April is the perfect time to assess Cincinnati's sports landscape. Not only does baseball begin in April, but the NFL draft takes place, leading to summer workouts and eventually training camp. College basketball practice begins during football season, then the regular season spans the winter months and brings us all the way back around to March Madness. So let's see where the city's five major sports programs stand.
It's difficult to resist the urge to tell Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, "I told ya so." Portune made a big deal a few weeks ago of his teaming up with his colleague, County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, to devise a solution for the looming deficits in the county's stadium account. Much like President Obama at the national level, Portune was enamored of his bipartisan approach to the problem.
As Mayor Mark Mallory and the new City Council are sworn in this week, the city says goodbye to two of its trusted progressive allies, David Crowley and Greg Harris. With the return of hard right-winger Charlie Winburn, council's conservative coalition now owns a 5-4 vote margin. It's now time for them to step up and offer a more inspiring plan than their current "No."
So it's two AFC North teams, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, playing for the AFC championship. One doesn't know if Bengals fans should be heartened or discouraged: Of the Bengals' 11 losses, four came against those two teams. If you're going to finish third in a division, it might as well be the division in which the top two teams are the only two left in the conference.
Football for Cincinnati fans made a rare intrusion on January, which turned out not to be such a glorious moment. But well take it and hope for more next year, understanding that the interim poses numerous challenging scenarios.
The length of the NFL season really shows on a team like the Bengals. A high school team at 0-8 sees the end in a couple weeks. A college team at 0-8 can still make its season in November by beating the rival. The Bengals are 0-8 in the NFL. They're not reaching the end of this dark tunnel until Christmas.
Maybe the Bengals still have a pulse, which means they're not quite as desperate as those no-good outfits from the 1990s - but they're still 0-3, they're still going to have their hands full with the Cleveland Browns Sunday, their quarterback still is no better protected than David Klingler and the season still is a long way from hopeful.