Thursday, August 14, 2014

MLB Week 20 - Death of a Genius

Robin Williams 2011a (2).jpg

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

I feel I must comment briefly on the death of comedic legend and San Francisco Giants fan Robin Williams. Mr. Williams burst onto the scene during the hit 1970’s comedy Happy Days. His appearance as “Mork from Ork” made Williams literally a household name overnight. From that came his own show, “Mork and Mindy” opposite Pam Dawber. I’m sure many of you have rummaged through your parents antiques and asked about those funny rainbow suspenders or what exactly did “Nanu – Nanu” mean on this lunchbox.

I remember that cold snowy Friday night in January 1977 when the news flash came about Freddie Prinze, a hugely talented actor from my favorite television show of that era, “Chico and the Man”, tried to kill himself. There were reports from the hospital, the set of his show, his family and various other sources telling how unexpected this was. At thirteen years old, it was the first time I’ve ever prayed for someone. I mean “Chico” couldn’t die, what would happen to the show? I cried when I heard the news the following day that Freddie Prinze had indeed passed away. Robin Williams definitely filled the void left behind when “Chico” died.

It was at that time I first heard of the disease depression. Depression is not prejudiced in any way, it affects the young and old, rich or poor, athlete or bench-warmer. It is real and, with treatment, can be easily defeated.

Former Reds outfielder Ryan Freel suffered from depression brought on from his numerous concussions during his playing days. He ended his life on December 22, 2012.

Depression doesn’t just affect the individual only, it also affects the individual’s family, friends, and acquaintances. If you have feelings of anxiety, frequent mood swings or thoughts of suicide, GET HELP NOW! Your family doctor can assist you in finding the right treatment plan to help you beat this, and you can beat this. Don’t let depression get you down.

I’m ashamed to admit that I did not know that newly inducted Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer Dave Parker was battling Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, however modern treatment has been proven effective to slow the impact of the disease. Other notable celebrities with Parkinson’s include former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, actor Michael J. Fox, and well respected Evangelist Billy Graham.

Useful Trivia; did you know that well known Evangelist Billy Sunday was once a popular outfielder for the Chicago White Sox? Sunday left professional baseball for the preaching circuit around 1891. Sunday’s sermons (no pun intended) were so influential during the early 1900’s that his messages were the driving influence behind the Eighteenth Amendment a.k.a. Prohibition.

As I reported a few weeks ago, Boston’s Yeonis Cespedes is in fact a beast.

Memo to Jonathan Broxton; do not ever go up and in on Cespedes again!!!

For What It’s Worth Department; in interleague play this season, the Boston Red Sox are 9 – 8. A combined 8 – 0 against Cincinnati and Atlanta.

The Reds are 1 – 9 all time in regular season games versus Boston; however the Reds are 4 – 3 in World Series games facing the Red Sox!

Old Geezer Moment; while listening to Tuesday night’s Reds/Red Sox titanic struggle, Marty Brennaman and Doug Flynn talked about the 1975 World Series. My oldest son, Jeremy, asked me what it felt like watching the classic Game 6. At age 22, Jeremy has never experienced a Reds world championship. I told him that I ran the gambit of emotions during that game, down when the Sox took an early 3 – 0 lead, excited when the Reds stormed back to take a 6 – 3 lead on Cesar Geronimo’s home run in the top of the eighth. Then utter shock when Bernie Carbo tied the game in the Red Sox eighth with that improbable three run homer. I then explained that since I was in the seventh grade at that time, I had to go to bed after Joe Morgan flied into that double play in the Reds eleventh. My mom informed me at 6:30 the next morning that there would be a seventh game.

The only way I can adequately describe the feeling of a Reds World Championship is the hope that we’ll experience it again sometime soon. Believe me, it’s that good!

I’m secretly rooting for the Kansas City Royals to win the American League Central.

The DUH Department; whether they win their division or not, Kansas City manager Ned Yost has my vote for American League Manager of the Year.

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton went 6 for 25 this season while facing the Reds. Of Stanton’s six hits, four were homers (could have been five had it not been for Jay Bruce), one double, and one single. Did I mention that he drove in five runs?

In Case You Were Wondering Department; the Reds travel to Denver for a four game series at Coors Field beginning Thursday August 14. Our Reds are 33 – 51 in the Mile High City. All time the Reds are one game under .500 against the Rockies 85 – 86. Pardon my insensitivity, but at least our pitchers won’t be facing Red killer Troy Tulowitzki this series. “Tulo” is out for the rest of 2014 due to a hip injury. Get well soon Tulo!

Looks like Brandon Phillips will begin his rehab assignment on Friday with the Louisville Bats. No word yet as to the return of Joey Votto. The Reds are 11 – 18 this season without Phillips and Votto in the lineup.

That was an impressive job Marlana VanHoose did signing God Bless America on Tuesday night and our National Anthem on Wednesday afternoon. Ms. VanHoose was born with Cytomeglo virus (CMV), which affects her sight. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. VanHoose at the unlikely of venues, the funeral of a mutual friend. I must say she is an absolute inspiration to all who meet her.

Have a blessed week. GO REDS!!!!!

Dan Howard

Photo: Wikipedia

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