OBSERVATIONS: ‘What’s a harried, undermanned manager to do?’

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave on a beautiful day when Ernie Banks would say, “It’s a beautiful day, let’s play two.” And the Reds right now would say, “It’s a beautiful day, let’s play none.”

~Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price began the 2018 season 3-and-15. . .and was terminated.

Bench coach Jim Riggleman replaced him and the Reds lost three more in a row and the 3-and-18 record was the worst start to a season in franchise history.

The 2022 Reds have wiped out that record with a 3-19 start (and counting) under manager David Bell. And many of the masses say it is time for the bell to toll on Bell.

If it happens, and there is no indication it is imminent, it would be nothing more than making Bell a scapegoat. It wasn’t Bell who endorsed sending away Wade Miley, Nick Castellanos, Michael Lorenzen, Sonny Gray, Tucker Barnhart, Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker (Did I miss anybody?) after the team finally finished above .500 last season and narrowly missed the post-season.

It was a decision made by CEO Bob Castellini and carried out by general manager Nick Krall, who made trades for many of those players that were worse than the Native American trade of Manhattan Island for $24 worth of trinkets.

With what was left for Bell, and mixing in 18 players spending time on the injured list in April, the poor guy has no chance. Sparky Anderson, Joe McCarthy, John McGraw and Miller Huggins managing this team together couldn’t win with this conglomeration.

Has Bell made some curious and bad decisions? Of course he has. All managers do. But Bell’s are magnified this year because this team can’t take the field without tripping over the foul lines.

There was his decision to remove pitcher Connor Overton Saturday in Colorado when the Reds led, 2-0, after five innings. Overton gave up a single in the sixth, only the third hit by the Rockies, and Bell removed him.

Art Warren replaced him and in the blink of a misplaced slider it was 4-2, Rockies. And the Reds lost.

Bell defended his decision and stuck to it. “Art has been one of our best pitchers for the last couple of years. I had no hesitation there,” said Bell. “Overton did a great job. It was the third time back around the order in this ballpark against that lineup, Art was the guy.”

Well, he wasn’t this day, although he had been previously, and hasn’t been good since. But Bell made his decision and it blew up like an m80.

“If Art had a night that he typically has, we wouldn’t be asking these questions and I have no regrets bringing Art Warren into that game,” said Bell.

Indeed, if Warren saves the day, the Reds win and everybody is happy. Not many of Bell’s decisions are working these days, but he is playing with a limp hand against stacked decks. Firing Bell is not the answer. It would just be re-arranging the chairs in the clubhouse, which the club already has done all season.

~One man’s one-sentence morsels:

—Dusty Baker, Al Oliver, Dave Parker, Dave Concepcion, Dale Murphy, Fred McGriff, Vada Pinson and. . .yes, Peter Edward Rose, all belong in the Hall of Fame, forthwith.

—Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is getting a raw deal and why doesn’t some other team want him?

~My baseball heroes are guys like Ted Williams (flew 39 missions in two wars), Yogi Berra (a machine-gunner on Omaha Beach in Normandy), Bob Feller (A Navy gunnery captain in World War II) and Jerry Coleman (flew missions in two wars).

—Say and believe what you want about Trevor Bauer, is this baseball justice that he is suspended for two years by commissioner Rob Manfraud after a Los Angeles judge exonerated him?

—Nobody likes a crybaby, Kyle Busch, so just shut up and keep turning left.

—Anybody know who Ben Simmons is, where he is or even if he is still among the living?

—Saw LA’s Justin Turner make a 14-pitch appearance in the batter’s box, fouling off eight straight 3-and-2 pitches, and if he played for the Savannah Bananas he would have been out several times because in their games if a fan in the stands catches a foul ball the batter is out.

—Something I never thought possible is that the Cincinnati Bengals, playing once a week, won four games in January while the Cincinnati Reds, playing nearly every day, won three games in April.

—My neighbor, Mia Adieoay not only want to buy some consonants, she wonders if there is a transfer portal for baseball fans.

—From my barber/hair stylist: “I don’t want to say the Reds’ pitching staff is bad, but I have better arms on my barber’s chairs.”

—So many major-league pitchers wear long Grizzly Adams beards these days so that they won’t be recognized.

—In the Cincinnati Reds first 22 games, Las Vegas had them favored in only four games. . .and they lost all four.

—The rumor is that Elon Musk only made 10 per cent of his fortune from Tesla and the other 90 per cent came from betting against the Reds.

~Reasons for Joey Votto’s average-strangling start. . .take your pick:

(A) Always starts slow, but a sloth starts faster than Votto this year (.121, one double, no home runs, three RBI, 12 walks, 29 strikeouts in April).

(B) Is changing his stance more often than he changes his Duluth Trading briefs.

(C) Is spending too much time making faces on social media, making faces at the umpires and making faces in the mirror.

(D) Started the season using a bat with a hockey puck knob and might be better off using a hockey stick

(E) Is trying to lead MLB in barreling the ball the hardest, but is making hard contact about as often as an ex-wife makes contact with her ex-husband.

ANSWER: All of the above, plus some I couldn’t think up on short notice.

—The Dubuque (Ia.) greyhound track is closing for good after its current meet and by the end of the year there will be only two track remaining — both in West Virginia (Wheeling Downs and Tri-State near Charleston.

In the 1980’s there were more than 50 greyhound track sprinkled throughout 19 states, including 12 in Florida.

A few years ago, the Florida legislature outlawed greyhound racing, but it can’t wash away my memories.

I spent countless spring training nights at Derby Lane (St. Petersburg), Tampa and the Sarasota Kennel Club, losing my meal money to those graceful pooches.

Former Minnesota manager Tom Kelly bred greyhounds and he named one after Reds scout Gary Hughes and me — Gary’s Real McCoy. And he became an All-American sprinter.

And I once wrote an article for a greyhound magazine about a Middletown breeder. He permitted me to pick a pup and name it. I named it Newshound (clever, huh?), but it was as slow a me and never made the track.

~From PBA bowler Bob Williams, as relayed by Scott Russell, author of the Bill Lee trilogies: “You know how they throw the baseball into the crowd after winning the game? That’s not allowed in bowling. I know that now.” (They tell the same thing to shot putters.)

3 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: ‘What’s a harried, undermanned manager to do?’”

  1. Hal, those commets from your man cave should win a Marcomy award! Great article. Still have not forgot to bring you some spaghetti, just real busy.

  2. somebody has to talke the fall for this.. Start with Krall, Castelleni then the coaching staff.. What bugs me more is how Bell accepts this mess and talks like this is no big deal.. Can you imagine Lou Pinella being ok with the front office destroying his team??

    1. Yeah – and the remarks by Mahle quoted in the Enquirer to me are shocking. Mahle said ” – needs to do a better job of getting ahead in the count” & re pitch to Adames he said “dumb, sloppy pitching – it could have been avoided by going to my strengths” !!

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