Thursday, April 9, 2009

Talking Mack, The Next Big Thing, and paging General George Patton

I'm all for Xavier promoting Chris Mack to the head coaching position. He's paid a lot of dues and has shown competence at each and every level. From calling in his team's own scores to the media while he was the head coach at Mt. Notre Dame High School, to winning tough recruiting battles to land the best talent in the Atlantic 10. I think he would be committed to staying. That doesn't mean he would never leave, but I think it would be tougher for him to leave that any other up and coming coach out there. You know how we locals are. Born here, stay here, love it here. I love seeing local guys make good coaching the local teams. Having a St. Xavier grad at Xavier and a La Salle grad at U.C. would be very cool But that's not a reason to hire Mack. You hire him because he is the best man for the job. Xavier A.D. Mike Bobinski would know better than I, but here's hoping Bobinski comes to that conclusion.

During the off season I sometimes referred to the Reds Joey Votto as "The Next Big Thing". I would get questions like: who calls him that? (me) Why do you call him that? (he's going to be a hitting star) But what about his defense? (He'll be fine, but when you can hit like this, you make a place for him)
Votto is a throwback, no-nonsense, wants to get dirty, wants to get better, and wants to win, kind of ballplayer. After the games, sometimes it's hard to get an interview with Joey because he's either in the weight room or the batting cage. I'm told Votto was approached to do a television commercial. He made sure it was early in the day because he might have a game to get ready to play. You have to love that. After he hit his 3 run homer today, a friend next to me in the stands said to drop the "next", Votto is already "The Big Thing".

With word of Leon Hall's DUI charge comes a harder look at the Tank Johnson signing. Since Tank had no legal issues in Dallas, it's assumed by most around Cincinnati the guy has gotten his act together. But I get nervous reading about some of his antics in the Big D. Hanging with Pacman Jones and loudly proclaiming his free agency status as he walked into the Cowboys locker room after a brutal season-ending loss to Philly. Then I read about his passion for the search for Marquis Cooper and the other missing boaters in the Gulf of Mexico. I can't base a judgment on that and I don't mind second chances. It seems to be working well with Cedric Benson. But no team can afford to stockpile guys with trouble in the past. If a couple of them step out of bounds again, then you have a real mess on your hands. The Bengals went down that exact road just a few years back and the franchise is still paying for it. Tank says there is no chance involved because his two trouble-free seasons in Dallas proves he's no longer a risk. I can sign off on this one, but it's the only chance I take in 2009. Besides, the Bengals haven't exactly been like General George Patton when it comes to keeping their tanks on track.

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