By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, waiting for Nadine to put a clock in the cave to give me eight seconds to leave my La-Z-Boy and get to the dinner table. The Penalty? I have to eat the broccoli and asparagus.
—TICK TOCK ON THE CLOCK: Leave it to new New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer to make magic with MLB’s new pitch clock. From the time the pitcher catches the ball from the catcher, he has 15 seconds to deliver a pitch, 20 seconds if there is a runner on base.
In his spring debut against the Washington Nationals, his first batter was CJ Abrams. The at bat lasted seven pitches and it took only two minutes. Then he struck out Joey Maneses on three pitches. That at bat was over in a blink, 24 seconds.
What hasn’t been much publicized is that the pitch clock affects the hitter, too. A batter must be in the box, ready to hit, before the pitch clock reaches eight seconds. San Diego’s Manny Machado discovered it in his first at bat this spring. He wasn’t in the box on time and a strike was called on him.
That rule might more affect the hitter than the pitcher. Baltimore’s top prospect, pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, pitched in the minors with the shot clock and loves it.
“I was a big fan of it,” he said. “Obviously, it speeds up the game. As a pitcher, it’s kind of what you want. Big league hitters take a long time to get to the plate. That drives me crazy, so this pitch clock kind of expedites the process, I like it a lot.”
Remember when it took Sean Casey at least 60 seconds between pitches to re-wrap both batting gloves, adjust his cup, adjust his hat and shake hands with the catcher and umpire before getting into the box. . .before every pitch? No more.
—JUST ANOTHER J.V.: The Cincinnati Reds opened their exhibition season Saturday against the Cleveland. . .OK,I surrender. . .Guardians. J.V. was at first base, but not Joey Votto. It was Jason Vosler.
Who is Jason Vosler? The last two seasons he played for the San Francisco Giants, 77 games and 193 plate appearances. In those 77 games he played third base, second base, shortstop, first base left field and right field.
His career slash line is .228/.306/.421 and he has seven homers and 21 RBI. He signed a free agent minor league contract. . .and the real J.V., Joey Votto, has nothing to worry about.
Vosler was 0 for 2 Saturday, but the Reds won, 4-3, on Matt McLain’s walk-off home run. McLain was the Reds’ No. 1 draft pick (17th overall) in the 2021 draft out of UCLA.
—THE ‘TONY’ AWARD: Every time I hear about another of Tony Gwynn’s accomplishments, I shake my head and say, “How is that possible?”
The latest: Gwynn faced Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux 107 times and not once did Gwynn strike out. Not once.
OK, you say. . .Maddux
was not a strikeout pitcher and Gwynn was a contact hitter. Well, Hall of Fame pitcher
PedrMartinez was a strikeout pitcher and he faced Gynn 36 times and not once did he strike him out. Not once.
—QUOTE: From Greg Maddux, talking about getting hitters out: “If a pitcher can change speeds, every hitter is helpless, limited by human vision. Except for that bleeping Tony Gwynn.”
—AND THE WINNER WAS. . .: It isn’t often they fill the 7,917-seat Calihan Hall for Detroit Mercy basketball games. They filled it Saturday to watch Antoine Davis pursue in five seasons what Pete Maravich did in three years (and without the three-point shot), set the NCAA Division I career scoring record.
What they got was The Trey Calvin Show. The Wright State guard scored 34 points. Yes, Davis also scored 34, but he launched 33 shots to get there. Calvin shot 18 times.
And Calvin and WSU captured the big prize, an 82-71 victory that earned the Raiders a home game Tuesday in the first round of the Horizon League tournament.
—QUOTE: From Antoine Davis on what he does in the summer to sharpen his shooting: “It’s a certain amount of shots I get up. I try in the summer to get 2,000 shots up a day. I’m always around there, 2,000 to 2,500. Maybe even 3,000 sometimes. “ (There are games when it seems he takes 2,000 shots. As my son, Brian, once said, “ You can’t make ‘em if you don’t shoot ‘em.”)
—SCORE, SCORE, SCORE: And here is more on the ‘defenseless’ NBA. Final score: Sacramento Kings 176, Los Angeles Clippers 175, double overtime. De’Aaron Fox scored 42 and wasn’t his team’s leading scorer. Malik Monk came off the bench to score 45. The teams combined for 44 three-pointers, some launched from the balconies.
There was a wild rumor floating out there that one team got at least one defensive stop. I checked the tape. Couldn’t find it.
—NOT A WINTER SPORT?: The MLS (that’s professional soccer) postponed its Opening Day game in Los Angeles between the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC due to a winter storm. A winter storm in LA? Doesn’t that only happen on film sound stages like ‘Frozen?’
What’s next? A pro beach volleyball game called off due to too much sand or an NHL game canceled because the arena was too cold?
—CHECKING HIM OUT: The University of Dayton baseball team ran into a strange happenstance. On the night before the Flyers were to play a game at the University of Tennessee, Vols coach Tony Vitello was suspended for the weekend.
The NCAA and school officials are checking into possible violations in the program. Without their coach, the Vols (No. 2 in the nation) beat the Flyer on Friday, 12-2. And the Flyers lost Saturday, 4-1.
—BOO BUCKS: My seven-month old Havanese puppy, Parker, made a commentary on the Ohio State football season. She pulled my Ohio State pajama bottoms out of the clothes hamper and chewed a hole in the seat.
I am keeping my University of Dayto pajama bottoms out of her reach.
—‘LOVE’ SONGS: Nadine shakes her head and rolls here green eyes when I head for The Man Cave to watch a game, carrying a ham and cheese sandwich. . .with ketchup on it. Ketchup? Then she sits down to eat a cup of cottage cheese with barbecue sauce on it. Barbecue sauce?
Anyway, here are some of my favorite ‘love’ songs: Power of Love (Laura Branigan), I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston), Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton), Amazed (Lonestar), Forever and Ever (Randy Travisd), Can’t Help Falling in Love With You (Elvis Presley), Lady in Red (Chris De Burgh), If You Leave Me Now (Chicago).
I Want To Know What Love Is (Foreigner), I Can’t Fight This Feeling (REO Sppedwagon), I Won’t Do That (Meat Loaf), First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Roberta Flack), Making Love Out of Nothing At All (Air Supply), Three Times a Lady (Lionel Richie), Lady (Kenny Rogers).