So, anything interesting happening in the world of Ohio sports today?
Yeah, I know it was a long holiday weekend and now there are some major rumblings that a huge homecoming could give folks even more to celebrate than America’s birthday, so how about we get all caught up on what happened while you were out watching fireworks and grilling, shall we?
The Heart of It All:
How could this be anything but the ever-moving free agency of one LeBron James, the best basketball player to come out of Ohio in the past 50 years and and probably ever?
Sam Amico at FoxSportsOhio.com did his best to round up the rumors and reports that emerged over the weekend while adding his own reporting, while Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports 1 and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, experts on the NBA and LeBron, respectively, brought even more to the table this morning, painting a rosy picture for the Cavaliers’ outlook in bringing James back to the club he began his career playing for then backhanded on his way out the door four years ago.
(Yes, I realized this all might be outdated by the time I hit the “publish” button, but I had to give it a shot… Woj later followed with a Tweet indicating the Heat remain confident in their ability to retain James’ services.)
As for the rest of the state…
- The weekend was nice for the Reds and the Indians, both of whom won three-game series from divisional rivals. Both got outstanding pitching efforts Sunday — from Mat Latos and Corey Kluber, respectively — and Jay Bruce wore the laurel of hero for the Queen City, busting out of an 0-for-26 slump with a two-run homer that snapped a 2-all tie in the bottom of the eighth.
Bruce provided a crucial victory for the Reds as they chase the Brewers in the NL Central, and it provided a much-needed shot of good news as injury concerns continue to swirl around Joey Votto and popped up with Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman is among four Reds — joining Devin Mesoraco, Johnny Cueto and Todd Frazier — on the NL All-Star team while Indians outfielder Michael Brantley also got the nod. Kluber could join them if he wins the fans’ vote for the final spot in the AL.
- Meanwhile, FSO’s Kevin Goheen provided an extensive preview of the Bengals for 2014 and Zac Jackson offered some reaction to the latest sad turn in the saga of Josh Gordon, who may or may not to get to catch passes some day from Johnny Manziel, who continued to rack up frequent flyer miles between (wherever he lives) and Vegas.
- Ohio State received both good and bad news over the weekend as the men’s basketball team continued to get better but the football team might have lost a player from its defensive line. First the good news: Daniel Giddens gives Thad Matta another big body up front for the future after the 2015 top 100 big man chose the Buckeyes over offers including Indiana, Arizona and Kansas. Giddens is the fourth four-star recruit for Matta in the 2015 class, and the Buckeyes remain in the hunt for more top talent in each of the next two classes.
On the flip side, redshirt freshman Tracy Sprinkle appears to be in some serious hot water after being involved in “absolute mayhem” that broke out at a Northeast Ohio bar over the weekend. Sprinkle, a three-star recruit last year, has been kicked off the team, but his status will be re-evaluated after the situation is resolved. Given the depth Urban Meyer has recruited along the defensive line over the past three recruiting classes, losing Sprinkle might not have a major effect on the Buckeyes this season, but regardless his life is a much greater priority. Here’s hoping he gets it together and is able to put this behind him.
- Also: An Athlon Sports panel of writers chose Ohio Stadium as the No. 2 college football venue in the country behind a place that was already atop my list of stadium I must see in person, LSU’s Tiger Stadium. Despite what the game-day management crew and the administration continues trying to do to ruin the experience, Ohio Stadium remains a great structure in which there is often great football played, so I guess that’s the bottom line. They even let the band entertain the crowd at least once or twice a game!
- And finally, Aaron Craft is taking part in the NBA Summer League in Orlando and doing Aaron Craft things.