As the college basketball season started,
many predicted the Xavier Musketeers would finish the season in the
Final Four. And that’s still a possibility — but nobody predicted this
would be the ride. Winners of their first seven games,
including wins at Vanderbilt and Butler, the Musketeers were living up
to their billing and were ranked No. 8 in the country.
The University of Cincinnati’s conference
future is beginning to look a lot like its conference past, and that’s
not a good thing. Last week Memphis accepted a bid to the
new-look Big East, which is suddenly starting to resemble the old
Following in the footsteps of Frank
Robinson, Josh Hamilton could forever be the one who got away from the
Reds. But the reason Hamilton was deemed expendable (wrongly, in
retrospect) keeps popping up, while Robinson’s exile is still a mystery.
Before Kenyon Martin’s leg snapped in
Memphis and before Carson Palmer met Kimo von Oelhoffen,
the injury that led to a million “what ifs” in Cincinnati was Greg
Cook’s golden right shoulder. Cook, the former Bengal and Bearcat quarterback, died last week at the age of 65.
For many years around here we’ve been
told to be patient, and now, seemingly out of nowhere, this team is no
longer patient. This team is going to win — this year and next. After
that, Joey Votto’s gone and who knows what happens.
Cincinnati has every right to call itself
one of the great baseball towns in the United States — it’s the
birthplace of the ﬁrst professional team. But
currently there are no members of the Baseball Hall of Fame born and
raised in Cincinnati. That will change on July 22 when Barry Larkin is
enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y.
There’s nothing quite like the dilemma of
the Bengals fan, where optimism is always tinged with cynicism born of
years of false hope, false idols and false promise. Once again, things
should be looking up and yet there’s the lingering memories of false
starts in the past.
The tennis tournament now known as the Western & Southern Open has existed in Cincinnati in one form or another for 112 years, which (arguably) makes it the oldest in the United States still played in its original city. The tournament regularly features the best the players in the world — look for defending champion Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to continue their heated rivalry, and it looks as though the oft-injured Williams sisters will even play this year.
Cincinnati sports fans are justifiably skeptical of their teams’ yearly promises of greatness. Our recent sports history has left many with a “believe it when we see it” philosophy when it comes to local teams’ on-field success. But when Jay Bruce’s rocket-laser walk-off home run against the Astros on Sept. 28, 2010, caromed off the batter’s-eye pavilion in center field, Great American Ball Park exploded into the greatest celebration in its short history.
Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes' entrance to the plate at Great American Ballpark is much like you'd expect: hard guitars, harder drums and completely lacking in subtlety or artistry. "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback plays as he walks to the plate and, sure, Nickelback sucks, but they put butts in seats and so do home runs.
While attending a game at Great American Ballpark has always been a good time, it's likely to be more enjoyable this summer since the team's rebuilding plan has started to show signs of fruition. The Reds' future, which has seemed bright for years, actually appears to be now.
It takes a special human being to be a Cincinnati sports fan. Unless you're a masochist, the better part of the last two decades has not only been disappointing but also profoundly embarrassing. The demise of hometown hero Pete Rose was just the opening salvo in a decline that's only now beginning to show signs of relief.
Fantasy football drafts. Tailgating. Running your mouth. There are many great aspects to this narrow season between face-melting heat and bone-chilling cold called we call Autumn. In many ways sports come to mind when mentally tallying the good things about fall. What Thanksgiving would be complete without you and your weakarmed relatives throwing wobbly passes back and forth in the yard?
The "LeBron vs. Kobe" NBA Finals are on the back burner for at least another year while the Cleveland Cavaliers figure out how to surround their star with championship support. In today's NBA, it turns out, no one can do it alone, not even LeBron James. It appears Kobe Bryant will beat James to the title, which shouldn't be too surprising. Bryant has a better team around him.
Joey Votto's problem for the last month was a deficiency in the resources athletes can often tap to beat aches, pains and pulls. He's struggled with dizziness after an inner ear infection and flu limited him to three full games in a 17-game stretch last month. The Reds put Votto on the 15-day disabled list May 31 due to "stress-related" issues. Addressing whether the ear infection is involved, General Manager Walt Jocketty told reporters, "It's partly that. Let’s leave it at that."