OBSERVATIONS: What team is baseball’s laughingstock?

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave with a full day of watching a Cincinnati Reds-St. Louis Cardinals doubleheader, watching Ohio State-Toledo and listening to the University of Dayton-Kentucky State football game. The Flyers are going after their 500th game without being shutout. There might be a shutout, but it will be Ky-State hoping for a point or two.

—PIRACY ON THE FIELD: A lot of Reds fans call their team, “The laughingstock of baseball.” They do provide more than a few giggles, but the Pittsburgh Pirates draw belly laughs.

Earlier this season, former pitcher turned commentator Dennis Eckersley called the Pirates, a hodgepodge of nothingness.” Former outfielder turned broadcaster John Kruk said during a Phillies-Pirates game, “This is like an exhibition between a big-league team and a college team,” which was an insult to all college teams.

Pittsburgh’s Rodolfo Castro had a cellphone fall out of his back pocket while sliding into third base. Presumably he was awaiting a call from his agent telling him he was traded to the Yankees or Dodgers.

And recently, Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes was spotted taking off his glove to reach into his pocket for a handful of sun flower seeds while a New York Mets runner was rounding third and heading for home to score the game’s first run.

Those are some real insults to Roberto Clemente, Al Oliver, Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Ralph Kiner.

Wonder if Eckersley and Kruk saw the Pirates take four straight from the Reds in Cincinnati. My choice for the worst team? The Washington Nationals.

—A LISTLESS LIST: Sometimes while surfing the internet you run across something that turns your stomach. The one I found this week almost made me cough up my Cheryl’s Cookies.

It was a list put out by a web-site called SportsScroll and it was a so-called list of the Top 40 hitters of all time.

They listed Derek Jeter as No. 4, ahead of Ted Williams (5), ahead of Babe Ruth (25) ahead of Joe DiMaggio (31).

Talk about insanity. If Ted Williams wasn’t the best all-around hitter in history, then there is no third base on any baseball field. Williams had to be No. 1 and Ruth and DiMaggio have to be in the top five.

Jeter also was ahead of Willie Mays (7), Stan Musial (8) and Barry Bonds (9). Paul Molitor was No. 10 (what???) and George Brett didn’t make the top 40. Pete Rose was No. 3, Frank Robinson was No. 13, Ken Griffey Jr. was No. 19 and Joey Votto was NO. 39.

The top five: Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Pete Rose, Derek Jeter, Ted Williams. The post drew more than 300 comments and nearly all were flummoxed and flabbergasted.

As one commenter suggested: “They should compile a list of the dumbest lists ever compiled and this one would be No. 1.”

—HER MAJESTY’S RUN: From Larry Hansgen via Pete Carroll: During Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign, she saw six popes, 14 U.S. Presidents and 68 starting quarterbacks for the Cleveland Browns.

She said her favorite was Otto Graham.

—BROWN SUGAR: Before Sunday’s game, Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt said he wanted traded, knowing he is second fiddle to Nick Chubb. But the Browns many times used Hunt and Chubb in the backfield at the same time and Hunt two touchdowns, one by air (a pass) and one by land (ground).

Despite the 26-24 win over the Carolina Panthers, the Browns are in for a tough go with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. He missed more open receivers than I used to miss six-foot putts.

The Browns were saved Sunday by rookie kicker Cade York’s four field goals, including an improbably 58-yard game-winner with eight seconds left.

Cade York has more guts than Sgt. York of World War I fame, with a much bigger foot.

—A PITCH FROM LEE: Way back in the 1980’s, pitcher Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee was concerned that all the rules were against pitchers.

“They are going to make pitchers throw uphill from a ditch with a blindfold on,” he said. Most days it seems as if the Cincinnati Reds bullpen already does that.

—STEPPING UP: It is admirable that the University of Dayton football team steps up in class once or twice a year, but why?

The Flyers give no athletic scholarships, but Saturday they took on Youngstown State, a Division I-AA school that gives 63 football scholarships. The result is inevitable: YSU 49, UD 16. Several Flyers were seen on crutches and boots and slings after the game.

Last season, the Flyers visited Division I-AA power Southern Illinois and lost, 55-3. Actually, with the scholarship situation, UD begins those games already down, 63-0.

“Yeah, we got paid to go take a beating,” said UD coach Rick Chamberlin.

When the Flyers stay in their own lane, the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, they are considered the creme de la creme, a team with a target on its back.

League foe Butler University, adorns the urinals in its lockerrooms with the UD logo. . .the entire football season. Another league member, Drake, forbids its football players to wear anything red or blue (UD’s) color the week they play Dayton.

—PAY IT FORWARD: Speaking of getting paid-for-play, No. 6 (at the time) Texas A&M paid Appalachian State $1.5 million to come to College Station. Appalachian State said, “Thank you very much,” then hung a 17-14 monstrous upset on the Aggies.

To add insult, College GameDay was scheduled for College Station Saturday, but with the upset it was switched to Boone, N.C., the home of Appalachian State.

And University of Michigan fans have a monkey off their backs (2007 in Ann Arbor, Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32.

—QUICK EXIT: Nebraska coach Scott Frost was fired Sunday, just three games into the season after the ‘Huskers lost to Georgia Southern, 45-42.

Wonder how nervous that makes Marcus Freeman and Jimbo Fisher feel. Freeman’s Notre Dame team lost to Marshall, 26-2edin front of his chest the entire game) and Fisher’s Texas A&M team lost to giant-killing Appalachian State, 17-14.

However, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Oregon’s Dan Lanning are safe (for now) after bouncing back from losses with show-no-mercy wins —Utah 73, Southern Utah 7; Oregon 70, Eastern Washington 3.

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