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Why I Love My Reds

Days like Tuesday (no baseball day after Opening Day) and Wednesday (three hour rain delay) gives us Reds fans time to reflect on our favorite team. Yes they give us heart attacks in close games and relief at the end of nine-inning blowouts. But that’s not why I love my Reds.

I love the Reds organization for their willingness and genuine excitement about connecting with fans. For example, Lisa & Jamie answer questions constantly even those annoying “when are we going to start” questions that happened every 10 minutes last night. The players are also very much involved. Todd Frazier is one of the active Twitter-players as is Brayan Pena.

This is why even moving to New York won’t stop me from loving the Reds. I’ll root for them from 10 hours away instead of 10 minutes (yes, I’m sad about this). I’ll root for them in Yankee Stadium, in my Stubbs jersey, surrounded by Yankee fans.

Opening Day

Opening Day is in 4 days. This series that happened in Australia doesn’t count for me. Opening Day is when the Reds play the first game at Great American Ballpark.

First there’s the parade through downtown. Then there’s time for some snacks (or beer). Then it’s finally game time.

Billy Hamilton will step up to the plate after the national anthem. As the third center fielder in three years for the Reds, a lot rests on his shoulders. For now, all he cares about is this at-bat. The pressure others might perceive disappears as he readies himself for the first pitch.

It’s only fitting that the Reds kick off the season against the Cardinals. After all, it’s the Cardinals who have been the lauded team in recent years. Their rivalry came to a head a few years ago, but none of that will matter when the two teams step on the field Monday. All that matters is that one pitch will mark the start of the season for both teams.

Who’s ready?

The Clippers Destroyed the Lakers

Last night I watched almost the entire Clippers-Lakers game. The Lakers have been “The” Los Angeles team for as long as I can remember. Now, that’s no longer the case. The Clippers have made the post-season two years in a row and are heading for a third while the Lakers are heading towards their first losing season in years.

The arrival of Chris Paul cannot be overstated in turning the Clippers around. He & Blake Griffin (with others of course) have injected excitement into the team.

One of the biggest takeaways from last night was just how efficient the Clippers were. The Lakers looked lost, without a leader on the floor. The Clippers had their veteran leader in Chris Paul, but he shares the responsibility with Blake and others on the team.

Last night’s game was the worst loss in franchise history for the Lakers and it seems like fate that it came against the Clippers. The attitudes after the game point to a shift between the two teams as well. The Lakers players discussed being embarrassed and how the game will stick with them. The Clippers were talking about how to use this game to better themselves. It gives me hope that this year the Clippers will make it farther than they have the last two years in the post-season.

The Reds Are Back

Yesterday kicked off the Spring Training games for the year. In other words, the Reds are back. Granted Spring Training games aren’t a great way to judge how the season will go. However, for us fans it’s nice to see our boys in red (or black) back on the field.

What do we have to look forward to this year? Billy Hamilton - can he do what the Reds need him to do? He just needs to be able to get on base. After that, it’s likely that Price will give him the constant green light to harass pitchers by threatening to steal. Johnny Cueto - can he go a full year? That remains to be seen, but he’s had some time to heal and this could be a great year for him. The Offense - can it show up consistently? That’s the biggest question, but Price seems to have a better understanding of holding the men accountable for what they need to do.

That being said, let’s enjoy some Spring baseball…

That Was Quite a Show

I missed the first half of the Super Bowl last night & only knew the score at half-time. Knowing that the two teams heading into the game were the #1 defense & the #1 offense had me assuming that it would be a hard fought win for whichever team ended up winning.

What I didn’t expect was the absolute dismantling the Broncos suffered at the hands of the Seahawks. It’s past time to realize that a great quarterback alone cannot win games. There has to be defense. The Seahawks proved that last night. Their defense was as suffocating as it has been all season, it just took this one game to truly understand how good they have been.

Manning’s reputation shouldn’t (but probably will) suffer. He’s an elite quarterback, whether he’s done after this season or not. He sat out an entire season because of surgery, then came back & led his team to the Super Bowl. It’s impressive, even though they lost last night.

What does this mean for Bengals fans? Well, it gives me some hope. While the Bengals offense has its issues, the defense continues to improve. Based on how the Seahawks won last night, that should give lift some spirits as we head into the off-season.

I Love This More Than I Can Say
Semaj Christon Making Headlines for XU

Since preseason talk, Doug McDermott from Creighton has been the favorite to win the Big East Player of the Year Award. There are small murmurings that Semaj Christon deserves to be in those talks for good reason.

Over the last five games, Christon is averaging 24 points a game. Not an easy feat playing in the new Big East. In Big East play, Christon is averaging 21.7 points per game and shooting 63.5 percent.

Before the Musketeers embarked on conference play, Christon was averaging much the same as last year. As the competition has increased, so has Christon’s efficiency.

The Musketeers only conference loss came against McDermott & Creighton. The two will face off again on March 1. It’s too early to say Christon should marginally be in the conversation, but if he continues to be as versatile for XU as he has been so far, writers will be hard-pressed to overlook him.

Changes in the Bengals Coaching Staff

Last week we heard that Bengals OC Jay Gruden would be taking the head coaching job for the Washington Redskins. Hue Jackson replaces him on the coaching staff, something a lot of fans seem excited to see. This week we’re hearing that Mike Zimmer might be taking the head coaching job for the Vikings (let’s be honest, the man deserves a HC position).

So far, the rumors about Zimmer are unconfirmed. In fact, some are just saying he’s heading to Minnesota for his second interview. He’s one of the coaching staff that many will be sad to see go. His defensive genius has done wonders for the Bengals.

Another observation from this weekend: most fans are calling for Marvin Lewis to be fired & for Zimmer to replace him. I’m hearing that Zimmer & Marvin are friends so I highly doubt that happens. Also, although the Bengals haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs the last three years, how often had they gotten there before Andy Dalton & Marvin Lewis led them there? Yes, that’s something we can conveniently forget now. I’m not saying fans shouldn’t expect more (and of course we do). But let’s be grateful for this turn of events.

A new offensive coordinator could definitely go a long way towards getting the Bengals farther. You can’t argue with Marvin when he says the team has made some strides over the last year. They were undefeated at home all season until the playoffs. That’s impressive for any team.

Now that we’re used to the Bengals getting to the playoffs, let’s look forward to the year they advance (hopefully next year). The team has come together over the past year. Now let’s see what they can do.

Oh Xavier

I love Xavier. I really, really love my alma mater. But I’m going to need them to stop ripping my heart out. The Xavier basketball team traveled to the Bahamas for a holiday tournament. Now, I’m not saying they should have won the whole thing, but they most certainly should have at least been contenders in their last two games. Instead, it’s like our beloved team forgot how to play basketball.

They seemed to sleepwalk through the Tennessee game and I’m still wondering if they even showed up against USC. I mean really, this team took #23 Iowa into overtime and still almost beat them. Then, they just sort of gave up. As a fan, it’s frustrating. As a player, I can only imagine that plane ride back with Tennessee. My guess is that Chris Mack is less than pleased with the team’s play and free throws will likely be a major part of practice this week.

The Dolphins Won, Despite Themselves

The Dolphins. I love them. I really do. I love that team. I’m happy with our quarterback. I like it when they do good things. Games like the one Sunday leave me scratching my head. They managed just six points in the first half even though they had 265 yards to the Jets’ 39. Sportswriters are calling it the most complete game the Dolphins have player. Maybe so, but any other team would have taken advantage of the interception in the first half (sorry, the Jets just didn’t).

Ryan Tannehill threw for 331 yards and had two touchdowns. The Dolphins finished with 453 yards while the Jets just managed 177. Maybe it’s just me, but this team needs to do some serious work to be contenders for the rest of the season. Merely gaining more yards won’t win the game for you. Time for the Dolphins to start learning how to score early and often.