By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after watching the incredible North Carolina win over Duke and almost. . .almost. . .feeling sorry for Coach K (I’m tired of looking up how to spell his name).
~The Cincinnati Reds have made some mind-boggling, scalp-scratching decisions since the end of last season. But they finally made one that makes sense, even though it will cost them $8 million.
They have parted company with Japanese-born outfielder Shogo Akiyama for two seasons after signing a three-year $21 million deal, the Reds first Asian-born player.
The Reds offered to send him to Class AAA Louisville, but Akiyama is expected to reject it. The Reds will designate him for assignment and he will become a free agent.
“We felt we had better options in the outfield,” s said Reds General Manager Nick Krall at a media session in Goodyear, Ariz. “We like the guys that have played out there with Jake)Fraley, Tyler Naquin and we just felt that another left-handed bat was redundant.”
Akiyama took the news with professional aplomb, saying it was no surprise, bases on his two years of frustration at the plate.
”With two years, that’s the results that are out there. But, realistically, I still can play. I can play hard. I know I can play. So I just have to move forward with this situation,” he said through a translator.
Said manager David Bell, “He took it like a professional. He’s confident. He knows and we know there is a lot left in his tank. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he lands somewhere with an opportunity to help a team win.”
~Getting cut from a major league roster hurts, but maybe somebody should tell Akiyama that major league pitcher Mark Buehrle was cut from his high school team and major league pitcher Orel Hershiser was cut from his high school team and from his college baseball team.
How’d that work out for those two?
~Most humidors are stuffed with fine cigars, but a baseball humidor is coming to Great American Ball Park this season and, in fact, there will be humidors installed this year in all major league parks.
Storing baseballs in humidors keeps them moist, preventing them from drying out. Dry baseballs, particularly in dry-air locales like Denver, permits the baseball to fly longer distances.
That’s why a humidor was first installed in Colorado’s Coors Field. Arizona was added in 2019 and humidors were employed in 10 parks last season — Colorado, Arizona, Boston, St. Louis, Houston, Miami, New York Mets, Seattle, Texas and Toronto.
Question: If they had one in Citi Field in New York, why didn’t they have one in Yankee Stadium in New York?
And. . .experts say the relative humidity in Cincinnati is the highest of any MLB city, plenty of moisture in the air. So, by keeping balls moist in a humidor and with the relative humidity in GABP, balls will go even farther. Go figure.
~QUOTE: From the Mets Junkies web-site: “MLB needs to just stop coming up with ways to make the game unappealing and less exciting. The reality is that home runs make the game fun. If MLB wants to market itself to a younger generation, then they are taking a huge leap in the wrong direction by suppressing the offense.” (Home runs aren’t what offense is all about.”
How about some hitting the opposite way, some hit-and-run plays, some stolen bases. Home runs have been too easy to hit. My opinion and I’m sticking with it.
~With the baseball season finally nearly upon us and the smoke from all the moves made by the Cincinnati Reds is clearing out of the front office, what did the team accomplish, other than weakening the product.
Some quick figuring: The players no longer employed by the Reds are estimated to have cost the Reds about $87 million in salaries.
Their replacements, the players the Reds acquired or sign as free agents, cost about $25 million.
So the salary-dumping netted the Reds nearly $62 million. Wonder where that money will be ‘invested?’
~What the transfer portal is doing, Part XXXIV:
Matt McMahon was hired away from mid-major Murray State to LSU and is without a team. Every scholarship member of the LSU team put his name in the transfer portal, leaving McMahon without a player.
Not to worry, though, With more than 1,000 players in the transfer portal, McMahon will easily fill his roster, probably with a lot of mid-major stars and compete next year for the SEC title. What a world we are living in.
~And as I predicted, Wright State’s Tanner Holden was in the transfer portal about five minutes before he signed with Ohio State.
It makes one wonder if the Buckeyes were in Holden’s ear before he entered the transfer portal. That’s illegal. But everybody knows incentives are dangled in front of players, enticing them to transfer, by many, many ‘blue blood’ schools.
~One of country singer Eric Church’s many hit songs was ‘Mr. Misunderstood.’ Wonder how many of his fans understood or misunderstood this.
Church, a huge North Carolina basketball fan, cancelled a concert in the sold-out 18,500-seat AT&T Center in San Antonio so he could attend the Final Four in New Orleans.
Guess he had no faith in the Tar Heels when he scheduled that concert for the weekend of the Final Four, huh.