By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave wondering how the suddenly Popsicle stick bats the Cincinnati Reds are swinging lately will handle LA’s Buehler, Scherzer and Kershaw. . .and that’s no law firm. But they do win most of their cases.
—It was always easy to find Trader Jack McKeon. Just follow the cigar smoke.
The former Cincinnati Reds manager is going on 91 and still going like the Energizer Bunny. He is a consultant with the Washington Nationals. But as you might expect, McKeon isn’t beating the drum for today’s analytics-driven game.
“I’m waiting for the day that instead of firing the manager of a bad team they fire the analytics department,” he said. “Won’t happen.”
McKeon says he runs into Reds fans all over the country and they say, “We need you back. But in today’s game I’d last about a month.”
So what does he think of the new rules, with expletives deleted?
The 10th-inning ghost runner: “That’s high school crap. The best part of a game is the last two or three innings. Now the game is over in 10 or 11 innings.”
Shifting: “They say, ‘We want more offense.’ Well, hell, let ‘em go back to playing their regular positions for more offense. Instead they’re playing softball with the short fielders.”
Relief pitchers required to face three batters: “That’s ridiculous, too. You don’t manage any more. The manager goes by the stuff sent down by the analytics guys and a manager can’t use his gut or common sense.”
Seven-inning doubleheaders: “Once again, minor-league crap. The commissioner is worried about time of games. Who’s complaining? The fans ain’t complaining. It’s the press, the media and the broadcasters.”
Bring back, Jack, bring back Jack.
—QUOTE: From Trader Jack McKeon when his Cincinnati Reds suffered a bunch of injuries: “We have more MRIs than RBIs.”
—Wiley Wade Miley’s theme song might be Green Day’s ‘Wake Me Up When September’s Over.’
The Cincinnati Reds most consistent pitcher is entering his personal Twilight Zone.
He has had two of his worst starts in September — 6 runs, 10 hits September 14 vs Pittsburgh in 4 1/3 innings and 5 runs, 11 hits in four innings September 1 vs. St. Louis — and that is pretty much par for him. His career earned run average for September/October is 5.15. That bring us to another song, Randy VanWarmer’s ‘Just When I Needed You Most.’
—Kansas City’s Salvadore Perez clubbed his 45th home run this week tying Johnny Bench’s all-time record for a catcher, 45 in 1970.
Speaking of Perez, remember Adam Duvall? Sure you do. He played outfield for the Reds until they traded him to Atlanta for Lucas Sims, Mat Wisler add Preston Tucker. Only Sims remains.
Duvall? He has 35 home runs and 101 RBI, one of only three players so far this season with 35 or more homers and 100 or more RBI. The other two? Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Salvadore Perez.
—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench: “A catcher and his body are like the outlaw and his horse. He’s got to ride that nag until it drops.”
Catching caught up with Bench and he tried to finish his career as a third baseman. And he did not appreciate it when I wrote, “Johnny Bench playing third base is a human imitation of a croquet wicket.”
—QUOTE: From former major leaguer Steve Kemp and dedicated to Eugenio Suarez, Aristides Aquino, Delino DeShields and Asdrubal Cabrera: “It’s not easy to hit .215. You have to be going terrible and have bad luck, too.” (All four of those Reds wish they were hitting .215.)
—Former Cincinnati Reds first baseman Ted Kluszewski was famous for cutting off the sleeves of his uniform to frighten pitchers by prominently displaying his prodigious biceps. But Big Klu was not the first.
In 1932, Philadelphia A’s slugger Jimmie Foxx, ol’ Double-X, did the same thing.
Early in the 1933 season, Foxx hit a 454-foot home run into the third deck of Yankee Stadium off Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez. For years, until Yankee Stadium was refurbished in the 1970s, there was an ‘XX’ painted on the seat that Foxx hit.
Said Gomez, “He broke a seat in the third deck. You can’t walk that far in an hour-and-a-half. Foxx has muscles in his hair.”
—QUOTE: From Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez on the upper deck home run hit by Jimmie Fox: “When Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, he and all the space scientists were puzzled by an unidentifiable white object. I knew immediately what it was. That was the home run ball hit off me in 1933 by Jimmie Foxx.”
—From Jerry Michael in Lebanon: “We missed it with all the name-changing of sports teams. With the Astros sign-stealing scandal, MLB should have renamed them the Houston Cheetahs.” (Or maybe the Houston Stealers.)
—Everybody knows who ‘The Hit King’ is. Peter Edward Rose. But how about ‘The Hit Man?’ That would be San Diego pitcher Austin Adams.
In 49 innings this season, he has hit 23 batters, nearly one every two innings. He has left more bruises than Muhammad Ali. And Adams has never taken a punch.
—Was it a bad omen for Ohio State when the high-hatted drum major took a head-first spill running onto the field before the Oregon game?
Yes, it was, because the Buckeyes were falling all over the field during their devastating loss to the Ducks.
—From my good friend Ray Snedegar: It is no coincidence that the words ‘silent’ and ‘listen’ are made up by the same letters. So, be quiet and pay attention.