A Slow Monday

July 26

Dez Bryant refusing to carry Roy Williams’ pads ? Seriously ? This is news ?

Oh wait, its the Dallas Cowboys we’re talking about, and if ESPN thinks it’s news then dammit, it’s news. And it’s a slow Monday.

It might not have been newsworthy but it was a dumb move by Bryant. Here’s an idea: catch a touchdown pass that matters. Until then, DON’T act like you’ve been there before because you haven’t.

Williams may soon be supplanted by Bryant soon at wide receiver — as Tony Bruno put it, Williams might not be able to carry Bryant’s jock. But it’s not like carrying pads is “hazing.” Being duct-taped to the goal post is hazing.

Williams’ response was comical: he says they’ll have to go to “Step Two” with Bryant. Nooooo !!!!!! Not “Step Two!!!!!!!” Is there a “Step Two?”

Later on Monday the Cowboys said it was no big deal. In the grand scheme of things they’re probably right, but Bryant’s impudence is a bit of a red flag. Have fun with him, Cowboys. Especially if he turns out to be a good player.

***

How long before major league players are asked to wear helmets in the dugout? In some stadiums they are closer to the batter’s box than the first or third base coaches, who are now required to don the helmets after Mike Coolbaugh was struck and killed by a line drive during a minor league game in Arkansas.

Helmets in the dugout, especially in some of the hotter cities, might not be too popular, but there are alternatives.

Teams could install protective netting over dugouts, which would also help players leaning over the railing to catch a foul popup, or raise the railing to reduce the chance a ball would get through. The latter might not work because it would obstruct the fans’ view, but I don’t think a netting or fence is a bad idea.

In most youth games, you’ll see fencing and a gate around the dugout for the protection of players and coaches. Although professional players know enough to keep their eyes on the action, it only takes one moment of inattention to change a life. Eugenio Velez almost found that out Saturday, and Dodgers pitcher Carlos Monasterio almost found that out Sunday.

Fortunately, both players appear to be OK.

***

Jon Miller’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech was entertaining, although it didn’t hold Willie Mays’ full attention. He appeared to be sleeping for a short time. Maybe that was when Miller thanked his accountant and laywer. At any rate, Miller’s journey from Hayward to Cooperstown is a circuitous and very interesting one.

I first heard Miller on the old Larry King radio show which ran overnights on the Mutual Broadcasting Network in the early 80’s. Why would I be listening? The all-news station for which I worked in Salt Lake City ran the program.

Miller’s performance was so good that I slipped in a tape to capture the magic. I still have that tape somewhere. I was literally doubled over as he did a bit on how baseball would sound if a Brit did the play-by-play: “Oh hello, it’s a four-bagger !!!! ”

To me, the humor, the imitations of Vin Scully, and the stories are at the core of Miller’s appeal. That alone would not be enough if he weren’t also an excellent broadcaster with encyclopedic knowledge of baseball rules. In addition, his ability to follow the play is top-notch.

Some people at KNBR signed their congratulations on a huge card featuring Miller’s image that has been sent to him. My message was signed “Ray Woodson — no relation to Tracy Woodson.” I hope he got the reference. I thought “fellow Strat-o-Matic player” would have been disingenuous because I haven’t played the game in 20 years.

I still can’t believe I lost a 1988 playoff game on a 1-3 home run card for Wade Boggs. My opponent rolled a three. Walkoff. As Wayne Gross said in Miller’s book “Confessions of a Baseball Purist,” rather dismissvely, “then it’s a horse—- game.”

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