This is neither a mirage or something you bookmarked in like 2011. It's actual, real, new, free content on my here web-page. I hope you're excited and grateful for my hard, excruciating, work.
I've been busy. Very busy. Not the kind of busy that football coaches or exhausted parents love to make you painfully aware of, but busy.
I wasn't busy on Saturday, and for a few minutes I considered making the trek to Paul Brown Stadium to watch the orange and black go through their early-training camp paces, but I got a better offer.
On that included a pool and a full cooler. Even on a less-than-ideal pool day, the pool and the cooler beat football practice and bottles of Gatorade. The Bengals will have to wait.
I've been following the dispatches from camp with great interest, however. Mainly, I've noticed that a few days into camp, the club has avoided any kind of potentially-disastrous injury. There are only two storylines that really matter during camp, holdouts and injuries. The Bengals have none of the former, I spend an inordinate amount of time in late July and August hoping that there's very little of the latter.
Who's on the turf getting attention from the medical staff? Who was just helped off the field? Is the cart being summoned? Has Tyler Eifert been cleared to actually play football?
Those are the things that matter. The rest of it just feels like filler, quite honestly.
Here's some stuff...
The Reds cruise past the Phillies! And do so in surprisingly easy fashion, taking the final three of the four-gamer at GABP. Here are my brief thoughts on the series..
Luis Castillo made me feel tingly yesterday.
Jim Riggleman won Friday night's game by not dicking around and pulling Anthony DeSclafani early.
Eugenio Suarez is the new face of the Reds.
Nothing at all against Joey Votto, whose greatness is evidenced by the fact that he's having a quality season and yet we're still obsessing over his relative lack of production. But, whatever you make of that relative lack of production, the fact is that Joey is approaching 35, and it's going to be damn near impossible for him to have many more seasons that involve him putting up the kind of numbers he's posted with such regularity.
Yes, there's a chance Joey Votto might be in decline. Read that sentence carefully. I didn't write that Joey Votto is going to suck, or that he's suddenly bad at baseball, because Joey Votto is still very good at baseball.
But Suarez just turned 27, and like Votto he's going to be here for a very long time. And he might still be ascending. If the Reds are going to be good any time soon, they will need Suarez to continue to play at an exceptionally high level, in large part because his production could be needed to help the team absorb any Votto regression.
Votto is still very, very important to this team. He's also still a very good player.
Suarez, though, is as much a foundational piece as Votto, is younger, and right now, he might actually be a better player.
The trade deadline is tomorrow. Let's start with this tweet from Jerry Crasnick....
The #Indians want to upgrade in CF, but it's a thin market. Adam Jones is most likely staying put. Leonys Martin is out there, but he's had hamstring issues and struggles vs. lefties. Billy Hamilton is hitting .227, and the #Reds never seem interested in discussing him anyway.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 30, 2018
"The reds never seem interested in discussing him anyway" reeks of ownership getting in the way, which is painfully sobering.
Aside from that...
I have a weird feeling that this year's deadline for the Reds is going to be like most Christmases after the age of 11: a lot of buildup and hype with very little sustainable payoff.
I have a sense that their most talked-about pieces, Scooter Gennett and Raisel Iglesias, either have a fraction of the value that many believe, or that the Reds asking price is understandably so high for either that prying them away is near-impossible.
I have a sense that the Reds would very much like to move Adam Duvall, but the return would be minimal if they did.
I have a sense that the front office is split on what to do with Hamilton, and that with no consensus, Bob Castellini will break the tie and demand that he stays.
I have a weird feeling that Matt Harvey will be traded, but not until after July 31st. I think this strategy might make sense. No one is desperate for Harvey now, so why not roll the dice, turn down any uninspiring offers other teams might make now, and see if a team develops a very desperate need for a starter, maybe due to injury?
And I still think the most interesting guy that no one is talking about is Robert Stephenson.
I'm probably in the very small minority, but I actually think Pete Rose is worth listening to when he bitches about the way baseball is played in 2018. He might not be their target customer, at age 77. But he's one of their most loyal. I listen carefully to constructive criticism of people who listen regularly, and take with huge grains of salt the jabs from people that don't.
Do what you want with that.
One other thought...
I wish the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony wouldn't take place at the same time as actual baseball games.
Here's some other stuff...
I guess I wasn't surprised that I didn't see the Bengals on this list.
The value of public shaming. Not sure I'm totally on board with this piece, but it's pretty good.
I really, really, enjoyed this piece from Cooperstown.
Radio Show: We have training camp covered, plus my thoughts on the teams that matter to you. I'm too short on time to get into details. Just listen to the show at 3:04 on ESPN1530.
(Photo: Getty Images)