Wrong side o’ bed this AM, Mobsters. The pollen’s blowin’ up my head. It’s thick enough to serve on a plate, with a side of mold. Claritin is a wonder drug, but somedays, it’s no match for the chewy stuff floating through my open windows.
So let’s start with some peeves.
The all-timer occurred again Sunday. The Reds radio guys declared, again, the greatness of the Reds effort. The club doesn’t give in to the losing; the guys keep battling.
They try hard.
Big %$@-in’ deal.
As stated many, many times in This Space, teams that are praised for trying are teams that lose. Trying is implied in the contract. Never have I heard of a contract in any sport that includes this phrase: If the team stinks, you can tank.
“They just keep playing and continue to compete,’’ Reds manager David Bell said.
Cool. Let’s throw them a parade.
If your company had a tough quarter, do you put your feet up on your desk and say ‘hellwithit’? If your boss just got arrested for embezzlement, is that a signal for you to start playing golf every afternoon?
It’s no secret the newspaper biz ain’t what it was. No one has ever said to me, “You know, Doc, our industry is ailing. I think I’m going to write half a story today. Bengals 28,. . .’’
Yet in sports, effort points seem to matter. That’s ironic, given it’s strictly a scoreboard business. You’re supposed to get a golden character award for actually showing up and doing your best in the draconian world of pro sports. Where, in Major League Baseball, the minimum salary is $700,000 a year.
For that, most of us would run through bricks and not even ask for an Advil.
Trying Hard is what Knotholers get ice cream for, after the game. Young Knotholers. “Play hard and have fun’’ was my son’s team’s motto, when my son was 10. When I card a cool 101 for 18 holes, that’s what I remind myself. I played hard and had fun.
That sort of consolation is irrelevant when the paychecks start occurring.
Players have many reasons to Try Hard: Self-respect, honoring the game, money. Guys who want to make more of it don’t want to be seen as Not Trying Hard. I can’t think of one reason not to Try Hard. Can you?
Praising players for doing so is like thanking Earth for rotating.
Now, then. . .
AND BY THE WAY... There is no legitimate argument now for keeping Tyler Stephenson behind the plate. How much more time will he have to miss for catching-related injuries before the Reds send him to first base and leave him there?
He’s their best player at the moment, and he will have missed nearly two months by the time he returns sometime in July. He broke the thumb because he was a catcher, he’s been concussed because he was a catcher. His career will be shorter if he remains a catcher.
When Stephenson returns, leave a first baseman’s glove in his locker. Move Joey Votto to full-time DH. Moustakas is not a consideration. Naquin can play the outfield. Aquino? Ugh.
Let Stephenson spend the last 2 ½ months of ’22 learning to play 1B.
I really don’t understand why this is a debate.
MORE GRUMBLING... Andy Ogletree, ranked No. 1,371 among the world’s professional golfers, won $121,868 Sunday, for finishing last in the inaugural LIV Tour event, 31 shots behind the winner. I’ll bet he tried really hard.
Three rounds for LIV guys. No cut.
The winner, has-been Charl Schwartzel, offered this after pocketing $4.75 mil: “Where the money comes from is not something I’ve ever looked at.’’
That’s the morally vacuous LIV Tour, in one quote.
PGA tour commissioner Jay Monahan described the Saudi-funded league that has signed up Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau as a “series of exhibition matches. Those players have chosen to sign multiyear, lucrative contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again.’’
Who wants to watch Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy compete for 17 holes on a Sunday afternoon on the PGA Tour (the way they did Sunday) when you can watch Charl Schwartzel go wallet-to-wallet with Hennie DuPlessis? Hennie finished second, just ahead of Branden Grace, Peter Uihlein, Sam Horsfield, Ollie Bekker and Adrian Otaegui. I get chills just typing that.
MEANTIME, the best sports columnist in America is the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins and she has written a wickedly right-on take of the LIV situation:
“I don’t condone human rights violations at all,” Mickelson said, with a look on his face that suggested he was trying to choke down smuggled diamonds. “Nobody here does, throughout the world. … I’ve also seen the good that the game of golf has done throughout history.”
(Graeme) McDowell’s turn. “Speaking personally, I really feel that golf is a force of good in the world,” he said.
The obvious follow-up question is: Exactly how has golf been a historical force for good, if you please, especially in repressed countries?
Here’s the column.
FOX NEWS ENTERTAINER Tucker Carlson called Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera a “fascist moron’’ for fining assistant coach Jack Del Rio $100,000. Del Rio decided the 1/6 insurrection was “a dustup.’’
I’m still waiting for lovers of Fox entertainment to tell Carlson to “stick to politics.’’ Or whatever it is that Carlson calls what he does.
NBC SPORTS SAYS WE DON’T MAKE THE CUT to host World Cup matches in 2026. “The likes of Kansas City, Cincinnati and Nashville seem like outsiders.’’ Oh, well.
WEEKEND-ING... My pal Dan McKenna’s granddaughter Colleen is a singer/guitarist/songwriter who has plans to take a year between high school and college to make her folk music fortune in Nashville. Here’s her debut EP. I met Dan down in old Loveland Saturday, to hear Colleen perform. She’s really quite good.
BECAUSE I’M NOT WRAPPED TOO TIGHT, I’m going to try to play much golf this week, especially Tuesday-Thursday, when temps are supposed to be in the high-90s. No one will be out there midday. It’ll be like my own private club. This is what I call The Florida Effect. Anytime after about 11 a.m. on just about any summer day in Florida, you can expect to have the course to yourself.
The only thing better than golf is quick golf.
AND FINALLY... A million thanks to all who’ve wished me well upon retirement. I’m trying to answer every note. It’s taking awhile. Youse are very kind. I should have retired more often. Meantime, still a couple weeks to go. Let’s make ‘em count.
TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . I’ve always thought Feliciano’s version of this tune was best. Here, he does it with the immortal Darryl Hall. If you’ve never listened to Live at Darryl’s House, you should start. Great guest musicians jam with Darryl. Awesome. So is Jose’s picking here.