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.
Fans take it in the neck, again
It is your fault, UC football fan, that the Bearcats aren't going to the almighty Muffler Bowl in Charlotte, NC, a freeway with a city in the middle of it. If you had been more willing to go to the Fort Worth Bowl -- and really, who doesnt dream of Fort Worth in December? -- maybe the Muffler people would have given your team the coveted Muffler bid.
If you had schlepped in droves to Detroit -- twice! -- to watch the legendary Motor City Bowl, your Bearcats would be going to Charlotte. Nothing quite says bowl pageantry and excitement like Detroit on Dec. 27.
And, of course, if you hadn't been so stupid last year, and somehow forsaken the one and only International Bowl in Toronto -- aka Football Heaven -- your scrappy little men would be dreaming Charlotte dreams today.
In other words, you are bad fans. Or at least, you aren't good enough, in the eyes of the Muffler dudes and the gods who run the Sun Bowl. El Paso: Why?
This line of thought extends to the UC athletic dept, where one Mike Waddell is now urging you to be "good fans'' by driving 420-some miles to Birmingham, garden spot of the universe, three days before Christmas. If you don't, you are responsible for UC not getting better bowl bids.
Personally, I think you're smart and discriminating and show some common sense.
Just my opinion.
OK, I give. College is better
Never thought I'd say that, but for a year anyway, I've become a bigger fan of college football than the NFL. The blowouts still bug me, the game lengths are ridiculous, but for the first time, the product on the field is more entertaining. It's a glorious mess, what with 12 top 5 teams losing. The weekend clinched it for me... LSU-Arkansas? Just a great football game. Missouri-Kansas almost equally entertaining. Even the UC-Syracuse game owned one of my eyes, the other being on Xavier's terrific win over Indiana.
Meantime, the NFL produces 3 clunkers on Thanksgiving Day. The "highlight'' was waiting 6 minutes during Packers-Lions for them to rule on a replay that wasnt even a scoring play. College football, with the spread offense, rivalries and the exploding number of Any Given Saturdays, has become more compelling than The League, where everyone plays the same way and every coach treats every play like its Omaha Beach.
It has helped that UC is suddenly interesting and fun, but it's more than that. As long as pretty good players decide they'd rather start at a BCS school such as UC/USF/UConn than sit the bench at Ohio State or Michigan, the trend should continue. Boola-boola...
I guess I'm confused. Chad Johnson isnt talking to the local media, which is OK, his right etc. But it's because he has been criticized? Really? You mean a month ago, when a few people (OK, me) asked a question that had been posed initially within the non-playing ranks of the Bengals organization? Namely: If we can't control him, should we trade him?
That's what has him riled?
If you want to be this high-profile, nationally recognized, look-at-me figure, you better be willing to roll with whatever comes your way. When your coach says players on his team are "selfish'' and your reaction essentially is I Gotta Be Me, don't expect everyone to say, Hey, Chad, great, keep it up. When Willie Anderson, Most Respected Bengal, says his team is "too Hollywood'', he isn't talking about Mike Brown.
When you fumble without being hit, because you're holding the ball like a ham sandwich, then you sit there as the opponent romps down the field, don't expect universal approval.
In other words, criticism comes with your territory. And really, it has been brief and mild.
Time to grow up.
Thanks everyone for the questions. I asked a few, a few I'd asked already over the weeks, a few I ignored. Safe to say TJ was entertaining, candid and smart. The show runs 6-8 Thanksgiving night on 700 WLW. A peaceful Thanksgiving to everyone.
Shameless plug for TJ Show
TJ Houshmandzadeh and I are taping a 2-hour show on WLW that will run Thanksgiving night, either 6-8 or 7-9... it's good stuff, talking about his background, his family, his motivation. Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes with this guy knows him to be bright and candid... what I need from you is a few questions I might ask him tonight (Tuesday), for the second hour of the show. No why-do-the-Bengals suck questions, OK? Thanks
He was the only person I've ever known about whom a bad word was never spoken. If you can live your entire life and have that be your epitaph, you've led quite a life. We've lost someone essential to who we are around here, someone who represented what we like to think is our finest nature. We're friendly, if guarded if we don't know you. We're approachable. If you need us, we're there.
Mostly, we're regular. We're incapable of pretense. Who you see is who you get and once we love you, we don't leave. Joe never left. He never will, of course.
On the radio, where most of us knew him, Joe was summer. He sounded like baseball: Lolling, drowsy, taking his own sweet time. Balls went to right-left-center. Latin names could be mangled. Calls on close plays could take days and really, so what? You didn't listen to Joe for perfection. Or, maybe you did. Perfection assumes different forms.
The best ambassador we've ever known has passed. He'll be missed.
a few thoughts on Bonds
Ironic that on the same day Selig crows about baseball's fantastic revenues, Bonds indicted on perjury charges for allegedly lying to a grand jury about his steroid/performance enhancer use... where does Bud think some of the revenues came from? Uh, Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Giambi and a few of the guys whose names will be in G. Mitchell's report...
If there were a pill or a juice you could take that would help make you among the best in the world at what you do, might you at least consider it?
Between the time he joined the Giants and 2006, Bonds' jersey size went from 42 to 52, his cap size from 7 1/8 to 7 1/4 (with a shaved head), his shoe size from 10 1/2 to 13... maybe he had that adolescent growth spurt a little late. Like 25 years...
Given all of baseball's wealth, according to Bud, how come you don't feel any richer as a Reds fan?
Because the Reds are holding out on you. 2003 payroll: 60 million. 2007 payroll: 69 million. Does that look like a booming industry to you? Either Bud's overstating it, or someone with an ownership stake is getting rich(er)... I'd bet the latter.
dont believe the reds can't pay
We're hearing already about how the Reds won't be spending on free agents or making trades involving big-salary players. Here's what we're not hearing: The money they'll get from revenue sharing and the Internet and satellite radio and the nearly across-the-board increase in their ticket prices.
Getting this info is close to impossible, mainly because teams don't want you to know how awash in cash baseball is. The closest I could get was this:
In 2006, the Pirates got $24 mil in rev sharing, the Brewers 23mil... that would seem to place the Reds in the $20 mil range... Buster Olney on ESPN.com apparently has reported that each team will realize somewhere close to $30mil from mlb.com and its affiliates... that doesnt include satellite radio rights fees and money from jacking ticket prices... so let's start at an extra 50 mil for the Reds this year...
sound like they're strapped to you?
If anyone out there knows where to confirm this, I'm listening. I've Googled my little fingers off the last few days...
Nothing worse than rich people, crying poverty... the local NFL monopoly has made a career of it.
Going home to watch the Bearcats
It doesnt matter where you live now, or how long you've lived there. Where you grew up will always be Home.
I went home Saturday, same as every year when the Bengals play in Baltimore. Fly to BWI, point the car south, end up in Bethesda. Eat at the Tastee Diner -- 2 scrambled, bacon, rye toast, drive to Great Falls -- amazing cataracts on the Potomac River, perfect fall afternoon, nobody around -- drive past Home, where I havent lived in 35 years, smile wistfully, feel the shiver roll up the back of my neck. . .
Then head for the pub with the 2 TVs showing Ohio State and UC.
About UC: Amazing. They manhandled the 13th best team in the country. B. Mauk was creative, gutsy, accurate. But the defense stole the day. Physical, fast from sideline to sideline, dominant in a way I've never seen. Something else: What a nice coaching job from B. Kelly, who has effectively rallied his players from what could have been a freefall, after the 2 losses. He's using Dantonio's talent, but he's getting more out of it than Dantonio ever did. The guy down at PBS might ask for an audience.
To the game today, which almost certainly will be a letdown after a perfect Saturday at Home.
The Bengals play in Baltimore Sunday, site of the best Guy Movie ever. Diner is set in Baltimore on the eve of the epic NFL title game between the Colts and the Giants. It is simply the funniest, best written movie ever about males on the cusp of adulthood (and fighting it for all they're worth.) Diner makes every other coming-of-age flick look childish. Like American Graffiti before it, Diner featured several relatively unknown actors who went on to bigger things: Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Tim Daly, Daniel Stern, even Steve Gutenberg. Plus, the guy who was on that TV show with Helen Hunt, whose name escapes me. Oh, yeah, Paul Reiser. It was the first of many delightful movies directed by Barry Levinson.
How could any guy not like the notion of making his fiancee pass a football trivia test before they could get married?
My friend J. Crasnick, now a hotshot national baseball writer for ESPN.com, and I once spent
the entire 2-hour drive from San Diego to LA trading lines from Diner. Craz and I worked at the Cincinnati Post at the time; we were covering the Reds' first West Coast trip, back when playing the Dodgers was important.
I could go on, but it's better to watch it yourself.
If you havent seen Diner, run don't walk to the video place. Tell me what you think. Meantime, give me your best boy-becomes-man movie. I'll use them Friday night on Sports Talk.
He'll be the first US boxer in 32 years to qualify for consecutive Olympics. Warren was a light flyweight (106 pounds) in Athens in '04... he'll be at 112 in Beijing, after winning a world title over the weekend. The determination needed to train 4 years for 1 shot is to be commended. Warren is the latest in a long line of Cincinnati fighters to go for the gold. I'll have him on Sports Talk tonight, along with Mick Cronin... also checking in with a Reds guy in Sarasota, where today they're voting on whether to pay for improvements to Ed Smith Stadium... if rejected, will most likely mean a Reds spring training move... anyone who's had the pleasure of visiting Sarasota in March knows what a loss that'd be, especially if the team opts for Arizona...
Groundhog Decade: The Sequel
After I read Mark Curnutte's Q and A w/Mike Brown
, I wanted to lie down in a cool place. I thought Clinton was president, gas was $1.25 a gallon and baseball was on strike. While it's worthwhile to get the owner-slash-quasi-GM on the record, I could have predicted the answers. You could have, too.
Unlucky. Disappointed. Want to do better. Great fans. Marvin's doing very well. We'll evaluate everything at the end of the year. 1994, knocking at your door.
In the NFL, it is possible to do better by accident than the Bengals have done by design. They are squandering the talents of Carson, Chad and TJ. Five years to build a defense the offense can be proud of, and nothing but whining about injuries and suspensions. The Bills were missing 3 defensive starters yesterday. They started the year 0-3. They used a QB they'd benched.
Maybe new Bengals fans or the overly naive believe what MB's saying. The rest of us know better. Same stink, different day. The money spends, whether they win or not. The bottom line is the bottom line. Cash flow without end, amen.
When you've had so many examples over the years of how to do it right, and you ignore them all, the only conclusion has to be that winning isn't that important to you. Having witnessed firsthand the charade for almost 20 years, it's hard to argue that.
Interesting that Kriv said no long term deal is "imminent." Also, smart. Before the Reds commit to Dunn, he needs to commit to them: Drop some weight, add some leadership qualities, work on your defense etc. Losing the tonnage would prolong his career and maybe allow him to get to a few more balls in the gaps. Insiders are convinced Dunn is ready to be a leader, cite his apparent anger last year at B. Arroyo, out late night before a start. We'll see. Meantime, picking up the option was the only option.
Glad, too, that they did the same for Hatteberg... $1.85 mil is a bargain for a productive, smart hitter who could be a very good influence on Votto. No one is more prepared than Hatteberg.
Now, go get D. Willis and a few others and let's go. I dunno about you, but I'm starting to feel OK about the '08 Reds. Probably, it's my desperation talking.
Live big, Tom Hume.