Friday, April 25, 2014

MLB Week Four - Pugilism and Pine Tar


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Qwsxvf, whoops, excuse me, to honor New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda, I’m typing this blog with pine tar on my hands. I hope this stuff wipes off my keyboard.

Wasn’t it great for the Reds to win three of four in Pittsburgh?

Good News! This season Cincinnati is a combined 7 – 0 on Wednesday’s and Sunday’s

Bad News; this season Cincinnati is a combined 0 – 7 on Monday’s and Saturday’s.

The Reds are a combined 4 – 4 on the other days of the week.

Since falling to 4 – 9 on April 15, the Reds have won seven of nine to move their record to the .500 mark for the first time since game 2 (1 - 1).

Old Geezer Moment; I’m a loyal listener of the Radio Classic’s channel on Sirius XM Radio, although the channel host, Greg Bell, is a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Last week I was listening to The Fred Allen Show originally broadcast in March 1946, and his guest was radio legend Orson Welles. A running gag on this program was the saying “Vas You Efer in Zinzinnati?” with a thick German accent. I don’t know if this was meant to offend the recently defeated German army, or was it in reference to Cincinnati’s German heritage. It did, however, bring back memories of an old Burger Beer commercial that used to air on Reds television broadcasts in the early 1970’s. Seems I can remember a cartoon character appearing at the end of the ad and saying the aforementioned slogan. Unfortunately none of those ads are currently on You Tube.

Congratulations to former Red nemesis and current Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols who, on Tuesday night, became the 26th member of the 500 Home Run Club. A devout Christian, Pujols is truly one of the really good guys of baseball. Did I mention that I thank God every day that Pujols is in the American League! The best part about his accomplishment is he’s done it without the use of steroids.

Speaking of steroids; does anyone miss Alex Rodriguez?

I hated to see Devin Mesoraco’s eleven game hitting streak come to an end in Thursday afternoon’s 2 – 1 victory at P.N.C. Park. The “Hottest Hitter on the Planet” batting average has cooled to .477. I found it funny that Mesoraco’s one for three batting on Wednesday evening dropped his average from .541 to .525.

As far as brawls go, this past Sunday’s battle royale between the Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers was a pretty good one. It seems Bucs pitcher Gerrit Cole took exception to Brewers’ centerfielder Carlos Gomez bat flip and admiration of a ball which nearly left PNC Park. When Gomez ended up on third with a triple, Cole made some colorful remarks about Gomez’s antics and, in hockey terms, both teams threw down the gloves and it was on.

Memo to Gerrit Cole; if you don’t want someone to admire slamming one of your pitches into the outer reaches of the atmosphere, then don’t throw them right down the middle of the plate. If I would have seen more pitches like that when I played amateur baseball, I probably would have a much different career right now.

I guess Pittsburgh’s Travis Snider can’t use the excuse that he walked into a door frame to explain the shiner he sports on his left eye. We all saw that after he wrestled Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez to the ground, Snider got clocked by Martin Maldonado.

Rumor has it that a few National Hockey League teams are interested in Martin Maldonado.

Is there another pitcher in baseball that’s hotter than our own Johnny Cueto? Two consecutive complete games, only a mistake in the ninth inning to the Pirates Andrew McCutchen kept him from back to back shutouts, 39 innings pitched, six earned runs for a 1.38 E.R.A. I wish I would have picked him for the Cy Young.

A friend of mine chose Homer Bailey for N.L. Cy Young. (I’ll pause for a moment to allow you to stop laughing.)

After his rough treatment in last year’s Wild Card game, how many of you were expecting Johnny Cueto to flash the “One Fingered Salute” to Pittsburgh fans while walking off the field after Tuesday’s win. Then again, Cueto has a lot of class.

Are coaches in Little League telling their players that when a ball is hit back to the pitcher, you don’t have to hustle to first base? Maybe Washington’s Bryce Harper’s Little League coach did. Note to Harper; you’re in the big leagues now and some of those paying customers had to sacrifice a lot to see your lazy butt walk to first base on a routine grounder. It’s not a scientific fact, but a few splinters from a wooden bench are known to change a player’s attitude. Thank you Nationals manager Matt Williams for going “old school” on one of baseball’s more talented players.

From the Department of Redundancy Department; will the Pirates trade Ike Davis to Atlanta in advance of this weekend’s Reds/Braves series so he can hit a third grand slam against the same team in one season while playing for three different teams?

Useless Trivia; Davis is the third player in Major League history to his two grand slams off the same team while playing for two different teams. Ray Boone was the first, in 1953, playing for the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers, his victim was the St. Louis Browns. Mike Piazza was the second, playing for the L.A. Dodgers and N.Y. Mets, who victimized the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ironically, Ray Boone’s grandson, former Red Aaron Boone, was covering the game Monday night for E.S.P.N.

More Useless Trivia; Davis is the second Major League player to his two grand slams in the same calendar month for two different teams. Don Lenhardt hit grand slams while playing for the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers in June 1952.

I would like to wish a happy 100th birthday to the Friendly Confines a.k.a. Wrigley Field, who passed the century mark on Wednesday April 23.

Number of World Series games played at Wrigley Field – 13

Number of World Series games played at Great American Ball Park – 0

Unlike the Cubbies, the Reds have a real chance of hosting a World Series this season!

Have a blessed week. I’m off to find a dry cleaner, this pine tar sticks to everything. GO REDS!!!

Dan Howard

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