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.
If you're free Saturday night...
Hello Friends of The Perps:
Great party this Saturday at Shady O’Gradys….so Here are the top TEN reasons to see the Perps this weekend. Go to www.perpsrock.com
for more info and fun!!!!!!
10. Because by the looks of the weather, you won’t need to take a snowmobile to the gig. Shady’s is near the intersection of Remington and Loveland Madeira Roads, across from UDF.
9. By Saturday we will only have 29 days until Reds opening day!!!!
8. Spring break is coming up and dancing makes you look better on the beach.
7. Your friends will be there.
6. Music makes you feeeel good…
5. Fatfish Blue’s best blues guitarist for 2006 is in the band…he is Jimmy Dews!
4. What happens at Shady’s stays at Shady’s.
3. You have never seen the band before and you wonder what this is all about.
2. You may have the best time you have had since college.
1. As always and forever, to ….
and one last thought
To those who suggest, not incorrectly, that Bob's two-year, lame-duck status would have hurt recruiting, remember this:
'92 Final Four starters: Van Exel, Blount, Nelson, Martin, Buford: Four JuCos and a transfer from Akron. All two -year guys. Is there any reason to believe that Huggs, 13 years later, his resume well known, his move to a great league in place, could not have done the same thing again? And had he, would there be any earthly reason he wouldnt finish his career at UC?
Just a thought.
Huggs v. Zim
Maybe the best thing about the blog is it gives me the chance to explain why I write what I write. The more you know about what I do, the better we get along. Which explains this post.
I wrote for Monday's paper an explanation of how Bob Huggins and UC parted ways. It included legal back and forth between Bob's attorney and UC's attorney. It made the point that while the situation was handled clumsily, it wasn't all UC's doing.
You could argue the horse is dead, so stop the flogging. Great point. Truth is, I really don't like writing about this stuff. But part of my job is to write what people are talking about. Given the way the Bearcats played Saturday, lots of people were talking, again, about how Zimpher ruined the program when she "fired'' Huggins, and that the fact his "firing'' took so long killed recruiting for a year.
Not exactly true. For the details, read the column.
I have no dog in this fight. I get paid no matter what. And obviously, the way the school handled Huggins and AK showed a heavy-handedness that is discomforting. But perpetuating a falsehood does no one any good.
People will believe what they want, but one thing I have prided myself on in this job is not having agendas. What you get from me is what I feel, period. It doesn't make it right or wrong. It's just an opinion. As for UC hoops: Huggins landed softly and successfully. Mick Cronin in two years or three will have the program back in the NCAA tournament regularly. AK got what I suspect he wanted all along, a chance to go home and coach in the SEC. Things have a way of working out.
who ragged Junior?
I got this e-mail yesterday, and received Mike's permission to use it in the blog. For what it's worth:
I am actually writing this e-mail to hopefully add some insight into a very misunderstood Ken Griffey story. For years I have seen Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey quoted about the fans who were yelling at Jr. for getting hurt when he was on the ground after he separated his shoulder. I again read a quote about the incident in Jim Moore’s article I just read (I linked from your blog on Jr.).
I was there that day…sitting in my front row season tickets in section 102. He literally got hurt and was on the ground right below my seats.
The two of them generally have it correct, but it was one man that yelled at Ken Griffey about him getting hurt. And it was definitely not a Cincinnati Reds fan. It was in fact a very large and very drunk Chicago Cub fan wearing a Sammy Sosa jersey. The guy was eventually removed from the stadium for being belligerent and starting a fight with a woman half his size.
Normally, I could care less what professional sports figures think about me as a fan. I assume they are just as wrong about our motivations as we are about theirs. But, this one drives me nuts because it gets brought up all the time. Having been there, the truth from my point of view is that if Ken Griffey and Adam Dunn had heard what everyone else was saying, especially to the idiot in question, they would realize that their interpretation of fan support that day was 180 degrees wrong.
Just a little insight…in case anyone wanted to hear a fans side of that particular story.
I can't resist writing about Junior
Confession: I saw the Seattle newspaper story
re Junior yesterday morning, and swore I wouldn't add to the discourse about it. It's more Junior melodrama, fueled equally by the player and the media. When it comes to Griffey, we've written more words about nothing in the last seven years than I care to remember. I fully include myself in that indictment. If Griffey thinks everyone with a pen is insane, he has a point.
Junior has decided he is in Cincinnati, but not of it. Fair enough. Just be prepared for the backlash. This is a small place, which takes its teams and its heroes personally. We don't leave in the middle of the 6th of a 2-2 game to beat the traffic. Fair or not, we like to think "our'' players and coaches love us as much as we love them. We are incredibly judgmental when they goof up. See: Johnathan Joseph.
Griffey has never goofed up. He is an antidote for all the Bengals shenanigans. Good dad, good husband, clean liver. Good person, basically. He gives of his time locally, just not publicly.
And he has a pair of rabbit ears that would put Bugs Bunny to shame. Add to that mix a sensitivity not usually seen -- or at least shown -- by pro jocks, and you can see why he feels how he does. That's too bad, because if Junior chose to, he could be among the best-loved local stars ever. Regardless, that's not him. We shouldnt pass judgment on anything but how the man plays baseball. And, in my opinion, how as a 37-year-old future Hall of Famer, he shows leadership to impressionable younger teammates. What he thinks of his hometown is just a sideshow. The latest in a 7-year run.
If it's February, the Reds must be working on "fundamentals.'' The Reds work on fundamentals more than grade-school kids. So how come every year, the Reds are fundamentally iffy? Last year, they were next-to-last in the NL in fielding... next-to-last in sacrifices, bunts and flies... if there were a category for advancing runners, they'd likely be next-to-last in that, too. Fact is, their most influential players, Dunn and Griffey, don't "situational hit.'' Or bunt. A mess of other every day players aren't very good at it. They want to cut down on strikeouts, too. Same as they have for each of the last six, seven years. How's that working for 'em?
Question: Shouldnt major league players be "fundamental'' already? I mean, the nature of the word suggests it's a basic requirement, right? Everyone who ever played Knothole learned how to bunt. Everybody who played high school understood the need to shorten his stroke and protect the plate when he was down in the count. Everybody in A-ball understands a grounder to the right side is a good thing with a runner on 2nd or 3rd and less than 2 outs. This isn't earth shaking, and yet here we are, another February, emphasizing something that should have been learned many years ago.
If you've been in your job awhile, arent you, you know, fundamentally sound in what you do? I can spell, I'm reasonably adept at proper grammar. I can two-fingered type. Fundamentally, fundamentals arent an issue. Why, every year, are they on top of the Reds' wish list?
A Short Guide to a Happy Life
I took an hour yesterday to stop bitching and did what my friend the singer/songwriter Steve Forbert advises: "Get out in the daylight and go for a walk.''
We took the dog to Kelley Nature Preserve in Miamiville, on the East Side. The place was closed to cars, its gate swung across the entrance. We parked by the gate and walked in. I've never seen anything like it.
The ice hung like young love from the branches of every bush and tree. When the sun escaped the clouds, the whole preserve lit up like a display case at Tiffany. Untrampled snow crunched underfoot. The quiet was deafening. I heard a hawk's wings beat over the partly frozen Little Miami River.
The poet Gwendolyn Brooks advises this:
"Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies.
And be it gash or gold, it will not come again;
In this identical disguise.''
I could either moan about the weather, or embrace it. Moaning is a waste of time. Better to marvel at the sun's effect on the ice in the trees. The dog was deliriously happy. Another reason to pay attention to dogs.
Bengals keep Smith
By now, no one should be surprised. Every year, we talk about top-tier NFL free agents. Every year, the Bengals don't sign any of them. For what it's worth, SI.com rated Justin Smith the 18th-best free agent on the market. Three defensive linemen were ranked above him. Four cornerbacks were as well. The Bengals now will pay him a salary equal to the average of the 5 best players at his position.
The point is not to demean Smith. He's a good player. The point is, the Bengals never make the big move needed to take them to the proverbial "next level.'' Ownership is content to do whatever it takes to keep the luxury boxes rented, nothing more. This offseason, Cincinnati's needs couldnt be more obvious. Now, sadly, the club's intentions are equally plain. Re-signing 2 linemen (smith, geathers) that helped the team be the 31st-best defense in the NFL, statistically, is not a sign of progress. It's further indication that ownership is satisfied with being average, so long as average is enough to keep the seats filled.
It's a shame, because this team had a chance to be better than average. It could be still, but not because ownership is especially interested in that.
NBA'er Tim Hardaway said in a radio interview that he "hates'' gays... I don't know what the host said next. If it'd been me, I'd have said, "Yeah, Tim, but really, who cares?'' I don't ask Nelson Mandela what he thinks of the designated hitter. If I met Bill Gates, I wouldn't seek his opinion on Chris Henry.
We've been down this road before, on the way to Rocker-ville, through the suburbs of Barkley. John Rocker had a bad subway ride; Charles said he hated white people. And so on. Point is, if you play games for a living, talk about what you know. Or at least, what the public knows you for. Your stunted opinions on matters of social importance are best left unsaid. It's like Jane Fonda talking about the Vietnam War, or Tim Robbins lecturing on the evils of Republicans. Shut up and play.
Good time rock and roll
My friend Nick Lutz fronts a band called the Perpetrators. Much 60s and 70s old-guy rock, very well played. Their next gig is Saturday at Shady O'Grady's in Remington. Definitely worth a few hours of your time.
Here is a link to the website www.peprsrock.com
Here is one for our schedule http://cincymusic.com/artists/view.php?id=3623
because it's Friday
The International Council of Manlaws, Ltd.> > > > 1. Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.> > 2. It is OK for a man to cry ONLY under the following circumstances:> (a) When a heroic dog dies to save its master.> (b) The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her blouse.> (c) After wrecking your boss's car.> (d) When she is using her teeth.> > 3. Any Man who brings a camera to a bachelor party may be legally> killed and eaten by his buddies.> > 4. Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend out> of jail within 12 hours.> > 5. If you've known a guy for more than 24 hours, his sister is off> limits forever unless you actually marry her.> > 6. Moaning about the brand of free beer in a buddy's fridge is> forbidden. However complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.> > 7. No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another> man. In fact, even remembering your buddy's birthday is strictly> optional. At that point, you must celebrate at a strip bar of the> birthday boy's choice.> > 8. On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the> weakest.> > 9. When stumbling upon other guys watching a sporting event, you may ask> the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who's playing.> > 10. It is permissible to drink a fruity alcohol drink only when you're> sunning on a tropical beach ... And it's delivered by a topless model> and only when it's free.> > 11. Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to> kick another guy in the nuts.> > 12. Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.> > 13. Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.> > 14. If a man's fly is down, that's his prob lem, you didn't see> anything.> > 15. Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as spies> until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink as> much as the other sports watchers.> > 16. A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must> remain sober enough to fight.> > 17. Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of> pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.> > 18. If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you'd better be talking> about his choice of beer.> > 19. Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a friend of yours,> except if she's withholding sex pending your response.> > 21. Never talk to a man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing> (i.e., both urinating, both waiting in line, etc.). For all other> situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you> need.> > 22. Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer> than you are able to have sex with her. Keep a stopwatch by the phone.> Hang up if necessary.> > 23. The morning after you and a girl who was formerly "just a friend"> have carnal, drunken, monkey sex, the fact that you're feeling weird and> guilty is no reason for you not to nail each other again before the> discussion occurs about what a big mistake it was.> > 24. It is acceptable for you to drive her car. It is not acceptable for> her to drive yours.> > 25. Thou shalt not buy a car in the colors of brown, pink, lime green,> orange or sky blue.> > 26. The girl who replies to the question "What do you want for> Christmas?" with "If you loved me, you'd know what I want!" gets an> Xbox. End of story.> > 27. There is no reason for guys to watch Ice Skating or Men's> Gymnastics. Ever.> > We've all heard about people having guts or balls. But do you really> know the difference between them? In an effort to keep you informed, the> definition of each is listed below:> > "GUTS" is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being> assaulted by your wife with a broom, And having the guts to say, "are> you still cleaning or are you flying somewhere?"> > "BALLS" is coming home late after a night out with the guys smelling of> perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the ass> and having the balls to say, "You're next!"> > We hope this clears up any confusion.> > > > The International Council of Manlaws, Ltd.> > >
keeping aaron and bronson
To say that locking up arguably the best 1-2 pitching punch in the NL is a good thing is obvious, so I'm not going to say that. Here's the bigger question to everyone who sees this as "evidence'' the Reds want to win now: Are they better today than they were Monday? To me, keeping Harang was a bare-minimum necessity, for credibility's sake. Extending Arroyo is a good move, but here's the thing: If you don't sink some toes in the free agent water, you best keep your own players, lest you freefall into Pirateville. An option might have been to buy a few years of Jeff Suppan and come back at Arroyo, who had 2 years left on his old deal, after this year. As it is, the Reds locked up 2 durable, productive starters at below market. But their everyday lineup is still one inevitable Junior injury from 2 or 3 runs a night, even at Great American Small Park. These moves suggest Castellini & Co. know winning here is at least a year away. And is anyone truly excited at the prospect of Dustin Hermanson closing?
While it was great news, let's not get carried away. The Reds had to sign this guy, or be seen as Pittsburgh. It wasnt some great gesture to you. It was a matter of retaining credibility. Harang took so much less than he's worth, the Reds should be laughing all the way to the treasury. He'll be making less over the 4 years than, um, Ted Lilly and Gil Meche. The 1st 2 years, he'll be making only a little more than Dunn makes this year. It's the MLB equivalent of Manhattan for beads. That said, congrats to Harang, a quiet, durable, level-headed guy who's capable of winning 20 games for a few years to come.
taking a chance on paradise
I teach a class in Advanced Reporting at UC. One of my former students, an Elder grad named Chris Hughes, just took a job at a paper on Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. I couldnt be happier for him. Or more jealous. If I could do it all over, I'd take my first job in a place I want to live. There's plenty of time to settle down, get responsible and move up the career food chain. Live big while you can... on that note, I wrote for Sunday's paper about a bar on St. John, USVI, that has hosted a Super Bowl party for the last 17 years. When we went there four years ago, we promised one of the owners that the 1st year I didnt cover the game, we'd be at that bar watching it. That would be, um, today. I didnt figure my Super run of 19 years in a row would end this soon... nor, like most of us, did I really intend to watch the game at a bar on St. John, even though I couldnt think of any place I'd rather be today... the problem is, most of us don't have the guts to live our dreams, so they stay dreams. The carpet's all paid for. God bless the TV. The 2 guys who own Skinny Legs in Coral Bay, St. John, left the States all but broke. But they took a shot. They lived the dream. Now, look at them. Nothing risked, nothing gained. Live Big, Chris Hughes. Never stop taking risks.
... frightening story from former NFL LB Ted Johnson, on what his football concussions have done to him. There isn't enough guaranteed money in the world to compensate for what this guy is going through.
not so super bowl
For the first time in 19 years, I'm not at the Big Bowl. Part of me misses the big-game buzz. Part of me says, great, no 5 am monday morning wakeup call for the 9 am flight in a jammed airport. I watched the "game'' go from a sporting event to a mega-merger between sports and big business. Because of irrational newspaper deadlines, I "watched'' the second half of every Super Bowl with my nose buried in my laptop. As with most events I've covered, people at home see more of the game than I do... anyway, a few questions: (1) Do you watch this game any more intently than a Bengals regular season game, especially if you don't have money on it? (2) Do you even listen to the broadcast, or are you at a party or a bar and can't hear it? I've always wondered why we make such a big deal about who's announcing this game. (3) As the hype around the game has mushroomed, has your interest in it dropped? (Mine, too.) (4) Is it the best sporting event of the year, or merely the most promoted? I'd rather watch the NCAA basketball final, Sunday at the Masters or any of the AFC/NFC title games than this. What about you?
What's up w/X?
I'm at the UC game last night... every few minutes, we get printed updates on games around the country. We 're getting Xavier updates, and shaking our heads. Duquesne? Really? Something's wrong here. Really wrong. X starts 2 seniors and 3 juniors. They have 3 players who played big roles in the Elite 8 run 3 years ago. They play in a bad league. They have top 40 talent. They lose at Duquesne and Justin Doellman figures they played pretty well. Is that right?
21 turnovers. 93 points allowed. Say it again: Duquesne.
Please don't tell me how good the Dukes are. They really aren't. Xavier should win that game by 10, just by showing up. When teams with good talent underachieve, the blame has to go to the coach. I like Sean Miller, but I wonder why his most important players havent gotten a lot better in 3 years, and why, as a former point guard, Miller can't get through to Drew Lavender. If this keeps up, even the stoic X fan base will begin grumbling. Miller is a good guy and I know he's wracking his brain trying to reach this bunch. But it ain't working. If things don't pick up, things could get dicey at Cintas Center. Have they ever fired a basketball coach at X?