Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University and pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeye baseball team from 1971 through 1974.  He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league league umpire for seven years, working in the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA).  He has written for numerous websites and outdoor publications, and for the past ten years has served as a regular columnist and photo editor for Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Widely knowledgeable on that period of American History, Fulks is a frequent speaker on the Civil War at local roundtables throughout the Midwest. He and wife Mindy have two grown children and live in Covington, Ohio.


Got a question about baseball that no one can, or will, answer?  Send them to the “famer”… hall of fame columnist Hal McCoy.  He guarantees satisfaction, more or less.

Dave from Centerville or a McDonald’s Drive-Thru near you:  Has Homer Bailey called on Tony Romo for advice on getting ones job back following an injury?

DAVE: That wouldn’t be smart. Tony Romo didn’t get his job back and now he has to be one of those shills for the NFL. If Homer Bailey doesn’t get his job back pitching for the Cincinnati Reds, and his job awaits him if his arm and shoulder repairs hold together (Have they tried Gorilla Glue?), he will grab his bow and arrows. If he can’t pitch in big games for the Reds, he’ll go big-game hunting Native American style. He’ll get his job back with the Reds in mid-June and we’ll see what happens.

From Joe B: Hal, are major league baseball teams fair game for the Better Business Bureau?  And if so, shouldn’t the Reds be susceptible to investigation? Good to be back.

JOE B.: Always good to be back. Always good to wake up in the morning. And it is good not to be writing for these days and waking up without a job. Maybe the BBB should investigate them. As for the Reds, fans who bought tickets this year should have known what they were in for this season. I warned them. Everybody warned them. When a team trades nearly every well-functioning part and replaces them with new-fangled gadgets (they call them prospects in baseball) you should be forewarned. To their credit, the Reds aren’t advertising the team as possible champions. They made it clear they are rebuilding, or trying to rebuild. Will it work? Check back in 2020.

From John in Vandalia: Hal, first time writer to Press Pros and thank you in advance for addressing my question. From TV pictures it appears that the infield grass at GABP is very high and thick. Is this so, and do they purposely keep it that way?

JOHN: Welcome and don’t be a stranger. There is no rule that instructs teams how high or how low to cut their grass. It is up to the team and their groundskeepers. If a team’s infield defense is suspect, teams like to keep the grass high to slow down ground balls. If a team has a lot of ground ball hitters they like to keep it cut short so balls will scoot quickly through the infield. If the other team has speed, they like to keep the infield muddy to slow them down. There are all kinds of tricks. As for Great American Ball Park, I haven’t noticed unusually high grass. But I ignore that at home, too, until my wife says it is time to mow it.

PressProsMagazine. com.

From Jasper in Youngstown: Hal, I know from past columns that you’re a Homer Bailey fan and do you think he’ll ever pitch up to his potential for the Reds again? Or, have the Reds under-reported the seriously of his Tommy John injury and comeback?

JASPER: Nobody roots harder for Homer Bailey than I do and I’m supposed to be objective. But he is a class act and somebody I love talking to about things other than baseball. Only the baseball gods know what is in store for Bailey in the future. When a guy pitches a no-hitter, let alone two no-hitters, that’s no accident. You have what it takes and then some. Fans hold him accountable because he is making $105 million, but the injuries are not his fault. They are part of the game, especially to pitchers. I believe baseball teams are not intelligent when they give any pitcher long-term contracts. They are always one pitch away from being where Bailey has been. He’ll be back in mid-June and only then will we see what happens.

From Gerry: Is Marty Brenneman the only one among the broadcasters who has a rational perspective about the Reds pitching? For the first ten games Chris Welsh and Thom Brenneman were a bit over the top in their praise, don’t you think?

GERRY: Of course they were over-the-top to expect young, inexperienced pitchers to be Jose Rijo and Tom Browning right away. And it wasn’t only Chris and Thom. The national media went ga-ga over Amir Garrett until his 10-run game in 3 2/3  innings against the Brewers. Young pitchers usually have more downs than ups in the early going. You have to wait to see how they progress and develop — if they do. Marty Brennaman, like me, is old school and we’ve seen a lot in our four-plus decades each of covering baseball. We’ve seen too many flashes-in-the-pan to not think we’re rich when it is only fool’s gold. Broadcasters have to be as positive as they can be for the teams they cover. Marty is the rare exception.

Purkey_cardFrom Donald in Xenia: A few weeks ago there was a Press Pros story on former Reds pitcher Bob Purkey, who played on the 1961 World Series team that lost to the Yankees. Purkey apparently died several years ago, but I wondered if you could tell me how many members of that team are still living? Thanks!

DONALD: That’s a tough one. Most of those guys are or would be in their 80’s right now. I can only go by guys I’ve seen recently and that’s only Frank Robinson and Leo Cardenas. And I know Jim O’Toole died of cancer at age 79 and we lost Gordy Coleman several years ago. Those guys stayed around Cincinnati so when they died we all knew about it. That team was 12 years before I began covering the Reds and I was a senior at Kent State University and rooting for the Cleveland Indians. Of course, we also know that cancer claimed manager Fred Hutchinson shortly after the team played the New York Yankees in the ’61 World Series. One of my all-time favorite quotes came out of the World Series and it was uttered by third baseman Gene Freese. After the Yankees beat the Reds in five games, a New York writer asked Freese if the ’61 Yankees were one of the all-time best teams. Said Freese, “Screw New York. Screw the Yankees. And screw Babe Ruth.”

From Bill in Columbus: Based on what you’ve seen, which team got the better of the Todd Frazier deal – the Reds, the White Sox, or the Dodgers?

BILL: As with any trade, you have to give it a few years to see how it plays out. The Reds got young players like Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler and we have to wait to see if Peraza becomes as good as Brandon Phillips or Schebler becomes as good as Jay Bruce. And by trading Frazier the Reds made room at third base for Eugenio Suarez, another young player still developing. While Frazier was extremely popular in Cincinnati, and rightly so because of his personality and his love of the fans and Cincinnati, but he isn’t tearing it up in Chicago. Ask me the same question in about five years.

From Tim in Troy:  Why haven’t the major leagues adopted the aluminum bat, like the rest of the sweeping changes in baseball?

TIM: Probably so nobody gets killed. Major Leaguers hit the ball hard enough as it is with wood bats. They have tempered aluminum bats for high school and college players, but they still can be deadly. As for conservation, saving trees would be nice, but saving skulls might be more important. And I hate the sound of aluminum bats hitting baseballs with that sickly ping. Nothing beats hearing a wood bad connect solidly with a baseball.