Mabel Chamblin Michael R Jones Marie I Simmons Ray Johnson One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic Indians bounce back with 67-59 win over East OHSAA Baseball Pitch Count Regulation approved for 2017 At the buzzer, Rothwell gives Dragons an overtime win Greyhounds fall to Portsmouth Lady Indians roll past West Union 80-29 From Division II to the Senior Bowl COSI On Wheels visits West Union Elementary News from the Peebles PTO NAJH Basketball hosting ‘Play For The Cure’ Jan. 28 North Adams Elementary recognizes Students and Staff Members of the Month for December Honoring a coaching legend Benefit will assist double-lung transplant patient Peebles to be featured in new documentary Cleaning the stables-the worst job on the farm Wenstrup reselected to serve on House Intelligence Committee

How about a little optimism for the hometown team?

Jake Cave, Stephen Johnson, Brandon Dixon, Scott Schebler, Caleb Cotham, Tony Renda, Eric Jagielo, Rookie Davis, Jose Peraza. Do any of those names sound familiar to you baseball fans? Unless you are a die-hard Cincinnati Reds fan who keeps track of such things, you probably don’t recognize those names as some of the players that have joined the Reds this off-season via the trade route or some other means. I’m guessing they don’t strike fear into any of you who might be Cardinal, Cub, or Pirate fans.

About this time every basketball season, I go through a basketball burnout stage where all the games start to run together and I feel like I am writing the same story over and over again. (Ironic then that I type this column on Groundhog Day.) Don’t fret, I will snap out of it and get my game face back on for tournament time and all will be well when I start making those trips to Lucasville and beyond. But since it is almost 60 degrees out today, it felt like the right time to write a little about baseball.

As most of you, I was as frustrated as anyone when the Reds began their winter fire sale, trading away their established stars for what we can safely at this moment call a bunch of “no-name” prospects. We’d never heard of these guys and why the heck were we getting rid of Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman? Things look so bleak for 2016 that our minister referred to the Reds as a bunch of high school players a couple of weeks ago in the midst of his sermon.

But after much thought and deliberation (and a visit to the Reds Caravan), I have decided to step back and take another look at this process. No fan of any professional season wants to start a season knowing that their “team” is not going to be very good and that is what most fans I have talked to think about the 2016 Reds. Come on now, they lost 98 games last year so how much worse can it be? If they lost 98 games with those traded players,why can’t they lose 98 without them?

The purpose of the Reds Caravan each year is to spread optimism (and sell tickets), not to spread predictions of doom and gloom. I’m not sure about the other stops, but they certainly accomplished that in Maysville. Yes, the word “rebuilding” was used over and over. (If I had a dollar for every time, my son and I would already be on the plane to Port St. Lucie.) As Marty Brennaman explained, the plan is for the future, something many small-market teams have been forced to do. See Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals. It’s not going to happen overnight, in fact, it may take a few years, but the Reds are convinced that everything they did this off-season will reap benefits down the road.

Unfortunately for the Reds they happen to be in the same division with the Cubs, Pirates, and Cardinals, so you can expect to be looking up at those teams for a good while. The Brewers are bad too and traded most of their team, so fourth place is quite available going into the season. But is that good enough to keep the turnstiles turning at Great American Ball Park? Last year the team survived on the goodwill of the All-Star Game and this year it will be the goodwill of Pete Rose. The team is counting on those of you who are true baseball fans to keep the seats filled on a miserable Tuesday night with the Padres in town.

But let’s think about something for a minute. Mesoraco, Votto, Phillips, Cozart, Suarez, Hamilton, Bruce. As an everyday lineup, that is not horrible, though even if they all had career years it wouldn’t be good enough. The catcher and shortstop are coming off injuries, the second baseman probably doesn’t feel too wanted after two trade attempts, and the right fielder has trade talks hanging over his head, and there is no left fielder, so it’s certainly not the perfect scenario.

That brings us to the pitching staff, which just two weeks before spring training begins, still has many question marks. It looks like a starting rotation of Raciel Iglesias and Anthony DeSclafani and then a lot of jobs up for grabs in spring training. Both of those pitchers showed flashes of brilliance in 2015, so if three complementary guys can be found, maybe it will be a serviceable rotation. The good thing about the 98-loss 2015 is that the young pitchers got thrown into the fire and know what the major leagues are like. Of course, that immediately leads to questions about the bullpen, which was a major weakness last season and lost the best closer in baseball.

I really have no problems with trading Chapman, who needs an overpaid closer on a team that only wins 64 games? It really doesn’t matter who wins the closing job for 2016, though I suspect it will be a “closer by committee” situation and somewhere in the stockpiled arms in the minor leagues is the next closer. We just don’t know who that is at the moment.

So where does the optimism come from? It comes from just plain being a baseball fan, albeit a patient one. Whether the Reds win 50 games or 90 games, it’s still a summer evening under the lights with the beautiful city scenery and a baseball game to watch. So be optimistic and get out to the ball park and root, root, root for the home team. My son, who is nothing short of a baseball guru, may have said it best. “Dad, it will be fun just to watch all the young players play and see what they can do.” I think he hit the nail on the head and the patient fan will just sit back and enjoy, though there will be days and nights where that may be a painful task.

Now I have an advantage on the rest of you, I have a fall back. I’m also rooting for that team from the Big Apple that played in the World series, but lost to that small-market team for Missouri. It really doesn’t matter who you root for, it’s baseball and that is all that matters. You can listen to the naysayers who call it a dull and boring game, but it has a magic that can’t be denied. So, try to find a little optimism in your heart for the home team. It will make your summer much more enjoyable.

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Mark Carpenter

Sports Editor

Reach Mark Carpenter at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.

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2016 People's Defender