OBSERVATIONS: Crime Dog in, Bonds/Clemens out

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, watching MLB-TV’s coverage of the baseball winter meetings from San Diego, waiting for somebody to mention something the Cincinnati Reds did. . .or at least something they talked about doing. Still waiting.

—FRED YES, BARRY/ROGER NO: Fred McGriff, ‘The Crime Dog,’ was voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame this week by the 16-member Contemporary Era committee. . .a no-brainer.

It was a crime that the Baseball Writers Association of America didn’t vote him in. He received my vote every year he was eligible. He was unanimous from the committee and to steal from ‘America’s Got Talent,’ he received 16 yesses.

And it looks as if Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling are destined to be locked out of the Hall of Fame forever.

After all three were denied 10 straight years by the baseball writers, their fate fell into the hands of the Contemporary Era committee.

For enshrinement, a candidate needed 12 votes. Schilling received seven votes and it was only acknowledged that Bonds and Clemens received fewer than four votes.

And there were six Hall of Fame players on the committee: Greg Maddox, Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammel.

Bonds and Clemens are linked to PEDs. Schilling is shunned because of his remarks that were anti-Muslim, a remark supporting the U.S. Capitol rioters, shared a transphobic Facebook post, suggested that a survivor of the 2018 Parkland school shootings was a paid crisis actor and promoted a post that said journalists should be lynched.

In regards to his lynching quote, I’ll borrow a phrase from Marty Brennaman and say as far as Schilling’s Hall of Fame induction is concerned, “It’s a big ol’ hang with ‘em.”

—QUOTE: From Pete Rose, the Hit King, on his chances to make the Hall of Fame: “If somebody connected to steroids makes the Hall of Fame, I would think that would enhance my chances of making the Hall of Fame.” (Uh, don’t hold your breath on that one, Pete.)

—TIGER TALES: In these days of vagabond/mercenary baseball players, it is a useless exercise to play the ‘What if’ game. Chasing most players’ career is like a game of Trivial Pursuit.

But it is fun to wonder what it would have been like if Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander had stayed together as teammates in Detroit.

Maybe they would have killed each other. They are both extremely competitive and it has been reported that they did not like each other.

And now they are being re-united as teammates with the New York Mets, both making $43.3 million a year.

The combined Scherzer-Verlander salaries of $86.6 million for one year is more than the total payrolls of seven teams in 2022: Cleveland, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Miami.

Let’s just hope neither one ever falls off his wallet.

—QUOTE: From filthy-rich pitcher Justin Verlander: “I don’t think anybody’s goal is to be mediocre. I think everybody should want to be the best. I’ve always felt that way. I want to be at the best at everything I do.” (Betcha Mad Max Scherzer feels the same way and now it comes down to who will be the best pitcher for the New York Mets.)

—MOOSE NOT LOOSE: While the Cincinnati Reds have pretty much dumped every players making more than a dollar-ninety-eight, they haven’t been able to dump infielder Mike Moustakas.

And there is no doubt they’ve tried to dump a guy due $22 million in 2023 with a $4 million buyout for 2024. Other teams have seen him constantly on the injured list. And when they’ve seen him on the field they’ve seen an under-performer who looks as if he raids the refrigerator at 3 a.m.

When MLB.com asked general manager Nick Krall about Moustakas, his terse and succinct reply was, “He’s on our roster. That’s it.”

The Reds would have been better off signing Clark E. Moustakas, author of the book, ‘Loneliness.’ If somebody offered Krall a gift card to Home Depot and a year’s supply of plastic razors, he’d take it.

—LOTTERY LOSERS: The poor Reds can’t even catch a break in MLB’s first lottery draft. Under the old system, the draft order went according to team records. . .worst record drafted first, second worse drafted second and so on.

That prevent teams from tanking to get the No. 1 draft pick, MLB went to a lottery draw with all teams not making the playoffs drawing for positions.

Under the old system, the Reds would have drafted fourth. They drew No. 7 in the lottery. The Pittsburgh Pirates won the lottery and will draft first.

—NOT FLASHES IN THE PAN: My alma mater, Kent State, nearly yanked the throw rug out from under Gonzaga this week. The Golden Flashes, playing at Gonzaga, were 15 1/2-point ‘dogs and lost, 73-66.

They led the Zags, 66-62 with four minutes left, but didn’t score after that and were victimized by an 11-0 final splurge.

—QUOTE: From Gonzaga star Drew Timme after scoring 29 points and snagging 17 rebounds in his team’s 73-66 win over Kent State: “That team was a hell of a team. They had us up against the wall.” (Unfortunately for KSU, the wall was flimsy and collapsed.)

—TRAVELIN’ MAN: What’s wrong with the transfer portal in college athletics? It is easier to ask what is right with it and the answer is, “Not much.”

A prime example of the absurdity of it is quarterback J.T. Daniels. He is entering the portal. . .again. If somebody signs him, and somebody will, it will be his fourth school.

He began his carpet-bagging odyssey at USC, transferred to Georgia, transferred to West Virginia and is now looking for his fourth different letter-sweater. He is 17-12 as a starter, 7-0 in two seasons at Georgia.

The J.T. in his name must stand for Just Temporary.

—QUOTE: From former Aston Villa soccer manager John Gregory when his star player, Dwight Yorke, transferred from his team to Manchester United: “If I had a gun, I’da shot him.” (Nobody could shoot J.T. Daniels. He moves around too fast.)

—SHAKE ’N BAKE: In the case of quarterback Baker Mayfield, it was ask and ye shall receive. Baker asked for his release and the Carolina Panthers put him on waivers.

The Los Angeles Rams, in need of a warm body signal-caller, quickly claimed him. It seems a perfect fit. Mayfield was 1-and-7 in his starts this season with the Panthers. The Rams are 3-and-9, the worst 12-game record ever for a team that was Super Bowl champions the year before.

The Rams, going nowhere, as was/is Mayfield, lost quarterback Matthew Stafford to injury and are paying Mayfield $1.35 million to finish out the season for them.

Mayfield was Cleveland’s No. 1 draft pick five years ago and, to say the least, it didn’t work out. So they traded for Deshaun Watson and signed him to a five-year $230 million contract.

Watson missed more than half of his first season, an 11-game suspension for sexual misconduct. And his first game, Sunday against Houston, was worse than any game Mayfield ever played for the Browns.

Maybe the Browns should have kept Mayfield. They’ve been a monumental flop this season and, like the Rams and Mayfield, they’re going nowhere.

—BET THE BENGALS: If you have $185,000 laying around on your dresser, bet it all on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl.

If they win, you win $1.85 million. Of course, if you can wager $185,000 on a football team, you probably don’t need $1.85 million.

—WORDS TO LIVE BY: At age 82, I try to live by this: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

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