John Clay: Reds' future as exciting as their present

Reds' celebration a joy to witness

jclay@herald-leader.com,JohnClaySeptember 30, 2010 

Random notes:

■ As dramatic and fitting as Jay Bruce's walk-off homer was to clinch the NL Central on Wednesday night, the best part was seeing the celebration in the Cincinnati clubhouse afterward.

There were grown men, or as grown as some 20-somethings can be, spraying various forms of beverages on one another, wearing goggles, hugging, horsing around, smiling, in Dusty Baker's case blurting out "(Expletive deleted), I'm happy!"

You could tell it, too, and I especially liked what Homer Bailey told Fox Sports Ohio's and Tates Creek grad Jeff Piecoro about the younger players (Joey Votto, Drew Stubbs, Chris Heisey, Johnny Cueto, etc.) coming up through the farm system together, and now being able to celebrate together.

Also loved the shot of white-haired General Manager Walt Jocketty finally giving in and spraying players after they had fun spraying him.

Jocketty is my MVP, for turning an aging home run/strikeout team into an aggressive, fiercely competitive club with good, young pitching.

Sure, the Reds are bound to bow out in the first round. But they have a good nucleus for the future. And, they've proven they know how to win.

■ The best news from Tuesday was the way Edinson Volquez pitched. Over his last four starts, Volquez has allowed just six runs in 272⁄3 innings.

■ After spending Tuesday at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, I will say this. The people involved could not be more accommodating. The head of the dressage competition took time to talk to me while the competition was going on.

■ Call Saturday's game in Oxford the Desperation Bowl. Neither Kentucky nor Ole Miss wants to be 0-2 in the SEC.

■ Ole Miss's defense has struggled, but the Rebels are second in the SEC in sacks with 13.

■ When Florida and Alabama hook up in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Florida will be an underdog for the first time in 40 games.

■ Here's what Nick Saban did to Ryan Mallett: In the fourth quarter, the Arkansas quarterback completed four of 10 passes for 44 yards, with two interceptions.

■ Now comes the question of what Urban Meyer will do with Chris Rainey, now that the (former?) Gator had his stalking charge reduced to a misdemeanor. Given the team's criminal history under Meyer, will the coach crack down, or let another one slide?

■ Ray Glier of The New York Times points out that Alabama has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 38 straight games.

■ Speaking of 100-yard rushers, UK's Derrick Locke was just the fourth Wildcat ever to rush for 100 yards against Florida. Artose Pinner rushed for 125 against the Gators in 2002, Steve Meilinger for 110 in 1952, and Moe Williams for 109 in 1993. Locke gained 103.

■ Locke is also the ninth Kentucky running back to rush for 100 or more yards at least four times in a single season.

Sonny Collins, Moe Williams and Rafael Little are the only UK backs to rush for 100 yards or more at least four times in more than one season.

■ The Bengals have won two straight, and Marvin Lewis defends him to the hilt, but Carson Palmer is way, way off. You wonder about the injured elbow he refused surgery on two years ago.

■ The Big East is now 1-11 against fellow BCS schools. Tell me again why it has a BCS bowl slot and the Mountain West does not?

■ Speaking of the Big East, Seton Hall is offering buy-one, get-one-free for its season ticket basketball package. As Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com wrote, "This can't be good."

■ As tough as Ole Miss's quarterback Jeremiah Masoli figures to be this week, next Saturday's run/throw quarterback, Cameron Newton, is better.

■ The NFL's idea to go to an 18-game schedule might be the worst idea in the history of sports. Surely it is just a bargaining bluff.

Reach John Clay at (859) 231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com. Read his blog at Kentucky.com.

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