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Play ball! 614NOW’s preview of Indians and Reds opening day

Philip Emilio Palma

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Opening Day should be a national holiday…Seriously. People take off work, and kids cut school just to attend Opening Day. It’s that special. I prefer it to Christmas, Thanksgiving, and virtually any other holiday there is.

However, because we are halfway between Cleveland and Cincinnati, and the Cap City is more focused on the OSU Spring Game, the Blue Jackets, and the Crew, baseball gets overshadowed. This frustrates me. Especially, because the Columbus Clippers (who are the Triple-A affiliate for the Cleveland Indians), are one of the premier teams in the International League (not to mention an outing at Huntington Park is one of the best (and affordable) ways to spend a warm late spring or summer evening downtown).

Aside from that, it’s an easy drive up 71 North to the Jake (you most likely know it as Progressive Field, but it will always be the Jake to me) and equally as easy to bomb down 71, and Head to the Great American Ballpark. I’m sure someone else is covering the Spring Game etc., and that’s cool…that’s cool – but it’s not baseball.

Ohio has a rich history of baseball, from Branch Rickey, who was a catcher at Ohio Wesleyan decades before he would be essential to breaking baseball’s color barrier in 1947, with the great Jackie Robinson; to the Cincinnati Reds being one of the original teams of the National League (they’ve been in the NL since its inception in 1890). For those of you that love baseball as much as I do, here is my outlook for the Tribe and the Reds, this year:

The Cleveland Indians: 2018 AL Central Champs

Yet again, The Tribe has one of the deepest and most potent starting rotations in all of baseball, including Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and Shane Bieber. Terry Francona, the Tribe’s skipper, will be laser-focused on returning to the Fall Classic, and along the way, should easily capture the team’s fourth straight division title.

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However, despite their stellar rotation and offensive firepower of their two MVP candidates Francisco Lindor (who will miss opening day due to an injury), and Jose Ramirez atop their lineup, The Indians’ fate might be the same as last season. Cruise through the regular season, and then hit a wall in the playoffs, where they will most likely have to deal with perennial postseason juggernauts the New York Yankees, the defending champion Boston Red Sox, as well as 2017 champs, the Houston Astros.

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Seeing the Cavs finally win a title, and damn-near winning one in 2016, themselves, the Tribe is chomping at the bit for that World Series title the City of Cleveland has been clamoring for since 1948. However, because their formidable pitching staff tends to crumble when it matters most (the postseason) Tribe fans might want to hold off on that ticker tape parade…at least for this season.

The Tribe opens their season against the Minnesota Twins, at Target Field, in Minneapolis. Corey Kluber takes the hill for the Tribe. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET/3:10 p.m. CT on Thursday. The game will be televised on both Fox Sports North and SportsTime Ohio, along with MLB.TV, and there will be radio broadcasts on the Treasure Island Baseball Network and the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.

The Cincinnati Reds: Finished dead last in the NL Central in 2018

When the Reds and Pirates square off for Opening Day at Great American Ball Park, both teams will be looking to establish their legitimacy in the National League Central division race, which is a herculean effort considering they share the division with perennial playoff favorites in The Brewers, Cubs and Cardinals. However, the Reds believe they belong in that conversation, and for the first time in a long time, they’re not wrong.

The Reds had an incredibly productive offseason, acquiring Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, and, in my opinion, the most exciting player in all of baseball, Yasiel Puig.

The Reds also have new blood in the dugout/clubhouse, in the person of first-time Major League manager David Bell and a virtually brand-new coaching staff. The Reds also made key moves in their pitching rotation, which coupled with their huge outfield acquisitions, has fans fired up. The additions of Puig and Kemp should add much-needed firepower to a lineup that lacked the big bats. Puig will be especially exciting to watch, because unlike his platoon work he did in Los Angeles, Puig will be the everyday right fielder for the Reds.

Adding the bats of Puig and Kemp to a lineup which already has the team’s best on-base threat in all-around class-act, leader, and future Hall of Famer, Joey Votto, should set off all of the fireworks at Great American Ballpark this season.

Luis Castillo takes the hill for the Reds, when they face for the 29th straight year against the Pittsburgh Pirates, at the Great American Ballpark, in Cincinnati. First pitch is at 4:10 p.m. ET. The Reds’ broadcasts are on Fox Sports Ohio and WLW-AM while the Pirates’ broadcasts are on AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh and KDKA-FM. The game can also be seen live on MLB.TV.

Spring Training is over, folks. The 2019 season is here…Play Ball!

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Big Macs and Bowl Games: Enter McDonalds sweepstakes for college football getaway

614now Staff

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Now that Ohio State has secured its bid to play in the 2019 College Football Playoffs, every fan across Columbus is vying for tickets to the Bowl Game. Lucky for you, McDonald’s has the answer.

Today, McDonald’s launches their Buckeye Bowl Game Sweepstakes in partnership with Ohio State Athletics, where one lucky winner will win a trip for two to the 2019 Fiesta Bowl Game on Saturday, Dec. 28, including prime tickets to the game, transportation to and from, plus hotel and travel accommodations.

Fans can enter the Buckeye Bowl Game Sweepstakes by purchasing a Quarter Pounder or Quarter Pounder with cheese from any McDonald’s in the greater Columbus area, either in restaurants or through their favorite delivery service. With each order, customers will receive a golden ticket with entry details, leading them to the sweepstakes website.

And the best part is for every submission placed, McDonald’s Owner/Operators of Columbus will donate $1 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, helping them meet their annual fundraising goal.

“For McDonald’s, and for those of us as local business owners, it’s about more than selling burgers. It’s about creating a lasting impact in our community,” said Mike Telich, Columbus McDonald’s Owner/Operator in a statement. “Supporting RMHC is more than just a donation, its ensuring families with ill or injured children get the emotional and physical support they need, as well an alternative to the financial burden of staying at a hotel and going out for meals."

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The Big Ten: 10 reasons why Jim Harbaugh is an absolute nutcase

1870 Staff

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There’s no question Jim Harbaugh is a weirdo. He’s been caught picking his nose on the sidelines, he essentially wears the same outfit every single day no matter the occasion, and his personality is about as bright as a military general on cocaine. In other words, Harbaugh is set in his ways, and his ways are strange as shit.

But there’s more to this man’s madness than booger flicking and khaki pants. He’s a weirdo that wears many hats (but not many different variation of pants). And we have 10 reasons to prove it to you.

1.) Jim Harbaugh, the Spongebob fanatic.

To quote the coach on a radio show in Ann Arbor, “I love his attitude. He attacks each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind! I’ve kind of modeled my behavior after him. We all should. What a great employee he is. He’s a go-getter. He’s always got a bounce to his step. He’s got pizzazz. He puts his heart and soul into making those krabby patties. I think he’s awesome.” Uhhh, sure. Whatever you say, man.

2.) Jim Harbaugh, the house guest.

“Mom, can coach Harbaugh stay the night tonight?” Those were (probably) the words of Michigan’s current kicker, Quinn Nordin, as well as the defensive end from USC, Connor Murphy. In an effort to get the two recruits to commit to Michigan, Harbaugh took trips to visit the athletes. Perfectly normal. What’s not normal is Harbaugh crashing at the recruits house for the night. Dude, you are the third highest paid coach in college football. You’re either too cheap to buy a hotel, or you’re too odd to realize this was a weird ass move.

3.) Jim Harbaugh, the music man.

If you haven’t had the luxury of watching this music video, put this magazine down and pull up YouTube. Rap duo, Bailey, produced a Michigan hype song to promote the 2016 season titled “Who Has It Better Than Us?” which featured Harbaugh literally screaming those exact words for the chorus. This is just as much weird (Harbaugh’s rap career isn’t looking good) as it is ironic as the Wolverines would go on to lose to Ohio State and in their bowl game against Florida State. We can think of at least two schools that have it better than ya’ll…

4.) Jim Harbaugh, the conspiracy theorist.

He said they were a “nervous bird.” We’re not even gonna attempt to explain this. Here’s what a former Michigan quarterback, Wilton Speight, had to say to Bleacher Report about the hate against chickens: “He thinks some type of sickness injected its way into the human population when people began eating white meats instead of beef and pork. And he believes it, 100 percent.” … Riiiiight.

5.) Jim Harbaugh, the babysitter.

Turns out that fateful night he stayed with Connor Murphy wasn’t the first time. Harbaugh has stayed at the Murphy residence in the past, when he was a head coach at Stanford, to recruit Murphy’s brother, Trent. During the night, Connor and Trent’s mother went into labor forcing the father to take her to the hospital to give birth. As for Harbaugh and, at the time, 12-year-old Connor? Here’s what Connor told the LA Times: “Coach Harbaugh sat on my living room floor with me and we drank milk and played chess.”

6.) Jim Harbaugh, the patriotic music man.

If coaching doesn’t work, it seems like Harbaugh is eyeing a career in music. In 2016, rapper Lil Dicky came to Ann Arbor to preform. For reasons we have absolutely no way of understanding, Lil Dicky brought Harbaugh on stage to… sing the national anthem? And, as on brand as the mother fucker is, he was wearing those damn khakis for the performance. He probably flicked a few boogers backstage, too.

7.) Jim Harbaugh, the president?

Apparently rapper Wale and Jim Harbaugh are cooking something up for a presidential run. In 2016, Wale tweeted at the TTUN coach and endorsed him for a presidential campaign. Harbaugh responded back eager to bring Wale on as his Vice President. Let’s play a game, Buckeye Nation, would you rather have Trump as president, or Harbaugh?

8.) Jim Harbaugh, the khakis man.

We all know how much the man loves his Dockers, but do you really know how deep that love runs? The man worksout in his khakis. We’re sure that never gets too sweaty. The man swims—SWIMS!!—in his khakis. And he’s even been spotted running around the practice field shirtless showing off that pasty-white dad bod, but still in those damned khakis.

9.) Jim Harbaugh, the dietician.

We already know the man hates chickens, but did you know how much he loves cows? Almost as much as he loves khakis, believe it or not. Harbaugh is convinced that milk and steak are a “natural steroid.” Here’s what Harbaugh had to say about his affinity to “natural steroids” on a radio show in Ann Arbor: “I take a vitamin every day. It’s called a steak. … I truly believe the No. 1 natural steroid is sleep, and the No. 2 natural steroid is milk, whole milk. Three would be water. Four would be steak. [Steak] … it goes with everything.”

10.) Jim Harbaugh, the actor.

Why not? He’s a president, a singer, a rapper, a babysitter, and even a Spongebob stan. Of course he’s made a few appearances on television. The first time was on Saved By The Bell where he didn’t even get an excited “woo!” from the fake audience when he came on screen. Screech gets one every time he’s on camera and he’s a main character. The other time was when Harbaugh showed his true side on Detroiters for a skit. He loses his shit during a tailgating style game and ends up drilling the main character in the back of the head with a football. Okay so the Detroiters skit is actually kind of funny.•

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Top 5 times Ohio State broke Michigan’s heart in The Game

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Curtis Samuel Shows off His Madden Moves (2016)

For all Buckeye fans, this moment is unforgettable. After going down to Michigan in the second quarter, the two teams matched blows all game and even ended up in double overtime. After J.T. Barrett converted a fourth down, Curtis Samuel 15-yards to seal the win. Not only was Samuel’s TD amazing, it also cemented the Bucks’ place in the College Football Playoff while keeping TTUN out. Two birds with one stone.

Game of the Century (2006)

In the final iteration of the Buckeyes led by Troy Smith and Ted Ginn, Jr., the Buckeyes did not disappoint. This game had perhaps the largest implications of any on this list, because everyone in America pretty much knew that the winner would advance to the BCS National Championship game. Also: who could forget both Beanie Wells and Antonio Pittman going 50+ yards for touchdowns in the same game?

Ohio State Can’t Go to a Bowl Game… But They Also Aren’t Going to Lose (2012)

While Ohio State was dealing with a ban from bowl games, they didn’t stop wrecking opponents, and Michigan was no exception. Heading into the game, Michigan was the No. 20 team in the nation and had hopes for a win over their rival as well as moving up in the rankings to get a more prestigious bowl game. The Wolverines got neither.

Tyvis Powell is Clutch as Hell (2013)

This was one of the more competitive games in recent history. After being tied at halftime, the Bucks and Wolverines continued to trade blows until the very last moment. At the end of the game, Devin Gardner threw a touchdown to Devin Funchess to bring Michigan within 1 point and set up for a PAT. However, Michigan gambled for the win by going for two, and Tyvis Powell shut them down. It’s basically the Ohio State football equivalent of LeBron James’ block on Andre Iguodala in the 2016 NBA Finals, except Ohio State actually ended up winning.

Beat Michigan, then Win The Championship (2002)

Going into the game as the #2 team in the nation, Ohio State had amassed 12 wins before facing off against their bitter rival and were working on one of the best seasons in college football history. Seeing as Michigan had played spoiler to the Bucks’ perfect seasons three times in the ’90s, it felt like Michigan could keep Ohio State out of the BCS national championship, but Will Allen had other plans. With time expiring, Allen snagged an interception near the end zone that prevented the Wolverines from scoring a game winning touchdown. After that, Ohio State went on to beat Miami and win the BCS national championship. Talk about a story book ending for the Bucks — and a nightmare for the Wolverines.

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