By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, shared recently with Fricker’s executive Jim Manley, radio executive Jim ‘J.R.’ Richards, Press Pros Magazine publisher Sonny Fulks and Bob Woodward. . .no, not THAT Bob Woodward, this is a long-time radio executive living in Cleveland. The cigar smoke in the M.C. would choke a herd of elephants.
—CLEVELAND ROCKS: Why am I such a fan of the Cleveland baseball team, known to me all my life as the Indians?
I grew up in Akron, about 35 miles from old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, ‘The Mistake on the Lake.’
I was eight-years-old in 1948, 74 years ago, when the Tribe last won a World Series, when they beat the Boston Braves, who then moved to Milwaukee and then moved to Atlanta. I loved Lou Boudreau and Larry Doby and Ken Keltner. And I hated Ted Williams, who killed the Indians despite The Boudreau Shift, the original baseball shift.
I was devastated in 1954 when Cleveland won 111 games, then lost the World Series in four straight to the New York Giants, who then moved to San Francisco. I never forgave Willie Mays for making that lucky catch — yes, lucky — on Vic Wertz. And I loved Al Rosen, but could never get him in a baseball card, even though I purchased about a hundred packs.
I was president of the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1997 and one of my duties was to be one of the official scorers for Cleveland’s World Series against the Florida Marlins, who then became the Miami Marlins.
In Game 7 in Miami, Cleveland led, 2-1, going into the bottom of the ninth and I had my story all written…’Tribe Wins First World Series Since 1948.’
But the Marlins tied it. Then it was with a knife in my heart when I called an error on Cleveland second baseman Tony Fernandez in the 11th inning when he let Craig Counsell’s (Yes, THAT Craig Counsell) ground ball zip through his legs like a croquet wicket. It should have been an inning-ending double play.
Instead, Bobby Bonilla went from first to third and trotted home on Edgar Renteria’s walk-off single to end it.
With great pain and deep emotion, I hit the delete button on my ‘Tribe Wins’ story. Just like Cleveland’s win, the story evaporated into Cyberspace.
And that’s the last time the Indians sniffed a World Series. . .and now they are the — I still can’t say it – the – – – – dians.
—OH, BROTHER: Houston relief pitcher Phil Maton knocked himself out of a possible post-season roster spot when he took a swing at his locker and the locker scored a TKO.
Maton injured the pinkie finger on his pitching hand after a bad outing during the last game of the regular season.
He was angry because he gave up two runs and two hits in one-third of an inning to the Philadelphia Phillies. One of the hits was by his brother, Nick Maton. Perhaps that’s what angered him most.
Stupid is as stupid does.
—QUOTE: From famous cynical journalist H.L. Mencken: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” (And that includes most relief pitchers.)
—SOME EMPTY SEATS: MLB released its attendance figures and reported that total attendance this year was 64.5 million. The Cincinnati Reds contributed 1.3 million.
MLB attendance 15 seasons ago was 79.5 million. As Phil Castellini asked, “Where you gonna go?” Well, as about 15 million people decided between 2007 and 2022, not the ball parks.
—DOWN GOES POOLE: Draymond Green professed a deep love for Golden State Warriors teammate Jordan Poole, but that was no love tap Green laid on Poole during a team practice.
It was a punch that would make Mike Tyson proud. Green dropped Poole like a sack of sugar.
Of the incident, coach Steve Kerr said, “This is the biggest crisis that we’ve ever had since I’ve been coach here. It’s really serious stuff.”
How serious? Was Green suspended? Nope. He was slapped with a fine of an undisclosed amount, probably not enough to deprive him of a meal at Saison, one of San Francisco’s most expensive restaurants.
—RING ‘EM UP: The Colorado Avalanche must have depleted an entire South African diamond mine to adorn their championship rings.
The Avalanche won the NHL’s Stanley Cup last season and the team’s championship ring contain 669 diamonds.
If players wear those rings publicly, they best wear brass knuckles on the other hand to ward off thieves.
—FOOTBALL FOLLIES: Caught some of the Marshall-Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns game between innings of the baseball games.
The final was Louisiana 23, Marshall 13 and. . .wait second. Didn’t Marshall beat Notre Dame in South Bend? Sure did, 26-21. Then the Thundering Herd loses to the 2-3 Ragin’ Cajuns at home? Sure did.
Before beating Marshall, Louisiana had lost to University of Louisiana-Monroe, 21-17 and to South Alabama 20-17, neither of which you’ll find in the Top 100.
—QUOTE: From tennis legend Martina Navratilova: “Whoever said, ‘It’s not who won or lost that counts, but how you played the game,’ probably lost.” (Grantland Rice wrote that and he wasn’t covering a Marshall game.)
—MIC ME UP: Wish my daddy had taught me to talk better and had stuck a microphone in my hand instead of a baseball bat.
Why? Well, all the money in sports journalism is behind a microphone, not behind a laptop.
For instance: Jim Rome, a talk show host makes $30 million a year, about the same as most No. 1 major league pitchers. Stephen A. Smith, ‘The Mouth That Roars,’ makes $10 million.
The mere pikers are Bob Costas ($7 million), Mike Greenberg ($6.5 million), Al Michaels ($6 million), Joe Buck ($6 million), Skip Bayless ($6 million), Colin Cowherd ($6 million), Michael Wilbon ($6 million), Tony Kornheiser ($6 million), Mike Golic ($5 million).
The top paid female sports journalist is Michelle Beadle at $5 million. Geez, even Terry Bradshaw makes $2 million.
—QUOTE: From actress Cameron Diaz: “I have to remind my dad, ‘Journalists – no matter how many cigars they smoke with you – are not your friends. So don’t talk to them.” (I smoked hundreds of cigars with Trader Jack McKeon and he is still my friend. . .I think.)