From the “I’m too frustrated to discuss the 2008 Reds” file.

Recently, I finished an excellent biography of Bear Bryant, the former University of Alabama football coach, titled “The Last Coach“. It was written by Allen Barra, and it was an excellent read.

Anyway, I was knee deep in college football talk when I was surprised to see the following small mention of the Reds:

Freed from the burdens of recruiting in the off-season, which he increasingly delegated to his staff, Bryant would take his grandchildren fishing. His favorite was brim fishing on Lake Martin; he always fished with a cane pole baited with crickets, just as he had done as a boy in Moro Bottom. “He had no patience for fly fishing,” recalls Tyson. “He couldn’t bother with casting and untangling the line in the reel.” Bryant took pleasure and pride in attending Tyson’s Friday-night football games at the Montgomery Academy, but he had even more fun sharing Marc’s passion for baseball. In the spring of 1977 Bryant asked his grandson which three major league ballparks he wanted to see; Tyson chose Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Riverfront Stadium, home of the world-champion Cincinnati Reds.

Marc was treated to a grand tour at each. At Yankee Stadium, they were they guests of George Steinbrenner, and at Fenway Park they visited with Bryant’s former defensive back, Butch Hobson, who was playing for the Red Sox. The biggest thrill came in Cincinnati. “The Reds were my favorite team,” says Tyson. “It was such a thrill to meet Johnny Bench, George Foster, Joe Morgan, and especially Pete Rose, who made a big fuss about my grandfather. I wish other people could have seen him like that, having fun, relaxing, enjoying himself. It would have tempered a lot of people’s image of him as this gruff, unyielding man.”

Okay, back to the current-day Reds….