Did you happen to stay up late for WLWT’s “Sports Rock” last night? If you’re not one of those lucky people like me who works weird hours and you had to get up Monday morning, you probably missed it. In which case I’m sorry. Because transcribing what Jeff Ruby – cantankerous and unpredictable local restaurant owner, sports fan and long-time friend of the Reds (from Sparky Anderson to Dusty Baker) as well as other sports personalities – said during “Sports Rock” doesn’t quite do it justice.
George Vogel and Ken Broo MUST know what they’re getting into when they have Ruby on. It’s not quite Charlie Sheen appearing on “The View,” but it’s close. Anyway, suffice it to say Ruby was dishing them out last night, and Ken Broo was taking them.
At one point just a couple of minutes into the show, Broo accused Ruby of prematurely comparing Andy Dalton to Boomer Esiason. Didn’t go over so well. Here was the delightfully awkward exchange (bear with me, I realize this part of the post isn’t Reds-related, but it was the most memorable exchange of the show):
Ruby: Dalton, he’s a rookie. He’s a second-round pick like Boomer was. He’s the real deal and he’s gonna be good.
Broo (interrupting): Oh, now he’s Boomer. After 4 games, he’s Boomer.
JR: I JUST SAID … he’s a second-round pick like Boomer was.
KB: You said Boomer …
JR: Kenny Anderson … all their good quarterbacks were second-round picks, OK??
KB: Don’t put the heat on the kid just yet.
JR: I’M NOT PUTTING THE HEAT ON HIM! I’M TELLING YOU IT’S GONNA TAKE TIME, YOU HEAR ME?
KB: OK, well you said Boomer-
JR: I just said give him time! … (to Broo) You’re not there yet either.
Later in the show, when Broo and Ruby got confrontational again, Broo said, “Don’t hit me please. Please don’t hit me.”
During the show, Ruby also uncorked …
• A Louis Prima and Keely Smith reference (lost on his younger co-panelists) when Akili Smith’s name was mentioned.
• That he attended the La Salle-Moeller game with Rey Maualuga, but that he wasn’t “dropping names.”
• A brief Jeff Wyler impression first thing out of a break, as if he maybe didn’t know they were back from break.
• That Ced Benson had a big game on Sunday because “Si Leis was chasing him.”
• That in college football, Penn State doesn’t travel to Temple every season because “maybe they’re not Jewish.” “If they’re not Jewish,” Ruby added, “they’re going to go to church. Why would they go to Temple?”
Wow. Anyway, Ruby dominated time of possession, and here were his comments about the Reds, which came at the very end of the show.
“Dusty told me not to tell you anything anymore. I got in trouble for that last time.”
(And on what to do about Votto vs. Alonso, which John Fay just wrote about)
Ruby (to “Sports Rock” panelist Andy Pierce): “How do you know Alonso’s gonna be so good?! What in the name of Wily Mo Pena makes you think he’ll be so good?? Wily Mo Pena was gonna be the next Willie Stargell. … You don’t know what Alfonso, Alonso, whatever is gonna do!”
In conclusion, Ruby is a character, that’s for sure. And there are plenty of characters who say outlandish things on TV and radio, no doubt, but not usually in that type of forum. You usually get one or two of several polished former Bengals and/or former high school or college coaches and you know exactly what to expect. Your only chance for comic relief is some yayhoo calling in and pretending to ask a question before breaking into “Dil-do, dil-do, dil-do” before they cut him off.
Not the case when Ruby is on, that’s for sure. I found it refreshing, in an awkward way.