By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave wondering how soon baseball owners will slap the locks on the clubhouse doors?
—The sports world is absolutely stark-raving bonkers. It is a world full of carpetbaggers and those carpetbags are overstuffed with millions of dollars:
—Brian Kelly abandoned his Notre Dame football players, a team on the cusp of making the playoffs, to take the LSU job.
When Kelly signed on at Notre Dame out of the University of Cincinnati, he said it was because, “Notre Dame is my dream job and I’ll never leave.”
Is there a Notre Dame branch school in Baton Rouge
That dream dissolved when LSU wrote down, “Ten years, $95 million.” And they are laughing on College Hill on the UC campus and saying, “We told you so.”
However, those laughs may turn to frowns if/when Notre Dame takes Luke Fickell away from them.
—QUOTE: From former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz. who lost a bunch of games one year when he coached at William & Mary and told the school’s president the reason was: “Because we didn’t have enough Williams and we had too many Marys.”
—And before Brian Kelly fled South Bend, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley bolted Norman, OK., and his team before the season ended for the University of Southern California. Why? Well, it wasn’t because USC has a great fight song. It was 110 million big reasons (his salary), plus a $6 million home in Los Angeles and the use of a private jet 24/7 for his family.
There might have been a small island in the South Pacific involved, too.
—New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has more money than Scrooge McDuck and he deposited a lot of it into pitcher Max Scherzer’s bank account — $130 million for three years, or $43.3 million a year.
Let’s see, if Max pitches an entire season and makes 32 starts, that’s $1,353,125 per start. That is more than twice as much for one start as Bob Feller made for his entire 18-year Hall of Fame career ($508,800.) Feller’s highest paid season was $41,250.
—QUOTE: From pitcher Max Scherzer when he pitched for the Detroit Tigers: “I’ve said it, I’ll keep saying it, I want to be in Detroit. I’ve really enjoyed my time here. I really enjoy the clubhouse and everyone that’s involved.” (Since saying that, Scherzer has pitched for the Washington Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodgers and now the New York Mets.)
And what kind of pitching staff would they have if the Tigers had kept all these pitchers they once had: Scherzer, Robbi Ray, Justin Verlander, Mike Fiers, David Price, Drew Smyly, Ivan Nova.
QUOTE: From Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, during his prime: “Nowadays they have more trouble packing their hair dryers than their baseball equipment.” (Nowadays, Mr. Feller, they have trouble packing their jeweled necklaces.)
—Meanwhile, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen and his guns for arms as big as those on the USS Missouri, signed a one-year $7 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels, close to his Fullerton home.
He will be given the opportunity to be a poor man’s Shohei Ohtani. He will join Ohtani in the starting rotation and, like Ohtani, get some playing time in the outfield.
That’s what he wanted to do with the Reds, but never got the opportunity.
QUOTE: From former Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen: “There is no more useless holiday that Groundhog Day. However, if I were to get the day off paid like Christmas, I would sing the praises of Groundhog Day!” (Bill Murray concurs and to this day he must hate the song ‘I Got You, Babe,’ by Sonny & Cher.)
—And speaking of pitching and the Reds, multiple sources say the Reds are listening to offers for pitchers Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle. One scout from a National League team called me late last season to ask about the personality of Mahle.
They also are listening to offers for pitcher Luis Castillo, but are asking a premium price for him.
—Former Reds outfielder Nick ‘Big Stick’ Castellanos could have signed with his hometown Miami Marlins, but the Marlins said no to an eight-year deal.
That’s what Castellanos wants — a seven-year or eight-year deal. Good luck on that. And it is probably wise he didn’t land in the expansive Miami ball park. A lot of those home runs he hit in Great American Small Park would be doubles in Miami.
—By stubbornly playing multi-injured quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Cleveland Browns cost themselves a chance to make the playoffs.
Because of a fully turn labrum and his left shoulder and a bone fracture, a sore knee and a heel bruise, Mayfield has the mobility of a lawn statue.
Give the guy credit for toughness, but he is being selfish by trying to play and the Brown are being stubborn playing him.
And the cost of it is painful to Browns fans.
—Great quote from Wright State basketball coach Scott Nagy, who can’t remember ever losing five games in a row as his Raiders have done: “They say losing builds character. I don’t buy that. I say losing reveals character.”
The Raiders walked into Mackey Arena, where Nagy believed his team could compete with Purdue, and said Nagy, “It was like playing the Slaughterhouse Five.” Purdue 96, Wright State 52.
Purdue (7-0) is one of the best teams in the nation and might be THE best before the season concludes.
—And now we’ll see which is the real University of Dayton basketball team.
After losing three home games to UMass Lowell, Lipscomb and Austin Peay, the Flyers looked as if they couldn’t beat any team that pulled on a pair of baggy shorts.
Then they flew to Florida and beat Miami (Fla.), No. 4 ranked Kansas and Belmont to win the ESPN Events Invitational and looked as if they could beat anybody on their schedule.
So now they return home to play the two lowest-rated teams on their docket. They play 1-and-6 Alabama State Wednesday and 1-and-5 Northern Illinois Saturday afternoon.
Regardless, the Flyers should receive a monumental welcome home greeting from the Flyer Faithful, most of whom unfaithfully believed their team would limp home from Florida with a 1-and-6 record instead of 4-and-3.