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Reds trio have difficult day at the office

Tuesday was a tough day for Cincinnati general manager Dan O'Brien. It was even more difficult for manager Dave Miley and pitching coach Don Gullett.

O'Brien called up Miley and Gullett and asked them to come into his office for a big country breakfast with plastic utensils. He kept the metal knives and forks locked in his drawer since he was about to drop the axe.

The firing of Miley came as no surprise. It wasn't a matter of "if" but rather "when." Gullett was guilty by association.

Warning signs popped up when chief operating officer John Allen visited the team in Colorado and said their poor play was inexcusable. He warned heads would roll.

They did. They rolled out of Denver with three straight losses and many more to follow. A 27-43 record was all that Allen and O'Brien were willing to tolerate.

Bench coach Jerry Narron replaced Miley and said he would be an innovative manager. You know, he would do something no one had thought of before and stress fundamentals. He said the Reds had become lazy at the basic things.

Yeah, like winning.

So Narron, previously non-innovative at Texas with Alex Rodriguez and fired after a Miley-like stint, became the manager and pitching legend Vern Ruhle stepped into Gullett's shoes.

It's easy to imagine what might have been said in the closed-door meeting between O'Brien and Miley, but we want to know what was really said.

Thanks to a tiny hidden microphone, the Tribune was able to tape the conversation. Here are some excerpts from that fateful meeting.

O'Brien: Come in Dave. Please be seated.

Miley: Is this going to take long? I've got some work to do in the clubhouse.

O'Brien: It won't take long, but the only work you'll be doing in the clubhouse is a little housecleaning. I'm relieving you of your duties as manager of the Reds and Don Gullett as the pitching coach.

Miley: Oh, I get it. You can't fire all the players, so you fire the manager. But why Gullett?

O'Brien. I fired Gullett because you can't fire the whole pitching staff, at least not all at the same time. I fired you for a different reason.

Miley: What's that?

O'Brien: Frankly, you stink.

Miley: But if I'm so bad, why did you hire me in the first place?

O'Brien: You were cheap.

Miley: So why did you hire Narron?

O'Brien: He's cheap, too. But I am worried about the curse. The Red Sox won the World Series after he left the organization. And the Reds didn't win the World Series until 1990 when Pedro Borbon lifted his curse.

Miley: But that doesn't make sense. The Reds haven't won the World Series since 1990 and there's been no curse.

O'Brien: Oh,

there's been a curse, all right. It's called tight-owners Marge Schott and Carl Lindner and general manager Jim Bowden.

Miley: Well, I can understand you're firing me as manager, but is there a chance i can get another job in the organization?

O'Brien: Well, there's one that we have open if you're interested, but you have to have a chauffeurs license.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.