Reds in First Place
The Cincinnati Reds are in first place in the National League Central at the All-Star Break for the first time since 2010. While they may have lost the series to the Brewers, they have a quick turnaround for redemption at Great American Ball Park directly following the All-Star Break. After 91 games, it is crucial that Cincinnati takes advantage of playing at home this next series, as they have Milwaukee again at the end of the month. If we truly run the Central, then Cincinnati will have to find ways to score against a star-studded pitching staff (Milwaukee) and I think they will do just that.
Stealing second, third and home
By now you’ve watched (or rewatched 100 times like myself) the epic base running displayed from Elly De La Cruz on Saturday. Nobody has stolen second, third and home in the same inning for Cincinnati since 1919 until Elly decided to leave Milwaukee in awe this past weekend. It’s something new from him nearly every week that puts the league on notice and I truly believe that Elly is now the most exciting player in all of baseball. At just 21 years young, Elly is batting .325 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. He has also added 16 stolen bases along with a .887 OPS. When you look up electric in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of our star-studded infielder directly below.
As Joey Votto struggled to begin the year, ignorance quickly filled my social media feed calling for him to retire. In my entire life, I have never seen someone who has done everything for a city literally be hated by some fans who have watched for years. Joey Votto quickly proved the ignorance of many fair-weather fans yet again, as he has once again proved he belongs. Since he has returned to the team, he leads the team in home runs with seven. He also leads the team since returning with an OPS of 1.007. His batting average is on the rise at .246 and will continue to grow as he gets more at-bats. When he said his swing felt great, I knew to trust that, as nobody puts more time and thought into at-bats than our future Hall-of-Famer. The next time you see an uninformed comment on No. 19, just refer them to the official baseball-reference website for a quick look at his statistics since 2007.
Welcome to Cincinnati Rhett Lowder
The 2023 MLB Draft isy underway and as I am writing this article, our beloved Redlegs just drafted Rhett Lowder out of Wake Forest with the seventh pick! Lowder is a 6-2 right-handed pitcher who has enough accolades to fill up an entire article. To keep it short, he holds the record at Wake Forest for the most single season wins, single season strikeouts, and was the 2023 ACC Pitcher of the Year. He is an All-American with enough speed to reach upper 90s, but is mostly known for his dominant changeup. It has heavy movement and has been compared to the changeup of Luis Castillo. Cincinnati is looking forward to seeing Rhett Lowder in years to come and I can’t wait to see him develop within this organization.
Ickey Woods joins Matt’s Take
Bengals legend Ickey Woods kindly joined Matt’s Take this week to talk Bengals football with me. Ickey doesn’t need an introduction, but I figured I would do one anyway. Ickey played three years for our beloved Bengals, while setting numerous records for the organization in his rookie year. He was a leader for Cincinnati at a very young age and quickly carried the team to a Super Bowl appearance. The “Ickey-Shuffle” still lives on to this day and Ickey remains very involved within the community. Ickey is a great person and a great representative for our Bengals. If you have time, please visit the Jovante Woods Foundation Official Website and read about the difference he is making within the community.
Q: What is your favorite memory from your playing career?
A: “Probably my favorite memory is making it to the Super Bowl. As a kid I always dreamed of playing in the ultimate game and I happened to make that dream come true. So I have to say that’s probably my most memorable is playing in the 23rd Super Bowl 1989 against the San Francisco 49ers.”
Q: If you would give advice to any of the Bengals running backs in general, what would you tell them?
A: “Well, I would tell them what my coach told me — run hard for the first five to break it for 50. You know, the first five yards is what’s gonna enable you to break the big long gainers and take care of your body. Your body is your corporation, so make sure you take care of your body.”
Q: What is your prediction for this Bengals team in the upcoming season?
A: “My prediction is I think they will be 14 and 3 and hopefully have the AFC championship game come through Cincinnati and go to the Super Bowl … and hopefully have a Super Bowl victory. I think it’s time. They got all the pieces in place now. It’s just the fact that if they can stay healthy, I think that’s gonna’ be the biggest deal for the Bengals this year is staying healthy.”
Q: What was the hardest hit you put on someone and can you recall the hardest that you’ve been tackled?
A: “The hardest hit I probably put on someone was against the Pittsburgh Steelers against Greg Lloyd. I was actually pass blocking, and put it to him. I think the hardest hit I ever took was up in Buffalo. I ran a counter and my guard overran the linebacker Darryl Talley and he came in and laid it on me pretty tough. So that was the hardest hit I took was from Darryl Talley, linebacker with the Buffalo Bills.”
Q: Do you stay in touch with any of your former teammates?
A: “Yeah, I got a lot of the former guys that’s here in the Cincinnati area and whenever I do some stuff with my son’s foundation, these guys show up and support. So it’s roughly about 20-25 of the guys who were on that Super Bowl team in 1988-89 that still live here in the Cincinnati area. So, three to four times a year we get together and hang out, either at my golf outing, Anthony has a golf outing, and Joe Walters has a golf outing. So we get to see each other at those places.”
Q: Do you watch Reds baseball? If so, have you been impressed with their play so far?
A: “I do not, I’m not a big baseball fan, but I have been watching them lately because they’re on fire right now. The young kid they got down there is unbelievable. It’s kind of ironic how one player can change the whole season. They were probably dead last when they put this guy into the starting lineup and now I think they are close to first place. So it’s exciting for the city. Not only are the Reds doing good, but the soccer team is doing outstanding and our Bengals should be pretty good too. So it’s hopefully gonna’ be a great year for the Cincinnati hopeful.”
Q: What are your favorite hobbies to do in your free time?
A: “Golfing. Love to golf, love to go golfing. And that is it, it, it and it.”
Matthew McAdow is a Peebles resident. He works in human resources in the nuclear industry and has been an avid Cincinnati fan his entire life. He is an Ohio Christian University graduate and has always enjoyed giving an honest opinion on multiple topics regarding Cincinnati sports.