The good, the sad, and the interesting were all a part of the story last night at Great American Ballpark.
The good was a nice, tidy 7-2 Reds win over the Mets. There was Luis Castillo throwing four and two-thirds perfect innings. There was Eugenio Suarez driving in four runs. There was Scooter Gennett hitting a laser down the line for his fourth homer. There was some fine bullpen work. There was a rare, relatively comfortable victory for the home team.
The sad was the departure of Devin Mesoraco. I wrote at length for The Athletic about the big "what-if" that Devin will always represent. He was supposed to be a cornerstone of the Reds' rebuild. Instead, he's been merely a bystander as it's stalled.
The interesting is the acquisition of Matt Harvey.
I do not expect Matt Harvey to pitch the way he did for such a brief time in New York, because his effective and healthy seasons were so long ago, but in a Reds season that's going nowhere, I'm all for a reclamation project that carries little risk, and with three-quarters of the year still in front of us, I'm merely looking for things that are interesting.
Matt Harvey is interesting, or better said, he's more interesting than Brandon Finnegan, whose place he's presumed to be taking in the Reds' rotation. And frankly, in part because of his celebrity, in part because it could end up being a total trainwreck, and in part because Harvey was once considered one of the bright young pitching prospects in this game, he represents a more interesting story than anyone else the Reds have.
He may recapture the velocity on his fastball and return to dominance. He may re-invent himself and become merely effective. He may get his ass kicked a few times before being sent packing. He might be the perpetual malcontent that alienated people in New York. He might party his face off at nightclubs that I've never heard of. He may decide to stick around. He could bolt as soon as free agency becomes an option this offseason. He may have that decision made for him.
I don't know. I do know that I'm interested in what does happen with Matt Harvey.
I do know the Reds are running very little risk in giving him a chance to revive his career, in acquiring a pitcher the Mets had no use for in exchange for a catcher who wasn't a part of their own long-term plans.
And I know I'll be paying closer attention when Matt Harvey pitches that I do when Brandon Finnegan gets the ball.
If a team isn't going to be good, then it should at least be interesting. Matt Harvey probably didn't make the Reds much better. He did make them at least a little more interesting.
Here's some stuff....
Going into the offseason, most of us thought that the only real chance the UC football team had of taking a significant step forward would be to acquire a quarterback in the grad transfer market.
Well, one might be available. UC is showing interest in Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow.
I don't know if Burrow will come to play for Luke Fickell. If he does, I don't know how good he'll be. I do know that the prospects of another season of Hayden Moore playing quarterback for the Bearcats don't involve a overwhelming amount of wins.
Hayden Moore is UC's Brandon Finnegan.
Joe Burrow might not be UC's Matt Harvey, but I'd be more interested in Joe than I am Hayden.
It's NFL narrative-building time. The one circulating about the Bengals is that this year, Andy Dalton should really face some pressure, because as the narrative goes, if Andy finally faces some pressure, he'll play better. And he's gonna face pressure this year, so the narrative goes.
He plays quarterback for an NFL team, which is as pressure-filled a job as there is in sports. As a guy who's work ethic and commitment to his team have never been questioned, there's been little about Andy Dalton's play to suggest that he'll suddenly raise his level of play to unprecedented levels because of this new pressure that I keep hearing about.
If anything, Andy Dalton 2018 is much more about opportunity than pressure. He has another big contract, one likely more lucrative than the deal he's playing under, on the horizon if he can even just play at a credible level.
But what if he doesn't rise to this pressure he's apparently under, you ask?
You know the answer.
Andy Dalton will be the Bengals' starting quarterback in 2019. He'll be someone's starting quarterback in 2021. Regardless of how much pressure he's under this year. Which will be about as much pressure as the year before. Or the year before that year.
The Golden State Warriors are a joy to watch. Some people do not find joy in watching the Golden State Warriors play basketball. Talking about basketball with those people is not enjoyable.
Actually, those people aren't really worth talking about basketball with, because they really don't watch.
Here's some more stuff....
Welcome to Bengals fandom, TJ McConnell.
Tom Verducci of SI has a definitive piece on the decline of Matt Harvey in New York.
So does this.
I went to a college baseball game.