Thursday, September 5, 2013

News and Notes from MLB Week 23

By: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Do you know where you were on this date back in 1992? Not a big deal if you can’t remember, some of you weren’t even born. I say that to say this, 1992 was the last year the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning season. It was also the last time they made the playoffs, losing to the Atlanta Braves in the N.L.C.S.

In 1992, I was a Technical Manager for Point of Purchase Radio, an in-store advertising company, headquartered in Buffalo N.Y. My current career with the United States Postal Service wouldn’t start for another seventeen months (April 1994). Two of my children had not been born, one being the father of my grandchild. George Bush was President, the first one, and was being challenged in the forthcoming presidential election by a political newcomer, at least on the national stage, former Arkansas governor Bill Clinton.

This week in 1992 a gallon of gas averaged $1.13, dozen eggs 93 cents, a gallon of milk was $2.78, while a postage stamp set you back 29 centsBoyz II Men had the number one song “End of the Road”. The number one television program this week in 1992 was CBS’ 60 Minutes. The internet was still three years away from being commercialized while Super Nintendo was the choice of video gamers. A whole lot has changed in twenty one years.

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright’s stat line for his last 2 starts against Cincinnati; 8 innings pitched, 15 earned runs, 17 hits, 5 strikeouts, 4 walks, and 3 home runs allowed. That’s a two game Earned Run Average of 16.88. I think the Reds may have figured him out.

Old Geezer Update; congrats to forty year old Colorado Rockies first baseman “Beltin’” Todd Helton, who collected his 2500th career hit Sunday against the Reds.

Useless Trivia; Todd Helton played quarterback at the University of Tennessee, his successor was some little known player from New Orleans named Peyton Manning.

Isn’t it about time for pro football to begin? ESPN sure is quiet about it.

Homer Bailey amazing reaction on that line drive toward his head is the main reason I never pitched. That line shot Bailey caught was eerily similar to the one that went off a friend of mine’s head a few years ago. 

Detroit Tigers pitcher Willie Blair had to miss a few weeks with a broken jaw after he got nailed by Cleveland’s Julio Franco on May 5, 1997.

More Useless Trivia; Willie Blair recovered nicely after suffering a broken jaw on that horrific evening in Cleveland. In fact Blair posted a 16 – 8 won/loss record in 1997, his career best. Willie, currently the bullpen coach for San Diego, was a teammate of mine on an Eastern Kentucky Senior Babe Ruth All – Star team way back in 1982.

If Bailey pitched the entire season like he did on Tuesday night, he’d definitely be a favorite for the National LeagueCy Young Award.

That loud noise you heard when Billy Hamilton got his first stolen base on Tuesday night was a sonic boom, all of Major League baseball felt the shockwave. I thought Billy Hamilton was learning to play centerfield, not pitch. Oh wait, that was Tony Cingrani stealing second on Thursday night.

As I mentioned in an earlier post; it will be real interesting how Mike Leake pitches to Los Angeles’ Yasiel Puig on Friday evening. I’m thinking some chin music may be played that night.

It will be wonderful to see the “Great Eight” back together this weekend to honor Joe Morgan. If memory serves me, this will be the first time the “Great Eight” will be on the same field since October 21, 1976 – Game 4 of the World Series.
Non - Useless Trivia; in case you don’t know the “Great Eight” was the starting lineup during the back to back World Championships of 1975 and 1976. They are; 3B Pete Rose, RF Ken Griffey Sr., 2B Joe Morgan, LF George Foster, C Johnny Bench, 1B Tony Perez, SS Dave Concepcion, and CF Cesar Geronimo.

Forgive me for saying, but Joey Votto seems very uncomfortable at the plate, especially on Wednesday night’s marathon with St. Louis. In my humble opinion, he may need a couple of days off. Votto’s September stats through Thursday, 2 for 22 (.091 avg.), Monday’s solo home run accounting for his only run and RBI, 7 strikeouts, not good stats, especially for the pennant drive.

Remember the pennant race of September 2006? The Reds, Houston Astros, and the St. Louis Cardinals were locked in a tight bout for the division, a race the Cardinals would clinch on the final weekend of the season en route to the World Championship. Houston finished second while the Reds came in third with a record of 80 – 82. Reds right fielder and clean-up hitter Adam Dunn entered September with a chance to carry Cincinnati to the playoffs. Unfortunately Dunn slipped into a month long slump, 13 hits in 83 at bats (.157 avg.) 2 home runs, which brought his season total to 40, and only 5, count ‘em, FIVE RBI, to finish the year with 87. Did I mention Dunn struck out 36 times that month? For you math geeks like me that’s a 7:1 strikeout to RBI ratio. Two years later Dunn was traded to Arizona to the chagrin of some, and the unbridled joy of this humble writer. Yeah lifelong Adam Dunn fan Dr. Jack Ward, I went there!

I read that Jay Bruce is quitting Twitter, citing that it takes up too much of his time along with the criticism he receives on his site. Memo to Jay Bruce, opinions are like butts, everybody’s got one. Having never been on his Twitter page, I don’t know about the negative opinions Bruce has received, but as a member of the human race for nearly a half century, I could just imagine what some people wrote.

A few years ago, while dealing with several family issues including a dying father, someone wrote some negative comments about me on Topix, a public opinion website. While I appreciated the support I received from family, friends, and other customers, a co-worker, had “I MadeTopix printed on a sweatshirt and gave it to me as a Christmas gift. Every year when the weather turns colder, I wear it proudly. You should see the looks I get, they’re priceless. If you’re in the public eye, from a cashier at a fast food restaurant to a mega million dollar athlete, you have to learn to laugh at yourself.

As far as I’m concerned, in the court of public opinion there are no judges, only jurors consisting of your peers. In the courtroom of life there is one Almighty Judge, and His opinion matters.
Have a blessed week. GO REDS!!!

Dan Howard

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