The Reds famously played the Chicago White Sox in the 1919 World Series, a series that was marred by a gambling scandal that reverberates throughout sports to this day. Eight White Sox players were implicated for conspiring with gamblers to throw the series, and although they were all acquitted by a jury, the "Black Sox" were permanently banned from baseball by new commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
99 years later, the Reds and White Sox met again last night at Great American Ballpark, though with significantly less at stake. Just as they were in 1919, the Reds were winners. Just as in 1919, the White Sox had a hand in their own demise, so much so that it's easy to wonder if they were losing willingly.
For example, with runners on first and third and one out in the White Sox eighth, Cincinnati product Adam Engel laid a bunt down right in front of Tucker Barnhart, who easily threw Engel out at first, putting runners on second and third, but with two outs. Chicago then sent up rookie Charlie Tilson to hit in the pitcher's spot, and Tilson would ground out to end the inning.
Up two runs, the Sox had a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Reds, but by using the flawed strategy of bunting (with a slow-footed catcher on third base, no less) they aided the home team in getting out of the inning.
The helped out in the home half of the frame too. With one out and the bases loaded and the Reds still trailing by two, Adam Duvall hit a tapper to Chicago first baseman Adam Davidson, who charged toward the bag before firing home. It appeared in real time as if Davidson stepped on first before making the throw, but he actually released the ball before touching the bag, which allowed Duvall to reach base.
Davidson's throw was in time enough to nail Scooter Gennett running from third, Gennett made a nifty slide avoiding the tag of Omar Naverez, who - likely unbeknownst to him - merely needed to touch home plate to record an out since Duvall being safe at first kept the force play at the plate alive. Scooter's run made it 3-2, setting the stage for Billy Hamilton to hit a sacrifice fly that would've ended the inning, but instead tied the game.
Alex Blandino would un-tie it later in the inning with a two-run double. The Reds would win. I would go on to write a clumsily thought-out blog entry about the game. You would go on to wonder if I really believe the White Sox were trying to throw the game, likely imploring me to "say it ain't so, Mo. Say it ain't so."
Here's some stuff...
Are you like me? Do you think that the question about whether to retain Jim Riggleman is less important than the question about whether the Reds should retain Danny Darwin?
If you're like me - and for the most part, I hope you're not - than you do.
Scott Schebler: .283/.357/.489
Bryce Harper: .217.365.483
Scott Schebler: .283/.357/.489
Jay Bruce: .212.292.321
Eugenio Suarez: .306./391/.565
Todd Frazier: .221.307.385
An NBA team just willingly paired Rajon Rondo with Lance Stephenson? They did this willingly? Like no one made them do this right?
LeBron James is going to have fun with those two playing together.
Just taken at face value (which I probably shouldn't do) this is diabolical planning by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, who are probably doing this as part of some master plan to obtain Kawhi Leonard this offseason instead of next. But even if LeBron's arrival in LA already made the Lakers eight billion times more interesting than they've been in nearly a decade, the marriage of Rondo and Stephenson in a locker room that's - for now, at least - filled with young dudes makes them as much a fascinating experiment as anything in the league.
DeMarcus Cousins is joining the Golden State Warriors. When the Warriors drafted Jacob Evans, I said that not only would the Dubs be a great fit for the former Bearcat, but that the Warriors would be a great fit for any player.
I was wrong. DeMarcus Cousins is a terrible fit with Golden State. Throw the ball to him, and the offense stops. Watch him loaf on defense. Read about his locker room toxicity. Take everything you know about the Warriors and ask if Boogie fits.
I think this is either something that doesn't move the needle or blows up in Golden State's face. The Warriors are already the prohibitive favorite to win the title, meaning that DeMarcus cousins coming off of a significant Achilles injury who will take time to fit isn't likely to make them that better. And if he ends up finally "getting it," there's next to no chance that he'll be with the Warriors beyond this coming season, given that he signed a one-year deal. But his arrival with the two-time defending champs has re-ignited everyone's "the Warriors are ruining the NBA takes," which have been fun.
Saves are a dumb stat, example number 483,032...
Here's some other stuff...
This is overdue.
Radio Show: Back in my regular spot on Thursday for a nice, uninterrupted two-week run on ESPN1530. I'm excited. I'm sure you are too.
(Photo: Getty Images)