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Royals consider signing college pitcher who pleaded guilty to child molestation charge

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

What You Need To Know: Luke Heimlich

The Kansas City Royals are considering signing Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who pleaded guilty as a 15-year-old to molesting his 6-year-old niece, The Kansas City Star reported.

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“We continue to seek information that allows us to be comfortable in pursuing Luke,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.

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In 2012, Heimlich pleaded guilty to child molestation in Washington, Sports Illustrated reported.

According to court documents obtained by The Oregonian, the first time Heimlich molested his niece was when she was 4. He admitted he had “sexual contact” with the girl, The Oregonian reported.

Heimlich and his Oregon State teammates advanced to the College World Series championship series on Saturday, beating Mississippi State 5-2.

For the second straight year, Heimlich was not selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. 

Even though Heimlich is a two-time Pac-12 pitcher of the year, activist Brenda Tracy told the Star the 22-year-old should not be signed.

“I’m sorry, but Luke does not deserve to be on that platform and pedestal, (potentially) looked up to and adored by millions of people, including young kids,” Tracy, a survivor of a gang rape in Corvallis, Oregon, said Saturday. “We should never normalize, we should never minimize (what Heimlich pleaded guilty to). If the Royals bring him on their team, they are complicit in normalizing and minimizing.”

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Heimlich denied touching his niece despite his guilty plea. 

“I pled guilty to it, but ever since that day and even before that, in court records and everything, I’ve denied ever committing the offense,” Heimlich told the magazine. “I stand by that.”

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Hartman: Should MLB consider split-season division champions?

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 10:48 AM

2018 Cincinnati Reds: 10 things to know

With the All-Star break ongoing, here’s something to ponder to help pass the time: 

Should Major League Baseball consider first and second half division champions? 

The thought crossed my mind as I wondered what might have been for the 2018 Cincinnati Reds, who lost an astounding 18 of their first 21 games but have recently been one of the best teams in either league

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RELATED: Riggleman’s Reds are persistent and fun

It’s too bad April was so bad nothing that followed could possibly include the Reds really getting back into contention, right? 

Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Since there are minor leagues (including the Midwest League) that have split-season champions, I can’t say this is exactly a novel idea, but that’s a testing ground for lots of changes at the top level. 

It makes more sense for the MWL since rosters tend to change drastically through the course of the season, but there is probably some merit to the idea for MLB as its powers that be look for ways to increase fan interest late in the season. 

RELATED: 3 reasons the Reds can climb out of last place

That said… 

Although I am posing the question, I have to admit my answer would be no. 

I’d rather keep things the way they are. 

I am still a traditionalist, after all. 

 

As interesting as it might be for a team like the Reds, whose terrible start can partly be attributed to injuries to Scott Schebler and Eugenio Suarez, to get a mulligan, the long season is part of MLB’s identity. 

Triumphing over 162 games is important, and I don’t want that to go away — even though the expansion of the postseason has already drastically changed things not just from the days when the team with the best record in each league played in the World Series but also even 25 years ago when there were no wild cards. 

(Ironically, the 1981 Reds had the best record in the National League but missed the postseason because they did not have the best record in either half of a season that was split because of a work stoppage.) 

Nonetheless, don’t be too shocked if it does happen some day. Or at least if it gets some serious discussion. 

 

MLB, like every other major sports league in the country, has already shown a willingness to consider and even adopt terrible ideas to drum up business (Like the Big 12 creating a football championship game despite already playing a round-robin schedule. And have you seen how the NHL chooses playoff teams now? Remember when the winner of the All-Star Game got home-field advantage in the World Series?) so just about anything is possible. 

How would it work? 

Good question. 

The regular season would be watered down, but that was already done with the wild cards. 

Perhaps we trade in the wild cards for dual division champions? 

Yes, the team that goes wire-to-wire would get a raw deal, but that already happens. 

(Maybe if a team wins both halves we could try a series in which it only has to win three games while the opponent has to win four or something like that.) 

For baseball, a sport that depends more on strength at the local level than football, it might be a worthwhile trade to keep more localities interested for a longer period of time. 
  

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Dayton Flyers to open season on a Wednesday

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 11:13 AM

Dayton Flyers interview: Trey Landers

Two more non-conference games for the Dayton Flyers have become known in recent days.

The University of North Florida published its non-conference schedule on its website, and its first game is at Dayton on Wednesday, Nov. 7. That will be the 2018-19 season opener for both teams.

» SCHEDULE NEWS: A look at A-10 pairings

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The first day teams can play is Nov. 6. The NCAA moved up the start date from Friday to Tuesday this season so the teams can play their season openers during the week and not on a busy weekend for football.

“The start of the season had become so compressed with the holidays and exams,” Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president for basketball, told NCAA.com, “that the additional three days allows schools to better schedule the start of the season and it’s the benefit for the student athletes and coaches.”

North Florida finished 14-19 last season and ranked 282nd out of 351 teams in the Pomeroy ratings. It was one of the youngest teams in the country, ranking 331st in experience. It returns 10 of 12 players and its six top scorers.

Dayton beat the Osprey 86-71 at UD Arena on Dec. 5, 2015. That was the first meeting between the programs.

» DAYTON FEATURES: Donnie JonesJosh CunninghamTrey Landers | Ryan Mikesell

Another game that hasn’t been officially announced will be against Presbyterian. Jon Rothstein, of CBS Sports, reported that game last week, though a date was not announced.

Presbyterian, located in Clinton, S.C., finished 11-21 last season and ranked 334th in the Pomeroy ratings. It was a Division II school until 2007. It has not had a winning season since moving to Division I.

Dayton played Presbyterian once before, winning 71-52 at UD Arena on Dec. 19, 2009.

Presbyterian’s football program will join Dayton in the Pioneer Football League in 2021.

Here are the other known non-conference games:

Nov. 21: Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Possible opponents: Virginia, Middle Tennessee State, Butler, Florida, Oklahoma, Stanford and Wisconsin.

Nov. 22: Battle 4 Atlantis.

Nov. 23: Battle 4 Atlantis.

Nov. 30: Mississippi State at Dayton.

Dec. 8: Dayton at Auburn (reported by Rothstein).

Dec. 16: Dayton vs. Tulsa at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

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Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Scottie Pippen among celebrities coming to Dayton for new event 

Published: Friday, June 15, 2018 @ 2:00 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 5:22 PM

The organizer of a new charity event say a who’s who of sports figures and entertainers will descend on Dayton in a matter of a few weeks. 

>>MORE: Here is how to get into Dayton event featuring Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and nearly 40 other celebs

 

Ron Edwards, the organizer of the Jim Cleamons Celebrity Golf Classic and Charity Event, told us that Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen are among the celebrities slated to be in Dayton for the new event set for Aug. 19 and 20 at the NCR Country Club, 4435 Dogwood Trail in Kettering. 

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>>JUST ANNOUNCED: Kobe Bryant, Lenny Wilkens join the guest list for new celebrity golf tournament

Cleamons is a former NBA player and coach. 

WHO BENEFITS 

The event will benefit Hoopology Camp, Cleamons’ Columbus charity for student athlete development.

The Pink Ribbon Girls, a locally based nonprofit that helps women battling cancer, will also benefit. 

WHY ARE CELEBRITIES INVOLVED?

A marketing professional by trade, Edwards says he and his wife, Arnika Edwards — University of Dayton’s director of  basketball operations — are longtime friends of Cleamons. And so are the celebrities expected to play in the golf event.

>> Jermaine Jackson spotted at iconic local music store

Several were coached by Cleamons or coached with him. 

“All these people want to come and make it happen for Jim,” Edwards said. 

He said he would release a full list of celebrities Monday. 

“We’ve got a great list of celebrities and athletes that will be here,” he said. “It is going to do a big deal. Our plan is to have this for a long time.”

WHO IS JIM CLEAMONS? 

Raised in Columbus, Cleamons played basketball at Ohio State University before entering the NBA. 

He played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Washington Bullets. 

>> 222 things to love about Dayton

He was an assistant basketball coach for the Chicago Bulls from 1989 until 1996 — during the “Jordan years” — and was the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks a year after that.

Cleamons was also an assistant coach for the Lakers during their 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010 championship seasons.

The Bulls won championships in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996.

>> Amy Schumer spotted in Yellow Springs 

WHY DAYTON?

Edwards said Dayton was selected as the city of the golf event that will include an auction because he and his wife are based here, the Dayton area has quality golf courses and because Cleamons — now a resident of California — remains passionate about helping Ohio youth improve their lives and have bright futures.  

“Everything we are doing is for Jim and his 501(c)(3) and helping the kids in Ohio,” he said.  

Links to register for the event can be found at Hoopologycamp.org.

 

The first Jim Cleamons Celebrity Golf Classic and Charity Event is set for Aug. 19 and 20, 2018.(Contributed)

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Reds end 36-year home run drought in All-Star Game

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 12:08 AM

Cincinnati Reds: All-Star Game history

In his first All-Star Game at-bat, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett saved the National League — for one inning.

Gennett’s two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth tied the 89th All-Star Game at 5-5, but two Houston Astros, Alex Bregman and George Springer, hit back-to-back home runs in the 10th and the American League addded one more run to win 8-6 Tuesday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

The AL has won six straight All-Star Games. Bregman was named the game’s MVP.

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» POLL: Reds player named friendliest in baseball

Gennett’s home run was the third game-tying home run in the ninth inning or later and the first since Fred McGriff’s in 1994. The only other was hit by Ralph Kiner in 1950.

Gennett also became the first Red to hit a home run in the All-Star Game since Dave Concepcion in 1982.

With that streak over, Joey Votto hit a home run in the 10th inning to draw the National League within one run. That was Votto’s first hit in an All-Star Game. He was 0-for-12 in six games after starting this game 0-for-2.

» ALL-STAR COVERAGE: Schwarber falls in Home Run DerbyVotto praises interim manager Riggleman

An error by Votto almost cost the National League the game in the eighth inning.

Votto dropped a foul pop off the bat of the Seattle Mariners’ Jean Segura. It wasn’t the easiest play. Votto was about to run into the rail by the dugout. He still received an error.

» RELATED: Manfred says DH not coming to NL anytime soon

Segura hit the next pitch into the stands in left for a three-run home run, giving the American League a 5-2 lead.

Votto and another Reds All-Star, third baseman Eugenio Suarez, entered the game in the top of the sixth. This was the first All-Star Game for Suarez, who ranks second in the National League with 71 RBIs. In his first at-bat in the seventh inning, he was hit by a pitch. He struck out in the ninth.

           

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