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June 17, 2024 112 mins
Tee Higgins signs a one year deal with the Bengals, Reds missed out on a huge opportunity over the weekend.
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This is Dave Laplock and you're listeningto the Home of the Bengals, ESPN
fifteen to thirty. You go,Hi, get out for New malegg or
esp AT fifteen thirty. A missedopportunity for the Reds this weekend in Milwaukee.
It's not that they lost two outof three, you know, in
the grand scheme of things, bigdeal. It's it's not that they failed

to make up any ground against theteam leading them in the National League Central.
You know, okay, fine,I guess they still have a lot
of time to make up ground,But you know, it's losing two out
of three and your fatal flaw caughtup to you on Saturday. In spite
of the Brewers awesome defense, whichmight be the best defensive outfield I've ever

seen, and I'm only exaggerating slightly, they score one run in Saturday's game.
Yesterday, they have a three tonothing lead. Early, they take
a three nothing lead into the middleinnings with Frankie Montass on the mound.
You are supposed to win that game. You just you are suppose to win
that game. Now, Not thata three nothing lead is insurmountable by any

stretch of the imagination, but threezip. Can you imagine today how we
would feel had they gone to Milwaukeeafter the bizarre went on Friday? Can
you imagine how we would feel todayhad they won two out of three in
that series? Can you imagine howwe would feel this afternoon with the temperature

outside like one hundred and seventy fourdegrees and I like it, how we'd
feel today it had the Reds closedout that game, or had they simply
come back to win that game.They do not. They lose, they
lose two out of three. Youget a pass if you lose that game
and you're leading the division by asubstantial amount, like Milwaukee is. You

get a pass if you're not tryingto play catch up. You get a
pass if you have already separated yourselffrom the pack. But the Reds have
done none of those things, andso that's a game you have to get.
They do not. Lucas Simms givesup the long ball, the three
run shot to Willia Damis, andthe sixth inning we'll discuss the decision to

pull Frankie Montas and replace him withLucas Simms and not somebody else. We'll
get to some of the other bullpenissues that have become major issues. As
the afternoon unfolds, hope you hada great weekend. Happy Father's Day,
belatedly my thanks to Rick Uccino forfilling in for me on Thursday and for
Richard Skinner for doing this show onFriday. We're broadcasting this afternoon from the

ESPN fifteen thirty Studios, a serviceof Madewell Restoration. Your home deserves to
be made well. Greater Cincinnati's roofingand exterior restoration experts all right, Maidwell
Restoration. Checkout Madwell Restoration dot com. Show preview video is up on X
right now. Go watch it atMoeger. Thanks to Emery Federal Credit Union,

your credit union with heart since nineteenthirty nine. Go to EMORYFCU dot
org. You are always welcome.The chime in at five point three seven
four nine fifteen. That was thetheme of the weekend. There were a
few this weekend, and we've gotsome good news for the Bengals to get
to a little bit later on,and some good news for you and I
as Bengals fans as well. Thetheme of the weekend for me, though,

was felt like every time the Redshit a ball hard. The Brewers
made the play. Lucas Simms givesup the three run homer in the sixth
inning yesterday. I didn't have amajor issue pulling Frankie Montas. I didn't
think he was that sharp yesterday.There are a lot of managers who would
have made the same exact move thatDavid Bell did in terms of taking out
his starting pitcher. He brings inLucas Simms. Look, the reality is

this, from that point forward,they were gonna need the bullpen to get
twelve outs. They were gonna needa combination of relief pitchers to get the
game to Alexis Dz. If weassume that Alexis Dz would have been the
guy in the ninth inning, Sothat's gonna be some combination of Lucas Simms,
Fernando Cruz, Nick Martinez, SamMall. Lucas Simms has been fine.

He had the outing in Chicago wherehe gave up the two run homer.
I can't kill David Bell too badlyfor bringing in Lucas Simms. And
look, Fernando Cruz, as awesomeas he has been, and as much
as I'll try to make the casethat he should represent the Reds in the
All Star Game in about a month. It reality is, his three previous

outings, he had been hit prettygood of a major issued, giving Lucas
Sims a chance to get through thesixth inning yesterday. There was some other
things David Bell did. I didn'tlove him pinch running for Candelario. I
think that was a little bit toocute. I think that was overmanaging,

and I don't love pinch running fora guy who hass been as red hot
with the bad as Candelario has beenwhen there's a very good chance his spot
in the order is gonna come upnow. To be fair, the guy
who came up in his spot,Espinal, got a hit and it could
have resulted in the game being tied, but Stuart Fairchild got thrown out out

at the plate. I don't havean issue with Stuart Fairchild. Start Fairschild.
It feels like this is probably anunfair characterization Stuart Fairchild. It feels
like has given up like a thousandouts on the base pass this season,
whether it's been getting picked off,doubled off, caught stealing, thrown out,
trying to extend to hit, thrownout, trying to score to end
the ball game yesterday. That isa really hard way to lose. I

am a proponent of making the defensemake a play. Blake Perkins made a
really nice play. Unfortunately, everytime the Brewers outfield had to make a
play in this series they did,including to end the ballgame yesterday. To
me, more than anything, itwas just a colossal missed opportunity. We

built that series up right. Welooked at this past week and talked about
can you get to the Guardians andBrewers? Can you find a way to
win three out of five? Canyou use this series in Milwaukee not even
to sweep the series, not evento make up a ton of ground,
not to make up three games,but could you use this series against the
Brewers to start a long climb towardthe top of the National League Central?

Could you use this series against theBrewers to it the very least, end
the discussion about how long it's beensince Cincinnati beat Milwaukee in a head to
head series. Could you use thisseries to continue what to that point had
been a really good June. Canyou come out of this series closer to
first place than you were when theseries began? And unfortunately, the answer

was no, which is frustrating.Ellie Dela Cruz. We had the good
and bad from him this weekend,which we're going to talk about. I
love Ellie Dela Cruz. I'll buyall the Ellie Dela Cruz stock. If
you want to sell yours, I'llbuy it. But but there is something
that has to happen, and hasto happen reasonably soon. We'll get to

that a little bit later on.This was a really good sports weekend.
Good baseball in Milwaukee, good baseballacross the sport, and insane FC Cincinnati
game late night on Saturday, whereit felt like the Orange and Blue hadn't
played in months, looked like itfor the first forty five minutes of the

game, and then one of themost insane individual performances I've ever seen leads
to FC Cincinnati getting three points onthe road. We'll spend some time on
that. Both the NBA Finals andthe Stanley Cup Final get extended this weekend.
We had a melt down at theUS Open. We had the greatest
bunker shot I have ever seen.We have and I said this on the

show last week, maybe a weekand a half or so ago. The
College World Series is always awesome.It's the best sporting event that I've been
to. I've watched a little bitmore closely this year because I've the games
have just kind of been on.They've also been awesome. They have been
Kentucky plays tonight, which we'll spendsome time on. And T Higgins signed

is he's gonna sign his tender?This according to I guess it was originally
reported by Adam Scheffer of ESPN asdriving up to Cleveland on Saturday, I
went and saw the Rolling Stones atthe Brown Stadium. My wife and I
the very rare weekend date night out, So driving up and I get the
thing on my phone, T Higginsfranchise tender, and we stopped to get

something to eat, and I tweetedout something that I sent out last week,
which was bookies dot com set hypotheticalodds on T higgins twenty twenty four
team, and those hypothetical odds wereat plus three hundred plus three hundred,
and we talked, I think itwas last Wednesday, about how that's free
money. T Higgins. He wasalways going to play for the Bengals.

That was that was never in doubt. They weren't gonna trade him, and
they weren't gonna. They weren't gonnathey weren't gonna give him a long term
extension, but they weren't gonna tradehim. He was not gonna sit out,
He wasn't gonna miss games. Hewasn't gonna forego the chance to make
twenty one million dollars. He wasalways going to play for the Bengals in
twenty twenty four. The question waswhen's he gonna get here? And I

guess, maybe to a slight degree, under what conditions will he play for
the Bengals in twenty twenty four.I would not have blamed T Higgins had
he not shown up for Day oneof training camp. I wouldn't have blamed
him had he not shown up forany of the preseason games. I wouldn't
have blamed him for signing his franchisetender and showing up the week the NFL

games actually begin. But the factthat he is by all accounts now going
to sign the tender and is gonnashow up the training camp on time is
nonetheless awesome, and I think toa degree it confirms two things we've talked
about when it comes to T Higginsthis offseason we'll get to that coming up

here in just a few minutes.The other Bengals news is they're gonna be
featured on Hard Knocks in season withthe AFC North Bengals as a franchise have
been on Hard Knocks before two thousandand nine, when the team was still
at Georgetown on College twenty thirteen,which was they were by then practicing at
the venue formerly known as Paul BrownStadium, and both times it was awesome.

This is going to be even better, and we'll spend us some time
on this. We're gonna try totrack down somebody from NFL Films to get
them on at some point this weekto talk about the Bengals being featured on
Hard Knocks, which is an NFLFilms production aired on HBO and Max.
You could send me a tweet duringthe show at Moeger Thanks to Delta Dental.

Delta Dental is building healthy, smart, vibrant communities for all. Good
to Delta Dentaloh dot com. Moreon the Reds, more on a frustrating
weekend, call it what it is. They have played well here in the
month of June. They're in thethick of things in a very loaded,
very crowded hunt for a wild cardspot. They are contenders for a wild

card spot. I am bullish ontheir chances of at least staying in contention.
I'm bullish on their chances of deliveringon the promise that all of these
young guys are supposed to deliver uponhere at some point in the relatively short
term. But nonetheless, this weekendfor me, yesterday in particular, was
frustrating. We'll get to that comingup here in a bit, but first,

the T Higgins thing is a surprise. It's not a shocker. We'll
explain next quarter. After three MoeggerESPN fifteen thirty Cincinnati Sports Station went all
right, we got some of thatsquatty potty sponsorship money. That's nice.
It's twenty minutes after three o'clock.Bengals have in the last four minutes made

it official. Cincinnati has re signedT Higgins one year contract. I'll read
the release. This release, thisT Higgins news gets a quote from Zach
Taylor. Bengals today resigned wide receiverT Higgins to a one year contract.
Higgins, a fifth year veteran whowas named the team's designated franchise player on
February the twenty sixth, sign theone year tender for the twenty twenty four

season. Quote. I'm excited tomove forward with t said Bengals head coach
Zach Taylor. Quote. He hasdone a great job handling his situation and
we are happy to get him backin the fold so we can start working
toward a great twenty twenty four Thelocker room will be excited to have him
around. This would suggest very stronglythat he is going to show up for

day one of training camp for thesimple reason that now he is a player
under contract. And if you're aplayer under contract and you get unexcused absences
from training camp, the team canfine you. You know. The beauty
of this, I guess to adegree, if you're a player who has
been given the franchise tag is youhave no contractual obligation to show up to
training camp because you're technically not aplayer under contract, so you're not subjected

to being fined. So this isa nice kind of pleasant surprise. I
guess. To kick off the monthor so of downtime between the end of
Mini camp in the start of trainingcamp and the Bengals did release training camp
dates a little earlier today, whichwe'll have for you coming up in a

bit. But this is a prettynice surprise. I don't think it's a
shocker, right. I think it'sa surprise because the way this had been
framed was that it was likely totake on the same dynamic as Jesse Bates
last season in Cincinnati, where chancesare you don't need me to refresh you

on what happened. But just forthe saking of having all the details out
there, Jesse Bates and the Bengalshit an in past. They franchise tagged
him, he didn't show up forthe start of training camp, he didn't
show up for the start of preseason, He weirdly attended a preseason game sitting
in a suite, and then towardthe end of training camp he joins the
team. He plays the season,He has a good year, He helps

the Bengals win the AFC, North, helps the Bengals win a couple of
playoff games, and then goes andgets a huge money contract with the Atlanta
Falcons. And it worked out forJesse. Still trying to figure out how
to replace him. So I thinka lot of us thought this was going
to follow the same trajectory, andbecause many were operating under that assumption,

myself included. This is I thinka surprise. I don't think it's a
shocker. The Bengals have a lotriding on this coming season, so does
T Higgins. He is seeking acontract that is of length and of a

dollar value that I would imagine putshim among the upper echelon wide receivers when
it comes to compensation. Is hegoing to get more money than Justin Jefferson.
I think that bubbles about to burst. But clearly he thinks he's worth
worth a long, lucrative contract thatI'm sure, if he got, it

would place him among the higher paidwide receivers in the sport. He's got
a lot riding on this season He'sgot I would imagine some doubters. I
think doubters is the right word.Doubters who I think would express some skepticism
at the notion that he is atrue number one wide receiver. Now,

what I've seen from T. Higginswould suggest he's more likely to be a
number one wide receiver than a dudewho's a number two. Jamar Chase missed
four games in twenty twenty two.In three of those games. T Higgins
was awesome. He was awesome,But sure, the way the team is
built, Jamar is the one.The way the offense is constructed. I

would imagine opposing defenses when they're gameplanning, they they don't want either guy
to beat him. But the dudethat they're a little bit more concerned about
beating them is Jamar Chase, notT Higgins. And so I would be
willing to bet that you could youcould find a wide variety of opinions on
T. Higgins. But if there'sa wide variety of opinions on T Higgins,

that means he got some who don'tthink he's quite a number one wide
receiver and thus not deserving of anumber one wide receiver contract. Well,
he's got this season to prove thosepeople wrong. He's got this season to
prove that he could stay healthy.Oh and by the way, he's got
this season to possibly win a ring. Like he's gonna make twenty one million

bucks this year. But then youknow, who knows? Who knows what
the wide receiver market's gonna look like. I mean, at some point,
I do think the bubble's gonna burst, and in the short term, you
certainly are seeing the middle class getssqueezed out. T Higgins is not a
middle class wide receiver by any stretch. But he's not coming off a great
year, and there are some peoplearound the league who I'm sure wonder is

he truly a number one wide out? Uh So he's got a lot to
approve this season. The best wayto prove everything you want to prove is
to show up as prepared as youpossibly can. Now, I fully believe
had t missed most of training campand chosen not to play in the preseason,
which I'm still not really sure Iwant to see him play in the
preseason. I trust him that hewould have shown up. He would have

done some throwing sessions with Joe Burrow, which he's done already, and they
would have been fine, and hewould have had a good year. But
the best way to prove what you'reout to prove is to be prepared as
possible. And the best way tobe prepared as possible is well practice show
up for day one. So nowhe's gonna do that. There's also something

about this, and remember what wasit about? A month ago we played
the audio of the NFL Live discussion. It was Dan Orlowski and Adam Schefter,
and they were got into a heateddiscussion about like te Higgins, suddenly
he's going to be injured. No, he's not the guy who was going

to go ahead and sign his franchisetender more than a month before a training
camp. Isn't the player who duringthe season is suddenly going to show up
with new injuries. Now, ifwe go through a twenty twenty type situation,
which with the Bengals and AJ Greenended ended in sort of a bizarre,

weird, even slightly ugly manner.The team was terrible. AJ had
an injury, probably could have comeback and played, didn't. Was out
doing stuff running routes before games toshow the world I can still play,
and then wasn't actually playing in thegames. I don't think anybody expects the
Bengals to be as bad this yearas they were that year. I think

most I certainly do expect the Bengalsto be among the teams that have a
chance to win the whole thing.There's been nothing about T Higgins, you
know. I use the example,and I'm not the only one t Week
seventeen against Kansas City willing himself backon to the field despite being injured to
play in a game the Bengals hadto win. That guy isn't the kind

of player who's going to suddenly comeup with injuries. And the player who
signs his franchise tender more than amonth before the season isn't the kind of
guy who suddenly, when the gamesbegin, is going to come down with
weird injuries. This is a reallypleasant development. I'll admit to it being

a surprise. I don't think it'sthat shocking, however, And you could
tell me if I'm wrong. Knowingwhat we know about T the team player,
the competitor, knowing what could bein front of him beyond this season,
not in Cincinnati, knowing what weknow about him, knowing what we
know about what he wants to accomplishthis season, and every other factor being

considered, this is surprising. Idon't know that any of us should categorize
it as shocking. By the way, you know, T Higgins is going
to be a story when training campstarts. He would have been I think

a bigger story had he shown upsometime in August or early September. Now
he'll make himself available, I guessanswer some questions and then it's kind of
over. Like even the Jesse Batesthing. Say what you want about what
the Bengals chose to do with JesseBates, but like once he showed up,

he just played football. He playedreally well and the team was really
good that year and we never hadto talk about Jesse Bates and his contract
again. We now get to dothe same thing with t Higgins. That's
a really good thing. Your phonecalls are coming up. Five point three
seven four nine, fifteen thirty isour phone number. Tonight should be really

cool. This weekend was really cool. But there's something I want from Ellie
Dela Cruz. I'll explain next toESPN fifteen thirty Cincinnati Sports Station. In
fifteen thirty Cincinnati Sports Station sports headlinesa service of Kelsey Chevrolet home of lighttime
powertrain protection and guaranteed credit approval fromtheir family to yours for life kelseyshev dot

com. Uh, let's be gowith the Reds, Reds and Pirates first
of three tonight in Pittsburgh. CarsonSpiers, who in his last outing was
terrific in relief a week ago yesterdayagainst the Cubs. We'll get the start
tonight against rookie righty Sensation Paul skeinsUh six forty. Tonight game is live
on seven hundred wl W. Yourstarting line at this evening is hopefully made

well thanks to Madewell Restoration. Notsure which your home needs, trust Madewell.
TJ Frieda leading off in center field, Elliott Short, jam Or Candelario's
at third base, Spencer Steers atfirst, Jake Frehley in right field,
Tyler Stephen is behind the plate,Nick Martini is dging and batting, seventh
indiat tewond Will Benson in left field. A couple of other developments, Reds

have selected from TRIPAA Louisville the contractof right handed pitcher Brooks Chrisky and they
have sent him to Louisville. Sohe's now in the forty man roster.
Christian Incarnacion Strand has been transferred tothe sixty day injured list, which he
was put on the injury list inearly May, and so if you're holding
out hope that he is going tocome back and play at some point this

year, would take us to earlyJuly, which were not that far away
from They're still trying to figure outwhat his course of action is going to
be. We weren't planning on seeinghim anytime soon, and so they've put
him on the sixty day injured list. Made it official. What else do
we have? Major League Baseball's AllStar balloting has been updated. Does anybody

actually vote for All Stars? Mean? Obviously there are people who go to
MLB dot com or their favorite team'swebsite and fill out a ballot, but
does anybody actually sit down? AndI'm asking seriously here and like, all
right, at my lunch break,you know what I'm gonna Donna, I'm
gonna vote for the All Stars,and I'm really gonna think this through,

and I'm gonna vote for the bestguy at every position. Ellie Dale Lacruz
is currently a third among National Leagueshortstops. Jonathan India eighth, Jake Freeley,
who's listed as a DH, isninth, Tyler Stevenson tenth, Cees
also tenth. Busy, they haveBengals news. T Higgins signs one year

contract with the Bengals. Obviously wasdesignated the franchise player, could only sign
with the Bengals this year. Hehas gotten that done and the expectation is
he will start training camp on time, which by the way, is going
to begin on Wednesday, July thetwenty fourth. Bengals today announced their training
camp schedule. They're gonna hold tenpublic practices during training camp. The first

public practice will take place on Julythe twenty ninth, and those practices are
open to everybody. They do havea bunch of practices that are open to
season ticket and waitless members only,including the first four the first two.
They also have one which is solelyfor club members, and so tickets are
going to be required for all ofthose. The Back to Football Weekend practice

for the Bengals will be on Sunday, July the twenty eighth, joint practice
with the Colts on August the twentieth, and they will not hold a public
practice inside the venue formerly known asPaul Brown Stadium due to the stadium's concert
schedule. On top of all that, the NFL today announced the Bengals are
going to be featured on Hard Knocksa season with the AFC North. This

will debut on Tuesday, December thirdon HBO. You could also get it
on Max. Hard Knocks in Seasonwith the AFC North will document the battle
for the AFC North Crown during thefinals weeks of the season, as well
as a playoff run for the divisionwinner and any AFC North wild card teams.
This is really cool. We'll spendmore time on that here in just

a bit. I've seen nothing definitiveon Matt Miosgo, who suffered that leg
laceration in Saturday's FC Cincinnati Crazy FCCincinnati win at San Jose College World Series
Tonight Kentucky and Texas A and M. That game will start at seven o'clock.
Both teams are one to zero sofar in the CEDWS. Winner of

this game we'll get tomorrow often playon Wednesday. Loser of this game we'll
have to play in an elimination gameTomorrow and tonight. On ESPN fifteen thirty,
it's Game five of the NBA Finals, Celtics at MAVs Boston, leading
three to one, hosting Game fivetonight. Pregame coverage starts at eight o'clock.
The weekend that was Elie Dela Cruzincluded him hitting a homer, him

tripling, him making a play atshortstop on Saturday, that wild Snoop Dog
who is paying a visit to theMilwaukee Brewers. Television booth, him making
an error on Friday night, whichnearly opened the floodgates, him scoring from
second after an errant pickoff throw.I love Ellie Dela Cruz. I love
watching Ellie Dela Cruz. I'm herefor the Ellie Dela Cruz roller coaster.

I'm the guy that talks about buyingthe imaginary Ellie Delacruze stock. I love
watching him play, and like youknow, you find people. You'll find
people who are Ellie apologists. I'mcertainly not one of those, and you
find people who are huge Ellie critics, and I think some of those people
want to be right about Ellie DelaCruz more than they actually care about the
team winning. You could find numbersthat could very strongly suggest that he's not

really making any quick progress. Leadsthe planet in strikeouts, batting average isn't
very high. He has gone throughhere statistically are really rough. Last three
or four weeks, He's had awfulat bats, and you could find numbers
that would suggest he's doing just fine, that he's progressing nicely. He's in
the top fifty at ops. Heis actually striking out less frequently than last

season. He is walking more thanhe did last season. Walking more frequently.
He is homering more frequently, andso you could do whatever you want.
This is all that I ask forhere in the final what three and
a half months, he does things, maybe not more than anybody in the
sport, but certainly more than most, and I think certainly more than anybody

on his team. He does thesethings in these isolated windows that very quickly
go viral. Right now, Histhrow at shortstop on Saturday was accompanied by
Snoop Dogg being wowed, and sothere's a reason why that goes viral beyond
the play itself. But it wasstill a pretty cool play. And watching
him go from home to third isunlike anything in the sport, and watching

him score from second base on anAaron pickoff throw is awesome. And I
think the main reason to be encouragedby what Ellie is doing so far and
now his second full big league seasonis that while he is still developing,
and while he is still obviously learninghow to hit big league pitching and learning

how to be a more consistent player, he's still doing a lot of really
good things. What I want andwhat I think the goal now moving forward
is is for the awesome moments tostand out maybe just a little bit less,
because when that happens, it willmean the production will have caught up

to the awesome moments. Now withinthe context of him producing more, there
will be awesome moments because of hisspeed, because of his raw strength,
because of his raw skill set.But I think part of what makes some
of these moments that we see fromEllie stand out is that they they often

come during a rough stretch, orthey come maybe at the end of a
rough stretch, hopefully yesterday. Forwhat he did from an offensive perspective kind
of jump starts him a little bit, and he can have fewer long stretches
where he's simply not hitting. You'renever gonna be able to avoid him entirely,
but still you would like to seefewer long stretches where he's just not
making much contact and not hitting allthat much. What I want to see

is for the production to catch upto the viral moments, for the production
to catch up to the moments thatwow, the moments that everybody finds on
Twitter, the moments that generate headlines. I want to see him have some
more quietly good games, not becauseI don't want more awesome moments, but

because I think they'll stand out alittle bit less if the production is better
and he's performing at a more consistentlevel. But much of what he did
this weekend was still cool to watch, all right, I promise your phone
calls are coming up. Five pointthree, seven, four, nine,
fifteen thirty is our phone number.We will have a couple of poll questions.
I think I got two today thanksto our friends at United Heartland Insurance.

We'll find those on social media.We do have to spend a few
minutes on the Hard Knocks thing,which I can't wait for, which I
think is gonna be awesome. AndAlexis Diaz got the last three outs on
Friday, And if that's the onlything you care about, then Friday night

was really, really good. It'snot the only thing I care about.
It's not the only thing you shouldcare about. We'll get to that.
And Paul Skens is going to pitchagainst the Reds tonight. We didn't get
a chance to talk last week aboutwhat happened during the start in Saint Louis,
when the fans there gave him aloud, rousing, lengthy standing ovation
and thirty years ago tonight, OJSimpson got in a Bronco Twitter did not

exist. We'll tie those two thingsin a little bit later on. It's
a quarter to four on ESPN fifteenthirty Cincinnati Sports dated eleven away from four
o'clock. Because this is ESPN fifteenthirty, I just sent out pull question
on x at Moleger. Thanks toUnited Heartland Insurance, the greatest insurance company

in the world. They will saveyou mo money at United Heartland Insurance.
Go to uhi ns dot com.Could be personal, could be business,
could be auto, could be home, could could be really whatever uhi ns
dot com. It's about Alexis DS. It's about his role vote now we'll
talk about it here in just abit. Let's see here the Hard Knocks

thing is gonna be awesome. We'llget to that coming up at four oh
five and more on the Reds aswell, losing two out of three and
Milwaukee. But first, Jeff,you're on ESPN fifteen thirty. What's up
A Happy Monday, Mo, HappyMonday, Jeff, belated Happy Father's Day.
Oh same to you. I seeyou got a heartbreaker and monkey Man.

Uh yeah, the other night.That's that's quite a cat list.
It still kills me that they'll playLittle Tna but they feel like they can't
play Brown Sugar. I don't getit. There's a there's a point in
time decades ago when Mick said,if you come to a Stones concert,
I guarantee you you're going to seefive songs. And now that's down to

four, unfortunately given the circumstances.But that's that's a that's a digression.
I was trying to explain that tomy wife on the drive home yesterday morning,
and I don't think I was successfulin making it make sense. Yeah,
yeah, but I get it.I mean, you know, sometimes
you just got to do what youdon't want to do necessarily. But I'm
glad you had a good time.Awesome. Yeah. I just looked up

on spot rack. They they've gotto post it. It says t takes
up eight point four or five percentof the cap this year. So that's
that's fine. The contract I wantto know about is why isn't a Marius
Mims signed yet. Yeah, it'sa good question because there's very little to
haggle over right now. Sometimes you'llsee a situation I guess JJ McCarthy is

doing this with Minnesota, and Ithink Nick Bosa famously went through this with
the forty nine ers, where theywill haggle over the signing bonus and some
of the structural language of the contract, but there's the money has slotted.
There's no real wiggle room, andso, yeah, isn't Why isn't the

deal done? I guess it's afair question. Yeah, I'm far from
a cap expert, but it seemsto me that, you know, the
guy the Bears drafted asking for anequity stake last year has some very very
bad representation, no doubt. Yeah, I mean, look, it's it's
what four years, a little bitnorth of fifteen. There's the money is
slotted, the signing bonus is sometimeshaggled over. The good news is they

have a lot of time. Idon't know how many first rounders have signed.
I guess I could look that up. I don't know if they're just
waiting for players in front of himto get their deals done so he automatically
slots, but there's there's no realnegotiating. This isn't like the old days,
like Andre Smith and Justin Smith andso many of these guys that could
could ask for However, many yearsthey wanted at whatever salary they could get

that. This isn't that so,but it is interesting that it's not done.
It's also weird that he's not onthe roster and not signed, but
he's allowed to practice and t isnot allowed inside the building. Maybe that
just comes with being a veteran.I don't know. Yeah, I'm not
as sold on Hard Knocks as youand Austin are. I guess it'll be
great. I have a question ifyou think of it, to ask Paul

tomorrow. Yeah, the local guysnever get Joe at his locker, either
out of respect or whatever. Theydon't. You never see Joe at his
locker with any of the local guys. How's this gonna work with the Hard
Knocks crew, They're gonna want tobe there, I'm sure. Yeah.
I mean they do have a weeklythey do have a weekly press conference for

Joe, and I don't think that'sgoing to change. I think they make
Joe Burrow available on Wednesdays during theseason, and they do it in an
orchestrated setting, and I don't thinkthat's that rare for most quarterbacks around the
league, So I would imagine thatthat's not going to change. Okay,
I hope that's good enough for hardknocks definitely, because yeah, you know,

and the other thing is, theSteelers don't even play a division game
until Week eleven, So I wonderif they're going to lay off the Steelers
at the beginning and then, dependingon how their record is towards the end
of the season, we get loadeddown with Steelers because that's who they're playing
during that time stretch. Yeah,And I also I think we're gonna get
loaded down with whoever's actually in itlate, right, So if there's a

team that's limping to the finish line, my guess is, especially given the
fact that all four coaches in thisdivision are pretty secure in their current jobs.
Stefanski and Tomlin both got contract extensionsthis offseason. If you watch the
nd season version of this with theArizona Cardinals, it was interesting because they
were bad and Cliff Kingsbury knew hewas going to lose his job, and

so that was a really interesting dynamic. You're not really gonna have that,
and so I would imagine if ateam is just kind of playing out the
string late, that they're not goingto be featured as prominently as the teams
that either are playing for playoff spotsor getting set to end of the postseason.
Yeah, that makes sense. Andlast comment, thank you for mentioning
that Bryce and bunker shot. Iwould either sculd that a mile into the

grand stand or left it sitting rightthere in the bunker. I would still
be in I would still be inthe bunker trying to get it out.
Yeah. I probably would have sculdedinto somebody skull in the brand, I
would guess. So if I havea great Monday moment, stay Jeff,
I'll do my best. You dothe same. I was. I don't
know if it's the greatest bunker shotever. I mean it would be mine,
of course, be yours too.But it's on the short list.

It's on the short list. Iam. I love Hard Knock. I
love Hard Knocks for a few basicreasons. But Hard Knocks is not what
it used to be because training campis not what it used to be,
and so Hard Knocks has evolved andit's gotten it's changed where now there's an

n season version and the Bengals getto be a part of it. We'll
spend some time on that coming upin just a bit. Five point three
seven four nine, fifteen thirty isour phone number. Uh and the Reds
are playing with fire in the ninthinning, and like you know, I
breathed the big sigh relief on Fridayevening. The Reds were aided greatly by

Milwaukee, who was certainly complicit inits own demise. Can you even imagine
had they finished off that meltdown onFriday and then lost on Saturday and Sunday
the way they did. They camethis close. Alexis, d As and
as ineffectiveness are the main reason whywe'll get to that. Coming up at
four to twenty at Moegar on Xit's four minutes away from four o'clock on

ESPN fifteen thirty. Bard is sponsoredby his ESPN fifteen thirty Begles are going
to get the hard knocks treatment,which means T Higgins is going to get
the hard knocks treatment. T Higginssigns his one year contract. There's a
lesson to be learned. I hateto say that I told you so,

but I didn't tell you so.We told people outside the two seventy five
roup. T Higgins signs is oneyear contract. We have more on that
a little bit later on and theReds are playing with fire that is related
to Alexis d As right now,vote at Moeger should basically should Alexis d

As continue as the Reds closer.Vote on x Thanks to our friends at
United Heartland Insurance Bredia minute Jones onbaseball coming up and honors for an FC
Cincinnati player who I taught on Saturdayin one of the craziest games I've watched,
and I admit to him, Iwatched it yesterday morning early yesterday afternoon.

That was one of the most funsoccer games I've ever watched, and
I knew the results. FC Cincinnatiwins three points on the road, and
we'll get to that as well.Mentioned this earlier. Austin talked about this
as well. I love NFL Films. Anything NFL Films does is good.
NFL Films produces Hard Knocks. HardKnocks has an in season version. The

entire AFC North is going to bea part of it this year. I'll
read the details for you. HardKnocks in Season with the AFC North is
going to debut on HBO. Itwill be streamed on Max starting Tuesday,
December third, and there will benew episodes every Tuesday through the end of
the regular season and continue pining intothe NFL playoffs in January. Hard Knocks

will document the battle for the AFCNorth crown during the final six weeks of
the season, as well as theplayoff run for the division winner and any
AFC North wildcard teams. So thisis cool, and the NFL is covering
the off season now, which theGiants are involved in that Hard Knocks offseason
with the New York Giants. They'lldo the typical traditional Hard Knocks Training Camp

edition with the Bears, and theBengals will be featured on that because well,
they document all the preseason games Bengalsand Bears play in the preseason and
they also have a joint practice.I would imagine Hard Knocks will document or
at least try to document that.And then with this announcement, Hard Knocks
will officially cover every part of theNFL season, offseason, training camp,

regular season, and playoffs. Everythingthat NFL Films does is good, whether
it's Hard Knocks you know those thoseold video yearbooks many of us watched as
kids. NFL Films presents whatever itis a football life on NFL Network.
NFL films does it. I watchit. Anything they do is good and

there I can't think of anything insports, in all of sports that that
provides the viewer with as much intimateaccess as NFL films does when they do
shows like Hard Knocks. Now,I'll acknowledge this traditional Hard Knocks is not
what it used to be because trainingcamp isn't what it used to be,

but still working within the confines ofwhat modern NFL training camps allow, it's
still really well done. Some teamson Hard Knocks are more interesting than the
others. The New York Jets lastyear. I don't think Aaron Rodgers is
that interesting, and they really tried. They tried, and I get it.
He's a star. He's going tothe Hall of Fame. He's one

of the best pure passing quarterbacks ofall time. They tried to feature Aaron
Rodgers heavily, heavily, and youcould understand why, because he's Aaron Rodgers,
because he was in a new city. I just don't think Aaron Rodgers
is really as interesting as I thinkAaron Rodgers thinks he is. And so
I was kind of bored by HardKnocks last year. But I still feel
like barring the subject matter or movingthe subject matter from the conversation. I

think the work they do is reallyreally good. The in season NFL films
work offers a bit of a twist. Part of what makes Hard Knocks compelling
during the summertime are the guys tryingfor jobs and getting cut. That's really
not going to be a part ofHard Knocks at the end of the season.

And by the way, for whatit's worth, the Bengals have been
featured on Hard Knocks twice. Ithought two thousand and nine was really really
good, and nine it was stillwhen training camp was away. They were
in Georgetown. Most teams by thenwere still conducting training camp away from their
own facilities, and I think thatadded an ingredient that has kind of been

missing since and I think was certainlymissing from twenty thirteen. I do feel
like Hard Knocks, in particular intwo thousand and nine really kind of helped
rebrand the Bengals, and that wasa rough kind of go of things there.
Right they were mediocre and six lessthan mediocre and O seven awful and

eight. I think the franchise hadkind of been given this tag as being
an underachiever. A lot more blusterthan accomplishment. Not a very likable franchise.
It had gone through the stretch oftime where a lot of guys got
in trouble with the law, andthat nine Hard Knocks, which is hard
to believe it was fifteen years ago. They still you can still find it
on YouTube. I think to adegree helped reimage and rebrand. The Bengals

also created care like I think MikeZimmer is to this day a fan favorite
because of how he was portrayed onHard Knocks that year, and you know,
even created some characters with guys likeyou know, Tom Nelson's pathway to
the NFL was covered on that year'sHard Knocks and they spent some time that
was Obviously Chris Henry was on thatteam during camp in two thousand and nine,

and he tragically passed away about fourmonths later, but you know,
what he was doing to kind ofget his life back on the straight and
narrow was was covered sufficiently in HardKnocks. And yeah, they spent a
lot of time with Chad Johnson,and they spent a lot of time with
Carson Palmer, but they also spenttime with Tank Johnson was on the Bengals
that year, you talk about somebodywho was trying to rehabilitate his image.
I think Hard Knocks helped twenty thirteen. I think made people fall in love

with Giovanni Binard because here's this NFLrookie who drives his mom's van, and
so I think Hard Knocks is reallycool, really well done. There is
no downside to this. By theway, both years the Bengals were on
Hard Knocks, they made the playoffs. And say what you want about the
Steelers or the Ravens or the Browns, this is I think the most interesting

division in the NFL. It unequivocallywas the best division in the NFL last
year. I think it's a divisionwhere I feel less this way about Pittsburgh.
But like, if the Steelers wonthe AFC North, it wouldn't be
a shock. If the Browns wonthe AFC North, it wouldn't be a
shock. If the Bengals won theAFC North, it wouldn't be a shock.

And of course if Baltimore won theAFC North, it wouldn't be a
shock. It's four teams with interestingI think figures at quarterback dichotomis if you
will, personalities at quarterback. It'sfour teams that I think have a pretty
strong foundation when it comes to whothey're head coaches. They play in these

just absolute skirmishes against each other,Like there's a bunch of rivalries in this
division. It feels like everybody's gonnabe in the hunt. Certainly, by
the time the shit debuts on Decemberthird, you would expect all four teams
to still be clinging at the veryleast to having a playoff chance. And
it's gonna tell some really cool stories, and it's gonna show you behind the

scenes stuff during the season, whichtypically we only get during training camp.
It's gonna show us behind the scenesstuff of teams preparing to play in these
high stakes, high intensity games.You're gonna get actual game footage from games
that count as opposed to hard knocks, which they focus obviously on preseason games,
which just by nature aren't as goodas regular season games. I think

this is gonna be awesome, likea season that we have been looking forward
to, I think since basically themoment last year ended. I think it's
gonna be really interesting. Joe Burrowis a terrific quarterback and a good guy.
He's not a huge self promoter,somebody who is featured prominently in national

endorsement campaigns, and whether that's becausehe wants it that way or not,
I don't know. I think andwe'll see. I think Hard Knocks is
going to go out of its wayand you can understand why. I think
of the quarterbacks in this division,a two time MVP and Lamar, a

guy who had the most celebrated collegeseason ever who has helped take the Bengals
from a relatively irrelevant franchise to onethat's very relevant. In Joe Burrow,
Deshaun Watson and all the stories that'saround him, Russell Wilson and Justin Fields.
So just interesting stories with the quarterbacks, I think. I think there's

gonna be I bet you there's anattempt to get the audience to know Joe
Burrow a little bit more, whichI think is going to be kind of
interesting because he just isn't and thisis no criticism, is not the most
effervescent guy, right, He's justI think the kind of the interesting thing
about Joe Burrow. Even for thoseof us here in Cincinnati, we're getting

ready for year five and it feelslike there's still a lot about him that
we just kind of don't know,and maybe that changes a little with him
being featured on a show like this. So this is there's no downside to
this, you know. I rememberOH nine, HBO announced they're featuring the
Bengals. Whether they went into itbegrudgingly or not, I don't remember and
really don't care. By the way, one of the things featured that year

was something we don't get anymore becausethat's when Andre Smith was drafted and came
to training camp late. And youknow, they shows his agent, I
think his name was Alvin Keels.They show us agent meeting with Katie Blackburn.
They show Andre Smith signing his contractand meeting Mike Brown for the first
time and Mike Brown telling him like, dude, we've been waiting for you
to get here. You're way behind. Let's go, and then he breaks

his foot. Uh, and soyou know, but I remember when they
there was announced that we're gonna beon Hard Knocks and O nine, there
were people who thought, well,this is good to be a big distraction.
And the Bengals win ten and sixthat year and won every game in
the AFC North, and then intwenty thirteen, they won eleven and five
and won every home game. Soand by the way, Hard Knocks,

you know they're gonna be embedded withevery team in the division. So if
they're going to be a distraction toall four, one is still gonna win
the AOC North. This is thisis really cool. And if the Bengals
are good and we get to Decemberand the city's you know, trending toward

being in a fever pitch for lateDecember and early January and getting excited about
the playoffs and fired up about theirSuper Bowl chances, and then you get
this on a Tuesday night every weekclear through the end of the playoffs.
Can you imagine how much more funit will be to have this where they

take you behind the scene of someof these games and their preparation for them
and the storytelling involved. I amI'm fired up about the season. I
love Hard Knocks and training camp.You're giving me the AFC North with my
team in it during a season wherethe expectation is there good? Are you

kidding me? And by the way, I think part of what makes this
interesting. I don't think any ofthese teams are gonna be awful, but
like in training camp, there's alwayshope. Let's imagine for a second,
let's say things kind of go sidewaysfor any one of these teams, just
a disaster of a season. HardKnocks is still gonna show up and film

them and still gonna document everything they'redoing, and that's gonna be fascinating,
you know, at the end ofHard Knocks. It's kind of the Hard
Knocks effect, right, you watchit every summer, and we just tend
to think the team that was onHard Knocks is going to be really good
because it's training camp, right,there's always optimism. Let's say there's one
of these four teams that is havinga sideways ear. It's just going really

poorly, there's dissension. None ofthese coaches are gonna get fired at the
end of the season, but thatwill be really interesting to watch too.
Sign me up. Sixteen after fouro'clock, the Reds are playing with fire.
I don't know really what the fixis, but they're playing with fire.
Next that's after four o'clock. Thisis ESPN fifteen thirty. You're listening,

so thanks. Three points on theroad for FC Cincinnati on Saturday,
Paul Skeins is pitching against the Redstonight. It doesn't look like he's gonna
throw a GAVP, which means,well, don't get a chance to do
what they did last week in SaintLouis that coming up here in about fifteen
minutes plus Brendanman and Jones. Ithink on baseball. I don't know,

but let's assume it's about baseball.We will find out by the way.
Our phone numbers are five one,three, seven, four nine, fifteen
thirty at eight six six, sevenoh two three seven, seven six.
We have asked our poll question onX. I'm calling it X today.
Tomorrow, I might call it Twitter. I don't know. It just usually

depends on my mood. Who shouldclose games for the Reds Alexis Daz or
someone else? Thirty four point ninepercent of you say Alexis d As.
I don't know, because I'm I'mless concerned about who closes games than I
am. How do they fix AlexisDS like I would have no objection if

David Bell announced, you know what, we're gonna handle the ninth thing a
little bit differently and maybe go bycommittee or maybe let the game dictate who
we use, or we're gonna tryFernando Cruz in that role. Fernando Cruz
has been beaten up a little bithere over his last couple of outings,
but he's still having an unbelievable season. His transformation from you know, just

kind of another guy to somebody whohas one of the most unhittable pitches in
the entire sport has really been awesometo watch. I'm I'm more concerned with
fixing Alexis Das because even if he'snot closing anymore, he's still gonna pitch
in some high leverage situations. There. They're not gonna banish him to a
role where he barely pitches or wherehe only appears when they're up, you

know, seven runs in the seventhinning, or down seven runs in the
seventh inning. Now that said,if if you like, Friday Night was
a primary example. He struggles,Ellie makes a blundering shortstop which amplifies his
struggles, and he and the defenseand Will Benson and some decision making by

the Milwaukee Brewers get them out ofthe ninth inning and they win the game,
and Alexis gets the save and theReds win the game. And if
you if you're only looking at himthrough the lens of does he record the
last reouts? Usually you're gonna bepretty pleased with the job that Alexis does.

But if you're looking at his performancesthrough the lens of, oh,
it's great that he's getting the threeouts, but at some point this is
gonna burn them. Frankly, you'rewatching it through the same lens than I
am, because it feels like heand they are are playing with fire.

He has had issues with his control, he's had issues with being a little
bit more hittable. He's getting behindand counts. He's flirting with disaster.
He is playing with fire, andthe more you play with fire, the
greater the chances of you getting burned. Like, not every outing is gonna

be three up, three down withexcuse me, no issues whatsoever. But
it feels like the three outs,three down with no issues whatsoever with Alexis
Diaz are an outlier when they happenwhere it feels like most outings include some
bout with wildness and some major unease. If you're a Reds fan, now,

does that mean that he should neverpitch the ninth inning? I'm more
of a fan, and you knowit's interesting. David Bet when he first
got the job, kind of talkedabout this and they never completely did it.
Like I would be totally okay ifthey just never had a designated closer,
if they, you know, justsaid, we're more gonna let matchups
and the game kind of dictate whogets used when. And you know,

if we have to use our bestreliever in the seventh inning when there's two
on and two out in a onerun game, because that's what the games
where the game is hanging in thebalance, then by all means, but
regardless, and for me right now, I would say, I guess someone
else should close. But if someoneelse closes, Alexis Das is still going
to come in and pitch in theseventh or eighth inning. And this is
the team that's gonna have to begood in one run games over the final

three and a half months of theseason. And so does moving him to
a different role lessen the possibility ofhaving a really uncomfortable ninth inning, Sure,
but does it change the fact thatwhen he is on the mound,
he is either not inspiring confidence ormaking you and I uneasy, perhaps putting

his team's chances of winning in severeJeopardy like this, this has to be
fixed. I mean it just it. And you know, there's all sorts
of ways to tinker with a team, and you know, move so and
so up the batting order, movethem down, or not play this guy,
Alexis Diaz was an All Star lastyear. They're probably not going to

demote him. They're probably not gonnacut him. So I guess there's two
different conversations here. There's who shouldpitch the ninth inning? And then there's
can they get this guy fixed?Can they get this guy performing at the
level that we saw him perform atat the beginning of the season last year.

Until the answer to that question isyes, it's gonna feel like they're
playing with fire. Let's be honest, this team's margin for error is really
really small. Offensively, they're they'renot a good offensive team. They have
their moments on defense, but topto bottom, they're not a great defensive
team. They have good starting pitching. This team's gonna have to be really

good in close games. This game'sgonna this team's gonna have to win games
like the one that blew yesterday.When they're up three to nothing in the
middle innings, three to one goinginto the sixth a relief pitcher that you
can't count on, which is whatAlexis is turning into, is somebody who

shrinks the already small margin for error. So I guess try somebody else in
the ninth inning. I'm okay withthat. I'll vote someone else. I
again, like, I don't thinkit has to be any one guy.
We've seen Lucas Sims get a chanceto close some games out when Alexis hasn't
been available. You know, nobodywants to say today that Lucas Sims should

try to close games after the wayhe coughed up the lead in the sixth
inning yesterday. I'm more interested thananything. And the alexisd As issues,
what's interesting about them is he wasawesome in the first half of the season
last year, and then in thesecond half he wasn't quite the same pitcher.
We have seen a guy who thisseason more resembles the guy we saw

over the final three months last yearthan the All Star we saw over the
first three months last season. Butit's got to change, and it's got
to change whether he pitches the ninthinning or whether he pitches the sixth inning.
Now him continuing in the role thathe has served in and pitching in
the ninth inning. Boy, youknow, if they're in Pittsburgh tonight,

they take a three to two leadto the ninth inning and that bullpen gate
flings open and here comes Alexis dsDo you feel confident? Closers, even
the best, don't get the threeouts every single time out. But man,
there was a time where it feltlike when he came into the game,
regardless of the score, regardless ofthe opponent, regardless of how many

runs they were up, regardless ofwho was coming to bat in the ninth
inning for the other team, whenhe came out of that bullpen, you
felt like game over. I misshaving that sense of security, And the
longer we go without it means themore he struggles, and the more he
struggles, you just wonder when arehis struggles going to really really catch up

to this team? They nearly did. On Friday, twenty nine minutes after
four o'clock, Brendan ban the Jonesawbaseball coming up in just about twenty five
minutes for a random June Monday.We have a lot of sports headlines.
We'll get to them all next OnESPN fifteen thirty, PN fifteen thirty.

It's like a harbor freight two minutesfrom my house, and I have spent
a lot of time there. Sportsheadlines, a service of Kelsey Chevrolet Home
of Lifetime powered train protection and guaranteedcredit approval from their family to yours for
life Kelsey chev dot com. Thiggins has not been traded. No,
no, no no. He's signedhis one year contract with the Bengals,

after after after the team designated himas their franchise player back in February.
It's a one year contract for thetwenty twenty four season. Zach Taylor says,
quote, I'm excited to move forwardwith Tea. He's done a great
job handling his situation and we're happyto have him back in the fold so

we can start working toward a gradetwenty twenty four. T Higgins back with
the Bengals, one year contract.Meanwhile, the Bengals did announce today their
training camp dates, and they're doingthis a little bit differently. The first
practice is going to be on Wednesday, July the twenty fourth. The first
five practices will be open exclusively toseason ticket members and wait list members.

Bengals will have ten public practices duringtraining camp, so that first practice will
be on Monday, July the twentyninth. The Back Together Weekend is going
to be in the practice facility onthe twenty eighth. That is exclusive to
season ticket members and waitless members whoclaim free tickets. And there will be
no public practice inside the stadium thisyear because of the former venue known as

or the venue formerly known as PaulBrown Stadium having concerts this summer. Also,
the Bengals will be featured on HardKnocks a season in the AFC North.
This is going to start on Tuesday, December the third. It'll stream
on Max, also available on HBO. So what they're gonna do is is
take you behind the scenes document theAFC North Bengals, Browns, Raven Steelers

clear through the end of the postseason. There you go. Meanwhile, tonight
in Pittsburgh gets the Reds and PiratesCarson Spiers. Carson Spyers in the game
the Reds lost a week ago yesterdaythrough five five and two thirds actually really
good innings against the Chicago Cups.Struck out seven, walked just one.
He is going to get the balltonight for Cincinnati. Right handed Paul Skeins,

the pride of LSU and the AirForce Academy, who, in thirty
three and one third innings in hissix Big league starts has struck out forty
six and walked just six. Thisdude is must watch. He is going
to pitch tonight and then he isscheduled to pitch on Sunday. Pirates are

here next Monday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, which means, barring
Pittsburgh having reshuffled starting rotation, heis not scheduled to pitch against the Reds
in Cincinnati h six forty tonight ona seven hundred wl W. Let's take
a look at the red starting lineup, which we hope has made well thanks
to made Well Restoration go to MadewellRestoration dot com. Friedolan center, Elliott

Short Candelario is playing third base,Spencer stear at first base, Freiley and
Wright Tyler Stevenson behind the plate.Nick Martini is dhing and he is batting
seventh. India is at second base, Will Benson in left field bats ninth.
Also, the Reds have placed Christianand Carnassio Strand on the sixty day
injured list. He has been onthe il. Since early May, Brooks

Chrisky has been added to the fortyman roster and option to Louisville NL All
Star ballot up date, Elie DelaCruz third among shortstops, Jonathan India eighth
among second baseman, Jake Fraley ninthamong dhs, Tyler Stevenson tenth among catchers,
and ces Is tenth among first basemen. Over fifty six thousand people have

voted for Christian and Karnassian Strand.Now, I like Cees and hopefully he
gets healthy and when he does,can start to do some of the things
that we believe he can do.Fifty six thousand votes for Christian and Karnassian
Strand. I just want to knowthis, Like I admit that I'm of
a generation where the balloting in theAll Star Game was cool. When you
get the ballot at the ballpark,get out, like borrow a key from

your dad, punch out the littleuh chance I guess it, punch them
out and you take it to thebox. And then he thought, well,
maybe they're just gonna throw those away. I don't know, but it
did feel like voting for the AllStar team was a little bit more about
picking the best guys. It doesn'tfeel like it's that way anymore, and

hasn't in a while. This isnot a complaint, but I want to
know if there's anybody out there whoactually like sits down to vote for all
Stars and goes, you know whatI'm gonna do. I'm gonna actually vote
for the best players at every positionin both leagues. College World Series tonight
in Omaha, can Tucky battles TexasA and M. That game starts at
seven pm. FC Cincinnati news UYakubo has been voted MLS Player of the

Match Day for Match Day twenty.He had a hat trick in nine minutes
on Saturday night four to two winin San Jose. Kubo, with the
fifth hat trick in club history,the first sense Brandon Vasquez last year against
Shivas in the League's Cup, cameinto the game in the sixty fourth minute,
scored all three goals in the spanof nine minutes and ten seconds,

the second fastest hat tricks scored inMLS play in the last twenty years,
the eighth in MLS history by asubstitute, and helped f C Cincinnati to
its third ever win when trailing atthe seventy fifth minute. They are an
astounding seven to one to one awayfrom home this year. What else Tonight

Game five, excuse me, Gamefive of the NBA Finals in Boston Celtics
with that three to one lead overthe Dallas Mavericks. That game coverage on
ESPN Radio starts at uh at eightpm five point three seven four nine,
fifteen thirty. Paul Skins last weekpitched against the Cardinals. And you know,
Saint Louis. They fancy themselves asbeing the best fans in baseball,

right b fib best fans in baseball, And maybe they aren't. Maybe they
aren't. The Cardinals certainly have anawesome following. I was listening on the
radio pregame show yesterday. They playedthe clip from twenty years ago, Ken
Griffy Junior hitting his five hundredth homerun on Father's Day with Ken Senior in

the stands, and he did itin Saint Louis, and Marty does the
call and there's a loud ovation andhe talks about how great the baseball fans
in Saint Louis are applauding this awesomemoment. Now, I'll be honest with
you, like if I saw thatmoment and the guy and the other team
was the one who authored the moment, I'm standing in applauding. Five hundred

home runs is a remarkable accomplishment,also applauding myself being there and having a
chance to see that moment in person. So anyway, last week, Paul
Skens goes six and a third.If you have not watched this kid,
he's been remarkable. He pitches againstthe Reds the night six and third,
strikes out a gas up, givesup five hits. The Cardinals do not
score against him, they take himout of the game, and in Saint

Louis, the best hands in baseballgive him a standing ovation. And it
felt like it was damn close toeverybody at the ballpark standing and cheering and
applauding a guy, a rookie pitchingfor the other team who just pretty much
stuck it to their team and they'restanding and applauding. Now, you might
think that's awesome, and I thinkit is. And you might think that's

stupid, and I don't think itis. Would we do that here like
hearing Cincinnati? All right, baseTown, USA, we consider ourselves to
be passionate baseball fans, but alsosmart baseball fans, and also like a
friendly Midwest town where we can appreciatea great outing when we see it.

If a twenty two year old pitcherin his first outing against the Reds at
GABP stuck it to them the wayPaul Skein stuck it to the Cardinals last
week, are we doing what thefans in Saint Louis did? Would some
undeniably? Would it look and feellike it did in Saint Louis last week?

I don't know. I don't know. Five point three seven four nine,
fifteen thirty is our phone number.Reds let one get away yesterday.
T Higgins is going to play forthe Bengals this year. There is a
bit of a lesson. There isa bit of a lesson with this.
It's not the first time we've learnedthis lesson and probably won't be the last.

But we'll talk about what the lessonis anyway. Next on ESPN fifteen
thirty. Rocket this week, sayit again and Ellie you have a rocket,
And he does have a rocket inhis pocket. According to US Snoop
Talk, Ellie de la Cruz versusPaul Schemes that'll be fun tonight, the
phenoms, a couple of twenty twoyear olds looking forward to it at that

awesome ballpark in Pittsburgh. Uh,you know, quickly on the T Higgins
lesson, covering the NFL has tobe hard nationally because you know, sometimes
you have to make something. Yougot to make something out of nothing sometimes,
and then we do that here locally, right, I mean sometimes there's

just not a lot going on,and you know, I can't. I
can't go on at three o'clock andgo, hey, sorry, there's not
a lot happening. We're not goingto do a show today. And if
you cover the NFL, like youneed stuff, and so you turn on
NFL Live or you turn on NFLNetwork. He turned on some of the
national shows. And if there's anyeven remote develop excuse me, remote development
involving T Higgins, it turns intoa topic. Right. So meanwhile,

here in Cincinnati, most of ushave been operating out of the assumption he'll
sign at some point, he'll playfor the team this year. They're not
going to trade him. And yetyou know, I mentioned that the one
thing from bookies dot com last weekwhere they did list the Bengals as the
favorite to have t Higgins play forthem this year, but they also offered
plus odds and a handful of peoplearound the country wondering, could the Bengals

trade t Higgins? What would ittake? Maybe there's dissension. Is it
gonna be a distraction? I've donethis previously, did this around the draft
in twenty twenty. Joe Burrow wasgoing to be a Bengal from the moment
the Bengals lost that game to theMiami Dolphins on December twenty second, two
thousand nineteen. They were going todraft him. You knew that. I

knew that, but around the country, because we've got to create content all
the different primble they could trade thepick. Okay, no, they're not.
Well maybe they'll take Chase Young maybe, but probably not because they need
a quarterback and this Borough Cat's theguy they're gonna take. And often I
would say, like sometimes you gotto ignore ignore it, listen to what

you don't hear, and listen towhat you do hear and read from the
people who are there covering the teamevery day. I put a lot of
stock in those people. You know. It's even like when I heard Kelsey
with Austin Today on since three sixty. There are a lot of people who
are her an apology because she reportedall along like they don't have him in
their future plans and got mad ather. She's just reporting what she knows,

reporting what she hears does, reportingbased on the conversation she has.
She's plugged in, she talks toagents, she's at the stadium every single
day. She's not just making stuffup. Nothing against the people who cover
the league in mass cover all thirtytwo teams. But when you're worried about
a situation like this, or you'rewondering about a situation like this, I

think it makes sense to put alot of stock in what is being written
and said here. It's not thefirst time I've gone out of my way
to make this point. And look, I'm not in the pocket of anybody
who covers the team. I dothink we have some folks who cover all
the teams here locally. I knowhow hard they work, I know how
connected they are. I know theywould each love to break a story like

the Bengals are going to trade tHiggins, But they're not going to make
one story like that up just forthe sake of getting attention. So the
next time there is something like thisand conversations are happening elsewhere about what they
may do with t Higgins, checkto see if those conversations are being mirrored

by the people who are actually aroundthe team. Jones on baseball is next
Cincinnati's ESPN fifteen thirty. Traffic fromthe UC Health Traffic Center. More than
fifty five million people are living witha form of dementia. Find answers from
leading brain health experts at UC Health. Learn more at UCHealth dot com.

Be aware of an accident if you'reon Mill Road south of John Gray Road,
causing some slow down there. Wealso have an accident at the intersection
of northbound Vine Street and Clinton SpringsAvenue causing a small delay there. I'm
Nicole with traffic. This is DaveLapwork and you're listening to the Home of
the Bengals ESPN fifteen thirty. Imean, at some point your key guys

have to perform better. Your keyguys meaning your relievers. Tee Higgins assigned
his contract. We're gonna get tothat in a second. On Maleger This
is ESPN fifteen thirty. It's thefive o'clock happy hours thanks to our friends
at michelob Ultra. I may havehad one of these over the weekend.
Michelobultra. It's I think for thenext week or so. We're in a

heat dome, is how I sawit described on TV this morning. A
heat dome where the temperatures, atleast in this part of the country are
going to range from ninety five toone hundred and seventy five degrees outside.
There is nothing better when it's hotout, especially if you're by a pool

or a body of water, thanan ice cold michelob Ultra. Get one.
Now, we have a busy hourin front of us. Reds are
in Pittsburgh. They played the Piratestonight. Carson Spiers is going to throw
tonight's game for Cincinnati against Paul Skins. A bit of a missed opportunity for
the Reds this weekend, which we'llget to in in just a bit.

I think that the news of theday is surprising but not shocking. T
Higgins is signing a one year contractthe team the Bengals gave the franchise tag
two back in February. Is gonnaget tea for the start of training camp,

and I think relative to how alot of us thought this was gonna
unfold, feels kind of surprising,right. I think a lot of us
believe that this was me be gonnafollow the Jesse Bates path, which was,
chances are you don't need me torecap this for you, but I
will. Nonetheless, he doesn't gothrough OTAs, he doesn't go through Mini

caamp, he doesn't start training campon time, he doesn't play in preseason
games, and then, with justenough time to spare to get himself ready
for the season, he signs hiscontract. He plays the year out with
the Bengals, and then he leavesvia free agency and goes on last year
to have an awesome year with theAtlanta Falcons. Like a lot of us,
perhaps because the T Higgins and JesseBates have the same agent, kind

of felt like this was gonna followthe same path, right, not show
up for training camp on time,not get fined, and then, at
some point, probably with some timeto spare, side his contract and go
play for the Bengals this season.So I think relative to how a lot
of his thought that this may unfold, it's kind of surprising. I don't

know that it's shocking. You know, we talked about this maybe a month
or so ago, when some likeAdam Schefter, We're wondering, Okay,
he's gonna come back and play,but you know, suddenly he's gonna have
an injury. Oh boy, suddenlyhis hamstring hurts, insinuating the team might
make a business decision, so tospeak, where he was gonna take himself

out of action when he was maybenot hurt or at least not hurt to
the degree that would typically keep aplayer out of action. Why would he
do this? Because why, he'supset, he's mad, he's pissed,
he's unhappy about not having a longterm deal, and he wants to protect
himself during the during the season becausehe wants to try to go get a

long term, expensive deal during theoffseason. I, along with many downplayed
this possibility because I think t showedus what he was made of last year.
The primary example I could give isprobably the first one that comes to
mind for you, and that waswhat he did during that Week seventeen game
against Kansas City last year, whenhe got hurt during the game and then

willed himself back onto the field ina game that his team had to win
like that was a team first move. That was not the sort of move
you make if you were the kindof player who's wired to make a business
decision with the intention of protecting yourselfto get a long term deal somewhere else.

That's not what you do. Sowe've kind of categorized T Higgins as
kind of a team guy. Thisteam has a lot to accomplish this year.
This team has a chance. It'swhy he's still here. It's why
it never made any sense to exploretrading T Higgins. It's why they probably

really didn't seriously explore trying to tradeT Higgins and trying to win a championship
this year. And they think theirchances of winning a championship are best represented
by T Higgins being on the teamthis year. And then they'll see how
things unfold once this offseason gets here. Chances are it's gonna involve him leaving,
not getting tagged a second time,not getting a long term deal,

leaving via free agency. This wasalways the most likely outcome. This is
a team guy, but it's ateam guy that's it's got a lot to
accomplish as a team, and hehas a lot to prove as a player.
Look, the Bengals have said,we don't think you're in that Jamar

Chase category. They haven't come outand said that, but sometimes, well
I see better than I hear.They're not going to come out and say
that. But what they've done herewith Ta and how they've talked Duke Tobin
has talked expressively about how Jamar Chaseis in our long term plans. That

hasn't happened at all with t Higgins. They haven't said that, they've talked
about wanting him here in twenty twentyfour. They're saying, well, we
think Jamar Chase is a better player, we think he's a better investment.
He's a guy we're gonna pay te. We love you right now, we'll
pay you right now. We're notpaying you long term. So this is
a player the team that he worksfor, the only team that he's ever

played for, is expressing at leastsome degree of doubt about T Higgins.
Perhaps understandably so, but still it'sdoubt. You mean to tell me the
Bengals are the only team that wouldhandle this the same way that the Bengals
have handled this. Probably not,So you've got a lot to prove to

the team that has thus far refusedto pay you. You've also got a
wide receiver market that is now danglingin front of you, the sort of
contract that maybe doesn't look like justinJefferson's, but is a lot more lucrative
than the deal that you might havebeen asking for last offseason. You've got

a season in front of you whereyou seek to show that you are deserving
of the kind of money that theBengals have been reluctant to give you,
the kind of contract the Bengals havebeen reluctant to give you. You're trying
to prove that, yes, JamarChase is a great player, and yes
you benefit from playing in an offensethat has Jamar Chase, but you're a

true number one wide receiver. Youand I both know there have to be
people around the league who liked tHiggins as a player, understand what he
physically brings to the table, butwould say not sure he's a number one.
You want to prove you could stayhealthy. You want to prove that
that last year, what you dealtwith physically and what you dealt with from

a performance standpoint is not reflective ofhow things are going to be moving forward.
There are questions about your ability tostay healthy. Playing a full season
has been a struggle for this guy. Oh and by the way, he
can win a ring this season,and in a wide receiver excuse me,
wide receiver market, that has changedthat. I feel like the wide receiver

bubble is going to burst at somepoint. You're trying to prove that you
belong among those upper echelon wide receivers, not when it comes to how we
talk about them, not when itcomes to football statistics, but when it
comes to the value of the contract, guaranteed money, average annual value and
all that stuff. You've got alot to prove. If you've got a

lot to prove, and you understandthere's no at this point, the what's
happened with the Bengals has happened andit's not gonna change. Is there something
to be said about using the summerto protect yourself from injury during a practice
or a preseason game. Absolutely,But is there also something to be said

about ensuring that you're as prepared aspossible to not just fit in in this
offense, but excel in this offenseand knowing that if you do. So,
boy, there's a world of opportunitiesout there for you that are impossible
to even wrap your brain around.Yeah, that's why you go ahead and

sign the one year tender. Soto me, I'm not gonna pretend that
I thought this was the likely outcome. I thought the likely outcome was he
played for the Bengals this year aftersitting out for a while. But if
you look at it through the lensof what he's trying to accomplish this year,
on some level, it has tomake sense. Get the deal done,
sign the one year thing, getthe work, have a great year,

prove people wrong, prove the Bengalswrong, maybe win a championship.
Then go get paid. This isa win win. It's a win for
t Higgins and it's a win foryou know. Not that I thought that
this was ever going to be amajor distraction. I think if you're gonna

talk about how good the culture iswith Zach Taylor and Joe Burrow, then
he had to have believed, similarto the Jesse Bates thing two years ago,
this wasn't gonna tear apart the team. It wasn't gonna fracture the locker
room. But is it one lessthing that they have to worry about on
some random August when T Higgins wouldhave shown up. Now, like he's

a story on day one of camp, but there are a lot of stories
on day one of camp, andso he'll answer. I'm sure whatever questions
come his way about his contract,he'll say all the right things, and
then we'll stop talking about it.Like Jesse Bates last season in Cincinnati,
if we want to keep using thatas a comparison his last season in Cincinnati.
Once the season began, did wetalk at all about his free agency?

Did we talk that much about hiscontract? I don't think we did
on this show at all, becauseit just faded to the background because of
what the goal was and how wellJesse played and how good the team was
that year. The idea is similarhere. Have it be a day,
have it be a thing on dayone of training camp, and then it
kind of goes away, and aplayer that has a lot to prove can

be as prepared as he possibly canbe once the season begins to go prove
what he seeks to prove. I'msurprised that T Higgins did this. I
don't think any of us should beshocked. Your thoughts are welcome at five
point three seven four nine fifteen thirtyand eight sixty six seven h two three
seven seven six. Meanwhile, Redsover the weekend, sloppy game, crazy

game, entertaining game on Friday,good baseball game on Saturday, A solid
pitching Red simply just didn't hit Yesterday. Yesterday was tough to take. My
Granted, they played the second halfof the game trailing, but still they
scored three runs early for Frankie Montass. The bullpen couldn't make it stick.

Neither could the defense. Perhaps themost stark difference between those two teams was
how good Milwaukee was with their glovesand how shaky at times this season the
Reds have been with theirs more thananything. It was a missed opportunity more
than anything. Yesterday just was frustrating. I'm not even sure there's any one

person to blame. You give theball to Lucas Sims and the sixth inning.
You ought to feel like Lucas Simms, who was pitched well to be
able to get the job done.He could not. Team's bullpen nearly blew
up on Friday. It certainly didn'thelp yesterday more on that coming up in
a bit. We'll take some phonecalls to five point three seven four nine
fifteen thirty eight sixty six seven ohtwo three seven seven six works as well

on ESPN fifteen thirty Cincinnati Sports Station, Cincinnati's ESPN fifteen thirty after five.
This is ESPN fifteen thirty on moegor. You're not being pulled over. I've
won. Thirty seven four nine fifteenthirty is our our phone number, Mike,
go ahead. You're on ESPN fifteenthirty. How are you? I

know you want to hot weather?Of that, I hope you're happy.
I love hot weather. I can'tbe now. I want people to be
healthy, and I want them todo the right things. And for folks
whose health and safety may be compromised, I want them to not be exposed
to conditions that could threaten their health. But yes, I love hot weather.

It can't be hot enough. That'swhy alcohol out there. It's one
hundred degree sun bad idea unless you'reyoung like you, but older people not
good anyway. Hey, Austin wasand how much and you echoed? And
how much you like hard Knox loveit? And Jeff called in from Virginia.

You know, I know it's peoplelove it and it's popular, but
for some reason, I just haven'tbeen able to get into it. Now
maybe I will with this new formatthere laying out, which is very interesting
actually, But in the past Ijust didn't hold my interest for some reason.
That's fine, that's cool. Noteverybody's gonna like everything. I just

I just think anything that NFL Filmsdoes is awesome. Some things more so
than others. But you know,NFL Films produces a football life which airs
on NFL Network. Those again,some are more interesting than others. Those
I think are outstanding. If youwatch NFL Films presents, which I feel
like airs at like weird times ofthe day and night, that is always

really really well done. If youare of a certain age and you remember
some of the Like when I wasa kid, Mike, I watched maybe
more than any video cassette that wasn'tthe nineteen ninety World Series Highlight film.
I watched NFL Film's Crunch Course morethan any VHS movie ever. I got
that thing when I was eight yearsold, that Bad Boys on YouTube now

and so like from then forty yearslater, anything I've watched NFL films do.
First of all, there is alevel of access that they get that
you're not getting anywhere else in anysport. I think the content they create
is really really good. Sometimes it'sreally compelling. Sometimes maybe a little bit

less so. But for the mostpart, I think everything they do is
really well done. I like seeinghow the sausage is made. I like
seeing the behind the scenes stuff.And so if we get a glimpse behind
the scenes during the most critical junctureof the NFL season into four teams that
make up the toughest division in thesport, I don't know many football fans

that won't be into that. Yeah. No, that caught my attention.
Hey, the Sable family, theywere the ones that really kicked that off
years ago, right, yeah,Edable and then later Steve Sable. Yes,
yeah, yeah. I was hopingmy memory has served me well.
And other than his two obvious storiesover the weekend went the MAVs and the

golf tournaments, well, and theReds of course, but I thought the
two big stories was the possible MVPMooky getting his hand fracture. That's a
big, huge The other one wasthe announcement by Charles Barkley he kind of
he kind of got in the faceof the owners there. It seemed like
to me a little bit of TNT. But I thought that was big,

because you know, he's probably notmaybe the best technical lionels, but he's
certainly the most entertainment any think withoutquestion. I mean, there is a
reason why people who love the NBA, and even people who don't really watch
a lot of NBA games love thatshow, and it's it's mainly because of
Charles Barkley. Now, it helpsthat they have such great chemistry with each

other, but there is a willingnessto be truthful and unfiltered on that show,
mostly exercised by Charles Barkley. Thatmakes him unique and makes that show
unique and makes what I feel ismust watch television. I don't believe Charles
Barkley when he says he's retiring atthe end of this year, because I've

been and look, if he doeshe does, I selfishly hope he doesn't,
because I think television sports are moreinteresting when you have people like him
who are willing to say if aplayer paid played poorly, who are willing
to say if a team is behavingirresponsibly, Who is willing to say if
a coach stinks, and there's notenough of that on television. There's not
enough people really willing to tell thetruth in sports television and radio. But

I've been you know, like Iremember Charles as a player, very very
vividly, and he was a centralfigure in my formative years as a sports
fan and as a basketball fan.And starting with the year that he and
the Suns lost the NBA Finals,he talked incessantly about how he is gonna
retire. Well, he played sevenmore years, and he has floated retirement

talk often over the course of histwenty five year Emmy Award winning broadcasting career.
So I hope I'm right about this, and if I'm not, that's
fine. I don't think next yearis gonna be Charles Barkley's final season.
He may take some time off.I don't believe for a second that like
retiring from that means Charles Barkley isjust gonna go away. There is no

chance. I don't believe him whenhe says he's gonna retire. And I
heard Gottlieb say right when I wasdoing something for a few minutes earlier,
and Gottleib said he's actually known asjust a really nice, beautiful person,
a really good guy. You know, our guy Tony Pike two years ago
did a show from a golf outingand Charles Barkley was there and he got

him to go on the air,and he talked about how off air he
was very nice, and on airhe was obviously terrific. I think that's
the reputation. It feels like he'savailable to go on pretty much any podcast
or radio show, and uh yeah, and I like that. I but
more than anything, I just Iappreciate his willingness. He talks about basketball

the way a regular fan talks aboutbasketball. You know, he talks.
He doesn't talk down two people.He talks about basketball the way people hanging
out watching games talk about basketball.And so I think he's awesome. But
I don't believe for a second thathe's going to retire. I hope you're
right, I really do it.Usually your predictions are pretty close. Hey,
real quick, you who do youlike tonight schemes? Is tough?

Well, I haven't seenim pitch yet. Well pitch, Yeah, he's must
watch man. He's he's terrific.I've you know, the the outing they
had against the Dodgers. Two startsto go. Now, O Tani got
him the second time up hit aball about four hundred and fifty feet,
but the first time he faced metoyed with him. Now, this is
a guy twenty two years old whowas pitching in college last year, poying

with a dude who many believe isthe best player in the sport. I
can't wait to watch this tonight.I obviously hope he gets roughed up,
but you know just I mean,you're gonna get tonight Ellie versus Paul Skeins,
which baseball fan isn't into that exactly, And then they get it.
Then they get their other best picturedance or more with Heller, right,
Mick Keller, Yes, Mitch Keller, Yes, go Red. You can

do it all right, we'll seeHunter green Is is gonna pitch that game.
I in the Paul Skiens thing.To me, it's taken baseball a
little while, but I feel likesomething they've gotten really good at. Chris
Bryant was the first is the firstexample that comes to mind, is like
they've put a couple of his startson MLB Network. They did this with

Chris Bryant. They put his bigleague debut on like a Friday afternoon.
They shoved aside whatever game they weregonna show, and they showed a Cubs
game, and like, you know, old school, traditional old heads got
mad at that, and it's like, buddy, put your stars on front
and center. Like Caitlin Clark's playedin a billion games here early, they've
mostly been on national television. Nowyou talk about something, I'm fatigued with

the Caitlin Clark discourse. But putPaul Skins on TV every opportunity you can
get. Yeah, they did.That was Steven Strassburg two in twenty ten.
Like whether he ends up being asgood as a lot of people think
or not, he is someone inthe sport that a lot of people are
talking about. And so tonight,Ellie Dela Cruz is going to bat against

Paul Skeens in the first and now, Paul Skans first six starts better than
anything Ellie Dela Cruz is doing.Right now, let's admit that. But
which baseball fan right around six fortyfive tonight isn't going to be locked in
to see what those two do againsteach other. I can't wait. It's
also a reminder, this sport rightnow has an abundance of really good,

fun, young talent. It's fivepoint thirty on ESPN fifteen thirty Cincinnati Sports
Station Cincinnati's ESPR. All Sports Heidelinesare a service of Kelsey Chevrolet Home of
Lifetime powertrain protection and guarantee credit approvalfrom their family to yours for life kelseyshev

dot Com. T Higgins signs aone year contract with the Bengals. He
was named the team's designated Franchise playerback in February. He assigned his one
year tender for the twenty twenty fourseason. Meanwhile, Bengals today announced their
training camp schedule. Their camp willbegin on Wednesday, July the twenty fourth.
The first five practices will be openedexclusively to season ticket members and wait

list members. They'll have ten publicpractices, which means anybody can go.
Those will take place starting Monday,July the twenty ninth. They'll have no
public practices inside the stadium because ofthe concert schedule this summer, and the
Back Together Weekend will be at thepractice field on Sunday, July the twenty

eighth. That also opened exclusively toseason ticket members and wait list members.
Also, the Bengals are gonna beon Hard Knocks, not this summer,
but this season, debuting on Tuesday, December, the third Hard Knocks in
season with the AFC North NFL filmswill chronicle and follow the Bengals, Steelers,
Ravens, and Cleveland Browns. Meanwhile, the Reds are in Pittsburgh tonight

trying to snap a two game losingstreet Carson Spiers will throw for Cincinnati.
Paul Skens for Pittsburgh six forty.Tonight game is live on seven hundred WLW.
If you have not written them downalready, I'm here for you.
Let's take a look at tonight's Redstarting lineup, which is hopefully Madewell thanks
to a Madewell restoration. Be readyfor severe weather with a Madewell pre inspection.

Go to Madwell Restoration dot com.TJ Friedels in center field leading off,
La Tayler Cruise at short, Candelarioat third, Spencer Steer at first
base, Freileyan Wrightler Stevenson is catching, Nick Martini is Dhing India is at
second base, Will Benson in leftfield. Red's did place Christian in Carnacion

Strand on the sixty day injured list. They have added to the forty man
roster Righty Brooks Chrisky Brooks, Chrisky. All Star voting. The latest update
today from Major League Baseball. Elliede la Cruz is currently the third highest
vote getter among shortstops. Now,you heard Mike mention. Over the weekend,
Mookie Betts suffered a broken hand.Fortunately that's not a season ending injury.

It would stand a reason that heis probably not going to be available
in the All Star Game. Whatmight that mean for Ellie? I don't
know, but right now he's thirdamong shortstops in the NL. India Jonathan
India, second among I'm sorry,eighth among second basement Jake Fraley is listed
as the team's designated hitter on theAll Star ballot. He is ninth in

the vote getting in the National LeagueTyler Stevenson tenth among catchers, and Cees
tenth among NL first baseman. Bythe way, a couple of things really
quick. Graham Asscraft made his firstMinor league start for the Louisville Bats this
weekend, and a little bit ofa mixed bag six innings. Gave up
three runs, a homer, walkedcouple, noelve Marte is inching closer to

his return. By the way,so far for Louisville, the results not
grade four for twenty two with sevenstrikeouts. College World Series tonight. These
games in Omaha have been awesome.I got an email here from Clark was
a UK fan, So I saidthis on this show last I think it

was last Monday that I said,look, here's my advice. This is
my advice to any baseball fan,but specifically if you have a team that's
in it. So you know,Kentucky's in the College World Series, my
advice was go to that event.Tickets are relatively inexpensive. It is one
half baseball convention, one half party. Clark says, best advice he's ever

heard someone give on the radio,and he's going to bring me back a
hat. Kentucky and Texas A andM tonight at seven o'clock. Those games
have been college baseball. I willadmit that during the season there's just so
much other stuff going on. Idon't follow it that closely. But once
the tournament begins, and really onceyou get to the super Regionals, there

is something very fun and entertaining aboutthose games that make them not better than
major League Baseball, but just different. Now. I'll also say this,
if you watch a lot of MajorLeague baseball, it stands the reason the
quality of play at the collegiate levelis not going to be as good.
That makes total sense. The differencelike plays that you watch. If you

watch a lot of Major League Baseball, plays that you would expect to be
made once the ball hasn't been hit, when they're not made at the college
level, it could be a littlejarring. It could be a little jarring.
FC Cincinnati coming off there when YuYakubo named the Major League Soccer Player
of the Match Day for Match twenty. This is the first MLS Player of

the Match Day honor in Cubo's career. It's the seventh MLS Player of the
Week match day honor in FC Cincinnatihistory. He had the eighth ever hat
trick by a substitute player, scoringthree goals in less than ten minutes on
Saturday Night in FC Cincinnati's four totwo win over San Jose, NBA Finals
to night Game five in Boston Celtic'sthree to one series lead over Dallas.

They were non competitive in Game four, Game five tonight on ESPN fifteen thirty
and the Columbus Blue Jackets have announcedthat head coach Pascal Vincent is being relieved
of his duties. He's a guywho took over under very unenviable circumstances because

he took over. Mike Babcock hadbeen hired as the head coach, and
then during training camp, right beforetraining camp, reports had surfaced that he
had asked players to see their cellphone pictures, and so right before training
camp started, he left. Heresigned. They hired Pascal Vincent. The
team this year was not very good. They have a new general manager in

Don Waddell. They have had abunch of coaches in a very short amount
of time, and they're now lookingfor another. Pascal Vincent after one season,
relieved of his duties in Columbus.Excuse me, five point three seven
four nine fifteen thirty is our phonenumber. I had one other thing to
mention. Oh, I'm looking atthis on TV right now. It's the

uh thirtieth anniversary of the OJ SimpsonBronco Chase. OJ Simpson passed away what
about two months ago, and soI feel like he has been a little
bit more in the collective conscious ofAmericans over the last few months because his
passing, understandably so caused a lotof people to kind of relive the summer

of ninety four and the verdict inninety five, and just a figure in
an American history that is very noteworthy. And you know, I don't celebrate
at all his football accomplishments because Ibelieve he killed two people. But the
Oj Bronco Chase. We did thistopic, I think during the pandemic when

we had no sports. Twitter forso many of us is such a big
part of our lives, or socialmedia for so many of us is such
a big part of our lives.We did once moments that you wish Twitter
would have been around for. Atthe very top of that list for me,
Oj Bronco Chase June seventeenth, nineteenninety four, happening at the same

time as Game five of the NBAFinals between the Nixon Rockets a Friday night,
like when we did that, andI try to remember some some of
them, like we had Mike Tysonbiting the ear of Evander Holyfield. We
had what I think is the biggestsports up upset in my lifetime, Mike
Tyson losing to Buster Douglas in nineteenninety Jordan's first retirement, the Bartman Game,

Malice in the Palace, the OJVerdict October third, nineteen ninety five,
my eighteenth birthday. But sometimes thereare these events, and there aren't
many things that we all watched togetherat the same time anymore, but there
are these events that just can attimes really bring out the best in people
on social media can currently bringing outthe worst and some other people on social

media. Usually award shows are goodfor this. Super Bowls are good for
this. The OJ Bronco chase wouldhave been wasn't even really a chase would
have been awesome for this. Wedidn't have Twitter. The Internet was really
just getting going. But there isnobody that I have ever talked to who

was alive in June of nineteen ninetyfour that can't tell you specifically where they
were watching that, or how theyfound out it was happening, or what
they were doing. No one,including myself. I was watching Game five
of the NBA Finals at my friendJohn Smithlof's house and by the way,
not happy that OJ was occupying abigger part of the screen than the basketball
game. But if there is oneevent that I wish Twitter would have been

around for. That's what it isthirty years ago tonight. It's on Team
I don't know what channel this isthirty years ago tonight, June seventeenth,
nineteen ninety four. U five pointthree seven four nine fifteen thirty is our
phone number. There was one otherthing, and I can't remember what it
was. We'll get to today's Paulquestions and a few things on the Reds

when we come back on ESPN fifteenthirty Cincinnati Sports Station. Or in such
lopsided fashion, they have now outscoredthe Celtics in this series, even though
they trail three to one. Gamefive Tonight on ESPN fifteen thirty Covered starts
at eight pm in Boston. Celtic'slooking for their first title since two thousand

and eight, which feels like itjust happened yesterday. On Twitter, we
have a poll question thanks to UnitedHeartland Insurance. Those folks can help you
save mo money on your home insurance, your car insurance, or business insurance,
you name it, your life insurance. Go to uhins dot com.

Who should close games for the Reds, Alexis d As or someone else?
Right now? Sixty two point sixpercent of you say someone else. I
I wouldn't mind seeing if Alexis Dascan calm down a little bit pitching in
a different role. But he stillhas to figure things out. They're not

going to move him from closer toa role that has him pitching it mop
up. He's still going to beasked to get high leverage outs. But
I wouldn't mind seeing somebody else takeover the ninth inning in and not simply
because Alexis isn't available. There's justbeen I keep talking about him playing with
fire. He just it feels likehe is playing with fire. I got

a question here about Stuart Fairchild tryingto score. I have no issue trying
to score from second base on thathit yesterday. I look, man,
the Reds are gonna be an aggressiveteam. They're an aggressive team on the
base paths. I've got to hitthe balls in play. Let's see if
they can make a play. Theydid. Credit to them. I don't

have an issue at all sending him. You hate making the third out of
any inning of the plate. Youcertainly hate making the last out of the
game at the plate. But thisteam's going to be aggressive. It's interesting
Stuart Fairschild himself. It feels likethere's been like a thousand times this year
where he has made an out onthe basis. But if you're gonna demand
aggressiveness, if you're gonna want,if you're gonna celebrate aggressiveness, then that

doesn't just happen in the fourth inning. That doesn't just happen when you're winning
by a bunch of runs. It'sgonna happen the game is hanging in the
balance, and it did. Andagain, uh, you know, credit
Bryce Perkins for making the throw,But I don't have an issue at all
with sending him. Don't even reallyhave a a major issue with David Bell
calling on Lucas Sims in the sixthinning. Frankie Montas was fine yesterday,

but not great. I don't knowif he ran out of gas. He
did throw a lot of balls,like balls out of the strike zone yesterday.
Many wondered why not Fernando Cruz wouldn'thave had any issue with Cruz being
the guy with two one and nobodyout in the sixth inning, But look
at that point they needed to gettwelve outs and so they were going to

use more than one relief pitcher,which which means if they were going to
get twelve outs, maybe they usedthe same picture as they did. Also,
Fernando Cruz, as good as hehas been this year, and he's
been terrific, he might be anAll Stars as good as he's been this
year, his last few outings,he's been beaten up a little bit,
So I'm not going to kill himfor that. Not that nothing lead is

insurmountable, it's not. But youhave a three to nothing lead early.
Frankie Montas's previous start was terrible,the one before that was awesome. That's
a game you gotta win, man. And this team has still had a
good month of June. They canstill get to five hundred by the end
of June. I think we'll alltake that. We kind of set that

as the soft goal for this teamat the beginning of the month. Get
to the end of June, whichwould take them through what eighty two games,
and let's be above five hundred andthen go from there, like,
sign me up for that. Baseball'sregular season could not be more watered down.
You've got a bunch of teams thathave dramatically underperformed that are right there
in the wildcard spot. There areI think five teams in the sport right

now could definitively say they're not init. Twenty five could say right now
they are. Now that math maychange by the time we get close to
the deadline. But if you reallywant to seriously contend for the division title,
you don't like coming out of Father'sDay weekend eight games out and still
a lot of teams between you andthe team that leads the division. So

you know this to me, wasyou win that game on Friday that it
kind of felt like they deserve tolose. With the way most of the
ninth inning played out, they gotkind of lucky. You'd like to think
that you can get one of thenext two. They don't, And now
you get Paul Skeins tonight. Now, Paul Skeens is making his seventh big
league start, so let's not talkabout him like we're talking about Randy Johnson

in his prime. But not awhole lot of teams have had much success
putting the ball in play against him. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes,
he doesn't walk a lot of guys. He has struck out forty six
against seven walks in thirty three anda third innings like it's gonna be a
tough task for the Reds tonight,and his presence on the Mounta in Pittsburgh
this evening kind of loomed over thosemiddle innings yesterday, and that was just

can you imagine how we would havefelt today had they found out a way
to win that game, whether itbe coming from behind to win or just
holding on to the three nothing thelead and making that lead stay, making
that lead stick. Can you imaginewhat winning two out of three, which
you know certainly wouldn't have guaranteed youanything, would have put you just six

games at a first place. Butcan you imagine what it would have felt
like having watched the Reds win twoout of three this weekend instead of losing
the next two after winning that ballgameon Friday night? And look at the
math too. I mean, youcould talk about how many games out of

the Wildcard they are, and youcan discuss the GB number in the division
for the Reds, which is rightnow eight. I do this every single
year, and I've done it abunch of times this year. I make
it about getting to a certain number. I think let's just operate under the
assumption that the last wildcard team isgonna need eighty five wins. Now,
that was not the case last year. The Diamondbacks made it with eighty four

wins. But if we make itabout eighty five, there are less than
one hundred games remaining. The Redsare gonna have to win fifty one out
of their next ninety one, andthat's just to get to eighty five.
Eighty five will probably not get itdone. In the NL Central, that's
probably gonna be a number close toninety. Let's says say it's the ninety.

Let's move each number five ways.That wouldn't mean they have to go
fifty six and thirty five to getto ninety wins twenty one over five hundred
over their final ninety one games.So yeah, it's it's early ish,
but we're closing in on the midwaypart of the season. Losing two out
of three to Milwaukee isn't a backbreaker, but man would have been nice to

go to Pittsburgh with a measure ofmomentum, and six games at a first
place just feels at least a littlebit different than eight games at a first
place. The music is playing,which means we're done follow on x at
Moek. Paul Danner's off this week, so we're not going to have him
tomorrow in the three o'clock hour,but we'll still do a show and we'll
still do our best to make itgood. Thanks to Tarran Bland for producing,

Thanks to you for listening. We'llbe back tomorrow at three oh five.
My name is Malwegar. Have agreat night. Don't forget Austin has
since he three sixty tomorrow at noon. This is the official home of the
Bengals ESPN fifteen thirty Cincinnati Sports Station. This report is sponsored by Mattress Firm.

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