UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave and The Sun Room. The Sun Room? Yeah, I have cable in The Man Cave, but it doesn’t get MLB-TV and Fox1. But I get those channels in the Sun Room and because some of the baseball playoff games were on MLB and FOX1 I had to watch them in the Sun Room, where I am not permitted to smoke my cigars. Nadine just doesn’t understand that for me it isn’t Baseball, Apple Pie & Chevrolet. It is Baseball, Cigars and Yuengling.
NOW THAT THE Derek Jeter Traveling Baseball Sideshow is over it is time to repeat the story of how the Cincinnati Reds could have drafted Jeter but didn’t.
Gene Bennett, the best scout I encountered in my 42 years in baseball — and an even better person — saw Jeter at a tryout camp in Michigan. And Jeter was wearing a Cincinnati Reds cap.
How good was Bennett? He worked for the Reds for 56 years, surviving ownership changes and a myriad of general manager changes. That’s how good he was.
EVEN WHEN MARGE Schott owned the team and fired most of the scouts when she said, “Why do we need scouts? All they do is watch ball games,” Bennett survived.
He recommended that the Reds draft Jeter with their No 1 pick, but he was overruled and the team drafted outfielder Chad Mottola. On the day they did that, Bennett said, “The Reds just made the biggest mistake in their history.”
Was he right or was he right?
SPEAKING OF THE Reds and old times, a 46-year historic era ended this week when the last pieces of the Nippert ownership was sold.
The Nippert family, Louis and Louise, were part of an investors group that bought the Reds in 1966. In 1973, the yeare I began covering the Reds, the Nipperts purchased majority ownership.
During the 1975 World Series in Boston, a large group of fans stood outside the Sheraton-Boston Hotel as the team boarded a bus headed for Fenway Park.
Several minority owners, plus Louis and Louise Nippert were in that group as they sang in a loud off-key chorus, “The whole town’s batty about Cincinnati, what a team, what a team, what a team.”
The Nipperts sold out in 1981 but Louise Nippert retained a minority part of the team until she died in 2012 and this week the Louise Nippert Foundation sold her shares.
WHEN WAS THE last time the Cleveland Browns were favored in a game over the Pittsburgh Steelers? Probably during the Jim Brown Era. The Browns are two-point favorites over the Steelers in Cleveland Sunday and it might come true if the Browns can keep field goal kicker Shaun Suisham off the field. He beat them already this year in Pittsburgh with a field goal on the last play of the game.
IN 1997 STANLEY JACKSON shared quarterback at Ohio State with Joe Germaine and John Cooper’s team went 10-and-3 (but lost to Michiagan).
Jackson is now a Big Ten Network color analyst and does a show in Columbus with former Buckeye coach Earle Bruce.
Jackson said he is often asked advice from current players and one often asked is what it is like to run down the tunnel and onto the Ohio Stadium field in front of 105,000 people for the first time.
Jackson’s advice? “Be sure you take a pee before you run down that tunnel and onto the first for the first time.”
WHILE THE REDS try to figure out their next move or moves during the playoffs, I’ve adopted the Kansas City Royals, a National League team playing in American League clothing.
The Royals run, the Royals bunt, the Royals play defense, the Royals pitch. They were last in the American League in home runs this year, yet there they are just four victories away from their first World Series since 1985.
The Royals led baseball with 153 stolen bases, almost one a game, 31 more than the Reds, who were third with 122.
Kansas City had two players steal more than 30 and had four with 17 or more.
Jarrod Dyson, who may be faster than Billy Hamilton (how about a post-season match race?), stole 36 and had only 290 plate appearances.