By Hal McCoy
Q: If I have a question regarding the Cleveland baseball teams of years past is it politically correct to reference them as Indians or Guardians? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.
A: That’s one I wrestle with. Growing up in Akron, I’ve been an Indians/Guardians fan all my life. To me, they are the Indians. I abhor the Guardians name. To get around it, I just refer to the team as Cleveland. Since they changed the nickname under pressure, we have to assume that Indians is politically incorrect. Go Cleveland.
Q: I watched a game the Cleveland Guardians players and they had a Marathon Oil patch on the left sleeve and I thought advertising was frowned upon if not illegal, on MLB unifors? — BILL, Englewood.
A: You are behind the times. Have you watched a Reds game? They wear a Kroger patch on their sleeves and get paid $5 million a year for it. A year ago, the San Diego Padres were wearing, and still are, a Motorola patch. MLB has approved the sleeve advertising and I fear it is only the beginning and it won’t be long before MLB uniforms resemble a NASCAR driver’s suit completely covered with advertising patches.
Q: You recently listed players who had Dayton backgrounds playing in the majors, so were there any Dayton players in the old Negro Leagues? — JACK, Beavercreek
A: I’m sure there were, although records are flimsy. Actually, Dayton had a team in the first professional black league, the Negro National League when it was formed in 1920. They were the Dayton Marcos becaue owner Moses Moore owned the New Marcos Hotel. They finished last that first year with a 16-36 record, 23 games behind the Chicago American Giants. As the story goes, team representative John Matthews fell asleep durig a league meeting after the season. When he awoke, the league had taken his franchise and divided his players among the other clubs, many to the Columbus Buckeyes. Moral: Get your sleep the night before a league meeting.
Q: Is there a small, current volume that simplifies baseball that I can study so that I don’t feel like a dummy since I’ve begun watching the Reds and following your stories? — VIVIAN, Piqua.
A: I certainly never would call you a dummy, but since you used the term I can suggest a book called ‘Baseball For Dummies,’ written by former Reds player and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan with Richard Lally. It breaks baseball down to the common denominator. And it can be purchased on line for as low as $5.79. You can’t even buy a bag of peanuts at the ball park for that price.
Q: The Reds had two balks called on them recently, so is there an uptick on balks called against the Reds this season? — KEVIN, Florence, KY.
A: Not even close. The Reds have had three balks called on them so far. That is far down the list. Only seven teams have fewer than three. Amazingly, the Awful A’s have zero. It looks as if the umpires might not like the New York Yankees. They lead MLB with 11. Second is Toronto with 10. And I didn’t even balk at answering this question.
Q: As a kid, I listened to Waite Hoyt re-create Reds road games from a Cincinnati studio by reading a Western Union ticker, so when did broadcasters and writers start traveling with the team? — JERRY, Springfield.
A: Writers traveled with the team as far back as the 1920s and I still love reading about scribes traveling with the teams on trains and interacting with the players in Pullman cars. As for broadcasters, they were limited by technology and it improved so much that they began traveling in the 1960s. When I began covering the Reds in 1973, Al Michaels and Joe Nuxhall were making road trips. We traveled on charter airplanes, but I always wished we could go by trains. I love the rails.
Q: Why are Reds’ pitchers hurt so often and it seems like all the time in the last few years? — DENNIS, Cincinnati.
A: That’s one for Mother Nature. Injuries to pitchers are not endemic to the Reds. It is rampant throughout baseball. Check the injured list on MLB’s web-site. Every team is strongly represented with pitchers — the Reds, the Dodgers, the Mets. Pitching a baseball is unnatural to the arm, shoulder and elbow. Supreme stress is put on those areas. Even pitchers with perfect mechanics get injured.That;s why I believe long-term contracts for pitchers is absurd. They are one pitch away from oblivion.
Q: Is it true, according to Wikipedia, that the last time a National League pitcher won a Gold Glove was more than ten years ago and it was Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo? — DAVID, Kettering.
A: The only thing true about that is that, yes, Arroyo won a Gold Glove in 2008, the only Reds pitcher ever to win it. But there is a National League winner every year and Atlanta’s Max Fried has won it the last three seasons. Gold Gloves for every position, one in both leagues, have been awarded every year since 1957. Atlanta’s Greg Maddux won it 18 out of 19 times during his career. Bob Gibson won it nine straight trimes. Zack Greinke won it six straight years. In the American League, Jim Kaat won it 14 straight times. And you know where I found this information? Wikipedia.
Q: In the thousands of games you have covered, which was the worst weather game? — KOZ, Springfield.
A: Of the more than 7,000 MLB games I’ve covered, one stands out weather-wise. On October 2, 1999, the Reds played the Milwaukee Brewers in old County Stadium. Bad enough that it was 44 degrees, but it rained and rained and rained. There were three long rain delays. The playing time was 3:17, but it started at 12:15 and ended close to 8:00. I set a record by eating eight brats and metts. The outfield was a pond, Right fielder Dmitri Young made a sliding catch and nearly drowned as a high rooster-tail raised above his feet. The Reds lost, 10-6, but won the next day, 7-1, on the final day of the regular season, tying them with the New York Mets for a wild card spot. Unfortunately, the Reds lost a play-in game the next day to the Mets in Riverfront Stadium, a 5-0 shutout by Al Leiter. No playoffs for the Reds.