By Hal McCoy
Q: Would you agree that Major League Baseball needs more traditions like the bride tossing her bouquet over her shoulder? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centervillew/Beavercreek.
A: No, I would not agree. There is already too much goofiness in the dugout, like those home run celebrations where the guy puts on an embroidered jacket, a suit jacket and a fedora, a cheesehead, a sombrero, a samurai helmet or a Viking helmet. It was cute when the Toronto Blue Jays started it with the embroidered jacket, now it is out-of-control and useless. Fortunately, the Blue Jays stopped it. Let’s hope the rest follow.
Q: How would Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale and Juan Marichal have reacted to the home run celebrations these days? — RANDY, Lima.
A: If I were a hitter facing Gibson after one of those dugout performances after a home run, I would go to home plate looking like Sir Lancelot in body armor. Gibson would make certain the next hitter was rolling in the dirt and probably would scowl at the dugout and say, “Anybody else want to homer and celebrate?” Nowadays, some pitchers probably look into the opposing dugout to enjoy those silly costume parties.
Q: What do you think of the current Reds rebuild with general manager Nick Krall in charge and how long before they are in contention for more than a year or two? — FERNANDO, Loveland.
A: Frankly, I’m impressed. Most of the prospects he acquired with his mass demolition of the roster are doing well. As I always say, they are not prospects, they are suspects until they prove otherwise. My only concern is if they make it and make it big, can the Reds afford to keep them to be contenders every year. Even Kralls said recently, “Luis Castilllo did well for us and now for Seattle and is great pitcher, but we knew we couldn’t afford to keep him?” How many of the young players who become good can they afford to keep?
Q: Who is the young lady we see in the Reds dugout and what is her function? — MICHAEL, Beavercreek.
A: For years a baseball dugout was a private men’s club. No women alllowed. Fortunately, that’s changing rapidly. There are female general managers and coaches, women blowing whistles in NBA games, NFL games and NCAA games. MLB needs women umpires. There are several women one might spot in the Reds dugout during a game. Most notably is the Reds sports dietician Ashley Meuser, passing out power bars, fruit, electrolyte drinks and making sure they don’t sneak in a Hershey’s with almonds or a Skyline hot dog.
Q: Do you have any Cincinnati Reds on your radar for possible MVP, Cy Young, Fireman of the Year or Rookie of the Year awards? — GREG, Beavercreek
A: My radar went on the blink years ago. But, let’s check. MVP? No. Cy Young? No. Fireman of the Year? No. Rookie of the year? Uh, maybe. It isn’t too late for Matt McLain, who just got called up. He plays with fire and vigor and let’s wait to see how he plays out.
Q: How have the changes in the rules had an impact on the early part of this season? — TOM, Sarasota.
A: A heavy impact. With the banishment of the extreme shifts, ground ball base hits, especially to right field, have increased dramatically. The pitch clock has sped up the game with little or no impact on play, other than to move it along without changing the outcomes. The bigger bases have encouraged more stolen bases, which is why they did it in addition to the safety factor. But they still have the ghost runner in extra-innings tie games, the worst baseball rule ever implemented. It ’s like the NFL, in a tie game, would put a wide receiver in the end zone before the play begins.
Q: My all-time favorite clutch player was Tony Perez, so who was your favorite, Reds or opposing player? — JIM, New Paris.
A: You stole my thunder. Nobody I ever saw came through in the clutch more often than The Big Dog. As manager Dave Bristol said, “If there is any way to win a baseballl game, Tony Perez will find it.” And Pete Rose was somebody opposing pitchers didn’t want to face with the game on the line. If I pitched for the Reds, I didn’t want to see Albert Pujols, Roberto Clemente, Willie McCovey, Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds (even before his PED days) come to bat in a tie game in the ninth inning.
Q: In the first game I ever saw, Vada Pinson hit an inside the park home run in Crosley Field, so what was your favorite inside the park home run? — JACK, Miamisburg.
A: Champ Summers hit an inside the park home run in Riverfront Stadium and flopped face down at home plate. He didn’t get up? Was he hurt? Athletic trainer Larry Starr ran to his rescue and asked, “Are you hurt?” Said a green-faced Summers, “No, I just swallowed my chewing tobacco.”
Q: When the pitching coach goes to talk to the pitcher, the pitcher always covers his mouth with his glove, so does he think the other team has a lip-reader? — PENNIE, Springfield.
A: I always laugh at that one for two reasons. One: There are no lip-readers in the other dugout. Two: What the pitching coach says isn’t going to help the other team. He is usually asking, “Are you all right? You are? Then throw the dang ball in this area code with something on it.” And it usually is the coach talking while the pitcher covers his mouth and nods.
Q: What is your opinion of the new all-black City Connect uniforms the Reds are wearing for Friday night home games? — ALAN, Sugarcreek Twp.
A: I always thought baseball teams should leave the all-black outfits to Johnny Cash. I never saw a black baseball uniform I liked — until the Reds came out with theirs. Reds goes good with black and the red trim looks good on the black. I love the hats and was the first on my block to own one, which I received four days before the Reds wore theirs for the first time.