By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave and for once I’m here to praise commissioner Rob Manfraud instead of burying him under some pitcher’s mound in Elmira.
—Asking me if I like the new rules to be implemented in MLB next season is like asking a whiskey drinker if he’d like to meet Jack Daniels.
Finally. . .baseball is getting it right, putting in new rules that pushes the game back to the way it was in yesteryears. And that’s for the good.
***Down goes the shift. Beginning next season, there must be two infielder on each side of second base and every infielder must have both feet on the skin of the infield.
For those of us tired of seeing a guy line one 110 miles an hour into short right field, only to see the second baseman 25 feet deep into the outfield field the ball on one hop and throw out the batter, the new rule is A-1.
***No more messing on the mound. Pitchers must make a pitch within 15 seconds after getting the ball with nobody on base and 20 seconds with a runner on base.
That will make everybody pitch with the speed of Wade Miley, who catches the ball from the catcher and immediately begins his wind-up. No more pitchers playing hand jive with the rosin bag, checking his hat and tugging it back on, tucking his bling back under his jersey, shaking off five signs from the catcher (most pitchers don’t own five pitches), then making a pitch.
***Bigger bags to grab. The bases will be three inches bigger on all four sides. That might not seem like much, but it makes the distances between first-and-second and second-and-third 4 1/2 inches shorter. That means more base-stealing attempts. They used bigger bags in the minors this year and it increased theft attempts. But it’s too late for Billy Hamilton.
—KODY’S K: Detroit infielder Kody Clemens was asked to finish a game the Tigers lost to the Los Angeles Angels, 10-0.
During his appearance, he caught Shohei Ohtani looking at a 68.4 miles per hour blooper pitch for strike three. Even though it was Clemens’ sixth appearance on the mound this year and third in seven days. it was his first strikeout.
And he had the gall to ask Ohtani to sign the ball. . .which he did. If somebody had asked Bob Gibson to sign a baseball that the batter hit for a home run, they would have needed a proctologist to retrieve the ball.
Oh, by the way. . .Kody Clemens is a son to former major league pitcher Roger Clemens, so Kody should know more than a tad about pitching.
—HE’S NOT FUDGING: The Athletic’s Ken Holtzman described the swan-diving New York Yankees as, “Aaron Judge and The Sludge.”
Sounds like a 1950’s do-wop group.
—QUOTE: From former Tampa Bay/Chicago Cubs/Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, a proponent of analytics but believes there is too much of it stuffed down a manager’s throat in long pre-game meetings where the nerds tell him how to use his bullpen: “People want to tell you how to build a watch when I just need to know what time it is.”
—JUST GMA: Did you see that bench=clearing moment between the Orioles and Blue Jays? I’ve seen better bird fights in my backyard feeder. It was like most baseball bench-clearings, just GMA (general milling around).
A real basebrawl game broke out on August 12, 1984 between the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres.
Braves starter Pascual Perez hit Padres leadoff man Alan Wiggins with the first pitch and a beanbrawl commenced. The Padres threw at Perez in each of his plate appearances (No DH).
Three large-scale brawls took place and 13 players and coaches were ejected along with five fans who were arrested.
Now was that any way for a padre to act?
—REDS OUT WEST: Former Reds pitcher Luis Castillo, now paid by the Seattle Mariners, began a game this week by striking out the first seven Chicago White Sox, six swinging.
Oh, former Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez hit two home runs in the game.
Oh, Suarez made two errors and former Reds catcher Curt Casali made a throwing error.
Oh, the Mariners lost, 9-6.
—BRUTE OF A UTE: Stumbled across the Utah-Florida football game the other day and ‘discovered’ Tavion Thomas, a running back for the Utes.
He played high school football at Dayton Dunbar and before the University of Utah rescued him he was homeless and living in a car.
The Utes were upset by Florida in ‘The Swamp,’ 26-23, but it was not Thomas’s fault. He carried 23 times for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Last season, he set Utah single season records with 21 touchdowns and 1,108 yards rushing.
This guy is no Doubting Thomas,
—MONEY GRAB: My alma mater, Kent State University, is a mere 33 1/2 point underdog for its visit to Oklahoma this week.
And why would the Golden Flashes risk life and limb, to say nothing about embarrassment, to lose 62-3 to the Sooners? M-o-n-e-y. They are being paid $415,000 to take major lumps.
Hey, that money will buy a lot of tees and Titleists for the golf team, the one sport at KSU that is ultra-successful.
You think that spread is obscene? Ohio State is 44 1/2-point favorites Saturday against Arkansas State. Some experts say Arkansas State may be one of the worst teams in Division I football.
—MAD MAX: New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer’s right eye is blue and is left eye is brown. If he still batted without the DH his walk-up song should have been Crystal Gayle’s ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.’
—CAPITAL NONE: Every time Samuel L. Jackson asks me, “What’s in your wallet?”, I give him an honest answer and say, “Nothing.”