Friday, December 19, 2008

Bowl Season is Here

Well the two weeks off have been brutal but the magical bowl season is here. Four games tomorrow and one more Sunday. Let's break them down.

EAGLE BANK BOWL, Wake Forest vs. Navy, Sat. 11 am

This game was created so Navy could play in it. It is brand new and Navy was invited 2 months ago. Too bad they won't win. Jim Grobe is a great coach and will make the adjustments he did not make when they were beat 24-17 back on 9/27. The Navy offense will not surprise the defense and Wake will pull it out 20-10.

NEW MEXICO BOWL, Colorado State vs. Fresno State, Sat. 2:30 pm

I am going with Fresno and it has nothing to do with how either team has played this year. It is purely because Fresno was involved in one of my 5 favorite college football games of the past 5 years when they took Bush and Leinert to the end in 2005. That game was back and forth, up and down, and didn't begin until 11 pm meaning i was drinking all night watching a great football game. I've had a soft spot for them ever since so I am taking them here 35-28.

ST. PETERSBURG BOWL, Memphis vs. South Florida, Sat. 4:30 pm

This game is being played in the Trop. Yeah, the Devil Rays field. It is also just across the bridge from USF. Memphis is a bad C-USA team that is just happy to be in a bowl. Hell, Memphis lost at home to Louisville. That should be enough to take the Bulls 31-13. South Florida has a few players that may be drafted and they will need to put on a show here. They will. Always take the more talented team with potential draft picks in these lesser games because they know they need to show they can play in order to be drafted.

LAS VEGAS BOWL, BYU vs. Arizona, Sat. 8 pm

Well, the BYU seniors know the drill by now. They have never been anywhere else. This is BYU's 4th straight Las Vegas Bowl appearance. They have won the last two after being beaten by Cal in 2005. They will win again this year. Arizona hasn't been to a bowl in a decade and they finished 5-4 in the terrible PAC-10. Also, the Arizona players will be living it up in Vegas while the Mormons are preparing and getting extra sleep. Won't even be close.

NEW ORLEANS BOWL, Southern Miss vs. Troy, Sun. 8:15

C-USA-Sun Belt showdown in the Crescent city. Great times. Both teams are pretty bad but Troy won their conference while Southern Miss went 4-4 in the powerful C-USA. I think Troy wins a close one 27-24.

More breakdowns and thoughts next week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


OK, stop laughing. Seriously, stop it. I am going to make a case for signing him. It isn't that difficult.

First, Manny has played in a small market and loved it. When in Cleveland, he enjoyed being away form the spotlight. The constant attention in Boston was something he never got used to and eventually got to him. In LA, he thrived because of the laid back atmosphere. The Cincinnati media would love him and he would be allowed to do his goofy things without scorn. The team would love it, the fans would love it, and the media would love it. He fills our exact need would be a hero here.

Second, he would be energized playing with all the young Latins on the team. Manny and David Ortiz were best friends in Boston. This came out of both of them being Dominican. The Reds have great young Dominicans in Encarnacion, Volquez and Cueto as well as an old veteran in Cordero. Being around these young guys would get him excited and when Manny is happy, he is one of the best players in the league. Of course, when not happy he is still in the top 10.

Third, we can afford him. According to John Fay's math here, the Reds will probably spend $16 million more this year. Giving Manny $22 million per year for 4 years would be enough to get him here. That is only a $6 million increase over what they planned on spending. That $6 million would easily be made up in season ticket sales and merchandise sales very quickly. This would sure up LF meaning we give Hariston the few million we were going to give him anyway to play center and call it a day.

Fourth, it would show the league the Reds are serious about winning. Free agents would see this as a step to win games now and want to come here. It would change the perception from a continual loser to an up and comer who isn't afraid to take a risk if it helps the team. Much like the Brewers did last year and were rewarded with a playoff trip.

Here would be the lineup with the Manny and Hairston signing:

CF Hairston
2B Phillips
1B Votto
LF Ramirez
RF Bruce
3B Encanacion
SS Gonzalez (or Keppinger)
C Hernandez
P (Harang, Volquez, Cueto, Arroyo, and Bailey/Owings/Thompson)

That is a team that can compete from top to bottom. It has a strong lineup with tons of power 2-6. Our pitching consists of 2 very good and 2 above average starters with a young pitcher with great upside in the 5 hole. The bullpen is nearly the same as the one who finished with a 3.81 ERA.

Manny is just sitting at home right now. Bob claims he wants to build a winner. Here is the chance. Pick up the phone and get Manny here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Actual Reds News

John Fay is reporting a trade between the Reds and Orioles in which the Reds would send Ryan Freel and a mid-level prospect to Baltimore for the Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez and some cash to cover the difference in salaries. I like this trade. Here is the breakdown of the two players:

Freel: 32 years old. 2009 stats of .298/.340/.359, OPS+ of 82. 0 HR's 10 RBI's in 48 games and 131 AB's. Played in 99+ games in 3 of his 6 pro seasons. Coming off surgery.

Hernandez: 32 years old. 2009 stats of .257/.308/.406, OPS+ of 86. 15 HR's and 65 RBI's in 133 games and 463 AB's. Played 99+ games in all 10 pro seasons.

I like this trade for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we are trading an oft-injured, utility player whose main asset is his speed and toughness. This speed and toughness is only in reputation because he is on the wrong side of 30 and has had significant injuries two years in a row. His grit and toughness don't show up on the field because he is always hurt. Besides, the Reds already have a super utility guy in Jeff Keppinger who can play all infield and corner outfield positions and doesn't get paid 4 million dollars. Freel was not useful on the Reds roster and the fact that anyone wants him amazes me.

Ramon Hernandez is not exactly Mike Piazza, but he is a serviceable catcher. He has spent the past 3 years in the AL East, the toughest division in baseball, yet still managed to put up 3 years of 111, 88, and 86 OPS+. A move to the National League and Great American Ballpark can only help those numbers. He could turn into a 20 HR guy and an OPS+ of around 100. What an upgrade that would be. He is also from Venezuela which can only help the communication between him and our pitching staff(Volquez, Cueto, Cordero). If he can help bring along Ryan Hanigan and hold down the catcher spot until Devin Meseraco, our first round pick in 2007, can make it to the big leagues, that would be a huge plus.

Worst case he serves as a back-up to Hanigan for the same price as Freel would have made while on the DL or serving as a light-hitting pinch hitter. Best case he catches for a few years and helps develop Cueto and Volquez until a younger catcher takes over and Hernandez backs him up. We all know he will be better than last years catcher, "The Human Out" Paul Bako.

This deal seems to sure up the catching spot meaning the only real focus is for a right-handed hitting outfielder who plays wither LF or CF. This will most likely be done via a trade of Homer Bailey. The rumored deal of Bailey for Jermaine Dye is apparently dead. I guess that means a trade for Carlos Beltran or signing Manny Ramirez. O wait, only 5 teams have a chance at Ramirez, the same 5 teams that had a chance at Beltran. Glad their is an even playing field out there.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How about that BCS

Everything is working out. The BCS is imploding and has now pissed off a pretty important school, Texas. If Oklahoma loses, all hell would break loose when Texas, a conference division loser, gets picked over Penn State and USC, both conference winners. There is also a chance that, even if Florida beats Alabama, the computers have the Gators so low, OK and Tex could be 1-2. Wouldn't that be fun. An 8 team playoff would fix all this. If it were seeded strictly based on BCS standing with the higher seed having a home game (which would easily sell out in about 5 minutes) it would look like this:

Penn State at Alabama,
Texas Tech at Oklahoma,
Utah at Texas, and
USC at Florida.

Wow. Only one game TT-OK looks bad because they played 2 weeks ago and it wasn't pretty. But Penn State-Alabama and USC-Florida would be huge and Utah going to Austin would be intriguing. Instead we get USC-UCLA, OK-Mizzu, and BC-VT this weekend. Alabama-Florida is the only intriguing game. One big game rather than 3. College football could be so much better than it already is and the BCS is holding it down. There is no reason for it anymore. None. Protecting the regular season got thrown out when Oklahoma jumps Texas even though Texas won the regular season game. The season is not a playoff because in a playoff, when you beat someone, they are eliminated. They don't vault ahead of you. I hope Florida wins and UT-OK finish first and second. That would piss off the entire SEC as well as the Pac-10 champ USC. Would be fun to watch the BCS squirm to cover that up. It would be the most ridiculous championship game since LSU "won" the title over #1 USC in 2003.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another weekend road trip

This weekend I go to the Mecca of College Football, the site of the College Football Hall of Fame, and the campus of the most storied team in the history of College Football, Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame(-20) has a big game this weekend against the power of the Big East, Syracuse. I mean, I think they are a power. They must be if they have beaten Louisville two years in a row. O wait, they are terrible just like the Cards. Louisville, on the other hand, plays West Virginia(-7). Two years ago, this was the biggest game in the country and the greatest game I have ever attended. Now, it is two disappointing teams coached by two overmatched men struggling to keep the fan base from turning. Utah(-7.5) also has a tough game against BYU. A win puts them in a BCS Bowl. The Apple Cup featuring Washington(-7) and Washington State, combined record of 1-20 should be awesome. The big game of the day is obviously Texas Tech at Oklahoma(-7). I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it. I think it is the closest we will get to a playoff semifinal. The winner will probably win the Big 12 and go to Miami (although Texas may not be too happy about being passed up for Oklahoma after they whipped them last month).

My picks- I will take Syracuse(+20) to cover because it will be cold and Notre Dame has trouble closing out games (See: Navy last week), West Virginia to run it up and try and earn a better bowl. Louisville will quit on their coach in the hopes he will get fired even though he will not. In the Battle of the Mormans I will take Utah to win and clinch the BCS bowl. The Apple Cup will be won by Washington because Willingham will not go winless. In the semifinal game, I will take Texas Tech. It is mostly a sentimental pick because I like Mike Leach, although not as much as this guy, and I want them to whip Florida or Alabama in the championship to shut up the SEC fans. Have a good weekend watching these games. I will be hanging out with this guy:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Recap of the weekend, intro to basketball season

Well I went to two cold, boring games. Both ended in disappointment. Steve Kragthorpe continued his march toward the unemployment line Friday with a sorry showing against Cincinnati, ending a six game winning streak and handing back the keg of nail. Poor preparation, poor execution, and mental mistakes doomed the Cards. I wonder who is to blame for that?

On Sunday I witnessed an historic event. The Bengals managed to tie for only the second time in franchise history and first time since the 1960's. Hey, at least the Eagles didn't win. Kickoff temperature was 37 degrees so I am glad I got to sit there for the longest game possible in an NFL regular season game. With that, football is over. Congrats to the overrated SEC team of the year (Florida or Alabama) for winning the championship. Onto college basketball.

Louisville will win it all. There I said it. Here is a little video to get everyone pumped.

Only Padgett and Caracter are missing from those highlights. This team will dominate and go something like 33-3. North Carolina will choke because that is what Roy Williams does 99% of the time (2005 he was so loaded with talent even when he tried he couldn't lose). Pittsburgh, Michigan State, and UCLA will join them in Detroit. One team that will not, UK. They were humiliated, again, at home. If Tubby had done this, I don't want to think about what they would have done. Of course, there is one big difference between Tubby and Billy DUI and it can't be changed by better recruiting or winning titles.

I managed to get a video of his meeting this week with his coaches. Slightly NSFW because of racy subtitles.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekend Edition

Not much going on this week in terms of football. The Jets and Farve beat the Cheaters in Foxborough last night. I guess it is not as easy without cheating. No real college games to speak of as most teams have easy games before next week's rivalry games. The only ones of interest are Florida-South Carolina, Georgia-Auburn, and Texas-Kansas. I will take the Ole Ball Coach to keep it close and maybe pull of a stunner. He should have beat the Gators the year they won it all but they were lucky enough to have a defender jump in the exact spot the ball went twice. Totally ridiculous and flukey. A foot from losing and shutting up those insufferable SEC fans. As for the other two games Georgia will beat Tuberville and send him to the unemployment line and Colt will beat the fighting Manginos. Speaking of Mangino, here are the two(1, 2) funniest pictures of the year regarding him.

I will be attending two great games this weekend. Tonight, Louisville (hopefully) continues the Steve Kragthorpe farewell tour tonight against number 22 Cincinnati in the battle for the Keg of Nails, one of the weirdest and most meaningless trophys in college football. Three tough games and then maybe, hopefully the misery will end. I will let these guys take it from here.

Sunday I take a drive to the great city of Cincinnati for the Bengals-Eagles clash. This will be great because I get to participate in Project Mayhem and yell at Philly fans, two of my favorite things. I will have an update on Monday of how the weekend went but suffice it to say there will be drinking, yelling, sulking, and complaining about the coach and organization from both games. Thank god the Reds are the beacon of sports with their great management and on field coach. O wait. This whole site is dedicated to his incompetence. Damn

Finally, RIP FJM.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not so Hot Stove, BCS mess

Well the Hot Stove League has begun and the Reds are sifting through the bottom of the pot. (attention FJM: food metaphor) The names mentioned are Garret Atkins, Willy Taveras, and Yorvit Torrealba. None of these players should be considered as they provide little or no upgrade over a replacement player from the minor leagues while adding payroll. I like the idea of the Reds going after a CF who can lead off but one with a .308 OBP is not good enough. While no Corey Patterson numbers, still pretty bad at 55 OPS+. Atkins seems to be another Edwin Encarnacion but a little older and Torrealba is a backup at best. Nice to hear the Reds talked about but none of these players makes sense.

Onto football where the BCS seems to be coming into focus thanks to Penn State's loss and the overhyped SEC. Florida has played well recently, against mediocre competition and everyone thinks they are the best team in the land. This is the same Florida who lost at home to Ole Miss and finished last year losing to Michigan in a bowl game. What have they done to deserve this ranking? Beat UGA, who has no signature win, whipped severly overrated LSU at home? I don't get it. Alabama's big win was at UGA(not looking so good anymore)? vs. Clemson?(no way) at LSU(no real win to speak of). And none of them play anyone out of conference so there is no chance of a good win there. The Big 12 is miles ahead.

Oklahoma lost a close game to Texas while playing a much better out of conference schedule (TCU and Cincy). Texas lost at the last minute on the road to the #2 team. Texas Tech has beaten Texas and Oklahoma St in consecutive weeks. Missouri has only lost to Texas and Oklahoma State while beating Illinois out of conference. I would take UT, TT, and OK over Bama, UF, and UGA. I would also take Mizzu and OK St over LSU and South Carolina. The top 5 of the Big 12 blow away the top 5 of the SEC. In a real playoff the two big 12 teams would play in the title. This year, an SEC team will play a Big 12 in Miami. If Florida is the representative the SEC will once again have a national title home game just like LSU's two championships. The current BCS is a joke and any person who argues for it is either a college president or an SEC fan. Those are the two people who benefit from the system.

This guy really agrees.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Baseball wrap, Weekend Ahead, Red Sox note

Well the season is over and Philly won the title just as I predicted. That means I was 5 of 7 in my predictions. Not bad overall. I will try and give a preview of the 2009 Reds including what we need (SS, CF, C) and what we don't need (old, slow players who refuse to get on base). Otherwise, the blog will turn to football, both pro and college, as well as basketball, college only until the NBA playoffs, when teams start trying. There will also be some TV, food, and other topics thrown in for fun. Now some quick thoughts on football this weekend.

-UGA-UF will be the highlight of my weekend. Last year's game featured a combined 72 points, 2 Heisman contenders(Tebow and Moreno) and one great celebration. This years game features many of the same players plus an added element thanks to the celebration. Will Tebow and the Gators dance when they score, will Richt pull out another crazy idea, will there be an all out fight. I say yes to all. In the end, UGA's young, pathwork offensive line will falter as it did against Alabama and UF will make one great play on special teams to pull out the win 38-24.

-Texas-Texas Tech will be an interesting matchup. TT will throw the ball all over. Texas will blitz against a line that has allowed fewer than 5 sacks all year. The winner of that battle wins the game. I say TT wins because blitzing fails more than it works. Ask the Giants. you need to be able to get pressure with only 4 in order to succeed. Blitzing against TT will give Harrell one-on-one and he will pick them apart. Any worry I would have if I were Texas is that this is the biggest game in Lubbuck ever. This is the third biggest game for Texas this month. Who do you think will be more focused and ready. I will take TT in a squeaker 41-38. If Texas loses but somehow wins the Big 12 with 1 loss, and the SEC champ has one loss, I can't wait for the insanity of who gets to beat PSU in the title game. It is gonna be awesome.

-quick note regarding the Red Sox sloberfest posted yesterday. Yes, they have home-grown some talent. Yes, they have a large fan base. This is pretty easy to do when your area covers 5 states. The Red Sox own such a big territory that they can get their own TV station and make a ton of money off it. The Reds own half of Ohio, some of KY and some of IN. Their station is FSN Ohio which is only a small step above PBS in terms of quality and coverage. The Sox own MA, VT, NH, ME, most of RI and parts of CT. Their market is bigger thus generating more revenue from their TV station which is available in all of those states as well as on DirectTV. The Reds could never fund their own station and thus will never get the money that Boston does. And my problem with Boston, other than its fans, is how much it spends and how it spends it. They are able to draft players no one else can because they will pay huge bonus money no one else will. If the player flames out, it would hurt a normal team. The Sox just write it off and cut a million dollar check to another player to replace him. They can afford to pay Coco Crisp $5 million for 350 AB's, Julio Lugo $8 for 300 AB's, Jason Veritek $11 for a 73 OPS+, Schilling $8 to blog and piss people off. These would all be in the top 5 salary wise for the Reds and all were part time, no-time, or bad. The Reds mistakenly signed Eric Milton for 9 million and didn't recover for years. The Sox take it as if it were nothing because of their bags of money. If they make a mistake, they can correct it much easier than 26 other teams. That is unfair.

O, and the players you mentioned, only Nomar was home-grown. Manny, Papi, and Pedro were all bought for money that only 6 teams could have paid for. The Reds never had a chance at any of them. That also makes it unfair. Only one team in the last 15 years has won the World Series with a payroll in the bottom half of the league: The 2003 Florida Marlins. That shows how unfair it is. The only solution would be a salary cap. That will never happen because in order for MLB to make money, NY, BOS, LA, and CHI must be good. They can only be good if they can spend millions to fix their millin dollar mistakes. The cycle continues and, at the start of next season, 15 teams will KNOW they can't win a World Series. When do pitchers and cathers report?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Big Deal Palace Up and Running - Red Sox

Sorry for the long delay, but it took some time to get the new and improved Big Deal Palace up and running. I've finally got the internet and a TV at home, so watch out I may up my production to 2 times a month. I'll try to come back with a few posts in the next week on various topics. Today I'll take on the Red Sox:

While I know my comrade on this blog has been very critical of the Sox "buying" players and points to the Rays success as proving that you can overcome the Big Bad Money Taking Big Market Team by developing talent. While the Rays success illustrates small market teams can compete, it doesn't make the Red Sox model obsolete or even bad. Unless you are a communist (and after this upcoming election we will all likely live in a socialist/communist society like Sweden, but that is a rant for another time and likely violates one of our rules about alienating people), you have to admire the way the Red Sox and Yankees take the revenues from running a successful team and put that money to making the team more successful. Boose's comments would lead one to a "wind fall talent tax" where the teams who generate enough interest to be profitable give some of their players to stupid teams like the Reds who overpay bad people and refuse to pay to keep talented people around (Adam Dunn). If this blog stands for anything (aside from getting dusty baker fired), it stands for capitalism and against socialism.

Boston does have the luxury of making more mistakes since they have an unlimited payroll, but that is because year in and year out they put a product on the field people are willing to pay for. They have found a way to maximize revenues by selling monster seats, pink hats and keeping their old stadium in decent shape. They have consistently paid for top players and even developed some talented players. Since they are willing to keep players around once they become good at baseball rather than sell them for more prospects (who they will get rid of when they get good at baseball), Boston has been able to create cult heroes that fans love (Manny, Nomar, Big Papi & Pedro).

Lets analyze why they have more money and point out the fundamental flaw in small market teams complaint that they just don't have the money to compete (basically assuming that those with money did nothing to deserve it). While metro boston is larger than metro cincy (~4mm vs 2mm), it isn't like Cincy is some sleepy Podunk tiny town. Cincy also doesn't need to support a hockey and basketball team, so it the Reds and Bengals (who don't seem like they will draw many people for years). There is a large enough population to support a baseball team (see 1970s and 80s). The reds stadium (which was paid for by taxpayers and not ownership) has luxury boxes, while Fenway doesn't, so technically is capable of producing more revenue. Cincy is a baseball town and the team was extremely popular in the 1970s when the team was good, so you can't argue Boston has more "history" or a better historical fan base. Cincinnati had the first professional baseball team and also has won a few more championships than Boston, so that excuse doesn't work either. National TV contracts are split, so all those boston-new york games on espn, Cincy sees some of that revenue. Boston has their own tv station (NESN) and is able to get all the revenue from that, but if demand were there Cincy could do the same thing.

So basically we can't hate Boston for "buying" world championships, because they have no built in advantage over Cincy as it relates to generating revenue (same cannot be said for NY, LA or Chicago which are much bigger cities). You can hate Boston for many things (the cold weather, Barney Frank, the fake sox fans who came out of nowhere over the past two years, the slightly overweight women of Cambridge), but hating them for buying championships is just hating success. Instead of saying the sox put a good product on the field, which can win titles every season because they have money, it would be more apt to say The Sox have money because they put a good product on the field and are competitive every game.

The Reds need to take a look at the Sox business model and find a way to put a good team on the field every season, quit rebuilding all the time and let the fans know you plan to make long term commitments to good players, find other ways to generate revenue and learn how to evaluate talent properly. A good start to all of this would be to get rid of Dusty Baker and find a competent manager and GM, who understand that a computer is not scary and it isn't a sin to allow statistical facts about a players ability to color your gut judgement about that players ability.

We have made this the quest of the blog, but i think gotten off track as our team went down and others succeeded. It is time to right the ship and make sure our single focus as it relates to baseball (we will continue to comment on all things non-baseball. Trust me there will be a full season recap of RR/RR Challenge this year as it is amazing) is to educate the good people out there about how to take a once very proud franchise that could dominate an entire decade back to the front of the MLB pack. The first step in that goal is firing Dusty Baker.

Viva La Revolution

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quick Thoughts

-So the Phillies are going to win the series, just as I predicted. Also, no shame in taking the Bill Belicheat approach to the game. It is only cheating if you get caught. I am sure the dirt that collected all season just happened to be in that one spot. Happens all the time, just ask Kenny Rodgers. There it is folks, the Honorable Phillies, your 2008 World Series Champs, from the Honorable city of Philadelphia. (Yes, this is an attempt to jinx them.)

-Got to love college football this year. Penn State, with their ONE big win will likely play in the title game. Alabama has played ONE good game thus far (at UGA) and will play another in the SEC title game. (The LSU game is mediocre after the Tigers have been exposed against UGA, South Carolina, and UF. What a great SEC defense they have, allowing 125 points in the last 3 games). USC played ONE good game against a non-Pryor lead Ohio State. (At UVA is mediocre now that they may win the ACC) After all that, the decision of who plays Texas is decided by writers and coaches who watch, at best, half the top 25 each week. Sound reasonable. I would hate for those 3 teams, which are practically indistinguishable right now, play in a 4 team playoff with Texas. (Oklahoma is out because you have to at least qualify for your championship game to be considered) Let's let some very biased human beings decide it. This helps preserve the regular season. That great regular season where every week matters. Except the last week because you can lose then and still go to the title game or go undefeated and have no chance at it. (See LSU last season, Nebraska years ago, Oklahoma in 2003, Boise 2 years ago, Aubrun 2004, etc. ) This system is really working.

-So it is down to the Bengals and Lions. Both staring 0-16 and a place in history in the face. Here is the Bengals remaining schedule with my win probability in parenthesis: Jax (5%), BYE (80%), Philly (15%), at Pit (2%), Balt (10%), at Indy (15%), Wash (20%), at Cle (25%), KC (40%). Not looking good.

Here is the Lions schedule: at Chi (15%), Jax (10%), at Car (15%), TB (10%), Ten (5%), Min (15%), at Indy (10%), NO (15%), at GB (10%). Not much better. The only difference I see is Detroit has 6 home games remaining. Cincy has a bye and a finale against a terrible KC team. I'd say it is pretty much 50/50 but, knowing that Ryan Fitzpatrick will probably start for the rest of the year, I will take the Bengals to complete the perfect season.

-I have written before about my love of hamburger helper. The cheesburger macarroni is excellant along with the standards of Lasagna, four-cheese, and beef pasta. But did you know they have Chicken Helper. Cooked the same way only with Chicken. I recommend the Chicken Fried Rice or the Fettuccine Alfredo as a change of pace. Chicken is easier to cook(no draining) and, when mixed with some Frank's Hot Sauce, can be mighty tasty. I should get a Betty Crocker sponsership for this.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

World Series Thoughts

I hate Philly. I know I have said why in the past but now it is because they have ruined my predictions. I successfully picked the winner of the four series' in which the Phillies were not involved including the correct number of games in the ALCS and emergence of David Price. For some reason the Phillies have been my nemesis but it is alright, I have a solution. I am picking them to win the World Series in 7. This will effectively jinx them because the only prediction that I have missed have involved the Phillies and now that I have picked them, they will lose. This is the complete opposite of what I think will actually happen, but it must be done in order to ensure a Rays victory in 5. I sure feel better now. Here are some other thoughts on the Fall Classic:

-Great to see the Red Sox fail to finish the comeback. I am sick of hearing about their comeback against the Yanks in 2004 and the Indians in 2007. When you spend $130 million every year, putting together a 3 or 4 game winning streak is not that impressive. Now their key players are hurting (Papi's wrist, Drew's back, Lowell's everything) and their position players are not developing well. Ellsbury was supposed to be the next Beltran but tanked this season, they need a shortstop and corner outfielder, not to mention replacing Paul Bako 2.0 behind the plate. I am sure they will go out and spend $30 million to fill the holes because they are the new Yankees and money is no object. It would be nice to see them miss the post season next year only to see all their "fans" disappear overnight. If they have any significant injuries during the year to a pitcher or two, I think they will miss the playoffs.(I made a comment earlier this year about the crowds at Fenway being terrible and many writers commented on the fans in games 3 and 4 being lackluster and only their to see and be seen. The lesson here is, I am always right.)

-The Rays are one hell of a team. They are better then the Phillies defensively(by a long shot) and, other then Cole Hamels who is the best pitcher in the Series, their starting pitcher is superier. The Rays are also younger, fearless, and are coming back fairly quickly. The Phillies have had a week off which doesn't work out well against a team coming off a dramatic 7 game victory(See Tigers in 2006 and Rockies in 2007). David Price is going to be a superstar and I think he will be used again to nail down a close game. Another outing like Sunday and he will become a legend in Tampa, until he becomes a free agent and the Red Sox give him $150 million to replace another $30 million pitcher who didn't pan out.

-No more Frank TV ads or reruns or The Steve Harvey Show. No more Buck Martinez. No more TBS. Now we are blessed with Joe Buck(Jim Nantz) and Tim McCarver(Billy Packer). I only wish FOX would get rid of Tim the way CBS dumped Packer. They are both past their prime and discuss the sport as if it is 1978. The game has passed Tim by and he hasn't realized it. His comments about Manny disgracing the game by not running out groundballs was so hypocritical in light of his non mention of Brett Myers and his domestic violence charge. Which do you think disgraced the game more? I will take the wife beater.

-Enjoy the games and the blog will turn to football and other baseball musings after the series. Remember Phillies in 7 (but really Rays in 5).

Thursday, October 09, 2008

LCS Predictions

Well I got 3 of the 4 series right. The one I got wrong just happened to be my world champion. Hey, it's not my fault CC turned into Eric Milton, Prince Fielder turned into Corey Patterson, and Ryan Braun became Paul Bako. Now onto the LCS. I have a good feeling about these.

Phillies - Dodgers

The Phillies looked good in the first round and now have homefield. They also have some pitcher named Christopher Gruler. O wait no. That is who the Reds chose ahead of their real pitcher, Cole Hamels. Hamels should win 2 games in the series but who will win the other? Brett Myers? The same Brett Myers who was so terrible he was sent to AAA earlier this year and is now pitching in the biggest game of his life. I think he may revert back to his pre-minors form. Who else? Joe Blanton? His statistics have been average with a 106 ERA+ but he went to the University of Kentucky. Probably too interested in being mediocre in football and overrated in basketball to concentrate. The 45 year old Jamie Moyer is all that is left. By the way, he was once a teammate of Davy Lopes who was a teammate of Hoyt Wilhelm. Hoyt was born in 1922. It took only one common teammate to go from Jamie Moyer to a man who played at the Polo Grounds for the New York "Baseball" Giants under Leo Derocher. That is old. And his 71 mile an hour fastball won't fool Manny. He will sit back and crush it.

The Dodgers on the other hand have young players who are still fresh but lack experience in big games. Some people think this is bad but I think it can be good. Say your team has been beaten in their last 3 straight playoff series. They have experience but it is of losing and getting tight in big games. If they didn't have that experience, they would probably be better off. These Dodgers don't have those bad experiences(I am looking right at the Angels and Cubs). Manny has some pretty damn good ones. Their pitching is pretty solid with Lowe, Billingsley (taken 10 picks after Ryan Wagner), Clayton Kershaw (chosen one pick ahead of Drew Stubbs,), and whoever else they throw out there. They also have 4 time Cy Young award winner Greg Maddux if needed. Overall, the teams look pretty even.

In the end though, I like Joe Torre over Charlie Manual and Manny Ramirez over anyone else. I'll take the Dodgers in 7. And if you think this is a pick just because I hate Philly fans and want them to be miserable, well, you are right.

Rays - Red Sox

Another one where everyone likes the road team. Most of it is because Boston controls most of the media and can make it say practicly anything. Did you know the Red Sox are the greatest team with the greatest fans ever? I didn't until I heard and read all about it. I thought they finished in second in their division despite spending $90 million more then the first place team. I guess I thought the team that finished first was better.

As for the series, I originally picked the Rays in 7. I am sticking with that but I am not quite as sure. The Red Sox did as I expected and woke up for the playoffs. They have become the San Antonio Spurs of baseball meaning they coast through the regular season then turn it up for the postseason. If Beckett were 100% they would have the advantage. If Manny were still there, they would have an advantage. Without that, the teams are equal so I will take the home team in 7 and yes, it has something to do with my dislike of their "fans."

Tampa has great pitching, a great bullpen, and good hitting. They also have speed so if Boston does what they say and pitch Wakefield (I don't think they will), the Rays will steal all over the place. But who knows. These teams were pretty even in the regular season and should be pretty even in this series. A couple bounces one way or another could change the game. I am rooting for the young, entergetic, worst-to-first, low payroll team. I guess I am somehow hoping this is what the Reds become. Too bad we would need a competent manager.

Post Script: So the Reds could have had Cole Hamels and Chad Billingsly. Instead we drafted two guys who are not in the majors. We also missed Kershaw by one pick for a guy who is 25 and still not in the majors. I sure hope Walt Jocketty knows what he is doing because all the other GM's we have had sure screwed the pooch.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Break out the champagne! Ring the bells! The long wait is finally over!

No, the Reds have not won anything in over a decade but Walt Jocketty came out and said the most glorious words any Reds fan could hear today: Corey Patterson will NOT be back in 2009. This is cause for celebration. And this time real celebration, not the wake up on the coach, stay drunk for 48 hour, celebration I had last week after passing the bar. I'm gonna party Michael Irvin style.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Playoff Predictions

Before the playoffs begin let me give you my thoughts:


I smell and upset. The Cubs have red flags all over the field. They haven't played a meaningful game all of September thanks to the total tank job of the Brewers. Big Z has also struggled his past two starts and, if you throw out the no hitter which was against a ravaged Houston team worrying about their city and homes disappearing while playing a "home" game in Milwaukee, he hasn't had a quality start since August 14th and that was against the Reds. Ryan Dumpster takes the ball in game one and any long-time Reds fan knows he is not as good as advertised. Call me a skeptic but how does a pitcher have far better numbers then he has ever put up at age 31 in a hitter's ballpark. His WHIP is .300 lower then his career average(that is a big number) and his ERA+ is 152, 32 points higher then his previous best season which was when he was 23 and in his prime. Something doesn't look right. 31 year-olds don't do that naturally-er-normally.

I think LA will steal one in Chicago then win both at home to take the series 3-1. I am mostly picking it because I hate these fans. And they will be coming out of the woodwork this week. Look out.


CC is a monster. I think he can win two games by himself. No questions asked. Just goes to show you how much of a difference there is in the two leagues. While he was good in the AL, he is untouchable in the NL. That leaves the Brewers only needing one more win. I think Ryan Braun will get one big hit and win that game for them, as long it isn't needed today(Rosh Hashanah) or next Wednesday (Yom Kippur). You probably didn't even know he was Jewish. See, you learn something new every day when you read the blog. So keep doing it. Or else.....

I will take the Brewers in 5. Good series but Ryan Howard can't hit lefties and that will come back to haunt them against CC. But, if Gagne pitches, all bets are off. He is like 3 Corey Pattersons rolled into one.

Red Sox-Angels

One team is the defending world champs and the other hasn't played a meaningful game since before the all-star break. Got to take the Red Sox. As much as I hate them, they have the best team. That is what you get when you spend 9 figures every year for a decade, and not just on their major league team, they fill their minors with best talent money can buy. Good for them and bad for everyone else. They will be loaded for a long time thanks to no cap and a ridiculous international system where any good player will be snatched up by who spends the most, not through the draft. Why isn't there a seperate international draft? O yeah, because baseball wants the big market, rich teams to be good and an international draft would hurt that. The rich keep getting richer thanks to good ole Bud.

Boston in a sweep. The Angels are good but the Red Sox get bored in the regular season. They will turn it on now that they are on the big stage. I just wish Boston fans weren't so obnoxious. I'm not the only one.

White Sox-Rays

Love the Rays. They are what the Reds could be if they could draft and develop talent. Almost all of their team is home-grown or acquired in trades for other home-grown talent with a few, low-level fre agents thrown in. They have been winning all year in the toughest division in baseball. Now they get the White Sox who are in "we are just glad we made it" mode after winning three tough games the last three days. The Rays should handle them easily and, although it would be nice to see Griffey make a run at a championship, I think the Sox don't have enough left.

Rays in a sweep. Pitching is too good and wait until you see David Price. He pitched against Louisville in the AAA playoffs and his stuff is filthy. He is better then Joba was last year but without the New York media machine to tout him.

Those are the first round predictions. Here are the rest quickly but I will provide more once the first round ends and my picks inevitablly fail. Brewers over the Dodgers in 6 thanks to CC showcasing for his future employer, Rays over Red Sox in 7 because of the advantage in the giant pinball machine, and Brewers over Rays to win it all. Why not? The Badgers just choked away their season, Brett Farve is gone, what else do they have in Wisconsin? And anyway, anything is better then listening to insufferable Cubs or Red Sox fans talk about how great their team is even though they couldn't name more then 10 players. Go Brew Crew!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Awards Part II

Here are some more awards:

Greg Vaughn Award
(Best new hitter acquisition) goes to........

Jerry Hairston Jr. I almost confused him with Jerry Hairston Sr. Thank goodness he keeps that Jr. on the end. This is the one Dusty signing that didn't tank. He played well when not injured. Unfortunately, he only managed 80 games and 260 AB's. If he could stay healthy for an entire season, he could be useful. Too bad he hasn't played more then 120 games since 2002 and will be 32 next season. It was a good run for him but he is not the answer for next year's Reds. Having said that Dusty will resign him and Patterson and give them each starting jobs then be totally confused when the Reds only win 60 games.

Danny Jackson Award (Best new pitcher acquisition) goes to.......

Edinson Volquez. Coco was a close second. I know Coco had his ups and downs but it was recently revealed that he had a problem with his foot all year. Add that to his 136 ERA+ and having an anchor in the ninth to open up Weathers and Burton for the 7th and 8th, major trouble spots for last years Reds and Coco comes in a close second. Volquez is the winner. I would trade Josh Hamilton again in a hearbeat. I would give his stats but I have a feeling he will get another award.

Chris Sabo Award (Best rookie hitter) goes to.......

Joey Votto. Could make a good case that he is the Rookie of the Year in the NL. Here are his and Soto's numbers. Guess which one are his.

Player A: .297/.368/.506, 32 2b's, 24 hr's, 84 rbi's, 124 OPS+
Player B: .285/.364/.506, 25 2b's, 23 hr's 86 rbi's, 122 OPS+

Eerily similar. Votto is player A and looking at purely offensive stats, he is better. Soto plays a much tougher position on a team headed to the playoffs so he should win the award. I'm just saying that it is close. I think he isn't going to win because all the voters hate Canadians like Votto. I know I do.

Scott Williamson Award (Best rookie pitcher) goes to.......

Johnny Cueto. He had his ups and downs but at the end of the day, you have to remember that he is 22 years old, started 31 games and won 9 times, threw 174 innings while posting a 94 ERA+, and 158 K's. If he continues to improve, he, Volquez, Harang, and Arroyo could be the more formidable top 4 in the division. Owings, Bailey, and any other pitcher simply need to hold down the 5th spot and the rotation is set.

Johnny Bench Award (Best Hitter) goes to.......

Adam Dunn. I know he only played on the team until August 10th but he put up another monster year with 32 hr's and 74 rbi's in only the 113 games in a Reds uniform. His OPS+ of 130 is tops among regular players and his 197 OPS+ with RISP and 2 outs shows he got it done when it mattered. I love the big donkey, and I miss the big donkey.

Mario Soto Award (Best Pitcher) goes to......

Edinson Volquez. He was electric. His struggles after the all-star break took him out of contention for the Cy Young but he was still a legit all-star who could strike out 10 batters any start. Here are his stats: 24 years old, 32 starts with 17 wins, 196 inning with an ERA+ of 140, and 206 K's. Ridiculous numbers from a kid who is still improving. Another year of work under the tutalige of Mario Soto and he could be one of the top 5 starters in the NL.

Dave Miley Award (Most clueless manager) goes to.......

Dusty Baker. He needs to be fired now and replaced with a competent person. Hell, I will take someone with a pulse at this point. Anyone would know Bako and Patterson can't play baseball. O well, the blog will continue until my dream is realized and someone else is managing my beloved Reds.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Awards for the season part I

Now that the Reds season is mercifully over and another losing season is in the books let me hand out some awards. I will try to have some positive ones and not give all the bad ones to Dusty but it will be tough after suffering through this 74-88 debacle.

Onto the awards:

Eric Milton Award (worst performance by a Reds free-agent pitcher) goes to........

Josh Fogg. He was supposed to be a shrewd signing by former GM Wayne Krivsky. It turned into a disaster. His stats go as follows: 2-7 in 14 starts and 8 relief appearances, 7.58 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 17 HR's allowed in 78 innings. Batting practice pitchers put up better numbers.

Juan Castro Award (worst performance by a Reds free-agent hitter) goes to..........

Corey Patterson. Was there any other choice? 3 million for a 48 OPS+. The only personnel director who thinks this was a good move is Mike Brown. But at least he hasn't been arrested 50 times like Brown's players.

Art Shell Award (worst performance by a coach) goes to.......

Brook Jacoby. This team was known for their good hitting and terrible pitching. Dick Pole somehow fixed the bullpen just in time for Jacoby to stand by while our hitters regress. Griffey nose-dived, EE failed to progress, and, if not for the rookies who were untainted by Jacoby, they would have been the worst line-up in the National League.

Entourage Award (most disappointing season from a formerly good player) goes to.....

Ken Griffey Jr. Aaron Harang would be the easy answer but I blame most of his struggles on Dusty. Griffey never got going and has only been worse since joining Chicago. Not once have I heard his name discussed. We all expected a big season if he stayed healthy. Well he was healthy and failed to produce. His season reminded me of Entourage last season. Everyone expected big things, then every week revolved around one stupid movie. We don't watch Entourage for the acting. The acting is awful. We watch it for the partying and fun side of Hollywood.

Friday Night Lights Award (most under appreciated player) goes to.....

Adam Dunn. The man was an amazing baseball player who loved the game, his teammates, and the city of Cincinnati. That is very hard to find. I wish more people would realize this and appreciate it just as I wish more people would appreciate FNL. The best show in TV is relegated to Directv this fall because ratings were so bad and Directv offered to pay some of the costs. Now all I need is a friend with Directv.

That is all for today. Come back tomorrow for more. (you didn't think I would give you all of them now. I need to increase my hits from 8 to 16.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dusty's terrible moves

So many bad moves it is difficult to remember them all. Here is a quick list of the easy ones. Feel free to add any others.

-Playing Corey Patterson. This is listed first for obvious reasons. Dusty loves Corey and not because he is dating Dusty's daughter. Dusty had to come out against that rumor in the papers. Corey must love Dusty because he is on pace for almost 400 PA's and an OPS+ of 48 while making 3 million. The move was done because Dusty wanted it done. Now he keeps playing Corey hoping he will turn it around and make the investment worth it. I wish someone would wake him up and tell him the season is over and getting some rookies some extra AB's and experience would not be a bad idea

-Playing Paul Bako. Like Corey, this is another of Dusty's guys he brought in and continues to throw out there even though he is 36, and has an OPS+ of 58 while his heir apparent, Ryan Hanigan, has an OPS+ of 90 in very limited action. Maybe he should play more because John Fay did some checking and found the Reds are 14-8 when he starts and the pitchers have a 3.68 ERA. So Bako is a worse hitter and he calls an equal or worse game. Why is he playing again?

-Overusing some young arms. Volquez has pitched 200 innings. 24 year olds who, 2 years ago pitched only 120 innings, should not throw 200 innings for a 5th place team. Cueto is 22 and will pitch over 180 innings this year. These two are the cornerstone of our future. They should have been given more days off in September once the season was essentially over. Better to have them in September next year for a few more starts then overwork them this year.

-The San Diego debacle. Aaron Harang was ruined for two months thanks to Dusty's terrible decision making. Aaron threw 4 innings on 3 days rest. He went into a total tailspin after that and landed on the DL. Hopefully he will be back to 100% by the beginning of next year so he can return to his old form. Without him, the Reds will be in big trouble.

What else?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back with power and a look-back

After 8 days without power thanks to hurricane Ike, the blog is back and running. The Reds decided to celebrate me not being able to watch by playing good baseball. They won close games and the pitching has been fantastic. They look like they are playing against a bunch of AAA guys and guys who just want the season over. O wait, that is who they are playing against. It sure is easy to win when you are the only ones trying.

The Reds have clinched another losing season, making it eight in a row. Their record will look pretty good, somewhere around 75 wins, but don't let that fool you. This team hasn't played a meaningful game since June and the surge is not the result of trading Adam Dunn. Before Dunn was traded, the team scored 4.3 runs a game. Since then, they have scored 4.5 against September rosters and teams simply playing out the string. The real reason for the 22-16 record since the Dunn trade is the team ERA which was 4.65 before and is 3.81 since. WHen you allow nearly a run less a game, the record will improve. That is not rocket science.

This recent run of success will only make Dusty look better, which as we all know, is bad for the Reds. Over the next few days we will relive some of his worst decisions. After that, we will wrap of the season with some awards and look forward to next year. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Football picks

Since we all know the Reds will sweep the Adam "I am the reason my team doesn't win" Dunn, let me make some picks for the interesting games of the weekend:

South Florida will handle Kansas tonight. Kansas has played such a terrible schedule the last 2 years, losing their only big game to Missouri last fall. USF looked bad last week but they were on the road in front of a very hostile 50,000 people. The friendly confines of Tampa will help them.

Wisconsin will struggle with Fresno, but still win. This game reminds me too much of Wisconsin-UNLV from last year. They travel cross country to play the biggest game that school will have all year. The Badgers will look bad but still win by a TD or so.

Georgia will beat the other USC. Spurrier will hang around for a half but Georgia, injuries or not, is too good in the end. If Georgia somehow loses, that does not bode well for the SEC.

Half of America will fall asleep during the Michigan-Notre Dame game. No points will be scored. The over/under for this game is 37.5. And I like the under. Wake me when it is over.

If I were a betting man, I would do a two team parlay with Auburn, giving 11 to a terrible Mississippi State team and the Georgia Tech money line over Va Tech. The Hokies have no offense and the Jackets have been good in both of their games. This should pay about 4.5 or 5 to 1.

As for the NFL, who really cares. I do like that I can bet on NE and either they win, and I get money, or they lose and I am happy. Maybe that will make my Sundays interesting.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reds finally winning

Well it took the Reds being eliminated from the Central race for them to start playing well. They have won 8 of 11 thanks to the young guys stepping up. Bruce has a ridiculous 1.400 OPS in his 8 September games and Votto is at 1.222. Corey Patterson is even having a great month with his .296 OBP, easily his highest of the season, and his 7 hits in 8 games makes this month better then June and July hitswise. His 47 OPS+ is threatening Gabor Paul II Bako and his plummeting 55 OPS+ for worst on the team for players with over 200 AB's. If he went by Gabor and not Paul I would like him a lot more. Bako has been horrible recently going .135/.214/.162 in his last 11 games yet he continues to start when Cueto and Volquez are on the mound. Dusty doesn't want to start Hanigan because Bako has caught those two for all of 5 months and he doesn't want to mess with that. Someone should tell him these guys are professional baseball players who really don't care who is behind the plate and starting Hanigan will set us up better for next year when, godwilling, Bako is gone. Once again, Dusty amazes.

On to football. HUGE game this weekend between the Trojans and Buckeyes. Should be a dandy for a few quarters until USC pulls away in the second half. If I were a betting man and gambling were legal, I would take the Trojans as long as I wasn't giving up more then 14 points. USC has won a ton of big games under Carrol and they are nearly invincible in the Colesium. OSU is a nice little squad that has struggled in big games on the road recently. USC 31-OSU 14.

As for the NFL, a bunch of boring games last weekend(saw that one coming) with only the Carolina-SD game being interesting. Hopefully we will get a few more good ones this week but I doubt it.

Here is a link to another Ryan Parker song(he did the Jay Bruce almighty one). This time it is about the silver lining now that Brady is done for the year.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Weekend Thoughts

Another season, another disappointment for the friends of fdb. I haven't commented on the UofL Cardinals terrible performance a week ago at home against UK, because I was just too angry. After taking a week to think about it, I'm still too angry to talk about it. Kragthorpe should go, it is clear. He has taken a national contender and turned them into a CUSA also ran. I will no longer waste my breath as clearly UofL has decided it is a basketball school. Football is expensive to maintain anyway, and it is difficult to recruit. I'm glad I no longer have to watch the Cards games on Saturdays and can focus on other teams. Also can try to make some money (if gambling were legal) by taking USC and going against ND (trust me it will work out for you).

After what I saw on Sunday, I'm now forced to go against one of my rules regarding yelling at one of our 4 fans. We received a comment praising the work of Kimo Von Whateverhisname, when he took out Carson Palmer at the knee. After watching fans cheer as Brady limps off the Field this weekend, I must say something. There is one thing to cheer for your team and hope the opposing team doesn't play well. That's fine, you always want to win and if that means your opponent pulls a Kragthorpe (or Dusty) and just sucks that's fine. But cheering for someone to seriously hurt his chance to ever play again is downright sick. Maybe it is people who have never competed in sports, but athletes all have a healthy respect for each other (and yes this includes divers. I would never cheer for anyone to hit his head on the board risking serious injury. That would just be sick.). You never want to see someone knocked out of a contest due to injury. I would equate cheering as Carson Palmer is taken off the field to someone standing over Big Ben as he lays on the ground after his motorcycle accident cheering. I don't like Tom Brady and want the Patriots to lose everygame, but I don't want some freak accident (or malicious cheap shot, however you see it) to be the reason. Tom Brady is a fantastic athlete who works very hard at his craft, to hope this is taken away from him is like wishing Michelangelo would have fallen from the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Sorry if I offended FDB nation, but you can't seriously want your team to win soley by destroying someone else's livelihood. Could you?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Another glorious weekend

Well the Reds managed to stave off a sweep by the Pirates yesterday. And all i took was getting Fogg, Patterson, and Bako off the field. Funny how that works. I wish someone would have thought of that months ago. All we can hope for is to beat the now reeling Cubs. The fans, voted here as the most annoying, are panicking because their constantly overworked starter, Fat Z, has tendonitis in his shoulder and Harden has a dead arm. Fat Z's "tendonitis" is more serious then it sounds. A starter who goes from a 96 fastball to an 89 fastball, as he did in his last start, has more wrong then tendonitis. Harden is always injured and one has to assume that he will not pitch another meaningful inning the rest of the year. The Reds will get a chance to play spoiler in front of a "home" crowd. Home is in parenthesis because there is no way more than 30% of the fans will be rooting for Cincinnati. Most will be dressed in blue, drinking bear, yelling obnoxiously and pretending like they care about what is going on.

The real fun this weekend happens on the gridiron. Two full days of football. Saturday's games aren't all that great but. hey, I'll take mediocre college teams (Vandy vs. South Carloina) over that snoozefest between the Giants and the Racist Nicknames last night. Look out for the 'Dores. They must be a top 20 team if they can win a game in the SEC. From what I hear, only about 15 teams qualify as good enough to beat an SEC team and 11 of them are already in the conference. The highlight of Saturday's games should be the West Virgina - East Carolina game. And if you think I picked that game just to post that picture, then you are right.

Sunday's games offer a little better matchups. I, and about 20 other people in the country, am interested in the Cincinnati-Baltimore game just to see Chad Ocho Cinco play. Other then that, I wouldn't mind seeing Brett Favre play terribly to knock him off his high horse and the Patriots to get caught violating the integrity of the game. Probably not going to happen but a man can dream can't he. Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bats in playoffs, Football is back

The Reds are still playing but the real story is in Louisville where the Bats are looking to actually win something of substance for the organization. They are in the playoffs so there haven't been any September callups. Not that it would do any good to expose those guys to the terrible team and awful manager currently residing in Cincinnati. Football is the real story.

The NFL kicks off tomorrow, one week after its better counterpart began. Here's looking forward to another boring season of the same styles, players, and plays being done over and over until two teams play in the Super Bowl. No ingenuity, no rivalries, and boring football make the NFL inferior to college. And yes, the players may have more skills, but college ain't too shabby. I would rather watch A+ drama and B+ skill then D+ drama and A+ skill. Anyway, here are some predictions

AFC Championship: Colts over Chargers. I refuse to pick Bellicheat. Hopefully he will be out of the league by then because he violated the integrity of the game and called into question 8 years of football. This won't happen because Shady Brady and the boys are a cash cow for the NFL. I think the Colts will be healthy this year and ready to reclaim their spot at the top of the AFC. San Diego plays in an awful division and has the best player in football. They should always be at the top.

NFC Championship: Cowboys over Saints. Like the Saints to rebound and the Cowboys are loaded at almost every position.

Super Bowl: Colts over Cowboys. Peyton won't lose a Super Bowl. He will have two weeks to watch film while Romo will have two weeks to party. Plus the game is in Tampa. It will be like Super Bowl XLI all over again.

Offensive MVP: Tomlinson. He is just too good. You think Atlanta would like to have him instead of the Dog Killer right now.

Defensive MVP: Patrick Willis. He is way too good to be on that awful team.

AFC Rookie of the year: Darren McFadden. Will have great numbers in a limited role.

NFC Rookie of the year: Matt Ryan. Winning 5 games on that team should get him MVP votes.

Biggest bust: Andre Woodsen. We went from potential first round pick to jobless in 8 months because he has the slowest release ever recorded. Only Michael Vick fell faster in one summer.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last day of boredom

This is it. The final night before 4 glorious months of football. With that said, let me make some predictions that will invariably fail.

BCS Champion: Some overrated SEC team with two losses. Happens every year because the media loves the SEC almost as much as the SEC loves itself. If they only knew that most people laugh at them for their antics and don't feel Florida or LSU were the best team the past two years. Louisville would have played a good game against Florida(hell they almost lost to south carolina and arkansas) and USC would have whipped LSU even with their home-field advantage.

Runner-Up: Oklahoma. They will run through their 10 easy games and 2 hard ones(Texas and Mizzu) but choke again in a BCS game. Or as I like to say, they will pull an A-Rod and choke under pressure(this is a total joke. A-Rod is the best player in the league and gets the worst rap. Their is no such thing as clutch.)

Heisman: Knowshon Moreno. He is amazing and in the SEC. The media will drool.

Big East champ: Louisville. Hey, why not. If Louisville doesn't win the Big East title, I blame Dusty Baker.

Speaking of Dusty, he continues to play Patterson and Bako while foregoing the youth movement of Sully Hanigan and any other outfielder. Here is a quote from Hal McCoy's blog, "asked if Bako’s work with Volquez and Cueto made him a candidate to return next year, Baker said, 'Yeah, I think so."' That is so great to hear. I can't wait to hear his excuse for why Patterson needs another shot in CF.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

He's Back

Hello all. I decided that since Boose was able to take a month off, I'd treat myself to a similar hiatus from the blog. Since I left, the Reds have decided to give up on this year and the next few by selling off two of their best bats for some young prospects who they can nurture to the point a contending team will be willing to trade more prospects for them. I look forward to writing about that in a few years (assuming at least one of them avoids flaming out and is with the club in 3 years). The good news is that this frees up money to resign Corey Patterson. Unlike Boose I think Patterson just needs to play everyday so we can see those 5 tools produce. None of this production will show up on the stat sheet, but can you put a price on his grit, hustle and determination? I would say no.

Also we've seen Boose go on countless rants against the BoSox, which seems odd given we have 10 readers and one of them is a Red Sox fan. While I equally hate the fake fans from Boston who pretend to have lived through the tough years, I also envy them. I wish I could just pick a winning team and then feel the joy of a championship. But such is not our lot in life as loyal Reds, Bengals and UofL fans. We should be one with our Boston brethren who had to endure years of heartbreaking losses by the Sox, terrible play by the Pats and the depressing Ricky P years of the Celtics. Problem is those fans have been drown out by the new breed of Boston fan, who once knew someone that knew a kid that went to BC so they've always followed Boston sports. We hate those people. Also the true Boston fan who lived through the down years, can you remember what it is like to follow a franchise that clearly does care about winning? Do not look down from your new found success and ridicule us, but rather throw some support behind the hopeless Cincy fan base. We are good people, who just want to feel that management does care and is willing to field a competitive team. We've been close to the mountaintop (A cheap shot on Carson Palmer's knee away from beating the eventual super bowl champs, 1 win against a hapless Brewers team from heading to the playoffs and a false start against Rutgers away from playing for the national championship). All those memories seem so distant as the future of our 3 teams looks extremely bleak.

With the reds 2008 and 2009 seasons are pretty much over, we shall turn our focus to the Bengals and Cards. I'm pulling for the Cards to either make a miracle run through the Big East and win 10 games or pull a Kragthorpe and lose 10 games leading to his immediate dismissal and being replaced by Ron English. On the Bengals front, we need to steal a few games early in the season while the team is banged up. If we can stay .500 while Chad, Rudi and TJ get healthy we can make a run at it.

Well this has been another long Tom post, which I hear many of you do not enjoy reading. If it makes it easier, break it up throughout the week. Maybe 1 paragraph a day (Granted if you have made it to this point my advice is no longer helpful, so yes i see the flaw here).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reds beat the Cubs; still can't hit

Arroyo pitched a gem last night and the Reds held on for a 2-1 win. Great effort from Bronson but pitching hasn't really been the problem recently. The problem for most of the second half and all of the 9 games since Adam Dunn was traded is offense. Since Adam Dunn was traded the Reds are averaging 3.1 runs per game. The Diamondbacks are averaging 6.6. But hey, the Reds haven't clogged the bases as much. Their OPS was .727 before the trade and .659 since the trade. So the Reds plan was, we are having trouble scoring runs, let get rid of the player who gets on base the most and drives in the most runs. Brilliant.

Now our two best OPS+ numbers belong to Encarncion, a 25-year old 3rd basemen who has yet to develop a solid hitting approach and plays sub-par defense, and Joey Votto, a 24-year old rookie who is still learning to be a big-league hitter and plays sub-par defense. Brandon Phillips has a great slugging percentage but refuses to take a walk, Keppinger and Bruce have come back to earth, Dickerson and Rosales have only been Reds for 20 minutes and don't get me started on Bako and Patterson. I don't know where the runs are coming from. Must be all that speed running our popflys. But I do feel better after receiving a letter from the owner and GM.

There is a new poll which should be interesting. Which fans are the most annoying: Cubs fans, Cardinal fans, or Red Sox fans? Let me give you a quick breakdown.

Cubs fans-these are people from all over the country who want to be cool. Most are "consultants" who are overeducated and underemployed. They claim to have always been a fan of the Cubs but few can name a manager before Dusty Baker and Sweet Lou came to town. They are loud, obnoxious, and generally piss everyone off who is not a Cubs fan. They are currently driving the second largest bandwagon in baseball and, if they fail to make the playoffs for a few years, will lose 50% of the fans. They wish they were as good as Boston or as historic as New York and have a real inferiority complex about being the "Second City." Most hated in St. Louis, Milwaukee, and any other Midwestern city

Cardinal fans-these fans are a fairly loyal bunch, having strong ties to Missouri, western KY, and southern IL. The real problem with them is they think they are the most knowledgeable fans in baseball even though there is no way to prove it. This leads to many of their fans saying asinine things that are totally wrong in order to show their baseball knowledge. When confronted with facts to back up the opposite point, they ignore it and scream louder. While Cubs fans wish they were on the east coast, Cardinal fans wish St. Louis was as good as Chicago. They have a Midwestern envy. Most hated in Chicago, KC, Cincinnati.

Red Sox fans-they are so touchy nowadays. As recently as 2003, they were the tortured losers with a devoted following whom everybody felt bad for and rooted for. Now they are the largest bandwagon of obnoxious and fair weather fans. They spend insane amounts of money to buy championship caliber teams and still wish they were the Yankees and had 26 titles. Always the 2nd most important team in baseball and they can't stand it. They get angry when someone questions their loyalty or passion(as evidenced by the comments from earlier posts) and fail to see the humor when called out about it. They have won 2 world series in the last 4 years and will be more then happy to tell anyone and everyone about it. Most hated everywhere but New England.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reds lose again; Dusty continues to amaze

Dusty decided that last night was a great time to start Corey Patterson in Chicago. Earlier this year I posted a video of what happens in the bleachers when Corey starts. Dusty ignores this and sends him out there to misplay balls and not get hits. Well done.

The Reds are reduced to playing spoiler. Not going to happen. The Reds can't score more then 3 runs a game which is something we all knew was coming. Even with a great outing like last night from Cueto, there is no offense to pick him up. Sure would hate to have a player with a very high OBP and VORP whose name rhymes with Fadam Gunn. But I guess we had to get rid of him because of his defense, since a little below average defense offsets his powerful offensive arsenal. Saving 10 runs a season is more important then driving in 100 runs and hitting 40 HR's. Now the owner and GM write a letter to the fans telling them to be patient. This is the same man who said 3 months ago that we weren't going to lose anymore. But they did and now they are wandering aimlessly. No plan. No blueprint. Just losing. 8 years in a row.

Now that the season is over let's get to some Olympics talk. These Phelps and Bolt guys are pretty good. I don't what I am to do these next few days without them. I guess I could focus on the Walsh-May team but they only have one more game. Gymnastics is over and the Men's Basketball is a cakewalk. Any suggestion? There are still some gay divers and manly women throwing shotputs but I will have to pass.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Reds pitching; Thank God for Volquez

Dusty has a reputation for being tough on pitchers. Some of it is true; some of it is not true. Did he overuse Prior and Wood early in their careers? Yes. Have either of them been healthy the last 3 years without Dusty? No. Wood has at least pitched some the past two years but Prior has never been healthy. SI did an article about Tim Lincecum discussing mechanics of pitchers and noted that Prior had a terrible delivery that was an injury waiting to happen. Wood has rebounded and, if he can stop getting blisters, can remain relatively healthy. Neither is throwing 120+ pitches on a regular basis like they did in 2003.

Dusty has seemingly learned from that. Volquez has not exceeded 120 pitches in any outing this season (but he did throw 39 on one days rest) and Cueto has not either while throwing 100+ in only 11 of his 25 starts. Not bad on the young arms. Volquez has struggled since the 39 pitches on 1 day rest debacle. Some of that can be contributed to regressing to the mean but he has posted a 3.65 ERA and 1.3+ WHIP. He was at 1.34/1.2 before that but those number could not be sustained. Overall, Volquez still has an ERA+ of 165 and should pitch no more then 200 innings. Much better then most anticipated but a few more days rest before the end of the year to keep his innings at 180 would be nice. The season is over and we are going to need him for many years if the Reds will ever compete for a playoff spot. This season the Reds are 17-9 when he starts and 38-61 when he does not. Ouch.

Cueto has been up and down which is what can be expected from a rookie pitcher. He has an ERA+ of 92 and a WHIP under 1.4, not bad for a 22 years old rookie who had only pitched 4 games above AA ball before this season. His ERA has dropped the past 2 months and he should continue to improve his final 6 starts while throwing around 190 innings. Not bad for a rookie. The Reds are 10-15 when he starts but he has gotten 3 or fewer runs from his offense in 14 of those 25 starts. A little more luck and he can finish with a .500 record.

Harang has been a disaster this year. He began the year pitching well and getting no run support. After the 4 innings on two days rest in San Diego back in May, he has been terrible. Check out the difference:

Pre-Dusty Destruction: 3.50 ERA and 1.2 WHIP.
Post-Dusty Destruction: 9.06 ERA and 1.9 WHIP.

This was the ace of the Reds the previous 2 years and now he is getting beaten like a red-headed step child. I put the blame on Dusty because he had been pretty good before the debacle in San Diego. Now he reminds me of "Batting Practice" Danny Graves. The Reds are 8-14 when he starts. Just terrible from the ace of your staff.

The rest of the staff has been alright. Arroyo pitches different every time out but stays healthy and the Reds are 13-13 when he pitches. Fogg started terrible and has come back to be what a 5th starter usually is, 5 innings, 3 runs. Bailey didn't have a good run but is only 22 and should be given more time. Volquez was 1-10 when he was 22 so I will give Homer a few more years. Thompson showed signs of greatness but needs more development. Belisle was not good and is now injured.

The bullpen has actually been mediocre, which is a huge improvement over a year ago. Burton has pitched well when healthy as has Bill Bray and David "Stormy" Weathers. Cordero has been great at times and awful at times. Maybe a 4 year deal wasn't the best idea but he has not been that big of a disappointment. ERA+ of 115 and a few blown saves.

Overall, the pitching staff needs to be tweaked a little, making Volquez and Cueto the 1-2 punch and Arroyo and Harang 3-4 with Homer, Thompson, or anyone else getting the 5 slot. I sure hope Dusty does the smart thing and eases up on Volquez and Cueto because we will need them healthy for the next few years because this season is done. Chicago this week. Let's spoil the fun up on the North Side. Their fans need to come back to earth.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Live Blog of Poo-holes at-bats

I have always said that Ty Cobb Pujols should be walked every time he bats. Whether bases loaded no outs or bases empty two outs, walk him and let the rest of the team beat you. His first AB will be just after 7. He must be walked. NO MATTER WHAT. Dusty will pitch to him and we will lose. I've seen it a bunch of times.

6:20-Corey Patterson starting again. Why not? He is all the way up to a .227 OBP and 47 OPS+. Great numbers. I am already excited.

7:15-Top1, Pujols first AB. 1 out man on 2nd. 1st base is open. WALK HIM. Pops to 1st on first pitch. Very close to a homer. Got out of that one but probably won't be that lucky again.

7:53-Top 3, no on, no outs. WALK HIM. I know it the stats may not say to walk him but I say let him go. He mashes one down the line, upper deck, but 25 feet foul. Another bit of luck. And a double. Didn't see that coming. He is squaring very well on the ball. Don't give him anything to hit. His first at bat, pitching to him saved a run. This time, he is in scoring position for 3 straight batters. After an out a single puts him on 3rd with one out instead of second with one out. A walk then he scores on a badly turned DP. Man the Reds suck.

8:22-Top 5, no on, no outs. Another time to WALK HIM. He throws a great pitch and jams Pujols. Pop out. Props to Arroyo. Finally fooling Pujols after getting lucky the last two times he batted.

8:53-Top 7, no on, one out. WALK HIM. His OPS+ when facing a pitcher 3+ times is 171. Double. Hit it right on the button. Didn't see that coming.

9:38-Top 9, no on, two outs. WALK HIM. He is 2-4 with 2 doubles. He has crushed one to the upper deck just foul and barely missed another that ended up being a VERY high pop out. His OPS+this season vs. LH is 208. Ripped to LF for a single. 3-5, 2 doubles, 3 hard hit balls, one near miss, and one tape measure foul ball. Ankiel hit one good ball and nothing else. Not that it would have mattered because the Reds were gonna lose either way. A .222 team average for August isn't winning many games.

I love America; and I hate commies

So glad to see the American women beat the commie cheaters last night in gymnastics. I mean, alleged cheaters. Hey, if the state run age authority, state run athletics, and state run media say she is 16, then she must be. Except that the state media said she was 13 last year and 14 early this year. But those were just typos. Glad the state run media corrected itself only after it was caught by a free-thinking society. I mean if you can't trust the commies then who can you trust right.

Phelps goes for 7 tonight at 10:10. He should dominate. He has 2 swims left until he gets an entire week at the drunken orgy known as the Olympic Village. In Athens 4 years ago they handed out 75,000 condoms. That wasn't enough. In Beijing they are giving out 100,000. Now throw in the greatest Olympic champion ever with 8 gold medal around his neck. He will be more worn out after next week then he will be after this week.

Make sure you set the alarms for tomorrow morning as well. The men's 100m is tomorrow morning at 10:30. Should be very exciting to see Tyson Homosexual go up against the two Jamaicans. I am just going to assume everyone is free of drugs even though there is no possible way it is true. That is like going to a Red Sox game and thinking that fans actual care about the game. Most would rather wear their pink hats and talk on their cell phones just like track and field will always have athletes trying to beat the system. O well, still better then watching the Reds trot out Corey Patterson and The Human Out Paul Bako play everyday.

I received a comment regarding Dunn's defense and was a bit surprised at what I found. Anyone who has watched the Reds remembers awful plays he has made in the field like dropping flyballs, misplaying line drives, and making terrible throws. They do not remember his running catches and assists to nail a runner going to second. Baseball Prospectus has some complicated fielding statistics but the one constant is that this is his best defensive season and he has cut down on his runs allowed above average. Last year his rate2 was an 86 meaning he gave up 14 more runs per 100 games then an average LF. 100 is average and any number above or below that is how many more runs you save or give up per 100 games. This number is adjusted for ballpark, position, and normalized over time. This means a bad SS will give up more runs then a bad LF because a SS gets many more plays and can create or save many more runs. For example, Ozzie Smith averaged about a 115 meaning he saved 15 runs per 100 games above average. Derek Jeter is an 89 this year meaning he gives up 11 more runs per 100 games then an average SS. That is not good but at least he won the Gold Glove last year with a 98 or 2 runs per 100 games below an AVERAGE SS. That makes sense.

Now where was I. O yeah, Adam Dunn's defense. To put Dunn's 07 season in perspective, Barry Bonds had an 87, or was one better then Dunn's 86 last year. Ouch. This year, however, he is at a 95, very close to an average LF. He has improved greatly over the last 5 years to the point that his defense is no longer a liability and getting very close to average. O yeah, he also hits 40 HR's a year and gets on base 38% of the time, better then anyone else on the Reds. He can play a little below average in LF if he can be the most productive hitter in the lineup. I will take that trade-off anyday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dear ESPN, stop copying me

So I cruise over to and stumble upon a Keith Law article about the Adam Dunn trade. He quotes his great OPS and how his strengths are much greater then his deficiencies, exactly what I wrote a month ago when arguing to keep Dunn. I brushed that off because anyone with a functioning brain, which excludes Reds management, knows Dunn is very valuable. Then I read Jayson Stark's Rumblings and Grumblings, he also says that Dunn is a great asset. He further takes a shot at Dusty, wondering how Patterson has gotten 242 at bats, but anyone who knows baseball wouldn't give him that amount of at bats. Then he points to Aaron Harang pitching on two days rest as a terrible decision and a possible cause for his struggles. Where have I heard that before? These things are clear though, and any good baseball writer would point these out. But when I read Rob Neyer's blog entry today I realized that ESPN really is reading me. Last night I pointed out that Reds-Pirates was the worst game on TV and used other examples as well as the fact that they are a combined 35 games under .500. This morning, Rob Neyer throws out some numbers to see what the best and worst games were last night and concludes, as I did, that Reds-Pirates was the worst. THE VERY NEXT MORNING he takes the same idea I had, adds a few numbers, and writes it as his own. More then a coincidence and bordering on plagiarism. Now I know that I have finally made it in the blogosphere. If I can get linked directly to another blog then I may have to retire from my job at Wendy's and finally move out of my mother's basement. ESPN loves me. If I could only get Deadspin to take notice, then it would be over.

The Reds end the series in Pittsburgh tonight before hosting the DUI LaRussa and the rest of the Redbutts, including the great Felipe Lopez, centerpiece of the big trade 2 years ago who was cut by Washington last week. When the worst team in baseball cuts you, that means you don't belong on a major league roster, except of course St. Louis. They love taking the Reds leftovers. He, Jason LaRue, Ron Villone, Kyle Loshe, and Ryan Franklin all played for the Reds this decade. All of them have since been cast off by another team before winding up on the Cards. Hopefully we can win a few to knock them out of the playoff race. As I stated last time, walk Albert "Ty Cobb" Pujols every time he bats and hope the HGH twins are on a down cycle.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Patterson starts again; sure, why not

Dusty continues with his torture tactics. Dunn is gone, and Dickerson was called up from Louisville. He is a rookie and should play every day. Except that Dusty has decided he needs protection. "I'm trying to protect him some and keep his confidence," Dusty Baker said. I forgot, Dickerson is a 14 year old who loses self esteem when he gets an out not a career baseball player who has made thousands of outs. He needs to be babied because disappointment is not a part of big league baseball. Everyone succeeds and no confidence is ever shaken. It is best to not let young players know that they may fail sometimes and to stay confident no matter what. Thanks Dusty.

Tonight the Reds continue their series with the lowely Pirates. The only question is which game is more irrelevant: Reds-Pirates, Astros-Giants, or Indians-Orioles. I'll take Reds Pirates because they are a combined 25 games below .500 and are fighting for last place. Forgive me if I continue watching the Olympics. They are the best thing on television and, if you haven't already, you must watch. My favorite part is that not only can I root for any American even if I have never heard of them or even like them, but there is a specified person to cheer against every time. Sometimes, if you are lucky, the opponents are French or communist, in which case you cheer against them twice as hard because no one likes them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dunn traded: I don't understand why

Adam Dunn is gone. Traded to Arizona. Amazing. His BA has dropped this year but he has put up a .233/.373/.528 and an OPS+ of 131, VORP of 24.9, both are the highest on the team. He is the most valuable bat in the lineup, can change the game with one swing, in the prime of his career, plays average defense, is the longest tenured Red, and the face of the franchise. Now he is gone and the young guys like Bruce and Dickerson get to learn how to play the outfield from the only other healthy outfielder, Corey the Great. Freel becomes the longest tenured Red and other than Bruce and Votto, there is no position player who will bring in fans.

If Dunn left after the year the Reds would get 2 picks in the top 100. If they were to trade him they would have to get a solid, young, major league ready prospect with very few questions of whether or not he will play in the majors. What did they get? They got a 23 year old, 3rd round draft pick, right-hander in high-A ball who has already had Tommy John surgery and two players to be named later, which of course means two players destined to stay in the minors. Horrible. Now there is no chance of him coming back next year and leaves the Reds with all their hopes for offense on the late developing Phillips and Encarnacion with Votto and Bruce still learning to play while trying to carry the middle of the order. I guess Corey really threatened Dusty with the incriminating pictures and now that Dunn is gone, he is guaranteed more playing time.

I am left speechless. I have pleaded with the Reds to lock Dunn down long term. They traded him for a bag of peanuts, some splintered maple bats, and a cactus from Arizona. There is no face of the franchise. Jay Bruce is now forced to carry the team on his 21 year old shoulders. Harang is turning into a mediocre pitcher and, not surprisingly, the young pitchers seem to be wearing down the more Dusty sends them out there for 110+ pitches. The season is over and, as for next season, I am almost ready to throw in the towel. Thank god football is almost back. The ineptitude of the Reds makes me long for Mike Brown and the Cincinnati Bengals.