Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You Have Killed Me

After 15 years of relying on the tried an true tactic of consistent and embarrassing ineptitude, the Cincinnati Bengals football franchise has discovered a far more effective means of torturing the people of Southwestern Ohio. Their new plan (which has been in development since the hiring of head coach Marvin Lewis in 2003) was finally unveiled in its full glory on Christmas Eve in Denver's INVESCO Field at Mile High Stadium last Sunday. No longer satisfied with suffering humiliating blowouts in meaningless late season games, the Bengals have moved on to perfecting the art of the heartbreaking loss. Certainly, the precedent for this kind of a loss existed within the storied history of the franchise (see Montana, Joe or Knee Surgery, Reconstructive), but this recent defeat was special not necessarily because of external forces acting upon the Bengals, but the repeated internal combustion of said Bengals. This game featured a number of new twists. The Cincinnati defense and offensive line played very well, while the marquee position players made costly mistakes, turning the ball over four times. And then for the icing on the cake, the Bengals recovered from their sloppy play for the last three minutes of the game, driving all the way down the field in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to eventually score on a 10 yard TD pass to Houshmandzadeh. Then, on the ensuing PAT attempt, Brad St. Louis' snap was fumbled by Kyle Larson. The Bengals then attempted an onside kick and recovered it, only to have the play nullified by an offsides penalty. As a result of this game (and it's effect on the people of the Greater Cincinnati area), military officials in Guantanamo Bay are now rumored to be contacting the Bengals franchise to gather more information about their ground-breaking mass torture techniques.

There's nothing quite like having your holiday weekend interrupted by a game like this one. You could have given me an autographed copy of The Queen is Dead for Christmas after the game, and I wouldn't have given a shit. My 12 year old cousin asked me during the game if I was going to cry if the Bengals lost (he could tell I was little invested), and I told him "No, but I'll probably want to". That pretty much sums it up. I went through the motions at the Christmas Eve dinner, then tried to distract myself by doing a puzzle with my Aunt (and believe me, I kicked that puzzle's ASS). It was not a very Merry Christmas.

By far the most horrifying repercussion of the loss though, was not my foul mood on Christmas Eve. It was the fact that I was subjected to watch (and care about) the Jets-Dolphins game on Monday night. The game also had fantasy implications for me, as I was down by 9 points in the championship game of my secondary league. My only remaining player was the Dolphins defense. Halftime score: 0-0. If the Dolphins can just kick a field goal...but no, the Jets score the game's first points. Wait, but then the Dolphins score a touchdown! Holy shit, an offensive explosion courtesy of some guy named Cleo Lemon who my playoff hopes now rest on. Dolphins are up 7-3, and there's no way Pennington can do any more than get the Jets in field goal range again. Wrong again, Chad throws his first pass of longer than 20 yards for a TD and the Jets lead 10-7. This happens after he ridiculously underthrows a pass directly at a Dolphins cornerback named Andre Goodman, who of course, dropped it. This cost me a fantasy football championship, and a playoff berth. But the Dolphins still have a chance. Lemon is driving them down the field. They're in the red zone and almost make a first down on the Jets six. It's fourth and inches, but lucky for me, the Dolphins have nothing to play for and they're at home, so they're definitely going for it. I can see the QB sneak in my head (the Dolphins line was manhandling the Jets' front all game long) until I look at the TV where I see the Dolphins field goal unit head onto the field. Nick Saban. You. Are. A Pussy. The Dolphins tie the game, then promptly give up 60 yards to the Jets on a screen pass. Mike Nugent hits the chip shot to win the game, and it sure looks like the Jets, and not the Bengals, are heading to the playoffs. Which is a travesty really. I have a better arm than Pennington. I do, I swear. The only good thing about having to watch this game is that it made me realize that the Jets could actually lose to the Raiders. I'm not saying it will happen, but it's possible. The Raiders defense will probably have to score, but Jets could lose to ANYBODY. Unfortunately, so could the Bengals. Except for Cleveland. We own them. Who Dey?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tiny Daggers

That didn't go so well. The Bengals lost to the Colts on Monday Night Football 34-16, in a game that was way less interesting than last year's matchup (or this year's Chargers game for that matter). The reason this game wasn't more competitive was pretty obvious to anyone who tuned in for a few minutes. Peyton Manning dominated the game. The Bengals defensive scheme was to give the Colts anything they wanted underneath....and the Colts took everything they wanted underneath. This was in stark contrast to the Bengals offensive performance, which was marred by dropped passes, terrible pass protection, and a horrid 3rd down conversion percentage. Also, I think a lot of people are disappointed that the Bengals didn't take more shots down the field to exploit the injuries in the Colts secondary. I, for one, am not, and this is probably because every time Carson dropped back to pass the ball, he was in danger of being maimed. He got blown up on a key 3rd and 5 on the Bengals first possession and fumbled, and that pretty much set the tone for the whole game. Andrew Whitworth, Levi Jones' replacement, could not block Dwight Freeney, and, after Willie Anderson left the game, Stacy Andrews (his replacement) couldn't block Robert Mathis to save his (or his quarterback's more importantly) life. It was kind of scary to watch. I'd much rather the Bengals lose this game than see Carson get injured (more on this later). Anyway, time for random thoughts:

1. The Bengals could have really used Chris Perry.
Kenny Watson filled in admirably, but Perry's explosiveness really hurt the Colts last year, and on at least one occasion, Watson was tackled from behind in the open field in a situation where Perry could have taken it to the house.

2. The Bengals could have really used Chris Henry.
Oh wait, he was there? Oh, that was him was alligator-arming all those deep balls and making endzone drops? Shocking.

3. The Bengals have a very hard time against teams when they let the quarterback sit in the pocket and pick them apart.
I could probably count the number of blitzes I saw in this game on one hand. Granted, Manning is a master at making quick reads, but as some point the defensive strategy needed to change, and it never did. For God's sake, Mike Vick carved up this pass defense when he had all day to throw.

4. The Bengals match up very poorly against the Colts.
To beat the Colts you need an explosive runner, a good edge rusher, and a DB who can cover either Wayne or Harrison in man coverage without melting into the field turf. The Bengals have none of the above. Next week's game against the Broncos will certainly not be easy, but facing a rookie QB with a mediocre offense is much preferable for the Bengals D, even if the Broncos D is much better than the Colts'.

5. I wonder if the Bengals wouldn't be better off without Rudi Johnson.
Don't get me wrong, I love Rudi's HHD (that's heart, hustle, and determination, not a venereal disease), but he seemed to be missing a lot of holes last night. Maybe I'm just spoiled by all the LaDainian highlights floating around, but I think the Bengals would be way more dangerous with a flex-type back as a starter. Think Steven Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, or even Kevin Jones; a guy who can catch the ball out of the backfield and break off big runs, but still pound it in when he needs to. Chris Perry looked like he might be that guy eventually, but then he came down with a mean case of Ki-Jana-itis (or Ki-Jaundice, if you prefer). A shame.
I do think though, that Rudi would be a better fit for a ball control team that wears you down with the run.

6. The Bengals need a healthy O-line if they are going to do anything this year/ever.
Levi Jones, Rich Braham, and Willie Anderson were all out last week, and it showed. Hopefully, at least two of three will be ready for Sunday. If they aren't, and Carson is getting pressured this much next week, I say let Anthony Wright run the show. I'm serious, if Palmer gets hurt because he's playing behind three rookies and trying to make the playoffs in a year where the Bengals don't have a legitimate chance to win it all, I will never forgive Marvin Lewis. This team has a great future, but if Carson goes down again, it may be back to the Lost Decade part II.

7. Bengals fans will never forget the Lost Decade.
It haunts the recesses of our minds, and on nights like Monday, it haunts the opposite of the recesses (class time?) too. I was surrounded by Bengals fans twitching and moaning (myself included) all night on Monday. Even when the Bengals weren't actually fucking up, people were getting upset. That's because the game followed a pattern we were all too familiar with. Bengals tease us with glimmer of hope (1st half fumble recovery and ensuing TD), then proceed to put tiny daggers in our hearts (10 yard completion after 10 yard completion...). At the end of it, the scene was kind of like being around a bunch of recovering heroine addicts trying not to fall back into their old habits after taking some methodone. Let's hope that the Broncos game doesn't make us chase the dragon.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Barbarism Begins at Home

The Knicks and Nuggets went AT IT Saturday night at the garden and were just a few fans short of Palace at Auburn Hills caliber melee. The suspensions were handed down by David Stern today, resulting in Carmelo Anthony getting suspended for 15 games, JR Smith and Nate Robinson each picked up a 10 game suspension, while Mardy Collins got hit up for 6. This looks really bad for the Knicks, but I think there is a silver lining for them in all of this. They finally found their intimidating presence in the paint. And his name is Nate Robinson.

Nate's blocked Yao Ming and now pretty much challenged every Nugget player he could find to a fight, and scared the shit out of Carmelo Anthony in the process. Did you see Melo running away from him at the end of the fight? This guy is the new Shaq. And I totally know why he's such a badass. Nate's from Seattle, and if you don't think Seattle is a town full of badasses...well, you clearly weren't at the rehearsal dinner for my friend Dave's wedding dinner in University Heights this summer when I got punched in the chest by a random guy off the street (right before he did it, he said my favorite quote of the year: "You guys think you're super-cool huh?") My friend Dave, who has lived in Seattle long enough to know how to keep his head on a swivel in a vicious cockfight, responded in kind, landing two hits on the guy and pinning him to the wall with the help of his father, a 60 year old man. The message, don't fuck with Seattle. Now that the rest of the NBA has learned that, Knicks can go ahead and trade Eddy Curry for Allen Iverson and field a squad that looks like this:

PG: Stephon Marbury
SG: Allen Iverson
SF: Jamal Crawford
PF: Quentin Richardson
C: Nate Robinson

I don't know about you, but I'd go to see that team play.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sorrow Will Come In The End

"And as sure as my words are pure.....I praise the day that brings you pain"

I'm generally not a very angry person. I get frustrated easily, but it really takes a lot to piss me off. A man named Burke Magnus, however has gone above and beyond the call of duty this week, with his recent comments to the Cincinnati Enquirer regarding ESPN's decision to carry the Crosstown Shootout on ESPNU. Have a look:

Burke Magnus, ESPNU's vice president and general manager, said sports tiers offer far fewer subscribers than digital basic cable subscribers. This means less exposure - and ultimately revenue - for his channel that offers quality content like the Crosstown Shootout.

And ESPN is working hard to protect that content. Local station WXIX (Channel 19) approached ESPN about showing a split feed of Wednesday's game locally, but ESPN ended the discussion after two conversations.

Regarding this year's Crosstown Shootout, Magnus said the game isn't good enough to be on ESPN or ESPN2, carried by Time Warner.

"ESPNU is here to give the game a home," Magnus said. "Mick (Cronin) is a new UC coach, and UC isn't projected to have one of their better years. Believe me, when it's back to two Top 25 teams playing, it will probably be on ESPN or ESPN2."

But the Shootout is more than a game in Cincinnati - it's an event. Ratings on either ESPN or ESPN2 have been above 13.2 four of the past five years, none of which featured both teams in the Top 25.

Okay let me get this straight fuckface; ESPNU is "giving the game a home" even though no one in the Greater Cincinnati area can watch it without a satellite? Wow you guys are great people! Why don't you give a Taco Bell Gordita a home in your stomach and die of E.Coli while you're at it. Oh and wait, I love how he comes out so strong in the last quote "Believe me, when it's back to two Top 25 teams playing, it will probably be on ESPN or ESPN2." Oh, then it will probably make it on ESPN 2! You are so kind and generous, oh beneficent Lord of television programming! What a wonderful television network you're creating by using loyal fans as pawns and preventing them from watching one of the biggest local sporting events of the year! Go fuck yourself ESPN, ESPNU, and Burke Magnus. You could've at least let a local station PAY YOU to air the game in the area. You guys are just a bunch of degenerates. I can't even write any more I'm so angry. I'll just leave the rest to Morrissey:

So dont close your eyes (ESPN)
Dont ever close your eyes
You think you've won
Oh no

By the way, If you haven't listened to the track referenced in this post yet, download it immediately. Your reward will be great and plentiful.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sweet and Tender Hooligan(s)

The Bengals took care of business this Sunday, defeating the hapless Oakland Raiders 27-10. The offense moved the ball more or less at will against a very good Raiders D, not punting once the entire game. Turnovers were the only thing holding the Bengals back, with Palmer throwing three picks and Rudi fumbling (for the first time since 2004) in Raider territory. TJ, CJ, and Rudi all went for over 100 yards while the defense consistently got pressure on Aaron Brooks, sacking him four times. The win gives the Bengals an 8-5 record and the lead in the AFC wild card race thanks to losses from Denver, KC, and the Jets. The Bengals are right where they want to be.

A few thoughts....

1. Everyone keeps saying that the Raiders are the new Bungles (90's Bengals), but I think Oakland's still got a ways to go. Right now they appear to be in their Bengals circa 94 phase, experiencing only their fourth year of dismalness. Aaron Brooks looks a little like Jeff Blake, only worse (which is ironic since he took Blake's job in New Orleans), but other than having consistently dreadful teams and scrambling QB's with accuracy problems, there's not a whole lot in common between the present Raiders and the old Bengals. The 90's Bengals were known for their high powered offenses with WRs Carl Pickens and Darnay Scott and terrible defenses (one of their starting CB's, Rod Jones, was nicknamed "toast"), while the present Raiders have the worst offense in the NFL and a very good defense.

Regardless, the inverse of this argument seems to work a lot better. The Bengals look a lot like a talented Raiders team from the 80's that just might have a few character issues (read: a ridiculous amount of players with arrest records). The latest members of the Bengals Brotherhood of the Breathalyzer are Reggie McNeal and Deltha O'Neal, a couple of good Irish kids. They join Eric Steinbach, Odell Thurman, A.J. Nicholson, Matthias Askew, Frostee Rucker, and of course, the founding member, Chris Henry. A couple of these guys actually were charged with crimes before they ever played for the Bengals, but I think that's really just a testament to the organization's nose for finding criminally-minded football players. The police should actually use the Bengals' scouting department in a kind of Minority Report capacity to prevent crimes before they happen. Just throw everyone the Bengals are thinking of drafting next year in jail RIGHT NOW. This could really help the war on crime. Wait, there's no war on crime? Let's see, terror....drugs...nope, no war on crime. Well fuck it then, let em' play.

2. McNeal just received an additional drug charge on top of his resisting arrest rap. He apparently laced a cigarette with some kind of an antihistamine that can be used as a sedative. Maybe he should've smoked it before he started smacking up that undercover cop.

3. I kind of wish that other cities could experience the level of coverage that the major New York teams (Mets, Yankees, Giants) receive. The Bengals would be a gold mine for cheesy back page headlines from the Post or the News. Yesterday would've been "DELTHA GROUNDED!". Or after Thurman's arrest for a DUI: "WALK THE LINE...BACKER". Okay, I'll stop now.

4. O'Neal got arrested at a checkpoint on State Route 125 at Bach Buxton Road, which is about a mile away from where I grew up in Clermont County (or for those of you unfamiliar with the area, between the 3rd and 4th Dairy Marts after the interstate). I was a little surprised that Deltha was driving around out there, because, as far as I know, the only strip club in Clermont County is on State Route 32, right around where Chris Henry was pulled over for his DUI (now that made sense). Maybe Deltha thought that the mile markers on 125 heading toward the town of Bethel said "Brothel 12 miles" instead of "Bethel 12 miles". Pure speculation.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sweetest Perfection

There are few things in life more circuitous and less fulfilling than conversations about fantasy sports. Everyone's just waiting for their turn to talk about their team. Most of these conversations go something like this:

"Hey, I've got this guy on my team, he's awesome!"
"Yeah I picked him up in my other league, he won the game for me last week."
"How about that guy? He's totally killing me."
"Yeah I drafted him last year, he totally sucks."
"Who should I start between these other two guys? Who's better?"
"Depends on the matchup."
(In this scenario, this guy is Marques Colston and that guy is Daunte Culpepper, these other two guys are Ahman Green and Thomas Jones)

Now I've actually resorted to writing about one of my own fantasy teams before, but that was on my birthday and hey fuck you I can do whatever I want. Anyway, I'm actually taking this opportunity to do something that almost never happens in the world of fantasy sports. I'm gonna try to talk about someone else's fantasy team. That would be my brother's.

Turd Sandwich has completely and utterly dominated the Pain Bowl 06. In order to accurately describe the complete and utter domination, I will enlist the help of the Yahoo Fantasy Sports Plus Record Book from our league:

Most Wins: TS, 13
Most Consecutive Wins: TS, 13
Largest Average Margin of Victory: TS, 30.54
Total Points: TS, 1258.51 (next closest, Ballz Deep 1078.87)
Most TD's: TS, 88

I'll spare you the Offensive Points and Points From a Kicker results because I think you get the idea. The only category I've got a stranglehold on (there I go again, talking about my team) is Smallest Margin of Defeat (10.84). And it's because Turd hasn't lost. He won one game by 5 points (88-83), one by 18 (91-73) and the rest by 20 or more. It's not like the rest of the league stopped paying attention either, all of the victories were well-earned. It's completely ridiculous. I looked at his team at the beginning of the year and didn't think they had a chance in hell to stay healthy and/or active the whole season. I was wrong.

So now we come to the playoffs. The only chance anyone has against The Juggernaut That Is Turd Sandwich is another late season tail-off from LaDainian Tomlinson (last season he only scored 1 TD after December) coupled with an injury to either Brian Westbrook or Terrell Owens or Darrell Jackson or Jamal Lewis or Jeremy Shockey. Yes he has all of those guys. But you know who's on my team? Marques Colston, and he's totally helped me out this year. I just need to get him healthy for the playoffs. Right now I'm thinking of starting Terrance Copper instead. Do you think the Saints are gonna throw the ball a lot on the Cowboys? Oh wait, I just picked up the Miami D.......

Monday, December 04, 2006

Everything In Its Right Place

Xavier enters the battle between man and computer

Xavier entered the AP poll at #24 for the first time since the end of the 2002-2003 (when they lost to Duke in the Elite 8) after improving to 6-1 this week with wins over Miami (OH) and Western Carolina. I was a little excited when I found out.

I told my girlfriend about it, and she asked a very good question: "what does that mean?". Well, it used to mean that I might get to catch a fleeting glimpse the Musketeers on ESPN's Sportscenter if I watched the whole thing. And that they'd have a better shot to make it into the NCAA tournament and get a better seed, yadda yadda yadda. Not anymore. ESPN's got their own poll now (just to confuse everyone) and the RPI (or HAL-9000, as I like to call it) now decides everything of import in college basketball. So while I'm excited that X is getting some national recognition after starting the season off well (their only loss is to the now #4 ranked Alabama team in the Paradise Jam finals), I'll be way more excited when Villanova wins a bunch of games against other Big East teams (or VCU takes down Drexel) since all that matters now is who you beat, and who they beat, and who they beat....

So the #24 (humanly) ranked Musketeers take on Detroit tomorrow night at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. Go Muskies! Then after they beat Detroit, go Detroit! And then after Detoit beats Evansville....oh jesus, just open the stupid pod bay doors when I ask you to HAL.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours

The Bengals defeated the Ravens tonight 13-7. I caught the game at a new location, Phebe's Taven & Grill in the East Village. I arrived with the lady and a friend at 9, just in time for kick-off. Wait, is that a 2 in the corner of the screen? Fuck, I guess I mean the 2nd quarter. I really hate the NFL network now, their website definitely said kickoff was at 9. We find an empty spot at the bar while I watch the Bengals drive and take in the new surroundings.

Phebe's is a little different from my usual viewing spot, the Turkey's Nest. I don't know quite how to put this, but Phebe's is just a little classier I guess. There aren't any drunk guys clearing out the crowd for their 3 year old daughter to use the bathroom for one. The drinks don't come in styrofoam cups for two. And there aren't any concrete-league softball games happening across the street for three. Oh and the 8 zillion flat screen HD TV's with full audio were a change from the usual 20-inch-Zenith-over-the-pool-table-setup. Also, no one yelled at me for the Bengals not covering the week before. Anyway, the game:

The Bengals looked great at the end of the first half sustaining a long drive downfield. Palmer was getting solid protection and making some great throws. They got to the goal-line and stalled out, though, after a Jeremi Johnson drop and a near TD completion to Reggie Kelly that Carson threw a little too much to the outside. Field goal, Bengals up 6-0. This worries me, only because I have bad memories of previous 2nd half defensive meltdowns, and six points are not a whole lot in the NFL. McNair and the Ravens confirm my fears by driving into Bengal territory as the half winds down. They get the ball to the 15 and go for the field goal. It's good. Shit, 6-3 at half. No they're kicking it again. This time it's not good. 6-0. Way to use that timeout Marvin.

The 2nd half opened up with the Bengals D getting a huge three and out from Baltimore. After getting the ball back, the first possession was destined to end in a Bengal punt. Offsides penalty, stuffed running play, bad protection forcing an incompletion (the Bengals lost Eric Gesundheit, their backup center at the end of the first half, and were playing some guy who had never taken a snap before at center) led to a 3rd and 14 from the Bengal 20. Time for the ole' shovel pass. I love this play. They tried it a few weeks ago against San Diego and it got stuffed, but when it works, it's a thing of beauty. Kenny Watson, 20 yard gain, first down. Then, a few succesful running plays and the highlight of the night, the flea-flicker to TJ. That was pretty much the game right there.

Random Thoughts (this post brought to you by beer #5):

1. Johnathan Joseph is a pretty good corner. If he could catch, he would be a great one. He dropped four, count em, four, possible INT's.
2. The Bengals D has come out of nowhere and started to play very well. They're using their coverage guys (Dexter Jackson, Kaesviharn) in blitz packages to get pressure and it's working.
3. Chad's highlight reel catch actually might have saved the whole game. If he doesn't bring that ball down, it sails right over his head and into Samari Rolle's hands (which are not Johnathan Joseph's hands) and possibly the other way for 6. With the game at 3-0 then, who knows what happens if it's intercepted.
4. If you want to beat the Ravens, don't turn the ball over. Their offense is mediocre at best.
5. I will now be carrying a Morrissey ProSet MusicCard in my wallet to every Bengals game for the rest of the year. My friend J-Ro brought it to the game tonight for me after unearthing it in his parent's house in Houston. It might be the coolest gift I've ever received. I'll let you behold it in all it's glory:

It's kind of hard to see, but the last sentence of his "stat sheet" reads as follows:
Bona Drag (1990) is a collection of rare, hard-to-find and
otherwise inacessible Morrissey tracks.

I'm sorry, did they say inacessible Morrissey tracks? I don't think they exist.

Check out the other amazing artists ProSet decided to immortalize here. I'd love to get my hands on that Lita Ford promo card.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Talk About The Passion-Part III

An ongoing (and highly subjective) series highlighting the ten greatest moments in Cincinnati Sports History.

8. Pete Rose shoves Dave Pallone, makes him gay (April 30, 1988)

The Key Players:

To say Pete Rose was a legend in the city of Cincinnati would be an understatement. I had a giant poster of him above my bed when I was 5. Coaches in Knothole leagues around the area didn't even bother to teach kids how to slide feet-first. When he was traded from the Expos to the Reds in 1984 and named player manager, the city went crazy. He won 426 games in four and a half seasons as the team's manager, finishing 2nd each year in the NL West while gambling on the team constantly. People in Cincinnati defended Rose throughout his gambling scandals, and many remained convinced that Pete had never bet on baseball until he finally admitted it in 2004.

Dave Pallone was the third youngest umpire to ever work in the major leagues. He joined the league in 1979, during an umpire strike. He called the All-star game at Comiskey Park in 1983, and in 1985, he called Nolan Ryan's 4,000th strikeout after catching Ryan's 3,997th strikeout in the family jewels, shattering his protective cup (which was subsequently signed by the pitcher). He was fired after the 1988 season by MLB, basically for being gay. He now works as a keynote speaker for diversity issues.

The Event:

Early in the 1988 season, the Reds played the Mets at Riverfront stadium. It was Kid Glove night at the stadium, so a bunch of young Knothole players (myself included) attended the game. With the score tied at 5-5 in the top of the ninth, Mookie Wilson was called safe at 1st base by Pallone. Rose charged at Pallone like he was a black jack table and began arguing with him. Pallone (Rose would argue later) jabbed Pete under the eye during the argument causing a small "abrasion". Pete lost his shit and shoved Pallone. Then the Reds fans lost their shit and threw debris on the field, pelting Pallone with beer bottles AND a boom box (or a ghetto blaster, it was 1988). The Reds went on to lose the game, and during my walk back to the parking lot, a group of drunken fans started up a cheer that I have never been able to forget:

To the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In"

"Oh when the umps....
Come marching in...
Oh when the umps come marching in....
We will cut off...
All of their testicles...
When the umps come marching in."

Rose ended up with a 30 game suspension after the game, which was the longest suspension for an on-the-field incident in the history of the game. I'm not sure what Pete was up to during his suspension since the Dowd report only covers 1987. Pallone was fined $100, but the close brush with Rose changed his life forever. In 1990, he wrote "Behind the Mask", a book detailing his experience as a gay umpire. The world is still waiting for other baseball figures closely related to Rose (Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Ray Fosse) to follow suit and come out as well.

Pete Rose 0.
Dave Pallone 1.

I think Pallone's the clear winner.
He doesn't have any kids in jail for distributing steroids. Also he's never appeared on WrestleMania. I still love Pete though. And Jim Gray still sucks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


We couldn't get closer than this

The Bengals beat the Browns 30-0. That was special. That was just special. Let's recap the last three weeks of Bengal defense:

Wk10: vs. Chargers. The Bengals D let Philip Rivers and LDT return from a 21 point halftime deficit and give up 42 points in the 2nd half. Tomlinson admits after the game that it's actually easier to score on the Bengals in real life than in Madden 2007.

Wk11: @ Saints. Drew Brees throws for over 500 yards against a beat-up Bengals secondary, setting a Bengals franchise record for futility. The Saints only manage 16 points, though, thanks largely to two endzone INTs.

Wk12: @Browns. The Bengals D get their first shutout since 1989. Charlie Frye does his best Ben Roethlisberger imitation. He gets knocked down about 10 times, throws 17 INTs, followed by Braylon Edwards going completely out of his mind and trying to rip Frye's jersey off on the sideline. Bengals win 30-0.
Can't wait for next week. I mean....uhhhh.....four days from now? This Thursday game thing is weird. I can't get the NFL network, and I don't know anyone who can. Is the NFL just trying to piss me off or do they want me to spend even more time at bars? Very confusing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Oscillate Wildly

My dad loves Ethan Kilmer

The Bengals beat the Saints 31-16 yesterday. And a guy named Ethan Kilmer returned a Drew Brees' INT for a TD. Kilmer played only one year of football in high school and was a walk-on for two years at Penn State. Great story.

Honestly, I kind of don't know what to do with this. I figured this would be my nail in the coffin blog, especially after the Saints tied the game at 7-7 with a Bill Cowher-esque flea flicker to Joe Horn (whose dance was completely ridiculous). The defense was missing all of its starting LB's, one CB (Deltha O'Neal), and one SS (Dexter Jackson). The O-line was missing three starters. Drew Brees passed for 500 yards. And I'm talking about Ethan Kilmer. Wow.

The fact that the Bengals were able to pull this game out is pretty amazing. They beat a division leading team with a high powered offense on the road. But let's get one thing straight. The Bengals defense is bad. I still fear for the future when they face Peyton Manning or any other quarterback not named Frye, Brooks, or Walter. Even still, they are in a position make a run for the playoffs. Beating Cleveland on the road will be a tougher game than it looks like on paper as Cleveland's D is very strong against the pass, but it's certainly winnable. Then it's Baltimore and the Raiders at home. A sweep of these three games would leave the Bengals at 8-5 going into two brutal road games @Denver and then @Indy. They could afford to lose one of these games and then come back to beat Pittsburgh at home on New Year's Eve to finish the season at 10-6. I see them winning a close game next week against Cleveland leaving their season to hinge on the Baltimore game next Thursday. I will be requesting the night off of work for that game, provided the Bengals take care of business this Sunday.

Also, I must take some credit for the victory this weekend. In my 12 team Fantasy Football league I benched Drew Brees for good luck. Don't worry, I still won and clinched a playoff spot thanks to the Miami D. Who Dey?!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Here Comes Your Man

It was a wait so long

With the Paradise Jam on tap for this weekend, the Xavier basketball season has officially started. The team lost to Gonzaga and the hated Adam Morrison last year in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and this year returns all of its starters while adding former McDonald's All-American Oklahoma transfer Drew Lavender. A strong freshman recruiting class gives the team extra depth, and the team's best player is named Stanley Burrell. In case you didn't know, that is also Hammer's real name. You can't touch that. (Xavier will also have Charles Bronson on their roster next year; this team is badass)

I get most of my Musketeer related news from my father; an alum of the school who hangs out around the O'Connor Sports Center a couple of times a week. This week we talked about the team's 79-46 opening win over Coastal Carolina. Apparently everybody looked good, but the pops wasn't thrilled with the play of Drew Lavender, the new point guard everyone has been drooling over. Let me give you some back story here. Last year, X's point guard, Dedrick Finn, was a terrible player and teammate who somehow managed to get himself embroiled in a custody battle over a dog and then got kicked off the team for good right before the conference tournament. Enter Johhny Wolf:

Johnny was a very good basketball player at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati. His father was a great tennis player who my father apparenly runs into around town. Johnny did a fantastic job as a freshman of taking over a struggling team and putting them in a position to win basketball games. And win basketball games they did. Four in a row in the A-10 tournament in fact. But this year, Johnny's on the bench. And this really pisses of my dad.

Everybody's got their thing. For me, it's The Smiths and Morrissey. For Matt Ufford, it's cats wearing clothes. For Mark Foley, it's congressional pages. For my Dad, it's white point guards. He loves em'. He just can't help himself. Even if they're walk-ons, he still finds ways to demand that they should get more playing time. In the late nineties, there was this guy Pat Kelsey (who was another local kid, from Elder I think) on the Muskies roster. He got some PT, but the teams he was playing on were loaded with talent (James Posey used to come off the bench in 97). He was the co-captain and voted "most inspirational" player for 96 and 98. This was not good enough for my dad. Every time X lost a game, it was "I just don't get why Skip didn't put Kelsey in there. I mean, he can really shoot."

I completely understand where this is coming from. My dad loves underdogs. And since he's white, he usually loves white underdogs. And since he's only 5' 9", the only guys he can watch play basketball that remind him of himself are back-up white point guards. This is fine. I just am not looking forward to hearing constant criticism of Drew Lavender this year, juxtaposed with what-would-Johnny-have-done revisionism.

On a completely different topic, what's up with Keke Okerake singing all the songs for Bloc Party?

I hear Gordon Moakes (far right) has an awesome voice. They really ought to give him a chance.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Hurting

Is it an horrific dream
Am I sinking fast......?

The Bengals lost to the Chargers on Sunday, 49-41. And I cannot believe I just typed that sentence.

I watched the game at my neighborhood Bengals bar again, with some of my friends from Cincy. Before the game we actually talked about how the Bengals really needed a blowout to get their confidence back and start a run at the playoffs. In the first half, our words were prophetic. The offense finally came around and dominated the game. The Chargers' couldn't get any traction on offense, and Palmer and Johnson looked unstoppable. At halftime we were practically giddy. We went across the street and threw the football around in the rain for a little while. Life was good.

Just before halftime, I checked my voicemail. My dad had called, excited about the first half. He ended the message by saying "I hope I didn't put the jinx on them".

(Interestingly enough, I thought about calling or texting a few friends before the 2nd half as well, but for some reason stopped myself. Perhaps it was because I didn't see the point in tempting fate with these Bengals. Or maybe I've just come to terms with the fact that I am hated for loving)

I can't really talk about the 2nd half too much. I will say that what the Chargers did to the Bengal defense was pretty similar to Frank Reich's comeback in 1993. Also, the Bengals defense is very bad. Peyton Manning may put up 80 on them. When Palmer fumbled on the 10 in the 4th quarter with the Bengals up 38-35, I sort of figured the game was over. When Tomlinson scored on the next play, I could feel the soil falling over Cincinnati's head.

During the walk home in the rain, I realized that I hadn't properly stretched before my halftime display of manliness. Stretching is important, I've learned, as one approaches 30. Also, when one has two herniated discs. Really though, at the end of this day, having stabbing pain in my back wasn't entirely inappropriate.

Friday, November 10, 2006

You're the One for Me, Fatty

Promise you'll say if I'm ever in your way

Everyone, meet the new Reds pitching coach. His name is Dick Pole. I think I had one of his old baseball cards. Here's what he had to say about his new job:
"When (manager) Jerry (Narron) and Wayne (Krivsky) talked to me about this, I got excited...."

Nothing like a Dick Pole at full mast. I already love this guy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Headmaster Ritual

Sir leads the troops
I am a waaaay better coach than Marvin Lewis. No disrespect intended Marvin, but what's your record this year? Like, 4-4? That's what I thought.
Let's compare that to This Charming Fan's record who is coaching TWO football teams this year, Ballz Deep and Portis Heads. Their records? 7-2 and 6-3. That's a combined 13-5, a winning percentage of 72% to Marvin's 50%. So naturally, I've got some tips for the beleaguered B-leaguer coach (get it, beleaguered B-leaguer? Hahaha!). Here goes:
  1. Try and keep things light. The guys on Ballz Deep seem to respond really well to my weekly habit of getting completely shitfaced on gameday. They know that my preparation always happens earlier in the week (when I'm usually sober) and that I'm one of the best gameplanners in the league. They don't mind if I "enjoy myself" during the game. Sometimes (when I'm really drunk), I'll even ask Chester (Taylor) during the game if he wants a shot of apricot brandy when he's not playing well. He gets a kick out of it; he knows I'm just playin'. Marvin, you just look so serious all the time on the sidelines. I think your team could really benefit if you loosened the reins a little, y'know, let the guys have their fun. They're adults man, they know how to handle themselves in a professional manner.
  2. Talk more smack to the other coaches. All I ever hear from the postgame press conferences is some pretty vanilla stuff Marvin. "That's a good football team" and "They're defense played well". Bullshit man. Before the game is when you need to really get it going you know, like last week, I was playin' Turd Sandwich and he picked up the Ravens' Mark Clayton and I was like "Hey that's not the 85 Mark Clayton man" and he was like "I don't even know who that is" and I was like "Yeah, that's why you suck" and he was like "whatever, stop calling me". But the thing is, I got in his head. And then after the game (which I won, of course) I was like "And you still owe me forty bucks" (cuz we're in a money league and he hasn't paid me yet). None of this "good game man" shit. I really chapped his ass about it; he won't even return my calls anymore. Chester thought it was a riot! Awesome!
  3. You never give up on a bad bye week. Now first of all, I have no idea how in the hell you managed to draft a team that had every single player on the same bye week (maybe it's because you're in a keeper league, I don't know), but even still man, you cannot just let that shit go! You could have swung some trades, worked the waiver wire, whatever. I made it through all my bye weeks this year and always fielded a full team. It's just unacceptable to not even put a single player out there; it's really bad for the team's morale.
  4. It's time to go out and get a better Defense. Listen man, I liked your D at the beginning of the year too, but you gotta read the writing on the wall. The turnovers just aren't happening this year and there's a lot of tough matchups down the road. I say drop the Cincy D immediately and just start picking up new Defenses on a weekly matchup basis. Shit I dropped your D four weeks ago and now I've got Carolina's. Check if they're available in your league, that's a huge upgrade.
  5. Ignore all that shit about "locker room poison". Dude, I picked up Barry Bonds at the end of my baseball season this summer and the guy did nothing but produce. He got me the Trophy baby (even though Yahoo still hasn't mailed it or something, maybe I should've requested the T-shirt instead), and him and Jeff Kent totally got along! Seriously man, don't cave in to all those people who say "character matters" and "people need to buy into the team concept", they're just making excuses for why their teams suck so bad. My teams have always gotten along and always kicked ass. I don't see why yours should be any different. As long as your guys produce, who cares what they do in the off-season.

Bottom line Marvin, if you want to win it all this year, you need to start listening to me. I've got a lot of hardware in my virtual trophy case (my Yahoo! rating is All-Star baby!); what do you have in yours?

I Wanna Be Adored

I wanna I wanna I gotta be adored

I remember a conversation I had with a friend at a wedding this summer. I was concerned about what would happen if the Bengals off the field problems started becoming on the field problems. More specifically, I wondered just what would happen if the Bengals got off to a rough start? They are a team full of personalities, chemistry problems as B.S. would call them. Last week, Willie Anderson and Rudi Johnson called out the team’s play calling, and this week TJ threw his helmet after an incompletion (costing the Bengals 15 yeards), Chris Henry gave up on a late game hail mary and got chewed out by Palmer walking off the field (kudos to Carson on that one), and CJ pulled a Keyshawn immediately after the game, angrily demanding more touches while dropping the f-bomb. Then his Keyshawn morphed into his Meryl Streep when he was interviewed again on the way out of the locker room during halftime of the Sunday night game. His voice was cracking and the eyes were glistening a little; he was just a "Hue" away from You Tube fame again. Chad really doesn't know what to do with himself when he's not in the spotlight, especially now that the Bengals have higher expectations than they have ever had during his career. And the team is 4 and 4 with the Chargers coming into town. I’m not ready to count them out yet, but if they lose to San Diego, it’s over. And then what? Does Chad start demanding a trade and cry every week? Does Rudi continue to bitch about his touches? Does Chris Henry go to Amsterdam and never return (possibly a good thing)? I really worry that if things turn for the even worse this season in Cincinnati, everything may fall to shit. Which would be sad, because even if it doesn’t work out this season, a team with the offensive weapons that the Bengals have locked up under contract could be a force for years down the road (like the Colts, only with a QB who isn't a proven choker). They just seem to be missing Marvin Harrison’s class and a pass rush right now (for starters).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Talk About The Passion-Part II

An ongoing (and highly subjective) series highlighting the ten greatest moments in Cincinnati Sports History.

9. Sam Wyche rips Jerry Glanville a new asshole (Dec. 17, 1989)

The Key Players:

Sam Wyche coached the Bengals from 1984-1991. This was a great time time to be a Cincinnati sports fan. Wyche led the Bengals to the Super Bowl in '89 and was a Lewis Billups dropped INT away from a championship. The next year, the Reds won the World Series after leading their division for the entire season and sweeping the heavily-favored Oakland Athletics. Wyche was the mastermind behind the Bengals #1 ranked offense in '88 which featured the first real no-huddle-offense, a RB tandem for the ages (Ickey Wood and James Brooks), a great QB (Boomer Esiason), and a wildly underappreciated group of WR's (Eddie Brown, Tim McGee, and Cris Collinsworth).

Jerry Glanville was a giant douchebag who coached the Houston Oilers from 1985-1989.

The Event:

It was Week 15 of the 89 season and the Bengals were still in the hunt for the wild-card in the AFC. The previous two meetings between the Oilers and Cincy had both resulted in Bengal losses (24-26 earlier that season, and 6-41 the previous year). Wyche was particularly annoyed that Glanville had run up the score in the 88 game in Houston and was looking to exact revenge. Here's what happened:
Up 45-0 in the final period, Wyche called for a fourth down conversion attempt (which was successful), and an onside kick (also successful). The final score was 61-7. After the game, Wyche said his only regret was that Bengal kicker Lee Johnson missed an extra point. Sam also observed that that Glanville's Oilers were the dumbest, most undiciplined team he had ever seen.

Sam Wyche 1.
Jerry Glanville 0.

I wish the Oilers were still around; so I could hate them.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Never Tear Us Apart

Much-maligned Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski

Everybody's pissed off at Bob Bratkowski this week in Cincinnati. I don't know if anyone remembers last week when he was a genius for the 4th and 1 play call to Ocho Cinco, but hey, that was last week, and this is the NFL. To his credit, Carson Palmer at least defended the Bratman:
A lot of people want to point their fingers at (Bratkowski), but if you're looking for somebody to point your finger at, you can point it at me, because I'm calling a large percentage of the plays (in the no-huddle offense)," Palmer said.
Palmer then added: "And if I hurt Bob, I'll make wine...from his tears.

Personally, I think that all this anger is more than a little misdirected. After all, this team gave up 29 points to the Falcons and made Michael Vick look like the 2nd coming of Steve Young, only faster. So how about sending some of those shit sandwiches over Chuck Bresnahan's way Cincinnati fans? He's the guy who designed the give-Michael-Vick-all-day-to-carve-us-up defense that worked so well. Atlanta punted 3 times the whole game, and Vick would've had less time to throw in a 5-Mississippi two-hand touch game. I know you don't want him to beat you with his legs, but if he's making the throws (and he was last Sunday), you can't let him get comfortable. In other news, Kaesviharn got beat by another tight end for a touchdown so the gloves are off again. Fuck you KK, you almost had me won over with last week's e-mail. You're dead to me now.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Wish You Wouldn't Say That

Kaesviharn responds to CKnight's criticism

So I've been ragging on Kevin Kaesviharn for almost a year now. I never really forgave him for getting abused in the Steelers playoff game last year, and I generally don't trust white DB's whose names don't end in Sehorn or Lynch. To be honest, I didn't even know how to pronounce his name until a few weeks ago (I always said Kav-ish-arn instead of Case-vi-harn, I'm slightly dyslexic). Apparently though, Kevin was looking for some motivation after being responsible for the coverage on Michael Clayton's game-winning TD two weeks ago in Tampa and happened upon this site. He found this gem from thecharmingfan after the Pats game: My feeling is that if the defense has Dexter Jackson for the New England game, Maroney doesn't break off those runs. That guy is a much, much better safety than Kaesviharn.

After this weekend victory over the Panther's, I found this message from the Bengals safety:

>From: "Big Kev"
>To: "Chris Knight"
>Subject: Stop ragging on me man
>Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 08:57:13 -0400
Hey dude,
Eat me you little bitch. All you've done all year is bitch and whine about me. I'm actually surprised that you haven't come out and sided with the Panthers' "he-got-sooo-lucky-on-the-interception-we're gonna-take-our-ball-and-go-home-if-they-don't-play-fair" argument about my game-winning play. I don't know if you've being paying any attention this year, but someone on the Bengals has three interceptions this season, two from the endzone to beat teams with Super Bowl aspirations. I think his name was Kevin, not Dexter, and definitely not Chris. You suck. Go synthesize some excited bromide in an argon matrix and leave the sportwriting to the professionals. Like this guy:


So there you go Bengals fans. I fired up Kevin Kaesviharn and helped lead the team to victory this weekend. Now I'm gonna start in on Tory James. We'll see how that goes. Who Dey?!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Will Life Ever Be Sane Again?

So my last entry on the Bengals said something to the effect of "once their offense starts hitting on all cylinders, they'll be very tough to beat". Clearly, that didn't happen last week, and they lost a game they couldn't really afford to lose. A lot of people, myself included, were pretty apoplectic about the roughing the passer penalty on Justin Smith late in the game. Denny Green would have called the play "Bullshit, bullshit!"

Okay, sorry, there are some amazing things on this clip. First, Denny Green sounds like Woody Allen at the beginning of the thing (what, y'know, I mean, the Bears, oh my god y'know). Then, when he smacks the podium, it kind of looks like he's giving it the "train ride" treatment, if you know what I mean. Then, he does this awesome stare down of the room right before he leaves that's a cross between an angry preacher and Ru Paul on the runway. An finally, the PR guy who comes out at the end looks like a host at TGIFriday's explaining that it's gonna be another half-hour before you can get seated. This thing is just great television.

Back to the Bengals. No doubt the call was bullshit (bullshit!), but 13 points against a Bucs D that has struggled all year just isn't going to cut it. This week, the Panthers come to town on a roll, having won their last four straight. Again, the team is banged up with L.Jones, Braham, K.Washington, T.Perry, and C.Henry out. Hopefully Dexter Jackson will get back on the field because the secondary is really gonna need him this week. The Panthers don't have a great running attack, but you really don't need one against the Bengals; and they've been throwing the ball deep a lot since Steve Smith came back. Jackson would stop the bleeding on both of these fronts. On the other side of the ball, Chris Perry's return could spark this offense. He adds another dimension to the offense out of the backfield with his pass-catching ability and really makes the no-huddle sets dangerous. Since the WR position is so banged up, he also may get some reps there. I've been waiting for this guy to play all year, I think he's the missing ingredient for the offense (other than, you know, an offensive line). He may not be ready to make an impact this week, but if he is, the Bengals offense should come around. I think this game will be highly entertaining in an I-might-throw-up-at-any-moment-because-it's-too-intense-and-we-can't-fall-to-3-and-3 kind of way. I expect the Bengals to win, but Good Lord, after last week, who knows. Also, this just in: some prosecutor in Cincinnati has been walking around in the nude in a Government Services Center for about the last five years. His lawyers tried to pin his penchant for going all "Frank the Tank" on the residual effects of a car crash he suffered last year, but apparently, he was also naked in the car when it wrecked. My question is this: If Chris Henry was in the car, would he have thrown up?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Talk About The Passion-Part I

An ongoing (and highly subjective) series highlighting the ten greatest moments in Cincinnati Sports History.

10. I defeat Kevin Frey's team in a pickup basketball game (1999-ish).

The Key Players:

Kevin Frey was a 6' 8" starting forward for the Xavier University Men's Basketball Team from 1998-2001. A highly touted recruit who was considered, at best, an underachiever for the Musketeers, Frey was best know for his role in Xavier's defeat of the then-number 1 ranked UC Bearcats in 1999. Frey scored four points, including a break-away layup with 29 seconds left, in the last minute of the game, ensuring the upset. After his college career ended, Frey has gone on to play professionally in Europe, as well as in the USBL and CBA.

Chris Knight was the captain of the Northwestern University Purple League Intramural Basketball semi-finalist squad, The Bubonic Plague, in 1999 and 2000. At 6'3", 180 lbs., Knight was an undersized center for the Plague, known for his tenacious rebounding, poor FG percentage, and commitment to "Puerto Rican Defense". He was, and remains, an avid smoker.

The event:

Both Frey and Knight were regulars at the famed "High Noon" pick-up games at The O'Connor Sports Center on the campus at Xavier University in the summer of 1999. The games usually consisted of a handful of middle-aged professors, a few current Xavier students, former and present Xavier basketball players, and occasionally, members of the O'Conner Sports Center custodial crew. This particular showdown found Frey and Knight matched up at the point-center position, with Knight at a serious size and skill disadvantage. Frey's strategy, luckily for Knight, seemed to be focused on his perimeter play, as his team's offense relied heavily on him receiving the ball at the top of the key on every single possession, then firing up 20 foot jump shots. Knight's squad used a motion offense peppered with moving picks and bank shots to keep the game close. With the score knotted at 9-9 (first to 11 by ones wins), Frey broke free on a fast break and dunked over Knight to make the score 10-9. Undeterred, Knight's team answered on the next possession to tie the game at 10-10, setting the stage for the Tenth Greatest Moment in The History of Cincinnati Sports. As Frey's teammate, the infamous "Jon the Duck" brought the ball up the court, Chris Knight's superior basketball IQ took the game over. Realizing that The Duck would attempt to pass the ball to Kevin Frey at the top of the key (as he had in every single possession previous), Knight stepped into the passing lane and knocked the ball into the backcourt. With Frey hot on his heels, Knight streaked towards the right side of the hoop at full speed where he executed this move:

Chris Knight 1.
Kevin Frey 0.
The Cincinnati Sports Scene was forever changed.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wave of Mutilation

Carson lays an egg

Yeah so that happened. The Bengals were annihilated by the Patriots last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. The game reminded me a lot of last years' home loss to the Steelers. Both games saw the Bengals look great on the first couple drives but settle for field goals. Then the other team got some momentum, the run defense got carved up, Palmer kept being forced into obvious passing situations, and all of the sudden it smelt like a blowout. The breaks didn't go the Bengals way (how was Kaesviharn's hit a penalty and Brian Russell's not?), but you're not gonna win too many games giving up 236 on the ground. Bottom line, a pretty embarrassing game for the Bengals, given the fact that they were in it until the 4th quarter and ended up losing by 25 at home. The real question for Bengals fans, though, is CAN I PANIC YET?

The answer is...yes, if you really want to, you can panic. The defense has looked terrible the last two weeks against the run (and against the pass last week, Gabriel's TD was ridiculous), the line doesn't look like it can protect Palmer like last year (10 sacks in the last two games), Palmer can't take a sack without coughing the ball up (5 fumbles the last two weeks, 3 lost), key players are out for the year (Pollack, Thurman, probably Braham), and the schedule doesn't really get any easier after the bye (@TB, vs.CAR, vs.ATL, @BAL) if you ignore the Tampa Bay game. So if you're given to panicking (and if you're from Cincy, there's at least a 50-50 chance you are), go ahead and do it.

I won't and here's why. My feeling is that if the defense has Dexter Jackson for the New England game, Maroney doesn't break off those runs. That guy is a much, much better safety than Kaesviharn. The other guy repeatedly victimized by the Maroney stiff-arm (sounds kinda dirty, doesn't it?) was Caleb Miller, who was replacing injured starter Rashad Jeanty. Yes the depth at linebacker worries me, but the guys filling in will get better as the season goes along. Same goes for the new O-lineman, Gesundheit or whatever his name is. And Carson is still rusty. And Chris Perry hasn't played a down yet. And Chris Henry was sitting out. Yadda, yadda, and yadda. Bottom line, this team should be a lot better going forward, and let's not forget they started off 3 and 1 against some pretty good competition. I say let hope spring eternal for these Bengals, once their offense starts hitting on all cylinders, they'll be very tough to beat. Now if we can just keep them all out of jail during the bye week....

Friday, September 29, 2006

I Know It's Over

Will the Reds please just get mathematically eliminated from the NL Central race already. I don't know how many more of these headlines I can take: "Reds Win, Stay In Race". Sounds like they got a pretty good chance right? Yeah if you consider needing two teams to lose their last three games, and then sweeping the Pirates a good chance, hell yes, the Reds are practically in! Who do we get in the 1st round, the Mets? Awesome, who do I call for playoff tickets? Seriously Cincinnati Enquirer, stop toying with my emotions or I'll have to call Chiquita on you again.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Police On My Back

What's up with Cincinnati Police Department? Seriously, aren't professional athletes supposed to get preferential treatment? Goddamn if the CPD isn't making it's living arresting Bengals these days. And we can't even pull the race card on them this time since they nailed Eric Steinbach on a BUI (that's boating under the influence in case you were wondering), and I can't think of anything whiter than drinking a few beers on a boat. Well, maybe cornholing.

Clearly this problem is too big for Marvin Lewis. He needs some help, and honestly, I think I'm the right man for the job. Here's my proposal for Marvin.
For $10,000 and one of Carson's game jerseys, I'll host a series of intensive seminars on Law Enforcement Basics during your bye week for you. Here's a look at some of the curriculum:

1. How to Properly Bribe Cops (2hrs, followed by role-playing in small groups)
2. Determining the #1 Sober (more role playing)
3. How Incredibly Rich Athletes Can Afford To Call A Fucking Cab When They're Loaded (Power Point presentation with excel spreadsheet handouts)
4. Why You Should Never Submit To a Sobriety Test or Breathalizer (Exhibit A)
5. Why Wearing Your Own Jersey When You're About To Pull Out a Concealed Weapon Is a Bad Idea (this should be a short one)
6. The Meaning of "Underage" (a mostly philosophical seminar with some excerpts from Nabokov's Lolita, followed by a detailed rundown on different states' statuatory rape laws)
7. Safe Boating Practices (only need the linemen for this one, maybe Kaesviharn too)
8. How To Not Fuck Up What Looks Like A Great Season (this seminar will mostly consist of me screaming and kicking people in the balls)

So listen Marvin, I think we should do this. I'm ready to contribute to the cause. Call Me?

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Things You Said

I ended up catching this week's game at my new favorite bar in Brooklyn, we'll call it the Chicken Coop. One of the bartenders is from Cincy, and even though he doesn't work on Sundays, he's there in his Carson jersey every week. Whereas most NYC bars are basically frathouses on Sunday during the NFL season, the Coop is more like a social experiment. There's about 10 to 20 neighborhood guys there every week who run the gamut of New York stereotypes; old Italians, Latino gamblers, and some Hasidic Jews thrown in for good measure. The Coop is one of those places that has signs posted (like "No Smoking" and "All beverages must be consumed on the premises") that have no bearing on the reality of what happens there. There more like guidelines actually. Last week I smoked half a pack of cigarrettes and took a margarita across the street after the game. This week a couple of Steelers fans made their way to the bar; a young couple and a guy we'll just call Kid Rock. The game started off terribly for the Bengals, the Steelers drive down the field and take an early 7-0 lead. And the Steeler fans are cheering....loudly. I fucking hate Steelers fans. Another good thing about the Coop is that they serve Budweiser in 32 ounce styrofoam cups, so even if you're football team is being torn to shit, you can always get hammered on the cheap. And get hammered I did. On styrofoam beer #3 (that's about 80 ounces down the pike), the Bengals scored 14 points in 50 seconds. There had been a little back and forth between the two factions before then, and the Steelers fans had really gotten under my skin (not that it would've taken much at that point). I'll just give you a quick sample of some things I was shouting around this time in the game:


(in response to a Steeler fan whining that Housh pushed a Steeler db in the back on a TD catch) "No, he didn't touch him. He's just a better football player actually. Look at that, that is soooo pretty. TJ is great."

(As Triumph) "HEY...COWHER....YOU SUCK!"

"Hey Kid Rock, shouldn't you be watching the Lions game?"


"C'mon Ben, throw us one more pick and we've got this game locked up"


And finally, after the game when a Steeler's fan started waving his Super Bowl terrible towel in my face, "SCOREBOARD! SCOREBOARD!"

Yes, booze and football is still a magic combination.
Be back soon with my recommendations on keeping the Bengals out of jail.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

With the Steelers-Bengals game on tap for this weekend, I find myself with a lot of material to sift through. First off, Joey Porter's dogs killed a horse on Tuesday. I don't think that my beloved Bengals are the sort to scare easily (they are professional football players), but, Jesus man, that's intense. In addition, someone leaked the post-game footage from last week's Browns game of Chad Johnson recovering from a concussion in front of about 18 million reporters, and wow does he look hopped up on goofballs. So I was just wondering what sort of positivity was out there for Bengals fans to tap into this week (other than the obvious fact that we'll kick their ass), and I came upon a couple of things. First, I was unaware that after winning the Super Bowl, Bill Cowher just could not keep his hands off the "Who-Dey" joke (where he yells Who-Dey to a bunch of idiots, and they yell We-Dey! back). Apparently, Cowher's sense of humor (not to mention his moustache) is a lot like my Dad's; he finds something that works and keeps on repeating it over and over until everyone wishes they could stick knives into their eardrums. The great thing about this, though, is that Marvin Lewis (motivational genius) found some clips of Cowher's idiocy and forced the Bengals to watch it before a practice. In all likelihood, this probably pissed off Robert Geathers, and I have it on good authority that Geathers' dogs ate three llamas in Mason last week. Porter's dogs are pussies. Also, how can you possibly make fun of anything even remotely connected to Bootsy Collins? He's psychoalphadiscobeta-licious and he WILL tear the roof off the sucka'. You just messed with the wrong Chocolate City, Bill Cowher.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pretty Girls Make Graves

I'm not the man you think I am

Hot girlfriends are great. Everybody wants one, except maybe gay guys, but even they like to hang out with smoking-hot chicks as arm candy. On first glance, Reds GM Wayne Krivsky (see pic) is not what you might consider remotely hot or a girl. But let's see where this takes us:

Hot girlfriends always announce their presence in a room, or your life for that matter, with panache. Krivsky certainly did that, first quietly signing Scott Hatteberg to replace Sean Casey at 1st base (upgrading the team offensively and defensively at a fraction of Casey's cost), then trading a 4th outfielder endlessly being compared to Sammy Sosa (a damning comparison if ever there was one) for an underpaid, undervalued, serviceable starter in Bronson Arroyo. Consider it a hand-job in a restaurant bathroom on the first date for the Reds.

Hot girlfriends keep the pressure on during the passionate courting phase. Krivsky follows up his offseason moves by picking up Dan Ross, another underrated gem, from the Dodgers, then gets Brandon Phillips off the Indians. Phillips and Ross put up great numbers from the get-go, and boy do the Indians look stupid for letting Phillips go. The team looks better than it has in years and wins some games in June for the first time in forever. They're in the hunt in the Central, the Cards look beatable, and they lead the Wild Card race. This is your proverbial hot sex in dirty new positions phase for the Reds. And...all their friends think the new girlfriend is AWESOME. Hot girlfriends are the shit.

Hot girlfriends are cruel, heartless bitches. On June 13th, 2006, Krivsky trades Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez, and Ryan Wagner to the Nationals for Gary Majewski, Bill Bray, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris and Daryl Thompson. In case you're keeping score, that's two 26-year old major league postion players about to enter their prime for two middle relievers, a 36 year-old shortstop, and two minor-leaguers. Shortly after the trade, Majewski goes on the DL and Reds fans everywhere search their homes for sharp objects. Krivsky acquires a ton of other middle relievers as the trade deadline nears, all at a fraction of the cost of the 5 Nats. The team implodes on a late season West coast road trip, and the Reds team ERA after the 7th inning is still MLB's 7th worst at 4.65. This is the "she murdered my pet rabbits in boiling water" phase for the Reds.

I love the Reds. Perhaps this relationship is salvageable. But to be honest...I've lost my faith in womanhood.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I've Come to Wish You an Unhappy Birthday

Why Fantasy Sports Are Fucking Amazing

So I’m in a fairly competitive head-to-head baseball league. About 3/4ths of the guys study their shit, make good waiver pickups, assemble good teams, etc, etc. The other ¼ throw in the towel before summer starts. I draft a pretty respectable team, have a solid pitching staff (my strength is assembling stud starters) and make it to the semifinals (held this week, 9-10 to 9-17). There I meet my old friend Joey, a guy I used to work with at a restaurant in Manhattan. Joey grew up in Boston, but somehow managed to be a ridiculously dedicated Yankees fan. Joey’s team is called Yankee Yankmees and consists of around 7 to 8 Yankees at all times. Specifically he owns:
C-Jorge Posada
1B-Jason Giambi
SS-Derek Jeter
3B-Alex Rodriguez
OF-Hideki Matsui
RP-Mariano Rivera
RP-Kyle Farnsworth

As you can see, this shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

Playing Joey’s fantasy team is like starting a fight with a redneck at a tractor pull who has 17 brothers and 42 first cousins standing around him. It’s fucking intimidating.

Joey’s offense completely destroys me at the beginning of the week, with the Yankees putting up 45 runs in 5 days. They’re busy tearing the shit out of Baltimore and Tampa Bay, while my Chase Utleys and Lance Berkmans are serving me donuts. I’m down 8-2 on Thursday, with only three days to make up a shitload of ground. The only thing I have going for me is that my studs haven’t pitched yet. I’ve got Santana and Weaver on Friday, then Hamels pitching on Saturday. I get solid starts from pretty much everyone, a couple of wins, and take him in K’s, ERA, and WHIP. Pretty soon I’m staring at a 5-3 deficit, with a couple of categories up for grabs. We’re tied on steals and wins, but I’m hopelessly behind in every offensive category. Except batting average. Oh sweet, sweet batting average. I’ll get back to you later.

On Saturday, I realize the only chance I have to beat Joey is to take wins and squeak out steals. That gives us a 5-5 stalemate, but the tiebreaker is ERA, which I’ve got in the bag. I pick up Jeff Weaver (clearly desperation time), Daniel Cabrera, and Jaret Wright. But….…none of them pull out a W. I’m screwed. Then Jason Bay steals his 2nd bag in two days, giving me the lead in steals. I still have hope. I’m only down 5-4 because Joey doesn’t get a win either (thank you Cla Meredith). That’s when we get back to that old standby, batting average. To start the day, I’m down 260 to 244. Not an insurmountable lead. On Sunday, the surmounting starts to happen.

My guys start to hit a little. Berkman, Figgins, and Dave Roberts all go 2-4. The Yankees have back-to-back day-night double-headers (jesus that’s a lot of hyphens), so on Sunday, they’ve got a late game at 8:30. I check in on the computer around 8:00, and see that I’m now down 255 to 257 on BA. With the Yankees playing Giambi (a 252 hitter), Jeter (343), and Posada (280), I realize that the law of averages is not on my side. I need said law of averages to fail and fail miserably. Appropriately my only chance to make it to the finals is for three Yankee hitters to have shitty games. God I hate the Yankees (not individually, just as a concept). Anyway, it happens to be my birthday, and I happen to be in the middle of a poker game while my fantasy hopes are being toyed with by no-name Boston pitchers, guys with names like Jarvis, Hanson, and Lopez. I have no idea who they are, but they are all I have. Posada singles in the first off Jarvis, and I assume it’s over. Then, Jeter and Giambi start helping me out. Jeter reaches on an error (thank you official scorer!), Giambi whiffs, Torre pinch hits with Matsui (another Yankmee), he K’s, and I take the freaking lead for the first time all week.

I’m up 5-4 with BA at 255 to 254. I’m fucking ecstatic. But then the 8th inning comes. The heart of the Yankee lineup is up, Giambi followed by Posada. I figure if one of them gets a hit, it’s over. And of course, because it’s my birthday and everything’s gonna break right for me……Giambi singles to center. It’s over. I’m losing BA 257 to 255. I turn off the computer and dedicate myself to playing good disciplined poker. You can’t win em’ all. I send a text to Joey congratulating him.

About 4 hours later I fire up the computer to see what the final tally was, say goodbye to some of the guys on the team (I’ve gotten pretty tight with David DeJesus), and wrap up my fantasy baseball season. So I think you know how this plays out by now. The Red Sox score a run in the 9th to take a 5-4 lead, and in the bottom of ninth Torre pulls out all the stops. After a Bernie Williams groundout, Torre puts in Johnny Damon to pinch hit for some guy named Andy Cannizaro. Did I mention Damon is on my team? Usually Yankees and Red Sox are impossible to draft at their rightful places in our league because of our heavy east coast bias. The thing about Damon, though, is that no one wants to touch him. The Yankee fans aren’t ready to jump on the guy who was partly responsible for the greatest act of self-destruction since Richie Tennenbaum’s meltdown at Windswept Fields, and Red Sox fans think he’s a traitor. So I get him in the 5th round, the 58th overall selection, and he does nothing but produce all year. And what does Johnny do? He gets a base hit. And who does Torre send up to pinch hit next? That’s right, Alex Rodriguez, another Yankee Yankmee. And what does A-Rod do? Pops out to shallow right center. Yankee fans engage in their favorite activity, booing A-Rod mercilessly, and I take Joey in batting average thanks to two ninth inning pinch hitting appearances. I advance to the finals, exhausted and elated. Fantasy sports, you are a filthy and brutal whore. God I love you.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

I'm not one to revel in other people's pain. Watching Trent Green lay motionless for what seemed like 2 hours during the Bengals Chiefs game on Sunday was no fun for me. That being said, Trent Green's spine wasn't snapped, and he should be back playing football soon, and these are good things. And, on a personal note, the hit helped me out for a number of reasons. It pretty much assured the Bengals of a victory and showed that their defense can be intimidating. And also, it REALLY helped my fantasy football teams. This might seem like a minor detail, but goddamn if it doesn't feel good to start off the season with a win (or two, in my case). In both my leagues, in an odd twist of fate, both my opponents were starting the Chiefs' QB. I won my primary league by 15 points, and my secondary one by .97. So thank you Robert Geathers. And yes, the hit was completely legal, even though the Chiefs' president has been whining about it all week. Who Dey.