Filling big shoes on The Morning Line

(The folks at The Enquirer were kind enough to give me a shot at doing Paul Daugherty's blog today--Feb. 16. Here's what's running on www.cincinnati.com this morning)

So, it's come to this?
Less than a month before Doc returns and they're rounding out the dance card with the B-list.  You know, the "key grips" or "best boys" at the end of the movie credits.
You've had politicians, national media stars, some famous 'scribes and now TML has turned a corner into a side room where I sit with Larry Kroeger, Flounder and the rest of the Omega House rejects from "Animal House".

I'm Scott Springer, a radio sports guy in a former life who sadly met the same untimely demise at "The Death Star" as Paul Daugherty once upon a time. In radio and other lines of work, there have been many of us in that predicament.  While CEOs enjoy vacation homes and send you condescending "rah-rah" emails with smiley faces, they often are planning their next houseboat on the "blood money" they'll get from wiping out thousands of middle-aged employees who had the audacity to be loyal and earn accrued benefits.

(Ooh...coming out swinging he is!)

Bitter as a corporate whacking can make you, I was privileged to work at the one job I wanted to have in my life.  Not many can say that. 

Now, I'm trying to reinvent myself covering mainly high school sports where the press agents drive mini-vans and have those family stick figure things on their back window,  I write, shoot semi-focused photos with one good eye, do video interviews and blog. 

Naturally, the key to good blog numbers is women in swimsuits.  Knock yourself out....

Now that I have your attention, I'll tell you that Paul Daugherty was actually getting pretty good at radio before the pink slips started coming in from Texas like truckloads of ground beef.

He lost his print lab jacket and started being the engaging guy that I sat with at a spring training game in Florida once.  (Ultraviolet rays can change one's outlook in a hurry!)

Heck, he even crossed-over and put a non-sports guest on one of his shows one night that he admired!  For having the legendary Darlene Love on around Christmas, he has my undying respect.

When Paul's book on his daughter comes out, you should scoop it up immediately. Paul writes with the ease that Jordan shot the fadeaway and Phil Mickelson hits the greens.

I actually saw Paul with his daughter frolicking in a pool in Ft. Lauderdale before UC was in the Orange Bowl a few years back.  That's not to embarrass him.  I just point that out because he can be viewed as the surly, arrogant columnist that finds fault in all.

If you do your homework, you'll find that Paul's actually a pretty easygoing guy (particularly when there's an Irish pub involved).

I can recall Bob Huggins at a conference tournament pep rally declaring he was canceling his Enquirer subscription as long as "Doherty" worked there. That didn't quite work as planned did it?

However, as usually is the case, Doc tends to win over his enemies and eventually made it to a certain Loveland watering hole off and on with "Huggs".  (For the record, most of the media gathered to cross-examine after Huggins had his indiscretion also had shared a beverage with the coach.)

I know ex-Bengals coach Sam Wyche had issues with Doc, but it's ironic now that they both share their love for the mountains of the Carolinas.  Sam doesn't drink, but I'd bet he'd welcome Doc over for a front porch lemonade anytime.

Then there's Skip Prosser, arguably the most likable coach this area's had, even if his teams were pressing your team's behind off.  Put two Irishmen with "some good book learnin'" in a setting with some pints and the conversations are far more escalated than your typical tavern fare.

In other words, Paul Daugherty is a treat and you're lucky to have him here.  If he made you think, cry or flat-out honked you off, he's done his job.  To think that I'm even able to pinch-hit online for him makes me feel like Billy Bates in the on-deck circle of the 1990 World Series.

OK, the sucking up is over, it's down to business.  I'm a big Dave Letterman fan so I'll give you my Top 10 questions on sports and life that I can think off this February (sure, I have more, but I only get one shot today).

10) Spring training starts soon.  Who here wishes it were still in Florida?  I know the Reds made stupid money going to Goodyear, but to the average Cincinnatian, they might as well be holding it in Peru.  Folks here will load up the Airstream for Florida, but airline gouging and the time difference make Arizona seem like it's another planet. Plus, it's close to Area 51.


9) Why does Yancy Gates pump fake?  Give any of us blessed with Woody Harrelson disease a day at 6-9 and 260 and let's see who pump fakes under the bucket.  Kenyon Martin, Jason Maxiell, Eric Hicks...throw the ball down son!
8) What makes old men hang around naked in the locker room carrying on conversation? Without fail, if I have to make a pit stop where I work out, there's always a guy in there with more rolls than Busken shaving and talking about his weekend to the towel boy.  Disturbing.
7) Why are Xavier fans impatient?  They got so with Skip Prosser and I'm sure with every coach since.  Generally, the team wins and gets a postseason shot.  Many schools of that size play basketball that ends in February.  Patience.  As memory serves, they wanted to run Thad Matta out of town at 11-10 'til the Muskies rebounded with an Elite Eight visit.  Of course, that just allowed Matta to lie through his nose about his clandestine meetings with the Buckeyes later.
6) Why did the Cyclones ever leave the Gardens?  I'm honestly not a hockey fan, and the sprucing up of the Coliseum/Crowne/ Firstar Center/US Bank Arena was nice, but was essentially putting earrings on a pig.  The skyboxes aren't in the 513 area code and blue-collar hockey fans don't want to pay to park.  The Gardens is a smelly barn of popcorn and beer, but is a replica of Maple Leaf Gardens and reeks of hockey.  They sold the joint out playing "Hanson brothers" hockey with cheap beer and loud music.
5) Why is Starbucks considering selling beer?  And what form of crack is in the coffee that makes mini-vans flock to drive-thrus like lemmings off a cliff? Also, why "grande" and "venti" and orders with more directions than a James Bond martini?  What's wrong with "large" and "big ol'"? If a guy wants a beer, won't he hit the local Dewdrop Inn instead of the froo-froo coffee shop?
4) Why didn't Pete Rose just tell the truth to begin with?  Was it worth it to sell all of those really bad cornball books that I had to buy?  Regardless, the guy had more hits than anyone while a player.  The documented gambling evidence against him was when he was a manager. I've been to Cooperstown twice, St. Peter's not there checking names.  It's just baseball and if the 'roided up crew that Bud Selig himself oversaw gets in and Pete stays out, something's wrong. He has 4,256 reasons to be there.
3) Why does my dog insist on sniffing about and circling incessantly in the morning before she lets fly?  Exactly why would one be picky when the wind chill is well below 20?  It's ridiculous for a grown man to root and cheer for a No. 2!
2) How untouchable would Oscar Robertson's and Pete Maravich's college scoring records be if they had a three-point line and  could've played as freshmen.  Freshmen weren't eligible then and all buckets were a deuce. The Big O had 2,973 points and "Pistol Pete" had 3,667. Next time you stand to applaud someone in making the 1,000-point club for their career, keep that in mind.
And finally (do your drum rool noise)
1) Can I get me some Bruce Springsteen at Great American Ballpark?  I've seen the guy 30-some odd times, and have plans to see this latest tour.  I regret that I didn't make the Paul McCartney GABP show, but I think the Boss at the ballyard would be pretty cool. (Oddly enough, I was sitting in the left-field cheap seats last summer when I got the news of the death of his sax player Clarence Clemons. If it wasn't for Whitney Houston, the "Big Man" would've been honored at the Grammy's.)

With that said, I give you my song of the day.  While I don't always politically agree with Bruce, I understand and have been in the lines that make this song hit home.  You can call it "Daddy Rock" all you want.  Take the best show you've ever seen, tack an hour and change onto it and you've got what Bruce and the E Street Band did in their prime. 

See you at a show if you're so inclined.  In the meantime, you can find me @partingscott (personal twitter); @cpscottspringer (work Twitter) and on www.cincinnati.com/blogs/preps with my high school coverage.  If you're really nosey or intrigued about my personal ailments or displeasures, I have a site www.partingscott.com.  I don't post much on it since I've been back working, but there's a plethora of work there that served as my daily coping diary for awhile.


Now, one for the road, a little obscure. When you're lonely, there's always that place that's "Open All Night" (Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming)

 

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