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 email@example.com.
Q: Are we being told the full story and truth about the injury to Johnny Cueto? — DAVE, MIAMISBURG/BEAVERCREEK/CENTERVILLE
A: Truth? You can’t handle the truth. What more do you need or want to know? He has a right lat injury for the third time, he is on the disabled list for the third time. They aren’t going to amputate his right arm, if that’s what you’ve heard, nor have they told him to take two aspirin and report back to the team in the morning.
Q: Homer Bailey’s snub of the Reds’ radio network after his no-hitter seems to reinforce his reputation as a player who just doesn’t get it, right? — BRIAN, BEAVERCREEK
A: Bailey gets it. He is his own man and definitely gets it. He gets it when he exercises his right to do or not to do an interview with an entity that has heavily criticized him and made fun of him over the years. WLW could have taped a 30-minute postgame media conference and got its sound bites. But they wanted special treatment — their own private interview. And they haven’t done a postgame star-of-the-game interview in about 10 years. Go, Homer, go.
Q: What is the purpose of allowing a batter to run on a dropped strike three? — BOB, FORT LORAMIE
A: It gives the catcher an opportunity to drill the batter between the numbers as he flees toward first base if the batter has been mouthy in the batter’s box. Actually, though, every out in baseball comes from a fielder catching a ball or tagging out a runner. So, Abner Doubleday, or whomever, decided the catcher shouldn’t get a free pass and must catch strike three or tag out the runner before he is officially out.
Q: Who holds the record for most no-hitters caught? — NORM, GREENVILLE
A: It isn’t Ryan Hanigan. It’s former Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who caught four from four different pitchers. Hanigan, who has caught both of Homer Bailey’s no-hitters, is one of three Reds to catch two from the same pitcher. Johnny Edwards caught Jim Maloney’s, and Ernie Lombardi was behind the plate for Johnny Vander Meer’s back-to-back no-hitters. Nolan Ryan threw seven and spread the wealth around. Seven catchers caught them.
Q: How can there have been only one left on base charged to Homer Bailey if he walked one batter and another reached on a fielder’s choice? — BILL, CLEVELAND
A: Two reached base, but only one was left on base. Bailey walked Gregor Blanco and he reached second. Buster Posey grounded to Joey Votto and he threw Blanco out at third as Posey reached first. So when the inning ended only Posey was on base. Blanco was no longer on base so only Posey is counted as left on base. Posey replaced Blanco as a runner. Bailey faced only 28 batters, one over the minimum, one walk shy of a perfect game. And my wife, Nadine, still thinks a perfect game should be a pitcher striking out all 27 batters. Can’t argue with that.
Q: At the present rate the Reds would win 91 or 92 games. Will that be enough to make the playoffs as division winners or as a wild card? — Allen, BEAVERCREEK
A: I don’t subscribe to “on pace” or “projected.” You can’t do that. Things change. What if the Reds go on a 15-game winning streak or a 15-game losing streak. That tosses the projected wins out the clubhouse door. And all this depends on how St. Louis and Pittsburgh do — like if the Pirates suffer their annual late-season disappearing act. Instead of projecting, the Reds need to concentrate on winning as many games as possible and leave projections to Power Point displays.
Q: Aren’t there rules about pitchers distracting the batter, so how about all those long leather strings flopping around on San Francisco pitcher Mike Kickham’s glove? — ED, CINCINNATI
A: Kickham is 0-3 with a 13.94 ERA and the Reds clubbed him for seven runs and nine hits in 2 2/3 innings, so he best trim those strings and try some other distractions — like unhittable fastballs and change-ups. Maybe he should visit Mat Latos’ tattoo parlor.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: During the ninth inning of Homer Bailey’s no-hitter, the announcers were yapping away about it. What happened to not talking about a no-hitter after five innings? — CRAIG, FAIRBORN
A: While they still don’t talk about it in the dugout so as not to jinx the pitcher, that is not the case in the booth and press box. It is called informing the listeners, especially those who have tuned in late. Heck, if a pitcher has a no-hitter after three innings in the press box, there is a pool formed (just a dollar each) and participants draw names as to which batter will break it up. Not talking about no-hitters is one of those ‘unwritten rules’ that are not observed in the press box. And it certainly didn’t bother Bailey, did it. Twice.