By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, cranking up the garage heater to extra hot to shoo away the chills.
—In my never-ending quest to bring you something baseball-related during these dismal baseball times — Thank you, commissioner Rob Manfred and the players union — I stumbled upon this gem:
How tough was it to hit Nolan Ryan? Detroit first baseman Norm Cash decided a baseball bat was useless and tried something else.
In a 1973 game, Ryan was one out away from pitching his second no hitter. Cash came to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning holding a table leg instead of a bat. Umpire Ron Luciano made Cash get rid of the table and fetch an official Louisville Slugger bat.
When Luciano told Cash he couldn’t use a piece of furniture, Cash said, “Why not? I’m not going to hit him anyway.” And he didn’t. He popped up with a real bat to end the game. Luciano should have permitted him to use the table leg. He might have been able to leg out a hit.
—QUOTE: From umpire Ron Luciano: “Lou Piniella only argues with umpires on days that end in ‘y.’” (And some days he kicked dirt on home plate, kicked his hat or threw bases into the outfield, sometimes all three during one argument.)
—Is there trouble in Flyerland? It appears so. After the University of Dayton’s 53-52 loss Wednesday to VCU, coach Anthony Grant went on a soapbox-like rant about his team’s focus. It appears playing time points have leaked into the team’s focus, some selfishness.
“We need a team that plays on the same page in terms of what matters and what’s really important,” he said. “You’re not going to be able to do it with three or four guys.”
That is something I feared from the start. When you have 10 freshmen who were all superstars in high school, there is not enough playing time and not enough basketballs for them all.
The fear is that more Flyers will follow the path of Lynn Greer III and slink into the transfer portal.
Against VCU, three key players — starter Kobe Elvis, Mustapha Amzil and Elijah Weaver played a combined 49 1/2 minutes and none scored a single point.
—QUOTE: From UD coach Anthony Grant (among many utterances) after his team’s 53-52 loss at home to VCU: “We didn’t play hard enough. Guys are more interested in, ‘I want to play,’ rather than, ‘I want to compete, I want to win.’ It’s a mentality that now permeates sports in general.” (See Antonio Brown.)
—The less said about Antonio Brown, the better. He said coaches wanted him to play with a bad ankle. But when he ran off the field shirtless, he looked as if he was running a limpless pass pattern. Ankle? Reports say he complained at halftime about not being targeted enough for passes. And that’s the real issue. Just more me- me-me stuff.
—After a brutal early schedule and a tough adjustment of playing without Louden Love, Wright State has righted itself and one has to love what the Raiders are doing.
They’ve won five straight, including a massive win at North Carolina State. They are 4-and-1 in the Horizon League and look for them to win the championship. . .if they can beat Oakland and
somebody gives them help against Cleveland State.
The Raiders beat UIC this week by 18 at the Nutter Center, a team the University of Dayton beat by 10 at UD Arena.
What’s that date for the UD-Wright State game? Whoops, there it is. It is probably on the ‘When Hell Freezes Over’ calendar.
—Somebody needs to take one writer’s laptop and toss it off the Golden Gate Bridge. That would be Drew Magary, a columnist for the SFGate web-site, owned and operated by the San Francisco Chronicle.
After Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played his last home game Monday night, Magary set an all-time record for character assassination.
We all know Roethlisberger has been an unsavory guy off the field with rape accusations, but. . .well, read on. This is some of what Magary wrote with the headline: Thank you, Ben Roethlisberger. . .For Being a Real Jackass.
“. . .Ben Roethlisberg sucks. God he sucks. Just THINKING about him sucks, I wish he’d never been born. . .we must as a society grapple with this man’s enduring legacy of being a tactless, selfish, belligerent d- – – head.”
Geez, can’t wait to see what he writes about Aaron Rodgers.
—QUOTE: From Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger “You have to be able to step up when your name is called.” (Ben can take his time stepping up while they call out his four-syllable last name. . .Roeth-lis-berg-er.)
—Watching Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies is like watching a blue burr, which is apropos because he played college ball for the Murray State Blue Racers.
The Grizzlies won six straight with Morant averaging 30.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Although he is just 6-foot-3 (pygmy-size for an NBA point guard), he is fearless in driving with a truck-like force to the basket.
It is clear he didn’t major in English when he says, “I don’t fear nobody, dog. I don’t care if you seven-feet-seven.” But he is summa cum laude on the playing rectangle.
—Diego Hernandez, a 17-year-old apprentice jockey, was aboard 14 mounts Sunday. He rode in five races Sunday at Santa Anita and won one.
He then jumped in a car and sped to Los Alamitos for a night program and rode nine more. He was a substitute jock in the Grade I $100,000 Charger Handicap and won by a half-length aboard the favorite, Kiss the Fire.
No word on whether he was able to sit down on Monday.
—The University of Cincinnati did not win its BCS game against Alabama, but the web-site One37PM picked UC’s jerseys as the best in Division I football this season. No word yet who wore the best pants.
—My favorites and least favorites:
MLB: Favorites are the Cleveland – – – – dians, Cincinnati Reds. I grew up an Indians fan and who in the hell are the Guardians. And the Reds? Well, duh. Least favorite is the Houston Astros and nobody need ask why.
NFL: Favorites are the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals and it’s Ohio all the way. I grew up in Akron and it was all about Otto Graham first and then Jim Brown. Least favorite is the Pittsburgh Steelers and that, too, is obvious if you are a Browns or Bengals fan.
NBA: Although I’m not an NBA aficianado, it has to be the New York Knicks because of Obi Toppin. Second favorite is the Golden State Warriors because I always wanted to shoot like Steph Curry? Who doesn’t, but nobody can. Least favorite is the Boston Celtics and it goes back to when the old Cincinnati Royals had a good team, but the Celtics always had a great team and won year after year after every disgusting year.
NHL: Favorite is the Columbus Bluejackets because they honored me with my own game jersey with my name on the back. And the only thing I know about hockey is that you get a point when a red light goes on behind the net. I don’t have a least favorite team but sure hate the nickname of the Seattle Kracken.
SOCCER: Does Pele still play?
PRO GOLFER: Favorite is Phil Mickelson because I’m old school and we lefthanders have to stick together. Least favorite is John Daly, who trashed more hotel rooms than he won tour titles.
PRO AUTO RACER: Favorite is Chase Elliott and what a great name for a race car driver (Chase). Least favorite is Kyle Busch, who cries so much they should take those M&Ms off his car and put tear drops on the hood.