Monday, October 28, 2002

This classic Pete Rose moment is brought to you by . . .


Here's a thought: Sponsor a day to honor the Hit King this season

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ANAHEIM, Calif. - If you own a local business or happen to be a CEO of one, I've got an idea for you. It will get your name out there among the sporting public. It will make you popular enough to run for office on the West Side. And it won't cost you a lot of money.

Here's the plan: Phone up the Reds and say you want to sponsor a Reds all-century team or a list of the Reds' greatest moments. Tell them you're going to set up a Web site to have the fans vote on the team or the list. Then you're going to sponsor a day at Great American Ball Park to celebrate the team or the list.

It's an absolute lock that Pete Rose would be on the Fifth Third All-Century Team, or his record-breaking hit would be on the JTM Most Memorable Reds Moments list.

So when the votes are tallied, the Reds could go to Mr. Allan H. "Bud" Selig and say: Our fans voted Pete the greatest Red of all-time. We're having him out to GABP to celebrate.

What could the commish say? He's allowed Rose to participate in two Major League Baseball-sanctioned events because the fans voted Rose to the MasterCard All-Century Team and voted his record-breaking hit No.6 on MasterCard's Memorable Moments list.

What's the difference between Reds fans voting and baseball fans at-large voting?

None.

So Bud would have to give in, or look very foolish. There's a chance he would opt for foolish. He's done that before.

The All-Star fiasco comes to mind.

But, if he didn't allow Rose to participate, he would look vindictive and petty. Again, he might do just that.

But the sponsor of a Reds list would look infinitely strong for forcing the commissioner's hand.

The catch is the Reds might not go for this. But they ought to. No matter what side of the Rose issue you come down on, you can't make an argument that he should have been kept away from the Reds' last game in Cinergy/Riverfront.

MLB said the difference between the closing ceremonies and the All-Century Team and Memorable Moments were that the fans' votes mandated Rose be there.

So you have a vote.

You don't even have to credit me for the idea.

SHAW STILL: Jeff Shaw's agent, Joe Bick, says Shaw has no plans to unretire.

Shaw, the former Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers closer, flirted with returning to Cincinnati as late as July of last year.

"We haven't talked about it," Bick said. "I wouldn't completely rule it out. But he has no plans to right now."

REDS-ANGELS: The fact the Angels are in the World Series has to give some hope to Reds fans. The Angels' payroll is only $61 million. The Reds should be in that neighborhood next year.

But, beyond that, when you look at the Angels, you see a team with a roster somewhat similar to the Reds'. You didn't see that last year with either of the Series participants, the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees.

The Diamondbacks had Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. The Yankees handed out million-dollar contracts the way the Reds hand out batting practice jerseys.

The Angels pretty much stood pat in the offseason. They banked on the hope that Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad would be healthy and thereby make the offense infinitely better.

They were and it was.

If Ken Griffey Jr., Austin Kearns and Sean Casey are healthy this coming season, the Reds' offense should also be infinitely better.

But there are also huge differences between the Reds and the Angels. The Angels thrive in the clutch, hitting a major league-high .317 with runners in scoring position. The Reds hit a major league-low .232.

The Angels struck out fewer times than any team in the American League. The Reds struck out more than all but one team in the National League.

Those two crippling stats may be more difficult to overcome than the injury bug.

GIANT LESSON: The Giants added two bargains to their starting eight last offseason. Reggie Sanders and David Bell each signed for $1.75 million with an option.

That's cheap in a $100 million payroll world. Sanders and Bell have two things in common: They play terrific defense and they came from winning teams.

The Reds should keep that in mind when they tweak their roster this winter.

E-mail: jfay@enquirer.com



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My heavens! Angels clinch World Series
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REDS
This classic Pete Rose moment is brought to you by . . .
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Byrd 17th winner this year
HOCKEY
Messier - no, not that one - beats Wild
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Elder draws rival Bombers in first round
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Preps non-football schedule
Regional tournaments for soccer, volleyball
Kentucky preps week ahead

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