OBSERVATIONS: Bullpen, bullpen, my kingdom for a bullpen

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wondering if those female hosts on MLB-TV’s ‘Quick Pitch’ can wear any less clothes. If they wear much less the show can be called ‘Naked and Afraid Baseball.’

—When is a baseball team totally embarrassed? When it raises the white surrender flag and sends in a position player to pitch. It’s a bad look and should be banned. It makes a farce of the game.

Perfect evidence surfaced Thursday night when the Cincinnati Reds, trailing the Chicago Cubs, 10-4, in the eighth inning, sent outfielder Max Shrock to the mound.

And it was predictable. Shrock, lobbing pitches at 52 miles an hour, gave up five runs and seven hits, including two home runs. One homer hit by Christropher Morel cleared the left field bleachers and landed on Waveland Avenue, where it might have maimed a pedestrian.

It was the third time this season the Reds used a position player on the mound. Matt Reynolds was the guy they embarrassed two times.

And since when in this day and age is a six-run deficit insurmountable? In fact, Tommy Pham hit a three-run homer in the ninth. That would have drawn the Reds within three if they hadn’t used Shock Schrock to furnish the Cubs some batting practice in the eighth.

The Reds have enough inept guys in the bullpen to use in blow-out games without compounding their pitching miseries by using an outfielder to pitch.

—QUOTE: From former major league pitcher Don Cooper: “Pitching will either lead you to the White House or the outhouse.” (The house occupied by the Reds these days is not white, but it sure stinks.)

—That loud simultaneous ‘click’ you hear nearly every night in Reds Country is the sound of TVs being turned off as soon as manager David Bell brings in his first relief pitcher of the night. It’s called, “Turn off the TV, the party’s over.”

If you think the Reds’ bullpen is bad — and it is — they are moaning in Minnesota. And unlike the Reds, games mean something to the Twins.

They are battling the Cleveland – – – – dians for American League Central supremacy. The last five times the – – – – dians beat the Twins all five were walk-offs.

After the last one, when Cleveland came from three runs down in the 10th to win, the Twins lead over the – – – – dians was one game. Had they won all five of those walk-off losses their lead would be 11 games.

—If a fielder throws his glove at a batted ball and hits it, the batter is awarded a triple. And if he throws his glove at a batted ball and misses, no penalty.

So if I’m an outfielder and a ball is definitely headed over the wall, I throw my glove at it. If I hit it, it’s a triple and no home run.

Members of the Reds bullpen should plead with the outfielders to practice throwing their gloves at balls headed over the fences.

—There was a game in 2005 called not because of rain, not because of lightning, not because of darkness. It was called on account of bees.

The Colorado Rockies were playing the
Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. D-backs pitcher Darren Oliver was besieged by bees. They apparently loved his coconut hair gel.

So many non-paying bees showed up the game had to be called after the fifth inning.

There was an incident during The Big Red Machine era when bees swarmed on the backstop at Riverfront Stadium.

Fortunately, there was a professional beekeeper attending the game. He collected the bees and took them home. That beats a bobblehead any day.

Did you know that from 1936 to 1941 the Boston Braves were known as the Boston Bees? However, they had no problems with uninvited bees.

—Stashed away with Renaissance paintings and priceless statues in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is an unusual collection.

The museum has 3,000 baseball cards donated by Jeffrey R. Burdick. Strangely, Burdick was not a baseball fan and never attended a game.

And he had a mother who knew enough not to throw away all those shoe boxes stuffed with pictures of baseball players.

—As a kid, my favorite baseball card was Mickey Mantle, any year, any shape.

Why? Need you ask? This was shared by Ron Nischwitz, the legendary former major league pitcher and baseball coach at Wright State University.

It relates all the different ways ‘The Mick’ hit home runs: World Series, 18; All-Star games, 2; Inside-the-park, 6; Walk-off, 13; As a switch-hitter, a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game, 10; Homers in both games of a doubleheader, 11; Opening Day, 4; Grand slams, 9; Pinch-hit, 7.

—QUOTE: From Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle on hitting home runs: “Somebody once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit home runs and I said, ‘Sure, every time.’”

—Ran across this one while reading Thomas Wolf’s excellent book, ‘The Called Shot.’

In late August of 1932, the pennant-winning Chicago Cubs and New York Giants played a game in Wrigley Field.

The game began during a solar eclipse and only one-fourth of the sun was visible. There was a 20-minute rain delay. It was raining near the end of the game and the Giants, leading 3-0, used stalling tactics hoping the game would be called.

There were 19 runs and 35 hits and several pitching changes. After nine innings, it was 5-5. The Giants scored four in the top of the 10th to take a 9-5 lead.

There were two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the 10th. . .but the Cubs scored five runs. Kiki Cuyler’s fourth hit was a game-winning walk-off home run.

It was the Cubs’ 12th straight victory and, get this, that 10-inning 10-9 game took 2:15 to play. Amazing.

Even more amazing was a game in September, won by the Washington Senators over the Philadelphia A’s, 2-1. The game took 1:17.

The average MLB game in 2021: 3:04.

—Major League players named Hal: Hal Chase, Hal Newhouser, Hal Smith, Hal Naragon, Hal King, Hal Morris. . .and if you know the next few Hals, you must be related:

Hal Raether (pitcher for two games with the A’s), Hal Stowe (pitcher for one game with the Yankees), Hal Kolstad (pitcher for 34 games with the Boston Red Sox), Hal Griggs. (pitcher for 105 games with the Washington Senators.)

Notice that all four ‘unknown’ Hals were pitchers? What’s that mean?

5 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Bullpen, bullpen, my kingdom for a bullpen”

  1. Sadly the Reds front office/Owner could care less they put this team together to loose. Instead of someone being fired for accountability you will see some idiot in house promoted in the off season while Bob counts his millions and lies about how he hasn’t wavered from Winning!!!

    1. Front office/Owner…are pathetic. If this long losing streak doesn’t demand a change – nothing will.

    1. I’m boycotting the Reds now. There’s absolutely no good reason for me or my wife (avid Cubs fan) to even think about WASTING our hard earned money on a minimum wage bunch of hacks. And yes, that includes an old & decrepit Joey Votto.

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