Paul Daugherty has been an Enquirer sports columnist since 1994 and has been chronicling Cincinnati sports since 1988. He has covered almost every major sporting event in America, as well as five Summer Olympics. Along the way, he has been named one of the country's top-5 sports columnists four times, and Ohio columnist of the year on seven different occasions. Last year, he was voted 2nd-best sports columnist in the country, by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
self motivating myself
That's one of the brilliant things Michael Irivin said on ESPN Saturday, during the NFL Daft, as in, "You gotta be daft to watch this garbage more than 30 seconds.'' I came in from the Reds pressbox between innings, just long enough to hear snippets of coverage. It set new standards for inanity, which I thought was impossible for a Daft broadcast. It isnt just that Chris Berman -- he's really Fred Flintstone, right? -- has crossed the line from Annoying to Unwatchable, or that Mel Kiper's steel-belted radial hairdo could stop a train. It was the incredible, non-stop droning about every player. Listen, the teams that pick these people don't know if they can play, OK? They don't know for sure from difference makers, projects and tweeners. What the hell's a tweener, anyway? Daft Day is too many people offering too many opinions with too little justification. I love the NFL. I hate the NFL Daft. Thank god the Reds gave me a reason to stay away. I like their upside.
homer bailey and shameless plug
Reds GM Wayne Krivsky's thinking behind not considering promoting almost 20-year-old pitcher Homer Bailey to the big leagues: "When you bring up a premium guy, you never want to send him back'' to the minor leagues, Krivsky said. "It's the confidence thing. When they go back, you have to rebuild them mentally. It's a huge letdown. You have to be careful with promoting your players, especially the young ones who you think are going to be good a long time.''
Krivsky suspects that might have hurt newly acquired Brandon Phillips. After starting at 2nd base for the Indians as a 21-year-old in 2003, Phillips played poorly (.208 in 370 ABs) and was sent down. He spent the bulk of '04 and '05 in the minors, somewhat shellshocked.
Speaking of Krivsky and Phillips, I write for Thursday's paper how acquiring Phillips illustrates Krivsky's smarts as a GM. He's a very smart guy who doesn't feel the need to tell you how smart he is. The Reds should have hired him three years ago, but are fortunate they have him now. Read about Wayne and Brandon and the start of something good, in Thursday's paper. Live big.
the bank of mom and dad
Every so often, I will use this space for things other than sports, because, well, just because. I read something in the NY Times the other day that got me going. It was a story about 20- and 30-somethings, living at their parents' houses. I won't say "living at home'' because by then, you should have a home of your own.
This isn't a recent development; we're just reading more about it now because there is a new movie about it, "Failure to Launch''. Given I've got 2 kids, one nearly 20, the other 16, I've followed this trend.
I dunno about you, but I graduated from college in June '79 and 4 days later, had a 3-room walkup apartment and my first job. It paid $8,000 a year. I was thrilled.
It never occurred to me I should live with my parents, to maintain the living standard I enjoyed growing up. It took my parents decades to reach that standard. Why should I expect it as a newly minted graduate? Nor did I think it was my birthright to stay in school for 10 years, to "find myself.'' Which is why I really don't get these adults, and their parents, who think it's OK to do so now. My kids get four or five years of tuition paid, and they're out. What do you think?
Convicted without a trial
Feed the media. Twenty-four hour news cycle, all day all night, all the time. Give us more video. Alleged Duke rapists, kids, in handcuffs, in jumpsuits, faces smeared all over every TV network with a news division. Don Henley's overwrought lyrics from 20 years ago, coming true: Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down. Haul out the usual stereotypes. If it's Duke, the kids must be spoiled, rich and above standards of justice and decency. The Today show does a report Friday, in which it is stated that lacrosse breeds athletes who rape women. It cites as proof a case involving players at St. John's University. One problem: The players were acquitted.
What happens if Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty are found innocent? They've been on the news and in the news for a week, charged with rape and kidnapping. What difference does it make now if they are set free? Everyone has seen them on TV, heard and/or read about their silver spoons: "privileged players of fine pedigree,'' wrote a NY Times columnist. Yeah? So what?
Seligmann has an alibi that looks solid. What about his life now? In our rush to quench the public's apparent thirst for juicy scandal, we in the press have done a number on 2 people. If they're guilty, let the legal system have its way with them. Problem is, if they're not guilty, we've damned near convicted them already. Shame on us.
observations from the road
I drove to the Masters, 600 miles each way... some things I now think I know:
There is a reason satellite radio is popular. Never heard so many radio preachers in my life.
Masters "patrons'' still make the rest of Fan Nation seem like a prison population. But civility there is taking a hit. People running, talking, leaving trash on the grounds. That never used to happen. Saw a lot of that this week. If Cliff Roberts were still alive, badges would be taken away and people would be executed.
(all you golf-is-not-a-sport heathens out there, please stop snickering, or I'll start making bad NASCAR jokes.)
Asheville is the best kept, small-city secret in America. Especially for those who like the mountains better than the beach. Like me.
If there was no rape in the Duke lacrosse case, how come they canceled the season? The Raleigh paper did a lengthy story Sunday, basically saying all the players were spoiled, preppy dopes who felt entitled to behave any way they pleased. And now, maybe they're innocent. Talk about rushing to judgment.
The only place I can listen to country music is in western NC. Though I'm starting to listen to Brooks and Dunn. If you're a country fan and think I might like something, lemme know what it is. My mind is often open.
I have a week to finish a book on Chad Johnson, so you might not be hearing from me much. Live big.
Welcome to Augusta, where Tiger Woods made a 7 on a par-5 hole here. If we see that again, we'll move to a cave in Montana and wait for the end. A scribe friend of mine was minding his own business, walking between the 7th and 17th holes, when someone tapped him on the shoulder from behind. " 'Scuse me, pal,'' he said. It was Woods, who'd hooked his tee ball on 15 so far left, it was in front of the 7th green. He laid up, into a deep divot. Woods said the ball was in so deep, he couldnt get a club on it. He tried anyway, and hit the ball into the drink in front of the green. And so on.
Even Ben Crenshaw believes his 71 at age 54 was a fluke. "This is a young man's course,'' he said. He hit a 5-iron into No. 7... stopping a 5-iron there is like commanding an avalanche to retreat. He laid up on the par-4 18th. How much chance does Crenshaw think he has here, at 7,445 yards? When he played the course in November, he didnt play from the championship tees. "I went back and looked at them,'' he said.
Add "travel'' to the dubious list of silly instructions golfers give their golf balls. On the dumb meter, it's not as bad as "get legs'' or "bite'', but it's right up there with "sit.''
If you've ever wondered about John Daly's Everyman appeal, read the post I got from yesterday's Masters blog. It explains everything.
Jack Nicklaus is endorsing lawnmowers. When do you think was the last time he cut his grass?
Time to travel. Live big.
Jack Nicklaus' campaign against improving golf-ball technology continues unabated. It's one of the traditions here now, right up there with the par-3 contest and debating course changes. Nicklaus argues that scaling back by 10 percent the distance a golf ball flies would eliminate any further tweaking of Augusta National. (They have moved some of the tee boxes back so far now, they're either in another county or within handshaking distance of the adjacent green.) "During the period of 1934 and up to about two, three years ago, there really wasn't much done to this golf course,'' Nicklaus said. "Why all of a sudden do we have a new golf course? Because we've got new equipment that doesn't fit this golf course any more.'' Club officials have discussed going to a standard "Masters ball'' but it's nothing more than talk...
People paying $31 (Tuesday) or $39 (Wednesday) for access to the practice rounds are coming in when the gates open at 8, walking around for 3 or 4 hours, then selling their passes for $100 and up when they leave. Nothing like making a profit and walking the greatest course in the country.
The azaleas are slightly past peak. In case you were wondering.
The National doesnt release # of tickets sold for the practice rounds, but I can tell you the number of people here Tuesday and Wednesday has doubled at least in the past five years. As has the traffic around the course, which is now routinely impossible.
Who'll win if Tiger doesn't? How about Ernie Els? Rested, great touch around the greens, mentally good enough, not especially flappable under pressure.
It was 80 here today. And sunny. Very sunny. Live big.
short attention span's guide to O.D.
Bob Castellini is uncomfortable dealing with the media. We might have seen the last of the owner appearing in public at the ballyard on Monday.
Castellini gave me a book of short stories by the author Jim Shepard called Batting Against Castro. The title story is about winter ball in Cuba in the late 50s. Hilarious. Marge Schott never gave me any books.
Rich Aurilia will be playing 3B every day by the middle of May.
Adam Dunn makes way too much money to be Dave Kingman.
Dunn is a great athlete. No way he should be like an elephant on roller skates playing leftfield.
Well, there is one way. If defense is not that important to you.
At least seven sharpshooters dressed in all black guarded GASP -- Great American Small Park -- Monday. Three in the upper deck in far left field, 3 atop the batter's eye and one on the roof at USBank Arena. Nothing says Opening Day like precision-trained killers.
President Jim Bush called Cubs' 2B Todd Walker "Tom.''
Bud Selig, bless him, arrived at Castellini's pre-game press conference as it was ending. The commissioner wore a black trench coat, one of the lapels of which was folded in. A smudge of white decorated one of the shoulders. The man often looks like an unmade bed.
You could never say that about Paul Tagliabue.
Yet another reason the NFL is king. And baseball is baseball.
No one asked Selig a Pete Rose question, thank God. The commisioner did ramble about his newly virtuous, all-natural sport, apparently because he thinks we're all stupid.Of course, his point man for the game's steroid probe is a part owner of the Red Sox. No conflict there.
Can't wait for those day games after night games, now that MLB has banned amphetamines.
Off to Augusta National, for what really matters. Live big.
If you are like me, you think Cincinnati is a radio wasteland. For 20 years or so, I've rented cars all over the country for work, and I can tell you there are markets half the size of ours that have a better variety of music on their local airwaves. It's embarrassingly predictable here. If they're playing the Eagles, it must be Take It Easy, One of the These Nights or Hotel California. Stones? Satisfaction, Brown Sugar, Jumpin' Jack Flash. And so on. Nothing ever surprises or interests.
Except on WNKU, the public station at Northern Kentucky University. It's the best source here for new music, interesting music and deep cuts. Among the new people NKU has turned me on to over the years are David Gray, the Subdudes and Jack Johnson. Plus the Grateful Dead Hour on Saturday nights is outstanding.
The older you get, the harder it becomes to find stuff you like that you haven't heard several million times. WNKU rarely disappoints. I'm going over there this morning at about 10, to play 30 minutes of stuff I chose for the occasion. Take a listen (89.7) and if you like it, keep listening. And if you really like it -- if you're like me and NKU is the only local station worth listening to for more than a few minutes -- write them a check or phone in a pledge. Live big.