Q: Atlanta Braves catcher Sean Murphy from Centerville and Wright State will be starting in this year’s MLB All-Star game, so in addition to Mike Schmidt, have there been other Dayton-area MLB all-stars? — SCRATCH, Centerville.
A: Murphy was born in Peekskill, N.Y., so is not a true Daytonian, though he did all his baseball-playing here. Roger Clemens, an 11-time All-Star, was born in Dayton but moved away, as did another Dayton-born All-Star, Chris Chambliss. Jesse Haines, born in Clayton, is in the Hall of Fame but was in the twilight of his career when the All-Star game was born. The Dayton area is well-represented with former MLB players — Steve Yeager, Ron Nischwitz, Fred Scherman, Dave Burba, Bob Borkowski, Jeff Reboulet, M.C. McGuire, Mike Maddux, Mike Hauschilld, Cal Hogue, Duffy Dyer, Mark Dempsey and Ducky Holmes.
Q: Any word from Eric Davis on Elly De La Cruz taking uniform number 44? — CHAD, Columbus
A: The Reds should have retired 44 to honor Davis a long time ago. Actually, 13 different players have worn 44 since Davis retired, including Mike Cameron, Mike Leake, Adam Dunn and Aristides Aquino. As for De La Cruz, Davis loves it. He highly respects De La Cruz and has mentored him. For sure, De La Cruz will do everything Davis did wearing 44, maybe more.
Q: Jim Bowden suggested the Reds trade Christian Encarnacion-Strand for pitcher Max Scherzer, so what do you think? — MIKE, Indianapolis.
A: Ol’ Leatherpants, the former Reds/Nationals GM turned web-site writer, is still at it, always stirring up controversy. So, Bowden wants to trade a 23-year-old budding star for a 39-year-old pitcher, a three-month rental who might be one pitch away from making his last pitch? I think Bowden might have advised the Lenape Indians to sell Manhattan Island to Peter Minuit of the Dutch West India Company for $24 worth of trinkets.
Q: As recently as a season ago, the bunt was said to be extinct, so what changed? — MARTHA, Clayton.
A: That is perplexing. With the shift and the third base side as open as the Wyoming tundra last season, nobody bunted. Now that the shift is outlawed, the bunt is back. Cincinnati’s TJ Friedl has nine bunts for hits, a few with two strikes. Teams suddenly are emphasizing speed and filling their rosters with jackrabbits. That plays a lot into more bunting.
Q: Joey Votto has hinted that he may try to steal a base and if he does will he point to the dugout with two hands or one hand? — BRIAN, Lebanon.
A: To steal a base, a player must be on base, which has been a problem for Votto this season. Maybe he should point to the dugout, with either or both hands, when he gets on first base. Then he can think about stealing second base, if the moon is full and the stars are in alignment.
Q: If catchers are considered game-callers, why do all the record for wins and losses, as well as credit for no-hitters, go to the pitchers? — ANDREW, Dayton.
A: Maybe that’s another reason they call catcher’s gear the tools of ignorance. They are just back there doing their jobs, taking foul tips off their hands and heads, lunging for wild-high pitches, and dropping to their knees to dig pitches out of the dirt. Yes, they do put down the signals, but the pitcher can shake him off and throw the pitch he prefers. The catcher might help him along the way, but the pitcher is the one who does all the execution — executing the other team or executing himself.
Q: The Chicago Cubs fill the stands at Wrigley Field every day regardless of their record and do won/loss records correlate to attendance across all MLB venues? — GREG, Beavercreek.
A: For the most part, yes. Early this season, there weren’t enough fans in Great American Ball Park to fill a high school gym. Now that they are winning, the place is nearly full for every game. It’s a takeoff from build it and they will come. Actually, it’s a win, and they will come. Wrigley Field is an anomaly. It is the place to be, like UD Arena for basketball. And Chicagoland has a large population base. Mostly, though, winners draw, and losers lead the league in empty seats.
Q: Are the beat writers able to travel with the Reds team on chartered flights and do the Reds own their aircraft? — JOHN, Bellbrook.
A: When I first started covering the Reds in 1973, the four beat writers, two from Dayton and two from Cincinnati, flew on the team charter. But when airlines began giving frequent flier points, we all began flying commercial flights. Those points helped pay for vacations. It was the same with hotels. We stayed at the team hotels until Marriott began giving points toward free rooms. We all became Marriott patrons. More vacation perks. The Reds do not own an aircraft. They charter from Delta Airlines. By the way, when we traveled on the Reds charters and stayed at the team hotels, the papers paid for both. No freebies.