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.
The Reds and B. Phillips
I said this Thursday night on Extra Innings on WLW, but it bears repeating: If the Reds marketers don't take BP and turn him into an ad campaign, they're nuts.
Young player. Very good, chance to be great player. Exciting, passionate, fan friendly. Many, many people have mentioned BP when I ask them who treats them the best... signs as many autographs as anyone.
Joy to watch... if only everyone played with his passion.
Great smile, great hip-hop edge to him..
The Reds do a great job marketing their past. Their future? Not so much. And how many heads can there possibly be left to bobble?
They've made GABP a more fun place to be, though I swear, the times I go as a fan, there's still something missing. Oh, yeah, winning. Lots of nice bars, though.
Anyway, time to sell the players. Sell the product, not the entertainment. If, that is, you believe in the product. It starts with BP.
bronson arroyo... honest or worse?
It's hard to question a guy who made 70 starts the previous 2 years and last year threw 240 innings... and who threw 129 pitches in a loss at San Diego this year. But anybody else have an issue with a guy who, in the most important game of the season, asks out after 80 pitches? Arroyo said he was "toast'' after the... 2nd inning? Did he look toasted to you? One run, six innings. Arroyo said he wanted to give it to the bullpen, given the way it was performing lately. Why is that his call?
Other disappointing notes from a doubleheader that got away... overdoing the lefty-right matchups to bench Josh Hamilton for both games... not playing ADunn both games... batting Cantu cleanup... Junior admiring a single off the wall... absolute failure to hit in the clutch...
no blame to the 'pen, which can't be perfect every night... but just a lackluster show from a team that had opened the contention door a crack...
Monday Night Vickball
Did we hear from the dogs yet? I'm sorry, but I tuned to ESPN last night to watch a football game, not the life and times of a dog murderer. How 'bout you? I'd rather not view the Bengals on TV through a pair of binoculars, especially when I'm only 6 feet away and sitting on my couch. But every couple seconds, ESPN shrunk the game screen so we could watch Vick leaving the courthouse or listen to some new Head tell us what it all means. Enough already. Vick was/is a great athlete and a really mediocre quarterback who engaged in a disgusting hobby. He said he made a "mistake.'' Uh, no.
A mistake is adding two and two and getting five. It's ordering the chicken when you really wanted the fish. It's not bankrolling a dogfighting ring, then torturing the dogs that didn't perform well.
Regardless, once again an actual event plays second to an overblown melodrama. Vick's the Lindsey Lohan of the NFL. I didnt care about her, either.
the perfection of 162 games
The best thing about baseball is that, across six months of six games a week, teams almost always get what they deserve. It is the absolute truest regular season in all of sports. Flawed teams are revealed, good teams are rewarded.
The Reds were not nearly as bad as 31-51. Way too much talent, that stayed almost entirely healthy. Consider what would have happened had the Reds lost Harang and Arroyo the whole year, the way the Cards lost Carpenter and Mulder... and the Brewers have lost Sheets.
Conversely, they're not as good as 29-19 under Mackanin. The way they're winning now is not the way consistently good clubs win. You are not going to hit your way out of every tight spot, the way this club mostly has all month. The worst thing that could happen to this team is to finish with 78 or 79 wins and ownership adopt the We're Not That Far Away mentality -- a mostly stand-pat winter, keep the manager etc... and finish with 78 or 79 wins again next year. I havent seen enough encouraging yet from the young starting pitching, for example, that would make me think a big upgrade isnt required.
In March, I said this was a club with .500 talent that with a little luck, a lot of health and a career year or two could make things interesting. A few things have gone better than expected... Junior's year, BP's power, the emergence of Keppinger, Hopper and Burton... a few have gone worse: D. Ross' hitting, Arroyo's inconsistency, Lohse, mostly miserable middle relief...
But all in all, the Reds are only slightly worse than where I guessed they might be by now.
When they finish with 78 or 79 wins, can we please not hear how close they are to being good... see it as a small first step, then make the needed changes...
Levi Jones off limits to reporters
That's what Enquirer Bengals man Mark Curnutte wrote this morning. It's something I've never understood. Jones is a grown man. Can't he make that call? What does the team think Levi's gonna say? It's like with Rich Braham's "deep bruise'' last year. Man broke his leg. What's wrong with simply saying that? It's just a very weird thing. Football coaches are generally the most paranoid, secretive people on the planet, but the Bengals occasionally "take it to the next level'' as they say.
And: As for kids being disillusioned by M. Vick... get over it... I always liked Charles Barkley's take on the athlete-as-role-model, and I'll say this until they cart me off to the home:
Athletes aren't role models. Most of them need role models.
Why do we persist, in the face of so much evidence, to think that athletic skill equals social grace? Never has. Never will. Tell your kid to admire his parents or a good teacher or two.
Live big, Gil Thorp.
I've been having an ongoing e-mail discussion w/a couple Reds fans who think the team is poised for some miracle run to the Central title. P. Mackanin has mentioned it as well. As bad as this division is -- and it's historically lousy, maybe only the '73 Mets, I believe, won a worse division -- here's what our Redlegs would likely have to do:
If we assume the winner will get to, say, 83-79 -- and we can assume that, right? I mean somebody has to get a little hot, don't they? -- the 53-68 Reds would have to go 30-9 the rest of the way.
Anyone see that happening with a starting rotation that includes Dumatrait, Livingston and TBA? Mackanin has to be optimistic... but talking about winning 10 in a row? Longest streak is, what, five? Big winning streaks mean consistent pitching, not winning 11-9 every night. Beyond A. Harang and D. Weathers, who's consistent? (Consistently good, I mean.) The Reds buried themselves in their first 82 games... even good teams don't rally from 20-under .500...
It's a nice thought, though.
Amazing. Thanks to all who recommended it. Only problem was, we didnt have enough time to do all we wanted. Hiked Old Man's Cave and Conkle's Hollow. Few things in life are better than you expect; this was one... if I had a swimming hole at my cabin like the one beneath the falls at Old Man, I'd never leave... and upper rim trail at Conkle's was spectacular... if you didnt know the gorge was there, you'd never find it... 2 nights at the cabin in Adama County, where the temps have to be at least 10 degrees cooler than here... fire pit, a million stars, Marty and Brantley... Keystone Light, naturally... back Thursday to continue working on a book w/ J. Bench... Friday, 18 at Elks Run... back on the radio Monday... thanks again to all who posted suggestions...
cameron and ross
One admittedly unscientific way to tell if your club's, um, engaged is to see how it reacts when one of its own gets drilled, one way or another... in the game Sunday, Mike Cameron took out David Ross at the plate. Excuse me...made a left turn into Ross' shoulder and body-blocked him into the front row... nobody says a word. Not the TV guys, not Mackanin, not a Red... it was a blatant cheap shot. Ross was out in front of the plate, not in the base path. Cameron went out of his way to level him. Arroyo should have decked Cameron next time up. Somebody should have. Maybe I missed that part. That's a little reason the Pads are playing for something, and the Reds arent.
Because I'm cheap
I'm taking next week off and going nowhere except the cabin in Adams County. I could use a few suggestions for stuff to do in state... Ohio's nice and all, but it's not exactly California... suggestions for daytrips welcome...
Love him or hate him, he can make you laugh... 3-under after Round 1 of the PGA, w/no practice... piece of work...http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/10/sports/golf/10golf.html?ref=sports
short attention span's guide to everything
The Bengals right now are no better than they were last August... maybe a little worse... OL not as good, WRs not as good, DL a little more depth but starters the same, RBs not as good now w/Irons hurt, secondary unproven... LBs deep, talented, better... Palmer could have a monster year, but it'll be more on him w/o Henry and Irons... glad football's here, but not as sold on the Bengals as others seem to be...
N. Hopper is selling me as an everyday leadoff hitter, but his OBP needs lots of work... check out how few walks he has...
Sample still too short, but I'm liking J. Keppinger's energy, bat control and sense of purpose...
Damages on FX is by far the best summer TV series... followed by Mad Men on AMC and Rescue Me on FX... I'm open to other nominations...
Mad Men is worth a look just for the way it captures us back in 1960...everybody smokes, men treat their wives like cattle, guys slam whiskey on the job... plus all that really bad 1960 furniture... and one guy says he can't afford a $32,000 2BR apartment on Park Avenue in Manhattan... "I make $7500 a week,'' he tells his wife.
Brad Johansen is getting very good on Bengals radio...
Just rotten luck for P. Mackanin, who continues to handle his interim job w/wisdom, courage and maturity... but if he's the manager next spring, you'll know B. Castellini couldnt lure a big name...
W. Krivsky hasnt done as bad a job as you think in acquiring players, unless you think the Reds would be better w/o B. Phillips, B. Arroyo, J. Hamilton, S. Hatteberg and even D. Ross... where Kriv lacks is people skills... as a GM he needs to be less of a scout and more of a CEO... he has everyone around him wondering about his ability to lead...
Godspeed to Dino Gaudio, Skip's longtime assistant, who will take over at Wake. I suddenly have a new favorite team...
Was as simple, eloquent and life-affirming as the man himself. Pat Kelsey gave the eulogy and said Skip would have been proud at the turnout. Kelsey was right. At least 500 people, maybe more, at Cintas Center, including former assistants and players. It ended beautifully, mournfully, hauntingly, with a bagpiper playing Amazing Grace as the mourners filed out. The tones of the pipes faded as the piper climbed the stairs and out of the building. I could feel the finality of Skip's death right then. Damn. All prayers to Skip's wife Nancy and his sons, Scott and Mark. Our loss is Heaven's gain.
the no-trade deadline
The perception is strong that the Reds wanted way too much for the likes of A.Dunn. In doing some background work today, the reactions I got from those who'd know ranged from "ridiculous'' to "unrealistic.'' Believe what you want.
Regardless, the Reds had some big cards to play -- Dunn, Arroyo, Weathers, even Griffey -- and held 'em... you'd like to think that given the results this year -- and the previous six -- that the Reds understand small changes aren't going to do. The inactivity leaves you wondering.
Of course, the roster today could look entirely different by Opening Day next year. But if the deadline silence means B. Castellini, W. Krivsky and others believe the Reds are, metaphorically speaking, one player away, brace yourself for, oh, 77-85 in '08, too. By the way: No big-time manager likely would come to work here w/the current roster. Not if he had a choice.
The Dunn thing wasnt surprising, just disappointing. You get a couple decent prospects and maybe a decent major-league outfielder for him, and move on, $13m better in the wallet. Again: It's no slam on Dunn to say he'll make too much money next year for the Reds to keep him. His production wouldnt be duplicated, but if you use some of his salary to pay pitching, it wouldnt need to be... and it would begin a much-needed personality makeover in the clubhouse...
As it is, we're back in wait-and-see mode.