OBSERVATIONS: Hey, guys, just shut up and play


UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave trying to watch Korean baseball and failing miserably, even with former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Dan Straily pitching for the Lotte Giants. It is NOT the real thing. It is like drinking Royal Crown Cola instead of Coca-Cola.

—It is not a good look. . .or a good sound.

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer tells superagent Scott Boras to butt out. Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Kyle Lohse tells Bauer to shut up. Bauer calls Lohse sexist and “Boomer,” which is baseballspeak for a pitcher who gives up a lot of home runs.

It is churlish and childish.

First of all, like him or despise him, Scott Boras has done more to make baseball players multimillionaires than any human who has inhabited this planet. All he did was tell the players to not let ownership push the players around in negotiations, which is in Bauer’s best interest.

In the Twitter world, Bauer is outspoken. Outspoken and mean-spirited. This a guy who once in anger threw a baseball over the center field wall when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians. And this is a guy who last year was 2-and-5 with a 6.39 ERA in 10 starts for the Reds.

Most players are crying foul over the owners latest proposal, a sliding pay scale where the richest players get the biggest pay cuts and the players on the low end of he pay scale take less cuts.

And the players are right in this latest debacle because back in March they already agreed to a deal that paid them all a pro-rated salary based on number of games played.

Still, it is not a good look. . .or a good sound to fans. A piece of advice: “Just shut up, get a deal done, and play ball. Or, just shut up and pitch.”

—On the other hand, in these dark and dreary days of millionaire baseball players fighting billionaire baseball team owners over cash, it is sheer delight to hear a story like this.

Pitcher David Price, who hasn’t thrown a pitch yet for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is giving $1,000 to every Dodgers minor-leaguer not on the team’s 40-man roster.

Teams are giving their minor-league players $400 a month during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Oakland A’s are stopping the payments and other teams are expected to follow.

Price, entering the fifth year of a seven-year $217 million contract, was traded over the winter by the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers.

Clearly, this is one case where The Price is Right.

—And bravo for the Cincinnati Reds. They announced that they will pay their minor leaguers $400 a month through September 7. That isn’t enough to even make an apartment or house payment, but it is better than nothing and the Reds did not have to do it.

—QUOTE: From Dayton-born pitcher Roger Clemens after he won the Cy Young Award and home run king Hank Aaron said pitchers should not win the MVP: “I wish he were still playing. I’d probably crack his head open to show him how valuable I was.” (In an interview with me, Clemens cracked, “The best thing about Dayton was seeing it in the rear view mirror.”)

—There is a brewery in New Jersey that is selling a beer called Trash Can Banger Beer. The cans are yellow, red, blue and orange striped.

Yes, it is in ‘honor’ of the trash can banging Houston Astros and the can salutes those hideous rainbow uniforms the Astros wore in he 1970s.

The Astros biggest fan should have been Judy ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ Garland.

—How tough was Nolan Ryan? Just ask Robin Ventura, who once charged Ryan on the mound and ended up a TKO of which Mike Tyson would be proud. At the time Ventura was 26 and Ryan was 46.

There was a game during which Ryan took a line drive off the mouth, hit by Bo Jackson. Come out of the game? C’mon, man. He stayed in for 17 more hitters with blood trickling into his mouth and struck out eight. Ryan dropped him like hay bale.

—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, talking about himself: “What man in his 40’s would not like to look in the mirror and find Nolan Ryan?” (I would have liked to look like Nolan Ryan in his 40’s when I was in my 20’s Instead I looked likel Buddy Ryan.)

—QUOTE: From football/baseball star Bo Jackson, who tore up his hip in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals: “Before I injured my hip, I thought going to the gym was for wimps.” (Me, too, until I broke my hip last November. While I hated every second of it, the physical therapists at Miami Valley hospital got me back on my feet, one painful step at a time.)

—Everybody can argue all they want over who is the NBA’s G.O.A.T., Michael Jordan or LeBron James or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

To me, it is Wilt Chamberlain. He was the dominator of all dominators with an all-around game.

He once scored 100 points in one game, but the eye-popper to me was the night in 1968 when he scored 22 points, had 25 rebounds, had 12 blocked shots and, get this, 21 assists.

When Wilt ‘The Stilt’ wasn’t doing his Dipper Dunks, he would stand at the top of the lane, windmilling the ball until one of his teammates broke down the lane and Wilt fed them for a layup.

There was a night when a team called the Chicago Packers assigned rookie Walt Bellamy, an All-American at Indiana, to guard Wilt. Not only did Wilt score 51 points, he blocked Bellamy’s first nine shot attempts. Bellamy was averaging 29 points a game at the time.

—QUOTE: From 6’10 Darrel Imhoff, who guarded (did what?) the 7’3 Chamberlain the night he scored 100 points: “I spent 12 years in Wilt’s armpits. And I always carried that 100-point game on my shoulders. After I got my third foul, I said to one of the officials, ‘Why don’t you just give him 100 points and we’ll all go home?’ Well, we did.”

—Super-sad news that breaks my heart. Foley’s, a bar-restaurant in the shadow of the Empire State Building, is closing for good.

Foley’s, owned by Irish-born Shaun Clancy, was a baseball hangout. Clancy, who stands taller than the Empire State Building with all baseball people, started the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame. I was fortunate to be inducted and I have a plaque and a signed baseball in the restaurant.

Clancy flew to Cincinnati to present me with the plaque on the field. There isn’t a classier man alive.

Clancy came to America from Ireland with no knowledge of baseball, but fell in love with the game and is one of the sport’s icons. Everybody in the game knows him. Baseball writers from all over America congregated there after games. He named Foley’s after a New York sportswriter, Red Foley.

Foley’s is another victim of the Coronavirus. The restaurant may be gone but Clancy will never be gone in the hearts of his thousands of close friends.

2 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Hey, guys, just shut up and play”

  1. Hal:

    In my youth pumping gas for Sohio, worked with a guy who liked his “R.C. Coca-Cola and a Moon Pie”.

    That was the day of full service gasoline stations, if a customer bought more than $5.00 gas you pumped it for them, checked the oil, washed the windshield. Sohio also required you keep the company shirts clean with ALL the buttons.

    Was allowed to have a transistor radio while working to hear Jim McIntyre and Nuxy call the ballgames.

    I always wondered in those days what Lee May and Tony Perez did with all of the 55-gallons of Marathon Gas awarded for each home run ?

    Clemons was, is, to use Marty B.’s words “A CLOWN”.

    Hank Aaron’s class and dignity is quite beyond Clemons ability to understand (add Barry Bonds to that statement please)

    When Bauer leaves here soon for his next bigger contract it will be amusing to hear what he says about the Natti town.

  2. Stellar column Hal. I remember Ventura getting that beating. I was a big fan of his and was watching the game.

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