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.
We lost a very good man today. I lost the only coach I have ever considered a friend. Skip was 56. I wish I had more time to write about him now, but I have a radio show in 15 minutes... we'll talk about him tonight on WLW, after 8 pm... drink a guinness in his honor tonight... read a good book... love your kids...
The league and the Bengals are saying zip about this, so I know about as much as you do. First reaction is, Thurman was a victim first of his own bad choices and second of circumstance. If you want to play football again and you know what you have to do to achieve that end, you do not put yourself in any situation that could even be interpreted as compromising. Don't go to a party where you might get in trouble. For that matter, distance yourself from your small hometown, where everyone knows you, some want something from you and your every move is noted. Secondly, it's not Thurman's fault M. Vick fought dogs, supposedly, or P. Jones made trouble in a strip club, allegedly. It is his problem. Commish Goodell paints w/broad brush, doesnt want to antagonize mega-sponsors and jeopardize NFL's enviable cash cow. He's on a mission for truth, justice and the American dollar. Other than that, the Bengals won't miss Thurman, because you can't lose something you never had.
To quote Lou Piniella...
I have seen enough.
Do the Reds know what they have with Matt Belisle? I believe they do. Can the same be said of Phil Dumatrait? Why no, it can't.
Did the Reds demote B. Livingston after a very good start? Yes, indeed. Did they recall him? Yup. Is he still referred to as a "spot'' starter? Right again.
Did they wait a month too long to promote Homer Bailey? Uh-huh. Did they say they didnt want Bailey in the majors until they were certain he would stick? Did they say that because they were concerned for his psyche, even though Bailey is quite possibly the most cocky, er, confident kid I've ever seen here?
Did they then demote Bailey after a very good start?
Have we seen enough of M. Stanton? We all could agree in the affirmative.
Do we know what Joey Votto can do? Not up here, we don't.
When the new blood is brought up, finally, and given a chance, has it proved worthy? Why yes, Messrs. Livingston, Keppinger, Hopper, Gosling and Bailey, I believe it has.
The non-waiver trade deadline is six days away. We'd like to think that some of this stuff will be sorted out by then. Given that the Make The Playoffs portion of the program has passed, it'd be good if the Reds used the rest of this year to see more clearly what they might have for next year. Why wait until March?
Is there a problem with Votto and/or Dumatrait? Could we see them before Sept. 1?
Why is this stuff so hard?
...and there is no Santa Claus
My guy Bear Grylls is a fraud. The Man in Man Vs. Wild doesn't really conquer the Amazon rain forest with a knife and a bottle of water. Next thing I know, someone's gonna tell me Barry Bonds took steroids.
Maybe you've seen the show on Discovery. Since I have no life, I watch it all the time, TiVo'ed, when I get home from doing Extra Innings on WLW... Bear in the desert, Bear in the Everglades, Bear eating huge, giant bugs in Ecuador. Turns out, while Bear does eat some foul stuff, he also takes time off from his ardor to hang out in posh hotels. Those rafts that he builds out of bamboo and palm leaves? Turns out he has people build them for him.
I'm crushed. There's no disclaimer, no Bear standing up like a man and saying, yeah, well, maybe I did spend the night at the Four Seasons Botswanaland but, come on, did you really think I went a week without room service and 200-count cotton sheets? At least with other reality shows, you knew they were fake because, really, who'd do all that strange stuff on camera? But Bear sucked me in. Now, I'm hoping he gets eaten by a croc in Queensland. Unless of course, the crocs are fake, too.
Baseball pressure (?)
Much has been made about P. Mackanin's ability to get the Reds to play loose. To M's credit, he's certainly managing that way. Witness his bringing in R. Freel to be a 5th infielder last week in Atlanta... he's managing as if he has nothing to lose, which he doesn't... but, I don't know, isn't "Baseball pressure'' kind of an oxymoron?
Pressure is running out of money before running out of month... it's dealing with a sick child... A. Gonzalez knows what pressure is... pressure is being falsely accused of a serious crime and not having the money to pay for a lawyer... it's losing your job, getting sued, a marriage falling apart. It's any number of things. It's not a millionaire losing a baseball game. What pressure, really, is J. Coutlangus under? Or K. Saarloos? Who else are the Reds going to wheel in here right now that's going to do any better?
You could argue the Reds havent felt enough pressure. The so-called "sense of urgency'' never really kicked in, did it? What, exactly, were the repercussions when J. Griffey loafed down to 1st last night, then got thrown out by about 6 miles going into 2nd? Will he feel "pressured'' to run harder next time? Uh, no.
Please give the rest of us the pressure of playing a game for guaranteed money, where you make no less a year than something like 325k. Where, when you go to arbitration, you either get a big raise or a bigger one, even if your performance lacks. Where you can be T. Coffey, bless him, and be rewarded for your badness with a 2-year contract. Where you can be M. Stanton and know you're making 3mil next year, no matter what.
Give the rest of us some of that pressure.Sometimes, a little perspective works.
The Open Chahm-pionship and a cry for help
One of life's small pleasures is waking up on saturday and sunday mornings of the British Open and watching golf. But only if you're weird for golf, the way I am... and what's w/Sergio Garcia's outfits? Ever since he challenged Tiger at the PGA many years ago, the kid's been all hat, no cattle, as they say in Texas...
What's the world coming to? Golfers are on drugs, says Gary Player. Player's about 70 and looks about 40. Something not right there, either, old boy...
The only thing on steroids in golf is the ball. And, quite possibly, those square-headed drivers...
Gotta get me one of those.
W/o Mickelson, the Americans lack star power. J. Furyk's a great player, but at the end of the day he's J. Furyk, you know?
Don't you love it when US announcers like Mike Tirico use all the British terms when describing the Open Championship? "The last'' instead of the 18th, for instance.
Because I don't play nearly as much now, I'm occasionally hitting irons, um, sideways... I have no idea why, other than the obvious. Clubhead not square to the ball. I've tried different grips, stances, swing speeds, alignments. Nothing. So anyone w/a heart and a fix, I'm open to anything... I'd stand on my head and use my nose for a 9-iron if that worked.
Help me, please. Shank you very much.
I was a feature writer in New York when Barry Forbis called me from Cincinnati and asked me if I'd consider writing a column. This was 1987. I loved working in New York, didn't like living there. I'd also never written an opinion piece. Forbis, the Post sports ed. at the time, gave me a chance. That's what The Post did. It gave people chances.
The list is staggering of writers who went there raw and came out polished: Jay Mariotti, Rick Hoffer (SI), Bruce Schoenfeld, Jerry Crasnick (ESPN.com), Todd Jones, Todd Archer and on and on. Don't mean to slight anyone, I just don't have the space. The people writing sports there now are young and incredibly talented. And of course, there is Lonnie Wheeler. All he's done is write a book that went to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and stayed there.
The Post had editors who let you poke around the edges of propriety, let you take chances, believed in allowing you to, as Davey Johnson put it, "express your talent.'' As the second newspaper in a two-paper town, the Post was feisty, aggressive and hungry. When I was there, We at the Post believed They at the Enquirer were fat, lazy and overly full of themselves. We were, more often than not, correct.
When I worked there (1988-94), we had lots of travel money. I saw the world on Scripps' dime: Seoul, Barcelona etc. I also went to every major sporting event in America. Thanks to the Post and its editors, I learned how to write a column.
Unfortunately, it's only a big deal to newspaper people when newspapers die. Truth is, every time another source of credible information disappears, everyone's ability to make informed choices is diminished. Best of luck to all who fought the good fight at The Post. It's not your fault. It's only your problem. More's the pity, for all of us.
Live big, Bear Queenan.
It's been awhile
Speaking of the Reds: The dog days are here. P. Mackanin allows in the morning paper that the Reds "have to start thinking (about). . . the little things.'' God help us. Where's he been all year, Venus?
Hedline says "Games in Florida, Atlanta set tone for season.'' Not for me, they won't. The tone's been set since the end of April. Losing teams don't expect to win. They usually don't think they can. The Reds have the players to be a .500 club. They don't have the heads for it. They're losers. Key Mackanin quote: "The last few innings (Sunday), the guys were in the mode: We're not going to win this game.'' Yep. Clubhouse culture needs an overhaul. A new manager with a ring or two might do the trick.
Meantime, curb the can-Krivsky talk.. good teams have stability at GM and manager... Reds playing the best example of that in ATL tonight... 2 years isnt enough time to evaluate a GM... hire a proven manager... give Kriv another year...
I'd expect a little trade before any big ones. People assume there is this great, big market for A. Dunn out there. Contenders don't covet hitting, though, especially when hitting long balls is all the guy does. I'd bet Lohse or Weathers goes before Dunn; I'd guess Hatteberg or Conine would also go before the Donkey. Note to Kriv: Take yer lumps and a few prospects for Dunner, and be grateful his 13-mil is off the books.
I'm not even slicing irons now. Thanks to 2 jobs -- and my own pitiful excuse for a golf game -- I'm shanking. It's embarrassing, pathetic, worthless and weak. Any tips welcome.
Program note: Me on ESPN News tonight (Monday), talking about...something.
Rescue Me has been a huge disappointment this year. I love frat/firehouse humor, but the show's going nowhere. Have a point, OK, Denis?
Anyone been to the Deveroes Summer League? Anyone lighting it up regularly? Any superstar cameos?
Here's hoping if Odell Thurman is straight and reinstated, we grant him the same kindness we heaped on Josh Hamilton...
Driving range is calling. God help the dudes on either side of me.
Short Attention Span's guide to the weekend past
Before I start, anybody seen a decent movie for grown-ups this summer? Are there any? I mean... Transformers? C'mon. I'm not hunting Bergman here, just something someone over the age of 6 can watch.
What kind of idiot takes heroin to an amusement park?
A. Pujols who hasnt hit a homer in 70-some at-bats, volunteers to be in the Derby tonight, anyway. It's why we root for him and boo Bonds.
Field announced for W&S tennis. It's great, as usual, might get Federer and Nadal in the final. This event is the best run, least appreciated sporting event in this area. It has been for so long, it has retired the crown. Go watch it sometime, even if you don't like tennis.
A few Favorites I failed to mention from a post a week or so ago: Esquire Theatre, Half-Price Books, the incredibly varied, cheap and good public golf courses here. A continued source of appreciation and amazement.
P. Mackanin's big personnel move is to give J. Valentin more PT? Really?
Brantley gets better and better.
Dumbest show I fell into while doing nothing: Man Versus Wild, on Discovery... dude gets dropped into the middle of the Costa Rican rain forest with, like, a pocket knife and a bottle of water, and we're supposed to believe he's Balboa. Watch it and laugh.
A. Harang snubbed 3x by Genius La Russa for all-star spot... could it because of the beaning Harang laid on Cards catcher Barrett?
Live big, Ray Fosse.
Bonds and... free speech?
Got many calls on my 700 WLW Sports Talk show the last few days, from fans who said they were hassled and even ejected by vigilant Reds security people at GABP Tuesday and Thursday nights, for dogging Barry Bonds. They claimed guards told them not to use the word "steroids'' when heckling Bonds. I heard enough say the same thing to think it was at least believable.
I asked Reds security chief Kerry Rowland about it. He said there had been some sort of directive issued by MLB to that effect, but that if hecklers weren't profane, they could yell what they wanted at the Giants left fielder (Rowland also told me there were no armed FBI agents in the stands, then turned around and told an Enquirer reporter there were, so believe what you want.)
Point is: Who is Baseball to tell fans they can't dog Bonds? While you or I might find it sad/silly/ reprehensible, fans heckling athletes is about as rare as the sun rising in the East. As long as it's not profane or racial, what business does Baseball have telling people what they can yell at a ballgame?
It reminds me of what happened at Duke in the mid-80s. Coach K pleaded with the Cameron Crazies to stop the "Bullsh--'' chant after questionable refs calls. The next game, after a bad call, the Crazies chanted "We beg to differ, we beg to differ.''
Gag-ruling fans heckling Bonds? That's bullsh--, er, I beg to differ.
Everybody's Records (Disc 2)
There are a few places I'd miss entirely if/when I left this place. I was reminded of that yesterday, when I stopped by Everybody's, in Pleasant Ridge, and picked up a few obscurities for my collection. In an age when independent record stores are disappearing like 8-track tapes, Everybody's has held its own. It's because they almost always have something you want that no one else has. (It's also because while I was there, one of the guys slipped a little Southside Johnny on the store music system, just for me. I didn't even ask.)
I picked up 3 discs Saturday -- the new Steve Forbert, a collection of Southern beach music and a double-disc from the classic '67 concert, Monterey Pop. I'd never seen any of those discs anywhere else.
I've been told about Shake It Records in Northside. Even recommended it, sight unseen, to B. Arroyo. I'll get over there one of these days.
It got me to thinking of the places around here I'd miss if I weren't around... here's my short list, in no particular order... feel free to give me yours...
Molly Malone's (formerly the Dubliner) across the street
Stein-Mart at Rookwood (because I'm tight)
Joseph-Beth at Rookwood
Mariemont (don't live there, just think it's what a 'burb should look like)
Hickory Woods Golf Course.
Gimme yours... live big, Jimi Hendrix
John Fay suggests this AM that the Reds might fire the manager Monday. Your guess is as good as mine, though I doubt they will. B. Castellini is not blind to the incompetence of his bullpen, and knows that's not his manager's fault. Plus, to fire Narron after extending him a year ago would reflect poorly on ownership.
And there's this: Unless you've got Joe Girardi/Bob Brenly/Ken Macha ready to assume the corner office, what's the point? You bring in B. Hatcher or B. Dent for the rest of the year, so what? Beyond appeasing fans, I mean. And sorry, but no team ever got good listening to its fans about how to run the club.
If you say it'd finally be a show of accountability from a club that has shown exactly none of it to this point, I'd go with that. But it better not stop there. The owner needs to add some strong words about his GM as well. Then he needs to admit that the crux of his first-day message was misguided: There will be a 5-year plan here. Then bodies need to start flying out the door... and if there is a next guy starting Tuesday, he needs to stop loving his players so much, the way Narron has. To say they're not far from being good, or that his everyday players have been busting it, is absolutely ridiculous. Even if it were entirely correct (it's not), that is not what you say about baseball's worst team.
Regardless, Narron's firing would represent nothing more than a half-pound of flesh for those (myself included) who've banged for Doing Something for at least six weeks. It is something, but it's a drop in the bucket.