Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cliff Lee, Ted Ginn, Dumb Announcers, Etc.

(No picture today. Blame the Nazis at the Monfort Heights Library, an otherwise lovely place...)

Things are happening in the world of sports (aka the sports world) and my opinion needs to be heard. It do. Let me first apologize for being a little tardy with a few of these. Let me second admit that my apology in the previous sentence was half-hearted. Anyway, read...

1. World Series Game 1: Cliff Lee catches the ball as nonchalantly as possible on the mound (and actually, almost drops it) and Lee is universally stroked for being so cool under pressure. This made me sick. Although Lee was cool under pressure, it didn't change the fact that it was an incredibly stupid play. More importantly, what if he'd dropped it? The Around The Horn-types and Skip Bayless would have been all over Lee for the next thousand years. But he caught it. And he's an unassuming white guy. So we love him for it. Strange. Predictable.


2. Entering Sunday Ted Ginn had only returned eight kickoffs and two punts on the season. I've complained about this ad nauseam (most recently in the comments section of this late-September post) and now -- after Ginn's record-setting two-touchdown performance -- I'm finally able to say I told you so. Thing is, it's not a revelation that Ginn is an electric return man; everyone already knew this. He was drafted ninth overall for two reasons: Blazing speed and otherworldly return ability. He was a project as a WR, but the Dolphins felt he was worth the gamble.

And then --for God knows what reason -- Ginn was only used as a part-time returner. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

By the way, Ginn is still stuck on two punt returns this year. The brilliant minds in Miami think lead-footed Davone Bess is the answer there. Who knows? Maybe Miami's offense is so explosive that they don't have to worry about big plays in the return game. Oh wait...


3. Actual exchange from a wedding I attended a few weeks back...

Friend X: I think we're praying.

Friend Y: No shit. Bow your head.

(Note: Both parties are Catholic.)


4. I'm positive there isn't another George Grande on the planet, but that doesn't mean announcing isn't bad all over.

I was watching the Suns-Warriors contest over the weekend, and a five-minute stretch produced three of the dumbest things I've ever heard, and it wasn't the least bit surprising.

First from Suns play-by-play guy Tom Leander, speaking of a hot performance last season from (I think) Warriors guard Kalenna Azubuike: "He just literally shot the Suns out of the game almost."

Literally? Almost?

Please, analyze that sentence again.

Jesus. I'm losing my mind here. Is there anyone left in the world who cares about the English language? I mean, the play-by-play guy is supposed to be a master with words, and in this case the moron just slapped together one of the dumbest sentences you'll ever read. Jeff Brantley misuses "literally" all the time, and I kill him for it. But he's just a dopey ex-jock. With this Leander fellow, this is a million times worse.

As someone who couldn't make a big breakthrough in the broadcast journalism field, I can tell you it's more than a little frustrating to hear stuff like this.


And now we move along to Phoenix's color man, ex-sharpshooter Eddie Johnson, with two quotes that I've heard thousands of times before (in various forms, from various idiots)...

Speaking of Suns' PG Steve Nash: "Everyone wants to anoint Ray Allen as the best shooter in the NBA, but they never mention Nash. Steve Nash is by far the best shooter in the NBA."

Okay. Can you prove it? No, of course not. Even if Nash is the best shooter in the NBA (which, again, can't be proven), he's not "by far" the best shooter. Nobody is. Nobody has ever been by far the best shooter. Blatantly biased color commentators do this sort of thing all the time, and they're rarely called out on it. Until now...


One other doozy from Johnson-----this time filling our heads with crap about Warriors guard Stephen Curry (a person Johnson had brief contact with for one year when he and Stephen's father, Dell, played together in Charlotte): "When Dell and I played together we'd stay after practice and have shooting competitions...and Stephen would be in the gym. I knew very early what kind of shooter he would become."

Without even doing the math my Bullshit Meter was beeping intensely.

Then I checked (an Internet website) and discovered that Eddie Johnson and Dell Curry played together in the 93-94 season...when Stephen Curry was five-goddamn-years-old (note: Curry actually turned six in March of 94, so...).

But anyway, Stephen Curry was five. FIVE! For one, he probably wasn't at post-practice shootarounds too often -- after all, he was five, and five-year-olds play with Legos and dinosaur coloring books. Secondly, the greatest scout in the world could study the greatest five-year-old shooter in the world, and the shooter's parents could be Reggie Miller and Jackie Styles (in the event she's not a lesbian), and the scout's opinion wouldn't mean a damn thing.

I hate when announcers think I'm the dumbest person in the world. I really do. But it happens constantly (cough, sneeze, Mark May), and I wish more people called out these dirty liars and made examples of them.

5. Want to know why the Brian Vickers System is struggling so badly? Read this.

6. Nice job this Sunday by the Cincinnati Enquirer. In case I'm missing something, there wasn't a single mention of the Bengals over fourteen (or maybe fifteen) pages. Bye week, schmye week. They're 5-2, and helping us forget the last twenty years-----you mean to tell me they can't dig up something for us to read during the bye week? Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.

Keep the change, you filthy animals.

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cedric Benson's Workload; Tony Pike's Injury; NBA Preview

(No picture today. I'm back at the library and these idiots won't allow such behavior on their crappy Compaq computators. Oh well...)

Three quick thoughts before posting my NBA predictions:

1. Cedric Benson carried the ball 37 times on Sunday. THIRTY FREAKING SEVEN! And thirteen of them came over the final 17:05, as the Bengals were clinging to a 38-3 lead. Related note: Marvin Lewis is a jackass.

Speaking of Marvin Lewis being a jackass, did I mention he's a dumb jackass?

Benson is on pace for 375 carries this season. That's an extraordinarily high number, but we've seen it before from backs who have posted monster seasons. So, it's possible he won't wear down before the end of the season, but it's also possible he might hit a wall around the 300-carry mark. After all, this is the first time Benson's ever been a feature back in his short NFL career. Regardless, why risk him in a blowout? What's the point?

Benson has been shockingly valuable this season (and for dirt cheap) and I can't fathom why Marvin Lewis allowed him to absorb hit after hit after hit in the 4th quarter.

Stupid idiot.

Plus, Bernard Scott is just wasting away on the sideline. Maybe he's not as good as I think he is, and maybe the playbook is something of a mystery to him, and maybe he's allergic to picking up blitzing linebackers. But, again, it was a blowout, and I can't imagine a better learning opportunity for a youngster than an actual game against actual opponents. Besides, take a look around the NFL, and pretty quickly you'll find many successful teams employing two- and three-back systems. This happens for two reasons: (a.) To keep everyone fresh down the stretch and (b.) to significantly reduce injury risk to your best back.

Carrying the ball 37 times in a single NFL game isn't the biggest deal in the history of big deals. But receiving over thirty-five percent of those carries while holding either a 35- or 42-point lead is simply asinine.

Nobody's questioning Marvin Lewis for routinely making bone-headed decisions, and it's only because he's the head ball coach of a 5-2 division leader. But that doesn't mean I'm not right. And for those who think I'm too negative, and for those who think I'm going out of my way to make an issue where there isn't one, answer me this:

What would your reaction have been had Cedric Benson rolled his ankle on his 37th carry of the game, while his team was leading by 35 points?

That's what I thought.

2. Tony Pike might be UC's best player (worst case scenario he's number two, behind Mardy Gilayard), which makes the following statement a little odd: The best thing to happen to UC this season has been the injury to Tony Pike.

And this has nothing to do with getting Zach Collaros ready for next season and beyond.

Here me out: With a Heisman candidate (Pike) on the shelf, the Bearcats haven't missed a beat. Which proves they aren't just a one- or two-man team. In the end, Pike's injury gives UC a better chance of making the BCS Championship game than if he'd been healthy these last few weeks and shattered every single-game passing record in the process. Strange but true.

3. Tales from the bartending gig...Ruben Patterson, who only played ten seasons in the NBA and only banked $37 million, tipped me Zero Dollars and Zero Cents on a $209 bill Sunday night. Can I get a Hooray for registered sex offenders! Can I get a Hooray for pleading guilty to attempted rape!

(I took a picture of Patterson's signed receipt, and as long as it's not illegal I'll post it tomorrow. Stay tuned.)


Okay, with the NBA season tipping off tonight, I present to you...nothing, really. I'm running out of time, and I'm positive it wouldn't interest you. However, here's something that will: I just called my bookie and placed nearly $2,200 worth of NBA Futures bets, and I owe it to you to prove my degeneracy. Anyway, here's what I gots...

***Win Totals***

$200 Mavs UNDER 48.5 wins (+110) - Old + Old + Old x Old = Every significant Maverick not named Josh Howard.
$100 Pacers UNDER 34.5 wins (-125) - Yet another chance to root against Tyler Hansbrough

$350 Wizards OVER 41.5 wins (-120) - Additions of Foye and Miller should push the Bullets to 50 wins
$350 Jazz 49.5 OVER wins (-125) - Darkhorse title contender.
$350 Bulls OVER 41.5 wins (-125) - The only team who could jump up and challenge Orl/Bos/Cle in East.
$150 Spurs 54.5 OVER wins (-130) - Jefferson pick-up keeps Ginoboli fresh for playoffs.
$100 Rockets OVER 36.5 wins (-135) - Get ready to hear them described as "scrappy."
$100 Warriors OVER 34.5 wins (+105) - Ellis, Curry and Randolph = three of my five favorite NBA players (Nash, Durant).
$100 Heat 40.5 OVER wins (-115) - They cruise to 50 if Beasley brings it every night.
$100 Knicks 31.5 OVER wins (-125) - D'Antoni's too good to lose 50 games.
$100 Thunder 34.5 OVER wins (-125) - Hope they're not a year away. Depth scares me.


***NBA Finals Matchups***

$25 Magic/Spurs (+2000)
$12.50 Magic/Jazz (+4000)
$20 Magic/Nuggets (+2500)
$25 Celtics/Jazz (+2000)
$50 Celtics/Spurs (+1000)



$10 Kevin Durant (+3000)


***Rookie of the Year***

$25 Tyreke Evans (+650)


As for my plain old predictions, here goes...

West: Spurs over Jazz
East: Cavs over Celtics
Finals: Spurs over Cavs

end of words.

the end.


time to go.

-Brad Spieser (

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Here's What's Wrong With Terrelle Pryor

Remember the scene in Almost Famous when the editor at Rolling Stone asks the kid to send his unfinished work through a prehistoric fax machine (it transmits eighteen pages per minute!), and he ends up sending dozens of scribbled-on Post-It Notes? Well, that's basically what I'm doing here. I wanted to put together a coherent piece about Terrelle Pryor's struggles, but napping and work got in the way. I feel awful for not figuring out a way to properly finish this, and I'll undoubtedly lose sleep over it, but I have no other choice -- Ohio State fires their game up with Minnesota in a little over an hour and these words need to be published before kickoff.

Anyway, here's my unfortunate tip of the cap to Willia Miller, Penny Lane, Russell Hammond, etc. (Vickers at bottom of page):

Anyone who suggests that Terrelle Pryor just isn't the right fit for Jim Tressel's offense is way off base. Of course, Pryor isn't a good fit in Tressel's system, but your suggestion is that Pryor would thrive elsewhere

Pryor wouldn't be the right fit anywhere, at least not in the role of savior. I've heard a few times recently how Pryor would've been a better fit in Rich Rodriguez's system at Michigan (where Pryor nearly committed). Let me stop you right there.

NO. Not a chance, dude.

Rich Rodriguez's system requires a quarterback to make several reads in the split second following the snap. Well, I don't know if you've been paying attention, but Pryor's recognition of pretty much -- no wait, absolutely everything is nonexistent.

I don't know how it's possible, but the man has no instincts.

Pryor is often criticized for trying too hard to be a pocket quarterback, but I think that's only a fraction of the problem. The bigger issue is awareness - Pryor has no clue when to take off. None.

For a "running quarterback," he has no idea when it's time to exit the pocket and make a play with his athletic ability. Most "running quarterbacks" are criticized for taking off too often, before the pocket collapses. Pryor does just the opposite; he holds the ball too long. I understand why pure passers hold the ball too long -- they aren't going to make a play with their legs, and throwing the ball away can be a difficult concept to grasp -- but Pryor can't pass a lick (he aims every ball he throws), and nobody knows that more than him. So, why doesn't he swallow his pride and stop trying to prove his doubters wrong? Why doesn't he just take off and run at the first sign of trouble?

Wait, I thought we covered this: The man has no instincts for the position.

Seemingly every time Pryor rips off a 20-yard-run on what started as a pass play it's because he broke outside the pocket and around the crashing defensive ends. These plays are few and far between, and become more unlikely the faster the opponent gets. Against better teams, Pryor might get outside the contain of the defensive ends, but he rolls out so wide -- and the DBs and LBs close so fast -- that it rarely develops into a big play.


For a guy who can't pass a lick, and has always been the fastest guy on the field, I find it impossible to believe his running instincts are so lousy. But they are. And it's not just Pryor's inability to recognize when to leave the pocket,

the problem extends to the open field as well.

only takes off to the outside, doesn't run people over, can't make em miss. NO RUNNING INSTINCTS. just fast. thats it

poor man's Matt Jones? Jesus. this is not what i signed up for.

i hated when antonio henton left. he should be the starter right now. he could run and throw. he was quick and fast. great instincts in the open field.

I keep hearing how Terrelle Pryor simply isn't the right fit for Jim Tressel's offense. And, okay, that might be true. But there's a much bigger problem here, and it's one that I'm not sure anybody has mentioned.

Terrelle Pryor lacks the necessary instincts to play quarterback.

I've watched every play of his young career and I can tell you he never has a clue out there. I'm not calling the man dumb, either. And while his skill set is raw, there are tools to work with.

I'm willing to give him a

For one, he's not that great of a runner. Sure, he's fast, but his first couple of steps aren't all that quick. Which means that even if he had top-flight recognition -- which he clearly doesn't -- he wouldn't be so great wiggling out of pressure in the pocket.

I'd rather have my scrambling quarterbacks possess quickness over speed.

No running instincts. No idea when it's time to leave the pocket. Most "running quarterbacks" are criticized for taking off too often, and before the pocket collapses. Pryor does just the opposite; he holds the ball too long. For a guy who can't pass a lick, and has always been the fastest guy on the field, I find it impossible to believe his running instincts are so lousy. But they are.

Anyone who suggests that Pryor just isn't the right fit isn't watching the games.

There is a much bigger issue here

Vickers (all $100 plays - again, not enough time):

Vandy (+13.5)
Clemson (+4)
Indiana (+5)
SMU (+16)
Ole Miss (-6.5)
Bowling Green (+9.5)
Virginia (+5.5)
Baylor (+9.5)

NFL tomorrow

-Brad Spieser (

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Was Vincent Vega Reading On The Toilet?

I have a unique take on the Terrelle Pryor situation, and I've written several unpublished words about it, but what I have is a little wordy -- and it gets away from my main point. So, I'm in the process of cutting it down.

I promise to post it tomorrow, but for now I must leave for work.

In the meantime, answer me this:

What book is Vincent Vega reading on the toilet during the final scene in Pulp Fiction? I've seen the movie millions of times but haven't given it much thought until my most recent viewing. Who reads a book in the bathroom of a coffee shop, anyway? And who carries a book with them? Did he leave the table with book in hand? If he did, I don't remember it. Can someone help me out here?

Questions, man. Questions.

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

San Diego Chargers Employee Falls, Dies

Read this A.P. story carefully, and try to pick out the line that somehow wasn't deleted:

SAN DIEGO -- A member of the San Diego Chargers' game-day staff has died after falling out of the press box before the Denver Broncos played the Chargers on Monday night.

Walt Daniels, 66, died at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday at Sharp Memorial Hospital, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said.

Daniels appeared to sustain a head injury after falling about 25 to 30 feet out of a booth that was to be used by Broncos assistant coaches, and landing on the loge level. He was administered CPR before being taken to the hospital.

Workers later cleaned up a puddle of blood.

The accident happened about three hours before kickoff and delayed the opening of the gates by about 40 minutes.

"The San Diego Chargers' family is greatly saddened by the loss of Walt Daniels," the team said in a statement. "Walt loved the team and loved working in the press box on game days for more than 20 years. Our prayers are with his family and friends during this most difficult time."
Workers later cleaned up a puddle of blood? A puddle? Really? Was that line in any way necessary to the story? Jesus. I didn't think the Associated Press had a creative writing division.

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, October 19, 2009

Owen Schmitt Jackass; Chris Wells Given Bum Wrap

If Owen Schmitt knew how to read -- which can't possibly be the case -- I'd mail the meathead a copy of Malcolm Gladwell's latest New Yorker piece, which basically says he will develop dementia at a frighteningly early age as a direct result of smashing his head into things. For most players, "things" means other football players. In Schmitt's case, it means his own helmet.


Serious question: Why didn't Roger Goodell fine Schmitt for pulling such a jackass stunt? Aren't Schmitt's actions fifty times more detrimental than a silly endzone dance?

Also, the entire time I was reading Gladwell's piece, I couldn't stop thinking about Chris Wells, and how -- after rushing for 106 yards on 16 carries -- he was criticized by every sports fan on the planet (including the craziest of Ohio State crazies) after sitting out all but one play of the fourth quarter in OSU's Fiesta Bowl loss to No. 3 Texas. His heart was questioned, and he was called soft. And, of course, the whole
"injury prone" label was rehashed.

I hate people.

-Brad Spieser (

Saturday, October 17, 2009

gambling: season two, episode 9

im hungover. i want dead.

college sports


central florida +13 had daunte culpepper killed himself after the 04 season he might be in the hall of fame

kansas state +5.5 bill snyder isn't so great at inspiring the young blacks this time around

colorado +9.5 colorado 90 was a good team on bill walsh 94 for sega genesis

San Dog State Aztecs +17 darnay scott had more seasons of 800 yards and 5 tds than any wr ever


Oklahoma +3 in what used to be known as the red river shootout until kids didn't start shooting each other hooray for political correctness

UAB +22 sports!

San Jose State +20 remember that special teams player with one leg


Purdue +14 why do their rbs always suck

Miami Redskins +14 lance mcalister used to interview shane montgomery three times a week and nobody gave a shit

Marshall +20.5 randy moss wore candy cane socks

Tulane +17 shain king patrick ramsey jp losman and ohio state has a bunch of shitty fags at qb

Middle of Tennessee +4.5 blue raiders is the greatest nickname in the history of great nicknames

pro sports


texans +5 i told you steve slaton wasn't anything special

-my name is bradley alan spieser

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bearcats Should Be Worried (Vickers)

I hate doing this, but I gots no choice...

We have a Vickers play tonight:

***NCAA $100***

South Florida (+2) vs. the Cincinnati University Fighting Bearcats

Hope I'm wrong.

I'll post our crappy record and our crappier account balance on Friday afternoon. This, I'm guessing, makes you horny.

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Bengals...So Far

Words before the real words: The Vickers System is begging us to bet on Tulsa (+9.5) tonight, but that ain't happening. Under no circumstances would we bet against the Boise Murdering Murderers when they're single-digit favorites. Proceed accordingly.

Now, here's a bunch of Bengals crapola...

1. Reason No. 138 why Peter King doesn't know a damn thing about the sport he covers for a living (from his MMQB column): "Not only are the Bengals in control of the AFC North, but also they're 3-0 in the division, 3-0 on the road ... and, oh yes, Carson Palmer's back, and he might be as good as ever. He's certainly as clutch as ever." Not even close, bud. Not only is Carson Palmer nowhere near the player he was in 2005, this is the first time he's ever really been clutch. Sure, he's had 4th quarter comebacks in the past (as any player with his ability will occasionally have) but mostly he's been a guy who wilted under pressure. Okay, maybe that's too harsh. Maybe he didn't wilt, but he rarely stepped his game up or rallied the troops the way a $100-million face of the franchise should. Regardless...I can't explain the sudden change, but I'm not complaining, either.

2. As for those horrible interceptions...

Look, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner are responsible for some of the most horrific interceptions in recent memory, so Palmer shouldn't be killed merely for that (although they worry the hell out of me). What Palmer desperately needs to do, however, is compensate for awful early-game picks with big plays in the passing game in the first three quarters. All or nothing guys are fine as log as they produce more all than nothing.

That's why Favre and Warner are given so much slack. Sure, they can look like rookies on one or two plays, but more often than not they make up for it and then some.

The way I see it, there are only two reasons Palmer isn't getting shredded by the media thus far: (a.) The team's record and (b.) his last-minute brilliance.

Let's face it: Palmer has been a subpar quarterback this season in the first three-and-a-half quarters of nearly ever game. That can't last if the Bengals are going to do any damage in January.

3. And they will be around in January. I haven't peeped at the schedule, but they've already faced plenty of formidable opponents, and more than held their own in each contest. The only game where they were outplayed was Pittsburgh, but it wasn't by much. A 4-1 record is a good head start, and I'd kind of be shocked they didn't eke out a 10-6 record (which should be good enough for a Wild Card spot).

4. Lavernues Coles has been a bigger disaster than even I could've imagined. I hated the signing because (a.) his reputation always outweighed his production, (b.) he wasn't exactly a young'n when the Bengals inked him, and (c.) the quickest way to ruin a franchise is by signing other team's aging free agents to five-year deals. WASTE OF MONEY!

5. Okay, so Chase Coffman can't block. Fine. But I know he can catch. How many times have we heard how he's never dropped a pass in practice? A billion, right? So, why can't Coffman be used as a 3rd-and-long/two-minute drill receiving tight end? I'm sick of seeing Daniel Coats drop critical passes.

6. I feel horrible for Mike Zimmer and his family, obviously, but does anyone else feel like this will be something the team rallies behind for the remainder of '09? I certainly do.

7. Fear the Texans. I don't have a great feeling heading into the weekend.

-Brad Spieser (

Posture, Baby. Posture. (Meet The 90-Degree Angle Lady

I'm assuming you've been to the Monfort Heights Walgreens (at the corner of North Bend and West Fork). If not, you're missing out on something pretty great. And by "pretty great," I mean they have an employee -- an older woman -- whose body is a 90-degree angle. I'm not exaggerating, either. Her legs are vertical, and the rest of her body is parallel to the ground. And best I can tell, she can't do a damn thing about it. When I go to purchase soap, or raisin bran, or Trapper Keepers, or whatever, there is no eye contact whatsoever. Hell, there isn't even an attempt. I have to slide my product (or products) directly under her nose so she knows what to ring in.

I know you think I'm making fun, but that's simply not the case. For one, she's pretty damn efficient. For two, I'm just amazed by this woman, and I'm more than a little surprised a word-of-mouth phenomenon hasn't spread throughout Cincinnati as a direct result of what's going on at the Monfort Heights Walgreens. I mean, really, why aren't cars lining up to see the great 90-Degree Angle Lady the way cars lined up to see Ray Kinsella's baseball field?

And why hasn't the circus called? I'd pay fifteen bucks to watch her do nothing but stand there.

How does she drive? Knowing what I know, this seems kind of impossible.

How does she sleep? Does Craftmatic even make a bed that accommodates her?

How did she get the job? She must have lights-out interviewing skills.

Questions, man. Questions.

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bengals 17 Points, Ravens 14 Points!

When exactly did Carson Palmer morph into John Elway? Can somebody, anybody, please explain what's going on here? The man who was once an unclutch robot is suddenly a late-game assassin. Consider what's happened late in the fourth quarter in four of the Bengals first five games in '09:

Week 1, Denver (trailing 6-0): Unable to move the ball at all since the first quarter, Palmer engineered an 11-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that left Denver with 38 seconds on the clock. Of course, this was forgotten immediately after the Brandon Stokley Miracle, but still...this was one hell of a drive, especially considering what Denver's been up to on defense this year.

Week 3, Pittsburgh (trailing 20-15): What's worse than a brain fart? I'm thinking brain diarrhea. And brain diarrhea is what Marvin Lewis repeatedly produced on the final drive as he inexplicably saved his timeouts and ordered up spike after spike. But it didn't matter. No. 9 found a way. Somehow. In the end, Palmer led his team on a 16-play, 71-yard touchdown drive, leaving Pittsburgh with a mere 14 seconds to operate.

Week 4, Cleveland (trailing 20-14): A 4th-and-goal TD pass to Chad Ochocinco capped an 11-play, 70-yard touchdown drive. It should've been the game-winner too, but the kicking game reared its ugly head and the extra point was blocked. Uncharacteristically, Palmer left the Browns with a whopping 1:55 to work with. No harm, though...the Bengals triumphed in overtime.

Week 5, Baltimore (trailing 14-10): 11 plays, 86 yards, touchdown. Was the drive aided by Baltimore penalties? Yep. Were all of the calls valid? Yep. Okay, then who cares? Besides, Palmer made big plays all drive, and didn't flinch when Daniel Coats dropped what would have been the game-winner with under forty seconds remaining. Two plays later Palmer found Andre Caldwell for a 20-yard TD pass with only 22 seconds to go.

For those scoring at home, that's four do-or-die drives...all longer than 70 yards...trailing by more than a field goal in each...all resulting in game-tying or go-ahead touchdowns...all completed with under two minutes remaining.

Let me go ahead and guarantee that this has never happened in the million-year history of the NFL. I would provide proof, but I'm not sure Scouts, Inc. keeps statistics on this sort of thing -- in fact, I'm positive they don't -- but it doesn't mean we shouldn't be blown away by Palmer's remarkable end-of-game quarterbacking thus far.

Because I am. I'm blown away. And the fact that it's coming from Palmer makes it 60 trillion times more shocking.

Now, if he could just cut down on those back-breaking interceptions...

-Brad Spieser (

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lee Corso Is Struggling On My TV Screen

The modern day Lee Corso reminds me an awful lot of Joe Nuxhall's final years in the Reds broadcast booth.

I know you're expecting a joke here, but not today. This is pretty fucking sad. I'm watching College Gameday like I do every fall Saturday, and I cringe every time Corso opens his mouth. He simply can't do it anymore. I hate when media jackasses (i.e., Skip Bayless and everyone on Around the Horn) suggest Aging Former Superstar shouldn't hang on at the end of his career, but I kind of wish Lee Corso would just bow out gracefully and let Gameday become just another show.

-Brad Spieser (

Friday, October 9, 2009

Gambling: Season Two, Episode 8

No time for foreplay this afternoon. Onto the picks...

***NCAA $50***

NC State (-14.5)
vs. Duke

Marshall (-4) at Tulane


***NCAA $100***

Syracuse (+10)
vs. West Virginia

Flyin' Illini (+3.5) vs. Spartans

A & M Aggies (+5.5)
vs. Okie State Cowmen


***NCAA $150***

Arizona (-3.5
) at Washington

Iowa (-8) vs. Michigan


***Ten Star NCAA $300 Lock of the Millennium***

Old Mississippi (+4.5)
vs. Alabammer


***NFL $50***

Chiefs (+8)
vs. Cowboys


***NFL $100***

Dolphins (+1.5)
vs. Jets


***NFL $150***

Lions (+10.5)
vs. Steelers


***Ten Star NFL Lock of the Millennium***

Rams (+10)
vs. Vikings of Minneapolis


For the Record, we vetoed three games: Tampa (+13) at Philly; Raiders (+14.5) at Giants; Broncos (+3.5) vs. Pats.

Last week: 9-4 (+$610)
Overall: 34-29-1 (-$115)

-Brad Spieser (

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

George Grande Says Dumb Things

The folks who think I cross the line with my criticism of George Grande always counter with, "Yeah, but he was such a nice guy."

Okay. But you know what what? So is my mom. My mom is a heckuva nice guy, and she's nowhere near qualified enough to broadcast Reds games on my Samsung television. So there.

I really hate George Grande. I don't have a single nice thing to say about the man. In my opinion, he was the luckiest man in the history of broadcasting. And when I read somewhere recently that he's been a working member of the media for 45 years, honestly, I threw my niece off the balcony.

But anyway, I've broken down my hatred for George Grande into three categories: Lying, Impossible-to-believe quotes and Nicknames. Enjoy:

1. Lying. Hands down the most underrated aspect of the George Grande Experience. George Grande often lied to the fans he supposedly adored. You want examples? I gots em:

He described Reds reliever Mike Lincoln as "brilliant" after a 2008 season that ranked somewhere between (a.) lousy and (b.) decidedly average, depending on your view of things. But he never approached brilliance (not with a 4.48 ERA he didn't).


He once said that Reds OF Willy Taveras reached base safely 75 percent of the time when he hits the ball on the ground. If this were true, Cooperstown, NY would change its name to Taverasville (or something).


You'll have trouble believing this next lie...

In mid July, 2008 -- in other words, well into the season -- Grande described Mets reliever Scott Schoenweis thusly: The good news for Schoeneweis, he's a strikeout machine; 37 innings, 19 strikeouts."

This was Grande's way of saying something nice about Schoenweis. It was also a disgusting lie. Scoenweis pitched nineteen more innings that season, and actually improved his strikeouts-per-innings-pitched ratio...and...wait for it...wait for the end of the season a whopping 292 pitchers in Major League Baseball had struck out more batters per inning than Schoenweis. In fact, when factoring in every pitcher who threw at least 40 innings in '08, only 79 humans finished with a crappier ratio than the so-called "strikeout machine." What a joke.

Whether you accept it or not, George Grande was a liar. Or maybe just stupid.


2. Quotes that either (a.) made absolutely no sense or (b.) made you want to puke.

Everything you're about to read was taken directly out of Geroge Grande's mouth. Verbatim. Ver. Bay. Tum. The grammar is often horrible, but that was part of the George Grande Experience, as well. You might think he's a nice guy. I just think he's an idiot. Enjoy...

Here's Grande describing a pre-game meeting between Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Don Mattingly (a guy who last played in an All Star game when Bruce was two-years-old):

"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."


Grande on Adam Dunn (a guy who never seemed to care too much about anything, especially not a player from the 1950's) passing Ted Kluszewski for most HRs by a Reds lefty:

"252 HRs as a Red left-hand hitter. That's number one all time, one better than the great Ted Kluszewski. And it's not lost on Adam Dunn. Dunn, since he put on a Reds uniform, has marvelled at Big Klu's numbers. Not just the home runs, but the few strikeouts in his career and the kind of player he was, and leader he was, for the Reds."


On lifetime backup Jeff Keppinger:

"The more you see Jeff Keppinger, the more you like about his approach to the plate. Just very solid. Not spectacular in any way he plays the game, but very solid in...a great team player both in the field and at the plate"


On Ted Kluszewski and his widow (in a conversation with Reds broadcaster Chris Welsh):

"And the Big Klu, not only a great hitter, a great gentleman, and Eleanor still graces us with her visits every once in a while at Great American Ball Park. And she lights the place up whenever she comes, doesn't she Chris? (Welsh agrees, Grande laughs the way I did the first time I saw Borat, and continues...) The Reds family, not just the players but their wives and widows that have meant so much to this great franchise."


On Paul Janish, a professional athlete, playing hard:

"What a great competitor. Just a ballplayer. Not spectacular in any one part of the game, but spectacular in the fact that he just plays the game so hard."


On multi-millionaire pitcher David Weathers being willing to pitch whenever he's asked:

"He's the best. The Reds are so fortunate to have him. And it's great to watch, not just David Weathers on the mound but David Weathers in the clubhouse, too. He's a supporter of his teammates and wherever the bell rang, whether it's 6,7,8 or 9, he was ready. And he will be again this year."


On the young players in the organization being such quality people:

"And the one thing that you could really notice in the last couple of years, not just on the field with the likes of a Drew Stubbs, or Chris Valaika, Jay Bruce or Paul Janish -- people like that -- they're just...not just good athletes, good ballplayers, but quality too. Quality off the field."


George Grande, while interviewing Reds owner Bob Castellini, had this to say while talking about all the dead people connected to the Reds organization (and nothing was taken out of context; this was a complete thought for Grande):

"There are special on the field, special people off the field, and all of those we talk about. But more importantly, special off the field."


3. Nicknames. George Grande loves nicknames. He once called Gary Majewski, one of the worst relievers in recent Reds history, "Magic" seven or eight times in about three minutes. And it's actually worse than it seems. Grande would say things like, ""Magic" hasn't walked a batter over his last two outings." or ""Magic's seen his ERA lower from 7.73 to 7.09 since the start of May!"


Of course, there's the time Jonny Gomes was dubbed "Never Say Die" Gomes after hitting a home run to shrink the Reds' deficit from ten runs to nine. And Grande was serious.


When lifetime .176 hitter Andy LaRoche strolled to the plate, Grande dropped a "Here's Andy" on us, as if Honus Freaking Wagner came back to life.


I'll never forget the time he called some retired umpire that we've never heard of "Spanky" approximately 45,000 times in a half inning.


The Pirates aren't the Pirates, of course, they are known as the Buc-O's and only the Buc-O's.


But the most mind-blowing example of Grande giving every MF'ing schmuck in baseball a nickname is the time he referred to Bud Black as "Buddy" Black. Grande was so determined to give Black a new nickname that he lengthened an already existing nickname. "Bud" is a nickname, always has been, always will be. "Bud" is something you're called when you have a stupid birth name. In Black's case, it was Harry Ralston Black (stupid indeed). So, anyway, Black's lifelong nickname wasn't good enough for Georgie Boy. Grande had to give Black's nickname a nickname.

If George Grande was around to broadcast 1920's Yankees games, I'm sure he would've called Babe Ruth "The Babe-ster."


With exception of the first two stories in the "Lying" section and the "Never Say Die" Gomes thing, all of these stories/quotes were gathered from the rougly 120 games I watched in the 2008 baseball season. So, when you consider that Grande probably called between 1,500 and 2,000 Reds games in his career...and when you factor in the thousands upon thousands of hours I've been subjected to this bozo, it's easy to see why his retirement was one of the happiest days of my life.

Good riddance, loser!

-Brad Spieser (

Monday, October 5, 2009

George Grande Retired. Damn.

"If there is something that comes along where I don't have to travel on a regular basis, I will do that too," Grande said. "I'm not leaving to take another job. I'm leaving to spend more time at home. If something happens, fine. More than anything, I will miss the people. I will miss everybody I worked with. We've all been pretty lucky and fortunate -- the broadcasters and writers, everybody - to have a great relationship. The people I worked with made 17 years a joy."

-George Grande

In case you weren't paying attention back there, here's the funniest line in funny line history:
"I'm not leaving to take another job."



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-Brad Spieser (

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bad Coaching + Bad Coaching = Every Game I Watch

Scene set: Miami leads Oklahoma 21-20 with two minutes and change remaining. Miami possesses the ball. 3rd & 6 at the Oklahoma 35 yard line. Sooners out of timeouts. Hurricanes earn first down with 7-yard pass. Clock running...and the Canes wouldn't have to snap the ball again until around 1:58 or 1:59.

In other words: Game over. Hurricanes prevail. Several people clap their hands and high five their friends. Others hang their head and wish to be alone for the rest of the evening. And so on. And so on. And whatnot.

Well, that's the way I saw it. It seemed pretty simple. But Miami's head football coach Randy Shannon and Oklahoma's fearless leader Bob Stoops must be pretty new to this whole football thing.

Instead of instructing quarterback Jacory Harris to milk the clock and kneel on three consecutive plays, Randy Shannon figured it would be wise to run another play. Seriously! More on this in a second.

Meanwhile, on the opposite sideline, Bob Stoops was channeling Marvin Lewis, and somehow out-dumbing Randy Shannon...

Okay, with the play clock resetting to forty seconds after each play, and with Miami not needing to snap the ball until just under the two-minute mark, it's not difficult to do the math: forty + forty + forty = two minutes = Oklahoma has no chance to get the ball back. None. Zero. Zilch.

So, that being the case, Bob Stoops should've subtly ordered up the "If they're stupid enough to actually run another play, as opposed to kneeling down and ending the game, make it seem like you're really trying and let 'em score a touchdown" defense. For some reason -- even when it's their absolute last resort -- coaches rarely employ said strategy.

Okay, back to Miami's first down play...

They ran a simple run off right guard, and Running Back X made it through the first wave of defenders, cut back left and gained 12 or 14 yards. Of course, Oklahoma's defense hustled to the ball, dragged Running Back X down from behind...and ended any chance of (a.) getting the ball back, (b.) tying the game at 28 and (c.) winning in overtime.



Randy Shannon is a dope. Again, all he had to do was take off is headset and order up three kneel downs. This is basic stuff here, boys and girls. But he risked a turnover, which could've led to a catastrophic loss. Which would've more-or-less ruined their chances of making a BCS bowl game. And in case you haven't watched collegiate football since 1998, the difference in dollars a school earns for its conference by participating in a BCS bowl game is a teeny tiny bit different than playing in the Blue Bonnet Bowl (or whatever). For instance: In (I think) 2006 Rutgers barely missed playing in a BCS bowl game -- which would've netted something like $13 million for the Big East -- and wound up playing in a bowl game that raked in a whopping $600,000 for the conference. See what I'm saying?

Now, I realize I'm going overboard with all the hypotheticals, but screw you, this is my website.

So, like I said, Miami ran the damn ball when they absolutely, positively didn't have to. This was a monumentally stupid decision by Randy Shannon. I mean, he literally gift-wrapped Oklahoma a chance to get the ball back with about 1:45 remaining, trailing by eight. Literally.

This was Oklahoma's only chance to win the game. You let the other guy score, or you lose the game. Simple as that. And a win, sports fans, means Oklahoma would have successfully weathered the storm without Sam Bradford and kept open the slim possibility of playing for a national championship.

Did Bob Stoops think of this? Of course not. He's only paid several million dollars a year to figure out stuff like this.



On first down from well inside the the Sooners' 20, Randy Shannon finally came to his senses and went to the genuflect offense. A few snaps later the game was officially over. And then I started typing the words you're currently reading. It would be safe to say I was in a rage. It would be equally safe to say that I care too much about this crap.

How can two people at the top of their profession be so careless with so much on the line?

More importantly, why am I the only one who notices? Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit, two mammals I really respect, didn't mention what seemed so obvious to me. What gives?

Questions, man. Questions.

-Brad Spieser (

Gambling: Season Two, Episode 7

All substance, no style today. We ain't gots not time, and besides, the Brian Vickers System hasn't delivered much to brag about this season. After a glorious Saturday, we crapped the bed on Sunday. The picks...

***NCAA $50***

Buffalo (+8.5) vs. LeFevour Fever

Armal Academy (-6) vs. Tulane

Spartans (-4) vs. Michigan Wolves


***NCAA $100***

Cal Golden Bears (+4)
vs. Trojans


***NCAA $150***

The Cuse (+7) vs. South Florida Bulls

UTEP Two Step (+14.5) vs. Houston Fighting Klingler Brothers


***$300 Ten Star Lock of the Millennium!***

Duke (+17) vs. Virginia Tech


***Veto Power***

It should be noted that Craig and I have a 3-1 record when staying away from obvious Vickers selections. Today, we make it 4-1. The play we're not making: Miami Redskins (+29) vs. Cincinnati University Bearcats. If this game isn't a 51-10 smashing for the Bearcats, I officially know nothing about sports. We're wagering on Brian Kelly today.


***NFL $50***

Dolph Lundgren (Pick)
vs. Buffalo Bills

Kyle Orton (+3) vs. Dallas Cowboys


***NFL $100***

Seahawks (+10)
at Colts

Steelers (-6) vs. Chargers


***NFL $150

Saints (-7)
vs. Jets

Browns (+6) vs. Bengals


***Veto Power***

Raiders (+8.5)
vs. Texans

Words: How in the hell could I bet on Oakland? That franchise is more screwed up than the Bengals. How did they make the Super Bowl this decade? Yes, we're backing the Texans. This sucker could get ugly.


Last Week: 10-7 (+$70)
Overall: 25-25-1 (-$725)

Keep the faith, my people!

-Brad Spieser (

Friday, October 2, 2009


Vickers coming tomorrow morning, or possibly when I get home from work tonight, which will be around 4:30 a.m.

Try to keep your pants on.