As if I didn't like the Phillies enough to start, my idiotic choice to dump one of their closers cost Hoagy Time a much-needed victory this week. Brad Lidge went on the DL, and I figured Ryan Madson would be an adequate stopgap solution. Minus-21 points later, I'm a loser again.
Last week’s win over Louisville has gone a long way toward
moving the Bearcats off the NCAA Tournament bubble and into the 10-seed area of
most projections. A win at South Florida last Sunday would have all-but-secured
the invitation, but the dudes lost by a point on the road, 46-45.
[UPDATE: The Bearcats whooped on Marquette, 72-61; here's the AP recap: Cincinnati halts No. 7 Marquette to pad resume.]
Tonight UC will welcome No. 7 Marquette to Fifth Third Arena under a bunch of weird circumstances: Marquette kicked the crap out of the Bearcats 95-78 on Feb. 11, and it’s Senior Night for a couple of UC players who aren’t used to being trampled so badly (at least not in recent years).
Here’s what Yancy and Dion told The Enquirer’s Bill Koch yesterday.
“You know that it’s Senior Night and we feel it,” Gates said, “but I think we’ll feel it more when we get on the court tomorrow. Right now, our focus is so much on we need this win that we really don’t have time to sit back and think, ‘Oh, tomorrow’s Senior Night.’ ”
“I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow,” Dixon said. “We’re just trying to focus on getting this win. That’s the main thing.”
After tonight, the Bearcats have one remaining regular-season game, at Villanova on Saturday. Assuming they can’t handle the rematch with Marquette, they’ll really need to beat Villanova to avoid entering the Big East tournament on a three-game losing streak. If they were to drop their first tournament game after that, they’d be sitting at 20-12 on Selection Sunday with a real ugly RPI.
One win out of UC’s remaining regular-season schedule or in the Big East tournament should be enough to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season. But a win over South Florida last Sunday probably would have assured it as well.
It is under such circumstances that two of Mick Cronin’s most influential recruits take the court tonight for their final home game. Gates is a hometown player who chose UC over Ohio State, West Virginia and Xavier, among others, and has traveled a fairly up-and-down road during his four years. Gates surely wants to end his senior season on a high note after the Crosstown Shootout fiasco, which threatens to overshadow his years of hard work and importance to Mick Cronin’s rebuilding effort at UC. Gates currently ranks 17th on UC’s career scoring list and is the only Bearcat to ever lead his team in rebounding four straight seasons.
Dixon came to UC from a Chicago public school where he used to jam on a bunch of high schoolers. He’s contributed every year, as his 1,183 career points show — good for 27th all-time at UC. Dixon’s versatility has been a huge help to Cronin, who has used Dion as a shooting guard and point guard during various parts of his career. And Dion tries to thump it on people even though he’s just a little too small to do it all the time. We still really appreciate that.
After everything this year’s team — and these two seniors, specifically — has been through, tonight is surely going to be an energetic and emotional night down at The Shoe. Hopefully the ’Cats can hang with Marquette — securing an NCAA Tournament-securing win on Senior Night would be a beautiful way for the careers of these two players to end.
A new book set for release Tuesday called League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth is set to challenge the NFL and their denial of a connection between concussions and football.
Written by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, investigative reporters for ESPN, the book claims the NFL has not only known about the connection between concussions in the NFL and long-term brain injuries for about 20 years, but the league has been actively trying to cover up these facts.
The suicides of Junior Seau as well as former NFL players such as the Bears’ David Duerson and the Eagles’ Andre Waters have brought this issue to the forefront of players’ and fans’ minds. All three players are thought to have suffered severe brain damage from injuries while playing football, all of which lead to their unfortunate suicides.
The NFL has claimed for years they had no knowledge of any relation between the brain injuries sustained from concussions and the deaths of professional players. Even in the face of a recent lawsuit from players, the league held firm to their stance.
The league did settle the recent lawsuit out of court for $765 million, and many questions were raised asking if the league has been honest with how much they know about the possible link between concussions and football.
For a long time, concussions in the professional level of football were not seen as a big issue because no one knew of the long-term effects. Former New York Jets defensive lineman Marty Lyons talked with Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com where he described his own sideline concussion experience.
Lyons said whenever a player would come off the field, the physician would hold up some fingers, ask how many and, despite the player’s answer, the physician said, “Close enough.” A couple plays later, or even the next play, the player would find themselves on the field once again.
“That wasn’t the doctors or trainers saying, ‘You’re OK,’” Lyons said in the interview. “I’m not saying the league didn’t know, I’m not saying the players didn’t know. It was part of the game.”
According to the authors of League of Denial, the cover-up of how much the NFL knew about the connection started when the former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue created a concussion committee in 1994 to better understand the effects of concussions on players. A few members of the committee came forward in 1995 saying concussions were not “minor injuries” as previously thought. These claims were quickly hushed by the NFL.
Another claim the book makes is that around 2000, some of the country’s top neuroscientists told the NFL the big hits in football, especially those considered head-to-head, led to not only concussions, but also what is known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Some of the symptoms of CTE are higher rates of depression, dementia, memory loss and brain damage.
The NFL, rather than publishing these findings and telling players of the potential harm, made no such effort and tried to ignore the facts.
Then in 2005, the authors report the NFL tried to persuade a medical journal to retract articles and findings on concussions and their effects on individuals. The journal in question refused and the findings continued to circulate without interference.
The authors spoke with Dr. Ann McKee, a former assistant professor of neuropathology at Harvard Medical School and one of the leading professionals on the link between football and brain damage, who said of the 54 harvested brains of deceased NFL players, only two did not have CTE.
However, all of these findings are not just exclusive to professional football. Youth, high school and college football players are also at a high risk for concussions.
A report from 2007 titled “Concussions Among United States High School and Collegiate Athletes,” found that about 300,000 people aged 15 to 24 suffered traumatic brain injuries every year from contact sports. This number is only second to brain injuries sustained from motor vehicle accidents.
This same study also found of the total number of concussions from other collegiate sports, including boys’ and girls’ soccer and basketball, football was responsible for more than 40 percent of the concussions.
Concussions in high school sports have even led to the death of young athletes. Jaquan Waller and Matthew Gfeller are two football players who died in North Carolina after head injuries sustained during high school games this season.
A study from the University of Pittsburgh found that over the past decade, 30-40 high school football players have died from concussions, and the likelihood of contact sport athletes to receive a concussion is 19 percent.
Changes are coming to the NFL, however, most notably in the minds of players. Bengals’ cornerback Brandon Ghee received two concussions in back-to-back preseason games against the Falcons and Titans. Ghee was forced to take a five-week break from contact because of these injuries.
In an interview with The Enquirer, Ghee said if it weren’t for the recent deaths and lawsuit, he would have wanted to go back to play immediately. Now though, he’s not so sure. “After the second one you have to think about your kids and family,” Ghee said in the interview. “You don’t want any long-lasting issues.”
Today is one of those days where it's hard to imagine any activity being more appropriate than baseball. Hopefully, Reds fans flock to the stadium tonight, and the rest of this homestand.
Y’all done fucked up. If you think UC is going to finish 11th in the conference this year, you're dumber than Roy Bright.
As the World Series draws to a close, ending another baseball season, I can’t help thinking about the place the game has in my life. And it’s not because the franchise I’ve rooted for my entire life, the Philadelphia Phillies, is one win from claiming the championship ... although that feels pretty special.
For many of us, baseball is a passion that’s difficult to explain rationally.
Mayor Mark Mallory says there is no room for debate over whether or not Cincinnatians should keep supporting the Bengals. He's going to hang out before Sunday's game against Pittsburgh and grill food and act like he's one of us. The concept got Mr. Mayor laughed at by reporters at his weekly news conference yesterday. And what's worse, it wasn't even sports reporters who were laughing at him — it was the regular city dork reporters!
It's pretty bad when a team is 0-6 and its fans are again selling their tickets for below market value like it's 2001 and Akili Smith is the starting quarterback. The Bengals' brief brush with respectability is long gone now, as evidenced by the very small amount of football knowledge one must have in order to make the following positive assumption: The Bengals fucking suck.
It's really quite hilarious how badly the organization has messed up an opportunity to draft quality linemen around their talented skill players who led the team to its only playoff appearance in the last 15 years. But this is a discussion (or a joke) for another day. Why should we even bother?
That's why it's nice for Mayor Mallory to step in and give us something else to laugh about. On Sunday Paul Brown Stadium will be at lest half-filled with Pittsburgh fans, and it's because their organization, team and city is better than ours. Mallory showing up to tailgate is just another embarrassing footnote in the story of Cincinnati sports history.
I'm sorry to do it, but I must quote a good friend whose self-hate reached an all-time high after the Bengals missed numerous kicks that would have sent them to the playoffs during the final week of 2006: "We're all just a bunch of fucking losers."
Good work Mallory. Now you're included.
Are you a Northside or Clifton resident who finished his or her last final of Winter Quarter yesterday? Then you have about two hours to hop on your bike and cruise down to City Hall at 1:30, when Councilman Greg Harris will unveil a proposal for a Spring Grove Avenue bike route.
With major street improvement projects scheduled to begin this spring, Harris and his bike friends will try to get their tiny slice of the action in the form of a two-mile recreational lane connecting Clifton, West End, Northside, Camp Washington and Downtown.
The motion will be formally introduced after the press conference in the Vibrant Neighborhoods Committee meeting at 2 p.m., but you can ride your bike somewhere else if you want to.
Queen City Bike has much more on the proposal here.
Are you too scared of ice skating to play hockey? Too old to play soccer? Too lazy to keep the floors of your home free of dust and debris? Regularly thirsty for adult beverages during dark, cold January evenings? If so, the Fountain Square Broomball League could solve all your problems (unless one is alcoholism — 3CDC doesn't promise to cure that).
The Penn State student-run newspaper, Onward State, over the weekend wrongly reported that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had died, leading CBS News and the Huffington Post to publish his obituary. Paterno, who died early Sunday morning, was still alive when Onward State “broke” the story. The managing editor of the student paper has since resigned while CBS and HuffPost have not yet taken laid the blame of the wrongly reported story.
This is not the
first time such a big media outlet has made an error — remember NPR
falsely reporting the death of Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords? Those who have put their faith
in new media as a means of obtaining the news should be crying out
for precautionary steps to be taken to avoid such a faux pas. Like
fact-checking, for one.
Or they can simply rely on The Onion to report things the way they are: "Joe Paterno Dies In Hospital; Doctors Promise To Tell Their Superiors First Thing Tomorrow."