By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave on Sunday afternoon with no World Series game, no Browns game and no Bengals game. What’s a guy to do. Yeah, Nadine, I hear ya. Time to cover the patio furniture.
—PHIL ‘ER UP: Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get in the World Series.
Who would predict that Houston’s Justin Verlander, baseball’s most dynamic pitcher and close to being invincible this season, couldn’t hold a five-run lead at home in Game One. The Astros would have been better served sending Justin Bieber to the mound.
And who would predict that Philadelphia’s Zach Wheeler, 3-and-0 this post-season and owner of a 2.82 earned run average this season, would give up five runs and six hits in five innings in Game Two? The Phillies would have been better served sending actress Maggie Wheeler to the mound.
So the Series is tied at a game apiece and it shifts to Philadelphia for the next three games, beginning Monday night.
Advantage: Philadelphia. The Phillies are unbeaten at home in the post-season and the fan base is above-and-beyond phanatical. . .a huge factor.
The Astros need to take two of the three or they won’t need manager Dusty Baker’s ring size. Game 3 is the swing game. Whoever wins takes a 2 to 1 lead and puts the other team in an uncomfortable chair.
Expect the unexpected. It looks as if that will be the theme for this World Series.
—QUOTE: From former major leaguer Mark Teixeira: ““I have three beautiful children and a World Series ring. That’s all I need.” (And Dusty Baker has all he needs. . .except a World Series ring.)
—ARE U KIDDING? — I’ve poked fun at a web-site called sportsscroll.com before for its ridiculous lists. And I stumbled across another one.
It listed, ‘The Top 25 Overhyped and Over-Rated MLB Players.’ So I began to scroll and quickly the names Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, Omar Vizquel and Bryce Harper popped up.
I stopped to grab a hankie to wipe the laugh tears out of my eyes. Then I continued and saw Phil Niekro, Darryl Strawberry, Don Mattingly and Reggie Jackson.
Whomever made up this trashy list spends too much time in their basement in front of a computer screen eating mac & cheese.
—TIGER TALES: Legendary sports writer Mike Downey (Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times) offers an incisive detail as to why the Detroit Tigers haven’t won a World Series since 1984, and it has nothing to do with George Orwell. It has to do with Justin Verlander, Nick Castellanos and John Smoltz.
OK, so Houston’s Verlander faced Philadelphia’s Castellanos in Game One of the World Series, with former Atlanta pitcher John Smoltz in the TV booth.
Well, they all played for the Tigers. They traded Smoltz in 1987 for Doyle Alexander. They traded Verlander in 2017 for Franklin Perez, Jake Rogers and Daz Cameron (Who, who and who?). And they traded Castellanos in 2019 for Alex Lange and Paul Richarde (Who and who?).
—QUOTE: From Houston pitcher and likely American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander: “When an artist wants to paint a painting, they have all those things in their head that they want to portray on a canvas. It’s the same thing when I’m pitching. I have all these thoughts going through my head about how I want to pitch: which pitch I want to throw here, and why do I want to throw it?” (And Verlander is certainly is artist on the mound, with a baseball as his brush. . . .except for Game One of this year’s World Series.)
—DOUBLE 4’S: Uniform No. 44 was worn by some famous athletes: Henry Aaron, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson, Jerry West, George Gervin, Eric Davis, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, Pete Maravich and LeRoy Kelly.
Well, Ohio State scored 44 points against Penn State, mostly because of No. 44 — defensive end J.T.Tuimoloau. He was a human wrecking ball with a pass deflection that led to an interception, an interception of his own, a fumble recover and an interception pick-6. And, oh yeah, he made six tackles.
Guess that’s why the 6-4, 270-pound Polynesian was ranked the No. 1 defensive recruit in the country when the Buckeyes landed him.
—NO GOOSE CHASE: That’s horrible news out of Cincinnati that Bengals wide receiver La’Marr Chase might miss four to six weeks with a hip injury.
Chase is quarterback Joe Burrow’s favorite target, dating back to their days together at LSU. Chase is the deep threat that gives defensive backs nightmares and sleepless nights.
When he was at LSU, then coach Les Miles told Chase he was not good enough to be a wide receiver. He told Chase to play cornerback on defense and Chase walked off the field.
Wouldn’t you say that ol’ Less was miles from being right?
While nobody wants to see anybody hurt, Cleveland Browns rookie defensive back M. J. Emerson Jr. had to expel at least one sigh of relief.
—WHAT’S IN A NAME: Some college nicknames you probably never heard unless you are an alumnus:
Cal State-Long Beach Dirt Bags, Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils, UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, Texas A&M-International Dust Devils, Trinity Christian Trolls, Centre College Praying Colonels, College of the Atlantic Black Flies.
Washburn University Ichabods, Amherst Lord Jeffs, Centenary Gentlemen, Pomona College Sagehens, Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys, Wayland Baptist Flying Queens, Tufts Jumbos, Cal-Irvine Anteaters, South Carolina-Sumter Fire Ants, Oglethorpe Stormy Petrols.
—VOCABULARY TEST: Who knew? There are only two words in the English language that end in GRY. I can use both in a sentence: ‘I get angry when I’m hungry.’
And subtract the letter ‘r’ from friend and what do you get? A fiend.