Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back-To-Back No-Hitters Can Happen. And It Will!

Roughly six times per year for the last two-and-a-half decades some bozo has come up with a list of "Baseball records that will never be broken." Inevitably, Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitters makes the list. Inevitably, I pull my hair out.

Mark Buerhle threw a perfect game Thursday. Last night, in his first start since said perfect game, he retired the first seventeen batters of the game. In case you weren't never no good at mathematics, that's ten outs from consecutive perfect games!

And he's Mark Buerhle! Oh, he's good, but he's hardly one of the all-time greats. And he doesn't strike out a ton of hitters, which makes his recent streak all the more impressive.

It also proves my point.

You mean to tell me that Felix Hernandez couldn't take his B+ stuff to the mound against the Royals, strike out nine or ten batters, benefit from a bit of luck and solid defense for his first no-hitter...followed by an outing where he has absolutely everything working for him, strike out fifteen and never see an opponent smoke one of his pitches?

Plus, didn't Dave Stieb go back-to-back starts in the late 80's where he recorded 26 outs before giving up his first hit? Like Buerhle, Dave Stieb was good, but he wasn't the greatest of all time.

Trust me, someone will throw consecutive no-hitters, and this will happen before I die.

I think.

-Brad Spieser (

Laynce Nix And Shawn Bradley

Two questions:

1. Ever wonder what your racist white friends might say about Laynce Nix if he were black?

2. Don't you just assume Shawn Bradley wakes up every day hoping to be 6'10?

Listen to the new podcast, my peoples.

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Important Question Regarding The Sopranos

Although I know nothing about modern-day organized crime, The Sopranos always felt real to me. Other than Meadow having premarital relations with Finn, I was generally buying what series creator David Chase was selling. But one thing has always bothered me, and it's now the question of the day:

Why didn't the Sopranos have a finished basement?

Think about it...

1. They were rich, and rich folks have finished basements. The Sopranos had a private drive and a swimming pool, and they weren't afraid to remodel. So why did their basement look like they lived in Price Hill?

2. Meadow and A.J. each had a lot of friends, and kids are the reason finished basements were invented. You wanna play your stupid Nintendo all day? Fine. Just do it down in the basement. And don't spill any red pop on the carpet...

3. The Sopranos constantly hosted post-funeral get-togethers, Thanksgiving dinners, Super Bowl parties, etc. These were always large gatherings, and it seems to me a finished basement would've been a nice alternative to the goings-on in the living room.

End of words.


Please email me if you have a good answer to my rather brilliant question.

-Brad Spieser (

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hi, Hello And Welcome: Georgie Boy Has Company

It all started Saturday night. Well, it actually started in 1993, but what's the difference?

I generally hate Reds television announcer George Grande because he doesn't have a critical bone in his body (yes, I hate him because he's too nice). He's always telling me how every scumbag on Earth is a good guy, not only on the field, but off...

And he has a nickname (and often nicknames) for every Archibald Graham who ever played a third of an inning at the big league level. Case in point: In recent weeks he's referred to Reds platooning outfielder Jonny Gomes as "Never Say Die" Gomes and "J.G."

My head hurts just thinking about it.

For the uninformed, Jonny Gomes (28-years-old) has played 42 career games with the Reds and driven in a total of 19 runs. This, apparently, is how someone earns two nicknames.

But that isn't what brings me here today.

What brings me here today is a disturbing **trend** in broadcasting: Throwing out statistics that aren't remotely true. George Grande fell victim to this recently (more on that in a moment), which was a little bit surprising, but at least it makes me hate him more...and hating George Grande is one of my favorite hobbies.

(Note: To me, the word **trend** suggests it has the potential to reach epidemic status, but that's not even a possibility here. But I'll call it a trend if it allows me to pile on George Grande and other local broadcasters. Plus, it's my column. I win.)

Brace yourself for some good old-fashioned paraphrasing...

On the Saturday June 18, 2009 telecast of the Reds-Brewers game, Grande had this to say following a Willy Taveras infield single:

"When Taveras hits the ball on the ground he reaches base safely 75 percent of
the time."
No, seriously.

George Grande said these words to a worldwide audience, and not a single person called him out (including his equally inept wingman, Chris Welsh). If you wonder why a dope like George Grande has held such a prominent position for sixteen years, this pretty much explains it. The media's job is to hold people accountable, and yet nobody called out Grande for flat-out lying to viewers.


We've seen (or heard) this before in Cincinnati.

Just last year (which is sometimes called 2008), Reds radio announcer Jeff Brantley went a little overboard stating the merits of having utilityman Jerry Hairston in the lineup more often. And by "a little overboard," I mean he insulted the listeners with an unconscionable lie:

"It is a statistical fact...when Jerry Hairston is in the lineup the Reds win 85
to 90 percent of the time."
He said this. And I heard him.

This wasn't hyperbole for the sake of a good laugh (e.g., Bill Walton claiming Shawn Bradley to be the best center in the history of baseball.); Jeff Brantley wouldn't know facetiousness if it smacked in the face.

This was simply a broadcaster throwing out a completely ridiculous statistic and hoping the listening audience wouldn't question it.

And just to cover my ass, I did some fact-checking, and it appears the Reds were 34-24 (give or take a game) last season with Hairston in the lineup. A record of 34 wins and 24 losses -- for those without their TI-82 calculators handy -- makes for a .586 winning percentage...slightly less than 85-90 percent.


Finally we have former Bengals All-Pro David Fulcher, probably the least talented person who continues to receive steady on-air work in Cincinnati. I didn't witness this event first hand, but Craig, my podcast partner, did.

On a live broadcast of a Cincinnati Marshals game that Craig was producing, David Fulcher openly (and quite seriously) questioned the Marshals' decision at the coin toss. You see, the team captain (who probably has a name) chose heads over tails, and lost. This puzzled Fulcher:

"Why would they choose heads when tails wins 80 percent of the time?"

I know you're thinking that no sane-minded human would honestly believe that. But Fulcher, it seems, is perfectly okay with sharing this information with the world.


I was going to have a cute little wrap-up here, comparing Fulcher to Brantley to Grande, but the more I think about it, the three of them are not entirely relatable. I mean, yeah, they're all incompetent, but that's not what I was going for. I guess I just wanted to illustrate (a.) how poor local broadcasting is, and (b.) how dumb we are for tolerating it.

If nothing else, the stories were enjoyable-----and they were all true.

In the end, tails never fails.

-Brad Spieser (

Like I've Always Said, Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Two items, intended to elicit laughter:

1. Jim Fassel, who will be coaching J.P. Losman in something called the United Football League, compared his newest pupil to the world's best black golfer:

"If I had doubt that he should not be a starting winning quarterback, I wouldn't take it on," Fassel said. "But I had the same feeling with Kerry Collins ... J.P.'s got tremendous athletic skills. This guy should be a starter in the NFL. I mean, come on ... But I still understand you can help a guy. Even Tiger Woods needs a swing coach."

2. My buddy Cam sent me the following text message today: "Paul Biancardi just shot me a dirty look at CVG. He was on the phone when I walked by and I asked him if he was talking to Boban Savovic."

It's true------I associate with jerks.

-Brad Spieser (

Blame Brandon Phillips For Our Children Being Overweight

The most boring topic on sports talk radio is hustle.

In recent years the fine people of Cincinnati had to absorb constant praise of Ryan Freel's false hustle (i.e., diving for balls he had no chance of catching), and likewise for Ken Griffey Jr's perceived lack of hustle (in reality he was an old man with two bum wheels and trying to score from second on a sharp single to right wasn't often the wise move).

That's not to say Ryan Freel's hustle wasn't the occasional sparkplug (or that it was always phony; it wasn't), and Griffey, well...he certainly loafed more often than is realistically defensible.

But you know what I mean.

Regardless, the topic is -- and will always be -- boring.

And I'll always just assume anyone who spends too much time talking about hustle was probably just a lousy athlete.

That said, Brandon Phillips is an asshole. I say this because he didn't hustle last night when the Reds could've been blowing the door wide open in the first inning.

I guess I'm just like the boring white media I mostly hate.

But, seriously, what is it with Phillips? This crap happens all the time around him. Fly ball, medium depth, everyone in the park is expecting the ball to find a glove...except it doesn't. And now the shithead, who was jogging to first, steps on the gas out of embarrassment, only to be hosed at second base.

Here's the deal with baseball: You can be a fat ass and still be a great player. I'm not silly enough to suggest baseball players aren't athletes, but the majority of them don't have to be well-conditioned mammals; they merely have to try hard for --at most -- seven or eight seconds at a time. If the ball is hit in your general vicinity, run towards it and try to catch it. If, as a hitter, you put the ball in play, run as fast as you can until it's no longer beneficial to your team. That's it.

Did I just over-simplify the American sport of baseball? Obviously. But that doesn't mean I'm not sort of right about all this.


Final note: You know Brandon Phillips does this nearly every time he hits a medium-depth flyball directly at someone, right? Well, maybe you don't. But it's true. And this is how the media works. Situations like this don't become an issue until they become an issue. Had Dodgers RF Andre Ethier caught the lazy fly we wouldn't be talking about this. Make sense?

Now, if we could just go another hundred years or so without ever discussing hustle...

-Brad Spieser (

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

5 Underrated Sports Players Who Play Sports

The summer of boring continues, which is why we're back with another list. I gots five underrated peoples's for you, and the following sentences should make for slightly entertaining reading. Start.

Dave Kingman

Over the course of Adam Dunn's eight years with the Reds his detractors often compared him to 70's and 80's slugger Dave Kingman. And every time it was meant in a derogatory fashion. But it was ridiculous, for two reasons:

1. It's true Dunn and Kingman hit a bunch of home runs and struck out constantly, but that's where the comparison ends; Dunn walked all the time, while Kingman had a Willy Taverasesque .302 career OBP. So, Dunn was a far more valuable ball player. But...

2. Kingman was hardly a slouch. And again, I only bring this up because -- for the better part of this decade -- Kingman's name was only mentioned negatively in Cincinnati, as if he were a hack ballplayer who simply fell into a bunch of home runs.

It takes an awful lot of talent to hit home runs, and Kingman hit 448 of them, good for 35th all time.

Right now the Reds would kill -- absolutely kill -- to have a right-handed slugger like Kingman in the middle of the lineup. And by kill, I mean murder. Murder = dead.


Scott Mitchell, 1995

Okay, say what you want about Scott Mitchell from 91-94, and from 96-01, but he'll always have 1995. He was a monster in '95. A monster. 4,338 passing yards; 36 total touchdowns (4 rushing); 12 interceptions. And he led the 10-6 Detroit Lions to the playoffs. I get the feeling that Scott Mitchell gets made fun of a lot (he just looks like the kind of guy who endures a ton of crap), but if I were Mitchell, I would always remind people about the fall and winter of 1995, when I posted better numbers than just about any quarterback not named Brett Favre.


Albert Belle

Was he an ass? Wait, allow me to rephrase...was he the worst person in the history of worst people? Maybe. Was he on the juice? My guess would be probably. But he never failed a wiz test. Anyway, nobody talks about Albert Belle anymore. I mean, ever. And when I look at Belle's Baseball-Reference page, the fact that he's already misremembered kind of pisses me off.

He played ten full seasons in the bigs (1991-2000) and was a devastating force at the plate from the time he entered the league until a hip injury forced him out of the game he dominated. Even his last season, 2000 in Baltimore, Belle still managed to drive in 103 runs.

That dude should be in the Hall of Fame, and yet he'll never sniff inclusion. The lesson: You can act like a jerk all you want if you've pocketed $100 million in your career.


Eric Davis, 1987

E.D.'s career is littered with what-ifs; this especially applies to his best season, 1987. In '87, Eric Davis hit 37 HRs, drove in 100 runs and stole 50 bases, while only being caught six times. (Note: He also won a gold glove in centerfield, but my argument is focused solely on his hitting prowess). He put up such strong numbers -- in an era where 37 HRs was a big deal -- despite playing in only 129 games.

129 games.

Eric Davis missed 33 games in '87 and it still kills me. He was notoriously fragile throughout his 17-year career, but what if...what if he could have put together one full season? Jose Canseco became baseball's first 40-40 guy the following year (in 158 games, of course), but Davis would've had a legitimate shot at 50-70, an accomplishment unlikely to ever be broken (sluggers just don't steal bases anymore).

But it didn't happen. Probably because it would've allowed people in this miserable city to smile for a few consecutive minutes. Either way, Eric Davis is mostly forgotten (even locally, for some reason), but that wouldn't be the case had he been the first member of baseball's 40-40 club, and the only member in the 50-70 club.


Corey Dillon, the Bengal years (1997-2003)

Most stupid idiots will tell you Dillon's best season in the National Football League was 2004, his first with the New England Patriots. They tell you this after taking a gander at his statistics. He rushed for 1,635 yards, and did so in only fifteen games. The Patriots defeated the Eagles in the '04 professional championship (which is sometimes called the Super Bowl), and I have a hard time believing they could have accomplished such a feat without Corey James Dillon.

Because he was really good that season...and perhaps great.

But not as great as his '99 season (1,200 yards, 5 TD) or his '02 season (1,311 yards, 7 TD) or his...pick a season. Trust me, I watched the dude in his prime, and Bengals Corey Dillon was noticeably superior to Patriots Corey Dillon. He was fast and mean and unlucky. He was a brilliant runner on those Bengals squads, but he was stuck receiving handoffs from, among others, Neil O'Donnell, Akili Smith, Gus Frerotte, Scott Mitchell (twice in one column!) and Jon Kitna. In other words, opposing defenses weren't exactly terrified of being beaten by the forward pass.

And whenever I argue whether a human being belongs in the Hall of Fame or not (something I love a little too much, by the way), Corey Dillon's name always makes an appearance. If Dillon makes it to Canton, it will be on the strength of his numbers-friendly 2004 in New England, which is somewhat ridiculous.

Cincinnati folk probably understand how great Dillon was in stripes, but I get the feeling national folk don't have a friggin' clue. That's how one gets labeled underrated.


End of words.

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home Run Derby Prediction

Let me go ahead and attempt to seem smart:

Joe Mauer will win the 2008 Home Run Derby. He'll routinely smack unimpressive 345-footers to dead right and conserve his power for the final rounds while the Ryan Howards and Prince Fielders of the world will expend every ounce of their energy trying to hit the goddamn ball to all the way to Illinois.

-Brad Spieser (
7/13/09, 7:57 p.m., three minutes before the stupid thing is about to start

Nerdy Baseball Question

Cubs' reliever Sean Marshall recorded the first out of the 9th inning Sunday against the Cards, and was replaced by Aaron Heilman...

Except -- instead of walking to the dugout -- Marshall stayed in the game and replaced Alphonso Soriano in left field. After Heilman put away the only batter he faced, Marshall came back in from left field to finish the inning.

I know you think I'm going to come at you with a nerdy, Jayson Stark-like statistic, about how this hasn't happened in the 9th inning at Wrigley Field since Wally "Big Feet" McGee did the same thing for the Tupelo Bumble Bees in 1907. But I'm not.

My question is simple: Can the same pitcher earn a win and save in the same game?

With Sean Marshall, it didn't matter. This scenario can only happen with a starter (plus, the Cubs were losing yesterday, anyway).

Imagine...Starting Pitcher X pitches 8.1 scoreless innings for a team that is winning 1-0 on the strength of a 1st inning home run. He's relieved by Relief Pitcher X, but instead of exiting the game, the starter heads to left field. After one out is recorded, the starter comes back to the mound and finishes the game out.


-Brad Spieser (

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Homer Bailey And Jordan Crawford

Two quick thoughts on local athletes:

1. When David Weathers gave up the four-run homer to Albert Pujols (or as George Grande calls him, even when cameras aren't rolling, "Prince Albert") my only thought was, Jesus, now Homer Bailey's going right back in the toilet for his next start -- and maybe forever. With Bailey, his confidence is so obviously flimsy that any little thing hiccup will lead to a grand meltdown, and I'm always convinced he'll never recover.

So, anyway, he pitched his second consecutive gem (or whatever) last night -- 6 Ks, 0 BBs in six innings -- and I'm now convinced he's the greatest pitcher alive.

I'm also convinced Albert Pujols deserves 100 percent of the credit. I don't really feel like spending the necessary eighteen seconds searching for the quote, but if you follow the Reds even a little you know exactly what I'm referring know, the one where Pujols spoke glowingly about Bailey's stuff, and how's he's going to be in this league for a long time (or something).

This is the way my mind works, and it's not going to change. You can tell me all you want about Bailey trusting his stuff, and I'm still going to give credit to a complimentary quote from the game's best player.

2. I don't have much to add to the story regarding Jordan Crawford's dunk over LeBron James, and the disappearing video fallout. Except this: That video being pulled will almost certainly be the defining moment in Crawford's life -- at least in the public eye. He's a nice player and everything, but he's unlikely to play in the NBA. And because he plays for the Muskies, it's not like he'll ever win the NCAA tournament.

Most likely, this is a story that will become legendary over time -- Crawford is a shoe-in for Sports Illustrated's "Where Are They Now" issue in twenty years -- and might become something he grows sick of talking about.

And the funny thing is, this story has somehow become newsworthy, only because LeBron is protecting his precious image. Had the video of the dunk surfaced, it would have made SportsCenter's "Top 10," for one day -- and maybe at the end of the week -- and vanished for good. And now, we get to here the story told and re-told every time Crawford's name is mentioned nationally over the next hundred years.

Trust me, this will get annoying.

-Brad Spieser (

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Five Underrated Sports Teams That Play Sports

When I was in radio I hated this time of year, mostly because talk show hosts got lazy. Since there was nothing to talk about -- it's been eons since the Reds were interesting in the middle of summer, and the Bengals were roughly a month from reporting to camp -- hosts would always resort to gimmicky topics to generate phone calls.

Topics that often included lists.

But now I'm feeling their pain. I have absolutely nothing to say about the current state of the sporting world. Nothing. Okay, yeah, I want Edinson Volquez to get healthy, and I would like to punch David Weathers in the neck, but that doesn't really make for a column, you know?

So, because of all thems words you just read, I'm giving you the **definitive** list of the five most underrated teams in the history of sports.

(**Definitive** indicates I only gave this list five minutes of thought, and completely ignored anything that happened before 1998.)

1998 Atlanta Falcons

It seems they're remembered as one of those crappy Super Bowl losers (like the '85 Patriots or '94 Chargers) and that's more than a little unfair. First, they went 14-2 in the regular season. I don't care how weak their schedule was, 14-2 is 14-2. Second, they weren't gift-wrapped a win in Minnesota after Gary Anderson missed his only kick of the season; they still had to march the length of the field -- on the road -- just to tie it. Then, of course, they had to win it in overtime against the dominant Vikings. The '98 Falcons were good, but they weren't John Elway and Terrell Davis good.


1998 Utah Utes men's basketball.

Again, another runner-up from '98 who's thought of as something of a joke. Kentucky was a worthy champion, for sure, but Utah is never remembered fondly. Ever. I'm thinking this is because their roster was predominantly white. But them there white boys could play...and, of course, Andre Miller was decidedly non-white. Regardless, the Utes featured four guys who played in the NBA: Miller (2002 assist champion), Michael Doleac (10 years in the league), Hanno Mottola and Britton Johnsen. Do some digging, and quickly you'll find that most teams never sniff sending four gentlemen to the NBA from a single roster. Even some champions fall short of possessing four NBA players from one roster, like Syracuse in 2003, who only had two pros.


2002 Sacramento Kings.

Similar to the '98 Falcons and '98 Utes, the '02 Kings didn't win it all. Even worse, they didn't even make it to the Finals; they lost an excruciating seven game series to the Lakers that still seems unbelievable (not believable). They were the best team in basketball and deserved the 2002 title. History remembers the '02 Kings for two reasons: (1.) Robert Horry burying a dagger three against them to steal game four and (2.) the infamous fourth quarter of game six, when a Tim Donaghy-led crew sent the Lakers to the free throw line a staggering 41 times in a comeback victory for the Lakers. What happened in game seven? They lost in overtime, of course.


Old Mississippi football, 2008.

These dudes could play, it just took them a minute to figure it out. After starting 2-2, the Rebels (a.) beat eventual champion Florida in the Swamp, (b.) traveled to then-No. 2 [and BCS-bound] Alabama, only to lose a 24-20 heartbreaker and (c.) won their last five, including a thumping of No. 7 Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. Old Mississippi finished 9-4 and ranked 15th nationally, but they were good enough to win it all, and you're kind of stupid if you disagree with me. They'll always be my argument for why college football needs a 64 team tournament.


2005 Bengals.

It's hard to imagine Carson Palmer and Marvin Lewis spearheading a Super Bowl victory, but crazier things have happened. Well, maybe not. But either way, the Steelers cut down the nets (or whatever) that year, but I'll go to my grave knowing (read: thinking) the Bengals were the better team. One month prior to Kimo von Oelhoffen rudely launching his fat ass into Carson Palmer's knee I watched the Bengals effortlessly go up and down the field in Pittsburgh, scoring 38 points on a muddy track. The Bengals weren't necessarily the best team in 2005, but they were absolutely talented enough to beat anybody, and it's a goddamn shame they didn't get to toy with opposing defenses in January.

End of words.

(More lists on the way, unless something interesting happens)

-Brad Spieser (

Hi, Hello And Welcome: A Little Too Optimistic

I watched maybe thirty pitches of last night's 22-1 nail-biter, but was lucky enough to hear George Grande refer to Johnny Gomes as "Never Say Die" Gomes after his solo shot in the 2nd inning closed the gap to 10-1.

He was serious.

I barely flinched. This is what I've come to expect from this bozo over the past sixteen goddamn years. He makes Shirley Temple look like a pessimist.

I'm not sure who Phillip Pinnell is, but I can guarantee you I'd rather have him calling my Reds games over Georgie Boy.

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, July 6, 2009

They Either Die Of AIDS or Sickle Cell

My dad gave me some advice yesterday. He thinks I should tone it down a bit on the website -- this would help me appeal to a wider audience. It makes sense, but I'm not all that sensible.

I told him that would be like telling Shaquille O'Neal to work on his three-point shooting, or suggesting Martin Scorsese direct a PG-13 movie.

Or asking George Grande to stop acting like a dumb gay nerd.

What's the point? We have to do what we do best. Shaq gets things done in the paint; Scorsese directs profanity-laden films about blood and violence; Grande pulls his wrinkle-free Dockers up to his breasts and says "yes-ir-ee" during nearly every broadcast.

You are what you is.

And I'm someone who associates with Craig Emmert.

Which helps explain why I have no qualms about posting a podcast titled, "They Either Die Of AIDS Or Sickle Cell."


-Brad Spieser (