Ask Hal: Plenty Of Switch-Hitters If You Look Around

By Hal McCoy

Q: Is it just me, or are there not as many switch-hitters in MLB these days? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.
A: It’s just you. Elly De La Cruz and Jeimer Candelario say, “Hey, are you paying attention?” So does Ozzie Albies and Yasmani Grandal. A quick scan of MLB rosters and I found 26 switch-hitters. The two all-time best were Mickey Mantle and Pete Rose. Some other notables were Chipper Jones, Roberto Alomar, Tim Raines, Reggie Smith and Ted Simmons. But there are a lot more players who can’t hit from either side.

Q: When Shohei Ohtani hit the walk-off game-winning single last Sunday to beat the Reds, 3-2, first base was open, so why wouldn’t they intentionally walk him? — JAKOB, Lexington, KY.
A: I thought the same thing, until I gave it deeper thought. Ohtani was 2-for-13 during the series up to that point, and one hit was an infield roller. Hitting behind Ohtani was Freddie Freeman, LA’s Mr. Clutch and a Reds killler. Walking Ohtani would fill the bases and Reds closer Alexis Diaz is known to have bouts of wildness. Manager David Bell made the right call. But as so many of his moves this year, pitching to 0htani didn’t work.

Q: Does manager David Bell return next year if the Reds don’t make the playoffs? — BOB, Dayton.
A: If the Reds don’t resuscitate themselves soon, he might not make it past the All-Star break, which would make the vociferous minority on social media happy. With all the injuries, Bell is not playing with a full deck and there are not enough cards for a good shuffle. It isn’t totally his fault, but they never fire an entire team so the manager is always the fall guy. And it appeared Bell was close to taking that fatal fall. But the three-game sweep of the Dodgers was almost as good as a contract extension.

Q: Who is the blonde woman who is always in the Reds’ dugout during games? — G.C.J, Dayton.
A: Since she doesn’t wear a uniform, we can assume she isn’t an emergency pinch-hitter or utility infielder. Her name is Ashley Meuser and her title is Major League Sports Dietician. She is there to make certain players stay hydrated and eat fruits and nuts. No hot dogs and no nachos, which would have made Babe Ruth angry.

Q: Should the Reds have traded Jonathan India before the season when they had the chance? — RICHARD, Tipp City.
A: I thought he would be gone before spring training because with Matt McLain at second, Elly De La Cruz at shortstop and Noelvi Marte at third base there was no room for India. But with McLain out and Marte out, it was fortusnate for the Reds that they didn’t trade him. With his average hovering around .200. he isn’t taking advantage of his opportunity and his trade value has sunk. So, yes, I believe they should have dealt him if they had the chance and I still say that after witnessing his game-winning grand slam against the Dodgers and his game-winning two-run single against the Dodgers That was temporary insanity.

Q: Do the Reds practice bunting in spring training and during batting practice when the season begins? — JACK, Miamisburg.
A: They not only practice it during spring training, they have a special area right outside their Goodyear clubhouse specifically for bunting. And during the season, every batter lays down at least two bunts in batting practice before they ever take a swing. But it seems wasted effort. Modern analytics frowns upon sacrifice bunting, saying it isn’t good to give up outs and too often the runner bunted over still doesn’t score. I was always amazed that before the exaggerated shifts were outlawed that guys didn’t push bunts up the third base line for automatic hits when there was no third baseman. And what is it they say? “Girls love the home run hitters nobody even likes the bunt.”

Q: What is the weirdest thing you have ever seen on a baseball field? — CHRIS, Vandalia.
A: Don’t know how weird it was, but it was certainly different and humorous. Champ Summers hit an inside-the-park home run, sliding home head first. And there he lay, not getting up. Was he hurt? Trainer Larry Starr ran to his side and said, “Are you all right?” That’s when Starr noticed that Champ’s face was green and he finally sputtered, “I’m OK. I just swallowed all of my chewing tobacco.”

Q: If you could add any one player that would fit into the Reds’ budget, who would it be? — SHAUN, Englewood.
A: The Reds budget? Guess that leaves out Shohei Ohtani ($70 million a year), Max Scherzer ($43.3 million), Justin Verlander ($43.3 million and Aaron Judge ($40 million). Keep in mind that in baseball one player doesn’t make that much difference. But I’d love to see a gamer like Milwaukee’s Willy Adames at shortstop (move Elly De La Cruz to center field) or Chicago Cubs third baseman Christopher Morel wearing a Reds uniform, even those awful black City Connects. But, as Aerosmith sang it, “Dream On.”

Q: Are you riding shotgun when Ken Griffey Jr. drives the Indianapolis 500 pace car? — JEFF, Troy.
A: It would take a loaded shotgun to get me into that seat. I rode with Griffey once during spring training in Sarasota and he took St. Armands Circle as if it were Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I also rode around IMS once in a car driven by A.J. Foyt. He drove as if he were trying to qualify for the Indy 500. Suffice it to say my underwear needed a double dose of Tide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *