OBSERVATIONS: For What It’s ‘Werth’ In The Kentucky Derby

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, knowing that this week, Kentucky Derby Week, everybody becomes a horse expert, even if they don’t know a bridle from a bridal or reins from reigns and rains.

—IS IT ‘WERTH’ IT?: It is Kentucky Derby week, so let’s mix in some baseball with horse racing.

Jayson Werth played major league baseball for 15 years, following the spike prints of his great grandfather, grandfather, stepfather and uncle, all of whom made it to the big leagues.

While playing for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, Werth hit nine post-season home runs, something not even Hall of Fame Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt ever did.

Now Werth is an organic farmer in Illinois and is horsing around. He is part-owner of Dornoch, a colt that will break out of the No. 1 post in Saturday’s Run For The Roses at 20-to-1.
Even though Dornoch has won three of his six starts and won the Fountain of Youth Stakes, a Grade II race at Gulfstream Park, most pro handicappers don’t even list him in their expected top ten finishers.

The horse’s name is pronounced door knock and Werth hopes Dornoch will be knocking at the door of the wire before the other 19 steeds.

Since he is now a big-time horse owner, we’ll call him by his full name, Jayson Richard Gowan Werth.

—MORE ROSE PETALS: Speaking of baseball and horses, Pete Rose’s two favorite things, contributor Jeff Singleton found another one for me. And, by the way, the Kentucky Derby’s Run For The Roses has nothing to do with Pete.

Rose is the only player in MLB history to play more than 500 games at five different positions. They are: First base (939), second base (628), third base (634), left field (671), right field (595).

And the total games are about the same amount of horses he bet on at old River Downs and Turfway Park. . .which, of course, was perfectly legal.

—WHO KNEW, NOT ME?: In my 51 years of scribbling about baseball, I thought I knew all the rules and nuances. Wrong.

I saw something this week I never saw before during a Padres-Reds game. . .a manager took a run off the scoreboard that his team scored.

It is a rule they should call ‘Manager’s Choice.’

The Padres led, 1-0, with runners on third and first. Jake Cronenworth grounded out to second base as the runner on third scored. But catcher’s interference was called on Luke Maile.

By rule, San Diego manager Mike Schildt had a choice: (1) Ignore the interference and take the run and the out at first base. (2) Take the interference, but the runner that scored would have to go back to third base, no run, but Cronenworth would get first base.

Schildt chose to give up the run in favor of having the bases loaded with one out by accepting the catcher’s interference.

It was a wise and sage choice. With the bases loaded for Manny Machdo, he emptied them with a three-run double, the deciding runs in San Diego’s 6-4 win.

Said Schildt about taking off the run, “I’ll bet on Machado every time.” Wonder who Schildt is taking in the Kentucky Derby.

—WHO’S ROCKN’: Which MLB team is the worst right now? I call it a three-way tie between the Chicago White Sox (6-25), the Colorado Rockies (7-24) and the Miami Marlins (9-24).

The Rockies, though, go to the bottom of the list because at some point in each of their 31 games they’ve been behind.

—DANDY SANDY: There is no question that Sandy Koufax was one of the best pitcher’s ever to put a toe plate on his spikes (Do they still do that?)

But when Koufax walked to the mound in Dodger Stadium, it usually was game over. . .quickly. In 88 starts, counting playoff games, only four times did Koufax give up three or more runs in Chavez Ravine.

—ELLY DE LA CARDIN: Not only is Elly De La Cruz wowing them on the field, when he isn’t getting thrown out at third base, he also is impressing folks off the field, too.

MLB-TV’s show, ‘Off Base,’ gave De La Cruz its monthly ‘Show Sauce’ award as MLB’s flashiest dresser.

—BOWL ME OVER: It is doubtful that professional Hall of Fame bowlers Don Carter or Dick Weber ever uttered these words, but they could have: “You know how they throw the ball into the crowd after winning a game? That’s not allowed in bowling. I know that now.”

—A FOOD ‘GAG’: The Houston Inn near Lebanon reportedly has been purchased by the owners of Walt’s Hitching Post in Northern Kentucky, a favorite night spot for major league umpires.

The Houston always was famous for its salad bar and frog’s legs. A friend of mine once pigged out there on frog’s legs and later passed away. It was determined that he croaked.

—HANGING IN THERE: I’m 83 and I’ve adopted comedian Steven Wright’s philosophy: “My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.”

And this one: Where do people in hell tell people to go?

—PLAYLIST No. 48: So you thought my iPod has to be empty? Not quite. I found these:

Time Capsules (Al Stewart), Money For Nothing (Dire Straits), You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand), Let Your Love Flow (Bellamy Brothers), Memphis, Tennessee (Johnny Rivers), Dead Man’s Curve (Jan & Dean), Okie From Muskogee (Merle Haggard).

When A Man Loves A Woman (Percy Sledge), Down On The Corner (Credence Clearwater Revival), Hold Me (Fleetwood Mac), Open Arms (Journey), Forever My Darling (Elvis Presley), She’s About A Mover (Sir Douglas Quintet), Into The Night (Benny Mardones).

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