Tuesday, October 7, 1997
Reds leaving? Again?
Sorry, I dozed off


BY LAURA PULFER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

John Allen has announced the Reds are going to "look elsewhere" for a home.

And I'm trying very hard to care.

Broadway Commons? Sign me up. The Wedge? I like the sound of that. Newport? I can find it. Cinergy Field? I've grown accustomed to its face. Just get on with it.

Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus said later that negotiations are a public dance. Well, a junior high school dance for sure. So, why don't you leave a note in Marge's locker after eighth-period study hall? Tell her, you know, that you like her and are hoping to go steady.

Playing the Schottzie card

Tell her that you have been noticing her, that you think Schottzie belongs in the Hall of Fame and that she owns your favorite team. She thinks you've been carrying Mike Brown's books. Her feelings are hurt.

If this doesn't work, just fix up Cinergy Field and move on. The lease runs out in 2010. Maybe we'll be grown up by then.

Meanwhile, the guys who are dithering about sports facilities are responsible for highways and police protection. They oversee welfare. They can put food on some tables that need it. They can send kids to day care centers. These are children otherwise shunted from aunt to grandmother to boyfriend while their mothers are going from "welfare to work."

"Ten years from today," the newest commissioner, Tom Neyer Jr., told a group of area builders and contractors last week, "you will still be paying to birth, house, feed, repair, re-educate, jail and bury those people we neglect to stabilize today.

"Hamilton County will administer more dollars in welfare, child support and other human service functions this year alone than we will spend to build both stadiums, which will serve at least 30 years."

John Allen, the team's managing executive, called Monday "Day 1 of the break-off of negotiations with the county." He made this announcement in the Crosley Room at the Reds offices before a big mural of Powel Crosley Jr., who bought the Reds during the Depression as a civic gesture.

The radio tycoon and entrepreneur loved Cincinnati and thought the team belonged here. Period.

So does Marge. You know she does. She is Margie Unnewehr, who grew up on Diehl Road on the west side. Nobody ever believed she'd leave town. We still don't.

Swimming toward home

Sharonville officials have been flirting. They say they have lots of hotel rooms and restaurants to accommodate fans and TV crews. What they don't have is $200 million, and county commission President Bob Bedinghaus made it clear "we have made a commitment to downtown." Scratch them.

Jerry Carroll of Turfway Park Race Course made noises early and often about his interest in bringing the Reds to Northern Kentucky with, he told me, private money. Now, he's off chasing NASCAR. Newport is building a tower and an aquarium. Covington? "We don't need a Holy War with Cincinnati," a Northern Kentucky mover and shaker said.

Somebody else wondered about River Downs. We know they want to be on the river. Do they want to be in the river? Peanuts, popcorn, water wings.

This is not about location. It is about money. "In one of baseball's smallest markets, we have got to have the revenues to make us competitive," Mr. Allen said. Again.

So, eventually a team of exceedingly well-paid athletes owned by institutionally wealthy persons will play baseball on Cincinnati's riverfront. On either the north or the south side. Or on Broadway Commons. Or the Wedge. Or in Sharonville or Blue Ash.

They might be playing on artificial turf or grass. Maybe they'll be playing in a new, "intimate" park. Or good old Riverfront Stadium. And I am trying very hard to care.

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Laura Pulfer's column appears in The Enquirer on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 768-8393 or fax at 768-8340. She can be heard Monday mornings on WVXU radio (91.7 FM) and as a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

PULFER ARCHIVE