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Archive for the ‘Cincinnati Reds’ Category

Reds Report One Coffey Short Of A Krispy Kreme Combo

Posted by Matt on February 16, 2009

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For the first time since Spring Training 2004, the Reds’ pitchers and catches reported early on Saturday and were short one Toddy Coffey, or rather were one Todd Coffey lighter.  240 pounds lighter, to be exact.

Cincinnati designated Big Red for assignment on September 9th of last year and the Brewers signed him off waivers one day later.  It is hard to put in to words how exciting it is for me and Charlie Hustle to see a Reds’ roster Coffey-less in camp for the first time in a long time.  It wasn’t that Todd was Eric Milton-bad but he wasn’t that good either, posting a 4.62 ERA in just over 206 innings for the Red Legs, and his “trademarked” sprint from the Bullpen to the pitcher’s mound became more of a annoyance than a crowd-pleaser.  In addition to being obnoxious, aforementioned sprint also made no noticeable difference on his waistline.

Coffey will once again lace ’em up for the Brewers in 2009 in what will presumably be his first full season for the franchise assuming he can make it to the end of the year on their active roster.  Milwaukee, known for their tasty brews, should be a good fit for Todd where that beer belly will feel right at home.

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Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Comments Off on Reds Report One Coffey Short Of A Krispy Kreme Combo

Bowden: ‘I Wish I Knew How To Quit You’

Posted by Matt on February 15, 2009

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The Washington Nationals signed free-swinger Adam Dunn to a 2-year, $20,000,000 dollar contract this week, or approximately $60,606 per strikeout.  The signing reunites Dunn with former Reds running mates Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena, a trio of outfielders who all played ball for my hometown Dayton Dragons before making their way through the Reds system under the tenure of then-Reds GM Jim Bowden.  I am glad to see The Donkey staying with the National League, though, so we can all continue to be witness to his fielding prowess in the outfield.

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Between Dunn, Kearns, and Pena along with Dmitri Young, Felipe Lopez, Aaron Boon, and Corey Patterson, it is beginning to look like Bowden has a penchant for pillaging the table scraps of the perpetually sub-.500 Red Legs.  I guess the more things change the more they stay the same.  In Bowden’s defense, Dunn is a virtual lock for exactly 40 home runs, 100 rbis, 110 walks, 165 strike outs, and an obp of .386 each and every year.

I guess there’s something to be said about consistency these days.  Even if it’s not all that impressive.

Linkage: ESPN.com

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Comments Off on Bowden: ‘I Wish I Knew How To Quit You’

Junior Griffey Swings In To History

Posted by Matt on June 9, 2008

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Ken Griffey, Junior has forever inscribed his name in the annals of history after sending his 600th career home run to its normal right field landing strip.  Junior becomes just the sixth person in the history of Major League Baseball to reach the 600 home run plateau behind Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy “Say It Ain’t” Sosa with a first inning, two-run bomb off of Florida Marlin Mark Hendrickson.  Unfortunately the landmark home run came in front of a mere 12 fans at Dolphin Stadium in the last game of an extensive eight game road stand and had he waited just one more game, he would’ve had nine straight home games to reach 600 in from a larger, more appreciative home crowd starting tomorrow.

There is something to be said for Junior’s success with the recent injury-plaugued seasons he’s had to go along with the advent of the “Steroid Era” in baseball — a movement Griffey’s name has NEVER been linked to.  I fully attribute Ken’s growing list of injuries to both his years spent on the carreer-shortening Astroturf in Seattle as well as him being presumably steroid free throughout his career.  I would love to know where Junior would be on the all time home run list had he’d stayed healthy his entire career as I firmly believe he would be sitting somewhere between 650-675 career home runs and on pace to possibly challenge Barry Bonds at the top.

Griffey is as much of a class act as there comes and a rare talent with the sweetest swing we may ever see.  I feel nobody in Major League Baseball right now deserves this accomplishment more than #3 and my congratulations go out to Donora, Pennsylvania’s own Ken Griffey, Junior.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

A Red Observation

Posted by Matt on April 9, 2008

For the love of God, can somebody PLEASE teach Adam Dunn how to slap one down the 3rd Base line?!?!  Everytime I listen to a Reds radio broadcast, when Adam Dunn comes to bat all that I ever hear is:

“The defense has put the shift on Adam Dunn, the Shortstop is playing directly behind 2nd Base and the 3rd Baseman is playing where the Shortstop would on a double-play situation.  Well I tell ya’, the 3rd Base line is WIDE. OPEN.”

Dunn has all four infielders playing on the right side of 2nd Base….

JUST STICK YOUR BAT OUT.

And oh, to answer your question…he struck out.  I’m not kidding.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

I Can’t Believe I Am Saying This…

Posted by Matt on January 20, 2008

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I can’t believe I am saying this but the Reds seem like they’re actually trying to give me something to be excited about in the offseason. The whirlwind of moves started with the signing of a “big-name” manager in Dusty Baker. Say what you want about Dusty’s ability to ruin young arms, his high profile name has forced the Reds to dig deeper in to their pockets than management is used to.

Then, in the most shocking move of all, the Reds signed a big-name, free agent pitcher in Francisco Cordero to a 4-year $46-million dollar contract, which is unheard of in the Greater Cincinnati area.  And shortly thereafter, former Saint Louis Cardinal general Manager Walt Jocketty signed a deal with the Reds to be a special assistant to the front office.  You have to love that move.

Add that along with the acquisitions of pitchers Edison Volquez (right handed) by way of the Texas Rangers and Jeremy Affeldt (left handed) — who was apparently the last solid south paw free agent left on the open market — by way of the Colorado Rockies just this weekend, and the Reds are actually creating some buzz. Now I hated more than anyone to see Josh Hamilton traded as part of the Volquez deal but face it, the Reds have always had the offense and what they’ve needed is pitching, so if Edison pans out the loss of Hamilton won’t seem as bad.

And finally, what I feel might be the best offseason move of Wayne Krivsky’s Reds tenure, the organization refused arbitration for Eddie Guardado and, more importantly, Eric Milton, a pitcher who was the best player on the opposing team on a yearly basis. Good riddance.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in 27 days and I might be as excited as I’ve been in a long time. Reds coverage will amp up then as I’ll need something to pass the time and the Kentucky Wildcats will likley be mathematically eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by then…

Linkage: ESPN.com

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | Comments Off on I Can’t Believe I Am Saying This…

In Like A Lamb, Out Like A Lamb

Posted by Matt on December 7, 2007

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Doc’s column on the Saint Louis Cardinals from this morning sparked a renewed, if only momentary, interest in baseball this offseason and, more importantly, my Cincinnati Reds.

Then I realized that they’re still the Reds.

After dropping a few dollars on closer Francisco Cordero and manager Dusty Baker, I was almost certain the Reds’ front office would tear in to the MLB Winter Meetings full steam ahead; in like a lion, as they say. That, however, would prove not to be the case as the headlines on Reds.com all week long mentioned Wayne “Burnt Crispy” Krivsky being content and comfortable staying completely quiet during the annual conference, with the week’s final headline reading “Reds Content To Conclude Quiet Winter Meetings.”

The Reds didn’t even make a splash. In fact, the Reds couldn’t even muster involvement in any rumors — ideas which are usually conjured up against a teams’ will by internet trolls and message board addicts. However, this time around I would’ve welcomed involvement in any trade rumors with open arms, even if they were just rumors, as at least something is better than absolutely nothing.

But no, the Winter Meetings have come and gone without so much as a hiccup by Wayner and Company and, at this point, I guess I should have come to expect nothing more.

Here’s hoping that Cordero is the savior.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | Comments Off on In Like A Lamb, Out Like A Lamb

Reds Management Finds Wallet

Posted by Matt on November 23, 2007

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In a stunning turn of events this offseason — a ride that started with the Redlegs finally signing a “big-name” manager in Dusty Baker — the management of Cincinnati’s finest baseball franchise just might have finally found their wallet that had gone missing for the better part of the last decade by agreeing to, in part, a four year, $46-million dollar contract with All Star Closer Francisco Cordero.

Francisco was second in saves last season in the National League and may, or may not, be worth the contract that he received; however, his talent is the farthest thing from what is actually on my mind.  What has me slightly intrigued is the fact that Reds’ management is at least showing that it might actually be willing to put forth the adequate amount of money to possibly develop a somewhat successful baseball team in “The Queen City.”

It is no doubt that the Reds have some young talent down on the farms but rarely do fans have much to be excited about during free agent signing periods and around the trade deadline.  However, the Reds have inked a deal with not only a big-name manager but also a high-dollar free agent at the fact that the Reds might be showing a little life in their back pocket gives us faithful followers at least a little something to be excited about.

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ESPN.com (link) is reporting that deal also has an option for the fifth year and is pending Cordero passing a physical exam.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | Comments Off on Reds Management Finds Wallet

Rounding Third And Heading For Home

Posted by Matt on November 16, 2007

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It is a sad day in Red Leg Nation as long time Reds’ radio broadcaster – one of the best in all of baseball – and former Reds’ pitcher Joe Nuxhall passed away late last night near Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 79 stemming from complications arising during his battle with cancer. The “Ol’ Left-hander” began his relationship with baseball, and the Reds for that matter, on June 10, 1944 just 50 days shy of his 16th birthday. At 15 years, 10 months, and 11 days of age, with the World War II ravaged rosters of the ’40s, Joe became the youngest player to ever suit up for a Major League Baseball team – a record he still holds today – when he took the mound against the Saint Louis Cardinals at Crosley Field for his lone appearance that season. That outing would prove to be the beginning of a 63 year relationship with baseball’s oldest professional team.

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Joe retired as a player from the Reds, and the game of baseball, in 1967 and immediately entered the broadcast booth and this past summer, where Joe worked a limited schedule along side long-time partner Marty Brennaman, marked his 40th year in radio for the Red Legs. With his catch phrase “…and this is the Ol’ Left-hander, rounding third and heading for home…” to end every broadcast, Joe was a constant joy to listen to and the epitome of class in a sport now tarnished with scandals.

I am not one to jump on the personal bandwagons of recently deceased public figures but this is one situation where I can honestly say I grew up listening to Marty and Joe on Reds’ radio broadcasts. For me, the sound of their voices will forever be synonymous with listening to a Reds game on the back porch on a clear summer night with my father. I even found myself, during the majority of this season, turning down the audio on my television and turning up the volume on my radio just to hear Marty and Joe call Reds games a few more times during Joe’s limited work schedule — even if that meant I was able to hear what happened before I saw it thanks to telecast delays.

The Cincinnati Reds and the world of Major League Baseball lost a good one last night and it is too bad that his story will be overshadowed by this morning’s news of Barry Bonds’ indictment from late yesterday afternoon.

God bless you, Joe Nuxhall, you have meant a lot of things to a lot of people for a very long time and you will be missed.

And now you truly are “rounding third and heading for home.”

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Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Rounding Third And Heading For Home

Reds Exercise Option For Adam Dunn

Posted by Matt on November 1, 2007

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The Cincinnati Reds have exercised the one-year option on uber-slugger Adam Dunn’s contract that will pay him $13.0 million for the 2008 season, making him the highest paid player on the Reds’ roster and ensuring another season of fans being in awe of his towering home runs while defiling him for his ballooning number of strikeouts.

I have always been a BIG Adam Dunn supporter – although I nearly jumped off of the wagon during the worst of times last season – and having watched Dunn play for the Single-A Dragons of my hometown Dayton when he first came on the scene for the Reds, it is nice to watch the continuance of his career.

That being said, Reds’ General Manager Wayne “Burnt Crispy” Krivsky had this to say about Adam Dunn’s self-proclaimed improvement –  and reduction of strikeouts – at the plate in the second half of the season:

“For him to say that, it must be true,” Krivsky said. -Courtesy of ESPN.com

Oh really, Wayner? I can hit 80 home runs in a season will you pay me millions of dollars? I mean for me to say it, it must be true.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Reds’ Fans, Prepare For Three Years Of Hell

Posted by Bob Swerski on October 15, 2007

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^”If you wanna crown ’em then crown their asses!”

The Cincinnati Reds signed manager Dusty Baker to a three year deal this weekend, which will extend their history of pathetic managers to 1 trillion.  Dusty Baker almost single handedly ran the Cubs organization into the ground by overusing players, and over pitching young pitchers, which would lead them to career threatening and life altering injuries.  This coupled with one of the worst managing ordeals in post season history makes me wonder: “Why take Dusty Baker out of the T.V. booth and back into a dugout?”

Mark my words, young Reds pitchers such as Homer Bailey will have arm and shoulder problems their entire career directly due to overuse from Dusty Baker.  I just don’t see this acquisition helping a young team like the Reds at all.  Dusty will only be an overpaid, overhyped manager which will end up being ran out of town by Reds fans all over Southern Ohio. 

I got some advice for you: “Save your money and go get someone who will end the Reds’ draught and not continue this plight…”

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Cincinnati Welcomes Joe Torre With Open Arms

Posted by Matt on October 12, 2007

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Well, we haven’t yet but we would, and doesn’t that crimson and black look good on Joe? I think so.

If, or when, the New York Yankees and Mr. Torre part ways, I am sure there are many teams that would be high on his services and he’s already stated that he isn’t ready to move somewhere and do nothing. If Torre is still looking to manage, what a perfect place Cincinnati would be for him. There is a lot of young talent in Josh Hamilton, Edwin Encarnacion, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Jeff Keppinger, Homer Bailey, Phil Dumatrait, among others, for Torre to mold and bring together as a strong, cohesive unit around veterans such as Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Junior, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, etcetera.

There would be absolutely no pressure on Torre like he felt in The Big Apple, where his job was on the line anytime he didn’t win the World Series. In Cincinnati, if his teams starting sniffing the smiling side of .500 quickly, Reds fans would be elated. A Playoff appearance? Joe Torre is a saint. A World Series ring? Joe Torre gets a street and/or bridge named after him. It’s that easy.

Now I realize the Cincinnati Reds front office has already interviewed former Giants and Cubs manager Dusty Baker and he seems to be the early favorite to win the job, but I just hope the Reds don’t act too quickly and can weigh all of their possible options, especially if those options include Joe Torre. I would not be against Dusty Baker as he is a high profile manager and that is something the Reds have needed for a long time, but there are a lot of fish in the pond and if the new ownership is set on winning, they should settle for nothing less than the best; especially if the best available is Joe Torre.

Because Cincinnati would welcome Joe Torre with open arms.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Don’t Look Now

Posted by Matt on August 25, 2007

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Don’t look now but the Cincinnati Reds are suddenly improving and they have quietly put together a four-game winning streak and are only 8.5-games out of first place in the National League Central.  This might sound like still a large margin but consider two things:

  1. The Reds have six games (18 total) against each of the top three teams (Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Saint Louis Cardinals) in the National League Central right now left on their schedule in September.
  2. The Reds were nearly twice this far out of first place just a little over a month ago.

It is amazing what a few average to above average hitting ballplayers  can do for a team’s offense – 64 runs over the last 10 games while the team went 7-3 in that time span (good enough for 6.4 runs per game).

Jeff Keppinger is hitting .370 for the season and .400 during the aforementioned 10-game span and catcher Javier Valentine is hitting .297 on the season and .382 in the same 10-game span with one day off.  Valentine’s bat is a breath of fresh air at the catcher position as David Ross was struggling to keep things above the “Mendoza Line” (.200 batting average).

Norris Hopper is also batting .312 on the season and Scott Hatteberg is batting .298.  It is interesting to see what a few more for-average hitters can do for a lineup as, during the Reds’ darkest days this season, Hatteberg was the lone hitter above, at, or within .010 points of the all important .300 batting average mark.

With the schedule the Reds have in front of them and the baseball they’re playing right now, it could easily be an exciting finish for these awfully confusing Redlegs.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

MLB Trade Deadline Rumors

Posted by Condo on July 30, 2007

Well, it’s that time of year.  Tomorrow will be the final day that teams can make trades without having to pass players through waivers first.  It sounds as though it will be an uneventful day as far as ‘star players’ are concerned.  But let’s break down some of the trades that are either close to being finished pending physicals or already been completed.

First, for the Reds fans out there:

Reds Trade Starting pitcher Kyle Loshe to the Phillies for 23-year-old lefty starter Matt Maloney.
On the surface, it seems as though the Reds didn’t receive much, but seeing as how Loshe was going to be a free agent after the year was up and his agent is Scott Boras, the Reds probably weren’t going to retain him anyways.  If Maloney has any promise what so ever, this isn’t a bad deal for the Reds.

Next, another small deal, this one for the Mets:

Mets receive 2nd baseman Luis Castillo from the Twins for Minor League catcher Drew Butera and Minor League outfielder Dustin Martin to Minnesota.
Luis Castillo is a good pickup for the Mets considering Jose Valentin went down with an injury yet again.  Castillo can provide a stolen base threat and decent contact bat at the back of their lineup and they didn’t give up highly touted prospects to get him, I’d say this one is definitely in favor or New York.

And of course, pending physicals, the blockbuster deal of the deadline:

Braves receive 1st baseman Mark Teixeira and left handed middle reliever Ron Mahay from the Rangers for Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, infield prospect Elvis Andrus, and two minor league pitching prospects who have yet to be named.
This of course is the big one, this gives Atlanta the middle of the order bat to fill a position they’ve been looking to fill for a while.  The key is whether the Braves can keep Teixeira in Atlanta for a while.  If they can, I think this is a good deal for the Braves.  If not, Texas gets one helluva a deal considering Andrus & Salty are Atlanta’s top 2 prospects.

Hold tight, and see what happens throughout the rest of the deadline, as rumors are circulating about many players including former World Series MVP Jermaine Dye, Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, Eric Gagne, as well as a slew of others.  Who knows who your favorite team’s roster will look like after July 31!

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | Comments Off on MLB Trade Deadline Rumors

David Ross Confuses Me

Posted by Matt on July 23, 2007

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Just a quick note (a liveblog if you will) as I am watching the Cincinnati Reds versus the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers and the Redlegs are up 1-0 with 2-outs in the bottom of the 3rd-inning.

How are the Reds up, you might ask?  A David Ross solo home run, his 15th home run of the season.

How in the world can a catcher have 15 home runs through 100 games and still be batting .190?!?!?!  I honestly do not understand this guy, what a joke.  If you make good enough contact to hit a home run 15 times, you ought to be able to make good enough contact to get a single 20 times out of 100. 

Unbelievable.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Interim Infatuation

Posted by Matt on July 23, 2007

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A recent headline by ESPN baseball correspondent, Buster Olney, eluded to the fact that Cincinnati Reds’ manager Pete Mackanin has nothing to lose for the remainder of the season (I never was given the opportunity to read this article as it is an “ESPN Insider” article and I refuse to pay for that).

That being said, there is truth to this statement:

If Mackanin does well he receives a (semi) permanent job as manager of the Reds and becomes the next opportunist in a growing line of interim-managers to get on the full-time payroll in Cincinnati.

If Mackanin does poorly, he receives the axe (as manager) at the end of the season and reenters his role as a scout in the front office; nothing gained, nothing lost as he was only “interim” either way.

However, the more I pondered this statement, the more I saw a bigger problem within the Reds organization: their infatuation with interim-managers.

Beyond the basics mentioned above, interim-managers truly don’t have anything to lose. This allows them to take more chances on the field and speak more candidly in the locker room, basically making the team more interesting to watch and follow on, and off, of the field. Hit-and-runs, double steals, erratic substitution patterns, behavior that would normally cause an uprising (if a failure) no longer does because the season as a whole is a lost cause. Plus, what does an interim manager care regarding his behavior, especially if it is working?

Pete Mackanin is 10-7 (.588) in 17-games making debatable whether or not “it is working,” but there are already ESPN analysts talking permanent contract; are they watching this interim-managers with the same red-colored glasses as the Reds’ front office have others over the past five years?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cincinnati Reds Views 5/19 And Pregame Notes 5/20

Posted by Matt on July 20, 2007

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The Cincinnati Reds took the first game of a four-game series last night against the Florida Marlins in Miami, Florida by a score of 7-5 after squandering an early 3-0 lead, only to come back thanks to the bat of Ryan Freel and his three-run home run. Here are a few notes and observations from last night’s contest:

• Catcher Javier Valentin needs to be the everyday catcher at this juncture, even despite his defense – we will surrender that aspect of the position. Valentin is batting .260 in 100 ABs this season with 1-HR and 15-RBIs, including one of each a run and a RBI last night, to go along with two doubles. He doesn’t have the power, or the defense (has yet to gun down a runner at second this season – but in his defense, doesn’t play much either), that David Ross has but he is clutch (see: Saint Valentin (link)) and he hits more consistently than Ross. Listen, I am not saying Ross could never rebound but let’s be honest, he is only batting .190 this season. The fact that he has 14-HRs and 32-RBIs at this point does not phase me because he only gets on base less than a quarter of the time (.244-OBP). 14 of Ross’ 44 hits this season have been home runs, which means if you take away his home runs he is only batting .138. We just need more consistency at the bottom of the batting order.

• There is absolutely nobody to blame for this but it is a shame we haven’t seen more of relief pitcher Jared Burton this season. Thanks to a couple of stints on the 15-day Disabled List, Burton has only gotten 12.0-innings of work in 14-games but has pitched well when he has seen action (3.75-ERA on the season) , including 3-and-1/3-innings of scoreless work since the All-Star break and since his last appearance on June 5th, 2007. Burton was punching in at around 95-MPH on his fastball last night, which is the fastest arm in Bullpen and if you don’t think sheer speed matters than let me give you an example:

Burton, a right handed pitcher, was pitching against All-Star slugger Miguel Cabrera, who is a right handed batter. Valentin called for a fastball low and away, a pitch trailing away from Cabrera. Burton brutally missed his spot as the ball got away from him and went across the plate and numbers high, cutting in on Cabrera. A normal Reds pitcher throwing 87-MPH fastballs would’ve seen his pitch planted in the “Budweiser Party Deck” by Miguel, but because Burton’s fastball was topping out at 95-MPH, Cabrera was unable to turn on a gift and fouled it meaninglessly straight back.

I feel Burton could’ve really helped the Reds’ Bullpen in the trying times of the mid-to-late June games, but such is life and it does go on and it will be good to have a hard thrower back in the ‘Pen.

• I got the feeling that this offense CANNOT WAIT to get Josh Hamilton’s bat back in the lineup and not necessarily because they are in such a bind, they’ve been playing better as of late, but add Hamilton back to the lineup and if he can return in early-season form, then the Reds’ offense has the potential to be potent. Notice I said potential as I am not suddenly blind to the performances of this team all season just because of a four-game winning streak, however, Hamilton will be welcomed back with open arms on top of the fact he is a guy who is really enjoyable to watch.

• The Reds are 10-4 since Pete Mackanin took over and that is most definitely a good sign. I do not, however, think that the Reds should jump on and sign him long-term like they did Jerry Narron after his solid interim stint after Dave Miley was fired. I will have an extensive report on the Narron versus Mackanin situation fresh for Monday morning, but in the meantime, enjoy the quality play.

Pregame Notes 5/20:

• The pitching match-up tonight pits Kyle Lohse (5-11, 4.69-ERA) versus Scott Olsen (7-7. 5.15-ERA). Lohse has pitched inconsistently as of late, giving up 5-earned runs over 4-and-2/3-innings in his last outing but had two consecutive 1-earned run performances in his last two outings of 9-innings and 7-innings, respectively, before his most recent start.

Aaron Harang and Alex Gonzalez remain on the Bereavement List for tonight’s game with Ricky Stone replacing Harang and Eric “Uncle Miltie” Milton hitting the 60-day Disabled List. Gonzalez has one more game to return from the Bereavement List before he’ll just be allowed to be away from the team while the Reds play a man down on the Active Roster. Relief pitcher, and item of controversy, Bill Bray has returned from the 15-day Disabled List and was optioned to Triple-A Louisville for “rehab.”

• First pitch for tonight’s game is at 7:05PM EST and can be seen on Fox Sports Net: Ohio and heard on 700WLW and it’s affiliates with Marty Brennaman and Company.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | Comments Off on Cincinnati Reds Views 5/19 And Pregame Notes 5/20

We’re In A Hole! We’re Just Going To Have To Dig Ourselves Out!

Posted by Matt on July 19, 2007

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After spending the first half of the season being down on the Cincinnati Reds I decided that the post-All Star Break schedule would be a “new season” and I would look for details to get excited about, all while a quote by Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumb rang true about where the Reds are right now:

“Well, it’s not gonna do us any good sitting here whining about it. We’re in a hole! We’re just going to have to dig ourselves out! ” -Lloyd Christmas

I couldn’t have said it better myself and, at least for now, it seems like the Reds are trying to do just that. The Redlegs went in to Atlanta, Georgia and, thanks to a game-winning two-run single by Brandon Phillips in a 5-4 victory during a 15-inning marathon yesterday afternoon, took three straight from the Braves to notch just their second sweep of the year and their first on the road of the season. All of this against a very competitive Braves squad that is only 2.5-games back of the division-leading New York Mets in the National League East.

However, more impressive than the three game sweep of Atlanta on the Braves’ home turf is the fact that the Reds are now tied with the Houston Astros in the National League Central and, by virtue of some tiebreaker I’ll never understand (it isn’t head-to-head, the Reds are 4-8 against the ‘Stros this season), the Reds appear above the Houston Astros in the N.L. Central standings on both Reds.com and Baseball-Reference.com. For the first time in a long time, the Reds are no longer the sole bottom-feeders of the Central Division and this, my friends, is a triumph in itself.

Hopefully the Reds heads Lloyd’s advice for the rest of this season and continue to “dig themselves out.”

– At 4-3 on the current road trip, Cincinnati continues the National League East swing by heading to Florida tonight to start a four game weekend series with the Marlins, a team just shy of being a .500 ball club. Matt Belisle takes the hill against Sergio Mitre in Game 1 of the series and first pitch is at 7:05PM EST.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | Comments Off on We’re In A Hole! We’re Just Going To Have To Dig Ourselves Out!

Livingtson’s Bat Better Than Ross’

Posted by Matt on July 17, 2007

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Let’s get one thing clear: Cincinnati Reds’ left-handed pitcher Bobby Livingston went 4-for-4 with 1-run and 1-RBI during last night’s 10-3 drilling of the “Catlanta” Braves (Nice little Kentucky reference, eh?). Yes, you heard me correctly, Livingston has a hotter bat than David Ross in his prime (if he ever actually had one of those).

After nearly earning a spot in the starting rotation, Bobby finally got his third chance in the Majors this season after a no-decision on May 13th and a win on June 1st. In three appearances, Livingston is 2-0 with a 3.18ERA with 1.706WHIP. With all of the hype surrounding rookie sensation Homer Bailey, fellow young-gunner Livingston has flown relatively low under the radar. I do believe, however, it was “Charlie Hustle” that told us all to call up Bobby Livingston in an article dated July 2, 2007, 15-days ago (How To Fix The Reds).

If our young arms can continue to improve and playboy Bronson Arroyo can fully get back on track, I think I like the looks of this rotation:

  1. Aaron Harang (10-2 in 20-games started with a 3.70-ERA and 120-strike outs) -> Can anyone say borderline N.L. Cy Young Award?
  2. Bronson Arroyo (3-10 in 19-games started with a 4.78-ERA but has only given up 10-earned runs over his last four games)
  3. Kyle Lohse (5-11 in 19-games started with a 4.68-ERA but has given up only 1-earned run in each of two of his last three starts) – -Matt Belisle if Lohse leaves in 2008
  4. Homer Bailey (2-2 in 6-games started with a 6.99-ERA but has three games of two-or-less earned runs each)
  5. Bobby Livingston (2-0 in 3-games started with a 3.18-ERA and is also batting .625 in 8-plate appearances)

With the young, rookie arms of Jon Coutlangus (4-1 in 47-relief appearances with a 4.02-ERA and 1.436-WHIP) and Phil Dumatrait (9-5, 3.52-ERA in 19-games started for Triple-A Louisville this year) bumming around in the Bullpen.

Looking at our talent in this regard, I might have to agree with “Charlie Hustle” that the Reds are just one or two pieces away from being a .500 ball club. Of course, one of those pieces being an offensive-minded catcher to replace David “No Bat” Ross; in that case, I suggest that on days he isn’t starting that Bobby Livingston take the field behind the plate. He IS hitting .625 in the Majors this season with 2-RBIs (as many as Norris Hopper) and 1-run, after all.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | Comments Off on Livingtson’s Bat Better Than Ross’

Red With Frustration

Posted by Matt on July 16, 2007

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(This will be myself and “Charlie Hustle” at the next Cincinnati Reds game we go to together.)

The 2007 edition of the Cincinnati Reds might be the most frustrating team for me to watch in a long time. At least with the Cincinnati “Bungles” years in football, I had come to terms with how bad the team was and it almost became comical to see just how bad the likes of David Klingler or Akili Smith really could be.

Nonetheless, the Reds are extremely frustrating and there were several questioned moments for me while watching yesterday’s day-game against the New York Mets.

The first transgression came before the game even started, it came when manager Pete Mackanin penciled in the batting order:

  1. Ryan Freel – .248/.304 (batting average/on-base percentage – – entering yesterday’s game)
  2. Norris Hopper – .268/.318
  3. Jeff Conine – .263/.320
  4. Brandon Phillips -.280/.326
  5. Adam Dunn – .256/.359
  6. Edwin Encarnacion – .264/.347
  7. Pedro Lopez – .000/.000 (0-for-3 this season after being called up from Triple-A Louisville – – .339/.396 for the Bats)
  8. David Ross – .188/.242 (we’ll get to this shortly)
  9. Kyle Lohse – .172/.194 (he’s a pitcher but he’s nearly as good as David Ross…bat Lohse 8th and Ross 9th)

Now if you’re going to bench your two best statistical hitters (Scott Hatteberg and Ken Griffey, Junior), why do it on the same day? Also, why make this roster move when you’re short your regular Shortstop and batting a player in that position who has only played in one Major League game this season?

We have a chance to split a four-game series with the National League East leading New York Mets on the road, all that I can ask is “WHY?”

Meanwhile, this was sitting on our bench:

  • Scott Hatteberg – .312/.403
  • Ken Griffey, Junior – .283/.388 with 23-home runs and 59-RBIs

By the way, the Reds have only one .300+ hitter.

Top of the First Inning:

Ryan Freel leads off with a fly out to start the game. Now I love Freel and the way he plays the game in the image of Pete Rose, but going in to yesterday’s day-game, Freel had an on-base percentage of only .304 and that is simply not good enough to be a lead-off hitter. Although Freel has the ability to wreak havoc on the base paths once he gets there, he’s only getting there 30% of the time and that is only good enough for a 6th or 7th hitter in most other lineups.

Norris Hopper walks but is later picked off by pitcher Oliver Perez who, Thom Brenneman and Chris Welsh say, has a terrible pick off move, however, it was apparently good enough to fool Hopper. Just so we’re clear, nobody has been thrown out at Second Base while trying to steal while Perez has been on the mound this season. Fundamentals, people. This ends the inning with Brandon Phillips still in the Batter’s Box after Jeff Conine waives the white flag in the three spot (does it really matter how he got out, he’s 73-years old).

Top of the Second Inning:

Brandon Phillips leads off the inning with an infield hit and was awarded Second Base after an errant throw by Mets Shortstop Jose Reyes. A lead off man on Second Base to start the inning, this should be a GUARANTEED run (we will discuss this further in a moment).

Adam Dunn comes up and strikes out by chasing a curve ball low and away, he wasn’t even close and I have seen him chase that same pitch approximately 1,000,000 times now. Honestly, I am over Adam Dunn and his strikeouts, just let him go to Free Agency. The Big Donkey is batting only .213 with runners in scoring position with 30-strike outs. Only half of Dunn’s 24-home runs going in to yesterday’s game came with runners on base.

Adam Dunn – “King Of The Meaningless Home Run”

  • 12 solo home runs
  • Only 2 home runs with more than one runner on base
  • Only 9 of 24 home runs came in games that the Cincinnati Reds have won

Did Adam Dunn shorten his swing to just put the ball in play to move Phillips to third? No. Can he even lay down a bunt? Probably not.

Edwin Encarnacion walks admist talk from Brenneman and Welsh as to why the Reds haven’t given the green light to Phillips to steal third on a pitcher who, when on the mound, has not seen a runner thrown out on an attempted steal all season (I am starting to sound like a broken record). Phillips stagnating at Second Base takes any chance of a sacrifice fly completely out of the question.

Pedro Lopez pops out but hes a career Triple-A type player, at best, and with Alex Gonzalez on the Bereavement List (thoughts and prayers for his ten-month-old baby), I will leave this one alone.

Now, who comes to the plate with two outs? None other than David “Toeing The Mendoza Line” Ross. Ross is batting a robust .140 with runners in scoring position and .099 with two-outs. God, help us all. Ross was ten seconds behind on four fastballs, fouling off a couple before going down swinging, but at least he went down swinging…right? Ross hasn’t turned on a fastball since Little League, by the way.

I never thought that I would see the day where I wanted Jason LaRue’s bat back in the lineup. Here are the career numbers for some of the Reds’ more recent backstops (career batting average/career on-base percentage (seasons with the reds) – – as of July 14, 2007):

  • David Ross – .220/.296 (2006 – Present)
  • Javier Valentin – .245/.303 (2004 – Present)
  • Jason “Rusty” LaRue – .237/.340 (1999 – 2006)
  • Kelly Stinnett – .236/.315 (2001 – 2003)
  • Corky Miller – .190/.285 (2001 – 2004)
  • Benito Santiago – .263/.307 (2000)
  • Eddie Taubensee – .274/.331 (1995 – 2000)
  • Joe Oliver – .247/.299 (1989 – 1997)

I don’t think the Reds have had a catcher worth anything since Johnny Bench in the ’70s. Unbelievable.

The convenient fact regarding Ross’ strike out is that pitcher Kyle Lohse will lead off the Third Inning. YAY!

A batting average of .200 is no longer the “Mendoza Line,” it is the “Ross Line” henceforth.

Also, it is worth mentioning that during David Ross’ foolish at bat, Encarnacion and Phillips received the sign for a double steal and took Second Base and Third Base respectively with two outs on the scoreboard. A day late and a dollar short, Pete.

The inning ends with Phillips still on the base paths after the aforementioned lead-off appearance on Second Base. If the first batter of an inning immediately reaches Second Base, HE SHOULD SCORE 75% OF THE TIME BY MY CALCULATIONS. I cannot stress the importance of “small ball” enough.

Later in the game…

Top of the Fourth Inning:

Adam Dunn hits a massive home run, his 25th of the season. How many runners were on base? Zero.

Top of the Sixth Inning:

Adam Dunn comes to the plate with two runners on and what is the result? Line-out to the Center Fielder.

The Reds went on to lose by a final score of 2-5 after three straight outs (A. Dunn, E. Encarnacion, and P. Lopez) in the top of the Ninth Inning against All-Star closer, Billy Wagner.

I nominate Josh “Charlie Hustle” Stankovich to be the new General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds, replacing Wayne “Burnt Crispy” Krivsky (Thanks, 700WLW!) and he can take his manuscripts with him and fix the Reds (pops) because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

The Dunn Debate

Posted by Matt on July 13, 2007

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It is no secret that the biggest buzz circling the Reds’ camp in Cincinnati involves left field free-swinger Adam Dunn and whether or not he will be moved before the off-season. Further complicating moving the slugger is the precarious contract situation the Reds find themselves in with the Big Donkey as there are a lot of scenarios that could play out.

To help simplify this for all parties involved, I have tried to organize some of the issues surrounding the contract as to give some insight in to what is actually going on.

• In February of 2006, Adam Dunn signed a two-year deal (for the 2006 and 2007 seasons) reportedly worth $17-million dollars with a club option for 2008 that would cost the Reds $13-million dollars if utilized. — Basically, when this deal was negotiated the powers-that-be predicted that $13-million in 2008 would be the market value for Adam Dunn which now seems to be somewhat over estimated.

• The 2008 option is strictly for the Reds alone and if that option is not exercised before a trade, the 2008 option becomes null and void and the team on the receiving end of the Dunn deal would have to resign him before the end of the season or lose Adam to free agency.

• If the Reds exercise the 2008 club option, Adam receives full trade protection during the 2008 season through June 15, 2008 and is then allowed partial protection thereafter through a ten-team list of his choosing of places he would approve a trade to. This trade protection is granted to Dunn if the 2008 option is exercised and follows Dunn to any team if he happens to be traded before the end of the 2007 season.

• If the Reds do nothing OR pick up the 2008 club option, Dunn still becomes a free agent, it is just a matter of when (the end of the 2007 season versus the end of the 2008 season, respectively).

The Reds are having a hard time finding interest in Dunn since the 2008 option has not been picked up yet because teams are unwilling to give the Reds what they want for Adam for a guy that will possibly be gone to free agency after less than half of a season.

And even IF the 2008 option is picked up, at $13-million dollars for one year, it might still be difficult to find a suitor, unless the Reds are willing to eat some of Dunn’s 2008 salary as part of the deal. To further simplify matters, below is a list of the possible options regarding the left fielder.

The Options:

  1. Trade him now (if there is a suitor) – at least getting draft picks for him if nothing else
  2. Pick up the 2008 club option (keep him next year, or trade him now) – $13-million for one year, rather pricey
  3. Sign him to a new deal and keep him or sign-and-trade (a new deal replaces the old one and gives general managers confidence that Dunn will be around)
  4. Keep him around this season, don’t exercise club option, let Adam go to free agency (thus getting nothing for him)

(There may be other options I failed to mention or did not think of on my own so if that is the case, feel free to post other possibilities in the thread below.)

It is a very interesting situation considering the amount of money Adam would garner as part of the 2008 option if the Reds wanted to keep him around and if they don’t, which seems to be the case, they don’t have too many teams in the way of shoppers who are even considering acquiring Dunn.

As “Charlie Hustle put it, “in the history of baseball has there ever been a team as hancuffed by player?”

Adam Dunn’s 2007 season statistics through the end of play on July 12, 2007:

.256-batting average (79/309 in 87 games), .355-on-base percentage, 24-home runs, 58-RBIs, 56-runs scored, 46-walks, & 107-strike outs

I have had lengthy discussions with both “Charlie Hustle” and “Condo” on this matter and decided to try something new and allow us to organize all of our thoughts in one place for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to join in and tell us your thoughts on Adam Dunn while various members of “The Nasty Boys” will stop in periodically (hopefully) to leave their thoughts as well as we beg the question:

“What should the Cincinnati Reds do with Adam Dunn?”

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Friday News

Posted by Matt on July 13, 2007

Just a quick update this morning as the second half of the MLB season gets rolling…

– Cincinnati Reds’ rookie pitcher, Homer Bailey, did not fare so well last night in Triple-A Louisville. Bailey went only 3 and 1/3-innings while giving up 4-earned runs on 6-hits and 2-walks while striking out 2.

My Take: This is not a good sign for Homer as he is eligible to return to the Reds on July 18, 2007. I understand that he was merely sent down to be able to stay on the same pitching schedule but the Reds will need to fill his starter’s role before he is eligible to return and with it seeming like the Reds staff was never really sold on Bailey from the beginning, he may be forced in to an extended stay in Louisville.

– Speaking of not faring so well, the Cincinnati Reds lost their first game after returning from the All Star break to the New York Mets by a score of 3-2. This team continues to frustrate and were unable to maintain the momentum gained before the break and were unable to get off on the right foot.

My Take: Frankly, the Reds need a hard lesson in fundamentals. It seemed as if the entire batting order was struggling to get a bunt down in the last couple of games before the All Star break and the Reds were in prime position to tie the game up last night with one out in the top of the 9th-inning before blowing it. Brandon Phillips reached first and immediately stole second, however, on an infield hit by Edwin Encarnacion, Phillips was thrown out trying to go to third on A BALL HIT DIRECTLY AT THE SHORTSTOP. Brandon should’ve never been running on that play and it spelled the beginning of the end for the Redlegs as Alex Gonzalez recorded the last out of the game in the following at bat.

Other quick hits…

  • Budweiser will NOT follow Dale Earnhardt, Junior to Hendrick Motorsports, however, this doesn’t seem to be a solid move for Budweiser in my eyes
  • Derek Fisher will return to the Los Angeles Lakers following personal issues during the NBA Playoffs
  • Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has reportedly applied to purchase the Chicago Cubs…between Cuban and Piniella, that would be quite the tantrum duo..

Lots more to come, as always, and the main goal for today is to get a grasp on the Adam Dunn situation in Cincinnati and post the terms and allow “The Nasty Boys” to debate in the thread regarding what the Reds should do with Dunn. It should be fun so check back later…

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Bailey Gets The Nod

Posted by Matt on July 12, 2007

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Homer Bailey (6-1, 2.31ERA), the Cincinnati Reds’ rookie pitcher, is slated to get the start tonight for the Bats of Triple-A Louisville against Chase Wright (6-3, 4.08ERA) of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.  The game starts at 7:05PM EST and we hope to have a full report on his performance as well as an expected return to the Majors for the fan-favorite.

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Griffey Comes Up Big In All Star Game

Posted by Matt on July 10, 2007

Ken Griffey, Junior, in his first appearance in the mid-summer classic put his name, and the Cincinnati Reds, on the board with a 2-out RBI single in the top of the first inning.

Way to go, Junior, for making the “Queen City” proud!

The game is currently in the top of the sixth inning and can be seen on the FOX network live…

More All Star coverage and thoughts through the night and in to tomorrow!

UPDATE: Griffey also had a sacrifice fly in the 8t inning as well as an assist to home plate to gun down former teammate, Alex Rodriguez, from right field in the 4th inning.

-Matt

P.S. We’ll let Griffey mis-read of Ichiro’s in-the-park-home run and attribute it to his sheer speed and MVPness…

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Five Reasons The Reds Will Trade Griffey

Posted by Matt on July 10, 2007

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As promised, I am out to play “Devil’s advocate” to one of my more recent articles, Five Reasons The Reds Won’t Trade Griffey.

The reasoning behind this article is that we are still three weeks away from the Trade Deadline and my contrary post to this one dropped just three days ago. If the Cincinnati Reds somehow swing a deal for Ken Griffey, Junior in just a few days, my prior post is completely futile. Secondly, it is only fair to put my bias of keeping Junior aside and look at this from an objective view and realize there are five good reasons on both sides of this argument. Be it as it may, here are the five reasons the Reds will trade Griffey, again, in no particular order:

  • Age: Unfortunately for all of us, Ken Griffey, Junior just isn’t as young as he used to be and will turn 38-years-old this November. He claims to want to play another five years if possible, but with his already nagging injury issues its easy to assume that his athletic health will deteriorate, or at least not improve, in the coming years. Most would agree that it would be in Griffey’s best interest to head back to the American League so that he can be a designated hitter and prolong his career. It may be time to move him now as Griffey’s years are certainly numbered, which brings me to my next point…
  • Playing For A Contender: The nice thing about Griffey, one of his traits that have people constantly calling him “classy,” is the fact that he never outwardly acts unhappy or tells the media that his team didn’t put enough talent around him to win. That being said, it is no doubt that he would like to play for a contender and even try to finally win that elusive World Series ring before time runs out, because, as I have said, he doesn’t have many years left in him. He may never come out and demand a trade but he may start talking about teams in contention that he would waive his ‘No Trade Clause’ for to go to and if, or when, that time comes, that may be a sign that he is ready to go.
  • Buy Low, Sell High: Continuing with the age/injury/performance issue, Griffey’s stock may be as high as it has ever been while in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. Currently, Griffey is hitting .286 with 23-home runs and 59-RBIs with an on-base percentage of .390 and with those stats, the Reds may be able to get the most for him that they will ever be able to get for him for the rest of his time in Cincinnati. There are plenty of teams that could use that type of production going in to post-season play, especially in a designated hitter’s role in the American League, making now the time to move Junior.
  • Fire Sale: Even though Griffey took roughly half of his market value to play for the Cincinnati Reds (something I’ll always be grateful for), his nearly $8.5-million dollar a year salary is right around 1/7th of the Cincinnati Reds’ entire pay roll of nearly $69-million dollars. With the possibility of a new, young manager coming in at the end of the year and the Reds in the process of wanting to rebuild and head in a new direction, $8.5-million dollars can get a “small-market team” a lot of young, cheap talent. A few of these prospects picked up with Junior’s contract may have a few good seasons before they’re up for a new contract (a la the Oakland Athletics and players like Jason Giambi, Barry Zito, Johnny Damon, etcetera). If the Reds are looking to be sellers around the trade deadline, dumping Griffey’s large salary (the third highest on the team behind, of all people, Eric f’ing Milton and Adam Dunn) may be one way to sign some young talent or make a moderate splash in the free agency market over the off-season.
  • Retiring A Mariner: This one encompasses basically the above four reasons as during his return trip to Seattle last month, Griffey came home making no bones about the fact that he could, and would like to, retire a Seattle Mariner. As he gets older his retirement age creeps closer and as far as playing for a contender, Seattle is in a much, much better position going forward in the American League West at 49-36 and only 2.5-games behind the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for first place in that division. With the warm reception he received upon his return to Seattle, it is clear that the Mariners’ fans are as high on Griffey as they ever have been and Seattle may be a welcoming place for all parties involved for the Reds’ upper-management to unload his contract to.

And there you have it, despite my wants and desires, there is an objective look at five solid reasons why the Reds should, and will, trade Griffey before July 31st, 2007. It will be really interesting as to what will transpire through the month of July as we approach the Trade Deadline and it remains to be seen as to what will actually happen. My heart wants him to stay and if Junior hasn’t yet hit his 600th home run by the end of the month, but is inching closer, my gut says he will stay as well.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Views From The Stands – Version 2.0

Posted by Matt on July 9, 2007

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On the previous incarnation of Views From The Stands, I told a story from the 2004 season where “Charlie Hustle” and I were completely bamboozled by a group of scalpers, selling us tickets to the “nose bleed” section for $10 more than face value:

“Charlie Hustle” and I went to a Reds game together three years ago, during the Summer of 2004, with the same thought in mind: scalping tickets. We were a pair of strapping young college lads with the world in our rear view. What transpired next was nothing short of a travesty.

Us (prepping ourselves for the big purchase): “Alright, we aren’t going to take the first price he gives us, we aren’t going to let him sweet talk us, we are college educated and we are going to negotiate a sweet deal.”

Scalper: “I have these two tickets, foul ball territory, twenty-five bucks a piece, can’t find a better deal anywhere else, catch ya’self a foul ball!”

Us: “It says fifteen dollars on the ticket?”

Scalper: “Yeah, I get ‘em at the ticket office, they just have to print that on the ticket ’cause I buy ‘em in bulk, I get a good deal. These are some great seats, I promise you, get ya’self a foul ball, I promise.”

Us: “WE’LL TAKE ‘EM!”

After paying an arm and a leg, we made our way to our seats. Now when I say our seats were bad, they were BAD. Five rows from the top and out behind third-base. If we were catching anything it was a wayward bird but by no means a foul ball unless Albert Belle was up to bat every time. Apparently him selling the tickets above face value, and us taking notice, did not really register with the “college-educated.”

Us (digressing): “These seats are TERRIBLE! We just got sweet talked by a scalper, and we’re college boys! He smooth talked us, unbelievable! We’ve been swindled.”

I then went on to discuss how my second attempt in a game against the Washington Nationals this year was a far bigger success as my girlfriend and I went on to get $25 dollar face-value tickets for $15 and had seats that really were in an area where catching a foul ball was possible:

In the exact same area as that faithful night in 2004, I again went looking for some tickets.

Scalper: “Whatcha’ need? I got these behind the Reds’ dugout fo’ thirty-five bucks.”

Me: “Just give me the cheapest you have.”

(I cut right to the chase, no fancy games this time.)

Scalper: “I can give you these two for fifteen bucks a piece, first base line, ’bout fifteen rows up.”

Me: “We’ll take them.”

Ten dollars below face value, and the scalper did not lie, we were about fifteen rows up in “foul-ball alley” and were able to move all the way down to row three by the Ball Boy.

Consider the game on Saturday, July 7th as the “rubber match” between myself and said scalpers and this time both my girlfriend Lindsay and Charlie Hustle were along for the ride, it went a little something like this…

After pre-gaming at Willie’s (the bar of 700WLW radio personality Bill Cunningham where pitchers of Bud Light were $8 — I told Hustle, “for eight dollars, Bill Cunningham oughtta be pouring this damn pitcher”) we made our way to the same $5 parking garage as we did for the first game we attended this season and immediately found our way to the area I now call “Scalper’s Row.” The place is littered with self-made entrepreneurs holding signs with “I Need Tickets” on one side and “I Have Tickets” on the other side – I guess this being the safest way to beat the scalping laws.

Regardless, saying the word “tickets” forces scalpers out of the woodwork like nightcrawlers being forced out of the ground in a rain storm, so I said it and out they came. We had no luck on the first corner as they were only buying tickets and what we were looking for was on “the next corner.” We went down one block to find that the going price for a $25 face-value ticket was $50 dollars and after explaining to the gentleman what we were looking for, we got the same response, “the next corner.” I was beginning to wonder which corner actually had tickets; nonetheless, we were ticketless so we headed down to the next block. Remember, Hustle was there in 2004 when we were hoodwinked so it was decided that I would take control of the negotiations ‘mono y mono’:

Me: “Give me the cheapest you have, something in the twenty dollar range.”

Scalper: “Naa, we don’t have any of those but we do got these fo’ sixty bucks.”

Me: “Sixty dollars?!?! But they’re twenty-five dollar tickets? Doesn’t anybody know that this is a four-hundred ball club….?”

Scalper: “Yea, but the games sol’ out! Brandon Phillips aelkjadfpoialkapoife (incoherent ramblings).”

First, I can only assume that he meant it was sold out because it was “Brandon Phillips Jersey Day,” which it was jersey day but the game was not sold out and that was not a good enough reason to tell me that it was. Look, it could be “Bar Of Gold Day” and I still wouldn’t believe that it was a sell out. Thanks, but no thanks is what I basically told the scalper and off we went, running in to one more of his kind with the same proposition before giving up.

(As a side bar to this story let me clarify something, these scalpers I speak of are not local homeless people in the city of Cincinnati, they are all cut from the same cloth and are part of a well-oiled machine, working very well together. They are actually far from the stereotypical homeless person and are more the sheisty looking local type that you see at high school sporting events in nothing but professional team apparel sitting around wondering ‘what might’ve been’ without actually having a son or daughter playing in that event…)

To make a long story short, we ended up buying a set of tickets for the left field sun deck bleachers from the automated ticket kiosks outside of Great American Ball Park. If you haven’t had the joy of using those machines you’re missing out as it was quite convenient and quick. There were no lines for the ticket kiosks yet thirty-minute waits for the real life tellers, some people just aren’t very self-sufficient.

After going 1-1 in our previous two meetings with the scalpers, I can only consider this one a draw at best. At 1-1-1 with ticket scalpers, maybe the official tie breaker will come later in the season…

We finally made our way to our seats, Brandon Phillips’ jersey in hand, to find out that despite the fact that it was beautiful weather, it was a Saturday evening game, it was Brandon Phillips Jersey Day, we were facing reigning National League Cy Young winner, Brandon Webb, and we were rolling out fan-favorite Homer Bailey to the mound, the game was still not sold out. Those scalpers are full of shit.

While sitting in the scorching sun upon finding our seats, we noticed the right field stands, where we wanted our tickets initially but could not find three together, were not filling up very quickly and we were beginning to think that the ticket kiosks were full of shit as well. We concocted a back up plan to which, after the first inning, we would move down to the right field stands and find three empty seats and pretend that they were ours. Seriously, what is a baseball game without at least trying the “move down” strategy once, it is an American staple.

The first inning comes to a close and we find our way down to the right field stands to seats in which we predict will be the site of #587 for Ken Griffey, Junior so that we could be the happy recipients. Now if you have never moved down in a baseball game it conjures of both feelings of utter joy and accomplishment coupled with feelings of absolute paranoia. With every family that came out of the tunnel, we were more and more convinced that they were “the ones” to dethrone us and send us packing; it is not necessarily the most enjoyable way to watch a game. Well, eventually we were correct and we were forced to move but this forced relocation did not come until halfway through the third inning which brought me to my next creation:

Man Law: If at a baseball game and one sees seats better than his, he can claim those seats for his own after two innings of vacancy; this goes without dispute. Man law.

We begrudgingly returned to our seats after the third inning, stopping at the beer station along the way and killing a half of an inning. Luckily for us, we had sat in right field just long enough for a shadow to be cast upon our original seats rendering it no longer painful to sit in them.

The top of the fifth inning rolls around and we’re made aware of the fact that Homer Bailey will not return for the sixth inning and a pinch hitter has taken his spot in the batting order. Bailey: 5-innings pitched, 2-hits, 1-earned run, 5-strike outs and a 3-1 lead. Good call on taking him out as he really seemed to be struggling….

Mike Stanton came in and pitched well for two full innings and when he was removed, Hustle and I decided to wager on who the next pitcher would be.

Me: Kirk “Screwloose” Saarloos

Charlie Hustle: Todd Coffey

We went to the Reds’ Bullpen to find out the answer first-hand and the pitcher warming up was none other than Todd Coffey.

Charlie Hustle: “HEY TODD! HOW ABOUT A FEW MORE COFFEES AND A FEW LESS DONUTS!”

Both of us: “AAAHAHAHAHA!” (while trading ‘high-fives’)

This garnered only a glance from Reds’ Bullpen Coach, Tom Hume, and nothing else. Think we were being too harsh?:

Todd Coffey faced three batters, put the first two on base with back-to-back hits and then gave up a dead-center-field-home run to the third batter, making it a 4-4 ball game and ruining any chances of a Homer Bailey decision. Coffey left without recording an out to a stadium full of “boos.”

(Additionally, Hustle maintains that Coffey’s “patented” sprint from the Bullpen to the mound wears him out too much to pitch effectively.)

With a little small ball and decent 8th and 9th innings by Jon “Coot” Coutlangus and David Weathers, respectively, the Reds pulled out a 5-4 win in front of, what I would call, a very enthusiastic crowd.

Another very entertaining experience at Great American Ball Park, aside from the fact that beers are $6.50 and sodas are $5.00 (PLEASE TELL ME WHY WE’RE A “SMALL MARKET TEAM” AGAIN?), and after seeing both a Reds win and a loss this season, I may have to return one last time to finish the best of three series as well as to finish what I started with those scalpers…

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