Friday, May 31, 2013

News and notes from week eight

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Forgive me for not starting with baseball this week. Last Friday’s Australian Rules Football (A.F.L.) game had an event that was quite disturbing. Defending A.F.L. champion Sydney Swans was playing Collingwood at the Magpies home field in Melbourne. With about two minutes left in the game and Sydney leading by 47 points, Swans player Adam Goodes had just made a play and was turning to go up field when a female Collingwood supporter shouted a racial slur. (In most A.F.L. stadiums, the fans are a few feet from the playing field, well within ear shot of the players.) Mr. Goodes, a descendant of Indigenous Australian heritage, immediately pointed out the girl to security, who promptly escorted her out of the stadium. Visibly shaken, Mr. Goodes then left the playing field and did not return to celebrate his team’s victory.

After the game, Collingwood officials, coaches, and players quickly rose to the defense of Adam Goodes. However, on Wednesday morning, Collingwood’s team president, Eddie McGuire who’s not shy of controversy himself, bone-headedly made his own racial remark toward Mr. Goodes on a Melbourne radio program. McGuire, who tearfully apologized for his remark, is currently awaiting discipline from the A.F.L. In my opinion I hope it’s a sizeable suspension. I cannot stress this enough, there is no room for this type of behavior in any venue, anywhere, any time. Supporting your team is one thing, using racial slurs to denigrate a player from the opposing team is just plain stupid. What makes this even more tragic was the young age of the offender, 13. She has publically apologized for her action and Mr. Goodes has stated he will not pursue criminal charges.

Redlegs Review is the only media outlet in the United States that is reporting this story. I guess unless racism affects a certain professional golfer or a certain political party here in America, the mainstream media just ignores it. My sincere appreciation to Perth, Australia resident Mary Alderson for keeping me updated on this unfortunate event.

Best name in sports, German National soccer player Bastian Schweinsteiger. Best name in American sports: Oakland Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp.

Aside from the Reds, will the St. Louis Cardinals be playing any good teams this year? The schedule makers were sure kind to the Cardinals the first third of this season.

I don’t know about you, but I was expecting to see Noah sail by during that Biblical rain storm at the Ballpark in Arlington, Texas on Wednesday night.

After Tuesday’s 8 – 2 win against Cleveland, and Pittsburgh’s 1 – 0 win at Detroit, the N.L. Central had three teams with winning percentages over .600.

Shades of 1993? The last great pennant race occurred twenty years ago in 1993, the classic N.L. West battle between the Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants. The Braves won the West with a record of 104 – 58. The Giants finished at 103 – 59.

Useless trivia; San Francisco’s manager in 1993 was Dusty Baker in his first season as skipper.

What the beef between Aroldis Chapman and Cleveland’s Nick Swisher? I can’t understand why Chapman went high and tight with two 100mph fastballs. The first one over Swisher’s head was all fun and games, but the chin music second one was too close for comfort, and, in my humble opinion, senseless. I must take Swisher’s side on this one, Aroldis, don’t do that again bro.

Reds skipper Dusty Baker told the media he handled the Chapman situation in house and was not at liberty to discuss what was said. Translation: He seriously chewed out Aroldis Chapman and used what Spongebob Squarepants famously referred to as, “Sentence Enhancers” in the process.

Since losing to the Indians on Thursday, the Reds all time record versus Cleveland is 41 wins and 44 losses.

Back in mid-April I wrote about a condition affecting some baseball announcers, commonly known as Old Phart Syndrome a.k.a. O.P.S. I mentioned a certain Cleveland announcer; we’ll just call him “Tom”. I think “Tom” had another episode of O.P.S. during the game on Monday, announcing that he hoped Nick Swisher would hit a liner off Aroldis Chapman’s head.

More useless trivia; the Cleveland Indians were once partially owned by comedian Bob Hope. Hope bought a minority share in 1946 and kept it until his death in July 2003. Bob Hope’s close friend, entertainer Bing Crosby was a part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Since Bing Crosby died in 1977, most of you readers probably know little about his music, with the exception of his holiday classic “White Christmas”. Look up his songs; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. His buttery smooth baritone voice is quite relaxing.

Remember a couple of years ago when MLB Network showed Game 7 of the 1960 World Series between Pittsburgh and the Yankees? That was taken from a reel of film found undisturbed in a vault that was a part of Bing Crosby’s wine cellar. Since personal video recording devices were a few years away, Mr. Crosby hired a film crew to, in essence, video tape the game from NBC’s telecast of the game on 16MM film. Mr. Crosby could not bear to watch the game live out of fear he might jinx the Pirates, so he travelled to Paris, France and listened to the game on radio.

I read where Brandon Phillips is no longer angry at Cleveland for trading him. I can think of at least 72 million reasons why Phillips should be very happy they did.

For what it’s worth department; my MLB Beat the Streak, uh, streak, went to a season high 8 until Sunday when Brandon Phillips went hitless in the Reds 5 – 4 loss against the Cubs.

As a former amateur baseball player, I can appreciate when a teammate “had my back”. I certainly respect Chicago’s Matt Garza defending fellow Cubbie David DeJesus when Johnny Cueto threw a high pitch during DeJesus’ at bat in Sunday’s game. My complaint is don’t run to the media with your problem, man up, put on your big boy pants and go to Cueto and/or Dusty Baker and discuss it.

I loved the postgame interview after Toronto’s thrilling win Sunday against Baltimore. Munenori Kawasaki lined a walk-off double to cap a four run ninth inning. Kawasaki pulled out a notebook and read some prepared comments just in case this would happen. Kawasaki said he could not speak English, but he can read it pretty good. There’s nothing wrong with being prepared!

If Saddam Hussein was still alive, I think he would be a consultant at Rutgers University.

Let’s see, with the NBA finals beginning on Thursday June 6, if the series goes seven games then the NBA season should end around September 15.

The Oscar for Best Actor goes to…….LeBron James of the Miami Heat for his flopping in game 4 of the Pacers series.

I saw that Kool and the Gang would be performing at the end of the Reds – Pirates game on Saturday June 1at PNC Park. Personally, I’d rather hear “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang than “We Are Family” by the Pointer Sisters. It’s been 34 years since Pittsburgh defeated the Reds in the N.L.C.S., and I still can’t quite stomach that song.

My favorite Kool and the Gang song; “Tonight”, which is from the album, uh, C.D. “In the Heart”, 1983.

Reds are currently winless in three tries this season at Pittsburgh; hopefully we can even the record there this season after Sunday.

Have a blessed week. GO REDS!

Dan Howard


Anonymous said...

I can't stand "We are Family" either. But you have forgotten that the song was performed by Sister Sledge and not the Pointer Sisters.

Gary Maloy
Jacksonville, Florida

Dan Howard said...

You're absolutely right. I should look stuff up before I post it! Thanks for the comment, I'll post a correction next week.