Monday, May 18, 2015

MLB Week 6 – A Bit of History

Photo Credit: Columbus Dispatch

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

I don’t know about you, but that three game beating the Giants delivered to our Reds left me with a sore backside.

The last time I felt this sore over a beating was when the University of Kentucky men’s basketball whupped the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament.

You Heard it Here First Department; a bit of Reds history will happen Tuesday night when Cincinnati travels to Kauffman Stadium to play the Kansas City Royals. It will be the first time in franchise history the Reds will play the World Champions and the American League Champions in consecutive games.

Question to Billy Hamilton; exactly how many bunt hits do you have this season?

ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike had an interesting topic on Monday morning. In the wake of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers gagging a 3 games to 1 series lead to the Houston Rockets, the two Mikes posed the question of the greatest collapse in sports history. Many included baseball. I’d like to address a couple of them.

The one that angers me the most is the 1986 World Series game 6. Yes the Red Sox blew a 5 – 3 lead with two outs in the Mets tenth. But to blame Bill Buckner is just plain stupid. If Boston had any relief pitching worth two cents then Buckner would not have been a factor. Why not blame Bob Stanley who threw the wild pitch that tied the game at 5. Why not blame Sox manager John McNamara for starting Bruce Hurst instead of Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd in game 7. Did you know that Boston led 3 – 0 in game 7 from the second inning until the sixth?

Useless Trivia; if you’ve ever watched the replay of Hank Aaron hitting home run 715 on April 8, 1974, the Los Angeles Dodger outfield climbing the fence in a futile attempt to catch the historic home run was Bill Buckner.

The next one that ticks me off is game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series between the Florida Marlins and the Chicago Cubs. “The Bartman Game”. That poor Steve Bartman gets vilified for trying to catch a foul ball that I really think Moises Alou couldn’t have caught with a butterfly net. Nobody says a single thing about Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez fumbling a sure double play ball which led to the Marlins scoring eight runs in the eighth inning. Did you know that Chicago led 5 – 3 in game 7 for a couple of innings. Curse of the Goat? Nah, just bad baseball.

I will say this, the way Chicago won Friday versus Pittsburgh makes me wonder if this is their year after all. In case you missed it, the Cubs loaded the bases with one out when Matt Szczur lifted a lazy fly ball to shallow right field. The sure handed Gregory Polanco drifts in to catch the ball and to prepare to throw to home in case Starlin Castro tried to score. As Polanco nears the ball, he slips on a mythical banana peel and the ball falls harmlessly to the turf.

75 years ago; Cincinnati runs their league leading record to 22 – 9 with a Memorial Day doubleheader sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Reds led the Brooklyn Dodgers by a half game.

40 years ago; after a 6 – 2 loss to the New York Mets, Cincinnati’s record stood at 20 – 20. Not much hope was given to the Reds going over .500 with Mets ace Tom Seaver taking the mound on that Wednesday evening. What happened next turned the season around. The Big Red Machine tags “Tom Terrific” for seven runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. Reds roll to an 11 – 4 win and reel off an incredible forty one wins in the next fifty games. In the season’s final 122 games, Cincinnati wins 88.

25 years ago; a 2 – 1 win over the New York Mets puts Cincinnati at thirty wins against eleven losses. Cincinnati enjoys an 8.5 game lead in the National League West.

Have a blessed week. GO REDS!!!

Dan Howard

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