Sunday, July 20, 2014

MLB Week 16 - Break Time

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

All-Star breaks not only are good for players, they’re pretty good for fans too! My family and I just returned from our first vacation in quite a long time. It’s been twenty years since we visited Huntsville, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, wow have things changed! Thank God for OnStar turn by turn navigation! Once I figure out how to transfer photos from my son’s iPhone to this antiquated computer I’m currently working on, I’ll share one or two with you readers.

For What it’s Worth Department; I highly recommend a visit to Fall Creek Falls State Park near Spencer, Tennessee. The main attraction of the park is a 270 foot waterfall, one of the tallest in the eastern United States, plus the surrounding vistas are equally as breathtaking. Google it to see for yourself.

Did I mention that I hate losing to the American League?

Useless Trivia; in the “Age of Enlightenment”, a.k.a. my childhood, the National League thoroughly dominated the “Junior Circuit”, winning 21 of 25 All Star games from 1963 to 1987. Since that time, the American League has won 20 of 26, with one tie. This “Reign of Terror” began in 1988 with the A.L. beating the N.L. 2 – 1 at Riverfront Stadium. With next year’s All-Star Game coming to Great American Ballpark, maybe the good guys of the National League will begin a new streak to lead us out of baseball’s “Dark Ages”!

Prior to last Tuesday’s loss, the National League was undefeated in All Star games played in Minneapolis, winning 6 – 5 at Metropolitan Stadium in 1965, and winning 6 – 1 at the Metrodome in 1985.

Next year will mark the fifth time baseball holds it’s “Mid-Summer’s Classic” in Cincinnati. The National League is 3 – 1 in the previous four games, winning 4 – 1 in 1938, and 5 – 1 in 1953, at Crosley Field; winning 5 – 4 in 1970, only a couple of weeks after Riverfront Stadium opened when Pete Rose bowled over Ray Fosse to score the games winning run; and the aforementioned 2 – 1 loss in 1988.

I think all Cincinnati fans world-wide are proud of the effort Todd Frazier made in the Home Run Derby, falling to the defending champion, Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes.

Yes, Cespedes is a beast.

For you naysayers who doubted the validity of Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen Most Valuable Player Award last season (like me), Saturday night’s game should have convinced you (it did). “McClutch” hit a game tying homer to send the game to extra innings, and then hit another home run to give Pittsburgh the win.

Pet Peeve; memo to Jay Bruce; no matter how hard you try, you’re not going to hit through any shift the Reds opponents are going to put on you. Case in point, last Saturday the Pirates shifted so many players to the right side of the field, Great American Ballpark was leaning to the right. Bruce could have dropped a bunt down the third base line and possible legged out an inside the park home run. Pirates starter Charlie Morton kept pitching Bruce on the outside corner and instead of taking the pitch to the desert previously known as left field, Bruce, channeling his inner Adam Dunn, insisted to try to pull the ball into the shift and politely lined out weakly to Neil Walker. It seemed a month ago Jay Bruce would have taken the pitch to left field.

If this MLB Players Association Executive Director’s gig doesn’t work for Tony Clark, he’ll probably get a job as an F.M. Radio Disc Jockey. Clark’s got a smooth tone to his voice, perfect for late night radio.

Has LeBron James found a place to play next season? I can’t find a thing about it.

Have a blessed week. GO REDS!!!

Dan Howard

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