OBSERVATIONS: Stephen A. Smith: Rose before Bonds, Clemens

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, reading the latest Jackie Robinson book by

—It isn’t often that I agree with Stephen A. Smith, ESPN’s ‘Mouth That Roars.’ But I stand beside him on his Hall of Fame take.

Smith said David Ortiz, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens all had Hall of Fame careers on the field, but don’t deserve enshrinement due to their PED involvement.

Ortiz, though, was a first-ballot winner and 
Smith said the same thing I said, “If Ortiz is in, then Bonds and Clemens should be in.

It’s a case of keep ‘em all out or let ‘em all in. And Smith added, “By the way, neither of them (Bonds, Clemens) should be in the Hall ahead of Pete Rose. It is time for the world to forgive him and put him in the Hall of Fame, because he certainly didn’t cheat the game while he was playing.”

So true, but unfortunately Rose has had some other issues surface since his banishment for betting on baseball.

—QUOTE: From Pete Rose during baseball’s investigation into his gambling: “I don’t read many truths in the paper. Then, again, I haven’t read the paper. But I hear about it. I didn’t know I had enough time to do the things I’m supposed to be doing.” (When Rose’s first book came out, he told me with a laugh, “I wrote a book before I ever read one.”)

—MLB ownership and the Players Association are at least talking again. It’s just that, talking, and not much negotiating. The two sides remain far part, like the distance between home plate and the center field wall.

MLB is offering $10 million for the pre-arbitration pool. The players want $105 million. The money would be distributed to the top 30 pre-arbitration players based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and awards, such as the MVP and Cy Young Awards.

Can somebody explain to me how WAR is figured. I thought war is something Russia is threatening to foist upon Ukraine.

MLB also offered to increase the starting minimum salary for first-year players from $600,000 to $615,000, but the players want $775,000.

What’s the name of that Andrea True song? ‘More, More, More.’

—Former Xavier coach Chris Mack is out as the University of Louisville’s basketball coach, a program that is a plane crash and in whirling turmoil.

Said Mack, “I’m not bitter at all. It’s a hard place. You’ve gotta win games.” Well, duh. Show us a place where you don’t have to win games to keep your job.

Don’t fret for Mack. His contract called for a $12 million buyout if he was fired. UofL negotiated that downward, but you can wager he’ll be paid enough to buy a personal compound in Aruba.

—When No. 1 Auburn beat Missouri, 55-54, the Mizzou cheering section chanted after the game, “Overrated. Overrated.”

Say what? The Auburn players should have pointed upward and chanted, “Hey, hey, look at the scoreboard.”

A win is a win is a win. Ask Chris Mack.

—Stumbled upon an NBA game on ESPN Wednesday. Normally, I couldn’t skip to the next channel fast enough. To me, NBA stands for no bashful athletes, every man for himself.

Well, the New York Knicks were playing the Miami Heat and I thought I’d get a glimpse of Obi Toppin. That’s what I got. . .a glimpse.

The former Dayton Flyer entered the game in the second quarter and within two minutes he had two dunks and a three-pointer.

As usual, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau played 
Toppin sparingly. . .21 of the game’s 48 minutes and Obi scored 18 on 7 for 9 shooting (2 for 3 from three) and collected five rebounds.

The Knicks lost,110-96, and have lost five of six. So why can’t Thibodeau find it in his gut to give Obi more playing time? Yes, I’m prejudiced about this.

—They are retiring Luke Kennard’s No. 10 at Franklin High School. In Los Angeles, they are thinking about giving him the key to the city. . .except who wants a key to that trash dump.

Anyway, Kennard scored seven points in the finals nine seconds to lift the Los Angeles Clippers to a 116-115 win over the Washington Wizards. And it was a major ‘lift,’ one that needed a heavy duty crane.

The Clippers trailed by 35 points with 1:20 left in the half. Yep, 35 big ones. And Washington still led by six with nine seconds left. Kennard hit a three. The Wizards couldn’t get the inbounds pass in play and were called for a five-second violation. Kennard hit another three at 0:01 and was fouled. He completed the four-point play for the one-point victory.

Kennard, wearing No. 5,, half of what he wore at Franklin, was No. 1 on this night with 25 points (5 for 8 from three), eight rebounds and six assists. On this night, Kennard was full of swishful thinking.

And, yes, I’d watch an NBA game with Kennard in it, and Obi Toppin.

—QUOTE: From Iona basketball coach Rick Pitino: “I want us to play mother-in-law defense: constant nagging and harassment.” (Pitino also said he wants to make Iona the Gonzaga of the East. Doesn’t everybody?)

—Speaking of Luke Kennard and Franklin, a special event is scheduled Sunday at Mom’s Restaurant in Franklin.

Former Meadowdale/University of Kentucky star Mike Pratt and his broadcast partner, Tom Leach, are appearing at Mom’s from noon to 1:30 to sell their book, ‘Kentucky Basketball: Two Decades Behind the Scenes.’ Pratt and Leach have done UK radio broadcasts together for 20 years.

I can remember decades and decades ago when Mike Pratt started on the Meadowdale High School team as a freshman. A freshman? Unheard of. Can’t wait to get my autographed copy.

—A while back, I listed all the great quarterbacks named Joe. A friend asked me, “Well, how about quarterbacks named John?” Of course, this friend’s name is. . .Frank.

Anyway, frankly speaking, Frank, there aren’t many. You start with the guy Cleveland Browns fans despise (me included), John Elway. Then there is John Unitas, John Brodie, John Hadl and Johnny Lujack (Ask your great grand-dad).

OK, I’ll tell you. Lujack, a Notre Dame quarterback, won the 1947 Heisman Trophy and at age 97 is the oldest living Heisman winner. He also played quarterback for coach George Halas and the Chicago Bears.

—QUOTE: From former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz: “I’ve followed Notre Dame football since 1946, when I listened on the radio and Johnny Lujack tackled (Army’s) Doc Blanchard in the open field to preserve a 0-0 tie.” (In those days, players played both offense and defense, wearing leather helmets and no face masks.)

2 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Stephen A. Smith: Rose before Bonds, Clemens”

  1. No less than Dr Frank Ryan of the Cleveland Browns! Re: Luke Kennard If he had chosen UK over Duke he would own the state of Kentucky.

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