Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about America’s pastime. If you’d like to tap into that knowledge, send a question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Has Jay Bruce revised his budget to pay the fines for stepping out of the box after every pitch per the new speed-up rule? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.
A: Bruce’s budget has enough to buy you, me, and you again so he isn’t worried about fines. And if you’ve watched him on MLB TV this spring you should know that he is keeping one foot in the box at all times. He said the first week of spring, “It isn’t even something I have to worry about.” Translation: He has more to worry about concerning a comeback from last season.
Q: What are your thoughts on Rasiel Iglesias? Is he ready to make a difference? — LOUIS, Raleigh, N.C.
A: Just because he is Cuban doesn’t mean he is another Aroldis Chapman. Can there be another? Iglesias is slight of build and his style is more like Mike Leake’s — command and control. For a guy with no major-league experience he is extremely polished and mature, even more mature than Chapman. His Cuban experience helped him get that way but I wonder if he is ready for the big lights with no minor-league seasoning.
Q: What are your thoughts on Tucker Barnhart and Donald Lutz being sent to the minors? ¬— DALE, Greenup, Ky.
A: Both are too young and inexperienced to sit on a major-league bench. They need to play every day. They want Devin Mesoraco to catch 135 to 140 games a year so there is no need for a third catcher like Barnhart. Lutz still has a lot of raw, untapped talent that won’t come out watching from the dugout. He needs to play. If needed, both are only 106 miles away, about an hour if Aroldis Chapman uses his Lamborghini to bring them up.
Q: Do you think Pete Rose would have bet on baseball if his father had been alive? — DAN, Cincinnati.
A: Great question, but strictly hypothetical. Harry Rose was a great athlete in Cincinnati, especially as a semi-pro football player when he was in his 40s. But Harry also took Pete to River Downs when Pete was a kid so he was a gambling influence. I suspect, though, that Harry would have steered Pete in the right direction.
Q: Why does Brandon Phillips get reamed for being a free swinger and Jay Bruce gets a free pass for being a streaky hitter? — KELLEY, Blue Ash.
A: Who does the reaming on Phillips? I haven’t heard it from anybody who counts. And when has Bruce been given a free pass for streakiness. It is talked about so much by fans that sometimes I believe Bruce is another word for streaky. Bruce gets no free passes. The free passes are usually drawn by Joey Votto.
Q: What player was the most fun to interview and give us some funny examples? — TOM, Santo, Brazil.
A; Fetch a copy of my book, The Real McCoy, and you will find many examples. After George Foster hit a home run into the upper deck red seats in Riverfront Stadium, a writer asked him, “What did you hit?” He meant did Foster hit a fastball, slider or change-up. Said Foster, “I hit a Rawlings and I knocked it lopsided.”
Q: When was the last time Marty Brennaman announced the attendance without using the words “to see this titanic struggle.”? — CASEY, Huber Heights.
A: Probably the last time he didn’t say “and this one belongs to the Reds” after a win. It is just one of Marty’s many catch phrases. He also likes to say, “You know what I’m saying?” and “Has anybody seen my hair?” We all have our pet expressions and mine is, “Where’d I put my cigar?”
Q: How do you see the rotation stacking up compared to the studs they traded from last year? — JASON, Miami.
A: Mat Latos owns some of the best stuff in the majors but most of his thick skin was in his head. There is nobody in camp with the talent of Latos, but most of them have better makeup. And it will be difficult for any of them to match Alfredo Simon’s first half. The can all match his second-half collapse. Personally, I can’t see the rotation being as good as last year’s with two extremely inexperienced guys like Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias in it.