By HAL McCOY
,UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave watching four of the top teams in college basketball open the season against each other — Kansas-Michigan State, Duke-Kentucky. What a lineup. It is like watching The Final Four in November. Either Kentucky forgot to send its first team or Duke’s entire lineup is NBA-ready.
—The Cincinnati Reds are on the prowl, luring high-profile coaches away from successful organizations.
First, they grabbed Milwaukee pitching coach Derek Johnson last week and this week they nabbed Los Angeles Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward.
Why would Ward leave a team that made it to the World Series two years in a row to come to a team that is on a four-year domination of last place?
Ward said he had no plans of leaving the Dodgers, where he spent the last three season. He and new manager David Bell talked for about 24 hours on the telephone and Ward asked him, “What are you selling?”
Said Ward, “I can see the vision of what they are trying to do. I can see it. It really interests me. They already have a really good offense. Winning is important to me and this organization seems intent on putting that culture on the field.”
President of baseball operations Dick Williams said the team wanted new voices in the clubhouse, the voices of success.
High profile coaching is a nice start. But without high profile players, all the coaching they bring in won’t magically turn the tables. Now it’s time for the Reds to start filling its roster with some proven talent. And Reds’ fans certainly hope what they saw of the Dodgers’ lack of hitting in the World Series isn’t a reflection on Ward.
—When a starting pitcher in the majors these days approaches 100 pitches, the manager breaks out in hives and the pitching coach chews off four finger-nails.
If ‘100’ is the magic number of ineffectiveness, how do you explain this?Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Jim Maloney threw a 10-inning no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs in the first game of a doubleheader (doubleheader, what’s that daddy?) in Wrigley Field on August 19, 1965.
The game was tied, 0-0, after nine. Reds shortstop Leo Cardenas hit a home run in the top of the 10th and Maloney completed his no-hitter in the bottom of the 10th. It was a no-hitter, but he walked 10 while striking out 12 and hitting one. And he threw 187 pitches. One-Eighty-Seven. Then he pitched again four days later.
—They say clothes make the man, right? In celebration of their 150th anniversary, the Cincinnati Reds are going to wear throwback uniforms next season. In this case, it will matter what they put inside those uniforms, a case of the man making the clothes.
—Denver’s Jamal Murray had 48 points and he wanted 50 this week against the Boston Celtics. The Nuggets had the ball with a big lead as time was expiring and protocol calls for the winning team to just hold the ball and let the clock run its course.
But Murray wanted 50. So he took a three-point shot at the buzzer that missed. An enraged Kyrie Irving of the Celtics and a former Cleveland Cavalier, retrieved the missed shot and angrily heaved the basketball into the stands.
After the game, he said, “The ball deserves to go in the crowd after a bulls— move like that. So I threw it in the crowd.”
Here’s a thought, Kyrie. Why didn’t you and your Celtics teammates play some defense on the guy so he didn’t have a chance at 50? Murray quickly apologized after the game, but he didn’t need to do that. Some ‘unwritten rules’ are just stupid.
The NBA fined Irving $25,000 which makes it the most expensive lost basketball in history.
—Le’Veon Bell doesn’t want to play running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers for only $14.5 million and is still holding out. Let him hold out. Let’s hope the Steelers hold out and say no. Let’s hope they say, “Hey, Le’Veon, we’re doing OK without you and your replacement, James Connor, is doing better than OK, like his 107 yards rushing against Baltimore Sunday. Maybe we’ll give that $14.5 million to him. He’d appreciate it.”
—Speaking of stupid, how about New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas stashing a cellphone under the goal post and pulling it out and acting as if he was making a call after a touchdown catch. Too bad NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wasn’t on the other end saying, “Nice catch. You’re fined $50,000.” But the NFL doesn’t punish absurd end zone celebrations as it once did.
Remember Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson? He wore No. 85 and changed his name to Chad Ochocinco, believing that was Spanish for ’85’ when he just put the Spanish words for eight and five together? Did anybody ever tell him that Spanish for ’85’ is ochenta y ocho?
Anyway, Chad’s end zone antics included removing a pylon to putt the football, kneeling in front of a cheerleader to propose, slipping on a jacket that read on the back, ‘Future H.O.F. 20??’ (won’t happen) and holding aloft a sign that said, “Dear NFL, please don’t fine me again!!!!”
As former Penn State coach Joe Paterno once said about end zone histrionics, “Act like you’ve been there before.”
—Whenever they lose, I toss my Cleveland Browns sweat shirt into the washer to clean the stink of defeat. When they win, I wear it unwashed the next week to preserve the winning scent. I have the cleanest sweat shirt in Ohio.
—Nadine said she was going to pay our cleaning lady an extra $100 to clean the windows. I immediately grabbed the Windex.