Sliders, spiders and riders

The 2021 baseball season gets underway this week and hope springs eternal for fans of all

teams except for the Pirates, Orioles, Rangers, and possibly the Tigers. The Reds are once

again an enigma with questions at several positions. Can Joey Votto be a productive hitter

again at age 37? With the departure of Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani, and Raisel Iglesias

will the pitching staff hold together? Can Eugenio Suarez make the move to shortstop and

rookie Jonathan India fill the second base spot? Stay tuned Reds’ fans!

Up north Cleveland’s (Indians?) biggest challenge is coming up with a new team nickname

because, even though the pitching staff is top-notch, runs will be at a premium as a youth

movement takes place. Up until 1915 the Cleveland nine were known as the Spiders, a name

getting a strong backing for the new moniker. The Indians name was inspired by the great

Spider outfielder of the early 1900’s, the “Deerfoot of the Diamond”, Louis Sockalexis who

hailed from the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation in Maine. Good night Chief Wahoo,

wherever you are!!

Being St. Louis born and having spent almost 4 years in my birth town while in chiropractic

college, I’ve been a Cardinals fan most of my life. A slight favorite to win the NL Central, the

offense got a much needed boost with the acquisition of one of the game’s best third basemen

Nolan Arenado in a trade with the Rockies. Paired with Paul Goldschmidt, runs should

abound, giving an airtight bullpen an opportunity to close out games. Along with tradition,

some of baseball’s most knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans, the majors’ best uniforms, and

“The Cardinal Way”, it should be an exciting season along the banks of the Mississippi and

under the Arch!

The Final Fours are set for both the men’s and women’s tournaments this weekend.

UConn, South Carolina, Arizona, and Stanford comprise the women’s bracket while Baylor,

Houston, Gonzaga and UCLA fill out the men’s side. Having all of the women’s games in San

Antonio and the men’s in Indianapolis has really worked well in this Covid related environment

although it will be good to return to normalcy next year so fans around the country get the

chance to attend these premier sports event in person. The selection committees must have

known what they were doing as the men have two number one and a two seed advancing

while the women have three one seeds moving down the road.

UCLA’s men, under the guidance of former UC coach Nick Cronin in his second season at

the helm, seeks a return to former glory (10 NCAA titles) while Arizona’s Lady Wildcats make

their first trip to the Final Four. UCLA is only the second team to make the journey from the

First Four to the Final Four, the other being VCU in 2011. Buckle up, should be a great few

days of quality college hoops!

Eldora Speedway, the “World’s Greatest Dirt Track”, according to the latest schedule I could

find, opens the racing season the weekend of May 7th-8th with the World of Outlaw Sprints.

Owner Tony Stewart must be chuckling to himself after the Cup Series bypassed Eldora and

held a dirt track race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which was a muddy quagmire Sunday,

causing a postponement of 24 hours. Joey Logano eventually won the race but only after

numerous drivers complained of not being able to see because of the dusty conditions present

on Monday. Call it the Darke County Jinx!!

County golf courses are seeing plenty of action, especially for this time of year. Turtle

Creek, Beechwood, Stillwater Ridge, White Springs, and the Union City Country Club are all

now open for area golfers. Turtle Creek is in good shape for early spring considering the rains

of a week or so ago and the consistent winds. I’ve played four rounds so far and the old bad

habits haven’t kicked in yet so I’m hitting the ball pretty well although the 60-80 yard wedges

are killing me! Until next time stay healthy and active!

Dr. Alex Warner

Shots in the Darke

Dr. Alex Warner is a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate