Every day there are three things, here are those three things.
I wrote about the Reds this morning, equating being a fan to being the parent of a newborn. Doing both involves things that are unpleasant, yet necessary. The kid will grow up and things will get more fun. I hope I can say the same thing about the local baseball team.
1) The Bearcats. If you are like me - and as always, for your sake, I hope you're not - then there was a point over the last four days that - as a Nationals player finished jogging around the bases - you mentally kicked into full-on football mode. Bring on Bengals training camp. Bring on (gulp) preseason games.
Bring on Luke Fickell's first team at UC.
But first, American Athletic Conference Media Days, where the league is doing everything it can to push the whole "Power 6" thing in Newport, and where the Bearcats have been picked in the preseason poll to finish fourth in the east.
Fickell's charge here in year one - one that he's seemingly taken on at full speed is less about achieving significantly better results on the scoreboard (although that would be nice) and more about simply cleaning up the mess he inherited. Tommy Tuberville's UC teams often looked both ill-prepared, and physically inferior and despite the former coach's dismissal of how much the scoreboard actually matters, the lasting impressions from the previous two years have been of the Bearcats being woefully non-competitive, taking almost weekly lopsided losses. The games were miserable deathmarches to defeat, many of which seemed almost pre-determined.
This year....I'll settle for competitive. I'll settle for actually paying attention in the second half. I'll settle for actually believing that on gameday, the Bearcats could maybe win.
That's a very, very low bar for Luke Fickell to clear in year one, one that's set low because of how uneasy I feel about the offense, and how unsure I am of this team's depth. But if the UC football can return to being competitive, if the current recruiting momentum can continue, and if the look and feel of the program is at the exact opposite end of the spectrum as it was over the past two seasons, I'll walk away from this season as one content Bearcat fan.
Also, this makes me love UC's football coach.
2) The first 30 of the top 50. I'm enjoying the reveal of the top 50 retired Bengals players, and the accompanying videos with Dan Hoard and Dave Lapham discussing the players as they're revealed. (50-41 is here, 40-31 is here, 30-12 is here)
I don't really have a take. This kind of thing is cool for some, no big deal for others. I hope the Bengals do more stuff like this.
3) Wanna pregame? James and I are gonna tour the bars where the various FC Cincinnati fan groups post up before the Valencia match on Monday. So far we plan on hitting up Ladder 19 (The Pride), Mecklenburg Gardens (Die Innenstadt), Mio's (Queen City Mafia) and Hangover Easy (Bailey Bastards). Is there one we're missing? Wanna follow James and I around Clifton? Think James is fun to hang around with after he's had a few?
As you can tell, I've got nothing today.
Radio Show: Returns on Thursday. ESPN1530. I'm filling in on 105.7 The Zone in Columbus tomorrow morning, 6:00 'til 9:00.