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 is a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate