I'm in tonight on 700WLW, so I'm starting my workday a little later than usual.
1) Enjoying the journey. It is in our DNA as sports fans to be fixated on the ultimate outcome for our teams. Will they win the championship? What will be the fallout if they don't? How much civil disobedience will I engage in if they do?
But I feel like we've sorta lost sight of the part that makes sports fun, which is the appreciation for the journey and an enjoyment of the moment.
The UC Bearcats and Xavier Musketeers are having seasons that will be judged by how they conclude. Both will go into March with exceptionally high expectations, and early exits by either will put a least a little tarnish on what have been outstanding seasons. High expectations should be embraced because they're the natural byproduct of success, and there's a huge part of me counting down the days until we find out more about what the postseason has in store.
But I'm also mindful of how special these seasons are, and as good as both programs are, the rare position that each team is in.
I also know how fleeting this can be.
A year from now, neither UC or Xavier are likely to be ranked in the top five. Neither seem like good bets to be considered Final Four contenders, and both will be without players that have helped their respective teams have the seasons they're having. I'd bet that both programs continue to crank out NCAA Tournament-caliber teams, but I'd also bet that next season presents different sets of struggles for both programs. And, as much as no one wants to talk about this now, the interest that other schools may Mick Cronin and Chris Mack could have a lot to say about what kind of teams the Bearcats and Musketeers have next season.
So, I'm telling you, regardless of which team you root for, enjoy this to its fullest extent. Appreciate the seasons playing out in front of us. Maintain a perspective for indeed how special this is. Engage in conversations about what each team's final destination might be, but be mindful of how much fun these particular journeys are.
2) Pitchers and catchers report. I don't have much to say about the Reds today - C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic joins me from Goodyear at 7:05 on 700WLW, and he has plenty to say about them - but those four words are still magical and I enjoy typing them just as much I as enjoy those first few dispatches from spring training.
Pitchers and catchers report. They are the best four words in sports. On a chilly early February afternoon, they're just the four words I need.
3) AJ's Grievance. Jim Owczarski has a good look into the what, why, and how of AJ McCarron's grievance against the Bengals, which we should have a conclusion to this week. I have mixed feelings about this.
I'd like AJ back because he's a quality backup quarterback, and a fine insurance policy against Andy Dalton getting injured.
I'd like for AJ to get a chance to start because he's served the Bengals well and I'd like to see him get a chance to prove himself somewhere as a starter.
I'm interested in finding out exactly what his market value is.
AJ leaving would trigger the Bengals needing to find a backup quarterback, which could be done though the draft, and could include the team drafting someone who - unlike AJ - is drafted with the potential for eventually replacing Andy in mind.
But going back to the first point, with AJ McCarron, the Bengals have one of the best quarterback situations in the league, and I'm not sure they're going to be as good at backup QB this coming season if he's playing elsewhere.
But I'm very excited that we are close to some kind of movement on this, which might give us something more to talk about than the same old/same old that's dominated the offseason so far.
Recommended Link Of The Day: Wristband 145: Behind The Play That Confused The Patriots and Gave The Eagles The Super Bowl LII Win
Radio Show: I'm in for Lance tonight at 6:05 on 700WLW. I'm kinda into talking some baseball. You want to talk some baseball? If not, I'm game for talking about something else. Your call.