OBSERVATIONS: Striking out is not like striking up the band

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave on a dreary off day from baseball, and an off day from baseball is like a day without my morning coffee. . .it’s no fun for those around me.

—Maybe Cincinnati Reds shortstop Eugenio Suarez needs to re-bleach his hair blond, the way he had it in 2019 when he hit 49 home runs.

As of now, Suarez leads the National League with 38 strikeouts and has been caught looking more often than a Peeping Tom.

Suarez, though, isn’t the Lone Ranger when it comes to The Whiff Cavalcade. When Pete Alonso of the New York Mets struck out four times in a game over the weekend, he became the 36th player already this season to strikeout four times in a game.

A player who fans four times in a game is said to wear the Golden Sombrero. And former slugger Reggie Jacksons could start his own haberdashery. During his career. the self-proclaimed straw that stirred the drink with the New York Yankees, struck out four times in a game 23 times.

One wonders, at his current pace, if Suarez will challenge the all-time record of Mark Reynolds. He set the single-season strikeout record in 2009 with 223 strikeouts.

Former Reds outfielder Adam Dunn came one called strike away from matching that with 223 in 2012 with the Chicago White Sox.

Dunn’s record for the Cincinnati Reds, 195 in 2003, could be in jeopardy with a bat in Suarez’s hands.

When Dunn set the Reds’ record in 2003, he was told he set a club record and he smiled sheepishly and said, “It is always nice to hold some kind of record.”

—QUOTE: From novelist Barry Lyga in Boy Toy: “I do what I’ve trained my whole life to do. I watch the ball. I keep my eye on the ball. I never stop watching. I watch it as it sails past me ands lands in the catcher’s mitt, a perfect and glorious strike three.” (A perfect mantra for players these days who do not seem to wear strikeouts as a Badge of Dishonor.)

—What was the worst trade ever made by the Cincinnati Reds? When they sent Paul O’Neill to the New York Yankees? Bad, but no. When they sent Tony Perez to Montreal. Really bad, but no. When they sent Frank Robinson to Baltimore? Just awful, but no.

In 1900 the Reds had a pitcher named Christy Mathewson. The Reds traded him to the New York Giants for Amos Rusie.

Rusie pitched three games for the Reds in 19001 and retired. Mathewson won 373 games for the Giants with a career 2.13 earned run average.

That not only was the worst trade in Reds history, it is probably the worst trade in baseball history.

—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson: “You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat.” (Ol’ Matty didn’t learn much from defeat because he didn’t often lose.)

—An incisive and humorous quote from Joey Votto on the sizzling, scorching, stupendous start this season by Jesse Winker: “There is one thing about Jesse, he can hit. There are two things about Jesse. He can REALLY hit.”

—It amazes me, but it shouldn’t, how little some major league players know about the history of their own sport, or their own team.

Clint Frazier of the New York Yankees wear No. 77, but says it is not to honor NYY legend Mickey Mantle. Said Frazier, “I didn’t know he wore No. 7 and, in fact, until spring training this year I didn’t even know he was a switch-hitter.”

And he had the guts to admit that?

—On the flip side, rookies can be just as awed by baseball venues as fans. That was the case for Reds rookie pitcher Ryan Hendrix. He got his first major league win on Tuesday in Dodger Stadium, a place he had never seen.

“It’s beautiful, man,” he said. “All the history walking around there. I actually went to the top and saw the whole view, the mountains. It is so beautiful and so much history.

“Even though there were only 15,000 fans (when he pitched), it sound like there was 50,000. And they get pretty rowdy with all the hecklers by the bullpen.”

—More baseball rules absurdity: The independent Pioneer League is using a different extra-inning rule than the ghost runner on second base to start the 10th.

If a game is tied after nine, each team chooses one player and a Home Run Derby ensues. Each hitters gets five swings and the player who hits the most homers win the game for his team. If those two players tie, another player from each team steps in and takes five swats.

Why don’t they just make the entire game a Home Run Derby, inning-by-inning, and be done with it.

—Another reason to dislike the NBA surfaced last week, this one involving Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Love was angry that the officials didn’t blow their whistles a couple of times when he was fouled. So he was standing out of bounds to thrown an inbounds pass. When the official offered him the ball, the slapped it out of the ref’s hands.

The ball went inbounds and the opposing Toronto Raptors grabbed it and scored a three. That took Toronto’s lead from four points to seven points. And the Cavs never recovered.

That was late in the third quarter and Love was benched the entire fourth quarter. He should be benched for five games and never again be permitted to inbound a pass.

—Let me know if you have visited any of these towns in the U.S., because I certainly haven’t:

Why, Ariz. (Why not?), Smackover, Ark. (Thank you, sir, may I have another?), Two Egg, Fla. (I prefer three-egg omelettes), Rough and Ready, Calif. (Does Professor Gizmo live there?), Slickpoo, Ida. (Watch your step.)

Gas, Kan., (Fill ‘er up), Bigtussle, Ky, (Where pro wrestler go to die), Uneedus, La. (No, we don’t), Boring, Md. (Where there is nothing to do), Hell, Mich, (Where Michigan fans go when we tell them where to go), Tightwad, Mo., (Where my Uncle Pug lives), Buttpass, Va. (I’ll pass on this one.)

These towns should get together: Ketchuptown, S.C., Hot Coffee, Miss., and Sandwich, Neb.

And we’ll finish with these: Knockemstiff, Oh, Ding Dong, Tex., Intercourse, Pa., Screamer, Ala., and Climax, Ga. (No comments necessary).

2 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Striking out is not like striking up the band

  • April 29, 2021 at 5:31 pm
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    Was hoping on this no Reds Thursday that at least Phils would take down the Cards for the ball in the face to Harper…

    Reply
  • May 16, 2021 at 11:48 am
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    As I’m sure you know, @Hal, there was a lot more to the Mathewson for Rusie trade than meets the eye. It was much like the Kansas City Athletics being a farm team for the Bankees in the 1960s. The Reds owner soon sold out of the Reds and bought the Jints.

    As far as Frank Robinson. The Reds got Dick Simpson, Milt Pappas and a bum of the month whose name I can’t recall at the moment and who isn’t important in the context of this post. Not a good trade on the face of it. But….

    Simpson was later traded to St.Louis for Alex Johnson.
    Pappas was later traded for Atlanta for Woody Woodward and Clay Carroll

    Alex Johnson was packed to the Angels for Jim McGlothlin, Pedro Borbon and Vern Geishert.
    Vern Geishert was sent to the Giants with Frank Duffy for a young George Foster.

    So, for Frank Robinson, who was finished around the time the BRM reached their peak, the Reds eventually got:

    *Their 1970 shortstop Woody Woodward who shared time (and certainly helped) a young shortstop who eventually would be in the Reds Hall of Fame (and should be in the National BB HOF).
    *A starting pitcher in both the 1970 and 1972 Worlds Series (and who was later traded and soon would succomb to cancer).
    *The nucleus of Sparky’s bullpen for the 1970s (Carroll and Borbon).
    *And of course the 1977 NL MVP.

    The Robinson trade wasn’t a bad trade. It’s all about which filter you use to evaluate it.

    Reply

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