think it's funny to show Nick Van Exel the 2 Girls 1 Cup video? This is an outrage. (Note: This is a PG swearing, no breasts)

-Brad Spieser (

Dusty Baker, And His Challenge With The English Language

Will somebody please explain to Dusty Baker the difference between the words good and well?

From Monday's Enquirer:

"When you get a good-pitched game, we usually win them. When we don't get a good-pitched game, then we usually get killed - like we did today."

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tiger Woods Needs Our Help. Obviously.

There are times when I am the least original human being alive. The latest example: The Tiger Woods Experience.

When he was lining up his birdie on the 18th I considered getting on my knees to say a prayer for Mr. Woods. You know, because he needs my support...and His help.

Which is just bizarre behavior for me in every other walk of sporting life. My attitude before seemingly every game (or tournament) is simple: Unless I have specific rooting interest, I'm pulling for the underdog.

Rocco Mediate redefines underdog. And he's currently engaged in a battle with Eddie House for the title of Most Likable Mammal On Planet Earth. Mediate's story is a great one, too - he's a 45-year-old who had to qualify just to play in the U.S. Open.

So why was I in Tiger's corner Sunday? Why were you?

-Brad Spieser (

Quiet Riot Can Go To Hell!

Who performs the best version of "Cum on Feel the Noize?"

Oasis, of course:

-Brad Spieser (

Friday, June 13, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Searching for pictures of Kim Kardashian and her remarkable butt. Relax.

-Brad Spieser (

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where Does Griffey Rank All Time?

Hours before Ken Griffey Jr belted home run No. 600,'s Rob Neyer responded to a Wall Street Journal piece that had a "What might have been" theme. Neyer's response is eye opening for those of you who think Griffey is one of the five or ten best players of all time.

From Neyer's blog:

Barra never really argues that Griffey might have been the greatest player ever if he hadn't been injured. But he does allow for the possibility, which I think overstates the case just a little. Griffey was obviously a great player. But I was never convinced that he was a sublimely talented center fielder in the vein of Willie Mays and Andruw Jones, and his .380 on-base percentage before he got hurt was good but not fantastic (just 24th best among his peers with at least 5,000 plate appearances). Would Griffey have become one of the 15 or 20 greatest players ever if not for the injuries? Perhaps. But even considering just the center fielders, I don't see how he'd have caught up to Mays, Cobb, and Mantle.

Neyer was then asked a Griffey question in his chat Tuesday:

Willie (Portland, OR): Okay here's the SportsNation question of the day: Who is the best player in the 600 HR club? Hank, Barry, Babe, Griffey, or Mays?

Rob Neyer: I gotta go Babe, Mays, Bonds, Aaron, Griffey. But you can argue the first four from here to next Thursday.

Up next was Buster Olney. From his chat:

JP (Columbus, OH): Buster, how bout some Griffey love! Where do you rate a prime Griffey Jr. among all baseball players of all time in their prime?

Buster Olney: JP... Hmmmmmmm... Depends on how you evaluate it. He and Bonds were the best players of the '90s, for sure. I'd put him in the Top 50 players of all time... I wouldn't put him ahead of Mays, Aaron, Ruth, A-Rod or Williams - speaking off the top of my head.

Question: Was/is Griffey slightly overrated?

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, June 9, 2008

How Much Do I Care About Griffey's 600th HR?

Fact: There is a better than decent chance I care more about sports statistics than you. (This goes for all humans not named Tim Kurkijan and Howie Schwab.) I'm not trying to brag--or diminish what you have going on--but it's almost certainly true. As much as you care about stats, I probably care more.

It's not whether you win or lose, it's how sweet your baseball card looks at the end of the season.

So, armed with the information that (a.) Ken Griffey, Jr. jacked career dinger No. 600 tonight, and (b.) I care way too much about statistics, you would probably guess I'm about to put this monumental achievement in perspective, right?


Sort of.

As much as I was happy for Griffey, I didn't care about it nearly as much as...

Joey Votto booting a two-out, fifth inning grounder off the bat of Jeremy Hermida. I say "booting" because it was an error, no matter what the asshole (who is sometimes known as the official scorer) had to say. The ball, which was sharply hit, was headed straight for Votto's midsection. This is great news for every infielder on Planet Earth except, apparently, Votto. What Votto did was sidestep the ball and take a stab at the little white bastard with his Rawlings baseball glove. This is how David Booth tried to field the ball on my Knothole baseball team the day after he was hit in the mouth with a hard-hit grounder. That was acceptable behavior for a 10-year-old in 1990. It's not acceptable, however, when Edinson Volquez is trying to unseat Bob Gibson's astonishing 1.12 ERA from 1968 as the best in the modern era. (Volquez's ERA now stands at a disgusting 1.56)

The second the ball got past Votto, I knew it would be scored a hit. I screamed various four-letter words that presumably made my dead grandmothers upset. And more dead, somehow. Then George Grande opened his fat mouth and told me the play would be scored an error. It would be fair to say that I was elated upon hearing this news. Elation quickly turned to bitter hatred for Grande for misleading me.

Griffey's HR gave the Reds a 2-0 lead...nothing more, nothing less. Votto's matador defense ruined my night.

My grandmothers are really dead right now.

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Loud-Mouthed Weatherman Makes Me Laugh

I stash away funny YouTube videos for times like these, when I'm enduring a two-day hangover.

Ordinarily, I'm against wacky, schticky, over-the-top broadcasters, but Mark Mathis is an exception...most of the time. I'd say 80 percent of his antics are legitimately funny, but I'm too sleepy to get into it.

Just watch and enjoy. (Also, a new podcast has been posted - it's titled "chick fila breakfast--cheating on calculus test." I'll not be providing details. Go listen.)

-Brad Spieser (

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Brian Scalabrine...A Chocolate Face?

This happened during ABC's Game 1 introductions:

-Brad Spieser (

The Reds Draft A Powerful Cuban

Girls occasionally engage in tongue-kissing sessions with me. I'm telling you this because I watched the MLB draft today, which, technically, makes me a nerd. But anyway, when the Reds drafted something called Yonder Alonso, I was ecstatic, of course, because of his righteous name. And then ESPN showed a few clips of this mule. (Holy hell, this dude is slow and unathletic.)

I immediately scoured YouTube for a few videos of Alonso running up the first base line, and came up empty. One Alonso video does exist, however, and I have it for you.

It's a five-minute sit-down interview with Alonso, conducted by two youngish people working for a Miami, Fla., television station. The interview is mostly boring, but we find out two things about Alonso: (1.) He has no problem being interviewed with bedhead, and (2.) he has a Lloyd Christmas haircut (see above).

Without further ado, your first look at Yonder Alonso:

-Brad Spieser (

The Reds Draft Players Today. Me Excited! Sort Of.

About fourteen different times after the Reds signed Josh Foggstein this spring, I promised to tell you why I hated the deal. I never got around to it.

But a promise is a promise, so here goes:

Foggstein was never going to be a determining factor in the Reds' success this season - it just wasn't going to happen. His past had proven that he was, at best, an average Major League starter. But the Reds already had that in Belisle and Affeldt, both of whom would probably post numbers similar to Foggstein, with the only difference being upside; Belisle and Affeldt have it, Foggstein ain't never do.

The bottom line: The Reds weren't going to do a damn thing this season unless they received significant contributions from the Cueto-Volquez-Bailey-Votto-Bruce group. It's as simple as that. Three (or more) of those players have outstanding seasons, and the Reds have a chance. Anything less and the Reds will be drafting in the top 10 in 2009. Again.

Even if Foggstein were to throw up his customary 10-10, 4.92 ERA, it wouldn't matter. It's just $1.5 million wasted, which doesn't sound like much, but it is.

Consider: The MLB draft is today, and the Reds won't be taking the best player at No. 7. Nope, they'll be taking the best player at No. 7...who they'll be able to sign. There's a difference. Every year, stud prospects fall in the draft because small-to-mid-market teams (i.e., the teams routinely picking in the top 10) refuse to pony up the extra cash to lock down a potential savior. It's often a matter of $1 million or less, but these teams are on budget and can't justify spending the extra money on a high school pitcher. Which is stupid, considering they routinely throw that kind of money at washed-up bums like Foggstein.

Even when things are going great for a small-market team (think Tampa and Florida and Oakland), the future has to be considered with every decision. That means staying away from dumb contacts, trading All Stars away before or during their peak (but never after), and pumping more money into scouting than everybody else.

Here's a chunk of an email I sent my buddy Wess on April 22, illustrating my frustration towards the Foggstein situation:

And would they consider eating Fogg's contract? The reason I didn't like the move is because $1.5 mil is significant to the Reds, and it's money they could spend on a power-armed Boras client in the draft. Rick Porcello slipped to the mid-20's last year because teams didn't want to spend the extra money on him, which was stupid. Who would you rather have, Devin Mesaraco or Porcello? And it isn't just Fogg; it's Stanton and Cormier and Patterson, too. The money adds up, and the farm system gets neglected. It's shortsighted. And dumb.

That is all.

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is Homer Bailey...A Bum?

Something called Dugout Central had this to say about Homer Bailey:

Fresh off the heels of Jay Bruce's long anticipated and much heralded debut, the Reds are calling up Homer Bailey to start against the Phillies on Thursday. This is a grave error in judgment by General Manager Walt Jocketty and whoever else was involved in this decision.

Yes, he's only 22, but I don't care what Baseball America says, the guy's a bum. He proved it last year when he was called up, and he's proving it again this year by pitching poorly with Louisville. How can a guy pitching at AAA with a 1.40 WHIP be expected to compete at a Major League level?

Trade him! And do it while you can still get something good for him. Get a third baseman, another starter, more bullpen help...anything. The kid will not amount to squat.

Additionally, according to Hal McCoy, who has been covering the Reds for 36 years, he's a jerk. I'll take McCoy's word any day over anyone in the Reds' organization. Here's what McCoy said:

"Two of his teammates, both in the rotation, took him to task for a 'big-league attitude' this spring and one said, 'What he needs is for somebody to take him water skiing, without the skis.' Somebody brought up Steve Carlton. No, he didn't communicate with the media, but he did with his teammates and his teammates loved him."

Down on the farm in AAA, the Reds have two guys I'd bring up before Bailey: Matt Maloney and Daryl Thompson. Doing that, however, would show the Reds' hand and make teams wonder why they didn't bring up Bailey.

What would I do before a trade? Move Jeremy Affeldt into the rotation and call up another reliever. Then pray that a deal could be made pronto.

There's no doubt in my mind that the sole reason for the recalling of Bailey is directly attributed to the current Bruce-love buzz in Cincinnati. I hope the kid proves me wrong, but I seriously doubt it.

Maybe he will. Maybe he's improved his attitude. But a 1.40 WHIP in Louisville - that will take a miracle.

Rob Neyer responded to this in his blog:

Bailey's probably not a bum, and it probably won't take a miracle for him to pitch effectively in the majors.

I do agree, though, that a simple reading of the evidence suggests this move is premature.

In the minors this spring, Bailey's walked 31 hitters in 69 innings and that problem's getting worse rather than better; in his last four starts he's walked 17 in 19 innings. Going back one more start, Bailey walked only two batters, but struck out just one. And that was in four innings. I'm a big believer in players earning their way to the next level, and statistically all Bailey's earned lately is another few weeks in the International League.

That said, baseball people sometimes will talk about young players who are bored, and actually benefit from the challenge of a promotion to the next level. I don't have any idea if the Reds front office suspects the same of Bailey, but it's a possibility.

Whatever the Reds may believe, though, I don't think Bailey's ready. His first four starts? Phillies, Cardinals, Red Sox, Yankees. Good luck with that.

My take (minus the italics):

I suspect Bailey will become a better-than-average starter, but I could be wrong. He's only 22, and up until last year, he'd done nothing but dominate since he was playing Knothole. That has to count for something, right? So he hasn't faced adversity well, and he appears to be a world-class frontrunner (and maybe even a jerk), but that doesn't mean he's without talent. And he's certainly not a bum, as Dugout Central wrongly pointed out. Check out his nine starts from last season; they're actually better than I remember. Sure, he had two stinkbombs, but he also threw one legitimate gem (7 IP, 2H, 1ER), as well as four other starts where he went at least 5 innings while giving up two runs or less.

Let's not forget, Bailey was just 21-years-old last year when he threw 45 innings and compiled a not-terrible-for-21 1.566 WHIP. Perspective: Our Lord and Savior, Edinson Volquez, didn't make his Major League debut until he was 22-years-old, and when he did, he was horrendous, posting a WHIP in the 2.200 range over his first two seasons...spanning 46 innings.

Just saying.

Bum or not, I'm excited for Homer Bailey: Part Deux

-Brad Spieser (

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"I Could Stop Karl Malone In The Post."

Paula Cole once sang about unnamed cowboys and their whereabouts. We, the curious public, really wanted to know and never received a satisfying answer.

And you peoples continue to ask of podcasts and their disappearing act. I'm sure my answers never satisfied, which why I'll just say I'm sorry.

But anyway, the real reason for the delay has to do with Project Playlist, and their burning desire to keep me (and this very decent website) down. For whatever reason, I haven't been able to add new tracks to the media player. I've tried various tricks (not really) and consulted countless smart people (my busy cousin), and still, no luck. I'm sure there's an easy answer to all this, but Plan B will have to suffice until then.

What's Plan B? Clicking this link to listen to the newest podcast, "i could stop karl malone in the post."

But wait, don't you want to know what this podcast is about?

Brief podcast summary: How much do you hate "I could hit him" guy? You know the guy who watches a crappy pitcher like Matt Belisle and announces to everyone in the room that he could take Belisle deep? Well, Craig and I can't stand those people. And we have a 3-minute podcast to prove it. Listen. Tell friends.

(Note: I really do know someone--a 5'9 white guy--who claimed he could stop Karl Malone in the post.)

Which reminds me of the greatest Sportscenter commercial of all time:

Did you listen to the podcast? Did you listen to the podcast? Did you listen to the podcast? We podcasted! Craig and I are podcasting legends! We podcast. This is what's called a link.

-Brad Spieser (

The Lakers, The Celtics, The Memories...

Magic versus Bird, blah blah blah...McHale taking out Rambis, blah blah blah...and so on. And so on.

Don't get me wrong, I can't get enough of this crap. But the best Celtics-Lakers moment didn't take place in the 1980's. Nope, it took place in 1995, which was one of the middle years of the 1990's.

Boys and girls, I present to you video from the last game the Lakers ever played at the Boston Garden:

(Note: You people are lucky I didn't know what a blog was between the years of 1992-2003, because I would have written about Nick Van Exel the way I write about Jay Bruce, multiplied by 81,000,080.)

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, June 2, 2008

Jay Bruce Is A Professional Athlete

I've spent entirely too much time over the last seven days thinking about the following two things:

1. Could the Reds have traded for Edinson Volquez with a Homer Bailey/Joey Votto package?

2. I'd feel a lot better about the Bengals' chances of becoming a perennial playoff team if Carson Palmer had Jay Bruce's charisma.

(Quick Reds note: Daryl Thompson went 7 innings Monday night, allowing one earned run with no walks. He struck out six. He'll be a Cincinnati Red before September.)

-Brad Spieser (

Jay Bruce Will Never Slump. Ever.

Under normal circumstances, it would be my job to remind everyone that this isn't going to last forever. By "this," I mean Jay Bruce's otherworldly behavior on Planet Earth.

These are not normal circumstances.

Jay Bruce is that good.

Am I suggesting he will hit .591 this season? Obviously not. .391? Probably not. But it wouldn't shock me one bit if he threw up .355/20/80 in the 100 games or so he'll play this season.

Now, to put up those numbers, he'll have to avoid a prolonged slump - one of those 0-27 jobs Justin Upton found himself in recently.

And I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm an idiot, and that I'm bonging the Jay Bruce Kool-Aid to the point where it's more than a little embarrassing. While I can't argue that, it doesn't mean I'm wrong. And I can tell you one thing I know for sure: There is no rule stating Jay Bruce must struggle in the early stages of his Major League career.

In fact, Ryan Braun is in the early stages of his career and he's yet to struggle. That's actually an understatement. He's 167 games into his career and he's hit 49 HRs and driven in 139 runs. He was an '05 draftee, like Bruce, and he's done nothing but murder the ball since being called up in the final week of last May. Sound familiar? Check out his '07 and '08 game logs. Do those stats indicate in any way that Braun is still a young guy? The answer, of course, is NO.

It isn't a reach to call Ryan Braun one of the five best right-handed hitters in the game. And if Bruce does throw up a .355/20/80 by season's end, it might not be absurd to suggest he's one of the ten or fifteen best players in the game.

Bartender! Another round of Mountain Berry Punch!

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, June 1, 2008

No Joke: Jennifer Love Hewitt Is My Friend!

It's official...I'm a published author!

Like most other low rent bloggers, I Google my name every now and again. I guess I do this with the hope that I've been discussed on message boards at one time or another. And I know it's the height of narcissism, but whatever, at least I'm honest. To the best of my knowledge I've only been the subject of one thread outside of Cincinnati, and, oddly enough, it was on an Atlanta Falcons message board. The details of that discussion aren't important, for they took place over 18 months ago.

What is important, however, is today's revelation: Jennifer Love Hewitt knows who I am.

And I've called her the C word. Kind of.

Let's revisit history...

Remember when unflattering pictures were taken of JLH (and her giant butt) on some beach with some dude? Of course you do. (In case you were wondering, this happened in November, 2007.)

We soon found out Ms. Hewitt was outraged by this, and she took her anger to MySpace. Here was the last line on her blog: "To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini - put it on and stay strong."

Talk about outrage! I was so disgusted with her encouraging words directed towards the up-and-coming beasts that I had to give her a piece of my mind. So I added her as a MySpace friend, with hopes of subtly calling her the C word in the comments section of her blog.

After she accepted my request for online friendship, I immediately went to her blog post and commented. But I had to await her approval - Jennifer Love Hewitt won't let a potentially filthy comment pollute her wholesomeness.

A few days passed and I checked her page to see if I'd made the cut. No dice. Either she knew I was up to no good or she hadn't been on MySpace since I left my comment.

Shockingly, I forgot to check her page again. Which is where the "Googling myself" thing comes into play.

I just Googled myself and one of the results led me towards Jennifer Love Hewitt's MySpace page. "Jackpot!" I shouted. I went ahead and clicked the link, and sure enough, I accomplished my goal: I called Jennifer Love Hewitt a C word (Scroll down, my comment is fifth from the bottom)!

For the confused...explanation of See You Next Tuesday.

Also, I don't have a daughter. Or any children for that matter.

-Brad Spieser (

The Quest to Give Jay Bruce A Nickname

Everywhere I look people are trying to give Jay Bruce a nickname. I've already heard "The Boss," "Bruce Almighty," and "The Crown Prince of Cinc...innati" as possible monikers for the 21-year-old phenom.

But I can do you one better.

Jay Bruce.

Really, what's wrong with that name? Nothing, I say. Nothing. It's the perfect name. Wait, let me try something: Jay Bruce. Yep, it's perfect.

Stop trying to be Grantland Rice, dammit.

-Brad Spieser (