OBSERVATIONS: Is Greene ready or is he still too green?

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after wasting most of my Sunday afternoon watching a Kansas tornado and a pair of glass slippers shatter before my very eyes.

—He is only 22 and his minor-league record is 14-16. After starting 5-0 with a 1.98 earned run average at Class AA Chattanooga last season, he was promoted to Class AAA Louisville and was 5-8 in 14 starts with a 4.13 ERA.

But Hunter Greene is the poster boy for pitchers with the Cincinnati Reds and there is talk about him being dropped into the Reds’ rotation this year. Is he ready? Is he being rushed? Stay tuned.

The much-heralded Greene started an exhibition game Saturday in Scottsdale, Ariz. against the San Francisco Giants and put his fastball on display.

In two innings, he gave up four hits — two singles each inning, one an infield hit, but no runs. He threw 33 pitches, 22 for strikes and his fastball was a consistent 101 and 102 miles per hour. Eighteen were at 100 or more and four were at 102.

Former Reds back-up catcher Curt Casali and Buster Posey’s back-up with the Giants last season, faced Greene Saturday in the first inning and grounded out with two on base.

“It’s fast, I can tell you that,” Casali said. “It’s definitely different than what you normally see. There’s only a handful of guys that can really do it. It gets on you pretty quick and he has a decent slider to go with it. I can definitely see why the hype is so big about that guy.”

On the other side, left-hander Alex Wood pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the Giants. Remember him?

In 2019, the Reds paid him $9.65 million to start seven early-season games (1-3, 6.39). Then he lapsed onto the injured list for the rest of the season.

He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 60-game Covid-19 season and made only nine appearances before landing with the Giant last season, where he re-invigorated himself — 26 appearances, 10-4, 3.83.

And the Giants only paid him $3 million.

Tell me, is major league baseball a mess, or what?

—Nine Big Ten teams were invited to the NCAA tournament and none made it to the Elite Eight. What does that say about the selection committee?

Well, what do you expect from a conference that calls itself the Big Ten but has 14 schools?

—One of the delights during basketball season on TV is the commentary of Charles Barkley, known when he played as ‘The Round Mound of Rebound.’

What makes Barkley so listenable is that what pops into his brain races to his lips instantly and comes out unfiltered. He says what he thinks and lets the adjectives fall where they may. There are two words in the English language he has never put together —no comment.

It has been reported that he once ate a TV remote. Why? Because he is Charles Barkley, the man with the worst golf swing on Planet Earth.

—QUOTE: From former Utah Jazz president Frank Layden: “Sigmund Freud would jump out of his grave to examine Charles Barkley.” (Then Freud would need a psychiatrist.)

—A secret-to-success tale: While Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is correcting all the mistakes his team made in the first half, during half-time the Duke players are munching on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Further investigation is needed to determine if the peanut butter is Skippy or Jif and if the players can chose between grape and strawberry jelly.

—When the basketball season began, Las Vegas listed Saint Peter’s at 10,000 to 1 to win the NCAA. Before the Peacocks played North Carolina Sunday, those odds vaporized to 40 to 1.

Then we saw the inevitable against North Carolina. . .Tar Heels by 20. Peter’s showed up, but Saint took the day off.
And it took Saint Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway about 3 1/2 minutes after the game to abandon his players and sign on with Seton Hall.

—It was painful for the Flyer Faithful to watch Kansas and Miami playing Sunday in the NCAA Elite Eight.

The University of Dayton beat both en route to winning the ESPN Events invitational tournament in Orlando — Miami by 76-60 and Kansas by 74-73.

Can any Flyer fan say UMass Lowell, Lipscomb and Austin Peay without a tear in their eyes?

While on the subject, here is one thing wrong with college basketball. Miami’s Charlie Moore has played at four different schools — California, Kansas, DePaul and Miami. Have Jump Shot, Will Travel.

Former South Carolina coach Frank Martin took the UMass job. He and UD coach Anthony Grant were high school teammates at Miami Senior High School. Martin was so enamored with Grant that he wrote a college paper about him in which he penned: “. . .how hard he worked, how humble he is, how engaging he is as a person, his willingness to sacrifice for others, his ability to lead at the age of 16,”

—Missing short putts (gimmes) doesn’t just happen to weekend hackers. Sometimes the yips bite the touring pros, too. Australia’s 26-year-old Lucas Herbert was on the first extra hole of a playoff last week in the WGC Match Play tournament in Austin, Tex.

He had a 31-inch putt for a par. He missed. He had a 14-inch putt for a bogey. He missed. Thus he lost his match to Takumi Kanaya.

And there is a good bet his putter lost its life.

—University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway and his basketball program have been informed by the NCAA that they are under investigation for several alleged Level I and Level II violations.

And with the toothless NCAA, this is probably the last you will ever hear about it.

—With the talent-stuffed Los Angeles Lakers on the precipice of missing the NBA playoffs, there is a move in LA to change the team’s name to the ‘Loss’ Angeles Fakers.

—A lie detector test is required after this question: Why do you watch women’s beach volleyball?

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