By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, watching an MLB game and waiting for somebody to hit a home run. Isn’t that what the current version of baseball is all about?
—If the Cincinnati Reds want to restore some of the shattered faith they have evoked from their fan base, they can take one giant step between now and the August 1 trade deadline.
General Manager Nick Krall should quickly learn to just say no. Don’t answer the phone. And if he does, as soon as the caller mutters two words, “Luis Castillo,” hit the disconnect button forthwith.
Shout this one from the mostly empty upper deck of Great American Ball Park: “DO NOT TRADE LUIS CASTILLO.”
The rumor mill is rampant with Castillo’s name. Why? Because he makes $7.35 million right now, he is eligible for salary arbitration in 2023 and can become a free agent after 2024. And the other teams know he is on the precipice of big money, something that frightens the Reds’ front office these days.
How about this one to further enhance the team’s flat-lined public image. . .sign Castillo to a long-term deal.
How strong would the Reds rotation be with Castillo at the top, followed by the young guns. . .Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft?
But it seems nearly every professional team wants Castillo and that probably includes Japan’s Tokyo Yomiuri Giants and Korea’s Kia Tigers.
Castillo’s record is only 3-4 for his 13 starts, but his bullpen has blown save after save after save.
In Castillo’s last four starts, he has pitched 27 innings and given three earned runs, a 1.00 earned run average. He has given up 17 hits, only three for extra bases (one homer, two doubles). He has struck out 33 and walked eight.
His record for those four eye-popping starts? 1-and-0.
Put him in a back room, triple-lock the doors, and don’t let anybody touch him.
—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale: “When I throw a curve that hangs and goes for a hit, I want to chew up my glove.” (You can’t do that now. The umpire has to check that glove between innings.)
—Congratulations to Mike Moustakas on his 200th career home run, even though there were 57 days between home run 199 and home run 200.
Based on what ‘Moose’ has done, or not done, since the Reds signed him, his name might just as well be Mike Mistake-as.
—Between July 1 and July 12, a 12-day span, the Reds made 28 transactions — players called up from the minors, players sent down to the minors or the use of the injured list.
Many of the Reds need a note from Mother Nature before they can play.
It has been that way all season. The Reds have used the injured list 39 times with 30 different players. And they have used 53 different players, four shy of tying the 2003 record of 57. The Reds haven’t used the most. Pittsburgh has used 55. . .and counting.
—Ken Henderson was an oft-injured outfielder for the Reds and he spent an inordinate amount of time in the whirlpool bath. Pete Rose spotted him squatting in the tub one day and said, “That’s not a whirlpool bath, that’s the USS Henderson.”
—Kevin Millar, the informative and highly-entertaining co-host of MLB-TV’s Intentional Talk, was talking about inside-the-park home runs.
Why? His first major league home run was an inside-the-parker at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. He also had one in Fenway Park. That’s two in two of the smallest fields in MLB.
Most broadcasters say the triple is baseball’s most exciting play. I say it is an inside-the-park home. It usually involves an outfielder missing a diving catches or the ball hitting a wall and bouncing far away from the fielders while the batter flees around the bases.
Would you believe that both Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner had 46 inside-the-park home runs? The most since 1950 is 13 by Kansas City sprinter Willie Wilson.
The rarest of the rare though happened on October 4, 1986, when Minnesota’s Greg Gagne hit two inside-the-park home runs in one game. It was never reported how much oxygen he required to finish the game.
—QUOTE: From Babe Ruth after he hit an inside-the-park home run: “I hit an inside-the-park home run. I beat it out. Can you believe that?” (The center fielder is rumored to have had cardiac arrest on the play.)
—Somebody wondered if a pitcher has a perfect game going into the 10th inning, is the perfect game over when the other team puts its ghost runner on second base?
If the pitcher retires the side 1-2-3 in the 10th, it is a perfect game. The pitcher didn’t put that ghost runner on base. Commissioner Rob Manfraud did.
They should keep an earned run average on the ghost runners that score and charge the runs to Manfraud. . .ERA – 22.24.
There was an outfielder named Casper Wells who played four years in MLB with Detroit, Seattle, Oakland, the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia. Wouldn’t Casper have been the perfect ghost runner?
—The Kansas City Royals, as pathetic as they are, were forced to play this week’s four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays without 10 players from their 26-man roster.
Why? No, they didn’t give up and wave the white surrender flag. The series is in Canada and nobody can enter the country if they are not vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus.
Those 10 Royals are not vaccinated. What, they thought Kansas City barbecue would make them immune?
The ten players will lose four days of pay and four days of service time toward their pensions. For Cincinnati native/outfielder Andrew Benintendi that’s $197,675. And the New York Yankees expressed interest in trading for him, but backed off because he is not vaccinated.
Don’t read this. . .the Royals won the first game, 3-1.
—The Tampa Bay Rays requested permission before the season to play half their home games in Montreal. MLB said no.
Despite losing three games to the Reds, the Rays are a very good team that draws more mosquitos than fans into the Tropicana Mausoleum-Dome. They are averaging 13,700 paid admissions.
Just let them move the franchise to Montreal. On a typical morning, there are more people lined up outside a patisserie on Saint-Catherine Street in Montreal than one sees at The Trop turnstiles.
While we’re at it, Oakland is averaging 8,600 and Miami is averaging 11,500. Move Miami to Havana and Oakland to Las Vegas and be done with it.
The Reds are averaging 18,000. That’s paid attendance, not butts in the seats. MLB announces paid attendance, a misnomer because attendance means actual people attending an event. When the Reds announce 20,000 when it looks more like 5,000, actual fans in the stands is closer to 5,000 than 20,000.
Take a bow, Phil Castellini.