Volume 2 of readers’ questions far and wide…for our resident hall-of-fame baseball writer, cigar broker, and former magistrate of the kangaroo court (from the man cave) for the Baseball Writers of America.
From Dave in Beavercreek: How can they ‘put on’ an opening day parade for a team expected to lose 90-100 games?
DAVE: Hey, man, more than ever do they need to put on a parade for the fans. What else is there for them to look forward to this season? There certainly won’t be a celebratory parade after the season. And there won’t be too many parades about the basepaths. After the Findlay Market parade this year it will be all downhill.
From Jackson in Waverly: Just found your Press Pros website for the first time and it’s a pretty neat thing. I heard on the radio this week about Jake Cave being a Rule 5 player and wondered what that means. Did the Reds trade someone for him, or how did they get him?
JACKSON: Welcome aboard, my friend, and enjoy the ride. After a team signs a player they need to place him on its 40-man roster within five years. If they don’t do that, the player is exposed to what they call The Rule Five draft. Another team can claim him and pay only $50,000 for him. That’s how the Reds got Jake Cave from the New York Yankees. There is a catch-22, though. Cave must remain on the Reds 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the Yankees for $25,000. It is a rule to prevent teams from stockpiling talent in the minor leagues.
Mike in Dayton: I recently read your explanation about the Dayton Daily News not having the money to cover the Reds during spring training. So why did they build that big new building along the interstate south of town? And why is coverage of city council meetings more entertaining than coverage of the Reds and Bengals? Who makes the decisions, and why bother if you can’t report what the community wants to read?
MIKE: You are not only preaching to the choir, you are signing an aria. Wish I could answer all those questions, but they are all above me. I do know that $90 million printing plant in Springboro makes them a lot of money. I believe they print the midwest editions of The New York Times and USA Today, plus tons of advertising supplements. And it doesn’t cost them any money to cover city council meetings. They just walk down the street. As for the Bengals, they still cover all of their games. Who makes these decisions? Clearly, not me.
From James in Huber Heights: Hal, you’ve outlived everything they used to write about at the News…high school, Bengals, Browns, and now the Reds. If you were a crime scene writer you’d probably still be on the beat.
JAMES: Oh, I still have a job. I still do blogs for the DDN and occasional columns and other stuff in the paper. I am just no longer an employee. I’m a contributor. And, of course, I have this gig with Press Pros Magazine. You mention me being a crime reporter. That’s why I’ve never covered the Bengals. I’ve never been a very good crime reporter. Think about it.
From Joe in Troy: Just read what you wrote about Walt Jocketty in your last column and wondered who you would pick as the best GM the Reds have had since Bob Howsam?
JOE: Well, Marge Schott went through GM’s like bottles of vodka. I liked Murray Cook (he and I played a lot of tennis and I could never beat him). Bob Quinn was excellent but Mr. Schottt browbeat him to death. And she did the same with Bill Bergesch, a great guy with a New York Yankees background but he was always handcuffed by Marge. Any one of those three could have been great but they never had a chance.
From Joe B: You mentioned Waite Hoyt in your last column and that brought back a lot of good memories. But do you also remember Ed Kennedy and Frank McCormick doing the games on the old black and white TV broadcasts, sponsored by Hudepohl 14-K?
JOE: Indeed I do. Just like Waite Hoyt, Ed Kennedy and Frank McCormick were before my time but when I rode to games with former Dayton Journal Herald sports editor Ritter Collett I would do just as I did with Waite Hoyt. I would sit in the media dining room and listen to Waite and Ed and Frank talk baseball and absorb as much as I could. Kennedy was especially nice to me when I was just a wet-eared kid out of Kent State University with big eyes and big ears. But I never could stand Hudepohl 14-K. It reminded too much of the cheap stuff I drank in college — Carling Black Label and Stroh’s.
From Gary in Richmond: First time writer to Press Pros, Hal, and wondered if you can tell me if former Reds reliever Wayne Granger is still living, and his whereabouts if he is. When my family lived in Blue Ash back in the 60s my dad said he bought a pickup truck from him that he kept and bragged about it for years.
GARY: I missed Wayne Granger. Granger was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals along with Bobby Tolan for Vada Pinson, not one of the Reds’ finer moments. Then he was traded in 1971 for the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Tom Hall. His best year for the Reds was 1969 when he appeared in 90 games in relief and was 9-and-6 with a 2.80 earned run average. His 90 appearances led the league and at the time was the all-time record for pitching appearances in one season. He is in the Reds Hall of Fame. He is, indeed, alive and well and comes to Cincinnati periodically for RedsFest and Hall of Fame inductions. Does your dad still have that pickup truck?
From Gerry: Just saw online that because of dynamic ticket pricing a good box seat to see the Reds play the Pirates in two weeks could cost you $134 (I’m not kidding). Would you pay $134 in April to see the Reds play anyone?
GERRY: Don’t forget parking and concessions will add to your tab. And don’t forget you are also paying to see the Pirates play. That’s a pretty good team and I’d pay to see Andrew McCutchen play. But $134? How much would you play this year to see the Reds and Brewers or the Reds and Rockies or the Reds and Padres? I’m just happy I have a media pass and can enjoy baseball, the greatest game on earth.