White looks like a biker, but prefers a tractor
By Hal McCoy / Dayton Daily News
Hal McCoy, the hall-of-fame baseball writer for the Dayton Daily News, knows a thing or two about America's pastime. If you want to tap into that knowledge, send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: During your career, who was the best father-son combination ever to play for the Cincinnati Reds, and if you say Ken and Ken Jr. you are wrong again. — Dave, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek
Answer: I say the Griffeys and I'm not wrong. Tony and Eduardo Perez were very good. If you say Pete and Pete Jr. you have totally popped your gourd. Pete Jr. was up briefly one year, strictly as one of Jim Bowden's half-baked promotional gimmicks. And when Trey Griffey is signed by the Reds, they'll be the best grandfather-father-son combination. Now crawl back in your hole and pull the manhole cover over your head.
Q: On TV, Adam Dunn appears bulky, making him sluggish at the plate and in the field. Are we being deceived by TV images? — Pete, Naples, Fla.
A: TV adds, they say, about 15 pounds to your appearance — that's what I tell my wife when I'm on TV. Actually, if you stood next to Dunn in person, you'd say, "Boy, TV makes him look small. How does he fit on a TV screen?" And if you think he is overweight, you tell him. I'm not going to.
Q: Does Rick White ride a Harley-Davidson and do the Reds permit their players to ride motorcycles? — Pat, Middletown
A: Just because Rick White is bald and big and sinister-looking doesn't mean you should stereotype him. Actually, he rides a tractor on his Springfield farm. A few years ago, not only did pitchers Danny Graves and Ryan Dempster ride motorcycles, they rode them into the clubhouse one day in spring training. Eventually they both rode them out of town, although the Reds probably wish Dempster had made a U-turn.
Q: Did you ever interview Barry Bonds, and what was your impression of him? — Jim, Chillicothe
A: Back in the early 1990s, when he was a skinny kid playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates and his head wasn't the size of a watermelon, I approached him once. I'd covered his father, Bobby, and when I approached Barry, I said, "Bobby, do you have a minute?" He looked at me as if I had stolen money out of the church plate and said, "My name is Barry — end of interview." Also the end of me ever approaching him. There are too many nice guys in the game to bother with a self-centered boor who felt he had to cheat to set records. I'd rather interview a spitting cobra tongue-to-tongue.
Q: Pete Rose was banned from baseball for gambling, yet the Reds have a promotion for the Ohio Lottery and televised games are sponsored by an Indiana casino. Is this wrong? — Ken, Hamilton
A: No, Pete WASN'T banned from baseball for gambling. He was banned from baseball for betting on baseball. Major difference. It is against baseball rules to bet on baseball and the punishment for betting on your own team is permanent ineligibility. The Ohio Lottery and casinos are legal. So, what's the beef, unless you don't get enough black jacks?
Q: Since Pittsburgh's Oliver Perez is only 24, would there be a plethora of teams wanting to acquire him? — Bill, Villa Hills, Ky.
A: Plethora? I assume that means a bunch, huh? Well, yeah, about every team in baseball. But the Pirates aren't in any mood to trade the guy they hope to build a pitching staff around. Teams will have to wait until he becomes a free agent and dangle a plethora of money bags in front of his nose.
Q: Adam Dunn made a suggestion in 2002 that the Reds should draft his high school teammate, Scott Kazmir. It looks as if Dunn was right because Kazmir is 6-2 for Tampa Bay. Who did the Reds draft over Kazmir? — Mike, Nashville
A: Dunn and Kazmir were not high school teammates. Dunn's father worked for Kazmir's father and they were acquaintances. Kazmir did come to Cincinnati and throw for the Reds before the draft, but then-general manager Jim Bowden liked pitcher Chris Gruler better. Gruler missed all of last year with an arm injury (what else is new?) and is still trying to make it back. Gruler was the Reds' No. 1 pick (third overall) in 2002 and Kazmir was the first pick (15th overall) by the New York Mets. So, 13 other teams passed on Kazmir, too, and the Mets traded him to Tampa Bay. Baseball drafts are like the lottery: You pay your money and pray a lot.
Q: Why doesn't Jerry Narron crack the whip on this team? — Parsin, Dayton
A: What, physical abuse? Who do you think Narron is, Lash LaRue (the cowboy with the snake whip)? A manager can rant, rave, yell, scream, stomp and gesticulate, but can't pitch the ball, catch the ball, hit the ball or run the bases for them. And we all know some of the Reds have great difficulty in doing some or all of those things.
Q: Adam Dunn appears to be playing Home Run Derby every at-bat. Aren't there three bases out there for a reason? — Bill, Cincinnati
A: When Dunn first came up, he hit the ball to all fields and for an average. Then former hitting coach Jim Lefebvre decided the big guy should pull everything and changed his stance and approach. Dunn still rues the day and doesn't say nice things about J.L. And he hasn't been able to turn it back around. As for three bases, Dunn manages to find them all as he tours the bases on his home runs or runs around them after one of his many walks.
Q: Why are there more batters in the American League hitting over .300 than in the National League? — Will, Dayton
A: Worse pitching in the AL? Worse fielders in the AL? More hitters parks in the AL? Better karma, better lighting, moon alignment better in AL cities? Who knows? If I knew the answer, I'd become a batting coach for an NL team.