Friday, June 30, 2006

Did that really happen?

High, higher than the sun
You shoot me from a gun
I need you to elevate me here,
At the corner of your lips
As the orbit of your hips
Eclipse, you elevate my soul
I've lost all self-control
Been living like a mole
Now going down, excavation
I and I in the sky
You make me feel like I can fly
So high, elevation.


~ Baseball, as quoted as it sailed into the night, over the fence, off Adam Dunn's bat, two outs, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, down by three...

An hour later, I still feel elation. It's running through my veins, I can't explain, it's just something after seeing the improbable. Maybe one of Marty's best home run calls ever. You could feel it, you know? The energy - you could see it in the stadium, in the fans. You felt it, but still, you couldn’t believe it, and even as he swung the bat, and you knew it was gone, you couldn’t believe it.

I think this is the turning point. I think this is where the Reds start playing like they want to make the playoffs. I mean, look at the standings - they're now in FIRST PLACE! Woohoo!

Well said, Freel

From A Press Box View, Ryan Freel slams O'Brien:
I don’t think there’s another GM out there who has made the kind of moves [Krivsky]’s made,” Freel said. “We have a GM who knows what the heck he’s doing. We’d be 20 games below .500 without the guys he brought in.

I'm singing!!!

(To the tune of Handel's Messiah) HAAAALLELUJAH, HAAAAALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH, HALLEEELUUJAAAAAH!!!

Hammond has been DFA'd. My prayers have sort of been answered! (I wanted Stormy to go first.)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A prayer

Dear baseball gods,

When I wake up in the morning, please give me the pleasant news that Stormy Weathers has been DFA'd.

Amen.

The Kevin Bacon game, with food and drink

What is it about ordering coffee that makes people lose all sense of their surroundings; indeed, all common sense? I mean, yesterday, I went to get an afternoon pick me up at the Caribou Coffee that just opened up across the street, and upon entering, I thought, yay, I'm the next in line. Except there might as well have been a line out the door, because these two mentally blond chicks were in front of me acting like they had never ordered coffee before. They asked a billion questions, changed their orders several times, and caused the cashier to apologize to the line that had accumulated as they stood there processing. They finally decided on a medium skim sugar free vanilla iced latte and a medium skim sugar free hazelnut iced latte. Then they proceeded to pay with all change, after they waited until the total came up to pull out their wallets. As if that weren't enough, they interrupted the woman making my drink to ask for straws that were right behind them.

So I go in today, thinking the same thing couldn't happen two days in a row, right? Wrong. Some woman flipped out because she couldn't order her medium skim vanilla cappacino on ice, and she panicked because it was for her husband and he needed as much caffeine as he could get and she didn't know what he wanted now and what should she do, what should she do? OH NO! CRISIS!

What does this all have to do with baseball? Well, I'm sitting in Antarctica right now drinking my hot coffee, which I finally got despite the hysterical woman at the counter (and yes, the same cashier had to apologize to the line that had accumulated behind her,) as the building managers feel the need to use as much energy as possible, and I am reminded of the time I went to Great American Ballpark (yes, ballpark in real English is one word) a few days after that first Holy Opening Day when it was cold and rainy and we discovered that they did not have hot chocolate anywhere in the ballpark. The Cubs and Cubs fans were in the house, Griffey's arm nearly came off his body, and the April wind whipped off the river like an April wind whips off a river. How cold was it? I waited in line for three innnings to get coffee, as everyone in the ballpark was drinking java juice - woman, children, infants, old men, Mr. Red, Adam Dunn, Marty and Joe, Marge's ghost - and they kept running out. See, I am skilled in the art of going to concessions/bathroom without missing more than a batter or two, as I do not want to miss a pitch of any game I attend. (Tangent - I've been to 14 this year, only four away from my record of 19 set last year.) Yet it was so miserable that night that I didn't care about anything but the coffee.

Speaking of running out of concessions, you should see all the food they have now at RFK. Crab cakes, cajun catfish, cheese fries, fresh kennel corn, ice cream...the ice cream is a true miracle, considering during much of last year Dippin' Dots (frozen chemicals?) was the only iced pleasure one could get. Now if they would only get the tiny helmets!

Speaking of tiny helmets, I picked up two bright orange Mets helmets at Shea last week. Remember when you were a kid and you went around after the game picking up people's discarded souvenir cups? That was me. Last week. Age 29.5.

Speaking of discarded souvenirs, did you see the Deadbirds fans throwing their promotional seat cushions onto the field last night when Cleveland made the error that let St. Louis win the game? Here's another pin for Voodoo Albert!

And with that, I return to work, that being watching the Pirates-White Sox game, which has just resumed after a rain delay.

VOTE AGAIN, VOTE FOR GRIFFEY

VOTE VOTE VOTE! Only 11 hours left to vote! Do it here, do it now, do it with made up email addresses, do it 100 times, more if you have time! Don't vote for Bay, Beltran, or Soriano if you want Griffey to win!

Don't forget to write in Brandon Phillips and Dave Ross!

Voting - it's your civic duty!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Frustration Alert!

May Reds fans never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never have to resort to this.

Please, Mr. Krivsky, get us a bullpen. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease???

Don't forget to vote your billion times for Griffey, Phillips, and Ross! VOTE HERE. Don't vote for Bay, Beltran, and Soriano - it will hurt Griffey's chance!

Why I love baseball, reason #1993

Sometimes, you read a baseball story that sends a shot of renewed faith in humanity through your soul. Like this story:
Matt LaChappa hasn't thrown a pitch professionally in 10 years. He is confined to a wheelchair, and constrained by the physical fallout from back-to-back heart attacks.

Yet the Padres continue to pay him as if he were an active player. It might be the noblest thing they do...The baseball salary LaChappa draws is relatively insignificant – even by the Friars' modest standards – but the gesture is absolutely grand. It helps the disabled pitcher retain his insurance coverage and fulfills a promise Oppenheimer made when the Padres picked the El Capitan lefty with their No. 2 selection in the 1993 June draft.
In today's world where money means everything and people mean nothing, the Padres have reminded us that yes, people do live on the planet, that we can take care of others and help each other out, even if it costs us a bit. [/sappiness]

Only two more days to vote!!!

Vote Griffey!!! Write in Brandon Phillips!!! Write in David Ross!!!

DON'T VOTE FOR JASON BAY, CARLOS BELTRAN, OR ALFONSO SORIANO if you want Griffey to get in. There will be many more people voting for those three who don't vote for Griffey, so you're pretty much negating your Griffey vote with a vote for these three. Hey, Jason Bay and Soriano are very much deserving of an All-Star spot, and they'll make the team without your votes, so don't fret about not voting for them!

You can vote 25 times with each email address you have! Heck, you can even make up email addresses! Addresses never stopped Ann Coulter from voting! (Burn! Ha, ha!)

VOTE HERE! VOTE NOW! VOTE FOR REDS!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another loss to an awful team

It's not too early to trade for a reliever or four. I mean, Milton was bad enough, but then Yan (Krivsky's mystery) and Coffey made sure eight runs wasn't enough to win the game. I hate this bullpen.

I am embarrassed as a Reds fan that we lost to this team. The players should be embarrassed, too, especially the pitchers. Then again, they continue to suck when they should be embarrassed after every performance. I'm beginning to think they just don't care.

Um...the Brewers are only two and a half games behind the Reds now. Oops.

*Don't forget to vote!*

Some Deadbird love



Voodoo Albert gets pounded by Chief Wahoo. Go Tribe!

All the king's men couldn't put KC together again

At 24-50, the Kansas City Royals are the worst team in baseball (although the Pirates aren't far behind.) Their pitching is atrocious, and their offense isn't much better. I feel sorry for Royals fans, as Kansas City has a rich baseball tradition and it's a shame the franchise has fallen into such a sorry state. Still, here's to Milton, Harang, and Arroyo mowing them down. (Too bad we have to waste Harang and Arroyo on this team - they'd be much better suited for the Cleveland series.) Now, the Royals still are a Major League team, so I hope the Reds don't go in thinking they're going to run over them and blow it. They're only 1.5 games behind St. Louis, who suffered their 7th loss in a row last night. (HA HA.) It's time to retake first place, and the Royals are the perfect prescription for that.

And yes, the Burger King is creepy, no matter what hat he's wearing.

**Don't forget to vote before Thursday night!**

Vote, vote, vote!!!

Griffey is currently fourth in the All-Star balloting, and the Reds are campaigning to get everyone to vote for him and vault him into a starting slot. Vote here. You can vote 25 times per email address you use! I'm doing it now using every email address I've ever had.

Don't forget to write in Brandon Phillips!

I've also voted for Felipe Lopez, Austin Kearns, and Adam Dunn on the Reds and Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman on the Nats.

Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Week Eleven Wrapup: Shea and Yankee Stadium Edition

I was in NYC this week to see the Reds play the Mets and the Marlins play the Yankees.

I watched the Reds game on Monday in an Irish pub somewhere in Chelsea, as we were looking for a place to eat and the Reds-Mets game was advertised on the sandwich board outside the place. The bar was empty, and no Mets fans bothered us. It was nice to see a win.

On Tuesday, we decided around 6pm to go to the game (though we had tickets for Wednesday.) Since we were late, we bought tix off a scalper that did not work when we got to the gate, so we had to buy more tickets and didn't get into the stadium until the second inning. Little did we know that the new tickets we had were in a "no alcohol consumption" area. Never heard of one of those. In response to these wretched conditions, we moved, and when I sat down in a new seat, it broke. I think the seats were designed for skeletons, because there is absolutely no room to move when you're sitting in them. The rails all over the place in between the seats don't help, either. They are supposed to be there to give the feel of "box" seats, but they really just prevent a group of three or four from sitting together. As if that weren't enough, the Reds offense decided not to show up, but unfortunately, the Reds bullpen did, and what was a manageable deficit before Stormy Weathers came in became out of reach after he finished. The game ended 9-2, and Mets fans were quite nice to us in our Reds gear.

They weren't so nice the next day, when Billy Wagner blew the save and Brandon Phillips got the game winning hit that scored two. "Go back to Cincinnati" was heard on a couple of occasions. But that was all at the end. Prior to the game, we watched the Reds take batting practice behind their dugout. I hadn't done that in years, so it was nice to be close to the players. That's also where I ran into Zack, the baseball collector who has gotten over 2000 balls at games. He's a Mets fan, but he wears the caps of other teams to get balls. My mother told him Mr. Stowe's name, which he promptly called out and got a ball. She made his blog.

It was cool to be at Shea and to watch two Reds games there, but I'm already looking forward to visiting the new field in 2009, which will be built next to Shea. I have to say, I loved the planes going over, as I remember as a kid watching the Reds play the Mets there and always thought of the planes as a quirky Mets thing.

Yankee Stadium, however, is a different story. It is like an exalted castle, a venerable temple to the gods of baseball, full of the ghosts in pinstripes. The stadium is in great condition and has nothing of the feel of neglect that Shea has, which makes me hope something can be done to save the place. Steinbrenner is the worst thing to ever happen to baseball.

Yankees fans were different than I expected. They were quiet, like they are so used to winning they can't even have fun any more. The Yankees fans I have always encountered in the past, including last weekend against the Nats here in DC, were obnoxious and ever so loud, but these ones barely cheered. It was shocking, really. It was a Friday night, so it wasn't like the place wasn't packed.

All in all, it was a great week in NYC. I'll be posting some photos later this week. And now, on to the week:

Reds (41-35, 2nd place, 2.0 behind St. Louis, WC leader)

After last week's mess, this week's 4-3 mark was much better. The bullpen was horrendous again, but at least White was DFA'd.

After Sunday's game, Griffey passed Schmidt for 11th on the all time home run list.

Homer Bailey did well in his first game since being promoted to Chattanooga.

Joe Mays did a much better job than Brandon Claussen would have on Wednesday.

Brandon Phillips makes up a new word - crunked.

Aaron Harang has 105 strikeouts, good for third in the Majors. He's tied for fourth in the NL in wins and has a very decent 3.59 ERA. Bronson is an All-Star, yes, but I think Harang deserves it as well. This guy is the most underrated pitcher in the Majors; I'm sure of it.

Don't forget to start rooting against the entire NL West since the Reds are competing with them for the Wild Card.

Up next: the worst team in baseball (even worse than the Pirates,) the Kansas City Royals, though the Royals had a good week, sweeping the Pirates and taking two of three from the Brewers after taking two of three from the Asstros the weekend before. Let's sweep and root for the Indians to win the series against the Deadbirds so we can move back into first place.

Reds Saint of the Week: Ryan Freel. Freel went 15-31 including a 5-5 performance on Friday night. Yes, his walks are down, but that is because he is hitting all the time! Freel made ESPN's All-Run-Through-A-Wall Team:
We weren't sure what position to put the King of the Kamikazes in because Freel does everything for the Reds except wear shin guards and do the P.A. announcing. But he had to be on this team. And we were overloaded with outfielders. So we're sticking him at the spot he has played more than anyplace except center field.

Freel has impaled himself on so many different parts of the ballpark, he "looks like he just got done sparring," Donnelly says. "He always looks like his face just got chopped up. He's got marks all over himself from some kind of collision."

But he first came to our attention in 2004, when he launched himself over the right-field fence in Dodger Stadium and landed in the lap of a woman in the third row. She went to the hospital. He stayed in the game. Naturally.

Afterward, Freel's then-teammate Danny Graves told us: "Ryan Freel is out of control. ... Sometimes, when he's playing right field, he wants to catch foul balls behind the plate. We have to give him a shot or something to calm him down. Maybe Valium. Or a sleeping pill."
Nats (33-44, 4th place, 15 games behind the Mets)

Swept by the Bosox, lost two of three from the O's in Baltimore. I once thought the team would start playing to its potential and make a run for the WC in September. I no longer believe that. Armas is on the DL, Livan isn't pitching well, and do we think O'Connor and Hill can do well all year? The bullpen is atrocious, Frank sleeps through the games, and when Soriano is gone, half of the offense goes with him. Remember when they had played well enough to get to four games under .500? It's all just a memory.

At least they're above the hated Braves.

Nats Saint of the Week: Royce Clayton. Yeah, Clayton. He's really the only one who did anything all week, going 9 for 22 with 4 RBI and 5 runs scored.

Giants (37-38, 4th place, 3 games behind the Dodgers)

The team swept Anaheim but lost two of three to Oakland this week, but 4-2 is a good week. Unfortunately, the Dodgers have been winning and have vaulted into first place. Arizona has fallen to last for now, the rightful place for this team that should have never been a team.

Bonds left Sunday's game early with a knee injury. I think someone made a voodoo Barry.

The team takes on Texass for three games this week before battling San Diego on the weekend.

Giant's Saint of the Week: Matt Cain. Cain took a no hitter into the 8th inning on Wednesday and ended up giving up only one hit in his eight innings pitched. Ok, so he gave up 6 runs in Sunday's game, but the Giants had no one really stand out this week, and Cain's performance on Wednesday, in which he also had 10 Ks, was outstanding enough to warrant Saint of the Week.

Around the Horn

Albert "I am the Cardinals" Pujols and Derrek "I am the Cubs' offense" Lee have both returned to their teams from injuries. Given the way the NL Central has been playing of late, this can only improve offense in the division.

The Deadbirds lost six games this week, getting swept by the White Sox and the Tigers thanks to their bullpen, which has pitched like Rick White of late. Here's to hoping it continues.

Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose Reyes hit for the cycle on Wednesday night.

The Tigers have won 51 games already. The Sox, though, are right on their heels with 49 wins. Go Tigers. Jim Leyland is a magician.

Demon of the Week

Ozzie Guillen. This guy needs to shut his mouth. I'm starting to wonder if he isn't a closet case and that's why he feels the need to make these slurs all the time. I hope he doesn't go to the sensitivity training (which is stupid, anyway. If you're a jerk, one workshop is not going to make you a nice guy,) because I want to see him suspended. He would be if he were using the big N word. And who's to say that he won't - he's used all sorts of different ethnic slurs...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wagner is a wanted man in NYC

So I'm sitting there in Shea Stadium, right, and the Mets fans are all loud and cocky since they have Billy Wagner throwing and the game is done, right? And then, there was a Red on, and then another, and another, and then the Reds are down to their final strike when "crack!" Brandon Phillips sends two runners home. The Mets fans are stunned and visibly deflated. Many of them leave to go home. Some of them tell us to go home (when just last night they were acting all nice since they won.)

NYC is great, Shea's a dump, and I'll write a full description of the two games I attended soon!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ha ha ha ha ha hahahahahahahhaahaha

Yanks blow 7 run lead, Nats win. Bang zoom go the fireworks.

Reds get some love

From YankeesSuck.com:
After the Cardinals, one team controls the future of the NL Central: the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have played some fantastic baseball this year, due in large part to the efforts of Bronson Arroyo and Adam Dunn, and are only 2.5 games behind St Louis for a share of the NL Central division crown. I'm not saying Cincinnati can go all the way this year, but let's face it, the team has some talent! After a few years of injuries, bad luck and sitting near the cellar, it is about time for the Big Red Machine to clear off the moth-balls and bring on the pain. Why am I so confident in the Reds? For one thing, they play in the epitomy of a hitter's park and their offense if highly potent (Ken Griffey, Adam Dunn and Rich Aurilia are a frightening trio with numerous talents). But one thing that shocks me as an under rated part of the Cincinnati repertoire is the Reds' pitching staff...
He goes on to praise Harangatang and the Lizard like no outsider I've seen yet. It's nice to see the team getting some respect. Now, if we want to keep that respect, we need to take the next two from the Chisox and get a stud reliever in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, June 16, 2006

On Yankees "fans"

Tonight the Evil Empire came to DC to take on the Washington "just got swept in a four game series verses the Rockies" Nationals. Officials at RFK are expecting a series sellout. I was there tonight, with all the Yankees "fans," you know, those sheeple who root for a team because it wins a lot, those who have never set foot in Yankee Stadium.

Tonight's was a good game, with the sole exceptions of Gary "last year was a fluke" Majewski and Frank "I don't want to hurt his feelings" Robinson, the latter choosing to lift Jon "I struck out both Yankees I faced" Rauch for Majewski, who promptly gave up a bunch of hits and walked in the tying run. Sure, Chief Cordero gave up a bomb to lose the game, but the real damage was all Majewski's doing.

Yankees fans are the most obnoxious on the planet. I have now seen the team play three times, including once at Fenway and once in Oakland. At Fenway they had to delay the game because of a huge brawl in the rightfield stands. At the Oakland game I watched security escort some Yankees fans out of the ballpark. Had RFK been anywhere else, the obnoxious group in the section next to us would have been escorted out, too. One guy thought it cool to continuously flip off Nats fans throughout the game. He and his drunken girlfriend did not look old enough to drink, yet they had beers stuck to their hands the entire night. And what is it about Yankees fans that makes them think they should take off their Jeter/Rodriguez shirts and wave them around? They've done the shirt thing in all three of the games I've seen them.

It was a beautiful site to see a full stadium, the biggest crowd ever to see the Nats play at RFK, but half of them had on New York garb. I had forgotten how much fun it is to be in a packed ballpark, a park with nearly 45K screaming, clapping, chanting, stomping people rumbling the place, sometimes so loudly that you can't hear the person next to you. It was fun to boo A-Rod, Giambi, and Traitor Johnny every time they came to the plate, and it was fun to chant "Yankees suck" as it thundered through the stadium. All in all, I hadn't had that much fun at a baseball game in a long time.

Every time I go to a Nats game (I've been to 12 this year so far), my eyes constantly wander over to the MLB.com scoreboard to check on the Reds. I was horrified to see today's score. When is Pickle going to be dropped from the rotation?

This is the first of my four stadiums in ten days tour. I will be in NYC next week to see the Reds play the Mets at Shea, followed by a game to see the Evil Empire at the house that Ruth built, and stopping in Camden Yards to see the Nats take on the O's on my way back. Posting will be light starting Monday. And with that, I leave you with Dinger taking his stabs at Voodoo Albert in a dark alley.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A prayer

Here is a photo of me* before a game praying with our studs in the outfield.

And with that, let us say today's prayer:

Eternal baseball gods, I humbly adore Thee, and thank Thee for having created the Reds in your images. I thank Thee most sincerely for having made me a baseball fan, by giving me the true faith, and by occasionally giving me tickets to ballparks in other cities, so that I may see the Reds win. I thank Thee for having preserved them from so many collapses, of which I would have been depressed if Thou hadst not intervened. But the Deadbirds still continue, and will continue till October, to combat against us, and to endeavor to make us second place. If Thou dost not constantly guard and succor us with thy aid, I, a miserable creature, shall return to sorrow, and the Reds shall certainly lose the division. I beseech Thee, then, for the love of baseball, to grant the Reds holy perseverance unto October. Through the merits, then, of the baseball gods, I beg, for myself and for all the just Reds fans, victory never again to be separated from the scoreboard, but to win forever, in time and eternity. Amen.


*not really me

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dunn defeats the sausages; technology's like pork

Ok, so you're watching the Reds game at work on one of four days in the quarter when you are crunched and really need to get work done, yet you can't force yourself to focus on anything but the game. You're starting to get ticked off because the offense has decided once again to pretend like it's the Royals offense or worse, and Dunn is the most exasperating thing to watch as he Ks again and again. You'd think he'd come out of it, right? But no, you don't feel it. So the Reds waste another good pitching performance by the Lizard, though this one is more than good; it's great, it's brilliant, it's the best of his career. The 9th turns into the 10th turns into the 11th, and you roll your eyes at the inability to hit with RISPs, 0-25, in fact. Still the 11th comes, and Junior gets on, then Rich gets on, and you think something just might happen; it just feels right. Suddenly, you find yourself not even pretending you are working on that document open on your desktop; your full attention is turned to the game and Adam K. Dunn. He runs the count to 2-2. Will he strike out again? Your heart races, your fingers tap the desk, when STOP! MLB.TV freezes up, then your web browser crashes. By the time you are able to reconnect, the score is 3-0, game's over, and the small crowd is celebrating in Cincinnati. The losing streak is dunn in dramatic fashion, and you missed the most important, most thrilling, most glorious part of the game. But hey, what do you care...this one belongs to the Reds!

Oh, and more sweetness - the Bucs defeated the Deadbirds.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pitcher hits a flybird

Watch the video here.

Week Ten Wrapup: It's hard coming down

Reds (2nd place, 36-27)

After an eight game win streak and a temporary vault into first place, the Reds crashed against the Cubs, losing the last three of a four game series. To the CUBS. Ick. Of course, they shouldn't have lost some of those games. When you have some never was reliever giving up grand slams after a well pitched game by your worst pitcher, or you again don't score enough runs for your hard luck rookie pitcher, you're going to lose.

Funny how those three losses pretty much erased the euphoria of sweeping the Deadbirds at the beginning of the week.

Griffey is trying his best to shut up the center field naysayers. Question is, is he just having to dive because for those balls he's slower in getting to those balls, are are they really spectacular plays? Poor guy will never get the benefit of the doubt, will he? There's a reason he's moved up to second in the All-Star voting.

Sometimes, the Twilight Zone descends upon us, as the offense has been bad and the starting pitching brilliant. As of Sunday, the Reds starters had the third best ERA in the National League. Yeah, I know it's hard to believe, but it's true!

Felipe needs to be sent to college to get some intelligence. He makes far too many bonehead plays. Or should I say, his bonehead thoughts don't make the plays.

That play Brandon Phillips made on Sunday, the one that was the ESPN number 1 webgem, was one of the greatest plays I've ever seen. I still can't figure out how he managed to pull that one off.

Speaking of Krivsky, I heart David Ross.

I love Rich Aurlia, too. He hits it when it counts, not like some other Reds we know, the ones who only hit with no one on base. Yeah, 20 roundtrippers are nice when they make you win, but geez, we're going to have to nickname the unnamed "rallykiller."

Is anyone sad that Stormy is hurt? Bueller? Bueller?

Nats (3rd place, 30-34)

It was a great week, with the Nats taking 3 of 4 phrom Philly and 2 of 3 from the hated Braves.

Four games under .500. Wow. The Nats have the best record in baseball since May 18th. After that horrendous Kansas City Royals like start, it really is something. Of course, they can't make up any ground because those Mets keep winning, too. But with the way this team is playing, it's going to be a shame when it's dismantled next month.

The winning is pretty perplexing, actually. The Nats have no outfielders, only a guy in leftfield who is hitting like Bonds in his glory days. I didn't miss, nor will I miss Jose Guillen. I'm hoping he brings some decent prospects next month.

I hate RFK.

I heart Ryan "Brooks" Zimmerman.

Tony Armas Jr is so much more than we could have ever hoped for. The guy is 6-3 (should have more Ws) with a 3.48 ERA.

I am still pissed about closing concessions in the middle of the fourth inning after the rain delay on Friday. It's like they were trying to prove that yes, the fan experience can always get worse. I don't think I'm going to be complaining about people not showing up to games anymore. I understand now.

Giants (3rd, 32-31)

This should sum up the week: The Giants lost 3 of 4 to Pitifulsburg. At least they took 2 of 3 to the AAA Fish. It's a shame they couldn't take advantage of the D'backs 7 game losing streak.

Bonds has a "hurt side muscle" and didn't play much this week. He has a .473 OBP with 8 homers, but it smells very much of the end.

This team is too old.

Morris and Lowry both pitched well against the Bucs. Too bad it was wasted.

I still believe this team will come around. They're only 3 games out.

Around the horn

Jason Grimsley is the devil. He gets what he gives. Pete is banned for life, yet Grimsley only gets 50 games? What's wrong with these people who make these decisions?

Roger. Best. Pitcher. Ever.

Congrats to Reggie Sanders, who became only the fifth player in MLB history to hit 300 homers and get 300 stolen bases. He's in the company of some guys named Bonds and Mays.

Congrats to Chipper for surpassing Dale Murphy on the Braves all time RBI list.

Lastings Milledge has the coolest name in baseball.

Ole, ole ole ole...USA! USA! USA! deflate...

Demon of the week

Jason Grimsley. I hope he never pitches in a Major League game again. It's a shame that he isn't getting the same amount of hate as Barry. Grimsley's far worse, because he was going to take down as many players with him as he could. That is the most despicable trait a person can have, one of them, anyway. Oh, and he's a big fat CHEATER, too.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Congrats to Chipper

One of my least favorite players on my second least favorite team, but he just passed Dale Murphy to set Atlanta's RBI record. Congrats, Chipper.

I love this game. But why are the players I grew up with reaching so many milestones? I still have a 2 in front of my age! For another half a year from today, anyway. Oh my, it's my half birthday!

Time for Dunn to pick it up

I am currently saying prayers for St. Dunner to hit a bunch out today and tomorrow, with runners on, of course, to make up for that almost victory the Reds didn't pull out yesterday.

Prayer for Adam:

Dear baseball gods,
Please make Adam hit a bunch out
And grant us sweet victory
Over that awful Cubs team.
And Tony Womack.
Amen.

Oh, and p.s.
Make the Deadbirds lose, too.
Amen. Again.

Oh, and p.s.s.
Please let Pickle get through the game without giving up a billion runs.
Amen. Last one.

Germany's the stage, and all the world's a player (except for many Americans)

(There's baseball in here, too!)

Yeah, I dragged myself out of bed to watch England defeat Paraguay 1-0 this morning. Sure, it started at 9am, not terribly early, but I went to the 12 inning Nats game last night, the one that started 1 hour and 42 minutes late due to a very bizarre weather issue. Now, I've been to a lot of baseball games in my life, probably 80-90, and some of them have had rain delays, even postponements. But this one was bizarre.

My friend and I were trying to decide weather or not (yes, I put weather in there on purpose) to go to the game. It rained at 4pm then was sunny at 5pm. It stayed sunny until about 6:30, when dark clouds approached as we took our lower level upper deck seats down the leftfield line. Suddenly, a fierce wind seemed like it was ready to rip the flags from their posts on top of the stadium, and soon we found ushers telling us we had to leave our seats to take cover. Rather than go up to the upper level, we went out to the concourse. It still didn't look like this was going to be but a very light, very short rain shower, as it was still very bright. It wasn't. It was a fullblown thunder and lightening storm.

The grounds crew, a group who looked like college students, struggled to take the tarp off after an hour or so, when it seemed like everything had passed. It hadn't, and the tarp went back on. More waiting. Had a ten dollar pulled pork sandwich from Red, Hot, and Blue that could not compare to Burbanks and its tangy BBQ sauce. (Burbanks is near Cincinnati.) They finally let us back into our wet seats (which, by the way, never dried the entire night.) All was fine for awhile, with the Nats hitting and building quite a lead. Then, disaster struck.

No, I'm not talking about the bullpen blowing a five run lead. The tragedy happened much earlier than that. The last call came in the TOP OF THE FOURTH. I went out in the middle of the fourth thinking I hadn't heard the beer guy correctly, but I was too late. No more beer. In fact, all of the concessions shut down then. You couldn't buy a hot dog. As if trying to prove that yes, you CAN make the fan experience worse at RFK, they did it.

Anyway, after all of that, I got home late, hence the reason 9am was early for me. For the next month, I'm joining the world.

In the England - Paraguay game, David Beckham took a free kick that bounced off the head of a Paraguayan defender for the only goal of the game. England looked flat - I hope they lose to Trinidad and Tobago. I'd love to see Beckham and his ego deflate and go home.

The Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper, Shaka Hislop, was awesome today, leading his team to a 0-0 draw against Sweden. Hislop, a graduate of Howard University here in DC, only started due to an injury to the number 1 keeper, Kelvin Jack. This is T&T's first World Cup appearance.

[start rant resulting from comments in many parts of the blogosphere] In a time when America and particularly Americans seem antagonistic to the rest of the world, saying "who cares?" or "I hate soccer" just adds to that unwarranted sense of superiority that has ruined the idea of America across the globe. Being a pompous jerk makes you inferior, not superior. What makes you feel the need to make some negative comment every time someone expresses their enthusiasm for the world's biggest event? So you don't like/don't understand soccer. Don't try to dampen a soccer fan's spirits with your stupid comments. You wouldn't like it if I told you your kid was ugly, would you? Or if I said a meal you cooked tasted like dog food? Or if I told you the shirt you were wearing made you look like a dead clown? Didn't your mother ever teach you, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?" Do unto others, moron, that's what I say. What goes around, comes around, karmic retribution. You just may get hit by a bus.[/end rant]

If you are a real sports fan, you'll flip on the USA-Czech Republic game on Monday at noon on ESPN2. (Email me if you need to know how to watch it online at work.) Go USA!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Choo choo!

I missed the game last night, but I'm listening to the archived broadcast this afternoon at work. The winning is so much fun, I'm thinking about skipping the Nats game tonight and staying home to watch the first place Reds... Nah, I'll go, but if I could just get a wireless signal at RFK...

I had to click on this thing of beauty and stare at it for a moment.

Forget Monet, I want this hanging on my wall! Look at all the W's!

So Lancaster has a post on the pathetic attendence at last night's game, and the comments are unreal. My mom was there (hi mom!) - she seemed to have no problem driving the 1.5 hours to the ballpark!

Anyway, I'm reading through the excuses (all of them poor except the ones where people live too far away. I don't think someone from Idaho should be expected to fill the seats) and thinking that the real problem is the utter lack of efficient public transportation. The thing that allows me to go to so many Nats games is the Metro. If there was no public transportation and I had to pay for parking, I wouldn't go to half as many games as I do (which still would have put me at the ballpark 5 times.)

Castellini and Reds marketing could draw fans by providing a shuttle service to the ballpark. Buy a few buses, have them go from Dayton, Louisville, etc, maybe Sharonville or some of the other burbs. Make it a package deal, an AFFORDIBLE package deal, coming with tickets and vouchers for concessions, maybe $50 for four bleacher seats, $100 for better seats. Show a movie on the way there, Field of Dreams, for example. If you drive them, they will come.

Better yet, think about getting to take a train to the ballpark. Could you imagine if the Reds could work a deal out with Amtrack, getting the company to provide some sort of Reds pass for the season so people could go to the games more frequently, really pushing people to take the train (and they could hop a bus to the stadium, included in the cost.) Or even single game tickets. Imagine paying $10 to get from Hamilton to GABP, no car worries. Everyone loves trains, but almost no one in the Midwest has occassion for riding them. Shoot, get the city in on it. Build a railway from Union Station down the river to the stadium so that people can arrive in Cincy and take a train to the ballpark.

Does it cost money? Of course. But imagine the economic development to bring in more money. And more fans in the stands for the first place Reds.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

It wasn't a dream

When I finally got into my office this morning and went to MLB.com (yes, it is the first site after email I go to in the mornings), who was the lead story? The Reds, led by Richie's 4-5, 3 run homer night. Sweet.

The morning didn't start off so well. At 6:30am, a neighbor decided his weeds needed whipped, the second time this week I've had such a rude awakening. What ever happened to common courtesy? It's jerks like this that make laws against such things, unnecessary laws otherwise. Anyway, I turned my fan up to drown out the noise and drifted into a semi-slumber for another hour. And a half. The time I was supposed to leave for work. Oops. So then I get ready and go stand at the bus stop, and what happens? The bus doesn't stop at the bus stop. The driver honks at me as he's going by. I swear he waved. I wait another ten minutes for the next one. (There is supposed to be one every three minutes, but they never come fewer than ten minutes apart. Good old DC efficiency.)

Lucky for me, I have a brand spanking new office in a corner away from everyone else, including my boss. I go in through the kitchen, and no one can see that I'm a half hour late for work. Again. Or that I'm reading all of the articles on MLB.com, blogs, newspapers, and other baseball sites. I snicker when I see that yet another former Red has been hired by the Nats, Davey Johnson, sighing when I think of how good those '94 and '95 teams were. Then I quickly remember the Reds are tied for first right now, much to the chagrin of nasty Deadbirds fans. Federal Baseball has the history of Johnson's tenure with the Cincinnati Schotts. Oh yes, good old Marge, not a baseball in her head...

Today's questions are: will our savior go deep against Rusch for the third time this season? Can the Reds make it eight games in a row? It certainly feels good to have Bronson on the mound for a continuation of this streak. Undefeated in June. Go Reds!

Pray the winning goes on. After all, as we learned from the Colorado Rockies, God makes you win baseball games.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

SWEEP

To the nasty, vile Deadbird moran* without a love of the game or a sense of humor, I say SWEEP!

I know baseball is a moody sport, but you don't need to go around calling people names just because your team is losing and you've come to realize that your team is nothing without some guy named Albert Pujols.

It's amazing how cocky people can be after having ooh, a whole four out of five years of a good team? Yeah, that's a Braves or Yankees-like team, isn't it?

Funny, but talking smack with fans of other teams usually is good natured fun. This is the first time I've experienced such flagrancy.

A thing of beauty:

Cincinnati 35 24 .593 -
St. Louis 35 24 .593 -
Houston 29 31 .483 6.5
Milwaukee 28 32 .467 7.5
Chi Cubs 23 35 .397 11.5
Pittsburgh 22 38 .367 13.5


*Yeah, I spelled moran incorrectly on purpose, Deadbirds fans who don't understand. You are, after all, the ones who spelled it that way in the infamous photo.

Get out the brooms!

Oh, yeah, those Deadbirds fans are freaking out! They are still saying they "shouldn't be losing to the Reds" or making excuses like "half our team is hurt" (oh yeah? Well, half of our bullpen shouldn't have Major League uniforms on, but we're still winning, and not just against you, Deadbirds!)

Face it, without Pujols, you are nothing. And here's another pin for you!

Should I take another sip of kool-aid?

Monday, June 05, 2006

A scene from MacRed

Round about the cauldron go;
In it Ponson's entrails throw.
Edmonds, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil him first i' the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a Rolen rake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of Yad and toe of John,
Aaron's bat and tongue of Juan,
Mulder's fork and Spiezio's sting,
Luna's leg and Suppan's wing,
Eckstein's squirm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Skin of Braden, tooth of Brad,
Timo's mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd Josh Hancock,
Foot of Flores chopped i' the dark,
Liver of Jason Marquis,
Gall of Albert and torn oblique,
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of So and Larry's lips,
Finger of Wainwright
Pitch-deliver'd by a tee,
Mixed with Gary's catcher's knee:
Add thereto a pair of Duncans,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Cool it with LaRussa's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Week Nine Wrapup: Voodoo Albert works

And it's kind of freaky. Since Voodoo Albert was born, not only has Pujols been injured, but so have Edmonds and Carpenter, and the Deadbirds are 2-4.

The Pujols injury is of some serious concern, as he is expected to miss a significant amount of time. Without him, the Deadbirds are nothing.

Reds (32-24, 2nd place)

Dropping two to the Cubs was not a good way to start off the week. Fortunately for the Reds, they won the rest of the games this week. Anytime the Reds win a series against the Asstros it's been a good week. Anytime the Reds sweep the Asstros, it's a great week. They hadn't done it in Houston since 1999.

As manager of Todd Coffey's campaign for closer, I'd just like to thank everyone who helped us out on this one, those of you that spent hours of your free time phonebanking and canvassing the streets in an effort to get this man elected. Although his second act in office was nearly a disaster, and his third was a disaster with that blown save and all, your hard work and dedication put our man in the driver's seat. I hope I didn't support the wrong candidate...

St. Bronson rox! St. Aaron rox! St. Lizard rox! St. Louis sux! St. EdE rox! St. Junior rox! St. Austin rox! St. Dunn strikes out way too much!

Reds and Dodgers are tied in the Wild Card race after today's Dodger loss.

Oh, it's so exciting to be going into St. Louis just three games back of the Deadbirds. It's time to make a serious dent in that lead, and dare I dream of brooms???

Reds Saint of the Week: Ryan Freel. You know, he, uh, you know, won the game on Sunday with his second homer, you know, of the game, you know and uh, saved the game, you know, with that spectacular catch on Saturday. You know, he also hit that, you know, home run in Chicago that uh, you know, the idiot umpire ruled it didn't go out. Freel was, you know, 7-18 with the two (three) homers, four runs scored, three ribbies, and uh, two game wins, you know. (That's how he spoke on Steve Stewart's Star of the Game show.)

Nats (24-32, 4th place)

I'm telling you, I believe this team will be in contention for a Wild Card spot by August, barring a complete fire sale at the trade deadline. I really hope management will take a risk and keep Soriano, because this guy is fun to watch. Laugh at me all you want. I also said the Reds would do well. So HA!

The week was a good one, overall, with a sweep of the Brew Crew and a win thrown in there against the Phoul Phillies, making it a 4-2 week.

Mike O'Connor is awesome. If there isn't an Irish bandwagon to jump on, then I'll start one myself. Too bad his teammates can't do anything for him.

Nats Saint of the Week: Alfonso Soriano for the second week in a row. He went 10-25, 3 homers, 5 runs scored, 8 RBI. For June, he is .583/.643/1.083. Yeah, yeah, I know that's only in three games, but wouldn't it be great if he could have a June like this?

Giants (29-27, 4th place)

3-3, not spectacular, not bad. Winning two against the Mets was great, though it was a very long weekend of baseball with the rainout on Friday, the double header on Saturday, and the 12 inning series victory on Sunday.

I'm mad at the way these guys are playing right now. The starters aren't getting through the sixth inning, the batters aren't getting timely hits. There are no saints this week.

Around the Horn

The Brewers, everyone's darkhorse pick for the NL Central, have lost 8 in a row and are really playing as poorly as the Pirates these days.

How the heck do the Yankees keep winning though their whole starting team is on the DL? Ugh.

Remember back in the day when the Rookie of the Year went to a Dodger every year? I guess times have changed. Look at LA's roster and see how the team is made up of everyone else's trash.

Is anyone ever going to beat Brandon Webb (8-0, 2.01)?

Deadbirds fans are panicking - looks like they might even be afraid of Cincy. (HA HA, take that, Deadbirds, as I stick another pin in!)

Demon of the Week

Jon Heyman, sports columnist for Newsday.com. This article claiming the Yankees are trying to get Griffey is about the most pretentious article I have ever seen in sports writing. The guy's attitude is that the Yankees can have whomever they want without giving anything in return. Nevermind that the Reds are only 3 games back of the Deadbirds and in a first place tie for the Wild Card. Many, if not most people, are finally giving the Reds the respect they deserve, but this guy just brushes them aside like he would a fly. Even if the Reds managed to play as poorly as they did in May, they still wouldn't be out of contention by the trade deadline. All the more reason to hate the Yankees.

Here's his email, by the way: jonhheyman@aol.com. Send him a piece of your mind.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Picture this

You take your family to lunch. Your two-year old son is wearing a cute little Cincinnati Reds or Washington Nationals jersey, his favorite shirt. You are thinking that a nice club sandwich sounds good, and your spouse wants to order a grilled chicken sandwich. You think some chicken fingers may be good for Junior. Suddenly, the manager comes over and asks you to take your kid's jersey off, as it might start a riot.

Bizarre? Maybe in America, but in the UK? It happens.
A TWO-YEAR-OLD boy was ordered to remove his England football shirt in a pub because the manager feared it could spark trouble.

Charlie Elliott was settling down to lunch with his mother and father in his favourite shirt when a bar manager told the family that football strips were banned. The toddler’s football-mad parents Elaine and Anthony, from Enderby, Leicester, were told to take off his shirt, or leave the pub. When they argued, staff said Charlie could stay - if he turned the shirt
inside out.

Mrs Elliott, 34, a primary school teacher, today branded the ban at the
Wetherspoons-owned Lloyds No.1, in Market Place, Leicester, “ridiculous“.

A Wetherspoons spokesman said the ban on football shirts had been in place for several years and prevents trouble.

“Our policy is that we don’t allow any kind of football colours,” he said.

Friday, June 02, 2006



Voodoo Albert, please let the Cubs win tonight. (pin stick) Please strike out Pujols whenever he comes to bat. (pin stick) Please let the Reds gain a game. (pin stick)

Update: It worked! Cubs win in 14 innings! Reds 4.0 back. Deadbirds, wir kommen! (Remember, Deadbirds are after the Asstros.)

Asstros burn out in the Reds' sky

Ha, ha. Take that, Asstros! You just were whooped, 14-3. Sweeeeeet!

Does this mean the offense is back? I sure hope so. The losing is soooo last year!

Grays 10, Bears 4

Josh Gibson is smiling somewhere

The uniforms looked good on the Grays for a day (the Bears, too.) The Nats have some players that just wear a uniform so well - Nick Johnson, Alfonso Soriano, and Ryan Zimmerman are all made to be ballplayers. Ramon Ortiz looks great in the Grays jersey, too, and he's throwing so well. (What's with that?)

And why is Ortiz up on that mound? Or Soriano in the outfield? Or Byrd in center? Because Jackie Robinson had the balls to do it. Because he had the courage to stand up, face the death threats, face the hatred of teammates, of fans, of the media, of the nation. We get to watch two Major League Baseball teams pay tribute to a league that existed because of hatred, and it shows how far as a people we have come. For those of us who have parents that are too young to have been around when Jackie made his Major League debut, it's pretty tough to imagine that such a - um, what is even the word for it - contemptable rule was ever allowed to exist, and tributes like tonight's game help us to never forget so that we may never repeat such incredible injustice.

One of the greatest Americans who ever lived, Martin Luther King, Junior, had a great dream. I think he'd be a baseball fan, for the dream certainly lives in the dozens of nationalities who play in the Majors today.

If you like movies, check out this documentary on Henry Aaron's Summer Up North.

The "democracy" of baseball

After years of having virtually players from only three or four teams voted into the All-Star game every year, I say enough with the fan voting. Or enough with big market dominance over the little guys.

The Fox corporation decides what we want to see, what we should see, and what players we should like. The Reds, with young players like Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns, as well as hall of famer Junior Griffey, will be seen by the nation all of two times on Saturday baseball, with a possibility for a third game if the Tigers, a hot first place team not otherwise scheduled for the season, don't take the TBD slot at the end of July. The Reds make it at all most likely on the strength of having Griffey on the team. In addition to the Tigers, the Blue Jays, Orioles, Rockies, Brewers, Twins, Pirates, Royals, and Rays never make an appearance.

The lineup is a bit more balanced than in past years, when it should have been called Fox Yankees Baseball. This year the hated Yankees still get nine games, more than any other team. The Red Sox, Cardinals, Braves, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, Angels, and Giants each get eight games. Guess which teams have the most players with high numbers of votes for the All-Star game? Coincidence? I think not.

Sure, those teams, with the exception of the Cubs, are all good teams. So are this year's Tigers, who get possibly only one game, perhaps none. Where are the votes for Magglio Ordonez (.318/.363/.551) or Carlos Guillen (.305/.379/.497)? So are this year's Rangers. Where the heck is Michael Texiera (.284/.375/.452) or Hank Blalock (.310/.383/.492) in the voting? So are this year's Blue Jays. Why aren't people voting for Alex Rios (.361/.396/.645)? And how about players who play on bad teams, like Jason Bay (.296/.415/.592), Prince Fielder (.313/.364/.532), or Miguel Cabrera (.354/.444/.619)?

You say, "who wants to watch the Devil Rays?" Well, they aren't my first preference, but I wouldn't mind seeing some of those younger players. No doubt a few of them will grow up to be solid, perhaps even good big league players. How about sticking them against the Red Sox, if they are going to have so many games broadcast?

I'm tired of the same old, same old. I'm tired of Fox and ESPN and MLB dictating to us who we are allowed to be fans of. GO REDS! I don't care how small of a market you are, I will ALWAYS root for you. And until there is a more level playing field in MLB, I will continue to hate the Yankees.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Another campaign won!

So Narron says Coffey is the closer, eh? Woohoo! Now let's just hope they can win enough games to get him some saves. That stuff he did last night? Awesome.

Victory party Friday, after he gets his third save of the season against the Sausages.

HT: Redleg Nation