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Hal McCoy: Why Pete Rose play ‘Banned from Baseball’ is worth seeing

It was 1989 when Pete Rose was banned from baseball, and it was evident the repercussions would never die, not as long as baseball exists. 

That’s because of the taint and stain placed on the game and because of Rose’s Type A personality, a mentality that won’t let it die from his perspective.  

His lifetime (and beyond) banishment for gambling on baseball was 29 years ago, but its poignancy continues, live and in living color at the Loft Theatre in downtown Dayton.  

The Human Race Theatre Company’s “Banned From Baseball,” a play depicting Rose’s battle with then baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti and investigator John Dowd, is currently on a run through Sunday, Sept. 23. 

>> Human Race to stage the world premiere of Pete Rose play 

Rose is played forcefully and accurately by Brian Dykstra, who not only resembles Rose on stage, but perfectly captures Rose’s arrogance, stubbornness, boastfulness and egotistical characteristics.  

Those are characteristics that helped mold Rose into baseball’s all-time hits leader, The Hit King. They also are characteristics that led to his downfall as a man who believed because of his stature in the game that he was a Teflon ball player who could do whatever he pleased and suffer no consequences. 

From the moment Dykstra walks on stage, it is evidence that writer Patricia O’Hara and director Margaret Perry did their homework. 

Dykstra was wearing a gaudy plaid jacket, white shoes, tan slacks and a huge watch, a style Rose perpetuated. As one baseball official said when Rose applied for re-instatement, “I never met the man, but when he walked in the door dressed like a pimp, I instantly disliked him.” 

Dykstra also affected accurately Rose’s mannerisms, body language and voice inflections. It was as if Rose was playing himself. 

After he banished Rose, permitting him to walk away from the game without admitting he bet on the game, Giamatti, a heavy smoker, died eight days later of a heart attack. 

Close friends and some baseball officials blamed the stress Rose put on Giamatti as the reason for his death. In one of the play’s best lines, Dykstra says, “I didn’t kill Bart Giamatti. Bart Giamatti killed me.” 

O’Hara, the playwright, said the play draws no conclusions as to whether Rose did or did not bet on baseball. But by using all the evidence dug up by investigator John Dowd there is no doubt about the guilt. 

>> Donald Trump adds Pete Rose nemesis John Dowd to legal team

Dykstra, though, does a perfect enactment of Rose’s attitude throughout the investigation — deny, deny, deny. 

At one point, during a meeting with Dowd that actually took place at the Bergamo Center in Dayton, Dykstra points a finger at Dowd (played by K.L Storer) and says, “I did not bet on baseball. And I did not bet on the Cincinnati Reds.” While Dykstra is screaming, Storrer (Dowd) is waving the evidence in his face. 

Throughout the play, Rose is given a chance to confess. His attorney, Reuven Katz (played by Marc Moritz) implores him to come clean and Giamatti would go easy on him, suspend him one year and he would be eligible for re-instatement. Dykstra belligerently, in Rose fashion, says his fans are behind him and won’t stand for any lifetime banishment. 

Bart Giamatti was an erudite and sometimes pompous man, president of Yale University before becoming commissioner. His pomposity is portrayed admirably by Doug Mackenzie. 

Giamatti was a baseball lover and an idealist, a man who idolized Rose the baseball player. And he didn’t want to believe Rose would be so foolish as to break baseball’s rule 21-d: “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible.” 

Assistant commissioner Fay Vincent (played by Scott Hunt) is adamantly anti-Rose and implores Giamatti to banish Rose. Giamatti’s stance changes when Dowd presents the evidence and the commissioner wants to give Rose an out. 

>> 5 things to know about Pete Rose being inducted into Reds Hall of Fame

He says over and over that if Rose admits his guilt he would be suspended one year and one year only. But Rose continues to deny guilt to Giamatti and everybody else. Giamatti is left with no recourse and takes the ultimate action specified in rule 21-d. 

In the final scene, Dykstra is seated at a table, selling his autograph, as Rose still does in Las Vegas and other venues. Dykstra says, “I’m still going to be in the Hall of Fame.” 

No, he isn’t. 

>> Best of Hal: Top 25 Cincinnati Reds All-Stars

The play doesn’t address Rose’s confession in 2004, 15 years after he was banished. He did it in a book, “My Prison Without Bars,” for which he was paid a $1 million advance. 

Whether you believe Rose has served his time or if you believe he remains a pariah to the game, “Banned From Baseball” is worth seeing and take that from a guy who lived it in 1989 as part of the Dayton Daily News’ mostly exclusive coverage of a fallen idol.

WANT TO GO?

What: “Banned from Baseball”

Where: Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St., Dayton

When: Sept. 6-23; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings; 7 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings; and 2 p.m. Sunday matinees.

Tickets: $37-$55 adults; $34-$48 for seniors; and $19.50-$27 for students. Prices vary depending on the day of the week and seating location. Group discounts available for parties of 10 or more. The Sunday, Sept. 9 7 p.m. performance is “Sawbuck Sunday,” when any available seat can be purchased in person for $10 at the Loft Theatre box office two hours prior to the show. 

More info: humanracetheatre.org

Houston Texans players rip superintendent for ‘you can’t count on a black quarterback’ post 

Houston Texans football coach Bill O’Brien and several players criticized a Facebook post made by a Texas school superintendent after the team’s 27-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, that read in part, “you can’t count on a black quarterback,” the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news 

Lynn Redden, the superintendent of the Onalaska Independent School District, apparently was reacting to the final play of Sunday’s game, when Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson held on to the football as time ran out.

The incident occurred Monday, when the Chronicle posted a meme about the play.

Matt Erickson, of Houston, commented that he never watches the "perpetual dumpster fire that is the Houston Texans," KTRK reported.

Redden, who is white, then replied in a public post, “That may have been the most inept quarterback decision I've seen in the NFL. When you need precision decision making you can't count on a black quarterback."

The Chronicle obtained a screenshot of the comment, the newspaper reported.

At his Wednesday news conference, O’Brien criticized the comments.

"I don't want to waste any time responding to ignorant, idiotic statements," O’Brien said. "Deshaun represents everything that's right about football and life. It's amazing that BS exists, but it does."

At the same news conference, Watson said he had experienced racism before but did not comment about the superintendent’s post.

"That's on him – let peace be with him," Watson said. "I'm all about love."

Texans defensive star J.J. Watt said the post “does not deserve any attention from any of us.”

“It's a very ignorant comment that doesn't deserve any more play,” Watt said. “It's very unfortunate. I trust (Watson). We all trust him."

Redden told the Chronicle in a telephone interview that he regretted making the post, which has been deleted, and thought he was responding to a private message. He told the newspaper he deleted the comment as soon as he realized it was public. He said that he was referring to the statistical success of black NFL quarterbacks, adding that they "have had limited success" throughout the league's history, the Chronicle reported.

The Onalaska ISD school board will discuss Redden's contract during a closed meeting Saturday, the Chronicle reported. In a statement to KPRC, the school board said that it “does not condone negative comments or actions against any race.”

"The district values every individual and therefore the district will take the appropriate measures to address the situation expeditiously and completely," the statement read.

NBA star Russell Westbrook, wife Nina expecting twin girls

NBA star Russell Westbrook and his wife, Nina, announced Tuesday they are expecting twin girls in a YouTube video produced by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The video is called "The Westbrook Family." Nina lets out the news they're having twins 2:12 into the video. Russell mentions they will be girls at the 2:28 mark.

> Watch the video here

The couple already have a 1-year-old son named Noah.

>> Read more trending news 

Russell had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. The seven-time All-Star and former MVP is expected to miss preseason and may not be ready for the start of the regular season. The Thunder's first game is Oct. 16 at Golden State.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge sets world mark in marathon

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge set a world record in the marathon Sunday, winning the Berlin race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 39 seconds, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Kipchoge, 33, an Olympic champion, broke the previous world record set in 2014 by 1:18 to become the first person to finish a marathon in less than 2 hours, 2 minutes.

"I lack words to describe this day," said Kipchoge, who also won the Berlin Marathon in 2017.

Improving the world record by 78 seconds was the largest improvement to the marathon world record since 1967, when Derek Clayton shaved 2:23 off the time, The Guardian reported.

Gladys Cherono won the women's race in 2:18:11, ESPN reported. That was a women’s record for Berlin and the fourth fastest time in women’s marathon history, The Guardian reported. Only Paula Radcliffe, Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba have run the women’s marathon in faster times. Mizuki Noguchi of Japan set the previous record 13 years ago, The Guardian reported.

Former Wright State, Auburn runners win 22nd annual Air Force Marathon

Northwestern High School graduate and former Wright State runner Jacob McCubbin, 28,won the 22nd annual Air Force Marathon men’s race Saturday in a personal-best time of 2 hours, 35 minutes, 57 seconds at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“I was nervous all week,” McCubbin said. “I had a lot of self doubt. I just kind of relied on the training I put in all summer and all year.”

» RELATED: 22nd annual event draws runners from all 50 states |Looking back at the 2017 marathon

The women’s winner was Sarah Bishop, 36, a mother of four who attended high school in Alaska and ran track at Auburn. She finished in 3:02.25 and said she led the entire race.

» INTERACTIVE: Air Force Marathon growth over the years

“It feels really, really good,” Bishop said. “I won the Marine Corps Marathon last year when we lived in (Washington) D.C. We just moved here a few weeks ago, and my goal was to win.

McCubbin and Bishop are first-time winners of the race. More than 12,000 runners participated in the various distances.

Daniel Kirwa, of Gibsonton, Fla., won the men’s half marathon in 1:12.22. The women’s half marathon winner was Emily Shertzer, of Jonestown, Pa. Her time was 1:23.37.

Bengals stall after fast start, but hold off Ravens to move to 2-0

After a quick start, the Cincinnati Bengals stalled out in the second half, but they managed fend off the Baltimore Ravens’ comeback effort for a 34-23 win Thursday in the home opener at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cincinnati squandered a 28-7 first-half advantage, as the Ravens scored 16 straight points to make it a five-point game in the fourth quarter.

»RELATED: Bengals recognize 1988 Super Bowl team

But with the game in jeopardy, the Bengals finally responded to end a 30-minute scoring drought with a crucial 28-yard field goal from Randy Bullock with 2:59 left. The defense then followed suit with safety Shawn Williams forcing a fumble on a sack of Joe Flacco three plays from scrimmage later, and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick recovered to set Cincinnati up for another Bullock field goal from 40 yards to seal it.

The win put Cincinnati (2-0) alone atop the AFC North, as the Ravens fell to 1-1.

The Bengals had taken a 28-14 lead into halftime after scoring the first 21 points of the game on three touchdown passes from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green. Rookie safety Jessie Bates recorded his first career interception to put the Bengals at the Ravens’ 16-yard line, and Cincinnati took advantage of the short field to get things started with a 4-yard pass from Dalton to Green.

The dynamic duo combined on two more touchdown plays of 32 and 7 yards as the Bengals scored 45 consecutive points dating back to Sunday’s win against Indianapolis before the Ravens ended the streak. They got on the board on a 1-yard touchdown run from Javorius Allen with 8:20 left in the second quarter.

Cincinnati answered immediately with another scoring drive, capped by Dalton’s fourth touchdown pass of the night. Tyler Boyd hauled it in on a 14-yard catch for a 28-7 lead with 2:58 left before halftime, and it would be a full two quarters before the team’s next score.

As quick as the Bengals offense got to work Thursday, the defense deserved much of the credit for the fast start.

Sacks led to punts on three of the Ravens’ first four drives, and Bates came up with his interception – and a 16-yard return — on the other one. Geno Atkins had two of the sacks on third down, and rookie Sam Hubbard picked up his first career sack to push Baltimore back 11 yards on first down before a punt to set up the Bengals’ second scoring drive.

Cincinnati punted its first series on offense but scored on the next four consecutive drives. Baltimore ended the half with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Mark Andrews with eight seconds left in the second quarter.

The Bengals lost rookie center Billy Price to an ankle injury in the second quarter, and Joe Mixon was limited by a knee injury suffered in the first half as well but still managed to carry the ball 21 times for 84 yards. Dalton completed 24 of 42 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

Tailgating, Cincy-style cheesesteak and a beercycle! Bengals fans are in for a new game day experience

There’s something stirring in the jungle in Cincinnati.

Bengals fans will discover many new aspects to their game day experience at the team’s first home game on Thursday, September 13. 

A few of the biggest additions to the 2018 season include a new “Jungle Zone pregame tailgate party,” a new food lineup, new mobile ticketing options and an express entry lane for fans who do not bring a bag to the game.

>>6 places you should visit in Cincinnati

>>Could Dayton and Cincinnati be combined into one large metro area?

WHAT’S NEW: 

🐯Jungle Zone:

“The Jungle Zone is the centerpiece of the pregame experience with the tailgate party getting underway three hours prior to kickoff. Located on the east plaza level of Paul Brown Stadium, the Jungle Zone features food, drinks, giveaways and family-friendly activities including face painting. New additions to the Jungle Zone this season include local food trucks, $5 beer, a new stage location near Gate E with seating in front, a giant ‘Seize The DEY’ photo frame and autographs from Bengals Legends,” according to a Bengals press release.

>>RESTAURANT CLOSING: Star City BBQ shuts its doors after 3 years

🐯New Food & Drink:

New food options at home games, provided by Aramark, include specialty burgers, hot dogs, tater tots, cheesesteaks and taco trios. There will also be a new selection of healthy food options and “super bowls” available:

🍴Burgers (Sections 111,124,141) 

• PB and Red Pepper Jelly Burger: Fresh Burger topped with Pepper Jack cheese, Bacon, Creamy Peanut Butter and Red Pepper Jelly. 

• Spicy Chorizo Burger: Fresh burger patty topped with Pepper Jack Cheese, Chorizo, Chipotle Pico de Gallo and Tri Colored Tortilla Strips. 

• Alpine Burger: Wagyu Beef with Swiss cheese, Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Demi-Glace 

 

🍴Tater Tots (Sections 111,124,141) 

• Buffalo Chicken Tots: Buffalo Chicken, Crumbled Blue Cheese, and garnished with diced celery. 

• Texas Chili Tots: Texas Chili, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream and Green Onions 

• Asian Beef Tater Tots: Teriyaki Skirt steak, Asian Slaw, and Siracha BBQ Sauce 

 

🍴Hot Dogs (Sections 111,124,141) 

• Traditional Sonoran Hot Dog: Bacon Wrapped All Beef Foot Long Hot Dog topped with Pinto Beans, Onions, Tomatoes, Fresh Jalapenos, Mustard, Mayonnaise, Salsa Verde and Queso Fresco served on a Traditional Sonoran Hot Dog Bollilo Roll. 

 

🍴Cheesesteaks (Sections 159,303,331) 

• Classic Cheesesteak: Thinly Sliced Beef Sautéed with Fresh Peppers and Onions, Provolone Cheese on a Fresh Hoagie Bun. 

• Cincy-Style Cheesesteak: Shaved Bratwurst and Mettwurst with Fresh Peppers and Onions, Dijon Mustard Aioli and Provolone Cheese. 

 

🍴Taco Trios (Sections 109,131,160) 

• Roasted Pork Taco: Salsa Verde, Roasted Street Corn, Grippos BBQ Chips 

• Chicken Taco: Roasted Chicken, Black Beans, Coleslaw, Green Onions 

• Steak Taco: Marinated Skirt steak, Cotija Cheese, Cilantro, Pico de Gallo 

• Torta: Choice of any one of the three Taco Trio ingredients served on freshly baked traditional Mexican Telera Roll. 

 

🍴Tri-Health Healthy Options (Section 118) 

• Grilled Turkey Hot Dog 

• Fruit Parfait: Fresh Fruit and Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola 

• Veggie Wrap (Vegan): Sundried Tomato Tortilla Wrap with Balsamic Marinated Onions and Mushrooms, Spinach, and Roasted red peppers. 

• Fresh Turkey Sandwich: Smoked turkey breast on oat nut bread with provolone, herb marinated tomatoes and spinach 

• Quinoa Grilled Chicken Salad: Kale and red quinoa salad with grilled chicken, shaved radishes, toasted Pepitas, Mandarin Orange and Spicy Teriyaki Dressing 

• Grilled seasonal vegetable crudité with hummus (Vegan & Gluten Free) 

• Veggie Flatbread (Gluten Free): Cauliflower Flat Bread with Pesto Sauce, Red Onions, Zucchini, Squash, Red Peppers, Carrots and Feta Cheese 

 

🍴Super Bowls (Located on Club Level) 

• Choice of Grain, Noodles, Wrap, or Salad 

• Selection of proteins including Asian Chicken Meatballs, Lemongrass Chicken Breast, and Korean Beef Steak Skewer with Vegetables including Shitake Mushrooms, Edamame, Napa Cabbage, Snow Peas and Tofu.

🍺Beercycle:

“Fans will have a new option for beer in Paul Brown Stadium. An over-sized tricycle equipped to serve two varieties of draft beer will be positioned in one location at the beginning of the game, then pedaled to another position for the remainder of the game. The BeerCycle is a flexible and portable offering that goes where the fans are,” according to a Cincinnati Bengals press release. 

Colin Kaepernick's 'I'm With Kap' jersey sells out in hours

New jerseys supporting Colin Kaepernick are sold out hours after being announced for presale, and he’s still a free agent in the NFL.

USA Today reported that Kaepernick announced that jerseys with “#IMWITHKAP” across the front were up for presale Monday. They have the athlete and activist’s number, 7, on the back, as well as his last name.

>> Read more trending news 

Kaepernick posted on Twitter that a portion of proceeds for the limited edition jerseys, which sold for $99.99 in youth sizes and $174.99 in adult unisex sizes, will benefit the Know Your Rights Camp. The campaign, founded by Kaepernick, raises awareness on self improvement and education and provides instructions on how to properly interact with law enforcement in varying situations.

Hours after the announcement was made, Kaepernick said in a follow-up tweet that the jerseys were instantly all out of stock, adding that all profits would now go to Know Your Rights Camp.

This is the latest in activism and awareness work for Kaepernick. He is the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary of the brand’s “Just Do It” campaign, and appeared in a commercial for the brand that aired during the NFL season opener game Thursday. Since the campaign was announced, online Nike sales are up 31 percent, despite a number of boycotts across the country.

Photos: Serena Williams through the years

Images of tennis icon Serena Williams throughout her career and time in the public eye.

Iowa boy, 11, who wanted casket decorated with racing stickers dies

An 11-year-old Iowa boy suffering from leukemia who wanted to decorate his casket with racing stickers died Monday morning, KCCI reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Caleb Hammond, of Oskaloosa, died at 2 a.m. Monday, his mother, Holly Kempf, wrote on Facebook. The boy was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2017, according to the Des Moines Register. Caleb went through several months of unsuccessful chemotherapy treatments and a bone marrow transplant, before he and his family decided to discontinue treatment, the newspaper reported.

Kempf wrote on Facebook Monday: "Our little Mr went peacefully in his sleep at 2:00 a.m. today surrounded by our families. Before I was woken up being told he was getting ready to pass, he was smiling at me while I was dreaming. With my hand on his chest, I felt his last breath and a few last heartbeats."

>> Boy dying from leukemia wants racing stickers for his casket

Caleb received hundreds of stickers from all over the country, including some from NASCAR and IndyCar drivers, WXIN reported. He also was given the chance to drive a race car on a dirt track and ride in a $3 million race car, KCCI reported. Ferrari dealer Garrett Hayim sent the race car, a driver and a racing suit to Iowa so Caleb could ride at the Iowa Speedway, the television station reported.

On Facebook, NASCAR Off-Track posted that the #TeamCaleb car decal will be run in the boy’s honor Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Twelve NASCAR race cars will honor Hammond today at IMS during the Xfinity race and Brickyard 400, WXIN reported.

Several NASCAR drivers and teams tweeted their condolences Monday.

Funeral services are pending, KCCI reported.

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