By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, enjoying one of the best times of the year. . .spring training, March Madness and warmer weather.
—CAP-PING IT OFF: It is common knowledge that the only way to bring parity into major league baseball is a salary cap. It works in every other professional sport.
Will it ever happen in MLB? Never. The players won’t let it happen. They only care about making $300 million. The kids have to eat, y’know.
How do we know it won’t happen? Listen to Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA).
“We’re never going to agree to a cap,” he said. “We don’t have a cap, we’re not going to agree to a cap. A salary cap is the ultimate restrictions on player value and player salary. The market system has served our players, our teams and our game very well.”
The players, yes. The teams and the game, no.
The owners, though, are their own worst enemies. They want a salary cap, but they spend, spend, spend. Clark’s best friend right now is the San Diego Padres.
The small market Padres are projected to have baseball’s third highest payroll at $267 million, third only to the New York Mets and New York Yankees. The Padres are in a group of the seven smallest markets.
“San Diego is the best example, (a team) providing a level of engagement for their fans, and a level of excitement in being one of the seven smallest markets we have, it begs the question, why others aren’t,” said Clark. “It’s very clear that the owners of the San Diego Padres want to compete. It should be celebrated, not questioned.”
And right now, the Padres are the exception. They have rich owners, so the market doesn’t matter. Try selling this thought process to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit and so many others that enter the season hoping they aren’t eliminated by Mother’s Day.
—QUOTE: From author/philosopher Michael Bassey Johnson: “A poor man knows the true value of money and will not dare waste it, but a rich man is extravagant and always looking for an opportunity to empty his pockets.” (They certainly are emptying their pockets, wallets and bank accounts in San Diego.)
—MARK OF EXCELLENCE: We lost my great friend, Mark Schlemmer, way too soon. After years of fighting a litany of health issues, and never once saying, ‘Why me?,’ Schlemmer passed away last June at age 65.
He was an extremely popular sports talk show host on WING after a stellar baseball career at Fairmont West and a brief stint in the Detroit Tigers farm system.
To commemorate his legacy, loyal reader Bob Burckle and some of Schlemmer’s teammates have establihed a memorial scholarship fund through the Dayton Foundation to be awarded yearly to a Fairmont High School baseball players. Well done and well-deserved.
Though they weren’t related, my favorite baseball writer growing up was Jim Schlemmer of the Akron Beacon Journal. He wrote a memorable line after pitcher Bob Feller took a line drive in his groin area. Penned Schlemmer, “Bob Feller was hit by a line drive where only a feller could be hit.”
—QUOTE: From Mark Schlemmer from his obituary in The Dayton Daily News: “The best part of sports talk radio is the interaction with fans. I love all the callls from our audience. It’s not my show, it is the callers’ show. It’s important to keep that in mind.” (And that’s what made Mark so good.)
—LEIGHTON’S LOVE STORY: A few days after former Flyer Brooks Hall was inducted into the University of Dayton Sports Hall of Fame, another former Flyer, Leighton Moulton, posted this love story on Facebook:
“I was asked if I had to do it again, would I choose UD. Absolutely. Would I live in Dayton? Absolutely. UD was first class. We had a lot of perks going on. I can’t recall one Flyer under coach Don Donoher that wasn’t looked after. There were four of us that started in 1972. In 1976 I was the only one that finished the race. I’ll never forget that last game and the standing ovation. Truly grateful.”
It is something one hears from nearly every Flyer who finishes the race. The Flyer Faithful considers them all winners when they break the tape.
—QUOTE: From former Kansas City manager Jim Frey, talking about George Brett’s ability to make contact: “George Brett could get good wood on an aspirin.” (Yep, when Brett came to bat, pitchers had to Bayer with him.)
—DIVINE INTERVENTION: All indications are that Antoine Davis is a super guy. . .humble and kind. But wasn’t it poetic justice that in his last game with Detroit Mercy against Youngstown State that he missed his last six shots, including a three-pointer at the buzzer?
That left him exactly three points behind Pete Maravich’s all-time career points record of 3,667. The kicker on all this is that Maravich, playing three years, did it in 83 games. It took Davis five years and 142 games.
There are two records Davis earned. He scored in double figures in all 142 of his games. And he holds the NCAA all-time three-point record with 588. The three-point line was not on the floor for Maravich. If Davis’ three-pointers are converted to twos, that’s 591 fewer points than Pistol Pete.
Although God could not care less who hits three-pointers or who misses free throws, Davis showed his great attitude after the game when he said, “God knows what he is doing, at the end of the day.”
—AN EXTRA STEAL: Wright State was the only Horizon League team to beat Milwaukee twice during the regular season. Then they played in the HL tournament and when it was Milwaukee 32, WSU 12 late in the first half I turned it off because It was like a crocodile devouring a zebra on TikTok.
The Raiders lost, 87-70. Milwaukee pulled off five steals and somebody pulled off another steal in the parking lot. After having to call that mess on the radio, outsanding play-by-play guy Chris Collins trudged to the parking lot only to find his rental car was stolen. The thief didn’t even have the courtesy to leave Collins a thank you note.
—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey on Barry Bonds pausing at home plate to admire his steroid-induced home runs: “. . .If he hit a home run off Bob Gibson or Don Drysdale and stood and admired it, they’d knock that earring out of his ear next time up.” (And under today’s game, Gibson and Drysdale would be thrown out of the game.)
—CANDLES IN THE WIND: From Tom Melzoni, my great friend in Sarasota: “Blowing out somebody’s candle doesn’t make yours shine brighter.”
—SHORT HOPS: The Dayton Dragons at 69-61 were the only Cincinnati Reds affiliate to finish above .500 last season (How about that rebuild?). . .It took a jury in South Carolina less time to find Alex Murdaugh guilty of double murder than it takes most MLB reviews. . .TV folks: It is not Duke VERSE North Carolina. It is Duke VERSUS North Carolina. . .Does it seem to anybody else that Lafayette and Lehigh play evey week?. . .Why does Northwestern wear white uniforms with blue and red trim at home when the school’s colors are purple and white?
They’re naming a portion of I5 in Los Angeles ‘Tommy Lasorda Highway.’ Said broadcaster Rick Monday, “Just don’t ask the highway how traffic is?” (That was a reference to Lasorda’s many blue-language eruptions with the media, especially when somebody asked him about Dave Kingman’s three-homer game against the Dodgers). . .By now, does anybody care where diva quarterback Aaron Rodgers lands, or if he does land. What a cheesehead. . .What am I going to do with the extra half hour MLB is giving me every night this season?.