OBSERVATIONS: Votto better be ready for St. Louis

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, some voices from St. Louis and from a past Reds manager:

—When the Cincinnati Red return to St. Louis in mid-September, Joey Votto can expect a raucous reaction in Busch Stadium III, maybe even hostile.

As one might expect, Votto’s expletive-dripping rant against Cardinals fans after the Reds swept four games in Busch went over in St. Louis like somebody criticizing toasted ravioli.

In late April, the Cardinals swept three games in St. Louis and Votto didn’t like the reaction of some fans.

“We had some s***-talking m*****-ers in St. Louis after the first series sweep,” said Votto on a Zoom media conference with Cincinnati media. “We had some people sweeping brooms and s*** like that while we were leaving. So, how’d you like that? How’d you like that?”

And it got instant reaction in St. Louis, like this one from St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist Jeff Gordon:

“Votto wasn’t in St. Louis for the sweep. He played no part in it — he was off on a Triple-A rehab assignment, recovering from his broken thumb — so his boastful outburst seemed comically out of place.” (But he was with the team for the St. Louis sweep.)

“Votto, 37, has been a shell of his former self. Given that Votto is one of the most overpaid players in baseball, earning $25 million per year through the 2023 season. That high salary for ordinary production has limited the Reds’ ability to make upgrades. So he is about the last guy on that roster who should exude hubris.” (Touche.)

“The Reds have won two playoff games and suffered 10 losing seasons since Votto became a regular in 2008. During that same span the Cardinals suffered zero losing seasons, won two National League pennants, captured a World Series and made six other trips to the playoffs.” (Double touche.)

“So, yeah, the Reds can pop some championship champagne over that four-game sweep. Maybe they should hold a parade, too, just to feel what it’s like.” (Ouch,. That one really hurt.)

—Bryan Price took a lot of guff and a lot of heat from fans when he managed the Reds for four years to the depths of mediocrity.

I always thought a lot of it was unmerited because the man had to work with what was given him.

And he said a lot this week in an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

“I long for the days when managers make out their own lineups and make their own decisions,” said Price. “I only think there is a handful of guys who do that now. Now, the front office is telling you who’s going to play, how you’re going to use your bullpen and pre-define your moves as a manager.”

Price didn’t name names, but he only managed one team. After managing the Reds, he became pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies but quit, walking away from the $1 million left on a contract that had two more years. Why? He doesn’t like the game as it is being played.

“I think we better take a really good hard look at this Trojan horse that opened itself and emptied into professional baseball and really take into account what the game looks like. It’s hard to watch.

“Now everything is about velocity and launch angles and analytical type of play with shifts and no defense any more,” he added. “That’s unappealing for someone like me and my generation.”

And from this vantage point, I say, “The Price is right.”

—QUOTE: From Bryan Price as told to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale: “We have to appreciate what people want to see. It’s not necessarily the bat flips or pitchers screaming at jitters when they strike him out. That may have some value with some of this generation, but the broad picture is that we want action. When there’s no action, it’s really easy to flip the channel.” (So, what’s on Netflix today?)

—Never again shall I refer to Mr. Aaron as Hank. Turns out, he hated it, even though he always was referred to as Hank.

His given name was Henry and that’s what he preferred. His relatives, friends and close associates always called him Henry, never Hank.

If somebody called out, “Hey, Hank,” he ignored them and kept walking. Hank may have been his baseball name, but he abhorred it.

And that story that Aaron batted cross-handed with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro League. No way, says the scout who signed him and first saw him when Aaron was 16. “I never once saw him bat cross-handed, not once,” said Ed Scott.

The Indianapolis Clowns, by the way, never played a game in Indianapolis when Aaron was with them. They played every game on the road, didn’t even have a home park in Indianapolis.

—QUOTE: From Henry/Hank Aaron: “I never smile when I have a bat in my hands. That’s when you’ve got to be serious. When I get out on the field, nothing’s a joke to me. I don’t feel like I should walk around with a smile on my face.” (Especially if somebody calls him Hank.)

—In six seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, Tom Seaver pitched 42 complete games in 156 starts. He completed a club record six straight games in 1977.

Those were the first six games he pitched for the Reds after being traded to Cincinnati by the New York Mets. His last two games with the Mets were complete games, too, giving him eight straight.

Those were the days when managers like Sparky Anderson thought that 100 pitches was just a useless number. In today’s game, one can’t find a pitcher with eight straight games of at least five innings.

QUOTE: From Tom Terrific Seaver: “I would like to be a great artist. I would quit pitching if I could pain like Monet or Rousseau. But I can’t. What I can do is pithing and I can do that very well.” (He was an artist. Nobody painted the corners like Tom Terrific. And it also was Seaver who said, “There are only two places in baseball, first place and no place.”)

—From Agonis Club buddy David Gasper:
Jon Rahm lost $1.7 million at the Memorial golf tournament when he was forced to withdraw after the third round while leading the tournament by six strokes when he test positive for COVID-19.

At about the same time, somebody in Ohio was given $1 million for taking the vaccination shots.

Yep, that person won a million for taking just two shots while Rohm took 198 shots and won nothing.

2 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Votto better be ready for St. Louis”

  1. St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Jeff Gordon seems to be a little sensitive. Votto never said anything negative about the Cardinals Organization. He never denied the fact that the Cardinals have dominated the Reds for years. Votto was simply calling out the group of Cardinals fans who were obnoxious to the team in the previous series in St. Louis. Votto was being candid. I thought that’s what any good journalist wants in an interview.

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