Doc's TML: Brian Kelly's similarity to politicians and a Chargers-Bengals prediction

Paul Daugherty
Cincinnati Enquirer

Brian Kelly thinks the rest of the world is stupid. He’s very similar to politicians, which makes sense given that in a previous life, he worked for Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign.

(LOL. Gary Hart. In ’87, he was the Dem front-runner until he was photographed on a yacht with a woman who wasn’t his wife. He denied any wrongdoing. “Follow me around,’’ he challenged reporters. He was lying. The boat’s name was Monkey Business. We can’t make this stuff up.)

It’s not that Kelly left Notre Dame in about the same way he left UC. No one should blame the man for taking high eight figures from LSU, one of those SEC places where football is the only thing that matters. It’s the way he left. Telling his players he loved them, while simultaneously leaving them, is an interesting way to show affection.

Kelly is guilty. But no more than the rules he has to play by. You want to avoid guys like Kelly ditching their players before a bowl game or possible playoff appearance? Change the rules. Adjust the signing dates. Make it so a coach can’t do what Kelly and Lincoln Riley just did. And what any number of their peers have done or would do, given the chance.

But here’s the thing with BK. He thinks he’s smarter than the rest of us and in so doing, insults our collective intelligence. Here’s what he said at his debut presser in Baton Rouge Wednesday, when asked about his fly-by-night departure from South Bend:

“I was fortunate that I had that opportunity to get in front of them and tell them that I was coming to LSU face-to-face because that's everything that we've done in my life, and I'll do the same thing here at LSU. We will look you in the eye and we will tell you what we're doing. We will be transparent.’’

Transparent. Uh-huh.

Look you in the eye? Someone ask Tony Pike about that. Or Mardy Gilyard. Or just about any player Kelly loved limitlessly while he coached in Clifton. Face to face?

Wouldn’t it be great if Kelly, or the legions of guys in his profession who pack up and leave, just said, “I did what I had to do for myself, because I have an ego the size of the French Quarter.’’

Leave the family out of it. Most families of coaches don’t love being yanked from outpost to outpost so Dad can “follow his dream.’’ I recall Thad Matta expressing his love for Xavier. I also recall an intrepid Enquirer reporter named Dustin Dow, soon after, following Matta up I-71 to Columbus, where he would become the Buckeyes new basketball coach.

"Unless that fairy godmother comes by with that $250 million check."

That’s what Kelly said a month or so ago, when asked about his interest in leaving Notre Dame.        

Fairy godmothers exist. Who knew?      

Do what you gotta do, coach. Just be square about it. Or at least try. The public isn’t as dumb as you think it is.

Now, then. . .

ALL THE PLAYERS THE REDS DIDN’T GET. . . Yahoo!:

Major league teams committed to over $1 billion in salaries in one day for the first time Wednesday, hours before the league was expected to lock out the players 

The Texas Rangers led the spending spree, finalizing deals with shortstop Corey Seager for $325 million over 10 years and infielder Marcus Semien for $175 million over seven years.

The Detroit Tigers locked up Javier Baez on a $140 million, six-year deal, ace Max Scherzer got $130 million over three years from the New York Mets, and right-hander Kevin Gausman landed with the Toronto Blue Jays for $110 million over five years. Twins center fielder Byron Buxton also finalized a $100 million, seven-year contract to remain with Minnesota.

Among the other deals completed Wednesday:

– OF Avisail Garcia to Miami, $53 million over four years

– LHP Alex Wood to San Francisco, $25 million over two years

– INF Eduardo Escobar to New York Mets, $20 million over two years

-- INF/OF Leury Garcia to the Chicago White Sox, $16.5 million over three years

– C Yan Gomes to the Chicago Cubs, $13 million over two years

– RHP Yimi Garcia to Toronto, $11 million over two years

– RHP Corey Knebel to Philadelphia, $10 million over one year

– RHP Corey Kluber to Tampa Bay, $8 million over one year

– RHP Andres Munoz with Seattle, $7.5 million over four years

– C Roberto Perez to Pittsburgh, $5 million over one year

– C Kevin Plawecki with Boston, $2.25 million over one year

The 17 deals and counting announced Wednesday totaled $1,151,250,000, part of more than $1.9 billion in new contacts handed out in the days ahead of the CBA expiration.   

Question: All these teams that paid all this money, didn’t they work under the same lousy economic conditions in 2020 that the Reds did? Was Cincinnati the only team to lose mega-millions in gate receipts, concessions etc.?

Detroit found couch-cushion change to buy Javier Baez for six years and $140 mil. Minnesota gave Byron Buxton $100 mil. Hell, the Rangers could have bought Vladivostok for the dollars they laid out. Is Texas some sort of goldmine franchise we’re not aware of? Does its new ballpark sit atop an ocean of Texas tea?

ONE THING THE PLAYERS WANT to change is the practice of tanking. We’re familiar with that. We might be familiar again. Maybe the draft is re-shaped, maybe revenue sharing and the competitive balance tax get a makeover, in a way that discourages teams that don’t try from being rewarded with welfare checks and sweet draft slots.

It has even been suggested that there be a minimum payroll amount. $100 million has been suggested. The Pirates would have a heart attack. Good.      

Since no team, Reds included, is willing to share its financials with the taxpaying public, we don’t know the bottom-line numbers and never will. We know the wins and losses, though. We do know that.

THIS WEEK’S GAME OF THE YEAR for the Bengals is Sunday at 1 p.m. at PBS, v. the LA Chargers. This one is supposed to tell us if the Men are different from the rest of the NFL’s bloated middleweight division.

Well, I guess.          

The offensive formula the Bengals have adopted in midstream is working very well. It goes something like this:

Give the ball to Mixon.

Given that the Chargers rank dead-last in running yards allowed and are 29th in yards allowed per carry, I’d bet your house that the script won’t change this week. (LA isn’t special stopping the pass, either, ranking near the bottom in sacks and 12th in pass yards allowed.)

So maybe the Justin Herbert-Joe Burrow faceoff doesn’t happen. That’d be good for the Bengals, but they’ll win regardless.

Men 30, Surfers 17.

AND NOW. . . I got so much quality response to my classified ad seeking a replacement for FunMaster Brien, I’ve decided to use three – count ‘em! – FunPeople every week. (See great Chevy Chase quote from Vacation that we can’t print here.)

My new TML motto is Stick To Fun!

We start today with a guy we’ll call Dr. Z, because that’s what he wants us to call him. Take it away, Z:

To kick off our new TML weekend section at the beginning of this holiday season (Happy Hanukkah!), we have two upcoming opportunities to give back to those less fortunate. 

The Freestore Foodbank is the region’s largest.  Its mission is “to serve our neighbors in the tristate when they need us the most,” and it provides 37.7 million meals each year in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.  We can help by donating and volunteering.  Their holiday campaign is well underway, and what better gift to give yourself and your family than the gift of giving to others in need?   Details at: https://freestorefoodbank.org

Another wonderful giving opportunity, especially for kids, is Toys for Tots (TfT). Started by the U.S. Marine Corps, TfT has provided holiday toys/gifts to needy children in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky—and across the US and the world—since 1991.  TfT also needs monetary donations and volunteers to help in Greater Cincinnati. Details at: https://cincinnati-oh.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx?nPageID=100&nPreviewInd=200&nRedirectInd=3

Dr. Z adds that both organizations have excellent reputations, so you know your donations go directly to people in need. 

Imbiber Dave talks turkey and adult sodas.

At Thanksgiving, I enjoy the “if it was so good we would eat it all year debate.” My opinion is that quite simply, if we ate like we do on Thanksgiving year round, we would all be walking around looking like Homer Simpson.

But we can still drink.

TUNE O' THE DAY. . . Some mid-career Fleetwood Mac, after the Peter Green days of blues and before the Stevie Nicks onslaught of pop. Nice vocal by Christine McVie, who was always more talented and IMO more attractive than Nicks.