By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wonder how so many days off will affect the Astros and Phillies and if they visited Ace Hardware to buy some Rustoleum for their pitchers’ arms.
—TRUE ‘FAMER: When any Hall of Fame is established, the prototype for an inductee should be Bronson Arroyo. He is the kind of guy who never missed a team bus or the National Anthem.
In fact, he can play the National Anthem on his acoustical guitar and sing it with a perfect pitch. Then he could walk to the mound and pitch a near-perfect game.
Arroyo won this year’s vote for induction into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. The red jacket will fit him perfectly.
He always was a media darling. It didn’t matter if a writer represented the New York Times or the Cucamonga Chronicle, if you approached him and asked a question, he looked you straight in the eye and listened intently, then gave a well-thought, in-depth answer you never heard before. No clichés.
He was an excellent pitcher, not great, but very good. He went at hitters with more moves, more angles, more different deliveries than JA Morant.
There was a game where he delivered pitches from 70 to 85 miles an hour and hit every number between.
And the man has no airs about him. While most players take off their muddy spikes after a game and toss them on the floor for the clubhouse attendants to clean, Arroyo could be found standing along-side the clubbies over a trash barrel scraping spikes with a tongue depressor. . .his shoes and his teammates’ shoes.
Arroyo was a featured speaker at the Dayton Agonis Club last year. Before his elegant and entertaining talk (not a prepared speech, a talk), he pulled out his guitar and sang three or four songs. It was the first time in the 90-year history of the club that anybody sang for their supper.
He was given his first name because his mother liked actor Charles Bronson. And he once told me pressure never bothered him because when he pitched youth ball in Key West, Fla., parents and fans often brawled. . .and weapons were involved.
—QUOTE: From Cincinnati Hall of Fame pitcher Bronson Arroyo: “People don’t own teams to lose money. If you ask any owner if they would rather make $20 million and come in last place or lose $20 million and win a World Series, there’s only one guy who honestly would take that championship: George Steinbrenner. Nobody else.” (Yep, he definitely pitched for the Reds.)
—WORLD SERIOUS TIME: With no apologies necessary to F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Philadelphia Phillies certainly are on ‘This Side of Paradise.’
The World Series begins Friday night in Houston and the Phillies are there, Against All Odds. Ten of the other 29 teams had better regular season records than the Phillies, but there they are. Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Cleveland, Toronto, St. Louis, San Diego and Seattle all won more than Philadelphia’s 87.
Houston won 106, 19 more than the Phillies, and Dusty’s Boys have won seven straight post-season games.
Las Vegas, of course, installed the Astros as heavy favorites, which means nothing. Remember 1990? The Oakland A’s and The Bash Brothers (Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco) were huge favorites, but got bashed in four straight by the Cincinnati Reds. Jose Rijo, Tom Browning and The Nasty Boys (Norm Charlton, Randy Myers, Rob Dibble) put The Bash Brothers in the trash.
It can happen in a short series. Depends on who gets hot and both the Astros and Phillies are carrying blow torches. Both have stellar starting pitchers, bot have blow ‘em away bullpens and both have firepower in a couple of ball parks with easy-to-reach walls.
Nevertheless, in Dusty I Trusty. Astros in five.
—GO FIGURE: It is easy to wonder how and why the Phillies are in the World Series, and not just because they fired manager Joe Girardi 51 games into the season, not just because they only won 87 regular season games and not just because they finished third in the National League East, 14 games behind Atlanta.
No, the most perplexing thing is that the Phillies were 0-and-6 during the season against the Chicago Cubs and 0-and-4 against the Texas Rangers.
Against the Reds? They were 5-and-2 that included a four-game sweep in Philadelphia in late August.
—QUOTE: From former major league infielder/coach Tim Flannery: “Congratulations to the Yankees who struck out 50 times in four games. Tell me again how analytics work? It’s a hoax and fake, boring baseball.” (Amen. Amen. Amen, Amen, Amen.)
—OH, ANDRE: Forwarded by my great friend Ray Snedegar: During a game in 1991, Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson was called out on strikes by umpire Cowboy Joe West.
Dawson protested beyond West’s short tolerance level and was ejected. He was fined $500 by the National League office so he wrote them a check.
On the memo line at the bottom of the check, Dawson wrote, “Donation for the blind.”
—QUOTE: From former President Harry S. Truman: “I couldn’t see well enough to play when I was a boy, so they gave me a special job – they made me an umpire.” (The kids must have done the same thing for Joe West and Angel Hernandez.)
—ANOTHER OPINION: It seems as if everybody who ever threw a football for a living is weighing in on the Aaron Rodgers/Tom Brady situation.
The two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks look as if they are playing in slow motion while their teams, the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wallow in mediocrity.
The latest is Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. He said both Rodgers and Brady look exhausted and perhaps both should just walk away.
The real head-shaker is that Rodgers is blaming everybody but himself for what ails The Pack.
—QUOTE: From Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers: “I know I’m capable of greatness and I’m expecting to reach that level.” (He reached that level, but now is on the other side, sliding down.)
QUOTE: From Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady: “You can’t go out and practice average on Wednesday, average on Thursday, OK on Friday and then expect to play well on Sunday.” (This is from a guy who has been skipping practices for various and curious reasons.)
—LAKERS DROWNING: The Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t drop a ball off the deck of the Titanic and hit an iceberg.
And the Lakers look as if they are aboard a sinking ship with a 0-and-4 record to start their NBA season. They are shooting 22% from down-range. That’s 33 for 148, the worst three-point percentage for any four-game span in NBA history.
—TWIST AND SHOUT: Will the guy who invented those twist-tops for bakery goods please go hang himself with one? By the time I unwind those dang things on the buns my hot dogs are cold.