OBSERVATIONS: Is MLB’s ‘No-fighting’ edict really ‘The Astros Rule?’


UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, choking on the dust created by three workers tearing up our old flooring to replace it with wood. Four words: ‘Nadine better love it.’ But she says she is floored by it.

—A wonderful retired scout offered this about baseball’s no-fighting edict if/when the sport resumes.

“Just call it the ‘Houston Astros Rule’ and be done with it.” Very astute, my friend. Because of Houston’s sign-stealing controversy, several major league pitchers have said they planned to use Astros’ hitters for target practice.

That, of course, doesn’t mean pitchers won’t throw guided spheroids at Houston batting helmets. It means the Astros can’t charge the mound and throw haymakers at the pitcher.

—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux: “I know I don’t throw hard any more, but I’d like to think I can still hurt a guy who isn’t looking.” (No matter who is pitching, Houston batters better be looking at all times.)

—An unbelievable statistic you will never see again: In 1994, Atlanta’s Greg Maddux pitched 202 innings and walked 31 and gave up four home runs. He was 16-6 with 10 complete games and a 1.56 earned run average.

And that was the year the season ended in August when the players went on strike, ending the season.

—QUOTE: When Greg Maddux was young, the family moved to Las Vegas and his father became a blackjack dealer. He explained to his son, “The house always wins.” So, about his pitching, Maddux said, “I was the house.”

—My wife, Nadine, did not hoard toilet paper and, uh, we never got wiped out.

—University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh appeared on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ and said, “Heck, yeah. I’d be comfortable coaching a game without any fans. If the choice were to play in front of no fans or not play, then I would choose to play in front of no fans.”

That’s very accommodating, Mr. Harbaugh, but does the fact you have road games at Ohio State and Michigan State play into this? Harbaugh hasn’t beaten Ohio State since, well, ever. He is 0-5 and mounting.

—QUOTE: From Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh: “I’ve been known to come through occasionally.” (But never against Ohio State. . .yet.)

—Had breakfast Thursday morning at Mom’s Restaurant in Franklin (best breakfast anywhere) with Luke Kennard and several members of his family.

What a great family. Kennard was a basketball sensation at Franklin High School and played two years at Duke. He was the 12th overall pick, selected by the Detroit Pistons.

“I’m living in Birmingham and I love it,” he said. “I’m really anxious to get back to playing.”

Not only is Kennard a top-notch all-around player, he is even better as a person — almost shy and extremely humble.

His father, Mark Kennard, was a star at Franklin High, too. My oldest son, Brian, wanted me to remind Mark of the game during which he (Brian) scored 38 points against Franklin with Mark Kennard on the floor.

OK, Brian, I reminded him. And he remembered. In fairness, though, I have to add that you took 33 shots. Yes, Brian inherited his gunnery from me. As Larry Bird once said, “You never make any of the shots you don’t take.”

Both Brian and I never passed up an opportunity to shoot, even when double teamed. OK, that’s a fib. I was never double teamed, but Brian was.

—QUOTE: From former NBA coach Pat Riley: “If I had to choose a player to take a shot to save a game, I’d choose Michael Jordan. If I had to choose a player to take a shot to save my life, I’d take Larry Bird.”

—I was playing ball with my dog, Paige, one day. I throw a tennis ball high into the air. Paige tracks it like an outfielder, lets it bounce, then leaves all four feet to leap in the air and catch it. She seldom misses and I should have named her Willie Mays.

A neighbor passed by one day and saw Paige’s act and said, “She’s a better ball player than you.” He was right. Neither Paige nor I could hit a curveball.

—Former Dayton Kiser/Miami U. basketball star Ron Harper, who played for the Chicago Bulls, appeared on a roundtable discussion produced by Betonline.

The Bulls fired coach Doug Collins and replaced him with Phil Jackson and the Bulls won six NBA titles.

Harper was asked if the Bulls would have won with Collins still coaching and he said, “No, not at all. Doug was a great hire and a great coach, but he loved MJ (Michael Jordan).

“He ran everything through MJ. He wanted MJ to be the leading scorer in the league and did everything to appease him,” said Harper. “Phil Jackson knew the only way we could way we could win basketball game was to incorporate everybody.
“Phil’s triangle offense allowed everybody to touch the basketball and play with the basketball,” Harper added. “If you have one guy out there dominating the basketball and scoring the basketball you ain’t going to win a lot of basketball games. You’re going to win a lot of basketball games, but you ain’t going to win basketball games.

“Phil said to MJ, ‘You’re going to score, but we need the other guys to help the team.”

—QUOTE: From Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson, a message to Michael Jordan: “If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.” (They say the Buddha could slam dunk with the best of them.)

3 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Is MLB’s ‘No-fighting’ edict really ‘The Astros Rule?’”

  1. Wow, Hal! That’s a great column. Been following your timeline on fb and enjoyed all the comments and your comebacks. This article is icing on the cake and a cherry on top. The Bird quote is great advice for any athlete…and in real life. I treasure you continued work.

  2. Hey Hal: The flooring project sounds interesting.

    You and Nadine should feel fortunate to have a contractor doing work. The ones I’ve been calling since early April agree to appointments then simply don’t show up…they don’t even call to say they won’t be coming. Apparently can’t find skilled people to work.

    Houston Astro’s rules indeed. File along side the what’s good for west coast and east coast teams !

    What would Bob Gibson or Don Drysdale do for those Astro’s !

    No Indy 500 on Sunday. Who’d a thunk it !

  3. While watching “America’s Team” on TBS it was clearly obvious the umps weren’t just giving Maddux the black on the plate but five or six inches off the plate.
    If a pitch was somehow called a ball the director would pan to a screaming Bobby Cox, begging for a strike. And Mazoni the pitching coach. Smoltz, Glavine, and Avery also benefitted from this generosity. Amazing they only won one World Series!

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