Ohio Sports Time

Ohio Sports Time - Ohio sports news and opinions for college and professional sports teams in Ohio. Our mission is to discuss major sports happenings across the state of Ohio. We cover teams like the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Ohio colleges like the Ohio State Buckeyes, Cincinnati Bearcats, all 6 Ohio MAC schools and more. Basically if it's a sport and it's happening in Ohio, Ohio Sports Time is the place to discuss it.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Browns, Bengals picks in 2006 NFL Draft

Here's a quick all-Ohio NFL Draft update from all 7 Rounds:

Cleveland Browns
1st Round, Pick #13( 13) - Kamerion Wimbley - DE - Florida State
2nd Round, Pick #2 (34) - D'Qwell Jackson - ILB - Maryland
3rd Round, Pick #14 (78) - Travis Wilson - WR - Oklahoma
4th Round, Pick #13(110) - Leon Williams - ILB - Miami (Florida)
5th Round, Pick #12 (145) - Jerome Harrison - RB - Washington State
5th Round, Pick #20 (152) - DeMario Minter - CB - Georgia
6th Round, Pick #11(180) - Lawrence Vickers - FB - Colorado
6th Round, Pick #12 (181) - Babatunde Oshinowo - DT - Stanford
7th Round, Pick #14 (222) - Justin Hamilton - S - Virginia Tech

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Cincinnati Bengals
1st Round, #24 (24) - Johnathan Joseph - CB - South Carolina
2nd Round #23 (55) - Andrew Whitworth - OT - LSU
3rd Round #27 (91) - Frostee Rucker - DE - USC
4th Round #26 (123) - Domata Peko - DT - Michigan State
5th Round #25 (157) - A.J. Nicholson - OLB - Florida State
6th Round #24 (193) - Reggie McNeal - QB - Texas A&M
7th Round #1 (209) - Ethan Kilmer - WR - Penn State
7th Round #23 (231) - Bennie Brazell - WR - LSU

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

NFL Draft Update - Browns, Bengals & players from Ohio colleges

Here's a quick all-Ohio NFL Draft update from the first 3 Rounds on Saturday:

Cleveland Browns
1st Round, Pick #13( 13) - Kamerion Wimbley - DE - Florida State
2nd Round, Pick #2 (34) - D'Qwell Jackson - ILB - Maryland
3rd Round, Pick #14 (78) - Travis Wilson - WR - Oklahoma
- It appears as though the Browns chose Scenario #3 from our Browns NFL Draft Preview.

Cincinnati Bengals
1st Round, #24 (24) - Johnathan Joseph - CB - South Carolina
2nd Round #23 (55) - Andrew Whitworth - OT - LSU
3rd Round #27 (91) - Frostee Rucker - DE - USC
- The Bengals chose Scenario #1 from our Bengals NFL Draft Preview.

Players drafted from Ohio colleges:
Ohio State Buckeyes
#5 (1st) - AJ Hawk - LB - Green Bay Packers
#8 (1st) - Donte Whitner - S - Buffalo Bills
#18 (1st) - Bobby Carpenter - OLB - Dallas Cowboys
#25 (1st) - Santonio Holmes - WR - Pittsburgh Steelers
#29 (1st) - Nick Mangold - C - New York Jets
#70 (3rd) - Ashton Youboty - CB - Buffalo Bills
#76 (3rd) - Anthony Schlegel - ILB - New York Jets

Expect to see Bowling Green QB Omar Jacobs, Ohio CB Dion Byrum and Toledo QB Bruce Gradkowski and more taken on day two of the NFL Draft on Sunday.

Ohio Baseball Notes:
- The 1st Place Cincinnati Reds won their 6th straight with a 6-3 win over the Houston Astros. The Reds (17-7) set a club record for most wins in April with the victory as Aaron Harang started and won his 4th game of the year and Brandon Phillips added 2 RBI for Cincinnati.
- The Cleveland Indians did not fair so well against their former teammate Kevin Millwood as the Texas Rangers beat the Indians 7-5 on Grady Sizemore bobblehead night. Ben Broussard had 2 RBI and raised his batting average to .413 with 2 hits including his 5th HR of the season.

Browns trade down, draft DE Wimbley at #13

The Cleveland Browns surprised many on Saturday as they traded the #12 pick in the NFL Draft. But the trade itself was not the surprise, it was who they dealt the #12 pick to. Inter-division rival Baltimore sent a 6th Round pick to the Browns along with the #13 pick in the draft for the #12 pick, and Baltimore followed that up by selecting Oregon DT Haloti Ngata. The Browns seemed to be content with getting the player they wanted while adding a 10th pick in the 7 rounds of the 2006 NFL Draft, and with the #13 pick the Browns selected Florida State DE Kamerion Wimbley. The selection of Wimbley is the first defensive player drafted in the 1st Round by Cleveland since the 2001 NFL Draft where they chose Gerrard Warren with the #3 pick.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Reds move into 1st, Indians win 3rd straight

The Cincinnati Reds have been playing solid baseball all season and now it seems that the Cleveland Indians are on-track too. As the Reds solved Astros ace Roy Oswalt for the first time in 16 decisions (yes, Oswalt is now 15-1 against the Reds with today's loss), their 5-4 win over Houston was their 5th straight win sending Cincinnati (16-7) into 1st place all by themselves in the NL Central. Meanwhile, the Indians return home has proved to be a successful one as the Tribe had won two consecutive games over the Boston Red Sox before tonight's match-up with the Texas Rangers. As most over Northeast Ohio witnessed the Tribe on SportsTime Ohio tonight, they saw the Indians (13-10) get their 3rd straight win beating Texas 7-6.

Reds & Indians Notes:
- Reds 2B Brandon Phillips, the former Indians 2B/SS who won the NL Player of the Week last week, went 3-4 tonight with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI.
- Brandon Claussen picked up the win for the Reds with David Weathers getting his 7th save despite a rought 9th inning.
- Indians LF Jason Michaels went 3-5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI and Eduardo Perez drove in 2 runs as well.
- Bob Wickman picked up save #5 with Jason Davis getting the win in relief.

Reds 5, Astros 4

Indians 7, Rangers 6

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LeBron's 41 lead Cavs to 97-96 win

LeBron James scored 41 points, the most points ever scored by a player making their road playoff game debut, to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 97-96 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday night. The win puts the Cavs up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series with Game 4 being held in Washington on Sunday night @ 7:30 ET.

As mentioned, LeBron James scored 41 points, and added 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals on 16-28 shooting. Zydrunas Ilgauskas fouled out with 15 points, 8 rebounds and former Wizard Larry Hughes scored 16 points.

Box Score

Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Preview

Cleveland Browns Draft Needs
The Browns are going to be looking at mostly defense in this draft, and certainly in the first round. With the 12 pick, prognosticators are expecting Cleveland to select an interior d-lineman to help stuff the run or a rush linebacker to sack the quarterback. Given the Browns roster, I can't argue with this thinking. See the scenarios below.

Scenario 1: The AJ Hawk
The scenario that most Browns fans would like to see is also the one that's probably the least likely to occur. For this scenario to play out it's going to take some luck, and a trade up. It's very doubtful that the Browns can trade all the way up to the #5 selection to get Hawk. If Hawk slips a couple of spots though... who knows. Here are some things that would need to happen in this scenario.
  • Reggie Bush and Mario Williams go 1-2.
  • The Titans, who are definitely going QB at #3, listen to their front office rather than their coaching staff and select Vince Young.
  • The Jets are unable to pass up on Matt Leinart, who should make a fantastic pro.
  • The Packers take DeBrickishaw Ferguson to bolster their weak O-line.
  • San Fran takes Vernon Davis to give Alex Smith someone to throw to.
This means that the Raiders would be sitting at #7 with only 1 guy from the defensive side of the ball off the board. Would the Silver and Black consider moving down as the Browns make desperate attempts swap picks, so they could select the perfect guy to play next to Andra Davis? Browns fans surely hope so.

Scenario 2: The Buffalo Second Option
The Buffalo Bills have the #8 pick this season and smart money has them selecting either massive NT Haloti Ngata or Florida State DT Broderick Bunkley. The Browns could use a beefy run-stopper like Ngata to serve as an apprentice to Ted Washington for a year or two. Bunkley who played DT in college would translate well over the a DE in Romeo Crennel's 3-4 scheme. In this scenario the Bills would select either Ngata or Bunkley, and the Browns would bolster their D-Line by selecting the other at #13.

Scenario 2b: The Ohio Swap
Scenario 2b rolls into motion if the Browns take Ngata at the #12 spot. Having strengthened the D-Line Romeo Crennel will be looking to bolster his pass rush. The Browns could wait for their second-round pick where they could have a look at Penn State or BC DEs Tamba Hali or Mathias Kiwanuka. I think Crennel would rather find a rusher for the OLB spot oposite newly aqcuired Willie McGinist.

This is where the Bengals come into play. As discussed in my Cincinnati Bengals Draft Preview, the Bengals don't have any immediate needs, and are looking to add depth. Would Cincinnati be interested in trading their #24 pick for something like the Browns 2nd and 4th round selections?

If NC State DE/OLB Manny Lawson is on the board at this spot the Browns would certainly be interested in trying to work something out. I doubt Cleveland gives up their 2nd and 3rd rounders, but if they can swing a deal adding another 4th or 5th rounder for Jeff Faine I could imagine that Phil Savage would be willing to part with a 4th rounder if it meant finding the pass rushing LB that the Browns defense so sorely lacks.

Scenario 3: The Pass-Rushing OLB
Romeo Crennel's defensive system makes use of 1 or 2 pass rushing linebackers on the outside, which is why DEs are often moved to OLB in the 3-4 defense. In this draft, Florida State DE Kamerion Wimbley looks like the perfect candidate to play that role. Wimbley has a great motor and should translate into a pass-rushing deamon from the OLB spot in the NFL.

Taking everything that I know and am hearing about the Browns into account, I think Scenario 3 is probably the most likely, especially if Savage plans on keeping all of his picks. It's no secret that the Browns covet a pass-rushing LB and Wimbley would fit the bill wonderfully.

While it's possible that Cleveland could trade down and add picks, while hoping to select NC State's Manny Lawson, I don't think that they could move very far for fear of someone grabbing Lawson ahead of them. All in all, should be an interesting day for Browns fans as Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel work to add talent and depth, especially to Cleveland's defense.

Cincinnati Bengals NFL Draft Preview

Cincinnati Bengals - Draft Needs
The Bengals are in a slightly odd position, for the first time in years they don't have bunches of holes to fill on both sides of the ball. For Cincinnati, this draft is going to be about drafting depth in the secondary, both the O and D-lines, and finding a pass-catching TE. The good news for Cincinnati is this year's draft is very deep in DBs and TEs. Onto the scenarios...

Scenario 1: The Defensive Back
This is the most likely scenario, even though every caller on the SportsTalk radio stations think that the Bengals should draft a pass-catching TE in the first round, there's something important to remember here. The Bengals had one of the best offenses in the NFL last season. Adding a solid TE, while important, probably shouldn't head the Bengals "Things to Do" list.

I say that Marvin Lewis & Company wait patiently in their #24 slot. Looking to add depth to an aging, mediocre secondary, when time comes for the Bengals to pick they go with the best defensive back still on the board. Someone who can serve as a decent Nickel or Dime back, and bring something to Special Teams would be paramount here. The Bengals could be able to choose who they prefer out of a group of CB Antonio Cromartie, CB Jimmy Williams, and S Donte Whitner.

Scenario 2: The Offensive Explosion
Will there be enough balls to go around with Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and a pass-catching TE? This scenario sees the Bengals farther strenghten their offense by adding a TE with the 24 pick. If Cincinnati is intent on selecting a TE it would make sense to trade down, as all of the TEs not named Vernon Davis are rough around the edges this year, and Davis is really the only true first-round talent in at TE in this draft.

However, the Bungles of old wouldn't worry about value at their draft slot, and you should never forget your roots. This scenario would see the Bengals select their preference of TE out of Leonard Pope, Marcedes Lewis, or Anthony Fasano.

Scenario 3: The Trade Down
It wouldn't be surprising at all to see the Bengals try to move this selection. It would make a lot of sense for Cincinnati to drop down to the middle of the second round if they could add another middle round pick. This would save salary as they wouldn't have to pay first-round money to any draftees, and as mentioned this draft is very deep in D-Backs and Tight Ends, which are two positions that the Bengals will definitely be looking at. It would make a lot of sense for Cincinnati to trade out of the 24 spot, but of course there would have to be a team that wanted to trade up.

Really, I expect to see the Bengals trade down from their 24 pick if at all possible. It can only help if someone talented (Jay Cutler maybe) starts sliding and teams start to look at moving up to get a guy. If the Bengals keep their pick I would bet that they'll spurn the radio callers and take a DB rather than a TE.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reds win again, Indians and Cavs lose

- After LeBron James scored a triple-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his playoff debut, the second game of his playoff career will not leave him smiling. The Cavs fell to the Wizards in Cleveland on Tuesday night by a score of 89-84 to even the best of seven series at 1-1 heading to Game 3 @ Washington.

- The Cincinnati Reds continued their hot streak winning their 3rd straight and 6th of 7 with a 6-5 victory over the Washington Nationals. Dave Williams pitched well enough to win and earned his first career win with the Reds as 3B Edward Encarnacion had 4 RBI.

- The Cleveland Indians returned home to Cleveland and survived Jake Westbrook's control problems, but the bullpen again failed the Tribe in a 8-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Despite tagging Curt Schilling for 5 runs in 6 2/3 innings, the Tribe bullpen allowed 5 runs in the 7th & 8th innings combined to provide the Reds Sox with enough to win the game.

Cincinnati Reds Notes: Phillips named NL Player of the Week, Milton on DL & trade with Dodgers ends Womack's time in Cinci

There has been a lot of news coming out of the Cincinnati Reds of late, and from the looks of my posts in the past week to ten days, I may have to start a Brandon Phillips blog. Below are a few Reds headlines to note.

Phillips named NL Player of the Week

Milton lands on the DL

Reds deal for Dodgers OF Ross, Womack designated for assignment

Monday, April 24, 2006

Reds keep rolling with 4-2 win over Nationals

Few outside of Cincinnati expected the Cincinnati Reds to do much this season, and so far those believers in the Reds are looking pretty smart. Coming off a series in Milwaukee where the Reds won 3 of 4 games, including a 11-0 win on Sunday, the Reds traveled to our nation's capital and defeated the Washington Nationals on Monday by a score of 4-2. With the win the Reds are now 13-7 and have guaranteed themselves a winning April.

The Reds enter play on Tuesday with a 7-4 road record and two more games remaining in Washington before heading home for a tough 5-game series with Houston and St. Louis in Cincinnati. Tuesday features an all-star pitching match-up of former Pirate Dave Williams (0-2, 10.50 ERA) for the Reds against former Indians pitcher Billy Traber (1-0, 4.76 ERA) who will be making his second start of the season for Washington.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ohio college football teams wrap up spring practice

Saturday marked the big day in the state of Ohio as several of Ohio's college football programs held their annual spring football games. Ohio State, Cincinnati, Ohio & Bowling Green each held their spring games on Saturday while Miami had their game on Friday and Akron had their game last Saturday. Below are a list of links of interest for each of these schools. Please note that Toledo and Kent did not have any official spring game info worth adding.

Ohio State Buckeyes football - Smith leads Scarlett to 12-0 victory

UC Bearcats football - Defense and special teams dominate spring game

Ohio Bobcats football - White holds on for 14-12 victory in Ohio spring football game

Miami RedHawks football - Defense wins battle in spring football game 29-21

Bowling Green Falcons football - Offense tops defense in spring game, 44-33

Akron Zips football - Football Wraps Up Spring Ball With Blue-Gold Game

Friday, April 21, 2006

Phillips 2 HRs lead Reds to 12-8 win

Last night I mentioned the nice numbers that former Cleveland Indian and current Cincinnati Reds 2B Brandon Phillips is putting up this season. Since the trade that sent Phillips to the Reds, the young 2B has had an opportunity to play and get some at-bats, and the results have been phenomenal. As I was writing last night, Phillips was 2-3 with a HR and 2 RBI. Shortly after posting, Phillips connected for a Grand Slam and ended the night 3-5 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in the Reds 12-8 win over Milwaukee. He is now on a pace to drive in 224 runs this season according to ESPN.com.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cincinnati Reds & Bengals Updates

Cincinnati Reds Notes:

- Someone explain to me how the Cincinnati Reds can allow 38 runs in 5 games and still somehow be able to go an almost respectable 2-3 in those 5 games. Coming into Thursday night's game the Reds had allowed 38, yes, thirty eight runs in just five games. To top it off, one of those games was a 9-1 win meaning that 37 runs had been scored on Cincinnati pitching in just 4 of those games.

- While the Reds pitching has not been anything to get excited about, the hitting has. The Reds scored 23 runs in the 3-game homestand against Florida and had a nice come-from-behind win against Dontrelle Willis and the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon. After falling behind in tonight's (TH) game by a 6-2 margin, the Reds bats have come alive and Cincinnati leads 7-6 in the bottom of the 6th.

- Coming into Thursday night's game @ Milwaukee, Reds 2B Brandon Phillips, who was acquired from the Indians in early April for a player to be named or cash, was batting .346 with 7 RBI in 9 games. With a 2-3 start to the night including a HR and 2 RBI, Phillips is now 10-28 (.357) with 3 doubles a HR and 9 RBI in 10 games. This puts him on pace for over 120 RBI this season. While we all know that B-Phil won't drive in 120 runs this year (we do know that, right?), the deal looks like it was a good one for Phillips and the Reds as well.

- Dave Williams, the guy that the Reds got when they sent Sean Casey to Pittsburgh, is terrible. Williams has now allowed 12 runs in his last 6 IP counting Thursday night's game. Meanwhile Scott Hatteberg is putting up Sean Casey-like numbers at 1B for a fraction of the cost, but Reds fans still miss The Mayor.

Cincinnati Bengals Notes:

ESPN.com is reporting that the Bengals extend Johnson with monster deal, locking up their Pro Bowl WR through 2011. The flashy receiver who never shies from attention caught 97 balls for 1432 yds and 9 TD in 2005.

Cincinnati Reds: Reds Set to Change Jerseys in '07

Fresh off the OSU jersey-altering controversy the Cincinnati Reds are the latest area team to decide that they need a new look. Information is still sketchy, but preliminary word is that the Reds will remove the color black from the uniform and from around the logo. Apparently the Reds may replace their current black with navy-blue, which was also used as a color on Cincinnati jerseys as recently as the 1960's.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sports Time Ohio Update: MAC Sports on SportsTime Ohio?

It makes too much sense. SportsTime Ohio, the new channel produced by the Cleveland Indians for their baseball games, is looking for programming. Meanwhile, the Mid-American Conference is looking for exposure. While nothing has been officially announced between SportsTime Ohio and the MAC, it sure as heck would make sense if the two parties struck a deal. Several ideas are being throw out over on the MAC bbs, but until something is official we can only chalk it up to speculation.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cincinnati Reds update: Griffey back on DL

As much as I hate mentioning this, Ken Griffey, Jr. is back on the Disabled List for the Cincinnati Reds. Griffey felt tightness behind his knee about a week ago and has been sitting out as a precautionary move, and now the Reds are saying that he has been diagnosed with a strained tendon behind the knee.

With Griffey out of the lineup for at least another 10 days or so, expect a lot of super-utility man Ryan Freel in CF and more playing times for Rich Aurilia, Tony Womack and/or Brandon Phillips at 2B. Phillips, acquired in a trade with the Indians in early April, went 3-4 with 4 RBI in the Reds 9-1 win over the Marlins on Monday night.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Scarlet & Gray (Part II)

Remember my blog post last week about Ohio State's new uniforms? Well apparently the minor alterations to the football jerseys are NOT going over well with angry Buckeye fans. In fact as ESPN reports, Buckeye fans uniformly disdain jersey changes.

As the ESPN article points out, Ohio State has a contract with Nike. As we all know, Nike is in the business of selling jerseys, and a new style probably means more sales. I don't see OSU fans pulling back support for the football team, but the outcry from the Buckeye faithful in Columbus is getting louder. In a day when most professional teams alter their jerseys every 5 or so years, this could be an interesting story to keep tabs on.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

MAC football may finally get what it deserves: more recognition & more bowl games

The popular Mid-American Conference sports fan site, VanDelaySports.com, is reporting that the MAC may finally get a 3rd bowl tie-in this fall and possibly a 4th as well. Nick Gerogosian, the head man over at VanDelay Sports, is reporting that in a conversation with MAC Commish Rick Chryst he was told that ESPN is backing both bowl games which could match the MAC up with opponents from the Big East and Conference USA.

MAC football has long been underrated and this announcement should make fans of MAC schools very happy. Once a one-bowl league, the MAC is the home of the 1998 Miami RedHawks and the 2000 Toldeo Rockets. Both teams went 10-1 during those respective seasons without a bowl bid. Last year's "last team out" was the Northern Illinois Huskies, the Champions of the MAC West. NIU Head Coach Joe Novak led his team to a 7-4 record (6-2 MAC), finally beat their nemesis in Toledo, yet watched as the Rockets received a bid to the GMAC Bowl while the Huskies went on to a loss in the MAC Championship game to the up and coming Akron Zips. As a result, Novak & Company were left to sit at home in DeKalb while the Rockets and Zips went bowlin'. And let us not forget the Western Michigan Broncos or Miami RedHawks of 2005 either. WMU surprised many after an 0-2 start by running off 7 wins in their next 8 games and finished the season at 7-4. Meanwhile, Miami also started the season 0-2 and finsihed 7-4. Any one of these three teams could have represented the MAC respectfully in a bowl game in 2005.

So finally it seems as though the Mid-American Conference may have caught a break. Or is it that they're finally getting what they deserve? After years of being underrated and underappreciated, a 3rd bowl tie-in can be huge for the football programs in the MAC in terms of both fan support and recruiting. While MAC football recruits seem to be better every year according to VanDelay Sports, an additional opportunity for postseason national TV exposure and additional bowl payouts can only help the conference as a whole.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Could Vince Young fall to the Browns at #12?

With the NFL draft fast-approaching, speculation is running wild on who will be available for the Cleveland Browns who hold the #12 pick. Picking one spot lower is inter-division rival Baltimore, the team that also happens to be the previous employer for Browns 2nd-year Sr. VP and General Manager, Phil Savage. Knowing that Baltimore is in definite need for a Quarterback, it is doubtful that a player with the talent that former Texas Longhorns QB Vince Young could slip past the Browns at #12. But today I heard 850 WKNR in Cleveland discussing this possibility at length on the Greg Brinda show.

After watching Vince Young lead the Texas Longhorns to the 2005 National Championship and beat the heavily-favored Trojans of USC in the Rose Bowl, I just cannot see how Young could fall as far as #12 in the NFL Draft. Sure, Young supposedly scored a 6 on the Wonderlic Test leading teams to possibly drop him on their draft boards, but this guy is the kind of player you want on your team when you are on the field. Other criticisms of Young include his side-arm throwing motion and his college offense being mostly from the shotgun in a spread offense. But against the best competition in college football Young continually excelled beating teams like USC, Ohio State and Oklahoma during his senior year.

Honestly, I don’t see Young falling to #12. You can talk all you want about Jay Cutler, the QB from Vanderbilt, being drafted ahead of Young. But I just cannot see how Cutler could be picked ahead of an athlete with the playmaking ability of Young. However, there is one thing I do know. Young has looked good while wearing orange in leading his team to a championship in the past, and I am certain that he would look good in orange while leading his team to a championship in the future as well.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cincinnati Reds Rumors: Reds Shopping Kearns

Word out of Cincinnati is that the Reds are hoping to ride an early season Austin Kearns hot-streak, to a trade for more pitching. Kearns is a more polished player than Wily Mo Pena, who the Reds traded in spring training for Bronson Arroyo, but he still does have loads of un-realized potential and has been very injury-prone during his 3+ years in Cincinnati.

Kearns could be attractive to a number of contending teams looking for a young, righthanded power-hitter to play rightfield. In fact, there were rumors that the Cleveland Indians had offered Jake Westbrook for Kearns before spring training began, but the Reds were still working on hiring their new GM, and declined. This was probably a mistake for Cincinnati. Groundball pitchers can have success in Cincinnati's homerun friendly, Great American Ballpark. If you looked up "groundball pitcher" in the dictionary you'd probably find a picture of Westbrook next to it.

Now that the Indians have their outfield set with Jason Michaels, Grady Sizemore, and Casey Blake, I would be very surprised if Cleveland still had interest this trade... especially with C.C. Sabathia injured. This doesn't mean that the Reds couldn't make a deal with a team like the Cubs or the Nationals who have shown a lot of past interest in Kearns however.

Such a trade could only strengthen a weak Cincinnati pitching staff and give more playing time to Ryan Freel and Chris Denorfia, the latter of which Reds executives are very high on. Wayne Krivsky has already shown that he's not afraid to make trades. Even if the Reds do hold onto Kearns for the foreseeable future, it looks like this season is going to be full of trade rumors. I wouldn't be surprised if the Reds became major sellers on the trade market when the trade deadline approaches.

LeBron hits game-winner to lift Cavs over Hornets

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ohio Sports Time Rant: Time for Reds to Sit Womack--Play Freel, Aurilia

Dan O'Brien made some short-sighted moves during his short lived tenure as the Cincinnati Reds GM. No acquisition made as little sense as when the Reds traded spare parts to the New York Yankees for Tony Womack this offseason. Sure the asking price was low, but O'Brien added to his surplus of middle infielders by adding Womack to a group that already consisted of All-Star SS Felipe Lopez, speedy utility man Ryan Freel, and solid veteran hitter Rich Aurilia. With the Reds committed to giving prospect Edwin Encarnacion a look at 3rd base, it meant that Womack, Freel, and Aurilia would be forced to share 2nd base.

The season is only a week old, and Freel and Aurilia have already begun making the case that they should be in the Cincinnati Reds everyday lineups. Consider the following stats:

  • Ryan Freel - 11 AB's, .545 BA, .706 OPB, 8 runs, 5 steals
  • Rich Aurilia - 20 AB's, .250 BA, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs

Freel has been playing 2nd base and batting leadoff against left-handed pitchers, bringing a dynamic to the Cincinnati Reds lineup that nobody else is capable of adding. He has been a force on the basepaths for the Reds and his total steals stat doesn't account for the 2 or 3 runs that he has already stolen on short flyouts and infield groundouts that slower players wouldn't have even considered trying to score on.

Aurilia has been playing 1st base and batting cleanup against left-handed pitchers. His batting average isn't excellent, but he is a polished big league hitter who knows how to drive in runs in important situations; something that often escapes chunks of this lineup, despite all the home runs and high scoring games.

It's time for the Reds to notice the important dynamics that both Ryan Freel and Rich Aurilia bring to the lineup each day, and to make sure that they're playing against more than just lefthanded pitchers. If Cincinnati could deal Womack to add an arm to their bullpen even better, but I'm not expecting much in the way of a trade.

The addition of the mercurial Brandon Phillips makes the trade of Tony Womack much more possible for the Reds. Although, it's a trade that I don't expect the Reds to make because of worry about Freel's durability and the lack of another traditional leadoff hitter on the roster if Womack were traded and Freel were to get hurt. Injury concerns aside, I think the smartest thing that the Reds could do right now is to move Womack, clearing more playing time for Freel and Aurilia.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ohio Sports Time Gameday Round-up: Cavs, Indians and Reds win

Saturday turned out to be a good day for Ohio sports fans. It began with the Cleveland Cavaliers, winners of 9 of their last 10 games, but coming off a dissappointing road loss to the New York Knicks. The Cavs visited the New Jersey Nets, winners of 14 straight, and the Cavs came back to beat the Nets 108-102. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds were on their way to another slugfest win as they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-9. Shortly after the Reds game was completed the Cleveland Indians broadcast on the new SportsTime Ohio network began as the Indians rode starter Jason Johnson to a 3-0 win. Here are a few game notes from each of these games that I hope you will enjoy.

Cavs 108 - Nets 102
- A LeBron James dunk with 50 seconds remaining tied the score at 101 as the Cavs outscored the Nets 9-1 inside the final minute of the game to end the Nets 14-game winning streak.
- LeBron scored 18 of his game-high 37 points in the 4th quarter as five Cavaliers scored in double figures. Starters Drew Gooden, Anderson Varejao and Flip Murray scored a combined 42 points and Larry Hughes added another 15 off the bench on 6-11 shooting.
- The Cavs attempted just eight 3-point shots making three of them while New Jersey went 6-22 from 3-point range.

Reds 11 - Pirates 9
- The Reds led this game 8-3 and 11-5 as the Pirates made it interesting with six runs in the final three innings.
- Austin Kearns & Rich Aurilia each homered for Cincinnati. Kearns is batting .381 through the first 5 games of the season and Aurilia has 2 HR and 7 RBI.
- Reds #1 starter Aaron Harang allowed 5 runs in 6 2/3 innings to pick up his first win of the year. Journeyman reliever Rick White got the save making him one of three Reds pitchers to record a save this season.

Indians 3 - Twins 0
- Indians starter Jason Johnson pitched 7 shutout innings allowing just four hits to earn the win starting in place of the injured C.C. Sabathia.
- Travis Hafner continued on his hot streak going 3-3 with a single, double, homerun and a walk. Pronk has now reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances going 7-7 with 3 HR in the past two games.
- Seven of the nine Indians regulars are currently batting over .300 on the season. Only Jhonny Peralta & Ronnie Belliard are below the .300 mark on the season as Belliard was given a day off on Saturday.
- Hafner and Casey Blake each drove in their 6th runs of the year in just the 5th game of the season. Blake leads the team in hitting at .471 with Hafner's .450 just behind him.

Reds & Indians Notes

- Cleveland has had a player with 4 hits in each of their 3 wins this season. Aaron Boone on Tuesday, Jason Michaels on Wednesday and Travis Hafner on Friday. Hafner had 2 homeruns of his 4 hits Friday.

- Reds SS Felipe Lopez appears to be poised to show that his All-Star appearance in 2005 was no fluke as he had 2 HR against the Pirates on Friday. On the season Lopez is 7-17 with 14 total bases and a 1.324 OPS.

- The Reds and Indians made a trade on Friday that leaves many of us scratching our heads. 2B/SS Brandon Phillips, once the main prospect in the Bartolo Colon for Phillips, Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore deal, was traded to Cincinnati for a player to be names or cash. ESPN reports that Phillips will be a part of as the Reds have designated infielder Matt Kata for assignment.

- So now what are the Reds going to do in the middle infield? In the off season they signed Tony Womack, Felipe Lopez is an All-Star shortstop, Ryan Freel may be the best 10th man/utility player in Major League Baseball, and Rich Aurilia has been hitting cleanup for the Reds. Add Phillips to the mix and we have 5 guys that can play either 2B or SS. It will be interesting to see how the Reds expect to get each player any playing time at all unless another deal is close to being made.

Indians, Reds off to solid starts

Well Major League Baseball is back and I can't believe it took me almost a week to talk about it. Throughtout my life this has always been my favorite sport, but for some reason the lack of success by the Reds combined with the emergence of college basketball, football and the NFL may have bumped my love of baseball down a notch. Or two. But as we look at the Major League Baseball season so far and the two Ohio teams, the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds, Ohio fans have got to be encouraged. Both teams have jumped out to a 3-1 start with 3 straight wins after an opening game loss.

Coming off a year where they almost made the playoffs, the Cleveland Indians have all kinds of expectations. Fans are thirsting for a winning teams that is once again "cool" to root for. I remember the days of seeing women in the stands at Jacobs Field with no purpose other than to be seen at the game. Meanwhile guys who didn't know the names of more than 3-5 players tried to talk about the Tribe while drinking yet another beer with their buddies. It was cool to be an Indians fan in the late 1990's; there was a certain sex appeal almost. But those days passed on when Bartolo and the gang got traded and a new strategy was put into place by GM Mark Shapiro. While the distrust from the fans is still existent, Shapiro, the 2005 MLB Executive of the Year, has proven that he knows what he is doing. Now it's just a matter of wins, I mean time, until the Tribe start to come closer to filling Jacobs Field up again with any regularity.

In the bottom corner of the state you have the Cincinnati Reds. A new ownership group (again) and a strong spring have fans buzzing in Cincinnati. But as a life-long, die-hard Reds fan I have to remain skeptical. I have watched teams like the Anaheim Angels of California, Los Angeles (or whatever their names have been) and the Florida Marlins win the World Series in the past few years and I can't help but wonder why that can't be the Reds. Well, on reason it cannot be the Reds is poor management from the top down. Honestly, I think the Reds are a few years away from having their farm system solidified with major league talent that can take the Reds where they want to be; the top of the NL Central.

So now both of our Ohio teams are 3-1, but neither is in first place. Go figure. Only in Ohio, right? Both teams start off strong and the story on ESPN.com is about how the Detroit Tigers (AL Central) and Milwaukee Brewers (NL Central) are both 4-0 and atop their respective divisions. Of course neither team has played top-notch competition as the Brewers have 3 wins over the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tigers have 2 wins over the Kansas City Royals, but a win is a win. It just figures that they'd both be stealing the headlines early while the Reds and Indians are just a game behind having faced tougher competition.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Scarlet and Gray

Professional sports teams can barely make it 5 years without changing uniforms. Recently the Ohio State Buckeyes joined in on the jersey altering fun. The scarlet and gray have removed the gray stripes from their jerseys... something that would probably have a bigger effect on their nickname if they didn't wear gray uniform pants both at home and on the road.

Other small adjustments to the new and improved OSU uniforms are that the numbers have been moved from the top of the shoulder pads to the sleeve, and the jerseys will be more form fitting, especially around the arms.

Call it a slow news day in Columbus if you will, but this is actually a somewhat surprising move for a team that is usually so bound to tradition. Of course, as you can see from the jersey held up by Coach Tressel, that these changes are very minor. I doubt Ohio State fans will even raise an eyebrow when watching the Buckeyes on Saturdays this fall.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

SportsTime Ohio update: DirecTV added in Northeast Ohio

It appears that SportsTime Ohio and DirecTV are business partners now as, according to the SportsTime Ohio Web site at SportsTimeOhio.com,
"The following Zip Code areas can watch on channel 657: 43000-43099, 43100-43199, 43200-43299, 43300-43399, 43407-43408, 43410-43410, 43412-43412, 43416-43416, 43420-43420, 43430-43433, 43435-43436, 43438-43440, 43442-43442, 43445-43446, 43449-43449, 43452-43452, 43456-43456, 43458-43458, 43464-43464, 43468-43469, 43701-43702, 43711-43711, 43717-43717, 43720-43725, 43727-43727, 43730-43736, 43738-43740, 43746-43746, 43748-43750, 43755-43755, 43760-43762, 43764-43764, 43766-43768, 43771-43773, 43777-43780, 43782-43783, 43788-43788, 43791-43791, 43800-43899, 44000-44099, 44100-44199, 44200-44299, 44300-44399, 44400-44499, 44500-44599, 44600-44699, 44700-44799, 44800-44899. For those viewers outside of these zip code zones please call 1-800-494-4388 or visit www.directv.com/email."
While SportsTime Ohio may now have DirecTV on board, we here at Ohio Sports Time found that the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Programming is still sketchy on channel for Indians. Plain Dealer Television Critic Mark Dawidziak answers question such as "When the Indians games aren't on, will SportsTime Ohio turn into another channel with nonstop infomercials?", "Who will do the play-by-play?", and more.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

SportsTime Ohio - Coming to a TV near you?

As many of you may know, the Cleveland Indians have decided to launch their own TV station with the exclusive local rights to broadcast Cleveland Indians games. SportsTime Ohio is set to broadcast Tuesday's regular-season match-up of the Indians @ the Chicago White Sox, but the problem is thousands of Indians fans across the Northeast Ohio region will not have that channel as an option. On April 2nd, 2006, the official SportsTime Ohio Web site said,
"SportsTime Ohio is available to a majority of cable subscribers in the Cleveland area. Those subscribers include all Time Warner Cable customers along with Adelphia, Buckeye CableSystem, BTC Multimedia, CableSuite 541, Cox, Comcast, Dish, Doylestown Cable TV, City of Wadsworth, GLW Broadband, RTEC Communications and TSC Communications. SportsTime Ohio is not currently available on Direct TV or Dish Network."
But, according to a March 31st article on WKYC.com, DISH Network and SportsTime Ohio have indeed agreed to a deal to air Indians games to the satellite company's subscribers. But this still leaves Direct TV satellite subscribers as well as those with small, local cable companies, without the Cleveland Indians TV broadcasts.

SportsTime Ohio is set to broadcast 130 regular season Indians games as Fox Sports Ohio, the former station that Indians games could be found on, will no longer be broadcasting games for the Cleveland Indians. The broadcast team includes Mike Hegan, Rick Manning, John Sanders and Jim Donovan according to SportsTimeOhio.com. Meanwhile, now rival FSN Ohio has teamed up with 850 WKNR in Cleveland to broadcast "Cleveland Rants" on both TV and radio. WKNR.com claims that "with Cleveland Rants there is no managed message, just you on the phones and on television with YOUR take on the game and the team."

So what does all of this mean? Well, if you happen to have a cable of satellite provider who isn't on the SportsTime Ohio list then it means that you're out of luck. I guess it is back to the days of only listening to baseball games on the radio for me as my cable provider doesn't have a clue and is likely too small to be of concern to the people at SportsTime Ohio. But this could also mean good things for other sports in the state of Ohio as SportsTime Ohio will be looking to fill the rest of their time slots. According to their Web site, "plans are being developed to offer additional programming, geared specifically toward Ohio-area sports fans and the passion that makes the region a great sports community, to complement this expanded baseball schedule throughout the year." Ohio sports fans can only hope that this means a variety of MAC football and basketball games as well as Cleveland State (Horizon League), Ohio State (Big Ten) games and more.

So it seems that this SportsTime Ohio idea is a good one from the Indians team perspective. The New York Yankees seem to have made a few bucks from the YES Network, and as a fan of the Tribe (here comes my Reds fan jealousy again) I certainly hope this will bring in the additional revenue needed to make the Indians a bigger player in the free agency market each year. Lord knows Bud Selig and company will never make the necessary strides to ensure that every Major League Baseball team can be competitive each year, but I will save that topic for another day. I think the goal, from the Indians point-of-view, is to increase their revenue to better compete with the big boys, and I think the addition of SportsTime Ohio is a great idea. I just wish that my cable provider would pick it up...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fox Sports Preseason College Football Rankings, 1-119

Fox Sports has released their preseason rankings of all 119 Division I-A football teams. Here is how the 8 Ohio colleges stack up:

#114 - Kent State Golden Flashes - MAC

#100 - Ohio Bobcats - MAC

#97 - Bowling Green Falcons - MAC

#94 - Cincinnati Bearcats - Big East

#93 - Miami RedHawks - MAC

#75 - Akron Zips - MAC

#71 - Toledo Rockets - MAC

#5 - Ohio State Buckeyes - Big Ten

Ohio Sports Time takes a look at sports news at Ohio colleges

Wright State announced yesterday that Brad Brownell has been named their new head men's basketball coach. Brownell comes to WSU from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington where he led UNC-Wilmington to an 83-40 record and two NCAA appearances in four seasons.

Cleveland State is looking for a new head coach as Mike Garland resigned yesterday. I'm not sure if he's on their radar or not, but why not take a look at Gary Waters. Waters, IMO, would be about as good a hire as any mid-major could make as he is credited with starting the Kent State run of 8 consecutive 20-win seasons. If I were an AD at CSU or any other mid-major program in the region I would be bringing Waters in right away and figuring out a way to afford his salary.

Tim O'Shea, the head coach of the Ohio Bobcats, was expected to interview with Seton Hall Athletic Director for their open coaching position yesterday.

While Ball State is not an Ohio school, they do regularly compete against 6 Ohio schools. Recent speculation has been that MAC Freshman of the Year Maurice Acker, a guard at Ball State, is looking transfer out of the program. ChicagoHoops.com reports that Acker is transferring to Marquette, and HoopFactor.com reports that Acker has been released from his scholarship at Ball State to play in the Big East for Marquette.

HoopFactor.com is also reporting that Ohio State assistant John Groce is at the top of Duquesne's list to replace Danny Nee. Nee's no stranger to the state of Ohio as he won the MAC Coach of the Year award coaching the Ohio Bobcats back in 1983 and 1985.