What a great series took place down at the Great American Ballpark over the weekend  between the Reds and the Braves! For only the seventh time in major league history two teams  started a series with each on at least eight-game winning streaks, Atlanta with eight and  Cincinnati boasting of eleven straight.  

Three sellout crowds were entertained to high-scoring playoff quality games with the Braves  taking the final two of three one-run contests. The Reds are proving themselves to be  contenders rather than pretenders, something that even the most avid Reds fans would have  had trouble believing back in April. Up in the NL Central by one-half game over the Brewers as  the season nears the midway mark, the young and talented team has started winning over  even casual fans here in Southwest Ohio as they try to justify their self-proclaimed title as  “America’s Team”. That might be a little bold as of now, but hey, they’re playing great ball—if  only the bullpen doesn’t get burned out waiting for Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo to return to  the starting rotation! 

Staying with baseball, the Cubs and Cardinals split a two-game series in London (yes, that  London!), drawing over 50,000 fans to each game as MLB tries to extend its global reach. Not  sure how many British understood the nuances of the game but they all seemed to be  entertained although many were heard to say something about “a sticky wicket”! 

The biggest surprises of the baseball season so far other than the Reds? How about the  Diamondbacks leading the NL West, the Orioles holding on to second in the highly competitive  AL East, and the Marlins trailing only the Braves in the NL East. The biggest disappointments  have to be the Cardinals in the NL Central and two teams with both overblown payrolls and  expectations, the Mets and the Padres—evidently money can’t buy you happiness or a winning  record so far! 

Sports camps around the area are in full swing as campers from age five on up are  participating in basketball, football, tennis, and soccer get-togethers, not to mention track  instructions and training. Throw in swim teams, summer baseball and softball plus golf outings  and there are a plethora of activities for youngsters through high school to develop their skills  over the summer months. As I’ve said before, the sweat and efforts of the off-season pay big  dividends when the new school year’s play starts in August! 

An interesting NBA draft took place Thursday night, highlighted by the Spurs selection of  France’s Victor Wembanyama with the first pick. The 7’4” multi-talented (did I forget to  mention his 8’ wingspan? Measure that off from a wall and you’ll be surprised how hard that is  to shoot over!) nineteen-year-old should be a dominant player in the league for years assuming  he stays healthy. He fits in the mold of former San Antonio greats David Robinson and Tim  Duncan and will probably extend the coaching career of 74-year-old legend Gregg Popovich! 

Here’s a trivia question for anyone who fancies themselves a NBA fan—name the three draft  selections who played at Ohio schools last season. BTW, did you realize that five of the first  seven selections this year didn’t play college ball? This is becoming more of a trend recently and makes you wonder what will become of the quality of the upper tier of college ball with so  many of the top prospects going a different route in trying to fulfill NBA dreams. 

Summer doldrums starting to set in? Plenty of places to go for entertainment—in addition  to the venues I mentioned last week, try the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering (just saw Cincinnati’s  legendary cover rock group The Menus there Friday) and The Rose Center in Huber Heights  (my wife Kathy just HAS to see the Doobie Brothers Monday evening!). 

Speaking of entertainment, check out comedian Leanne Morgan on YouTube—she’s  become an overnight success thanks to a Netflix special. She’ll have you laughing out loud,  well worth your time! 

What’s going on in Russia? The weekend’s events sounded like something out of a Tom  Clancy novel didn’t they? Not sure what to make of it, don’t know if the uncertainties are a  positive or a negative for world affairs. Also, remind me not to go more than a few feet down in  a submersible if ever given the chance—what a tragedy—let’s leave the Titanic rest in peace. 

If you got these three answers correct you are a true basketball fanatic—Brice Sensibaugh  of THE went to the Jazz in the first round while Toumani Camara of UD was selected by the  Suns and Colby Jone from Xavier ended up with the Kings, both as second round choices.  Have a great week, stay healthy and active!