Ready for the Crosstown Classic?
I think I've been back in town for 16 Crosstown Shootouts/Classics. I remember when this game used to dominate the week on Sports Talk radio. I remember the back and forth of fans.
I remember making bets on this game. I don't recall a matchup that has created less buzz than this year. This year, the game seems more of an afterthought. Heck, Mick Cronin stated he was worried about UC's ticket sales last week on his radio show. Honestly, I debated whether to make it Topic A for tonight on Sports Talk. It will be Topic A tonight, if only to ask if it should be?
What has happened to this game?
1. The game comes too early in the year. Nobody is ready for this game. Sadly college basketball has become more about the final destination than the journey. Many fans don't flip their switch to college hoops until January, February and March.
2. These teams play 30+ regular games. Sorry, but 1 of 30 regular season games means what?
3. College basketball used to offer the city a distraction during down times for the pro teams. But these aren't the 90's when the Bengals lost, a lot. We aren't in the middle of nine straight losing seasons by the Reds. The focus of the city is the Bengals and Reds. Both teams are winning, and both teams offer compelling story lines. Storylines this week have been about Brandon Phillips being traded and if the Bengals can reach the 2-seed in the AFC?
4. Maybe we've reached a point of taking the game for granted? Maybe the game needs to be put on ice for a couple of years? Isn't the old saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder"? Maybe an every year matchup should be an every couple of years matchup?
5. The two schools can't even figure out the future of the game. Will it be played? Where it will be played? My sense continues to be that the game either remains at US Bank or the series ends. UC is not packing up and heading to Cintas Center.
6. Sorry to play the Huggs' card, but this series lost its black hat a long time ago. Bob Huggins was Bob Huggins. Love him or hate him, people reacted to him. Mick Cronin and Chris Mack are Mick Cronin and Chris Mack.
7. This game used to have the built in Big Brother (UC) vs Little Brother (XU) storyline. UC used to be the big, badass Bearcats, dressed in blacked, bringing attitude and a national ranking. The reality is, Little Brother has had more success over the last decade plus, outdraws Big Brother, and plays in a higher profile conference. UC fans have always carried the college hoops conversation. What do UC fans have to say?
8. No Sex appeal. Neither team enters this game ranked. Neither teams grabs the attention of the casual sports fan in town. XU fans are still feeling out their team after three straight losses on the Bahamas. With so few games on TV, most UC fans aren't even sure what their team looks like, let alone how good they are.
9. If this game was the big deal it used to be, it would not be continually shuffled around various time slots and channels. A game that's a big deal, is Saturday night on ESPN or a midweek showcase game on ESPN. The TV landing spot this year is Fox Sports 1. A big game is Dick Vitale, not Donny Marshall. At least the game isn't Saturday at noon on ESPNU.
10. Ticket prices: Tickets for the Crosstown Classic are $35, $50, $75 and $125. Seriously? Is it any wonder why over 6,000 tickets remain?
11. Yea, maybe I just long for the good old days, days of a Terry Nelson prediction, a Pete Gillen-Huggins non-handshake and a Lenny Brown buzzer beater. And, there is something to be said for the moment. When the ball goes up Saturday night, the crowd will be into it. But admit it, this game has lost that feeling. I'm not sure it's coming back, the game, or the feeling. Maybe I just need to accept that?
Did I leave anything out? Join the discussion in the comment section below.
Uncertainty surrounds Crosstown Classic's future
Bill Koch and Shannon Russell, Enquirer
When fans file out of U.S. Bank Arena Saturday night after the 81st edition of the basketball rivalry between Cincinnati and Xavier, they won’t know where the game will be played next year – or even if it will.
Cronin: Classic should be moved to February
Bill Koch, Enquirer
“Maybe playing it early is a disservice to the game before the eyes of the city are really turned to college basketball,” Cronin said Thursday. “If we can get national TV to take the game in January where we could both get a break from our conferences, a lot of teams do that. Everything is on the table.”
Xavier hosts Crosstown Classic
Shannon Russell, Enquirer
Roughly 10,000 tickets out of a possible 16,000 have been sold for this year’s game. Xavier did not include the Classic in its season ticket package but gave its season ticket holders the first option to purchase tickets before they went on sale to the public.
The Cincinnati #Reds say they're quite interested in 2B Omar Infante, but they obviously need to find a taker for Brandon Phillips, first.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 12, 2013
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Odd Man out: Brett Gardner
Sports on Earth
Gardner will not be an everyday player next season. Despite being a better defensive player than Ellsbury (and, once we factor in that Ellsbury won't be playing half his games in Fenway Park, nor will he likely have a homerun spike and correspondingly valuable offensive season like his 2011 again, possibly not so far off on offense either), teams don't sign guys to $153 million contracts and then not play them full time. Gardner will have to find his at-bats as part of the ever-shifting corner outfield/designated hitter mega-platoon the Yankees have run over the last few seasons, the 2014 edition of which already involves some combination of Gardner, Beltran, Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, and Alfonso Soriano.
Meijer blog contest
How many passing yards will the defense allow vs Ben Roethlisberger Sunday night?
-Prize: $200 Meijer Team Gear gift cards
-Winner must pick the EXACT number of yards.
-Post your entry below in comment section below.
-One entry per person. In the case of multiple posts by an individual, ALL picks by individual will be disregarded.
-Include a tie-breaker to your prediction: How many points will the Bengals score vs Steelers?
(Winner: Closest without going over/or closer than other person)
-Deadline: Sunday, December 15, 7pm (eastern)
Rollover: If we don't have a winner, the contest will rollover to the following week and Meijer will add ANOTHER $100 to the pot.
-Winner will be notified through their post in the comment section below.
Big thanks to the Meijer Team Gear Department, the place to get your Reds, Bengals, UC, XU, UK and OSU gear!
Chargers stun Broncos
This is a result that makes the AFC race a lot more interesting. Denver needs help from New England to get the No. 1 seed now. The Broncos have to win out to make sure they win the AFC West. And the Chargers are very much alive in the wild-card race.
Current playoff picture and tiebreakers
1. Broncos (11-3)
2. Patriots (10-3)
3. Bengals (9-4) vs 6. Ravens
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Wallace Gilberry #95 and Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals combine to sack Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter on September 16, 2013 at Paul Brown Stadium on September 16, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh 20-10. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Which NFL fan base takes loses the hardest?
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
A recent study proves what most in this city have long known: Steelers fans hate to lose.
Pittsburgh football fans are the saddest fans in the NFL after a loss, according to Michael Lewis and Manish Tripathi, two marketing professors from Emory University who published a study on the subject of fan emotions.
The duo analyzed messages posted using the social media tool Twitter after every game of the 2012 National Football League season, using an algorithm to categorize tweets as positive or negative. In the two-day window that followed Steelers losses last season, 33.1 percent of tweets from the Pittsburgh area about the team were positive, the lowest percentage of any NFL team.
ProFootballFocus: Left tackle Anthony Collins has yet to allow a sack or hit this season. His Pass Blocking Efficiency of 98.4 is by far the best for left tackles although he has only played in 193 pass blocking snaps.
Dick Lebeau wants to return to Steelers in 2014
ESPN NFL Live crew picks Bengals-Steelers
Goheen: Harrison returns to Pittsburgh in stripes
6:05, Sports Talk
Brad Redford, former Musketeer, 6:35
Leonard Stokes, former Bearcat, 7:35
Dale Mueller, former Highlands coach
Michael Jordan's "Flu Shoes" sold for $104,765
Game 5 1997 NBA Finals: Bulls vs Jazz
Cincinnati in 50 objects
Ever wonder what makes up the city’s DNA? We raided the storehouse of our municipal past and found objects both remarkable and ordinary, from the fossilized remains of an underwater creature to a delicious cheese coney. Consider these the family jewels.
Remember Pete Mikeal?
Mick Cronin talked about former Bearcat Pete Mickeal on his show last night.
Mick said Mikeal had been playing in Spain, but had to stop after a blood clot was discovered. Mikeal is considering a return to playing, but also has standing offers to joining several NBA teams in a coaching position. Mikeal has carved out a really nice career overseas. He won the 2010 Euroleague with FC Barcelona and was named the 2009-10 Euroleague November MVP.
Mike DeCourcy wonders if the A-10 is better than the Big East this year?
College basketball's best gigs
Sports On Earth
The Top 25 college basketball coaching jobs
1. Kentucky Wildcats. Has only slipped into the this top spot in the last couple of years under John Calipari, and Robert Morris will remind you to wear the crown warily. Anyone who has ever attended a neutral court game involving Kentucky knows the power of this fanbase.
SB Nation: Home plate collisions are stupid and you should feel bad about yourself if you disagree.
Who Dey Saturdays at Meijer
Join me, Who Dey and BenGals for WHO DEY SATURDAYS AT MEIJER!
This Saturday: 6650 Harrison Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45247, 11am-1pm.
You could walk away with four tickets to the next Bengals home game. So come show your Bengals pride and join us for all the festivities. Don’t forget your camera for pictures and autographs with Who Dey and the BenGals.
What do you think of the Reds offering Phillips for Gardner?
What is Plan B at 2B? Have the situation passed the point of no return?
Join the Hot Stove discussion below.
Yankees say no to Phillips-Gardner deal
Nevertheless, when the Reds called and asked if the Yankees would be interested in swapping Gardner for Brandon Phillips, there was some discussion before the Yankees rejected it.
The Yankees were not attracted to Phillips because he has four years at $50 million left on his contract, has had declining offense and has had some public skirmishes with Reds ownership. Also, anticipating that Robinson Cano might leave, Phillips and his reps put the Yankees on what is believed to be a 12-team no-trade list. It was possibly intimated to the Yankees that for Phillips to even consider a deal, he would have to have his contract extended.
Brett Gardner stats/bio
Reds offered Phillips, Yankees rejected
Heyman reports the Reds offered Phillips to the Yankees for Brett Gardner, but were rejected. At some point before the offer was made, Phillips asked the Reds to open up his contract to add more money. Phillips does have a no-trade clause.
Phillips, 32, hit .261/.310/396 (92 OPS+) with 18 home runs and 103 RBI in 2013. He is owed $50 million over the next four years. The 30-year-old Gardner hit .273/.344/.416 (108 OPS+) with 24 stolen base this past season and is due to become a free agent next winter. Both players are above-average defenders at their position.
MLB will put a rule in place that prevents home plate collisions.
What do you think of the rule? Join the discussion below.
@MLB thank you for the new collision rule! I addressed this with MLB after Posey was nailed. It's taken too long!— Johnny Bench (@Johnny_Bench5) December 12, 2013
The collision I had in 75 with Gary Matthews in April crushed the AC joint and I had 6 cortisone shots every 3 weeks. @MLB— Johnny Bench (@Johnny_Bench5) December 12, 2013
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 17: David Ross #3 of the Boston Red Sox is out at home by Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers in the second inning of Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 17, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
MLB to ban home plate collisions
Under the rules changes being discussed, sources told Olney:
• Catchers will not be allowed to block home plate.
• Runners will not be permitted to target the catchers.
• The question of whether or not the plate was blocked or the runner targeted the catcher will be reviewable, with an immediate remedy available to the umpires.
• Catchers or runners who violate the new rules will be subject to disciplinary action.
The play at the plate: Safer
In the first step to formally eradicating a thrilling but dangerous staple of the game — and an emphatic response to the concussion crisis that has gripped other sports — Major League Baseball’s rules committee voted Wednesday to eliminate home-plate collisions.
Rose on collision ban: What's the game coming to?
"What are they going to do next, you can't break up a double play?" Rose said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press after MLB announced its plan Wednesday.
"You're not allowed to pitch inside. The hitters wear more armor than the Humvees in Afghanistan. Now you're not allowed to try to be safe at home plate?" Rose said. "What's the game coming to? Evidently the guys making all these rules never played the game of baseball."
MLB set to ban home-plate collisions
So, macho men, get your pitchforks. This thing is happening.
Moving forward, the rule will be that runners have to slide if there's a play at the plate. Also of note here is that catcher's blocking the plate without the ball is technically supposed to be an obstruction call -- but due to the baseball world having accepted the collision at home plate for so long, it's one of those rules that isn't really enforced.
Here is what I wrote in October
If a runner ran over a fielder at 1st, 2nd or 3rd base, what do you think the reaction would be?
If a runner ran over a fielder on a double play, he would be called out and the batter would be called out. Yet, a runner can plow over a catcher to score a run? Why?
A runner should not be able to run over a catcher. The catcher should not be allowed to block the plate. We protect little league, high school and college catchers by forcing runners to slide, yet MLB won't protect catchers at the highest level of the game? That makes no sense.
The MLB rules on interference and obstruction:
1. Runner has the right of way in the baseline unless the fielder has the ball or is in act of fielding ball.
2. Runner has no right to initiate contact with fielder in possession of the ball and must make an effort to avoid a fielder attempting to field ball.
3. Fielder must give runner the baseline until he has the ball or is in the act of fielding ball.
Heck, the NFL has realized the dangers of concussions and taken steps to protect players.
Isn't it time MLB drop the acceptance of an open season on defenseless catchers?
This isn't about grunting, pounding your chest and smashing a beer can on your forehead.
This is about common sense.
The NCAA implemented a "Collision Rule" (Rule 8.7) prior to the 2011 season.
The rule states: "Contact above the waist that was initiated by the base runner shall not be judged as an attempt to reach the base or plate." If the home plate umpire determines the contact at the plate violates the rule, the runner is out and can be ejected.
Home plate should be treated like any other base. Can't run over people, can't block base. Simple. Good comments by Jim Leyland last night— Brian Kenny (@MrBrianKenny) October 18, 2013
What do you think is ok about this play?
Minor League Baseball: Erie's Brandon Douglas scores on a fielder's choice, knocking Harrisburg catcher Brian Jeroloman out of the game. (September 4, 2013)
5/25/11: Scott Cousins barrels into Giants catcher Buster Posey with the go-ahead run in the 12th inning.
Did you miss them?
I talked with the coaches from three football state champions on Sports Talk last night.
Fred Cranford, Loveland Tigers (6:30 mark of podcast)
Dan McSurley, Clinton-Massie Falcons (1:20 mark of podcast)
John Rodenberg, Moeller Crusaders (14:15 mark of podcast)
I'm a 47-year old father with an 11-year old daughter and 13-year old son.
I'm on a never ending quest to stay in tune with my kid's interests, what they like and don't like, what's cool and not so cool. Saturday night I was watching Saturday Night Live with Kelly.
The English-Irish pop boy band, One Direction, performed their song "Story of My Life".
I'll say it, I'll admit it, I liked it. So, sue me. I figured there was great value in my discovery.
Monday, I was in the car with Peyton and the song came on the radio. I figured I would seize the opportunity to connect with daddy's little girl. I turned to her and said, "Hey, I like this song. If One Direction is in concert around here, we should go."
Peyton turned to look at me, and without missing a beat said, "Well, you'll be going by yourself."
And with that, reality hit me. I may not be as cool as I think I am or hope to be.
That's the story of my life.