OBSERVATIONS: Can Reds Continue To Climb?

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave as the Cincinnati Reds play the Cleveland Indians/Guardians, knowing I’ll be happy whomever wins. I grew up an Indians fan and covered the Reds since Harry Wright managed them in 1869.

—YOU BE ‘THE JUDGE’: What’s that saying, “Be careful what you wish for?”

Yankee Stadium fans didn’t get what they wished for Sunday afternoon. They got more than they deserved.

When Trent Grisham came to bat in the sixth inning, the New York Yankees trailed the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2, but had two runners on base.

The fans began chanting, “We want Soto, we want Soto?” And they didn’t mean former Reds pitcher Mario Soto. They meant their star outfielder, Juan Soto.

Soto was missing his third game with forearm inflamation and the fans figured he could hit better with one arm than his stand-in, Grisham and his .083 average, could hit with two hands.

Grisham, 4 for 49 for the season, blasted a three-run home run off Tyler Glasnow, the game-decider in a 6-4 win.

Then, when Glasnow came to the plate for his next appearance, the fickle fans began chanting, “We want Glasnow, we want Glasnow.” He should have given them the Fickled Finger of Fate, but he didn’t.

Amazingly enough, both Soto and Grisham came to the Yankees at the same time from the San Diego Padres.

Aaron Judge homered, his 24th, after Grisham’s homer and said, “I wasn’t too happy (to hear the Soto chant). Grish is a heck of a ballplayer and showed it in a big moment. He made a good point, he got his point across with his homer.”

—UP THE STEEP CLIMB: What does a seven-game winning streak do for you?

In the case of the Cincinnati Reds, it meant a leap from last place in the National League Central to a tie for second with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.

What else? It meant they jumped 12 spots in the weekly MLB web-site rankings, from 24th to 12th. They passed the Cubs and Cardinals and only the Milwaukee Brewers (sixth) are ahead of them among NL Central inhabitants.

But they still aren’t the best team in Ohio. The shocking Cleveland Guardians are fifth.

What is astounding right now is that there are 13 teams in the 15-team National League within three games of a playoff spot.

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, next to the word ‘parity,’ there is a picture of a National League flag.

—HUGS FROM HUGGINS: Our unpaid contributer, Jeff Singleton, came up with this gem that happened 114 years ago. . .and I just missed covering it, something that never happened before and never happened since.

In a 1910 game, second baseman Miller Huggins of the St. Louis Cardinals (he also played for the Cincinnati Reds) came to the plate six times and was 0-for-0 with with two RBI. Huh? Well, he walked his first three times, hit a sacrifice fly (RBI), sacrifice bunted and walked with the bases loaded (RBI).

The Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 10-5, in a place called Baker Bowl, with only 800 witnesses.

Huggins led the league that season with 116 walks and later walked into managerial positions with the Cardinals and with the New York Yankees, where he won six American League pennants and four World Series trophies.

—QUOTE: From former player and manager Miller Huggins: “Any of the players I managed could come to me if they needed help and I’d give them a helping hand, except for Carl Mays and Joe Bush. If they were in a gutter, I’d kick them.” (Why? He never said, but they were both pitchers and Huggins thought pitchers were dirty dogs.)

—TEN BEST MEN: How rare is it for a player to win Rookie of the Year, win an MVP and be voted into the Hall of Fame. Almost as rare as Pez dispensers.

Only 10 players have done it: Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Rod Carew, Johnny Bench, Andre Dawson, Cal Ripken Jr. and Jeff Bagwell.

—QUOTE: From Johnny Bench on slumps: “They are like a soft bed — easy to get into and hard to get out of.”

—THE BOO BOYS: Two of the most booed players in baseball history were Pete Rose and Reggie Jackson. And believe it, they rather enjoyed it.

Said Rose: “If you ain’t gettin’ booed, you ain’t no good.”

Said Jackson: “They don’t boo nobodies.”

—TOPPING AN OFFER FOR TOPPIN: Former University of Dayton megastar Obi Toppin becomes a free agent when the NBA season concludes after his first year with the Indiana Pacers.

Who is more popular in Indianapolis, Toppin or WNBA Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark? Obi and his platinum smile is an ultra-favorite of the fans, even if he isn’t a starter.

The Pacers say they want to keep him, but they’ll have to put their money where their lip service is. To keep him, they must submit a one-year $7.75 million offer sheet.

If that is done, Toppin becomes a restricted free agent, meaning the Pacers can match any offer any NBA team makes to Toppin. If the Pacers match that offer, they keep him.

If not, he can sign with any team that wants a player who can whip the ball between his legs and dunk in one fell swoop.

—QUICK CHANGE ARTIST: There was a golf friend who, uh, bent the rules and wrote a paper entitled, ‘How To Hit A Titleist Into The Rough And Hit a Top Flite Out of The Rough.’

—QUOTE QUOTIENT: Some more of what they uttered, and not under their breaths:

—From former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Harper: “The best pitchers have the worst moves to first base, probably because they let so few get there.” (And some hitters need a map, GPS and two Sherpas to find first base.)

—From former Yankee relief pitcher Sparky Lyle: “Why pitch nine innings when you can get just as famous pitching two?” (These days, Sparky, any pitcher who goes nine innings is awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor.)

—From that baseball philosopher Casey Stengel: “You have to have a catcher or you’d have a lot of passed balls.” (Bob Uecker was a catcher specializing in passed balls.”

—From former player/manager Joe Cronin: “I used to send myself up to pinch-hit when the wind was blowing out.” (Did he get that from Mary Poppins: “I’ll stay till the wind changes?”)

—From former Baltimore manager Earl Weaver: “Bad ballplayers make good managers.” (And Earl should know. He played in the minors and never even had a sip of coffee in the majors.)

—PLAYLIST NUMBER 60: It isn’t difficult to find songs for my never-ending list of listenable works:

You Shook Me All Night Longe (AC/DC), Jessie’s Girl (Rick Springfield), Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down (Kris Kristofferson), Hungry Eyes (Eric Carmen), Draggin’ The Line (Tommy James & The Shondells), I Think I Love You (David Cassidy).

Walk Like A Man (Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons), Words (BeeGees), Hang On Sloopy (The McCoys), Don’t Let Me Down (Chicago), Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones), Come Together (The Beatles), Here I Go Again (Whitesnake), Pour Some Sugar On It (Def Leopard).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *