By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after a nice second-half nap during the Super Bowl. Did Tampa Bay hold on and win?
—One of Yogi Berra’s many unintended witticisms was uttered when he was asked about playing third base and he said, “Ah, third ain’t so bad if nothin’ is hit to you.”
The Cincinnati Reds can apply that to shortstop. They’ve spent all winter pursuing a parade of shortstops. And with spring training about a week away, they’ve come up pretty much empty.
The candidates right now? Kyle Farmer, Alex Blandino, Jose Garcia, Dee Strange-Gordon and Kyle Holden.
So what is Dave Concepcion or Barry Larkin doing these days? How about Jose Iglesias. . .well, that’s another story.
After pitching, shortstop is probably the most important position on the field and the Reds are heading into spring training with a sink hole at shortstop.
There was an abundance of free agent shortstops out there — Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, He-seop Kim. . .and the Reds were tied to all of them at some point. They all went elsewhere.
Jonathan Villar is still unsigned. Would he be better than Jose Garcia, the Reds shortstop of the future? It is apparent with what the Reds haven’t done in the off-season that they aren’t serious about contending.
If that’s the case, let Garcia continue his on-the-joh training.
—The Baseball Writer Association of America (BBWAA) is removing J.G. Taylor Spinks’ name from its highest award that inducts writers in the baseball Hall of Fame. The reason is because of Spinks’ anti-black stance while he was publisher of The Sporting News.
So shouldn’t the broadcasters remove Ford C. Frick’s name from its Hall of Fame award?
In 1942, Bill Veeck Jr., formed a group to purchase the Philadelphia Phillies and he had an agreement. Veeck’s plan was to field a completely black team gathered from the Negro Leagues.
But on the eve before the deal was to be consummated, National League President Ford C. Frick allegedly blocked it hy having the league take over the Phillies franchise. That thwarted Veeck’s plan for an all-black major league team. . .four years before Branch Rickey integrated MLB by signing Jackie Robinson.
—QUOTE: From maverick baseball owner Bill Veeck Jr.: “It never ceases to amaze me how many of baseball’s wounds are self-inflicted.” (Veeck said that in the 1950s and it is even more true today.)
—And what would Bill Veeck Jr. think of this. . .and chomp on it for a bit. The projected payroll for the Cleveland Indians in 2021 is $36,5 million. For the Pittsburgh Pirates it is $37.7 million. For the Baltimore Orioles it is $39.5 million. And the Los Angeles Dodgers will pay pitcher Trevor Bauer $40 million in 2021.
All in favor of a salary cap for baseball say aye. Aye.
—In a round about way, MLB is admitting the baseballs have been juiced, as if we didn’t know that. There are reports that the baseballs this season will be slightly altered in an attempt to cut down on the home run barrage.
And speaking of baseballs, the Cincinnati Reds spring training truck departed Monday for Goodyear, Ariz.
In the trailer are 10,000 baseballs, 1,000 bats, 700 pairs of pants, 500 hats, 350 uniforms, 350 hoodies, 300 t-shirts, 250 batting helmets, 200 batting practice jerseys and a partridge in a pear tree.
If the truck is high-jacked, check out the St. Louis Cardinals. They steal everything else from the Reds.
—The Weekend (Weakend) halftime show was better than the always overhyped Sleeper Bowl, and the halftime show was a stinkeroo.
After all the penalties, the Kansas City Chiefs should wear yellow handkerchiefs as pandemic face marks.
And they now have a right to call the Tampa Bay area Champa Bay. The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl, the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup and the Tampa Bay Rays won baseball’s American League pennant.
Tampa Bay does not have an NBA franchise. The Cleveland Cavaliers should move there.
—One wonders how the Atlantic 10 basketball conference will be able to limp to the finish line ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saint Louis had to postpone its first seven league games. As of this week, Massachusetts, Davidson, Richmond, George Washington and Duquesne all are in pause mode, playing no games, due to COVID-19 issues. That’s more than one-third of the league’s members.
—The AP Women’s Top 25 basketball poll contains a team with seven losses (Arkansas), a team with five losses (Kentucky), three teams with four losses (Georgia, DePaul, Indiana) and four teams with three losses.
So where are the Dayton Flyers? UD is 10-and-1, 8-and-0 in the Atlantic 10. As far as the AP is concerned, the Flyers could just as well be 1-and-10 and 0-and-8. Not a sniff in the poll.
The Flyers do have that one loss, a bad one. They lost at Akron (2-and-10), 77-74. But as UD coach Shauna Green said, “We were missing three key players. And it was my first game back after having COVID-19 and I didn’t do a very good job. I’d like to play them again.”
—While angels earn their wings, millions of chickens hate Super Bow Sunday because they lose their wings.
—ESPN basketball analyst Seth Greenberg says he puts the milk in his bowl before he puts the cereal in and added, “I majored in it at Duke?”
Isn’t that what all Duke basketball players major in, with an emphasis on Alpha Bits. If you can spell ‘Duke’ with your cereal, you pass.
It’s a joke, Dukies, just a joke.
—Did anybody ever see this coming? And rightfully so because Wright State is destroying nearly everybody it plays.
The Raiders are 56th in the NET rankings, the major tool the committee uses to pick the NCAA tournament field.
WSU is ahead of Duke (70), Notre Dame (72), North Carolina State (77), Kentucky (80), Dayton (86) and Michigan State (91).
—QUOTE: Fr0m former Detroit Lions lineman and movie star Alex Karras: “I never graduated from Iowa. I was only there for two terms – Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.”
—Sound advice from a friend on social media: “Tweet others as you would like to be tweeted.”