Tuesday Skull Session

By Johnny Ginter on April 12, 2011 at 6:00a
"Yes, yes, it's all a rich tapestry"

Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. I love baseball. I really do. I was born/grew up in southwest Ohio, and some of my favorite childhood memories are going to Reds games with my family, which I did 5 or 10 times every summer for years. Chris Sabo was my favorite player because he wore the same Rec Specs that I did when I played tee ball, and my least favorite player was anyone who played for the Braves because they beat us in the NLCS when I was 10. Moral of the story is, baseball is great and I love it.

It is also horrifically boring. In one incredible sequence in a game against the Padres last night, it took a Padres middle reliever 5 minutes to throw 5 pitches to Joey Votto, as he repeatedly attempted to keep Brandon Phillips on the bag at first and also initiated a conference with the entire infield. Then he walked Votto. Then I think I fell into a rift in time and space where reality became recursive and I was forced to relive a ten second sequence of my life where I had a corn kernel stuck in my teeth. Then the Padres put in a new pitcher. Then they cut to commercial. Then someone flied out, ending the inning. Then the Padres went up to bat. Then I grew old and died, as all mortal things must. Then universal entropy set in. Then Dusty Baker put in Cordero, and the Reds won.

I love baseball.

Money! Tattoos! Charity! Spencer Hall is a better man than I, because homeboy is using his massive internet sway to not only stump for his annual EDSBS charity drive, but should the denizens of the online sports world find it in their hearts to donate a total of 50,000 dollars to the Refugee, Resettlement, and Immigration Services of Atlanta, Mr. Hall will allow said frothing mob to choose a tattoo that he will have permanently etched on to his Herculean frame. Pretty cool, right?

What's even better is that the donations page has been calibrated to accept donations to the cent, which means that if you're feeling especially schadenfreudey, you are encouraged to donate an amount that reflects the score of a game that you hold near and dear to your heart. Like, say, $42.39 or $42.07. Or, if you're feeling especially generous, go whole hog and drop a truly spiteful $2698 on those poor families. The donation page is here, so have at it (and hopefully sometime in the future 11W will be able to work out something similar).

What Is The Deal With The South And Bronze Statues? Look, I get the appeal of a statue. You take someone beloved who isn't around anymore, make a nice statue, and all kind of people and pigeons can enjoy that person for years to come. With that said, I think some of the SEC schools are going a little crazy with the idea. Alabama has a Nick Saban statue ready to go, while Florida has recently unveiled statues of Spurrier, Wuerffel, and Tebow, their three Heisman winning QBs. Really? I know that Spurrier could probably strangle a bald eagle with the American flag in Florida and people would be pretty okay with it, but somehow I feel that 3,200 pounds of bronze could be better used than on life sized statues of an overrated guy who graduated a year ago and another guy who might just be the greatest QB in the storied history of the Rhein Fire.

Tab Bamford Breaks Into A Cold Sweat Sports reporting in the internet age is hugely competitive, and he who scoops first, scoops best. So when Dave Miller, of the National Football Post (which is apparently a thing that exists), got a hot tip from a source that Terrelle Pryor was possibly going to declare for the supplemental NFL draft, he decided to go live with it. As we've noted in Buckshots, Pryor himself has refuted this rumor, and of course Mr. Miller is being put through the wringer by Buckeye fans.

Which is understandable. There isn't a whole lot more irritating than an outlandish rumor given credence by a writer gullible enough to believe it. But on the other hand, one of those few things is an outlandish rumor that turns out to be true. This whole thing is pretty dumb, but it'd be a lot easier to shrug off if OSU fans hadn't spent the past three months or so parsing through rumor and conjecture on the internet.

Sully Sully Sully Sully Rockin' Everywhere I'm still kind of mad that the Big Ten hasn't officially named their Freshman of the Week award after Jared Sullinger yet, but I guess the Wayman Tisdale Award for best college freshman will have to suffice. I don't know if there's an award for best sophomore in the country, but if there isn't, party at my place next year as we present Sully with the Dave Thomas Award, which is a swan made out of tinfoil hamburger wrappers from Wendy's.

If This Is Basketball On Grass, Then Carson Wiggs Is Reggie Miller Carson, the placekicker for Purdue, hit a 67 yard field goal in the Boilermaker's spring game. Watch the video, and then look down at your puny legs in shame.


Comments Show All Comments

nickma71's picture

Everybody that lives south of Dayton is from Kentucky.

Denny's picture

So people that live in Bogota, Columbia are from Kentucky?


thorvath22's picture

They should of just taxodermied(sp?) Spurrier, Wuerffel, and Tebow and pained them bronze.

Denny's picture

[John Boehner Joke goes here]


Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

In future news, Purdue just lost another game by the score of [huge number] to 12.

Denny's picture

Not really surprising that the Pryor rumor is bunk. The thing I liked least about it was all of the moralistic grandstanding that came out of people re: Pryor (i.e. 'Good, I hopeses he leaves! Filthy hobbitses don't belong on our football team, Precious! - Unchill Smeagol Bros). I'm sure that people who don't like Pryor will use INTERNET RUMOR as another piece of 'great evidence' that he's not a TRUEST OF BUCKEYES.


Irricoir's picture

I am one of those that mentioned him going. I like the skills and experience he brings to the table and glad he still wants to be a part of this team but on the flip side, I wouldn't care if he departed. We have a season of football coming up and due to some distractions and mistakes by both the players and our coach, the expectations are very low. If there ever was a time that I wouldn't mind an accomplished player leaving for the NFL early, this is it. I will say I wasn't one of the unappreciative fans. I simply quoted some of the previous distractions caused by Pryor (and others) and now I am ready for the team to move on beyond all of that. I see nothing wrong with that sentiment. The only rumor that can be weighed against him is the vehicle scam and that is only heresay at this point. Everything else I mentioned in days past are facts.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

btalbert25's picture

I always seem to counter your points, and I swear I'm not trying to be a dick, but overall I think people expect to make it out of the first 5 games with no less more than 2 losses.  With the shot the arm at game 6, there's no reason to think this team can't win the Big 10 again and make another BCS bowl.  Also, I'm not doubting anything about loaner cars or vehicle questions, but I can remember people saying back in the late 90's all the Buckeye Players had red Jeep Cherokee's on loan.  I also remember seeing UK baskeball players driving around Lexington in Lexus and Benzes'.  Not saying it's right, but I think star players getting to drive around town in fancy cars that are loaners is nothing new to NCAA athletics.  

AcrossTheField11's picture

Go Tribe!!! Go Bucks!!!

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture



+1 for the LOTR reference


+1000 for the sentiment.

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

BucksfanXC's picture

Can we liveblog the Reds/Indians series this year? The Ohio Cup is staying in Cincy again this year.

(Yes, that is a thing.)

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

blazers34's picture

+ a gabillion


go reds

btalbert25's picture

I love the Reds but the Ohio Cup is a pretty foolish promotion.  Especially, when they typically only play 6 games against eachother every year and could end up tying!!!!  Just like Interleague play as a whole, it's just to promote the game and put butts in the seats. 

KenK's picture

My God, another Land Grant trophy.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

Tony's picture

I would be participating in that liveblog, rooting on my beloved Indians.

Bucksfan's picture

From Cincy, but I root for all the Ohio sports teams (but as of this past football season, I refuse to support the Bengals until the ownership changes - and that includes refusing to participate in a fluke Super Bowl run).  Love how the Redlegs are doing, very excited about it.  Still, I was pounding on my coffee table during the 07 ALCS like the scene from Major League.  So, good luck to both teams.  I'd love an all-Ohio World Series.

btalbert25's picture

I'm with you on the Bengals man.  I even turn down free tickets now.  The problem is, the ownership will never change it'll always be a Brown in charge.  Even though Paul Brown was a great football mind, he really wasn't a great owner either.  He liked to squeeze every nickel till the Buffalo eh... hollared.  He just had enough football insight to know who could play the game and who couldn't. You see how Mike's daughter handled negotiations with their draft picks when they were on Hard Knocks?  That's the future, and unfortunately, it's not much different than what we have.

I refuse to support a team who refuses to support the fans and community they are in.  The Bengals take, take, take from Hamilton County and the greater Cincinnati area, and put very little back.  The treat their players about as poorly as the fans too.  I used to hang out at a bar where a former player, who played here for a long time, hung out.  He said when Willie Anderson left for the Ravens Willie gave him a call and said man we should've left here a long time ago.  The Ravens treat their players like kings.  Then fans wonder why free agents that aren't past their prime or begging for a 2nd chance refuse to sign with the Bengals.

Bucksfan's picture

Oh yeah, it's no secret what's going on there.  I'll never forget the moment in Hard Knocks when the coaches were meeting with Mike Brown about where to line up personnel because of TE injuries.  Brownie suggested some ridiculous idea that just popped into his head (like, moving a DE to TE or some sh*t), and Marvin Lewis sat there rubbing his brow like, "WTF?!".  You could hear him thinking, "What a mindnumbingly terrible idea."  Brown ultimately decided that this is what they were going to do, and that was that.  The man has never coached a down of football in his life, and never played passed college, which was over 50 years ago, yet every year he is dictating what the coaches do with their players and taking a GM bonus to boot.

To Paul Brown's credit, at least his teams went to the Super Bowl twice.

Ugh.  Never again.  I will not root for that team, and hope for the day the Brown family leaves town altogether...even if that means taking the team with them.

btalbert25's picture

Yeah, that's the difference between Mike and Paul.  What coach isn't going to trust football advice that came from Paul Brown?  He was football.  Mike is definitely a fool.  They have what 1 scout, and he's a GM.  Seems like this area had a whole generation of incompetent ownership, the Reds have at least broken free of that and have ownership/front office support.  They understand what it takes to win.  The Bengals will never have that.  The county would've done everyone a service by calling Brown's bluff years ago and let him take off to LA or whatever other town wants them. 

You never hear of the Bengals doing much work in the community either.  As an organization.  Either they don't do a lot out there or they have the world's worst PR and Marketing folks.  The Reds do all kinds of stuff through the Reds community fund.  I've heard of the Marvin Lewis Foundation, but that his own thing. It would seem like, in a team that causes so much negativity they would be pushing EVERY positive think they have done/are doing around the city.

iball's picture

" the Reds have at least broken free of that and have ownership/front office support.  They understand what it takes to win."

Wait, the Reds made the playoffs for the first time in 15 years and suddenly they know what it take to win?

If Im not mistaken the Bengals have bee twice in the last 5 years, but they are the bums?

Football/baseball, go figure.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Johnny Ginter's picture

the reds have one of the best front offices and deepest farm leagues in all of baseball. jocketty and castellini are  both very very good at their jobs and have the reds in the position to compete for both the divison crown and the playoffs for years to come. so yeah, i'd say they know what it takes to win.

mike brown and company do not, and i don't think anyone in the universie would dispute that with a straight face

btalbert25's picture

I'm not trips to playoffs as the barometer here.  Look at the total direction the franchise has taken in the years that Castellini has owned the team.  They had to build it from the bottom up.  The years of Schott, Lindner, Allen, Bowden, not to mention a slew of terrible managers depleted the Reds farm system, front office, scouting, and player morale.  It was a completely and totally undesirable destination for players to come.

The last 4 years the Reds have gotten progressively better.  The record on the field, the farm system, they draft well.  They have great ownership and front office people running the show.  The franchise has been rebuilt for success and is the healthiest it's been in 20 to 25 years.  I guess if you only look at one season instead of the work that had to be done and the continuous improvement the team has made the last 4 years or so, then yeah you are right the Bengals are ahead.  In terms of sustainable success though, it's not even close. The Reds are set up to have it, the Bengals are set up for failure with a good season here or there.

The Bengals are destined for failure.  They had a great year in 2005 that's for sure.  However, they have Bengalized their coach, to where he's basically useless.  Carson Palmer has that look and attitude of apathy that only a guy who has been around that team for 7 or 8 years can have.  The Bengals are the franchise where enormously talented draft picks die, and trouble makers and old guys looking for one last paycheck end up.  The Reds will win their Division this year and will compete in the next few years.  The are the only team with a great farm system that is not taxed by terrible contracts like the Cubs and Cardinals.  Milwaukee is set up to make a run for one year.  Houston and Pittsburgh are a joke.

In 5 years, my guess is the Red's will have at least 3 playoff appearences.  The Bengals will have that many top 5 draft picks. 

iball's picture

And the Bengals haven't gone generally in the right direction since Lewis took the helm? Last year was not only the Reds first playoff appearance in 15 years but their first winning season in 9. How many early playoff exits will the Reds take before that is no longer good enough? Im a Bengal and Reds fan, but to get so fired up about the Reds after one season is just premature ejaculation. Lets see what role injuries and free agency do to the Reds, remember no salary cap in baseball means it will be hard to hold on to guys like Votto, Wood, and Chapman in the future.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Johnny Ginter's picture

the reds would have to go something like 41-121 this year to duplicate the futility that the bengals showed last season, one year removed from a division championship and a playoff game

btalbert25's picture

Again, my excitement over the Reds is not restricted to the success of last year, but everything that has happened since Castellini took over.  There's been a ton of momentum going in the right direction since Castellini started rebuilding the franchise.

Marvin's firsts 3 or 4 seasons, there was a lot of positive momentum for the Bengals, it was capped in 2005 though.  That was a great season, the Bengals were great to watch.  Since then, despite having a playoff appearance, the Bengals have been mostly a joke.  Brown has taken back any control he gave Lewis.  They are going to lose a lot of their core the next couple of years too. 


blazers34's picture

agree with the sentiment bucks fan......but to get nit pickey, they didnt move the guy to TE

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Sabo is also my favorite Red--and not just because he is my step-mother's nephew, but because when he was rookie and spring training was in Plant City, he drove a Ford Pinto to a job at McDonalds so he could help support his family. 

He's a super-great dude, too bad my step-mother makes Cinderella's look like Mother Teresa.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

btalbert25's picture

That's a great story!  I was in 4th grade in 1990 when the Reds were everyone's favorite, and all the kids with glasses, got the sports goggles for baseball season because of Sabo.  My favorites were Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, and Tom Browning.  My dad sold firewood for extra money when I was a kid and Tom Browning called one night and needed firewood.  I'll never forget how excited I was that I was going to meet a Reds player.  He was super nice and signed a bunch of stuff for me.  Anyway, I love the Buckeyes and all, but I was born with a glove on my hand and baseball in my blood.  The Reds are my favorite sports team.  Then The Buckeyes and I don't really care much about other league's and sports.


M Man's picture

My favorite Red -- Barry Larkin:

Next stop, Cooperstown...

btalbert25's picture

In my opinion, he should already be in.  Bobby Alomar?  C'mon.  I guess if Larkin wouldn't have missed so many games he would've been a no brainer.  Next year he gets in though.


Chris Lauderback's picture

Are you saying Larkin deserved to be in ahead of Robbie Alomar? To me, Alomar was a 1st ballot HOF for sure at 2nd base. Meanwhile, Larkin is deserving, but far closer to the fringe of deserving. I don't think he deserves the Blyleven treatment (who I don't think deserved to be in at all) but no way can I say Larkin is on par with Alomar as far as production from the middle infielder spots. This is without reviewing any numbers so maybe I'm crazy but... 

BucksfanXC's picture

Barry should have been a first ballot HOFer. I'll throw out some numbers and comps (via Jason Stark article you can find here - http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hof10/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=4777032 :

Defense -

3 consecutive Gold Gloves (92-94) and it would have been more without Ozzie Smith hoggin' em all -- besides the Wizard, only three other NL shortstops in the past 50 seasons ever won three straight Gold Gloves -- Jimmy Rollins, Dave Concepcion and Rey Ordonez.

Offense -

2,340 hits, 379 steals and 198 homers

MVP 1995

9 Silver Slugger Awards

         - all infielders with more: only A-rod with 10.

         - all others with more: Barry Bonds (12) and Mike Piazza (10).

Only had more than 30 HRs one year (1996 w/33), so he wasn't a threat to go deep, but he could.

He did hit more than 50 XBH 5 times in his career.

His .815 OPS is higher than Ripken, Tejada, Rollins.

First SS ever in the 30-30 club. The only SS of the 90's with 50 SB season.

Larkin's career batting average -- over 19 seasons, remember -- was .295. The average shortstop in that time hit .256. That's a difference of 39 points -- or 15 percent.

Larkin's career on-base percentage was .371. The average shortstop's OBP was .317. So Larkin beat that by 54 points -- or 17 percent.

Larkin's career slugging percentage was .444. The average shortstop slugged .361. So that's an 83-point gap -- or 23 percent.

Meaning he was heads-and-tails above all the SS he played with at the time.


That all said, it's hard to compare him to Alomar. Both were first balloters IMHO. Larkins suffers from many things that make him the most underrated SS ever: 

1) too many trips to the DL - 14 times, with injuries to his fingers, toes, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, hamstrings, back, neck, Achilles tendon and groin. Including getting hurt while in the on-deck circle once.

2) Cincy is not a high profile town with big city newspapers and publicity. The teams he was on struggled for many years of his career, especially late, but any success they had Larkin was a big part of it.





“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

blazers34's picture

good stuff!


I think if a player is deserving, he should be voted in no matter if its first ballot or not.  Take Barry for instance, he will be no more deserving next year than he was this year.  Always thought it was weird how that stuff happened.

btalbert25's picture

Perhaps my wording was a bit harsh, but in my opinion if Alomar got in and both were up for induction, Larkin should've been voted in the same class.  He was the best defensive shortstop of his era, not named Ozzie Smith.  I don't put a whole lot of value on Gold Gloves because popularity and offense are considered.  It doesn't go to the purely best fielder at any given poistion for a given year, so while the hardware is nice to have, it really shouldn't factor in when it comes to HOF voting.  Still his D was incredible.

Offensively, he was lethal to have in the lineup.  Had he not encountered so many injuries, he would've had well ove 3,000 hits and his other Milestone numbers would've gone up as well.  The more advanced stats, show how valuable he was.  Then there was the base stealing threat he brought as well. 

One other reason he should be in, is the class he brought to the game.  Larkin was a class act.  Players around the league loved Larkin.  I also think he was a great leader.  Tearing off the captain C and replacing it with the numbers of guys the reds gave away for prospects en route to another terrible season, to me wasn't the negative everyone made it out to be.  He could've left and went to Atlanta, New York, or LA, but he chose to stay put. 

I would've put him in before Alomar yeah.  Some of it has to do with me being a Larkin Homer, some has to do with Larkin's numbers being a bit incomplete because of all the game he missed.  You have to look at what he put up and think about what he would've put up if... That's not unprecendented for HOF voters to do either.  Plus, Alomar was not a class act.  I just didn't like the guy so while I recognize he was great, I don't think he's a great ambassador for the game.  There are guys who are not in the hall because of this. 

btalbert25's picture

I also think the is he a first ballot vs. not first ballot debate is a bit ridiculous too.  So the consensus is Larkin is going to make the Hall but he's not a first ballot kind of guy.  I'm sorry, but if you are a hall of famer, you are a hall of famer period.  You don't get a special place in baseball lore for being first ballot as opposed to making it your last year on the ballot.  I don't know, that always just irks me.

BucksfanXC's picture

I love the Reds to death. Got playoff tix last year, bought an 80 dollar sweatshirt to commemorate the occassion. Sabo is up there on my favorite Reds too, but probably below Griffey. I was a huge Griffey fan before he came to Cincy, because of his dad. Then when he joined I was so excited.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

devidee33's picture

Putting up a statue of a 22 year old guy is beyond stupid.

What happens when Tebow inevitably gets caught with a tranny?

Johnny Ginter's picture

they make a bronze statue of that tranny is what they do

KenK's picture

They either melt down the statue or put up a statue for the tranny.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

Irricoir's picture

That's some funny stuff right there.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.