Looking back at Cincinnati’s greatest sports moments in 2020

CINCINNATI – In many ways, sport serves as a barometer of all the changes we have seen in 2020. Fans were delighted to see new talent arrive and the playoff drought ended as Cincinnati’s best athletes were honored.

But for many, dreams have been put on hold due to injury, loss, and a global pandemic that rocked the seasons. Local players, coaches and organizations also faced a nationwide reckoning on equality and social issues, and the sports community had to say goodbye to legendary figures.

Take a look back at triumphs, heartbreak, comebacks, and everything else that rocked the Cincinnati sport in 2020:

Burrow’s shaky start

Even before 2020 began, Cincinnati was eagerly awaiting the rise of a Bengals team led by Joe Burrow. During the last games of 2019, fans kept signals and asked the team for “Bungle 4 Burrow”. Cincinnati selected the Heisman-winning LSU appearance with the first draft pick in April.

In his first 10 NFL games, Burrow tossed 2,688 yards for 13 TDs when the Bengals slipped to 2-7-1. Then, on November 22, Burrow tore his left ACL and MCL after a hit from two Washington linemen, ending his rookie season prematurely.

Burrow has since had surgery and appeared to be taking some promising first steps in a video shared on Christmas Day. Team officials expect him to recover in time for the 2021 NFL season. After all, when Burrow tweeted that November day, “I can’t get rid of myself that easily. Until next year. “

Reds make MLB postseason

For the first time since 2013, the Cincinnati Reds made it into the postseason during an MLB season that almost never happened.

In the shortened 2020 season, the Reds went between 30 and 28, raising their record to two games over 0.500 for the first time since 2017. On September 26, they defeated the twins to enter the playoffs after a seven-year drought.

The Reds were expelled from the Atlanta Braves in their first playoff series, meaning that Championship glory escaped Cincinnati for another year. But one pitcher still gave them a lot to celebrate in 2020.

Bauer was the first red to win the Cy Young Award

On November 11th, pitcher Trevor Bauer became the first red in franchise history to win the National League’s Cy Young Award. He received 27 of the 30 first-place votes after Bauer went 5-4 through 73 innings that season with 1.73 ERA and 100 strokes.

At the Cincinnati Reds, 31 players were inducted into the Hall of Fame, 12 players were named National League Most Valuable Player, and seven players were named Rookie of the Year.

“It’s a great honor,” said Bauer. “The oldest baseball franchise. It’s time Cincy had one. “

Thom Brennaman resigns from broadcast after using a homophobic bow

Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman’s hot microphone picked up the use of a homophobic slur during a game against the Kansas City Royals on August 19. Brennaman continued to call most of the Reds double header before submitting his resignation in front of a television audience. He was later suspended by the Reds and banned from calling NFL games on FOX Sports.

Since the incident, Brennaman has been active in needy communities, meeting with members of the LGBTQ community and groups like PFLAG and others. Immediately after the incident and months later, he sat for talks with Evan Millward of WCPO.

“I knew when I said what I was saying that it was a hurtful moment. I think over the past three months I’ve really understood how painful that word means to so many people,” he said when he left the children’s home hosted by Northern Kentucky’s annual charity ball in November.

Brennaman now plays for the Roberto Clemente League, Puerto Rico’s premier pro baseball league.

Schott’s name comes from Cincinnati sports centers

Amid a national movement for social change backed by local athletes like Reds pitcher Amir Garrett and first baseman Joey Votto, several local organizations have re-examined their relationship with their donors, including the late Marge Schott.

Schott, who owned the Reds from 1984 to 1999 and who died in 2004, was known for making repeated offensive statements against African Americans, gays, Jews and others, both publicly and privately.

In June, Schott’s name was removed from the face of the UC ballpark. The Saint Ursula Academy and the Greater Cincinnati Boys and Girls Clubs also decided to remove Schott’s name from their facilities this summer.

In a statement supporting these decisions, the Marge & Charles J. Schott Foundation said in part: “Although we cannot excuse Ms. Schott’s rhetoric decades ago, we can ask you to learn from Ms. Schott’s mistakes as well great love for Cincinnati. “

Cincinnati FC’s Jans ousted after using a bow

Cincinnati FC also entered controversy when head coach Ron Jans resigned after complaining about using a racial fraud in front of the players. This complaint from the players’ association led to an investigation into the Major League Soccer incident in February.

In May, the FCC hired former Feyenoord manager and ex-Manchester United defender Jaap Stam as their new head coach. The club finished last in the MLS in 2020 (4-15-4).

Looking ahead to 2021, the club hopes to open its West End stadium in the spring. It is currently unclear when fans will be able to watch a game inside.

The pandemic shortened the HS seasons, but not for long

The basketball team at Mount Notre Dame in first place did not lose a single game with 28: 0 in the past season. They didn’t win a state championship – not because they lost, but because COVID-19 canceled the rest of their season, along with many other high school winter sports teams in the area.

Spring sports were canceled entirely when the coronavirus pandemic hit the US, but college sports resumed in the fall – and they didn’t disappoint.

Mariemont’s boys’ football team remained dominant throughout the season and went 23-0 without a draw. On November 14th, they won the Division III title in Columbus.

On November 15, the nationally recognized Mount Notre Dame won its 10th national volleyball title in program history.

Lakota West faced St. Xavier in an explosive regional title game, and St. X won the Division I state soccer championship against Pickerington Central on Nov. 13. In Kentucky, Beechwood won its 15th state soccer championship.

These weren’t the only football trophies to come home for the tri-state: Beechwood QB Cam Hergott has been referred to as Mr. Football of Kentucky and Roger Bacon RB Corey Kiner has been referred to as Mr. Football in Ohio.

Fickell stays with Bearcats to win the AAC title

After interviewing for a job in the state of Michigan, Luke Fickell decided to remain as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Ten months later, he and the Bearcats won the championship title of the American Athletic Conference at Nippert Stadium.

The Bearcats have a chance to bring home another trophy on Friday as they face Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

Tri-state tennis size

Cincinnati’s first tennis tournament, the Western & Southern Open in Mason, has been relocated to New York for the year due to COVID-19 concerns. It was the first time in 121 years that the W&S Open, formerly the Cincinnati Masters, had taken place outside of Ohio.

That didn’t stop Cincinnati’s tennis greats from succeeding in 2020, however. Madeira’s Caty McNally and former OSU Buckeye JJ Wolf both made it to the third round of the US Open in September.

Farewell to Cincinnati sports legends

Cincinnati mourned Sam Wyche, the former Bengals head coach who led the team to a Super Bowl on January 2, 1989, when he passed away at the age of 74.

Wyche coached the Bengals from 1984 to 1991, including their last playoff win in 1991. He also reminded Bengali Snowball fans in December 1989 that they “do not live in Cleveland”. Wyche trained in the NFL for 12 years and played for four pro teams, including the Bengals, from 1968 to 1975.

Joe Morgan, the legendary second baseman of the Big Red Machine, died on October 11th at the age of 77. He was a two-time National League MVP and a ten-time All-Star, elected to the Reds Hall of Fame in 1987 and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.

He remains the stolen base leader of the Reds (406) and ended his 22-year professional career with 268 homers, 1,133 RBI and 689 stolen bases for the Astros, Reds, Giants, Phillies and Athletics.

Hall of Fame Reds pitcher Tom Seaver, best known in Cincinnati for his 1978 no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals, died on September 2nd at the age of 75. With 311 wins, Seaver is one of only 24 MLB pitchers to have won 300 games.

Seaver, who played for the Mets between 1967 and 1977 before joining the Reds, was a 13-time All Star and 3-time Cy Young Award winner. He and the Mets won a World Series title in 1969.

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