Sunday, August 10, 2003

Enquirer Page Two power rankings

By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

1. Reds and Bengals fans. God bless 'em. Cubs and Red Sox fans have nothing on these guys. Here we are dealing with a Reds front office that tried to tell us all the recent moves were to improve the team now, and it wasn't about the money. And as upbeat as the Marvin Lewis Bengals era has been, aren't the records for the past 12 seasons forever etched in stone? Still, passions run high for both franchises.

2. UC/Big East. As cool as the potential move is for the Bearcats basketball program, its impact on the football schedule would be even bigger. Get the deal done, men.

3. Pennant races. The good thing about baseball is you can enjoy it no matter how bad the Reds are. Entering the weekend, all three AL races were within four games, the NL Central had three teams within three games, and the NL wild card had eight teams within 5 1/2 games.

4. The Portland Trail Blazers. Apparently inspired by Damon Stoudamire's third arrest on a drug charge, the NBA team is lowering prices and implementing - get this - a players code of conduct.

5. Tiger Woods. Have to love that he Gerald Forded a fan upside the head last week. Good to know the guy is human.

6. Pete Rose. He really believes he's going to be back in baseball, that he will manage again, that he will make a team a winner, and that he will put 10,000-15,000 more people in the stands each night. He believes that.

7. Napoleon McCallum. The Milford High and Naval Academy star was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this weekend.

Thumbs down

1. Cook County Judge Leo Holt. He gave only 30 months' probation to the knucklehead who, along with his son, attacked Royals first-base coach Tom Gamboa. The judge said: "What is the expected conduct of fans who sit for two or three hours drinking unlimited quantities of beer? How did Comiskey Park come to be known as the world's largest outdoor saloon?" What?

2. ESPN/Kobe Bryant. The network devoted an hour to Bryant's seven-minute hearing to face charges of sexual assault on a 19-year-old woman. In an equally absurd move, Bryant and his wife appeared at the Teen Choice Awards, where he was named favorite male athlete.

3. Golf gimmicks. First it was Annika Sorenstam playing the Colonial. Then it was Suzy Whaley participating in the Greater Hartford Open. Now, Jan Stephenson has accepted an invitation to play in the Champions Tour Turtle Bay Championship in October. Enough.

4. American basketball. Another new low. The U.S. team failed to win a medal in the Pan American Games for the first time in 32 years. The last gold? In 1983, when some guy named Michael Jordan was the team's star.

5. Jose Acevedo. So the Reds finally find a young guy with a live arm, get a couple of good performances out of him, then he goes on the disabled list because he fell down the dugout steps at Dodger Stadium. Nice. (Although it's not as bad as John Smoltz injuring himself ironing his shirt - while he was wearing it).

6. Mike Tyson. The guy never ceases to amaze. He has managed to have to file for bankruptcy despite career earnings in the $300 million range. Guess that lion food isn't cheap.

7. Roscoe Tanner. Proving bad guys aren't confined to football and basketball, the 1977 Australian Open winner has been arrested for failing to pay $70,000 in child support and for passing a bad check for $35,595 in Florida.

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