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by Armond Prude 04.30.2010
at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Celtics vs. Cavaliers: The Sequel

The NBA Finals might be weeks away, but a rematch of last year’s NBA semifinals matches familiar faces. Here are four things to ponder during the Celtics-Cavs series before — presumably — one team continues its advancement to the Finals.

Celtics vs. LeBron James
The most current concern in the city of Cleveland is if the elbow of reigning MVP LeBron James will be ready to go on Saturday night for Game 1. His elbow was tweaked as he came down on it after contesting the layup of Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Thus far, LeBron says that he will be ready to go Saturday and is for the most part 100 percent. LeBron has had great person success this season and in the past against the Celtics. In four regular-season games this year, he averaged 36.5 points, 8.3 assists and 6.5 rebounds. This may be James' year to win it all as he is not only coming off one of his better statistical regular seasons, but has the players around him to take on anything the rest of the NBA decides to bring his way.

Cleveland’s new starting lineup and depth off the bench
The 2010 Cavaliers have been completely upgraded from the 2008 team that was defeated in the Eastern Conference Championship by the Celtics. Not only does the starting lineup come with a completely new look, but the firepower that the Cavs produce off the bench is what makes this year’s team heavily favored to make a championship appearance. The starting lineup now features Moe Williams, Anthony Parker, Antwan Jamison and Shaquille O'neal. One of the most productive benches in basketball includes Delonte West, Jamario Moon, Anderson Verejao and Zydrunas Illgauskas. The Cavs are twice improved over the 2008 team that the Celtics faced, while their depth off the bench gives them the firepower to play with any team they will face along the playoffs.

Cleveland holds home-court advantage as the No. 1 seed
This time two years ago when the two teams played, the Celtics had boasted the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference along with the claim to home-court advantage. 2010 is a different year as the Cavs hold home-court advantage throughout the entire playoffs. I’m sure the Cavs are more than happy to begin the Series in the "Q" rather than in the Celts "TD Gardens." This is one of the series’ more significant factors as the Cavaliers hold one of the NBA's best home records in the last two years.

Lack of production from Celtics bench
For what seems like the entire year, the Celtics have received no serious production from their bench players. To make matters worse, newly acquired Michael Finley and Nate Robinson have done nothing with the few minutes they've played this season. Proven veteran Rasheed Wallace, who was acquired with a large paycheck this summer, has struggled throughout the year to find his fit with the rest of the team. The "Big 3" (Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett) are going to need a helping hand from their teammates if they don't plan on watching the rest of the playoffs from their couch throughout May and June.

Prediction: Cavs win 4 games to 1

by Jason Gargano 11.23.2010
at 06:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reds Future Looks Sweet

Joey Votto won the NL MVP yesterday by getting 31 of the 32 first-place votes, a dominating total that left little doubt about the 27-year-old first baseman's rapidly ascendant reputation. It's no coincidence that Votto's move into the MLB elite coincided with the team's first playoff appearance in 15 years (and just their second playoff appearance since 1979), which was also the last time a Reds player, Barry Larkin, won the MVP. What wasn't expected was the gusher of praise about the Reds future from MLB Network's panel of Hot Stove analysts.

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by Danny Cross 10.08.2008
Posted In: baseball at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bring On the MLB Tournament

Last week I was sitting in a smokey Portland bar, chatting nonchalantly with friends about current events when I looked up at a TV screen and saw that the Dodgers were beating the Cubs for the second straight night. The Cubs led the National League in wins this year and were on the brink of falling behind two games to none in a best-of-five series.

"That ain't good," I thought to myself. "Them daggone Cubbies gonna lose already."

Then a girl my friend dates showed up and made a weird hand gesture, which prompted my friend to lay down on the dirty floor for about two seconds. I still don't know what that was about, but it only temporarily distracted me from the unfortunate reality of baseball's Divisional Series. I thought that if MLB is going to start drawing brackets and letting mediocre teams into the playoffs, then it may as well be the NCAA tournament, and the Dodgers can be Butler.

Six PBR pints later (seriously, it wasn't a good night) I had forgotten all about the Cubs or the 84-win team that was probably going to reach the NLCS. There was pool to be played and spicy hot dogs to eat and heartburn to deal with. But then I returned home a few days later and read my favorite alt-weekly sports columinst Bill Peterson, who said this about the situation: "Exactly 40 years ago, in 1968, the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers embarked on the last World Series between the regular season champions from the National and American leagues. MLB was set to divide its leagues and embark on playoffs the next year. Purists objected that excellence would be punished. The purists were right. Back then, you didn’t get to the World Series without a club that proved it through time. Now a club can go to the World Series if it’s just a little better than average."

I nodded my head to Peterson's words. "Yeah, man. The wild card is such a gimmick and I hate when they have cheerleaders on the dugouts too."

But then Peterson made a really good point about today's playoff format actually giving small market teams a chance to win the whole thing: "With expanded playoffs, it doesn't matter if the Yankees pay $200 million for players because during the week that counts the $200 million club might not be as good as the $80 million club down the street. The expanded playoffs are a lifeline for clubs like the Reds, who will never be able to afford the most expensive talent. If they can just cobble together enough victories to reach the playoffs, they're in the lottery."

So, back when the league offered a relative degree of competitive balance (before those God damn labor unions started greedy ass free agency), the regular season determined who the most deserving teams were. But now the free market has determined that the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies and Angels are the best teams, we need a new playoff format.

If this is the only way to make the league fair again, then the playoffs should be expanded even further. Let 16 teams in and spend a month playing four rounds of seven-game series. Then crappy teams like the Reds can make the playoffs once in a while and maybe even win a series. It would only be mildly more risky for the teams that actually deserve to be here, and it would be really exciting for the baseball fans that never get to see their teams in the playoffs. Even if they have to go in as a No. 10 seed, it would still be worth watching.

by Staff 07.10.2015
Posted In: baseball at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

All-Star Weekend Events

It’s about to get busy up in here

The All-Star Game’s return to Cincinnati is of significance to both the game and this city, which has hosted the event four times going back to 1938. Though the game is more novel today — each team is awarded a representative in an everyone-gets-a-trophy type of scenario — the contest will still feature many of baseball’s superstars, some of whom Cincinnatians don’t often get a chance to see. 

Major League Baseball has events scheduled throughout “all-star weekend” July 10-14, including FanFest at the convention center, a celebrity softball game and home run derby Monday night before the game itself Tuesday evening. 

Visit allstargame.com for an up-to-date schedule and details on charitable events scheduled all week long. 

Cov200 Summer Celebration
Photo: Provided
COV200 Summer Celebration — Founded in 1815, this summer marks the city of Covington’s 200th birthday, and they’re going to be fêting their bicentennial the same way you would if you had been alive for 200 years — with a huge six-day celebration. Focused along Covington’s riverfront, there will be a 50-foot Ferris wheel at Covington Landing, a “Bark Centennial” dog parade in MainStrasse, historical tours of the Licking Riverside’s beautiful homes, kids’ activities, food, drink, music, performances from Circus Mojo and much more. Also includes the 11th-annual RoeblingFest on Saturday, with tours of the Roebling Suspension Bridge. 6-10 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Tuesday. Covington Landing, Covington, Ky., cov200.com/summercelebration.

All-Star Brewery Tours — Cincy Brew Bus is hosting a slew of special All-Star brewery tours. Multiple tours daily. Meet at Rock Bottom Brewery, Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, cincybrewbus.com. Go online to see tour time and book tours.

All-Star Weekend Events at Washington Park — Washington Park offers free family-friendly programming all day through Tuesday, July 14. The concession stands will be open, offering full bar service, beer, wine, liquor and local beer offerings. Programming begins between 9 and 11 a.m. and ends at 11 p.m. It includes live music, free workouts, kid-friendly programming and more. All free. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. through July 14. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

T-Mobile All-Star FanFest — Think of it as Redsfest on steroids. This fan-friendly convention includes more than 100 appearances from baseball legends and Hall of Famers. Fans can check out players’ official All-Star Game uniforms, run around and take batting practice on mini fields and hang out in mini clubhouses and dugouts. There will be daily player appearances and autograph sessions, plus artifacts from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and a display on the history of the Negro Leagues, plus much more. Opens 9 a.m. Friday-Tuesday. $35 adult; $30 children/seniors. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, 513-419-7300, allstargame.com.

Cincy Sports Fest — The best thing after making memories might just be, well, buying them. And that’s something you can do at the Cincy Sports Fest, an autographs and collectibles event that will bring in more than 100 exhibitors selling baseball memorabilia, sure to help you cherish the memories you make during the All-Star Game. The four-day event is also a way for hardcore fans to meet the living legends of America’s favorite pastime. For All-Star Gamers, Northern Kentucky’s Southbank Shuttle (tankbus.org) has a new route, which includes pick-up and drop-off in front of the fest at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. Friday (VIP)-Tuesday. $5 one-day; $20 four-day. Northern Kentucky Convention Center, 1 W. Rivercenter Blvd., Covington, Ky., cincy2015.com

Photo: Provided
Volksfest — Meaning “people’s festival” in German, Volksfest brings all of Cincinnati’s favorite local beers together in one place for a two-day celebration of the Queen City’s craft brewing culture. Featuring more than 20 different area breweries, some of which have created special beers just for Volksfest, the idea is to focus on lighter, lower ABV and session beers for hot summer days. There will be music and food, and both families and dogs are welcome. 5 p.m.-midnight Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday. Free. Listermann Brewing Company, 1621 Dana Ave., Evanston, listermannbrewing.com.

The Summer Draft at Taft's Ale House — All your favorite local breweries and eats come together at Taft’s Ale House for the all-outdoors Summer Draft All-Star Weekend party. Featuring beers from MadTree, Rhinegeist, Christian Moerlein and Taft’s Ale’s summer selections, paired with Eckerlin Meats from Findlay Market, the draft party also features live music from locals Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, The Almighty Get Down, Jake Speed and more. Noon-11 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Free. 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, taftsalehouse.com

Eight Men Out/4192: The Crowning of the Hit King Screening — The Woodward Theater hosts a special screening of the films Eight Men Out and 4192: The Crowning of the Hit King. Eight Men Out (1988) chronicles the Black Sox Scandal of the 1919 World Series, when eight members of the White Sox were accused of losing the game to the Cincinnati Reds for gambling money. The film stars John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd and Charlie Sheen and was partially filmed in town. 4192 is obviously about Pete Rose. The film tells the story of Rose as a ballplayer with a true passion for the game. Both films will be in high-quality digital. The Woodward was once home to a silent-movie house that closed during the Great Depression. Films start at 6 p.m. Free. The Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, woodwardtheater.com.

The Color Run — MLB hosts an official All-Star Weekend Color Run 5K, starting at Sawyer Point. The un-timed race will wind through an All-Star-themed course downtown and into Northern Kentucky, dousing runners head-to-toe with colored powder at every kilometer. The start-line window opens at 9 a.m., with music, dancing, stretching and giveaways; waves of runners will continue to start the race every few minutes until 10 a.m. After crossing the Purple People Bridge from Northern Kentucky back into downtown, the free Finish Festival at Sawyer Point will include family-friendly entertainment, music and more color throws. Start time at 9 a.m. Saturday, with waves every few minutes until 10 a.m. $45 team member; $49.50 individual. Register at allstargame.com/run

All-Star Concert with Ariana Grande Demi Lovato — If you don’t know who teen Pop sensation Ariana Grande is, don’t worry, she's not playing the All-Star Game anymore. Maybe because she's getting her wisdom teeth out? Maybe because she hates America. BUT Demi — former Disney star, judge not The X Factor, other teen Pop sensation — is taking her place. 8 p.m. Saturday; gates open at 5 p.m. Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown, allstargame.com/concert.

4192: An Evening with Pete Rose — A live theatrical event during which Rose discusses his childhood, baseball career and the Big Red Machine. Sing the National Anthem, see a surprise guest throw out a first pitch and relive the moment Rose broke Ty Cobb’s hit record on Sept. 11, 1985. 8 p.m. Saturday. $32.50-$125. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, tafttheatre.org.

All-Star Summer Block Party — Food, beer, music, games, prizes and free giveaways on East Freedom Way at The Banks. Noon-8 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Free. Between Joe Nuxhall Way and Rose Parks, The Banks, Downtown, allstargame.com.

Futures Game — Great American Ball Park hosts the exhibition All-Star Futures Game, showcasing soon-to-be Major Leaguers in a minor league all-star game (current Reds such as Billy Hamilton, Jay Bruce and Joey Votto participated in the past). 3 p.m. Sunday. More info and complete weekend schedule at allstargame.com.

All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game — Stick around GABP immediately after the Futures Game for a softball exhibition featuring TV, film and music stars along with former major leaguers and Reds players. This year’s participants include Snoop Dogg, Josh Hutcherson, Nick Lachey, Chad Lowe, Macklemore, Miles Teller, Rob Riggle, Miles Teller and a bunch more. More info and complete weekend schedule at allstargame.com.

Norwood Highlanders Vintage Baseball Team
Heart of Vintage Baseball — The annual Heart of Vintage Baseball Tournament pits the area’s 1860’s-style baseball clubs against each other in a series of games using Civil War-era sporting rules. 10 a.m. Sunday. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, norwoodhighlanders.com. 

Home Run Derby — MLB’s big bashers will compete in a newsly restructured home run derby contest. Great American Ball Park is kind of small — witness many baseballs being smashed out of it. 8 p.m. Monday. Great American Ball Park, Downtown, allstargame.com.

86th MLB All-Star Game — A late voting push by Reds fans helped earn third baseman Todd Frazier a starting spot in this year’s All-Star Game — not that he didn’t deserve it — the guy has been mashing all year. Joining @FlavaFraz will be teammate Aroldis Chapman, who will come out of the pen for the NL. The game is sold out (unless you go on sites like stubhub.com), but you can watch it at a variety of local sports bars — just walk into one and it will probably be on. 7 p.m. Tuesday. Red carpet show starts at 1 p.m. Great American Ball Park, allstargame.com.

All-Star Party and Pint Night — Head to Braxton Brewing Company for the release of 1957, an English mild with flavors of Cracker Jacks, and a screening of the All-Star Game. Starting at 5 p.m., they'll be featuring the All-Star Game on a projector in the taproom. And for just $10 you get a pint and keep the glass. 5 p.m. Tuesday. Free. Braxton Brewing Company, 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, Ky., facebook.com/braxtonbrewingcompany.

Related Tours and Exhibits
The 1919 Tour — Take an approximately 90-minute downtown walking tour of Cincinnati baseball history. The tour focuses on the events surrounding the controversial 1919 World Series — the Cincinnati Reds versus the Chicago White Sox — and the associated “Black Sox Scandal.” 10:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $20. Leaves from the Cincinnati USA Visitor Center at Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, americanlegacytours.com/1919-tour. 

Diversity in Baseball — Referred to as America’s Pastime, baseball also mirrors America’s social progress — as barriers were removed in society, so too were those in baseball. This exhibit celebrates the players who have broken racial and other social barriers. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. $14 adults; $12 seniors; $10 children. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way, The Banks, Downtown, freedomcenter.org.

The Great American Pastime: Baseball and the Cincinnati Reds — Items on display include Reds jerseys, vintage photographs, an 1894 scorebook, newspaper archives and a scrapbook from the 1919 World Series. Through July 31. Free. Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown, cincinnatilibrary.org.

Kings of the Queen City — Explore the greatest moments and biggest names in Reds history through interactive monitors, historic artifacts, rare audio and video and more. Through Jan. 2. $10 adult; $8 senior/student/child. Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, cincinnati.reds.mlb.com.

Queen City Baseball: Diamonds and Stars — See baseball-related materials from the 19th century through the modern era, including 19th-century player contracts, bricks from Crosley Field, autographed baseballs and archival newsreel of the 1919 World Series “Black Sox Scandal.” Also on view is Science of Sports, an interactive exhibit that explores how athleticism works. Through July 26. All Museum Pass: $14.50 adults; $13.50 seniors; $10.50 ages 3-12; $5.50 ages 1-2. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, 513- 287-7000, cincymuseum.org.

Stars of the Queen City — Features period artifacts from more than 100 different players in Reds history who have been selected to represent Cincinnati at the MLB All-Star Game, including Bucky Walters, Pete Rose, Frank Robinson and more. Through Jan. 2. $10 adult; $8 senior/student/child. Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, cincinnati.reds.mlb.com.

Tony Perez — The Tony Perez exhibit features a personal look at the playing career of Perez, the “Mayor of the Riverfront.” Through Jan. 2. $10 adult; $8 senior/student/child. Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks, Downtown, cincinnati.reds.mlb.com.

Pete Rose
© 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Up at Bat: Warhol and Baseball — In 1985, the Cincinnati Art Museum commissioned a painting of Reds player/manager Pete Rose by Pop Art icon Andy Warhol, in anticipation of Rose breaking Ty Cobb’s record of 4,191 hits (spoiler: he did). Also included in this exhibit are Warhol portraits of Roger Maris and Tom Seaver. In addition to the prints, see process work and proofs for the limited edition Rose print, with historic baseball cards and commercial graphics. Closed Monday. Through Aug. 2. Free; $4 parking. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiartmuseum.org.

by Jason Gargano 11.08.2010
at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jocketty, Reds Get Props in Sporting News

I flipped through the latest issue of The Sporting News during a stop at Fountain News (far and away the best source for magazines and newspapers downtown) yesterday. A few locally related mentions caught my eye:

1. Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty was named SN’s 2010 MLB Executive of the Year by a group of 24 peers. Jocketty tells SN that the biggest challenge was to instill a “culture of winning” into a franchise that hadn’t delivered a winning season in a decade.

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