By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave and while I’m a big fan of Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber, I’m a bigger fan of Houston manager Dusty Baker. He has taken Houston from the Disastros to the Astros and I’m pulling for them to win the World Series.
—THE DUST-UP: This not new news and it is not fake news. It is apropos to rehash it as Houston manager Dusty Baker is on the precipice of winning the World Series.
It is the reason the Cincinnati Reds fired Dusty Baker three days after the Reds lost a wild card game in Pittsburgh, concluding a 90-win season in 2013.
Baker took a bullet for one of his coaches.
General Manager Walt Jocketty, not a big fan of Baker that led to a strained relationship, wanted to fire hitting coach Brook Jacoby. Baker, as loyal a man as you’ll ever find, said, “If you want to fire somebody, fire me.”
That’s all Jocketty needed and he took up what Baker suggested.
Baker confirmed this to me and never once did he ever lie to me and he always answered every question I asked, which is one reason I so admire the man.
“I did what I thought was right,” he told me. “Sometimes they are always blaming the teacher (Jacoby). Sometimes it’s the pupils.
“It hurt big-time to get swept out of the playoffs and then three days later you get fired,” he added. “I guess I pissed somebody off.”
Baker, of course, bounced back with managerial jobs in Washington and now Houston, where he arrived to clean up the mess from the 2017 illegal sign-stealing by the Astros.
And now he is poised to be fitted with his first World Series ring as a manager. The Reds? They haven’t been relevant since he was fired.
—QUOTE: From Houston manager Dusty Baker: “Everybody knows something, but nobody knows everything.” (When it comes to baseball, Baker comes as close to knowing everything as any manager who ever sat in a dugout.)
—BAD STUFF: What is wrong with the sports world. . .or is it just a microcosm of the real world?
^Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving post an anti-Semitic video on Instagram and doesn’t apologize until he was forced to do it. So how sincere was he?
Probably not as sincere as his successful effort to get coach Steve Nash fired.
Perhaps rather than post on social media it would have been better for him to get vaccinated.
^Carolina Hornets player Miles Bridges pleaded no contest in charges for assault on his girl friend in front their two children. Yeah, I’m sure it was no contest when Bridges assaulted his girl friend.
A plea bargain netted Bridges probation for three years. Wonder if he gave the prosecutors an autograph?
^Michigan State suspends only four players when video clearly show more players were involved in the stomping and mauling of two Michigan players in a stadium tunnel after the game.
^Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, supposedly Mr. Squeaky Clean, is suspended a few games and kept on campus from recruiting as punishment for his alleged participation in the shoe scandal payoffs.
^The University of Louisville basketball program gets a slap on the wrist by the irrelevant NCAA for its part in the shoe scandal. Nike and Adidas have more power than the NCAA.
—DEFENSIVELY SPEAKING: The 2022 Gold Glove Awards were announced and not one Cincinnati Reds player finished in the top three at any position.
Right fielder Aristides Aquino certainly deserved consideration, at least in the top three. He led the National League in outfield assists with 12.
The winner, LA’s Mookie Betts, only had eight assists. Perhaps Aquino was ignored because he played less than half his team’s games, only 80. Betts played 142, but that should add more credence to Aquino’s credentials, doing what he did in only 80 games.
The Gold Glove, of course, is based on more than assists, but Aquino covered right field like a tarpaulin
—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter: “Defense usually doesn’t make many headlines, but it goes a long way toward winning baseball games.” (And how many games are kicked away by errors? Many, oh so many.)
—SO WHAT, BIG DEAL: After four Houston pitchers threw a no-hitter at the Phillies in the World Series, Middletown native and Philadelphia slugger Kyle Schwarber was asked about it.
“I really don’t give a – – – -,” he said. “We’ll move on to tomorrow. It’s cool. We’ll be in the history books, I guess.”
The only other World Series no-hitter was Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956. And there has been only one other no-hitter in post-season play.
Reds fans remember it painfully. Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter against the Reds in Game One of the 2010 National League Division Series and won, 4-0.
The Reds’ manager was Dusty Baker. After his Astros pitched the no-hitter Wednesday, Baker said, “That brought back memories of when (Roy) ‘Doc’ Halladay no-hit us when I was in Cincinnati. And so, boy, that was, I guess it was supposed to happen.”
—DRESS ‘EM UP: From good friend and columnist Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register just before Beggars’ Night: “Attention parents: Don’t dress up your kids like Lakers. They haven’t scared anybody in two years.” (The only ‘boos’ the Lakers hear is when they are on the court.)
—CASH THROWAWAY: How easy is it to flush $40 down the toilet? Buy $40 worth of Power Ball lottery tickets.
Nadine did just that. Out of 15 tickets, she had one number on two tickets and no numbers on 13.
But the lure of becoming a billionaire is just too tempting. And what would we do with a billion bucks?
Well, it wouldn’t be like when former Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw signed a big contract and said, “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.”
And I could have used that $40 for a few good cigars, but don’t tell her I said that. No, she doesn’t read my stuff.
—QUOTE: From a man who wisely remained anonymous: “What’s the difference between a man arguing with his wife and buying a lottery ticket? The man actually has a chance to win the lottery.”