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Just when you wonder if the architect of two Super Bowl winners is running on his rep alone, he reels in a Jeremy Maclin when the Ravens needed him most. For what it’s worth, despite their clear deficiencies and some ugly draft misses (hello, Matt Elam) the last few seasons, Newsome has, in fact, earned the benefit of the doubt over the years.

Thompson catches hell for his cautious, borderline stubborn approach to free agency — and he may have listened this year, grabbing Martellus Bennett and making some stealthy-smart defensive additions. They’ve made it to within a game of the Super Bowl in two of the last three seasons. Credit Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy, but credit Thompson, too.

Joey Votto, Reds

Question: What do you think of all the home runs this year?
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Answer: I think that, as the season moves along and you start seeing some 30s and 40s and 50s from guys that you wouldn’t expect from, that’s when you start having conversations like, ‘What the heck is really going on?’ When there’s 15s and 25s, it doesn’t really hit home. But once we’re deep in the season and so-and-so has 45 home runs or so-and-so just hit their 30th, you’ll scratch your head and say ‘Alright, we’ll take it.’

Question: Ever hit one and wonder how it got over the fence?

Answer: Maybe a couple. But usually when you’re rounding the bases, you’re not thinking ‘How’d that go out?’ You’re like, ‘Yeah, that just went out. I wish I was a free agent!’
(Calm down, Reds fans. He was kidding with that last part.)