Anyone else ready for baseball? Mired in the middle of a painful, almost entirely sunless winter, there are few phrases any more satisfying than this: Pitchers and catchers report in two weeks.
Remember the Crypt Keeper from HBO's long-lost and much-beloved series Tales from the Crypt? He apparently now owns the Oakland Raiders, which is convenient given the team's "menacing" and "scary" persona over the years.
The photo above was taken at a press conference yesterday as the Keeper announced the hiring of new Raiders coach Hue Jackson.
Hi from Fifth Third Arena!
The UC Bearcats just finished warming up for their contest against the South Florida Bulls. Before they headed into the locker room Darnell Wilks tried a windmill jam with the ball near his knees and Cashmere Wright tried to throw in a crazy rebound. The 'Cats look ready to play some ball.
After a couple of days of suspense, the Bengals anticlimactically announced today that Marvin Lewis is coming back for two more years as head coach.
I was going to craft a long, acerbic essay about the dysfunctional nature of Mike Brown’s dad Paul Brown’s once-proud franchise, but then I just became depressed and walked over to Sunshine Foods — a longtime CityBeat employee lunch stop staple — and splurged on a Italian sausage hoagie with pizza sauce and pickles.
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.
Well, here we are a few weeks later and UC is 12-0 … but without a spot in the Top 25. The latest AP poll has the ’Cats at No. 29, a position that's hard to argue against given UC's epically weak schedule (the most recent RPI poll has them at No. 95, with a strength of schedule ranking of 340 out of 346 Division I teams).
Throw in a game Dec. 23 at home against St. Francis (PA), which right now is 2-6, and it looks like the ’Cats could open the year with a 12-0 record and no doubt a spot in the Top 25.
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.
The Cincinnati Bengals suffered one of the worst losses in franchise history yesterday, a 49-31 home defeat to the team tied for the NFL's worst record at the time, the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals led 31-14 at halftime and were outscored 35-0 in the second half.
The Bengals sit at 2-8 on the 2010 season and (with Buffalo) own the worst record in the AFC.
The Minnesota Viking suffered one of their worst home losses in franchise history yesterday, losing 31-3 to the Green Bay Packers. This morning the Vikings fired their head coach, Brad Childress.
OK, maybe we were wrong.
Last December, as both the Bengals and Bearcats were riding high via uncommonly strong seasons, Danny Cross and I wrote cover-story essays about why each team's success wouldn't be just a one-year anomaly. I took the Bengals, he took the ’Cats.
Flash forward 11 months: The Bengals have lost six straight games to fall to 2-7, and the Bearcats are coming off a 37-10 shellacking at West Virginia that dropped their record to 3-6, making a bowl game appearance unlikely.
So what happened?