By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, patiently awaiting the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs so I can watch some real baseball, as played by the Cleveland – – – – dians.
—SPEAKING THE TRUTH: After Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run this week, tying Roger Maris for the most ever hit in the American League, Roger Maris Jr., spoke up.
More home runs have been hit in the National League — 73 by Barry Bonds, 70 by Mark McGwire and 66 by Sammy Sosa. But all three have been linked and connected to performance enhancement drugs.
Asked if he believes those home runs were illegitimate, Maris Jr., said, “I do. I think most people do.”
Count me among those people.
And Maris Jr. added that if Judge hits No. 62, “He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ. That’s really who he is if he hits 62. It means a lot for a lot of people that he is clean, he’s a Yankee and he plays the game the right way.”
I disagree with that part about it being great that Judge is a Yankee, but I see where he is coming from. His dad hit 61 as a Yankee and if somebody had to break it, he is happy that guy is a Yankee. . .well, at least this year.
—QUOTE: From Roger Maris, before he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record of 60 in a season: “I don’t want to be Babe Ruth. He was a great ballplayer. I’m not trying to replace him. The record is there and damn right I want to break it, but that isn’t replacing Babe Ruth.” (And he was right. He broke the record, but is never included in the same sentence with comparisons to The Bambino.)
—OH, HENRY: From Jim Murray, my all-time favorite sports journalist, writing about Henry Aaron: “When he first came up, a spindly, silent kid from Mobile, he attracted so little attention that a coach once asked him, ‘Say, is your name Aaron Henry or the other way around?’
“Nowadays, around baseball, when you say, ‘Henry,’ that’s enough. There is only one of him.” (Yeah, nowadays it is Judge Aaron or the other way around?)
—THE NAME GAME: Hate to say it, because they remain the Cleveland Indians in my stubborn mind, but maybe the name change to the Cleveland Guardians (ugh) is just what the franchise needed.
Cleveland hasn’t won a World Series since 1948 when gasoline was 26 cents a gallon, postage stamps were three cents each, milk was 26 cents a quart and Rice Krispies talked to you for 14 cents a box.
The Indians, er – – – – dians are in the playoffs and play the game old style. They don’t rely on home runs and they don’t strike out a lot. They play smallball by putting the ball in play and running the base, plus they utilize strong pitching and snap-tight defense.
If Terry Francona doesn’t win American League Manager of the Year they should throw the trophy into Lake Erie.
—THE WHOLE TOWN’S BATTY: New York sports writer Bugs Baer’s description of fans in Cincinnati during the 1919 World Series that the Chicago White Sox lost on purpose: ”Cincinnati is nuts with baseball. They ought to call this town Cincinnutty.” (If ol’ Bugs was still around and saw the ocean of empty seats this year in Great American Ball Park, he might call the town Cincinothing.)
—FROM THE MASTER: Cy Young, winner of 511 major league games, died in 1955. But a few years before his death, he uttered these words of wisdom. And remember, it was in the 1940s.
“Too many pitchers, that’s all there are, just too many pitchers,” he said. “Ten or 12 on a team. Don’t see how any of them get enough work. Four starting pitchers and one relief man ought to be enough. Pitch ‘em every three days and you’d find they’d get control and good, strong arms.”
Thirty current pitching coaches read that and fainted.
—AN ODD(S) SITUATION: Yes, Ohio State’s offense is like a runaway Japanese bullet train. And, yes, Rutgers is not a steel curtain on defense. But Las Vegas has the Buckeyes as a 41 1/2 point favorite. Do I disagree? Yes. Ohio State will win by 53.
—STORY OF THE YEAR: They didn’t know where they might sleep that night. They didn’t know where or when their next meal might come from.
And yet some homeless people in Richmond, Ind. made a collection to donate to the family of Seana Burton, the Richmond K-9 police officer killed in the line of duty.
It was eight one-dollar bills. It was a million-dollar gesture. If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, have your tear ducts checked immediately.