Agreement with Griffey Jr.
Being born in the 1990s and always being a Reds fan, it hasn’t been common to watch Cincinnati take on the Yankees in the Queen City. While Cincinnati has always “feuded” with division teams such as the Cardinals and Cubs, I can certainly see why people don’t like the Yankees after watching us get swept by them over the weekend. The “Let’s go Yankees” chants filled Great American Ball Park over the weekend along with every Yankee parent dressing their child in a Judge jersey, as listening to “Judge” chants surely got old after about three innings. Sure, he is probably the best player on the planet and yes, I would love to have someone of his stature on this Reds roster, but the more I sat there this weekend, the more I appreciated small town baseball.
The direction the Reds are going is the correct direction and I can’t wait for the day that the “small market Reds” take down a team such as the Yankees that can simply open up their checkbook for anyone with talent. Ken Griffey Jr. once said “If the Yankees were the last team… if they were the only team that gave me a contract, I’d retire.” I never fully understood this comment until this weekend and now I must say I agree with Junior.
You are out of here
No manager in the league sticks up for their team quite like our manager, David Bell. It isn’t uncommon to see Bell take the field to stick up for one of the members on his team. This weekend, we were able to see this a couple times from both Bell and Aaron Boone, as members of both teams had reasons to be upset with some calls on the field. While the Reds were on a losing streak, the Bell-managed club still only sat 6 games back from first place in the Central. They have an upcoming series against the Cardinals and Cubs, and depending on the outcome of the next seven games, the Redlegs could be right back in it if they string together some victories. Do you know what the biggest cure is after being swept in baseball? The cure is bringing out the broomsticks yourself and sweeping a Cardinal right off your own front porch!
McCoy joins Matt’s Take
The one and only Hal McCoy kindly joined Matt’s Take this week for a question-and-answer. Hal has been an inspiration to me for quite some time as I share his love for writing about Reds baseball. For those who don’t know Hal, he has covered the Reds since the 1973 season. He covered many of the most important moments in Reds history such as the Big Red Machine, 1990 World Champion Reds, Pete Rose investigation, and every other huge moment regarding the Reds over the last 50 years. Hal is a member of the Sports Media Hall of Fame, a member of Dayton’s Regional Walk of Fame, and even has the press box at Howell Field named after himself. Hal continues to cover the beloved Redlegs and you can find his column in the Daily Dayton News. I was more than honored to talk baseball with the Reds legend himself over the past weekend.
Q: What is your favorite memory regarding Reds baseball?
A: “Oh golly. There is so many. I have covered more than 7,000 games and written over 25,000 baseball stories in my 50 years. I would have to say probably Tom Browning’s perfect game is high on the list along with Pete Rose’ hit to beat Ty Cobb’s record. As far as a team, probably the 1990 Reds. Everyone thinks I would say the Big Red Machine, but the 1990 team was not predicted to do anything and they went wire to wire. They were huge underdogs against Oakland and they won four straight.”
Q: Who is your favorite person to watch a game with?
A: “I don’t watch games too much with anybody. My wife isn’t a huge baseball fan and my three sons are gone. I pretty much watch games by myself, but it’d probably be my oldest son Brian. He is a huge baseball fan and a huge Reds fan. He used to come over and watch games with me and he played baseball in high school as a catcher.”
Q: When do you believe the Reds will call up Encarnacion-Strand and De La Cruz?
A: “I think it will be sometime around the All-Star Break. If the Reds continue to hang in there, it is a very weak division, and despite the fact that they are under .500 right now, they are only a few games behind first place. I think if they hang in there close and have a chance to make playoffs, I can see them bringing up those guys to help. The fans want to see them and I think it would help the attendance a bit. This year’s team is fun to watch… They hustle, Jonathan India and Jake Fraley have been really fun to watch. It is not like last year.”
Q: In your career, who did you look up to the most?
A: “As a writer, I had a mentor named Earl Lawson. He wrote for the Cincinnati Post and is in the Hall of Fame. When I first took over, I was 30 years old and I was in awe as a baseball fan all of my life. He took me aside and said ‘listen, follow me and keep your mouth shut, watch what I do, and I’ll take care of you.’ He did that and pretty much for a year that is what I did. He taught me the ropes and he was always my mentor. He was the guy I looked up to. He’s very special to me.”
Q: How often do you still go to Great American Ball Park?
A: “Not very often at all since the pandemic, and I am 82 years old. I still write every day, but the hour and a half down to the ball park every day is a little taxing on me. I got a little hitch in my giddy-up.”
Q: In your opinion, do you believe Joey Votto is a Hall of Famer?
A: “Yeah I do. His numbers speak for themselves. Most of his numbers are definitely Hall of Fame numbers, I just hope he doesn’t hang on too long to have some of those numbers go down. Most Valuable Player in 2010 and was the leader of the team for years and years. I think he is a Hall of Famer.”
Q: What is your most interesting story from the Pete Rose Investigation?
A: “That was a tough one — 1989, Rose and I were great friends. He was the greatest guy to interview ever. You open up your notebook and ask one question and he would fill it up. In the spring of 1989, we were in Florida where the Reds train and he called me aside. He said ‘you won’t see me for the next couple days.’ I thought that was strange, so I asked him where he was going. He said he was going to New York. I asked what for and he said ‘the commissioner wants to get my opinion on a few things.’ It turned out that they were investigating him. My sports editor called me in and said ‘I know you are great friends with Pete Rose, but we need to do stories on him. Can you do them?’ I thought that was a question on my integrity, and I stated ‘of course I can do it.’ From that day until August when he was banned from baseball, I covered every game and while covering, I also was the lead guy on the investigation. I asked him tough questions every day and wrote tough stories. It was like ‘kill the messenger.’ He didn’t speak to me for 15 years. Then, one day, my wife and I were in Las Vegas and he was there signing autographs. She shoved me in the door to see him. I told her that he hates my guts, and said ‘do you want to start a riot?’ He jumped up from behind his chair, shook hands with me, had our picture taken, and signed it ‘To a Great Hall of Famer, from the Hit King Pete Rose.’ We made up that day and now I have his personal phone number and we talk often. Everything is fine with him again. It was a fun thing to have happen and he was one of my all-time favorite players.”
Matthew McAdow is a Peebles resident. He works in human resources in the nuclear industry and has been an avid Cincinnati fan his entire life. He is an Ohio Christian University graduate and has always enjoyed giving an honest opinion on multiple topics regarding Cincinnati sports.