By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, where cigars go to die, beer bottles get emptied (not necessarily by me) and lots of bull is tossed around. And speaking of bull- – – -. . .
~As if the Cincinnati Reds don’t have enough image problems and public relations issues with the fan base, team COO Phil Castellini opened his mouth and inserted a king-sized bunch of bananas.
Castellini, a son to CEO Bob Castellini, was a guest on a WLW radio pre-game show before Tuesday’s home opener,
And he alienated the fan base, as if the fans could be more alienated than it is over the front office off-season dealings.
There has been much chatter from fans, demanding that if the Castellini family isn’t interested in winning baseball games it should sell the team. Castellini made an idle threat about moving the team out of town.
Said Phil, “Be careful what you ask for. Well, where are you going to go? Sell the team to who? That’s the other thing: You want to have this debate? What would you do with this team to have it more profitable, make more money, compete more in the current economic system that this game exist? It would be to pick it up and move it somewhere else.”
What whimsical, knee-jerk nonsense.
Even if the Castellinis sold to an out-of-town group, the franchise stays right where it is. MLB would never permit anybody to move baseball’s oldest and original franchise.
And the lease on Great American Ball Park runs another 15 years. An MLB franchise hasn’t moved in a half century, since Montreal moved to Washington.
After an avalanche of negative fan reaction, Castellini issued a lame, weak two-sentence apology.
“I apologize to Reds fans and regret the comments that I made earlier today,” Castellini said in a Reds media release. “We love this city, we love this team and we love our fans. I understand how our fans feel and I am sorry.”
That statement probably came after daddy paddled him and made him stand in a corner.
~Somebody asked former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jose Rijo about his favorite pitch and he said, “My slider hated everybody. I learned it when I was 10.”
~Another of the many classy stories about Eric Davis and why he remains my all-time favorite major league baseball player.
Rijo said when he was a rookie, veteran teammate Davis did everything for him. “He bought me clothes, he bought me dinner, never let me pay for anything,” said Rijo.
“When I started making money I told him, ‘I’m going to pay you back,’’ said Rijo. “Davis said, ‘No, no, no. Keep your money. I just want you to do for young players what I did for you.’ So I did.”
~Rijo came to the Reds in a trade that sent Dave Parker to Oakland. When Rijo arrived, manager Pete Rose told him, “I traded my best player for you, now make me look good.”
Rijo made Rose resemble Branch Rickey.
—QUOTE: Jose Rijo’s favorite utterance when talking about his good fortune to have played Major League Baseball: “What a country! God bless America!”
~Another case of ‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.’ Seth Beer of the Arizona Diamondbacks hit a walk-off three-run home run. . .on National Beer Day. Give that man a case of Budweiser, the King of Bottled Beer. (I still prefer Yuengling.
His parents had no imagination. Why didn’t they name him Samuel Adams Beer?
~Having played Augusta National Golf Club (No, there is no green jacket in my closet, they are all black, gray, brown or checkered) and watched the guys precariously putt the greens in the Masters, I know exactly how to practice putting on those greens.
You do it on the wooden floors of your den, but beware of the table-leg traps.
I actually shot an 82 my second round at Augusta, but I had to quit early to catch a plane. . .and I won’t tell you on what was the last hole I played, only that it WAS on the back nine.
~QUOTE: From Tiger Woods: “I don’t cook. Not as long as they still deliver pizza.” (And he has been advised not to drive to any pizza parlor.)
~Everybody knows that Jackie Robinson integrated baseball, the first African American to play in an MLB game.
That happened in 1947. How long did it take for MLB to hire an African American umpire? Well, only 19 years after Robinson’s debut.
Emmett Ashford worked his first game in 1966 and was an MLB umpire for only four years in the American League (1966-70), but that’s because they made him work 12 years in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League before promoting him.
He wore flashy jewelry and had a flashy style. While most umpire just say, “Ball four,” on a walk, Ashford said, “Ball four, you may proceed to first base.”
Wonder what the batter would have done if he said, “Ball four, you may proceed to third base.” And why didn’t he say, “Strike three, you may proceed to the dugout.”
~QUOTE: From former shortstop/manager Leo Durocher: “I’ve never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight, yes.”
~How the game has changed, and not for the good. In all games one day last week, there were 124 strikeouts recorded. Over the last eight years of his career, Tony Gwynn struck out a total of 124 times.
~QUOTE: From Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn: “Nobody talked about my defense or that I used to steal bases, too.” (In one four-year span, Gwynn stole 37, 56, 26 and 40. He stole 319 in his career. Defense? Pedestrian. Only twice did he appear in the Defense WAR top ten of all National League outfielders.)
~QUICK QUIZ (First place prize, two tickets to a Reds game, Second place prize, four tickets to a Reds game.)
Joey Votto was the Reds No. 2 draft pick in 2002. Who was the first round pick, the No. 1? That would be third baseman Mark Schramek.
Who? Mark Schramek out of the University of Texas-San Antonio. He played in the Reds minor league system for six years and never made it above Class AA.
Oh, that Mark Schramek.