Reds unveil schedule of area tryout camps

June 5, 2009

So you want to play baseball for the Cincinnati Reds?

Well, here’s your chance.

The Reds announced Friday the dates and sites of tryout camps in Kentucky and surrounding states.

Such camps are how the Reds “discovered” Bryan Station High School and University of Kentucky infielder Doug Flynn. He not only went on to earn a pair of World Series rings with the Reds, but also a Gold Glove with the New York Mets.

There is no fee to try out. Players may choose any of the sites but should not plan on multiple tryouts.

Players must be between ages 16 and 22, and supply their own glove, spikes and uniform. Jeans and shorts are not acceptable for participants. All other equipment will be provided by the Reds, although catchers are welcome to bring their own gear.

All non-pitchers will field and throw from their positions and be timed in the 60-yard dash. Pitchers will throw a bullpen session.

Registration begins one hour before camp. Any Legion players must bring written permission to participate from the post commander or coach. Players under 21 must have a written release from a parent or legal guardian accepting full legal liability in order to workout. NO EXCEPTIONS, the Reds stress; the note must be a release of liability, not merely a permission slip to participate.

All camps begin at 10 a.m. The tryout camp schedule:

Wednesday, June 10Dublin Coffman High School, 6780 Coffman Road, Dublin, Ohio.

Wednesday, June 17Derby City Park, 1852 Lincoln Ave., Louisville.

Wednesday, June 24Graves County High School, 107 West Housman Street, Mayfield.

Wednesday, July 8Eastlake North High School, 34041 Stevens Blvd., Eastlake, Ohio.

Wednesday, July 15Limestone High School, 4201 South Airport Road, Bartonsville, Ill.

Wednesday, July 22Princeton High School, 11080 Chester Road, Cincinnati.

Curtis follows blazing 5K with strong mile

May 8, 2009

Former Villanova standout Bobby Curtis, who dominated Kentucky high school track during his days at St. Xavier, is keeping busy at a variety of distances this season.

Bobby Curtis

Bobby Curtis

Thursday, at Minneapolis, Curtis placed third in the inaugural USA 1-Mile Road Championships.

Curtis, now based out of Ardmore, Pa., and Darren Brown hung with Jon Rankin as they broke from the pack at 1,200 meters, according to reports from USA Track & Field.

Also lurking, though, was David Torrence, who overtook Rankin to run the first sub-four road mile ever in Minnesota and earn a bonus of $10,000. First-place prize money, before the bonus, was $4,000.

Torrence, from Oakland, Calif., was timed in 3:59.3. Rankin took second in 4:01.7, followed by Curtis in 4:02.0. Brown was fourth in 4:08.0. John Richardson, the former Southeastern Conference champion for Kentucky, placed seventh in 4:10.1. 

Shannon Rowbury, the Olympic Trials 1,500-meter champion, took the women’s mile in 4:33.4. Sara Hall was runner-up in 4:39.1, followed by Sara Vaughn in 4:41.3.

Just about two weeks before heading to Minnesota, on April 24, Curtis turned in a sensational 5,000-meter victory in the Brutus Hamilton Invitational at Berkeley, Calif.

Curtis, sponsored by Reebok, clocked 13:29.12. Ben St. Lawrence (New Balance) edged Jorge Torres (Reebok) for second, 13:30.18 to 13:30.65, followed closesly by Scott Baughs (adidas) in 13:30.85. Further back in the international field was former Lexington Catholic and University of Kentucky standout Thomas Morgan (ZAP Fitness), 18th in 14:31.16.

Morgan’s ZAP teammate, former UK runner Allison Grace, took seventh in the women’s 5K (16:12.50).

Spanning the globe

Reese Hoffa

Reese Hoffa

Danielle Carruthers

Danielle Carruthers

Louisville native Reese Hoffa was among several American winners Friday in the Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix at Doha, Qatar.

Hoffa, the 2007 World Outdoor champion and a two-time Olympian, took the men’s shot put with the longest toss in the world this season, 71 feet. Poland’s Tomasz Majewski, gold-medalist at the Beijing Olympics, took second (69-7 1/2). Two-time Olympic silver-medalist Adam Nelson of the U.S. placed sixth (64-10).

Dannielle Carruthers, a former Indiana University standout and Kentucky high school champion out of Paducah Tilghman, placed third in the women’s 100-meter hurdles (12.73).

As for the other American winners:

* Brittney Reese, the NCAA and Olympic Trials champion out of Ole Miss, also won with a world-leading season-best — 22 feet, 11 1/4 inches in the women’s long jump. That also tops her all-time personal best of 22-9 3/4.

Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix

* Allyson Felix, a two-time World Outdoor champion and two-time Olympic silver-medal winner at 200 meters, doubled the distance to win the 400 at Qatar. Her time of 50.75 is fastest in the world this season.

* Travis Padgett, the NCAA 100-meter runner-up last year, took the Qatar century in 10-flat. That ties Olympic teammate Walter Dix for the fastest time in the world this season. Dix clocked 10.00 on April 11.

* Olympic bronze-medalist David Oliver repeated as the Doha champion in the 110-meter hurdles, although not as quick as last year (12.95). Still, his time of 13.09 is best in the world this year, topping his previous mark of 13.19.

For more details and results, see

Georgia completes 3-game sweep of Kentucky

April 12, 2009

In the bottom of the ninth, Kentucky’s Chris Bisson knocks a one-out bloop single to left. He takes second on a wild pitch and third on Gunner Glad’s groundout to second. Chris McClendon grounds to second, as the Cats strand their 10th runner of the game. FINAL SCORE: Georgia 5, Kentucky 4.

Lewis homers to put Bulldogs on top

Kentucky makes a defensive change to start the ninth, Marcus Nidiffer replacing Michael Williams as catcher. Joey Lewis leads off with a high-arcing home run over the left-field wall, his 11th homer of the season. Pinch-hitter Chase Davidson reaches on a throwing error by second baseman Chris Bisson, then steals second. With Lyle Allen in an 0-2 hole, UK Coach Gary Henderson makes a pitching change — left-hander Logan Darnell taking over for righty Clint Tilford — after Allen drives a long, long ball barely foul down the right-field line. Allen swings at the first pitch and pops out to short center field. Davidson is nailed at third on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play. Going to the bottom of the ninth, Davidson stays in the Georgia lineup in right field; Peter Verdin moves from right to center; and Dean Weaver comes on to pitch. The score: Georgia 5, Kentucky 4.

Wright is caught stealing to end 8th

Kentucky gets a two-out single, up the middle, from Chad Wright, but he is caught stealing. Moving to the top of the ninth: Kentucky 4, Georgia 4.

Tilford keeps door shut in 8th

UK right-hander Clint Tilford works his second consecutive perfect inning of relief. Going to the bottom of the eighth: Kentucky 4, Georgia 4.

Left-fielder Allen makes diving catch to snuff UK rally

Chris Bisson leads off the Kentucky seventh with a single. One out later, he steals second. With two outs, Bisson steals third as Chris Wade draws a walk. Keenan Wiley lofts a fly to short left-center, but is robbed of a run-scoring hit as left-fielder Lyle Allen makes a diving catch for the third out. Going to the eighth: Kentucky 4, Georgia 4.

Tilford perfect in first inning of relief

UK reliever Clint Tilford retires Georgia in order in the seventh, getting a pair of groundouts and a strikeout. Going to the bottom of the inning, Georgia right-hander Will Harvil comes in to replace Justin Earle; Miles Starr takes over at second base for Michael Dermperio. Through 6 1/2 innings: Kentucky 4, Georgia 4.

Error pushes across tying run for Wildcats in sixth
Keenan Wiley

Keenan Wiley

The Wildcats claw back in the sixth. Keenan Wiley bounces a one-out single up the middle and, as Michael Williams strikes out, steals second. Georgia second baseman Michael Demperio makes a nice stop of Bryan Rose’s grounder but, in his hurry to make the throw to first, fires past first baseman Rich Poythress. Wiley scores and Rose advances to second, the play ruled as a single and a throwing error. Left-hander Justin Earle replaces Georgia starter Justin Grimm and walks Chad Wright. But Andy Burns is out on a tapper to the pitcher. Going to the top of the seventh, right-hander Clint Tilford will take over from starter James Paxton on the mound for Kentucky. The score: Kentucky 4, Georgia 4.

Paxton notches ninth and 10th strikeouts of game

UK lefty James Paxton retires Georgia in order in the sixth. He strikes out the last two batters, bringing his day’s total to 10. In the middle of the sixth: Georgia 4, Kentucky 3.
Cats can’t score in fifth

Kentucky gets a one-out single from Gunner Glad, but nothing else, in the fifth. Going to the sixth inning: Georgia 4, Kentucky 3.

Poythress goes deep to give Georgia a 4-3 lead
Rich Poythress

Rich Poythress

Georgia takes back the lead with two runs in the top of the fifth. James Paxton retired the first two batters, but lost Colby May to a walk on 12 pitches. Rich Poythress then lined a 1-0 pitch over the old scoreboard in right field. The homer, his 16th of the season, increased Poythress’ NCAA-leading RBI total to 60. Georgia now has homered in 33 of 35 games. Going to the bottom of the fifth: Georgia 4, Kentucky 3.
Cats go down in order in fourth
Kentucky goes down 1-2-3 in the fourth inning. Heading into the fifth: Kentucky 3, Georgia 2.

Paxton strikes out the side in fourth

UK left-hander James Paxton strikes out the side in a perfect fourth inning. Going to the bottom of the fourth: Kentucky 3, Georgia 2.

Wildcats take 3-2 lead on Wade’s RBI-double
Chris Wade

Chris Wade

Kentucky seizes the lead in the bottom of the third. Gunner Glad draws a one-out walk and takes second when Georgia right-hander Justin Grimm is called for a balk. Grimm fans Chris McClendon. But Glad comes around to score when Chris Wade doubles down the third-base line. Through three complete innings: Kentucky 3, Georgia 2.
Double play ends Georgia’s chances in third inning
Georgia gets a one-out infield single in the third from Bryce Massaneri. The threat ends there as Joey Lewis grounds into a 6-4-3 double play. Going to the bottom of the third: Kentucky 2, Georgia 2.

Cats tie on Williams’ RBI-single in second inning
Michael Williams

Michael Williams

Kentucky bounces back in the bottom of the second. Leading off, Chris Wade reaches on a third-strike wild pitch. Keenan Wiley walks. Michael Williams drops a run-scoring single to short left-center. The Cats go on to put runners on second and third with two outs. But Andy Burns, who homered in his first at-bat, takes a called third strike. After two innings: Kentucky 2, Georgia 2.
Georgia rallies for two runs in second inning
Georgia answers Kentucky’s run with a quick one in the second. Zach Cone leads off with a double down the right-field line. One out later, he scores on Michael Demperio’s double to the gap in right-center. A groundout moves Demperio to third base. He scores as Peter Verdin beats out a “Baltimore Chop” single to shortstop. After 1 1/2 innings: Georgia 2, Kentucky 1.

Burns homers to give UK early 1-0 lead

Kentucky takes the early lead as No. 2 batter Andy Burns parks the first pitch he sees over the wall in left-center field. Chris Bisson follows with a single, but that’s all for the Cats in the first inning. Going to the second: Kentucky 1, Georgia 0.

Georgia strands a pair of runners in first

UK lefty James Paxton walks two of the first three batters, with a wild pitch helping put runners on the corners with one out. But Bryce Massanari strikes out looking and Joey Lewis goes down swinging. After half an inning: no score.

Play ball!

Kentucky and Georgia wrap up a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series Sunday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Georgia swept a pair of 7-4 decisions.

The lineups:

Georgia – Peter Verdin, rf; Colby May, 3b; Rich Poythress, 1b; Bryce Massanari, dh; Joey Lewis, c; Zach Cone, cf; Lyle Allen, lf; Michael Demperio, 2b; Levi Hyams, ss. Pitching — RH Justin Grimm (2-1, 4.58).

Kentucky – Chad Wright, lf; Andy Burns, dh; Chris Bisson, 2b; Gunner Glad, 1b; Chris McClendon, 3b; Chris Wade, ss; Keenan Wiley, cf; Michael Williams, c; Bryan Rose, rf. Pitching — LH James Paxton (4-2, 6.08).

Umpires – Darrell Arnold, plate; Ray Gregson, first base; Tony Maners, third base.

Weather – 53 degrees, mostly sunny. Wind 15 mph out to right, gusting to 22 mph.

Today my wide world of sports includes track & field, a Hall of Fame, UK baseball and Olympic sports

March 5, 2009

Spanning the commonwealth and beyond …

The Mason-Dixon Athletic Club will host its 49th annual Mason-Dixon Games, Friday and Saturday, in Broadbent Arena at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

Approximately 3,000 Kentucky middle school and high school athletes will compete, plus about 70 Masters and Open athletes.

Friday’s schedule begins at 4:30 p.m. with Masters and Open events. Middle school events begin at 5:15 p.m.

Saturday’s high school schedule begins at 8 a.m. for Class A, 1 p.m. for 2A and 5 p.m. for 3A. The meet is designated by the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association as the indoor state championships.

Admission is $5 each day. Officials will again be collected canned goods and non-perishable items, to be donated to the Dare to Care Food Bank.

In conjunction with the Games, the Mason-Dixon Games Hall of Fame induction banquet will be tonight (Thursday) at Wildwood Country Club in Fern Creek.

Inductees include athletes Bobby Brown (long jump), Susie Brutscher (pole vault pioneer), 1976 Olympian Tommy Haynes (triple jump, long jump) and 1968 Olympic gold-medalist (200 meters) Tommie Smith (440 yards), along with officials Ron Althoff, David L. Armstrong, Donnie Ray and Jack Thompson, plus “significant supporter” of the Games David A. Jones.


Al Michaels returns to Olympic broadcasting

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, announced Thursday that Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Al Michaels will serve as host of NBC’s live weekend and weekday daytime coverage of next year’s Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

Michaels last broadcast a Winter Olympics in 1988, also in Canada — Calgary, Alberta.

In 1980, Michaels made the call on what, according to a variety of polls, Americans consider the nation’s top sports moment of the 20th century, The Miracle on Ice hockey victory over the Soviet Union.

“Do you believe in miracles? YES!” was his most memorable line as the game neared the finish at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

Michaels will host more than 50 hours of live coverage. Although this will mark Michaels’ debut as an Olympic host, he is no stranger to the Games. Vancouver will mark his sixth Olympic assignment.

He covered hockey, biathlon, speed skating, ski jumping and cross-country skiing at the 1972 Sapporo Olympics; hockey at the 1980 Lake Placid Games; figure skating and hockey at the 1984 Sarajevo Games; track and field, plus road cycling, at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games and hockey at the 1988 Calgary Games.

Michaels is the only broadcaster to call a Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host a Stanley Cup Final for network television.


12 semifinalists for Sullivan Award are named

The 12 semifinalists for the 79th annual James E. Sullivan Award include three gymnasts and three swimmers.

Nastia Liukin

Nastia Liukin

The Sullivan Award, named in honor of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) founder and past president, is presented annually to the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. In addition to athletic accomplishsments, the Sullivan Award considers the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism.

Gymnasts on the semifinals list are Beijing Olympics all-around champion Nastia Liukin, Olympic balance beam gold-medalist Shawn Johnson and Olympic silver-medalist on the horizontal bar, Jonathan Horton.

Swimming semifinalists are the Olympic men’s 4-by-100-meter freestyle relay champions, Paralympian champion Erin Popovich (four gold medals, two silver) and 41-year-old Olympian Dara Torres (three silver medals).

Also on the list are: Cynthia Barboza, Stanford University, volleyball; Amanda Blumenherst, Duke University, golf; Sam Bradford, University of Oklahoma, football; Tyler Hansbrough, University of North Carolina, basketball; the Lopez family (Olympic medalists Diana, Mark and Steven), taekwondo, and Gerald “Buster” Posey, Florida State University, baseball.

Fan can vote online at The winner will be announced April 15 at the New York Athletic Club.


Trammel is USATF Athlete of Week

Two-time Olympic and World Outdoor silver-medalist Terrence Trammell, winner of the men’s 60-meter hurdles and the Visa Championship Series at last weekend’s USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, is USA Track & Field Athlete of the Week.

Trammell led all the way at Boston, clocking 7.37 seconds to break Reggie Torian’s 10-year-old meet record of 7.38. Trammell just missed the American record (7.36) but did get the fastest time in the world this season.

Among others, Trammell beat Oklahoma State freshman German Fernandez for weekly honors. Running in the Big 12 Indoor Championships at College Station, Texas, Fernandez won the mile in a collegiate-record 3:55.02. Three hours later, Fernandez won the 3,000 meters in the second-best time in meet history, 7:57.21.


60 – 6.51 Jacoby Ford (Clemson) – Blacksburg, Va., 2/28 & Mark Jelks (Nike) – Boston, 3/1     U.S. leaders
200 – 20.66 Trey Harts (Baylor) – College Station, Texas, 2/27
400 – 46.08 Gil Roberts (Texas Tech) – College Station, 2/28    
U.S. leader
800 – 1:48.18 Michael Rutt (Connecticut) – Boston, 2/27
Mile – 3:55.02 German Fernandez (Oklahoma State) – College Station, 2/28 Collegiate Record
3000 – 7:53.67 David Torrence (unat) – Boston, 2/28
5000 – 13:57.49 Jake Schmitt (Washington) – Seattle, 2/27
60H – 7.37 Terrence Trammell (TAS) – Boston, 3/1     World leader
HJ – 2.32/7-7.25 Andra Manson (Nike) – Boston, 2/28
PV – 5.60/18-4.5 Jeremy Scott (unat) – Boston, 2/28
LJ – 7.90/25-11 Mikese Morse (Miami) – Blacksburg, 2/27
TJ – 16.94/55-7 Brandon Roulhac (Shore AC) – Boston, 2/28    
U.S. leader
SP – 20.67/67-9.75 Dan Taylor (Nike) – Boston, 3/1
WT – 23.73/77-10.25 Jake Freeman (unat) – Boston, 3/1
Hept – 5747 Nick Adcock (Missouri) – College Station, 2/28
60 – 7.15 Angela Williams (Nike) – Athens, GRE 2/25 & Lisa Barber (adidas) – Boston 3/1
200 – 22.94 Porscha Lucas (Texas A&M) – College Station, 2/28
400 – 52.34 Dominique Darden (Reebok) – Boston, 3/1
800 – 2:02.39 Phoebe Wright (Tennessee) – Lexington, 3/1    
U.S. leader
1500 – 4:17.37 Anna Willard (Nike) – Boston, 3/1
Mile – 4:25.91 Jenny Barringer (Colorado) – College Station, 2/28 Collegiate Record
3000 – 8:53.27 Amy Begley (Nike) – Boston, 2/28
5000 – 15:55.63 Gwen Jorgensen (Wisconsin) – Bloomington, Ind., 3/1
60H – 7.84 Lolo Jones (Asics) – Boston, 3/1
HJ – 1.93/6-4 Destinee Hooker (Texas) – College Station, 2/28 =U.S. leader
PV – 4.83/15-10 Jenn Stuczynski (adidas) – Boston, 3/1     AMERICAN RECORD
LJ – 6.71/22-0.25 Brittney Reese (Nike) – Boston, 3/1    
U.S. leader
TJ – 13.77/45-2.25 Shakeema Welsch (unat) – Boston, 2/28    
U.S. leader
SP – 18.59/61-0 Jillian Camarena (NYAC) – Boston, 2/28   
U.S. leader
WT – 24.43/ Amber Campbell (Mjolnir) – Boston, 3/1    
U.S. leader
Pent – 4216 Bettie Wade (Michigan) – Bloomington, 2/28

UK baseball opens 3-game set vs. Indiana State

Fresh off Wednesday’s two-out, two-run game-winning ninth-inning homer against Eastern Kentucky, the Kentucky Wildcats will open a three-game series Friday, 4 p.m., against visiting Indiana State.
Wednesday’s 9-8 outcome, courtesy of Chris Bisson’s walk-off homer, was UK’s 24th consecutive home non-conference win.

James Paxton

James Paxton

Chris Rusin

Chris Rusin

The Cats (6-2) and Sycamores (9-2) will meet Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.


UK will go with junior left-hander James Paxton (2-0) in the opener and senior lefty Chris Rusin (1-1) on Saturday. Paxton has 17 strikeouts and only one walk over 11 2/3 innings. Rusin leads the Southeastern Conference with 20 strikeouts, including a career-high 12 in a win over Western Michigan. Sunday’s starter is to be announced.

Cats add two games to schedule

Having lost a game because of inclement weather last weekend, UK has added a pair of games to its schedule.
The Cats will play host to Georgetown College, Tuesday at 4 p.m., and Wright State, April 1 at 6 p.m.

Pre-game clinic Saturday

UK’s third annual (free) coaching clinic will take place before Saturday’s game at Clilff Hagan Stadium, 8-10 a.m.
The clinic will feature drills pertaining to pitching, fielding, hitting, base-running and catching. All coaches in attendance will receive free admission for themselves and a friend to the UK-Indiana State game.

Briefly: James Johnson, Bobby Curtis


James Johnson, right, with Helena Hau and myself in Beijing.

James Johnson, right, with Helena Hau and myself in Beijing.

James Johnson,

a three-time national champion Greco-Roman wrestler out of the University of Kentucky, has been on tour since Feb. 23 as coach of U.S. Greco-Roman athletes competing in the Hungary Grand Prix and in Slovakia. The tour ends Sunday.

* Former state high school champion Bobby Curtis (St. Xavier, Villanova) placed third at last month’s U.S. Cross Country Championships. That earns him a spot on the Team USA squad that will run in the World Championships at Amman, Jordan, on March 28. Meb Keflezighi won the U.S. title, followed by Tim Nelson, Curtis and 2008 Olympic 10,000-meter runner Jorge Torres.
* Former UK standout Allison Grace helped Team USA place seventh at the recent Yokohama International Women’s Ekiden. The 14-team relay event was won by Japan in 2 hours, 20 minutes, 27 seconds. Grace, who trains out of Blowing Rock, N.C., as part of the Zap Fitness club, anchored with a 5.195-kilometer leg in 17:47. Carrie Messner Vickers led off for Team USA, followed by Desiree Davila, Samia Akbar, Stephanie Herbst-Lucke, Melissa White and Grace.



Talking baseball: Legends, Wildcats and Reds

January 21, 2009
Six of Baseball America’s “Top 10 Prospects” in the Houston Astros organization are former Lexington Legends.

The top 10 in order (Legends underlined): Jason Castro, C; Bud Norris, RHP; Ross Seaton, RHP; Brian Bogusevic, OF; Chris Johnson, 3B; Jordan Lyles, RHP; Felipe Paulino, RHP; Drew Sutton, SS/2B; Collin DeLome, OF; Jay Austin, OF. Castro, Norris and Johnson have invitations to major-league spring training with the Astros. Castro is Houston’s top draft pick of 2008, out of Miami (Fla.).

Baseball America’s “Best Tools” designees in the Astros system include: Bogusevic (a converted pitcher), best hitter for average; Johnson, best power hitter and best infield arm; Sutton, best strike-zone discipline; and Norris, best fastball. Other ex-Legends on the Best Tools list are Sammy Gervacio, best slider; Polin Trinidad, best control; Tommy Manzella, best defensive infielder; and Josh Flores, best defensive outfielder.

* More ex-files – Houston signed RHP Paul Estrada; reclaimed 2B Jonny Ash from Milwaukee in the 3A Rule 5 draft; and sent OF Jordan Parraz to Kansas City as the “player to be named” in a deal that sent LHP Tyler Lumsden to the Astros.

* The Brewers signed former Clark County High School RHP Matt Ginter.

Cats not included in Baseball America pre-season Top 25

Kentucky cracked pre-season polls released by Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (23) and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (19), but not with Baseball America. Louisville checked in at No. 23 in the BBA rankings. Texas A&M is No. 1, followed by LSU, the first of five Southeastern Conference teams listed. The other four: Mississippi (6), Georgia (14), Alabama (21) and Arkansas (22).

The Reds are coming! The Reds are coming!

A reminder that the Cincinnati Reds Winter Caravan is scheduled to stop at Fayette Mall in Lexington on Saturday, 6-8:30 p.m.

Scheduled to make the trip are Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips, No. 1 draft pick Devin Mesoraco and Reds Hall of Famer Lee May. Fans also will have the chance to meet Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, TV analyst Chris Welsh, Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini and Assistant General Manager Bob Miller, as well as team mascot Gapper.

Lexington is part of the Caravan’s “Southern Tour” stops. Simultaneous “Northern” and “Western” tours will feature others in the Reds family.

All the stops are free to the public, and two tickets to opening day (April 6 vs. New York Mets) will be raffled at each stop.

The full Southern Tour:

Thursday, Jan. 22 — 3:15-4:45 p.m., Charleston (W.Va.) Towne Center; 6:30-8:30 p.m., Huntington (W.Va.)/Ashland, Ky., Fannin Motors.

Friday, Jan. 23 — 7-8:30 p.m., Bowling Green, Ky., Greenwood Mall.

Saturday, Jan. 24 — 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Nashville, RiverGate Mall; 6-8:30 p.m., Lexington, Fayette Mall.

Sunday, Jan. 25 — 12:15-1:45 p.m., Maysville (Ky.) Conference Center.

The Northern Tour will stop at Vienna, W.Va.; Athens, Ohio; Lima, Ohio; and Columbus, Ohio. General Manager Walt Jocketty, broadcaster Thom Brennaman, Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini, Reds Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Browning, Reds Minor League Player of the Year Chris Valaika, infielder Jeff Keppinger, pitcher Mike Lincoln, coach Billy Hatcher and mascot Mr. Redlegs will take part in all or parts of the Northern Tour.

The Western Tour includes one Kentucky site, Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Louisville Bats (Jan. 22, 4:30-7 p.m.). Also on the circuit are Indiana stops in Evansville, Bloomington, Indianapolis and Muncie, as well as the final leg at Dayton, Ohio. Western  participants include Manager Dusty Baker, broadcasters George Grande and Jeff Brantley, outfielder Chris Dickerson, utility player Jerry Hairston Jr., 2008 top draft pick Yonder Alonso and mascot Rosie Red. 

In addition to Lexington, CEO Bob Castellini will visit Louisville and Columbus.

More details are available online at:

Baseball Writers put Cats 23rd in pre-season poll

January 14, 2009

Just wondering if Brent Ingram, Kentucky’s crafty knuckler of media relations, might have sacrificed a bucket of chicken in the name of Jobu.

Ingram’s Wildcats (some might say Coach Gary Henderson’s Wildcats) have picked up another top 25 mention in the pre-season baseball polls.

Already tabbed No. 19 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the Cats came in at No. 23 Wednesday in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. UK has been ranked three consecutive seasons in pre-season polls.

Intrastate rival Louisville is ranked No. 11. North Carolina is No. 1. At No. 2 is LSU, the first of five Southeastern Conference teams in the Top 25. (Six other SEC teams received votes.)

UK is coming off a school-record 44-win season that ended in the championship game of NCAA Regional play at Ann Arbor, Mich. The Cats have won a school-record 122 games over the last three seasons.

This will mark the first season with Henderson, the former pitching coach, in charge. Predecessor John Cohen left UK for his alma mater, Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are the only SEC team not receiving votes in the pre-season poll.

Henderson must fill voids left by all-American outfielders Sawyer Carroll and Collin Cowgill, second baseman Ryan Wilkes and pitchers Andrew Albers, Brock Baber, Greg Dombrowski, Scott Green and Aaron Lovett.

The Cats return two of their weekend starters in Chris Rusin and James Paxton. Shortstop Chris Wade, a freshman all-American, returns, as do third baseman Chris “Sparky” McClendon and center fielder Keenan Wiley.

Add to that UK’s highest-rated recruiting class ever, tabbed No. 4 in the nation. Included in that group are middle-infielder Andy Burns, high school all-Americans Braden Kapteyn (RHP/IF) and Cory Farris (OF/C), and 6-foot-8 right-hander Alex Meyer.

The Wildcats open the season Feb. 20-22, facing Troy, then James Madison and Coastal Carolina in the Carvelle Resort Tournament at Conway, S.C. UK’s home opener is scheduled Feb. 27, the first in a four-game series against Western Michigan.

NCBWA Top-35 Pre-season Poll


    School (conference)    2008 record

1.  North Carolina (Atlantic Coast)    54-14

2.  LSU (Southeastern)              49-19-1

3.  Rice (Conference USA)              47-15

4.  Texas A&M (Big 12)                  46-19 

5.  Georgia (Southeastern)        45-25-1

6.  Florida State (Atlantic Coast )      54-14 

7.  Arizona State (Pacific-10)           49-13 

8.  Texas (Big 12)                          39-22

9.  Stanford (Pacific-10)                  41-24-2

10.  Cal State Fullerton (Big West)    41-22 

11.  Louisville (Big East)            41-21 

12.  Miami (Atlantic Coast)              53-11 

13.  Georgia Tech (Atlantic Coast)    41-21

14.  Mississippi (Southeastern)  39-26 

15.  UC Irvine (Big West)                42-18 

16.  Oklahoma State (Big 12)           44-18

17.  Fresno State (Western Athletic)  47-31 

18.  San Diego (West Coast)            44-17

19.  Baylor (Big 12)                        32-26  

20.  Missouri (Big 12)                     39-21

21.  Pepperdine (West Coast)          38-21  

22.  Coastal Carolina (Big South) 50-14

23.  Kentucky  (Southeastern)  44-19 

24.  Florida (Southeastern)       34-24  

25.  UCLA (Pacific-10)                    33-27   

26.  Clemson (Atlantic Coast)          31-27-1  

27.  East Carolina (Conference USA) 42-21

28.  Oklahoma (Big 12)                   36-26 

29.  Arizona (Pacific-10)                  42-19     

30.  Michigan (Big Ten)                   46-14

31.  Oregon State (Pacific-10)          28-24

32.  Texas Christian (Mountn. West) 44-19

33.  Southern Cal (Pacific-10)          28-28 

34.  Tulane (Conference USA)         39-22-1   

35.  Wichita State (Missouri Valley)   48-17 

 Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically): Alabama (35-28), Arkansas (34-24), Auburn (28-28), Bethune-Cookman (36-22), California (33-21-2), Charlotte (43-16), College of Charleston (39-20), Dallas Baptist (37-19), Elon (44-18), Houston (42-24), Lamar (35-23), Long Beach State (38-21), Missouri State (40-17), N.C. State (42-22), Nebraska (41-16), New Orleans (43-21), Notre Dame (33-21-1), Ohio State (30-26), Oral Roberts (48-14), Oregon (0-0), Sam Houston State (37-25), San Diego State (31-28), Santa Clara (33-22), South Carolina (40-23), Southern Miss (42-22), St. John’s (42-16), Tennessee (27-29), UC Davis (35-24), UC Santa Barbara (35-21), UNC Wilmington (44-17), UTSA (39-19), Vanderbilt (41-22), Virginia (39-23).

* 2009 UK opponents in bold

UK, U of L track men & women in pre-season Top 25

January 8, 2009

Granted, Kentucky-Louisville basketball and football rivalries are what get the average fan anxious.

That doesn’t mean that athletes in other sports are any less passionate about beating their in-state competition.

If pre-season predicitions are anywhere close to accurate, look for some intense battles during the indoor track and field season.

Both the men’s and women’s teams from Kentucky and Louisville are among the top 25 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I rankings.

The Louisville men open the season at No.9, Kentucky at No. 11.

On the women’s side, UK checks in at No. 22, U of L at No. 25.

Oregon, 19th in last year’s NCAA Championships, is the top-ranked men’s team. The Ducks have a pair of Olympians in Galen Rupp and Andrew Wheating, as well as two All-Americans in Andrew Acosta and Ashton Eaton.

Defending NCAA champ Arizona State is No. 2.

U of L is especially strong in the jumps, with Tone Belt, Andre Black, Rudon Bastian and transfer Michael Johnson Jr. Belt won the NCAA long jump in 2007, while Black won the triple jump.

The Cardinals also return Steve Hnat in the shot put and distance runner Corey Thorne.

UK, which will play host to the Southeastern Conference Championships, features a pair of Olympians in sprinter Jose Acevedo (Venezuela) and hurdler Mikel Thomas (Trinidad & Tobago). The Wildcats likely will continue their recent run of excellent showings in the 4-by-400 relay and are deep in the weight events with Rashaud Scott, Chase Madison and Colin Boevers leading the big guys.

UK is among six SEC men’s teams ranked in the top 20, and among six SEC women’s teams in the top 25.

Texas A&M tops the women’s list, followed by 2008 NCAA runner-up LSU.

A&M is led by sprinter Porscha Lewis and 400-meter champion Jessica Beard.

LSU is paced by defending 800-meter champion LaTavia Thomas.

Defending champion Arizona State is rated No. 6.

UK’s top threats include Jenna Martin (400) and Ashley Muffet (throws).

U of L features Jere’ Summers (throws), Seidre Forde (triple jump) and transfer sprinter Saravia Richardson.

The NCAA Championships are set for March 13-14 at College Station, Texas.

USTFCCCA Division I indoor pre-season rankings






Final ’08






Arizona State












Florida State




Texas A&M





















Texas Tech



Northern Iowa












South Carolina






Kansas State













Boise State

















Final ’08


Texas A&M
















Florida State




Arizona State




Virginia Tech







Texas Tech



















Penn State








South Carolina







North Carolina








Miami (Fla.)




Texas Christian















Talking baseball: Legends and Cats

December 17, 2008

The Lexington Legends aren’t alone among South Atlantic League teams in changing managers (Tom Lawless in, Gregg Langbehn out).

Other new bosses in 2009 include Matt LeCroy (Hagerstown), Dusty Wathan (Lakewood), Ernie Young (Kannapolis) and Aaron Holbert (Lake County). West Virginia, switching affiliations from Milwaukee to Pittsburgh, also will have a new manager.

Young, part of the 2000 Olympic gold-medal team, will work on occasion with a man familiar to Reds fans. Ron Oester is the roving infield instructor in the White Sox organization.

Ex files

Off-season moves by the Astros include the release of right-handers Raymar Diaz, Jake Leonhardt and Luis Pardo, catcher Kevin Carceek, second baseman Greg Buchanan, shortstops Bryan Brown and Tim Torres and outfielder Cesar Quintero. All are ex-Legends.

Pitchers Doug Arguello, Chance Douglass, Paul Estrada, Mark McLemore became free agents, as did shorstops Osvaldo Fernando and Roberto Mena, and outfielder-turned-hitting-coach Todd Self. Arguello has since re-signed with the Astros.

* More on ex-Legends: catcher Danny Fatheree signed with the Cubs, and left-hander Phil Barzilla with the Padres. Catcher Hector Gimenez was granted free-agency by Tampa Bay, right-hander Cory Doyne by Baltimore.

* Two former Kentucky Wildcats have come or gone with New York teams. Second baseman Andy Green, out of Lexington Christian Academy, signed with the Mets. Shortstop Ryan Wilkes was released by the Yankees.

Young Wildcats rank high

We recently went over Kentucky’s fall signing class, which projects for the 2010 season. Of course, there’s always the danger (likelihood?) of losing committments to the Major League draft.

So what of the 2007 fall class — the first-year players who actually made it on to campus and are eligible to play for the Wildcats this season?

The class of 11 players, which includes five high school all-Americans, is ranked No. 4 in the nation by Baseball America. That’s the best ranking ever for a UK class – and not a bad way for former pitching coach Gary Henderson to start out his first season as head coach. Four of the top five teams and six of the top 11 are from the Southeastern Conference. Louisville is No. 20.

“We are very excited about our new group,” Henderson said in a UK press release. “These young men are very gifted physically, but even more impressive as people and competitors. Despite losing some signees to the 2008 MLB Draft in June, we are ecstatic about this group and we expect several of them to contribute in SEC play immediately.”

The high school all-Americans in the class are right-handers Alex Meyer and Braden Kapteyn, catcher Michael Williams, middle infielder Andy Burns and outfielder Cory Farris. According to Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt, the 6-foot-7 Meyer is “the (Southeastern) conference’s best recruit.”

Five recruits are from Kentucky – Farris (Boone County), outfielder Chad Wright (Heath) and three right-handers: Chase Greene (West Jessamine), Sean Bouthilette (Elizabethtown) submarining junior-college transfer Nick Kennedy (Paducah). Wright is the brother of Cats outfielder Brock Wright.

Two more Cats are JUCO transfers: Gunner Glad and Will Campbell.

Only three recruits from the fall 2007 signing period didn’t make it to Lexington — pitchers Robbie Ross and Seth Lintz signed as second-round draft picks and Daniel Webb landed in junior college.

The rankings and the players are listed below. 

Baseball America’s Top-25 Recruiting Classes (SEC team in bold)

1. Arizona State; 2. Vanderbilt; 3. Georgia ; 4. KENTUCKY; 5. Florida; 6. Texas A&M ; 7. UCLA; 8. Arkansas; 9. Texas Christian; 10. Oregon; 11. Mississippi; 12. Texas; 13. Clemson; 14. Virginia; 15. Cal State Fullerton; 16. Wichita State; 17. Fresno State; 18. Stanford; 19. Oklahoma State; 20. LOUISVILLE; 21. Pepperdine; 22. Southern California; 23. North Carolina State; 24. Florida State; 25. Duke. 

2009 UK Baseball Newcomers

Name, POS.        B/T          Ht./Wt.          Cl.           Hometown/School

Michael Williams , C             R/R          6-2 /210          FR           Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut HS

Andy Burns, IF             R/R          6-2/185          FR           Ft. Collins, Colo./Rocky Mountain HS

Nick Kennedy, RHP        R/R          6-1/170          R-SO       Los Angeles/East Los Angeles

Alex Meyer, RHP        R/R          6-8/205          FR           Greensburg, Ind./Greensburg HS

Sean Bouthilette, RHP        R/R          6-2/195          FR           Elizabethtown, Ky./E-town HS

Gunner Glad , IF/RHP    R/R          6-0/190          R-JR        Tulsa, Okla./Tulsa Union/E. Okla.

Chad Wright , OF           L/R          5-10/180          FR           Paducah, Ky./Heath HS

Chase Greene, RHP/IF    R/R          6-1/180          FR           Nicholasville, Ky./W.Jessamine HS

Braden Kapteyn, IF/RHP    R/R          6-4 /205          FR           Lansing, Ill./Illiana Christian

Will Campbell, 1B/OF      R/R          6-5/265          JR            Seattle/Bellevue CC

Cory Farris, C/OF       L/R          6-1/195          FR           Florence, Ky./Boone County HS


A Thanksgiving story from David Akers

November 26, 2008

Having written about David Akers during his high school days at Tates Creek and then at the University of Louisville, it was a pleasure to hook up with him when his Philadelphia Eagles visited Cincinnati earlier this month.

We talked for 10 minutes after the game and, later in the week, another 45 minutes by phone. With the Eagles playing Arizona on Thanksgiving night, you can look to and the Lexington Herald-Leader on Thursday to see the story that resulted from our talks.

A three-time Pro Bowl kicker, David is at an even higher level off the field — a true role model.

Here’s couple bonus tidbits that are not in Thursday’s story.

While attending Louisville, Akers also caddied at Valhalla Golf Club, site of this year’s Ryder Cup. One of his clients was Rick Pitino, whose golf game Akers describes as “very good.”

As for his own skill on the links, Akers said: “It got to be halfway decent for me. I never had any lessons or anything like that. I can’t hang with my brother (Rob) or my dad (Jon) when they’re on fire. But when it was doing OK, I could shoot in the 70’s. When I had my kids (three), my game went to heck. So I just gave up on it. I said ‘I’m done playing golf until football’s done, and then I’m gonna play a lot.’ Because I really enjoy the game. It’s frustrating to go out and shoot 90-something when you used to shoot lower.”

I also asked Eagles long-snapper Jon Dorenbos what it’s like to work with Akers.

“He’s a perfectionist. And you know when you work with a perfectionist it forces everybody around him to also be on their ‘A’ game. So my job is the same: it’s an 8-yard snap no matter how long the field goal is. So give him a good snap, Sav gets it down, Dave puts it through. If Sav (Rocca, the holder) or I are a little off, Dave still puts it through and makes us look good. So it’s been a pleasure to work for him. He’s one of the greatest kickers in football and he’s all-time leading scorer with the Eagles. … He’s one of the best. Gonna be a story for the grandkids.”


Any funny stories about Akers?


“Every day,” Dorenbos said. “Dave’s a walking funny story. … We were in pre-game in Seattle and it was the first kick we were gonna kick in pre-game. My snap was a little high – it was barely high – and a gust of wind came – and the ball cut for me 3 feet to the left and just hit Dave right in the (uh, highly sensitive male area). And he didn’t see it coming. Those snaps, it’s not like their tossed. They’re moving. It dropped him. I felt so bad. I’m like kicking him, ‘Get up! Get up! We’re OK! Get up! Get up! Walk it off, walk it off, Dave, walk it off!’ After four or five minutes he bounced back. Had a stomach ache the whole game. But that’ll be one we look back and laugh at.”

Oregon men, Washington women remain No. 1 in USATFCCA national cross country rankings

November 4, 2008

Defending NCAA champion Oregon retains the top spot in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association men’s poll, released Tuesday.

Oklahoma State moved up a spot to No. 2, trading places with Stanford.

The top four women’s teams remain unchanged: Washington, Oregon, Florida State and Princeton. Villanova climbs a spot to No. 5. Three-time defending NCAA champion Stanford is No. 11.

Although no Kentucky teams are ranked nationally, four men’s teams are among the top 15 in the Southeast Region: No. 4 Eastern Kentucky, No. 9 Louisville, No. 12 Kentucky and No. 15 Morehead State.

The women’s Southeast Region has UK at No. 7, U of L at No. 11.

Division I Men
Nov. 4th, 2008
Ranking Team (first place votes) Region/Rank Totals Previous
1 Oregon – (9) West-1 357 1  
2 Oklahoma State – (3) Midwest-1 348 3  
3 Stanford West-2 334 2  
4 Portland West-3 318 4  
5 Alabama South-1 311 5  
6 Wisconsin Great Lakes-1 304 6  
7 Northern Arizona Mountain-1 283 8  
8 Iona College Northeast-1 281 7  
9 Michigan  Great Lakes-2 261 9  
9 Georgetown Mid-Atlantic-1 261 10  
11 BYU Mountain-2 230 11—tie  
12 Auburn South-2 226 11—tie  
13 Minnesota Midwest-2 203 20  
14 Tulsa Midwest-3 174 16  
15 Colorado Mountain-3 165 17  
16 William and Mary Southeast-2 149 21  
17 North Carolina State Southeast-3 108 29  
18 Cal Poly West-6 107 23  
19 California West-5 104 24—tie  
20 Iowa State Midwest-4 101 22  
21 Texas A&M South Central-1 97 18  
22 Washington West-7 91 24—tie  
23 Arkansas South Central-2 90 26  
24 Florida State South-3 77 15  
25 UCLA West-4 68 13  
26 Notre Dame Great Lakes-4 63 NR  
27 Indiana Great Lakes-3 44 19  
28 Penn State Mid-Atlantic-3 43 NR  
29 UTEP Mountain-4 40 NR  
30 Villanova Mid-Atlantic-4 36 NR  
ORV:  Florida (33), Princeton (30), Providence (22), Michigan State (4), Columbia (3), and Virginia Tech (1).Dropped out: No. 14 Virginia, No. 27 Providence, No. 28 Florida, No. 30 Texas.

Southeast Men
Week 6 – 11/3/08
1. Virginia
2. William and Mary
3. North Carolina State
4. Eastern Kentucky
5. Virginia Tech
6. Duke
7. Liberty
8. North Carolina
9. Louisville
10. Richmond
11. Appalachian State
12. Kentucky
13. Charlotte
14. Clemson
15. Morehead State
Division I Women
Nov. 4th, 2008
Ranking Team (first place votes) Region/Rank Totals Previous
1 Washington – (12) West-1 360 1      
2 Oregon West-2 338 2      
3 Florida State South-1 336 3      
4 Princeton Mid-Atlantic-1 326 4      
5 Villanova Mid-Atlantic-2 315 6      
6 West Virginia Mid-Atlantic-3 294 5      
7 Minnesota Midwest-1 292 7      
8 Wisconsin Great Lakes-1 269 16      
9 Texas Tech Mountain-1 246 12      
10 Michigan State Great Lakes-2 239 9      
11 Stanford West-3 233 18      
12 Arkansas South Central-1 231 13      
13 Georgetown Mid-Atlantic-4 218 11      
14 Illinois Midwest-2 209 10      
15 Florida South-2 188 14      
16 Arizona State West-4 186 15      
17 Michigan Great Lakes-3 179 8      
18 Baylor    South Central-2 152 17      
19 SMU South Central-3 125 26      
20 Iowa     Midwest-3 111 21      
21 New Mexico Mountain-2 109 23      
22 Rice     South Central-4 100 20      
23 Stony Brook Northeast-1 98 22      
24 Providence Northeast-2 83 24      
25 Penn State Mid-Atlantic-5 78 19      
26 BYU      Mountain-3 70 28      
27 Boston College Northeast-3 51 NR      
28 Northern Arizona Mountain-4 43 29      
29 Nebraska Midwest-4 33 27      
30 Wake Forest Southeast-1 31 25      
ORV: Duke (8), Washington State (8), UC Riverside (6), Oregon State (5), Miami-OH (4), Syracuse (3), Tennessee (2), and Arizona (1).Dropped out: No. 30 Duke.

Southeast women

1. Wake Forest; 2. Duke; 3. Virginia; 4. North Carolina; 5. Virginia Tech; 6. Richmond; 7. Kentucky; 8. William & Mary; 9. Charlotte; 10. Clemson; 11. Louisville; 12. James Madison; 13. Coastal Carolina; 14. Liberty; 15. Furman.