By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, believing the Cincinnati Reds bullpen could not get worse, then watching new guy Jose De Leon and Cody Reed give up 10 runs in one inning to the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe had scored four runs in four games in a series with the Minnesota Twins before they played the Reds and the Indians/Rocks/Spiders lost three of those four games to the Twins.
—One of the many fun things about being a traveling baseball writer was a trip to Los Angeles to watch games in Dodger Stadium, a place so sanitary you could eat Dodger Dogs off the floors.
And on smog-free days, you could see the snow-capped San Andreas Mountains beyond the left field wall from the press box.
Celebrities always sat below the press box, including the day Playboy founder Hugh Hefner brought six of his scantily-clad ‘employees’ to a game. Inhabitants of the press box spent more time looking down than they did toward the field. Was there a game going on?
One night, after I’d lost a few pounds, my 1975 World Series ring dangled loosely on my finger. A foul ball came my way and I jumped up and reached to grab it. My ring flew off and plummeted into the lower deck seats.
A fan picked it up, looked at it, then passed it to the guy next to him. And they kept passing it down the row.
I sprinted from my seat, ran down two flights of escalators and down the steps to the area where my ring landed. Fortunately, the person who held it believed it was mine and gave it back. I gave him $20.
It was always fun to visit LA manager Tommy Lasorda in his office because one never knew who might be in there with him — Frank Sinatra, Jonathan Winters, Captain & Tenille, Robin Williams. His office walls were invisible due to all the signed photographs Lasorda had hanging on them.
One day Toni Tenille was standing behind the batting cage watching batting practice when Pete Rose approached her and said, “Where’s the Captain?”
“Not here,” she said.
“Well, I’m captain of the Reds, so if you want I’ll be your captain tonight.” She smiled and walked away.
—With the Reds finishing a series against the Cleveland Indians with 23 straight scoreless innings, a friend reminded me of a song.
It’s called, “Go Home,” by the Blessed Union of Souls. Reds fans have to laugh to keep from crying so go to YouTube and listen to this song which begins, “Go home, you’re done, hit the showers, thanks for the runs, you bums, ya got rocked, just beat it.”
—Saw this sign in a drinking emporium (before 10 o’clock, of course): “Due to the COVID-19 virus, the Boston Red Sox cannot play Sweet Caroline at games because there is no touching hands, no reaching out, no touching me, no touching you.”
—While relief pitching, or lack thereof, is being bandied about, how about this one? In 1917, Babe Ruth (yes, THAT Babe Ruth) started on the mound for the Boston Red Sox. He walked the first batter and was so angry he punched the umpire and was ejected.
Ernie Shore replaced him and pitched a no-hitter, so Ruth and Shore were credited with a combined no-hitter, even though Ruth’s contribution was a walk and a punchout (of the umpire).
—QUOTE: From Babe Ruth, the best left handed pitcher in the American League until his bat took him off the mound: “As soon as I got out there, I felt s strange relationship with the pitcher’s mound. It was as if I’d been born out there. Pitching just felt like the most natural thing in the world. Striking out batters was easy.” (Almost as easy as punching umpires?)
—Great line from Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker after Nick Markakis hit a walk-off home run: “You could take him off a couch at 50 years old and he would hit.” (Especially if he hit against the Reds bullpen.)
—Can an entire major league team opt out of the rest of the season? A friend from Cincinnati is asking. And he wants to know if Nick Castellanos is asking himself, “What am I doing here?”
The Reds scored five runs in the four-game series with the Indians and all five came on home runs. In the last three games, all losses, the Reds never had more than one hit in any inning. But their launch angles were good.
—Lost a fantastic friend this week with the passing of Dave Stahl, gone far too soon at 72. First met Dave when he was the excellent sports information director at Wright State University.
When I broke my hip last November, Dave visited me three times during my 17-day rehab at Miami Valley hospital and he helped pass the time with great memories and stories.
Dave was an aviation enthusiast. When Wright State won the NCAA Division II national championship in Owensboro, Ky., Dave flew me home in a private plane, a flawless flight.
When you are close to 80, you constantly lose friends and peers. Life is great, but often times not fair.
I don’t often attend cocktail parties on the road, but Dave convinced me to make an appearance at one in Owensboro. It is where I met Nadine, my wife-to-be. Thank you, Dave. And rest in peace, old friend, rest in peace.