About Me

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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Xavier Declaws Tigers To Post Best Start In School History

Xavier has won its first 11 games for the first time in school history with a 85-61 caging of the Auburn Tigers 5-3.

The Musketeers big men, which added a third dimension with 6'10" sophomore Sean O'Mara, had its way with Auburn.

Jalen Reynolds  led the Musketeers with 18 points while grabbing six rebounds. James Farr had 12 points and tied the Tigers Cinmeon Bowers with a game-high 11 rebounds.  O'Mara played a season-high 14 minutes and contributed a career-high 10 points and six rebounds.

"If Jalen keeps improving with Farr playing at that level, we will continue to have a good season," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.  "Sean O'Mara played the best game he's played in a Xavier uniform and it was against a good team, not a Division III team.  This was a good win for our program.  Auburn is a better team than they were last year."

Auburn handed Xavier a 89-88 double overtime loss almost a year to the day ago in Auburn, Alabama. The Tigers were 20-22 in coach Bruce Pearl's first year as coach.  This season the Tigers have proven to be a high scoring unit with junior Kareem Canty leading the pride with a 19.3 points-per-game average.

Xavier jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead off 3-pointers by Remy Abell (5 points) and Trevon Bluiett (13 points).  Reynolds added a shot from the inside.  Xavier extended the lead to 16 points but Auburn clawed to within nine at the break.

"You can't start out slow against a great team like Xavier," said Canty, who scored 25 points to lead all scorers. "We got their lead down to nine but we never got the momentum back."

Blueitt scored on a layup to open the second half and Xavier cruised from there. Freshman Edmond Sumner scored 13 points and pulled in a season-high six rebounds.

The Tigers never got to within nine points again.

Bowers had 12 points and T.J. Dunans had 10 for the Tigers.

Xavier has held every opponent to under 50 percent shooting on the year with the Tigers managing 40 percent from the field.

"Our defense is so much better than last year. It's not even in the same stratosphere. To hold a team that's averaging 87 points a game to 61 is a good job," Mack said.

The Musketeers now have the best start in school history.  They are ranked one in the RPI rating ahead of Duke and 10th in the Associated Press poll. The winning streak is the longest since they won 16 straight games in the 2002-03 season.

"We have who want to be coached and stick together," Mack said.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Toddfather Traded To White Sox In A Deal The Reds Couldn't Refuse

Todd Frazier is a fan favorite who had a tremendous first half last year.

The Reds are rebuilding and Frazier was too tempting for the White Sox to pass up.  Frazier will improve them defensively.

The Reds are also in discussion with the Washington Nationals to trade Brandon Phillips, leaving Zack Cozart and Joey Votto as the only hold overs in the infield.  The Reds have built a stable of young pitching prospects.  They now need to replace at least one infield spot if they can't move Phillips.

Eugenio Suarez is penciled in to take over thirdbase for Frazier.

The Reds got three young players from the Dodgers while the Dodgers got three young players from the White Sox, including Frankie Montas, who can throw 100 mph and was in Cincinnati to play in the Future's Game in July.

The Reds get IF Jose Peraza, OF Scott Schebler and IF Brandon Dixon.

Peraza is a 21-year old secondbaseman and centerfielder from Barinas, Venezuela.  He was signed by the Atlanta Braves as an amateur free agent in 2010.  He was involved in a three-way trade between the Braves, Dodgers and Miami Marlins.  The Dodgers got Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos in the deal and the Dodgers parted with Paco Rodriguez and Hector Olivera and three minor leaguers.
Order Amazon at right

Peraza made his Major League debut with the Dodgers on August 10. He had four hits in 22 at bats in seven games for the Dodgers.  The 6' 180 lb righthanded batter hit .293 for Gwinnett and Oklahoma City with four home runs, eight triples and 13 doubles.  Peraza stole 33 bases in 40 attempts.

Scott Schebler is a 25-year old lefthanded batting corner outfielder from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  The Dodgers drafted him in the 26th round of the 2010 draft.  He will compete with Adam Duvall, Yorman Rodriguez, Juan Duran, Jake Cavem Kyle Waldrop and Tyler Holt for the leftfield position assuming Jay Bruce is not traded.

Schebler made his Major League debut on June 5 against St. Louis.  He hit .250 with three home runs in 36 at bats in 19 games with the Dodgers.  He struck out 13 times and walked three times.  Schebler stole two bases in three attempts.

He hit 27 home runs for High A Rancho Cucamonga in 2013 and 28 at Double A Chattanooga in 2014 and played in the prestigious Arizona Fall League in 2014  Last year at Oklahoma City, Schebler hit .241 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 121 games. He walked 40 times and struck out 93 times in 121 games with an on-base-percentage of .322 and slugging percentage of .410 and stole 15 bases in 17 attempts.

Brandon Dixon is 23 years old from Murrieta, California.  The righthanded batter played secondbase, thirdbase and the outfield as the Dodgers third round pick in the 2013 draft out of the University of Arizona..

Dixon played in the Arizona Fall League this past winter as one of the Dodgers' top prospects.  He hit .295 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 16 games.  Dixon started the 2015 season at High A Rancho Cucamonga and then promoted to Double A Tulsa.  Combined, Dixon was a .263 hitter with a .318 on-base-percentage and a .508 slugging percentage.  He hit 19 home runs, five triples and 25 doubles, drove in 68 runs and stole 26 bases in 32 attempts. Dixon struck out 144 times and walked 28 times.

At 6'2" and 215 lbs, Dixon looks like a thirdbaseman, who can develop into a power hitter with speed.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Xavier Holds On To Take Cincinnati In the Crosstown Shootout

Xavier built a 16 point halftime lead but had to withstand a fierce Cincinnati run to take its third straight Crosstown Shootout 65-55.

Myles Davis buried a 3-point shot at the first half buzzer to extend its lead to 16 at 42-26.  Cincinnati scored the first 10 points of the second half to make it a hard fough victory.

"It's a game of runs," said Remy Able, who scored nine points. "We knew Cincinnati would make a run."

Cincinnati (8-2) closed to within five points at 52-47 at the midpoint of the second half in a game they never led.  Xavier (10-0) scored the first five points of the game and led 10-1 after the first five minutes.

"We were more aggressive and didn't turn the ball over to start the second half," Cincinnati guard Shaq Thomas.  "They were up 20-12 in rebounding in the first half. We turned that around in the second half."

Trevon Bluiett came into the game averaging 15.9 points but only scored three in the game.  The Bearcats lost control of the game with 16 turnovers.

"They beat us from the outside in the first half and the inside in the second half," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "You can't beat a real team by turning the ball over 16 times and beat a real team. Xavier is a real team. The proof is that we held their best scorer to three points.  We hung together and played better in the second half."

Farad Cobb hit two 3-point shots to start the scoring in the second half. Shaq Thomas added a pair of layups before Edmond Sumner broke the string with a jumper.

"That was as much of an uncomfortable 16-point leads I've ever had," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "Their defense in the second half stymied us and stole our confidence.  We felt rebounding and taking care of the basketball would be the key to winning. Our rebounding lead was obliterated but we didn't turn the ball over much. That's what saved us."

Mack has now won six of the seven meetings between the two teams against his child hood neighbor Cronin.

Cronin downplayed the importance of the rivalry game.

"We don't care about all that stuff. The days of Xavier at the Cincinnati Gardens and being the underdog has past.  That ship has sailed. They have a nice new arena and plenty of support now.  Chris Mack is one of the best coaches in the country and Xavier kept him from taking a Pac 12 job."

Mack was exhausted after the game and didn't show a lot of excitement.

"They are the most physical team inside we'll play all year," Mack said. "This game is a war. I don't know how our players feel but I'm limping around. I'm sweating. I feel like Pete Gillen. I have so much respect for what Mick has done over there. They are physical and tough."

Myles Davis led all scorers with 17 points. Edmond Sumner scored 11 and made a highlight reel dunk in the second half.  Jalen Reynolds was challenged inside by Octavius Ellis.  Reynolds had just two points and one rebound at halftime.  He scored six points and pulled down five rebounds in an eight minute stretch after Cincinnati got within five points. Trevon Bluiet didn't score much but along with Jamie Farr and Reynolds had six rebound.  Farr added nine points.

Cincinnati put four players in double figures. Ellis led the team with 13 points. Thomas and Cobb had 11. Troy Caupain added 10.  Gary Clark and Ellis did the heavy lifting on the glass with seven and six rebounds respectively.

Cincinnati hosts Norfolk State on Tuesday night.  Xavier rests a week before hosting Auburn at noon on Saturday.

The women's Crosstown Shootout will be held at 2:00pm Sunday.

Hometown Boys Meet In Crosstown Shootout

The University of Cincinnati and Xavier University are three miles apart.

Xavier's coach Chris Mack, 44, and Cincinnati's coach Mick Cronin, 42, grew up closer than that.

Cronin's childhood home was in Groesbeck down the street from St. Ann's elementary school.  Mack's is less than two miles away near St. Margaret Mary on Galbraith Road in North College Hill.  The went to different high schools but both are on North Bend Road.  Mack went to St. Xavier. Cronin to LaSalle.

Mack played basketball at the Northside KofC with Cronin's older brother Danny.

Today, the two lifelong neighbors bring their college alma mater's to the Cintas Center to renew a rivalry that is 82 games old.  Both are ranked UC (8-1) is ranked 23rd in the Associated Press poll and Xavier (9-0) is ranked 12th. UC holds a 49-33 advantage but Xavier has won the last two and six of the last eight.

Mack is 5-1 against Cronin which is his career mark.  Cronin is 3-6 against Xavier in his career.

The last time the two teams met at the Cintas Center it ended in an ugly fight.  This year will be hard fought but far more civil.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Xavier Crushes Wright State Now Prepare For Cincinnati

The Xavier Musketeers buried their neighbors from the north, the Wright State Raiders 90-55.

The 12th ranked Musketeers prepped for the crosstown shootout on Saturday with a solid game offensively and defensively to earn its ninth straight win to open the season.

Trevon Bluiett led all scorers and rebounders with 22 points and 11 rebounds.  His supporting cast of Myles Davis 13 points, J.P. Macura 12 points and Jalen Reynolds 10 provided the bulk of the offense.

Wright State came into the game fifth in the nation in 3-point shooting but made just five of 27 for a 18.5 percent.  Xavier's defense caused some of them but the Raiders missed shots they normally make.

"We missed some shots we usually make," Wright State coach Billy Donlon said.. "Xavier caused a lot of problems.  I credit them and Chris (coach Mack).  They play like the score is nothing to nothing. Chris doesn't get enough credit nationally.  They have been up by 30 points on their last four opponents.  We just have to play harder and get better."

Grant Benzinger, the Raiders sophomore guard out of Moeller High School, had a nightmare game.  He looked forward to playing his first college game in his backyard but ha picked up four fouls in the first 12 and a half minutes.

'It was tough," said Benzinger, who is the son of the former Cincinnati Reds firstbaseman. "We didn't want it to go that way. They played a great game. They hit some shots. I was really looking forward to coming back here. It didn't go like I envisioned."

Benzinger compared Xavier favorably to Kentucky.  The Raiders dropped a 79-63 decision at Rupp Arena on November 20

"I had a night like that last year at Bowling Green but I was a freshman," Benzinger said. "I have to do a better job. I want a better overall game. I felt good making those shots but then I picked up that fifth foul and it was like it didn't happen. We are a better team than this. We didn't perform. We let our offense affect our defense."

Benzinger finished the game with six points.  Michael Karena, who fouled out early, led Wright State with 10 points.

Xavier's defense kept the Raiders from getting into a groove.

"We played very well," Mack said.  "We are much better defensively this year.  Our zone helps us out. I like to call it our curveball.  There are going to be nights when we can't make a basket but defense will keep us in those games. I think our guys are beginning to realize that.  Tonight was a good example.  We missed a lot of shots early but offensive rebounds saved us.  We didn't let them score."

"Some teams lift weights," Donlon said.  "Xavier eats them."