By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, knowing that no matter how cold it was in Buffalo it didn’t bother Joe Cool. No matter which way the wind blows, Joe Burrow is cool.
—SWISS CHEESE: The Cincinnati Reds hope their recent signee is as versatile as a Swiss Army knife.
His name is Dominic Scheffler, a left handed pitcher born in Bern, Switzerland. A fastball is also known as cheese, so Scheffler’s 94 miles an hour fastball must be Swiss cheese.
The only Swiss-born plsyer to make the majors also was a left handed pitcher, also born in Bern. His name was Otto Hess and it happened more than a century ago.
He pitched from 1902 to 1915 for Cleveland and the Boston Braves. He pitched for the 1914 Miracle Braves team that was in last place on the Fourth of July, but won the National League pennant by 10 1/2 games. They then swept the Philadelphia A’s in the World Series.
For his career, Hess was 70-90 with 129 complete games over 198 appearances with a 2.98 earned run average.
Scheffler was born in Switzerland, but moved to Japan and then to Germany, where the Reds found him. He had accepted a scholarship to pitch for Seattle University before signing with the Reds.
The Reds hope Scheffler is as good as Toblerone candy, made with Swiss chocolate.
—NO MASK FOR PETE: Think about this one. Many players were in the All-Star game multiple times, usually at one position. But Pete Rose made the All-Star team in different years at five different positions: second base, left field, right field, third base, first base.
When the Reds signed him, he was a 19-year-old catcher playing in the old Dayton Amateur Baseball Commission ‘AA’ league. He signed for $7,000. And he never caught a single inning professionally.
—QUOTE: From Pete Rose, The Hit King: “I’m just like everybody else. I have two arms, two legs and four-thousand hits.” (Me, too, Pete, but I’m 4,256 hits behind you.)
—BOTTOM OF THE PACK: Saw this headline on an ESPN.com baseball story: “Who’s No. 1 as the Season Approaches?”
Thought I’d check it out. Maybe they think highly of the Cincinnati Reds. Number 1? Nope, Houston is No. 1. Followed by Atlanta, New York Yankees, New York Mets, San Diego Padres.
Scroll down, scroll down, scroll down. The first National League Central team is No. 11 St. Louis. Then No. 13 Milwaukee. Then No. 21 Chicago Cubs. Then No. 24 Pittsburgh.
Scroll down, scroll down, scroll down. End of story. No. 30, Cincinnati Reds.
Never mind. It is just so sickening to see that this once proud and once respected franchise is absolutely irrelevant.
TAXABLE TEAMS: Five MLB teams didn’t give a hoot about the luxury tax last season. Any team that exceeds $230 million in payroll must pay a luxury tax. The Los Angeles Dodgers owe $32.4 million for exceeding the threshhold two years in a row.
The Mets owe $9.7 million, Philadelphia owes $2.9 million, San Diego owes $1.5 million and Boston owes $1.2 million. Cincinnati owes nothing.
Total MLB payrolls for the 30 teams was a record $4.65 billion. Most of the luxury tax money goes for player benefits and a player retirement fund.
The Reds were $116.5 million shy of having to pay the luxury tax. Right now, there is no luxury in Great American Ball Park. And there is no poverty tax.
—A HOOPS EARTHQUAKE: There was a seismic event that registered a 7.5 on the Richter Scale in Spokane this week. And it wasn’t an earthquake.
Gonzaga lost a home baskethall game on their McCarthey Athletic Center Court. It ended Gonzaga’s 75-game home winning streak. If Joseph McCarthy was alive, there would be a hearing.
And the loss was not to BYU or St. Mary’s, the only two WCC teams that ever come close to beating Gonzaga. No, it was Loyola Marymount, 68-67.
LMU had lost 25 straight games to Gonzaga, 21 by double digits, including a 144-100 loss. LMU hadn’t won in Spokane in 32 years (1991). The last time the Zags lost at home was January 18, 2018 to Saint Mary’s.
—QUOTE: From tennis player Vitas Gerulaitis after finally beating Jimmy Connors after losing to him 16 straight times: “Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.” (And LMU says, “Nobody beats Loyola Marymount 26 times in a rows.)
—BETTING IDIOCY: Some people have more money than brains. Some dead light bulb out there made the dumbest bet available to mankind.
When the Las Vegas Raiders led the Jacksonville Jaguars, 27-0, just before the half, this dunderhead made an in-game wager that Las Vegas would win.
Here’s the thing. He wagered $1.4 million. If Las Vegas won, his $1.4 million bet would win him $11,000. Jacksonville came back to win, 31-30, and the genius lost all $1.4 million when all he could win for that monstrous bet was $11,000.
His next wager was a three-bet parlay: The sun will rise in the west, a pig will fly backwards and the Buffalo Bills will beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 93-7.
—QUOTE: From some wise person named Terry Murphy: “A gambler never makes the same mistake twice. It’s usually three or more times.” (Wonder if that $1.4 million loser will come back for more?)
—GREEN WAS SUPER: During my one year at the Detroit Free Press, I was fortunate to encounter fellow sports writer Jerry Green of the rival Detroit News. He became a legend.
He covered pro football and earned combat pay for covering the Detroit Lions. And he covered the first Super Bowl. . .and never stopped. He retired in 2004 but The News asked him to continue covering the Super Bowl on a free lance contingency.
Last year, at age 93, Green covered his 56th straight Super Bowl. . .and that’s EVERY Super Bowl. He is the only person on earth to cover every Super Bowl.
The streak ends this year. He has decided not to cover the 57th. . .or Super Bowl LVII. He loved Joe DiMaggio, so ’56’ is a magic number for Green for two reasons, DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak and his attendance record.
Alas, though, the Detroit Lions never joined Green at a Super Bowl. The Lioons’ attendance record is zero. Only four teams have never been to the Super Bowl — Detroit, Cleveland and two fairly new franchises, Jacksonville and the Houston Texans.
—SIP-SIPPING AWAY: It was generally known that former Cncinnati Reds owner Marge Schott liked to sip vodka as she sat in her seat next to the home dugout.
One day as I sat in the press box, I said out loud, “Do you know it is always the same inning for Mrs. Schott?”
“What inning?” somebody aasked.
“For Mrs. Schott, it is always the bottom of the fifth.”
I know, I know. Keep my day job.
—FRANCHISE FODDER: Some pro football franchises you probably never heard of or have forgotten:
Miami Seahawks, Buffalo Bisons, Los Angeles Dons, Cleveland Rams, Boston Yankees, Boston Redskins, Boston Braves, Boston Patriots, Chicago Hornets, Chicago Rockets, Chicago Staleys, New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, Dallas Texans, New York Titans, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Tennessee Oilers, Portsmouth Spartans, Canton Bulldogs and, of course. . .the Dayton Triangles.