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.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Northern Kentucky Hangs Tough With Xavier

A new back yard rivalry developed at the Cintas Center at Xavier University.

After dismantling #24 Michigan on Saturday on the road, Xavier (4-0) was left gripping a hard fought 78-66 win over the Northern Kentucky Norse (1-3) in their first game as a member of the Top 25 (23).

It was the first time that the two schools played since the 1978-79 season   Xavier is now 4-2 in the series.

Xavier had six players in double figures.  Trevon Bluiett scored 14 points and 16 rebounds. James Farr scored 13. Edmond Sumner, Remy Abell and Myles Davis had 12 each. Jalen Rose scored 11.

Tyler White led the Norse with 25 points. Lavone Holland chipped in with 11, while leading NKU with eight rebounds.

Xavier led by nine at halftime and never really pulled away from NKU, a member of the Horizen Conference, who is not yet eligible for the NCAA tournament.

"We were not ready to play," Myles Davis said. "We are more talented than they are.  That's why we won the game. We didn't come to play. NKU did."

Xavier coach Chris Mack had more to say.

"I was disappointed in the whole game. All 40 minutes," Mack said.  "It wasn't about X's and O's. I'm not trying to reflect the game. I'm responsible for the ship and our ship sucked tonight. We sucked. It was ridiculous to come out and play like this."

After a big win in Ann Arbor the Musketeers were ranked for the first time this season but Mack was not impressed.

'It's garbage," Mack said. "That doesn't mean a thing until you go out on the court and show who you are. I give NKU a lot of credit.  They came to play. We didn't.  We talked about the Michigan game for four days going into it.  I don't understand how you don't come to play every day."

The underdog Norse, who dropped a 64-56 decision to Morehead State had a different perspective.

"I think our young men competed tonight," NKU coach John Brannen said. "We used our game plan and competed.  We tried to guard them close without fouling but we didn't quite do that."

NKU committed 27 fouls and put the Musketeers on the foul line 34 times.  The Xavier had one more field goal 23-22.  NKU had nine 3-pointers to Xavier's six but the 12 point margin was achieved at the foul line. Xavier made 26 free throws and NKU made 13.

Sophomore guard Holland from Louisville Ballard High School was not heavily recruited. NKU was his only option.  He will be a junior when the team becomes ready for the NCAA.

""It was fun to go out and implement our game plan with a top 25 team. They are really good. It feels good to compete against them," Holland said.

He is not ready to think about NCAA tournaments down the road.

"I'm  more looking forward to the next two days of practice and getting to work. We got a lot of good experience out of this game," Holland said."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Competitor Never Quits Time Just Runs Out

A short red headed eight year old fields ground balls until there isn't enough light to field anymore.  His deep almost adult voice challenges the hitter to smack some more fungos long past the time to quit.

On the way home, the little fire haired kid critiques his own performance, vowing to erase any and all mistakes he made that day.

Tim Dougherty never showed emotion. He analyzed everything. His talent never matched his desire but that would never stop him, only time would dictate that he move on.

There was the time in an eighth grade basketball game at Colerain Junior High School that Tim called an unauthorized time out. Tim was bringing the ball up the court for the Cardinals against arch-rivals the White Oak Junior High School Warriors. David Quebe stole the ball from Tim in two successive trips up the court for easy baskets.  Dougherty made the T with his hands and called time out.  As the crowd noise dimmed, everyone in the house that day could hear his coach scream, "What are you doing, Dougherty? I like to save my timeouts for the end of the game."  Dougherty, never one to flinch or rattle, calmly replied, "We had to stop their momentum."

To be sure he had seen basketball coaches do this on TV and he was going to apply it.

The summer of 1969, the sophomore class at Colerain high was ready to start two-a-day practice for football.  There were a couple guys missing, Ray Penno, Dan Merkt and Dougherty were busy winning the Ohio State Babe Ruth championship for Pioneer Vending.  Coach Paul Geisen asked where Dougherty was.  He knew Penno and Merkt would be late but didn't know that Dougherty was also on that team.  He hadn't told Geisen he would be missing because he intended to concentrate on basketball.

"He doesn't have the build for basketball," Geisen said of the 5'6" muscular Dougherty.  "He's built too close to the ground."

Dougherty earned a spot on the basketball team anyway.  His career didn't last long. He played one or two years when more talented players were selected to represent the Cardinals on the court.  Still he would sit in the stands at every game and could explain what was going on on the court below.

I next saw Tim twenty years later. I was the Public Address announcer for a baseball game at Xavier University.  Dougherty approached me between games of the doubleheader. He had been the home plate umpire.  "You always imitated Dom Valentino," remembered Dougherty of the Cincinnati Royals radio broadcaster who had a distinct easy to imitate radio voice.  "I thought that was you back here," Dougherty said as he explained that he followed his desire to participate in athletics by acting as an arbitor for baseball, basketball and football at all levels of competition.

I would see Tim several times a year at one sporing event or another.  Always calm under pressure and letting the reproach of coaches and fans roll off his back without reaction.  When he made a call it was fact, a final decision with no appeal.

Tim drew the Colerain football game at Milford in 2004 when the Cardinals had one of its best teams ever.  Both sides knew that the game will be called right down the middle. It was until Colerain built a 70-0 lead after three quarters.

Colerain coach Kerry Coombs called Dougherty over to the sidelines. "We don't need to score anymore," Coombs told Dougherty.  The last two of 14 different Colerain ball carriers broke free on runs for touchdowns but Dougherty spied holding somewhere on the field on them to prevent the scoreboard for registering 84 points.

Dougherty suffered a stroke last week.  On Friday he was having trouble breathing.  Around 10:15 on Saturday morning Dougherty passed away.  In his final call he requested that there would be no public service.

It was his style to compete until you can struggle no more, and  to compete when he knew no one was watching.  He made the final call.

Rest well my friend.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Xavier Tunes Up Against Division II Northwood

The Xavier Musketeers finish its pre-season tuneup with a 97-67 win at 2:00 p.m. against the Northwood Timberwolves of the Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).

Jalen Reynolds will replace Matt Stainbrook as the big man in the middle.  Myles Davis will take the point guard spot, manned by Dee Davis the last three seasons.

Remy Abell and Trevon Bluett return for their second seasons in the Xavier lineup.

Freshman Edmond Sumner from Detroit Country Day will crack the lineup for the Musketeers who were selected to finish third in the Big East.  Sumner is 6'6" and 183 pounds with great natural instincts for the game. He is very athletic and promises to be a force in the Xavier offense as he gains experience and confidence.
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Northwood was picked to finish sixth in the GLIAC.

The Northwood men’s basketball team enters the 2015-16 season with a new-look lineup. Sixth-year head coach Jeff Rekeweg will rely on some of the best backcourt players in the GLIAC and a different core up front.

Senior guard Maurice Jones and Dylan Langkabel will lead the way for the Timberwolves. Jones averaged 14.8 points, 6.6 assists and 2.4 steals per game a year ago, while Langkabel averaged 15.6 points per game.  NU also returns guards Jermaine Myers and Nick Spitzley, each of whom were key contributors for the Timberwolves a year ago. The big question for Northwood will replacing their production from Will Bowles, who led the team in scoring (15.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg). PJ Weaver, Charlie Ryan, Matt Crowl and Casey Boyle will all see significant time up front for the Timberwolves. Other players expected to be key contributors for Northwood this season include Brad Schaub, Zach Allread and Jarel Wooldridge.

Xavier will host the Miami of Ohio Redhawks on Friday the 13th in its season opener.

Maurice Jones, a transfer who started for two season at USC, led all scorers with 20 points.  Jermaine Myers added 11. Jones also led the Timberwolves with six rebounds and four assists.

Xavier had five players in double figures led by Sumner with 17. Bluiett, Abell and J.P. Macura all scored 14 points. Larry Austin Jr. contributed 12 points.

"Edmond (Sumner) played well on offense but has to learn to play better defense," Mack said. "He had to guard a 5'8" water bug but he will have to learn to guard them."

Bluiett led Xavier with nine rebounds. Reynolds had seven.  James Farr had seven as well. Davis dealt seven assists in his new point guard role.

"I thought it was a choppy game," Coach Chris Mack said. "Since we've had officials come in to call our practices, we haven't fouled this much. Give credit to Maurice Jones, he's a talent at any level. We have to learn to defend without fouling. We have to adjust to how the game is going to be called.  We didn't finish off the game. We had 11 turnovers in the second half. We gave up 13 offensive rebounds. No disrespect to Northwood but they're not the athletes we are going to face the rest of the season."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Reds Replace General Manager Walt Jocketty

The Reds have named Dick Williams as the team's general manager effective immediately.

Walt Jocketty will remain with the team as the president of baseball operations for at least two more years as his new contract is being finalized

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"When Mr. Castellini and I discussed our last contract, I told him that I would be ready to move on to an advisory role," Jocketty said.

Williams, 44, is the son of owner Tom Williams.

"I am excited for this opportunity," Williams said. "I see this as a continuation. It is not a takeover."

Jocketty, 64, has been involved with Major League Baseball for 41 years. the last 21 as a general manager. He has been the Reds' general manager since 2008.

"We decided to do this now with the general managers' meeting and the winter meetings coming up," Jocketty said. "Dick has been training for this job for the last 10 years."