Questions from Press Pros readers on the Reds, and baseball in general, fit for our resident hall of famer Hal McCoy. If you have a question you’d like to send, simply use the convenient ‘contact’ email prompt to Press Pros.
From Dave in Beaverditch: Might we be witnessing the first major league baseball park to never host a World Series during its entire existence?
DAVE: Are you talking about Petco Park or Target Field or Safeco Field or PNC Park? Ah, I’d bet my new FitBit that you mean Not-So-Great American Ball Park. Let’s just say that there won’t be a new park in Cincinnati for at least 50 years. We probably won’t see one in our lifetime, but you never know. Look how long it took for Wrigley Field to see a World Series and that park is older than my father would be (101) if he were still living. And it took almost as long for Fenway Park to see one.
From Ken in Indy: Hal, I’ve followed your columns for years and was surprised to find you on this website. Here’s my question. It appears that the Reds have bad luck with first-round pitchers they select in the draft (Homer Bailey (?) and Robert Stephenson, for instance). Who was the last #1 choice pitcher to have actually had a successful career as a Red?
KEN: I’m like a dirty penny. I show up in a lot of odd and different places. I’ll write for anybody who’ll take me and I’m proud to be part of Press Pros Magazine. I wouldn’t call Homer Bailey a bust. How many pitchers throw two no-hitters in their careers? He has been unlucky with injuries, but he isn’t through yet. I have grave doubts about Robert Stephenson, but he is still young and if he listens to the right people he might still make it. As for other No. 1 flops, you forgot Ryan Wagner, Ty Howington, Chris Gruler, C.J. Nitkowski, Jack (One-Year Wonder) Armstrong, Pat Watkins, Scott Scudder and Pat Pacillo. And that’s just going back to 1984. The last success story was Mike Leake, and he is doing it with the Cardinals. Before that you have to go back to 1995 and Brett Tomko. Before that? How about Don Gullett in 1969. Picking pitchers No. 1 has not been the team’s strong suit.
From Joe B: Hal, I wrote a couple of years ago and asked why the Cincinnati media is so ‘soft’ on the Reds. At the time you disagreed. But can you imagine if the Reds were playing in New York, and are you reading what they’re writing about the Mets, and the prima donna pitcher (Matt Harvey)? Has any of your opinions changed?
JOE: No, not really. It is a different culture in New York. There is ten times more media in New York, all looking for a story and all looking to grab attention. I’d hardly say I am soft on the Reds. A few years ago Reds management tried to have me removed from Fox’s web-site, “Because he just killed us last year.” And they almost succeeded. I always try to call them as I see them and I never watch what is going on through rose-colored glasses. I am not a real popular guy in the Reds front office, but fortunately I do have the support and respect from the players — well, I do now that Brandon Phillips is gone. He wouldn’t speak to me the last two years he was with the Reds, but that’s another story.
From Richard in Greenville: Hal, why is there so little resistance from the baseball clubs pertaining to rules changes like the intentional walk, and the ejection of the Baltimore pitcher last week when he hit one of the Red Sox hitters with a curveball? What the hell is going on?
RICHARD: The baseball teams themselves have little or no control over rules changes. That comes from the commissioner’s office and his committees. And they certainly have no control over the umpires and how they do or don’t eject players. The umpires, too, are controlled by MLB and now the teams themselves. About all the teams control are ticket prices, parking prices, concession prices and what days they give-away bobbleheads.
From Dave: I have a question on scoring. At a local high school game this week I saw a runner on first called out when he was running the bases and hit by a batted ball. How is that scored, and what happens to the batter-runner in that situation?
DAVE: When a runner is hit by a batted ball while running the bases, and he is not on a base, he is called out and play immediately stops. The play is over. The fielder nearest where the runner was hit is credited with the putout. If it isn’t the third out, ending the inning, the guy who hits the ball gets first base and it is ruled a fielder’s choice. The only guy I know who probably never will get hit by a batted ball is Billy Hamilton because he can outrun any batted ball.
From Gerry: Hal, if you had a sore back would you rub that Blue Emu stuff on it that Johnny Bench sells in the commercials?
GERRY: If I had sore back, and is there anything worse, I’d rub Gorilla feces on it if it made me feel better. I’d try Bench’s stuff one time and if it worked he’d have a steady customer. If not, on to something else. Hopefully, Bench endorses it because it works on him and not because it was a nice pay check. And Lord knows nobody should have an aching back worse than Bench and the beatings he took behind the plate. The guy walks around these days like an old man. Well, he is an old man but I still picture him as one of the big men on The Big Red Machine. Weren’t they indestructible?
From Bob Testerman: First-time writer and wondered about how the Reds minor leagues stack up against other organizations? The other night MLB TV ranked the top organizations for player drafting and development and there was no mention of the Reds.
BOB: For along time the Reds were always near the bottom, thanks to former GM Jim Bowden, whose hands were tied behind his back by Marge Schott, who nearly destroyed the farm system by getting rid of most of the scouts and refusing to spend money. It has taken a long time to come back but right now the Reds are about in the middle of the pack and getting better, thanks to their poor performances on the field in recent years that gave them high draft picks.s
From Daniel Mericiki: If Trump wants to make America great again, why can’t Rawlings pitch in by making the official major league baseball in California with immigrant workers instead of sweat shops in China?
DANIEL: Now Trump would NEVER put a stamp on hiring immigrant workers to make baseballs, or anything else. He wants to build a wall as high as Boston’s Green Monster to keep those folks out. By the way, major league baseballs aren’t made in Chinese sweat shops, they are made in Costa Rican sweat shops. And are you from California. Why not make them in Ohio? They make NFL footballs in Ada, Ohio.
From Mike in Sidney: Are you in favor of the umpires trying to mediate pitchers throwing brushback pitches in the modern game, or let the players take care of matters in the way they did years ago? Which do you think is more effective?
MIKE: Being so old school in my baseball-thinking that I am one-room schoolhouse, I prefer the old way. Let the players police themselves. With umpires issuing warnings, a team can’t retaliate without automatically getting the pitcher and manager ejected. And in the AL with the awful DH, a pitcher never has to bat and face his own music. Letting the players settle it always seemed to work in the old days. A couple of hit batters, a little on-the-field skirmish and it was settled. And it added a little spice in the game, which MLB seems to be trying to remove with all its silly rules changes.