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Published: Wednesday, November 01, 2017 @ 9:27 AM
— I clocked out a few minutes before 5 on Tuesday afternoon to get ready for beggar’s night and boy did I miss a lot in the sports world.
This failed A.J. McCarron trade between the Browns and Bengals is nine kinds of hilarious if you’re not a Browns fan.
Honestly, even if you are a Browns fan, it’s probably at least two or three kinds.
And at least now you know your suspicions this regime is absolutely not salvageable are true. That should provide some sort of solace.
Everybody loves being right, right?
But seriously: How do these guys still have jobs?
It was already pretty clear the front office leaders don’t know football. Now they can’t even do paperwork? I thought that was in their wheelhouse.
What is it they do there if not?
I try to avoid knee-jerk reactions, but if the reported version of what happened is accurate, the whole place needs to be cleaned out. Nothing else is acceptable. There is literally no excuse for failing to get that done in time.
Browns' excuse for A.J. McCarron trade blunder reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of NFL procedures https://t.co/mp4f11FzlW— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 1, 2017
This was my favorite part from the Pro Football Talk take:
By the way, this would have been a really dumb trade, too, unless they have already given up on DeShone Kizer.
Acquiring McCarron before the draft made plenty of sense. That gave you a veteran with some growth potential or at worst someone to lean on while building up that terrible roster.
Now they have a first-round talent in the building (Kizer). He was good enough in the preseason to win the starting job, so it’s not like he got there and suddenly they realized he can’t play.
A team like Cleveland shouldn’t be surrendering more assets than they used to get Kizer, especially when they already have multiple potential caretaker QBs in the organization. It’s ridiculous. And this is the group that values picks over people all the time!
They can’t even stay true to their own probably misaligned principles for half a season? Yikes…
As for the Bengals, I guess now we can conclude once and for all Andy Dalton is unbenchable.
I never thought it was anywhere near likely, but seeing his meek response to adversity last year and this year kept a live a tiny bit of question about what this team might look like with a different presence in the huddle.
We can forget that now.
The deal is probably also confirmation they love Jeff Driskel.
I bet he’s the most talented of trio, for what that’s worth.
If McCarron were more talented than Dalton, I think we’d have a better chance of seeing him.
That would make going to him about more than a response to diminishing returns from a veteran who’s steadiness and accuracy are supposed to make up for other shortcomings but haven’t lately.
On to Jacksonville…
As for the first College Football Playoff rankings, Ohio State fans shouldn’t panic yet, but some worry is warranted.
Sixth looks about right to me given the strength of schedules.
RELATED: First CFP rankings released
It’s a lot worse than being fifth, too, since only two teams ahead of them play each other (Georgia and Alabama).
The SEC isn’t getting two teams if Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State are all one-loss conference champs. Don’t worry about that.
But if everyone else in the top five win out, the Big Ten is probably going to be left home this time because the Buckeyes lost to the Sooners.
Of course Notre Dame is the wild card. The committee likes what the Fighting Irish have done so far better than Ohio State.
Would a win over a preferably undefeated Wisconsin and being conference champs be enough for the Buckeyes to jump ND?
Hard to predict, but the Irish resume could still get a lot better, too.
(Presumably Michigan will be ranked again when Ohio Stage plays them but Michigan State will not.)
I guess the changes to Ohio State’s offense were good enough for Penn State https://t.co/e7BAGT1NED— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) November 1, 2017
The good news is history tells us the odds of none of those teams getting upset in November aren’t very high.
Weird stuff just tends to happen in college football.
Based on who they still have to play, I doubt Oklahoma or Notre Dame win out.
Clemson also has lose-able games, though probably fraudulent Miami is lurking behind Ohio State with a chance to improve drastically by beating Notre Dame and Clemson. (They won’t.)
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 12:01 AM
— Mickey Mantle baseball cards are coveted by collectors, and the 1952 Topps card of the New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame outfielder remains the gold standard for post-World War II collectibles.
The bar was raised even higher Thursday night, as a ’52 Mantle in mint condition -- graded PSA 9 by Professional Sports Authenticator -- sold for $2,880,000 in an online event hosted by Heritage Auctions. That price, which includes the buyer’s premium, is the most ever paid for a post-World War II trading card and the second-highest for any trading card, Sports Collectors Daily reported.
“The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is more than just a baseball card,” PSA President Joe Orlando said in a news release. “It is pop culture art and the symbol of the card collecting hobby itself.”
There were 21 bids cast for the Mantle card, which was part of Heritage Auctions’ Spring Sports Card Catalog Auction. The previous record for a 1952 Mantle graded PSA 9 was set in 2006, when Memory Lane Auction sold one for $282,588, PSA said in its release. The previous record for a Mantle card, regardless of grade, was a PSA 8.5 that sold in 2016 for $1.13 million.
The card that was sold Thursday night was owned by former NFL offensive lineman Evan Mathis, who played for six teams during his professional career. Wednesday night, Mathis spoke with with ESPN’s Bob Ley about the card and his love for collecting. Mathis said he sold the card to finance a new home in Tennessee, Sports Collectors Daily reported.
Mantle’s 1952 card is not the slugger’s true rookie card, but it is the first card that Topps issued. The 1951 Bowman card of the Mick is considered his rookie card, and one graded PSA 9 sold during this week’s Heritage Auctions sale for $750,000.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 12:49 PM
DAYTON — Erin Whalen, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward from Charlotte, N.C., is transferring from Vanderbilt to the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball program.
Whalen said she told Dayton coach Shauna Green of her decision on Thursday. Dayton has not officially announced the news.
“I am super excited about the opportunity,” Whalen told the Dayton Daily News on Friday.
» RELATED: Green excited about Dayton’s future
Whalen will have to sit out the 2018-19 season. She has two seasons of eligibility remaining. She averaged 7.4 points and 1.8 rebounds last season at Vanderbilt. As a freshman, she averaged 9.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game and made the All-SEC freshman team.
With another award, and this time it's for Most Improved, Erin Whalen! pic.twitter.com/aNcWCYWB0C— Vanderbilt WBB (@VandyWBB) April 19, 2017
Whalen started 10 games as a freshman and two as a sophomore. Vanderbilt finished 7-24 last season and 14-16 in Whalen’s freshman season.
» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Marquette in NCAA tournament
Whalen was a five-star recruit in 2016, according to the ESPN HoopGurlz rankings. She ranked 46th overall in the class. She was the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at the Providence Day School.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 11:09 AM
— For the second day in a row, we had some breaking news first thing in the morning. Here is my tribute to Earle Bruce, who passed away this morning after 87 years of filling the world with passion and energy for football and Ohio State.
Here’s what else is going on…
Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams said pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear in regards to the firing of Bryan Price.
“We’re very focused on creating a sense of urgency for these guys to perform now,” Williams said yesterday. “We talk about rebuilding, and there’s things going on away from the field and in the farm system and investments in the franchise that are part of that rebuilding process, but when guys show up to work every day, they need to have a sense of urgency to win that day. They need to take care of the details on the field. They need to play hard. They need to play smart. They need to play it right. That we can control, and we need to get this team playing that way because we know they have the ability to do it. That is the short-team immediate focus.”
Beyond that, I have seen the argument made that firing Price was pointless because the team wasn’t really good enough to win.
That’s a pretty dumb way to look at it.
For one thing, it ignores just how terrible the Reds have been since the start of the season.
It’s not as if we’re talking about a squad that is a few games under .500.
They have not been below average.
They have been dreadful — historically bad.
Cincinnati’s record is 3-15, and there’s no reason to think the Reds should have many, if any, more wins the way they have played… except if like me you think Price botched a handful of chances to win games with head-scratching late-game decisions.
I’ve also seen it suggested the whole organization is rotten and they need to start over.
This isn’t completely out of the question, but it’s a pretty big overreaction at this point.
Yes multiple people — players, managers, management, ownership, etc — had to make mistakes for the team to be in this predicament, but many of them are already gone.
Walt Jocketty blew the end of the last era of good times with help from Dusty Baker, his scouting department and at least some on the development side.
Several years of terrible drafts and an inability to find cheap options to fill out the bench and the bullpen at the major-league level were major issues, and Baker’s attempts to maximize a flawed roster were generally inept.
RELATED: Barry Larkin on deck?
Jocketty badly misplayed the start of the rebuild, perhaps because ownership wouldn’t let hims start it as soon as he needed to.
Whatever the reason, the Reds waited too long to start the rebuild at the major-league level.
That prevented them from maximizing the return on players like Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce and exacerbated the effect of those bad drafts.
(They were able to sell high on Todd Frazier and got surprisingly good returns on some other players who weren’t as high-profile, like Mike Leake, Alfredo Simon and Dan Straily.)
More recently, they seem to have figured out a few things in the draft. The past two efforts have been rated very highly.
Help is on the way, and there are good pieces in place already.
Health remains an issue, of course. Figuring out if anything can be done about that is not easy.
Williams has only been in the big chair for about a year and a half, and I’m willing to see how his early moves play out.
Waiting on young pitchers to develop can be maddening, but it is also pretty clearly their best option given their market and the ballpark.
They talked about accountability when Baker was fired.
Price never answered that bell.
As he was shown the door, a need to create a winning culture was identified.
Will anything change?
It couldn’t have gotten much worse…
Meanwhile, the firing of Price yesterday morning obscured a few other noteworthy items.
Chief among them was Hunter Greene’s second start.
Watching this talented young guy develop is already fascinating.
The South Bend Cubs were clearly sitting on his fastball, and they hit it hard a few times.
He didn’t hesitate to go to his secondary pitches, working curves and changes to varying degrees of success.
Having to pitch through a pretty hard rain for 10 minutes or so seemed to frustrate him, but that’s understandable.
He still hung in there and showed his competitiveness.
It was less than three innings, but it was encouraging to see his mental makeup and tools despite his inexperience…
Ohio State held spring exit interviews with its assistant coaches Wednesday, and the most noteworthy local development regarded Josh Myers.
Coach Greg Studrawa revealed the Miamisburg product overcame some struggles early in the spring to turn in a strong final two weeks as he learns to play center.
He might have to settle for the backup job to fifth-year senior Brady Taylor, but that’s not a bad place to be for an offensive lineman still only a year out of high school.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson also had great things to say about Wayne grad Robert Landers, a tackle who has shown a lot of growth as a leader...
This slate looks tougher to me than the NFL’s calculation of last year’s winning percentages indicates it should be.
Maybe that’s just a function of being unsure of how good the Bengals will actually be.
#Bengals sked— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) April 20, 2018
Wk1: @ Indy
Wk2: BALT (Thurs)
Wk3: @ Car
Wk4 @ Atl
Wk7: @ KC
Wk11; @ Balt
Wk14: at Chargers
Wk16: @ Cle
Wk17: @ Pitt
The Browns and Colts are rebuilding, but those AFC West teams and the Dolphins all have the potential to be playoff contenders with the right moves so there is a high potential for variance.
Of course, last season I was incorrectly optimistic about the Bengals based in large part because I thought their schedule was pretty easy.
That’s not exactly how it worked out.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 3:13 PM
CINCINNATI — If members of the Cincinnati Reds front office read the Facebook comments during their search for the next Reds manager, they’ll look at everyone from Barry Larkin to Pete Rose to Chris Sabo, Sean Casey and even Dusty Baker.
One of those names might be a legitimate candidate, but it’s too early to tell who the Reds will hire as a replacement for Bryan Price, who was fired on Thursday in his fifth season. Reds General Manager Dick Williams did not put a timetable on when the Reds would hire their next manager.
“We will be undergoing a thorough and exhaustive process to identify the next full-time manager,” Williams said. “We have good internal candidates, but that will be a process we need to undergo, and it makes more sense to do that toward the end of the season because any internal candidates, for the most part, are not going to be available until then.”
Below is a glance at some of the names that might get thrown around in the coming months:
Larkin: Fans have clamored for years for the Reds to hire Larkin, who played shortstop for the Reds from 1986-2004 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. Of course, Larkin has never been a manager at any level, and according to a report, he angered some in the Reds organization about his comments about some young players in the organization saying they want to see him be the Reds manager one day. Price was still the manager at the time. Larkin is in his third season as a special assistant to the general manager.
Eric Davis: If you’re throwing 1990 World Champions into the mix, you might as well mention Davis, who has been a special assistant to the GM since 2008.
Lou Piniella: And if you’re throwing Larkin and Davis into the mix, you might as well mention the manager of the 1990 Reds. He’s now a special advisor to baseball operations.
Jim Riggleman: He’ll start his stint as interim Reds manager on Friday in St. Louis. He has 12 years of experience in the big leagues but only one winning season.
Pat Kelly: Kelly will serve as bench coach under Riggleman. He was the manager of the Triple-A Louisville Bats and managed Double-A Pensacola the last three seasons.
Buddy Bell: Here’s another name in the Reds front office with managing experience. Bell managed the Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals but had only one winning season in nine years.
» MCCOY: Firing Price won’t fix Reds’ issues
Joe Girardi: The longtime New York Yankees manager, who lost his job in 2017, likely will hear his name mentioned in connection to this job. In the category of recently-fired managers who deserve another chance, he might be the best name out there.