OBSERVATIONS: Why can’t they just leave baseball alone?

By HAL McCOY

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave and for the first time in my life I am hoping somebody toilet papers our house.

—The newest absurdity involving Major League Baseball surfaced last week — a plan on how the game could return sooner than later.

There would be no National League and no American League. The season would be played, with no fans, at spring training sites in Florida (The Grapefruit League) and Arizona (The Cactus League), 15 teams in each state.

There would be three divisions in each league with each division made up of teams who train close together.

For example, the Cincinnati Reds would play in the Cactus League West Division with the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels — two National League teams and three American League teams in the same division.

Can’t you just hear the howls of protest from the front office in Great American Ball Park about the Reds having to play in the same division as the Dodgers? Ouch.

And I repeat my mantra: “LEAVE THE GAME ALONE.”

—QUOTE: From The Cincinnati Gazette in 1879: “The baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor.” (Shame on a newspaper in the city in which pro baseball was born. The Cincinnati Gazette died in 1883 and professional baseball lives on…I think.)

—About the only sport still operating these days is horse racing, in a few venues. They are still running, without fans, at two tracks in Florida — Gulfstream and Tampa Bay Downs.

Wagering is done only on-line. One bettor on Saturday bet fifty cents on the Pick 5 at Gulfstream Park and won $524,966.50.

He was the only bettor to pick all five winners in the first five races. Amazingly, the winner of the first race was 73-to-1 long shot Freddy Soto.

Who would bet on a 73-to-1 shot? I can think of only one person — my good friend Mark Schlemmer. I might have bet on Freddy Soto, only because he reminds me of Mario Soto.

—QUOTE: From an anonymous horse player: “A race horse is the only animal that can take thousands of people for a ride at the same time.” (I sure would have like to have taken that ride the guy who won a half-a-million took at Gulfstream Saturday.)

—How good is Mike Trout? He might he on his way to being the GOAT (greatest of all-time).

Consider this, pointed out by the web-site ‘Baseball.’ Trout is 28. He has 1,324 hits. At 28, Pete Rose had 1,327.

Home runs? Trout has 285 at 28. Barry Bonds had 222 at 28. Runs scored? Rickey Henderson had 940 at 28, Trout has 903.

—QUOTE: From Angels star Mike Trout: “As a kid I had this ultimate goal to be a teacher. I wanted to be a history teacher, like my dad.” (And now he is making history and he is rich enough to buy every history book ever written.)

—And how great was Tony Gwynn? He faced Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux 107 times, more than any other pitcher. Not only did hit hit .415, he did not strikeout. Not once.

—QUOTE: From Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn: “I think the ability to hit — some have it and some don’t — but I think how dedicated you are to get the most out of yourself, kind of determines how good you are.” (I think he was talking about Pete Rose, too.)

—As you know, you can wager on just about anything in Las Vegas. They are offering odds on which college tight end will be the first taken in this year’s NFL draft.

Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet is No. 1 and the University of Dayton’s Adam Trautman is No. 2.

I’m a tad prejudiced because I saw Trautman destroy the Pioneer Football League for three years. I would take him first.

Sure, Kmet performed against teams like Michigan State and Southern California while Trautman was a monster against team like Marist, Morehead State and Valparaiso.

But you can’t penalize the kid for whom he played against. And Michigan State did offer him a preferred walk-on tryout.

—From my awesome friend Ray Snedegar:

RAY: “Alexa, what’s the weather today?”

ALEXA: “Doesn’t matter. You aren’t going anywhere.”

—All-time best cheer from a student section was yelled at Austin Peay. It was when Fly Williams was scoring 35 to 50 points a game for the Governors after Austin Peay found him driving a milk truck in New York City.

The Cheer: “The Fly is open, let’s go Peay.”

Now, excuse me while I go to the bathroom, not to ‘Peay,’ but to wash my hands.

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