By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, which is without a heater as cold these frigid days as any real-life cave under the frozen tundra.
—FOR PETE’S SAKE: With baseball lurking around the corner, it is always entertaining to listen to Pete Rose rattle on about his time in the game.
Some gems from a radio interview a few years ago:
Talking about facing Sandy Koufax: “I got 10 for 57 off of him. Get your calculator out, that’s .175. When you don’t hit your weight off a pitcher, you’re doing bad. And I weighed 202, so I was hoping to hit .200 off Sandy. Just be happy you never had to face Sandy Koufax.”
Talking about facing another Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Don Sutton: “I wore his ass out. Two guys on the Dodgers I wore out. . .Don Sutton and Bob Welch. I coulda gone up blind-folded and got hits off those guys. You have certain guys you just see the ball well.
Talking about facing one of the best pitchers whom he hit hard: “Warren Spahn.” The interviewer doubted that Rose ever faced Spahn and Rose said, “ Hold on, I ain’t gonna lie to you. I got 17 for 32 off of him. Hey, I hit .307 off Bob Gibson. He was the most aggressive pitcher I ever faced.”
Talking about the best pither he ever faced: “That was Juan Marichal and I hit .340 off him. He had five pitches he’d throw for strikes any given time. He kicked that leg up real high. When he pitched at Candlestick Park, he’d wait for that wind to blow until it hit your eyes, then he’d throw the ball. It was terrible. Candlestick Park was terrible to play baseball in.
“There was no bathroom in the dugout. The clubhouse was in the right field corner and our dugout was on the third base side,” said Rose. “Consequently, you don’t go to the clubhouse during the game. If you got diarrhea, you were in trouble.”
—LET’S GO KROGER-ING: First it was Marty & Joe signing bananas in a Kroger TV commercial.
And now. . .welcome to the beginning of MLB uniforms looking like patch-covered NASCAR driver suits. The Cincinnati Reds will wear Kroger patches on the sleeves of their uniforms this year.
Why? Kroger is paying the Redsd $5 million for them to look like walking (and striking out) billboards. How long before the other sleeve has a Skyline Chili patch and a Hard Rock Casino patch on the seat of their pants?
—IT’S THE LAW: Despite the perceived talent in the Cincinnati Reds farm system, homegrown and those acquired in trades when the team dumped all the veterans, The Athletic’s Keith Law is not impressed.
He ranked the farm system’s of the 30 MLB teams and listed the Reds 13th. What is painful is that the other four National League Central teams ranked higher: Pittsburgh 6th, Milwaukee 8th, St. Louis 9th, Chicago Cubs 10th.
Los Angeles was No. 1 and Cleveland was No. 2.
Law did write, “Elly De La Cruz has the highest celing of anyone in the minors.”
Just remember, Reds fans, this is all one man’s opinion. My opinion? He has the Reds ranked too high. . .just kidding, just kidding.
—WRIGHT GOES WRONG: What a fantastic game unfolded this week when Wright State played at Youngstown State, Unfortunately WSU lost in triple over, 91-89.
WSU’s Trey Calvin put on a one-man show, which is difficult to do in basketball. He scored 44 points, one shy of the school record. Incredibly, he scored 20 in the three overtimes. . .20 points in 15 minutes.
The 6-foot senior guard took 38 shots and made 18, four for seven from three. It is not clear whether they had to ice down his arm after the game.
Calvin scored the tying basket in regulation to send it into overtime. But the Raiders lost when University of Dayton transfer Dwayne Cohill hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer.
The Raiders are 6-7 in the Horizon League with five of the seven defeats by less than eight points.
—DISCUSSION ON CONCUSSION: Anybody who saw Miami Dolphins quarterback Tia Tagovailoa stagger and collapse on the field with a concussion had to be horrified.
Unfortunately, in these days of 300-pound linemen who can run with the force of a city bus, NFL events are like war games. . .somebody is always carried off on a stretcher or hauled away on a golf cart.
There were 149 concussions in 271 NFL games. That’s not counting knee and ankle injuries.
Helmet manufacturers are close to perfecting a special helmt for quarterbacks (Don’t they care about wide receivers, running backs, linemen and defensive backs?).
Those new helmets should carry a sticker that says “Warning. Playing quarterback may be hazardous to your health.” Just ask the San Francisco 49ers, who finished their NFC playoff game with something like a fourth-string quarterback.
—WHO’S THE GOAT?: The number is mind-boggling. . .38,387. That’s how many points Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored during his NBA career.
And soon LeBron James will surpass that number. He is 63 points short. He is 38-years-old and often scores more points than his age.
Nevertheless, to me Michael Jordan is the all-time best. As a kid, you were nobody if you didn’t own a pair of red, black and white Nike Air Jordan 1 shoes at more than $100 a pair.
Did you know that Jordan wore Converse All-Stars when he played at North Carolina. Converse wanted to sign him as a pro, but already had Magic Johnson and Larry Bird under contract and decided not to do it.
Has there ever been a worse business decision?
—GRAND QUESTION: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is a huge baseball fan and attended the Wright State University First Pitch Banquet this week.
The speaker was former Cincinnati Reds first baseman Sean Casey. As the two chatted, His Honor revealed that he has 26 grandchildren and Casey asked, “Do you have a favorite?”
No, he doesn’t, but he can rattle off the names of all 26 without catcing his breath.
—‘RASSLIN’ RATINGS: Despite my grandmother’s insistence, pro wrestling is as fake as three-dollar bill.
Sad admission. I loved the old WWF for its stilly entertainment and I loved some of the nicknames and the schtick.
My Top Six: Hulk Hogan, Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage, The Undertaker, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, The Honky Tonk Man.
I once sat next to Hulk Hogan on a flight from Atlanta to Miami. I did not wrestle him for the arm rest. He owned it.