Friday, July 5, 2013

News and notes from MLB Week 14

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

"But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

- President Abraham Lincoln - Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

Let us pause and reflect during this holiday weekend the sacrifices made by our soldiers who defend our freedoms on a daily basis. We thank you and may God bless you all.

This domination of the San Francisco Giants at home is nice and all that, but, WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THAT LAST OCTOBER!!!

Of all the pitchers in the Reds rotation, Homer Bailey would be the last one I’d pick to throw two no hitters. That’s not a slam toward him, but over the past few seasons, numerous times have Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, and Mike Leake gotten close to a no hitter only to lose it in the late innings.

I really think that Homer Bailey could have pitched fifteen innings and not allowed a hit; he was that dominant Tuesday night.

How many first basemen would have had the presence of mind to make the play Joey Votto made during Bailey’s no-no? He turned a sure single into a Fielder’s Choice which kept the no hitter intact.

Did Homer Bailey actually drop an f-bomb during his interview with Jeff Piecoro? Maybe some of that shaving cream pie should have cleaned out his mouth.

On a personal note, that was the first Reds no hitter I saw on television. When Homer Bailey threw his no hitter in Pittsburgh last year, I was in church (priorities, y’know). I missed Tom Browning’s perfect game in 1988 due to the lengthy rain delay prior to the start of the game and I had to get up early for work the next morning. I listened to Tom Seaver’s June 1978 no hitter on the kitchen radio in my Grandparents house.

Old - Timers Moment Part 1; growing up in rural Eastern Kentucky, the Reds were on local television around 30 times a year and, with the exception of Opening Day, only road games were shown. A few times during the season Reds home games were on NBC’s Game of the Week or Monday Night Baseball. Did I mention that we also walked five miles a day to school, barefoot, uphill both ways, in the snow, in June? (Global Warming hadn’t been discovered yet.)

Useless Trivia; Homer Bailey’s no-hitter was the first Reds no-hitter not on a Friday night since Jim Maloney’s gem on Wednesday, April 30 1969 versus Houston. The next night, Houston’s Don Wilson no hit the Reds. As rare as no hitters are, this was the second time in baseball history that no hitters were thrown in consecutive games. In September 1968 the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals had no hitters in back to back games of their series.

Pardon me for saying but, if baseball’s All Star Game is supposed to feature the best players in both leagues, then tell me if there has been a better player in the first half of the season than the Dodgers Yasiel Puig, let alone since his call up on June 3rd?

I’m looking forward to the Dodgers – Phillies series beginning on August 16th at Philadelphia, especially if Yasiel Puig faces Jonathan Papelbon with the game on the line.

I don’t believe anyone in Chicago was sad to see Carlos Marmol leave.

Call it hoping beyond hope, but I really wanted to see Mark Prior make it back to the majors as a Cincinnati Red. I sure hated to hear that he was released last week.

Since 1900 no baseball team has ever gone undefeated after July 4th, so the Pittsburgh Pirates should lose a couple of games between now and the end of the year.

It used to be said that teams leading in the standings on July 4th would go on to clinch the division. That is a complete myth (or in Mythbusters terminology – BUSTED!). Since 2010 the team leading the division through games on July 4th won their division a mere 39 percent of the time (7 of 18). Since 2010 there have been three additional teams that held division leads on July 4th who went on to qualify for the playoffs as a Wild Card team, in 2010 the New York Yankees, and Atlanta Braves, and the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals.

More Useless Trivia; Wild Card teams who’ve won the World Series are; 1997 & 2003 Florida Marlins, 2002 Anaheim Angels, 2004 Boston Red Sox, and the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. There has only been one World Series where both teams were Wild Cards, 2002 – Anaheim Angels vs. San Francisco Giants.

Old - Timers Moment Part 2; Last week my son and I were watching college football highlights from 1971. He asked why they show those players running in slow motion. “Slow motion?” I replied, “Son, that’s the way they used to run. Speed and agility wasn’t discovered until 1980.”

Have a blessed week. GO REDS!

Dan Howard

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