Saturday, September 6, 2008

Reynolds Wrapped Up In A Very Costly Hug

Posted: Friday, Sept. 5, 2008
WITH GUSTAV slowly passing into oblivion and while awaiting Hanna, Ike and Josephine to make major assaults on the eastern part of North America, it gives me a brief chance to bring up another notable subject: BASEBALL.
That’s right, the vicious weather had been an occupational hazard until yesterday when I got out the dust-covered slide rule and tried to calculate whether my beloved Boston Red Sox could catch the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays in the American League East. They were three off the pace when I last looked with the New York Yankees actually 10 behind.
And in the National Central, my Chicago Cubs were 4.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers.
However, believe it or not, another question kept nagging at me: Whatever happened to Harold Reynolds? You were wondering that, too?
So it hasn’t bothered you? But some of the strangest thoughts throw me a curveball like that when least expected.
I knew the former All-Star second baseman-turned-broadcaster had been fired in July 2006 for … of all things -- HUGGING.
So I chased down a column about the situation and it started this way:
Are you a hugger? If you are, you better watch out, Bub.That's right, just when you thought the world was gaining a sliver of sanity and legal settlements had reached a pinnacle of banal stupidity, breaking news has proved you wrong again, Ol' Onion Breath.
If you recall, a report broke of Reynolds being sent to the outer reaches of Siberia, for what he called "giving a woman a hug," that he felt was "misinterpreted."
However, was that the real reason? Maybe. Maybe not, for Reynolds apparently told USA Today he was ousted because: "They (ESPN suits) made a decision to have a change in direction. I respect their decision, but I don't necessarily agree with it."
So those two viewpoints seemed to have settled the issue.
The legal beagles such as Reynolds' Connecticut lawyer, Joseph Garrison, then entered the fray and Reynolds has now sued ESPN for at least US$5 million with Garrison being quoted as saying, "moral turpitude, in my opinion, is not reflected by an innocuous hug. I think the case is very strong."
At least that's what the lawyer said.
When I went chasing down the lawsuit wording on the Smoking website, Reynolds, who claims he doesn't drink, smoke, or use foul language, contends that, at the time of the "brief hug," the intern "never expressed any discomfort" and that she had dinner with him that same evening at a Boston Market restaurant.
Reynolds, who seems to be one of the truly nice guys on TV, went the legal route in seeking a bundle, for he had just signed a new six-year deal with the sports network.
That was the story in 2006. So what happened to Reynolds since then?
In mid-April 2008, there was a brief item that the two sides – Reynolds and ESPN – had settled the issue although no terms were ever divulged.
Reynolds had this to say: “My family and I are ecstatic … This is a matter of principle and never wavered. All my goals were met, and now I look forward to concentrating on the game I love.”
And then the ESPN spokesman came back with this one: “The settlement was a fraction of his demands and substantially less than what it would have cost to litigate the case …” It was followed by a stream of legalese.
Where did that leave Reynolds? On April 24, the New York Daily News reported Reynolds had been hired by SportsNet New York as a “studio analyst on Mets telecasts.”
So as I was asking: Are YOU a hugger?
When the subject came up again, I remembered a "study" and it went like this:The Basic Essentials of Life -- 1. Air; 2. Food; 3. Water. 4. Hugging; 5. Clothing; 6. Shelter.
Apparently, scientific research has shown every human being needs four hugs per day merely to survive; eight hugs per day to maintain oneself at a strong emotional level; 12 hugs per day to grow; and a hug can take many forms -- an embrace, a kind word, a touch, a loving smile.
Before I became too immersed in this sugary pool of huggydom, a senior expert, hesitatingly, had these words to say:
"Hugging is okay when one gets older. It's recommended."
At least that's what my 92-year-old mother told me.
THOUGHTS FROM MARK TWAIN (From Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader): “The principle difference between a cat and a lie is that a cat only has nine lives” … “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt” … “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between ‘lightning’ and ‘lightning bug.’”


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