Frequent visitors to this room may notice a number of general themes sewn into TML’s daily shirt.
I write a lot.
One topic that always makes me a little active is The lovable, angry, and far too common habit in our city of mistaking mediocrity for hope. In the movie Miracle on 34th Street, there’s a line that sums it up. This is the Christmas classic in which Santa Claus turned out to be real. Great movie that hasn’t been made since around 1950. Whatever. . .
“Faith believes in things when common sense tells you not to do it. ”
That describes our sports fan hood in River City, no matter if good or bad. Charlie Brown’s football has never got a better grade than a Bengals fan. We have been hit by Ls so many times, we we medicate ourselves with very small victories.
Like Luis Castillos start on Tuesday evening.
OK, OK, I hear you. The Red’s ace was good, or at least better than him. Ten Ks in his first 4 innings, a brilliant wiggle from a 2nd and 3rd, no-out jam in the 5th. All of his parking spaces worked. It was vintage.
But he lost. Five innings, three runs, one L.
In places more familiar with winning, that’s not great.
In Hopetown it’s a street sign in the wilderness.
Sometimes it drives me crazy, it doesn’t drive you crazy.
That didn’t help Anthony DeSclafani was better than Castillo. You know, the guy the reds didn’t keep last winter. Disco is 4-1 with an ERA of 2.03 with SF. In fact, three of the Giants’ four starting mugs in this series are former Reds. The same giants who belong to the top tier of pitching staff in the NL.
I’m not suggesting the reds should keep Disco, Kevin Gausman and Johnny Cueto. I say the Giants have them and with them the best record in the league while playing in the most difficult league in the league. This trio is a combined 9-2. The reds are 1-8 in Castillos nine starts.
Something is wrong here.
I had a Mobster Express yesterday At least this Reds team is interesting and fun to watch. It is true that Winker and Castellanos were great fun. Winker has a bit of vintage votto in it. Castellanos is just a dawn. The collective camaraderie and belief are nice to see.
But they are 2 under 500.
4th place, closer to last than 1st place.
As it always was.
If we define mediocrity as losing as often as we win – and we do – Here is a list of the Reds record against .500 since 2013. It’s a study of inconspicuousness:
2020: Spent six days over 500.
2019: One day over 500. That was opening day.
2018: Zero days over 500.
2017: 17 days over 500, zero after May 14th.
2016: 11 days over 500. Zero after April 20th.
2015: 13 days over 500. Zero after May 14th.
2014: 60-59 on August 12th 16-27 thereafter.
Between 2015 and 2020, the Reds enjoyed 48 days with a winning record. (Give or take, there were days off.) Forty-eight days in six seasonsseven weeks in six years.
We’re not talking about 1st or 2nd place. We’re talking about playing even one game better than .500 baseball. Forty-eight days.
Between ’18 and ’20 that number was seven. Seven days in three seasons, including the virus-shortened season. Seven days of 384 games The reds were better than bad mediocre.
Meanwhile, their peers continue to thrive in poverty. Oakland is 26-17, Tampa is 24-19, Cleveland is 22-18.
Luis Castillo was better on Tuesday night. He could turn a corner. He could take this team with him. Have faith.
Well then. . .
WHAT THE. . .? Dino Gaudio, one of the nicest people I have met in college basketball, has been charged with blackmail. He worked for Pete Gillen and Skip Prosser and most recently for Chris Mack in Louisville. Mack released him in March. At this point, Gaudio threatened to go public with violations. He said the basketball program was committed. Intelligence Services:
According to the prosecution, during a personal meeting with Louisville officials on March 17, Gaudio threatened to “report to the media that the University of Louisville’s men’s basketball program had been violated [NCAA] Rules for making aspiring athlete recruiting videos and using assistants in practice unless the University of Louisville pays [Gaudio] his salary for a further 17 months or the lump sum of 17 monthly salaries. “
If convicted, Gaudio would face a prison sentence of up to two years.
I! I! I!. . . A book I wrote with OSU graduate, Olympic and Super Bowl champion Nate Ebner was published on Monday. From my post on Facebook last night:
Finish Strong is the story of an amazing young man and the unbreakable bond he shared with his father. Nate is an OSU graduate, a football stroll who just finished his 9th NFL season and owns a handful of Super Bowl rings. Nate was also a 2016 U.S. Olympic Champion as a member of our rugby team. Telling his story gave me a deeper and richer appreciation for what love can conquer and how personal achievement is inextricably linked with true faith and devotion. For those who have deeply loved and honored the strength of hard work and unwavering dedication. I feel better when I know Nate Ebner.
Writers are only as good as their material. I had great material. Nate grew up in Springfield, the son of a junk man. Literally. Jeff Ebner owned a junkyard. Nate spent part of his youth hunting and beating people who were trying to steal from the yard. Quick, Nate:
Joined the OSU soccer team even though he hadn’t played high school soccer.
Became a captain of the team.
Was drafted by the patriots.
Earned three Super Bowl rings as a Pro Bowl Special Teamer.
Won the US Olympic rugby team in 2016 despite not playing rugby in seven years.
I’ve just finished my ninth year in the league.
I don’t know what the likelihood is that a college team will team up, become captain, be drafted by the NFL, and win multiple rings. Then he becomes an Olympic champion in his spare time. I suspect they are longer than long. And Nate isn’t even the best story in his own book.
That would be Jeff, his father. Irascible, eccentric, unstoppable. The love these two had for each other and the successes that resulted provided me with the most amazing stories I have ever written.
TML sez ckout finish strong. It will impress you.
FASCINATING AND DEFECTIVE. . . A story on ESPN.com about what strikeouts do to baseball.
“The pitching is too good now and the strikeout craze has become an epidemic that dominates too many games. There were 1,092 more strikes than hits in April, the largest such gap in a month in Major League history. The season record will certainly be broken for the 15th time in a row this year. ”
TUNE O ‘THE DAY. . . Recommended by a gangster yesterday.