By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wondering what a BattleHawk is. It’s the nickname of the XFL’s St. Louis franchise. But just what is a BattleHawk?
—Some more head-scratching disrespect for the Cincinnati Reds. . .Eugenio Suarez in particular.
MLB Network has something called ‘The Shredder’ that uses analytics and metrics to rate and rank players. It placed Suarez as the eighth-best third baseman in the majors.
It looks as if they use tarot cards and Chinese fortune cookies, too.
Houston’s Alex Bregman is No. 1, but should he even be listed after the Astros’ trash can controversy? Anthony Rendon is No 2. Yes. Nolan Arenado is No 3. Yes. But Suarez No. 8? No way. Much better.
They should put ‘The Shredder’ in the shredder and toss their analytics in there with it.
—QUOTE: From movie star Tallulah Bankhead: “There have been only two true geniuses in the world, Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare.”
—On Sunday morning, after the University of Dayton Flyers beat Saint Louis Saturday afternoon, the guys on ESPN’s Sports Center said, “Keep an eye on Dayton for the Final Four. Obi Toppin was a 0-star recruit that somebody should have noticed.”
Hey, guys, UD noticed and the Flyers thank all the other Division I schools that didn’t notice Toppin.
—QUOTE: From NBA icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” Fortunately, nobody knows this better than Obi Toppin (Mr. Team) and the Dayton Flyers (Team Unselfish).
—The Duke-North Carolina game Saturday was classic, a 98-96 Duke overtime win in a game that had more twists and turns than the road between Gatlinburg, Tenn. and Cherokee N.C.
But did you notice the uniforms? Both teams had their school logo on the front with no numbers. It looked as if both teams forgot their game jerseys and played the game in practice shirts. They looked like guys grilling in the backyard in their undershirts. They should have played with a beer in their hands.
—QUOTE: From humorist/Daytonian Erma Bombeck: “Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms should be white? Certainly not a mother.”
—QUOTE: From movie star Susan Sarandon in the movie Bull Durham: “Never root for a team whose uniforms have elastic stretch waistbands.” (The Big Red Machine and its elastic stretch waistbands disputes that attitude, Susie Q.)
—Did anybody watch the XFL debut this weekend? Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones led the D.C. Defenders to a 31-19 victory over the Seattle Dragons. Jones threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns.
Before the game, he took a microphone and told the crowd, “This is for the love of football. Enjoy.”
Viewers were treated to in-game interviews with players. Seattle’s Dillon Day gave them a real treat when he was interviewed after a skirmish on the field. He dropped an f-bomb that made it on he air.
Who knew that the ‘X’ in XFL stood for X-rated?
—QUOTE: From former New Mexico State basketball coach Weldon Drew: “We have a great bunch of outside shooters. Unfortunately, all our games are played indoors.” (How many of his players could spell Albuquerque? Or Las Cruces?)
—Twenty years after he was fired and swore never to return to an Indiana University basketball game, Bob Knight made his triumphant return to Assembly Hall Saturday afternoon.
It reminded me of a personal story. Knight was a huge Cincinnati Reds fan and showed up one year when the Reds trained in Tampa.
I was sitting by the hotel swimming pool one day with my wife, writing a spring training story on my typewriter, when Knight strolled by. He stopped and said to my wife, “Your husband wouldn’t be such a bad guy if he took his typewriter and threw it into the swimming pool.”
My wife said, “He can’t do that. That’s how he makes his living.”
Said Knight, “Well, that’ a horse(bleep) way to make a living.”
QUOTE: From former Indiana coach Bob Knight about sports writers (me included): “All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.”
—And speaking of spring training and swimming pools, I was sitting at the same pool in Tampa in 1979 with Reds manager John McNamara.
The Reds had just acquired pitcher Doug Bair in a trade. His wife, Connie, was beautiful, a professional dancer. She walked past us in a bikini and McNamara said, “Who is that?”
I told him, “That’s Doug Bair’s wife.” McNamara paused for effect and said, “Well, Doug Bair jus made the team.”