Tuesday, June 28, 2016

MLB Week 12 - My Aging Heroes

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Nobody said it would last forever. I watched, with great delight and bittersweet sadness, the Number 14 Retirement Ceremony this past Sunday. It was wonderful to see the heroes of my youth gathered together once again to honor one of their own. The ceremony was a long time coming with baseball finally relenting to allow Pete Rose his rightful induction into the Reds Hall of Fame.

What saddened me is the fact that, no matter the vitamins, exercise, healthy eating, Blue Emu ointment, and the like, “Father Time” is undefeated. The once svelte Johnny Bench, at 68, is suffering from a myriad of problems caused by sixteen years of donning the “tools of ignorance”, 75-year-old Pete Rose seemed out of breath, and very uncomfortable, after taking his seat at the podium, Tony Perez, 74, was sweating profusely, merely from walking to the stage from the dugout, Davey Concepcion, who turned 68 on June 17, once could walk between raindrops, now seems to have discovered cheeseburgers since his retirement, even Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, now in his 43rd season behind the mic, is slowly showing his age.

Time is a thief. Time steals, without mercy, those wonderful memories of the Big Red Machine in their prime whose bodies are fading as slowly as the photographs and the grainy videos which recorded the moments. Although their accomplishments will last forever, the individuals who produced them will not.

There was one noticeable absence, two-time National League Most Valuable Player, Joe Morgan. Morgan has been suffering from complications due to knee replacement surgery, however Pete Rose, during a televised interview, let it slip that Morgan was awaiting a bone marrow donation for an undisclosed illness. Keep him in your prayers.

Also pray for the family of Pat Summit, the former coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vol’s, who passed away on Tuesday morning, June 28, 2016.

Did you see where former Reds relief pitcher Clay Carroll said for $100,000 he’d come out of retirement, at age 75, and pitch for Cincinnati. What can it hurt? I mean he can’t be any worse than J.J. Hoover or Alfredo Simon.

It was nice to see the Reds break out the Bicentennial uniforms worn during the 102 win 1976 season, unfortunately our Reds played like another team that wore the same style of uniforms – the 101 loss 1982 Reds.

Where was Jay Bruce at after all these years? He and Bobby Tolan, in 1969, are the only two Reds in the All Star era (since 1933) to collect 17 doubles, 6 triples and 17 home runs. Too bad he’ll be elsewhere by August 1.

Rumor has it that the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in Bruce. Hmmm, Jay Bruce for Clayton Kershaw?

If I told you that on June 28th the leading hitter among Cincinnati’s starting eight would be Jay Bruce, you probably would have set me up with a psychiatrist.

It was a good thing the Reds won on Sunday, they’d never been swept in a four game series against San Diego.

From the “Sucks to be You” Department, think it’s tough being a Reds fan this year? Try rooting for England’s national soccer team. You know, they’re the one who got booted out of the UEFA Euro 2016 Tournament by tiny ol’ Iceland on Monday. Someone likened it to Appalachian State’s football defeat of T.T.U.N. (That Team Up North) in Ann Arbor on September 1, 2007. Maybe, but I believe it’s more like a Little League team beating our Cincinnati Reds.

Oh wait, that could happen, bad analogy on my part.

Looks like Anthony DeSclafani is back.

Will Homer Bailey ever be back?

By going five for five in Monday’s Cubs win, Kris Bryant is batting .542 (13 for 24) in Chicago’s five games at Great American Ball Park this season. Bryant also became the first Major Leaguer to collect two doubles and hit three homers in a single game.

Useless Trivia; Kris Bryant also became the third player in baseball history to collect an extra base hit in each at bat of the game, with a minimum of five at bats. The other two, Josh Hamilton on May 8, 2012, one double, four homers, and Joe Adcock, July 31, 1954, one double, four homers.

Memo to Bryan Price, walk Kris Bryant, even if the bases are loaded.

40 Years Ago; Tuesday June 29, 1976, Pinch hitter Mike Lum leads off the top of the 14th inning with a solo home run that breaks a 5 – 5 tie with the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium. The homer seemingly awakens the Reds offense as they score six more times in the frame to post a 12 – 5 win. The win gives Cincinnati a 4.5 game lead in the National League West.

Have a blessed week. Áfram Ísland (Go Iceland)

Dan Howard

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