By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, discovering that smoking cigars with a mask on leaves a burning sensation, while drinking Shiner Bock through a mask gives it a cottony taste.
—Television’s latest superstar, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is a huge baseball fan. He grew up a fan of the Dodgers, Brooklyn variety. And he attends 10 to 12 Washington Nationals games a year and watches about 50 games a year on television.
So, Dr. Fauci is as anxious as you and I to see The Boys of Summer cavorting on the emerald green pastures.
But, as avid as he is as a baseball fan, he has to bow down to his profession. You see him daily standing next to the POTUS, giving updates on the COVID-19 situation.
He is an immunologist who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984.
Since January, he has been the lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Bedside manner? Who knows? But his TV-side manner makes him one of our nation’s most trusted doctors. And add points because he loves baseball.
But he cautions baseball to proceed with extreme caution. During an interview this week with Jack Curry, YES network baseball analyst and former Yankees beat writer for the New York Times, Dr. Fauci said the coronavirus must be on a steep decline before baseball can return.
And he adds that if and when baseball returns this year, it should be “Television baseball. No fans.” He said he can envision games played with fans, if they wear masks and gloves and practice social distancing in the stands.
Players would have to be tested often and be quarantined. But he added that in his opinion, the only baseball that might be played this season will be without fans.
So, make certain your Smart TVs are in great working order because the Grand Ol’ Game, if it is played at all this year, is going to be Studio Baseball.
Better than nothing, right?
—QUOTE: From James Earl Jones in the movie ‘Field of Dreams’: “The one constant through all the years has been baseball. Baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good and could be again.”
Dr. Fauci agrees…with constraints.
—Another one from super scout Pat Murtaugh: “It is late April and the Cincinnati Reds have not lost a game and the St. Louis Cardinals have not won a game.”
—QUOTE: From Baltimore’s Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver, talking to his struggling pitcher, former Reds pitcher Ross Grimsley: “If you know how to cheat, start now.” (The Houston Astros know exactly what Weaver was talking about.)
—Many Cincinnati Reds fans wish Yasiel Puig still wore the wishbone-C, and many are happy he doesn’t.
Puig remains an unsigned free agent after reportedly turning down a $10 million offer from the Miami Marlins. He insists he has offers from other teams and one is suspected to be the San Francisco Giants.
Rosters are frozen during the pandemic so Puig, who believes there won’t be a 2020 season, can’t sign with anybody until if and when the season resumes.
Remember the Bay of Puig incident in PNC Park when Yasiel tried to take on all of Allegheny County during a fight with the Pittsburgh Pirates?
—Cincinnati Reds fans and Cincinnati Bengals fans didn’t have to be told to stay home. They’ve been doing it on their own for quite a while now.
QUOTE: From former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Paul Janish: “When I played for Class A Sarasota, the crowds were so small I could stand at shortstop and hear people talking on cell phones, and I mean the people on the other end of the calls.”
—Legendary quarterback Brett Favre said this about quarterback Joe Burrow, presumably the Cincinnati Bengals’ No. 1 draft pick, if they haven’t lost their minds: “Joe Burrow is a close to a ‘can’t miss’ as you can possibly get based on his performance (at LSU).”
Oh, he can miss. Even Super Quarterbacks need protection and need receivers. Anybody remember the 2007 movie, ‘Run Fatboy Run.’ Without protection from his offensive line, it will be ‘Run Joe Run’ for Burrow.
—Some ancient baseball history:
On May 30, 1894, Bobby Lowe of the Boston Beaneaters became the first major leaguer to hit four home runs in a game. It came against the Cincinnati Reds. No, Coco Cordero was not pitching.
On July 5, 1898, Lizzie Arlington became the first woman to appear in a men’s professional baseball game. She pitched the ninth inning for the Reading Coal Heavers and gave up two hits and a walk to the Allentown Peanuts, but preserved a 5-0 win. Don’t you just love those nicknames — Beaneaters, Coal Heavers, Peanuts?
Wash your hands, wear your masks, don’t shake hands, stay six feet away from strangers and, uh, have fun.