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.
3-dot lounge, steroid edition
Mark Dantonio might be the world's most honorable guy, the best, most decent human being since Gandhi, but in the end, he's still a football coach. The minute he walked out of his UC office, he forgot about UC entirely. Anything less would be a distraction to his recruiting at MSU... Cris Collinsworth says everyone associated with the Broncos thinks the kid QB Jay Cutler is the Next Elway...seriously... everyone on the team wondered what took Mike Shanahan so long to switch from Jake Plummer. This is relevant locally only if you believe the Broncos are the Bengals chief competition for the second wildcard spot. Which I do...
I got a kick outta Frank Robinson dumping on Mark McGwire in our newspaper last week. In fact, I get a cynical jolt from all the old stars sniping at the supposed steroid geeks... does the word "greenie'' mean anything to anyone? Does anyone not believe that the players of Robinson's era gobbled amphetamines like Pez, especially on Sunday mornings after Saturday nights? C'mon, Frank...
You can watch the game tonight on Channel 5... in Dayton, those w/o the NFL Network have to go to a bar. But the fan outcry was not what the almighty league expected after last Thursday's game between the chiefs and the broncos. The NFL Network has 41 million subscribers, less than a third of all cable households. As long as the local stations agree to buy the rights -- which seems likely, given the demand and the ad rates they can charge -- there might not be the groundswell of grumbling the league hopes...
Bengals 24, Ravens 21...live big, Carson to Chad
How do you say no to a Big 10 job and triple your current salary? Answer: You don't. Do not begrudge Mark Dantonio who, barring an 11th-hour miracle that the current athletic administration at UC seems woefully unprepared to deliver, for leaving Clifton for Michigan State. On the other hand, feel free to fret over the future of UC's aspirations to the football big time.
This is a stepping-stone job. It's a better job than it was three years ago, when Bob Goin hired Dantonio. Better facilities, clearer direction, better league. But it will probably never be more than a bus stop for bright, ambitious people seeking bigger lights. The challenge, then, is for the athletic department to make the program and the job attractive enough to continue hiring smart coaches on their way up, much as Xavier has done in basketball. That requires a solid foundation, which Goin started to provide, salaries competitive w/those in the rest of the Big East (not there yet) and an obvious commitment from fans, boosters, alums etc. (not even close.)
The fact UC got Dantonio to coach here shows talented people want the job. To keep the momentum rolling that Dantonio built, the athletic administration needs to continue what Bob Goin started. We'll see.
new orleans update
Several folks asked about the state of The Easy, post-Katrina. Here goes: The French Quarter looks practically untouched. Tourism is so important to the local economy, it was the first to get fixed. A couple restaurants are still closed, but for the most part, it's fine. I don't know if the Camellia Grill is open, because the St. Charles streetcar isn't running yet... so many trees were downed in the storm, the overhead electrical wires still havent been fixed... the Garden District looks to be in decent shape, though some houses still are missing roof tiles and some of the big live oaks are either down or damaged... as for other parts of the city, not so good... the 9th Ward, among the hardest hit and poorest areas of the city, looks like the storm hit last week... a colleague took the "tour'' and came back with photos of boarded houses, debris piles 15 feet high and mostly vacant buildings... he said the destruction still spreads for miles. New Orleans even before Katrina was a place of rich and poor and little else. The storm seems to have made that division more obvious. On a personal note: I'm maybe the last person in America who likes Dixie, the local brew. The brewery hasnt reopened since Katrina, and might not. Live big with an Abita Turbo Dog
Let's see. Ohio State wins arguably the biggest game in its football history, UC upsets unbeaten Rutgers and I write... about Chuck Bresnahan's kids. No offense to the Bengals defensive coordinator (or his kids), but yesterday was one of those days when a sports writer feels like a pitcher who just hung a curveball... when I made the arrangements in August, to head to New Orleans on Saturday, I had no idea OSU-Michigan would be The Game and, obviously, if anyone had told me UC would be playing unbeaten, 7th-ranked Rutgers and, um, win, I'd have had him drug-tested. Anyway, my bad. As Tony Kornheiser says on PTI, we'll try to do better next time.
the world's best job
If I were king of the world, every so often I'd say to my subjects, "Subjects, I'm going to New Orleans for the weekend. Once I get there, I'm taking the St. Charles streetcar to the Camellia for a burger. I'm going to walk around the Garden District with my camera and say hello to Archie Manning. I'm going to the Audubon Zoo, where I once saw an albino alligator eat a duck. I'll stop at the D-Day Museum and pay respects and shiver a little at the purity of sacrifice. I'll go to the Gumbo Shop in the Quarter for dinner. I'll drink a Dixie Beer. I'll listen to the ancient African American men play America's original music, jazz, at Preservation Hall. I'll end up in the courtyard at Pat O'Brien's. All that before midnight on Saturday. And, oh yeah, pay me.''
Life could be a dream. Occasionally, it is.
Live big, Easy.
arena football 2 returns to cincinnati!
We in this business write about Bob Knight because it's easy. Knight is a columnist's dream, because no matter what we write, it provokes. The best opinion pieces are those where half the readers agree, and half don't. So when this latest flap arose, it took me all of about 5 seconds to decide to write about it, and maybe an hour to get it down. And I will get as much response from it as I will anything I do all week, especially from readers who will tell me it isn't news. For the record: I know Knight a little, I like him a lot, but he has a knack for doing little, stupid things that sadly detract from who he really is and all the good he has done. Live big, General.
Trouble at the homestead
Maybe most of you won't relate to this, at least not specifically. But it's my blog, so read it or not:
Have you ever bought into what you thought was an ideal situation, only to see, as time passes, that it was not? You could say that about anything: Relationships, automobiles, mutual funds. And cabins in the woods.
I own five acres in the middle of Amish nowhere out in Adams County. Between a front-yard pasture and a backyard forest is a 700-square-foot cabin, where I go when I need to. The best thing about it is, no phones, not much TV, great silence, godly views of the surrounding hills and nights so starry, it's like you're in a planetarium.
Now, the neighbor down the rutted road has decided he needs a streetlight. He put the damned thing up sometime last week. It's like shining a flashlight into a bat cave. The thing is up on a 100-foot pole. It lights up my yard and my cabin like July 4. Here's a question: Who in his right mind buys a place in the country so he can suburbanize it w/a street light? I can't wait for the pool and the tennis court.
Nothing good lasts forever. If I can't get the neighbor to see the light, so to speak, my next big purchase will be a pellet gun. Are you with me?
Live big. Under a big sky.
three-dot lounge welcomes M.Lewis
I've been out for a week, at the Adams County homestead, thinking profound thoughts. A few:
The best a pro coach/manager can do in the age of big money is set a tone and a level of expectations. Marvin Lewis did well at that for 3 years. He has missed badly this year. The great coaches don't allow the team-splitting shenanigans the Bengals have offered this season, in between Sundays. We don't hear it in New England, Denver, Indy or Pittsburgh...
It's time to take the Ravens and Bears seriously. The former finally have an offensive leader (McNair), the latter are as resourceful as any club in the league...
Saw Flags of Our Fathers, the Eastwood movie about the "heroes'' of Iwo Jima. Liked most about it, except the obviously sound-staged scenes on Iwo. Unlike Saving Private Ryan, the war shots looked phony and plagiarized...
Speaking of the Ravens, anyone read the SI piece on Ray Lewis? Anyone else find it amazingly egotistical? Lewis has decided a higher power put him on the planet to show us how to be better people. I thought that's what Dan Aykroyd did in The Blues Brothers...
Did you see Jeff Ruby's letter to the editor Saturday? Priceless. The restaurateur went off on downtown development. He said we'll see a Hofbrauhaus in Jerusalem before we see development at The Banks. Ruby needs to run for something...
Seattle-ites just voted to end public funding for pro sports facilities. They decided their city's booming economy and vibrant arts didnt require the "prestige'' of having the SuperSonics in town. The name of the group that lobbied that way: Citizens for More Important Things. A tip of the Keystone Light to them, from those of us here at the Three-Dot...
In between timeouts of Giants-Bears, watched Cool Hand Luke on AMC Sunday night, for about the 12th time. An all-timer. What we have here is a failure to communicate...
Live big, Strother Martin.
it, like, drives me crazy
What is it with sub-30 somethings and their use of the word "like''? I'm in a cafe in Baltimore this morning and, like, this, like 20-something guy is, like, like-ing his way through an entire conversation w/another, like, 20-something. Don't they teach proper English in school anymore? This form of expression was around 30 years ago when I was in high school. But it wasn't epidemic the way it is now. This guy literally couldnt go three words w/o tossing in a like-bomb. After, like, 10 minutes, I started saying "like'' every time he did. It was all anyone could do to get in a decent "you know''. He got up and left the place, mad at me. Hey, like, sue me. You know?
I need some help
OK, stop laughing. The help I'm asking for is this: Anybody a big XU and/or UC message board/chatroom person? Working on a story about the influence of the 'Net on college sports, would like to interview someone who regularly visits these sites. Email me... firstname.lastname@example.org
... thanks very much...
The online headline said "WLW Fires Furman'' and I suppose, technically, WLW did. You have to believe it was a ClearChannel production, however. It better be a corporate deal, lest the, um, Big One open itself to charges of hypocrisy. They love the stuff Furman and Cunningham do. Always have. Not that he needs it, but Furman was goaded into trashing T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the act that got him fired.
Regardless, I never tired of listening to Andy, because I knew the off-air guy, and he was nothing like the schtick-man on it. He's a good father, husband and friend. Lots of radio guys do the Jekyll and Hyde thing. Furman was among the best at it.
I wish him well and hope he can stay in town.