Believe it or not, it’s time to start paying attention to the Cincinnati Reds


Random notes:

Suddenly, the Cincinnati Reds are interesting again. It’s true. Swept the Cubs in Chicago over the weekend. Beat Boston 9-8 on Tuesday to pull within three games of first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central.

Better still: Rookie Matt McLain was named NL Player of the Week last week. Elly De La Cruz was named the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball by ESPN. He hit a walk-off homer for Louisville on Tuesday night. Christian Encarnacion-Strand has hit 13 homer runs for the Bats. Both can’t be with the big club soon enough for Reds’ fans.

More Reds: Keep an eye on left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Abbott, the Reds’ second-round selection in 2021 out of Virginia. Pitching for Triple-A Louisville, Abbott is now 4-0 with a 2.50 ERA. He allowed two runs in seven innings Tuesday night.

New UK quarterback Devin Leary will throw out the first pitch before the Reds-Brewers game on Saturday at Great American Ball Park.

In a surprise move, the New York Knicks are reportedly parting ways with general manager Scott Perry, the former Eastern Kentucky University head coach. The Knicks were 47-35 this year. They beat Cleveland 4-1 in the opening round of the playoffs before losing in six games to the Heat. By the way, the Heat are in the NBA Finals.

NBA Finals prediction: I’ll take the Nuggets in six games. Too much Nikola Jokic. Too much Jamal Murray. Series starts Thursday in Denver. Dan Issel will be a happy fan.

TNT averaged 11.9 million viewers for Game 7 of the Heat-Celtics series, the network’s most-watched Eastern Conference finals game of all time. It was the largest NBA television audience outside of the finals since 2018 and the third-largest NBA audience on TNT.

Love this quote from the Heat’s Jimmy Butler: “I don’t call them role players. I call them teammates because your role can change any given day.”

If you’d rather watch TNT’s vastly superior NBA studio crew of Shaquille O’Neal/Kenny Smith/Ernie Johnson/Charles Barkley than the ESPN/ABC studio crew, tune into NBA TV before and after NBA Finals games.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission granted a training license to Richard Dutrow on Tuesday. Dutrow just finished a 10-year suspension by the New York Racing Association. Dutrow had failed to receive a Kentucky license during the NYRA suspension. He served his sentence. He deserves a second chance.

The Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority is in Louisville this week holding a safety summit on the 12 equine deaths during Churchill Downs’ spring meet. Even if HISA doesn’t find a common thread in the fatalities, it is making an expansive effort to gather as much information as possible. It’s what HISA should be doing.

Notes from SEC Spring Meetings in Destin

Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz caught flak at the SEC Spring Meetings for saying some players are making more money in NIL than his brother-in-law makes being a pediatrician. “He saves lives,” said Drinkwitz, who is making $4 million as the Mizzou coach.

Speaking of NIL, people should listen to Alabama Coach Nick Saban, who said this at the spring meetings this week:

“I have no problem with it. Unionize it, make it like the NFL. If it’s going to be the same for everyone, I think that’s better than what we have now because what we have now is some states and some schools are investing a lot more money in managing their rosters than others, and I think this is going to create a real competitive disadvantage for some in the future.

“And it’s also going to create an imbalance in the competitive nature of the sport, which is not good.”

By the way, I’m still in favor of a nine-game SEC football schedule. I understand why Kentucky wants to keep it at eight. Maybe not this year, but think eventually the league will approve a nine-game slate.

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