By Hal McCoy
Q: What is your feelings about a playoer that sits out the final game of the season in order to win a batting title? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.
A: It’s fool’s gold. Just ask Ken Griffey Sr. in 1976, he led Pittsburgh’s Bill Madlock bv .001. Reds manager Sparky Anderson sat Griffey to protect his average on the last day of the season. But word reached the Reds that Madlock had hits his first two times up that day, so Anderson rushed Griffey into the lineup in mid-game. Too late. Madlock finished at .338 to Griffey’s .336 and to this day Griffey blames Spakry for costing him the batting title. And remember Ted Williams in 1941? He was hitting .400 on the last day of the season with a doubleheader scheduled. Boston manager Joe Cronin offered to sit Williams. He said no. Not only did he play the first game and raise his average, but he played the second game, too. For the doubleheader he was 6 for 8 and finished at .406, still the last man to hit .400.
Q: What is your opinion of MLB not using the ghost runner for the playoffs and World Series after using it for the entire regular season? — TIM, Xenia.
A: To put it bluntly, it’s asinine. It changes the entire game. I despise the rule, putting a free runner on the second to start extra innings when he didn’t earn it. It is just another of commissioner Rob Manfred’s gimmickball. He thankfully got rid of the overeshifts, now get rid of the ghost runner. Permanently.
Q: Can a team appeal the replay decisions made by the umpires sitting in front of video screens in New York? — MIKE, Fairfield.
A: Absolutely not. Their decisions are irrevocable and final. A manager or player who argues the replay decision is automatically ejected. Nadine employs that rule to our little disagreements, so I never get in the last word, if I ever did.
Q: When the Cincinnati Reds go on a road trip, do players drive to the airport or take a bus from the stadium? — RANDY, Lima.
A: It is their choice. A bus is provided to and from the stadium/airport. The players can choose to take it or drive themselves. It didn’t work out too well once for former catcher Vic Correll. He drove his car, made an illegal U-turn across an airport access road and was giiven an expensive ticket. He became a regular bus-rider.
Q: Do switch-hitters use the same bat from both sides of the plate? — RICK, Vandalia.
A: It is personal preference. Some do and some don’t. It is a feel thing, how a bat feels in their hands when they bat left or when they bat right. And some players use the same stance from both sides of the plate and some use different stances. Pete Rose always used the same bat and the same stance and hit the ball the same way — hard singles and hard doubles in the gaps and a high batting average.
Q: What are the chances of Jonathan India still being with the Cincinnati Reds in 2024? — CINDY, Beavercreek.
A: I have not yet been able to read general manager Nick Krall[s mind, but I have to think the chances are Slim and None and both left town. There is no room at the Inn next year with Christian Encarnacion-Strand at first, Matt McLain at second, Elly De La Cruz and shortstop and Noelvi Marte at third. Notice that Joey Votto isn’t mentioned. And where does Spencer Steer play? India is definitely an odd man out and a trade is most likely forthcoming.
Q: With Deoin Sanders in the news so much as football coach at Colorado, what do you remember about him when he played for the Reds? — DONOVAN, Sarasota, FL.
A: As a player, he was a lot like Elly De La Cruz, a guy who created mayhem when, and if, he got on base. Mostly, though, as a baseball player he was a great football players. As a person, he was fantastic and in the clubhouse he displayed none of that Prime Time schtick. When he left the Reds he said the media in Cincinnati treated him the best of any media he had dealt with. My guess is he’d like to have us covering him now.
Q What are your thoughts on getting rid of the three batter rule for relievers, and how about making it a rule that relievers inherit all runners when they come into a ballgame? —MICHAEL, Wilmington, NC.
A: Count me in to lobby for elimination for the three-batter rule. Like the DH, it takes away baseball strategy that was in place for 150 years. It ties a manager’s hands. They rely so much these days on analytics, but if the analytics say a certain pitcher shouldn’t face a certain hitter, a manager can’t replace that pitcher unless he has faced three batters. Hey, let’s make up our minds which way we’re going to go. And I agree on the inherited runners. If a pitcher comes in and gives up a hit and two runs score, they should go on his record, not the poor pitcher who was pulled from the game.
Q: Reds pitcher Connor Phillips appears to have potential, but can it be realized wearing number 34, the curse of Homer Bailey? — BILL/MIKE, Centerville, Kettering.
A: Curse? What curse? How can there be a curse from a guy who pitched two no-hitters? In my opinion, he gets a bad rap. From 2007 to 2014, he was 54-50. Then he went 1-14 in a andseason during which he received no run support. Then injuries plagued the rest of his days in Cincinnati. Stubborn? Yes, he was. And he resisted when coaches wanted to change things. But it was lack of run support and injuries that actually derailed his career and turned fans against him.