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Sports Today: Something Reds fans can take from Houston’s World Series victory

Published: Thursday, November 02, 2017 @ 9:54 AM

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 17:  Adam Duvall #23 of the Cincinnati Reds scores on a double by Eugenio Suarez in the eleventh inning as Jason Castro #15 of the Houston Astros is late with the tag  at Minute Maid Park on June 17, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 17: Adam Duvall #23 of the Cincinnati Reds scores on a double by Eugenio Suarez in the eleventh inning as Jason Castro #15 of the Houston Astros is late with the tag at Minute Maid Park on June 17, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)(Bob Levey/Getty Images)

I’m sure we’ll have time to dig deeper into this later, but off the cuff there’s a fact about the Houston Astros’ 2017 World Series run we could spin either way when it comes to the Cincinnati Reds.

The Astros beat the two teams with the highest payrolls in baseball to claim their first championship

So… does that signal to the Reds it can be done, or is it a reminder of how the deck is stacked against them? 

I guess it could be both if that doesn’t break any sort of internet laws. 

At any rate, the Astros are in a much larger television market than the Reds but were right under the league average in payroll with a roster I believe was largely homegrown. 

RELATED: Cincinnati native joining Reds front office

For what it’s worth, the last time the Reds made the postseason they were spending about the same kind of money relatively speaking and had a mostly homegrown team, too. 

The 2015 World Series Champion Royals were also a small-market team while last year’s Cubs were let’s say a hybrid model. Chicago tore their big-league club down to the foundation and endured five terrible seasons while building it back up through the draft, but some high-priced additions pushed it over the top last year. 

What was your takeaway from this great World Series? 

Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or at marcus.hartman@coxinc.com... 

Interesting day in Cincinnati as A.J. McCarron dealt with the fallout from the Bengals’ failed attempt to trade him to Cleveland. 

I’d say the former Alabama quarterback handled this as well as possible. 

It’s hard to come across genuine in this situation, but McCarron managed to walk the line between ambition and selflessness, as he did when Andy Dalton was under fire early in the season. 

READ MORE: McCarron speaks for first time after failed trade

I think the consensus is the only loser in this situation was the Bengals, who obviously value McCarron but also view him as expendable. 

Will they ever be able to get this type of compensation for McCarron now? 

The Browns look foolish and inept, both unable to carry out league business while appearing to give up on the quarterback (DeShone Kizer) they chose in the second round last spring. 

McCarron has to wait another season to get a starting opportunity, but at least it won’t be with the Browns…. 

As for the game on Sunday, this is one of the games I would have penciled in as a win before the season but that now is definitely a tossup.  

The Jaguars are first in the league in rushing and last in stopping the run. 

Jacksonville also leads the league in scoring defense and passing defense (yards).  

They are third in the NFL in turnover margin while the Bengals are 30th.  

RELATED: 5 things Doug Marrone said about facing Cincinnati this week

If you’re keeping score at home, the Bengals can’t run the ball and their run defense is sub-par, but their secondary is good. 

Jacksonville’s quarterback generally is not regarded as worthy of being a starter in the NFL, but Blake Bortles’ QB rating so far this season is just a tad worse than Dalton’s. 

Noticing a trend here?… 

These are happier times in Columbus as Ohio State is still basking in the win over Penn State. 

There was plenty of Iowa talk in the capital city Wednesday, too.  

The Hawkeyes aren’t having a great season, but like Nebraska their brand brings a certain amount of built-in respect. 

RELATED: Thoughts on the Buckeyes’ playoff plight

Urban Meyer says the key to avoiding a letdown is leadership, and he believes he’s got plenty of that this season. 

I would say that was on display in the workmanlike way Ohio State blew out everyone in the weeks leading up to Penn State and again in how the Buckeyes stayed engaged when the bad stuff was piling up early against the Nittany Lions. 

The continuing evolution of the offense was also a topic of conversation Wednesday night as J.T. Barrett and Kevin Wilson admitted Penn State managed to outwit them at times defensively, but the Buckeyes powered through it. 

By that I mean Barrett got his reads confused a few times (in case you were wondering if they threw too many screens that seemed DOA), but Wilson was OK with it because some mistakes are to be expected when playing at a fast pace. 

I suppose they figure speeding the defense up pays dividends overall as the game plays out… 

College basketball season is one day closer, and the release of the preseason Associated Press poll gives us something else to talk about. 

I’m surprised Dayton was included in anyone’s ballot, though filling those things out really becomes more of a crapshoot as you go farther down the line. 

Anthony Grant’s first Flyers team has a lot of potential, but the floor might be pretty low, too. 

RELATED: Dayton receives vote in top 25 poll

Last year with a much more veteran team, Dayton started the season just outside the top 25 at No. 26. 

I guess it never hurts to get respect from outsiders when you’re trying to make that climb up the ladder. 

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Reds top prospect will miss rest of season

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

2018 Cincinnati Reds: 10 things to know

Cincinnati Reds top prospect Nick Senzel will miss the rest of the season after tearing a tendon in his right index finger Friday, the Reds announced Saturday.

Senzel will undergo surgery Tuesday.

»PROSPECT WATCH: How the top Reds minor leaguers are doing

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Senzel was hitting .310 with six home runs and 25 RBIs with Triple-A Louisville.

Senzel’s 2017 season was also cut short as he battled vertigo late last season. The same condition cost him time this spring.

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Dayton draft drought ends as Antetokounmpo chosen with last pick

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:04 AM

Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo? Facts about the former Dayton forward

A 28-year drought ended for the Dayton Flyers on Thursday as the Dallas Mavericks selected Kostas Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-10 forward, with the 30th and last pick of the second round in the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was the 60th player chosen overall.

» FIVE THINGS TO KNOW: Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo?

Antetokounmpo, 20, is the first Dayton player drafted since Negele Knight in 1990. The Phoenix Suns drafted Knight in the second round.

Dayton had 38 players drafted between 1952 and 1990. Twenty Flyers have played in the NBA, including four undrafted players (Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, Brian Roberts and Charles Cooke) since Knight was drafted.

Antetokounmpo seeks to become the third member of his family to play in the NBA. His brother Giannis Antetokounmpo, 23, was the 15th pick of the first round in 2013 and now is one of the top players in the league. He averaged 26.9 points per game last season for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, 25, played in two games in 2016 for the New York Knicks. He was a second-round pick in 2014.

» KOSTAS STORIES: High ceilingTrying to live up to his name | A star in victory over Saint Louis

The 6-foot-10 Antetokounmpo committed to Dayton in June 2016 but sat out his freshman season as a NCAA partial qualifier.

Antetokounmpo debuted in the 2017-18 season and averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. He led the team with 31 blocks. He appeared in 29 of 32 games and started six games.

» RELATED: Grant talks about Dayton’s offseason | Knight last Dayton player to be drafted

In late March, weeks after the end of a 14-17 season, Antetokounmpo left the program and the university.

“His mindset was he wants to test the waters to see what his prospects are for being in the NBA,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “And he felt it was in his best interest to leave school to do it. I’m not trying to judge his decision in terms of basketball, but the timing of his leaving did surprise me with just six weeks of school left.”

     

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Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna suspended 75 games 

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 5:11 AM

Toronto Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games.
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Toronto Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games.(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games without pay, retroactive to May 8, for violating baseball’s domestic violence policy, the New York Daily News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Osuna, 23, an All-Star in 2017, was charged with one count of assault in Toronto and was put on administrative leave, the Daily News reported. The right-hander has not pitched since May 6. 

Osuna has nine saves and a 2.93 ERA in 15 games.

The suspension will cost Osuna $2.54 million of his annual $5.3 million salary, the Daily News reported. He will participate in an evaluation and treatment program, which is confidential and supervised by the joint policy board of Major League Baseball and the players’ association, the newspaper reported.

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Sorting through some 2026 World Cup questions

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 2:41 AM

Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland shoots past Dusko Tosic of Serbia during the Friday's match at the World Cup in Russia.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland shoots past Dusko Tosic of Serbia during the Friday's match at the World Cup in Russia.(Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, voted last week to play the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

>> Read more trending news

And while the announcement raised much excitement in North American soccer circles, it left questions that won’t be fully answered for years. Here are some of them.

WHICH CITIES WILL HOST MATCHES? 

Sixteen North American cities -- at least 10 in the United States -- will be chosen by FIFA in 2020 or 2021 to host matches. Those 16 choices will come from 23 “candidate cities.” FIFA will have negotiating leverage in whittling the number.

The U.S. host cities will be chosen from among these candidates: Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium), Boston (Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts), Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Dallas (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas), Denver (Broncos Stadium at Mile High), Houston (NRG Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium), Los Angeles (Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, or the new NFL stadium under construction), Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Nashville (Nissan Stadium), New York (MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey), Orlando, Florida (Camping World Stadium), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), San Francisco (Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California), Seattle (CenturyLink Field) and Washington (FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.) 

In addition, current plans call for matches to be played in up to three cities in Canada (Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto) and up to three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey). 

"We are blessed with 23 really world-class stadiums -- some iconic, some brand-new cutting-edge and everything in between," U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said. "I think it will be a very difficult decision to make … when we have to determine the final 16 cities. But it’s a high-class problem.”

Under current plans, 60 matches will be played in the U.S., 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico. 

WHAT IS THE COST OF HOSTING? 

It helps that no new stadiums will have to be built in North America for the event, but the costs of security, transportation and other requirements will be considerable in any host city. 

“We’ve been told during the bid process it is on the level of (hosting) a Super Bowl,” said Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council and chairman of Atlanta’s World Cup committee. “We have not gotten into too much detail on that yet, but we will during this next phase of the process.” 

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