OBSERVATIONS: What is a Trash Panda?

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after watching The Cincinnati Reds lose a game to Philadelphia in the ninth and win a game from Philadelphia in the ninth. As Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

—WHAT A NO-NO: The Chattanooga Lookouts, Cincinnati’s Class AA affiliate, had a no-hitter thrown against them last week. Big deal? So what? Happens all the time.

Well, not this way. The quaintly-named Rocket City Trash Pandas threw the no-hitter, but lost to Chattanooga. Not only did they lose, they lost by 7-5. You can’t make this trash up.

How does a team score seven runs without a hit? Hey, the Lookouts scored all seven in one inning, the seventh, to win, 7-5. In the seventh, there were five walks, four hit batsmen (three in a row), an error and a wild pitch.

I’ve seen several Little League games played the same way.

All this begs the question, what in the name of nicknames is a Trash Panda? And where is Rocket City. A trash panda is another name for a raccoon, a mammal that likes to dig in trash and resembles a panda bear with its markings. There is a Trash Pandas Waste Management company in Vancouver, B.C. (Canada). But the baseball Trash Pandas play in Madison, Alabama.

So In Alabama you have Roll Tide and Roll Trash.

—HOMER HAVENS: It was like, “Tell me something I don’t know” when BaseballSavant.com revealed in which MLB park it was easiest to hit a home run over the last three seasons.

All together now: “Great American Ball Park.” Yep. That was easy. Now, which park is No. 2? Coors Field? Nope. That’s way down in sixth place.

Number Two is Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. Then cames whatever they call the place the Chicago White Sox play in. Surprisingly, number four is Dodger Stadium. And way down at number ten is Yankee Stadium and its short porch in right field.

—ONE HUNDRED GRAND: It was a mere 60 years ago when on a chilld February day in 1963 that Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris signed their one-year contracts on the same day.

Mantle signed for $100,000 and Maris signed for $70,000. At the time, the $170,000 was the most money made by two players on one team.

While $100,000 translates to $983,000 in today’s money, Mantle still was vastly underpaid. The average MLB salary last year was $4.9 million.

On the day Mantle signed his $100,000 deal, New York Yankees club president Dan Topping said, “We are glad to be able to play Mantle this salary and we hope there will be other Yankees in the future who will warrant $100,000 a year.”

Oh, if he only knew.

**Speaking of money grubbing, there are 780 players on MLB rosters and 158 make $10 million or more this season. Why did my mama raise a writer instead of a player?

—OF HEAVY BALLS: Useless knowledge one acquires by being curious. . .or nosey.

Did you know that the Japanese baseball is smaller and lighter than the American baseball? The balls used in Japan are 22.9 centimeters in circumference to 23.5 for the U.S. ball. And the Japanese ball weighs 141.7 grams to 148.8 for the U.S. ball.

In addition, the stitches on a Japanese ball are lower, making it more difficult to grip. But the covers on Japanese balls are of a texture so that they don’t need to rub them with river mud like thy do the slick U.S. balls.

Save all this for a trivia contest.

—LIKE FINE WINE: They call the National League ‘The Senior Circuit’ because it is older than the American League. But when it comes to MLB managers, both leagues are ‘The Senior Circuit.’

That’s because out of the 30 MLB managers, seven are 61 years or older. Dusty Baker (Houston) is 73, Bruce Bochy (Texas) is 67, Brian Snitke (Atlanta) is 67, Buck Showalter (New York Mets is 66, Bud Black (Colorado) is 65, Terry Francona (Cleveland) is 63 and Bob Melvin (San Diego) is 61.

They all have a long way to go to catch Connie Mack, who was 88 when he quit managing. But he continued. He turned managing the Philadephia Athletics to his son and he continued as club president.

Baker, though, takes umbrage at references to his age. “Just remember,” he says. “I’m a cool 73.”

—QUOTE: From Hall of Famer George Brett: “We’ll have a woman president before Wade Boggs is ever called out on strikes.” (Go see Ron Luciano about that, George.)

—STRIKING BACK: Ron Luciano is one of my favorite all-time umpires because he was hilarious and never took himself seriously, even on the field.

He described in his excellent and humorous book, ‘The Umpire Strikes Back,’ that former Boston Red Sox slugger Jim Rice was the strongest player he saw. Luciano hated to be the third base umpire when Rice batted.

“He was a right-handed pull-hitter so when he gets up the third base area suddenly becomes the most undesirable plot of real estate imaginable. Swamps are more attractive,” said Luciano. “I’d stand 60 feet behind third base and if he hit a ball anywhere close I’d wave a white hankie at him.”

—QUOTE: From former MLB umpire Tom Gorman: “Any time I had a ‘bang-bang’ play at first base, I always called ‘em out. It made the game shorter.” (If he did it now, replay/review would slow it back down.)

—ANOTHER MR. PERFECT: Former Wright State University pitcher Jesse Scholtens was called up to The Show this week by the Chicago White Sox. He joins former WSU catcher Sean Murphy (Atlanta Braves) in the big leagues.

While at Wright State, Scholtens threw a perfect game against the Uniersity of Dayton.

—CHECKING THE EX’S: While former Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos was breaking a 0 for 13 skid with two doubles during Philadelphia’s Opening Day win over the Reds, some other ex-Reds were shining.

Sonny Gray pitched Opening Day in Minnesota and went seven innings, givig up one run and four hits while striking out a career-best 13. And the game ended in the 10th-inning with Kyle Farmer’s walk-off bases loaded single.

Connor Joe had a sip of coffee with the Reds one spring training and is now Pittsburgh’s regular left fielder. On Friday, he had four hits and that included three doubles in the Pirates’ 13-9 win over the Chicago White Sox.

And did you see what Luis Castillo did in his first two starts? His 2023 debut versus the Cleveland – – – – dians was six innings, no runs, one hit. Then against the Los Angeles Angels (Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout).

Nick Castellanos was a pain in the poster of the Reds during a couple of losses in Philadelphia. And Adam Duvall is staging his own tea party in Boston.



4 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: What is a Trash Panda?”

  1. One thing about all the players unloaded by Reds – not too hard to find other games to listen to w/guys you know.

  2. And just think that when the Dreds finally decide to cut ties with Nick Senzel, he’ll never see the disabled list or trainer’s room again in his so far pathetic career. He’ll more than likely play an entire season.

  3. The only down side to Senzels’ walk off dinger was that so few fans were present to witness it. GAP is a mausoleum, I see more fans at high school games. I am sure the cameramen are instructed not to pan the mostly empty seats unnecessarily.

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