The Reds Scooter Gennett drives in a run with a double against the Pirates on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Second Thoughts: Reds should make Scooter face of the franchise

Graduation season is in full swing. I have lost track of the number of parties I’ve attended for kids who were little squirts just yesterday, it seems. Supposed to go to one tomorrow featuring a live band. And mac-and-cheese, of course!

Scooter Gennett is the Reds’ best player. As a bonus, he’s a real bargain at $5.7 million this year. Scooter will get a hefty raise in arbitration next year and can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. If the Reds were smart (insert joke here) they would sign Scooter to a long-term deal now. The kid just turned 28, he was born in Cincinnati and he has a cool name. What’s not to like? Homer Bailey will gone after next season, so the money will be there.

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I went to the kitchen to get some ice cream Tuesday night during the Reds game. I heard Thom Brennaman screaming and figured he was on one of his rants. I returned to the couch to discover that Scooter had hit a grand slam. Won’t make that mistake again. I love watching that little guy swing for the fences.

The Vegas Golden Knights are in their first year of NHL existence – and they’re in the Stanley Cup Finals. A first-year team in any sport making it all the way to the finals is as rare as a quiet night on the town for Pacman Jones. I’m not a big hockey guy, and I couldn’t name three players on the Knights or Washington Capitals, but I might watch some of this series, which begins Monday night in Las Vegas. The pregame entertainment will be worth a look.

Speaking of obscure sports, the MLS reportedly is coming to Cincinnati. America’s pro soccer league that thinks it’ll be on par with the European league in, oh, 10 years ago, will make the announcement this week. When the sportsbooks open, it’ll be fun to wager whether the soccer guys or the Reds score more goals/runs. All soccer jokes aside, congrats to you folks who follow the sport. Sounds like fun. Kinda.

Former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow is headed to LSU. Not sure whether that’s a good move. I’ve always thought that the SEC’s QB issues were related to the quality of defenses in the conference. On one hand, those defenses can prep young quarterbacks for the NFL. On the other, young quarterbacks can get the snot kicked out of them in the SEC. They run the risk of being exposed before they sign big-money deals with NFL teams.

It’s amazing to watch NBA players under duress. The final minutes of games 4 and 5 of the Rockets-Warriors series revealed some of the world’s highest-paid, most-gifted athletes … panicking? The Rockets and Warriors were firing up bad shots, partly because both teams played serious defense. They walked the ball up the court and milked the shot clock. So out of character, but so fun to watch with the season on the line.

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Trending up: Jordan Hicks, Rafael Palmeiro, Jack Johnson.Hicks is a 21-year-old relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. Let’s just say he can bring it. Hicks threw two pitches clocked at 105 mph last Sunday. Only the Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman, has thrown a pitch that hard. Hicks has worked just 23 big-league innings and has a 1.96 ERA. Strangely, he has only 11 strikeouts, so he might want to add some movement to those heaters.

Trending down: Larry Culpepper, Homer Bailey, White Sox. Dr Pepper has made a huge mistake. It is dropping Larry Culpepper from its advertising campaign. Larry was the goofy peddler of soft drinks for four college football seasons. His commercials were awesome and many big names made cameos. My favorite guests of Larry’s were Doug Flutie and Steve Spurrier. Larry’s real name is James Connor, and he’s a real actor.

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