Mo lives and breathes sports, it's kind of disturbing...
Bringing you everything Cincinnati Sports.
A lifelong Bengals fan. God help her.
She's a woman with opinions
The latest Hollywood dirt
|Eddie & Tracy
Did you know Tracy played on 5 major league teams?
MO' Favorite Links
MO' Favorite Links
I will gladly accept bribery to put your site on this list.
My favorite site. Not for those easily offended.
This is a great NBA blog. The NBA (National Basketball Association) is a professional men's basketball league, consisting of 29 American teams, and one Canadian team. It was founded in 1946. Cincinnati used to have a team. I wish it did now.
Better Off Red
Jamie Ramsey is the Assistant Media Relations Director of the Reds. He takes you behind the scenes of a Major League team. And he writes funny captions for his photos.
Plenty of scenery and funny stuff on Big Smudge. I'll be honest, these guys told me they were fans of my show, and even if they didn't mean it, that gets them linked.
Bugs and Cranks
If it's about baseball, these guys usually have something to say about it. And it's usually funny.
Booze, Ladies, and Football.
Calling It Like It Is
A guy from Cincinnati, who uh, well he calls it like it is.
Chris Sabo's Goggles
A Reds fan stuck in Chicago does a blog. He says the purpose of the blog is to inform people of the Reds without the geeky stuff, like facts for example. My kind of guy.
You're probably thinking this website is about me. Actually, it's not.
Local college basketball blog by two guys...one a UC fan, the other an XU fan.
The Godfather of sports blogs.
My favorite baseball blog. I thought I loved the game, then I read these guys.
Stuff guys like. At least stuff normal guys like.
Hugging Harold Reynolds
Very funny sports blog with one of my favorite names.
John Clay's Sidelines
John is an outstanding writer who covers everything and anything UK-related.
Larry Brown Sports
The other Larry Brown, not the guy who's coached half the teams in the NBA.
Look At Me Shirts
Be the guy in the ironic shirt. Take credit for someone else's joke.
Mo Egger's Blog
Did you really think my blog wouldn't be on a list of "favorites?"
Do you like mind-numbing statistical analysis of the Reds? Do you treat every game like the fate of the world rests on it? This site is probably not for you.
Most negative man in America. And I usually agree with him.
Pro Football Talk
Not daily, but almost hourly reading for NFL fans.
Everything and anything Reds...and more, by Reds fans.
Rush The Court
The Ubiquitous college basketblog.
A little UK, a little Louisville. A lot of funny.
Anything and everything hoops.
A Cincinnati guy based in Vegas. What I'd write if I could write.
Because some things can't be taught.
I admit, I'm a geek.
Who Dey Revolution
No site better captures the frustration of being a Bengals fan better than this one. Fan empowerment at its best.
You shouldn’t like sports as much you did when you were a kid. Eleven year-olds invest their lives into their teams, the results of games have greater importance, and favorite athletes are obsessed over to levels that are unhealthy for adults.
It changes when you get old. Priorities shift. Interests evolve. Realities set in. Athletes are mercenary businessmen flawed by the same human frailties as everyone else, with some capable of doing some truly horrible things. Teams are commodities that are bought, sold, moved, and treated more like investment properties than the public trusts they should be.
We smile and nod along like automatons while owners stick us with the bill for their stadiums, their ticket surcharges, and their nine dollar beers. We shrug our shoulders while the players we invest so much of ourselves to watch leave something or somewhere else. Being an adult sports fan is just like being an adult: overrated.
That’s why we hang on to the guys we worshiped as kids. It’s why we give a crap about numbers being retired, about rings of honor, about what where someone has them ranked on some meaningless all-time list.
It’s why we care so much about the All-Century Team, the NFL Network’s Top 100, the NBA’s 50 at 50, and it’s why we fire off nasty emails to Bill Simmons when he ranks Bernard King as only the 58th best NBA player ever in his book. (OK, maybe I’m the only person that did that)
It’s why we pause and sometimes cry when one of them dies.
And it why we care so much about Halls of Fame.
When Barry Larkin began his Major League career, I was weeks away from turning nine years-old. He ended it on my 27th birthday. Think about how many things happened to you in between his RBI groundout against Terry Mulholland on August 13th, 1986 and his double-play grounder off of Oliver Perez on October 3rd, 2004….
In the 18 years Barry manned shortstop for the Reds, I alone attended two different junior high schools and two high schools in two different states. I discovered girls, video games, basketball, Air Jordans, MTV, cars, music, porn, alcohol, Roger Angell’s writing, Scorsese movies, cable descrambling boxes, and gambling.
I picked up diplomas from Scott High School and the University of Dayton, even if I don’t remember the college graduation all that much. I picked up a wedding ring and a wife, even if I don’t remember the wedding reception all that much.
I lived in my dad’s apartment and my mom’s house. I took up residence in grandma’s basement and in UD’s dorms. I rented an apartment and bought a house.
I bused tables, ran printing presses, flipped burgers, parked cars, sold hats, and had about a dozen different radio job titles.
And I watched a lot of sports too…
I watched the Bengals in a Super Bowl, then saw them fade into irrelevance. I saw UC basketball rise from a non-entity to national prominence. I witnessed the fall then the rise of UK basketball, while watching Xavier go from Cinderella to NCAA mainstay.
And I saw the Reds play in two different stadiums for two different owners who at different times employed nine different managers. I saw the team’s most famous player go from a baseball icon to baseball outcast. I saw Cincinnati host an All-Star game, a World Series, and a one-game playoff. I watched, or listened, to 12 different pitchers start on Opening Day which was played in snow, rain, sun, and which was once postponed because of tragedy.
I saw a promising season canceled by a strike and another season shortened by one. I watched Eric The Red, Neon Deion, and Junior. I cheered for memorable players and forgettable ones, winning teams and too many losing ones, and I heard the same amazing radio team call them all.
I changed. The world changed. Sports changed. The Reds changed. Their shortstop remained the same.
I think that’s why I like Barry Larkin so much.
Barry was good, which goes without saying, but more than anything Barry was there. All the time. Every year. Summer after summer. Always good, sometimes great, but most important, always there.
That, maybe more than anything is why he’ll go into the Hall this July. His numbers compare favorably to other shortstops in Cooperstown, but on their own the individual seasons don’t completely wow you….only his 30/30 season of 1996 jumps off the baseball card. (Or for readers under 30, his Baseball Reference Page) He won nine Silver Slugger Awards at his position but never led the league in any offensive statistical category, and given how he was sandwiched in between Cal Ripken and the offensive-minded (and in some cases, steroid-enhanced) shortstops of the late 90s and early 2000s his numbers might not impress you as much as they probably should.
He was excellent defensively, an excellence that required your eyeballs and not your calculator. I have no idea what Barry’s fielding metrics say about him. I do have my eyeballs and my memory, which tell me that the dude was as good with the glove as anyone…..but fair or unfair he’ll never be held in the same regard defensively as Ozzie Smith. Maybe Barry should’ve done backflips.
What’s simultaneously great and odd about Barry’s career is that there are few definable moments that instantly come to mind….his 30th homer in ’96 wasn’t seen by many people live, even I can’t remember his 2,000th hit, and while he was outstanding in the 1990 World Series, Barry didn’t own any of the biggest moments in the four-game sweep.
He didn’t often have the big stages afforded to other Hall of Famers. After his 1995 MVP season, Barry spent his final nine years playing for just two winning teams. From 1991 through 1997, when Larkin was at his absolute zenith, he played in the postseason just once. (And in the ’95 playoffs, he was phenomenal even though nobody gave a crap) Regardless of the talent around him, no matter how bland some of those Reds teams were, Barry was there. And he was often one of the only reasons to watch them.
To simply say he was there isn’t meant to underscore the kind of player he was. He did everything well and nothing poorly. I once heard someone say that Barry had a lot of different skills but that he wasn’t great at any one thing in particular. I disagree. I think Barry Larkin was great at baseball. He could come up with the big hit to drive in runs or be the guy to set up a big rally, but he could just as easily come up with the productive out needed to help push across a run. He could steal a bag, which you see in the stats, or know exactly when to go first to third, which you don’t. He could hit the long balls that the chicks dig and he could drive in runs with the run scoring sacrifice fly that nerds like me dug.
Oh, and he was really f-ing good at playing shortstop.
But most important, he was there. Every summer, 18 straight, he was there. He was an All-Star when I was ten and going through a skateboarding phase. And he was an All-Star when I was 22 and going through a pickup truck phase. He hit .342 during an injury-shortened 1989, when I was playing left field for the Falconio’s Garage Cardinals 12 Year-Old Traveling Team. He hit ..313 during an injury shortened 2000, when I was playing right field for the Millennium Sports Bar Beer League Softball Team.
He was holding down shortstop during games I watched with my dad when he paid for the tickets, and he was doing the same when I was old enough to foot the bill. He was giving the Reds good at-bats during games I took girls to in high school and he was having multi-hit nights during games I went to with women who didn’t have a curfew, but put out just as infrequently.
Barry Larkin was the shortstop at the game I attended with my grandfather in 1988 when I puked in the bathroom from eating too much. And he was the shortstop at the game I attended with my friend Rich in 1999 when I puked in the bathroom from drinking too much.
He was there even though he wasn’t the most durable (the ’89, ’91, ’93, ’97, and ’00 seasons were all otherwise very productive years cut short due to injury), and he was there even though toward the end he was more then slightly overpaid (making him the nine millionth player to earn more than his worth in his final years), and since he was here for so long there were the inevitable mini-controversies that come with such a long stay in one city (Barry is also the nine millionth player to not want to change positions on the field or in the batting order and there have been fewer things blown out of proportion more than him taking the captain’s C off his uniform.), but Barry Larkin was still almost always there, and he was almost always dependable.
When the Reds were good, Barry was usually a major reason why…he led the ’90 World Champs in Wins Above Replacement and he was second in WAR on the ’94, ’95, and ’99 teams. And when the Reds were not very good, he was still a reason to go watch them. The teams he played on during the second half of his career were, for the most part, pretty bad. The production they were getting from shortstop was not a reason why.
Even in his final years, he was never a bad player. The Major’s seventh-oldest player in 2004 was still good enough to hit .289, lead the NL in fielding percentage (a flawed stat, but shut up) and make his 12th All-Star team. Even if he was never really great, he was never really awful.
In Larkin’s 18 years the Reds may have had players with larger legacies or who temporarily filled boxscores with gaudier numbers. Maybe they had guys who sold more jerseys or got more national run. Perhaps after so many years some started to take the newest Hall of Famer for granted, failing to appreciate the daily and yearly consistency while and instead focusing on the next big prospect or trade.
But Barry Larkin was grandfathered in, having done so much when I was young enough to make a hero out of him that I still held in the same regard as I turned into a jaded and world-weary adult. The world changed, the Reds changed, and I changed, but the player I liked watching most in the sport I enjoyed the most over those 18 years stayed the same.
The fact that Barry was so consistently consistent why I like him the most and it’s why he’s getting the call this summer.
Hall of Fame inductions aren’t for the players who get elected in, they’re for their fans. It’s why I want Pete Rose to get the call one day. I couldn’t care less what Cooperstown would mean to the Hit King – I stopped having sympathy for him a long time ago – but I know what it would mean to his fans and I know what it would mean to this city. My dad was the world’s biggest and most loyal Pete fan. If you channeled my old man and asked him what five things he wishes he would’ve seen before he died, here would be his responses….
-A Bengals Super Bowl championship
-His three kids all graduating from college
-The invention of alcohol-free bourbon
-The Oak Ridge Boys in concert
-Pete Rose to be inducted into the Hall of Fame
(If you are able to channel my dad by the way, feel free to openly mock his taste in music)
My dad would’ve walked to upstate New York to hear Pete’s induction speech, and I know there are thousands who will do the same if it ever happens. The idea that it could one day with many of his fans not around for it saddens me.
But the idea that I’ll watch Barry make that speech while an entire sport celebrates a fantastic career, makes me proud, and makes me feel like I’m a part of it.
I think we all have that guy, that player that becomes bigger than life at a young fan’s age and stays with them forever. He’s the one we compare every subsequent player to, the guy that no one can knock off the perch. We hammer him down our kids throats, boring them with exaggerated tales of how good they were, making their ordinary feats seem superhuman. We go to oldtimers’ days, number retirement ceremonies, reunion events, and go back to being a kid who’s hoping for just a glimpse, handshake or even a signature. We pony up ungodly amounts of money to meet them at fantasy camps, where we wear their number and deep down pretend to be just like them. You won’t admit this but you’re nodding along, and if you’re not now, one day you will.
And we write almost 2,400 words about them on our stupid little blogs if they’re lucky enough to be crowned with their sport’s highest honor. Hall of Fame inductions are unique in sports in that they’re individual honors shared with an athlete’s many fans. There’s no sponsor mentions to get it, no TV timemarks to hit, nothing but the athlete and their most sincere thoughts. If you have that guy, and he’s good and lucky enough to be enshrined, their big moment almost feels like yours.
The fans who never had that guy growing up and therefore don’t have them as adults are missing out.
I’m thankful that I did have that guy and I’m glad that I do now. And I’m thrilled that he’s going into the Hall of Fame this summer.
Congratulations, Barry. And thank you, for among many other things, just being there for so damn long.