By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, sitting here in my tattered terry-cloth robe that reeks of cigar smoke. I normally would be sitting in the Great American Ball Park press box eating ice cream, drinking iced tea and watching a baseball game.
—When the coronavirus finally goes into hibernation and baseball resumes, there is a proposal that MLB schedule several seven-inning doubleheaders to make up for lost games.
Yech and yuck.
Seven innings do not a baseball game make. That’s like slow-pitch softball. . .and maybe it is apropos because today’s game is all about home runs, just like beer league softball.
If Commissioner Rob Manfred mandates seven-inning doubleheaders, and the player union said it would agree to two doubleheaders a week, MLB would have to lift the number of players on rosters. More pitchers would be needed to prevent arm amputations.
Even with no baseball right now, pitchers are parading to the surgeon’s table for Tommy John surgery — Bostons’ Chris Sale, New York Met Noah Syndergaard and New York Yankee Luis Severino for starters.
—Some noted Tommy John success stories: John Smoltz, Stephen Strasburg, Rich Hill, Jacob deGrom, Adam Wainwright, Eric Gagne and, oh yeah, some guy named Tommy John.
—QUOTE: From Tommy John, the first pitcher to have elbow ligament replacement surgery that now carries his name: “When they operated, I told them to put in a Koufax fastball. They did, but it was Mrs. Koufax’s.”
—About the only sport still active in a few states is the Sport of Kings. The athletes are horses.
A couple of years ago, good friend Clark Spencer retired from the Miami Herald after covering the Florida/Miami Marlins for three decades.
Spencer, a Miami of Ohio graduate, didn’t know what he would do. On a whim, he and his brother decided in invest in a racehorse. So they joined a large syndicate. It cost Clark $4,300, plus $70 a month in food and vet bills.
The horse was a year old when Clark bought in. He was in Lexington, Ky., shortly after they invested and his brother said, “You’re a mile away from him. Go check to see if he has four legs, a tail and a head.”
Oh, did he. The horse, Gouvernour Morris, has run three times. He won twice and finished second and has won $167,500 in those three runs.
On Saturday, Gouvernour Morris runs in the Florida Derby at Miami’s Gulfstream Park as one of the favorites. He is a Top Ten contender for the Kentucky Derby.
Some luck, huh. Well, the first time Clark Spencer bought a lottery ticket he won.
—I once invested in a racehorse. In his last race he was in no hurry because there were no horses behind him. The last I heard he was plowing the back 40.
—QUOTE: From comedian Henny Youngman:
“I played a great horse yesterday. It took seven horses to beat him. My horse was so slow the jockey kept a diary of the trip.” (Been there done that.)
—If it were allowed, we could throw a pity party for Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. The Cowboys placed a franchise tag on him. That means he is guaranteed the average of the five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. That means Prescott will throw passes and take sacks for about $33 million for the 2020 season.
How many masks and ventilators would that buy?
—During this week in 1979, the NCAA finals were played in front of a TV audience of 40 million. That’s still the most people to watch a basketball game on TV, college or pro.
The game was Indiana State (Larry Bird) vs. Michigan State (Magic Johnson). Bird led the Sycamores to a 33-0 regular season and was College Player of the Year. Johnson finished second.
But MSU won the game, 75-64. Magic scored 24 and Bird scored 19 — and the two carried their rivalry into the NBA.
—QUOTE: From Magic Johnson: “In life, winning and losing will both happen. What is never acceptable is quitting.”
—QUOTE: From Larry Bird: “You never make any of the shots you never take. 87% of the ones you do take, you’ll miss. I make 110% of my shots.” (Evidently, math wasn’t big in French Lick, Ind.)
—It is noticeable that there is no ‘D’ in Loyola Marymount University, a college basketball team that averaged 122.4 points a game. That is still an NCAA record.
Just for fascination, here is the Lions’ (still no ‘D’) game-by-game scores):
LMU 91, UNLV 102; LMU 145, Nevada 102; LMU 125, Stetson 95; LMU 106, Jacksonville 105; LMU 152, U.S International 137; LMU 104, UC Santa Barbara 101; LMU 117, Oregon State 113; LMU 121, Oklahoma 136; LMU 123, Niagara 87; LMU 113, Xavier 115.
LMU 99, Saint Joseph’s 96; LMU 121, LaSalle 116; LMU 113, Santa Clara 100; LMU 119, San Diego 112; LMU 144, Gonzaga 100; LMU 131, Portland 106; LMU 126, Portland 103; LMU 99, Gonzaga 88; LMU 150, Saint Mary’s 119; LMU 141, LSU 148.
LMU 157, San Francisco 115; LMU 137, San Francisco 123; LMU 139, Saint Mary’s 110; LMU 131, Pepperdine 116; LMU 123, Pepperdine 131; LMU 131, San Diego 119; LMU 117, Santa Clara 81; LMU 121, Gonzaga 81.
NCAA Tournament: LMU 111, New Mexico State 82; LMU 149, Michigan 115; LMU 62, Alabama 60; LMU 101, UNLV 131. (UNLV won the national title).
—QUOTE: From legendary Indiana coach Bob Knight: “Good basketball starts with good defense.” (LMU coach Paul Westhead disagreed. He thought good basketball started with a fast break and ended with an even faster break.)
—Isn’t it incredible how many times the POTUS says, “Incredible?” It is just incredible.