By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after testing my concentration skills by watching the Cincinnati Reds and Ohio State Buckeyes at the same time and happy to report I didn’t credit Kyle Farmer with a sack or C.J. Stroud with a sacrifice fly.
—POOR ANATOMY: With the dreadful, dismal and depressing 2022 season grinding to a finish for the Cincinnati Reds, let us count some of the many ways why they are where they are:
—They have used a major-league high 66 players and 38 different pitchers, most of them ineffectively.
—They have used 17 different starting pitchers, seven different catchers and 10 different first basemen. Again, most of them ineffectively.
—They have used 23 rookies, 13 rookie pitchers. And there is no Rookie of the Year candidates.
—They have hit 101 batters with pitches, a major league record.. And not one has sparked a fight.
—They have used the injured list 55 times with 36 players.
—The team earned run average is 4.81, third worst in the majors. There are two teams worse?
—They have 30 saves, second fewest in the majors. Ah, their kingdom for a closer.
—They have given up 209 home runs, second most in the majors. Well, Milwaukee has only hit 44 against them.
—They have given up 566 walks, second most in the majors. Many of those walks are followed by home runs.
—QUOTE: From former Green Bay Packers legend Vince Lombardi: “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” (The Reds have the losing habit down pat.)
—YOU BE THE JUDGE: On the day Aaron Judge hit his 60th home run, I took a look at the Cincinnati Reds lineup for that day and added up the home runs for the starting nine.
The answer? The Reds’ lineup had 57 and for the mathematically-challenged, that’s three less than Judge by himself.
—HOW’S BAH-STON, AARON?: Speaking of Judge, he is a guy who turned down an offer from the Yankees before the season for an average annual salary (AAV) of $30.5 million.
The rumor-mongers, who nearly always get it wrong, say he most likely will sign a break-the-economy long-term deal with the Boston Red Sox. That’s despite his hitting troubles at Fenway Park where his career slash line is .195./303/.390.
But when asked about playing in Fenway, he said, “It’s the best. They are some of the best fans in baseball. They’re going to boo you, they’re going to say some things, they’re going to make you laugh. It’s all part of it. A lot of great history here, and this is one of the best places to play, so it’s always fun going out there and trying to put on a show for them.”
Of course, it depends upon what Boston offers. . .like Bunker Hill, the 60-story Clarendon Tower and the entire Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus.
—VERRRRRY INTERESTING: Bronson Arroyo told this story in The Athletic about former Reds manager Dusty Baker.
“I was standing out in front of the hotel with a girl and he walked up to her and said, ‘You know who I am?’ She said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘You seen that commercial with the guy with the beard in the beer commercial, the most interesting man in the world?’ And he said, ‘Well, I’m the second-most-interesting man in the world.’”
I don’t drink Dos Equis, the beer commercial where the guy claims to be the most interesting man in the world. And I don’t know anything about him. So, to me, Dusty Baker is the most interesting man in the world.
—QUOTE: From Dusty Baker during the latter stages of his tenure as Reds manager: “I’m not sure where my career is going in Cincinnati.” (Unfortunately, nowhere. He was dismissed/fired shortly after saying that. . .and the Reds have not been the same since.)
—KNEE-JERK REACTION: My first reaction was to vilify Stephen F. Austin football coach Colby Carthel for running up the score. . .a 98-0 win over NAIA Division III Warner.
Then I learned that four different quarterbacks played (all throwing at least one touchdown pass). And when SFA scored to make it 98-0, they lined up to apparently try for two and a 100-0 score. But the quarterback took a knee.
The Lumberjacks threw for eight TDs, rushed for two, scored two defensive TDs, scored on a TD by the special team, kicked two field goals and recorded a safety.
The 98 points were seven points shy of the FCS record — a 105-0 Portland State romperoo over Delaware State in 1980. And that game was played in a steady rain.
Two weeks before, Portland State scored 93 on Cal Poly-Pomona and two weeks later scored 73 on Weber State.
You may have heard of the Portland State quarterback. It was Neil Lomax, who played for the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals and made two Pro Bowls.
—PROUD ALUMNUS: Why be proud of three losses? Well, my alma mater, Kent State University, was a 44 1/2-point ‘dog to Georgia and only lost by 39-22. The Golden Flashes were also whopping underdogs to Washington and Oklahoma. They lost all three, but not one of the three big favorites covered the spread.
The Golden Flashes took their defeats and laughed all the way to Bank One. They were paid $5.2 million in appearance money for those three games.
—GO UNDERDOGS: I’m a big fan of underdogs, which is why I rooted for James Madison against Appalachian State. The Dukes are playing in their first season in FBS Division I. And Appalachian State had upset Texas A&M earlier this season.
JMU fell behind, 28-10 at the half, then outscored Appalachian State, 22-0, in the second half and won, 32-28. The Dukes scored their last points with 10 1/2 minutes left and held on.
Wake Forest had lost 13 straight against Clemson, so I was pulling for the Demon Deacons. Alas, they lost in overtime, 51-45.
Tennessee had lost 16 of 17 to Florida, so for me it was, “Go Vols.” And that one worked: Tennessee 38, Florida 33.
—QUOTE: From Dory Previn, Academy Award winner as a song lyricist: “Beware of barking at underdogs and don’t fight with people who have nothing to lose.” (Don’t tell football coaches they have nothing to lose. . .just their jobs.)
AGE/INFLATION: From my great friend Tom Melzoni, who lives in Sarasota, Fla., one of my favorite places: “Fifty might be the new 40, but a $100 bill is the new $20 bill.”
Yes, my wallet keeps telling me the same thing.