■ So how about those Redlegs? All the way to first place. It's the first time since 2006 that the hardball team up in Cincinnati has held first place for more than a day. Dusty Baker's men took two of three from former front-runner St. Louis over the weekend. Big series win for the home team.
Pitching has been the key. Starters are throwing first-pitch strikes, sending batters back to the dugout, racking up innings. Heard Jeff Brantley say Sunday he gives much of the credit to rookie Mike Leake. He's the one without a single game of experience entering the season. He's also 4-0 with an ERA just over 3.00. Brantley said fellow pitchers see Leake throwing strikes, they know they can too — and they do.
Other key factor: Wise general manager Walt Jocketty was wise enough to bring in pro's pros. Scott Rolen is a professional baseball player. So too are Ramon Hernandez and Orlando Cabrera. That has rubbed off on younger teammates. Look at the way the Reds have played in the field. They're winning with pitching and defense.
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It won't last all year. St. Louis is still the better club. But Joe Morgan said Tuesday on ESPN he expects Cincinnati to "be there all year," and he just might be right.
■ Me thinks that LeBron James' fall has emboldened Kobe Bryant. Like the Suns, but look for a Lakers sweep.
■ I think John Calipari will be Kentucky's coach next season.
■ Three years from now, who's the better point guard: Rajon Rondo or John Wall?
■ Haven't seen enough of Brandon Knight to judge his game, but do know he is one smart cookie, signing a non-binding financial aid agreement instead of a letter of intent.
■ Alabama transfer update: Bama Coach Anthony Grant insists he's not the one blocking Justin Knox's transfer to UAB. Grant told Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News that after requesting a release, Knox asked Alabama to pay for summer school so he could complete his degree. UA said yes, with stipulations. Apparently one was that Knox not transfer to UAB. Instead, Knox could end up at North Carolina.
■ How can racing encourage more horses to run in all three Triple Crown races? That's a tough one. Not sure a financial incentive would be enough to coax trainers to submit stock to the grueling pace. Still think Wayne Lukas has a point about moving the dates of the Preakness and Belmont. After all, the Preakness and Derby have been two weeks apart since just 1950. Not 1850.
■ At Pimlico on Friday, Bob Baffert was trying to tell an anecdote about meeting someone famous. "You know, that basketball guy. What's his name? You know, the basketball guy. Oh come on, I can't think of his name," said Baffert.
Turns out, it was Dick Vitale.
■ Not sure which is the worse malady, LeBron fatigue or World Wide Wes fatigue.
■ Did you know the Pac 10 did not have a single underclassman enter the draft? Explains some things about Pac 10 basketball last season.
■ Not sure why people are making such a big deal about return of Miami-Notre Dame football series. Way things have gone lately at both schools, that's a series built more on nostalgia.
■ Ex-U of L football coach Steve Kragthorpe, now wide receivers coach at Texas A&M, told the Amarillo Globe-News it was a "great blessing" to be fired from his job as head coach at Louisville. Cardinals football fans would say amen.
■ Somehow I don't think the NCAA's continual desire to expand its basketball tournament is going to help with regular-season attendance, which in 2009-10 was lowest in 23 years.
■ This from Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post, "Four out of every five dogs in North Florida are named Tebow."