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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.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Baseball, Reds And Nationals Remember Muhammed Ali

Long before the Reds asked for a moment of silence for Muhammed Ali, Reds and Nationals players, coaches and managers expressed their feelings on the world boxing great.

Dusty Baker and Brandon Phillips were at the Civil Rights Game, an annual baseball event, against the Chicago White Sox in 2009. Reds' great Frank Robinson, baseball's first black manager, and Hank Aaron were in attendance but the special guest was Muhammed Ali.

Ali passed away at the age of 74 on Friday but the impression he left on a lot of lives will live on in the memory of his deeds and not only those from the boxing ring.

Ali, who had a gift for the spoken language, spoke out against injustice during the height of his boxing career in the turbulent 1960's when the Viet Nam War and the fight for civil rights.

"I was a teenager. I was going through turmoils in my life and there was turmoil in the country," Baker said. "Muhammed Ali gave us all, especially young black men a sense of pride and a sense of strength.  I had been in his company when I was in LA with different banquets and stuff.  Just his presence, his life and his story was inspiring.  I have a friend of mine Graham King, who did the Muhammed Ali story. It portrayed him very accurately. It's a great loss to us all."

Baker was able to spend time with Ali during the Civil Rights Game as manager of the Reds.

"It was cool. It was real cool. He was always the champ, special," Baker said.  "I was in awe, really, like a little kid. I didn't know what to say. You were hoping he could talk with the Parkinson's disease.  When he was younger, you did most of the listening.  He did all the talking."

Brandon Phillips was born after Ali had retired but he still had appreciation for what Ali meant to America.

"He was the greatest of all time, man. He spoke his mind," said the outspoken Phillips. "Just imagine him coming up right now with social media and all.  Nobody knows what would have happened. He was the man every where. It still leaves me speechless a little bit.  I have some things signed when he was here. It was hard for him to sign but it was Muhammed Ali. Whatever, he did, I'll take it. I met him. Had my picture taken with him."

Bryan Price was not at the Civil Rights Game but was able to reflect Ali's importance.

"Especially, in the 70's boxing was a more prevalent sport than it is now," Price said. "Classically trained boxers were fun to watch.  It was an event. It was an ABC event. Fights were televised for every one to see. You got a lot of front and center time with Ali. He was outstanding. You would carve out that time in your day to watch him fight.  Beyond that he was a great humanitarian, coming from Louisville, Kentucky he was big locally but he was a prominent world figure."  

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