Sports Today: Cincinnati Reds following Dayton’s lead with quick netting decision

The Cincinnati Reds got it right by acting quickly to announce they will add netting to more areas around the field at Great American Ball Park next season.

I can say that without hesitation because of how the extended netting looks at Fifth Third Field in Dayton.

I don’t know for certain Reds brass took that into account when making their decision one day after Todd Frazier was involved in a scary foul ball incident at Yankee Stadium, but I would not be surprised if it was.

RELATED: Reds to increase safety at GABP

The team was in town in April for a game against some of the organization's top prospects, and owner Bob Castelini was on hand in June when Homer Bailey made a rehab start with the Dragons.

It stands to reason plenty of people in the organization have seen the year-old netting at Fifth Third Field — or maybe not. Fact is, it is almost invisible.

At the prospects game, I nearly forgot it was there. It’s hard to get a good shot of it on an iPhone camera.

I might have had some misgivings before seeing it in person, but now it seems like an easy decision…

More good news for the Reds: They have locked up catcher Tucker Barnhart for at least another four years.

He’s been more than a solid fill-in for the injured Devin Mesoraco, leading major-league catchers in fielding percentage (one error), caught stealings and assists this season.

His 2.9 Defensive WAR leads all National League players, and he is hitting .272 with six home runs and 42 RBIs in 113 games this season…

A professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus declared Ohio State’s football program to be worth over $1.5 billion, and that led to more dumb debates about athlete compensation. 

Backup quarterback Joe Burrow took the lead with a straw man argument that was picked up by trending news writers who couldn’t be bothered with thinking hard about the issue.

🤔 🍔— Morgan Moriarty (@Morgan_Moriarty) September 22, 2017

Of course, this is not actually a good point at all because the players are well-fed by the school — better than they used to be thanks to a dubious claim by UConn basketball star Shabazz Napier about going hungry during his playing days.

This is another example of why it is so hard to get anywhere with these debates.

In reality, the players are treated very well. The guaranteed baseline of compensation (including tuition, room and board, food, training, tutoring, ec.) is probably a lot higher than what most of them earn via their actual performance, though for sure a small percentage of them are also underpaid.

Most of those players come out ahead once they sign that first NFL contract (cashing in long before their counterparts in baseball will), though there are some who slip through the cracks if they get hurt or don’t fit what the league is looking for.

While I think players treat some hardships (such as time constraints, scheduling conflicts, lack of financial freedom) like they are unique to their college experience when they are really not, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be paid more than they are now.

And why is that? Because there is so much more money coming in than there was even 10 years ago.

At one time, the argument colleges couldn’t afford to pay football and basketball players more without cutting other sports might have been valid. It rings a lot more hollow now.

Beyond that, I am a proponent of allowing players to profit off their likenesses while in school. That hasn’t been a problem for Olympians who maintain “amateur” status, and it would let players who might not become NFL stars to cash in on their stardom at its peak value without taking anything away from anyone else…

And what about the guys who pay for (more) pay? 

The Bengals defense has a big test this week at Green Bay.

I am among those who was surprised at the numbers Cincinnati put up on that side of the ball last season, so I will be watching closely to see how the secondary performs against Aaron Rodgers.

This storyline would be taking center stage if not for the struggles of the Bengals offense in the first two weeks…

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