By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave waiting to watch four playoff baseball games in one day, knowing by the end of the day I’ll be blurred by navy blue, teal, brown, orange and green. . .but no red.
—The Cleveland Browns no longer are the NFL’s joke. They no longer play in ‘The Mistake on the Lake.”
No more jokes about fans being advised that in case of a tornado, stand in the Browns end zone because there is never a touchdown there.
No more jokes about the abused child who asked to be put in the custody of the Browns, “Because they never beat anybody.”
No more jokes that if a Cleveland Browns player has a Super Bowl ring he must be a thief.
No more jokes that a Browns quarterback never tells a receiver a joke because it will go over his head.
Yes, the Browns are still offensive, but in a good way. Their ground attack covers more ground than the Pony Express.
But. . .
Just when it looked as if the Browns became relevant again (3-1 with three straight wins), they lose Nick Chubb, the best running back in the league, for five to six weeks with an injury.
Fortunately they still have one of the top five running backs in Kareem Hunt, who won the rushing title in 2017 with Kansas City.
And. . .how about the third-string running back, D’Ernest Johnson? He rushed for 95 yards Sunday against Dallas.
What’s it all about? Give credit to the grunts, the down-and-dirty guys on the offensive line. First-year head coach and play-caller Kevin Stefanski certainly does.
“It’s easy to start with the runners who are doing an outstanding job, but you have to look at the entire offense and you have to look at the offensive line knocking guys off the ball, utilizing the correct technique and going to the right people,” said Stefanski. “It really takes 11 guys to make a run game go.”
One thing for sure, what is happening with the Browns, and how they are doing it, has to be making Jim Brown pop his buttons.
QUOTE: From Jim Brown, the best running back in football history (my personal opinion): “There were a lot of running backs as good as me. The real difference was that I could focus. I never laid back and relied on natural ability.” (No, Jim, there were not a lot as good as you, not even a few.)
—Like Elvis Presley, I’m ‘All Shook’ up when it comes to the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros in their League Division Series.
I love manager Aaron Boone, but despise the New York Yankees for what they used to do to my Cleveland Indians when I was a kid. Do I root for or against?
I love manager Dusty Baker, but despise the Houston Astros for their cheating ways in the past. Do I root for or against.
Sorry, Aaron. Sorry, Dusty. Go Tampa Bay and go Oakland.
The Astros blasted Oakland in Game 1, 10-5, in a near-empty Dodger Stadium. I listened closely, but I couldn’t hear any trash cans being banged. All I heard was the crack of Astros bats hitting three home runs and banging 16 hits.
And the Yankees thrashed Tampa Bay in Game 1, 9-3, with a five-spot in the ninth inning on a grand slam by Giancarlos Stanton.
—Somebody sure has a lot of mad money stashed away. A bettor wagered $1.4 million that the final Bengals-Jaguars score would exceed 42.
The frisky bettor won $531,000 early in the fourth quarter when Jacksonville place-kicker Aldrik Rosas kicked a 50-yard field goal to make the score Cincinnati 27, Jacksonville 16 (43 points).
Actually, he was an easy winner because the two teams combined for 58 points. And how about this one. While the bettor won $531,000 for one bet, Rosas is being paid $679,412 this season for be the Jaguars kicker.
—QUOTE: From former Tampa Bay coach John McKay on the inconsistency of kickers: “Kickers are like horse manure. They’re all over the place.”
—Another baseball icon is cleaning out his closet, mantel and trophy case. Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench is going to play ‘Price Is Right,’ putting up more than 150 expensive trinkets up for auction.
On November 14, at the Louisville Slugger Museum, the public can open their wallets very wide or scribble big numbers on a check for such Bench items as:
1975 World Series trophy (Est. $25,000-$50,000), 1976 World Series trophy (Est. $25,000-$50,000, 1970 NL Championship ring (Est. $25,000-$50,000) 1983 Final Career Home Run ( No. 389) and professional model bat (Est. $10,000-$20,000), National League Rookie of the Year Award (Est. $25,000-$50,000), NL Gold Glove Awards for seasons 1969-1977 (Est. $15,000-$30,000 each).
And much, much more.
Speaking of auctions, local collector Jason Hyman scored big recently. Hyman’s basement in his Beavercreek home resembles a wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame museum.
At auction, Hyman purchased several items belonging to broadcasters Vin Scully and Dick Enberg.
From Scully, he acquired his 2008 Hall of Fame award, his 2004 Baseball America Lifetime Achievement award, his 2009 Telly award, his 2017 ESPY Icon award.
From Enberg, he acquired his 2016 final season scorebook, his San Diego Lifetime award and his 2009 Sportscaster Hall of Fame award.
—QUOTE: From pitcher Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee on collecting: “We live in a collecting society. Some people collect automobiles and guns, others just collect unemployment.”
—QUOTE: From humorist Will Rogers: “The fastest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.” (It is advice I should take at a horse racing track. But I don’t.)