Second Thoughts: Wayward Reds need a manager, not a friend

The D.C. politicians will come to an agreement someday and end this shutdown, but I won’t forget how the World War II monument was fenced off for no good reason. The open-air spectacle is beautiful and you can walk right up to it — no gates or admission. Just stroll up a sidewalk and there it is. And now it’s off limits? Ridiculous.

Baseball managers are like school superintendents — hired to be fired. So it came as no surprise that Dusty Baker was given his walking papers by the Reds, whose playoff run lasted as long as Jadeveon Clowney’s Heisman Trophy chances. Dusty is a great guy, but it was time for a change.

Cincinnati needs an aggressive manager who will hold players accountable. Dusty’s cool uncle approach didn’t get it done. The milquetoast Reds looked like zombies for much of the season and Ryan Ludwick’s rant about the fans was a telltale sign about who was running the show. Nobody.

Sam LeCure made a comment to that I thought was telling: “We didn’t have anyone step up and lead.” If a long reliever has the guts to say that, things must be really bad.

I filed this column prior to Ohio State’s late game at Northwestern, so here’s hoping it was a competitive contest. Also hoping that a few dozen Wildcat fans held on to their tickets instead of selling them to Buckeye backers. OSU needs a healthy Big Ten to be relevant on the national stage.

Alabama got past Georgia State without star safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was suspended for taking money from a Crimson Tide staffer. Yawn. What I really wanted to know was: Who names their kid Ha Ha? I’m happy to report that Clinton-Dix’s real first name is Ha’Sean.

Raise your hand if you thought Browns fans would be upset over an injury to their third-string quarterback? Brian Hoyer is out, so Cleveland is stuck with Brandon Weeden, who holds on to the football like it was a winning lottery ticket.

Back to the Reds … Lou Piniella is 70, so unless Bob Castellini wants to go all Jack McKeon on us, I don’t see Sweet Lou walking the lineup card to home plate on Opening Day 2014. … Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips were a combined 0-for-8 and left eight runners on base in the 6-2 wildcard loss to the Pirates. … The Reds were doomed when Dusty referred to the winner-take-all wildcard bout as a “series” in his pregame media session. Series? Where was the sense of urgency?