In our second installment of readers’ questions for hall of famer Hal McCoy…Reds on the ‘cheap’, players you’ve never heard of, why the big hurry, and politics in the broadcast booth. Got one you want answered? Send it to Sonny@staging.pressprosmagazine.com…and read your answer from ‘the famer’.
From Dave in Beavercreek: Has anyone on the Reds medical staff been credited for the invention of the oblique injury since it appears to be reserved for the Reds roster?
DAVE: If you check the disabled list of other teams you will find a plethora of oblique injuries. It is the injury du jour in baseball these days. Nobody invented it, they just re-named it. I’ve covered baseball for 46 years and never used the word oblique in a conversation or in a story until the last few years. The injury formerly was just referred to as a pulled muscle or a groin injury. I played baseball, basketball, football and tennis my entire life and not once did I injury my oblique, as far as I know. And I have never run int0 one person who isn’t in professional sport who has suffered an oblique injury.
From Randy (in Troy): Every team can talk about trades they’ve made, but I think if Cueto and Chapman are ace #1 and #2, with with Leake, Bruce, and Cozart, the Reds are a solid playoff contender. Do you agree?
RANDY: No, not really. If they still had Chapman he wouldn’t be in the rotation, even if the Reds wanted him there. He loves being a closer and has no aspirations to be a starter. They finished last three years with Cozart, they finished last twice with Bruce, and they finished last once with Leake. As Branch Rickey once told outfielder Ralph Kiner when Kiner had a great year and wanted a raise, “We finished last with you and we can finish last without you.” They even finished last with Cueto once. Every one of those players were on the team in 2015 when the Reds finished last. I don’t believe bringing back those four guys would make one iota of a difference. We all miss what we don’t have and all our memories of those who are gone are positive. We forget the neegative.
From Susan: I cannot think of one player by name that plays for the Reds, except Joey Votto. So, is there any reason I should be excited for another season and spend a lot of money to go see them play?
SUSAN: If that’s true, and I doubt it, you are not much of a fan and wouldn’t get excited and spend money anyway. If you are a Reds fan tell me you don’t know the name Homer Bailey, or the name Billy Hamilton, or the name Adam Duvall, or the name Eugenio Suarez or the name Scooter Gennett. I see your point about the Reds not having a lot of household names, but in this day and age of free agency most major league teams are populated by a few stars like Joey Votto and a whole bunch of ‘Who’s He.’
From Tim (in Columbus): What p—-es me off about the Reds is the constant whine about being a small market, and asking for patience while they field a team of rookies and no-names. They talk ‘cheap’, until you see the ticket prices to see them play. A draft beer on opening day cost $10, so I hope a lot of fans let them know…that ‘cheap’ goes both ways. Any thoughts?
TIM: Oh, I always have thoughts. I have not heard any Reds executives whine about being a small market team. I rarely hear that term used in Great American Ball Park. I’m still waiting for somebody to actually define what small market team is, what a mid-market team is, and what a big market team is. Is it defined by population in the team’s area? Is it how much money a team spends? Is it how man fans a team draws? And I wouldn’t call Joey Votto a no-name. In fact, the entire regular eight are recognizable to most baseball fans. Yes, the pitching staff is young and inexperienced, but they have to pitch to get experience. Also, nobody in the Reds front office has said to me that fans need to be patient. Regardless of all that, I can feel your pain and the anger and impatience of fans. You pay big league prices for tickets, beer and hot dogs and you expect a big league team. They are trying. I’m just not sure they know how to go about. I won’t tell you to be patient because it may be a long, long time before they become contenders.
From David: Hal, is there any timetable from the Reds on when they want (or expect) to see Hunter Greene in the big leagues?
DAVID: Don’t rush him. As a famous winemaker once said, “No wine before it’s time.” And the Reds do consider Greene as fine wine that needs aging. He will tell them when he is ready by how he does on the field, so they can’t have a set schedule. He was just drafted last June and is starting this season at low Class A Dayton, so he has several steps to climb. He he one of those can’t miss prospects, but a lot of can’t miss prospects missed badly. Greene will make his Dayton debut Monday at Fifth Third Field. It will be his first appearance in front of a crowd of nearly 10,000 and he’ll face a media horde after he pitches for the first time. There are a lot of peripheral things he needs to learn in addition to locating his fastball.
From Bob in Portsmouth: All the talk is about Hunter Greene, but what’s the word on the rest of the Reds 2017 draft? Where are they now and how did they do in their first year?
BOB: That would take forever and a day to talk about the report upon. In addition to Greene, the Reds drafted 39 other players. And all of them either went to short-season Billings in the Pioneer Rookie League or they went to Arizona to play in the Arizona Rookie League. So they only played three months and now they are playing at low Class A Dayton or high Class A Daytona or remaining in Arizona to play in the Instructional League. Greene was the No. 1 pick, but I’ll bet you a dozen baseballs you can’t name the Reds second pick and third pick. The guy behind Greene was shortstop Jeter Downs and behind him was center fielder Stuart Fairchild.
From Joe B: What really happened to (broadcaster) Jim Kelch? I’ve read that there was a fan survey sent out, but somehow I doubt that, knowing the Reds. I personally liked his personality on air, and better than some of the others.
JOE: I, too, miss Jim Kelch. I thought he was a good guy, plus he and I shared a love for tennis. I thought he was good on the air. As far as I know the story you heard is true. They did do a poll. Marty Brennaman, of course, finished first. No shock there. What was shocking to them was that Jim Day finished second, which is why he is being moved into the booth. Kelch didn’t do so well. But it was extremely cruel how they handled it. They called him into the office and Kelch was jubilant, believing he being called in to sign a new contract. Instead, as soon as he sat down he was told, “We’re moving forward and you aren’t going with us.” Talk about heartlessness. And it led to total devastation for Kelch.
From Gerry: Hal, first time writing in a while, but wondered what, if anything, the Reds got in return when Cozart signed with the Angels? Anything? Nothing?
GERRY: For Cozart, the Reds received nothing — no player, no draft pick, no brand new bats, no used resin bags, no even a partridge in a pear tree. To get compensation, the Reds needed to make Cozart a $17 million one-year contract which he could accept or reject. If they made that offer and Cozart refused, the Reds would have gotten a sandwich draft pick this June. Fearing Cozart might take it, the Reds didn’t offer him the qualifying contract. And that meant the Reds are left with nothing to show for Cozart’s departure.
From Doug in Vandalia: If you were Reds management how would you say that “We’re not going to win again this year, we’d like for you to be patient again, and we’re doing the best we can. In the meantime, please continue to come to see other major league teams beat the hell out of us…and pay too much for the privilege.”
DOUG: I wouldn’t say that. And I’ve never heard the Reds say any of that, not even that they are rebuilding. It is all just implied with the way they are handling things — trading established veterans for untried prospects/suspects. That can only mean they aren’t really trying to win right now. It does kind of bug me, too, that they charge major league prices f0r a less-than-major league team. You are right about one thing. You are paying major league prices to see major league teams come to town and whip up on the home team.