OBSERVATIONS: Trader Jack McKeon Belongs In ‘The Hall’

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2024 with a promise to keep this up until my head hits the laptop.

—READY FOR JACK: It is time, past time, to consider Trader Jack McKeon for the baseball Hall of Fame. The man is a vibrant 93 years old and as lucid as an English professor.

McKeon is the only man to walk a baseball field who has won 1,000 minor league games and 1,000 major league as a manager.

He managed the Kansas City Royals, Oakland A’s, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds and the Florida Marlins, where at age 72 he won the World Series.

He loved working for Marlins owners Jeffrey Loria and said during their six years working together Loria only made on ‘suggestion.’

“We were going to face Tom Glavine when he pitched for the Mets,” said McKeon. “Loria called me and asked, “Who you gonna play at catcher?”

“Pudge Rodriguez,” said McKeon.

Loria pointed out that catcher Mike Redmond hit Glavine better than Rodriguez, but McKeon stuck with Rodriguez.

“Pudge hit a three-run home run in the first inning,” said McKeon. “After the game, Loria called me and said, ‘I’ll never make another suggestion to you about who to play.’ And he didn’t.”

—A BAD BET?: On the same day, the Atlanta Braves traded for pitcher Chris Sale and the Cincinnati Reds signed. . .Frankie Montas.

Say onething about the Reds, they are patriotic. They are following the plaque on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor. . .The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

The Reds are giving $16 million for one year to a guy who appeared in one game for 1 1/3 innings for the New York Yankees last season and is coming off shoulder surgery.

Because of shoulder problems, he appeared in six games over the last two years with as 6.21 earned run average.

The Reds are wagering that the shoulder surgery worked and Montas will return to his 2021 form when he pitched for Oakland and was seventh in the Cy Young voting. It’s a sucker bet.

—SAY IT’S SO, JOE: ‘The Legend of Joe Flacco’ continues to grow and grow and then grow some more.

From a reliable source who claims to have witnessed it: “The first day Joe Flacco walked on to the Cleveland Browns practice field, they put him at quarterback for the scout team.

“And against the NFL’s best pass defense, Flacco took the scout team down the field five or six times in a row for touchdowns. And it might have been seven or eight, I lost count.”

—NOT IN ‘THE ZONE’: Unfortunately for the Wright State University basketball team, defense is just some cursory thing a team has to do before it gets the ball back so it can score.

Oh, the Raiders can score. . .and score and score. But so can the opponent and usually it is more points that WSU.

On Friday afternoon, they played an average Green Bay team and it looked as if the Raiders thought they were playing the Packers. One kid, Noah Reynold, scored 39 points as if he were playing unguarded on his garage basket.

And Green Bay scored a season-high 88 points. When a team has two players score 23 each, as WSU’s Tanner Holden and Trey Calvin did, they should win. But not when the team plays matador defense.

WSU Coach Scott Nagy believes a zone defense is cheating and has never used it. But that man-to-man, which has been man-to-nothing, hasn’t work. Zone it up, coach. It can’t possibly be any worse.

—FLORIDA (STATE) GEORGIA LINE: The Orange Bowl? Nope, the Black & Blue Bowl. And it was inevitable. Las Vegas had Georgia a 20 1/2-point favorite over Florida State. But 63-3? It was the biggest margin of victory in the history of ANY bowl game. Georgia covered the spread in the first quarter with 28 points.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart emptied his bench and finished the game with a load of freshmen, but the Bulldogs still covered more than a third of a mile in offense.

The Seminoles were just that. Semi-noles. Are you ready? They played without their two top quarterbacks, two top running backs, two top receivers, the starting tight end, two starting linebackers and three starting defensive backs.

They were missing 29 scholarship players. It’s surprising the score wasn’t 163-3. Florida State should have opted out of the game.

Said Smart, who had a full complement of players, “People need to see what happened today.” Oh, they saw it, coach.

“It needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed now,” he said. Some believe it will be fixed next year with 10 teams qualifying for the playoffs.

It won’t be fixed. There still will be scads of bowls for schools not qualifying for the playoffs and players on those teams will be opting out.

—BUCKEYE BUMMER: For Ohio State football fans, watching the Cotton Bowl was 3 1/2 hours of their lives they’ll never get back.

The game was as boring as watching a carpenter hammering nails and Missouri nailed the Buckeyes, 14-3. Mizzou knocked the THE out of Ohio State.

On the same night, the NHL’s Columbus Bluejackets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-3. As my great friend and former Columbus sports writer Brad Schmaltz says, “When the CBJ outscores OSU, that’s not a good thing.” (Not only did they outscore the Buckeyes, they doubled up OSU’s points.

Kyle McCord, OSU’s quarterback all season, transfered to Syracuse, where he watched his new team get obliterated, 45-0, in the Boca Raton Bowl by South Flori. McCord’s replacemen at OSU, Devin Brown, was injured early in the game.

That meant freshman Lincoln Kienholz was thrust into the game and played like a freshman with no playing experience. What was Joe Flacco doing? Oh, that’s right. He used up his eligibility at the University of Delaware.

To protect himself from harm’s way after declaring for the NFL draft, wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. stood on the sidelines watching the mayhem, a gold necklace blinding anybody standing within 10 yards of him.

And other than one run, runningback Treveyon Henderson might as well have stood next to Harrison and watched. He was what they call a non-factor.

In fact, the entire Buckeye team was a non-factor. I should have turned down the sound and listened to my Playlist No. 4. Actually, I should have turned the TV completely off.

—PLAYLIST NO. 4 (The songs that fit the OSU-Missouri game:

Night Moves (Bob Seger) The Buckeyes had no moves, morning, noon or night.

Lyin’ Eyes (Eagles) — No eyes were lyin’ because the Bucks were bad.

Red, Red Wine (UB40) — The game nearly drove me to the bottle.

When I See You Smile (Bad English) —OSU fans may not smile until the middle of next week.

Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty) — A perfect description of the OSU quarterbacks and the offensive line that couldn’t stop Mizzou’s all-out blitzes.

Simply The Best (Tina Turner) — Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, the guys in black were simply the best.

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (The Righteous Brothers) — Yep, fans don’t love the Buckeyes right now, especially coach Ryan Day, but they’ll still love you tomorrow.

Stay (Marvin Williams) — If only Kyle McCord had stayed for just one more game and if Marvin Harrison Jr.. had stayed in the lineup for one more game.

(Oh) What a Feeling (Irene Cara) — This game left OSU fans with no feelings, just numbnes

Take It On the Run (REO Speedwagon) — The Buckeyes were not able to pass, but they couldn’t take the ball on the run anywhere, either.

I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty) — Ohio State didn’t back down in the first half and led, 3-0, but they backed down in the second half, giving up two Mizzou touchdown drives that both covered more than 90 yards.

Oh What A Night (Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons) — Does that not say it all for OSU fans?

Against All Odds (Phil Collins) — Yes, with no Kyle McCord, and no Marvin Harrison Jr. and with a third-string freshman quarterbacks, it was four quarters against all the odds and the odds won.

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