Observations: Will there be ‘Gray’ skies over Cincinnati’s pitching mound

By HAL McCOY

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from the Man Cave while waiting for the Los Angeles Rams to beat the New Orleans Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs. It could be a long wait.

It came as no shock that The Brady Bunch (the Patriots) beat Ol’ Man Rivers (the Chargers). And it won’t be shocking if Brady, the wily veteran, beats the Chiefs and their fuzzy-cheeked Patrick Mahomes.

Prediction: New England 43, Kansas City 40. Why not? That was the score of their regular season game.

—QUOTE: From Patriots acerbic coach Bill Belichick to a reporter: “You sure that’s the question you want to ask?” (Belichick is pro football’s advocate of Fake News.)

—A report out of New York says that the New York Yankees are about to lift a telephone and call one team and say, “Yes, we’ll trade you pitcher Sonny Gray.”

Which team? Well the list of suitors sounds like the marquee on a Greyhound bus: Cincinnati, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Oakland, San Diego and Seattle. What, no Los Angeles? Aren’t the Dodgers in on everything?

Oakland wants Gray, even though they traded him to the Yankees before the 2017 season after he spent four quality seasons with the A’s.

His time on Broadway was about as successful as the 2011 off-Broadway show ‘Lucky Guy.’ It lasted 10 days.

Gray has not been a lucky guy in pin-stripes. He was 4-7 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts in 2017 and last season he was 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA. He made 21 starts before he was demoted to the bullpen with a 5.56 ERA.

Maybe New York was too much for him and he might do better with a low key team like the Reds. Maybe. One concern, though. Like the three players the Reds acquired from the Dodgers — Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood and Matt Kemp — Gray can be a free agent after next season.

—QUOTE: From former Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles after the Yankees traded pitcher Sparky Lyle: “From Cy Young to sayonara in one year.”

—One of the major reasons UD lost an important basketball game Wednesday at Virginia Commonwealth was depth.

While it rained uncharacteristic three-pointers from the rafters by VCU in UD’s 76-71 loss, the bench played a big role, too. Nearly every UD starter encountered foul trouble and sat for long periods.

The substitutes provided only nine points, eight by Obi Toppin, who fouled out. Meanwhile, VCU’s bench scored 20.

The broadcasters cited UD’s lack of a bench, which is true but untrue. The Flyers bench is fully occupied with capable players, but they all are wearing street clothes as transfers and red shirts. As far as guys dressed in basketball gear, coach Anthony Grant can only go seven deep and that will be a huge wall as the Flyers travel their Atlantic 10 schedule.

—QUOTE: From Walter Alston, former LA Dodgers manager from Darrtown, O.: “Generally, you don’t have to worry about the guys who are playing every day, it’s the guys who are sitting on the bench that are the ones that get needles in their pants.
—I’ve ignored this absurdity uttered a while back by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. After James Harden put together a string of 40-point games, Morey said, “You could argue for him as the best offensive player of all time.”

Say what? Now that Harden has scored 57 and 58 in games this week, let’s re-visit that quote. First of all, I’ll say it in just six words: LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant.

And you want to talk about an offensive megalith? In the 1961-62 season Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points a game for the Philadelphia Warriors. That included a 100-point game that season against the New York Knicks.

Harden does his prolific scoring by launching three-pointers by the train load. Wilt Chamberlain didn’t have the three-point luxury, plus he was a blacksmith at the foul line.

I’ll go with Morey’s qualifying follow-up quote: “There’s a whole bunch of ways to measure it, but he (Harden) for sure is in the conversation as the greatest offensive player ever.”

In the conversation, yes, but at the top of the list, no.

—QUOTE: From 7-foot-2 Wilt Chamberlain about how fans rooted against him: “Everybody pulls for David, nobody roots for Goliath.”

—I’m a college basketball junkie but even I couldn’t watch the Radford-Gardner-Webb game on ESPN Thursday night.

Why would ESPN, or anybody, televise a Radford-Gardner-Webb game. Not even the Radford folks cared. The empty bleachers made it look like studio basketball.

Five points if you can name the location of either school and 15 points if you can name both. Radford University is in Radford, Va., and Gardner-Webb is in Boiling Springs, N.C. and I kid you not.

Yes, I had to Google them. And then it hit me. Radford played last year in the NCAA First Four at UD Arena and beat Long Island U. And I was there.

—QUOTE: From NBA legend Michael Jordan: “Practice like you’ve never won, play like you’ve never lost.”

—The Golden State Warriors scored 51 points in the first quarter (12 minutes) in a game this week against the Denver Nuggets. They should remove the ‘D’ from Denver because defense isn’t part of the team’s lexicon.

In 2015, Golden State’s Klay Thompson scored 37 points in one quarter by himself against the Sacramento Kings. It is obvious why there is no ‘D’ in Sacramento.

The Kings’ uniforms should read, ‘Rochester-Cincinnati-Kansas City-Sacramento, all the cities the franchise has called home. Clearly, the Kings heeded Horace Greeley’s advice of, “Go West, young man.’

Next stop, Honolulu.

4 thoughts on “Observations: Will there be ‘Gray’ skies over Cincinnati’s pitching mound

  • January 18, 2019 at 9:55 am
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    Hal;

    As always, REALLY enjoyed today your read about Marty B.

    Like most of us Reds curmudgeon’s, my Reds on radio “awareness” goes back to Jim McIntyre and Joe. The Zenith transistor radio listening to late west coast games and so on.

    My fond memory was the late Dayton region native master of improv. comedy Jonathon Winters in the booth with Marty and Joe during a rain delay at Riverfront. GREAT STUFF !

    Yep, Marty can be acid straight forward combined with Nuxy’s “homer” style. What a combination, what memories ! Joe’s “get outta here” home run calls were/are magic.

    Have to say too Al Michael’s 3-years with Joe were awful good. We recall Al’s post game show included reading letters from fans about the ball club (one from me about why Al “The Bull” Ferrara was not getting more playing time)

    Would like to see someone come out with a CD of Marty and Joe’s best calls. I’d listen to that all the time !

    Reply
    • January 21, 2019 at 5:30 pm
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      Thks for heads-up on Hal’s article. (I don’t go to Dayton Daily News that often.) As a kid, I go back to Waite Hoyt – ha. Luv Marty’s forthrightness! And the story of how he didn’t back down to Wagner and soften his words is very instructional.

      Reply
      • January 22, 2019 at 4:07 am
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        Indeed.

        I’d like to hear Marty reveal his close secret about Sparky being fired by Mr. Wagner. He’s said over the years he knows the reason but keeps it to himself.

        I’ve read a long time ago the reason involved Wagner wanting to fire one or more of the coaching staff…pitching coach Larry Shephard or Alex Grammas perhaps ? Can’t imagine it would have been Big Ted Klu or “Sugar Bear” George S.

        Reply
  • January 21, 2019 at 5:08 pm
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    Y – forecast Sonny Gray. Reports say the new Reds pitching coach already knows him as he was Gray’s pitching coach in college. So some established rapport not a bad thing. And he’s locked up for 3 more yrs. Glad Reds did not give up Trammell.

    Reply

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