By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, thrilled that I was put on a cane to use for short walks as my fractured hip is healing fast five weeks after surgery. Thank you, Dr. Charlotte Orr.
—For those who despise the Evil Empire, the American League’s Richie Rich, what happened to those New York Yankees in August was a summer delight.
For those who are Yankee lovers, the month was dark and full of despair.
The Yankees were 10-and-18 in August, the most losses in a month for any Bronx Bombers team since the 1991 team lost 19 in September.
What was once a 15 1/2 game lead has shrunk to a six-game lead over the Tampa Bays. And the two teams meet this weekend for a three-game series.
Strap it on, folks, it promises to be exciting and we’ll probably see the total collapse of The Mighty Yanks or a resurrection.
—CATCHING UP: The Cincinnati Reds have used seven different masked men, catchers of whom most fans wouldn’t recognized without their masks.
The seven men who’ve perched behind the plate are Tyler Stephenson, Aramis Garcia, Mark Kolozsvary, Chris Okey, Michael Papierski, Austin Romine and Chuckie Robinson.
If the Reds have one more catcher in their system they want to see, they would tie the 1909 Reds for the most catchers used (eight) in a season.
—SHORT AT SHORT: Reds manager David Bell uses a different lineup nearly every game, but there is one constant that is perplexing.
Every game he runs Jose Barrero out to shortstop. That’s fine, but when he does that there is no way to keep him out of the batter’s box.
Since Barrero hit two home runs in Milwaukee August 6, through last week’s Washington series he was 11-for-74 (.149) with one extra base hit and 39 strikeouts. He has struck out at least once in all 25 games he started.
One wonders how long the kid continues to get a chance to figure it out.
—HE GOT TATTOOED: New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman is on the injured list after he developed an infection from getting a tattoo. Let’s hope the tattoo reads, “I’m a dumb a- -.”
—FUN WITH FRIEDL: During the Reds recent trip through Philadelphia and Washington, outfielder T.J. Friedl played the as if he was torn from a baseball fairy tale.
He made several tumbling act catches in center field, he threw a runner out at home, the sprayed extra base hits all over the outfield’s green acres and he ran the bases like Usain Bolt.
The thing I admired most, though, was that he dropped a bunt for a hit. Not only did he drop a bunt, he did it with two strikes. Now who does that? Just T.J., which stands for Terrific Jump, which is what he gets in the outfield.
—GRAND ENTRANCE: The best entrance song for a relief pitcher always has been when they played the Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’ when Ricky Vaughn came out of the bullpen. But that was fictional, from the movie Major League.
Now there is a better one and it is real. When New York Mets’ bullpen gate opens and Edwin Diaz emerges, they play a song called ‘Narco,’ which sounds like bullfighting music.
The song was recorded by a guy named Timmy Trumpet. On Wednesday night, T.T. was there and when Diaz walked in from the bullpen, Trumpet gave a live rendition of ‘Narco.’ If it didn’t raise the hair on your arms, somebody better check your pulse.
And Diaz retired the potent and powerful Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning for a 2-1 victory and Diaz’s 29th save.
Diaz’s brother, Alexis, is Cincinnati’s quasi-closer, but he doesn’t have an entrance song. For most of the Reds’ bullpenners this year, the entrance song would be ‘Born To Lose’ by Ted Daffan’s Texans.
—A DOZEN COMING: Insiders are saying the College Football Playoffs (CFP) will be expanded from four teams to 12. . .and soon, perhaps as early as Friday.
The CFP committee is meeting Friday and expansion is at the top of the list, with approval expected.
Why? Why else? -M-o-n-e-y. Somebody whispered in their ears, “Hey, do you guys realize you are leaving $500 million on the table by not expanding to 12 teams?”
As my friend, Tom Melzoni, would say, “‘Nuff said.
—CARD SHARK: A Mickey Mantle 1952 rookie baseball card sold for nearly $10 million. For his rookie season, the New York Yankees paid him $7,500. And for his 18-year career, he was paid $1.1 million by the Yankees.
And I just know my mom threw away my Mickey Mantle rookie card.
—AH, SIS: When I was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame, my lovely sister put it out on social media that her big brother was indicted into the Hall of Fame.
I appreciated the thought and I am sure there were people out there who thought I should be indicted.
—QUICK QUIZ: What teams are these guys playing for after being discarded by the Reds? Tucker Barnhart, Nick Castellanos, Luis Castillo, Brandon Drury, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Wade Miley, Tyler Naquin, Tommy Pham, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker.
ANSWER: Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Diego, Minnesota, Minnesota, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Boston, Seattle, Seattle.
—QUOTE-UNQUOTE: Probably the dumbest quote of the baseball season, uttered by former play Fernando Tatis Sr., the only player in baseball history to hit two grand slam home runs in one inning.
When his son, budding San Diego Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., was suspended for the rest of the season for using PEDs, ol’ dad said, “There are millions of fans who are going to stop watching baseball now.”
What planet was he speaking from? Obviously Uranus. That quote is about as stupid as his son’s reason for using a PED. . .ringworm.