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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Readers sound off on Reds' Monday firings


Finally, management shows leadership

It's good to see General Manager Jim Bowden move on. Bowden is truly a legend in his own mind. His style of disclosing potential trades has hurt the Reds for years.

Can you imagine reading the company newsletter and seeing that your boss has published an article saying he may let you go next week? It's not going to create a great work environment and similar damage was done in the Reds' clubhouse, I'm sure.

And the Bob Boone-Bowden fiasco over Phil Nevin for Ken Griffey Jr. trade was laughable. Nevin has been on the disabled list more than Griffey during the past two years. Yeah, they are geniuses. Let's trade an all-century guy for a banged-up third baseman. The other thing I'm looking forward to is watching a game in which the Reds don't make a pitching change with a three-run lead because we need a lefty-lefty match-up. Granted the pitching is horrible, but Boone effectively fried his bullpen by the all-star break.

Reds owner Lindner may not know baseball, but it should be clear from his success that he knows good leaders and managers. I think he just made that clear to everyone and I thank him.

Steve Drake, Fairfield

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Bad team wasn't Jim Bowden's fault

Apparently, we should fault Jim Bowden and Bob Boone for the decline of the Reds, and at least in Boone's case, the blame is justified. However, an examination of statistics will prove that Bowden is hardly at fault. For the three years (1993-1995) Bowden acted as Reds' general manager without the influence of John Allen, the Reds won games at a .540 clip. Since Allen's first full year in the front office (1997), the Reds have had a .484 winning percentage. Some would fault Bowden for his trades, especially his trades as last season ended. Ryan Dempster, Shawn Estes and Brian Moehler all pitched poorly down the stretch.

But let us consider the two years Dempster pitched before coming to Cincinnati. In those years (2000-2001), he went 29-22 with an ERA of 4.30. He averaged 218.1 innings pitched and in 2000, struck out 209 batters. Over those same two years, the Reds' top starter was Elmer Dessens.

Dessens went 21-19 with a 4.38 ERA, while averaging 176.1 innings. His top strikeout total was 128, and in fact, the last Red to notch at least 200 strikeouts was Jose Rijo in 1993. Clearly, Dempster would have been the top pitcher on the Reds' staff in both seasons, and at the time, he was considered one of baseball's best young prospects. Furthermore, Bowden gave up relatively little to get Dempster. Fans should not be so quick to criticize Bowden; it was never his fault that the budget was excessively tight.

Maybe Reds fans should look to someone else, COO John Allen, a man with no prior baseball experience. What has he given us? A .484 winning percentage and the famed "Wait till 2003" catch line. Well, 2003 is here, the Reds are mediocre and it is hardly Jim Bowden's fault.

Matt Luby, Kenwood




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