By HAL McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave wondering if a rainout or two might help the Cincinnati Reds in their wild card chase. Hey, if you don’t play ‘em, you can’t lose ‘em.
—The University of Dayton football team has an, uh, interesting game Saturday afternoon at Welcome Stadium against Presbyterian College. It is not because Presbyterian’s unusual nickname is the Blue Hose nor is it because with 1,000 students Presbyterian is the smallest school in the country playing Division I football.
It is because Presbyterian coach Kevin Kelley is a bit unorthodox. Well, a lot unorthodox. He doesn’t believe in punting. Fourth-and-10 at his own 30? Go for it. And he goes for two points after every touchdown. And the Blue Hose try on-side kicks on every kickoff.
Does it work? Well the Blue Hose began the season against two inferior opponents. They beat St. Andrews, an NAIA school, 84-43, Quarterback Ren Heffley threw 10 touchdown passes.
Then they played a non-NCAA religious college, Fort Lauderdale, and won 62-3.
Then came last week. The Blue Hose played a real team, Campbell, and lost, 72-0. Ren Heffley threw six interceptions and Presbyterian turned it over 10 times.
And they punted. Once. It was fourth-and-23 on their own two and they quick kicked. It was 56-0 at the half and Presbyterian kicked off to start the second half. It tried an on-side kick.
Presbyterian is in its first year in the Pioneer Football League and the Dayton Flyers are their first league opponent.
It should be a fun afternoon.
QUOTE: From former NFL/MLB two-sport start Bo Jackson: “Football is easy if you’re crazy as hell.” (Some say Presbyterian coach Kevin Kelley fits the bill.)
—The Cincinnati Reds, fighting for their playoff lives and in need of fan support, played the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night in Great American Ball Park. Attendance: 9,475.
On the same night in Cincinnati, the U.S. Women’s National soccer team played a friendly (SoccerSpeak for exhibition game) against defenseless Paraguay and won, 8-0. Attendance: 22,515.
Maybe Reds fans are super-intelligent. The Reds were 19 1/2 games behind division-leading Milwaukee. They were 15 1/2 games behind Los Angeles, the No. 1 wild card team.
What they are playing for is to be the fifth-best team in the National League behind the three division winners and the No. 1 wild card team.
Talk about underachieving.
—QUOTE: From Yogi Berra on poor attendance: “If the people don’t want to come out to the park, nobody is going to stop them.” (As Reds clubhouse manager Rick Stowe once said when there were few people in the stands, “Some obese guy is stuck in the turnstile.”)
—MLB-TV has a gambling show where a couple of guys give their opinions on the best baseball bets of the day.
On the day Cincinnati’s Vladimir Gutierrez was to face the Pittsburgh Pirates, one guy said, “I’m going with the Reds because I like Vladimir Guerrero.”
I like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., too, but he doesn’t play for the Reds. It’s Gutierrez. But you know what? I made that same mistake in a story earlier this year.
—QUOTE: From Vladimir Guerrero Sr., who sometimes would swing at balls that bounced in the dirt and hit them for base hits: “I’m not as good as I want to be.” (Everybody thinks that, except your son, who couldn’t be any better.)
—If you think St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina doesn’t have power, well, just ask pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon.
If a recent game, Ponce de Leon kept shaking off Molina’s signs, a big no-no. Then he reportedly mouthed off about it to Molina.
Ponce de Leon is now out of a job.
Because of Molina’s years-ago dust-up with Brandon Phillips, and because Molina always finds a way to beat the Reds, he is about as popular in Cincinnati as former Los Angeles Times sports writer Jim Murray.
While covering a World Series in Cincinnati, Murray noticed that I-75 was torn up and no work was being done. He wrote that no work was being down, “Because it must be Kentucky’s turn to use the cement mixer.”
Like him or hate him, Molina is the Johnny Bench of our time and everybody wishes he wore a Cincinnati uniform.
—QUOTE: From St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina: “I’m always going to play with chips on my shoulder, with something to prove.” (Ask Brandon Phillips about that and Molina has left chips all over Great Amercian Ball Park’s field.)
—Always wondered if Gary Sheffield was a clubhouse lawyer or a pain in the posterior to the front office. Why else would a player of his talent be traded five times?
Why would you trade a guy who regularly produced 30 or more home runs and drove in 100 or more runs. He did it for five different teams — Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego, Atlanta, New York Yankees and Florida.
His best year for Milwaukee was 10 homers and 69 RBI and in his one year with the Detroit Tigers he hit 25 homers and drove in 75.
—QUOTE: From former Dodgers/Padres/Brewers/Braves/Marlins/Yankees/Tigers/Mets star (the guy couldn’t keep a job) Gary Sheffield: “Most people figured I’d be in jail. I’ve been proving people wrong my whole life.” (Well, that explains a lot.)