Cincinnati Reds: Say It Ain't So, Hal

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIJuly 27, 2009

PESCARA, ITALY - JULY 03:  Jasna Sekaric of Serbia competes during women's 25m rapid fire pistol shooting final event during  the XVI Mediterranean Games at the Febo Shooting Hall on July 3, 2009 in Pescara, Italy.  (Photo by Getty Images)

I have some pretty unruly mates—a few even criminal. 

When I told them what I had read, concerning Dusty Baker's future with the Reds, a few of them tried to take it out on me, the messenger. 

The way I look at it, this is the perfect time to show Dusty and the rest of his staff the door. 

They have just come home off of a road trip, losing every game, dropping to a season-low eight games below .500, and falling (again a season-low) seven games behind the first-place Cardinals.

Having just returned home, owner Bob Castellini could have had all of the coaching staff's office belongings piled outside and on the nearest sidewalk—much like is done when a person is evicted.

The new members of the Reds coaching family could have set up shop:

Manager Rick Sweet, co-pitching coaches Teddy Power and Mario Soto, batting coach Eric Davis, first base coach Illya Harrell, third base coach Cesar Geronimo (we share birthdays), and the variety of trainers and conditioning coaches.

Now that I see you are all on the edges of your seats in anticipation of this new staff, allow me to poop on your party.

According to Hal McCoy, Hall of Fame baseball writer in his 37th year covering the Reds, the chances of Dusty and his coaching staff being sacked by Mr. Castellini this season or next are as likely a Tijuana blizzard.

In a Q & A email session with fans some bloke, name of Tim, asked, "I see GM Walt Jocketty blowing up management after the season. Do you agree?"

I rolled my eyes, "After the season? Ha!"

Then I read Mr. McCoy's response.

"Jocketty is management and he can’t blow up owner Bob Castellini. He could fire manager Dusty Baker, but with another year and $4 million left on his contract Jocketty is more likely to blow up the Roebling Bridge."

I quickly Googled Roebling Bridge, hoping it was a small walk way that was in the process of being replaced.

To my dismay, I found that it is the 142-year-old suspension bridge that hangs over the Ohio River and connects Covington, Ky., to Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. 

I would call Mr. McCoy for further explanation, but it is 3:36 a.m. and Hal may not appreciate a call at this hour.

What would I ask him?

First off, I would address him as sir or Mr. McCoy—because I have the utmost respect for the man.

Then I would yell, "What are you thinking, Mr. McCoy?" Next, I would apologize for spitting on his glasses and offer to wipe them off on my t-shirt.

I'd calm down and coolly explain that, even though $4 million is far from chump change, Dusty and his coaches have cost the Reds way more than that by filling inferior line-up cards.

I'd ask him if he agreed with Dusty's insistence that "his boys" come with him to Cincinnati (see Corey Patterson and the $3 million he was paid off to quietly leave the Queen City).

I'd explain to Mr. McCoy that Dusty's pre-Jamesian logic that on-base percentage is meaningless and only "clog(s) up the bases" if the runner is not fast is as outdated as the dead ball era. 

I'd remind Mr. McCoy of the good old days, back when fans used to come to the ball park, the days when sellouts were the norm—unlike this season's six.

After Mr. McCoy agreed with my logic we would go to a corner tavern. He would have a beer or two. Myself, a couple mugs of bubbly water. 

He'd pull out a cigar and offer me one. I would take his cigar and ask him the proper way to go about smoking it—so as to look cool.

Then I would listen to his stories about "The Big Red Machine."


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