Thursday, April 30, 2009

Injured Ankle And The Cuts At Clear Channel

Big Pun reportedly weighed 698 lbs. when his heart called it quits at the age of 28. In other words, he was overweight. And I'm guessing that if you were to go back in time -- like, the day before he stopped breathing -- and beat his ankle with a sledge hammer for sixty of seventy minutes, it still wouldn't be as swollen as what I have going on just above my right foot.

(Important piece of information: I hurt myself playing rec-league basketball Monday night.)

You hear it all the time, player-turned-broadcaster complaining about high ankle sprains: "In my day it was just a sprain." Let me tell you something, old timer, you must not have been trying hard enough if you never suffered a high ankle sprain. Because I've broken each of my ankles and dealt with numerous sprains, and I've never had swelling up to my calf. My calf! It's ridiculous, and it's painful and it explains why I haven't posted anything in a few days.

Well, that and I'm a big pussy.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been a part of noteworthy events since Monday, either.

For instance...

I'm pretty sure I witnessed the death of my jerk neighbor (which wouldn't be terrible), or possibly his awesome little daughter (which probably wouldn't change my life at all, despite her awesomeness). And by "I witnessed," what I mean is that while I was lying on my couch and reading Rob Neyer, I heard five seconds of mysterious thumping and a desperation yell, followed by deafening silence. That was four hours ago, and the ambalance still hasn't paid a visit. Who knows? Is Robert Stack still among the living? Can somebody call him if he is? Tell him I'd love to play myself in the reenactment.


I bartend/barback for a living (Lodge Bar, downtown Cincinnati if you'd like to pay me a visit). It's wonderful. I'm surrounded by booze and decidedly non-ugly young ladies and it pays me far more than I'm worth. I don't know much, but I know this: If you enjoy drinking and girls and being in a social environment, bartending is hands-down the best "job that isn't a real job" on the planet. I'm telling you this because my ankle is so jacked up that I've now been forced to call off two shifts already -- and in my world, that's a nice chunk of American currency. There are no sick or personal days in the bar industry. It's show up and get paid or stay at home watching 90210 re-runs before masturbating and going to sleep. Really, those are your only alternatives.

So, being that I'm out $300-400, with two more shifts this week that I might not be able to handle, one would think I'd be pinching pennies until I can literally get back on my feet.

Am I pinching pennies? Of course not. I'm an idiot. An impulsive, one-legged idiot. And eBay loves dopes like me.

My recent obsession, fueled mostly by my Andre The Giant biography that never leaves the bathroom: Scouring eBay for old WWF tapes from the late 80's (not including WrestleManias, which I've seen countless times). This means Royal Rumbles and Summer Slams and everything else hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura. As of now, I have bids on Royal Rumble '89, Summer Slam '88 and Survivor Series '89, and I've purchased Summer Slam '89 and The Best of Saturday Night's Main Event. To say I'm excited to go the mailbox every five minutes for the next 7-19 days would be an understatement of "Michael Beasley is a selfish ball hog who only cares about FGAs" proportions.

(Oh, I also bought an already-worn Winnipeg Jets t-shirt for $16.95. Jackpot! They could have doubled the price on that puppy and it would've felt like stealing. Note: I get the same feeling when I only have to spend $7.73 at Taco Bell.)

So, as you can see, I've had some time on my hands. Time enough to witness dead neighbors and time enough to probe eBay for twenty-year-old VHS tapes, but not enough time to write. I've just been an observer of things since Monday night (which will soon be known as "The Tragic Events of 4/27/09"). Many things have happened this week, and I'm just now getting to them.

What effected me most this week were the cuts at Clear Channel, most notably the termination of Alan Cutler and Paul Daugherty and the removal of Mo Egger's show on 1530 Homer (Mo predictably was offered a job in house).

Look, I know all of these guys (as well as others who received their walking papers), and it's strange to read a newspaper article about people you know on a personal level. The same phenomenon happened when Connor Barwin was drafted in the second round by Houston. I've never written about this, but he's someone I got to know fairly well over the past four years -- I even spoke with him and bought his brothers' beers the night before he was drafted -- and it's just plain bizarre to see him become a millionaire overnight. But enough with the name-dropping, this is about Cutler, Doc and Mo...

The second word broke about Cutler's ousting, I received no fewer than fourteen emails, all sharing the same theme: How happy are you that Cutler got fired? My answer: I wasn't happy. Sure, he wasn't worthy of his position, and sure, I didn't like him personally, but that doesn't mean I'm overflowing with joy because the man lost his job. Anything else I've had to say has been documented dozens of times in this space over the past two years.

As for Doc, I only worked with him for five or six months, but I really liked the guy. He was an honest man who didn't treat people like crap; I even wrote as much 18 months ago. I will tell you that I wasn't a big fan of his talk show (although his interviewing skills were fantastic), but I respected him because he wasn't there simply for the paycheck (Jeff Piecoro, anyone?) I'm sorry Doc lost his job, but relieved to know he's brilliant at his other one (even when I strongly disagree with his opinion, like a few weeks ago when he had the nerve to suggest Cincinnati not host Opening Day every year).

(Before marching onward, you might want to check out Daugherty's blog piece about his final moment at Clear Channel, and radio in general. There's buckets of truth in his words, and it's obviously well written. But I disagree that radio has been reduced to "biting heads off chickens." I know it seems like that, but there's a way to execute an intelligent, entertaining show without compromising your morals. It's difficult, but it can be done. Steve Czaban, the national guy who can be heard in Cutler's old spot, is the best example today.)

Which leaves us with Mo Egger.

You have no idea how devastated I was when the plug was pulled on Mo's show. For one, the show was funny, and getting better. Second, Mo is not an acquaintance or an old pal. Mo is my friend. He was my boss for nearly four years and I can tell you there isn't another soul you'd rather work for. He was fair, available at all hours and willing to stick his neck out for his people. He worked crazy hours, never EVER called in sick and in a business notorious for grossly underpaying everyone, Mo might have been the most underpaid of them all (I've told countless folks in barroom conversations, Mo Egger is one of the most important people walking the hallways at Clear Channel. Without him, that building wouldn't function properly. You cannot put a price on his value).

When Barry Larkin retired, I recall reading a story about my baseball hero buying a Corvette for a lifelong clubhouse guy (a member of the Stowe family, I believe). Accompanying the shiny new sports car was a note that simply read, "Thanks for never saying no." I think about that story a lot. I relate it to my parents, mostly, but it's certainly true of Mo Egger. Before he became a radio host he did everything that was asked of him at Clear Channel. The guy never said no. His work ethic is remarkable. He's one of the most reliable people I've ever met and the most competent radio person I'll ever know.

If I had a nickel for every closed-door meeting or marathon email session I had with Mo, I'd spend the next eleven days at the arcade, attempting to beat Street Fighter 2 (or whatever the kids are playing these days). I was the most frustrated person in radio history. It made no sense that Jeff Piecoro and Alan Cutler were hosting coveted programs when I knew I was better. It seemed that nothing I did was ever good enough to get a fair shot. Sure, I was allowed to fill in here or there, but never long enough to settle into a groove and prove my worth. And I only tell you this because Mo was the only person willing to hear me bitch over and over about the same topic. He routinely offered advice and he always encouraged me to do more than what I was doing. I'm forever indebted to Mo Egger, and I hope to work with him in the future.

Mo may not know it right now, but he'll be on the top of the radio world (whether it be terrestrial, satellite, online or whatever) before it's all said and done. He's just too good. In the meantime, he'll continue to offer the best local blog around.


I was planning on writing words regarding Edinson Volquez, Adam Rosales, Rey Mauluga, the Celtics-Bullis series, Bill Cosby and other important matters, but it just doesn't seem appropriate.

I do, however, have a piece of good news (at least in my world): I'm now the newest sports writer at Derf Magazine. This is the biggest break I've caught since I started writing nearly three years ago. So check me out, spread the good word and visit me on the message boards for some good ol' fashioned name-calling (or intelligent discussion, or whatever).

End of words.

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, April 26, 2009

...And The Bengals Draft A Wonderful Person!

In the sixth round of this weekend's NFL draft the Cincinnati Bengals selected a mammal by the name of Bernard Scott. He plays the position of running back. And I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure you don't want him dating your daughter. This is mostly because he's *probably* a terrible person. Did that prevent the Bengals from picking him? No. No it didn't.

(Note: In this case, *probably* means 99.3 percent)

Let's count some red flags together...

1. Bernard Scott is currently 25-years-old.

2. He went to four different colleges -- Southeastern Oklahoma State, Central Arkansas (home of Scottie Pippen's handsome face), Blinn Junior College and Abilene Christian -- and never faced anything resembling stiff competition (however I don't have Blinn's 2006 schedule magnet anymore, so maybe I'm being unfair).

3. Dismissed from Central Arkansas for punching a coach! Which was really kind of a shocker, considering...

4. He was kicked off his high school team for an off-campus fight.

5. Arrested a total of five times, not including any crime he might commit between now and the time you finish this sentence.

6. Runs a 4.56 40-yard dash, which isn't pathetic, but it's nothing special for a 200-lb. guy who isn't known for his power.

Again: He's ancient for a rookie; he played for schools that Milford high school would routinely beat by more than six touchdowns; he loves punching people in the skull, including members of the coaching staff; his wrists are quite familiar with how it feels to be handcuffed; he's not particularly fast; his name is Bernard.

So what gives?

Unless Mike Brown craves negative press, my only conclusion is that Bernard Scott, warts and all, is one bad mother. And really, that's all I care about -- can the guy play? Which makes me no different than approximately 100 percent of Bengals fans on Earth.

Listen, as long as Bernard Scott isn't actively pursuing a situation where he can smack my mother in the face, I don't care what he's into at night. Sure, a choir boy would be nice, but only if he could pick up first downs with regularity.

1990 was a good year to be me. Not only did I consume Count Chocula every day, but I had a copy of the Vanna White Playboy under my bed. Nearly as important, the Bengals were somewhat decent. I was 10-years-old and my life had promise.

It would be fifteen years before the Bengals would attain similar levels of decency. But it didn't last long. They were really good in 2005, but dipped to mediocrity in '06. As for '07 and '08, they were somewhere between dreadful and something worse than dreadful.

Eloquently speaking, they sucked.

Until Sunday, 2005 seemed like a trillion years ago. But now I'm starting to remember it like it was last Tuesday. The Bengals had Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson and a dominant offensive line and blah, blah, blah. But they also had rookies Chris Henry and Odell Thurman, two freakishly talented humans who (a.) took the team to the next level and (b.) are candidates for the Worst Person of All Time trophy. Both Henry and Thurman were Grade A knuckleheads coming out of college, and both lived up to their reputation at the next level. But before they decided to get arrested every other week as members of the Bengals was the glorious 2005 season.

Look, the Bengals will more than likely be a lousy football team in each of the next forty seasons; that's just the way it goes here. Mike Brown, who'll undoubtedly live forever, will always have control over this joke of a franchise, and he always loses. The guy could screw up a junkyard. That being the case, you may as well join me as I embrace a return to the not-so-distant past, the one that was full of a few despicable people and -- for a brief, miraculous moment -- winning.

I vote YES on Bernard Scott!

Keep the change, you filthy animals.

-Brad Spieser (

Friday, April 24, 2009

Final Thoughts Entering The NFL Draft

One of the things I hate most about Alan Cutler is the one thing my brother routinely tells me avoid -- telling people "I told you so."

But I can't help it.

Nearly 500 days ago -- the day before Ohio State lost to LSU in the BCS championship game -- I wrote the following words about LSU DE Tyson Jackson (this was after he posted 3.5 sacks for the entire season !):

"I haven't seen mock drafts, but if LSU DE Tyson Jackson isn't projected in the top half of round one I'm missing something."

Of course, in a mock draft from last week's Sporting News, Mr. Jackson was projected to go the Broncos in the second round, 48th overall.

I'm just saying.

Other thoughts as the draft approaches:

1. The Lions have to go with Matthew Stafford. Have to. You need a big-armed QB (and Stafford has one of the biggest in recent memory) to go with the game's greatest deep threat, Calvin Johnson. Stafford has some accuracy issues, but we're not talking Kyle Boller here. Plus, unlike Boller Stafford showed marked improvement in his three-year run in Athens (whereas Boller really only became semi-decent his senior year at Cal). Anyway, QBs are always a risky pick, but I love Stafford and expect him to lead Detroit out of the toilet within a few years.

2. Mark Sanchez will also be a star. For which team, I doesn't know. But I'm a big fan of Sanchez. Which leads me to...

3. BUST ALERT! BUST ALERT! Josh Freeman is terrible. I wouldn't touch him with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole. Never got better, accuracy got worse and didn't step up his game when the talent around him was weak. Remember when Jay Cutler was at Vandy? Sure, they still lost a ton of games, but his talent kept the Commodores in games they had no business being in. Again: STAY AWAY FROM JOSH FREEMAN!

4. The more I think about it, it's laughable that Knowshon Moreno might be selected ahead of Chris Wells. Moreno is a good player, and will probably be a consistent 1,200-yard guy, but Wells possesses otherworldly talent. And if I'm a GM I don't mind swinging and missing on a potential superstar over safe and steady. You can always find a serviceable running back, but you rarely can find a superstar.

5. Maybe I'm wrong about Jeremy Maclin, but I don't understand the love affair with him. I know he has all the measurables and the big plays on his resume, but I just don't see him as an explosive player at the next level.

6. You see Michael Crabtree as slow and I remind you of Michael Irvin, Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson. Passing Crabtree up for speed concerns would be foolish.

7. Has Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey ever done anything to warrant a first-round selection? He's big and fast, I get it. But there are a lot of those guys. And where's the production? And tell me all you want about Maryland's shaky QB situation and I'll throw Reggie Ball in your face. Reggie Ball, in case you've forgotten, is the inaccurate (or as Jesse Palmer says, unaccurate) gentleman who delivered balls to the ultra-productive Calvin Johnson at Georgia Tech.

8. Percy Harvin, now here's a first rounder. Aside from smoking a ton of weed (which isn't a big deal), there's no reason why he isn't one of the top eight or ten prospects in this year's draft. Hell, I'm not sure I've seen eight or ten better collge football players in my lifetime (seriously!), and his skills -- regardless of what picky scouts tell you -- do translate to the next level. Okay, I understand he might need to work on his route running, but I'll take A+++++++++++++ feet and A+++++++++++++ speed and A+++++++++++++ production at the highest level when I can find them.

9. Assuming Wisconsin's Travis Beckum is fully healthy (and just as explosive as he was in '06 and '07), he's the best receiving tight end in the draft...and Rice's James Casey's right on his tail...

10. My RB rankings: (1.) Wells, (2.) LeSean McCoy (aka LeBlack McBlack), (3.) Shonn Greene, (4.) Moreno, (5.) Donald Brown, (6.) Glen Coffee (839.) James Davis.

(Note: As much as I don't believe in James Davis as an NFL runner, he very easily could run for 1,100 yards next year. All running backs are good. Or, at least it seems that way.)

11. James Laurinaitis should not be a first round pick, and isn't in Rey Maualuga's stratosphere.

12. You want 3rd-round red flags who might just put your defense over the hump, I give you Ohio State CB Donald Washington and LSU DT Ricky Jean-Francois.

13. You want sleeperific wideouts, I give you Marshall's Darius Passmore, BYU's Austin Collie and Oregon State's Sammie Stroughter.

14. You want the sleepiest sleeper who'll likely go undrafted, I give you Buffalo QB Drew Willy. I'm telling you, I watched him several times this year (thanks goes to both the Vickers System and ESPN2 for televising unwatchable games on Tuesday night) and the guy can play. His arm is good enough, as is his accuracy. And he won at friggin' Buffalo, after dealing with years and years of crap, which suggests he's mentally tough. You watch: Undrafted or not, Drew Willy's on an NFL roster next year, and all the GMs who thought it was wise to pick Michigan State's Brian Hoyer, A & M's Stephen McGee or Fresno's Tom Brandstater over Willy will be kicking themselves.

*****That is all*****

Draft recap coming, you know, after the draft.

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rhetorical Question: Will The Bengals Screw Up The Draft?

For a man who (a.) cares deeply about the NFL and college football, (b.) bets heavily on both products and (c.) has always loved the NFL draft, it's rather amazing how little I follow the hype in the days and weeks and months leading up to it. But I know a thing or two. For instance, I know the answer to the following question: What should my favorite team do with their first two picks on Saturday?

The Bengals have pressing needs at both offensive tackle and center. As it happens, this draft sets up perfectly for the Bengals to snag one of each in the opening two rounds. Will they do it? Will they pull off the logical? Of course not. Logical isn't a word in Mike Brown's vocabulary. But let's just assume the Bengals are capable of pulling it off.

As long as I live I will never complain about the Bengals drafting a defensive lineman in the first round. Even if they possessed 1992 Bruce Smith and 1993 Reggie White as defensive ends, I wouldn't throw my Reeboks through the television if the Bengals selected Texas DE Brian Orakpo with their first pick. You can never have enough mammals who can effectively chase quarterbacks.

Ditto for overweight, run-stuffing humans in the middle. The Bengals are currently in decent shape at the DT position, but I would not fist-fight my mother (or my Aunt Bunny, for that matter) if Boston College DT B.J. Raji becomes Cincinnati's newest character concern.

But anyway, the Bengals choose sixth overall, and no fewer than four offensive linemen might become Carson Palmer's best friend come Saturday afternoon. And really, if you care about the Bengals, you should hope and pray Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis make the logical decision.

But Brad, why is drafting an offensive lineman the logical move?

Well, Jimmy, I'll tell you...

Carson Palmer is not the guy we thought he was going to be. I've killed him routinely since the middle of 2007, both for his performance on the field and his complete and total failure as team leader. But he can still throw the football -- and under optimal conditions -- he can do so impressively.

Optimal. 2005 was optimal. You remember 2005, right?

Willie Anderson and Levi Jones were elite tackles; Rich Braham was a top-tier center; and the guards ranged from pretty awesome (Eric Steinbach) to totally decent (Bob Williams). So, while Palmer has proven time and again to be a subpar QB with pressure in his face (not only does he backpedal embarrassingly and carelessly heave the ball into traffic, but he possesses ZERO improvisational skills), he's on Peyton Manning and Tom Brady's level when given necessary time to throw.

And just like Manning's Colts and Brady's Patriots, the Bengals are sinking or swimming with Palmer. That being the case, he must be protected. Luckily, the Bengals -- despite neglecting the offensive line in the offseason -- are in a position to greatly upgrade the talent level up front -- and in the process, keep No. 9 upright.

Again: (1.) The Bengals are rolling with Palmer no matter what. (2.) He's incapable of avoiding pressure. (3.) He's unwilling to deliver a ball unless he knows he won't get blasted by a blood-thirsty opponent.

Thems being the facts (and they are the facts), the Bengals need to do what's right and go tackle-center in rounds one and two Saturday.

Who, exactly? How should I know? It seems Baylor tackle Jason Smith will be off the board come pick No. 6, but you never know. Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe appears to be a 50-50 shot to be available. I would gladly take either of these gentlemen -- and really, I don't care which one. Just give me somebody.

Which leads me to the realistic possibility of both Smith and Monroe being gone before the Bengals are up.

That leaves us with a red flag and a question mark: Alabama's Andre Smith (high knucklehead factor) and Old Mississippi's Michael Oher (is six way too high?). But you know what? I'll take either one of them. And yeah, yeah, I know the whole thing about taking the best player available -- and I also know what I said earlier about a game-changer on the D-line -- but slightly reaching for a guy who will protect Carson Palmer makes more than a little sense. It also gives the team the only legitimate chance to win football contests in the immediate future.

As for round two, the Bengals will almost certainly be staring at the option of snagging a highly-rated center. It only took eighty seconds of research to uncover the names Max Unger, Eric Wood and Alex Mack, three dudes who (a.) participated in collegiate athletics in the United States and (b.) are slated to go between picks 28 and 45. This is excellent news when one considers the Bengals' second round pick, which falls at 38th overall. Just as I can't differentiate between the top four tackles, I also can't tell the difference between the top three centers. But I know they're highly rated, and I know the Bengals are in desperate need of one -- and being the resident math major I can tell you the Bengals should take one of them. Any one. Again, just give me somebody.

My promise (which is more or less a threat): If the Bengals take tackle-center in the first two rounds, I'll refrain from making fun of Marvin Lewis/Mike Brown for at least eight days. And if they select a RB in the middle rounds (Glen Coffee, anyone?), I'll make it an even two weeks.

Anything less and Aunt Bunny had better not show her face at the Memorial Day picnic.

*****That is all*****

Draft discussion to continue for the next week or so.

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, April 20, 2009

Eleanor Rigby Or Piano Man?

1. Do the Beatles have a single tune anywhere near as famous as "Piano Man?" I say no.

2. What's better, spaghetti or intercourse? That one's tough.

Regardless, thems are the things Craig and I discuss in our latest podcast, "Beatles Vs Billy Joel/Pasta Vs Intercourse." It's kind of not terrible, and I suggest you give it a listen. I promise it will not be the worst four minutes of your life.

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Micah Owings Needs More At-Bats

Excluding the one game he started, Micah Owings has only appeared in three of a possible ten games this season. Early success or not, that is inexcusable. Owings is one of the better hitters on this team (I'm looking right at you, Paul Janish) and needs to come to the plate at some point during every game. Every game. The Reds are 6-5 in spite of their offense, and it's more than a little silly that they've lost games while one of their best hitters never got off the bench.

It's possible that Dusty Baker isn't the best manager for unique fellow such as Micah Owings.

-Brad Spieser (

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Will Derrick Rose Lead Me To Twitter?

With six minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter of game one of the Celtics-Bulls series, I'm thinking maybe it's time to join the Twitter revolution. Because I've spent the past four minutes texting the following question to every human I've ever met: "Are you watching Derrick Rose abuse the Celtics? He's the best player on the floor. He's like a combination of Isiah Thomas, John Stockton, Jesus and Teen Wolf."

Yeah, college basketball is better than the NBA...

(Note: Italics were used on the previous sentence to indicate sarcasm.)

Brad Spieser (

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Popular Music And Whatnot

How famous must a song be to prevent the title from ever being used again? That's the question I was asking myself yesterday as my car stereo played Our Lady Peace's decidedly average piece of noise, "Somewhere Out There."

And why was I asking myself this question?

Because "Somewhere Out There" is already taken, dammit! It was a monster hit when I was seven! It was from the animated film An American Tail, and it was duet performed by Linda Ronstadt and some black dude not named Peabo Bryson, Aaron Neville or Luther Vandross. And my mother loves it. And, oh yeah, it's kind of awesome. So awesome, in fact, that it won Grammy's and stuff (this according to, an Internet website).

Which brings me back to the original question: How famous must a song be to prevent the title from ever being used again?

Look at it this way: If interracial mid-80's duets are vulnerable, every song is.

In other words, "Stairway to Heaven" had better watch its back.

*****End of words*****

80's cheesiness:

-Brad Spieser (

Shocker: Alan Cutler's Emails Are Annoying, Too

A loyal reader of mine, a mammal by the name of C.K., sent me an email this morning regarding Wednesday's Jay Bruce piece. It was short and complimentary and boosted my confidence enough to cancel the day's plan, which was slicing my throat. Of far greater importance than my life being extended, C.K. ended his electronic mail with a nugget that is equal parts hilarious, maddening and completely unsurprising:

"By the way, completely off topic but; did you know that Alan Cutler types in all caps when he e-mails people?



Now, I'm not sure why C.K. used a semicolon to convey his message -- and hell, maybe it's grammatically correct -- but that's not the point. The point is obvious, and I never get sick of making it: Alan Cutler is a goofy annoying schmuck.

Quick follow-up: I just informed my roommate -- let's call him Mike, mostly because that's his name -- that I was making fun of Cutler again. A brief conversation ensued.

Brad: Hey, I'm making fun of Cutler again.

Mike: When do I get to make fun of him?

Brad: Whenever. Is there anything in particular he does that does you crazy?

Mike: To begin with...everything.

Brad: I think you're watching Almost Famous too much?

*****That is all*****

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Doubting Jay Bruce? Why?

Something I'm hearing quite a bit lately: "I'm still not sold on Jay Bruce"

The sentence preceding the one above usually comes out of my mouth, and it usually goes something like this: "Hey idiot! Turn the Reds game back on! Bruce is up 7th this inning!

Every time I hear these words I want to bang my head against the coffee table (or at least throw my pet turtle Roger through the window). Jay Bruce turned 22 last week! He crushed the highest levels of minor league pitching when his age suggested he should've either been (a.) struggling mightily or (b.) playing against weaker competition in lower levels. He became baseball's No. 1 overall prospect because he earned it, not because he was blessed with raw ability; it doesn't work that way. Trust me, the best players in Major League Baseball were also the best players in the minors. Jay Bruce was one of the best down there, and will become one of the best up here. He made it to Cincinnati shortly after turning 21 and proceeded to hit 21 HRs in 108 games. The list of modern-day mammals who have done that, predictably, is pretty short, and it includes names like Griffey, Pujols and Rodriguez.

Are you really considering a leap off the Jay Bruce Bandwagon after a couple of three-strikeout games?

Like Jay Bruce, Ryan Braun comes from the frighteningly-deep 2005 draft. Braun, as you may have heard, owns one of the most impressive two-year stretches to begin a baseball career. Unlike Jay Bruce, Ryan Braun spent his early twenties starring at the University of Miami, possessor of one of the nation's finest baseball programs.

Braun's magical rookie year came at the age of 23, and again, Bruce turned 22 just last week. He'll have 500-plus more at-bats on the back of his baseball card before he turns 23, and in the world of baseball, for a guy who is barely old enough to legally consume blueberry vodka, 500 at-bats means everything.

So, while I'm not saying his 2010 will be as great as Ryan Braun's 2007, I am saying that another year under his belt will allow him time to close the gap dramatically. Although it's true I'm writing these words because I'm hoping Jay Bruce becomes a once-in-a-generation superstar, it's also because it's more likely to happen than you might realize. When he hopelessly flails against dominant lefties, it's part of the maturation process -- not an indicator of things to come.

Simply put: Jay Bruce is nowhere near a finished product, but he's still pretty damn good right now.

Don't believe me?

Then join me this season as I watch the pup struggle his way through a 30-HR season.

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hi, Hello And Welcome 2009: Part 1

Boy am I slipping. The Reds have played five games already and I haven't mentioned George Grande in any of my posts. Until now.

Tonight the Reds kick off a series with the Brewers, or as Grande will most certainly refer to them 6,200 times over the course of the series, the Brew Crew. Anyway, this series is really important for two reasons:

1. I wagered a healthy amount of cash on not only the Reds winning more than 78.5 games but the Brewers winning fewer than 80.5 contests. Like I said, this series is important for this guy.

2. The 4th inning. That's the inning I'm guessing Grande will reference Harvey's Wallbangers like (a.) they were playing yesterday or (b.) they are relevant outside of Wisconsin. Harvey's Wallbangers, for those of you who don't know (which is pretty much everybody), was the nickname given to the 1982 Brewers (a team remembered by pretty much nobody).


Grande, by the way, was on fire Saturday. During the first inning against Pittsburgh, Georgie Boy called Johnny Cueto "Johnny B" and "John-O," not to mention saying "Here's Andy" when career .176 hitter Andy LaRoche came to the plate. And oh yeah, he called the Pirates the "Buc-O's" on a few hundred occasions.

George Grande, your Reds TV announcer since 1993!

-Brad Spieser (

Watching Armageddon, Pulling My Hair Out

Three undeniables:

1. It rained in my front yard this morning.

2. My middle name is Alan.

3. Armageddon is a great film.

Here me out.

In the same way you might love Point Break or Road House or Anaconda, I love Armageddon. It mixes in relentless star power with occasional moments of legitimate comedy. And don't forget the ridiculous. Much like Point Break and Road House and Anaconda, Armageddon brings the ridiculous.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, No shit Armageddon is ridiculous. It's about oil drillers saving the world in space, buddy!

And I can't argue that. But I have for you a part in the 1998 blockbuster that is equally as improbable and twice as maddening as oil drillers (or whatever they're called) saving the world in space.

(By the way, I'm writing this under the assumption that -- just like every other normal human being -- you've seen Armageddon somewhere in the neighborhood of 226 times.)


Approximately 24-36 hours after Bruce Willis fired Ben Affleck while on a oil rig in the south pacific, Affleck started an oil drilling company (or whatever they're called) of his own, complete with a working rig (or whatever), dozens of employees, two signs promoting "A.J. Frost Oil" and, of course, oil shooting out of the Earth. I'd like to say this doesn't really drive me nuts, but then I'd be a lying liar.

I realize the movie industry asks us to suspend belief with pictures such as Armageddon, but this is simply too much for me to handle. Watch the video below and tell me if I have a right to be outraged (and don't bother reminding me of my pathetic life):

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More Thoughts On Alan Cutler's Stupidity

1. You hear a rattle in your car, something is definitely wrong...what do you do? Are you proactive -- do you seek immediate help from a professional? Or do you choose to ignore it? By now you can probably guess what Craig and I do in situations like this?

Follow-up question: You're supposed to get your oil changed every 3,000 miles, but that can be a pain in the many miles over 3,000 results in you thinking, Jesus, I need to get some oil my vehicle? 1,500? 2,000?

2. Aren't you curious to hear what Craig and I had to say about Alan Cutler chasing Billy Gillespie down a hallway shortly after Gillespie was canned?

Congratulations, boys and girls, today's your lucky day. A new podcast is up; it's titled "Crappy Cars And The Alan Cutler-Billy Gillespie Duel," and I'll give you eighty American dollars if you can correctly guess the topics on said podcast...

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Bestest Thai Food On Earth

Thai Namptip is perhaps the finest restaurant on the planet. It's also located in a strip mall in Monfort Heights. Craig and I eat there occasionally after recording sessions. For whatever reason a discussion about said eatery broke out the last time we spoke into microphones together. That, along with some more racial stereotyping, is what you can hear by listening to our latest podcast, "Delicious Thai Food And Fun Times With Rape."

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Opinions Of Big Black Basketball Playing Men

I know Jay Bruce will be swinging a Louisville Slugger on my television screen in fifteen hours -- and thems words leave me grinning ear to ear -- but that's not what's on my mind mind at the moment.

So, Brad, what's on your mind at the moment?

Well, I'll tell you, good friend, because my mind can't stop thinking about the following two items...

1. Stanley Robinson, UConn's junior small forward, has driven me to the brink of insanity for the past three seasons. But he's been one of the nation's five best players over the past three weeks, and I'm now driving the Stanley Robinson Bandwagon. Why the change of heart? Well, because he's been playing out of position. His jaw-dropping athleticism (as seen at the 1:38 mark of this video) might suggest he's a small forward, and he certainly can defend that position at the next level, but I'm sure of one thing: Stanley Robinson is a power forward in the NBA. And if he brings consistent energy and effort the way he did in the NCAA tournament, you're now looking at a legitimate game-changer (on both sides of the court) if he plays in an up-tempo system. And yeah, yeah, similar things were written about Kwame Brown, Chris Wilcox, Hakim Warrick, etc., but I'm getting a different vibe from him.

I'll do you one better: Stanley Robinson, currently projected by Draft Express as an early second-round pick of the 2010 draft, will be a better pro than Arizona junior PF Jordan Hill (Draft Express's No. 3 overall player in the 2009 draft). And yes I'm taking bets via email.

Way more importantly...

2. It's possible you haven't been following the the Memphis Grizzly Bears over the past month. Maybe not. Regardless, I bet a shit ton of American dollars on them at the start of the year to win more than 22.5 games. Well, after several recent miracles -- like winning five out of six games -- my Grizzly Bears now sit on 22 wins with six games to go. This, boys and girls, makes me far excited'r than a Volquez changeup ever could.

Say a little prayer for me tonight, and every night until the Grizzly Bears pay off my credit cards.

Final note: I'm bartending all day tomorrow at Lodge Bar (7th St, downtown Cincinnati, between Vine and Walnut). We open at 10 a.m. and close when we close. I'll be there all damn day. Come see me and tip generously. I'll be the tall moron in a red shirt.

-Brad Spieser (

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Final Four Predictions

In case you were wondering, I'm using my basketball expertise, shunning the Vickers and riding the chalk. Carolina (-7) will roll Nova, and UConnecticut (-4.5) just has too much inside and out -- especially with Stanley Robinson finally playing hard -- for Michigan State to handle. I wouldn't be surprised if both margins are 15-plus.

-Brad Spieser (

Still Missing My Favorite Show...

Let me tell you how goddamn great The Wire was, and just how much it meant to me: I was just reading Bill Simmons's answer to a mailbag question about bromances, and just reading the names Avon and Stringer sent a chill through my body. I was covered in goosebumps and unable to function for at least a minute. Or as Jeff Brantley might say, I was literally paralyzed. Anyway, I've spent the last 21 minutes watching my favorite Avon and Stringer scenes on YouTube.

My favorite can be seen below. And don't bother watching it if you haven't seen the show; not only do I not want to spoil anything for you, but you'll have no idea you're watching maybe the most powerful scene in the show's five-year run.

Avon: Us, motherfucker.

Stringer: Us, man.

-Brad Spieser (

Friday, April 3, 2009

2009 Reds Preview (Several Words About Reds Baseball)

I asked myself 25 questions regarding the 2009 Cincinnati Reds. I also answered them.

1. Question: Will Aaron Harang bounce back? Has he gained a personality?

Answer: How do I know if he'll bounce back? That's kind of a stupid question, you know? But I do find it funny that he lost a bunch of weight after his wort professional season and acts like one had nothing to do with another. Look, the Reds obviously need a return to his 05-07 form, and I guess it's possible, but my breath will be held until I see it with my own eyes.

The real question is why didn't he Reds trade Harang before the '08 season? He was coming off a dominating three-year stretch that peaked in '07 with a 16-6 record, 218 strikeouts and a lights-out 1.144 WHIP. He is (or was) a big durable righty under a modest, multiyear contract -- I'm thinking a guy like that could've drawn three of four top 100 prospects and a major-league ready reliever. Moves like that keep small-to-mid market organizations competitive (or at least interesting) for prolonged periods. Go ask Oakland and Florida.

(And no, Harang hasn't gained a personality; he will continue to be the worst interview in the history of professional athletics in Cincinnati, Ohio.)

2. Question: Has Volquez learned to spot his fastball? Is he really a master at wiggling out of trouble, or was last year just a extraordinary stretch of good luck?

Answer: My buddy Chris and I spend a fair amount of time discussing Edinson Volquez. He thinks Volquez needs to work in his curveball more regularly. I say he needs to do a better job of spotting his fastball early in the count. Both are true, I suppose, but I'm siding with me. Maybe I'm naive, but I believe Volquez's fastball and change-up are good enough that he only has to throw seven or eight curveballs a game -- you know, just something for the batter to keep in the back of his head.

Anyway, if he can simply throw strike one more often, he won't have to wiggle out of 1st-and-third, one-out situations every other inning. Here's the thing: The guy is great, and I'm quite sure he walks across the Ohio River at night when nobody's looking, but he has a ton of room for improvement...and it all starts with strike one.

(For the record, spring box scores suggest Volquez still isn't pitch efficient: 12 walks in 22 innings. But he also mixed in 19 strikeouts and a 1.19 ERA)

3. Question: Can Johnny Cueto settle the F down after walking a batter or giving up a bloop single? Will a head case always be a head case?

Answer: Really, that's only thing standing in the way of Johnny Cueto, nine-time All Star. Well that or an arm injury. Or a bus accident, or whatever. But anyway, you get my point, and if not, here goes: Johnny Cueto is awesome. His fast ball is awesome. His slider is awesome. His command is awesome. So is his poise. His poise is awesome...until it isn't.

How many times did we see Cueto cruising along last year -- something like 4 innings, one hit, five strikeouts and no walks -- before completely self-destructing because a two-out error was committed behind him? Way too much, right? But why is that? Why did he wet his pants seemingly every time and start giving up gap shots left and right.

I've never seen a pitcher's demeanor change so quickly, and I'm more than a little worried that it's an unfixable problem. Is a head case always a head case? Go, I hope not.

4. Has Homer Bailey mellowed out at all? How will he handle a demotion this time around? His role with the team remains unclear, but he's pitched well enough this spring to warrant a spot on the opening-day roster. But what if he's along reliever? And what if he struggles in that particular role? Will he be able to handle it, or will be the baby he's been the last few years when he didn't get his way? I don't know, but I'm as curious as you are to find out.

Perhaps the question should have been, is Bailey good enough to be a quality major league starter? I know he had all the credentials as a young fella, and there's no doubt he's pitched well this spring, but every time I've watched him I've been underwhelmed with his stuff. the fastball's too straight, and it ain't that fast. The breaking stuff hangs and the change-up is borderline laughable.

Count me among those who are nowhere near sold, but desperately wanting to buy.

5. Question: Will Bronson Arroyo continue to be the most under-appreciated Red of the past decade or so?

Answer: Probably. He's never pretty, and on his worst days it appears my probably-gay Uncle Pete could hit an opposite-field single off him, but he knows how to pitch, and he's durable as hell.

I wouldn't dive off the roof of my house if he was traded away after a solid 5-or-6-game stretch, but the same can be said if the Reds are forced to keep him around. After all, 35 starts and 200-plus innings of league-average (or better) pitching from your fourth starter is more uncommon than you might realize.

6. Question: Is Bill Bray just one of those guys?

Answer: Sure looks like it. That boy is never healthy.

7. Question: Will Francisco Cordero ever throw a heart attack-free 1-2-3 ninth in a meaningful one-run game?

Answer: Doubtful, my friend. Doubtful. I'm just afraid he'll fall off the deep end this year and hamstring the organization for the next three years. Don't forget: Cordero's still owed well over $30 million over the next three years. Things could get ugly.

(If you're looking for my Cordero prediction, I'll say that he'll improve slightly upon last year. I'm thinking a minor bump in saves and a tiny decrease in blown saves. Just as many heart attacks, though.)

8. Question: Why wasn't Mike Lincoln better in '08? Why were the Reds so quick to offer him a two-year contract?

Answer: For a guy with a mid-90's fast ball and a knee-buckling 12-6 curveball, I just don't understand why he wasn't better in '08. I mean, a 4.48 ERA for a middle reliever in the National League? Really? The dude turns 34 a week from today! Whatever.

9. Question: Will you ever turn the television off if (a.) Danny Ray Herrera is pitching or (b.) Micah Owings is batting?

Answer: I have thirty-three rules in life, and No. 16 looks something like this: Any time a 5'6, 140-pound left-handed midget, who's armed with a freaking screwball, is on the mound, I stop what I'm doing to watch.

Ditto for Owings, the world's best hitting pitcher, when he's at the plate.

10. Question: Does Arthur Rhodes = Mike Stanton + Rheal Cormier (i.e., the dinosaur lefty who the Reds acquired a year too late)?

Answer: Probably. How would I know?

11. I hate David Weathers.

12. Question: Anyone else getting a Eddie-Taubensee-in-1999 feel about Ramon Hernandez?

Answer: 15 HRs and 65 RBI in a down year for Hernandez in '08. Plus, factor in a charging of the batteries after being in hopeless Baltimore, not to mention the transition from AL East to NL Central is about as drastic as it gets.

13. Question: Is it officially time to give up on Edwin Encarnacion's breakout year?

Answer: Yes. We've seen what we're going to see out of Encarnacion. And I say that with a tear in my eye; I really thought he was going to bat clean-up and drive in 118 runs for the next thirty or so years.

14. Question: Can Alex Gonzalez give the Reds 125 games in '09?

Answer: These questions I asked myself are fucking idiotic. Do I look like a doctor to you? But anyway, if he can replicate 2007's offensive numbers (16 HR, 55 RBI in 110 games) with pre-2007 defensive numbers (solid percentages and whatnot), I would clap three times and celebrate.

15. Question: Should Brandon Phillips be anywhere near the top four spots in the order?

Answer: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I know the Reds don't have ideal lineup at the moment, but Phillips is really more of a six-hole guy, not a clean-up guy. He's just not that great of an offensive player. His three-year OPS+ numbers are 88, 105 and 92. In kindergarten terms, that's below average. Even his 30-30 year was barely above average offensively. For a mammal who swings at everything and never walks, his run production is lousy.

Thank God for impeccable middle-infield defense.

16. Question: Is Joey Votto looking a career year offensively? Has he cleaned up his defense?

Answer: Maybe. It's going to happen one of these years. He'll turn 26 by the end of the season and age 27 is the most common age for a career year. Remember, we like to lump Votto and Jay Bruce together as Cincinnati's two young lefties, but Votto's not all that young, while Jay Bruce was just 21-years-old yesterday.

17. Question: Can Jay Bruce be the superstar we need him to be this year?

Answer: That, of course, would be a wonderful thing in my life. But we might be a year or two away from superstardom. But you never know. I'd say if he hits 30 homers, drives in 90, doesn't strike out 250 times and avoids impregnating every white girl in downtown Cincinnati we'd have reason to buy season tickets for the next eight-and-a-half-seasons. I'm thinking green seats. Oh wait.

18. Question: Does Chris Dickerson stink?

Answer: I think so. He'll be 27-years-old in a week and his minor league baseball card reveals a couple indicators of future statistics: Despite being an incredible physical specimen (6'4, 220 lbs.), Dickerson's never had much power; 14 HRs being his career best. Far more troubling are his strikeout totals. Aside from his shortened season in rookie ball, he always whiffed more than 100 times in a season -- peaking at 162 (in 134 games) in 2007. He walks a little bit, but definitely not a lot. My guess: He gets sent down at some point, and Johnny Gomes will get the majority of his ABs.

19. Question: How long will Dusty Baker leave Willy Taveras in the one hole?

Answer: You mean the same guy who will get on base less than 30 percent of the time? Probably til mid-September.

20. Question: Can the Reds win more than 78.5 games?

Answer: They better, because my degenerate ass betting on them again. But seriously, why can't they win 85? The pitching staff should be in the top 3 in the NL and the offense has a chance to be around league what's the difference between the Reds and the Angels of the past three or four years? They haven't been able to hit -- plus they play in a superior league -- and yet they're always in the October mix. I'm not predicting 95 wins, but I don't think 85-88 is absurd, either.

21. Question: Will Dusty Baker ever learn the difference between good and well?

Answer: Nope. Never. And I'm going to track it all year.

22. Question: Is Geroge Grande still the Reds play-by-play voice on Fox Sports Ohio?

Answer: Yep, since 1993!

23. Question: Has George Grande learned the difference between a bloop and a line drive?

Animals: If he has, I'll punch my mother in the skull and stick the video on YouTube.

24. Question: Did Jeff Brantley spend his offseason increasing his vocabulary from ten words to eighteen?

Answer: RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrright Dooooooooowwwwwwwwnnnn Brrrrrroadway!

25. Do questions 21-24 make me want to Brooks Hadlin myself?

I doubt they'll kick up any fuss. Not for an old crook like me.

-Brad Spieser (

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Keeping Up With The Most Majoristic Of Major Multimedia Outlets

Hang on, I have to try something. I always wanted to know what'd be like to work for ESPN. Here goes:

Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler Jay Cutler.

Man, that was thrilling.

In related news, I'm going to the pawn shop now in search of (a.) a gun and (b.) a bullet. Please wear black to my funeral. Thank you.

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mick Cronin, Jef Keppinger, Carson Palmer, Etc.

1. John Calipari just left perennial powerhouse Memphis for Kentucky. A few years prior Roy Williams left one of the Big Seven (Kansas) for another (North Carolina). So look around, Bearcat fans, and come to grips with the fact that your favorite college basketball program is a stepping-stone job, like every other school -- with the possible exceptions of Duke, Carolina, UCLA and Kentucky.

I didn't write those words to smack you in the face with harsh realities, but more so to shine light on the fact that we need Mick Cronin to be great. Cincinnati isn't a stepping stone to him, it's most certainly a destination. He grew up in the city and graduated from the school; nothing could drag him away from the head job at UC. Except, of course, consistent inability to make the NCAA tournament. But that's a whole other story.

If Mick Cronin can't make this program great again, I'm not sure we'll ever see the words "elite" and "UC basketball" ever written in the same sentence again. Keep your fingers crossed, because I'm getting sick of March Madness without the Bearcats.

(Explanation of the Big Seven: I consider UNC, Duke, Kentucky University, UCLA, Kansas, Indiana and Arizona the best programs in the country when factoring in tradition, success, arena, players in the NBA, etc.)

2. Why did the Reds trade Jeff Keppinger for what will likely amount to nothing? I don't care if he hit .043 (or whatever) this spring, we know he can smack around left-handed pitchers and play multiple positions. Think about it, they traded a proven right-handed bat in order to keep a defensive replacement, Paul Janish, who'll never hit enough to be a regular, and Adam Rosales, who's never been confused with a hot prospect.

Plus, both Rosales and Janish still have options! Why not stash them for a month and see if Keppinger finds his MoJo? It's not like Adam and Paul (I'm on a first-name basis with them, just like every other blogger is with local professional athletes) are going to make the difference in winning or losing a game in the first month, so why have them up here so soon?

Plus plus, keeping defensive replacements around will always be stupid. Don't believe me? Well, answer me this, hot shot: Would you rather have had Jorge Cantu's 29 HRs and 95 RBI last year, or the ten at-bats given to us by Juan Freaking Castro before the Reds' brass came to their senses and dropped the worthless hump?

3. Fact: Carson Palmer will turn 30 before the end of the 2009 football season. Fact: Carson Palmer makes $80 billion (give or take) per season. Fact: Carson Palmer is the face of the Bengals. Fact: He'll never lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl.

And why?

For starters, quotes like this (from Monday's Enquirer): "I have no problem being the leader of this team if that's what I am called to do."

"I feel like I've got enough experience under my belt to be that guy and we've got a great locker room of guys with different types of leaders. I'll grab the bull by the horns and run with it."

Wait, what?

"If that's what I'm called to do."

"I feel like I've got enough experience under my belt..."

You're the $100 million Pro Bowl quarterback! The Heisman winner! The No. 1 overall pick! Possibly the most talented player in the history of the organization!

We've been reading quotes like this from Palmer for years and I've always hated them. But they really hit home when I was reading the paper Monday morning. Plain and simple: Carson Palmer just isn't the guy.

A few more playoff runs? Maybe. The promised land? Forget about it.

...and not all of it can be blamed on Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis.

-Brad Spieser (