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Ohio Stadium: The Best Damn Stadium in the Land…almost

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Wellit’s really more like the second best according to a poll of sports writers. Out of 15 sports writers from outlets across the states, all 15 had Ohio Stadium on their ballot for best stadium in college football. LSU’s Tiger Stadium snagged the no.1 position over the Shoe though. “Ohio Stadium, affectionately known as The Horseshoe, was the only stadium to be on every single ballot. The Buckeyes’ home turf was a clear No. 2 and was the only building even close to LSU,” the report by Athlon Sports said.

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No fans on the course, but The Bogey party will carry on for Memorial Tournament watch parties

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It’s a little more than a month later than expected, but Jack Nicklaus will once again host the world's finest golfers—minus their fans— at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin next week.

The 45th Annual Memorial Tournament will be held July 13-19. While originally it would have been the first PGA Tour event with fans, due to surging COVID cases, the Tour announced this week they will no longer allow fans on the course. "The safety of our public and our employees is our highest priority,” said city of Dublin Director of Communications and Public Relations Sue Burness. 

Outside of the course, with bars and restaurants still navigating operations under health guidelines from Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health and local health agencies, Memorial Tournament-week festivities are limited.

No large events are planned at Dublin's Bridge Park, which has hosted Fore!Fest concurrently with the Memorial each of the last two years, according to Burness.

But one long-standing tradition will remain intact in 2020—The Bogey in Shawnee Hills will host a watch party throughout the week.

Photo By Julian Foglietti | Shown here is The Bogey's General Manager Mark Dombek

"The Memorial Tournament and The Bogey is a special tradition," General Manager Mark Dombek told 614. "People are going to be ready to enjoy live sports, and The Bogey has always been a place people come for the tournament."

The Bogey will have two giant video walls and stream as much of the tournament as is allowed by the tournament's broadcast partner, Dombek said. 

Health guidelines are ever-changing, Dombek said, but at press time his plan was to have more than 145 new tables added outside the venue (in addition to the 46 new outdoor tables The Bogey added when it re-opened in May), including in the parking lot, which will be barricaded to accommodate the additional tables. A tent will also be set up, so some tables will be covered.

"We're going to fully utilize all of our available space," Dombek said.

Current guidelines still prohibit standing in common areas in bars and restaurants, Dombek said, so patrons will be asked to rent the tables, available for groups of 4-10.

While capacity is impacted by health guidelines, Dombek said he expects to be able to welcome about 1,000 customers at a given time, including the current capacity of 178 inside The Bogey.

Dombek said his staff will enforce social distancing as much as possible, and will place hand sanitizer stations in the temporary outdoor area as well.

The Bogey will host live bands in the evenings, Dombek said, in an effort to make this week "as close to what we'd normally do."

"We've had a ton of people reaching out, asking what we were going to do. This has always been a big week for us. We're listening to our customers and letting them know we're here for as much as we can be," he said.

Visit bogeyinn.com or call 614-766-1900 for information.

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The Basketball Tournament 2020: Aaron Craft’s goodbye and lifelong bonds

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The Carmen Crew, the all-Ohio State basketball alumni team, will be taking to Nationwide Arena this Wednesday to defend its title as champions of The Basketball Tournament.

The Tournament is an annual 5-on-5 single-elimination competition consisting of players who lit it up in college and even the NBA. This year, 24 teams were selected to compete for a $1 million prize. You can read more about the tournament on (614) here.

Some of the teams will be structured with players who participated in the same basketball program or even played together. The Carmen Crew is one of those teams, consisting of Ohio State basketball alumni, from coaches to players. 

On Monday, six members of the Carmen Crew held a virtual press conference from a Columbus hotel room two days before they take the court for the 2020 TBT. Leading things off was former Carmen Crew player and current GM and coach Jared Sullinger. Evan Turner will be joining Sullinger on the sideline as a coach as well.

Sullinger, who has taken time off from professional basketball to focus on raising a family that includes two twins, knows that his team has a big target on its back this year.

“We became the hunters to the prey,” Sullinger said. “Now everyone wants a piece of Carmen’s Crew just because we won it.”

Even though Sullinger isn’t playing professionally in any capacity, he still has an ultimate goal of making it back to the NBA. We won’t see him taking the floor for the tournament at Nationwide, though.

However, we will still be seeing a court full of familiar faces. On the player side, the Carmen Crew roster consists of point guard Aaron Craft, shooting guard William Buford, shooting guard David Lighty, power forward Deshaun Thomas, shooting guard Jon Diebler, power forward Jeff Gibbs, power forward Pape Malik Dime, small forward Lenzelle Smith, power forward Dallas Lauderdale, and point guard Demetri McCamey.

Thomas was a last-second addition to the roster.

Buford, the MVP of last year’s tournament, sees no reason as to why the Carmen Crew shouldn’t walk away with back-to-back ‘ships.

“We got better this year as a team and I think we’ll do just fine if we stick together and play how we play,” Buford said.

A handful of the questions centered around the bittersweet reality that Craft would most likely be suiting up for his final few days as a basketball player, also citing family as one of the reasons why it seemed like a “perfect storm” to walk away from basketball. 

“This is one of the toughest things for me because I’ve been playing with him since we were 15-years old,” Sullinger said. “It’s going to be real tough knowing that this is going to be his last go-around.”

Sullinger mentioned that Craft’s ability, effort, and mindset is very contagious and will be incredibly missed on the court.

Craft isn’t trying to focus on himself for the upcoming tournament, however. Even without fans cheering him on in Columbus for his final minutes on the court, the cherished Buckeye point guard is looking forward to hearing his teammates on the court without having it being drowned out by those raucous Buckeye crowds.

“As we continue to get older we continue to appreciate it a little more,” Craft said.

Being in Columbus and not having a crowd does carry some positives, though. Players like Lighty mentioned that having the tournament in Columbus in the midst of a global pandemic made the decision to play a little easier.

Craft has an even more unique perspective, as he was quarantined in Italy in the middle of international basketball play. Being in Italy, one of the first major hot spots of COVID-19 has shown him that only pockets of our country have been taking the virus seriously while things were different.

“I think the biggest difference I’ve seen...is the seriousness with how all the public took the virus, whether it was on their own or by (government regulations),” Craft said.

But most of all, the Carmen Crew is looking forward to being together once again. That’s why we see players like Turner, who are still taking a stab at an NBA career, come back year after year to suit up with their old college teammates once again.

“One thing for sure is that these are my best friends, these are my brothers,” Turner said when asked why he continues to be a member of the Carmen Crew.

The Carmen Crew will put their cohesiveness and togetherness to the test on Wednesday with its first match of 2020 TBT. It will be suiting up against House of Paign, a team made up of Illinois basketball alum. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.

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The Roosevelt is brewing some sporting fun—and fundraising—for this weekend!

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While they may not be the professional sports leagues that we’re used to reading about in Columbus, live sporting events have been coming back in fashion as of late.

Whether it be with spectators or a socially-distanced event, we’ve seen the mid-July announcement of the Memorial Tournament, the Crew head down to Orlando for a startup tournament, and The Basketball Tournament has made its way to Nationwide. And now...polo.

Get in on the action this Friday at Los Gemelos Polo Field, located at 6351 Harlem Road, Westerville, where Play Polo Club will host a professional polo match. All proceeds will go to the nonprofit coffeehouse The Roosevelt, which is on the frontline of Columbus nonprofits in fighting hunger, unclean water, and human trafficking.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the gate or in advance here.

To observe social-distancing guidelines, guests will enjoy the match from the comfort of their own cars, at the polo field. Picnic foods and stadium seats are encouraged.

There will also be a donation drop for 1DivineLine2Health, which serves Street Sisters, an organization serving children, teens, and transgender folks primarily on the west side of Columbus, an epicenter of human trafficking and opiate addiction. 

Items that The Roosevelt are asking people to bring for donation include:

  • chicken and tuna salad cracker snack boxes
  • four oz. water bottles, capri suns, or juices boxes
  • snack-size chocolate chip or oreo cookies 
  • toiletries (no toothbrush) and feminine or baby wipes

Limited edition face masks and a specialty drink will be available for purchase at the event. 

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