Every day there are three things, none worth devoting an individual post to, but each worth at least mentioning.
This is gonna be short because it's way too nice to be sitting inside looking at the screen on my laptop.
1) Bronson Arroyo. Touched on this in a blog recapping last night's loss, but the most noteworthy thing about last night's game was that while Bronson was better than he was last Saturday, he still wasn't good.
He's getting impatient. From Cincinnati.com....
....two starts into his comeback attempt – the last a six-inning, five-run outing in a 5-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday – he doesn’t feel good enough to be a major-league pitcher.
He’s not willing to put up with it much longer.
“The next two times out, if I don’t see something a little bit crisper and able to keep us in the ballgame a little bit better, maybe you’re at a dead end street,” Arroyo said. “I’m not sure.”
The universal reaction to the way Bronson has pitched has been "ok, nice feel-good story and all, but if he can't pitch, he can't pitch. Let's start thinking about pulling the plug." As big of a Bronson fan as I am, I share the sentiment.
So too, apparently, does Bronson.
I've always felt like the person who will ultimately put an end to this is Bronson himself, a guy who enough of a pro to spare the Reds the difficulty of saying that enough is enough. It feels like we might be pretty close to that happening.
2) High hopes, low expectations. 2017 will be the Bengals' 50th season. They announced this yesterday....
The Bengals will kick off the celebration of their 50th Anniversary Season with a media event on Thursday, April 20 at 2:00 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium. At the event, the Bengals will reveal a special 50th Anniversary logo that will be used throughout the season, along with other plans to celebrate the team’s history.
Excepted speakers include Bengals President Mike Brown, former Bengals center Bob Johnson and former Bengals tight end Bob Trumpy. The event will be hosted by Bengals radio broadcasters Dan Hoard and Dave Lapham. Additional former players and Bengals Season Ticket Members will also be in attendance.
"Other plans to celebrate the team's history." We've talked often about the Bengals unwillingness to have a ring of honor, a team hall of fame, or honor players from the past. I've wondered - as have people who cover this team closely - if the Bengals have looked at their 50th anniversary season as a perfect jumping off point to doing those types of things. Mike Brown has acknowledged the public appetite for more recognition of the past. I hope next week's kick off includes something more substantial.
My expectations, however, are not very high.
3) The NBA Playoffs. I love the opening two days of the NBA Playoffs, the only day on the postseason schedule that has a true March Madness-feel to it. Four games on Saturday, four more on Sunday, to kick off two months of playoff basketball.
I posted yesterday about my MVP pick, which I'm sure you really care about. Now, some playoff guesses, which always move the needle.
Celtics over Bulls in six. Chicago makes this a series because of their edge on the glass and playoff experience. Boston wins it because they have a top-three coach and the second-most fun player to watch in the NBA.
Cavs over Pacers in five. Paul George is good enough, and Cleveland is bad enough on defense, for Indy to win a game. But LeBron James isn't losing to the Pacers four times.
Raptors over Bucks in seven. Best matchup of the first round. A deeper, more balanced Toronto team than last season against the Greek Freak and Malcom Brogdon. I've adopted the Bucks as my team to root for - it's nearly an annual tradition for me to pick a team to support since the Knicks are so rarely in the postseason - but I'll pick the team that has homecourt.
Wizards over Hawks in five. I like watching the Wizards. I don't even really know what the Hawks do well on offense. I'll guess Washington.
Warriors over Blazers in four. This year's Dubs > last year's Dubs.
Spurs over Grizzlies in six. Memphis has improved on offense, and they're a tough out when healthy. San Antonio has the best perimeter defender on the planet, and an excellent two-way team that's not losing four, however, to the Grizzlies.
Thunder over Rockets in six. This is going to be fun. Westbrook v. Harden. The two most likely MVP winners head-to-head. I like OKC to wear down Houston physically.
Clippers over Jazz in seven. If I didn't doubt the health of Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood, I'd go all-in on the Jazz because of their defense, and because you just can't trust the Clips. As it is, we're gonna be subjected to another Warriors/Clippers series, which has a Globetrotters/Generals feel to it.
I'll guess we get Cavs/Warriors round three. I don't bet against LeBron to get to the Finals, and the Warriors have come together quite nicely, are in better shape going into the playoffs, and as much as I don't bet against LeBron, I'm not betting against a team that has four of the top 20 players on the planet.