About Me

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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Xavier St. Louis Women's Game Puts Local Talent on Display

Xavier has the core of former Cincinnati area Greater Miami Conference players.

Ashley Wanninger (Colerain), Amber Gray (Lakota West) and Jessica Pachko (Oak Hills) have been together on the Xavier squad for two seasons.

Freshmen Briana Glover (Mason) and Jenna Crittendon (Ryle) have joined the mix and are coming on as players for the Musketeers.

The St. Louis Billikens brought in two more on Thursday.  Jacy Bradley is a senior for St. Louis. She is out of Boone County High School.  Desirae Ball is a red shirt sophomore, who played at Ursuline.  Ball is the daughter of former Cincinnati Bengals' running back Eric Ball.

There were times during the game that Ball and Wanninger were guarding each other as they did during their high school days.

Crittendon and Bradley renewed a rivalry from Northern Kentucky.

St. Louis pulled away in the second half turning a one point deficit into a 66-49 win.

Ball hit two 3-point shots in back-to-back possessions that put the visitors up by four points.  St. Louis extended the lead.

Bradley was fouled by Wanninger on a 3-point attempt.  Bradley converted all three to put the Billikens ahead by 14 with six minutes left.

Ball had a career-high 22 points for the game.  Bradley had 10 points, all in the second half.  They combined for 32 of the 66 points for St. Louis.

Wanninger led the Musketeers with 12 points.  Pachko had nine.  Gray contributed two but led the Musketeers with four rebounds.  Glover scored seven and Crittendon added five.  Crittendon showed a nice touch with a pass under the basket.

Local players accounted for 35 of Xavier's 49 points as the Musketeers dropped to 0-6 in the Atlantic 10.

"Cincinnati is loaded with talent.  There are great players and great coaches here," said a frustrated Amy Waugh.  "We've done a good job of keeping some of those kids home.  When the players that go away come back to the Cintas Center, they are excited to play here.  We have to do a better job of shutting them down."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dayton Drought Extended

For the 28th straight time the Dayton Flyers traveled 50 miles to the home of the Xavier Musketeers and came home without the Blackburn McAferty Trophy. Xavier prevailed 66-61.

 Xavier won the game by tough offensive rebounding at key times. Twice in the final 34 seconds with Xavier nursing a one-point lead, Travis Taylor and Dee Davis missed the front end of the 1-and-1 bonus but came up with the offensive rebound. Finally, Justin Martin was able to hit a pair of free throws.

 "It begins and end with Xavier out muscling and out toughing us. We only got six defensive rebounds in the second half," Dayton coach Archie Miller said. "Xavier wanted it more. Not that our kids didn't but Xavier really went after it."

 Martin's key free throws saved the Musketeers from shooting below .500 from the charity stripe. Xavier made just 7-of-13 from the foul line. 

Dayton's 3-point specialist, Matt Derenbecker missed an open 3-pointer that would have sent the game to overtime.

 Xavier had 20 offensive rebounds and turned them into 35 second chance points. The Musketeers had more offensive rebounds (20) than they did defensive rebounds (16).

Dayton's Vee Sanford led all scorers with 16 points. Kevin Dillard had 12. The Flyer's leading rebounder, Devin Oliver, had just six.

"I'm really proud of our guys toughness," Xavier coach Chris Mack. "I don't know if there was a better sequence of events to illustrate that than the two offensive rebounds on missed foul shots. It was a strong effort against the conferences leading rebounding team."

Dee Davis scored 14 for the victorious Musketeers. Semaj Christon scored 13 including the basket that put Xavier up for good with 59 seconds left. Jeff Robinson scored 12. Travis Taylor hauled in 11 rebounds, four on the offensive end.

Dayton Flyers Look To Win A Road Game at Xavier

The Dayton Flyers have not beaten Xavier in Cincinnati in the lifetime of any of the current players.  Xavier coach Chris Mack was nine years old in 1981, the last time a Dayton Flyer team beat Xavier in Cincinnati.

The Musketeers have defended its home court 27 straight times.

Dayton defeated Xavier 74-72 on January 10, 1981 and has not won in the Queen City since.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Robert Martin Baseball Barber

New York Giants's pitcher Sal Maglie was nicknamed "the barber".

Robert Martin 79 at his shop on Galbraith Road.
By the time Maglie retired in 1958 young Robert Martin moved to Cincinnati from Kentucky and opened a barber shop in the White Oak Shopping Center on Cheviot Road in the Cincinnati suburbs.

One of his earliest customer's was a bouncy, crying two-year old by the name of  David Gus Bell his first haircut.

But Mr. Martin's baseball influence did not end with the by trimming the coif of the son of Cincinnati Reds' outfielder Gus Bell, within a few years, he moved his shop to the corner of Colerain and Galbraith.  He built a successful business and gave back to the community by sponsoring knothole baseball.

His shop moved again a block or two east on Galbraith across from St. Ann's church, behind which  a half dozen baseball fields once entertained the youth of Colerain Township with summer games.

At the age of 79, Martin still works six days a week, keeping the males of Colerain Township groomed.

Buddy Bell hair still groomed
The crying, two-year old who forfeited his blonde locks in the 50's grew up to have his own 18-year baseball career with the Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros.  Bell is currently the vice president of player development for the Chicago White Sox.  His own sons David and Mike played in the major leagues.

The knothole teams that Martin sponsors are on the wall of his shop, along with several trophies.  Long time teacher at LaSalle High School, Gene Jessee, took over from his father. Art and coached the teams.  He coached baseball at LaSalle mentoring major league players, Tim Naehring and Zack Day.

On this balmy January day, as I prepare for spring training less than two weeks away, I decided to clean up my act and get my hair trimmed.  Mr. Martin was there as always with shears in hand.

None of the players on his sponsored teams went on to careers as players but the sponsorship has paid off.  My father got his hair cut at the shop.  And Mr. Martin has gotten over 50 years of haircuts from me.  That's close to 100 haircuts.

I head off to Arizona on February 9.  Mr. Martin not only gave Bell his first hair cut.  He gave me my last......until I come back of course.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cincinnati Reds Host 2015 All-Star Game

MLB and Reds Announce 86th All-Star Game at GABP
In the late '90's, baseball commissioner Bud Selig had to sell the All-Star game, baseball's Midsummer Classic, to the franchises and cities.

"I had to beg people to hold the All-Star Game," Selig told a room full of writers and team officials on Wednesday.  "Now the competition is heavy."

When the Reds last hosted the Classic played by baseball's best in 1988, the skills competition was in its infancy.  The city was in the middle of a drought that summer and as luck would have it the home run contest, which is now televised around the world, was canceled by the first rain in three weeks.

Now the All-Star game and the companion Fan Fest is a six-day event on the same level as football's Super Bowl and horse racing's Kentucky Derby.

Thanks to Selig's promotion of baseball in Europe and Asia through the World Baseball Classic, the sport has gained a popularity on the world stage.  Interest has always been strong in Latin America.

The city that hosts the game now gets not only an economic boost in direct spending but a global awareness, the value of which is very difficult to quantify in dollars.

The community of the hosting franchise must take a bigger role in attracting the event.

Dan Lincoln, the president/CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau, is familiar with what it means to the economy of the city and the overall attitude of the community.

"We were in the dark for many years," Lincoln said.  "We were told that many times.  Five or Six years ago, we weren't ready to host an event like this. Now, with the success of the Civil Rights Game and the World Choir Games, Cincinnati has shown that we can handle an event like this.  The Banks project is at the right stage.  We can now have global awareness and the city and residents can feel good about themselves."

Lincoln pointed out that the All-Star game in Kansas City last year brought 150,000 people to that city. With a seating capacity of 42,000, three times as many people as those who could possibly attend the game.

"We expect more people to come here for the game in 2015," Lincoln said.  He expects the city to parlay the exposure into more conventions.  "We talk business to business for conventions but it is good to build on the momentum of events like the World Choir Games and the All-Star game.  The top-of-mind awareness will bring more events like this to the city."

Bob Castellini, Cincinnati mayor Mark Mallory and Lincoln have been lobbying Selig for years.

Mallory sent a letter in 2003 to Selig, hoping to get the game here in 2007 or 2008.  Selig responded that it would take more time.  Castellini was affectionately labeled persistent by Selig.

"Bob Castellini is very persistent," Selig said.  "In fact he was a pain in the.... I'll leave it at that."

"I have never been more pleased to be called that," Castellini said.  "It has taken a lot of work from the community.  It will lead the whole city into hospitality center.  It was very hard to keep this quiet."

When Castellini led an ownership group that bought controlling interest in the Reds, he promised that the Reds would be a winning team and that they would host an All-Star Game.  The Reds have made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons and now host Baseball's Classic.

"We are trying to build a sustainable contender," Castellini said.  "That is an every day struggle for our businesspeople to get fans to attend and gives us the money to sign players and our baseball people, our scouts and coaches to build a consistent winner."

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
For proof reading services call

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stan the Man and The Kid Reunited

It was a steamy June 10 afternoon at Crosley Field.

The St. Louis Cardinals were wearing out the Cincinnati Reds up 13-0 in the ninth inning.  Cincinnati manager Bill McKechnie sent a teenager, a month shy of his 16th, birthday to the mound.

Joe Nuxhall was about to pitch to one of the best hitters in the history of baseball but he had other hitters to take care of first.  The youngster retired George Fallon on a ground ball but walked pitcher Morton Cooper.    He induced Augie Bergamo to pop out before the reality of his situation stepped into the on deck circle.

A thin Denora, Pennsylvania native stepped into the on deck circle as Nuxhall tried to pitch to Debs Garms.

Stan Musial was waiting next and Nuxhall realized then and there where he was.  Musial all of 24 himself was already showing signs of a Hall of Fame career.

"I was pitching to seventh, eighth and ninth -graders, kids 13 and 14 years old," Nuxhall, who passed away in 2007 recalled.  "All of a sudden I look up and there's Stan Musial.  It was a very scary situation."

Nuxhall didn't get another out in the big leagues for seven years and Musial was a star by then.

Stanley Frank Musial was born on November 21, 1920 in Denora, Pennsylvania, the son of Polish immigrants.  He was 6'0" tall and 175 pounds.  He coiled up in the batter's box in an unorthodox batting stance and uncoiled with such force that he launched 475 home runs among his 3,630 hits.

Like Nuxhall a gentleman to the end Stan the Man died on Saturday at the age of 92.

Although his last game was against the Cincinnati Reds on September 29, 1963, he remained in baseball with the same Cardinal organization for which he played, all of his 22 seasons.

Nuxhall was there.  The day before, the "Old Lefthander" pitched a complete game against the Cardinals and retired Musial in both of his plate appearances.  The pair faced each other 140 more times over their respective careers.  Only Willie Mays faced Nuxhall more times.  Musial had 32 hits off Nuxhall including, two home runs.

Nine years after his retirement from baseball another Denora, Pa native was born on November 21.  Ken Griffey Jr. was born on the same date, in the same town as Stan the Man.  Griffey's grandfather, Buddy Griffey, played amateur baseball with Musial.

Musial recalled, "Buddy was a good player but he was lefthanded and played thirdbase."

Griffey belted 630 home runs in his own 22-year career.  Musial's 3,630 hits was over 500 hits better than Griffey managed, however.  Musial hit 201 more doubles and 139 more triples than the younger Denora native.

Griffey and Musial posed for a picture together when Jr. was with the Seattle Mariners during an annual Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown, New York.  Brian Goldberg, Griffey's agent, still keeps a copy on his wall.

On November 16, 2007, Nuxhall, "The Old Lefthander" rounded the sun for the last time and headed home.  Stan the Man just joined him, and I'm sure their is a lot of baseball talk in heaven today.

May Stanley Frank Musial rest well.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Joey Votto Is Absent from Canada's World Baseball Classic Roster

While Brandon Phillips will be representing the USA in the World Baseball Classic, Joey Votto was not named to the Canadian team's 23-man provisional roster.

 Votto was limited to 111 games by a knees injury that required surgery last season. He would need to pass an insurance physical before he can be added to the roster.

 The teams in the WBC have until February 20 to finalize its roster. There is still a chance Votto will join the team.

Brandon Phillips Will Represent the USA in the World Baseball Classic

Brandon Phillips wanted to wear the USA across his chest.  He will get the chance.

Manager Joe Torre and general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. have selected Reds' secondbaseman for the roster of the USA team in the World Baseball Classic.

"This is the number one honor, I've had in baseball," Phillips said.  "I will be playing for my country.  I started a little bit earlier this year.  I've been working my butt off real hard."

The roster will include 28 players, including 13 position players and 15 pitchers.

Phillips will join, firstbaseman Mark Texeira, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, thirdbaseman David Wright, catcher Joe Mauer, leftfielder Ryan Braun, centerfielder Adam Jones and rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton as the projected starting eight.

The players will begin spring training with their teams but will assemble as a unit on March 1 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.  The team will open the WBC with Mexico at Phoenix's Chase Field on March 8.

Reigning Cy Young winner RA Dickey will be one of the starting pitchers.  Ryan Vogelsong, Chris Medlen, and Derek Holland will join him.  The fifth spot is being held open for Justin Verlander, who will decide whether he can join the team once he starts throwing at the Tigers' Lakeland complex.

"These are guys I've played against during the season," Phillips said.  "It will be different.  It is like an all-star game but with a different feeling.  We will be representing our country in front of the whole world."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Xavier Opens Atlantic 10 Schedule With a Win

The Xavier Musketeers struggled through four straight defeats but got off the canvas to paint a 57-52 win over Temple that was far from a masterpiece.

Forced shots and untimely turnovers by both teams led to lead changes.  Temple scored the first eight points in the second half but six of Xavier's seven second half field goals in an eight minute span, lifted the Musketeers to an 11-point advantage.

Temple fought back and closed the gap to two points with 5:39 to play but Xavier was tougher down the stretch to secure a conference win over a 10-4 Owl squad.

"It's a situation that we've had a lot this year," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.  "We get a little halftime lead, get up in the second half and it quickly dissipates."

Semaj Christon led all scorers with 16 points.  Travis Taylor had 11 points and 10 rebounds.  Brad Redford made three tough 3-point shots, including two in Xavier's decisive stretch run.

Dee Davis injured his left wrist in the middle of the first half, leaving XU without a true point guard.  The wrist was not broken and Davis returned in the last two minutes, when Temple was expected to foul.  It was obvious that he could only handle the ball with his right hand.

"His wrist is not broken.  Beyond that, I don't know," Mack said.  "I think he sprained a ligament."

Redford and Christon had to cover for Davis.

"You've got guys playing out of place and you just have to manage as best you can," Redford said.  "I think we did a good job of competing and not worrying about who was on the court."

Anthony Lee led Temple with 15 points and seven rebounds.  Scootie Randall scored 13 and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson scored 11 points for the Owls.

The important factor for Xavier was breaking the losing streak as well as getting off to a good start in conference play.

"It was unreal," Taylor said.  "It was just an unreal feeling.  We competed from minute one to minute 40.  Anytime you compete that hard and play to the last minute.  You deserve to win."

Temple's Khalif Wyatt recognized Xavier's effort was the key.

"We came out and made a run to start the second half," Wyatt said.  'They came out and put together a run but we didn't quit and got back in it.  They made a couple more shots than we did.  They were tougher down the stretch and got to some loose balls."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Colerain Grad Win Honors For Xavier

Ashley Wanninger was named to the All-Tournament Team for the Holiday Inn Cavalier Classic played at the University of Virginia last weekend.

Wanninger out of Colerain High School, scored 14 points, including four 3-point baskets in the loss to the host Cavaliers.

The junior also scored 10 points in a win over Northern Illinois.

Wanninger started all 13 games for the Musketeers, averaging 9.5 per game.