By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wondering how much $700 million is in Japanese Yen. OK, I looked it up. It’s 103,635,000,000 yen.
—ONE BIG OOPS: How the mighty do fall. Once upon a time, Sports Illustrated was the mightiest of sports journalis, the sports bible. Its writers were the best.
No more. The mag, as they say, has turned into a rag — other than highly-regarded writer Pat Forde.
What better example than what happened this week. SI posted a story Friday at 2:21 p.m. a story with this headline: “Dodgers Miss Out On Shohei Ohtani Who Signs With AL East Team.”
It was written by Kevin Skinner, whose source was J.P. Hoornstar of ‘Dodger Nation.’
The story said Ohtani signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. Oh so wrong.
On Saturday Ohtani announced on social media that he had, indeed, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for (hold your breath) a guaranteed $700 million over the next 10 years. (Now you can exhale, if you have any breath left.)
For the mathematically challenged, that’s $70 milllion a year. The $700 million is nearly twice the gross national product of Micronesia ($452 milllion).
I feel sorry for Skinner and Hoornstar. I’ve been there, done that.
In 2003 the Cincinnati Reds were looking for a general manager. A reliable source (I thought) told me that a Toronto Blue Jays executive would be named the club’s GM. It made me sad because good friend Wayne Krivsky was in the running. But I wrote that the Blue Jays exec had the job.
The next day the Reds announced that Krivsky was the GM. I had some ‘splanin’ to do but was comforted by the fact that Krivsky, my preference, had the job. And the Toronto exec? I’ve conveniently forgotten his name, blocked it out of my mind.
—QUESTION: What will cost $100 next baseball season? ANSWER: A beer, a hot dog and a churro at Dodger Stadium.
—QUOTE: From comedian Steve Martin on having a lot of money: “I love money. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.”
—PHILLED UP ON PHILS: The 1961 Cincinnati Reds won the National League pennant, with a great debt of gratitude to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Reds won the first 17 games they played against the Phillies. And for the year, Cincinnati was 19-3 against Philadelphi when each team played every other team 22 times in the eight-team National League.
In his highly-acclaimed book, ‘Pennant Race,’ author/relief pitcher Jim Brosnan wrote that it was in mid-September and the Reds were trying to hold off the Los Angeles Dodgers, just one game behind them.
Said Brosnan to bullpen buddy Pete Whisenant, “You know what’ll happen? We’ll win the pennant and Russia’s Nikita Khrushchev will drop a bomb on New York and ruin the World Series.”
To that, Whisenant said, “We wouldn’t have to play the Yankees then, would we?”
Unfortrunately for the Reds, they did have to play the Yankees and they lost the World Series in five games. And Khrushchev never bombed New York.
—QUOTE: From former MLB manager Chuck Tanner: “It’s hard to win a pennant, but even harder to lose one.” (For sure, 14 teams in each league have a hard time after the season.)
—A DUNK-A-THON: In a game last week against Memphis, Virginia Commonwealth dunked the ball for baskets 16 times.
Nevertheless, VCU lost in overtim, 85-80, but look for them to soon be doing TV commercials for Dunkin’ Donuts.
—QUOTE: From former NBA star Darryl Dawkins, known as Chocolate Thunder: “When I dunk, I put something on it. I want the ball to hit the floor before I do.”
—IT WAS UNHAPPY VALLEY: The Ohio State basketball team traveled to Happy Valley Saturday to play Penn State. Make that Unhappy Valley.
The Buckeyes led by 18 early in the second half. . .and lost, 83-80. With the score tied, 76-76, Penn State’s Ace Baldwin hit his only three of the night and the Nittany Lions never trailed.
Ace Baldwin? That Ace Baldwin? Yes, that’s the Ace Baldwin who seemingly played 10 years for VCU and was a constant pain in the sneakers to the UD Flyers.
He transferred to be with his old VCU coach, Mike Rhoads.
And for the Buckeyes it was their 18th straight road defeat in Big Ten games.
—CASH COWS: In case you wondered about the monetary value of the two free agent pitchers the Reds have signed, well, they were then the two highest-paid players on the roster.
Nick Martinez signed for $26 million for two years and Emilio Pagan’s deal is for $16 million over two years.
And what did the Reds not need the most? Infielders, of course. The roster is stuffed with infielders.
So what did they do at the winter meetings? They signed infielder Jeimer Candelario to a three-year $45 million deal, making him the highest paid player on the roster.
Maybe the Reds believe MLB is going to make a major rules change and add another base or two to the infield. Candelario, a 30-year-old switch-hitter, joins Jonathan India, Noel Marte, Ely De La Cruz, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Matt McLain and sometimes Spencer Steer as infelders.
Candelario hit 22 homers and drove in 70 runs last season for the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs with a slash line of .251/.336/.471.
If that’s worth $45 million, I own a piece of property on the side of a mountain in West Virginia that I’ll sell for half the price.
—QUOTE: From Pete Rose, the Hit King: “Playing baseball for a living is like having a license to steal.” (And with today’s incredible salaries, some players are stealing money without a license—or a mask.)
—TIGER TALES: When Tiger Woods emerged from Stanford University and turned pro, he was 20, not even of legal age.
But before he pulled his driver out of his bag for his first shot on the pro tour, he already had $60 million in the bank — a $40 million contract with Nike and a $20 million deal with Titleist.
And he was still 20 when he won his first PGA tournament, the Las Vegas Invitational, the fifth pro tournament in which he played.
—QUOTE: From former PGA tour player Craig Stadler: “Why am I using a new putter? Because the old one didn’t float too well.” (I once hurled my driver down the fairway. It traveled 50 yards farther than my tee shot.)
—SOME FOOT JOY: From the novel, ‘Fast Copy,’ by Dan Jenkins: “God invented football so grown boys would have something to do between wars.” (And here I thought Nick Saban invented football.)