By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, recovering after eating too much Esther Price cashew bark, too much caramel popcorn, too much M&Ms with peanuts, too much homemade chocolate buckeyes (thanks, Tammy McCoy), too much Cheryl’s cookies and a meal or three. The bathroom scales are off limits.
—Cincinnati Reds Director of Operations Dick Williams appeared this week on MLB’s High Heat with Tom Verducci, and while he didn’t say anything new, the fact that MLB-TV is finally paying attention to the Reds is a plus.
Verducci was filling in for regular host Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo, who recently said on the air that the Reds organization was the worst in baseball.
Williams mostly chatted about the industry-shaking trade that brought the Reds Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, Kyle Farmer and $7 million for Homer Bailey and two mid-level prospects.
Said Williams “We didn’t add payroll and we acquired four major league players. And we didn’t hurt our minor league system. We still have money to spend and some good prospects as capital.
“We have filled some holes and have enabled our club to pick up some games quickly,” he added. “We are not done yet. If we can find a center fielder to fit defensively we will pursue it.”
As the roster stands now, this would be my batting order, without consulting new manager David Bell: SS Jose Peraza, 3B Eugenio Suarez, 1B Joey Votto, LF Matt Kemp, 2B Scooter Gennett, CE Yaisel Puig, RF Scott Schebler, C Tucker Barnhart.
I hate to leave Jesse Winker out, but he can rotate in right and left for Schebler and Kemp on days off and it is inevitable that one or both will miss games with injuries.
The pitching rotation: Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood, Tanner Roark, (insert one: Tyler Mahle, Amir Garrett, Sal Romano, Michael Lorenzen, Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson, none of these).
—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez: “I was the worst hitter ever. I never even broke a bat until once when I backed out of the driveway.” (My wife, Nadine, once broke a headlight and bent a fender on her brother’s car that was parked in our driveway, her second such mishap just backing out of the garage.)
—University of Dayton forward Obi Toppin doesn’t even start for the Flyers, but his field goal percentage is the 10th best in NCAA Division I. Amazingly, even though he doesn’t start, of the Top Ten he has taken the most shots (95) and made the most baskets (68), a percentage of .716.
Of his 68 field goals, 32 have been dunks. The NCAA doesn’t list dunks as a statistic, but Obi has to be in the top five. There should be a Dunkin’ Donuts endorsement in Obi’s future.
Incredibly, the field goal percentage leader is Kris Bankston of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. He is shooting .853 on 58 of 68.
QUOTE: From former NBA star Charles Barkley: “If I weren’t making $3 million a year to dunk a basketball most people on the street would run in the other direction if they saw me coming.” (I’d run anyway, Sir Charles.)
—The Cheez-It Bowl was truly cheesy. TCU beat California in overtime, 10-7. There were nine interceptions. I only wish the cable folks had intercepted my TV reception.
Too bad the Cheez-It Bowl wasn’t the one canceled by lightning instead of the First Responder Bowl in Dallas. Boston College led Boise State 7-0 with five minutes left in the first quarter when lightning forced cancellation of the game.
They had to refund all 100 tickets they sold for the game.
And who plays defense in a mini-bowl game? Army 70, Houston 14; Utah State 52, North Texas 13; Brigham Young 49, Western Michigan 18; Troy 42, Buffalo 32; Wake Forest 37, Memphis 34; Florida International 35, Toledo 32; Duke 56, Temple 27; Ohio State 56, Washington 35 (just seeing if you are paying attention).
QUOTE: From former Negro League legend and Major League pitcher Satchell Paige: “You win some, you lose some and some are rained out.” (Too bad they can’t rain out about three-fourths of the football ‘bowl’ games.)
—On December 26, 1919, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000. At today’s rate that would have been $1.46 million, which still would have been the baseball bargain of all time, especially when you know both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will sell themselves for more than $300 million.
There is another in a long, long line of books about Babe Ruth, this one called ‘The Big Fella,’ by Jane Leavy. It is more than 500 pages long, perhaps in celebration of The Bambino’s 500-foot home runs, and it is worth the time to read it. Fascinating.
—MLB Network selected and showed what it considered the Top 100 plays of the 2018 baseball season. At No. 3 was Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton climbing the Great American Ball Park center field wall to snag a ball hit above the fence by Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals.
The camera then caught Reds pitcher Amir Garrett mouthing the words, “Oh my God.” That’s not what Matt Carpenter said.
And now Kansas City fans can marvel at Hamilton’s propensity for amazing and dazzling catchers. . .and his not-so-amazing propensity for weak pop-ups that anybody can catch.