Ol’ Man Miley did it again Tuesday night. He’s the front porch rocking chair of starting pitchers. Watching him is like taking a trip back to 1966, when men were men and pitchers finished what they started. Or at least came close. For the 10th time last night, Miley went at least seven innings.
I don’t know and I’m too lazy to look it up. But I would bet your house there are entire teams whose rotations don’t have 10 seven-inning starts.
Yessir, take your shoes off, put your feet up, fetch yourselves a tall glass of lemonade. Wade’s pitching tonight. Gonna be calm.
We don’t know what the Reds will do in Wrigley tonight. The Cubs are starting a righthander, Alec Mills, and at some point they will resume being the Cubs. What we do know is that 34-year-old Wade Miley is better than a back rub. Better than a bourbon on the rocks, better than a hammock on a lake in July.
Miley is having the year of his 11-year career. He went 14-6 in ’19, but his ERA was a run higher. From there, you have to go all the way back to his 2nd season in the Bigs, when Miley went 16-11 at age 25. But considering the mileage on his tires, this season is better. Twelve-and-5, 2.89.
Said it before, say it again: Miley succeeds partly by keeping it simple. Work fast, throw strikes, change speeds. Jonathan India summed it up nicely:
“When Wade is on the mound, it’s quick, it’s competitive, it’s in the zone and he uses his defense really well and he trusts us. It’s fun to play behind him.”
The Cubs had won seven in a row and averaged six runs a game in the previous six games. Miley gave them one run through seven. The enigmatic Michael Lorenzen gave up two homers in the 8th to make it close.
But it was Miley’s night. Watch him, lean back in your chair and say Ahhhhh. . .
Now, then. . .
AND DBELL STILL DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S GOT in the bullpen. Which is no way to go through a pennant race.
IT’S GOING MOSTLY UNNOTICED FOR SOME REASON, but UC is poised to join the Big 12. AP: BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF as soon as next week. While the schools wouldn't join until at least 2023, they could apply for membership ahead of a Sept. 10 Big 12 meeting. The conference could then formally approve the applications at the meeting.
You can scoff at the 12 all you like and there is no question it’s No. 5 among the Power 5. It’s never been more than a marriage of convenience, a place where schools with little common ground landed to pick up lucrative TV paychecks.
But if you’re the University of Cincinnati, it’s nothing short of a lifeline.
The Bearcats simply could not sustain their big-time ambitions with the $7 mil a year they’re getting from the American. If they joined the Big 12 today, they’d more than quadruple that revenue. All that means is everything.
As it stands, UC likely won’t make the move until ’24, owing to Big 12 TV considerations. And who knows? The current landscape could change again between now and then. It’s not impossible that UC won’t have a Big 12 to go to in four years. But the current maneuverings suggest the Bearcats will have a seat at, say, a 64-team table. That’s what really matters.
I BET NFL COACHES WERE HOLDING THEIR COLLECTIVE BREATH over the long weekend, when their players were free to roam home and mingle with unvaccinated folks. The number of positives this week and next could be telling.
Meantime, heathen media now are required to get tested weekly, not every other week the way it was before. Same as vaccinated players, the difference being that testing for players involves walking into work and having your nose mined with a Q-tip.
I don’t mean to bitch, but. . .
I wasted three hours of a perfectly perfect late summer day Tuesday, sitting in an Urgent Care getting swabbed for the 4th time in six weeks. Just so I can talk to Zac Taylor and Joe Burrow while wearing a mask, during the week.
The mandatory negative test doesn’t apply on game days. I have no idea why not.
Did I mention that fans are not subject to providing proof of a recent negative test? They don’t need proof of vaccination, either. Just 65,000 slobbery lunatics, standing cheek to cheek and screaming. What a great idea.
A few teams are requiring fans do their part, via proof of testing and vaxxing. Not the Bengals. You could have the black plague and attend a Bengals game.
The team The Men open against Sunday has a QB who thinks so highly of his teammates he has refused to get vaccinated. Kirk Cousins is one of two starting NFL QBs to say no thanks. Indy’s Carson Wentz is the other.
Hey, go team.
Unless I miss my guess, COVID-19 is going to be a bigger factor in winning and losing this year than it was last year. But at least everyone involved will sleep better knowing they’ll be protected from the tested, vaccinated, masked and socially distanced media covering the games.
IF YOU READ ONE THING TODAY. . . In an earlier time when great writing mattered in a way it does not now, I worshipped the work of the regulars at Esquire magazine. Mike Sager, Dan Okrent and Tom Junod. Especially Tom Junod. When I was an adjunct professor at UC, teaching Advanced Reporting, my favorite part of the course was offering my (limited) wisdom on writing long features.
I taught the piece that the late Richard Ben Cramer wrote on Ted Williams at age 70, and this one, written by Tom Junod, titled The Falling Man. It remains the most powerful piece of writing I’ve read about 911. Read it and reflect.
Short and sweet today.
TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . Love me some surf music. No group did it better or exemplified it more.