Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about our nation’s pastime. Tap into that knowledge by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How does an umpire go about ejecting a player who requires a translator? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.
A: A jerk of the thumb is universal language in baseball, and all players understand that. If not, all umpires know at least one word in any language that means goodbye. As a former umpire yourself, you should know this.
Q: Is Hunter Greene worth the hype and do you think the Reds will keep him long enough to make The Show? — MICHAEL, Centerville, MESA BILL, Tipp City.
A: The hype is for real, especially for a high school kid throwing 102 mph. And he is genuine, extremely mature for 17 years old . His parents brought him up right and his baseball skills are above and beyond. As a No. 1 pick the Reds will do everything possible to get him to the majors. You never know with a 17-year-old, but he is far ahead of the curve before he even starts.
Q: Pete Rose and Tony Gwynn had a contact approach to hitting and were highly successful, so why don’t the majority of players, other than Joey Votto, take the same approach? — JAY, Englewood.
A: It was former slugger Ralph Kiner who said, “Home run hitters drive Cadillacs and singles hitters drive Fords.” At least Kiner spread the quote to two different manufacturers. There is a lot of truth to that. Big money goes to the sluggers. As for Rose, Gwynn and Votto, it is a matter of ability. Few hitters can manipulate a baseball bat and guide the baseball the way those three could/can. The best hitters, though, were/are those who could do both — Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle.
Q: Zack Cozart is in his free-agent year and the Reds can’t keep him from leaving, so is there any system MLB could implement to stop this or is the union too strong? — RICHARD, Tipp City.
A: The game could try to go back to the old days of baseball when a player had no recourse but to play for the team that owned him. Never mind the strong players union, the federal courts did away with that.. Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally won their freedom (free agency) in 1975 in an arbitration case and baseball’s “reserve clause” was wiped away forever.
Q: Which Cincinnati Reds deserve to go to the All-Star Game? — ALAN, Sugar Twp.
A: In order, Zack Cozart, Joey Votto, Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall. How many will go? Maybe two and probably only one. Cozart probably will win the voting. Votto is way down the list of first baseman but he should be added. Schebler and Duvall are having power-laden seasons, but that won’t be enough. One thing is for certain. There won’t be any Reds pitchers packing their bags for Miami.
Q: To best prepare for a game, what does a player eat and when does he eat it? — JEFF, Springboro.
A: Used to be, back in the day, before games I’d see bags of burgers and fries in the hands of players as they arrived at the ballpark. And there would be all kinds of goodies in the clubhouse — candy and cookies and cake and cupcakes. No more. Most teams now have nutritionists and they keep a firm thumb on what is available to players. Greens, lots of greens. Most players have a large breakfast when they get up and a healthful light lunch. But there are the sneaky ones. In 2003 the Reds had a pitcher named Jimmy Anderson, who liked to eat. One day a player was looking for Ryan Freel and said, “Anybody seen Freel?” Another player quickly answered, “Jimmy Anderson ate him.”
Q: Why not do away with starting pitchers and use three relief pitchers one day and three relief pitchers the next day and so on? Am I a genius or what? — JACK, Centerville.
A: You know what? That isn’t as hare-brained as some might think. Three guys pitching three innings every third day or so isn’t that wild. But there isn’t a manager in existence who would try to alter the game that much. Maybe Joe Maddon? Too bad Tony LaRussa isn’t still around. That’s something he might try. And with the Reds this year that isn’t as crazy as it sounds. But you’d still have to have relief pitchers for the relief pitchers, for those “starting relief pitchers” who get beat up before their three innings are up.
Q: Will the Reds be buyers, sellers or neutral at the trade deadline in late July? — STEVE, Cincinnati.
A: It is highly doubtful the Reds plan to be in the playoffs so it is likely they will stay the course on their rebuilding program. That means they’ll be sellers and Zack Cozart most likely will be taking that donkey Joey Votto will buy him for making the All-Star team to another city. They certainly will not be buyers in the sense of acquiring established major leaguers. They will sell to acquire more prospects/suspects. If they can’t make a deal for Cozart or any others who are poised to make big money, then they’ll be neutral and not make any deals.