OBSERVATIONS: Of the Browns, Reds, UD, Wright State

By HAL McCOY

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Sun Room (Like Douglas MacArthur, I shall return. . .to the Man Cave soon), wondering why I can’t find another football bowl game on TV, like the Acme Fly Swatter Bowl or the Bombastic Baked Beans Bowl or the Meow Mix Bowl.

—The Cleveland Browns, of course, messed up their opportunity to sign Mike McCarthy as general manager/coach. The Dallas Cowboys gobbled him up quickly.

McCarthy, though, probably didn’t want the Browns job. And what does that say when he prefers to deal with Cowboys owner and master meddler Jerry Jones than the Haslams? The Carolina Panthers and New York Giants hired coaches Tuesday, leaving only the Browns without a coach. The way it’s going they may end up with Marvin Lewis or even Hue Jackson.

Baylor coach Matt Rhule refused to even interview with the Cleveland Dysfunctionals, then signed a seven-year $60 million deal with Carolina.

For the Browns: pick one of two. Mostly likely it will be New England offensive co-ordinator and Canton native Josh McDaniels or Minnesota offensive co-ordinator Kevin Stefanski, the runner-up when the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens.

Sources say there are six candidates, three that have already been interviewed and three more scheduled for interviews.

Other NFL teams who fired their coaches keep signing their new ones while the Browns act as if they are in the red zone and can’t make a decision.

They might have a coach by Arbor Day.

QUOTE: From Theodore Roosevelt: “The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” (Tell that to Jerry Jones and Jimmy Haslam.)

—So the Cincinnati Reds signed Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama. The news on this is that the Reds are the last team to have a Japanese-born player on its roster.

And it is doubtful it would have happened under the Marge Schoo regime. One of the reasons she was kicked out of baseball was her disdain for Japan because of World War II. She often used racial slurs when referring to the Japanese.

Hey, she was just a product of her times and many of our grandparents talked and thought the same way — not that that made it OK.

The bigger story on the Akiyama signing is that the Reds outfield is overcrowded. There is Akiyama — with the Reds paying him $21 million over three years, he is going to play. Then there is Jesse Winker, Phillip Ervin, Nick Senzel and Aristides Aquino.

Something has to give and it might be Senzel in a trade. Will the Cleveland Indians accept Senzel, Jonathan India and a couple of other minor leaguers for shortstop Francisco Lindor? Will the Los Angeles Dodgers accept the same package for shortstop Corey Seager?

Give ‘em credit. The Reds are trying. They’ve signed second baseman Mike Moustakas, pitcher Wade Miley and outfielder Akiyama.

If they pry Lindor or Seager away from their current teams, the Reds become legitimate contenders, at least on paper. But no game in the history of baseball has been won on paper.

Speaking of that, I once sat at a luncheon table with former Michigan State football coach Duffy Daugherty. He was drawing plays for us on a napkin when I spilled a glass of water on the napkin. Without skipping a beat, Duffy said, “That’s OK. We have to play on a wet field.”

—QUOTE: From iconic manager Sparky Anderson: “Baseball is a circus. There is that big tent in the middle and that’s pitching. Everything else is a sideshow.” (Pitchers who performed for Sparky don’t believe he ever said that because they all thought he hated pitchers and behind his back they called him worse than Captain Hook.)

And keeping with the circus them, who agrees that baseball is, ‘The Greatest Show on Dirt.”

—QUOTE: From MLB baseball columnist Anthony Castrovince: “Really bad news is that the train in Houston’s Minute Maid Park will no longer be in operation because it runs on Cole.” (The reference is to departed Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole. Castrovince is one of my favorite writers but with that comment he qualifies for the worst pun of 2020.)

—Guess which local college basketball player said this?

“We have a lot of guys who play well together. We get along. We enjoy being around each other. People don’t realize it, but team chemistry is so important. We’ve got a really good group. I really love playing with these guys.”

Sounds like the University of Dayton’s Obi Toppin, right? And he has said much the same thing. But those exact quotes were uttered this week by Wright State University guard Cole Gentry

Sounds as if the Dayton-area has two classy basketball programs and helps explain the success both are having — Dayton 13-and-2, Wright State 13-and-3.

Both schools are now favored to win their conference and wouldn’t it be just special if they met in the NCAA tournament?

Bracketologist Joe Lunardi had them projected in the same regional last week.

Of course, that changes every week. This week he has Dayton as a No. 4 seed in the East Regional playing No. 13 seed Stephen F. Austin, the team that beat Duke. He has No. 13 seed Wright State in the East Regional playing No 4 Louisville.

It’s all fun and games right now, but means nothing. UD and WSU have to play it out and play it out with monumental success.

—There was a football casualty right after the regular season ended. Jacksonville University, a member of the Pioneer Football League with UD, gave up football, called it quits after a 3-and-9 season, their 22nd year playing the sport.

The Dolphins were 5-17 that last two seasons and averaged 1,807 fans to home games. The school said that even though there are no scholarships for football players in the PFL, the cost of running the program ran each year was in the multi-millions.

In a class act, Jacksonville offered full academic scholarships to all football players who stayed at the school until they graduate.

Most PFL schools will not miss trips to Jacksonville because D.B. Milne Field was one narrow level above a city dump.

—Jacksonville joins these Division I schools that played major college football, but disbanded their programs, and it is a partial list:

Boston University, Bradley, Canisius, Creighton, Denver, DePaul, Detroit, George Washington, Gonzaga, LaSalle, Long Island, Chicago Loyola, Niagara.

Pacific, Pepperdine, Providence. St. Bonaventure, St. John’s, Saint Louis, Saint Mary’s, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Vermont, Wichita State, Xavier.

Speaking of Xavier, the UD-Xavier football rivalry was special, especially when Ed Biles coached Xavier and John McVay coached Dayton in the 1960s and early 1970s. Both eventually coached in the NFL.

2 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Of the Browns, Reds, UD, Wright State

  • January 7, 2020 at 7:12 pm
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    Agreed, Hal, the Reds are trying. I’d like to think Senzel “packaged” for Lindor. That said I really don’t know why Cleveland would be terribly excited about suspect-prospect-DL Senzel ?

    We’ll see.

    As a potential lineup stands today, so very much depends on Votto’s long absent bat.

    Reply
  • January 8, 2020 at 3:11 pm
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    Was it an oversight that Big 10’s University of Chicago dropped football in the 1940s. They even had a Heisman Trophy winner.

    Reply

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