OBSERVATIONS: The night Gary’s Real McCoy let me down


UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, refusing to watch all those replays of past World Series and NCAA tournaments because I’ve been there, done that, and I know the outcomes.

—Chatted on the telephone this week with long-time friend and legendary scout Gary Hughes. I hate talking on the phone, but what else is there to do these days?

Hughes now scouts for the Arizona Diamondbacks after four years with the Boston Red Sox. Back in the early 2,000s Hughes worked for the Cincinnati Reds.

During spring training we spent too much time at the Sarasota Kennel Club, wagering on the greyhounds. In fact, he called me Captain Greyhound and I called him Mr. Baseball.

Former Minnesota manager Tom Kelly owned and bred greyhounds and he named one after Hughes and me — Gary’s Real McCoy.

The pooch turned out to be a world-class All-American greyhound and dominated at the Fort Myers, Fla. track.

As a favor, Kelly sent Gary’s Real McCoy to Sarasota so we could watch him race. I was thrilled and figured, “Hey, he is an All-American and Fort Myers is a better track than Sarasota.

So I invited all my friends and some family members who were at spring training to watch our dog dominate. And I put a few quid on him.

Gary’s Real McCoy finished seventh in an eight-dog race and I was perplexed and red-faced. Then his trainer told me, “He was on a strange track, not used to it, out of his element.”

Guess I should have checked with the trainer before I trudged to the betting window.

—QUOTE: From American humorist Josh Billings: “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” (Gary’s Real McCoy didn’t love me at all on that fateful night at the Sarasota Kennel Club.)

—When Shin-Soo Choo played for the Cincinnati Reds, he was totally first class. And he jumped into my all-time Top Ten this week

He now plays for the Texas Rangers and donated $1,000 to every player in the team’s minor league system. That’s more than 200 players, at least $200,000 from Choo.

—QUOTE: From former NFL receiver Randy Moss: “When you’re rich, you don’t write checks. Straight cash, homey.” (The bet here is that Choo wrote a big, fat check.)

—They keep coming up with ideas, mostly absurd, about what to do about extra-inning baseball games. The most absurd of the absurd comes from Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman and former Cincinnati Reds minor-leaguer Justin Turner. He says if a game is tied after nine innings the outcome should be decided by a Home Run Derby.

OK, you want absurd? How about declaring the team that strikes out the fewest times after nine innings being declared the winner?

Actually, how about quit messing with the game? Period.

—QUOTE: From former outfielder Oscar Gamble: “They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.” (Do be do be do.)

—There is only one ‘winner’ with baseball’s season on hold. That would be the Houston Disastros. They don’t have to face the rage of fans and don’t have to duck pitches thrown by the other team’s pitchers.

Oh, and the Boston Red Sox. The investigation into whether they, too, cheated with sign-stealing is on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic.

—QUOTE: From former University of Houston wide receiver Torrin Polk, talking about coach Joint Jenkins: “He treats us like men. He lets us wear ear rings.” (How about brassieres?)

—Somebody said if they didn’t know better they would think that Covid-19 was a race car in the 24 hours of LeMans.

—My all-time favorite athletes (some for personal reason):

MLB: Aaron Boone, Eric Davis, Sean Casey.

NFL: Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Peyton Manning.

NFL Quarterbacks: Kenny Stabler, Frankie Albert, Boomer Esiason (all left handed).

NBA: Julius Erving, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

NBA Left Handers: Bill Russell, David Robinson, James Harden,

NHL: Wayne Gretzky, Phil Esposito (a left hander), Terry Sawchuk (a left hander).

NCAA/BB: Don May (a left hander), Pete Maravich, Obi Toppin.

NCAA/BB (left handers): Don May, Bo Kimble (Loyola Marymount), Zion Williamson.

NCAA/FB: Archie Griffin, Roger Staubach, Bo Jackson.

NCAA/FB (Who didn’t play in the NFL): Ernie Davis, Doc Blanchard, Dick Kazmaier.

Tennis: Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Martinia Navratilova (all left handers).

Golf: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Phil “Lefty” Mickelson .

Auto Racing: Richard Petty, A.J. Foyt, Benny Parsons (they all turned left).

—QUOTE: From Hank Aaron, baseball’s all-time home run leader (sorry, Barry Bonds): “It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on a golf course.”

3 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: The night Gary’s Real McCoy let me down”

  1. I recall fondly our trips to Derby Lane. And the casino boat. Even when trip got cut short because they had to take an ill man off the boat!!

  2. Hal:

    Richard Petty, the other “fellow” referred to as “The King”. Of course Mister Foyt at the top of my list along with Lloyd Ruby, Johnny Rutherford and Gary Bettenhausen.

    I confess enjoying the ’75 & ’76 series replays this week. Makes me smile recalling those days watching Sparky, Gary Nolan throwing that great change up, “The Hawk” Clay Carroll, Tony Perez, Pete, Johnny, Joe, and Davey.

    Hope they re-play the ’90 series. How ’bout some of those playoff games v. Pittsburg ?

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