By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wondering if the NFL season started a day early after seeing the 19 next to Milwaukee’s name and the 29 next to Atlanta’s name. . .and the Falcons only hope they can score 29.
—Trevor Bauer is one of those guys you love if he is pitching for you, but if he is pitching for the other team you hope he chokes on his Pop Tarts.
When he is on the mound he pitches like a guy who has been told if he doesn’t do his best he’ll be forced to eat nails.
The thing is, Bauer probably can chew nails, and toss in a bucket of screws.
His intensity is off the charts. His concentration is like that of a cat creeping up on a mouse. His emotions are as clear as a Smart TV.
Who else on the face of this earth would have the gumption to call out Joey Votto? Two starts ago Votto dropped a routine throw and it led to a three-run inning that beat Bauer and the Cincinnati Reds.
After the inning, Bauer stomped into the dugout and called out Votto, the $25 million first baseman who sometimes takes a nap on defense.
And Bauer let him have it.
On Wednesday, Bauer turned the Chicago Cubs, known around Waveland and Sheffield as the Chicago Grizzly Bears, back into little cubby bears.
He held them to no runs, three hits and struck out 10 in a 3-0 victory. Did that quiet the Cubs? They are known for aiming epithets and insults at the opposition from the dugout. It’s called chirping.
And despite what Bauer did to them, they chirped the entire game. In mid-game after he retired Javier Baez on a weak ground ball, Baez said something disparaging to Bauer as he crossed in front of him returning to the dugout.
Bauer just laughed at him. How could Baez say anything? Bauer struck him out the first two times.
After the game Bauer wore the big smile and said he had to compliment the Cubs on their non-stop chirping, even as he was leaving the mound with two outs in the seventh inning.
“It was impressive that you can chirp at someone after you shove it up their ass for 7 2/3 innings,” said Bauer.
If all the Reds had the intensity and emotion of Bauer and Amir Garrett, they wouldn’t be scuffling for that coveted No. 8 spot in the National League playoffs.
—QUOTE: From Trevor Bauer on his pitching philosophy: “I’ve prepared to the best of my ability. I’ve studied them. I have a game plan going in. All that’s left is to go out there and have fun.” (Ask the Chirping Chicagoans how much fun it is facing him.)
—MLB celebrated Roberto Clemente Day this week and permitted all Puerto Rican-born players to wear his No. 21. And some non-Puerto Ricans wore No. 21.
Reds pitcher Jose DeLeon wore 21 and was thrilled. “The No. 21 is sacred in Puerto Rico and nobody wears it.” In a reverse honor, the Reds Michael Lorenzen always wears ’21’ in Clemente’s honor. But on Roberto Clemente Day he wore No. 50, honoring Clemente by not wearing his number.
Question. Why didn’t all MLB players wear 21 and when will they retire the number the way they did Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.
One other number needs retirement. . .Babe Ruth’s No. 3. Ever wonder why he wore ‘3?’
The New York Yankees were the first to wear numerals on their uniforms and they issued numbers according to where a player batted in the order. Ruth batted third so he wore No. 3. Lou Gehrig batted fourth and wore No. 4.
And in case you wondered, the 1960 Chicago White Sox were the first team to place a player’s name on the backs of their uniforms.
It was always humorous to see how the Detroit Tigers squeezed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (14 letters) on the back of his jersey.
—A group calling itself ‘Music City Baseball’ is trying to land an MLB franchise for Nashville.
Dave Dombrowski, former general manager of the Marlins, Tigers and Red Sox is part of the group. So is former Oakland A’s/Texas Rangers pitcher Dave Stewart.
The latest to join is 10-time Grammy winner Justin Timberlake. Maybe he can stand before the expansion committee and sing, ‘Say Something’ and get them all ‘Nsync. (Moan now).
—On Wednesday afternoon, the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Detroit Tigers, 19-0. Five runs were the most the Brewers scored in one inning. They went 10 for 20 with runners in scoring position.
But they missed two extra points. The Tigers? They did get two hits.
—And the Atlanta Braves said, “Big deal.” On Wednesday night they beat the Miami Marlins, 29-9. They scored in each of the first seven innings, 11 in the first and six in the fifth. Former Reds outfielder Adam Duvall had three home runs and drove in nine runs.
Atlante’s last four runs came on Duvall’s third home run, a grand slam. Geez, should Duvall be swinging for a grand slam with a 16-run lead?
Duvall has two three-homer games in a span of eight days. Not even Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones or Eddie Mathews had two three-homer games during their Atlanta career.
It is so easy to root for Duvall, an easy-going, always smiling guy. He is a diabetic and often gives himself shots in the dugout during games. How can anybody not respect that?
Let’s see, who did the Reds get in the trade for Duvall? Preston Tucker, Matt Wisler and Lucas Sims. They still have Sims and he might be worth the trade.
—QUOTE: From anonymous: “A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t get very far until you change it.” (Can Triple-A change your attitude?)
—From Brad Schmaltz, former Columbus Dispatch sports writer and they guy who taught me how to play blackjack and empty my wallet at the same time:
“During World War II the U.S. military designed hand grenades the same size and weight of a baseball because any young American man should be able to throw it properly.” (And the Cincinnati Reds sometimes throw the ball around as if it is a hand grenade.)
—QUOTE: Seen on a car bumper on I75: “I’m From Cleveland. We Don’t Keep Calm.” (And that probably will be the case while Baker Mayfield is running for his life against the Baltimore Ravens.)