By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave a week before the MLB winter meetings, not counting the days until Christmas, counting the days until spring training.
—TRUTH OR GOSSIP?: There is more gossip floating in the wind concerning the Cincinnati Reds than one hears at a church ice cream social.
ONE: CEO Bob Castellini reportedly sent a message to agents that he is ready to unbutton his back pocket, pull out his wallet, blow off the dust and spend some of that Joey Votto money on free agents.
Truth or gossip?
TWO: The Reds were close to bringing back free agent pitcher Sonny Gray, but those dirty birds in St. Louis snatched him with a three-year $75 million deal.
Truth or gossip?
THREE: A fan ostensibly reached out to free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer via social media and asked if he would like to return to Cincinnati.
Bauer’s reply, according to Sports Illlustrated: “Yeah, of course. Loved playing in Cincinnati and never got to celebrate playoffs with the fans, still have a lot of friends there, got on really well with the staff and front office and the team is good and has real winning chance, what’s not to like?”
That might be the longest sentence in history. But. . .
Truth or gossip?
Bauer won the Cy Young with the Reds during the Covid-19 shortened 2020 season with a 5-4 record and a 1.73 earned run average in 11 starts.
He pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021 before he was suspended for 324 games after he was accused on alleged sexual assault. His suspension was reduced to 194 games, but the Dodgers released him. He settled the sexual assault charge with his accuser.
He pitched in Japan last season with the Yokohama Bay Stars and was 10-4 with a 2.76 earned run average for 19 starts.
Now he wants back in MLB. He carries more heavy baggage than is on a railroad porter’s wagon, but the Reds should sign him. His experience and success is what this team needs and he was a solid citizen with the Reds.
—ACQUIRE ADAM: The Reds also could use a right-handed outfielder with some nitro in his bat, right? That’s like asking if there was anybody more American than George Washington.
How about signing free agent Adam Duvall to return to Great American Ball Park? In 2016 the now 35-year-old Duvall hit 33 homers and drove in 103 for the Reds and folllowed that in 2017 with 31 homers and 99 RBI.
Duvall made his major league debut in 2014 and in his first game he hit a home run off Cincinnati’s Mike Leake. The next year he was traded to the Reds. . .for Mike Leake.
He made $7 million with the Boston Red Sox last season. How about a two-year deal for $22 million? It is easy for me to spend Bob Castellini’s money.
—CEASE (AND DESIST): Former Reds general manager Jim Bowden, the guy Marty Brennaman called Ol’ Leatherpants, writes for The Athletic and still sticks his nose in the Reds’ business. . .but that’s his job now.
He believes the Cincinnati Reds should acquire Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease by trading Jonathan India and the Reds No. 1 draft pick last year, pitcher Ty Floyd.
Cease was 14-8 with a 2.20 earned run average in 2022, but 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 33 starts last season. Something obviously was off last season with Cease.
My opinion? Hey, Ol’ Leatherpants, Cease and desist.
—WATCH OUT FOR ‘THE GRIZZ’: This is an alert to the basketball teams at the University of Dayton and Wright State University: Be on the lookout for Oakland University.
Oakland was picked in a pre-season poll to finish sixth in the 11-team Horizon League. Apparently the Golden Grizzlies, or The Grizz, can’t read. They are more like The Grinch.
They beat Xavier this week on Xavier’s court, 78-76. An upset? Maybe, maybe not. The Grizz nearly beat Ohio State on the Buckeyes’ floor, losing, 79-73. They held their own at Illinois, losing by 64-53.
They’ve beaten a Mid-American Conference team, Bowling Green, they beat Marshall in the Cayman Island Classic and hung tight with a solid Drake team, losing by 85-77.
The Grizz visit Dayton at UD Arena December 20 and play fellow Horizon League member Wright State in home-and-home games in February.
UD? Wright State? You’ve been forewarned. You’re welcome.
—QUOTE: From former tennis great Martina Navratilova: “Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.”(Navratilova lost about as often as Bjorn Borg got a haircut.)
—NO. 6 OR NO. 1?: The Athletic web-site authored a putdown of the University of Dayton’s basketball team in a rundown of the AP’s Top 20.
It was talking about No. 6 Houston and said, “When your best wins are against Utah and Dayton, it’s possible to be overshadowed by those teams who participated in glitzier multi-team events.”
So they believe Dayton’s wins over LSU and St. John’s in the prestigious Charleston Classic are aberrations? And the web-site KenPom ranks Houston No.1, as does PhD statistician Evan Miyakawa. And Bart Torvik of T-Ranketology ranks the Cougars No. 2.
The man I respect most in this business is Joe Lunardi (Joey Bracketology) of ESPN. He has Houston as a No. 2 seed for the NCAA tournament. . .and Dayton as a No. 12 seed.
—FOOT-ING THE BILL: The Chicago Bears put the foot in football Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings. Cairo Santos kicked four field goals to score all 12 points in a 12-10 win.
So Da Bears won without a touchdown. NFL teams that didn’t score a touchdown in a game were 0-and-27 before Santos kicked away that stat.
The Vikings? Last season they set an NFL record by going 11-0 in games decided by one score. This year they are 5-and-6.
—QUOTE: From former MLB player/broadcaster Ken Harrelson: “In baseball you hit your home runs over the right field fence, the center field fence and the left field fence. Nobody cares. In kicking field goals, everything has to be right over second base.” (But they have to be as high as a home run.)
—SHOW SOME RESPECT: Because it plays lower tier FCS non-scholarship football, the University of Dayton is a poor man’s old shoe compared to the high-visibility basketball program.
That’s not fair to kids like Gavin Lochow, a freshman wide receiver for the Football Flyers. He was so good last season that he is a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, given annually to the top freshman receiver in FCS.
Lochow was a quarterback at Huntington (W.Va.) High School and not just any ol’ signal-caller. He was West Virginia’s high school quarterback of he year his senior seasons.
But he was switched to wide receiver by the Flyers. He caught 35 passes for 402 yards and five touchdowns. His average reception was for 11.5 yards.
And when he wasn’t doing anything, he returned kickoffs and averaged 24.2 yards, second amongst all FCS freshmen.
Yet if his name ever appeared in the local newspaper, I missed it. Must have been on page six.
—BAILING OUT IN BOULDER: Word out of Boulder is that several recruits that committed to the University of Colorado football team are de-committing.
Is there something sinister involved? Is coach Deion Sanders leaving after just one season, a mediocre 4-8 campagin, 1-8 in the Pac-12?
What was perplexing is that Sanders was an all-time great in the NFL as a defensive back, but his Colorado defense was as porous as onion skin paper.
The Buffs gave up 418 points, an average of 34.8 a game, 122nd of 133 schools playing big-time football. In two of their four wins they gave up 42 and 35 points.
—QUOTE: Deion Sanders, fearing that the NFL’s Detroit Lions would draft him out of Florida State: “I was kinda scared because I thought Detroit was gonna take me. I would’ve asked them for so much money they would have to put me on layaway.”
—HE’S ALWAYS WRIGHT-ON: By popular demand (mostly from me), more from my favorite comedian, Steven Wright: “I have the oldest typewriter in the world. It types in pencil.” (I have one that types with a hammer and a chisel. I used it to cover the first Olympic Games in Greece.)