By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after watching the Cincinnati Reds win their first game in exactly two weeks, but didn’t it seem like two months? Wasn’t Atlanta in the distant past?
~Adam Wainwright would like to stand over a dynamite plunger in Great America Ball Park and push hard, then smile when the walls came tumbling down.
The 40-year-old St. Louis Cardinals pitcher is one of baseball’s best, a career record of 186-107 with a 3.36 earned run average.
But when he pitches in GABP he is more like Adam Sandler in the movie ‘Hubie Halloween,’ a stinker on celluloid.
When Wainwright lost to the Cincinnati Reds Sunday, helping the Reds end an 11-game losing streak, his career record against Cincinnati fell to 10-16. In 19 starts at GABP his earned run average is 5.50.
“I don’t know, man. I don’t know what the deal is with this place,” he said after Sunday’s game. “It doesn’t make any sense. It makes no sense why I can’t come in here and win more games.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “It has added two points to my career ERA pitching in this darn place. I love to come to visit here, but. . .,” and his voice drifted off.
And the Reds say, “Thank you very much.”
~Somebody should make a huge copy of this quote and nail it up on the locker of Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham.
When a TV person asked Miguel Cabrera about him being one hit away from 3,000 after he went 3-or-4 against the New York Yankees, Cabrera snapped, “Who the f – – – cares? We lost. When has this game ever been about individual accomplishments?”
Well, apparently the day Pham the Sham signed his contract with the Reds and he said all he is concerned about is his personal numbers.
~I am early-on into Joe Posnanski’s 864-page tome, ‘The Baseball 100.’ Reads to me like it might be the best baseball book I’ve read. Don’t let the length frighten you. It is a quick, breezy read. And I’ll be stealing some nuggets from it. As in:
^Ichiro Suzuki led the American League in singles 10 years in a row. Only two players in history had 200 singles in a season and both were Ichiro, including 225 in 2004.
^Hall of Fame pitcher Mike Mussina finished in the top six of the Cy Young voting nine times and never won it. He also took no-hitter into the eighth inning five times, but never threw a no-hitter. He was two outs away from a perfect game in 1997 when Cleveland’s Sandy Alomar blooped a single.
^Hall of Fame outfielder Larry Walker loved the number ‘3’ and wore uniform No. 33. He always took three practice swings before stepping into the batter’s box and always set his alarm clock at three minutes past the hour.
And he once said, “My first marriage was November 3 at 3:33. It lasted three years, end in ’93 and cost me $3 million.”
~After Ohio State’s Jesse Owens won four golf medals in the 1936 Olympics, he was considered the fastest man in the world. Some players from the Negro leagues begged to differ. They said it was Cool Papa Bell and said Owens refused to run against him in a match race.
Said legendary pitcher Satchel Paige, “If colleges had known about Cool Papa or Cool Papa had known about colleges, Jesse Owens would have looked like he was walking.”
~How does a team get outscored 29-12 in four-game series and win three games? Ask the Pittsburgh Pirates. They did it against the Chicago Cubs.
How? They won three games by 4-3, 4-2 and 4-1. The game they lost? 21-0. The Cubs brought in Justin Fields and he threw three touchdown passes.
~Remember former Cincinnati Reds manager John McNamara. He is not longer with us so we can’t bring him back. But the way the Reds are tanking this season maybe they should bring in Tank McNamara.
The Reds are last of all 30 major league teams in team batting average (.186) and on base percentage (.262) and their nine home runs are third least behind Baltimore with six and Detroit with seven.
~This one should surprise nobody: Said Nick Castellanos about any negotiations between him and the Reds before he signed a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies: “I didn’t even get a phone call.”
They were too busy, Nick, figuring out what they could further do or say to alienate their fan base.
~For those who really, really need to get home faster from baseball games, so far this season the pitch clock in the minor leagues has clipped off nearly 20 minutes from the average game time.
I’m still against and hate to see a clock put on any facet of a baseball game.
~Spotted on a Hallmark card in a Rite-Aid drug store: “I keep setting my DVR to record the TV series, ‘The Biggest Loser,’ but all it keeps recording is Cincinnati Reds games.”
~From Louisville journalist Rick Bozich: “With a 7-game losing streak (now nine) and the worst record in baseball, it’s time for Cincinnati fans to say ‘Tanks for nothing.’”
~After Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson was knocked on to the seven-day concussion list on a slide by 255-pound San Diego first baseman Luke Voit, a slide many Reds considered dirty play, Stephenson had one classy comment about it on Twitter: “The only thing that matters was that he was out.”
~Legendary umpire Cowboy Joe West retired after last season after umpiring a record 5,460 games. He is beginning a podcast that he calls, what else, 5,460: The Joe West Podcast.
The 5,480, of course, represents how many games he umpired, but one person who is not a fan said, “More likely the 5,480 represents how many calls he missed.” And another said, “Why doesn’t his friend Angel Hernandez retired and be West’s co-host?”
~Guess what they call a walk-off win in Japan? A sayonara, of course.