OBSERVATIONS: Of gambling, fraud and money, money, money

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, displaying my degenerate love for baseball by sitting in my La-Z-Boy watching two of the worst teams in baseball skirmish, the Pittsburgh Pirates-Chicago Cubs. And then I watched a minor league game, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans against the Lynchburg Hellcats

—The Cubs were wearing their hideous Friday ‘Wrigleyville’ blue uniforms. Put a big leather bag on each player’s back and they’d look like U.S. Postal workers.

During the dull game, Cubs TV broadcasters John ‘Boog’ Sciambi and Doug Glanville signed the backs of large cards and sailed them into the stands. Some fans tried to throw them back.

—The telephone in my Philadelphia hotel room rang one day a few years ago on a Cincinnati Reds road trip. It was a Cincinnati radio station asking if I’d do an interview with its sports show talk host.

The host came on the phone and we did a 15-minute show on the state of the Reds. After the show, the host stayed on the line and said, “Hal, can I borrow $500 from you?”

The talk show host was Art Schlichter, one of the saddest stories you’ll ever hear. Schlichter was a star quarterback at Ohio State and a No. 1 draft pick of the Baltimore Colts. And he was/is a sufferer of a major gambling disease.

He became an accomplished con artist, adept at bilking money to feed his gambling disease. He has spent time in 17 different jails and prisons.

His last episode was to defraud folks of reportedly millions of dollars in a ticket scam, promising Super Bowl tickets he never produced, but he kept the money and gambled it into oblivion.

For that he was given a long sentence that he served in a Colorado prison. He was recently granted parole, but must serve at least nine more months in an Ohio facility.

The kicker on this sad tale is that he is not rehabilitated. While in prison, he convinced women on the outside to make wagers for him. He made bets in prison  with inmates and was suspended from getting on the internet because he was making on-line bets.

While he was at Ohio State, one of my well-respected mentors, Dayton Journal Herald sports editor Ritter Collett, was completely duped by Schlichter. Collett wrote a book about Schlichter called ‘Straight Arrow.’

It came out about the time Schlichter was drafted by the Colts and it was learned he owed Baltimore bookmakers $387,000. Collett had his garage full of unsold books.

And, no, I didn’t ‘loan’ Schlichter $500.

—Talk about being duped, how about ESPN? The sports network permitted a ‘high school’ called Bishop Sycamore out of Columbus to play a nationally-televised Sunday game against prep powerhouse IMG Academy, defending national champions.

Bishop Sycamore said it had a dozen highly recruited Division I players. Turned out it had none. Turns out Bishop Sycamore isn’t even an accredited school. It has no address, no campus. But it had a football team. It was 0-and-6 last year and was outscored 227-42. And the worst of the worst was that Bishop Sycamore lost a game, 19-7, to Sto-Rox in Allegheny County, Pa., on Friday, then played IMG Academy two days later.

The Bishop Sycamore coaches obviously had no concern about possible injury issues playing two football games in two days. And, of course, IMG won the game, played in Canton near the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 58-0.

Hey, ESPN, how about more research and less ta-da-dum, ta-da-dum?

—University of Michigan basketball center Hunter Dickson watched the Ohio State football team beat Minnesota, 45-31, then tweeted, “Okay, I’m going to say it. We’re beating Ohio State this year.”

Surely he meant on the basketball floor, not on the football field, didn’t he? Or maybe he meant cornhole. Yes, they do have collegiate cornhole teams

—It must have been fascinating to have been a New York baseball writer when Lefty Gomez pitched for the Yankees. He was a quote machine.

—Examples. . And the first one might be something Cincinnati Reds relief pitchers might consider:

—”A lot of things run through your head when you’re going in to relieve in a tight spot. One of them was, ‘Should I spike myself?’”

—“Hell, it took fifteen years to get Lou Gehrig out of a game. Sometimes I’m out in fifteen minutes.”

—“I’m the guy that made Joe DiMaggio famous. I want to thank DiMaggio for running down so many of my mistakes.”

—“I talked to the ball a lot of times in my career. I yelled, ‘Go foul, go foul.’”

—From Scott Russell, close confidante to former major league pitcher Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee. Lee told Russell what he would do in today’s extra-inning games when MLB starts the 10th inning with a runner on second base.

“I’d step back off the rubber, toss the ball to first base and shout to the umpire, ‘He never touched first base.’ Hell, Angel Hernandez would probably finally get one right by declaring the runner out.” (Angel Hernandez? Probably not. He’d call a balk and send the runner to third.)

—The University of Dayton football team opens its Pioneer Football League season against new league member Presbyterian on September 25 at Welcome Stadium.

And Presbyterian is bringing University of Michigan transfer quarterback Ren Hefley. In his debut Saturday, Hefley threw for an FCS record 10 touchdown passes during an 84-43 rout of St. Andrews, an NAIA school in North Carolina.

Hefley played three quarters and was 38 for 50 for 538 yards and no interceptions. Freshman receiver Jalyn Witcher caught five passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half. Matthew Rivera caught eight passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. (It isn’t true that Presbyterian really played Bishop Sycamore.)

—I’m so sorry I laughed at our golf team in high school. And my 2 1/2-year-old grandson, Preston, already carries around a set of cut down golf clubs. Keep carryin’ ‘em and start swingin’ ‘em, kiddo.

Why? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and more $$$$$$$$$$

Patrick Cantlay was handed a $15 million check for winning this week’s Tour Championship event at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. FIFTEEN MILLION. Brooks Koepka was injured Saturday and withdrew, didn’t even play Sunday’s final 18, finished last and ‘won’ $385,000.

When Arnold Palmer won his first Masters in 1958, he was paid $11,250 and given a $100 green jacket.)

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