Every day there are three things, none worth devoting an individual post to, but each worth at least mentioning.
1) The Reds. There are so many things to like about this team right now, from the way Bronson Arroyo has authored the game's best comeback story, to the way that Eugenio Suarez has progressed into a good defensive third baseman who also carries a lethal bat. There's the pace Joey Votto is setting, the refusal of Zack Cozart to cool off, the things Billy Hamilton has done at the plate in the last week, the pop from the corner outfielders, and both the way the bullpen is being used, and how those relievers are performing as a whole.
Maybe the most fun thing, though, is how this team's collective personality seems to have changed. Admittedly, these things are easier to talk about when a team is winning, but the cloud that seems to hang over the club's collective head is gone and the staleness of the previous three seasons is a thing of the past. It's getting to the point where you're expecting good things to happen, and for one player to succeed where another may have failed.
We make too much sometimes of things like a team's chemistry and its personality, but independent of the win-loss total, this team's overall vibe feels 180 degrees different than that of 2014-2016.
2) Cats/Bruins. UC and UCLA will hook up in a home and home basketball series, starting this December in Westwood. This is a good opportunity for the Bearcats, but - and you can file this under the heading of, "Mo being told to talk about himself more" - I'm excited about this because of the chance to take an early-winter trip to LA to cross off an item on my bucket list (which I wrote about three years ago) while seeing my favorite college basketball team play. And maybe I'll get to meet LaVar Ball.
I've always wanted to see a game at Pauley Pavilion. Depending on the cost, I could finally get that opportunity. I'm sure you're grateful for me sharing.
3) The Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs, playing without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker (who I sometimes thing the Spurs are better without), went into Houston and won game six of their series by 39 points to advance to the Western Conference Finals. Mind you, at full strength, San Antonio lost game one by 27.
The most surprising thing about the insanely lopsided blowout was that it really didn't feel all that surprising. The Rockets opened the door with their meltdown in game five, and you couldn't help but suspect that the Spurs would take advantage.
They did, with one of the most thorough performances by any team in this year's (underwhelming) playoffs.
Let's check in on the three guys whos MVP credentials we spent two months debating...
Russell Westbrook. Won one playoff game. Shot his team out of the game that ended his team's season.
James Harden. Invisible in his team's do-or-die game.
Kawhi Leonard. Absent from his team's signature playoff win.
One of those three players will win the MVP award. The playoffs confirm that LeBron James is the NBA's most valuable player.
Recommended link of the day: Can the Reds Actually Make the Playoffs?
Radio Show: Let's talk about the Reds, huh? Today. 3:05. ESPN1530.