OBSERVATIONS: Are the Reds paying attention to the Bengals?

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wondering if MLB teams will use their spring training facilities this year for tractor pulls, wrestling matches, beauty pageants and Jarts competition.

—Now that the fans have been lit on fire by the Cincinnati Bengals and their trip to the Super Bowl, does anybody think it might wake up the
Bengals’ snoozing neighbors down the street. . .the Cincinnati Reds.

Maybe now they will at least try to be competitive instead of residing on that MLB list of teams tanking.

Can Joe Burrow play shortstop? He probably can play wherever he wants.

So what is the history of a Cincinnati team playing a Los Angeles team in the post-season? Practically non-existent.

One has to go back 60 years to 1962 when the University of Cincinnati beat UCLA in the Final Four, 72-71.

World Series? None. . .no Reds vs. Angels.

National League Championship Series? None. . .no Reds vs. Dodgers.

NBA Finals? None. . .no Cincinnati Royals vs. Los Angeles Lakers.

NHL Stanley Cup? None. . .Cincinnati has never had an NHL franchise. The Cincinnati Stingers played in the ill-fated World Hockey Association in the 1970s, but were not one of the three teams absorbed into the NHL when the WHA folded.

Super Bowl? No. . .until this year.

—Somebody wrote on Facebook that it is too bad that legendary sports writer Jim Murray is gone because he certainly would rip Cincinnati as a city. Murray was famous (infamous?) for making fun of cities when he attended games.

Well, he already skewered Cincinnati. He was in town when I-75 was being paved near the stadium. Nobody was working on the highway that day and Murray wrote “They still haven’t fixed the freeway.  It must be Kentucky’s turn to use the cement mixer.”

Ouch, that one stung. But Mark Twain hit Cincinnati hard in the solar plexus when he said, “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always 20 years behind the times.”

As far as sports goes, Cincinnati is 32 years behind the times. It has been that long since the city had a champion, the 1990 Cincinnati Reds and the Nasty Boys.

There is one Nasty Boy in town right now and his name is Joe Burrow. He is right now as popular as a Cincinnati J.B. legend, Johnny Bench. (Yes, I hear you in the background, Jack Billingham.)

—There are only two reasons why I’d ever watch an NBA game: Luke Kennard, Obi Toppin. Somebody told me the Cleveland Cavaliers are the shock of the NBA this year. I might check ‘em out and let you know.

Did you know the NBA All-Star game is in Cleveland this year. Obi Toppin is in the slam dunk contest. Like baseball’s home run derby, the NBA’s slam dunk show is better than the game.

—Couldn’t Tom Brady just retire quietly and slip away in the twilight? Why all the dramatics? There were a couple of reports that said Brady was waiting so he could collect one more $15 million pay check from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A couple of people close to him called that fake news. Hey, what’s another $15 million to Tom Brady?

During his 22-year career, Brady passed for more than 84,000 yards, or more than 47 miles. That’s the distance between Dayton and Cincinnati and he would have had to face about 10,000 orange construction barrels.

Still on The Brady Front, the documentary about him, ‘Man in the Arena,’ is worth a long squat in a recliner to watch.

—Former pro golfer and ravishing beauty Paige Spiranac won’t be welcome at any South Bend, Ind. golf course. She teed off the good folks at Notre Dame.

Tom Brady can knock a golf ball with about the same accuracy as his passes, so when he announced his retirement, Spiranac posted this: “With all this free time, I think Tom Brady is going to start grinding on his golf game. Calling it now. He will win a senior tour major before Notre Dame wins a playoff game.”

And there are now a legion of Irish fans who would like to tackle her in the rough. . .well, even before she cracked on Notre Dame.

—It leaked out before an official announcement, but doesn’t stuff like this always leak?

The NFL team formerly known as the Washington Redskin and the Washington Football Team, has been renamed the Washington Commanders.

For all Washington fans, here’s hoping it runs better than the Studebaker Commander my dad owned. It wouldn’t start when the temperature was below 30. When it did run, it could pass everything on the road but a gas station.

—Sonny Fulks, my good buddy and managing editor of PressProsMagazine, penned a piece this week and to its content I add a big amen.

It was Jackie Robinson’s birthday this week and it was appropriately celebrated, as it is every year. And, of course, every baseball season there is a Jackie Robinson Day and every major league player wears his retired No. 42.

As the world knows, Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodger and endured harsh and ugly responses.

But how about Larry Doby? What credit and recognition does he get? Practically none. Doby broke the color line in the American League, joining the Cleveland Indians (No, not the Guardians, not now, not ever) just three months after Robinson joined the Dodgers

Doby endured the same taunts and indignities as did Robinson and like Robinson he was a darn good player, one of my favorites as a very young Tribe fan.

It is long overdue for a yearly Larry Doby Day and the retirement of his No. 14.

—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame outfielder Larry Doby, the American League’s first African American player: “I knew being accepted was going to be hard, but I knew I was involved in a situation that was going to bring opportunities to other blacks.” (Indeed, Doby is as much of a pioneer as Jackie Robinson.)

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