Hey, I said the blog would return on Monday, I just didn't say what time....
I go to a lot of Reds games. The ones I don't go to, I try to make a point of watching. When I can't watch, I listen. And when I cant' listen, I try to follow along with on a portable mobile device.
Sometimes, particularly when the Reds are having a down season, I'm asked why I still attend, pay attention, and care.
The reason I do is because even when a season is seemingly going nowhere, there are still things that pop up that are interesting, fun, and even downright odd.
One example would be this insane run of grand slams the Reds are hitting.
Another would be the hitting prowess of Michael Lorenzen.
Jose Peraza tallied the Reds' ninth grand slam of the season in yesterday's steamy win over the Brewers. It's getting to the point that when a Red comes up with the bases loaded and doesn't go yard, it's mildly surprising.
Lorenzen's pop from the plate is unbelievable, and something that Jin Riggleman should tap into more, instead of worrying about being disrespectful to his other bench guys. I don't have any larger take on what Lorenzen has done over the past week other than one of the coolest things this game is when a player does something that sends researchers back decades to find out when the last time a certain feat had been accomplished.
Mainly though, these things are why I'm still paying attention, and why I still love going to the ballpark.
And even though their win-loss record remains pretty abysmal, this team has been really fun to watch over the past few weeks.
Here's some stuff...
Matt Harvey was really good, yet again, yesterday. That's three straight strong starts for a guy that looks like he's getting more and more comfortable and who's potentially increasing his trade value with each performance.
Couple of things, Harvey-related...
This team's front office has acquired Matt Harvey in exchange for a catcher that was going to rot on the bench, they've locked in Eugenio Suarez - acquired for nothing, BTW - on an extremely smart, sensible, deal, and they killed it in free agency this winter, making smart signings of Jared Hughes and David Hernandez. You're being fair if you're skeptical as to whether the people running the show can complete the rebuild, but they are doing some things to earn your trust.
No, the Reds shouldn't make an attempt to re-sign Matt Harvey. Two words: Homer. Bailey.
Oh, and remember that mini-stretch when Devin Mesoraco hit a few home runs for the Mets? I got more than a few tweets and emails about how New York had fixed him.
Well, Mesoraco hit .226 with one home run in June, and he's not exactly reminding anyone of Johnny Bench with his work behind the plate.
Haven't gotten any tweets or emails about Devin Mesoraco in a while. Wonder why.
The trade deadline is coming. I wrote about why the Reds are neither buyers or sellers for The Athletic. Give it a read, please.
Nice, bounceback effort by FC Cincinnati on Saturday night. I enjoyed their win over Ottawa from my couch. We talk a lot about all the good things FCC has going for it. Near the top of the list is a solid TV/radio crew.
And now, LeBron.
Here's my favorite thing about all of the LeBron James-to-LA coverage, which I gorged on late last night...
For months, all of these people who cover the NBA were telling us how much of a waste of time it'd be to speculate about where LeBron was going, because supposedly, no one knew, including LeBron.
Today, they're all telling us that LeBron-to-Los Angeles was really in the works for a while now.
So which one is it?
Here's my LeBron thoughts...
This is really good for the league, because while it drastically shifts the balance of power toward the west, there's a shit-ton more intrigue in the western conference with the Lakers sitting between Golden State, Houston, and the rest of the pseudo-contenders in the conference. There's so many incredible stars in so many western conference cities (you could do three different All-NBA teams with players just from the west) that there will be must-watch games every night and the playoffs in the west will be as interesting as they've been in an exceptionally long time.
The east gets a break, and yes, there's nowhere close to the depth that there is in the west. But there's room for a franchise that's been buried beneath LeBron to make a move. Suddenly, the 76ers might legitimately be a player or two away, fans in Toronto can have renewed hope for a Raptors team that might have hit the reset button had LeBron stayed in Cleveland, and even though the Celtics are the prohibitive favorite to win the east, the entire conference feels more wide open than it has in years.
LeBron, meanwhile, goes to a situation that's instantly better basketball-wise than the one he was in, in Cleveland. Even if the Lakers can't pair him with a star, he's joining a nice, almost underrated group of stars in LA that paired with the world's greatest player, still makes the Lakers a premiere landing spot for free agents, opt-out guys, and players able to engineer trades. I'd hold off on selling off assets to San Antonio in an effort to land Kawhi Leonard if I was running the Lakers, preferring instead to build around LeBron with my young guys before making a run at Kawhi next summer.
And yes, I realize that doing so could result in the same type of situation that saw Paul George decide to remain in Oklahoma City.
The Lakers aren't ready to win big yet. To win with LeBron, you need to surround him with outside shooters, which LA doesn't have, and the Lakers will still be woefully deficient defending on the perimater (Leonard would boost this, obviously), but they are easily the most interesting team in the league right now, and with LeBron signing for four years instead of the shorter contracts he was playing under in Cleveland, the Lakers have the benefit of time.
Even as a fan of team that's going to tank (finally) this season, I can't wait for the upcoming NBA season to begin.
Here's some other stuff....
Good Cleveland perspective on LeBron: LeBron James is gone, but 1,001 times with him means Cleveland didn't get cheated.
Great question: Could Michael Lorenzen be in the Home Run Derby?
Radio Show: I've got Extra Innings tonight on 700WLW. Back in my regular spot on Thursday for a nice, uninterrupted two-week run on ESPN1530. I'm excited.
(Photo: Getty Images)