By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while watching baseball morning, noon and night. What a treat.
—CHAPMAN REPORT: The Cuban Missile has been grounded.
Former Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman did everything but turn in his resignation to the New York Yankees this week.
The Yankees had a mandatory workout in preparation for their American League Division Series games against the Cleveland – – – – dians.
Chapman was a no-show. He stayed home in Miami, roaming South Beach or fishing in Biscayne Bay or firing bullets in his garage. . .something other than reporting for duty.
In response, the Yankees left him off the ALDS roster. That was easy to do because Chapman has been less than ordinary for the Yankee the past couple of seasons. He was 4-4 with a 4.46 earned run average this year and lost his closer’s role.
He has no clue where his 97 miles an hour fastballs are going, usually out of the strike zone or out of the park. And remember when he threw 104 and 105? He pitched only 36 1/3 innings and walked 28.
His full name is Albertin Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz, but his name in New York right now is Mud.
What he did was not surprising. He was never a candidate for The Good Guy Award while he worked in Cincinnati.
One night after a game in Great American Ball Park, my great friend and driver, Ray Snedegar and I, were on a street corner about to cross. First we heard a high-pitched whine like an F-15. Then a yellow blur, a Lamborghini driven by Chapman, whizzed around the corner at about 75 miles an hour. If I had stepped off the curb, my burial would have been 10 years ago.
—QUOTE: From major league pitcher Aroldis Chapman: “The way I feel, as baseball players we are warriors and our job is to be ready to do what we need to do on the field.” (I guess he felt he could do it better on South Beach than at Yankee Stadium.)
REBUILD OR BUILD?: A different perspective from my good friend Brian Pogue about the so-called Cincinnati Reds rebuild.
“Isn’t it just a build? How can it be a rebuild when there has been nothing to rebuild from?” he asks.
—THE GREAT EXPECTORATOR: Hall of Fame spitball pitcher Gaylord Perry pitched for five of the eight teams still standing in the MLB playoffs.
He won the Cy Young Award in 1978 with the San Diego Padres when he was 40-years-old. He also moistened baseballs for the Cleveland Indians and won the Cy Young in 1972. And he pitched for the Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.
How did he miss Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia?
—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry: “I reckon I tried everything on the old apple but salt, pepper and chocolate sauce topping.” (How about white ranch dressing and nobody would have detected it on the baseballs?)
—HEY, COACH: Is it true that Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski and Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor get on a conference call every week and discuss which one can call the most stupid play at key points of a game? Looks that way.
—NAME CHANGE: The NFL should change the penalty name of roughing the passer to tackling the passer. Judging from the horrendous calls this week when quarterbacks Tom Brady and Derek Carr were sacked, the only way to tackle quarterbacks is to huff and puff and blow the man down.
But then the NFL would put in a rule penalizing defensive players with bad breath.
Next thing you know, the NFL will arm quarterbacks with a can of Mace to ward off blitzers.
—QUOTE: From former Browns defensive lineman/broadcaster Mike Golic: “Why don’t they just put dresses on the quarterbacks and be done with it.” (But they can’t wear white after Labor Day.)
—THE NAME GAME: My stubbornness to refuse to refer to the old Cleveland Indians as the Cleveland – – – – dians, led me to check on some other nicknames.
Of the 12 teams to qualify for MLB’s post-season, nine once had different names. The Los Angeles Dodgers were once the Brooklyn Robins. The Houston Astros were the Houston Colt .45s. The New York Yankees were the New York Highlanders. The Atlanta Braves were the Boston Bees.
The Philadelphia Phillies were the Philadelphia Quakers. The St. Louis Cardinals were the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The Tampa Bay Rays were the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Cleveland Indians were the Cleveland Spiders.
The Seattle Mariners are an expansion team after the Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee. The New York Mets are really the New York Metropolitans, but have adopted Mets.
—AVIARY REPORT: Ever wonder why so many sports franchises use birds for their nicknames? With my warped mind, I do. So I listed them.
^MLB: St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays.
^NFL: Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks.
^NBA: Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, Toronto Raptors (a flying dinosaur).
^NHL: Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings (part of a bird), Pittsburgh Penguins (yes, a penguin is a non-flying bird).
And, yes, this blog was for the birds.