Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dog Days? These Days Are Great!

So August brings about the dog days but in Cincinnati these are some big days.  The Reds continue to tear it up and the Western and Southern Open brought a blur of action from morning to night.  If you think about the things this city has going for it from a sports standpoint, it's mighty impressive.  This year has been incredible.  The usual events plus Barry Larkin going into the Hall of Fame last month and several ties to the Summer Olympics in London.  A guy like me had plenty to do this year and that is a good thing.

And what about those Reds?  Look, I was first in line saying I wanted to see Aroldis Chapman become a starting pitcher.  But it appears he's become such a force in the closer role that it will be hard to take him out of that role.  Especially if the Reds keep getting this kind of production from the starting staff.  And give Dusty credit, he has brought in Chapman before the ninth inning when it has been warranted.  I wasn't sure that was going to happen.

Just when you thought the Big East was dead!  Hiring Mike Aresco from CBS Sports as the news commissioner could be a Godsend to the conference.  Having Aresco shepherd this conference through the upcoming television contract negotiations is huge.  You have to give U.C. President Gregory Williams a ton of credit for helping make it happen.  Aresco is a guy who used to sit on the other side of the table, who knows all of the tricks, knows what the deals are worth, and knows how to make them worth even more.  The Big East is facing the most critical media contract negotiations any conference has faced.  It will make or break the future of the Big East.  The Big East has to be feeling a lot better about that now than it did a week ago.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back In Business

Or I should say "Welcome Back" to myself.  If you can through our website WLWT.COM you noticed some changes.  Our blogs were down for awhile, then the whole Cooperstown thing came with Barry Larkin, and I'll be brutally honest, I forgot the blogs were back up and running.  I'm forgetful like that. 

While diving back into this, I must publicly send my condolences to Ken Broo and his family.  Ken lost his wife, Jackie, after a four and a half year battle with cancer.  Jackie was always friendly and upbeat and quite a media-savvy person in her own right.  Our community lost a great asset and citizen, so please keep the Broo family in your thoughts and prayers.

A couple of other notes that pale in comparison to the previous paragraph.
This isn't going out on a limb, but I really believe the Reds will be in the World Series.  No way they can keep up the recent pace of piling up wins, but they have come of age here lately.  Ryan Ludwick has broken loose and Drew Stubbs is putting the ball in play.  Will that last?  Maybe they stay red-hot, but the pitcing staff and the return of Votto should overcome any downturn.  There is mild concern here for the pitching holding up, but with the hammers they have in the bullpen, I love the chances.

I had a chance to see a basketball practice in Clifton last week.  The Bearcats basketball team is going to surprise some people.  The highly respected Mike DeCoursey has the 18th in The Sporting News early rankings.  After what I witnessed, they could be better than that.  Many local folks think it is rebuilding time with Yancy Gates gone.  He was the best inside weapon offensively the past few seasons.  But they have more than enough scorers elsewhere to pick up the slack.  They will run and gun and go 10 deep.  Add David Nyarsuk as an August pickup for depth and I see a team that can cause a lot of headaches. 

The Bengals get it going with a preseason game this weekend.  This team should improve, but how much?  I think they will need to improve to make the playoffs again because the schedule appears stout.  Usually you don't learn a whole lot in preseason, but I think we might be able to pickup a little about this team in the practice game.  If the linebackers get better and Taylor Mays is really the answer at safety, I can see this team making a nice run.  Marvin is right about the wide receivers.  Yeah, maybe they don't have a clear-cut stud at number two, but receivers 2-6 have a chance to be very good, giving the team a lot of options for Andy Dalton as he progresses through his second season.

Yeah, I know, a lot of optimism this time.  I'll try to come up with something negative in the next day or so.