OBSERVATIONS: A Rose Is A Rose, For Pete’s Sake

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wandering aimlessly because we are having some work done inside the house and the contractor has taken over The Man Cave with his equipment and tools. Fortunately, he is a Reds fan.

—HIT KING FOREVER: If you haven’t read it by now, you are taking a big swing-and-miss. ‘Charlie Hustle,’ Keith O’Brien’s just-released book is a must read for all baseball fans.

Nearly everybody who has read it tells me, “I can’t put it down.” My great friend, Jeff Gordon (no, not the race driver, although my friend, Jeff, can drive with the best of them) read it in three days and the book is more than 400 pages of illuminating and fascinating prose and facts.

And spearking of Pete. . .

During the 1977 season, Pete Rose collected 204 hits, the ninth time The Hit King collected 200 or more hits.

That was 27 years ago, more than a quarter of a century. So how many times since then has a Cincinnati batter collected 200 hits? That would be zip, zero, nada.

Rose has 4,256 hits. Will anybody catch him? That’s like a car lot full of Volkswagen schasing an Aston Martin Valkyrie.

Think about it. To catch Rose, a player would have to get 200 hits for 20 straight years and that’s only 4,000 hits, 256 short. Ain’t gonna happen.

—QUOTE from Pete Rose: “If you have someone equal in ability to me I will beat him every time because I will try harder.” (Yep, Pete was the Avis of baseball.)

—BE ON ALERT: There are s0me who believe all the Reds have to do this weekend it toss their bats into the box and the 2-10 Chicago White Sox will yell, “No mas.” But, beware. . .even after Friday’s 11-1 assassination.

Ask Houston how it did against Kansas City (three-game KC sweep). Ask World Series champion Texas how it did against awful Oakland (two out of three wins by Oakland).

As I often tell Nadine, “In baseball, the team with the worst record can beat a team with the best record on any given day, or days.”

—RUN RONALD, RUN: There is no question that Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. is a fantastic player, especially at scoring runs. That’s a credit to him for getting on base and for his teammates for driving him in.

Acuna is fourth on the all-time list for the average runs he scores per game — 0.81. Amazingly the three ahead of Acuna all played for the 1927 New York Yankees — Babe Ruth (0.93), Lou Gehrig (0.83), Earle Combes (0.82).

And the fifth best all-time is another Yankee, Joe DiMaggio (0.80).

—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench: “Slumps are like a soft bed, easy to get into and hard to get out of.”

—THE ‘TONY’ AWARD: Tony Kemp began spring training with the Cincinnati Reds, one of the long line of infielders, a line longer than one at a frozen custard window on a hot July day.

Kemp hit .333 (7 for 21) with a homer, a triple and a double. And he was shooed out the back door. Sorry, no room.

The Baltimore Orioles picked him up and he was with the O’s for two weeks. . .until they decideded to call up MLB’s No. 1 overall prospect, Jackson Holliday.

So the Orioles designated Kemp for assignment, shooed out the back door once again. But wait. He waited until Holliaday arrived and welcomed him and wished him well.

Then he posted on s9cial media a message to Hollliday that said, “Go get ‘em, kid.”

That’s not first class, that’s a higher class of its own.

—MEAN, MEAN MEN: What do these names mean to the Cincinnati Reds and their fans: Mike Piazza, Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday (Jackson’s daddy), Ian Happ, Christian Yelich?

Those were/are baseball terrorists, using bats as lethal weapons, when they played/play against the Reds. Fortunately for the Reds, Piazza, Pujols and Holliday are retired, but Happ and Yelich are still wreaking havoc on the Reds.

—QUOTE: Hall of Famer Mike Piazza: “A pitcher never gets me out, I get myself out. That’s no disrespect to the pitcher, but there should be no excuse for failure. You can’t have an excuse.” (Piazza wouldn’t have had to make many excuses against Reds pitchers.)

—A MYSTRY MAN: Because he pitches for the vagabond Oakland/Sacramento/Las Vegas A’s and he works on the west coast, the casual baseball fan never heard of Mason Miller. And they don’t know him in Oakland because nobody goes to their games.

Miller is a pitcher who throws fastballs at the speed of sound, 104 and 103 miles an hour.

He came into a game this week in the ninth inning of a game the A’s led the World Series champion Texas Rangers, 1-0. He struck out the first two with fastballs between 101 and 104. Wyatt Langford worked him for eight pitches and fouled off two 1-and-2 104 miles an hour fastballs, then popped out to end the game on a 90 miles an hour slider.

He threw 16 pitches, 13 for strikes.

In five appearances, Miller has thrown 47 pitches more than 100 miles an hour. Next best is Michael Kopech with 24 and third is Cincinnati’s Hunter Greene with 17. But Miller has thrown only 126 pitches, Kopech 135 and Greeene 304.

Yes, the 25-year-old righthanded Miller can bring it, sling it, wing it and zing it.

—QUOTE: From former drop low side-armed junkball closer Dan Quisenberry: “Most pitchers fear losing their fastball and since I don’t have one the only thing I have to fear is fear itself.”

—BETTER THAN A CLARK BAR?: Caitlin Clark mesmerized me like no other basketball player, male or female. But I can empathize with the way some African-Americans feel.

The predominantly black University of South Carolina women’s team is coached by a black woman and is 109-3 over the past three seasons and just finished 38-0 to win the NCAA championship.

And they totally whipped and dominated Iowa and Clark in the finals.

“But the media paid all its attention on a white girl that played on the losing team?” a black friend asked me. “Why is that?”

The answer is easy. Caitlin Clark has put women’s basketball on the world-wide map and she is the main reason 18.9 million watched on TV, 4.1 million more than watched UConn beat Purdue in the NCAA men’s final.

What does that tell you? Again, I emphathize with those who believe South Carolina was short-changed — and the Gamecocks are three levels above awesome — but Caitlin Clark is not only the North Star of college basketball, she is the Constellation.

—KEEP CHUCKIN’ IT: Miami (Ohio) has signed football coach Chuck Martin to a five-year $4.25 million contract extension. Good for Chuck, well-deserved but surprising.

Miami is called the Cradle of Coaches because it is a launching pad for football coaches to go on to bigger and better things. The list of Miami coaches who have moved to great heights include: Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman, Bo Schembechler, John Harbaugh, Dick Crum, Ara Parseghian, Bill Mallory, Johnny Pont and Sean McVay.

It is surprising that Martin hasn’t been lured away. He was 11-3 last year, Mid-American Conference champions and since 2016 in 42-17 in MAC games.

Martin has blown the coaching whistle at Miami for 10 season and before the contract extension he had coached the Redhawks for 10 seasons, longer than any coach in Miami history.

—GREEN, GREEN: Some little known facts abou the Masters and Augusta National. Can fans have cell phone while on the course? No. Is that really sand in the traps? No, it is granulated-quartz in th 44 blinding white traps.

Can you buy tickets at the gate? No, you have to enter a lottery and pray to Bobb Jones that your name is drawn. Do they put dye in the water on the course? Yes, to make the water more reflective for TV.

Did I break 100 the two times I played 
Augusta National? Uh…no.

—PLAYLIST NO. 42: Just when I believe the ol’ iPod has played ‘em all, I hear more:.

One More Night (Phil Collins), Free Falling (Tom Petty), Nothing Compares 2U (Sinead O’Connor), Aubrey (Bread), Take A Chance On Me (Abba), California Dreamin’ (Mamas & The Papas), Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Beach Boys), Hello, Dolly (Louis Armstrong), Let Your Love Flow (Bellamy Brothers).

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