Sports Today: Reds on Facebook, Buckeye on comeback trail, Peko’s Super Bowl aspirations

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 9:53 AM

Fans try to catch a foul ball during a game between the Reds and the A's on Saturday, June 11, 2016, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff

With there being no point to rehashing the latest Cincinnati Reds loss — they’re due for a six-game winning streak now, right? — here’s a question: Do you care about being able to watch games on Facebook? 

Whether you do or not, you will be able to tonight when the Colorado Rockies come to town. 

While I was writing that story yesterday, I was thinking this seems like a pretty good idea for all involved. 

RELATED: Reds-Rockies to be first Facebook game broadcast

I don’t really get why Twitter wants to broadcast whole games nor why the NFL would find that to be worth its while (although maybe they are just willing to take money from a company that obviously has no idea what it’s doing and succeeds in spite of itself — that’s getting easier and easier to do these days…), but I can see Facebook making some sense. 

While Twitter is an on-the-go app (unless it’s on in the background while doing something else) that is already constantly updating, Facebook is more something one can settle in with. Surf around, see what’s happening with various people and whatever subjects and news sources you have liked. 

And, of course, three times as many people are on Facebook than Twitter. 

I have an easier time envisioning Facebook serving something to an audience that isn’t necessarily looking for it and having some success hooking new fans. 

While I’m sure reaching current fans (to retain them and increase their engagement) and finding new ones are both appealing to MLB, the latter is probably more important. 

What do you think? 

RELATED: Cubs sweep Reds 

With OTAs cranking up around the NFL, there are bound to be plenty of, “So what is THAT guy up to?” stories such as this one on former Ohio State/Centerville standout Michael Bennett. (H/T Land of 10

First Coast News in Jacksonville reports the Jaguars defensive tackle is optimistic big things are in store for his third year in the NFL after hip and calf injuries marred the first two. 

He missed all of last season because of the latter and had surgeries to clean up both. 

“I’m a lot strong than I’ve ever been, same with my quickness,” Bennett said.

“Then just studying football. Going into this year, I’m very optimistic, I feel very good about it, just because I’ve never been this knowledgeable about football, I’ve never been this strong or as fast. My technique has never been this good.”

Bennett is one of the most fascinating guys I covered in my decade-plus on the Ohio State beat.

Not only was he always ready with an informative answer to football questions, he was one of the players who could speak thoughtfully on topics outside the lines like athlete compensation and unionization. 

RELATED: More than a dozen area recruits to be part of Crosstown Showdown 

He was also hell on wheels on a football field and one of the biggest reasons the Buckeyes won the 2014 national championship. 

Bennett found another level in the postseason, dominating inside and giving that OSU defense a different look and snarl against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. 

Hopefully he can make an impact this fall for the Jags… 

Speaking of NFL defensive lineman, were you bothered by Domata Peko telling Denver media he left Cincinnati for a better shot at winning the Super Bowl with the Broncos

That was one free-agent defection that was not hard to see coming given Peko’s age and the fact the Bengals seem to have been trying to draft his replacement for a couple of years. 

I’m guessing he’ll be missed in the locker room more than on the field, but he had a great career with the Bengals. 

RELATED: Domata Peko says he left Cincinnati for better chance at championship

His differentiation between trying to win a playoff game in Cincy and winning a championship in Denver is reasonable since the Broncos recently won the Super Bowl.

It also really doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. 

I mean, it’s based in some fact, at least from an outsider’s perspective. There is a lot of focus on taking that next step and winning a playoff game since that hasn’t been done in so long. 

However, from a practical standpoint… well it’s not likely they will fold up their tents and ignore the following week once that actually happens, so again it doesn’t really matter. 

There is so much parity in the NFL, half the league could go on a run and win it all any given year. Then we spin everything based on that for the next few months. 

As for which team has more realistic hopes of winning the Super Bowl next February? 

Looks like a coin flip. The Broncos and Bengals finished last season 14-15 in Football Outsiders’ team efficiency rankings, and Denver still doesn’t have a quarterback. 

Regional high school track and field meets

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 6:21 PM

Middletown sophomore Shandon Morris was third in the high jump during the D-I district track and field meet at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium on Friday, May 19, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

The following are this week’s regional track and field times and sites. The top four in each event advance to next week’s state meet at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

REGIONAL SOFTBALL: Pairings, results

WEDNESDAY

D-I at Welcome Stadium, Dayton

5 p.m. field events: Boys pole vault, long jump, discus; girls high jump, discus.

6:30 p.m. running events: 4x800 relay final; all other running events semifinals; top times to Friday’s finals.

REGIONAL BASEBALL: Pairings, results

D-III at Memorial Stadium, Troy

4 p.m. field events: Boys pole vault, long jump, discus; girls high jump, shot put.

5 p.m. running events: 4x800 relay final; all other running events semifinals; top times to Friday’s finals.

THURSDAY

D-II at Alexander Stadium, Piqua

5 p.m. field events: Boys pole vault, long jump, discus; girls high jump, shot put.

6:30 p.m. running events: 4x800 relay final; all other running events semifinals; top times to Saturday’s finals.

FRIDAY

D-I at Welcome Stadium, Dayton

5 p.m. field events: Boys high jump, shot put; girls pole vault, long jump, shot put.

6 p.m. running finals.

D-III at Memorial Stadium, Troy

5 p.m. field events: Boys high jump, shot put; girls pole vault, long jump, discus.

6 p.m. running finals.

SATURDAY

D-II at Alexander Stadium, Piqua

11 a.m. field events: Boys high jump, shot put; girls pole vault, long jump, discus.

12:30 p.m. running finals.

FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

Football recruiting: Xenia wide receiver Meechi Harris narrows his list to 9 schools

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 10:24 AM

Meechi Harris (1 in blue) of Xenia scores a touchdown against Beavercreek.

Xenia receiver Meechi Harris has narrowed his list of potential college football destinations.

The three-star prospect is down to nine as summer camp season approaches: West Virginia, Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Kentucky, Minnesota and Toledo.

Harris was fifth in the GWOC in receiving yards with 663 last season.

Recruiting Roundup: Ohio State makes a move, Mason prospects add offers and Duke comes calling

He scored 10 touchdowns on offense and added four more on special teams, including a pair of punt return TDs against Sidney.

He also returned a kickoff for a score against Beavercreek and Fairborn.

RELATED: What’s next for Wayne’s Blue Smith?

Harris scored 8.2 points and grabbed 6.1 rebounds per game for the Buccaneers basketball team last winter.

Sports Today: All you need to know about the Reds, Marvin Lewis down on NFL celebrations, Cavs up 3-1

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 9:42 AM

Reds starter Amir Garrett pitches against Indians on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff

If you haven’t been watching the Cincinnati Reds much this season, they crammed pretty much everything about who they are into the last two days against the Cleveland Indians. 

The home team went 1-1 while putting 12 runs on the board. 

This team can hit, but the pitching staff has some glaring limitations. 

RELATED: Wild pitch costs Reds in 8-7 loss to Indians

Last night, talented rookie starter Amir Garrett pitched five innings but only had problems in one. That was enough. He lost Francisco Lindor to a one-out walk after being ahead 0-2 in the count, gave up a double to Michael Brantley then couldn’t put away Carlos Santana, whose single scored Brantley with the tying run and proceeded a mammoth two-run homer by former Red Edwin Encarnacion. 

The Reds came back to tie it only to see fourth or fifth-best reliever, free-agent acquisition Drew Storen, give up the go-ahead run in the eighth. 

Contrast that to a night before when they actually got a great start from a veteran Scott Feldman, who saw the team’s three best receivers shut the door after he left. (Two of them were presumably not available last night.) 

Such is life on the rebuild. 

On the bright side, manager Bryan Price sees Robert Stephenson on the upswing lately… 

Scott Schebler’s three-game home run streak was snapped last night, but the slugging right fielder got on base via a walk before being lifted as part of a double switch. 

Like most great people from the Midwest, the Iowa native says he once thought football would be his thing past high school

“I didn’t get any looks out of high school for baseball,” Schebler said. “I thought it was going to go football. I was a little bit of an underdog my whole career. It puts a little chip on your shoulder. You always want to prove people wrong. It can be a good thing or a bad thing because last year I had a chip on my shoulder and I was trying to prove everything to everybody, thinking ‘I’ve got to show them why they traded for me.’ You saw it in a bad way. I pressed. You’ve go to find ways to use it to benefit you.” 

He entered last night on pace for 47 home runs. 

He probably won’t hit that many, but he’s got to be giving the Reds something to think about as the trade deadline gets closer and they will have to start figuring out how to juggle their young hitters. 

READ MORE: Schebler exceeding expectations after slow start 

LeBron James scored 34 points last night while Kyrie Irving added 42, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals last night. 

Although we’ve been writing Boston obituaries for about week already, there is still at least one more game to be played in this series, believe it or not. 

Then it’s off to the Finals, where the Golden State Warriors may score 140 a night…

 

Football is back in earnest down by the Ohio River, and there’s good news and bad. 

William Thompson III and Brandon Thompson are back, but Dre Kirkpatrick is out

Meanwhile, the NFL is changing the rules about celebration, and Marvin Lewis is against it

Why? 

He’s worried about the example it sets for the kids. 

“We had a good standard, and the whole standard has always been you want to teach people how to play the game the correct way and go about it the correct way. And that’s not a very good example for young people.”

This is a reasonable take, but the flip side is that a celebration that doesn’t shame the opponent also is likely to fire up youngsters looking for some entertainment on a Sunday afternoon. 

I suppose it might be interesting to see if there is a difference between Sports Media Twitter and the average fan, though. 

WATCH: Kyle Schwarber blasts career-long home run out of Wrigley Field

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 10:22 AM

Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber hits a home run off San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chicago Clubs slugger and Middletown native Kyle Schwarber has hit some memorable home runs in his brief Major League Baseball career.

»RELATED: Schwarber thanks high school football coach

He added another one Tuesday night in the first inning of a 4-1 win over the Giants.

Schwarber obliterated a pitch from former Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto that traveled 470 feet — the longest HR of Schwarber’s three-year MLB career — onto Sheffield Avenue behind the right-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. It was the longest HR by Cubs player this season.

»RELATED: Doubtful the Cubs win the World Series without Schwarber

It’s been a tough start to the 2017 season for the former Middletown High School standout. Schwarber is batting .186 with seven home runs and 19 RBI in 41 games.