By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave wondering how many teams stole signs from the Cincinnati Reds to account for those 33 one-run losses last year,
—The wrath of Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred fell on the Houston Astros like a ton of new juiced baseballs.
Because the Astros illegally stole signs electronically in 2017, Manfred fined the team $5 million, suspended general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for a year and took away the team’s No. 1 and No. 2 draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
The Astros were watching the catcher’s signs via video cameras and relaying what pitches were coming to the dugout. They had a garbage can in a tunnel near the dugout. If an off-speed pitch was coming, somebody banged the can. Using a trash can was the right way to communicate with their hitters because it is utter garbage.
All this is an off-shoot of technology. It is the child of replay/challenge. The cameras are there to relay video to rooms in the clubhouses so teams can determine if they want to challenge plays on the field. The Astros decided to gain an edge and use it to steal signs. . .i.e., cheat.
I knew I didn’t like the replay/challenge system. Now I abhor it.
It won’t happen again. MLB now has human monitors in the video room and the video is on eight-second delay to deter relaying signs to the hitters. There is no time now.
Manfred didn’t go far enough. He should have ordered the Astros to send the 2017 World Series trophy to Los Anglees, c/o Dodger Stadium. The Astros beat the Dodgers in the ’17 World Series.
To his credit, Astros owner Jim Crane fired both Luhnow and A.J. Hinch just hours after MLB’s announcement.
—QUOTE: From baseball writer Thomas Boswell on cheating in baseball: “Cheating is baseball’s oldest profession. No other sport is so rich in skullduggery, so suited to it or so proud of it.”
—It is generally known that the New York Yankees purchased Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox after the 1919 season for $100,000.
What isn’t generally known is that Yankees owner Colonel Jake Rupert not only paid Red Sox owner Harry Frazee the $100,000, but he also loaned Frazee $350,000 to he could finance Broadway shows.
It is not known if Frazee repaid the loan. If he didn’t, the $450,000 in 1919 is the equivalent to $6.9 million in today’s money.
For sure, it was still worth it for the Yankees.
—QUOTE: From Babe Ruth, who was demanding $80,000 in salary when he was told that was more money than President Herbert Hoover was paid: “I know, but I had a better year than Hoover.”
—Amazing how athletes go from bombastic to bums in say, oh, one game.
For most of this season, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson was placed on a extremely high pedestal, some ready to put him in the GOAT category (greatest of all time).
Then the Ravens were upset by the Tennessee Titans and Jackson’s star fell on top of his helmet — even though he passed for 365 yards and ran for 143.
One day later the new future GOAT was Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. After his team fell behind, 24-0, in the first quarter against Houston, Mahomes led the Chiefs on seven straight touchdown drives and a 51-31 victory.
—QUOTE: From Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes: “I feel like if something goes wrong, I have confidence in myself and my team that we’ll fix it.” (Nothing could go more wrong than falling behind in the first quarter, 24-0, but Mahomes fixed it like Gorilla Glue on two pieces of paper.)
—As I predicted to my wife, Nadine, LSU beat Clemson in the college football championship game by double figures, And if she doesn’t verify my prediction I’ll cut up her Talbot’s credit card into double figure pieces.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow’s parents should have changed their last name to Barrow and named their son Clyde, because Joe is a football gun-slinger.
Down double figures, 17-7 in the first quarter, Burrow ran for a touchdown and threw five TD passes worth 463 yards en route to a 42-25 victory. Those hands that grasped the Heisman Trophy was in on all six touchdowns.
All that came against the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense. In two playoff games this year Burrow totaled 14 touchdowns with no interceptions.
Loved the shot of Burrow smoking a celebratory cigar after the game and hope it was an expensive and enjoyable Montecristo White Label Churchill. For sure it wasn’t a cheap El Producto or Roi-Tan.
All that’s left for Burrow is the No. 1 draft pick on the Cincinnati Bengals. But wait. Maybe the Bengals believe Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, Jason Eason or Jamie Newman is better.
Hey, if your first name begins with ‘J,’ you must be a great quarterback. Does Tua translate to Jerry in the Olelo Hawai’i dialect language?
—QUOTE: From gravel-voiced LSU coach Ed Orgeron on his quarterback, Joe Burrow: “He is on a soapbox for the state of Louisiana and LSU. We are so grateful for Joe Burrow.” (Send your thank you note to Ohio State, Ed.)
—With a new puppy in the family, a Havapoo named Quinn, I tried to remember the names of every dog that has shared a home with me.
So, here goes: Whitey, Corky, Pal, Muggs, Roxy, Brandy, Barkley, Cooper, Paige, Quinn.
My first dog, Whitey, disappeared one day when I was four and we were visiting my grandmother. I looked for him for hours. Never found him.
Sixteen years later, my mom ‘fessed up. My dad was drafted by the Army to fight in World War II. We had to move from a new house to a rental that didn’t allow dogs. So they gave Whitey away.
I always wondered why me, a 4-year-old, was the only one scouring and searching the neighborhood for my dog.