By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, still debating. . .Yankees or Astros? Yankees manager Aaron Boone saved my career by imploring me not to quit in 2003 when I lost most of my eye-sight. But I am not a Yankee Doodle Dandy. Astros manager Dusty Baker is one of my all-time favorites, but I still can’t forgive the Astros for stealing a World Series by banging the drum (or trash can) slowly.
—THE GUARDIAC KIDS: Before they were escorted out of the playoffs, barely, by the New York Yankees, the Cleveland – – – – dians were the talk of baseball for their old-school, throwback style — put the ball in play with limited strikeouts, bust your butts on all balls in play (they led the league in infield hits), steal bases, take the extra base.
And do you know who Cleveland’s hitting coach is? His name is Chris Valaika, drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round in 2006. He never received much opportunity with the Reds. In two seasons, 2010 and 2011, he appeared in only 33 games.
Obviously he talks a good game and his players listen. They were the youngest team in baseball, 17 players made their major league debuts and they had the third lowest payroll in MLB.
Nobody picked them to finish higher than third in the American League Central and they won it by 11 games.
If Terry Francona isn’t American League Manager of the Year, they should just throw the trophy or plaque into Lake Erie.
—QUOTE: From Cleveland manager Terry Francona: “I think in any organization you want your manager to have a strong opinion. You don’t want them to just say, ‘Yes, sir’ to things they don’t believe in.” (Tito may believe that, but lots of Yes Men occupy a manager’s chair.)
—WHY CLEVELAND ROCKS: How to build a winner in one easy lesson. . .make dazzling trades.
In August of 2020, the Cleveland – – – – dians traded pitcher MIke Clevinger to San Diego and the fan base howled to the moon.
Why? Because they thought their teams was bamboozled. In return, Cleveland received starting catcher Austin Hedges, first baseman/outfielder Josh Naylor, starting pitcher Cal Quantrill, outfielder Owen Miller and rookie outfielder Gabriel Arias. All five contributed to the team’s gigantic success.
Meanwhile, Clevinger has fought injuries in San Diego. Oh, yea, the – – – – dians also sent Matt Waldon and Greg Allen to San Diego. Waldon is still in the minors and Allen played for Pittsburgh this season, 41 games and a .186 average.
Nobody on TV’s Let’s Make a Deal ever made a better deal.
—QUOTE: From baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Dave Winfield, drafted in the second round by the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, in the fifth round by the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and in the first round by MLB’s San Diego Padres: “I chose baseball because to me baseball is the best game of all.” (And you don’t have wild-eyed linebackers with mayhem on their minds bearing down on you.)
OH, PEDRO: Before Game 5 of the American League Division Series, TV analyst and Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez referred to the Cleveland baseball team as, “The Indians.”
Partner Ernie Johnson Jr. corrected him and said, “Guardians.”
Martinez proceeded uninterrupted and four more times he referred to them as, “The Indians.”
Take a vote. Did he do it on purpose?
While I usually use – – – – dians to refer to Cleveland, my old friend Tim Steineman came up with one, too. He calls them Clevelandians.
—MOUNT-ING VICTORIES: Has there ever been a football dynasty like the one anchored in Alliance, Ohio. . .the Mount Union Purple Raiders.
From 2005 until 2016, Mount Union won 112 straight Division III Ohio Athletic Conference football games, an NCAA record. They lost a game to John Carroll, 31-28, in 2016, 31-28.
Since then, the Purple People-Eaters have won 54 straight OAC games. . .and counting. That’s an OAC record of 166-1 since 2005. They are 6-0 this season, 5-0 in league play. John Carroll is the only team that ever gives Mount Union a shadow of a problem and they play this year on November 5 in Alliance.
Guess who will be favored?
—QUOTE: Mount Union’s football motto: “Winning. . .it’s what we do.” (Winning? It should be, “Annihilation. . .it’s what we do.” They are 6-0 so far this year, averaging 50 points a game to the opponent’s 5 points. They have won 65-0, 55-7, 59-0, 45-0, 28-6 and 49-14.)
—WAY DOWN YONDER (In New Orleans): I was shocked and stunned to find Tulane in AP’s Top 25 football poll. The Green Wave is 6-and-1.
For the past quarter of a century, Tulane has mostly been everybody’s punching bag and cupcake. Since 1998, when it was 12-0, Tulane has had 17 losing seasons in 24 years, mostly 3-and-9s and 2-and-10s.
The Green Wave’s best season since 1998 was 8-and-5 in 2002. Players of note? Well, there was Dub Jones, class of 1946, a runningback for Paul Brown and the Cleveland Browns of the old All-America Conference. And there was Max McGee, class of 1954, a wide receiver with the Green Bay Packers and Vince Lombardi.
Don’t you just love rags-to-riches stories?
—TRADE BAIT: During the third quarter of Sunday’s game, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robbie Anderson was sent to the lockerroom by interim coach Steve Wilkes, Anderson’s sin was twice getting into the face during a heated debate with wide receivers coach Joe Dailey.
On Monday morning, Anderson was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for a sixth-round draft pick in 2024 and a seventh round pick in 2025.
Anderson’s response to being sent to the lockerroom during the game was, “I’m confused.” Now he can be confused in Arizona.
—QUOTE: From former NBA coach Gene Shue on making a trade: ”The way my team is doing, we could get Wilt Chamberlain in a trade and find out that he’s really two midgets Scotch-taped together.” (Hey, two Wilt’s would be better than one.)
—SHE’S AN AMAZON: Since Amazon makes deliveries to our house every day to Nadine, sometimes twice, we have our own truck. It’s call the Amadine.
—LAST CALL: I finally figured out why they stop selling beer at ball parks after the seventh inning. It isn’t to prevent inebriation. It is because by then every wallet and purse is empty and the credit cards are at their limits.
—DATE OF BIRTH: I turned 82 on Tuesday and Nadine said, “It’s just a number,” and I said, “Yes, a very high number.”
Got me to thinking who are the famous and infamous born on October 18 and I found: Mike Ditka, Forrest Gregg, Ed Biles (former Xavier and Houston Oilers coach), Willie Horton, George Hendrick, Thomas ‘Hit Man’ Hearns, Martina Navratilova and Brittney Grimes from the sports world.
Also, Chuck Berry, George C. Scott, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mad Dog Russo (TV sports talk show host), A.J. Liebling (journalist), Peter Boyle, Pierre Trudeau and, uh. . .Lee Harvey Oswald.
5 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: This was no ‘mistake on the lake’”
Rough with pitching like Verlander – but I want the Astros to go downnn.
Will they have a drum roll when presenting the WS trophy to the Astros?
Will they have a drumroll when presenting the Astro with the WS trophy?
Happy Birthday and congrats on making 82 trips around the Sun! Thanks for all you have done for us fans and what you still do.
Thank you so much, Ron. Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.