By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave with fingers crossed on both hands hoping the University of Dayton basketball team finally gets to play tonight against Bellarmine, er, Alcorn State, er, Eastern Illinois. . .or Eastern Anybody.
—Baseball has evolved — and some say degenerated — into what is called the Three True Outcomes. In the Abbreviation World, that’s TTO.
The Three True Outcomes are home run, walk or strikeout. And one of the three happens in baseball these days about 40 percent of the time.
Bor-ing. Bor-ing. And bor-ing.
It is a relatively new concept, but as I think back upon it there was one player practicing that mode of play before they came up with TTO.
His name is Adam Dunn, The Big Donkey. He should be the poster boy for TTO. During a five-year span with the Cincinnati Reds early this century, his name should have been Adam Dunn, TTO.
Dunn performed TTO in 49.9 per cent of his 8,328 plate appearances — strikeout, walk or home run.
From 2004 to 2008 his numbers were:
2004: 46 homers, 108 walks, 195 strikeouts.
2005: 40 homers, 114 walks, 168 strikeouts.
2006: 40 homers, 112 walks, 194 strikeouts.
2007: 40 homers, 101 walks, 165 strikeouts.
2008: 40 homers, 122 walks, 164 strikeouts.
One year, Dunn struck out 222 times, second most ever. . .by one. Mark Reynolds whiffed 223 times.
For his career, Dunn is one of only 50 players with more than 400 home runs. He is 11th all-time in home run ratio — one every 14.89 at bats.
But he is third all-time in strikeouts with 2,379. He wore the Golden Sombrero (four strikeouts in a game) 19 times, fourth most in MLB history.
If The Dunner wasn’t the TTO prototype, who was? Said Dunn of his personal air conditioning while swinging a bat at the breeze at home plate, “You would think I would have gotten used to striking out and sucking. It devastated me every single time. But my thing was, every single game, I tried to have some sort of approach.”
Too many times he approached home plate, then quickly approached the dugout on a return trip. He is still remember, though, for the ball he hit from one state to the other.
In 2004, while facing Houston’s Jose Lima, he cleared the batter’s eye in center field and the ball left Great American Ball Park. It bounced on Mehring Way, the road behind the stadium, and landed on a piece of wood in the Ohio River, which is considered to be in Kentucky. It was measured at 535 feet, the longest home run in GABP history.,
QUOTE: From Adam Dunn after setting the record for most strikeouts in a season (and said with a broad smile): “Hey, it’s always great to be remembered as the best at something.”
—When great baseball teams are mentioned, talk nearly always turns to the 1927 New York Yankees, or in this venue the 1976 Cincinnati Reds.
The Forgotten Team has to be the 1939 New York Yankees. Its virtues are chronicled in a book by Richard J. Tofel called, ‘A Legend in the Making.”
Consider: The ’39 Yankees were 106-45 and won the American League pennant by 17 games. Then it swept the Cincinnati Reds four straight in the World Series.
That team outscored the opposition by 411 runs, still the MLB record. And the team earned run average was 1.31 runs lower than the next best team, also still a record.
—QUOTE: From novelist Ernest Hemingway in The Old Man and the Sea: ““Have faith in the Yankees my son. Think of the great DiMaggio.” (Joe DiMaggio was hitting over above .400 heading into September of 1939 and finished at .383 with 30 home runs, 126 RBI and a mere 20 strikeouts in 524 plate appearances.
—MLB is going ahead with its plan to eliminate 40 minor league baseball franchises for 2021. And the Cincinnati Reds take a big hit. The plan eliminates the Class AA Chattanooga Lookouts, the high-A Daytona Tortugas, the low-A Greeneville Reds and the rookie league Billings Mustangs.
—QUOTE: From former MLB catcher turned Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker: “You know, I was once named Minor League Player of the Year. Unfortunately, I had been in the majors for two years at the time.”
—Whenever I tune in to a college basketball game and I hear the voice of Bill Walton, I want to tune out. . .except I want to watch the game. Can somebody silence him? It would only take two rolls of duct tape.
He rambles on and on about everything but the game. During Monday’s Indiana-Providence game he talked about:
Finishing a book by Tolstoy, waterfalls, Geronimo, The Trail of Tears, hot springs resorts, solar power, the history of Providence College, having dinner with Providence mascot Friar Don, Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead and told us, “The sky is blue.”
And that was just the first half. The second half was on mute.
This was during the Maui Invitational, played in Asheville, N.C. due to the pandemic. But they still call it the Maui Invitational and they still play Hawaiian music instead of country blue grass.
—QUOTE: From former UCLA/NBA star Bill Walton comparing The Rolling Stones to NBA players: “Mick Jagger is in better shape than far too many NBA players. It’s still up in the Air whether the same can be said about Keith Richards.”
—When I hear soon-to-be gone Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer talk about synaptic plasticity, I just smile and nod my head.
—QUOTE: From former major league manager Casey Stengel, talking about a couple of young pitchers: “See that fella over there? He’s 20 years old. In 10 years he’s got a chance to be a star. Now, that other fella over there? He’s 20 years old, too. In 10 years he’s got a chance to be 30.”