Paul Daugherty
Enquirer columnist files news and observations

Paul Daugherty
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.

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

sons of Joe Nuxhall

Of all the accolades The 'Hander has received, none compares with having a two-man band named for his offspring... my buddy Nick (Lachey) Corey announces the winner of his name-my-group contest.


Paul--you can post these or not... I did think it was funny that it had the response that it did, and I'm flattered by the folks who took the time...(especially the guy who sent you an email with 50 ideas...wow.)

Anyway, playing around town, appearing on marquee signs and at a bar near you, will be the newly named:


Some yahoo who's name will be kept anonymous wrote that one in and my partner and I liked it. He'll get the drinks as promised. Here's a list of others that made choosing just one quite hard.

The Screamin' Cats
12 Strings and a Pint
Acoustoo (although we would've gone with "Acoustwo"...great idea, though)
Your Daughter's Elder Boyfriend
The Two
What About Bob Huggins
A Westsider Story
Peanut Butter and Pearl Jam
45248 (a nod to the zip code I'll NEVER leave!)


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Humbled and grateful on WLW

I don't want to make a big deal about this, so I'll be brief. Most who know me even a little wouldn't describe me as humble. Only now, I am. The SportsTalk gig is one of the best local talk jobs in the country. To be mentioned in the same breath w/people like Jim Scott, Mike McConnell and, yeah, even Cunningham, is an honor. I have no idea how I'll do. Away from print, I'm introverted, introspective and, during most work days, accustomed to dealing only with my laptop and my dog. Having to be "on'' 5 nights a week will be a new experience.

I look forward to it. I hope the show will inform as much as it entertains. I'd like the show to stray occasionally from sports, if only because I stray occasionally from sports. When I told John Kiesewetter for the paper that it isn't about me, I meant it. It's your show. I have opinions, but I won't ignore or belittle yours. Half the time, you're smarter than I am. I'm just the lucky one who gets paid to type and run his mouth. Anyway, thanks for listening. Call often. Let's have some fun.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Let's take a collection for the poor Bengals

I'm not an economist, a capologist or an expert on socialist organizations, so maybe I'm not terribly qualified to comment on the Cincinnati Bengals' ongoing cries of poverty. But here's what I know about our starving little football team:

They sell every seat for every game.
They sell every luxury box, and keep all the money.
They sell lots of $7 beers, and keep most of the money.
They're the proud possessors of a Manhattan-for-beads lease that allows them to control the central riverfront.
The public built them a $600 million stadium that our children will be paying for.
And, oh yeah, they've had one winning season in 17 years.

On Tuesday, the Bengals and the Jacksonville Jaguars were the only 2 teams in the NFL to vote against a plan that would put more shared revenue in their pockets. Simply, it wasn't enough money. The team's point, essentially, is this:

The salary cap is based on a fixed percentage of what the league calls designated gross revenues. Because the Bengals are in the bottom third of revenues in the league, every time a Washington, New England or New York bumps up its revenues, the cap rises and the Bengals have to spend a greater portion of their money on salaries. Understood.

But here are some things to consider:
The Bengals are privately run. Their books are not open. We don't know how "poor'' they are. We have to take their word for it.

The list of people who partake in the Bengals "poverty'' is very short. Family, mostly.
If you choose to own a team in a place like Cincinnati, do not expect to generate the sort of cash you would if you owned a team in a place like New York.

For all the carping about Dan Snyder in D.C. and Jerry Jones in Dallas, remember this: The public didnt pay for Snyder's stadium; Jones busted his rear to resurrect the Cowboys brand. The Bengals ownership generally has benefited immensely from the NFL's exploding popularity, without doing a lot more than cashing checks.

To whom much is given, much is expected.

Even if I completely agreed with the Bengals position that they're heading toward the financial rocks, this constant poor-mouthing after so much public generosity, faith and good will makes me want to lie down in a cool place. The team's logo should not be a tiger. It should be an outstretched hand. Palm up.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Trolling for cheap(er) golf

I'll never forsake the legendary and beautiful Hickory Weeds, er, Woods, where a man can hack and walk right now for $22 a round....but I am wondering if you guys play somewhere as chea-, I mean as inexpensive. Because, as my friend(s) will attest, I'm an inexpensive kind of guy. Lemme know. Drive big...

Sure am glad the whole Junior-to-right thing's been settled. I was missing seconds of sleep worrying...

As Saturday showed, man can hit falling out of bed. Question will be, as always, how his legs hold up...

Anyone else find Bill Raftery borderline unlistenable? That thing he does when he starts emphasizing phrases while seemingly grinding his molars: Why?

On the other hand, J, Brantley has been a pleasant surprise. He's easy to listen to, and provides the sort of pitcher's-eye analysis you dont get often in a radio booth. Nor has he been shy w/the criticism. Needs to work on his play-by-play, though...

Many congrats to NCH for winning #3. Truly a community win. Be very proud...

Best thing I see on TV now is The Unit. Otherwise, TV stinks until The Shield comes back next week...

Bret Wetterich's (Oak Hills) in the final pairing today, w/T.Woods...

Meanwhile, who'd the Bengals add to make them better today than they were New Year's Eve? Oh, that's right. Nobody.

Friday, March 23, 2007

You never know what might show up on this Blog

This, for example, from my good friend Nick Corey, a guitar man and would-be American Idol star. He wants name suggestions for his two-man band. He promises great wealth to the winner. Or something. Please help out a poor West Side boy. Live Big (Head Todd and the Monsters)

Paul--I've seen you plug bands on your blog...I'm not going to ask you to plug my two-man accoustic deal (in which Guitar Maestro Sean McGary--of local party band Marsha Brady-- and myself play awesome versions of Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Fuel, Violent Femmes, Van Morrison, Snow Patrol, John Denver, and many, many others). I wouldn't stoop so low to ask for a plug (though we are at J Taps on Glenway in Western Hills on Saturday night). HOWEVER, places we play are asking us what our band name is so they can hang fliers the week leading up to our playing in their bars, and we sheepishly have to admit we don't have one. We've thought about "Two Irish Guys"...but folks might show up expecting authentic Irish Music...that's not happening.=.thought about Tammy Why Not?...but someone else stole it...thought about Free Beer, but realized a marquee displaying "Free Beer here Saturday Night!" would definitely cause a Who concert-type throng on the West Side...particularly if the crowd thinks it's Hudy Delight...SO...Since you go "off" sports on your blog frequently, how about telling people that you're accepting name ideas for a two-man accoustical gig that plays around town...if we pick a winner from a submission, that individual gets a free drink on us of his or her choice (Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, or anything else the bar just MIGHT offer) if they ever come to one of our gigs.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


How bad does it have to be in Lexington for Tubby Smith to take the job at Minnesota? Believe what you want -- Smith was given an ultimatum by UK's AD to fire his entire staff, Smith was worn out by the outside demands of the job, Smith knew he'd never please folks down there, the pressure finally cooked him -- it seems obvious that he'd had enough. Again: It's an incredibly difficult job, made harder by unrealistic expectations. That Smith averaged 25 wins a year, won a national title and went to four Final 8s, I think, wasnt good enough. That's sad. Sadder is, Smith's a decent man, in a profession where decency is tough to maintain.

And yet...

All you could think of while watching Kansas thrash the 'Cats last week was the silly disparity in talent. UK fans don't stand for that.

It's hard to see Tubby excelling at Minnesota, no matter how good a coach he is. It's hard to see anyone excelling at Minnesota.

Good luck to UK in hiring its next coach. Of course, they'll love the guy down there. Until he loses a few.

read it and weep

Zimpher joins NCAA Board of Directors

CINCINNATI, Ohio — University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zimpher has been named to the Division I Board of Directors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as the representative of the BIG EAST Conference. Zimpher will serve a four-year term.
“I’m honored to represent the BIG EAST, one of the nation’s premier athletics conferences. College Athletics are an important part of universities and I am excited to be entrusted with this important responsibility to work with other conference representatives in providing governance for the NCAA,” Zimpher said.
“We are extremely pleased that President Zimpher has been appointed to the NCAA Board of Directors,” said BIG EAST Conference Commissioner Michael Tranghese. “The NCAA Board of Directors plays a vital role in national issues. Nancy is an outstanding choice and we are very fortunate to have her represent the BIG EAST.”
The NCAA is a voluntary organization through which the nation’s colleges and universities govern their athletics programs. It involves more than 1,250 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals.
The NCAA Board of Directors is the primary decision-making body in Division I, with the ultimate responsibility for the policy and direction of the division and for adopting any changes to the operating bylaws and rules of Division I. The NCAA Board of Directors is comprised of 18 Division I CEO’s, with each member serving a four-year term. Other duties of the board include establishing the budget, general policies and strategic plan for the NCAA.
Zimpher began her presidency of the University of Cincinnati on October 1, 2003.

Mick's in Canada, eh?

The Bearcats coach is doing Madness analysis for the Canadian TV network The Score. Not surprisingly, he's using his air time to talk up UC basketball. "I'm on TV saying, I want the next great Canadian player in Cincinnati,'' Cronin said Wednesday. "The guy I do the games with says, 'Here we go, he's recruiting again.'

"It's working to perfection. I'm getting e-mails from coaches all over Canada. I'm the only American college coach they know.''

While "next great Canadian player'' might be an oxymoron, it's cool to see Cronin using every advantage he can. As for Sean Miller:

Good column in the Detroit Free Press this AM about the patchy success of mid-major coaches making the transition to the big time. Michael Rosenberg points to Steve Alford and Dan Monson as recent examples of guys who have gone to the Big 10 from a Mid and not done very well. Monson took Gonzaga to the Eight in '99, and is out at Minnesota. New Mexico is looking at Alford. Iowa isn't sad about that. Miller's name is mentioned in the piece, along with Lowery from Southern Illinois and John Beilein of WVU. My feeling is, Minnesota has very little chance of getting Miller, but if Michigan makes a run, XU won't be able to match the money or, obviously, the competition. It'd be up to Miller to stay or go. Young, ambitious coaches don't take long to make that call.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Paul Wilson is not Al Gore

Wow, you'd think we cared about something besides sports on this Blog. The Reds let Paul Wilson go today. It was inevitable, given how Wilson has pitched, but a little sad nevertheless. Wilson's comeback is ongoing, though... let's hope he finds someplace to pitch. He's a true pro and a great clubhouse guy. On the bright side, the fact the Reds don't have room for him speaks well for the depth of the staff... speaking of, did you know they have a pitcher named "Mike'' Belisle? SI claims to know enough to pick the Reds last in the Central, but not quite enough to know their likely 5th starter's first name.... and if you really want to laugh, look at SI's Player Value Ratings and see where they rate, say, Felipe Lopez....

Monday, March 19, 2007

3-Dot Lounge welcomes Al Gore

Interesting story in Time magazine this week. Former VP Al Gore, Mr. Global Warming himself, apparently spent $30,000 last year to heat and cool his Tennessee mansion. That, says Time, is 20 times what the average homeowner spends. Last August alone, Gore spent twice as much as Average Joe spends in a year, on energy at home. Gore sounds like every Hollywood poseur who ever campaigned for the environment while riding in a stretch limo. Meanwhile, fear for the ice caps. Or something...

Maybe Dustin Hermanson is the shut-down closer the Reds are looking for. Or maybe he's the latest guy to be tossed against the wall, hoping he'll stick. Bullpens are best when every pitcher knows when he's going to pitch, i.e. his "role.'' If March is supposed to be used to figure that out, the Reds are in trouble. It's like they say about QBs in the NFL... if you have 2 starters, you don't have one...

Greg Oden reminds me of Ralph Sampson, a guy I covered when he was at Virginia. Great size, great talent, heart and head not always in the game. It was amazing to me how Oden disappeared for long stretches Saturday. In a close, do or die game, your star better show up. Oden seems interested only occasionally...

Have gotten more than a few e-mails since Sunday, reacting to a "positive'' column on Justin Cage, after Cage scored 25, made all 8 of his shots and outplayed Oden when the two were matched up. The theme was, "Xavier lost. It was Cage's fault. You're a liberal wimp.'' Actually, I'm never going to rip a college kid for missing a free throw or making a physical error in any game, let alone a game in which he starred. Again: Kid played a fantastic game and I know when he looks back on it, he'll remember that as much as the miss.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thad loves Sean

...and vice versa. We get caught up too often in silly stuff. The fact that some Xavier fans still resent Thad Matta has exactly no bearing on the game today. The players don't care. The coaches don't care. Miller told an interesting story Friday: When Matta hired him away from NC State to be his top assistant, Miller lived in Matta's house for a month. Years before, the two shared a tiny office in Millett Hall, when they were assistants at Miami. The bottom line on Matta and X is this: The guy used XU as a steppingstone to a better job. X WANTS coaches that have that sort of ambition and talent; it's very, very good at finding them. No coach who has worked there since Bob Staak has left the place worse than he found it. Far from it.

Where Matta whiffed was in how he left. A few weeks after speaking glowingly to me about Father Hoff and the "Xavier family'', he was off to Columbus, divorce complete. That was disingenuous, at best. It was also a very coachly thing to do, and happens all the time at the big-time level. Every coach has a little Nick Saban in him. Matta was no different.

mid-major griping

Those who complained loud and long about the lack of mid-majors in the Madness didnt listen to selection committee chairman Gary Walters. Walters acknowledged that while the # of at-large bids (6) for the "non-power'' conference schools decreased for the 2nd straight year, he asked that those complaining look at the # of automatic bids given the Smalls. In other words, don't complain about Purdue, Arkansas and Stanford when the likes of Belmont, Texas A&M CC and the 16 seeds are getting a pass.

It's a great point, one I made in a column for Friday's paper. The 16s are now 0-92 in the tournament. They lost Thursday and Friday by an average of 31. As for the upsets that give the tournament its charm: There were none, unless you count VCU beating Duke and Winthrop over ND, two games lots of people picked on their brackets. (And no, 9s beating 8s are not upsets.)

It's nice that Cinderella dances every year, but lots of teams getting auto-bids have no business being here. So maybe those grousing about a lack of bids for lesser teams should cool it and be glad for what they have. It's not farfetched that someday, the Big Boys might decide to do to basketball what they've done to football. Is there any reason 15 and 16 seeds shouldnt be in another, lesser division?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

maybe there's another book in it

Pete Rose decided yesterday to tell Dan Patrick that he bet on the Reds every day when he managed them. Why'd he say that now? Your guess is as good as mine. I want Rose in the Hall as much as the next guy, but every time he opens his mouth, he's walking backward. I suppose in PeteWorld -- defined by delusion, arrogance and a pathological need to say and do stuff he shouldnt -- Rose believed such an admission would make his bets appear more "honest.'' If only he'd listened to a few, trusted insiders way back when, instead of thinking he could outlast Baseball. It was never going to be as simple as playing long enough to pass Ty Cobb. The sun hasn't set for Rose yet, but it's halfway into the water. And, bless him, Pete's still Pete.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tony Bruno: The new Paul Harvey

Somebody actually reads this stuff? Incredible. The other day, I ripped my new pal T. Bruno in the blog for having a sports talk show about nothing. It's the Seinfeld of AM radio. TB read it, or someone mentioned it to him or something, so his producer called me today, to ask me to defend myself. (Bigshot national radio guys never call you themselves.)

We had a very nice conversation on the air. It was about nothing, naturally. But good nothing. Informative nothing. It was very good nothing radio. Seinfeld did OK. I'm guessing my man T does pretty well, too. It was probably just coincidence that every time I punched him up while I was in Sarasota, he was seducing a Hooters babe on the air. For a paycheck. I gotta admit, that's worth a little admiration.

Live big, T-Man. Keep up the good nothing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

UK basketball and such

Isn't it possible that the biggest problem Kentucky fans have with their basketball program at the moment is their own, inflated perceptions? Contrary to popular notion, 25 wins and at least a Sweet 16 appearance every year is not your divine right. I look at UK hoops the same way I see Alabama football, though to a lesser degree. The glory days are gone, not because the program has declined considerably, but because everyone else is catching up. The days of kids dreaming of going to UK to play for the 'Cats are done, just as they have been at Alabama, for many years. Instead of facing that reality, 'Bama fires Mike Shula a year after he wins 10 or 11 games, and UK fans now think Tubby Smith should go.

Maybe he should. But don't expect the next guy to suddenly restore the program to Ruppdom, or even Pitino-hood. The landscape has changed.

Someone please tell Jim Boeheim to stop complaining about his NCAA snub and start scheduling a little better. The Orange played one road game before Jan. 7 -- at Canisius. Ooooh.

And forget expanding the tournament. It works fine as is. Every year, some school or 2 will complain about missing out. That'd be true with 65 teams or 265.

Also: Even as we agree that the little guys give the tournament a lot of its first-weekend appeal, we really don't want to see those teams beyond a week from Friday, do we? As much as we like Winthrop, Holy Cross, Creighton and Oral Roberts, a Final 4 with more than one of them would be less than thrilling...

I talked to Doug Penno yesterday, the Miami senior who banked the shot to beat Akron last Saturday. Great story, great kid. It's the sort of uplift that keeps me doing this. Read it in today's (Tuesday's) Enquirer.

And I saw 300. Epic.

Monday, March 12, 2007

who not to pick

Don't pick VCU to upset Duke: The Rams' best win was over 12th seed Old Dominion at home. Duke isn't DUKE. But they're better than VCU... don't do what lots of "experts'' are doing now, and think Ohio State won't get to Atlanta... the Bucks have the best big man in quasi-amateur ball, one of the best March coaches and start 2 seniors and a junior. Ron Lewis is money when it matters. They'll play Georgetown in the semis... don't think Wisconsin can escape this coming weekend... don't underestimate Georgetown's nice tandem of Roy Hibbert, and Jeff Green, the best player not enough people know about... don't get caught up in love with Winthrop. Nice stories don't win games in March... don't forget the Missouri Valley. Creighton and Southern Illinois are good for at least three wins between them... don't forget that historically only half the No. 1 seeds get to the F4. This year it's Ohio State and Florida... do get sleepy with Oral Roberts, a fun team to watch that, praise the lord, only has to beat Washington State and Vandy to make the Sweet 16. .. don't forget to tell me these next three weeks how wrong I am.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

3-dots welcomes tony bruno

A week trying to listen to sports talk radio in Tampa makes you appreciate what we have here. The all-sports station uses the national guy Tony Bruno 9-noon. Bruno was in the Tampa area all week. For Bruno, sports began and ended with the Hooters babe sitting next to him. He did what I though was impossible: Manage to talk about nothing, every day, every time I turned him on. Same w/the self-styled "chicks'' in the afternoon... conference basketball tournaments busting out all over Friday at 5. They decided to talk about people who annoy them. That was unintentionally ironic, for some of us...

David Ross' evaluation to me of Homer Bailey last Thursday proved prophetic: Ross said Bailey still had lots to learn about setting up hitters and understanding what major league hitters would be looking for on various counts...become a pitcher, in other words, not just a kid with great stuff... I still love Bailey's attitude and think he'll be up sooner than later...but the way he's been knocked around in the last week justifies Wayne Krivsky's handling of him...

Xavier drops to an 11 or 12 now, right? This year, is a 12 beating a 5 in the first round even that much of an upset? We looked at George Mason last year as a pleasant aberration; it could happen again this year, and no one should be surprised. Parity is here to stay and with the right matchups, XU could be playing in the Sweet 16...

And what if K-State is the team that knocks Xavier off the bubble and into the NIT?

Want a sleeper? How 'bout Winthrop? Lost in OT at Wisconsin and by 7 to North Carolina, on a neutral floor...

Sorry, still don't buy the Bengals spin re free agency, namely that they spent this year's money last year, to lock up Willie Anderson, Levi Jones and Bobbie Williams... the fact remains, free agency is one tool to fill obvious needs, and the Bengals have ignored it. Especially if they lose Kevin Kaesviharn, their most underrated player. As long as they refuse to get even a little creative with the cap, the Bengals will likely never be as good as they should be....

Griffey's injury has prevented the Reds from evaluating his CF skills this spring. Which means he'll be in center on Opening Day, because nobody, still, is willing to take him on. It's surprising, the deference offered a guy who most team insiders agree would help the club best playing RF...

Anyone seen the new animated gladiator movie "300"? I could use a review...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Three-dot lounge welcomes Dickie V

Vitale says Arizona is a sleeper in the Madness. Like the rest of us, he sees no clearcut stud team, though he likes Ohio State's ability to play at any pace and North Carolina's talent. He sees Xavier seeded anywhere from 8 to 10. The baseball coach at my college, who was Yogi Berra's verbal twin, liked to say "you can't be 2 places at the same time without a station wagon.'' He never met Vitale, who was at Reds camp at noon and Marquette by about 6 that night...

The guy also said, "Line up alphabetically by height'' and "Half of you over here, half of you over there, the rest of you come with me.'' Scary thing is, he was serious...

Tom Browning says the kid pitcher Johnny Cueto is "half a step behind'' Homer Bailey... Browning is here, working w/young guys and eating the free food in the clubhouse. As is Todd Benzinger...

Sat a few innings the other day with Peter King, Sports Illustrated's football guru and someone I've known for 20 years, since we worked together at Newsday on Long Island. He had no problem with the Bengals re-signing Justin Smith and letting Eric Steinbach go. They couldnt keep both and defensive tackles are harder to come by than offensive guards. King also has a 25-year-old daughter. Wow. I remember when she was 5.

Pat Barry is a DJ on an oldies radio station in Tampa. In case you were wondering.

Coolest car in the player lot belongs to Alex Gonzalez, a black Ferrari so low slung, a fat man could hurdle it...

Josh Hamilton won't make the much-anticipated trip today to Tampa, where a horde of media would have awaited, given he was the Devil Rays top pick -- and No. 1 overall -- in the '98 draft. It would have been his first exposure to mass media not in a controlled situation. If Hamilton makes the Reds and plays well, he'll have to deal with lots of press scrutiny and occasionally mean-spirited fan attention on the road. That could be as difficult as hitting an 0-2 curveball...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bengals: Better?

Free agency is almost never a way to get better quickly in the NFL. Teams just don't have enough money to buy lots of top-tier talent and now, the trend is toward signing your own, anyway. But at the moment, it's fair to wonder about the Bengals. They might use Brian Simmons' money to keep Kenny Watson, Reggie Kelly and Kevin Kaesviharn, which is OK. But how have they improved? They spend most of their available change on keeping Smith and Geathers: How have they improved? If they somehow signed Joey Porter (they won't) to replace Simmons, they exchange a solid citizen for a loose cannon. Better? Eric Steinbach is gone. Better? September is a long way off, but the team's moves lately suggest that standing pat is the best way to the postseason. We'll see.

Friday, March 02, 2007

my new friend Adam

SARASOTA -- spring training is about new starts, so I figured it was time to patch things up w/Adam Dunn... occasionally, writers and players have problems with each other... usually they pass... ours lingered, which was dumb, because Dunn is among the most engaging and self-effacing Reds, not to mention one of the most important. So when I asked Dunn today if we could bury the hatchet, he didn't bury it in my head. We had a great talk, he seems a changed guy. More serious about the player he can be, more aware that his vast potential was going a little untapped. More mature, generally. Good for him. Good for the Reds. I'll write about him for Sunday's paper. Meantime, it feels good to patch things up.

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