OBSERVATIONS: ‘Pal Joey’ Comes Out Swinging For B-Jays

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wishing for permanent warm weather because the portable heater is on strike, but not yet seeking free agency.

—JOY FOR JOEY: C’mon, did Aaron Sorkin write this and can we expect to see it soon on Netflix?

Joey Votto appeared in his first spring training game Sunday for the Toronto Blue Jays and one could almost hear dramatic music thrumping in the background.

And on the first pitch he saw from Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler, a pretty good flinger, Votto lined one 392 feet the opposite way and over the fence.

All together now: “Why didn’t the Cincinnati Reds keep him?”

Votto was happy with the opposite-field homer.

“I felt like this was the swing I was chasing,” he said. “The pull homers are a bit fake. They’re a bit of an illusion.

“If you ask any really, really good hitter, keeping the ball in the center of the field or the opposite field side with some power, with some line, it’s hard to fail with that. It’s hard to feel dissatisfied. I’m ecstatic about that swing.”

Pull homers are fake? It sounds as if Mr. Votto was pulling somebody’s leg.

—WAS THERE THUNDER?: The many current pitchers that vacate the mound with blisters, headaches and sore egos should be told to be seated and listen up.

On August 24, 1919, Cleveland pitcher Ray Caldwell, making his major league debut, was ready to deliver his best fastball in the ninth inning when a lightning bolt struck. And it struck him. Knocked him unconscious.

They finally revived him and guess what he did? He finished the game.

And to make it even more incredible, 17 days later he pitched a no-hitter against the New York Yankees. Did anybody think his fastball was ‘electric’ that day?

—MOVE ELLY NOW: Cincinnati Reds center fielder T.J. Friedl fractured his wrist trying to make a diving catch and could miss considerable time, including Opening Day.

Some might ask, “Why try for a diving catch in a meaningless spring training exhibition game and risk injury?”

Because it is instinctive, it is buried in their genes, especially an all-out all-the-time player like Friedl, all gas and no brakes. And most players play the way they practice.

So with Friedl down and the Reds already thin in outfielders, maybe they can implement The McCoy Plan. That would be to move Elly De La Cruz with his outlandish speed and whip-lash arm from shortstop to center field. He is a five-tool, five-star athlete and the move would be smooth, especially at his young age. He still gets three weeks out of a disposable razor.

The move would not be unprecented. Eric Davis played shortstop and the Reds moved him to center field. Billy Hamilton played shortstop in the minors and the Reds moved him to shortstop.

Make the move, Reds. It isn’t like moving furniture.

—FC FOUL-UP: Laurel Pfahler performs outstanding duty covering the Cincinnati Bengals as a contributing writer for the Dayton Daily News.

And she was doing her job too well in covering the FC Cincinnati soccer team. Her credentials were suspended by FC.

Why? She apparently did something dastardly and ghastly. . .she interviewed somebody outside the inner sanctum of the team about the team and FC was not pleased with the outcome.

Sounds as if she was just doing her job and doing it well. And obviously FC Cincinnnati hasn’t heard about freedom of the press in the U.S. Constitution. It is only in the First Amendment.

—TESTY TREVOR: Trevor Bauer remains jobless and still looking for mound employment.

This appeared on social media: “BREAKING NEWS: RHP Domingo German signs with the Pirates in a one year deal for $1.5 million and a mutual option for 2025.”

To that, Bauer posted on social media: “Lol.” Will somebody ship Trevor a bushel and a peck of sour grapes?

By making fun of another pitcher, an MLB pitcher, Bauer continues to live down to his reputation and set world records in arrogance.

—GIVE ME AN ‘R’: Our regularly-scheduled nugget from Jeff Singleton (The bank closed my checking account, Jeff).

There has been exactly one bases loaded inside-the-park walk-off home run in MLB history. Who did it? The initials are R.C.

It wasn’t Roy Campanella or Roger Clemens. Nor was it Rosie Casals or Randall Cunningham (wrong sports).

It was one of baseball’s all-time greats. . .Roberto Clemente.

—NCAA HEAD-SCRATCHER: The First Four NCAA tournament games in Dayton are fun, fun, fun, but why is it set up the way it is?

Shouldn’t it be all 15 and 16 seeds? Why do four number 10 seeds have to qualify via a play-in game when no seeds from 11 through 15 do?

Who wants to be a No.10 seed and have to play and win an extra game? Give me a seed from 11 through 15 so I don’t have to scratch and claw through an extra game.

Explanation, please?

—THE DUKES DO IT: If Dayton couldn’t win the Atlantic 10 tournament — and they could have but didn’t — it was heart-warming to see Duquesne and its effervescent coach, fellow Akronite Keith Dambrot, win it.

Amazingly, in the A-10 finals against VCU, the 
Dukes led by 16 in the first half, then went more than eight minutes during the second half without scoring and were 0 for 13 from the field.

VCU closed to within one point, but the Duke held on for a 57-51 victory, earning them their first NCAA trip in 47 years, since 1977.

And Dambrot is going out a winner. He announced that he is retiring after the NCAA tournament. The Dukes, a No. 11 seed, open against Brigham Young.

Prediction: Duquense (Why isn’t it pronounced Doo-quez-nee?) beats BYU. Then they’ll play the winner of Illinois-Morehead State. And I wouldn’t bet against them in that one.

—WHAT CAN’T SHE DO? The best college basketball player, pound-for-pound and inch-for-inch, emerges from a post-game shower and puts on lipstick, mascara and sometimes slips into high heels.

But for chromosomes, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, a female, would be starring at point guard for the Haweyes’ men’s team, or maybe Connecticut, South Carolina or Notre Dame.

What she can’t do on a basketball court is not do-able. She hits three-pointers from downtown Iowa City, her passes are magical, like Magic Johnson, she rebounds like Charles Barkley.

Chicago columnist Bob Verdi once wrote of Magic Johnson and it applies to Caitlin, “He rebounded, hounded, confounded and dumbfounded.”

What she most importantly has done is make the women’s game relevant. Like Taylor Swift to the teen-aged scene, she is must-see.

And what you see you may not believe. As Tina Turner sang it, “Simply the best, better than all the rest.”

—TO CAP IT OFF: Why is it that nearly every basketball coach after a winning game says during his post-game interview about the losing team, “I have to take my hat off to (fill in losing team).”

And you look at him and he isn’t wearing a hat to take off.

—A DEADLY DEADLINE: Many newspaper these days have their editions published by a newspaper in another city — the Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch and the Dayton Daily News, for example.

The Dayton Daily News is now prrinted in Detroit, a 3 1/2-hour drive for trucks to carry papers from Detroit to Dayton. Because of that, the DDN’s deadline each day is 10 a.m. That’s a.m., as in morning, not p.m.

It is not known if the DDN will ask the University of Dayton and the Cincinnati Reds to start games at 4 in the morning so the results can appear in the next day’s paper.

—QUOTES TO QUAFF: Tell me what they said:

From John Felske after the Philadelphia Phillies won their last game to clinch second place: “To celebrate, we didn’ have champagne. We had Ripple on ice.”

From Bob Uecker on facing Don Drysdale: “I put tip-toes in the back of the batter’s box and couldn’t wait until my three pitches were over.”

From former Yankee Tom Tresh on players wearing dirty underwear due to superstition: “They aren’t superstitious, they’re just too cheap to send out their laundry.”

From former manager Bob Lemon when new manager Don Kessinger asked him for advice: “I’d like to help you, but you don’t drink.”

From Kurt Bevacqua on being a part-time player: “I think I hold the MLB career record for most games watched.”

—PLAYLIST NO. 32: And on and on and on and on.

Tears In Heaven (Eric Clapton), I Only Have Eyes For You (The Flamingos), A Teenager In Love (Dion & The Belmonts), You’re Still The One (Shania Twain), I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty), Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac), Blowin’ In The Wind (Bob Dylan), Uptown Girl (Billy Joel), Jump (Van Halen), Against The Wind (Bob Seger), November Rain (Guns ’N Roses), Massachusetts (The Bee Gees).

You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC), Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Shout (Isley Brothers), Let Your Love Flow (Bellamy Brothers), Drive (Alan Jackson), Sugar, Sugar (The Archies), China Grove (Doobie Brothers), Working My Way Back To You (The Spinners), Forever Young (Alphaville), Somebody To Love (Queen).

2 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: ‘Pal Joey’ Comes Out Swinging For B-Jays”

  1. Your song choices are always a treat. In regards to where they print the DDN – it is sad that what once was published here is now done in Detroit – before that I think it was Indianapolis. The sad state of local papers.

    At least with your writing on the Reds and other sports it is still done locally.

  2. Likewise you can send a postcard to your friend across the street in, say Miamisburg, Centerville, Beavercreek and it will be driven to Columbus, sorted, and delivered to your friend across the street.

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