I'm back and recovered from Omaha.
While at the College World Series, I wrote this entry about the experience, so there's no need to bore you with more details about the trip, especially because few things are as insufferable as hearing/reading about someone else's vacation.
I can't recommend a pilgrimage to the CWS enough. Grab some buddies and head to Omaha one year. Do it for the opening weekend and the early part of the first week, when all of the teams are still alive. It's the perfect mix of watching baseball and hanging out.
Tickets to the games are reasonably priced, even on the secondary market (get them before the teams have been determined), Omaha is an inexpensive town to eat/drink in, and the people are as nice as you'd expect people from Nebraska and Iowa to be.
I definitely plan on going back, and I'm telling you, you should consider making the trip yourself.
Here's some stuff...
The Reds are good! At least when they play teams from the AL Central. We'll see how we feel after a steady dose of Cubs, Braves, and Brewers in the coming weeks, but the Reds to avoid 100 losses has gained some momentum with six wins in eight games.
More importantly, the Reds got another decent start from Tyler Mahle yesterday and an outstanding one from Sal Romano on Tuesday. I still contend that with both guys, the Reds have something to work with, and that for all of the frustration we've felt about watching this season play out, the fact that those two are having just enough ups to go along with the downs that are inevitable in any first year starter's season, the Reds rebuild has advanced. At least a little.
And for as much time we spend on hot topics like what to do with Scooter Gennett, where to play Nick Senzel, and what kind of player Jesse Winker will be, the reality is that little of it matters until the Reds have consistently reliable starting pitching.
That sentence isn't the most groundbreaking, of course. But sometimes, we get so caught up in everything else that goes into a baseball team that we lose sight of the most important thing to it.
Speaking of college baseball...Something I thought about while in Omaha: For as much as we loved to pride ourselves on being such a baseball-loving town, and for as much as we love the area colleges and their sports programs, why isn't there more support for the college baseball programs here?
Some of the answers are obvious: The Reds own all the baseball real estate here, no matter how bad they might be. The college teams are finished playing home games by the time the weather has turned. There's little coverage of college baseball.
Still, especially given how often the locals programs have rosters stacked with kids from the region, you'd think that baseball fans needing a fix would check out a college game on occasion.
This coming from a guy who went to one college baseball game played in Cincinnati this year.
The NBA Draft is tonight, and I'm excited. The main reason is that by the end of tonight, I will have a second - and maybe, a third - favorite NBA team. Assuming that Jacob Evans is spared being drafted by the Knicks (SI does have him going to New York in the second round, which I would love for me, but hate for him), the team that does take him will be my pro hoops number two, unless Gary Clark also gets taken. If that's the case, we'll wait and see if Gary makes a squad to make a final decision.
Evans stock seemed to peak a few weeks ago, right around the time we talked to him on ESPN1530. He'd be an absolutely perfect fit for the Bulls, who own the 22nd pick, and he'd fit in nicely with the Warriors - although pretty much any player will fit in with the Warriors - who have the 28th selection.
He could also fall into the second round, which could give Jake a chance at more playing time on teams that are going nowhere any time soon (like, sadly, the Knicks).
I think we do two things incorrectly with the draft. I believe we overstate how good lottery picks are supposed to be and how deep each draft really is, almost creating a notion that if you're taken among the first 14 players taken and don't end up being a top-20 player in the game, you've fallen short of expectations. Chances are, this draft will yield an All-Star or two, some quality starters, a few good role players, some dudes who exist for a while on the end of some team's bench, a couple of journeymen, and plenty of guys who will quickly be forgotten, and ultimately, that's it.
We also portray being drafted in the second round as something that dooms a player's career before it starts. In reality 91 of the 132 players taken in the second round of the past six drafts ended up getting guaranteed deals. There's also this, from NBC's Rob Dauster...
In the past two seasons, every college player that was selected among the top 50 picks — a total of 30 of which came in the second round — received a guaranteed contract. Of those 30, 22 were given a two-year guaranteed deal. In 2017, that would equate to roughly $2.19 million guaranteed at minimum. Some players — Boston’s Semi Ojeleye, Sacramento’s Frank Mason, Houston’s Damyean Dotson — received more than the minimum. Ojeleye’s salary this season was just $100,000 less than that of Josh Hart, the 30th pick in the draft.
So yes, if Jacob Evans gets taken in the first round, it'd be great, both for him and the UC basketball program. If he doesn't, then that's okay too.
Here's some other stuff....
Agree with this...MLB has a bad baseball problem.
The answer to this is "no."
The Bengals are a playoff sleeper that isn't getting a lot of hype. If the Browns are a playoff sleeper - and there's a ton of people that make that claim - than the Bengals are whatever a step above sleeper is.
Wanna know how World Cup betting lines work? Listen to this.
This is well-done.
Radio Show: The afternoon show returns on ESPN1530 next week. In the interim, I've got Cincy 3:60 with the newly-engaged James Rapien at noon today, then Extra Innings after the game this evening on 700WLW. And I'm hosting "First and Last" on ESPN Radio tomorrow morning at 4:00.