Reached in Cincinnati, Boone said he told McCoy that "quitting wasn't an option, wasn't good enough. We had a long talk, and while it's humbling to me when Hal tells people how much impact I had, it's not like I can say it was a noble or humanitarian-type thing. I simply have a lot of respect for people who have passion for their job, and Hal has a lot of it, and I only tried to remind him that even with a setback he still had a lot to offer.
"I consider it a blessing that he's come to realize he can still do the job and how much people care for him, not only in the clubhouse or around baseball or at his paper. He's become an inspiration to people everywhere, and he has his finger on the heartbeat of the team as much as ever."
That is not to say McCoy has lost any of the edge that prompted former owner Marge Schott to 1) carpet the floor of her office with copies of his stories so that Schottzie, her famed St. Bernard, would know where to dirty, and 2) eject him from the media dining room, which led outfielder Eric Davis to send pizza to the press box and McCoy's colleagues to deliver a canned food drive to his seat.
As Red Manager Bob Boone noted recently, "Hal is an awesome guy except when he's ripping my team."
If his rips are as strong as ever, his stories as good as ever, it may be, he said, because he's more focused and taking more time and seeing things he didn't see when he had full vision. He has learned, for example, that the hitter's head will turn in the direction that the ball was hit, helping him to track its flight, although he still has problems when it leaves the infield.
"I still have frustrating days, but I've adjusted pretty well," he said. "I still love baseball, and I still love writing and traveling, and I'm still getting paid for doing all three.
"I may not see well anymore, but in some ways I see better. My eyes have been opened to a lot of things."
Pausing to smell the roses, the dinosaur is even going to turn this memorable weekend into a full-fledged vacation. His paper is treating the McCoys to four days in Las Vegas.