By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave on Lou Gehrig Day as the fight continues to find a cure for ALS, the hideous disease that took Gehrig’s life and for whom the disease is now named.
—Mike Pratt needs help. And I can’t think of a man more worthy of our aid and comfort than for one of the nicest guys I ever met.
Pratt, a former Meadowdale High School and University of Kentucky basketball star, is battling liver cancer.
For the past two decades, Pratt and Tom Leach have been the beloved radio voices for UK basketball. Their book, ‘Kentucky Basketball’ is a must-read for all basketball fans.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and had a tumor removed from his colon. He underwent radiation treatment, but the cancer is back and has spread.
A donation web-site is active, seeking $95,000 for specialized treatment in Mexico, not covered by insurance.
More than $50,000 has been reached and UK basketball coach John Calipari said he will match that first $50,000.
“If you know Mike Pratt, you know what a special man he is is,” Calipari told WKYT in Lexington. “He is a dear friend to many and a gentleman to all. And Mike needs our help.”
Pratt’s kindness and friendship with me is something special and endearing. Keep up the big fight, my friend. You are loved by multitudes.
—Are some pitchers stupid and stubborn, or both.
Example: The Cleveland – – – – dians against the Kansas City Royals. The score is 1-1. It is the fifth inning and Cleveland has a runner on second base with two outs. First base is open.
The batter is one of baseball’s best, Jose Ramirez. He already has singled home Cleveland’s only run and it came off Jonathan Heasley, who is still in the game.
The count goes to 3-and-2. Do you give Ramirez anything to hit? Of course not. Do you throw him a fastball low and in, his nitro zone. Of course not.
What does Heasley throw? Not only does he throw a strike, he throws a fastball, down and in. Bye-bye baseball. Home run. Cleveland leads, 3-1 and goes on to win, 7-3.
And they did learn. . .the hard way. The next day the Royals walked him intentionally his first two times at bat. But they still lost.
—It is becoming a close race to which MLB team might end up with the worst record between the Royals, Washington Nationals and the Reds.
The Reds begin a four-game series Thursday night with the woebegotten Nationals and the Reds can sprint past them with three wins. That would give the Reds a 20-33 record to Washington’s 19-37.
—QUOTE: What they used to say about the old Washington Senators in the American League: “First in war, first in peace and last in the American League.” (The Nationals can use that quote. . .just change American League to National League.)
—Parity in baseball? You might as well ask for sympathy for not paying back a loan to the Mafia.
On Memorial Day, only 12 of 30 teams were playing above .500. Eighteen teams were below .500.
The rich keep getting richer and putting more space between the haves and the have nots — The Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankee, the New York Mets. There is always an outlier and right now it is the Philadelphia Phillies. With a $235 million payroll, the Phillies are playing as if they are getting paid to lose.
—Subtract home runs and who is the all-time leader in extra base hits — doubles and triples only? That would be Stan Musial with 902. Second? Pete Rose with 881.
Musial is considered one of the nicest guys to ever play in MLB and former catcher Joe Garagiola said this:
“Stan comes up to the plate and asks how my family is making out and before I can answer he is standing on third base.”
—Cincinnati Reds pitcher Hunter Greene throws sizzling fastballs that screech homeward at 101 miles an hour. And he owns a slider that evades bats and evokes foolish swings.
Is that enough? Apparently not. He is 2-7 with a 6.18 earned run average. He needs a third pitch, a change-up or a curveball.
He is only 21 and an apparent eager learner. He needs to come up with a reliable third pitch as quickly as he can.
—Let’s head to the Mountains of Coors. The Colorado Rockies and Miami Marlins played a doubleheader this week. First game: Miami 14, Colorado 1. Second game: Colorado 12, Miami 11 in 12 innings.
That’s what makes baseball such a head-scratcher.
—FUN FACT: The Asheville Tourists play in Lewis McCormick Field, built in 1924 for $200,000. The outfield walls are 36 feet high.
Why 36? Why not 40 or 45? It turns out that MLB has an edict that no outfield wall in organized ball should be higher than the iconic 37-foot Green Monster in Boston’s Fenway Park.
The Tourists, by the way, are owned by Ohio governor Mike DeWine’s family — The DeWine Feed Company Silver Dollar Baseball, LLC.
—Question: Can baseball be played with players in Bubble Wrap? It seems the Reds can’t go a day without dropping somebody onto the injured list.
So far, the Reds have used the IL 24 times. There are currently 13 players on the list that includes seven pitchers.