By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while sitting in my La-Z-Boy thinking about Thom Brennaman and Fernando Tatis Jr.
—It is difficult to defend Reds/Fox broadcaster Thom Brennaman for his open mic homophobic slur during Wednesday’s Cincinnati Reds-Kansas City doubleheader.
And this is no attempt to spread butter over the incident. He said it and he must wear it and he is paying a steep price — loss of job and loss of reputation.
His on-air apology was heartfelt and heart-tugging to hear. But he probably shouldn’t have said, “That’s not who I am,” because what he said about the LGBTQ+ community indicates differently.
There are those who disliked Brennaman’s broadcast approach because he talked incessantly and talked so much about things not happening on the field. To each his own, but Thom is passionate about what he does.
I have known Thom Brennaman since he was a kid. He and my son, Brian, are the same age. For a few years, when Thom’s father, Marty Brennaman, and I were at spring training with the Reds, Thom and Brian were there, too.
And they were ornery together, pulling harmless pranks on people and generally having a good time together. Both were precocious.
The thing is, off the air Thom Brennaman is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Every time he saw me he would ask either, “How’s Brian doing,” or “How are you feeling,” ore “How’s the family?”
He is a heavy-duty dog lover and anybody who loves dogs can’t be all bad and is on the same level with my love for dogs. Thom was devoted to helping place dogs and cat with permanent homes.
Never will I condone what Thom said. But we’ve all made major mistakes in our lives, but our mistakes aren’t generally heard by tens of thousands of people.
It is sad that Thom has to lose a job he loves so much. For him, it is the ultimate punishment. But it is something the Reds had to do.
Somewhere, down the road, he may get another chance. Personally, I hope he does. He is a good person who made a horrendous and horrible mistake, revealing something about himself that too many is unforgivable.
—San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. swung at at a 3-and-0 pitch and hit a grand slam home run when the Padres led the Texas Rangers by seven runs. The next pitch, thrown by Ian Gibault, whizzed behind Manny Machado’s head, a message that the Rangers didn’t appreciate Tatis swinging at 3-and-0 with a seven-run lead.
I don’t often agree with the tweets of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer, but I stand right behind him on this one:
“Hey, Fernando Tatis:
1)Keep swinging 3-0 if you want to, no matter what the game situation is.
2)Keep hitting homers, no matter what the situation is.
3)Keep bringing energy and flash to baseball and making it fun.
4)The only thing you did wrong was apologize. Stop that.”
Not swinging at 3-and-0 pitches with a big lead is another of those foolish ‘Unwritten Rules’ in baseball. Hey, if you don’t want him to swing, don’t throw the ball down the middle.
One question, though. Wonder what Bauer would have done if it happened to him?
LA’s Dave Lopes once swung at a 3-and-0 pitch and hit a three-run home run when the Dodgers led the Cincinnati Reds, 14-2. The next time he batted, pitcher Dave Tomlin threw four pitches over his head, missing him all four times.
So what was Lopes supposed to do, give away the at bat and strike out? Ridiculous. Lopes’ reaction? “Manager Tommy Lasorda gave me the hit-away sign.”
And how about this one? In the last 10 years, teams have come from behind to win 60 times in the last two innings when it trailed by eight or more runs.
So, Mr. Tatis. Swing away. As pitcher David Price once said, “If you don’t like it, pitch better.”
—Speaking of pitching better, Minnesota’s Kenta Maeda took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Milwaukee and set a club record by striking out eight in a row.
Did he get the no-hitter? No, Eric Sogard pushed Maeda’s 115th pitch into right field for a hit. Did he get the win? No, after giving up the hit, Maeda was taking out with a 3-0 lead.
The Brewers tied it, 3-3, before the Twins won, 4-3, in 12 innings.
—Tom Browning is a legendary for his perfect game in September of 1988. But another Reds pitcher came within one strike of a perfect game in May of 1988.
Ron “The True Creature” Robinson retired the first 26 Montreal Expos and was 2-and-2 on pinch-hitter Wallace Johnson. Robinson flipped in a curve ball and Johnson lined it to left field for a single.
And the next batter, Tim Raines, ripped a home run, cutting Robinson’s lead to 3-2. John Franco came in to save Robby’s victory.
Robinson lived and died with a breaking ball and threw it so much that when he left the game he could not straighten his right arm.