By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from the Man Cave after discarding my cane to stagger around under my own limited power as my broken hip howls in protest. But it gets better every day.
—ESPN’s ‘Back Story’ on the banishments from baseball of Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose was mostly rehash stuff, nothing new, fake news.
They blame Pete Rose for blocking the re-instatement of Shoeless Joe, who took $5,000 to throw the 1919 World Series to the Reds. But Jackson, who hit .375 with a home run (but no RBIs and no big hits) and didn’t commit an error, claims he tried his best.
But because the Hall of Fame instituted The Pete Rose Rule — no banished players can be considered for The Hall — Jackson backers say their man is paying the price.
John Dowd is the man who MLB hired to investigate Rose and he came up with the 225-page Dowd Report accusing Rose of betting on baseball. So, 30 years later, how does Dowd feel about Rose? “He will burn in hell for what he did,” said Dowd on the show.
Rose raised his hackles during the show when the interviewer began asking him about 1989, the year he was banned.
“You are bringing up the past and who cares about the past. Everybody has forgotten about that (No, Pete, not really.) You are just like every other reporter.”
About Joe Jackson, Rose said, “He took money, $5,000, to throw the World Series. I bet on my team to win. That’s a big-ass difference.”
Rose, who still bets legally on horse racing, football, basketball and baseball in Las Vegas, uttered the truest thing he ever said when the interviewer asked him if he was a winner or a loser as a gambler. Said Rose, “A loser. Nobody wins at gambling.”
So why does he do it? It is, of course, a sickness.
—QUOTE: From former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent on Rose: “Do I think he should be re-instated? No. Do I think he belongs in the Hall of Fame? No. Do I think he’ll ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame? Yes, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling on sports betting, our culture has changed,”
—A joke Pete Rose told on the air: Two elderly men wondered if there is baseball in heaven. They agreed when one died the other would find a way to come back and tell the survivor if there is baseball in heaven.
One died and appeared as an angel in the other guy’s bedroom and said, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that, yes, there is baseball in heaven. The bad news is that you are the starting pitcher on Thursday.”
—That’s heady stuff swirling around the University of Dayton basketball team. They are ranked No. 7 in the country this week in the Associated Press poll — ahead of Duke, ahead of Villanova, ahead of Kentucky.
Even more astounding is that Las Vegas casinos say when bettors place wagers on schools that make the Final Four, Dayton is No. 1. Now that’s heady.
If you ask the Flyers they’ll tell you, with straight faces and without crossing their fingers, that they should be No. 1. And if you are around this team much you know they won’t let all this attention go to their heads.
—QUOTE: From Michael Jordan arguably basketball’s GOAT: “Talent wins games, but intelligence and teamwork wins championships.” (When it comes to talent, teamwork and intelligence, the Flyers are A, A and A. The only soft spot might be in keeping the other team off the offensive boards.)
—What in the name of slam dunks and turnovers has happened to the Ohio State basketball team? The Buckeye Basketeers have endured the biggest turnaround since Serutan (Natures).
They started the season 11-and-1 with victories over three top-rated teams — Villanova, North Carolina and Kentucky.
Their 11th win was a 106-74 slaughter of Penn State. Since then they’ve lost five of their last six, including a 90-76 loss to Penn State. That’s a 46-point turnaround against the Nittany Lions.
That’s a big ol’ hang on, Sloopy.
—Apparently, if you are No. 1 in the college basketball polls, you won’t be there long. Seven different teams have been ranked No. 1 this season. Shortly after climbing to No .1, five teams lost — Villanova, Kansas, Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke,
And then Gonzaga climbed to the top step and even though the ‘Zags didn’t lose, they dropped to No. 2 this week behind Baylor, the seventh No. 1 team this year.
—QUOTE: From legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi: “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” (Right now, the Buckeyes are not on their knees, they are flat on their backs and it’s tough to scramble to your feet from that position.)
—So it is Kansas City vs. San Francisco in the Super Bowl. My prediction: San Franciso leads, 14-0, after the first quarter, but then the PH factor enters the game — Kansas City quarterback Pat Mahomes. Kansas City. win 35-27.
But if Houston furniture store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale bets on Kansas City, I’m changing my choice.
Mattress Mack bet $1 million that Tennessee would beat Kansas City. This is the same guy who lost $11 million last fall when he bet on the Houston Astros to win the World Series.
M.M. came up $11 million short, probably because in 2019 the Astros were no longer stealing signs electronically. Or were they? And Mattress Mack might be sleeping under a bridge in a sleeping bag right now.
—QUOTE: From Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes: “I’ve been a fan of ketchup for as long as I can remember and the thick, rich flavor of Hunt’s delivers every time.” (Yeah, I love ketchup, too, but Heinz beats Hunt’s every time. Hunt’s doesn’t deliver for me, but Mahomes sure delivers on the field in his ketchup-red uniform.)
—The Houston Astros, looking for an honest man to polish their dirty image, interviewed Dusty Baker for the vacant managerial position.
There is nobody more honest and with more integrity than Johnny ‘Dusty’ Baker. During his years with the Reds, not once did Baker lie to me, or even fib, or even slightly twist the truth.
If the Astros want to clean up their ugly act, they should pluck Baker from his Sacramento backyard vineyard and put him in their dugout, with no trash cans.
QUOTE: From baseball’s zen manager, Dusty Baker, fired by the Chicago Cubs, fired by the San Francisco Giants, fired by the Cincinnati Reds, fired by the Washington Nationals: “I’m a strong man and usually I get over hurts and it makes be stronger when I come back.” (With all the firings on his resume, Baker should by now be stronger than Charles Atlas.)
THE LAST WORD: The fact that the Houston Astros had a trash can in their dugout should have made the other teams suspect that something was amiss. Baseball players never use trash cans. Check any dugout after a game and it looks like the city dump — paper wrappers stuck to the floor by tobacco juice. Clearly, a trash can is for relaying signals.