Doc's Morning Line: Tyler Mahle should be at the center of the Reds hope machine

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I’ve written a column about the Uvalde, TX, massacre already this morning. The heart of it:

This isn’t a debate about the proliferation of guns, or even who should have them. It’s not another rote diatribe about the rights granted us by the 2nd Amendment. This is about dead children.

And about their parents, who will never see them again. Never sing them Happy Birthday or watch them in the school play or teach them to ride a two-wheeled bike or escort them down the aisle. The kids were in 2nd through 4th grade. While we debate, they’re still dead.

We say we’ve had enough, but we haven’t. We wonder how it happened again, but we know exactly how it happened again. Thoughts and prayers for us. No person outside of Ukraine needs them any more than we do, 24 hours after 21 people were murdered at an elementary school.

We should be ashamed. We aren’t.

Now, time for the most ridiculous segue in the history of TML. Apologies in advance.

ABOUT TYLER MAHLE. . . I’m sure the Reds have had a more frustrating pitcher over the last 3 decades than Mahle. More than one, likely. None leaps to mind at 8 in the morning.

Mahle should be at the center of the Reds hope machine. He’s durable, he’s shown flashes of brilliance. He should be a middle of the rotation mainstay for a few seasons at least.

And then he gets beaten up the way he did Tuesday night. Mahle needed 74 pitches to navigate three innings and that wasn’t the worst of it. He allowed eight runs in four innings. He threw 103 pitches, total.

Mahle desperately needs to throw more strikes. He needs a put-away pitch. He’s seemingly so close to being an anchor of the rotation. But he isn’t.

In his previous start, Mahle had allowed 2 hits and a run across 6.1 innings. He needed 105 pitches, just two more than Tuesday.

The point of this Reds season and likely a few more is to identify special young talent. If you’re going to shed your veteran producers, you should have worthy replacements. So far, no good.

Who on this roster screams great, young talent? India, Stephenson, Greene. And. . .

Down below, whom do you look at and see future stardom? I remember the Reds and Pirates of the late 60s, early 70s. They didn’t win championships, but their young talent screamed that they would, and soon. What does this current group scream? Third place?

I THINK I’LL NEED TO LIE DOWN IN A COOL PLACE after I watch the HBO Real Sports segment that features two of the more than 20 women claiming DeShaun Watson forced himself on them. I’m reading some of what they said now. Graphic and disgusting.

The Athletic: Two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges, which cleared the way for Cleveland to trade for him, but the NFL’s punishment remains unclear. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that league officials met with Watson last week and that the league is reaching the end of its investigation. (The Athletic)

"We've been very clear with every club that whether the criminal matter gets resolved or not, the personal conduct policy is something that's very important to us," he said. "It does not need a criminal violation to be a violation of the personal conduct policy. They recognize we're going to make sure we get to the bottom of the facts and how it applies to the personal conduct policy. And when we get to that a decision will be made of if there should be any discipline and if so what is it?’’

STICK TO SPORTS, PART 2. . . I never again want to hear the phrase “thoughts and prayers.’’ The emptiest of empathies. Like saying hello to a stranger you pass on the street. After all the gun murders, it comes off as a brush-off.

I cringe every time a sports team honors a veteran by having him/her stand to be recognized during a game. There is nothing wrong with honoring veterans, obviously. But it’s just such an empty gesture designed to make everyone feel good about themselves. If we really want to thank our vets, give them jobs when they come home. Take great care of them if they’ve been wounded in battle, physically or psychologically or both. If you see them out somewhere, look them in the eye and shake their hands.

My father-in-law is a 95-year-old WWII veteran. He enjoys nothing more than wearing his ballcap and having people thank him for his service or buy his meal. To me, it’s the difference between getting an autograph and having a conversation. I’ll take the conversation every time.

THE BEST IDEA FOR IMPROVING THE PRO BOWL is to eliminate it. The next-best comes from Chad OchoJohnson, via Tweet:

Have the current pro bowlers play against the past era of pro bowlers, like an old school vs new school, don’t even need pads, can be flag formatted, would break the viewing ratings for a Pro Bowl easily.

OK, I guess. But why would anyone think young stars playing against old stars would be competitive? And is Chad saying he should be invited?

AND FINALLY. . . Mobster Jim Simpson passed along this request, in honor of his best friend and golf buddy:

If you have played golf with me you may have heard me use the term “UBE”. When asked, I would explain it meant “Ugly But Effective”. It was used after a golfer hits an especially bad golf shot that turned out pretty good. Examples include:

- Your golf ball hits a tree and takes a bounce close to the hole.

- You dub a ball into a water hazard and it skips 3 times before it runs onto the green next to the hole.

I’ve used this term for as long as I can remember and every golfer that hears it for the first time gives me a big “what are you talking about look”. I then usually explain that my best friend “Willie” is the one I first heard it from years ago. I have no idea if he came up with it on his own, however, I’m pretty sure he probably used it more than any other golfer in the history of the game.

My Request:

I just want you to know that from this day forward my wife Shearly and I will not be using the term “UBE” anymore. It will be replaced with the name/term Willie. I hope that you will join me in my campaign to remember and honor my friend by both including it in your golfing vocabulary when it happens to you and also mentioning it to your golfing friends during your golf game. If you could also forward this email or post it to your social media account(s) it would be great.

I can assure you that Willie was an avid golfer and well-deserving of this honor. His family, friends, and many students he taught math to in the Salem, MA school system for over 35 years will certainly agree with me.

I’m looking forward to the day I’m watching a golf tournament and I hear the golf announcer yell: “That was the greatest “Willie” I’ve ever witnessed!” and everyone listening will know exactly what that means.

TUNE O’ THE DAY. . .Kids with Guns.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Reds pitcher Tyler Mahle has another frustrating out vs. Cubs