By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, waxing ineloquently before heading out for physical therapy to get rid of this infernal limp from my broken hip, which is healed.
—While trying to defend his indefensible decision to not punish any Houston Astros players in the sign-stealing scandal, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called the World Series trophy, “Just a piece of metal.”
And, amazingly, that piece of metal treasured by all baseball players is called The Commissioner’s Trophy
His words, of course, angered players on every team. Here are just a couple of the outrages:
—From Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester: “That’s somebody that has never played the game. You play for a reason. You play for that piece of metal. I’m very proud of the three that I have. If that’s the way he feels, he needs to take his name off the trophy.
“I’m proud of the three I have. A lot of years, a lot of hard work. Then, to just bring it down like that. I mean, I’m sure that hurt a lot of guys when they saw that, especially guys that haven’t won it that have striving for years to get to it. I’m sure if Adam Dunn heard that — he played in one playoff game — he’d probably be pretty upset. It’s a very special thing that he (Manfred) brought down quite significantly.”
—From Glenn Braggs, an outfielder with 1990 World Champion Cincinnati Reds: “Mr. Manfred, this is not just a piece of metal, it’s a World Series Championship, and it means a lot to me and everyone who has even won one. It’s actually called The Commissioner’s Trophy, in case you were wondering. It’s the culmination of years of hard work, dedication to a craft and love of a game.
“This championship (1990 Reds) was won the right way. You can’t cheapen it with hour words or (in)actions. You cannot justify your inaction by trying to minimize its importance and the Astros have done baseball a disservice it didn’t deserve.”
—QUOTE: From Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer on the Astros: “They are hypocrites. They are cheaters. They way they’ve stolen from other people and the game itself is completely unfair
—Joe Maddon is a baseball manager who does things differently, as he showed as manager of the Chicago Cubs. Now he is managing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and he recently expressed to ESPN what many of us are feeling: Analytics, metrics and technology are turning baseball into a real time video game.
“Somebody has to stand up for our game and the way it is and the way it should be played, what should be tinkered with what should not,” he said. “My conclusion is that analytics and technology are slightly responsible for putting the game in a position where it is not as attractive to fans.”
Slightly? How about saying the overabundance of analytics and technology in the game is a major turnoff?
—QUOTE: From former baseball pitcher/author Jim Bouton: “Baseball statistics are about as interesting as first base coaches.” (Clearly, Bouton forgot about baseball clown Max Patkin, whose comedy act was to coach first base.)
—Jay Bilas, noted and respected TV analyst, has what he calls ‘The Bilas Index’ and lists 10 teams he calls Tier One teams, those he believes can win the NCAA basketball championship.
His ten: Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga, Louisville, Duke, San Diego State, Dayton, Florida State, Seton Hall, Maryland.
This is what Bilas said about the Flyers: “Obi Toppin is the best player in the country and an NBA lottery pick. Watch Toppin run the floor and establish position early (around the foul line). It is a nightmare to contain.
“Yet Dayton is much more than Toppin. Anthony Grant plays two legit point guards in Jalen Crutcher and Rodney Chatman, has three complementary stars in Ibi Watson, Ryan Mikesell and Trey Landers, and the Flyers lead the nation in 2-point field goal percentage. Does anyone ever say, ‘Live by the 2, die by the 2?’ No.”
—How about that dunk off the fast break perpetrated by UD’s Jalen Crutcher against VCU. The guy is 6-foot-1 in elevated sneakers. I’m 6-foot-1 and couldn’t dunk if they spotted me a two feet.
—Some sports people on my ‘bad’ list and some sports people on my ‘good’ list.
The Bad List:
°Antonio Brown, just go away, please.
°Tom Brady, just go away, please, and take Bill Belichick with you.
°Houston Astros, just go away, please, all of you, and take your video equipment with you.
°Rob Manfred, just go away, please, and take that Commissioner’s Trophy you gave the Houston Astros in 2017 with you.
°Odell Beckham, just go away, please, and take your fancy shoes with you.
°Bill Walton, just go away, please, and take your Hawaiian shirts with you.
°Jim Harbaugh, just go away, please, but leave those great Michigan helmets behind.
The Good List:
°Zion Williamson, come on down, and bring that NBA Rookie of the Year trophy with you.
°LeBron James, come on down, but leave the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers in La-La Land.
°Andy Reid, come on down, and bring a truckload of that Super Bowl confetti with you.
°Antony Grant, Obi Toppin and all the Flyers, come on down. This team not only is first class, it sits in the front row of the class.
°Scott Nagy, Loudon Love, Bill Wampler and all the Raiders, come on down. And you can sit right up there in the front row with UD.
°Eugenio Suarez, come on down, if you can climb out of that swimming pool without hurting yourself.
°Jack Harbaugh, come on down, and bring Lamar Jackson with you.
°Myles Garrett, come on down, but leave that Pittsburgh Steelers helmet on Mason Rudolph’s head.
—QUOTE: From former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan: “I could never play in New York. The first time they picked me up in the bullpen car they told me to lock the door.”
—A bad week for Ohio professional coaches. FC Cincinnati soccer coach Ron Jans was dismissed for singing a rap song with the ’n’ word in it.
John Beilein and the Cleveland Cavaliers parted ways mutually half way through the first year on his five-year contract. Earlier this season Beilein called his team thugs and later said he meant to say slugs.
Well, at 14-40 the Cavaliers are at least big lugs? FC Cincinnati? In its first year as an MLS expansion franchise, FCS was a league-worst 6-22-6.
Expansion teams usually cause fans to become bagheads. Some examples: New York Mets (MLB) 40-120, Washington Capitals (NHL) 8-67-5, Vancouver Grizzlies (NBA) 15-67, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL) 0-14.
—TV remotes are one of man’s great inventions, but why can’t I ever find the damn thing?
—Las Vegas, which sets odds on everything, places the over/under on how many times Houston Astros batters will be hit this season at 83.5.
That’s about once every two games. Take the under. Houston hitters know what’s coming (don’t they always?) at them this year and they’ll be loose and ready to duck.
—Wonder if MLB will ban the guy in Cleveland’s Progressive Field who bangs the drum in the left field bleachers all game long? Probably not. The way the Tribe played last year they couldn’t possibly be stealing signs.