Around 5 p.m. Tuesday, after the Reds hit enough home runs to survive in Minnesota, the comments started coming in to my inbox and on the radio. They went a lot like this:
Damn, this is one hell of an exciting Reds team, isn’t it? More entertaining than a full barrel at Burrows. I love the way they never get out of a game. These boys don’t give up. Looks like cool guys too. Easy to root. And by the way, the owner has to fire himself.
Question: Is this what matters most now?
One word is missing from most reactions.
I don’t know when ‘exciting’ surpassed ‘winning’ on the local priority scale, but it is. Before Saint Joe’s fall last fall, the Bengals had a very exciting loss record. No team currently plays more exciting .500 baseball than our team.
It’s not that I don’t agree with the feelings. They are all true. Except, well, the owner isn’t likely to get laid off. The Reds are compelling, but not always the way you’d like them to be. Is blowing up two late leads in a game exciting?
They play hard. But playing hard is implicit in the contract.
They are nice. I think DBell had something to do with it. His respect for everyone and its over-stable nature has had the desired effect.
But to say the Reds are hot implies that winning is secondary. It’s not. Or it shouldn’t be. Frequent users may recall TML’s occasional rant regarding regulation. This is what we are doing here. We have been beaten enough by the losers, we have become immune. It helps save our athletic souls, so that we can live to be complacent another day.
I also think that nationally baseball retains its slide regularly on our meter of passion. More and more fans are seeing the game as a way to fill in the downtime. It’s no different going to the movies or going to dinner. No one gets up, jumps and yells at The Precinct.
Only now do we really need to be restless. We must be dissatisfied. Fates conspired to put these Reds in a position to be both exciting and successful for the first time since 2012. (The ’13 club slipped into the wilds game on a downhill streak, then was summarily executed in Pittsburgh.)
All of those good qualities mentioned above don’t measure up to teams with better players. Now is the time to stand up and let the Powers know that wasting half the time isn’t as exciting as wasting 40 percent of the time, even though you’re playing robots at 1st and 3rd and a trio of circus clowns in the outfield.
The property hears you. The Big Man is sensitive to the ups and downs in dating. He’s very aware of what the fans are saying. Unlike some owners, fans matter to him.
Relieve the praise from what is currently a quite average team. Don’t settle for a fun night out. Pro sport is about winning and nothing else. Let me repeat what Bob Knight told me a few lifetimes ago:
We don’t get what we expect in life, or what we deserve. We get what we are prepared to take.
Stop putting up. Don’t be so nice.
Now. . .
Wisconsin b-ball coach Greg Gard met his team in the middle of last season. The players were upset, to put it mildly. The meeting was secretly recorded and published by a local newspaper.
The transcripts the Journal shared paint a picture of a lack of trust and communication between Gard and their players.
“I just have the feeling, coach, that we don’t have a relationship,” main striker Nate Reuvers said, according to the Journal. “In my mind, it’s too late for that. Personally, I don’t think or feel that you care about our future aspirations.
” I can not talk to you. I just don’t want to talk to you. After that, coach, I don’t know what kind of relationship we’re going to have, if we have one.
Senior goalkeeper D’Mitrik Trice told Gard he feels disconnected from the success of this season and the 2020-21 season.
“Last year we were playing for each other, but we were also playing for you,” Trice said, according to the Journal. “I feel like the disconnect is that we’re not playing for you right now. We’re not here to build your resume, so to speak, with all due respect. “
An anonymous player said: “He was sitting there listening and there wasn’t a dry eye in the whole room at the end of it all,” the player said, according to the Journal. “The most important thing he did at the end was apologize again and he was in tears and he said, ‘It’s not your fault, it’s my fault. “”
Badger outgoing AD Barry Alvarez supported Gard and his staff.
We don’t know enough to say anything for sure. But if Gard were as contemptible as they are claimed, he must also have been very lucky. In seven seasons, he made the tournament four times.
“We are not here to create your CV. ” What does it mean? Don’t you get free education and about 30 professional auditions a year to help him win? So why are you here?
The old school in me doesn’t fully understand the sensitive component for that. It must be cut and dried. The coach needs the players, the players need the coach. It is in the interest of the Gard to create an atmosphere where everyone gets along. But he’s not responsible for making sure players get pro gigs. It is their responsibility.
We are at the start of what could be a huge shift in power in quasi-am athletics. The rules of name-image-likeness make players realize that they are the game and act accordingly. There will be other examples of what happened to Gard and John Brannen, Not less.
Is it good for the game? I guess we’ll find out.
Meanwhile, the supreme court weighs on paying athletes, Justice Brett Kavanaugh echoing the Court’s position:
“Nowhere else in America can companies agree not to pay their workers at the fair market rate on the assumption that their product is defined by not paying their workers at the fair market rate,” wrote Justice Kavanaugh. “And under the ordinary principles of antitrust law, it’s not clear why college sport should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.
CARL NASSIB IS GAY. SO WHAT? March 21 is one of my least favorite days of the year. Since 2012, it is World Down’s Syndrome Day. My daughter Jillian was born 32 years ago to Down. The ultimate goal is not to see your life as remarkable, although it is. The goal is to see his life as typical.
Don’t give it a day, okay?
Not unless the rest of us get one too. National Size 9 Shoe Day! I could take that day off.
Nassib is an d lineman for the Raiders. He came out this week and is now the NFL’s first openly gay active player. I do not care. Is he a good person and citizen? Does he care about his neighbor?
Maybe his revelation is helping other gay people find some peace and understanding. Good. But what we’re really aiming for here is a time when no one needs to be singled out. When there are no days needed.
ONE LAST WORD RE MOVE. . . Yesterday Kerry and I packed a U-Haul with a bunch of stuff and took it to the new location. Today, pro movers pick up the rest. It doesn’t take long to put lives in boxes.
Every moving day is melancholy for me. (Hell, it’s like that every day, who am I kidding? I saw melancholy in a can of peas.) Another page turned, another era closed. How many more eras? Not as much as yesterday.
The practical aspects:We’re getting closer to Jillian. For this sincere privilege, we spend more money on the new location than on the current one, we move to a bigger house, and I return to gardening, something I thought I left for good four years ago.
Downsizing is subject to different definitions.
And the stuff. All that. I could live my days without 90% of what we transported to the new place. You know you have too much stuff when you pay Stuff People to take some away.
It will be done tomorrow. To be praying.
TUNE O ‘THE DAY. . . Dave Mason was fine, but I always liked this one. “I am going back, to a place which is far away. And you?”