Three Things: "It's FC CINCINNATI, Dammit"

posted by Mo Egger, ESPN1530 - 

Every day there are three things, here are those three things.

1) It's FC Cincinnati, dammit.  My pal James and I attended the FC Cincinnati/ Valencia match, hitting up establishments frequented by various supporter groups in the process.  I sent some Tweets....


And some Instagrams....

Stop number one.

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I'm biased, but it's a great night to be at Cincinnati's best sports facility.

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In between all of this social media-ing, I chatted about stuff with people. On man approached James and demanded more NFL Combine and talk.  Another guy told us he liked our show, and we took a picture with him.

There was also a woman who asked why I wasn't wearing a football jersey. 

Lots of conversations were had. A topic that came up frequently was the proposed FC Cincinnati stadium. Everyone I spoke to wants it done.  No one I spoke to wants it in Northern Kentucky.  

I understand having a preferred location - as a West End resident, I'm partial to a new stadium going there - I don't understand being so parochial to the extent that you'd stand one side of a river, look over to the other, and see a place that's all that different from the side you're standing on.

"ANYWHERE BUT KENTUCKY" cried one fan at Hangover Easy, which is where The Bailey Bastards post up before games.  "IT'S FC CINCINNATI, DAMMIT!"

Seriously, anywhere?

If you want the new stadium done - and if you don't want it done on taxpayer money, that's very, very understandable - and you don't want it in the northern suburbs or somewhere beyond the I-275 loop, then you should be thankful that the Ice Age created the Ohio River, separating Ohio and Kentucky, because if we were a landlocked city, bordering no other state, then Cincinnati's unwillingness to pay for the stadium would mean that it'd be built 20, 30 minutes away from downtown. Maybe even further. 

Maybe it's the fact that I've moved around the area bit, having called Taylor Mill, Ft. Mitchell, Fairfield, Sharonville, and Downtown Cincinnati home, or maybe it's the fact that I never lived in one place growing up, but I really don't distinguish much between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Last night, I was in the minority.

Good times, though.

2) Zack Cozart, third baseman? From ESPN.com...

The Boston Red Sox are looking at an unconventional trade option to fill their gaping hole at third base.

CSN New England's Evan Drellich reports that the Red Sox have been watching Cincinnati RedsAll-Star shortstop and donkey enthusiast Zack Cozart.

The Red Sox have been desperately searching for a bat to boost their lineup before the July 31 trade deadline, especially at third base. It is unclear if Boston's interest in Cozart would be to move him to third, or if the team would shift current shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the hot corner, a position he has played 53 times in his career in Boston but that he hasn't played at all since 2014. 

Cool. Yeah. Fine. 

I've heard resistance to the idea of either trading Zack or simply allowing him to leave via free agency after this season. Obviously, getting something - anything - of value is preferred, but I've yet to hear why it makes sense to not only not trade him, but spend money to bring him back.

Critics of the Reds lambaste them for making poor financial decisions. Others are running out of patience with the rebuild.  Paying Zack Cozart next season and beyond would represent a poor financial decision, and not only would it not accelerate the rebuild, it might impede it, given that Cozart would be holding down a spot that would otherwise go to someone younger, and possibly, better.

I love the season that Zack is having, but I'm not so in awe of his production this year that I'm unwilling to let him move on, even if it's for nothing in return.  I wrote this last week....

On what planet does it make sense to pay Zack Cozart - who will be 32 in a few weeks - a bunch of money? If you're not comfortable with the money Joey Votto (who's 84343405 times the player Cozart is) he'll be making when he's, say, 37 years-old, do you really want to be paying Zack the kind of money he'd be making if the Reds extended him when he's 35? 

Do you really think that Zack Cozart, whose performance this season I've enjoyed immensely - is more likely to repeat his 2017 than he is to replicate his 2012 through 2016 as he enters his mid-30s? For a franchise that's gone out of its way to clear room for younger players to get playing time and has gone to great lengths to stockpile the system with middle infielders, does keeping Zack make any amount of sense whatsoever?

And please, if you think that paying Zack Cozart the qualifying offer salary of $18 million (which he'd be smart to turn down) next season, then really, stop reading.

What's wrong with letting him walk?  Granted, it's always nicer to get pieces back in return, and for the sake of giving Zack a chance to play in the postseason, I'd take something cheap from a contender to trade him into the pennant race, but the Reds aren't going to be set back for years because they couldn't get something for Zack Cozart.

I asked these questions rather rhetorically, but now I'm interested in the rationale of those who have different viewpoints. Why am I wrong about Zack Cozart?  The links to reach me are below.

Also, Lance on the rebuild/Tim Adelman/pitching/etc. is very, very on point.  

3) So let's talk about the rebuild, especially because I can't work myself into a lather either way on USA Today's 5-11 Bengals prediction

Has it really even begun if I'm still watching Tim Adelman pitch?

Here's what interests me, and maybe because I'm a nerd, only me...

What's the Reds message going to be next year?  I'm not talking about a slogan, or marketing phrase. Those things are almost meaningless.  I'm talking about the implied message that's going to come from management/ownership next season, being that it looks very unlikely that contending in 2018 is possible, and given that many (most) fans would like to start seeing some tangible, easy-to-wrap-our-heads-around progress.

In 2015, it was "We're starting to rebuild!"

In 2016, it was "We're rebuilding!"

In 2017, it's been "Still rebuilding...."

Can a team that's not exactly stirring the masses or generating much punch at the ticket window really, put forth the same unsaid mantra again? 

More importantly, whatever message they deliver, will you believe it? Or even hear it?

Recommended Link Of The Day: What did we learn about Jordan Spieth from his gritty, thrilling performance?

Radio Show:  Back at it tomorrwo afternoon, with a pre-training camp spectacular.  Join us at 3:05 on ESPN1530.

Follow me on Twitter @MoEgger1530.

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Email me: mo@espn1530.com


Mo Egger

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