John Clay: Judging the deeds of Reds, Hogs and Cats

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistApril 24, 2012 

No good deed goes unpunished.

Take the Cincinnati Reds.

Owner Robert Castellini thought he was doing a good marketing deed by honoring the Kentucky basketball national championship before Tuesday night's game.

John Calipari and staff were on the field prior to the first pitch. The championship trophy was on display on the Terrace Level.

Kentucky is just across the river, after all. Plenty of UK fans in both Northern Kentucky and the Queen City.

As Lance McAlister, host of WLW's Sportstalk, points out, the Reds have 29 radio affiliates in Kentucky, compared to just 22 in Ohio. There are 10,800 UK alums in Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky.

And yet, McAlister reports most of his Monday night show was occupied by callers complaining about the Reds honoring the Big Blue.

"Non-stop calls for 90 minutes," McAlister said Tuesday morning. "One caller said he'd refuse diamond seats if offered. It was stunning. And yet hilarious. I said it was the single dumbest debate I'd ever heard from Cincinnati fans."

In response, some UK fans have vowed not to frequent GABP, despite the fact that it is the Reds, not their fans, honoring Cal and the Cats.

Plus, Castellini loves Central Kentucky. He once owned horses here. He personally came to the Reds' Caravan stop last year at the Lexington Civic Center. He, Joe Morgan and I shared a memorable lunch at Subway. OK, it was memorable to me.

For a second thankless deed, take Arkansas football.

John L. Smith did, leaving a job at Weber State he had taken three months ago, to return and rescue the Razorbacks. The former Louisville coach was named "interim" 10-month head coach on Tuesday.

He replaces Bobby Petrino, who replaced Smith at U of L. Before that, the two coached together at Idaho and Louisville. When Michigan State fired Smith, Petrino hired John L. to coach Arkansas' special teams.

With Petrino out of work, Arkansas Athletics Director Jeff Long, the former Eastern Kentucky AD, had a tough choice. Buck horrific timing and hire a permanent head coach? Promote an assistant from within? Find a stop-gap?

In the end, Long mined an unforeseen vein of golden continuity.

Undoubtedly rocked by the Petrino scandal, the Arkansas players know Smith. From his time as a Razorbacks' assistant, Smith knows the players. He has experience as a head coach.

Moreover, given Smith's and Petrino's association, John L. won't monkey with the Hogs' successful offensive scheme.

Ah, but critics have non-stop harped on Smith's departure from Weber State before coaching a game there. Not ideal, to be sure. But it's Weber State, people. Weber State football.

As for the rest of us, we welcome a coach with personality to the SEC. Remember John L. calling his players girls after Louisville lost to UK in his first game as the Cards' coach? Remember when Smith compared the Cards to the "red-headed stepchild" in the UK series?

Move over, Spurrier. There's a new pop-off in town.

And, finally, for a good deed that was lauded, we have Terrence Jones.

As you may remember, the Kentucky forward accidentally trampled a Louisville cheerleader during the Final Four in New Orleans. Jerica Logue needed four stitches to close the cut in her head. A gamer, she returned to root on her Cards, albeit in a losing effort. Afterward, Jones promised to bring Logue flowers.

Monday night, the now former Kentucky forward did just that, showing up at Louisville's cheer practice to present Logue a beautiful bouquet.

"It went well," Jones told WHAS-TV in Louisville, admitting he was nervous before doing the promised deed. "I've never been to cheer practice before."

"I think it's really nice of him," Logue told the TV station.

Now there's a good deed even Cats and Cards can celebrate.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service