Sports Today: USA reigns in WBC, Reds dodge bullet, Adam Jones saga continues and basketball is back

If I weren’t ready for baseball season to officially begin, I am now after watching the United States crush Puerto Rico 8-0 in the World Baseball Classic championship game.

🇺🇸#WBC2017 pic.twitter.com/0X6sWe8xgM— Dieter Ruehle (@DieterRuehle) March 23, 2017

It was enough to bring manager Jim Leyland to tears apparently.

This was the third WBC but the first I can remember getting much traction on social media.

Maybe I just follow more baseball people on Twitter now than I did in the past — or maybe MLB and the event’s organizers have gotten better at using social media to drum up interest — but it will be interesting to see how the typical numbers (attendance, TV ratings, digital audience, etc.) stack up when all is said and down.

READ MORE at Marcus Hartman's blog

I know some people love to bag on baseball as yesterday’s game, but I am optimistic about its future. I happen to think it fits very well into our evolving digital lifestyle where we crave regular thrills but have phones to fill our downtime between innings or even pitches.

Naturally, commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA director Tony Clark see the event gaining momentum ...

At any rate, Opening Day in Cincinnati is less than two weeks away. 

The Reds avoided some bad news yesterday when Raisel Iglesias' sore elbow turned out to be a bone bruise not related to throwing the baseball.

He might not be ready for the first day of the season, but that’s far better than facing surgery and a year on the shelf…

👌 pic.twitter.com/Ro2QOzXENy— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 23, 2017

As you've probably seen, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones will not face felony charges after he allegedly spit on a nurse at the county jail following an arrest in January.

Speaking on WLW, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters called the felony "a tacky-tack kind of charge," and described the incident at a Cincinnati hotel that led to his arrest in the first place "just drunken foolishness."

He does not have jurisdiction over the multiple misdemeanors Cincinnati police are still charging Jones with, however.

Next up are decisions from the Bengals and the league about whether or not to punish Jones, who is coming off a disappointing season after signing a contract extension…

RELATED: NFL needs to leave crime and punishment to the professionals 

Adam Jones walks on the field before the a game in Houston last December. There is no longer a felony charge hanging over his head. Getty Images
Caption
Adam Jones walks on the field before the a game in Houston last December. There is no longer a felony charge hanging over his head. Getty Images

Is basketball in Southwest Ohio more mature than elsewhere in the state?

LeBron James' second high school coach says it is.

"I believe that basketball in Southwest Ohio is a much more mature sport," Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary veteran coach Dru Joyce said during a state-wide media conference call this week. "People understand it and appreciate it more at a younger level. You see it all the way from youth basketball through high school and college. Basketball is appreciated more. Fans come out in greater numbers." 

His team saw the area’s best team, Trotwood-Madison, up close and personal earlier this season when the Rams blew out Joyce’s Fighting Irish, but they get another shot this afternoon in the state semifinals at Value City Arena.

SV-SM is in the running for its sixth state championship, which would tie Middletown for the most in Ohio history…

Springfield senior guard Danny Davis shoots during a Division I regional semifinal against Cincinnati La Salle on Wednesday at Wright State’s Nutter Center. Davis scored 1,774 career points in four years at Springfield. BRYANT BILLING / CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Springfield senior guard Danny Davis shoots during a Division I regional semifinal against Cincinnati La Salle on Wednesday at Wright State’s Nutter Center. Davis scored 1,774 career points in four years at Springfield. BRYANT BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

The All-Ohio Division I boys basketball team was released yesterday, and Springfield's Danny Davis is a member of the first team.

While he is headed to Wisconsin to play football next season, Ohio’s new Mr. Basketball, Kaleb Wesson of Westerville South, has signed to play for Thad Matta and the Buckeyes.

Wesson is the first Ohio Mr. Basketball to sign with Ohio State since Marc Loving of Toledo St. John’s four years ago.

While Loving just wrapped up a mostly disappointing career in which he showed the talent but not the attitude to keep the program among the Big Ten’s best, Wesson should have a chance to play a big role right away for Matta.

I saw him last year in the Wildcats’ state championship win over Lima Senior (and last year’s Mr. Basketball, Xavier Simpson, who is now at Michigan) and was not impressed, but he was in foul trouble and playing his second game in as many nights.

I have not seen him play this season, and of course a thorough evaluation is tough to make off just one game...

West Virginia and coach Bob Huggins are part of the resumption of March Madness tonight against Gonzaga.

Is Huggins “at peace” with Cincinnati, where he coached the Bearcats to a Final Four but was run out of town by the administration a decade ago?

Not so much.

Nor does he seem too worried about it.

Also taking the floor tonight is Xavier.

The Musketeers seemed all but dead after losing star Edmond Sumner to a knee injury, but they have been resurrected in the postseason with a little help from a new lucky urn.

RELATED: 5 things to know about the Xavier-Arizona Sweet 16 matchup 

Local gems: Sweet 16 matchup is personal for former Fairmont teammates Westbeld, Waterman… Trotwood-Madison's Amari Davis is carrying on his brother's legacy as the Rams head to the state tournament today… Dave Chappelle had an interesting explanation for why he doesn't do many interviews.

About the Author

ajc.com