Sunday, February 22, 2004

All thumbs



By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

George Steinbrenner

Sure you can hate him. But he puts his money where his love for winning is. And post-A-Rod? They sold 104,000 tickets the first four days after the signing; the team's Web site had 2.5 million hits a day, instead of 500,000; two hours after the gift shop opened, they sold a dozen A-Rod jerseys at $115 each. The Boss spends money to make money. (Hint: Reds).

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

He really is a national star. He won the Daytona 500, which was the second-highest rated ever, then went on Regis and Kelly and David Letterman.

Reds fans

Another Opening Day sellout despite an offseason of nothing but negative talk about the team's chances. At least the tradition is alive.

The La Salle High Lancers

Their great season can't be ruined by Friday's loss to Moeller. It's a shame star Justin Orr went down with a knee injury. A Moeller-La Salle state final would have been sweet.

Thumbs down

The BALCO drug trial

This has the possibility of getting real ugly. It looks as if names of players involved eventually will come out. And thanks to Baseball's weak drug-testing policies (and special thanks to the players' union), suspicion will cloud even the innocent.

Bud Selig

The Baseball commissioner was awfully reluctant about giving the OK to the Alex Rodriguez trade. "I am very concerned about the large amount of cash consideration . . . However, given the unique circumstances . . ." Sure unique circumstances, the Yankees were involved.

The NBA All-Star game

Apparently, a game - and we use that term loosely - with 44 dunks isn't what basketball fans desire. The TV ratings tied for the lowest ever.

Gary Barnett/Colorado

Sure, a college coach can't be responsible for his players 24-7. But there's too much smoke for there not to be fire. This, too, will get uglier.




REDS / BASEBALL
Opening Day tickets long gone
Wagner's ready for more
A quick chat with ... Rick Stowe
Experience could give Valentin catching edge
ONLINE EXTRA: Reds e-mail Q&A
POLL: What are the Reds' chances of winning the NL Central?
Arizona's Big Unit still thinking big
Mondesi ready to join Pirates

BASKETBALL
Bearcats exercise their survival skills
Daugherty: Hicks' hustle saves UC
White scores high on defensive effort
Xavier: Chalmers hits clutch layup
Sato praised for job guarding Dayton's top players
Despite injured hand, Fitch sparks UK to win
MU takes advantage of foul downpour
Hoosiers can't stop Buckeyes' inside game
Top 25: Stanford, St. Joe's still unbeaten
MU women narrowly escape upset bid by CMU
NBA: Frank still unbeaten as N.J. coach

BENGALS / NFL
Lewis careful with QB decision
Arizona on Dillon watch list
To NFL experts, Roethlisberger has right stuff
Issue still weighing on QB

TOP OF THE SECOND
It was a honeymoon off the beaten path for these newlyweds
Purcell Marian graduate digs new role
What's up with that?
Planning ahead: Can't-miss TV
All thumbs

PREP SPORTS
Mayo triple-double keeps NCH perfect
Fairfield stuns 6th-ranked Winton Woods
Ky.: Villa Madonna girls hang on to edge Heritage
Wrestling: Crusaders roll, send 9 to state
Ky. Wrestling: Camels take Sixth Region
Swimming: Beck, Krone top surprises of surprising day
Groeschen: State wants to pin down all-time stats
Ernst: Real action to follow is on sidelines
Prep sports results, schedules

NASCAR
Rockingham field filled with slow competition
McMurray capitalizes on drivers' distraction

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