By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after covering the UD-North Florida basketball game for PressProsMagazine and discovering that Ohio State can play defense, except it was the basketball team doing it in Cincinnati, stunning the Bearcats, 64-56.
—It isn’t clear if the University of Dayton discovered this on a grant from the pickle industry, but the Flyers basketball team used pickles Wednesday night for medicinal purposes. So who needs marijuana?
UD red shirt freshman Obi Toppin, starting only because senior Josh Cunningham injured his wrist in practice, came down with the cramps in the second half. So what did athletic trainer Mike Mulcahey do? He fed him pickles.
“And I love pickles,” said Toppin. “I ate every one he had.” And Toppin returned to the game to lead the Flyers with a double-double, 18 points, 10 rebounds, in a 78-70 win over North Florida.
And Toppin wowed the mob in UD Arena with three windmill dunks, this from a kid who didn’t dunk until his senior year in high school.
“I couldn’t dunk,” he said. “I didn’t do it until my senior year in high school. First it was in practice. Even though I was 6-foot-6. I just couldn’t, really couldn’t. I tried my junior year in high school and missed. Then I did it my first game my senior year.”
What is Toppin going to do in the future to avoid cramps. “I’m going to drink water,” he said. “A lot of water.” And maybe he should pack a jar of Claussen Kosher Dills in his back pack.
—After watching Duke dominate and destroy Kentucky on the basketball floor, 118-84, the first thought that came to mind: “Is Kentucky now a football school?”
—Best quote on election night came from new Ohio governor Mike DeWine during his acceptance speech: “The ads are over and it is now safe to watch TV again.”
DeWine, by the way, is a huge Cincinnati Reds fan and his family owns the Class A Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League under the ownership title of DeWine Seeds Silver Dollar Baseball, LLC. Governor DeWine’s son, Brian, runs the team.
The Tourists plays in quaint and historic McCormick Field, built in 1924. The right field wall is just 300 feet from home plate and is 36 feet high, one foot shorter than Fenway Park’s left field Green Monster. MLB limited the height to 36 feet so that Fenway retains the honor of having professional baseball’s highest outfield wall.
—Since they re-entered the NFL as an expansion team in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have started 31 different quarterbacks, nearly all ineffectively. Maybe current occupant Baker Mayfield can do what the Green Bay Packers do.
The Packers find a quarterback and keep them. Bart Starr was Green Bay’s quarterback for seasons, Brett Favre was the starter for 16 years and Aaron Rodgers is at 11 years and counting.
—What does it say about America if the 3-and-5 Dallas Cowboys are ‘American’s Team’ and they’ve made the playoffs twice in the last eight years?
—The popular thing these days is to name the G.O.A.T. in sports — the Greatest Of All Time. The current debate is for NFL quarterbacks — Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. That’s easy. Tom Brady. Just check the rings on his fingers.
Other G.O.A.T.’s and they are all IMHO (in my humble opinion:
All-time pro running back: Emmit Smith? No, Jim Brown.
All-time pro basketball coach: Phil Jackson or Greg Popovich? No, Red Auerbach.
All-time heavyweight champion: Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) or Joe Louis? No, Rocky Marciano.
All-time World Series game: 2018 18-inning Game 3 Boston win over Los Angeles? No, 1975 12-inning Game 6 Boston win over Cincinnati.
All-time NBA player: Larry Byrd or Magic Johnson or Wilt Chamberlain? No, Michael Jordan.
All-time pro hockey player: Wayne Gretzkey or Bobby Orr? No, Gordie Howe.
All-time pro football coach: Bill Belichick or Paul Brown? No, Vince Lombardi.
All-time college football coach: Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or Ara Parseghian? No, Bear Bryant.
All-time major league baseball team: 2018 Boston Red Sox or 1927 New York Yankees or 1998 New York Yankees? No, 1976 Cincinnati Reds.
—Bryce Harper reportedly turned down a 10-year $300 million offer from his team, the Washington Nationals. Geez, how much money does one man need?
In 1985, Andre Dawson, a free agent, showed up a the Chicago Cubs spring training camp and gave the Cubs a blank contract and said, “You fill in the numbers.” And for $500,000 the Cubs received a Hall of Fame outfielder. The MLB minimum salary for 2019 will be $555,000.
—Just finished my last Reese’s Cup that I refused to give to the little beggars on Trick or Treat night.