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MO' Favorite Links
MO' Favorite Links
I will gladly accept bribery to put your site on this list.
My favorite site. Not for those easily offended.
This is a great NBA blog. The NBA (National Basketball Association) is a professional men's basketball league, consisting of 29 American teams, and one Canadian team. It was founded in 1946. Cincinnati used to have a team. I wish it did now.
Better Off Red
Jamie Ramsey is the Assistant Media Relations Director of the Reds. He takes you behind the scenes of a Major League team. And he writes funny captions for his photos.
Plenty of scenery and funny stuff on Big Smudge. I'll be honest, these guys told me they were fans of my show, and even if they didn't mean it, that gets them linked.
Bugs and Cranks
If it's about baseball, these guys usually have something to say about it. And it's usually funny.
Booze, Ladies, and Football.
Calling It Like It Is
A guy from Cincinnati, who uh, well he calls it like it is.
Chris Sabo's Goggles
A Reds fan stuck in Chicago does a blog. He says the purpose of the blog is to inform people of the Reds without the geeky stuff, like facts for example. My kind of guy.
You're probably thinking this website is about me. Actually, it's not.
Local college basketball blog by two guys...one a UC fan, the other an XU fan.
The Godfather of sports blogs.
My favorite baseball blog. I thought I loved the game, then I read these guys.
Stuff guys like. At least stuff normal guys like.
Hugging Harold Reynolds
Very funny sports blog with one of my favorite names.
John Clay's Sidelines
John is an outstanding writer who covers everything and anything UK-related.
Larry Brown Sports
The other Larry Brown, not the guy who's coached half the teams in the NBA.
Look At Me Shirts
Be the guy in the ironic shirt. Take credit for someone else's joke.
Mo Egger's Blog
Did you really think my blog wouldn't be on a list of "favorites?"
Do you like mind-numbing statistical analysis of the Reds? Do you treat every game like the fate of the world rests on it? This site is probably not for you.
Most negative man in America. And I usually agree with him.
Pro Football Talk
Not daily, but almost hourly reading for NFL fans.
Everything and anything Reds...and more, by Reds fans.
Rush The Court
The Ubiquitous college basketblog.
A little UK, a little Louisville. A lot of funny.
Anything and everything hoops.
A Cincinnati guy based in Vegas. What I'd write if I could write.
Because some things can't be taught.
I admit, I'm a geek.
Who Dey Revolution
No site better captures the frustration of being a Bengals fan better than this one. Fan empowerment at its best.
A FEW MO' THINGS, 10/12/12
There is a bright side....
So what now?
The Day After doesn't feel all that much better than The Day Of. Three things I'm not that into today...
1) Listening to excuses. Yes, Johnny Cueto's injury had series-wide reverberations. But so did the inability to get a meaningful hit. Homer Bailey pitched the game of his life, including his no-hitter, on Tuesday and the Reds did nothing. Mike Leake was not very good on Wednesday, and he was left in too long, but the Reds had chances to give him a cushion and didn't. Eight men left on base in the first four innings. And Mat Latos was a fair bet to pitch well of full rest yesterday. He did, until the fifth, when he too was left in too long. There's no reason he should've been pitching to Buster Posey. Both men were in their respective games because of Cueto's injury. Neither guy lost because of it.
And sure, I would like to have had a full healthy Joey Votto. But he wasn't completely ineffective. Sure, he was among the many Reds who stranded runners, but half of his plate appearances in this series ended with him on base. He adjusted his game the way great hitters do. This team was good enough to score 14 runs in games one and two with Votto not being able to drive the ball the way he usually does. They should have been able to win one more, at home, with Votto contributing what he did.
2) Finger-pointing. Find the team picture and point your finger at it. That's who failed. There's a saying: "Success has many fathers. Failure is an orphan." It's inaccurate. This failure had more fathers than an episode of The Maury Povich Show. The blame goes everywhere. Some failed in bigger situations than others, but there's not many Reds who aren't culpable.
And yes, Dusty Baker shares the blame. Any manager who's team blows a 2-0 lead with three straight chances at home to close it out should get some heat. In the hours after yesterday's loss, nearly everyone remotely interested in this series has rehashed his decisions that backfired. I won't waste your time or mine going over them again, but they deserve scrutiny.
But he didn't act alone. Far from it. This was a systematic, team-wide meltdown. And most of it was beyond the control of the manager. He didn't strand runners, make baserunning mistakes, or commit huge fielding errors. I know it's easier to get mad at the manager, and I can't blame anyone for being displeased with Dusty Baker. Just spread your displeasure with everyone on the roster.
3) Overreaction Guy. I've gotten some variation of this via email and Twitter....
"I AM NEVER GOING TO A REDS GAME AGAIN. I'M DONE."
Stop. You're full of it. I get it, emotional times call for emotional reactions, but the minute Opening Day rolls around and someone offers you a ticket, you'll be there. Be angry and throw things or be depressed and cry, but don't look silly as your plead your newfound apathy toward a team you lived and died with this season
And then there's this...
"IT'S TIME TO BLOW THIS TEAM UP. START FROM THE TOP DOWN."
You're kidding, right? Are changes needed? Yep. They were needed two weeks ago, and had this team won the whole thing a few weeks from now, they'd needed changes then too. This roster had flaws, some of them doomed this team this week. Thing is the same people who were getting upset when people like me pointed them out a month or so ago now think the entire 25-man roster should be dismantled, with some of the players being sold to the closest U-Pull And Pay.
Nearly two months ago, I wrote this blog entry. The point was that the Reds' success was no reason to ignore their warts, but that their brief bouts with losing was no reason to amplify them. I still feel that way.
This was a very good team. And their window is still open for a championship run. Ask fans of other teams, even those still alive in the playoffs, if they'd like to begin planning for 2013 with players like Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Frazier, Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Arroyo, Marshall, and Chapman in the fold. They'd say yes. The Reds go into the offseason knowing that next April they'll have an enviable front four heading up the rotation, plus the game's dominant closer. They'll have one of the game's premiere hitters anchoring the lineup. They'll have a legit 30 homer/95 RBI guy, a high-level second basemen, and two of 2012's top rookies. The same core group that wrapped up the division title before school started will be back next year.
This franchise is in a good place. Ask friends who root for other teams if they'd like to trade their situation for yours. While they may not envy the heartbreak you're feeling today, they would probably like to spend the offseason wondering how their front office is going improve a team that won 97 games and that has so many key parts in place.
I like the end of this post from Red Reporter.....
Now they have their window, but they don't have to become the bridesmaids those other teams became. With all the teams that have collapsed, rebuilt or muddled through in the last three seasons alone , this isn't a bad place to be.
So what's next? We have weeks to get into specifics, so I'll keep this to some general topics....
*They need to do better in center. Maybe Drew Stubbs has a bright Major League future in front of him, and I have no reason to root against him having one. But it just isn't happening here. He just turned 28 and he's just come off the worst of his three seasons in Cincinnati. Can the Reds, squarely in win-now mode, afford to to give everyday playing time to such an offensive liability who's unlikely to make marked improvements in his game?
And I'm not on-board with Chris Heisey being the guy. He's a fourth outfielder. You know what? Having a good fourth outfielder and a guy comfortable in that role is a good thing. But if he's the guy manning on Opening Day, they won't be that much better on an everyday basis in center as they should
*I will strangle myself with a headphone cord if I am spending airtime next summer wondering who should bat leadoff. What the Reds do in center field will have a lot to say about how this plays out. I don't like speculating on free agents in mid-October but it's a mostly useless exercise, we don't know exactly who will declare and we aren't yet sure how the market will play out. And signing a guy long-term a la the deal Michael Bourn will be looking for won't make much sense if the organization truly believes Billy Hamilton will be the guy in 2014.
Billy won't be the only Hamilton who not playing center at GABP in April of 2013, however. Josh won't be either.
Angel Pagan strikes me as a decent short-term, relatively cheap possibility. And it would give Reds players a chance to punch him in the face for that catch he made yesterday in the seventh.
*Pick up the mutual option Ryan Ludwick. Yes, there's a legit fear of Ryan turning into Jonny Gomes 2011. But he has to realize that he's not likely to cash in that much on his comeback season at his age, and there has to be some legitimacy to him having the year he had in this park. He's a good fit here and this team is a good fit for him.
*Find a guy who can compete for the fifth starter's job. Is Mike Leake a credible Major League starting pitcher? Yes. Should he be grandfathered in the rotation.
*Make the public declaration that Aroldis Chapman is a closer. We're three years into this and he hasn't started a Major League game while emerging as one of the premiere closers in the sport. Don't mess with what works. Let's end the debate before it begins again.
*Hope that Frazier and Cozart aren't as close to their ceiling as they might be. Scott Rolen isn't popular right now. He made the huge error on Tuesday and he whiffed to end the season yesterday. He may retire, and if he does we'll be a few years away from a legit Hall of Fame debate. If he hangs it up, he'd be my pick to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day next year because Scott Rolen's final moment in a Reds jersey should not have been fanning to end the collapse, it should instead be him getting a nice ovation from an appreciative crowd. Scott was a bigger part of the solution here than he ever was part of the problem, and he handled a difficult situation - the fact that Frazier was better and more popular - with class. The Reds are better off for Scott Rolen being on the team these three three-plus years.
But Todd Frazier has a chance to be better for the Reds simply because he has a better chance to be in the lineup every day. Rolen's availability the next day was less guaranteed than a Terrell Owens' child support check. But given the fact that Frazier will be 27 by the time pitchers and catchers report to Arizona, it's fair to wonder how much better from 2012 Todd will be in 2012.
Same for Cozart. He turns 28 next season. Badly miscast near the top of the order, perhaps no player can benefit more from roster improvements than Zack Cozart. Do the Reds get better, thus helping Cozart get better in a place in the order more suited for his game?
*Teach Devin Mesoraco how to play baseball again. Remember Devin? The guy who played catcher fairly often the first four and a half months of the season? He is still alive. As a matter of fact, he's still a member of the team. I'm guessing they still expect big things from him and I'm guessing he's a major part of their hopes for next season. It would help if he was remotely effective with a bat in his hands.
Improve the bench. Maybe this happens internally. Xavier Paul was a nice find and could be a key bat off the pine. I liked what I saw from Denis Phipps in September, and even though he didn't tear it up in Louisville, he is 26 and in the It's-either-time-to-make-the-Big-Leagues-or-not stage of his career. And I'm sure the free agent pool will be filled with potential backups, but this team's depth was a problem all season, and given that Frazier is likely to be promoted from occasional bench guy to everyday starter, the need for complimentary players is great.
This team gave Major League at-bats to Miguel Cairo, Wilson Valdez, Mike Costanzo, and Willie Harris before September. They can do better. They need to do better.
*"OK Mo, what about Dusty Baker? Stop avoiding it."
OK, OK, I know. We've gotta talk about the manager.
Frankly, I don't know.
I hate scapegoating, and moving on from Dusty would feel like that's what the Reds were doing.
Recent Major League history is littered with cases of good team that replaced managers that couldn't get over the final hump and then subsequently won championships. It happened to Buck Showalter with the pre-'96 Yankees and the pre-'01 Diamondbacks. It happened to Grady Little and the pre-'04 Red Sox.
There have also been guys who were scapegoated by teams who then lost even more the following season. See this year's Red Sox or the post-'07 collapse Mets.
And there is something about consistency and not bailing on a manager in a panic move after an early postseason exit. Some of the most consistently good teams have remained stable in the managers office despite postseason failures. Mike Scoscia did win a World Series in 2002, but the Angels have lost in October multiple times since and they've stayed with him. Texas blew a World Series last night and choked away a division title this season, and Ron Washington seems safe. Tony LaRussa fell short of the title five times in St. Louis before winning in '06. And managerial decisions were often cited as Philly's one major weakness in the three years before Charlie Manual won the World Series with the Phillies.
There's something about stability.
At the same time, public confidence in a manager who's never really been embraced is at an all-time low after the NLDS meltdown. I can't imagine how this city, still fuming from the playoffs, will respond to an announcement heralding his return.
But I'm not sure it should matter either. I want my team responding to the public when adding menu items to the ballpark's culinary choices. I don't want it making important decisions based on the whims and moods of the fan base.
Does Dusty want to come back? Given his recent health issues, given his station in life, given other opportunities that may or may not come his way, and given how under-appreciated his positive contributions have been here, I wouldn't blame him if he didn't.
If he does want to return and the Reds do bring him back, would that be the worst thing in the world? I don't think so. I know we're focusing on the micro - namely some questionable strategic decisions in the postseason - but what about the macro? A manager many said couldn't work with young players has seen Votto, Bruce, Cueto, Bailey, Chapman, Cozart, Frazier, Leake, LeCure, Stubbs, Heisey, and Hanigan all thrive at different stages under his watch. All of those players had either just made their Major League debut or were within a year or so of appearing with the Reds for the first time when Baker was hired. He won 97 games this season with a youthful rotation despite a rep for being poison for young pitchers. He's handled playing time better than anyone gives him credit for, how he handles the different personalities on this team can't be understated, and he's found ways to win two division titles despite some roster deficiencies.
I think the micro matters too. I enjoy playing armchair manager more than anyone, and with Dusty, there's always some armchair managing to do. His in-game decisions can be puzzling and sometimes I have a hard time understanding his logic during games.
But I can say that about nearly every manager in the game.
If the Reds make a chance, I wouldn't cry foul going on and on about how Dusty was screwed. There's a fair case that just for the sake of everyone in the organization being on the same page, they should make a move. This was a topic throughout 2011 and it came up again this week with Walt and Dusty telling the media different things about the extent of Cueto's injury at the exact same time. Maybe they need a new voice, whatever that is, and maybe they need someone to grab the date Dusty drove to the dance and take her home.
I can see both sides of this. And while you can accuse me of being wish-washy about this, I think it's more a reflection of how I really feel about who manages this team in 2013.
I don't think it matters all that much.
If this team gets back to the postseason next year, it will largely be on the strengths of a collection of great individual seasons by a few players and key individual contributions by the others. If they break through and win in the postseason next year, it will be because they delivered big hits, didn't giveaway outs, and made good pitching performances stand.
It will have something to do with how good the manager is at his job, but not nearly as much as we make it out to.
If it's up to me, I keep Dusty for at least a year. I side with continuity and I side with not rocking a boat that doesn't need much rocking.
And I get to work on giving him a better team.
-Let's get to work on some football.
Bengals v. Browns.
First order of business for the Bengals is a pressing question: Do the Ben-Gals bring Sarah Jones back now that she's avoiding jail time? And does the fact that she's now dating her alleged "victim" completely shatter the myth of "high school boy gets shagged by hot teacher and is now victimized for life" for good?
And if Sarah and this guy forge a long-lasting relationship and end up getting married, how will they explain all of this to their kids when they ask how mom and dad met? Do they double-date? Do his friends hit him up to see if his girlfriend has any good-looking friends?
These are the things I need to know.
I've said for weeks, this game scares me. The Browns will win at some point, probably at home, and they've kept most of their five losses here.
At the same time, the Bengals have a chance this week, do head into the Pittsburgh game at 4-2. After the beatdown in Baltimore, I think most of us would've taken that.
4-2 is survivable. 3-3 isn't.
Just as encouraging, next week the Bengals play a Steelers team that might have to bring back Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd, and Bam Morris just to field a team at Paul Brown Stadium. Not that the Pittsburgh game will be easy, but it doesn't look as hard as it did five weeks ago.
Actually, I give the Bengals a puncher's chance in each of their next three home games despite what you're about to watch.
I just hope I'm wrong about this week....
You're fired up, right? Perfect. Come watch the Bengals with me Sunday at the Holy Grail. Beer specials, giveaways, and a ton more. Here's a logo....
I had the Titans beating the Steelers last night. I swear....Atlanta (-8.5) is going to kill Oakland. I don't think I need to say much more....Which team has been called "feisty" more often this week? The Dolphins or the Rams? Miami (-3.5) wills the Fiesty Bowl over St. Louis....Has anything been happening with the Jets recently? I feel like they're under the radar. Indy wins. New York (+3.5) covers...A desperate Detroit (+5.5) team makes this a good game, but one that Philly will win....Is Eric Winston off his soapbox yet? Tampa Bay beats KC....This Cowboys on the road in a stadium where the Ravens almost never lose? Please. Baltimore (-3.5) beats Dallas....The Cardinals win another unwatchable game. The Bills are a mess. Arizona (-4.5) large over Buffalo....I know the Patriots' offense all of a sudden looks unstoppable because they've found a running game, but I have the Seahawks sacking Brady six times and Seattle (+3.5) pulling off the upset at home over New England....Last week's 41 points didn't solve the Giants' secondary issues. San Francisco (-5.5) exposes them in beating New York....If RGIII's head is still attached, I like Washington (-2.5) to beat Minnesota....In a "don't count us out just yet," game that they almost have to have, desperate Green Bay (+3.5) ends Houston's winning streak....Speaking of desperate, that's the Broncos. Know what desperate teams like seeing? Norv Turner on the sideline. Denver (+2.5) wins at San Diego.
Cincinnati v. Fordham
I just want to see better accuracy from Munchie Legaux. And a quick game. Bearcats 45 Rams 10
Ohio State v. Indiana
Who's tackling Braxton Miller? Buckeyes 42 Hoosiers 27
Kentucky v. Arkansas
College basketball practice begins this week. Every normal American is happy about this. Probably a little more in the commonwealth. Razorbacks 31 Wildcats 17.
Miami v. Bowling Green
I don't like Miami's defense one bit. There's a football reason. The other is that I work with like nine BG alums. Falcons 29 RedHawks 24.
-I'm out...enjoy the weekend and catch me tomorrow afternoon on 700WLW from 3:04 until 6:30. Back on ESPN1530 Monday afternoon. Here's your political video of the day.