The more I think about it, the more likely I think FC Cincinnati's best shot at a new stadium -- and inclusion into Major League Soccer -- will come in Northern Kentucky.
This, of course, is a hot topic this week with FC Cincinnati unveiling what it hopes its new, proposed stadium would look like.
The ownership group is committing $100 million of its own money to the project, not including the $150 million MLS would extort from it to simply apply for a franchise. But there's a gap of about $50 million to $70 million needed to complete a new stadium. And that's our entry point.
The team has taken the trouble to say the "benefits" it's looking for do not include asking for a tax hike. But clearly there is public money involved.
When the talk turns to anything public about Cincinnati-based stadia -- other than wanting as much of the public as possible to attend events at our two publicly funded stadia -- the public usually starts howling.
Paul Brown Stadium is the gift that keeps on taking. We've been told to brace for another new stadium proposal or major upgrade there within the next 10 years.
And while the Reds have ponied up a lot of their money to upgrade Great American Ball Park, it too will begin showing its age soon.
Mix in the $350 million that the folks who own U.S. Bank Arena are looking for and you come to a very quick conclusion. All of this will be grist for the mill this summer and fall as Cincinnati goes about electing its mayor. Nothing like a good election to spoil the plans for the December party.
While MLS has set a deadline for a new stadium location and funding plan by the end of the year, for all of it's interested expansion cities, the chances of FC Cincinnati getting this accomplished in the middle of a mayoral election seems slight.
FC Northern Kentucky. Has a ring to it, right?
Kentucky has the land and, reportedly, a business relationship with the man who runs the team, Jeff Berding. It offers a stadium site with a perfect view of downtown Cincinnati. Northern Kentucky has also been ahead of the Cincinnati curve when it comes to nightlife. Anybody remember the timeline for Newport on the Levee with relation to The Banks or Over-the-Rhine? And the saga that brought the Aquarium to Newport is well documented.
The only real question is this: Will the fan base, which turned out in excess of 30,000 twice already in the short history of FC Cincinnati and led the United Soccer League in attendance last season, be willing to cross the Ohio River to offer the same support?
I think it will. There will be some howling from a segment of the faithful, but I think it will follow the team.
First, the location in Northern Kentucky is within easy walking distance of Downtown and the Levee. That's good news, considering the age and condition of the Brent Spence Bridge. For those who like to march into FC Cincinnati games en masse, warbling the fight song, it's not a long walk over one of the bridges that spans the Ohio. Longer walk than now? Sure. Logistical problems for police to make sure of safe passage? Yeah. Tough to pull off financially? Doesn't seem to be the case.
And what would any good local tussle be without some intervention from the folks in Washington?
Ohio is still the odds-on favorite. It has two sites, if not the commitment to public money for the project. It may be that the stadium issue will be embraced by both mayoral candidates. If that's done early in the electoral process, the timeline may work out in Ohio's favor.
But it may not be a risk with which FC Cincinnati's ownership group would be comfortable. "End of the year," which is MLS's timeframe to announce the first two of four projected expansion teams could be any time from November forward. Time, politics and a distaste for anything that resembles public financing could all conspire to send the Tri-State's soccer crowd marching to Kentucky.
Now then, some random thoughts on this random Friday ...
The standings would tell you that the Reds are still within striking distance of first place in their division. But here's all your eyes have to tell you: They don't have the starting pitching to contend. Period. End of story.
They need to "sell" at the deadline.
There aren't a lot of teams looking for shortstops and Zack Cozart will be able to walk after this season, regardless of what team he's on. But they can't afford him long term -- think J.J. Hardy, three years at $40 million. And this is Cozart's best chance for a big contract in his career, so it might be even longer and richer than that.
Cozart will be 31 in August. That means he'll be collecting close to $14 million on a Hardy-like deal when he's 35. Makes no sense. Trade him for what you can get for him. And don't stop with Cozart. Scott Feldman and Drew Storen should be shopped as well.
Don't be fooled by what the Reds are doing, as surprisingly good as it is, in a down year for the rest of the National League Central.
ProFootballFocus.com says that the Browns Cody Kessler had the best adjusted completion percentage while under pressure last season. He was better than Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco by a large margin, which is good news for the Browns because Kessler is likely to be under a lot of pressure again this season.
Not that Dalton won't be.
Anyone who thinks the Cavaliers losing 4-1 to the Warriors in this year's NBA Finals is some sort of taint on Lebron James' career is going in an opposite direction from reality.
Just like if you think Lebron is a better player than Jordan.
I think the Pittsburgh Penguins got a gift from the officials calling Game 6s Sunday night. Nashville had a goal taken away that looked plenty good to me. But still, the Penguins are one of the best-run sports franchises anywhere.
It's apparent after Thursday that Rick Pitino can't control his basketball program. And to a University of Louisville fan, that should be more concerning than wins and losses.
Thursday's ruling means that there are 108 regular season and 15 NCAA Tournament wins that could be overturned. So here's my question: Since Louisville won the Big East Conference basketball tournament in 2012 by beating UC in the championship game, does that now make the Bearcats the 2012 Big East Conference tournament champs?
Now for some music knowledge. Forty-six years ago tomorrow, the album that spawned this No. 1 hit, went to No. 1 on the Billboard Album charts:
The album, "Tapestry," stayed at No. 1 for 15 straight weeks. Carole King, along with her then husband, Gerry Goffin, and as a solo composer, has written 118 Billboard hits.
Before hitting it big as a singer, King along with Goffin composed big hits like "The Loco-Motion," "One Fine Day," "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "A Natural Woman." The current Broadway and touring show "Beautiful The Musical" is based on her life.
Four Grammy Awards, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and now 75, King continues to perform to this day. And 41 years ago, she started an incredible 15 weeks at the top of the Billboard Album charts.