Friday, June 21, 2013

News and notes from MLB Week 12


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

This week I’m going to start with a Useless Trivia Question; what 1960’s television icon is the son of a former Heavyweight Champion? The answer will be at the end of my article.

Last week I mentioned the 75th anniversary of the Reds Johnny Vander Meer consecutive no hitters, this Saturday, June 22, marks the 75th anniversary of the “Fight of the Century” between Joe Louis and German heavyweight Max Schmeling. With all the turbulence surrounding Nazi Germany and Eastern Europe in 1938, the hopes of America rested squarely on the shoulders of “The Brown Bomber”. Louis didn’t disappoint, knocking out his German opponent in less than two minutes. Schmeling would later admit that the best thing that ever happened in his life was losing that fight. As a postscript, Schmeling, who served in the German Air Force as a paratrooper during World War II, is credited for saving two Jewish children from the Nazi regime by hiding them in his apartment.

That was a touching tribute by Todd Frazier during Thursday afternoon’s Reds/Pirates game. Frazier changed his walk up song to “Woke Up this Morning” to honor the memory of Emmy winning Sopranos actor, and fellow New Jersey native, James Gandolfini, who died Wednesday night at the age of 51.

Of the nine runs Cincinnati scored in the four game series against Pittsburgh, six came from solo home runs, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Joey Votto, and three by Jay Bruce.

I think the Reds pitchers need a break….from Pedro Alvarez. His line for the series, 6 hits in17 at bats, with a double, home run and 7 RBI.b

Superman’s weakness is Kryptonite, the Flash’s weakness is running too fast, binding Wonder Woman’s wrist bands rendered her helpless, Sampson's weakness was getting his hair cut. The St. Louis Cardinals weakness is the Miami Marlins.

For what it’s worth, my weakness is ice cream sandwiches.

I don’t mind Aroldis Chapman trying to establish the inside part of the plate, but his repeated knock downs of opposing hitters is getting a little tiresome. It’s easy to pitch under the chin, especially when know that you don’t have to bat yourself.

In my humble opinion, the scariest sentence for Reds fans is, “(Insert Reds opponent) will be starting a rookie pitcher tonight.” The past few seasons the Reds offense has made rookie pitchers look like potential Cy Young Award winners.

I apologize, but whenever I hear of the Pirates infielder Gaby (pronounced Gabby) Sanchez, I think of a grizzled old man with a scraggly beard, worn out hat on his head, dusty clothes, and leading a pack mule to prospect for gold. I guess I’ve watched too many westerns.

On my May 9th article I mentioned that I thought that pitchers have figured out Jay Bruce. Since that time Bruce has 47 hits in 155 at bats (a .303 clip) to raise his batting average from .248 to .277. Bruce has hit 12 home runs and driven in 33 runs. Hey Reds fans…..you’re welcome!

I’d be pleased if Jay Bruce hit 25 homers, and drove in around 100 runs as long as his batting average is in the low to mid .280’s.

Isn’t it amazing how we baseball fans measure success? If a player gets a base hit a mere thirty percent of the time, we consider he had a great season. What if we measure other professions the way we judge baseball success? How would you feel if your family physician diagnosed you correctly only thirty percent of the time? What if your local pharmacist got your prescription right just thirty percent of the time? What if your favorite restaurant got your order right thirty percent of the time? In every one of those scenarios, you’d be pretty upset, and deservedly so, yet we cheer if a baseball player is successful only thirty percent of the time.

A dear friend of mine, and fellow writer, published an article in a local paper this past week, stating that the best-selling book for the past several years is the Bible. Of the literally millions of Bibles purchased each year only ONE percent of the world population say they read the Bible daily.

As critical of the NBA as I am, I must admit that the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the Finals was excellent theater.

The San Antonio Spurs heartbreaking defeat in game 6 of the NBA Finals got me thinking, the last baseball team to win a decisive game 7 after losing game 6 on the road was the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2006 N.L.C.S. at Shea Stadium versus the Mets.

The last World Series team to win game 7 on the road after losing game 6 was, take a guess, the 1975 Cincinnati Reds. (For all you Pittsburgh fans, the ’79 Pirates won games 6 & 7 in Baltimore, which was the last time a road team won a game 7 of the World Series)

Useless Trivia; the 1987 and 1991 World Series, both won by the Minnesota Twins, the home team won EVERY game of the series. Who say’s home field advantage is meaningless?

Useless Trivia Question answer: Max Baer Jr., who played the bumbling Jethro Bodine on the Beverly Hillbillies, is the son of Max Baer Sr. World Heavyweight Champion from June 14, 1934 until June 13, 1935.

Have a Blessed week. Go Reds

- Dan Howard

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