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.
I'm off on vacation, 10 days in Florida, to do nothing but play golf and drink cheap beer. Does it get any better than that? The world's premium cheap beer is Keystone Light. Whenever I want people to laugh at me -- and who doesn't want that, right? -- I tell them I drink Keystone. Twelve bucks for a 30-pack, goes down like water. I consider myself a beer connoisseur. I've had Guinness in a Dublin pub, Mythos in Athens in the shade of the Acropolis and Hudy Delight at Quatman's in Norwood. I have a big bottle of Belgian called Affligem Tripel, waiting to be uncorked for a special occasion. When it comes to beer, I know what I know. Keystone rocks. Live big. And, of course, drink responsibly.
Here's something I never thought I'd live long enough to say: I'm loving the NBA Finals. In fact, I've been falling hard since the playoffs started. Now, I'm merely in awe. Anyone else who's a convicted NBA-phobe feeling the same? It's the young guys. While Shaq wheezes and briqs free throws, Dwyane Wade stops the heart... before Wade, it was LeBron. With Wade, it's Jason Terry. The NBA is never better than when it's loaded with heros and villains. In this case, it's Wade -- 15 of Miami's last 19 in Game 5, positively Jordan-esque -- and Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who makes George Steinbrenner seem like Gandhi. What a case of arrested development. As for Wade, he was a quiet, humble kid at Marquette, but you knew he'd be a star in the NBA. He had the size and the hops, he could get his own shot. Can't wait for tonight...
I was in the GASP press box watching a TV with the sound down when Phil Mickelson imploded on 18 Sunday. Apparently, Johnny Miller savaged Phil, on NBC. Good story on that in Tuesday's NY Times. I love Miller, because he's the anti-ex jock in the booth. And he's generally dead-on with his criticism...
What, exactly, is Adam Dunn trying to do at the plate? I'm not sure I've ever seen a hitter more completely lost. Loved that bloop single to left last night. Did anyone else look at Gary Sheffield's injury and see opportunity for the Reds to deal Dunn to the Yankees?
Anybody got any summer TV recommendations? After Rescue Me, I'm down to watching room makeovers on HGTV, and that ain't good...
read it and weep, trash-writers
Several people forwarded me this story from the pittsburgh paper and asked what I thought. I thought, "This doctor is right on.'' People who take time to write insane and anonymous junk like the stuff in this story deserve nothing but ridicule. A bad thing about this form of communication is, it allows snivelers to write whatever they please, without repercussion. You don't need a brain, fully formed or otherwise. You just need a laptop. It doesnt have to be accurate or fair or remotely compassionate. It just has to be. Good for this doc in Pittsburgh.
U.S. Open golf
Very cool story in June issue of Golf Digest, quoting several of the principles in the '74 Open, "The Massacre at Winged Foot." One was a local guy named Peter McGarey, then a 16-year-old kid, who caddied for the winner, Hale Irwin.
McGarey's a developer here now. I tried calling him, but he didn't call me back. Anyway, the story is here
if you're interested.
big ben and small park
It took 4 surgeons 7 hours to fix Ben Roethlisberger's broken face. Yesterday morning, helmet-less Ben's motorcycle slammed into the windshield of a car in downtown Pittsburgh. His head made a six-inch hole in the glass. Thank goodness he wasnt hurt more seriously. When he heals fully -- and nothing suggests he won't -- it'll be time to start talking about how foolish and selfish he was. And to wonder why the Steelers didnt have a clause in his contract prohibiting him from riding motorcyles, or at the very least riding without a helmet. The Browns had a clause in Kellen Winslow Jr.'s deal. Every team should. Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is irresponsible. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet when you are paid millions to help a football team win -- and after you've been advised against it by your coach -- is beyond dangerous and irresponsible. Here's a prayer for Big Ben. And a hope that when he returns, he makes cycle safety a priority...
Great American Small Park is rapidly becoming a joke. At least they had an excuse in Denver for balls flying out as if they were launched. What's Cincinnati's excuse? Six more homers Monday night, and it's not even summer yet. Wait until the air heats up. Personally, I get no great thrill from seeing yet another baseball leave GASP. I don't know how they fix it, beyond extending the dimensions and/or building a screen. But they need to do something. Try getting free agent pitchers to come to Cincinnati now...
I couldnt believe I saw people doing The Wave last night. What's next, 8-track tapes? Is GASP the only place fans still do that? It's embarrassing. Watch the game...
And stop throwing homerun balls back. That's almost as much of a cliche as doing The Wave.
the world cup
Every four years, I discover how dumb I am. (No. Check that. How dumb others can make me feel. I'm dumb regularly.) I discover, anew, that I am unenlightened, xenophobic and un-evolved. The World Cup is upon us. It can't be helped. Because I have occasionally admitted I am not a fan of soccer, I have been branded by the futbol-ites as an idiot.
Maybe you're in the same sad boat. If you're not a fan, you don't understand the beauty of the game and you don't care about world peace. You are, as a writer for Sports Illustrated put it this week, "incurious about the rest of the world.''
OK. Someone hand me my hair shirt. I'm not a soccer fan. I am an ugly American. Forgive me. But here's the thing: People in, say, Ghana aren't considered stupid or ugly or small-minded if they don't like baseball. We don't diss the Brazilians if they're not fans of the NFL. Soccer, though, is different. If you happen not to care much for it, you're a dope. Maybe that's part of the reason I don't care much for it. Live big. Soccer-less.
Maybe by the time you read this, Michelle Wie might have qualified for the US Open, but I doubt it. It's OK that she's trying, but really: Is anyone else tired of reading/hearing/seeing stories about her? I read one this morning, praising her courage. Really? She is in a can't-lose situation.
The resentment Wie faces, especially from her peers, is understandable. Before she chases her dream of playing on the PGA Tour, it'd be nice if she won something on the LPGA. As it is, she's an immense unopened package. I saw her at Shaker Run last summer, when she lost in the quarterfinals of the US Amateur Public Links, to a guy who was the 5th-best player on his BYU team. Kid was up 4 after 5 holes, and cruised. This is a player who believes she can qualify for the Open? C'mon.
This is one I meant to do the other day, and forgot. Was anyone else damned near riveted by that spelling bee the other night? I watched maybe the last hour, and I knew exactly one word -- hukilau -- and that was only because we'd sung some hokey song about it in, I don't know, 3rd grade. I was amazed at the intelligence and poise of these kids. And I thought it was cool that, for once, we've chosen to highlight kids' brains on TV, instead of how fast they run, how hard they throw or what they look like in a bikini. Maybe if we spent more time god-ding up smart kids, we'd have more kids dreaming of being smart. Live big. BTW, "ursprache'' was the winning word.
While you're wondering if the Bengals are unique in dealing with their players' legal troubles -- and in the opinion of many, soft-peddling them -- take a look at the Sean Taylor case in Washington.
Taylor is a big, talented safety who faced up to 46 years in prison after his arrest as a result of a street fight in Miami last June. He'd been accused of brandishing a gun, making threats and starting a fight with people he thought were stealing 2 of his vehicles. The deal he took reduced a felony charge to a simple assault and, according to the Washington Post, essentially took the gun from his hand. Taylor pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and battery. He'll face no jail time. The NFL can still impose a suspension, but the Redskins won't. The team will welcome Taylor back. "We're glad Sean's situation seems to be working toward a conclusion,'' coach Joe Gibbs decided.
Justice might work in strange ways when the judged are pro athletes. But the Bengals aren't unique in how they deal with their own cases. Taylor's transgressions sound a lot like Chris Henry's (alleged) offenses. The outcome could be similar. If it is, don't assume the Bengals/Marvin Lewis are moral outlaws. They're just playing the same game everyone else plays.