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Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 3:57 PM
— Finally, something the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers can agree on.
One day after having his suspension overturned by the NFL and saying “they made the right decision,” Bengals safety George Iloka concurred with comments made by Steelers safety Mike Mitchell on Wednesday.
“I personally think, like Mike said, if you start suspended guys for that, the league is going to turn into a brand of football in which, if you’re worried about losing viewers, you’ll lose a lot more,” Iloka said. “Fines. Understandable. Repeat offenders. Understandable. Plays away from the ball, off ball incidents, post-whistle kind of things. OK, all right. Those might warrant suspensions if deemed unreasonable.
“But on-ball kind of plays, which are football plays, to suspend for that is going to set a bad precedent to where guys are just going to pull up and give away things,” Iloka added. “I’m not a betting man, but I can guarantee you next if will be Vegas complaining, talking about they’re throwing these games and things like that.”
Iloka pointed to the play where William Jackson stopped short of hitting Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell because he appeared to be heading out of bounds, only to watch him to stay in bounds and score a 35-yard touchdown.
“That, to me, I would turn off football to see plays like that,” he said. “(Jackson)told you legit, ‘I was scared of getting a personal foul.’”
Iloka said the hit he originally was suspended for is a football play and took exception to the suggestion it was in response to the hit JuJu Smith-Schuster delivered against Vontaze Burfict, resulting in the Bengals linebacker leaving the field strapped to a backboard on a cart.
The Smith-Schuster hit, which Iloka defended, also drew a one-game suspension that will be served Sunday after the rookie receiver’s appeal was denied.
“I heard people say it was for retaliation,” Iloka said. “No. Not the case. There’s just 3 minutes and some change left and they’re going for a tie. He throws the ball into a tight window and I tried to make a play. Whether it be a random team like the Detroit Lions, the Steelers, the Browns, anybody, just take away my name, take away the receiver, take away the team names, that’s what you want each player to do in that situation.
“You expect the quarterback to throw into a tight window,” he continued. “You expect the receiver to go up for the catch. And you expect the safety to try to draw the ball free. Period. Just take away the names. It’s not that deep. It was a football play. Just like JuJu’s was a football play. It’s just obviously like they said and a lot of people said, no one agrees with him standing over someone that’s hurt. But football plays are football plays, and this game is violent. We know that.”
Mitchell defended Iloka on Twitter after the suspension was announced, saying he’s not a dirty player. Iloka and Mitchell work out together in the offseason and talk at times during the season.
Iloka said he didn’t think Mitchell was defending him so much as he was sticking up for the game they play and love.
“He obviously understands the position we’re in week in and week out,” Iloka said. “I think he’s just speaking for the future of the game. I’m going to be in that position five more times this next game, and the game after that. That’s the position we’re in as safeties. Quarterbacks are going to throw into tight windows and you’ll be in that situation a lot. It feels like what am I supposed to do? What would you want your safety on your team to do? Just concede us a touchdown?
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 3:07 PM
— The Dayton Dragons wrapped up the first half of the Midwest League season with an 8-0 loss to West Michigan on Sunday.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s been an up-and-down season so far for the Cincinnati Reds’ Single-A affiliate.
Dayton finished the first half in sixth place in the Eastern division, 15.5 games behind leader Bowling Green.
This marks a major departure from last season when the Dragons streaked through the first half and had clinched a wildcard berth when it was over.
The Dragons opened the season on a three-game losing streak.
Then they won their next nine only to lose eight in a row.
After that came a six-game winning streak.
Things leveled off to a certain extent after that, but there were still losing streaks of seven and eight games along with a five-game winning streak.
The Dragons were a league-worst 9-23 on the road in the first half.
They posted a 22-14 mark in front of the fans at Fifth Third Field, however, and that might not come as much of a surprise for a roster that is pretty young.
Speaking of youth...
Many of the preseason headlines were devoted to Hunter Greene, the 18-year-old pitching phenom with the triple-digit fastball who was the No. 2 pick in last year’s MLB draft.
However, the best teenager on the team so far has been Jeter Downs.
The infielder leads the team in hits (68) and stolen bases (18) while sharing the team lead in doubles (15) with Montrell Marshall.
RedsMinorLeagues.com notes Downs, who turns 20 on July 27, has already put up some impressive power numbers compared to previous teenage Dragons.
Hunter Greene made 12 starts in the first half and finished with a 5.53 ERA. That is the best it has been since he gave up seven runs in less than an inning during his third start.
Green has allowed six runs and seven walks over 23.3 innings in his last five starts. He has struck out 27 while walking seven and allowing 20 hits.
RELATED: Greene loses pitchers’ duel
He has gradually worked up his pitch count, throwing 86 his last time out, and shown that while he is raw, Reds fans have a lot to be excited about.
One of Greene’s batterymates, Hendrick Clementina has been the team’s best hitter so far.
A catcher acquired in the Tony Cingrani trade, Clementina is has a team-best .971 OPS and also leads the club in batting (.316), homers (nine) and RBIs (35).
He is one of five teams to make the all-star team, joining outfielder Marshall, outfield Stuart Fairchild and pitchers Cory Thompson and John Ghyzel.
Was this a successful first half for the Dragons?
In record, obviously not.
The Dragons had the worst on-base percentage in the Midwest League and finished 12th in runs scored. They also had the worst team ERA in the league.
Development is the name of the game at this level, though, and a handful of the guys in Green look like keepers.
That includes Greene, who appears to be on the right track after a rocky run in late April and early May.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 4:12 PM
COLUMBUS — Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer spoke about quarterback and a couple of changes to NCAA rules Friday night in Columbus.
The Buckeyes mentor confirmed in the clearest language yet Dwayne Haskins will be his starting quarterback when preseason camp commences in late summer.
“Dwayne is the starter and Tate (Martell) is in full competition mode,” Meyer told reporters at the annual Ohio State football job fair. “Matt Baldwin is our three and he’s doing very well now.”
Haskins, a sophomore from Maryland, became the assumed starter when Joe Burrow transferred to LSU last month.
Meyer told the Pro Football Hall of Fame luncheon crowd in Canton in mid-May Haskins would get “the first opportunity to be the starter,” and his latest comments further confirmed that intention.
In Columbus, Meyer also said he has maintained contact with Burrow, who graduated in May and is eligible for the Tigers right away.
“Joe did a lot for us, and we did a lot for Joe, so it was a very amicable relationship,” Meyer said.
The appearance was also the first for Meyer since the NCAA announced a pair of changes to player eligibility last week.
“It’s a good rule, and I’m glad they did that,” Meyer said. “It’s good for most importantly the student-athlete.”
Previously participating in one play meant a year of eligibility was used — unless that player later became injured and certain other specifications were met.
That is no longer the case.
“I think it’s just going to be easier (for coaches). Usually you play a guy early and then if they get hurt, you redshirt them,” Meyer said. “Now there is going to be, do you hold onto them until the stretch run when it gets really hard and you need them? Because usually when you get into the end of the season you’re dealing with injuries.”
Meyer also said the new rule preventing coaches from blocking transfers is good — as long as players still have to sit out a year before being eligible.
Ohio State football coaches bring passion, knowledge to clinic at Northmont https://t.co/FhNm9mzfiv— daytonsports (@daytonsports) May 11, 2018
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 9:19 AM
CINCINNATI — Joey Votto played in his 1,500th career game for the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. He went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in an 8-6 victory at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Before the game, the Reds shared the numbers on how Votto compares to Hall of Fame first basemen from the last 50 years, including Jim Thome, who will be inducted this summer.
» DRAGONS: Dayton ends first half with loss
Here’s how Votto, at age 34, in his 12th season, stacks up against 12 of the greats through the first 1,500 games of their careers. In short, he compares well — especially in on-base percentage and walks, as you might expect.
Batting average: Rod Carew (.335); Frank Thomas (.321); Johnny Mize (.320); Joey Votto (.313); Jeff Bagwell (.305); Orlando Cepeda (.305); Eddie Murray (.299); George Kelly (.297); Jim Thome (.285); Tony Perez (.284); Ernie Banks (.283); Willie McCovey (.282); Harmon Killebrew (.262);
On-base percentage: Thomas (.441); Votto (.428); Bagwell (.418); Thome (.411); Mize (.406); Carew (.392); McCovey (.385); Killebrew (.375); Murray (.375); Cepeda (.355); Perez (.347); Banks (.344); Kelly (.343);
Slugging percentage: Mize (.580); Thomas (.580); Thome (.566); McCovey (.555); Bagwell (.553); Banks (.536); Votto (.536); Killebrew (.532); Cepeda (.517); Murray (.505); Perez (.484); Kelly (.455); Carew (.450);
Home runs: Killebrew (392); Thome (368); Ernie Banks (353); McCovey (347); Thomas (339); Bagwell (316); Mize (315); Cepeda (279); Murray (275); Votto (263); Perez (246); Kelly (137); Rod Carew (71).
Hits: Rod Carew (1,924); Mize (1,776); Thomas (1,721); Cepeda (1,714); Murray (1,680); Votto (1,662); Bagwell (1,657); Kelly (1,650); Banks (1,618); Perez (1,550); Thome (1,451); McCovey (1,375); Killebrew (1,354);
Walks: Thomas (1,172); Bagwell (1,012); Votto (1,046); Killebrew (919); McCovey (788); Mize (757); Murray (709); Carew (542); Perez (532); Banks (521); Cepeda (388); Kelly (358); Thome (108).
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 1:47 PM
CINCINNATI — Scooter Gennett, of the Cincinnati Reds, remains ranked third among second basemen in voting for the National League All-Star team.
Gennett has received 743,979 votes, the league announced Monday in its second release of the voting results. He trails the Braves’ Ozzie Albies (915,736) and the Cubs’ Javier Baez (767,417). All three have a wide lead over the fourth-ranked second baseman: the Giants’ Joe Panik (194,634).
Joey Votto also remains fifth in voting among first basemen (189,364), well behind the league’s overall leader in votes, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman (1,433,140).
Eugenio Suarez, who ranked fourth last week, remains fourth this week among third basemen with 228,806 votes. He leads NL third basemen in RBIs (52) and ranks second in the league among all players. The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (1,124,563) has a wide lead among third basemen.