The Broo View: Hamilton County chose not to play Major League Soccer's game

If the Hamilton County Commissioners can figure out a way to spend $75 million on a parking garage, I'm guessing at least 150 Tri-State businesses are interested in taking the job.

The fact is, they can't and they know they can't. And they have no interest in funding -- through any tax relaxation or blessing -- another stadium.

Period.

Politically, Commissioner Todd Portune was brilliant at Wednesday's news conference. But practicality is another matter.

What he did, for himself and the two other Hamilton County Commissioners, is provide cover for themselves. They want to work with FC Cincinnati to find a way to get a franchise in Major League Soccer, but don't want any part of funding to come from taxpayers.

They offered Paul Brown Stadium as their first choice for an FC Cincinnati MLS home. Of course they would. We're already paying that off and will be until your great-great granddaughter has her first child. Why not use that?

Except MLS has already told every potential expansion candidate city that a standalone soccer field is a must. Unless you've moved into a palace recently -- like the Atlanta Falcons have -- and unless you have the same owner for both your football team and soccer team, you'd better have something concrete. As in pouring concrete for a new soccer only facility.

Paul Brown Stadium is closing in on 20 years, so it's hardly new. And it has all the charm of, well, a parking garage.

So maybe in the mind of Portune and his teammates, this makes sense. Using an existing facility that's in business maybe 15 days a year for a franchise other than the Bengals makes sense to a lot of us.

Except... (see the above exception.)

When you want to join an exclusive club, you join at the pleasure of the other members, adhering to their rules. If you do, welcome to the club -- maybe. If you don't, please move aside because Nashville and Sacramento need to get through the door.

Is it municipality blackmail? Only if you choose to play.

Is it corporate welfare? Yes it is. And there are few cities that don't engage in that. It's called playing the game, and you either choose to or not. 

The Hamilton County Commissioners on Wednesday chose not to play the game. Can you fault them? The general manager of FC Cincinnati publicly called them out on Tuesday. Maybe that was good, in the sense that it brought the issue of county involvement to a head. If so, then FC Cincinnati had to be ready for the reaction it got. 

They'll play the game with Hamilton County, for a short while. My guess is, they'll have to sign off on the Newport site within the next two weeks.

Newport has been patient through all of this; it wants to be the place the MLS calls home. And it's been my experience in life that you should run to the one who loves you, not try to convince someone to like you. You'll waste a lot of time doing that and FC Cincinnati doesn't have a lot of that.

Now, some random thoughts on this random Thursday:

Marvin Lewis was asked at his Wednesday news conference if there would be a benefit to giving A.J. McCarron playing time late in the year.

"I don't think so, not if Andy (Dalton) continues to play well and do things right, the way we want him to do, take care of the ball, run the offense the way we expect him to run it."

Translation: Dalton is his guy and if Marvin goes down with the ship this year, it'll be with Dalton.

And unless you believe that there is a bigger payoff for McCarron than what the Browns offered last month, why play him? You know now that his value is a second- and third-round draft pick. Is playing him, beyond need, on a bad football team (which presumably the Bengals would be if they're going to bench their starting quarterback) going to increase his value? Well, maybe. But likely, no.

Is playing McCarron if the Bengals are 5-7 going to save the season? No.

The time to have made a switch at quarterback would have been when they switched offensive coordinators or during a bye week.  

In the meantime, Lewis had no praise for John Ross, who against the Titans showed again he's not NFL-ready.

"John had a play last week that we weren't very thrilled with," the coach said with a slight smile.

Ross broke off a route against the Titans that might have turned into a big gain. Clearly, Lewis has lost patience with Ross.

"He let his teammates down, he let me down, he let Andy down. Maybe that ball's not supposed to go there in that coverage. But if you do it right and you run like you can run, that ball can go there and it can be a big play for us."

What's really troubling is that after some solid drafts starting seven years ago, the Bengals have taken first-round picks who've either been slow to develop (Darqueze Dennard, Dre Kirkpatrick) or seeming busts (Cedric Ogbuehi). The Bengals are hoping Ross falls into the former camp, rather than the latter.

Why aren't the Broncos playing better? A little insight here.

It's all fun and games until someone loses their job. But a little coaching speculation here, courtesy of profootballtalk.com.

So the Reds are getting "interest" from other teams for Billy Hamilton and Raisel Iglesias? I'd trade either one of them, in a heartbeat, if it made the team better -- like starting pitching better.

Hamilton's defense is stellar, Golden Glove good despite the voting this year. But he can't lead off. Period. So he's a seven hole hitter with a lot of speed and good defense.

Iglesias pitched well this season, saving 28 of 30 opportunities. But saves are an overrated metric, IMHO. You first have to have save opportunities for a closer to be most effective. Thirty in one season is hardly a robust number. But my guess is, both Hamilton and Iglesias are with the team come spring training.

Forty-three years ago today, this was the No. 1 song in the USA, the only No. 1 song in the solo career of John Lennon.

Lennon was a night owl and an inveterate viewer of late-night television. Living in Manhattan, Lennon became hooked on a show hosted by New York City evangelist, Reverend Ike, who liked to use the phrase.

Lennon, in a now-famous Thanksgiving night concert at Madison Square Garden, played this song with Elton John joining him on stage. It was the last concert Lennon performed as a solo artist. The song appeared on his album "Walls and Bridges."

His longtime friend, Klaus Voorman is on bass guitar. Jim Keltner, a very much in-demand session drummer is on this song. 

But the featured player is the saxophonist, Bobby Keys. If there was any song that called for a sax player in the '60s or '70s, and his name wasn't Clarence Clemons, it was Bobby Keys. He's the same guy who did a ton of work with the Rolling Stones. The song "Brown Sugar"? That's Keys on sax. And this was the No. 1 song in the U.S., 43 years ago today.

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