OBSERVATIONS: All baseball, all the time (maybe)

By HAL McCOY

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, thinking about baseball, baseball and baseball. Unfortunately, all I can do is think about baseball. . .and write about it.

It was poet/essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Money often costs too much.”

Ol’ Ralph died in 1882, so it is doubtful he was a baseball fan. But his quote certainly applies to the once Grand Ol’ Game.

Money might cost baseball too much. The players wanted to play 114 games if/when the season resumes. The owners said no, how about 50 games?

Why only 50? M-o-n-e-y. If they played 114, the season would end October 31 and the playoffs would be in November.

The owners want the season to end in late September, with the playoffs in October. Why? The owners fear a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall that would wipe out the playoffs.

If there are no playoffs, owners would lose $787 million in playoff TV money.

So negotiations are at checkmate and it looks more and more like no baseball. The cost? Fans would desert the game in droves, much as many did after the strike of 1994 wiped out the end of the season, plus the playoffs and World Series.

The players want more games because they would get paid more.

Once again, it is a very bad look — billionaires fighting millionaires over money.

—Two players from the Yomiuri Giants tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the team to cancel an exhibition game with the Seibu Lions.

The already delayed Japanese League hoped to open its season on June 19, the 12-team league playing in its home stadiums without fans.

Now. . .maybe not. MLB should take note.

—QUOTE: From Japanese star Ichiro Suzuki, who starred with the Seattle Mariners: “If I’m in a slump, I ask myself for advice.”

—Babe Ruth is known for changing the game with his prodigious, towering home runs, 714 of them, 60 in one year.

What isn’t widely known is that before the New York Yankees stuck him in right field, the Bambino was one of baseball’s best pitchers.

Did you know that Ruth’s career 2.28 earned run average over 94 starts is still 17th on the all-time list? And he pitched 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless inning in the World Series?

Despite his barrel chest and spindly legs that made him resemble a moving piano, he may have been baseball’s all-time best all-around player.

—QUOTE: From Babe Ruth: “Gee, it’s lonely in the outfield. It’s hard to keep awake with nothing to do.” (That’s because he seldom slept and stayed out all night. One of his roommates said, “I don’t room with Babe Ruth. I room with his suitcase.”)

—One might think that Babe Ruth was the first athlete to appear on a Wheaties box. One would be wrong. The first athlete to adorn a Wheaties box was Ruth’s teammate, Lou Gehrig.

—QUOTE: From Babe Ruth: “I learned early to drink beer, wine and whiskey. And I think I was about 5 when I learned to chew tobacco.” (It is doubtful that The Babe ever took a bite of Wheaties.)

—It is well-known that the Cincinnati Reds hosted the first major league night game in 1935, right? But the first professional game played under lights was in 1909. That, too, was played in Cincinnati in a minor league game.

—QUOTE: From Freddie Patek on being the shortest player in the major leagues at 5’5: “It’s a heck of a lot better than being the shortest player in the minors.”

—Former WING radio host and good friend Mark Schlemmer pointed out that in early June of 1968 Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale pitched his sixth straight shutout. Said Schlemmer, “It will never happen again. Nobody throws six complete games in a season.”

Actually, nobody in today’s game throws six shutout innings in back-to-back starts.

It was 1968 when Bob Gibson posted a 1.12 earned run average, Denny McLain won 31 games and Carl Yastzremski led the American League with a .301 batting average, causing MLB to lower the pitching mound.

—I hit one home run the year I played American Legion baseball for Akron Post 209. It was a grand slam over the center field fence. I was so unaccustomed to hitting the long ball that I slammed my bat in disgust, believing I had just flied out to center. Then I giggled all the way around the bases.

Unfortunately, there is not much to giggle about these days.

4 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: All baseball, all the time (maybe)

  • June 4, 2020 at 4:30 pm
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    I rode the bench for a fast pitch softball team in the best league in Windsor. I pinch hit a home run, and from then on I was the regular first baseman. And batted clean up.

    Reply
  • June 4, 2020 at 6:48 pm
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    Hal: I think Ruth was the greatest ever, with Mays a close second but what do I know.

    Always wondered how many home runs Ruth would have ended up with if he’d taken better care of himself, and Mays final H.R. total had be not lost all those at bats from doing his hitch in the Army.

    The Babe on learning Gehrig made the Wheaties box before him would have probably said to The Iron Man; “that’s okay kid since I’ve been on everything else”.

    Bob Gibson. I think I would pick him to start my game 7 of a dream world series with Johnny Bench catching. He was the ultimate definition of a bulldog pitcher ! (he’d also get tossed in todays game for owning the plate with his controlled high and inside heat).

    Insofar as the inspired leadership in todays baseball is concerned, don’t much care at this point.

    My advice would be just forget it and get an early start on the next collective bargaining agreement.
    MAYBE they could avoid another lock out or strike.

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  • June 8, 2020 at 4:32 pm
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    Here’s a word for MLB: Gumption. 100 yrs. ago there was a wide spread flu. I doubt it crossed players minds to not play. Golly – it now seems to be manageable to gather by the 1000’s for other reasons…

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