By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wondering where summer went after seeing both the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals play exhibition games. . .and fans had to pay for that awfulness? And Ohio State plays for keeps in just a few hours (At my age, time zips by at warp speed, so OSU plays in just a few hours.)
—Everybody seems to agree that MLB and TV did everything right in the production of the Field of Dreams game.
And it was all those positive adjectives — wonderful, fantastic, great, super. Who was it who called it perfect? One of the New York Yankees.
As Lee Corso always says on college football’s Game Day, “Not so fast.”
I have a small bone to pick and it concerns the participants. They only got it half right. The Chicago White Sox part was spot-on. But why the Yankees? Because they show everything the Yankees do, including spitting on the tarmac as they board their chartered jet.
The Field of Dreams movie was about the eight Chicago White Sox players banned from baseball for throwing the 1919 World Series to whom? The Cincinnati Reds.
To make the game super-authentic, the first Field of Dreams game should have been the White Sox versus the Reds.
Maybe they thought the White Sox would throw the game, or if the Reds won, fans would think the White Sox lost on purpose.
The Reds get to play in the Field of Dreams game next year against the Chicago Cubs, the wrong Chicago team.
—QUOTE: Author F. Scott Fitzgerald describing the notorious Arnold Rothstein in his book, “The Great Gatsby,’: ”No, he’s a gambler.” Gatsby hesitated, then added coolly: “He’s the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919.”
—Cincinnati Reds rookie Jose Barrero is one mammoth specimen. He looks as if he should be standing at shortstop with a PBR in his hand and wearing a shirt that says Dew-Drop-In Bar & Grill.
Perhaps the Reds should try him at third base, the one big hole in the current lineup. Eugenio Suarez is in a season-long funk and Mike Moustakas is 1 for 25 with 10 strikeouts, 0 for 16 in his last six games.
—QUOTE: From young adult novelist Barry Lyga: “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 and lands in the catcher’s mitt, a perfect and glorious strike three.” (It is not true that Eugenio Suarez dictated this passage to Barry Lyga.)
—Arizona’s Tyler Gilbert made his first major league start Saturday and threw a no-hitter at the San Diego Padres. He may rue the day he did that.
Only three other pitchers ever threw no-hitters in their starting debuts and it didn’t bode well for them.
Bumpus Jones made his first start for the Cincinnati Reds in 1892 and pitched a no-hitter. He won only one other game, lasted only two years and was 2-and-4.
Bobo Holloman pitched a no-hitter on the first day he started a game for the 1953 St. Louis Browns. He won only two more games and was 3-and-5 for his one-year career.
Only Theodore Breitenstine had a modicum of success after pitching a no-hitter during his 1891 debut for the St. Louis Browns. He lasted 11 years and was 168-170.
—Exhibit A as to why teams should not be permitted to trade every player that can breathe out of both nostrils:
The Chicago Cubs, who traded everybody but the billy goat, lost 12 straight by some scores that sound like Chicago Bears scores. The scores were 14-10, 17-4, 10-0, 6-3, 4-2, 9-3, 4-0, 8-6, 6-5, 5-4, 4-1 and 14-5.
Nadine, a retired math teacher, added them up for me and the Cubs were outscored 101-43.
The Ursus clan is upset and believes the Cubs are desecrating the bear name. They say a name change is needed, like Flubs or Drubs or Gruhs or Slugs.
—Exhibit B: The Cubs ended their 12-game skid by beating the Reds, 2-1. But the Baltimore Orioles stumble onward and downward, 14 straight losses.
Their scores: 13-1, 10-3, 10-6, 12-3, 9-6, 9-4, 5-2, 6-4, 8-1, 16-2, 6-2, 9-3, 10-0 and 8-4. They’ve been outscored, 131-39. In their last nine losses they never scored more than four runs.
The Cubs and Orioles should be scheduled to play each other 19 times so each team could get a few wins.
And they’re clamoring for a new nickname in Baltimore, too. Just make them the O’s, as in 0 Wins. No more Orioles. Hummingbirds? Canaries? How about the Pygmy Parrots?
The Los Angeles Dodgers have beaten the Pittsburgh Pirates 16 straight times.
Competitive balance? The Cubs, Orioles and Pirates can’t stand on a balance beam with both feet secured by Gorilla Glue.
—QUOTE: From former Phillies/Expos/Angels manager Gene Mauch: “Losing streaks are funny. If you lose at the beginning, you got off to a bad start. If you lose in the middle of the season, you’re in a slump. If you lose at the end, you’re choking.” (The Cubs and Orioles certainly aren’t choking. They never had anything to choke over. The San Diego Padres? Now there are some chokers for you.)
—QUOTE: From Richie Ashburn, one of baseball’s all-time best leadoff hitters while he was with the Philadelphia Phillies: “A good leadoff hitters is a pain in the ass to pitchers,” (Ask pitchers about Cincinnati’s Jonathan India.)
—With Afghanistan in the news, it takes me back to 1984 when the war involved the Soviet Union against the Afghans mujadeen rebels.
At the time, the Reds acquired a pitcher named Andy McGaffigan, traded to the Reds for first baseman Dan Driessen.
When he reported to the Reds. shortstop Dave Concepcion walked up to him and said, “What’s your name, Andy Afghanistan?”
In a year-and-a-half Afghanistan/McGaffigan made 19 starts and was 3-5. After the 1985 season he was traded back to Montreal, along with catcher Dann Bilardello, pitcher John Stuper and pitcher Jay Tibbs for catcher Sal Butera and pitcher Bill Gullickson.
And Davey Concepcion never called him anything but Andy Afghanistan.
—These tired old eyes are failing me again. It has nothing to do with the strokes of my optic nerves I suffered 20 years ago. Just old age.
I can barely read what I write and I can’t read my stories in the newepaper, which is probably a good thing.
I’m getting new glasses and they’ll look like the bottom of a Yuengling bottle, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.