—-This is, of course, a reflection of my vintage, but it strikes me as being totally sinful that the Rookie of the Year in the National League is a pitcher who played only one inning at a time. True indeed, that Casey Kimbrel played his part in the Braves’ charge toward the National League pennant, but consider where they might have finished without Freddie Freeman’s daily appearance at first base. This “closer” thing has become a baseball disease. Freeman was in the lineup every day, with a .282 batting average, 76 RBI—only Dan Uggla drove in more — 21 home runs, 32 doubles and a bulwark of defense at first base. Kimbrel—an inning at a time, nicely done. I’m repeating myself, I know, but I never have, and never will cast my Hall of Fame vote for a “closer.” Never.
—-The horse racing class is making another pass at parimutuel betting in Georgia, and this time they’ve come to the state with a team of thoroughbreds in the lead. Bill Farish and Nick Nicholson, a leading breeder and the president of Keeneland race track, both have been here making their pitch. But, as in the case of Zell Miller and his days as governor, they ran into a cold rejection by Gov. Nathan Deal. The thoroughbreds, we love ’em, but there’s no heart for betting windows to gamble on them in Georgia.
—-That brings to mind the day Fred Hooper celebrated his 100th birthday—or had it celebrated for him. One of the classic gentlemen of horse racing, a native of Georgia in fact, out of White County. The morning after his party, I dropped by his farm outside Ocala to call on him. His secretary told us Fred was out in the pasture with his farm manager.
“This early in the day?” I said.
“Yes,” the lady said, “he and his farm manager are working on their five-year plan.”
One hundred years old and planning five years ahead. Horse people do live a long and busy life.
—-Tell you one thing, you’ll never see another World Series game like Game 6 of the last one. Write it down: Next World Series, I want the white towel concession—or yellow, or whatever color…..
—–Advice from the former basketball coaching guru, Bob Knight: “Never recruit a player from a three-car garage family.”