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.
Grand Theft Auto IV
OK, confession: I might have to purchase GTA IV... Normally, other than Tiger Woods golf, I don't play video games. They are (1) a huge waste of time I don't have and (A) too hard for my feeble brain and hand-eye functions to master. I'd have a better chance of hitting The Player Formerly Known as Chad on a skinny post in real life than on Madden.
I get my kid to look up the codes that give you all the weaponry. Then I plug in the codes. I think it was GTA II where I'd get the rocket launcher, drive to the top of a parking garage and lay waste to all the police vehicles looking for me down below. What fun.
If I was feeling especially unruly, I'd simply slide on the brass knuckles and go jogging down the street punching out old women.
I never learned to play the game. What for? The beauty of GTA is in your ability to release all that latent hostility on a fantasy world. I don't know, but I'd bet the world would be a much safer place if all those with criminal intent were given copies of GTA IV.
I have malice in my heart. But only virtually.
Sometimes, I'd hijack a motorcycle and just ride. Was GTA III San Andreas? Man, I loved that one. All this great West Coast scenery. I'd get on the bike and hill-hop. You havent known virtual pleasure until you've hopped the hill bearing the HOLLYWOOD sign.
Of course, there was the lighthouse on Miami Beach in GTA II. I'd climb that puppy with a machine gun...
What's This Dude's Problem?
I'm a charter member of the It's Early club. The problem with that comes when you keep seeing the same, dispiriting way the club plays, night after night. No life, no passion. Nobody hitting but, um, Hoss Harang. When does a slump become a trend? And is it reversible?
"Blow up'' is already being tossed around. OK, but this isnt Fantasy Island. Dunn can't be traded until after June 15. Junior won't be traded until after 600, if at all. Who else would another team want?
Arroyo? Making 9m next year, 11m 2010.
Freel? 3m this year, 4m next.
everyone else is a warmed-over leftover or semi-untouchable.
Methinks they're stuck, unless the Big Man wants to eat even more money and let loose Patterson, so Bruce can be called up, and/or Fogg, to make room for David Bailey. Coffey could go to 'Ville, someone could suddenly develop tendinitis etc...
Changing cultures isnt an overnight thing.
I'll stick with the 80-win pick I made March 1. It's getting harder.
Changing Reds culture
Walt Jocketty said at the press conference Tuesday a priority will be changing the culture in the Reds clubhouse, creating a winning environment, but he wasnt specific as to how that would be done. So here's the question:
How does that happen?
Move Dunn and/or Junior?
Demand more of players?
Make them more accountable?
What's it mean to you? I thought D.Baker was hired partly for his ability to motivate. Maybe that will be the case. For now, Baker's 9-14 looks like everyone else's. Reds can still appear lethargic, almost disinterested at times.
So go ahead, change the culture. What would you do?
Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes
Two separate interviews given by two national NFL media guys yesterday suggested M. Lewis' authority is being undercut by M. Brown. Believe what you want. It's plausible. But knowing that Lewis is friendly w/both Chris Mortensen and Jay Glazer is instructive. Regardless, nothing ever changes in Mudville. Props, I guess, to Marvin, who fought longer and harder against Bengalization than any of his predecessors since S. Wyche.
Anyone who believes this club is anything but a dysfunctional mess at the moment is seriously deluded. Maybe the entire roster ought to go Ocho Loco on the way things are run down there.
Junior Griffey and other Very Important Stuff
Random junk while waiting for tee time at the legendary Hickory Woods:
Any buzz about Griffey hitting 600? No? How come?
Reds built an ad campaign last year on the March to 600..this year, very little. Fan interest has been minimal as well. Only 5 players ever with 600-plus...only 3 all-natural. Griffey would be No. 4... great chance to take your young, impressionable kid to GASP and say, look, youngun', this is how it's done. You dont have to ingest a pharmacy to be a good ballplayer.
Is it just the general Reds malaise that has curbed your enthusiasm? Sort-of hometown guy, family man, lives clean, all the stuff so important to us here in Middle America. No buzz. Why?
My compadres at 1530 Homer are throwing a "Draft Party'' Saturday at a famous local ribbery. Whoo-hoo... Draft Party is an oxymoron. What do you do at a draft party? Argue 40 times? Debate the importance of sleeve length as it applies to wide receivers?
I'd rather clean out my sinus cavity with a drain snake than watch the Draft.
Saturday Definition of Hell: Four hours in an enclosed space, watching the NFL Draft with Alan Cutler.
On WLW tonight: Senior Griffey, Wayne Krivsky, Jerry Jones, Chad Johnson, Catherine Zeta-Jones. OK, not Chad. Be there or be square.
Wayne Krivsky, Part 2
Wayne Krivsky was fired because ownership tired of writing checks to players who no longer played or who were paid too much for what they contribute now. See: Freel, Patterson, Coffey. Maybe more, though, he was fired because his people skills lacked. Wayne was a very territorial GM, who didnt always play well with others. That trait cost the Reds some good people, not the least of whom was Johnny Almaraz, the scout who found Johnny Cueto, among many, many others.
It must also be said that Wayne made some very good moves here... Brandon Phillips, Josh Hamilton, Arroyo for Wily Mo, Keppinger for a Class A pitcher, David Ross, Hatteberg, Burton in Rule 5 etc...
The danger with this coming when it did is (1) when you fire a GM, it's not like firing a manager... you essentially fire his support people as well...scouts, advisors etc... Front office continuity is a trait of successful clubs. See: Atlanta, Minnesota. The Reds front office is a carousel. That needs to stop.
Also, the draft is less than 2 months away... what do wayne's people do? Do they stay on? Are they let go? If they stay, how enthusiastic will they be, knowing they'll likely be out of work at the end of the year?
I got along well with Wayne, though he was as close to the vest, borderline paranoid a guy as I've dealt with. Sometimes, his silence was very effective: The Reds got F. Cordero before the Brewers even knew Cincinnati was interested. But it could also be off-putting.
I wish Wayne the best. I think he's a good baseball guy. Maybe scouting better suits his temperament.
Three highly placed Reds sources have confirmed that the club has fired GM Wayne Krivsky. Walt Jocketty, current special assistant to owner Bob Castellini and former GM for the St. Louis Cardinals, will be announced as Krivsky's replacement at a news conference later today.
Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes
Let me see if I have this straight:
Have there been any trade offers for Chad Johnson?
Oh, wait. Yes there have.
The offer was 2 No. 1 draft picks from the Redskins?
No, it wasnt. That's errant.
Oh, wait. As a matter of fact, it was a No. 1 this year and a conditional No. 3 next, which could turn out to be a No. 1 if Chad meets Redskins incentives that were unspecified.
How hard is it to simply answer "Yes'' to Question No. 1, politely decline to get into specifics and, you know, Move Forward? Instead, coach gets confused or misremembers or whatever, and PR department issues a release that clouds things further.
As far as I'm concerned, the Bengals should take the offer and juggle the caponomics. Instead, their intent is to call Johnson's bluff and see who blinks first. The club is banking on Chad's passion for the game and the fact he has nothing else going on in his life. And oh yeah, that even Chad will recognize that $3 mil is a lot of money.
Maybe, the club is right. But if Chad reports after eating every crow in America, how do you think his mood might be? Does anyone really believe a narcissist like Ocho Cinqo is going to let bygones be bygones and play with a clear head and purpose?
Does anyone else see a train wreck a-comin'?
So for a pound of Chad flesh, the Bengals are willing to potentially torpedo a season before it begins. Because they won't manage the cap, they're planning to keep Chad on board. If he chooses not to ride, they're out a Pro Bowl player and 2 high picks from the Redskins. And Chad still counts $8 million against the cap.
I'm sure this makes perfect sense to some. In fact, it being the Bengals and all, it does make sense. Sense being relative as it applies to the local professional football corporation.
So, hey, go with it. Chad sits, Bengals out a great talent, Bengals veto a couple high picks, season gets stupid earlier than usual. Can't wait for September.
Reds weird roster
Third post of the day. I must get paid by the word.
Postgame radio topic last night: Reds roster: What the ...?
Castro DFA'ed... a mil wasted.
Patterson 1-for-forever... 3-plus mil
Fogg... horrible... 400k...
Belisle...horrible once, probably best in long relief
No Homer, no Bruce...
Can't trade the kids, though, not even for an over-the-top starter such as Haren or Bedard.
Here's the issue: Hairston does what Castro did, better and cheaper. Bruce can hit 190, same as Patterson, cheaper. I didnt understand why the club signed Patterson in March, and I don't now. Fogg, Belisle or Bailey? Cheap, cheaper, cheapest.
If you want to go young, go young. This isnt a team that's going to win anything this year. Use the year to allow the kids to become all right. Or not. Those the Reds have chosen to promote and allow to play have justified the thinking. Anyone have a problem with Cueto, Volquez and Votto?
Why does W. Krivsky keep messing with veteran retreads who cost more, when he has kids who are cheap and ready to go?
OK, done for the day. This is just way too much good stuff for you guys to process in one 24-hour period. Time to go lose some golf balls.
Made the trek to the store of all stores.
Lots of stick furniture.
Dorm-room stuff. First apartment stuff. Stuff that takes weeks and an engineering degree to assemble.
What's so great about that?
It's a weird phenomenon. I mean, we Americans want big, bigger, biggest. IKEA sells little, littler, littlest.
I have no problem with downsizing. You could furnish a decent-sized condo with the stuff I've got moldering in the basement. Americans generally have too much Stuff. Our lives could use a yard sale.
But it goes entirely against who we are. Or at least who we've become conditioned to be. And yet before the IKEA opened in West Chester, I knew people who drove to Pittsburgh to shop there.
Explain to me the fascination.
Congratulations to Odell Thurman, who has been given a second chance on life. Cautious hope that it's all he needs. Would it be that we'll be writing and talking about him with the same voice we used with Josh Hamilton. Overcoming addiction requires more vigilance than anything he'll ever do in sports.
And this: Willie Anderson was right about Mike Brown. Anderson told Mark Curnutte that Brown deserves much credit for sticking with Thurman. I believe that. I've seen it with many other players here, starting with Stanley Wilson. Sometimes it works, as it did with Wilson, if only temporarily. Sometimes, it makes Brown look overly forgiving, almost naive. That's OK.
While mixing in a little social work doesnt always help the bottom line, it shows a side of the Bengals owner we don't see very often. Thurman needs to help himself now. Time to reward the compassion.
This isn't the Chad Johnson I knew. The Chad I knew was a good teammate, whose biggest problem was that his passion for football and winning sometimes clouded his judgment. That Chad was immature, but committed. The Chad I knew could be open, to a fault. That Chad treated total strangers to dinner at local restaurants and was the guest speaker at the Hamilton County Special Olympics Awards Dinner.
This Chad Johnson I've never met.
This Chad is determined to confirm every T.O. comparison ever made about him. He is selfish, egotistical and deluded. He has bashed an organization that made him rich and a teammate who has stood up for him, over and over.
Chad wants to win. Really? Who doesn't? I'm sure the Bengals locker room is loaded with players who come to work every day saying, "Man, I love playing for a losing organization like the Cincinnati Bengals.''
The Chad I knew said the day he was drafted he wanted to be part of the solution here.
The Chad I knew was perpetually positive, even when it sounded nuts.
This new Chad, whoever he is, has been Bengal-ized. He's gone, way over the top, far over the hill. The Chad I knew won't be coming back.
The Bengals have said they won't deal him. He has made that an impossibility. Chad can torpedo a whole season, and he knows it. Marvin Lewis' legacy here will be defined at least partly by how he handles Chad. So far, it's been disastrous.
The Bengals need to trade New Chad. It kills me to say that, because a spoon-banger should never get his way. But it would be in the best interest of the entire team. New Chad couldnt care less about the entire team.
That's not the Chad I knew.
Bill Buckner threw out the first pitch at Boston's Opening Day. You'll recall Buckner was the Most Hated Man in Boston for allowing a routine grounder to skip under his glove and between his legs in Game 6 of the '86 Series, allowing the Mets to rally for the win, force a Game 7 and win it all.
Buckner moved to Idaho after he retired and became something of a recluse. The fact he threw out the first pitch this year, a mere 22 years later, suggests Red Sox Nation has moved on, possibly placated by a couple titles.
If you had the chance, to whom would you apologize? What player/manager/coach/executive did you misjudge or treat too harshly around here?
For me, it was Dave Shula. Poor coach, not ready for the job, hamstrung by Mike Brown's hands-on ways. Never had a chance. All true. But I was merciless with the guy. Years later, I met him for an interview the day of the Super Bowl. The game was in Tampa; he was staying in Orlando. He was classy, as usual, but he made it clear that some of the things I'd written had had a profound effect on his family, especially his sons, who were elementary school age at the time.
I understand that, as a public figure, you're going to get some criticism and you need to warn your family members that they could get caught up in it. You chose the life. But it never occurred to me that what I wrote could be used against his boys at school. Now I know.
I apologized to Shula that day. I've kept it in mind ever since.
We pass snap judgment daily. With the immedicay of the Internet (and the anonymity) people say some incredibly stupid things. Who over the years might you have been too hard on?
OK, confession right off the top: I watched the Sunday round.
I'd said Thursday on the radio (700 WLW, 6-9 weeknights, call me) I wasnt watching because the paper didnt send me and I was a baby. True and true. I watched Sunday so I could talk about it Monday night. I did it for you, in other words. And here's what happened to S. Flesch:
He misclubbed at 12, dropped his tee ball in Rae's Creek and came unhinged.
No sport owns your head like golf. Of all T. Woods' attributes, his brain should be No.1. Tiger wills himself to play well when it matters. (Well, mostly. Yesterday he played like a mortal. He played MUNI-ficently, flubbing putt after large putt.) On a difficult windy day when keeping it together emotionally was Job One, only Trevor Immelman pulled it off.
You could almost see Flesch flying apart. He'd played very well for the better part of 3 days, but Sunday he was hanging on. He was 2 behind when his 8-iron at 12 hung in the wind and came straight down, like it was a duck that ran into some shotgun pellets. And that was it.
The concentration needed to stay close abandoned him. It was like watching a climber on a sheer cliff, losing his grip finger by finger: Double at 12, bogey 14, 15, 16 (mother, make it stop) and 17.
He'll remember that tee ball at 12 the rest of his life.
The "Tiger-proofing'' of the Masters has made it play much more like a US Open. Sunday charges are rare, thrilling comebacks are the same. Graphic yesterday: 16 of the last 17 winners have started the final round in the last twosome of the day. So much for drama.
Immelman was steady, that's all. Daring and heroic used to win this event. Now, steady wins. Steady can be dull. Immelman even dunked his tee shot at 16.
Flesch was Open-steady for 65 holes. He played great off the tee, very good from the fairway. If he'd made a few more putts...
And if he'd picked a 7-iron instead of an 8 on 12, we might have a Cincinnati Masters champ this AM. As it is, Flesch should be proud of the effort, and understand more completely than any of the rest of us the mental Everest a Masters champion must climb.
Future U-S-A Olympian
Wrote in Sunday Enquirer about my daughter Jillian in the Hamilton County Special Olympics swim meet. Here's a photo of my bronze medalist.
A week or so back, I solicited your help finding new music. You were great, as usual. Spent a few hours checking out as many recommendations as I could. A few I'd heard... Thackery, Wilco, Eagles. Some I'd heard of, but hadnt heard... Son Volt, Slobberbone. One stuck out...Sam Baker's CD, Mercy.
I'm a sucker for a simple, true lyric. Baker's words are evocative. Every one means something. On the first tune of the CD, Waves, he's writing about a husband burying his wife of 50 years:
"He walks down to the ocean
Bends to touch the water, kneels to pray
He writes her name in the sand
Waves wash it away"
Another, called Change:
"Those same little girls went to work in those stores/Those same little boys went away to wars/But when they came home/All the jobs had gone away/Back to those places where they fought so far away."
"Fighting door to door/At Jerusalem's Gate/Millionaires play baseball/Oprah talks about fate;
Skinny boys with rifles/Flying off to war/Skinny boys with rifles/Fighting door to door"
Baker himself was in the middle of a terrorist attack. He was riding a train to Macchu Pichu when a bomb blew up in the passenger compartment. That's why his voice sounds funny, and why, as a righthander, he plays the guitar lefthanded:
"Sitting on a train to Macchu Pichu/The passenger car explodes/Not enough time to say goodbye/Not enough time to know/Looking back at the world as one who is leaving/In a dream come right out of hell/Smoke rises through a hole in the roof/The dead say fare the well.''
And so forth. This isn't music for everyone, and certainly not for every occasion. But it's haunting and beautiful and makes you think. Matt the Poster, thanks for the recommendation.
Live big, skinny boys with rifles, fighting door to door. Godspeed.
Spent an hour on the radio last night arguing for my nickname for Aaron Harang. Got a bunch of alternatives from callers. None as good as Hoss, which describes Harang perfectly. He's a horse, he's big, he's got that gentle demeanor Dan Blocker had playing Hoss Cartwright on "Bonanza.''
(Hey, kids: Bonanza was a very popular TV western in the 60s... Google it or something.)
Are you with me? Had my buddy J. Crasnick on last night. He covers MLB for ESPN.com, said Harang is the most underpublicized very good pitcher in the majors. Dude needs a nickname.
Hoss. When he's on Leno, remember you heard it here first.
On another matter: A little taken aback by the strong e-mail criticism of my column this AM re XU's obligation to Drew Lavender. I said X was there for him when he was playing a big role in their Elite 8 run; it needs to be there for him now, after his apprehension last weekend.
It's simple: XU brought DL in knowing he had baggage. he fulfilled his end of the deal, on the court. X needs to do the same. I have little doubt the school will do just that.
Reaction was wholly negative. Drew is 23. Drew should know better. XU has no obligation beyond his scholarship. Don't excuse irresponsible behavior.; Et cetera.
My favorite came from an X employee, who said it seemed I held the school to a higher standard than others. As if there's something wrong with that.
I wonder how many of the folks dumping on Drew now were cheering him wildly a few weeks ago.
Deer Ate My House
Is it just me, or does anyone else have a deer issue this year? I see them in the yard, I see them in the woods behind the house, I see them in the street, I see them in the produce aisle at Kroger, thumping cantalopes. I see them so much, I feel I should invite them in, to pound a few V8s.
Last summer, they dined on several thousand dollars worth of new shrubbery in my front yard. Hydrangeas, mostly. Just when I'd gone Caddyshack Carl on the moles (and chased them into the neighbor's yard, heh-heh) the damned deer come in and Agent-Orange my plants.
I hate deer.
What do you do? Beyond "harvesting'' them, I mean. They are pretty and really, venison is kinda gamey, you know? Does the stuff you buy at Home Depot work? Do you have a home remedy? I send my golden retriever out to chase them, and they don't move. I open the front door and yell, they laugh, or whatever it is deer do when they find something amusing.
No respect for property. None at all. I mean, I'm not out stomping their woods, eating tree bark and stuff. Anyway, remedies other than the Final Solution are welcome.
When it comes to your job, most things you do because you have to. A few you do because you want to. A precious few are so memorable, you look forward to them all year. For me, that'd be covering the Masters.
Everything about the Masters slays me. I'm a sucker for tradition, sentiment and golf. I've got a fair amount of Southerner in me -- I had great-great-greats who fought against each other at Gettysburg --so all that bad poetry (some of it written by me) about the cathedral in the pines and the ghost of Bobby Jones makes perfect sense.
There is something about covering Jones' toon-a-mint that frees me from my normal cynicism. I can't explain it. Those of you who have been to the Masters will know what I'm talking about. It's the only event I'm ever sad to leave.
I've been fortunate to have covered 20 Masters. My first was in 1983, the second win of Seve Ballesteros. I saw Nicklaus win in '86, still the greatest sporting event I've witnessed in 30 years of doing this. I walked with Earl and Tida Woods in '95, Tiger's 1st year at Augusta, when he was an amateur. Nine holes, just me and his folks. Two years later, he went 18-under par, and golf would never be the same.
I've spent hours talking with Augusta's caddies, African-American gentlemen who know the course better than anyone, and whose stories could fill a vault the size of Amen Corner. I've heard the Roars, and over the years, come to interpret their sounds, each unique. There was a Nicklaus Roar in '86 and again a decade later, when he somehow challenged for the lead on Sunday afternoon. And there is a Tiger Roar, equal parts bemused fascination at how good he is and unabashed enthusiasm for his talents. The Roars roll up the hills from 11-12-13, Amen Corner, all the way to the clubhouse. You can almost cover the tournament by listening to it.
The Masters is an event where integrity matters, where tradition isn't bartered for cash and where a very good player almost always wins. For me, it's the perfect blend of drama, sportsmanship and romance. Nothing compares.
The paper isn't sending me this year. As strange as it sounds, I don't think I'll watch on TV. Too difficult. Tiger will win, of course. The course is soft, unlike last year, so the shorter hitters are in trouble. At Augusta, it's all about putting your tee ball in position to attack a very specific area on the green, to give yourself reasonable birdie tries. Tiger's length off the tee allows him to play a wedge or a 9-iron into most of the par-4s. Shorter hitters are trying to stick a 5- or 6-iron approach into an area of the green that might be only 8 or 10 feet square.
But strategy was never what the Masters was about for me. Strategy doesn't describe the way the sunlight looks and feels shafting through a loblolly pine at noon, or what the utter quiet of sunset sounds like, when you walk the course after the play is done for the day.
It's a magical place. I'll get back there again. Maybe next year...
Monday Morning at the Three-Dot Lounge
Great championship game tonight... 2 coaches with brains enough to let their players play... seems simple: You recruit them, you sign them, you teach them, you trust them. So how come college coaches all want to play puppeteers? Calipari and Self are among the few that don't. Memphis wins if Memphis plays the way it has the last few weeks...
Why do we give pro athletes credit for not getting in trouble with the cops? Is the bar that low now? Does your boss ever say to you, "Great job, you havent been arrested lately?''...
Props to Krivsky... Trades a no-name minor league pitcher for Keppinger... gets Burton in Rule 5... Exchanges a bad, old LH specialist (Stanton) for a good, old LH specialist (Mercker) with Castellini's help... gets Mike Lincoln for nothing...
UCLA picked Xavier to play its only solid game of the tournament. If Collison played v. X the way he did v. Memphis, maybe Xavier makes it to San Antonio...
Sean Miller last Thursday on SportsTalk picked Memphis to win it all. Mick Cronin picked UNC...
Gale Sayers on SportsTalk tonight... sayers among the best running backs ever, kids. Might have been The Best, were it not for 2 blown knees...
Monumental Historical Chad
For what it's worth... from april 2006:
Bengals extend Chad Johnson with monster deal
If the NFL is poised to crack down on Chad Johnson
's end zone choreography in 2006, with its recently implemented rules aimed at curtailing touchdown celebrations, the Cincinnati Bengals
star wide receiver is better prepared now to handle any of the fines that he might incur.
The three-time Pro Bowl performer and consummate showman, one of the most explosive playmakers in the league at any position, on Thursday signed a new contract with the Bengals, ESPN.com has learned. The lucrative deal includes a one-year extension, through the 2010 season, and an option for the Bengals to extend the contract through 2011, if they so desire.
In essence, by restructuring the remainder of Johnson's existing contract, which was set to run through the 2009 campaign, the Bengals created a six-year deal with a total value of $35.5 million."In terms of 'new money,' and just being unique from the standpoint of being able to do something for a player who still had four years left on his [existing] contract, it's really monumental," said agent Drew Rosenhaus, who was hired by Johnson a year ago to upgrade his contract "As long as I've been doing this, I've never been able to get an extension like this, basically because of the time remaining on the contract. It's historical. And it's a testament to Chad, and how well he's performed, and to Bengals management for the way they have handled this and the commitment they've made to him."
I don't have enough hours in the day to continue moderating garbage, OK? Stick to the subject, which is the irresponsibility of a football player, and the repercussions he's facing. If you feel the need to turn it into a black-white thing, take a deep breath and walk away from the keyboard. Because if you write incendiary stuff to my blog any more, on any subject, I'll reject it. Guaranteed.
Now, after a day of C. Henry nonsense, a much-needed joke, taken from this month's Esquire magazine:
"A blind man walks into a store with his seeing-eye dog. All of a sudden, he picks up the leash and begins swinging the dog over his head.
The manager runs up to the man and shouts, "What are you doing?!''
The blind man replies, "Just looking around.''
Have a rational weekend.
Just read Curnutte's story on the Bengals waiving C. Henry. I guess now is when I'm supposed to write how sad it is that such promise and talent has been squandered etc etc
Well, forget that.
Some people truly want to change who they are, or at least the perception of who they are. And some just don't care. Henry is among the latter. Most of of us would have lost our jobs after the gun-waving incident in Orlando. Most of us would have surely been dismissed if we'd admitted having underage girls drinking in a hotel room we'd rented. Maybe, most of us wouldn't have the audacity to say to a valet (according to the valet), "Pick it up, b----'' after tossing a $10 bill on the ground.
Civility isn't difficult, is it? When your choices are (A) act like a human being of (B) lose your high-paying job, you'd think your decision would be simple.
For Henry, it was. He chose B.
Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes
Chris Henry is accused of smashing a guy's car window with a beer bottle, and punching said guy in the face. Chad Johnson does a 5-minute ramble with a befuddled ESPN anchor who has no idea what Ocho is talking about. (Neither does anyone else). Mike Brown helps lead a crusade against the current CBA with the players, the crux of his argument being, apparently, that the owners don't make enough money. This, while operating within the most successful, richest sports league in the history of the world. And oh, yeah, enjoying monopoly status.
And, double oh yeah, spending the week at The Breakers in Palm Beach, where a room goes for four figures a night.
Here's an option, NFL owners: If it's that tragic operating within a system that all but guarantees you money just for fielding a team, then sell. Find yourself a job where competition is mandatory and revenues/profits are not all but guaranteed. Until then, keep a low profile.
Excuse me if I missed the part where the owner asks forgiveness/patience/anything for 16 non-winning seasons in the last 17 years and for the national punchline his franchise has returned to being.
Rich guys rattling their jewelry never looks good. Around here these days, especially.
Music Note That Interests Only Me
I got a gift card from Christmas still burning a hole in my wallet, so I was pretty excited to read that 3 of my favorite bands/singers had new releases. Van Morrison, REM and the Stones all with new music. (OK, the Stones was a live rehash.)
I listened to snippets of all three, as much as those listening stations allow. (And I HATE those things, by the way. As soon as you start getting into the track, it changes. The only place that had stations where you could hear as much of a song as you wanted was Joseph-Beth, and now it's gone Snippet, too.)
Anyway, REM's latest, Accelerate, has gotten rave reviews. I didn't think it was that great. I was expecting a return to the Automatic For The People sound. What I got was closer to Monster. Heavy guitars, not enough pop.
I turned to Van. Love Van. Poetic Champions Compose, aside from being a great title for a record, was also a fabulous piece of music. I could listen to Queen of the Slipstream every day until I die. The new Van sounds a lot like the same Van I've heard for the last decade. Pleasant but not really worth the effort.
Finally, the Stones. The world's greatest rock and roll band has nothing left to say and no new ways to say it. The "new'' release is a concert effort but really, how many times can you hear Brown Sugar and Jumpin' Jack Flash before your head explodes?
The Stones are like the Beach Boys now. I still love Tumbling Dice, just like I still love Good Vibrations. But I really don't need to hear either live again. Everything on this record has been done better on another record... Sympathy for the Devil, for example, on Get Yer Ya-Yas Out, made almost 40 (yes, 40) years ago could not be improved upon.
I'm looking for new, Old-Guy music, before the gift card disintegrates. Suggestions welcome.
Missing the Lefthander
For me, tonight is the real beginning of the baseball season. The carnival of Opening Day is done, the intrigue and constancy of 161 begins. For the first time since 2000, the nightly vigilance could pay off.
Deck, Adirondack chair, Keystone Light. Blanket. Radio. And this:
Everywhere you hear, he won't be there.
Joe Nuxhall, as we know, wasnt just a broadcaster. He was a tangible presence in our lives, even if some of us never met him. Our years drifted down the river of his words, one languid evening at a time. I know he wasn't on the air much in the past few years, but there was always that chance. Now, there isnt. I know tonight I'll miss him terribly.
So here's what I'm going to do. Or at least attempt. To honor Nux, I'm going to try a very simple thing that for whatever reason most of us find it very hard to do:
Be nice to someone.
Go out of my way. A word, an action, a gesture. One a day, in memory of a guy who made being nice a way of life. Would it be that all of us could live by the example Joe Nuxhall set. I'm going to try, starting today.
SportsTalk topic last night centered on drunks at ballgames. Or, rather, the behavior of drunks at ballgames. Some folks seem to think it's OK to get hammered at the ballyard and mess with the experience of others. Some other folks defend them by saying they work hard, they deserve to kick back, tell your young kids to get over it etc.
Nope. Sorry. Buying a ticket doesn't come with a jackass license. The fact that someone works hard doesnt entitle him to do whatever he damn well pleases in public, especially if he's messing with someone else's good time. Most of us work hard. Most of us wouldnt think of getting sloppy drunk in public.
There was a segment awhile back on the HBO series, Real Sports. (Bryant Gumbel, horrible on the NFL Network, is very good on this.) It was about drunks tailgating before NFL games. Essentially, their attitude was, they had a right. It's an attitude pervasive now: It's about Me. Screw You. Everybody has rights. No one has responsibilities. You see it everywhere, but the selfishness and inconsideration it embodies shows up most at sporting events.
If a moron wants to act a fool, he has a right. And you have a right to call the cops and have him busted.