“Is this Heaven?…No, it’s Iowa”
This past week, the Cincinnati Reds had the honor of playing in the 2nd ever MLB Field of Dreams game. While the Reds may have lost this game 4-2, the entire event meant so much more than “just another game.” Having Johnny Bench present and interviewing with Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, along with Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. “having a catch” was something Reds fans will hold as a precious memory for a long time. Just as W.P. Kinsella has stated, “Any game becomes important when you know and love the players,” and this game was certainly important for this franchise. In a 44-67 current standing season, the Field of Dreams game provided relief and some memorable entertainment in an injury-ridden season. While no balls left the field and into the corn for either team, the Reds managed to have 7 hits with Donovan Solano and Matt Reynolds both adding two hits a piece. The Reds went on to lose the series after traveling back to Cincinnati, but pulled out a victory in the final game of the series with an 8-5 win. Cincinnati is 17.5 games back of the first place Cardinals and are struggling to get quality innings from the last few spots in the rotation after trading away Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle.
Paycor Stadium, Game 1
While I will always refer to it as Paul Brown Stadium, the newly named Paycor Stadium was full of many fans who couldn’t wait for some live action Bengals football this past weekend. The Cincinnati Bengals took on the Arizona Cardinals in their first preseason game. The Bengals may have lost in a 36-23 game, but there were many positive takeaways from this game. From a fan standpoint, Paycor stadium was absolutely packed, as this game included 60,760 fans in attendance, which is nearly a sell out crowd. One of the 60,760 fans in attendance happened to be Jessie Bates. While it was nice seeing him at the game, I still have my fingers crossed that he will not be in the crowd watching come week one, as I believe he is needed for another Super Bowl run.
Analysis and Game Stats:
· Jackson Carman had another below average performance
· It was good to see Joseph Ossai take the field
· Evan McPherson continued to prove he is the best kicker in football (Can you imagine if we still had Randy Bullock?)
· Chris Evans looked very good and I hope to see him get more snaps on a regular basis this season
· Dax Hill was very impressive in his debut and will be a key contributor this season
· The Thaddeus Moss Experiment might just need to be over. His holding penalties brought back some big chunk plays
· Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech Legend, continued to shine while reeling in 4 receptions for 74 yards
· Loveland local, Drew Plitt went 6-6 and added a touchdown to Kendric Pryor
Mike Petraglia Joins Matt’s Take
One of my favorite things about writing my weekly article is the amount of kind people I have been lucky enough to have join Matt’s Take. This week, Cincinnati Native and NFL Expert, Mike Petraglia joined to discuss the first preseason game with a Q&A. Mike has been covering the NFL since 1993, with the
majority of his time spent covering the Patriots. As of 2021, Mike is now back to covering the Bengals and has a highly regarded Twitter account with his Cincinnati observations.
Q: What was the most positive take away from the first preseason game?
A: “Dax Hill stepping in and playing at a high level and playing fast and well.”
Q: In your eyes, what players stood out to you the most?
A: “Besides Hill and McPherson, Cordell Volson stood out at left guard. Gunter and Carter’s impact on the defensive line as well.”
Q: Do you believe Jessie Bates will be wearing orange and black and be on the field come week one?
A: “Bates will be on the field for Pittsburgh on September 11th and welcomed by coaches and teammates with open arms. He wouldn’t have been at the first preseason game in person if he didn’t care.”
Q: Do you believe Chris Evans will have a larger role this season?
A: “Definitely. Evans should be a threat on select sets as a pass receiving and return threat.”