Monday, June 17, 1996
Job applicant to make game fun once again

BY CLIFF RADEL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

POSITION AVAILABLE: The Cincinnati Reds, a team of hard-changing professionals, has an immediate need to fill the position of temporary CEO. Responsibilities include day-to-day business operations, damage control and image building. Knowledge of baseball a must. No smoking, please.

Dear Cincinnati Reds:

Please accept this application for the above position.

I'm your man.

Although I am extremely happy with my current situation - and please don't tell my employer I'm applying for this job - I would view the opportunity, if offered, as a labor of love.

Not to be mushy, but I love the Reds. And I'm tired of seeing them hurt by a CEO who forgot that the team, not the person in charge, is the star of the show.

There's also a selfish reason for wanting to run the Reds: It would be a heckuva lot of fun. I can't wait to slap a permanent smile on Riverfront Stadium and bring about the downfall of the house of grumpy ushers.

I would bring baseball smarts to the job, as well as a Cincinnati heart. The Reds are the city's linchpin. No matter where you're from - east side or west, north or south - it's your birthright to ask: ''How 'bout them Reds?''

I was born and raised in Cincinnati. This is Reds country, where you hope every game ends with Marty Brennaman saying, ''And this one belongs to the Reds.''

This is where you stay up for those late games on the West Coast and don't go to sleep until Joe Nuxhall declares, ''This is the old left-hander, rounding third and heading for home.''

I've never worn any other team's baseball cap. When other kids in my neighborhood trotted out to play baseball in the middle of the street, they put on Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates caps. I remained true to the Reds. I even wore my red cap - with the white ''C'' sewn on - to bed.

And I wear my Reds allegiance on my sleeve. I know this is one of baseball's most storied franchises. I know this is Barry MVP Larkin's hometown. I know the Big Red Machine, Sparky Anderson, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Pete Rose, just as I know the 1940 world champs of Frank McCormick, Johnny ''Double No-Hit'' Vander Meer and Ernie Lombardi.

I keep track, too. Through last season the Reds had won 8,314 games and lost 8,180 - a .504 winning percentage. The Reds are a winner. This tradition needs to continue.

Please consider my qualifications below, and let's do lunch, at the ballpark. I'll spring for the $1 hotdogs.

EDUCATION: Western Hills High School (where Pete Rose slept). University of Cincinnati (where the Reds scouted Sandy Koufax but didn't sign him because he was too wild).

CAREER GOALS: Have a poster day for Barry Larkin. Retire Joe Morgan's and Frank Robinson's numbers. Hold a Hall of Fame day for the Reds' living inductees: Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver and Frank Robinson. Revive photo day so parents can lug a camera down to the stadium, go on the field and take their kids' picture next to a ballplayer. Rock Riverfront with local bands playing before and after the game and singing ''The Star-Spangled Banner.''

EXPERIENCE: First left-handed shortstop in the history of Cub Scout Pack 11. The regular shortstop missed the entire season with a bad case of poison ivy.

First Knothole game included four at-bats and four hits. One on the elbow. Two on the right ankle. One in the ribs. The pitcher was wild.

AFFILIATIONS: Have lived on Cincinnati's east and west sides. (One side likes dark mustard on its hotdogs. The other doesn't care.)

GENERAL HEALTH: Bats - Left. Throws - Left. Sick of the Reds losing. Allergic to dog hair and secondhand smoke.

COMPENSATION: Salary should be commensurate with the job. I want everybody to have the right to sit in any empty seat at Riverfront and not have an usher bark: ''Where's your ticket, buddy?''

REFERENCES: Available upon request. Feel free to contact my mom.

I'm sure we can work out a deal. And I swear on a stack of home plates to love the fans at least as much as the Reds.

It'd be my pleasure to hear from you ASAP. I'd love to be on board before next week's series with the Phillies.

Sincerely,

Cliff Radel

Cliff Radel's column appears in The Enquirer Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For now. Available to speak to groups. Tips and comments most welcome. Call 768-8379 or fax at 768-8340.