By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave wondering why I waste a valuable three hours watching the Cleveland Browns and contemplating tossing my Browns hoodie and Brown hat into the fireplace. It would be the only fire the Browns show.
—BOW TO BOWDEN: It isn’t often I agree with Jim Bowden, especially when he was general manager of the Cincinnati Reds and broadcaster Marty Brennaman referred to him as ‘Ol Leatherpants.’
Bowden now writes for The Athletic and he graded every team’s winter meetings performance.
Of the Reds, he wrote: “One move I didn’t like was trading Kyle Farmer to the Twins. I thought he was an important veteran presence who would help lead and develop their young players.”
To that, I agree wholeheartedly.
Of course, though, I had to disagree with something he did. He gave the Reds a ‘C’ for their winter meetings performance.
There was more than $2 billion spent on free agents by MLB teams. The Reds spent $1.175 million on a one-year deal for a catcher named Luke Maile.
Yes, the Reds are in full retreat into their rebuild plan and signing high-ticket free agents isn’t on the blueprint. But giving them a ‘C’ for what they didn’t do is highly questionable.
—QUOTE: From former player and manager Casey Stengel, who studied to be a dentist: “I’m thankful I had baseball knuckles and couldn’t become a dentist. I got $2,100
a year when I started in baseball and I chased the balls Babe Ruth hit.” (Is that true Stengalese, or what?)
—BIG BROWNOUT: The Cleveland Browns are getting what they deserve. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett led them to a 32-14 beatdown of the Cincinnati Bengals on Halloween Night. But the Browns wouldn’t let him spook the Bengals Sunday.
He put on a uniform for no apparent reason Sunday and watched another underwhelming performance by quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson is a guy the Browns never should have traded for, let along sign him to a $250 million contract. One charge of sexual assault is one too many, but more than two dozen is an awful habit.
He has played two games and led the Browns to one touchdown. One. On Sunday the Browns were in Bengals territory time and time again, but Deshaun took them nowhere. His mechanics look like the Tinman.
The Browns lost (or the Bengals won), 23-10, in a much-interrupted game because the officials played drop-the-hankie every other play.
And was anybody assigned to block Bengals’ defensive lineman D.J. Reader? He was in Cleveland’s backfield so often he should have been wearing a white jersey.
When he wasn’t standing over Watson after knocking him down, he was stopping Browns’ star running back Nick Chubb at the line of scrimmage.
—QUOTE: “From Scottish actor Colin Mochrie: This just in: Beverly Hills 90210, Cleveland Browns 3.” (So they even know how bad the Browns are in Glasgow?)
—TALL TALE: From what I understand, it went down something like this:
Mild-mannered Baker Mayfield boarded a plane in Charlotte and flew to Los Angeles. Upon landing, he fetched his back pack from the overhead bin and headed for an LAX bathroom.
He pulled his Superman cape out of the back pack and put it on. He grabbed an Uber and thumbed quickly through the Los Angeles Rams playbook on his iPad.
Then he took the field, knowing none of his new teammates, and with two minutes left, he directed the Rams 98 yards to a game-winning touchdown pass with 10 seconds left. Rams 17, Las Vegas Raiders 16.
Isn’t that always the way it works in Hollywood? Mayfield became the first quarterback to cover 98 yards in less than two minutes to a game-winning touchdown in 45 years.
That’s what the Raiders get for tugging on Superman’s cape.
—QUOTE: From Superman, who may or may not have been talking about Baker Mayfield: “I believe in second chances, I believe in redemption, but, mostly, I believe in my friends.”
—WRONG POSE: The Heisman Trophy has a running back giving a stiff arm on top
— of the award. What a misnomer. It should be a quarterback with his arm cocked ready to pass.
Why? Because the Heisman is pretty much a quarterback award. Quarterbacks have won 11 of the last 13 and all four finalists this year are quarterbacks.
An outlier was 2020 winner DeVonta Smith, a wide receiver at Alabama.
—QUOTE: From Ohio State’s Archie Griffin, not only the rare running back winner, but the only two-time winner: “My name is not only Archie Griffin, it’s two-time Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin. Once you win the award it’s with you for the rest of your life. It changed my life.”
—WHAT’S THE WORD?: Ran across this score listed in football results: Incarnate Word 66, Sacramento State 63. That was a mistake right? The score should have been listed in the basketball results, right?
Wrong. It was a quarterfinals football game in the NCAA FCS playoffs. The 129 points are the most ever scored by two teams in an FCS playoff game.
Never heard of the University of Incarnate Word until the last couple of years. It is a Catholic school in San Antonio, Tex. In 2004, the school changed its nickname from Crusaders to Cardinals.
The word incarnate means a deity or spirit embodied in human flesh. You’re welcome.
—ZION THE LION: The NBA’s Phoenix Suns got their gym shorts in a twist last week when Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans performed an acrobatic windmill thunder dunk.
Why? Because he did it with the Pelicans up by nine with seven seconds left. Then he posed and flexed and Phoenix players tried to get at him.
Said Williamson, “That was out of character for me. But you gotta understand. They sent my teammates home last year. I got a little carried away.”
Phoenix knocked New Orleans out of the playoffs last year but Williamson was injured and didn’t play.
It is amazing that the Suns took umbrage. Isn’t the NBA all about posturing slam dunks and three-pointers?
—SWAC SWAGGER: What do Grambling State, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern have in common? Yes, they are all members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), the most prestigious of the HBCU conferences.
But, even better, they all own victories over Power Five basketball team this year and Grambling State owns two — Colorado and Vanderbilt. Prairie View beat Washington by 11 and Texas Southern beat Arizona State.
Texas Southern appeared last season in the First Four at UD Arena and beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christie, 76-67. Then they played eventual NCAA champion Kansas and lost, 83-56.
The SWAC’s rising success is a by-product of the transfer portal, one of the few positive things about the controversial transfer rule.