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Weekday Mornings doing Sports on the Mike Miller Show.
Local Football & Basketball Play By Play on WIMA.
First Pitch show leading up to Reds Baseball on WIMA.
As the play-by-play voice of Bowling Green Football and Mens Basketball on the Falcon Sports Radio Network.
Formerly served as the play-by-play voice of the Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League.
The Reds have been frustrated to follow for most of this season. It seems as if there is so much wrong sometimes we forget that this team is 11 games over .500 and owns a 4.5 game lead for the second wild card spot in the National League.
I would submit that they should be in a much worse position. Consider all the issues they've had to overcome:
1. Ace basically out entire season.
2. Two best setup men missed long stretches, the lefty missing the whole season.
3. Starting leftfielder injured on Opening Day, still hasn't returned.
4. Two everyday players experiencing "sophomore slump".
5. Just played 26 of 35 games on the road.
6. Haven't "gotten hot" as a team. The longest winning streak of the season is six.
7. They've played 4 three city road trips already. Two of them featured stops in the Pacific Time Zone.
With all of that taken into consideration, many times a manager of a team under these circumstances might be in the discussion for Manager of the Year.
But, of course, accourding to a large number of Reds fans, every loss is Dusty Baker's fault and every win is in spite of his leadership.
I'm not here to "defend" Dusty. I also have some issues with his style and some of his strategy. However, Dusty bashers at least need to admit that this team has overcome a lot of things that collectively would have knocked down other squads.
Many, including me, feel this team lacks "fire" and that it is mainly a result of Baker's laid back managerial style.
Unlike others though, I'm willing to consier that his way of doing things may be a big factor in the team's ability to tread water and stay in he playoff picture despite the aformentioned issues.
While I don't think the Reds are all of the sudden going to start hitting in the clutch or become an offensive juggernaut, I do think that they can finish strong. I think it's safe to assume that the pitching is going to continue to be a strength. After all, it's been strong since the beginning of last season even with some of the injuries. That strong pitching should be enough, at home especially, to overcome what will most likely continue to be a spotty offense.
The biggest factor in my optimism though is the friendly schedule over the final 53 games.
Cincinnati will play 31 of those games at home, where they have posted a 32-17 mark to this point. They also only have one three city road trip left and that trip will feature stops in Houston and Chicago to take on the lowly Astros and the Cubs.
In addition, of the seven road series remaining in the campaign, five of them will be against losing teams.
The good teams the Reds have left to play will almost exclusively be in Cincinnati for those matchups, including St. Louis (twice for 7 games), Oakland, Arizona, the Dodgers and Pittsburgh.
So let's try to keep things in perspective with the Reds. We've all let our preseason expectations cloud our vision when it comes to evaluating this team. The bottom line is that they are in position to make the playoffs for the third time in four years.
And once you're in, anything can happen. As you all know, it's very common for a wild card team to win it all.
Plus, there's always a chance this team could win the division.
Could this be the year BGSU Football gets back to the top of the MAC?
That's the hope, actually the expectation, as the Falcons program begins Year 5 under Head Coach Dave Clawson.
Even though last year's crew won 8 games and earned a bowl bid, many had been pointing to 2013 as the season when it would likely all come together for Clawson's rebuilding project at "The Doyt".
The Falcons return 41 of the 51 position players listed on the two-deep chart from their Military Bowl appearance, including 23 on defense.
The D was the best in the MAC last year and should be very good again. The only concern is whether the unit can be as good following the departure of MAC Defensive Player of the Year and All-American DT Chris Jones (drafted by Houston Texans).
Gabe Martin (LB) and Boo Boo Gates (S) headline the returnees as both were First Team All-MAC selections in 2012.
Martin will be joined by Paul Swan and D.J. Lynch as returning starters in the 'backer corps so all should be well there. However, there isn't much depth here in so far as experience is concerned and JUCO Paul Senn will be counted upon to contribute quality reps to take a bit of a load off the top three.
Gates and another senior, Cam Truss (3rd team All-MAC), will lead an experienced defensive backfield that will have an aggregate of 99 starts at the four spots.
I don't see any way this defense isn't very strong again. There are proven veterans all over the field and some key players up front should be back from injuries. In my mind this should be the best D in the MAC again.
On offense, BG was underwhelming last year, especially in the pass game. QB Matt Schilz, a third-year starter, posted mediocre numbers as the Falcons ranked 105th in the USA in passing efficiency. The fact that he was dinged up during the season (unbeknownst to those outside the program) also figured into that equation.
While the entirety of the pass game problems can't be laid at the feet of Schilz, as the team featured an inexperienced and inconsistent receiving corps, it's clear he needs to be better for the Falcons to win the MAC East and get to the Championship Game.
Coach Clawson has said that the QB position battle is "open" heading into Fall Camp with Matt Johnson pushing Schilz for the job.
I think Schilz is the better QB and will retain his job. If he stays healthy I predict a big year from him. However, there's no denying that the pressure is on and his reaction to it will play a big role in the team's success in 2013.
The entire WR group is back and has the potential for a breakout year. Both Chris Gallon and Shaun Joplin are big (6'4" and 6'2", respectively) and have shown the ability to dominate at times. If they can maintain that high level of performance on a consistent basis they'll provide a big boost.
There will be a new look to the RB unit as the team's leading rusher the past two seasons, Anthon Samuel, has transferred to FIU and last year's second leading rusher, John Pettigrew, has graduated.
There are high hopes that Andre Givens could be a superstar in waiting. He was a big time recruit out of Youngstown Hubbard HS and ended up at BG when things didn't work out at Pitt. He has all the tools be a difference maker and, after seeing some playing time in 2012, should be fully prepared to be the main man this year.
Jamel Martin is another highly talented RB for BG. He sat out the last half of the season following a knee injury so he's a bit of an unknown coming into this season.
Senior Jordan Hopgood has been injured throughout his career but the former WR is said to be in good health heading into camp. If he stays that way, he gives Offensive Coordinator Warren Ruggiero a veteran back for third down and short yardage situations.
Another former WR, Travis Greene, moved to RB this spring and showed some potential at his new spot. He's ultra-quick and would obviously be a threat as a pass catcher.
The wildcard in the RB situation is incoming freshman Fred Coppett, a three-star recruit from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He starred for a National Championship high school team (St. Thomas Aquinas) and figures to press for playing time.
The offensive line will have to deal with the loss of tackle Jordon Roussos (graduated) but there is a lot of depth and this unit should be strong.
There is also apparently an opening at LT as last year's starter, Fahn Cooper, is not currently listed on the roster.
Senior guard Dom Flewellyn, who was 3rd team All-MAC and has started 33 games, leads the returnees and could move to tackle with the departure of Cooper. Another senior, Chief Kekuewa, is solid at center and and sophomore Alex Huettel has the potential to be an All-MAC performer at right guard.
I also think the Special Teams may be a pleasant surprise this season.
Kicker Tyler Tate finished the season strong and will hopefully provide BG with a consistent FG option, something they haven't had since 2007.
Punter Brian Schmiedebusch (Ottawa Glandorf) slumped a bit after an outstanding 2011 but I'd expect a bounce back senior season.
In the return game Ryan Burbrink is solid with the punts and Boo Boo Gates is a threat every time he fields a kickoff.
Another huge strength for this team and program is the coaching staff. Led by Clawson, this group has remained largely intact the past five years, including coordinators Ruggiero and Mike Elko. This program is set up for a long term run as a MAC contender and Clawson and company have done it the right way. The team is strong in the classroom and the off-field problems have been minimal.
As for our local contingent (in addition to Schmiedebusch), they have a chance to make big contributions this season.
After appearing in nine games last year as a walkon, Lima Central Catholic product Taylor Royster is now on scholarship and will see playing time in the DL rotation.
Fullback/Tight End/Special Teamer Chris Pohlman (Delphos St. Johns) will continue in those roles this year, backing up Tyler Beck on offense. He has earned his playing time through hard work and toughness and I get the feeling that his role will continue to grow as his career progresses. If you looked up "football player" in the dictionary, the illustration should feature this guy's picture.
Finally, this is a pivotal year for Ada grad Heath Jackson. Last year as a reshirt sophomore injuries limited him to one game. He has yet to reach his potential at BG and will have to have an impressive camp and, most importantly, stay healthy if he wants to see the field much in 2013.
I fully expect this team to be the MAC Championship Game in December after winning its first division title since 2003.
The season kicks off on Thursday August 29th when Tulsa visits Doyt Perry Stadium.
For my interview with Coach Clawson from Tuesday's MAC Football Media Day, click here: http://www.1150wima.com/player/?station=WIMA-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=newssportsxtra.xml&mid=23506593
Tuesday the MAC football Media Day was held at Ford Field in Detroit.
I was able to attend the get together and it certainly has me thinking football.
Three local products, who have all faced different challenges to success, will be a big part of this 2013 season: Jarrod Pughsley, Zac Rosenbauer and Keith Wenning.
Pughsley (Lima Senior) has made the most of his walk-on opportunity at the University of Akron. Last season, despite a troublesome ankle, he started ten games on the offensive line for the Zips of first year Head Coach Terry Bowden.
Last season Rosenbauer (Shawnee) switched from the defensive side of the ball to join a high powered Toledo offense as a blocking FB/TE. Despite the position switch he thrived while also being a special teams demon.
You may recall that Wenning (Coldwater) was not highly recruited as a QB coming out of high school but he always wanted to play the position and has come through huge at Ball State.
I spoke with Wenning and his coach Pete Lembo. I also checked in with Coach Bowden to talk about Pughsley and Toledo coach Matt Campbell to get the scoop on Rosenbauer.
Here's my report podcast:
Tomorrow I'll focus on the BGSU Falcons!
One of the great things about being a baseball fan is witnessing the occassional blowup by a manager, on the field or in the clubhouse.
Today is Lee Elia's birthday. The former Cubs manager is 76.
On April 29, 1983 he verbalized his frustration with his club's slow start to the season and expressed disdain for the fans' "support"
Check this out:
BTW...you can easily find the "unbleeped" edition of that if you look.
If you listened to that in its entirety, you heard Elia say "the talent is there". He was right. Even though he wouldn't be around to see it, in 1984 the Cubs won the NL East to make the postseason for the first time in nearly 40 years. Too bad he was fired on August 21st after an 11-9 home loss to the Braves dropped the team's record to 54-69. Charlie Fox finished out the season as the skipper. The next season, the Cubs traded for P Rick Sutcliffe and with much the same team as 1983, won the division for manager Jim Frey. It's all about timing, Lee. Happy Birthday and thanks for one of the best rants ever.
Speaking of that, as a devotee of rants, here are my Top 5 baseball meltdowns (with links):
5. Tommy Lasorda takes apart Kurt Bevacqua.
4. Minor Leeague manager Phillip Wellman with perhaps the most histrionic tirade ever.
3. Lou Piniella throws a base. Believe it or not, I can't find a video of this.
2. Lee Elia.
1. Earl Weaver, the best ever, lays into ump Bill Haller (9/17/80) and Haller fires right back.
Two notes: I love the "boom" from Haller when he tosses Earl and check the scoreboard, this all happened in the top of the first inning about five minutes into the game. Awesome in every way!
Pistons sign free agent Josh Smith. The Detroit News puts it in context: Vincent Goodwill
The Cavs to sign free agent combo guard Jarrett Jack. The Plain Dealer story by Jodie Valade
Brad Stevens nearly didn't accept the Celtics offer to leave for the NBA: Bob Kravitz, Indy Star
A profile of the newest 'Jacket, F Nathan Horton: Michael Arace, Cols. Dispatch
Andy Murray ends the British drought at Wimbledon: UK Telegraph
Tweets of the weekend:
Sources: Francoeur down to three teams, including #Reds. Other two teams not known.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 8, 2013
@wblsports BREAKING NEWS - Celina football coach Jared Rolfes to take football coaching job in North Carolina— WCSM Radio (@WCSMRadio) July 8, 2013
If your kid wants to get a medal for their science fair project on spontaneous combustion, should he borrow the Indians or Tigers bullpen?— Jim Naveau (@Lima_Naveau) July 7, 2013
Team to watch in chase for Andrew Bynum: Cleveland. Hearing Cavs not only have legit interest but can also make lucrative one-year offer— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 8, 2013
This morning I visited with Fox Sports Ohio's Chris Welsh with our weekly "Dugout Dirt" segment, presented by Huffman, Kelley, Brock and Gottschalk.
We discuss Homer Bailey's no-hitter and other Reds issues.
Click the link to listen to our Podcast: Dugout Dirt, 7-3-13
Free Agency/Trade plans for the Cavaliers: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Free Agency/Trade plans for the Pistons: Detroit News
Free Agency/Trade plans for the Pacers: Indy Star
Which teams will possibly be most active in NBA Free Agency?: SI.com
Tweets of the day:
@limacitygolf thanks for a great week of golf! I'm honored to be the 2013 Lima City Champion.. What a week.. Finally got the monkey off 🙊🙉— Dillon Klein (@dmklein89) July 1, 2013
I will win the @limacitygolf championship next year...... Which flight is TBD 😜— Joe Whittaker (@joseveetaker) July 1, 2013
Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Mike Kickham are 1-12 in 16 road starts. Well, the Giants have bucked the odds in Cincy before... #vortex— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 1, 2013
According to Pluto, WSJ says Pilot Flying J is 4 billion in debt! Fans might have to bring their own seats to the games!— Greg Brinda (@SirFranksnBacon) June 30, 2013