By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while waiting for the Cleveland Browns to shock the world and win the Super Bowl. . .and that might not be until 2025, if then.
—Jimmy Shapiro of BetOnline sent this startling note: The Cincinnati Reds are favorites to win the National League Central. Say what? What are they smoking these days in Las Vegas?
Despite the fact the Reds have done nothing this winter but dump salary and add a bunch of ‘Who Theys,’ they are 9 to 4 favorites.
The Cardinals are 5 to 2, the Cubs are 11 to 4, the Brewers are 13 to 4 and the Pirates are 33 to 1.
In two short seasons (one very short), the NL Central has gone from perhaps the strongest division in baseball to one of the weakest.
This is a year the Reds should be going for it instead of studying the balance sheet.
—It isn’t true that the Cincinnati Reds are considering moving the franchise to Caracas or Santo Domingo. It only looks that way.
On Friday, the Reds signed 13 international free agents, all 16 or 17 years old. Eight are from Venezuela and five are from the Dominican Republic.
No baseball team ever signs anybody from Ecuador or Chile because those kids don’t realize they can use their hand when they play ball.
QUOTE: From Foghorn Leghorn: “I say, pay attention, son. It’s a soccer joke.”
—Hey, mom, did you know your son could have been a millionaire if you hadn’t thrown it all away? Yes, my mom, too.
If your mom and my mom hadn’t thrown away all our baseball cards, we, too could have had a 1952 Mickey Mantle card in mint condition and sold it for $5.2 million.
That’s exactly what a ’52 MM card sold for last week. As Scott Russell, author of The Spaceman Chronicles (a bio of Bill Lee) said, “That’s more money than Willie Mays, Ted Williams and Sandy Koufax made for their entire careers.
That iconic trio made a combined $3.35 million for their entire careers. Koufax made only $431,000 over his career, $100,000 under the major league minimum for a first-year rookie these days.
But, $435,000 in 1967 is the same as $11.1 million in today’s money. And that is still a huge bargain for Sandy Koufax.
And some rich entertainer paid $5.2 million for a small piece of cardboard.
—During the last days of his career with the New York Mets, Willie Mays, the GOAT center fielder, played some first base. But instead of using a first baseman’s mitt, Mays used his 12-inch MacGregor outfielder’s glove.
“Umpires would tell me, ‘Willie, you’re supposed to use a first baseman’s mitt at first base,’” said Mays. “And I’d tell ‘em, ‘I ain’t got one,’ and they’d just smile.” (With his talent, Mays could have used Yogi Berra’s catcher’s mitt and still caught everything.)
—QUOTE: From Cleveland Indians manager Al Lopez on losing the 1954 World Series in four straight to the New York Giants after Willie Mays made ‘The Impossible Catch’ on Vic Wertz: “They say anything can happen in a short series. I just didn’t expect it to be that short.”
—Urban Meyer left Florida and Ohio State for health reasons, among other things. It appears that $12 million a year is better than any medication on the market these days.
—QUOTE: From new Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer: “I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved.” (Urban, you are going to need ten pots full of luck for a couple of years with that team. Brutus Buckeye is not on the sidelines.)
—In the NBA, if you whine, whine and whine some more, you get what you want. James Harden not only wanted out of Houston, he picked his landing spot in Brooklyn. And he got his way.
I tried to whine my way to the New York Times, but the Dayton Daily News already had enough boxes of paper clips and metal rulers.
—QUOTE: From newest Brooklyn Nets player James Harden: I’m old school. I’m not the fastest guy or the quickest guy.” (Pretty fast and quick getting out of Houston, Mr. Harden. And you took that gosh-awful beard with you.)
—NBA legend Bill Russell refused to sign autographs for anybody for 25 years. He does now. For $300 he’ll scribble his name for you. For $300 it better be at the bottom of a check.
—QUOTE: From former NBA star Bill Russell: “You can do anything you want to do if you want it bad enough.” (Yes, if you want a Bill Russell autograph bad enough, it only costs $300.)
—Why is it that every time a professional sports figure is caught on a live mic using a racial or anti-gay or anti-Semitic slur, they always apologize and say, “That’s not who I am?”
That is exactly who they are at the the time the slimy slur slips for their mouths.
Justin Thomas, No. 3 on the PGA tour, is the latest. When he missed a putt in the Sentra Tournament of Champions, he let loose with an anti-gay exclamation that was caught on a live mic.
His apology. . .and cue the violins: “It’s terrible. I’m extremely embarrassed. It’s not who I am, it’s not the kind of person I am but unfortunately I did it and I have to own up to it and I’m very apologetic.” (Of course he is. He got caught.)
Thomas already has lost his Ralph Lauren endorsement so the next time you see him he might be putting naked.
—The United State Postal Service is putting out a stamp for Yogi Berra, wearing a smile and his Yankee pin-stripes.
Berra has never been accused of being camera-friendly and once said, “So I’m ugly. So what? I never saw anyone hit with his face.”
When Yogi managed the New York Mets, he and team owner Mrs. Joan Payson ran into each other on a day that approached 100 degrees.
Spotting Yogi, Mrs. Payson said, “My, you look very cool today, Yogi.” And Berra said, “Thanks. And you don’t look so hot yourself.”
—Hello, Las Vegas? Don’t call me, I’ll call you. Based on what Wright State’s basketball team had done the previous two weekends while playing games against the same team on back-to-back days, I made a prediction in my last blog?
I predicted that Wright State would lose to Cleveland State on Friday by one, then beat Cleveland State on Saturday by 35.
Well, the Raiders lost by two on Friday and won by 36 on Saturday. Well, as broadcaster Mel Allen always said, “How about that?”
—NBA superstar LeBron James is leaving Coca-Cola as a paid huckster and joining PepsiCo to hype Mountain Dew. In addition to grasping more cash, it was easy for LBJ to change teams. He is used to it.
—If something works like a charm, how hard does a charm have to work to make it work like a charm?
They often say that something or somebody is a diamond in the rough. The only thing I ever found in the rough was my golf ball.