By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from the Man Cave after watching UD lose to VCU in game that resembled a docworkers brawl.
—A TRADE COMING: The Cincinnati Reds and Jonathan India avoided one of those often contentious arbitration hearings that often leaves bruised and hard feelings.
In an attempt to win their case, teams often bring up negative and disparaging matters about the player during the hearings.
The Reds and India, though, settled their differences outside the arbitration chambers when India agreed to a two-year $8.5 million deal — $3.5 million this year and $5 million next year. And India can earn up to $2.05 in incentives next year based on games started and plate appearances.
For those rejoicing on social media, hold your breath. India’s relatively low salary base makes him ultra-attractive to other teams. It would not be shocking if the Reds now traded him because he does appear to be excess baggage, an infielder with no place to play.
And for those lobbying on social media for the Reds to sign free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer, that isn’t going to happen, even though he is offering to sign for the major league minimum ($750,000).
Reds executive Nick Krall said the club has no interest in the controversial Bauer.
—QUOTE: From former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes after losing his arbitration case last year and hearing what the Brewers said about him:
“Obviously, it is tough to hear. It’s tough to take. They’re trying to do what they can to win their hearing. There’s no denying that the relationship is definitely hurt from what transpired. There is really no way of getting around that.” (And the Brewers traded Burnes to the Baltimore Orioles a few weeks ago.)
—SINGING HIS PRAISES: One of the most melodiously-named player ever to button up a baseball uniform was Van Lingle Mungo.
Despite pitching for wretched Brooklyn Dodgers teams in the 1930s, he is one of the few players to have a song written about him.
Wretched? For example, Mungo once had a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth when the second baseman dropped a pop fly. An error, right? “Nope,” said the officials scorer. “A hit. The sun was in the fielder’s eyes.”
Said Mungo, “I always thought they called them the Dodgers because of the way they dodged fly balls. Sometimes they didn’t dodge ‘em and the balls hit them on the head.”
He isn’t in the Hall of Fame with his 120-115 record, but twice he won 18 games and usually pitched more than 300 innings. He started 38 games one seaason and 37 another and finished 22 both times.
Some believe he was the hardest thrower ever. Said Billy Herman, who faceed Bob Feller, Lefty Gomez and Dizzy Dean, “Van Lingle Mungo was the fastest pitcher I ever faced.”
Mungo said his fastball was once clocked at 109 miles an hour. Uh, yeah, sure. So what did they clock it with in 1934?
—HENRY & WILLIE: Can you imagine Henry Aaron and Willie Mays on the same team in the same outfield, Aaron in right and Mays in center?
It nearly happened, but $50 a month stopped it. The Braves and Giants both offered Aaron a contract.
“I had a Giants contract in my hand,” said Aaron. “But the Braves offered me $50 a month more. That’s the only thing that kept Willie Mays and me from being teammmates, $50.”
That might be the best $50 any major league team ever spent.
—ICH-ING TO HIT: Talk about consistency, was there any player more consistent than Ichiro?
When he arrived from Japan and the Seattle Mariners stuck him into the lineup, he grabbed his third hit in his 10th at bat, a .300 average.
And from that day forward, throughout his entire 19-year career, his career average never dipped below .300. He finished at .311.
Ichiro will be on the Hall of Fame ballot next year and should be a slam dunk first-ballot inductee.
—GIANT STEP UP: Looks to me as if football coach Chip Kelly was given a HUGE promotion. He went from head coach at UCLA to offensive co-ordinator at Ohio State.
—HE MISSED WHAT?: A pro golfer named Cristobal del Solar set a PGA-sanctioned tour record this week when he shot a 57 in the Astara Golf Championship in Bogata, Colombia.
During his 13-under par round on the par-70 course, he had two eagles , nine birdies and not a single bogey.
The PGA should borrow one of baseball’s asterisks for this round. The course is only 6,254 yards and the course is at 8,600 feet above sea level.
Well, he wasn’t infallible. He missed a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole or he would have shot 56, which is what I used to shoot on the front nine. . .on a good day.
—OL’ KING COLE: Larry Cole, a defensive end, was a 16th-round pick out of the University of Hawaii by the Dallas Cowboys, the 428th player picked in the 1968 NFL draft.
Despite his lowliness on the draft list, Cole survived 13 seasons with the Cowboys. And he had a claim to fame. As a defensive end, he scored four touchdowns.
After his fourth, he told writers, “I had an eerie feeling all day long that I was going to score a touchdown. It’s crazy to say that, but I did have this really eerie feeling, this really eerie hunch.”
And why was that?
“I guess because it was against the Washington Redskins,” he said.
And why was that? Because all four of his career touchdowns came against the Washington Redskins.
—THE ‘INSPIRATION’ GAME: Coaches sometimes display bizarre behavior when their teams are behind at halftime.
***Notre Dame was behind in a game and coach Knute Rockne didn’t appear in the lockerrom for a long time. Finally, Rockne stuck his hairless head inside the door and said, “Pardon me, ladies, I thought this was the Notre Dame dressing room.”
***University of Texas coach Darrell Royal once addressed his team at halftime by saying, “There is a hell of a fight going on out there on the field. Why don’t you fellows join it.”
***Oklahoma City basketball coach Abe Lemons found his team down 20 points at the half. After the game, he told writers he was speechless in the dressing room.
“I had a speech for 10 points behind or 11 or 15,” he said. “But I never figured on 20.” Instead, he immediately sent his team back on the floor for a scrimmage until the start of the second half.
***The topper, though, was reported by legendary Dallas columnist Blackie Sherrod. He wrote that at halftime of a Baylor game, coach Grant Teaff popped a big, fat purple earthworm into his mouth. And his team nearly removed the dressing room door from its hinges trying to escape their madman of a coach.
—NOTABLE QUOTABLES: Tickling the funny bone with more baseball comedy:
From Harvey Haddix after pitching 12 perfect innings and losing in the 13th: “What’s so historic about that. Did anyone ever lose a 13-inning shutout before?”
From John Lowenstein after messing up a sacrifice bunt: “Sure I screwed up the bunt. But I’m a better bunter than a billion Chinese. Those suckers can’t bunt at all.”
From Dave Parker on the late season: “September is pantyhose month. No nonsense.”
From former batting instructor Charlie Lau: “When Billy Martin reached for a bar tab, his arm shrinks six inches.”
From pitcher Bobo Newsome when asked how he pitched to Joe DiMaggio: “He has a weakness for doubles.”
From Dizzy Dean about dropping out of school after the second grade, “I didn’t do so good in the first grade, either.”
From former outfielder Richie Scheinblum: “I can’t hit any pitcher alive. . .if he stands still.”
—PLAYLIST NO. 17: So you think I’m at the bottom of my list? Nah.
Cryin’ For Me (Toby Keith), Paradise City (Guns N’ Roses), Take My Breath Away (Berlin), The Glory Of Love (Chicago), My Girl (Temptations), When Will I See You Again (Three Degrees), Manic Monday (The Bangles), House Of The Rising Sun (The Animals), Under The Boardwalk (The Drifters).
Where Did Our Love Go? (The Supremes), She Loves You (The Beatles), It’s My Life (Bon Jovi), Have You Ever Seen The Rain? (Credence Clearwater Revival), I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston), Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (Starship), Should Have Been A Cowboy (Toby Keith).