Fantasy sports bring out the worst in me, and that's why it is with great excitement that I tell the two losers who regularly read my illustrious column that my fantasy sports franchise, Hoagy Time Ltd., will be throwing it's hat in the ring and entering the rarified air of fantasy baseball this year.
Jay Bruce hit .234 with two home runs in his first 77 at-bats through April 25. At the time I asked, “Will the Real Jay Bruce Please Stand Up?” Six weeks later the Reds’ right fielder is hitting .292 with an NL-leading 17 home runs and 46 RBI.
I guess he answered my question. Or has he?
Coach Mick Cronin, who seems to have been taking media savvy courses at the Marvin Lewis School of Petulance (speaking of, will he be back with the Bengals next year?), was his usual perplexing self when analyzing what the ranking means to him and his team.
Not a lot of time, and nothing much to say. Sometimes, that's just how it goes. Perhaps I'm too pissed at Chien Ming Wang. I don't know if my fantasy league is punishing pitchers too much or if Mr. Wang has truly been that bad (I suspect he has), but to get -20 points or worse for his first two outings is, as Charles Barkley would say, "Turble."
It's the time of year to act like you know what's going to happen in baseball this season, because you are smart. Usually, most of the picks you make will be wrong, but such is life. I doubt I will end up forecasting a Royals vs. Pirates World Series ... or that a team will sign Barry Bonds.
Pitchers and catchers reported to the Reds’ spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., over the weekend, which means we are only days away from hearing about how awesome the team’s dudes are looking or how quickly they get hurt and have to sit out, leaving us to wonder if they’ll be ready by Opening Day. (March baseball involves a lot of speculation.)
The Reds will open camp with one of the most talented rosters they’ve had in the last 15 years, as General Manager Walt Jocketty added considerable muscle to the pitching staff during the offseason. New Reds to keep an eye on include:
• Starting pitcher Mat Latos, who is expected to be the team’s No. 2 behind Johnny Cueto;
• Sean Marshall, one of baseball’s best left-handed relievers last season;
• Closer Ryan Madson, who the Reds picked up late in the offseason in a team-friendly one-year deal.
The first two mentioned, Latos and Marshall, were acquired via trade of prospects, which demonstrates a dedication by Reds’ management to make a run at another division title (and perhaps more) during the final two years of former MVP Joey Votto’s contract. (See CityBeat sports columnist C. Trent Rosecrans’ Jan. 24 take in “Reds Try to Win Now Without Breaking the Bank.”)
Soon the offseason speculation will give way to preseason hype, as young, no-name guys start hitting .400 during practice games and veterans post high ERAs because they’re practicing specific pitches instead of trying to get everyone out. There will be tons of reports from Goodyear, such as “Bob Castellini Talks Reds, Baseball" and “Roster Projection.”
Before we know it, we will have casually followed weeks of the Reds playing America’s summer game in sunny Arizona, which will distract us from the fact that we still have at least another month of crappy weather before we can enjoy the unofficial start of springtime and Reds’ Opening Day on April 5.
Until then, enjoy the pretend summertime in the highlights and mass influx of information from the team’s month-long practice session. And if you need even more sports speculation, trade rumors and contract talk, here’s a sweet site dedicated to re-reporting everything it can find on your favorite team: mlbtraderumors.com.
The Cincinnai Bengals are back at it again with their recent signing of troubled cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones. Jones agreed to a two-year deal with the club on Thursday, making the Bengals his third team in his short and troubled NFL career.
Thankfully, the Bengals made sure to include language in the contract to protect themselves in case Jones decides to get into any off the field trouble. Tom Hunter, Jones' agent, told The Associated Press on Thursday night that the deal would be signed on either Friday or Monday.
Jones, who did not play during the 2009 season, was suspended for six games in 2008 while playing for the Dallas Cowboys and was suspended the entire 2007 season, both due to his off the field issues that violated the league’s player conduct policy.
The Bengals may have added Jones in hopes that he will add depth to the cornerback position while possibly showing flashes of his Tennessee Titans days. Jones is a gifted athlete and is only 26, although it has yet to be seen if he can keep a level head off the field and clean up his act.
The Bengals feature one of the better cornerback duos in the league in Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph. Coming off the bench are two young and gifted prospects in Morgan Trent and this year’s third round pick from Wake Forest, Brandon Ghee. Jones will be hard pressed to make the team, especially if there are any doubts that he will be a distraction come training camp.
This signing comes to no surprise due to the Bengals’ recent history of troubled stars and giving players multiple chances. At the same time, I highly doubt that anyone expected Adam Jones to end up on this squad. I question why the front office would go out and bring in another distraction of this magnitude. With the recent success and big outlook on this upcoming season, the Bengals don’t need to take any risks. Then again, if bringing in Matt Jones after a cocaine possession charge wasn’t enough excitement for Bengals fans, this just might be the icing on the cake. Let’s just hope that Marvin Lewis can control this bunch for one more year.
UC entered the game as the second-best 3-point shooting team by percentage – 36 percent – and the most 3-pointers made with 203 on the year. This theme continued as the ‘Cats went 11-27 from behind the arc including eight in the first half. Cashmere Wright fueled the 3-point barrage as he nailed a career-best, six long balls. Louisville on the other hand struggled mightily from behind the arc finishing the game 1-14.
Big man Gorgui Dieng finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Cardinals. Peyton Siva added 14 points and 4 assists in the Louisville loss. Louisville fell to 9-6 in the Big East while UC improved to 10-5. Both teams have three conference games remaining.
Only weeks away from Selection Sunday, the Bearcats should guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament with another win in the last three games. Xavier, on the other hand, needs to win out and have some results go their way if they want to make the Big Dance.
A sloppy evening from the Muskies combined with a outstanding performance by Massachusetts’ guard Chaz Williams led to an easy win for the Minutemen. Xavier turned the ball over 20 times and could not compensate for the career-high 29 points from Williams, including six 3-pointers. Xavier had four players score double-digits and Dez Wells led the way with 19 points, but Wells also led Xavier with 6 turnovers.
The Musketeers' remaining schedule includes two sub .500 teams in Charlotte and Richmond and a trip to second-place Saint Louis — which beat Xavier by five at the Cintas Center back on Jan. 25.
It was a disappointing week for both UC and Xavier as the past seven days have seen the teams go a combined 0-4. While both teams faced tough opposition I would have expected both to at least earn one win out of the two games they played.
Everyone’s heard of the “Madden Curse,” the seemingly inevitable downfall of any athlete who appears on the cover of EA Sports’ Madden-series video game. It’s the ultimate irony that the best player one season keeps having his next season ruined. How many years in a row can a new player be the best in the game?
CityBeat didn’t mean to contribute to the unfortunate weekend performances of the Bearcat and Bengal football teams when it put them on its Dec. 16 cover. All we were saying with our story, “Reversal of Fortune,” was that both teams’ great seasons meant even more success in the future. We didn’t mean to curse anyone. So we’re sorry if we did.