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.
Me, the Reds homer
Normally, I don't respond to questions of my integrity in a forum such as this, but today is an exception. Fellow Enquirer reporter John Kiesewetter suggested recently in his blog that I'm "soft'' on the Reds. That's an absolute first in my 19 years in town, someone suggesting I'm a cheerleader. Anyway, Kiesewetter surmises that's the case because the team's radio deal w/Clear Channel is up after this year, so CC talkers have to make nice. A few things:
I didnt know the deal was up after this year.
No one has told me what to say on the radio. Or even suggested it.
The specific instance Kiesewetter pointed to was a segment on-air last week, when I read a list of Reds promotions for the rest of the season. The intent was not to boost interest or attendance. It was to poke fun of the product on the field. I mean, "Build A Bear Night''?
It's called "sarcasm'', John. Look it up.
Trust me. A very good reason for keeping my "day'' job at the newspaper is, I can do the show the way I want. Integrity is all I have. I ain't about to give it up. Both the paper and the radio station have been extremely supportive.
Hope that clears things up.
Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln...
Steelers beat Reds, 14-10... Jerry Narron responds to 18th loss in 23 games by saying, "We did a great job offensively.''
Which brings to mind:
Davy Crockett at the Alamo: "We did a great job, defensively.''
Custer at L.B.H. -- "Cool headdresses.''
Pickett at Gettysburg: "I liked our spunk.''
'64 Phillies: "We gave it a good, long run.''
Titanic sinks: Passengers Treated to After-Dinner Swim!
Great Depression creates greater appreciation for dimes!
1929, what a great year for camping out!
Elvis died, but how 'bout that Annette Funicello!
And so on. Feel free to add your own lunacy.
Reds: Change the Message
I said this last night, on WLW Extra Innings: It's time for Bob Castellini and W. Krivsky to change the message. Cut the pretense of contending, plead for patience, say you were wrong about no 5-year plans but not wrong about bringing championship baseball back to Cincinnati. Suggest that expensive veterans are expendable, for decent replacements and good prospects. BRING UP HOMER BAILEY. And Phil Dumatrait... tell the fans it's going to take awhile.. point to the big success of the lower minor league teams...
assume your fans are sophisticated, and Get It.
Either that, or continue insulting everyone's intelligence by running Mike Stanton out there.
This is going to be Topic A again tonight after the game, and likely a column in the Enquirer. Input welcome.
Cool story about a guy who washed dishes in all 50 states
, then wrote a book about it. Worked my way through college manning a Hobart dish machine... loved the mindlessness required. Only summer job I ever had was at a country club in suburban DC... Congressional, hosted the USOpen about a decade ago... 7 summers, first as a burger cook, then as a waiter... I started taking crap from rich people long before I began writing about professional athletes.
Got a favorite job? One a little offbeat, maybe? Lemme know. Could be a topic on Sports Talk Monday night...
Nicholson, Henry and media madness
Pity the fool who gets caught in the web of the 24-hour news cycle...media hates a vacuum so, occasionally, when there's no legit stuff to cover, we just sorta, you know, create things...
AJ Nicholson played not at all last year and was scheduled to do the same this year, though probably not in Cincinnati, where he'd have been cut in July or August if he'd managed not to get into it w/the mother of his child. As it is, he's cut now.
This was a big story?
Locally, nationally, everywhere in between. Guy got more pub for a fracas w/his squeeze than for anything he'd ever achieved on the field. National hacks and nets are fascinated w/our little town when they see a chance to rip. It's gotten comical.
Then there's Henry, who failed a drug test. Maybe, possibly, we're definitely not sure. Because a lawyer had a big mouth, Henry was all over the local, national and in between "news'' for... for... what, exactly? The crime of being Chris Henry?
Don't get me wrong. Man deserves his fate. But the way his and AJ's stories were exploded makes us in the media look like dopes. (Conversely, props to Enquirer football guy Mark Curnutte, who had the Henry story several days ago and didn't blow it out, because he knew nothing was official. He's the only sane guy in the whole deal.)
Mortensen, Clayton et al, yakking on ESPN as if they know what's happening. Comical.
2 jobs and unexpected joy
An unexpected bonus of having 2 full-time jobs, as I have now, is a renewed appreciation for life's pleasures... played golf today w/good friends... had lunch outside at Sky Galley, at Lunken Airport... after golf, smoked a cheap cigar and drank a Keystone on the back deck home... watched the squirrels chase the birds... will watch T. Soprano tonight... all this stuff used to be routine, before I added Sports Talk to my plate. Now, it's all magical, in a way I never understood until 6 weeks ago... for what it's worth...
BTW, nice to see J. Narron get tossed for a change... thought for awhile he was Super Glue-d to the bench... Reds still the Reds, though... 8 home games against bad clubs won't change that... can we puh-leeze see Bailey and Dumatrait up here now? What do they have to lose? More games?
Bowden rippers, give it a rest
It's hip to rip J.G.B. IV now... apparently, it's Bowden's fault the Reds are underachieving and have no decent players in their system over the age of 21....even though he hasnt been here in almost four years. A few things:
Jeff Brantley, Jeff Shaw, Pete Harnisch, Pete Schourek, Denny Neagle, John Smiley;
A few more:
Danny Graves, Ron Gant, Eric Davis, Kevin Mitchell, Scott Williamson, Scott Sullivan;
Dave Burba, David Wells, Mark Portugal = 18 wins last nine weeks of '95 = division title... all acquired in 10-day span after all-star break.
Burba for Sean Casey.
Smiley for Graves... Smiley won -- count 'em -- two games the rest of his career after the deal. Graves is the Reds' all-time saves leader.
Felipe Lopez for Elmer Dessens. Edwin Encarnacion for Rob Bell. Who?
Not enough time to mention all the stats these gentleman accumulated for winning Reds clubs that Bowden put together. You could look it up.
What would the Reds record be now if their bullpen had the '07 versions of the '99 tandem of graves, williamson and sullivan? About 38-6.
If you don't like Bowden personally, fine. The grievance list is long: Tony, for starters. But to suggest Bowden was a lousy GM is idiotic. Fans and media scream for W. Krivsky to Do Something. Bowden did things, so cut the hypocrisy. Read an extended rant on this subject in Monday's Enquirer.
Live big, 5-Tool-Man. (OK, so Ruben Mateo and Willie Greene stunk.)
A few days after I wrote a column savaging the NFL Draft
, I got a few e-mails telling me I'd violated a Man Law. Manly men can't get enough of Boomer Berman and Mel the Hairman talking about difference makers and 40 times. That got me to thinking: What other Man Laws do I break?
I mean, just because I was reading the magazine Cottage Living
in the sauna at the YMCA the other day doesnt make me, um, curious. Right?
I own a pink shirt. I watch HGTV. (Love those real estate, what-half-a-mil-buys shows)... heck, I watch Fine Living. (Dream job: The Wandering Golfer) I...I... like to...garden. And cook. Occasionally, I'll watch women's golf. I ask directions.
On the other hand, I drink beer, watch The Shield and often leave the toilet seat up. I've never owned an orange car.
So, thumbs up or down on my man lawful-ness? And what might you do that breaks The Law? You've got it easy. You can be anonymous. I've got to put my name on this thing, which I gotta say is a manly damned thing to do. This will be a topic on my 700 WLW radio show tonight, 6 to 9:30.
Bonds' 756 ball
What would you do with it? A Dallas auction house already has said it will pay $1 million
for it... the comic book mogul Todd MacFarlane paid 3 mil for McGwire's #70... what would you do? You could give it to Bonds for a signed bat or something...that'd be the nice thing to do, but Bonds isn't nice... do you throw it back on the field, the ultimate sign of fanly disdain for his chemically enhanced achievement? That would be just be a very strong thing to do.
Me, I'm taking that ball, following my police escort out of the park, driving straight to the bank, putting that ball in a safety deposit box and waiting for the offers. The only person getting that ball from me is a thief or a millionaire.
Turn it around: If Bonds had something you wanted, do you think he'd give it to you?
How much longer can you watch the Reds with any reasonable belief they can turn things around? Without significant improvement on the field and a display of accountability -- trades, releases, firings, demotions, promotions etc. -- off it, what's your cutoff date before anger turns to apathy turns to football season? I give it to June 1. If nothing is done and nothing improves, when do you shrug your shoulders and stop caring? It'll be Topic A on SportsTalk tonight, 6-9:30 on 700 WLW.
In praise of Junior Griffey
as B. Bonds slogs on toward the homerun championship of the world, more burden than joy, it's time to remember that J. Griffey has 569 all-natural dingers. He tied lying cheat R. Palmeiro Thursday and is 14 behind mumbling cheat M. McGwire. He'll never catch Bonds, obviously, but he can look his loved ones in the eye and be admired. You want a role model for your kid? There you go.
Writers are like athletes, in that we admire other writers. When I was a kid, my heroes weren't jocks; they were writers: Rod Serling, former Courier-Journal sports columnist Dave Kindred, the immortal Jim Murray. Later, it was the novelist Pat Conroy and now, one of my contemporaries, Rick Reilly.
And Anna Quindlen.
She wrote a newspaper column for many years at The New York Times, before escaping to do what all of us hacks want to do, sooner or later: Write novels. She still does the back page column at Newsweek. It's a smart blend of observation and compassion. A. Quindlen loves being alive.
I can't tell you how many copies of her pocket-sized inspiration, A Short Guide To A Happy Life, I've given to friends and relatives. I've read it so many times, the pages bear the telltale, black smudge of the morning Enquirer. I'm getting a copy to Josh Hamilton this week. I used my favorite line from that book in a column I did on Hamilton
for Wednesday's paper: "All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough."
A year or so ago, she wrote her Newsweek column on the pleasure of being alone, in being your own best company. I e-mailed her after that one, expressing agreement and thanking her for making me feel a little less weird about it. I got a response the same day.
I've taught her work to my Advanced Reporting classes at UC, to remind the kids that the best writing is both passionate and compassionate.
A. Quindlen will be here Wednesday night at Joseph-Beth booksellers at Rookwood, 7 p.m., to sign her latest novel.
Never met her. Anticipating the pleasure.
of course it's too early to panic
Or maybe not. The panic clock is at least ticking. It'll speed up if the Reds don't go 4-1 the rest of this homestand... they're 7 back already and showing no sign of turning things around... and they're losing to teams they should beat: almost half their games have been against Pittsburgh, Houston and St. Louis... six games loom in LA and SD starting Friday, then 3 in Cleveland... 3-6 isn't farfetched on that trip, and then what?
W. Krivsky isnt shy about dealing, but he seems sincerely fixed in wait-and-see mode. J. Narron isn't the leader this team craves. The Reds remain one of the worst defensive teams in the league, the Little Things mantra is being ignored (reflection on the talent, but also on the manager) and the bullpen, well, we know about the bullpen...
It's not out of the question to suggest we'll have a very good read on the whole season by May 21, when the Reds return from the road. Live big, Norm Charlton.
J. Hancock and overserved pro athletes
A reasoned column on the senseless Hancock tragedy
, by a St. Louis columnist who confessed in print to having his own DUI many years ago. I got ripped mightily on the e-mail for a column I did on Hancock the other day. The opinion was: If toxicology tests reveal Hancock had been overserved before crashing and dying, clubhouse culture is partly to blame. Every MLB clubhouse but one (Oakland's) provides players with beer. Players who drink too much are never chided by their peers, certainly not publicly. Drinking is an accepted part of the lifestyle. Until you die.
We've had a bunch of local coaches and players involved in alcohol-related incidents... B. Huggins, K. LeGree, R. Freel, O. Thurman, the former Bengal Mack, who was asleep at the wheel in his car on the suspension bridge. Thankfully, none was hurt. Or hurt anyone else. Too harsh a column, so soon after a needless death? Maybe. If it turns one head to take one cab, it was worth it.
Late for the Sky
Pinch-hitting for the NFL-swamped M.Curnutte, a few Jackson Browne lyrics swaying in my head, from For A Dancer:
Keep a fire burning in your eye;
Pay attention to the open sky;
You never know what will be coming down.
I ran that one past my 20-year-old today, aka The Kid in the Basement
...and somewhere between the time you arrive;
and the time you go;
may lie a reason you were alive;
but you'll never know.
For what it's worth.