Sports Today: Defensive gems, conspiracy theories come with Reds win

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 9:53 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 16:  Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds leaps over Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants after getting his throw off to complete the douple play in the bottom of the fifth inning at AT&T Park on May 16, 2018 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 16: Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds leaps over Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants after getting his throw off to complete the douple play in the bottom of the fifth inning at AT&T Park on May 16, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Maybe this summer won’t be so long after all… 

With the Cincinnati Reds winning five of seven on the West Coast and looking like an actual major-league baseball team more often than not over about a three-week span, taking a peak at the box score in the morning isn’t so terrifying anymore. 

There was lots to like about Cincinnati’s 6-3 win in San Francisco on Wednesday, but the numbers only told part of the story. 

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This game was also marked by wild plays in the field and wild accusations afterward. 

With Jose Peraza setting the table with two hits, the 2-3-4 hitters went 5 for 11 and drove in five runs, but that might not have been enough without some great defense along the way. 

Scooter Gennett saved the day with a running/leaping catch to end a bases-loaded threat in the sixth, then the No. 2 hitter homered in the top of the seventh for an insurance run. 

HAL MCCOY: Gennett making himself a marketable asset

The bullpen put together five scoreless innings — which has become surprisingly expected — to set up the nuttiest part of the day. 

After Brandon Belt was called out on strikes to end the ninth inning against Raisel Iglesias, the Giants left fielder wondered aloud if the umpire had intentionally called a ball a strike just to get the game over sooner. 

The pitch was outside, but this of course is an insane accusation. 

Not that I’m complaining. 

Yesterday the Great Joey Votto Podcast Controversy of 2018 established again honesty doesn’t pay for athletes anymore in the land of hot takes, but when they have one like this the picture is a lot different. 

The Reds first baseman got some heat for expressing genuine opinions (the Reds’ start was embarrassing) that are rooted in fact (the Reds lost most of their first 21 games). There was nothing unreasonable about what he said. 

Belt, meanwhile, comes across like an insane person while also calling into question the integrity of an umpire based on some alleged comments about wanting to speed the game up. 

I’m not sure how long Brandon Belt has been associated with baseball, but I thought most people were aware umpires make incorrect calls fairly regularly. 

(The longer I live, the more I’ve come to realize human error is the explanation for life’s problems far more often than sinister motives.) 

Part of me thinks he should be heavily fined or suspended just for being dumb enough to actually say out loud something I would feel uncomfortable murmuring to a buddy at the bar, but then again I’m all for authenticity so maybe we should just let the court of public opinion handle this one... 

Meanwhile, Matt Harvey wasn’t as sharp as he was in his first Reds start, but the righty said afterward he felt stronger later in the game than he has in a while. 

“It’s been a while since I’ve felt stronger throughout a game, so getting up toward 80 pitches and still feeling strong and noticing the ball coming out the way it was it’s definitely a big positive,” he said.

So far so good, eh? 

On the flip side, Devin Mesoraco is hitting only .200 for the Mets, but he has homered twice in only 15 at-bats…  

Which Cincinnati Bengals rookie free agents have the best chance to make the active roster this fall? 

Jay Morrison picked the top five, and it feels like the first two are the most likely by far. 

Ohio State’s Chris Worley could bring more athleticism to a linebacker room in transition, and his football instincts are sure to impress the coaching staff. 

Quinton Flowers, the former South Florida quarterback, could turn out to be a Swiss Army knife for the offense and special teams. 

Perhaps a new Josh Cribbs? 

That’s a lot to live up to, but it’s also tantalizing to think about... 

  

Finally, did you see David Jablonski’s comparison of the first year of recruiting at Dayton for the last four Flyers coaches? 

Of course lots has changed since Olver Purnell was hired 24 years ago, but it was really interesting to see each coach found one very important player in his first year. 

For Purnell, it was Ryan Perryman, who stuck with the Flyers despite Jim O’Brien’s exit. 

Brian Gregory signed Brian Roberts out of Toledo while Archie Miller snagged a key transfer (Jordan Sibert) and freshman (Dyshawn Pierre). 

From here, Grant appears to have a shot to better all of them based on the freshman seasons of Jalen Crutcher (a Grant recruit) and Jordan Davis (a Miller holdover) plus the signing of four-star 2018 guard Dwayne Cohill. 

Of course that will require Crutcher and Davis to build on their promising first campaigns and Cohill to be as good as the scouts say. 

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UD provides inside look at arena renovation

Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 12:54 PM

The $72 million renovation of UD Arena is in phase 2 with two shifts of construction workers tackling the big project

The University of Dayton shared a video updating the progress of phase two of the three-year, $72 million UD Arena renovation on Friday.

The video shows the seats in the 300 and 400 levels have been removed. They will be replaced by padded seats with cupholders.

» EARLIER COVERAGE: Phase two of renovation may be busiest

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UD Arena Director Scott DeBolt walked fans through the changes going on inside and outside the arena. 

“The main concentration of phase two is expanding the north side and east side of the building,” DeBolt said.

» RELATED: One of Dayton’s biggest events staying at arena

DeBolt mentioned the expanded concourse area, improved restrooms and an elevator that will provide access to a new landing at the top of the east side 400 level. That area will contain restrooms, expanded handicap seating and concession options.

“The area will provide guests with a dynamic view of the playing floor and the river,” DeBolt said, “all while maintaining the intimacy of the arena.”

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Tony Sparano, former Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders head coach, dead at 56

Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 1:39 PM

Tony Sparano, head coach of the Miami Dolphins during the Thanksgiving Day game at Cowboys Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Sparano died unexpectedly in 2018. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Tony Sparano, head coach of the Miami Dolphins during the Thanksgiving Day game at Cowboys Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Sparano died unexpectedly in 2018. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Offensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings Tony Sparano died Sunday morning at age 56.

The Vikings said in a statement Sunday that Sparano died unexpectedly.

>> Read more trending news 

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Before coaching with the Vikings, Sparano was the head coach for the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He started his NFL career in 1999 as an offensive quality control coach for the Cleveland Browns. Throughout his career, Sparano has coached with the Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys, Jets and 49ers, according to NFL.com.

Related: Photos: Notable deaths 2018

“Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony,” Vikings Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in a statement. “Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony's presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony’s family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts.”

Sparano is survived by his wife, Jeanette;  his two sons, Tony and Andrew; his daughter, Ryan Leigh; and four grandchildren.

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Riggleman confirms Reds will use six-man starting rotation

Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 12:04 PM

The scene at Great American Ball Park before the Reds play the Pirates on Sunday, July 22, 2018, in Cincinnati.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
The scene at Great American Ball Park before the Reds play the Pirates on Sunday, July 22, 2018, in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

The Cincinnati Reds will use a six-man starting pitching rotation at least until the trade deadline July 31, though interim manager Jim Riggleman hopes the Reds hang onto Matt Harvey, the player most likely to be dealt.

“I’ve got no indication that he’s going to be traded,” Riggleman said Sunday.

» HAL McCOY: Reds honor 2018 Hall of Fame class

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Harvey (5-5, 4.63 ERA) makes his 13th start with the Reds on Sunday, facing the Pittsburg Pirates in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park. He would make one more start with the Reds if he stays with the team until the trade deadline.

Entering Sunday, the only question with the rotation was who would start Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals after Homer Bailey (1-7, 6.68) returns to the rotation Tuesday. Riggleman confirmed that starter will be Sal Romano (5-8, 5.19).

“If we absolutely need (Romano) today in the bullpen,” Riggleman said, “he would pitch today, but we would really try to limit that and see if he would then be able to pitch Wednesday as a starter.”

» RELATED: Votto gets extra day off; Gennett reflects on All-Star experience

The six-man rotation could test the bullpen if the Reds stick with it for long because it means the Reds will have one fewer reliever than normal.

“We would not say with six for a long period of time,” Riggleman said. “I guess we could if we run into a period of very few off days and those guys are giving us six innings because if they’re not then we’re really putting a strain on the bullpen.”

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Two Dayton Flyers legends part of 2019 Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame class

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 3:31 PM

University of Dayton basketball legend Roosevelt Chapman in the 1980s.
Staff Writer
University of Dayton basketball legend Roosevelt Chapman in the 1980s.(Staff Writer)

Two of the top-10 leading scorers in Dayton Flyers men’s basketball history will join the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

Roosevelt Chapman and John Horan will be honored on May 18, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus.

Chapman is Dayton’s all-time scoring leader. He scored 2,233 points between 1980 and 1984. Horan (1951-55) ranks 10th with 1,757 points.

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» LOOKING BACK: Chapman led Dayton to Elite Eight in 1984

Among the other inductees are:

• Beavercreek's Alison Bales, who won two state championships in high school and was a 1,075-point scorer at Duke.

» RELATED: Archdeacon on Bales in 2017

• The late Lauren Hill, who inspired people around the country while battling a brain tumor during her career at the College of Mount St. Joseph.

• Mike Pratt, a Dayton native who attended Meadowdale High School and starred for the Kentucky Wildcats.

• Larry Baker, a St. Paris native who ranks sixth in career scoring at Wittenberg (1,627).

» UD WOMEN’S BASKETBALL FEATURES: DeAntoine Beasley | Rich McLoughlin

• Steve Moore, a Wittenberg graduate who has turned Wooster in a Division III national powerhouse and ranks second in career victories (822-239) at that level.

• The 1952 and 1953 Middletown High School boys teams that won Class A state championships.

• The 1952 and 1955 Lockland Wayne teams that won Class B state titels.

• Gary Walters, who won 407 games at Newark High School from 1972-1999.

• James Houdeshell, who had 21 winning records in 30 seasons at Findlay College.

• Reginald Lee, who won 434 games Brookhaven High School.

• Muskingum College’s Donna Newberry, the fifth-winningest active women’s coach in NCAA Division III.

• Eastlake North High School’s Kaayla Chones, Ohio's Ms. Basketball in 1998 and 1999.

• Larry Nance, who played seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

• Charlie Slack, who starred at Marshall University in the 1950s.

• Former Ohio State Buckeyes Dave Sorenson, Scoonie Penn and Jodi Roth Korbas.

• Official Mike Sanzere, of Cincinnati.

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