Q: Which team is worse, the Cincinnati Reds or the Pittsburgh Pirates? — JOHN, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
A: They both lost 100 and are tied for last place, so pick up a coin and flip it. It’s not fair to use a two-headed coin. But…the Pirates swept a four-game series in Cincinnati. And the Pirates easily won the season series, 12-7. So, obviously the winner, or is it the loser, because the worst team is Cincinnati. Both towns are on the banks of the Ohio River, so it must be something in the water.
Q: What happened to the inside steal rule because in an ALDS game the Yankee second baseman deliberately dropped a pop steal to force out a runner? —MIKE, Kettering.
A: The most misunderstood rule in baseball, the inside fly rule, is still there and still being called. This only applies to runners on second and first or bases loaded with fewer than two outs. Your scenario follows the rules because there was only one runner on base with one out. It was a wise move because it removed a fast runner from first base and he was replaced with a slow runner, wiping out a possible stolen base. Identifying the inner fly rule would be a good question from Jeopardy, which Ken Jennings may not know.
Q: When was the last date a World Series game was played? — JOE, Kettering.
A: Due to the season starting a week late due to the work stoppage, it could be this year. If there are seven games, the last game will be November 5. The last last was November 4, played twice. The first was in 2001 between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks due to the delay after 9/11. The second was in 2009 between the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees won in six games and if there had been seven games, it would have ended on November 5. If this continues, they will serve Thanksgiving dinner at the lodges.
Q: With interleague play, how can there be a statistical leader in the National League and a statistical leader in the American League — for example Aaron Judge — … when some of his home runs came against NL teams? —TIM, Xenia.
A: Excellent question, no one has ever told me about it. Of Judge’s 62 homers, 10 have been hit against National League teams – New York Mets 3, Pirates 2, Chicago Cubs 2, Brewers 2, Reds 1 (Jeff Hoffman). With interleague play, there is no getting around the statistical dilemma. They all play 162 games and NL teams are also major league teams (well, some of them). And he plays for the Yankees, so his stats are recorded in the AL. What else can I say?
Q: What are your favorite memories of World Series game coverage? —GREG, Beavercreek.
A: Start with the obvious which is the Reds’ victory in 1975, 1976 and 1990. In 1984 many of us writers got off the press bus after Detroit won the World Series because the fans rocked the bus back and forth and we walked into Michigan. Avenue in front of a taxi overturned and in flames. In 1996, I caught a foul ball in the Yankee Stadium press box hit by Derek Jeter. In 1998, while leaving the San Diego stadium parking lot, a police horse reared in front of my rental car and its front hooves landed on the hood. The cops almost arrested me for assaulting a police officer (the horse).
Q: Have you ever met one of my heroes, Hunter S. Thompson? —Kevin, Springboro.
A: I don’t think the guy who started gonzo journalism ever covered a world series where I would have made it a point to meet him. I loved his books, “Hell’s Angels” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and they are in my library. I have read them both more than once because they are so original and entertaining. You see, I have more interests than sports, although I certainly don’t approve of the HST lifestyle.
THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: What will it take for the Reds to leave manager David Bell? —JON, Louisville, Kentucky.
A: Blaming Bell for the lost 2022 season is like blaming the driver for a train wreck when it was the engineer’s fault. In this case, Bell was the conductor and the property/front office was the engineer. Bell could only play with what he was given and what he was given could not have won a Triple-A Championship. Bell still has a year left on his contract and unless the Reds make major trades and sign usable free agents, it will be more or less the same. And it won’t be Bell’s fault. But mark this… he will be the scapegoat.