Sports Today: Something Reds fans can take from Houston’s World Series victory

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Sports Today: Something Reds fans can take from Houston’s World Series victory

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Bob Levey/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 17: Adam Duvall #23 of the Cincinnati Reds scores on a double by Eugenio Suarez in the eleventh inning as Jason Castro #15 of the Houston Astros is late with the tag at Minute Maid Park on June 17, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

I’m sure we’ll have time to dig deeper into this later, but off the cuff there’s a fact about the Houston Astros’ 2017 World Series run we could spin either way when it comes to the Cincinnati Reds.

The Astros beat the two teams with the highest payrolls in baseball to claim their first championship

So… does that signal to the Reds it can be done, or is it a reminder of how the deck is stacked against them? 

I guess it could be both if that doesn’t break any sort of internet laws. 

At any rate, the Astros are in a much larger television market than the Reds but were right under the league average in payroll with a roster I believe was largely homegrown. 

For what it’s worth, the last time the Reds made the postseason they were spending about the same kind of money relatively speaking and had a mostly homegrown team, too. 

The 2015 World Series Champion Royals were also a small-market team while last year’s Cubs were let’s say a hybrid model. Chicago tore their big-league club down to the foundation and endured five terrible seasons while building it back up through the draft, but some high-priced additions pushed it over the top last year. 

What was your takeaway from this great World Series? 

Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or at marcus.hartman@coxinc.com... 

Interesting day in Cincinnati as A.J. McCarron dealt with the fallout from the Bengals’ failed attempt to trade him to Cleveland. 

I’d say the former Alabama quarterback handled this as well as possible. 

It’s hard to come across genuine in this situation, but McCarron managed to walk the line between ambition and selflessness, as he did when Andy Dalton was under fire early in the season. 

I think the consensus is the only loser in this situation was the Bengals, who obviously value McCarron but also view him as expendable. 

Will they ever be able to get this type of compensation for McCarron now? 

The Browns look foolish and inept, both unable to carry out league business while appearing to give up on the quarterback (DeShone Kizer) they chose in the second round last spring. 

McCarron has to wait another season to get a starting opportunity, but at least it won’t be with the Browns…. 

As for the game on Sunday, this is one of the games I would have penciled in as a win before the season but that now is definitely a tossup.  

The Jaguars are first in the league in rushing and last in stopping the run. 

Jacksonville also leads the league in scoring defense and passing defense (yards).  

They are third in the NFL in turnover margin while the Bengals are 30th.  

If you’re keeping score at home, the Bengals can’t run the ball and their run defense is sub-par, but their secondary is good. 

Jacksonville’s quarterback generally is not regarded as worthy of being a starter in the NFL, but Blake Bortles’ QB rating so far this season is just a tad worse than Dalton’s. 

Noticing a trend here?… 

These are happier times in Columbus as Ohio State is still basking in the win over Penn State. 

There was plenty of Iowa talk in the capital city Wednesday, too.  

The Hawkeyes aren’t having a great season, but like Nebraska their brand brings a certain amount of built-in respect. 

Urban Meyer says the key to avoiding a letdown is leadership, and he believes he’s got plenty of that this season. 

I would say that was on display in the workmanlike way Ohio State blew out everyone in the weeks leading up to Penn State and again in how the Buckeyes stayed engaged when the bad stuff was piling up early against the Nittany Lions. 

The continuing evolution of the offense was also a topic of conversation Wednesday night as J.T. Barrett and Kevin Wilson admitted Penn State managed to outwit them at times defensively, but the Buckeyes powered through it. 

By that I mean Barrett got his reads confused a few times (in case you were wondering if they threw too many screens that seemed DOA), but Wilson was OK with it because some mistakes are to be expected when playing at a fast pace. 

I suppose they figure speeding the defense up pays dividends overall as the game plays out… 

College basketball season is one day closer, and the release of the preseason Associated Press poll gives us something else to talk about. 

I’m surprised Dayton was included in anyone’s ballot, though filling those things out really becomes more of a crapshoot as you go farther down the line. 

Anthony Grant’s first Flyers team has a lot of potential, but the floor might be pretty low, too. 

Last year with a much more veteran team, Dayton started the season just outside the top 25 at No. 26. 

I guess it never hurts to get respect from outsiders when you’re trying to make that climb up the ladder. 

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