By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after watching the Cleveland Browns-New York Jets game. I turned it off with two minutes to go so I know the Browns won, 30-17. I know it was a misprint in the next day’s paper that read: “Jets 31, Browns 30.”
—OLD, OLD SCHOOL: San Diego pitcher Yu Darvish pitched six shutout innings and gave up one hit Sunday and evacuated the mound as if it were booby-trapped. Something like that is more the norm than a rarity. For most pitchers, it is five-and-fly and they think they’ve done their job.
So, I called Jim Maloney, one of baseball’s all-time great pitchers for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1960s. On June 14, 1965, he pitched 10 no-hit innings and struck out 18, but lost the game in the 11th, 1-0.
That same year, August 19, 1965, he pitched a 10-inning no-hitter and beat the Cubs, 1-0, despite walking 10 while striking out 12. And he threw 187 pitches.
“Don’t forget 50 pitches warming up before the game, eight pitches to warm-up each inning and that’s another 80 pitches, so that’s about 300 pitches that day,” he said.
And get this. Five days later he started again, pitched eight innings, and beat the Milwaukee Braves, 3-2.
About the way the game is played today, Maloney said adamantly, “It isn’t the game we played. I don’t see any manager that manages any differently from anyone else. They all manage the same way. We had Walter Alston, Gene Mauch, who always had different stuff going. They all had their different personalities and ideas of how to play the game — Dave Bristol, Fred Hutchinson, Sparky Anderson and his Captain Hook thing of always taking pitchers out. . .all different managerial guys.
“All the statistics and analytics is just a big overkill,” he added. “It’s just a tough go. Pitchers don’t pitch much and they still get hurt. It is just mind-boggling and I don’t know how that happens.”
Maloney watches today’s game and is baffled by what he sees. . .the bat-flipping and chest-thumping and the fraternization on the field between opposing players.
About the bat-flipping, Maloney said, “You know what would have happened. That stuff doesn’t go on with me. Maloney agreed that if a hitter over-celebrated in the days of him, Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal, the next time that batter stepped in the batter’s box he best be prepared to avoid a high hard one to send him sprawling in the dirt.
“When I struck somebody out or made them look bad on a pitch I never celebrated. . .just do your job and let it go,” he said.
Other than heat-seeking fastballs, Gibson and Maloney were on the same page on another matter. Neither would talk to anybody on the opposing teams.
“Too much fraternizing these days,” he said. “A guy hits a double and the second baseman walks up to him and pats him on the butt and congratulates him. It’s like a church Sunday league play. Why don’t they just pull out a deck of cards and play a friendly game.
“Many times I got on base, a hit or a walk, and the first baseman would want to talk to me,” he said. “No go. I’m not talking to any of them. Those guys are trying to take food off my table.”
And more often than not, it was Maloney taking food off a batter’s plate. . .without saying a word and without pumping his fist in triumph.
—TOUCH ‘EM ALL: Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers hit his 31st home run over the weekend and everybody was told, “That’s the most home runs hit by a left-handed shortstop in the history of baseball.”
The stats they keep these days are bizarre. Wonder what the record is for switch-hitting catchers on a Thursday night with a quarter-moon and a Lithuanian fisherman sitting behind the visitor’s dugout?
—QUOTE(s): From former major leaguer/broadcaster Jerry Coleman, known for always uttering something goofy: “That’s a home run and it ties up the game, 1-0.”
And one more from Coleman: “If Pete Rose brings the Reds in first, they oughta bronze him and put him in cement.” (There were some folks who thought the Hit King might end up at the bottom of the Ohio River in cement shoes.)
—UNO-NIL: The Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox both have played five 1-0 games. The Reds are 2-3 and the Bosox are 3-2. Question: When did soccer invade the baseball field?
The Dodgers have played one 1-0 game, a loss, because it is difficult to hold them to no runs or one run.”
—QUOTE: From Jim Murray, my journalistic hero: “Baseball is a game where a curve is an optical illusion, a screwball can be a pitch or a person, stealing is legal and you can spit anywhere you like except in the umpire’s eye or on the ball.”
—BROWN OUT: The Cleveland Browns. ‘Nuff said and the less said the better. Oh, the Cincinnati Bengals. ‘Nuff said and the less said the better.
—QUOTE: “Don’t be a sore loser.” (Joe Burrow is not a sore loser, he is just sore all over after the Dallas Cowboys used him like tackling dummy).
—UP, UP AND AWAY: The B52 bomber was designed one night in a Dayton hotel room in 1948, at the dawn of the jet age. It began flying in 1955, is still flying with modifications and the aeronautics folks say it still will be flying in the 2050s.
Big deal. The DC-3 made its maiden flight in 1936 and some are still flying. In fact, I think I flew on one recently when I booked a flight from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo on Mother Marie’s Airline & Laundromat Company.