By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from the sun room after listening to a ‘get well’ message sent to me by University of Dayton basketball player Trey Landers. What a class act, a kid who epitomizes what UD basketball is all about.
—The Houston Astros can do it all on the cheating front. They used high-tech cameras in the outfield to steal signs and used caveman methods to relay those signs to hitters by beating on wash tubs in the dugout.
Mix in the Astros front office jerk who belittled women in the clubhouse and you have the MLB version of the NFL’s New England Patriots, the masters of illegal spy tactics.
Stealing signs is part of baseball, but it must be done manually, with eyes. Using cameras is cheating and the Astros should be penalized heavily. Maybe they should be made to play all 162 games on the road next year. Or maybe every team should be spotted a three-run lead against Houston next season.
—QUOTE: From Duke University psychology professor Dan Ariely: “It is helpful to think of people as having two fundamental motivations: the desire to see ourselves as honest, good people, and the desire to gain the benefits that come from cheating – on our taxes or on the playing field.” (Wonder if the IRS is checking the Astros’ tax returns?)
—Does MLB commissioner Rob Manfred actually like baseball or was he sent by the NFL, NBA and NHL to destroy the game?
He is blabbering about doing away with the minor league system. He wants robots to umpire games. He put in a rule that relief pitchers must face at least three hitters.
What’s next? Maybe to speed up games (his mantra) he’ll make two strikes a strikeout and three balls a walk. Or maybe he’ll eliminate pitchers altogether and use pitching machines that throw nothing but strikes. That rule would save the New York Yankees $324 million and the Washington Nationals $245 million.
And the next time I hear a baseball team say it isn’t making money I’ll point to the obscene contracts they’re giving. . .and the $10 cups of beer.
—QUOTE: From Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer: “At least Rob Manfred is trying to ruin baseball at all levels and isn’t discriminating. Something to be said for consistency.”
—Hey, Cincinnati Reds. There is an excellent free agent shortstop still available. His name is Jose Iglesias and he is a much better option than Freddy Galvis. It is more than curious why you didn’t re-sign him in the first place.
But give the Reds credit for this one. Veteran pitcher Dan Straily signed a one-year contract worth $800,000 with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization.
Remember Dandy Dan? He pitched for the Reds and they traded him to Miami after the 2016 season. And who did the Reds get? Pitcher Luis Castillo. Cha-ching.
—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame broadcaster and humorist Bob Uecker: “Baseball hasn’t forgotten me. I go to a lot of old-timers games and I haven’t lost a thing. I sit in the bullpen and let fans throw things at me, just like old times.”
—Which is the best college football rivalry: Ohio State-Michigan? Nope. Alabama-Auburn? Nah. USC-UCLA? Two dreadful programs these days. Oklahoma-Texas? Only along the Red River.
To me, the best rivalry is the Army-Navy game. It never means much in college football’s big picture, but the pageantry and passion of the game is not rivaled. Anybody who doesn’t enjoy watching this game has to be married to Hard-Hearted Hannah.
Navy ended a three-game losing streak Saturday by whipping Army, 31-7.
It was as if both teams agreed not to use the forward pass, play the game as if the forward pass hadn’t been invented yet.
Navy threw one pass. One. And the quarterback didn’t throw it. Playing in Philadelphia, Navy used the Philadelphia Special, a reverse/option pass from a wide receiver to another receiver for a touchdown.
Navy quarterback Malcolm Berry carried the ball 29 times for 304 yards. Every time he dropped back to pass or rolled out to pass, he tucked and ran. And ran and ran and ran. Right now they probably are calling him Admiral Berry at Annapolis.
—QUOTE: From former Navy quarterback and pro football icon Roger Staubach: “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”
—QUOTE: From former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who played football for Army: “The Army and the Navy are best of friends for 364 1/2 days a year, but on one Saturday afternoon a year we are the worst of enemies.”
—The election of catcher Ted Simmons to the Hall of Fame reminds me of an embarrassing personal story — the only time I missed the start of a game in my 47 years covering MLB.
The Cincinnati Reds were in St. Louis and we stayed in a hotel directly across the street from Busch Stadium. I stayed out late, way too late, on Saturday night, then cracked a window in my room and went to bed.
When I awoke Sunday, I heard the Busch Stadium p.a. announcer say, “Now batting for the Cardinals, No. 23, Ted Simmons.”
I set an intercollegiate record for dismounting the bed, showering, dressing and sprinting to the stadium in time for the third inning.
—For years of my youth, one of my best friends, Tom Bartone, lived three blocks from my Akron home. We spent hours behind my garage playing basketball, even in snow and ice.
I ended up going to Akron East and he went to Akron Ellet and we even played a game or two against each other. Then we lost contact.
He spent his life coaching and teaching in South Carolina and we eventually re-connected on Facebook. And he sent me this quote recently from legendary cellist Pablo Casals. Asked why he continued to practice at age 90, Casals said, “Because I think I’m making progress.”
Tom always was the cerebral one. And it was his way of telling me to keep practicing my writing as I approach 90. I think.