Welcome to “Wake Up With Whitty”, where I cover a wide range of topics from the past week. Nobody likes to process thoughts this early in the morning, so allow me to do the thinking for you. And once you’ve had your morning coffee and you’ve had a chance to wake up a bit, feel free to come back here and tell my why those thoughts were wrong. (I’ll welcome the extra page views!)
Bengals Draft Review
I realize that the draft was more than a week ago, but I think it’s ridiculous to try and “grade” teams in the days right after the draft. None of the players have even taken an NFL snap, yet everyone seems to think they can determine which teams knocked it out of the park and which teams completely dropped the ball, all within hours of the draft coming to an end. It’s asinine. But, now that we’re over a week removed, I feel perfectly justified in giving the Bengals my draft grade: B+.
All kidding aside, I do feel as though the Bengals did a good job of improving themselves. They drafted some explosive talent on offense, and they were able to add some much needed depth on the defensive side of the ball. I really like the thought of John Ross joining the Bengals. Adding his speed opposite a guy like AJ Green is an exciting thing to think about. If they can get Gio and Eifert back healthy and Tyler Boyd continues to develop into a solid slot receiver, the Bengals passing game is going to be scary good.
On the defensive side, they were able to add depth to the front four. The pass rush has fallen off the past couple years, and I have a feeling that an infusion of young talent in the rotation is just what they need to jump start things. The moves they made on both side of the ball certainly make them faster. I feel pretty confident in saying that they made themselves better as a team, but only time will tell if it’s going to be good enough.
I’m not going to get too far into the Mixon pick here. That’s a whole separate topic by itself, and I’m going to save that for another day. I will say that I was not happy with the selection though. I think he’s a hell of a talent, he’s going to help improve the offense and he’s going to say all the right things, but that doesn’t change what he did. He has a long way to go to win over a large portion of the fan base, myself included. I’m not going to go as far as rooting against him, but I’m going to find it pretty damn hard to root for him.
The Fastest Man in Cincinnati
While we’re on the topic of John Ross and the Bengals, I’ve seen a lot of discussion on social media as to who would win in a foot race, John Ross or Billy Hamilton. It’s certainly an interesting thing to think about. Billy Hamilton’s held the undisputed title of Cincy’s Fastest Man for several years now, but with John Ross in town he finally has some serious competition. At one point it sounded like we might actually get out answer, with Billy proposing a race between Ross and him for charity.
Unfortunately, it sounds like the Race of the Century is never going to come to fruition. Marvin Lewis put an end to any possibility of that, adding that Ross is “not a circus act”. I get where Marvin is coming from. You don’t want to risk an athlete getting injured in what ultimately would have come out to be a completely meaningless race. When you have stars from different sports in the same city interacting like this, it makes it fun for everyone. It gives the fans something to talk about, it lends itself to endless debates online, but it ultimately accomplishes nothing. So for now, the online speculation and hypotheticals will have to suffice. My money, by the way, would have been on Billy Hamilton.
Who Are These Reds?
I have no idea what to make of this Reds team so far this year. We’re less than 20% of the way through the season, and already we’ve seen the Reds go from 1st place to last place (thanks in large part to Eric Thames and his band of misfits from Milwaukee) and back to 1st again. During the first 9 games of the season, nobody had a better record in baseball than the Cincinnati Reds. During their next 14 games, no team posted a worse record than the Reds. Over their last 8 games, the Reds once again have more wins than any other team. That’s the epitome of a roller coaster season, and we’re just getting started.
I’ll admit that I did not have high hopes for this team heading into the season. They had the looks of a team in the early stages of a multi-year rebuild, and there really wasn’t a lot of reason to expect much out of them. Some may say that they’re overachieving right now and that they’ll eventually come back down to earth. They’re probably not wrong, but at least the Reds are showing that they can be competitive. They’ve been fun to watch so far this year, and it’s encouraging to see them getting production from just about everywhere in the lineup. If I had to put money on it, I’d still probably say they’ll be in the outside looking in come October, but at least they’ve given me something that I didn’t have at the beginning of the year: hope.
Big Baller Bland
I’m going to preface this by saying that I am in no way a sneaker aficionado. I have no idea what’s hot these days or what the latest trends are, I just know that I dislike 99% of it. I’ve bought the same style of Adidas Superstars for the past 15 years: white with black stripes. It doesn’t get more plain than that. And it absolutely pissed me off when they changed the style up a few years back by adding gold trim to the tongue and sides. I also can’t fathom paying more than $60-$70 dollars for a pair of sneakers.
So having said all of that, I think it’s outrageous that Lavar Ball is charging $500 dollars for a pair of shoes. I wouldn’t pay 1/10 of that for a pair of those shoes. It’s not a good looking shoe, in my opinion, and I don’t understand how they think they’re going to sell enough to be profitable. I’m sure some people will buy them just to the sheer novelty of it, but I don’t think they’ll ever be taken seriously as an athletic shoe company with that business model. And maybe that’s not the goal, maybe Ball is just trying to drum up as much attention as possible for him and his sons (and if so, it’s certainly working). All I can say is I’m certainly not a Big Baller because I can’t even fathom paying that much for a pair of shoes. I’ll stick to my $60 Adidas shoes.
For My Vueing Pleasure
Wrapping up with something non-sports related. I’ve finally “cut the cord” with cable television. I had been tossing the idea of making the switch to PlayStation Vue for a while now, and just hadn’t pulled the trigger, but after my yearly “promotion” ended and I was told my cable costs would be increasing by $40, I figured it was finally time to make the move. I would be saving almost $30 a month compared to what I was paying before my promotional price ended, and I would still have access to pretty much every channel that I usually watched, so to me it was a no-brainer.
So far I’m about a week in but I’m definitely pleased with my decision. The picture quality has been great and it even has DVR service, which I did not previously have. The worst part of the entire process was trying to cancel. I also switched internet service providers in the process, and I probably spent a total of an hour and a half on the phone with customer service trying to get that done. I let them know from the beginning that I was canceling because I could get the exact same services for significantly less elsewhere, and that a lower price would be the only thing that would keep me as a customer. Once they knew I was serious about leaving they magically found other “deals” and “discounts” that they were able to apply to my account. When that wasn’t enough they talked to their supervisor who gave them “permission” to lower my prices even further. When all was said and done they were still about $10 more per month, so I said “see ya!” The most frustrating thing to me was that it all seemed so arbitrary. They jack up these prices knowing that the majority of people will just pay it without thinking twice, and if you do complain they give you the impression that you’re getting some sort of special treatment by making all these concessions for you. I don’t understand why they lowered their price so much and yet stopped $10 shy, knowing that coming down a bit further would be the only thing that kept me as a customer. If you weren’t going to meet that price, just say so and be done with it, don’t waste an hour+ of my time going back and forth on the phone with me. I hate dealing with cable companies on the phone. If you’re considering switching to Vue, or some other steaming TV service, I would definitely recommmend it. There’s something freeing about cutting ties with a big cable company. Plus, it costs less, and who doesn’t love that?