Every day there are three things, none worth devoting an individual post to, but each worth at least mentioning.
It's nice to be back to blogging. Before we get to today's three....
Last Thursday afternoon, I sent out this Tweet....
My beautiful fiance gave birth on Thursday morning to six pound, three ounce, Crosley Mae Egger. Five days later, we are still smitten, we still feel extremely lucky, and yes, we are both a little sleep-deprived.
I've been touched by all the well-wishes and there's been no shortage of well-meaning advice and perspective shared by dads that I know, as well as some that I don't. This is a chapter in my life that I've often thought I'd never enter into, but one that I'm excited for, even if I have no idea what I'm doing.
I do know that this little girl is absolutely perfect.
Now, on to far more trivial matters...
1) The Reds. If you're at all like me, you're caught up in the annual hysteria that the Ohio Cup grips our entire state with. The Reds have assumed a 1-0 lead in the series with a win last night that represented one of their more crisply-played games of 2017, a tidy 5-1 victory over the Indians that really puts pressure on the defending AL champs to even up the series.
The Reds are 21-23, and while the last week and and a half has been frustrating, the club's overall body of work has been better than most expected, and with the Reds within striking distance of .500, you can't help but wonder what if....
What if the starting pitching in the first quarter-plus had been something above abysmal? What if Anthony DeScalfani and Brandon Finnegan had combined for more than just ten innings? What if, instead of the Bronson Arroyo experiment (which I am in favor of), they'd found someone to eat innings who was a little more reliable?
Would they be legit contenders? Probably not. But with the everyday eight producing, the bullpen being massively improved, and Bryan Price pressing mostly the right buttons, the imagination does run a little wild thinking about how much better the Reds' record could be if instead of being atrocious, their starting pitching was merely average.
And I have absolutely no problem with Joey responding to the guy.
The thing is, there's actually people who share the fan's feelings, that Joey "used to be good." Was he expressing a minority opinion? Definitely. Is he alone in his belief that Joey Votto is no longer, you know, good?
(Note, the hecker in question here seems to be an Indians fan. Still, my point remains)
A stroll through my Twitter mentions and inbox would suggest that no, he is not.
For the few who think that Joey Votto, in the middle of another excellent season that will earn him MVP votes and continue his Hall of Fame trajectory, is not longer, you know, good..
He's currently among the NL's top ten in on-base-percentage, OPS, slugging, runs scored, total bases, home runs, runs batted in, walks, runs created, adjusted OPS, and extra base hits. He's been nearly flawless at first base, and even has he enters his mid-30s, he's showing no sign of slowing down. As the 22nd-highest-paid player in the sport, he's one of baseball's best bargains. And the nice little fun-to-watch start the Reds had gotten off to before the roof caved in a week and a half ago? The main reason was Joey Votto.
It's staggering the contempt that a few - and I know that it's just a few - have for this guy. And it's equally astounding that so many fans, who slobber over players that aren't one-eighth as good as Joey Votto is, would echo last night's thoughts from that clown in the front row.
We are not likely to see a guy this good, this long, in this city for a very long time, perhaps for the rest of our lifetimes. Most of us know that. Most of us are enjoying watching Joey do what Joey does. I feel sorry for the few that aren't.
3) An NBA inevitability. Because I like to talk about the NBA in terms that don't constantly drag Michael Jordan into the conversation....
The Golden State Warriors steamrolled the Spurs, playing their typically efficient, entertaining ball that's allowed them to dominate the Western Conference for three seasons. Yes, the series plays out differently if Kawhi Leonard doesn't get hurt. No, the outcome doesn't change.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, despite Sunday night's hiccup, are a very, very good bet to get back to the Finals, as they hold a 2-1 lead over the Celtics (whose game three win was the most improbable single game playoff victory in years).
We'll get Dubs/Cavs again, which will be great.
But I'm not sure the sense of inevitability of a third straight meeting between these two teams in the Finals is good for the league. We had contending teams that held their chips at the deadline, and as the playoffs played out, no real threat to either Golden State or Cleveland emerged.
A Celtics/Lakers-type back-and-forth between the Warriors and Cavs is a lot of fun, and good for business. I wish, though, that part three of their annual June meeting didn't have such a feeling of inevitability.
Radio Show: I'm excited to be back to work tomorrow, and to get back into a blogging/hosting rhythm. Also, I'm excited to sleep. Join me at 3:05 Wednesday and Thursday on ESPN1530.