Hal McCoy
Hal McCoy

Hal McCoy is a former beat writer for the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio), covering the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. He was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 as the winner of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded annually "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing." He has won 52 Ohio and national writing awards and was the first non-Cincinnati newsperson elected to the Cincinnati Journalists Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame and the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame. He has a stone on Dayton's Walk of Fame and the press box at Dayton's Howell Field is named the Hal McCoy Press Box. McCoy has been the Cincinnati BBWAA Chapter Chair 22 times and was the BBWAA national president in 1997. He is the third writer from the Dayton Daily News to win the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, joining Si Burick (1982) and Ritter Collett (1991). Residing in Englewood, Ohio, McCoy is an honors graduate in journalism from Kent State University.

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It’s become one of our most entertaining features, the weekly questions from Press Pros readers for Hal McCoy…on the Reds, where’s the help that’s on the way, who will the Reds draft, and has anyone seen Crosley Field lately?

From Dave in M/C/B:  While listening to Bryan Price’s post game show following yet another Reds loss, Price brought forth hope and promise for the near future. Wouldn’t Price have been a great politician?

BryanPrice_thumbDAVE: If Bryan Price were on the presidential ballot with the two candidates that appear on their way to the ballot I’d vote for Price in a New York minute (Anybody know exactly what a New York minute actually is?). Price is honest when asked questions, he doesn’t make fun of anybody (except Marty Brennaman’s blue loafers) and he keeps an even demeanor (other than that 77 f-bombs explosion). The man has to be optimistic in his position. What is he supposed to say, “We ain’t never gonna get better.”? So, the answer to your question, with his Cal-Berkeley education and his experience in taking his lumps he’d be a great politician. In fact, with the team he is strapped with he already is a great politician.

From Jack in Springfield: What Joey Votto did in Philadelphia by teasing fans with a baseball made the entire team look bad.  My question is whether there’s anyone in the organization who understands this, and was anyone willing to address it?

JACK: Couldn’t agree with you more and some of the things Votto says and does leaves me rolling my eyes. It started this year with him not running out on the field for Opening Day introductions. He was given a pass on that. Then when he was asked about his slow start he said it takes a Ferrari longer to get warmed up. Well, he is still operating at the speed of a John Deere tractor. Then he teases Philadelphia fans by faking the toss of a baseball into the stands and says it was in good fun. That’s fun? The Phillies’ fans, I can assure you, won’t ever let him forget it. As for any negative reaction from the folks with the Reds, there was nothing. Again, a free pass.

From Dickie in Pataskala:  Hey Hal, the draft comes up in three weeks and how do you think the Reds will draft, given their record and lack of talent ready to play in the majors?

DICKIE: Wish I could answer that, but I can’t. The Reds keep their intentions not just close to the vest, but under the vest. No hints, no clues. They consistently stun me in the draft, but then I’ve never done a draft and never even sat in on a draft. So what do I know? I hope they don’t draft a starting pitcher. As I’ve said often, they are in deep need of position players and let’s hope they go for the best bat available. In fact, in the early rounds let’s hope they try to find several bats — and I don’t mean Louisville Sluggers or Mizunos. I mean guys who can swing those sticks.

From Jared in Hilliard:  Hal, I read this week that they’re talking about lifting the strike zone to the top of the hitters’ knees in order to speed up the games.  But shouldn’t they do the opposite, and make the strike zone bigger if they want to speed things up?

JARED: A strike zone from the letters to just below the knees would be a great strike zone. They always talk about the strike zone but it seems to me each umpire has and enforces his own strike zone and the pitchers and hitters have to adjust to him. Moving the strike zone up and down might help, but the zone remains only 17 inches wide, the width of home plate. Maybe they can also widen home plate to say, 25 inches, and really make the hitters swing away. But speed up the game? If hitters start swinging more and there are less strikeouts, there will be more hits and more runs and lengthier games. Isn’t that what most fans want — more offense?ml_dunn_embed

From Gerry:  Would you trade the present Joey Votto straight up for the present Giancarlo Stanton?

GERRY: Why would you do that? Both players are in massive slumps. Are you saying a change of scenery might help both. It sure would help Stanton to play in Great American Small Park. Somebody would win that Toyota Tundra, if Stanton didn’t knock it off its stanchions and destroy it. And trading those two for each other would be impossible for the Reds. Stanton owns a $325 million contract and Votto’s contract is ‘only’ $225 million. When Votto signed his contract who in their right minds would think that a few years later somebody would sign for $100 million more than that. Do you think the Marlins are wishing they hadn’t done that? And are the Reds wishing they hadn’t done the Votto contract? Right now both teams have to be shaking their heads, wringing their hands and shuffling their feet.

From David Waller:  The Reds and Bryan Price keep talking about improvements from within, and that better days are just ahead.  But from whom?  Who are they talking about coming up that’s going to have that kind of impact?  Do you think Duvall, Peraza, Schebler and Suarez are those kind of talents?

DAVID: To improve from within they’d need to do due diligence in the next couple of drafts and that certainly won’t pay dividends in the near future. So what constitutes the near future? One year? Three years? Five years? Duvall is not young. I do like the potential future of Jose Peraza, who is blocked by Brandon Phillips and Billy Hamilton and something has to be done about that. Suarez has shown signs, but as one scout told me recently, “He can’t hit No. 1 and No. 2 pitches and feasts on No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5. But as I write this Suarez has struck out in 10 of his last 11 at bats. The Reds are going to have to convince me that there are brighter days in the near future. Looks pretty dark to me.

Cameron Godsey is the 2016 recipient of the Hal McCoy Award.

Cameron Godsey is the 2016 recipient of the Hal McCoy Award.

From Christy:  I saw the story in Press Pros this week about the scholarship award to the student from Miami East and wanted to say how great that was to see.  I’m sure you made that young man’s day.

CHRISTY: It is such an honor for me to have my name associated with the scholarship that Press Pros Magazine gives every year to a worthy applicant. It is fun for me to read the entries and choose the winner. It is difficult to pick one and it would be wonderful to give them all one of our scholarships, but that’s not possible. Not only was it great to give the award to this year’s recipient, it is a highlight of my year to visit the school of the winner and present his or her scholarship in front of the student body and to see the reactions of the winners. I am just fortunate to be able to be a part of making somebody’s day, or year.

From Phil in Covington: How much difference is there in the baseballs the Reds use compared to the ones the local high school teams use?  And are they still made from horse hide?

PHIL: I’m not certain about the baseballs the high schools use since I don’t think I’ve seen one say I played in the dark ages for Akron East in 1958. And back then the baseball were made from horsehide. Even though baseballs are still referred to as ‘The ol’ horsehide’ in some quarters, baseballs these days are actually covered in cowhide. And they way the Reds have been snake-bit with injuries and the Bullpen Blues maybe the Reds should use baseballs made out of snakeskin.

From Jordan:  My grandfather talks a lot about old Crosley Field in Cincinnati.  Can you tell me where it is, or where it was.  Is there anything left of it?

JORDAN: Old Crosley Field is now occupied by Cincinnati’s main post office and you can see it just to the right off I-75 just north of downtown Cincinnati. Nothing to see but mail slots. But there is a field in Blue Ash off I-275 that has the old Crosley Field scoreboard. I covered the last game in Crosley Field, the first game in Riverfront Stadium, the last game in Riverfront Stadium and the first game in Great American Ball Park. I won’t make the last game at Great American.dcs_baseball_ad

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