Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Fodder

Is this a bench clearing brawl or an Easter bunny tryout?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wear a red shirt on Friday.

Not baseball related, but this is a forum I can use to spread the word.
In support of our incredibly brave friends in Burma: May all people around the world wear a red shirt on Friday, September 28. Please forward!
I dream of a world where governments no longer can oppress, abuse, and slaughter a people. Dare to dream. Dare. To. Dream.

I dream of a world...

where the Yankees don't make the playoffs.

Dare to dream. Dare. To. Dream.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Last call

I'm a pretty reflective person - some would call it emotional - and yesterday's Sunday's last baseball game at RFK was a pretty emotional experience and a fitting end to my tenure here in DC, at least this time around. Seen here is the last pitch ever thrown at RFK stadium, as Chad Cordero strikes out Jayson Werth to seal the victory for the Nats.

I have a ton of stuff to do before I leave on Saturday, yet I was not going to miss the final RFK game. At least I thought. I was not aware that the game started at 12:05. Seeing all of the fans arriving to the stadium at what I thought was fifty minutes early made me think Nationals fans actually do know how to attend baseball games after these three years. I was wrong. The flood of fans going to the stadium were going in late, because, as I found out, the game began one hour earlier than I had anticipated. Believe me, I was upset. I later found out that I missed the Nationals players handing out t-shirts at the gate. And I didn't get my t-shirt given to the first 20,000 fans who thought to check the game time before leaving for the ballpark. And then I found out that the game time was moved for stupid football! I hate that sport!

Since everything is slowass in DC, the will call line was no exception. I'm not sure how it is so difficult to find Smith in the S section or Jones in the J's, but my god, was it tough for those employees to use alphabetical order to find tickets for people. Tickets in hand finally, I entered the stadium for the last time in a rush because the game was going on! You have to understand that I never miss first pitch, and there it was, the bottom of the first inning, and the Nats were already up 1-0. It was such a gorgeous day, and the September sun cast interesting shadows across the stadium throughout the day. Was great for photos! There were few people who didn't have cameras out, and there were a lot of people - 40,000+ decided to show up for one last RFK fling. Gotta wear the rose-colored glasses for this baby!

Every moment I had spent in that stadium in the past three years came back to me as if I were living the past and present at the same time. Memories swirled around the stadium like hot dog wrappers on a windy day. The stadium is a dump, true, but I saw a lot of baseball there. It all began one gorgeous April day in 2005 - the second greatest baseball game I've ever seen (the first was a 2002 World Series game in San Francisco). The energy in the stadium was amazing. People were hungry for baseball and excited at the newness at it all. We entered through metal detectors because the Naked Emperor was throwing out the first pitch, and it all seemed like a zoo. Nobody cared about the inconvenience, though, because nothing could ruin the return of baseball to our nation's capital. I sat in the orange seats in leftfield that day, one of a handful of times I've sat in the lower level.

That first game was sold out, of course, and the atmosphere was simply incredible. From Vinny Castilla's homer and his 4 RBI performance to Livan's 8.1 innings pitch and Chad Cordero's save, the whole game was just amazing. We never could have guessed that this team would be in first place at the All Star break, but it was true. The team consistently received 40,000 fans at the ballpark, which shook with a joyous thunder as people jumped up and down and celebrated this great game. I'll never forget the feeling of bouncing concrete beneath my feet.

The second half of the season was heartbreaking. I found myself rooting against my own Cincinnati Reds during that series in desperation, as not only had the division lead slipped away, but so had the wild card lead. Officially eliminated in the last week of the season, September had been one filled with a disappointment like that of watching a tree go bare in autumn. It would be a cold, cold winter, one that has lasted two seasons so far with no warmth in sight.

Yeah, I know this one is running into the profane sidebar, but I just wanted to blow it up a bit to capture the beauty of a ballfield. (It's a shame that photos on Blogger appear grainy - they aren't like that on the computer.) This is the view from my seats, the best birthday present ever. What a glorious site to behold!

RFK isn't all bad. A creative person can find interesting shots around the ballpark, even during her twentieth game of the season! Of course, the September sky's brilliance is a photographer's best friend. The flag was far less cooperative, and it refused to fly all the way out so I could get both the stars and the stripes. Did I mention how beautiful the day was?

Normally I'm not fond of the gimmicky crap that's overtaken the game of baseball these days on account of this being ADD nation and all, but I gotta say, I absolutely love the president mascots. What a simple yet brilliant marketing concept. I can't believe they didn't let Teddy win the last game. The bullpen all came out and tried to keep the other three back, but Teddy never showed - he was supposed to be at the new ballpark, apparently. Not cool.

Chanting for Teddy erupted after Abe was booed for winning the race (was it Abe? I forget.), though it turned out to be a typical Washington chant, where different sections of the stadium couldn't get it together. This is the only city I've been in where people don't know how to cheer at a baseball game. I find it rather strange. But hey, at least the stadium was full.

I roamed around the stadium during the middle innings, taking it in one last time, going to corners I'd never had cause to visit like the very top row of the highest part of the park. I tried to imagine what the stadium had been like back when it was a new thing of wonder, when people marveled at its space age architecture, when you could tell whether the seats were purple, pink, or maroon (Don Sutton called them red in the post game ceremony), when there wasn't standing water sitting above the drains (yeah, and it stunk like sewage, too!). I noticed everything on this day, noticed the chipping paint, the cracks in the concrete, and the dampness everywhere. I suppose I had just gotten used to it and blocked it out until I was forced to use all of my senses to capture as many memories of the place as I could. The stench of this standing water - which was two inches above the drain and had empty beer cups floating on it like toy boats - is not something I want to remember. Then again, the whole dumpiness of the stadium has a sort of cherished nostalgia element to it, at least it does in my mind. Like a guy I work with who grew up in Costa Rica said, "Only in America would you tear down a stadium like this. In most of the world, RFK is world class."

No game is more alive than baseball, a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow - God's promise that he'll never wreck the world again. (Boy, wasn't THAT a lie!)

I'm pretty torn about this ending, being fond of symbols as I am. I was younger when they tore Riverfront down - yeah, it was only four years ago, but four years makes a huge difference in your twenties - and I didn't attend the last game there. I did have a few tears in my eyes as I watched the implosion - it wasn't just a building, it was my childhood. It was the Big Red Machine and the 1990 World Series. It was Eric Davis and Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo and Tom Browning. But it didn't hit in me in the same way as going to the last game at RFK because by the time they tore Riverfront down, I had been long gone from Ohio. The last game at RFK coincides with my departure from Washington, so it's the end of a chapter of my life.

The team woke up in the late innings, like that 2005 team with all of its comeback wins. I remember thinking back then that no late deficit was insurmountable. On Sunday, that feeling returned to me, and I think the whole stadium kind of felt like we were going to win. We had to, I needed it, I needed to end it all on a good note, a note that I can hum sometime in the future when I'm thinking about DC.

Most of the crowd stayed until the end, unlike the rest of the season, when nary a soul was left in the ninth inning of a game. When we stood after Cordero got the second out in the ritual attempt to will him a final out, we weren't just standing for a game, we were standing for an era. It may be an era that many don't look upon with fondness, what with the dumpy stadium and the losing and all, but it was an era of infancy that we nurtured, we who went to the games regardless of the team's woeful inadequacies. In the end, it's the game itself that matters, summer's game, when light and warmth permit us to enjoy the great outdoors with our friends and family and we can stuff our faces with overpriced hotdogs and beer and suck in every ounce of life that surrounds us.

The game ended in the same manner as the whole RFK experience began back in 2005 - with a thrilling victory. For the first time since that exciting first half of that exciting first season, I felt a stirring of true love for the team of my city of residence, despite their terrible record, despite their terrible players, despite their terrible stadium. This is something we can never have again, not only the stadium or the players, but the relative newness of it all, the growing pains, all of the headaches of a lack of ownership and modern baseball amenities. We've been there from the very beginning rooting for a team because Major League Baseball finally gave the city a team and we live here and they are ours. For me, the Nationals are a big part of my Washington, DC experience. My head is filled with images of the Capitol Building, the White House, and RFK Stadium.

Last call's come and gone, my glass is empty, the game is done, and it's time for me to move on.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

10 things I hate about today's MLB that have nothing to do with Bud Selig, E$PN, free agency, market disparity, the DH, or those other standard evils

10. Wrigley Field night games. It's kind of like holding a satanic ritual in the Vatican.

9. Playing teams in your division a billion times in April and September but not any time in between. Nothing worse than seeing Bill Hall fifty times a year.

8. That stupid hill at the Asstros' park. And that train. And that horrible jackrabbit mascot. And Lance Berkman.

7. Seven men in a bullpen. It'd be fine if they all were good, but you always have two or three requisite filler arms who shouldn't be wearing a Major League uniform. Or if you're the Reds, four or five.

6. Fans who complain about everything that has to do with their team. Are you a fan or not? You sound like an or not. Also, "fans" who come late and leave early. You are the spawn of satan. Also drunken cussing fans and obnoxious hecklers.

5. Aramark's more often than not cold hotdogs. We're paying twenty bucks for your processed meat product - you could at least give us hot hotdogs. And for that matter, I want hot fries as well, not mushy lumps of potatoes.

4. People who buy tickets for bobblehead nights but don't stay for the games. I thought about tripping some of them on the way out of the Presidential Bobblehead Nights at RFK just so their bobbleheads would break. HA HA.

3. Flat brimmed hats. For those who don't know, gangstas do that as a sign of their idiocy. Major Leaguers shouldn't mimic it.

2. Multiple mascots for one team. Or mascots in general. But why do some teams have five mascots? And why are so many of them just stupid? Like Screech, the worst mascot in baseball. Gapper isn't far behind.

1. West Coast games. I'm not twenty anymore, and I am pretty tired!

If that was the real Homer, we are going to have fun as Reds fans in the next several years

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away called Texass, a boy was born. He was named David after his father, but his family quickly learned that having two Davids in the house was too much, so they took to calling the boy Homer after his grandfather.

Homer was a special lad, a lad who'd been given extra strength in his arm as a gift from the gods. In exchange for the gift, he was tasked with saving Cincinnati Baseball from the throes of market disparity and leading the team back to its winning tradition. It was a high burden for a 21 year old to carry, yet try he did with mixed results.

The devil management sent him to wander the desert after a few starts, and many fools forgot about him. David Dewitt Bailey, Jr. is NOT Brien Taylor, however, but has a future in the Hall of Olympus. Homer came back a couple of weeks before the start of the Holy Month of October, the most holy time in the Baseball religion, and he pitched like a Major League ballplayer - a really good Major League ballplayer. Granted, it was against one of the worst teams in 2007 baseball to a lineup full of rooks and sucks and no Barry, but it was a masterful performance - excluding the first inning, when he was a bit nervous. He settled down and retired 15 in a row at one point. We saw a glimpse of the future last night, a nice, shiny future.

Oh man, am I excited for that future. With a rotation of Harang, Arroyo, and Bailey, and perhaps Maloney and Cueto in the second half, a bullpen with Burton and Bray, and the offense the Reds have now...look out, 2008 NL Central. We're going to eat you for lunch.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Officially eliminated

Remember when you were little and you were never allowed to stay up to watch the West Coast games? Oh, wait, I'm too old for that - back in those days, baseball wasn't on every night. Sure, we could listen to Marty and Joe every game, but televised games were few and far between unless it was the Cubs and Braves.

I'm watching this one. I'm watching because Homer gets to pitch again. Last night, insomnia kept me up until 2am. Too bad my system didn't wait until tonight to choose to be awake. I sure hate West Coast games.

The Reds were officially eliminated after yesterday's loss. Looking back on the season, it's pretty amazing that we managed to stay in the race - I mean theoretically - until the last ten games of the season. Yeah, the whole NL Central sux, but considering we have five other teams to play in the division that amounts to what seems like half a season, we kind of played to its level. It's a real shame that Narron wasn't fired earlier in the year (like say, January) and that Wayne kept shipping the same bullpen losers in and out of Cincy instead of acquiring new arms or using some of the farmhands. The Reds lead the Majors with 27 blown saves. If we had won only half of those games, we would be buying our playoff tickets with Sausage and Chub$ fans. And those 27 games don't count blown ties like last night or the numerous times we were only down by a run or two in the late innings only to see the pen put the game out of reach.

Then there were the wasted roster spots - we still suffer through that with Jason Ellison on the bench. But think about how Chad Moeller and Juan Castro were on the bench at the same time for too many games this season. How many times did rallies die because these jokers were sent to the plate since we had no one else to pinch hit?

Bottomline is this team was mismanaged badly, and it's led to our seventh consecutive losing season. We haven't had more than three losing seasons in a row since an eleven year stint way back in 1945-1955 during war years. In the time since then, we've had two three-year losing streaks (1958-1960 and 1982-1984) and one two-year losing streak (1997-1998). Single losing seasons came in 1966, 1971, 1989, 1991, and 1993. That's it. Every other year since 1955 we've had a winning record - 33 of 46 seasons until the current streak began in 2001.

We should be more vocally angry than we are. We should picket games, storm the field, viva la revolution! Sigh...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Jay for a Jr

Well, Junior almost made it through the year. At least we're not in the pennant race, being stuck with Jason Ellison and Buck Coats and all.


National Attention

We got E$PN! Hope it doesn't blackout out my access to the game on MLB.TV this evening.

Yeah, I know it's on E$PN for the Chub$ and not the Reds, but at least we're getting some national attention. Hope Tom Shern's not too nervous knowing that he's on national television in front of a sold out crowd at Wrigley during a pennant race. Dude is having the greatest month of his life, I'm sure. It would be nice if he'd continue to do so next year so he could fill the number 5 starter's slot.

I wonder if he'll be donning his eye patch (aye patch?) for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Hope he doesn't give up any hits to Soriaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrno or Aaaaaarrrrrramis Raaaaaarrrrrrmirez. I wonder if Maaaaaarrrrrrrmol will pitch tonight.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vote Reds!

Go over to Protrade and vote Reds over Cubs tonight! There are too many Cubs fans over there.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Congrats, Jim

Wow, just watched Thome's walkoff 500th homer. What a great way to hit it. And the whole deal with the fan giving it back to him was just awesome.

I was in Philly to see his 400th. It was a Monday and the Reds were in town to play a make up game. Griffey had been sitting on 499, and about 2pm after thinking about it all day, I told my boss that I couldn't miss it and took off for Philly. Two and a half hours later, I found myself buying standing room only tickets and entering the ballpark for the first time.

Turns out Griffey didn't even make the trip to Philly. The threat of rain caused some injury concern, so he was permitted to stay behind. And did it ever rain! There was a rain delay before the game was official, and everyone was worried that Thome's dinger wouldn't count if the game was called. It was about an hour and a half delay and then they resumed play. Considering I had to drive the 2.5 hours back to DC, the delay was a little worrisome for me, as I didn't want to get home too late.

They played a couple of innings before the second rain delay hit. At this point it was already after 11pm, so I didn't have much of a choice - I had to leave. The game ended up getting over around 3am, so it was a good thing I didn't stay. But as far as I can recall, it's the only game I've ever left early.

I can't believe we've seen 3 500th homers this season. Just incredible how many milestones have been reached. And to think I watched and remember these guys as rookies.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Some useless information

So I was thinking about sponsoring a Reds player page on Baseball The increased traffic could help me out with the AdSense clicks (wink, wink, click!) and maybe even compensate for the cost of the sponsorship. Cost of sponsorship corresponds to the level of the player. Knowing that the big, established guys are already sponsored, I sought out the rookies and other non-stars. Votto was first, of course. Forget it, though - to sponsor his page is $110!

I went to Matt Belisle - $10. I was shocked to see Tom Shearn's was higher - $20. Eric Freaking Milton is $20. Phil Dumatrait and his 15.00 ERA is $25. Weathers is $20, and Couter, Coffey, McBeth, Livingston, and Gosling are $10. On the hitting side of things, David Ross is $15 and Javy is only $10, the same as Pedro Lopez. Alex Gonzalez is $35. Jason Ellison is $10 - they should be paying us to put our names on his page! Buck Coats is the cheapest at $5.

For some reason that I can't decipher, Ryan Hannigan's page is $160, and they spell his name "Hanigan."

A funny sponsor - some Connecticut real estate company sponsors Freel's page.

So I'm not going to sponsor a page - Votto's the only player left whom I'd like to have my name on, but not for that much precious beer money.


Today marks the beginning of the last series between the Red Sox and Yankees. What once was the greatest rivalry in sports has been ruined with overkill. Thanks, E$PN.

Of course, if the Tigers don't pull out this Wild Card, we could once again be seeing these two banks in the playoffs. Ugh.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh, such a nice feeling

This sweeping the Deadbirds - the team I hate the most - and pretty much killing their playoff hopes! HA HA!

Click on my ads, please!

Nocturnal Disturbances

Wow, quitting a job that doesn't make you happy is more difficult than I thought. Lots of anxiety today, but now my boss knows. We haven't talked about it yet, as he has to interview someone for another open position, so I haven't been given the guilt trip, which is what I was dreading anyway.

I hope my next office job allows me to watch baseball games during the day. I have a greater hope that I won't have another office job, that I'll finally figure out a way to be self-employed, for it is the monotony of office life that is getting to me more than the job itself. It's nice to be able to watch the Reds game right now, especially with Harang on the mound and Votto kicking butt again. I'd like to see Phillips hit one out to join the 30/30 Club before this one's over.

My brain is in hyperdrive because of the trip, the change, the preparation, and the anxiety. It's affecting my dreams, too. I've written before about some of my dreams when they involve baseball, and well, I just remembered a disturbing one that I had last night. Josh Hamilton died in it. Now I am feeling quite disturbed, as I am a believer that dreams mean something. Not in the superstitious way, mind you, but I think what you dream is a reflection of your thoughts and your mental state. If I dream about someone chasing me in a mall, which is a recurrence in my dreams, it tells me I am thinking about how the pursuit material possessions is bad for your soul, an issue which I struggle against, especially now that I am going away for a few months and bringing very little with me. If I dream about airplanes crashing, which I frequently do, it does not mean I'm going to die in a plane crash, it just means I have a terrible fear of flying. (At least I hope so - my stomach is in knots just thinking about flying in a few weeks.)

But I can't figure out what Josh Hamilton dying means. Josh Hamilton symbolizes so much, a guy who overcame his demons and is living his Major League dream after some delay, so why in the heck would something so positive be destroyed by my own imagination?

Maybe I was just upset that he injured his leg again and is probably out for the rest of the season. I hope that's all it was, anyway.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A third thought

There are fewer than 2000 people at the Nationals-Marlins game going on now. That city doesn't deserve baseball. What do you think they'll be called in Portland? I hope it's not as stupid as "Devil Rays" or "Diamondbacks."

Another thought

As things stand now, here's who I want to win the divisions:

WC: Philly

Disney Angels of a suburb of Los Angeles, California (I don't like them, but they're 9.5 up with a magic number of 10. Seattle fans should hate Mike Hargrove for quitting on them.)
WC: Detroit

NLCS: Sausages vs. Mets
ALCS: Cleveland vs. Detroit

WS: Sausages vs. Cleveland, with Cleveland as the winner.

Go Tribe!

A thought

I took the laptop over to a cafe this afternoon to enjoy the perfect weather and to try to capture a little sun on my skin to prolong the inevitable autumn fade. September blue filled the sky, a blue only the impending autumn can provide, deep and glowing like something from a painting. I can still feel the warmth of the sun on my face now that I am back in the office. I sigh. Eighteen games left until that tear jerking moment when Marty signs off for the season after being denied October glory once again.

I think I hate this time of year. I can't even bring myself to enjoy these last games because I can already feel the emptiness of another October lost. I'll be at the last Reds game - I'll have to bring a transistor so I can hear Marty's final disappointing words. Then I'm leaving the country for awhile.

I'll still post over the winter, thanks to the glory of the world wide web, but it probably won't be every day. Just don't forget to click on my ads!!! :)

The sacred versus the profane

Back at good old Miami U, I minored in French. I had taken four years of high school Spanish in part because I dreamed of going to California, perhaps going to UCLA, but when I decided to go to Miami - mostly because of the excellent study abroad program in Luxembourg - I switched to French.

The way university language classes are taught in this country make proficiency in a language difficult to obtain. I read plenty of French literature, but the speaking part was slow to come around. However, there was one professor, Dr. Sandro, who really helped me out my senior year. During the first semester I took his class, the theme was the sacred versus the profane. I never quite got it until years later after I had experienced life a bit. Now I see it everywhere. Things that are sacred tend to be bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat stamped with profanity.

Remember back in the day when the rooftops overlooking Wrigley Field weren't owned by corporations and everything that went on there felt spontaneous and unrehearsed? Remember when Tom Browning went up onto one of the rooftops in 1993 and waved at the Wrigley crowd, which erupted into gleeful cheering? People used to sit up there in card chairs; now they have reserved bleacher spots. There is a place called the Budweiser House. It's super expensive for such a crappy seat, even if it is all you can eat food and beer - can you consume $170 worth of food and beer for a view that should be $10? It's all prepackaged these days in the name of the Almighty Dollar.

I feel something sacred has become profane. The soul is sucked from the game - and from life - when sacred ritual turns into a soulless profit munching enterprise.

Click my ads! Click my ads! Is this irony or is it hypocrisy?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I am the Great Pretender

Anyone else uninterested out there? I have no plans on watching or listening to the Reds game tonight. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. нула. I have better things to do with my time than watch a club whose dysfunctional upper management is either too stupid or too unconcerned to put together a winning team. And why not? The Reds are making money despite it all.

Does anyone know why dysfunctional is spelled with a Y rather than an I? I've always thought that strange.

I also find it odd that I don't even know who's pitching. I barely remembered the Deadbirds were in town. It's a bit disconcerting that I don't care, but you can't just drum up fake emotions. I'm never like this at this time of year when the playoffs are out of the question and the September callups are on the field. I should be watching, because Votto is up and playing, but you know, I just can't fake it. I just can't convince myself that I care when I don't.

Or maybe I do care. Maybe I'm misreading anger for apathy. Maybe reading about Wayne firing all of those people today as if they were responsible for his own inadequacies as General Manager has something to do with it. Maybe I've just been reminded of Barton and Almaraz quitting because of Mr. Sweaterpants. Maybe I'm remembering Jerry staying a month too long, or maybe it's the fact that such luminaries as Juan Castro, Chad Moller, and Pedro Lopez lit up our bench while such talents as Votto lingered in the Minors. Maybe I'm recalling the demotion of one of the most effective relievers to make room of Gary Majewski or the fact that Victor Santos was on our roster for so long. Maybe it's the fact that Mike Stanton was signed to a two year contract and has been nothing short of awful for the duration of the season. Perhaps it is the losing despite the glow of Phillips, Hamilton, Dunn, Harang, Arroyo, Encarnacion, and Votto. Wayne does his best to smudge up shiny objects.

So I guess I am pretending. I'm pretending I don't care. I'm probably pretending I'm not going to have the game on at some point this evening. But why not? Pretending is en vogue. I mean, Wayne Krivsky is pretending to be a Major League General Manager.

The Good 9/11

I've sold out? Ok, so if you don't use Adblock, you've probably noticed the ads. They're up there at the top, screaming desecration, a hideous eyesore ready to gouge your soul. But that's food money where I am going for awhile - I'll have more about it when I have the plane tickets in my hand. Hey, I'm a baseball fan; I am superstitious by nature! Just please click on the links every now and then, and if you feel like doing a good deed, turn Adblock off for my page. Remember - beer is at stake!

Happy anniversary of 4192! Listen to Marty's historic call. Gives me goosebumps every time.

The day was September 11, 1985. I was eight years old. My grandfather's birthday was on this day, so my family had gathered at my aunt's house to celebrate. My grandparents, aunts and uncles, my mom, and I were watching the Reds game in anticipation for The Hit. This was my first concrete memory of the Reds, one specific event that is very clear in my mind. Not only did I understand that I had just witnessed something important in baseball, but it was also the first time I realized how baseball is much more than a game, that it is more than wins and losses and batting average and strikeouts. Pete's hit was a joy my whole family shared, and the Cincinnati Reds always gave us an excuse to get together to take in a game.

You can dwell on the bad things about today's date, or you can choose to remember the good things in life. Dwelling means they've won, and I'm sure not ready to throw in the towel.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Forgive them their sins

Today someone came to my site through a Google Search - baseball cardinal Johnny Bench.

First, Johnny Bench was a Yankee. Now he was a Cardinal? Oh, the blasphemy!

Cincy by satellite

Just playing around with Google Satellite. Click to make larger.

You forgot...

I need to make a correction to the article on about NL ROY favorites :


Josh Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds: Hamilton has played fewer games (88) and has the fewest at-bats (291) of any of the contenders as a result of injury and managerial lefty-righty stupidity but has good numbers and leads all rookies in outfield assists. Hamilton also has a shot at Comeback Player of the Year.


That's Bulgarian for baseball. They actually have a league, but the website is no longer functioning. It's strange, but a bunch of teams from that country - like Junak, whose logo is to the left - have websites that haven't been updated in five or six years. Kind of makes you wonder what happened.

Here's a possibility - it used to be that national teams were given government money so they could compete in the Olympics. Sadly, since the International Olympic Committee decided to take baseball away from the Olympics (those bastards!), teams are not getting that money anymore, and some of them are struggling to stay in existence. Many of them are trying to lobby Major League Baseball to step in, and well, it should. Baseball is becoming more popular all over the world (except in the U.S., where it is becoming less popular. Go figure.), and MLB should capitalize on that.

We know about the popularity in Central America and Asia, but did you know that baseball is also gaining in popularity in Europe? I am watching the Croatia-Germany game right now in the European Baseball Championship. The tournament is the Olympic qualifier - the last Olympics for baseball unless we can convince the IOC to reinstate the game. It seems strange to me that baseball is becoming more popular, yet the IOC takes baseball away?

Thanks to a great European baseball site, Mister Baseball, I have downloaded the Stadeo.TV media player to watch the games, which are broadcast in English. Out of the 12 teams in the tournament, I am rooting for Croatia, who just a few years ago was in the B-Pool tournament (the bad teams) but is playing with the big guys now in Pool A. Those of who watched the World Baseball Classic (I did - every game!) remember that the Netherlands and Italy had teams in the tournament. The Eurochamps could very well play in the next WBC.

The format for the 2009 WBC has not yet been announced, but I expect the 2008 European Baseball Championship to be the qualifying tournament for the WBC.

Germany is leading Croatia 6-2 in the 7th inning. No wait, Croatia has scored twice in the 8th! No wait, Croatia has scored again! 6-5. The Croatian version of Javy Valentin is up with runners on first and third, a typical Javy situation, isn't it? 6-6 - pitcher has the runner at first picked off, he gets into a run down, runner on third scores on a high throw from the first baseman...and Croatian Love Machine bounces a ball to the shortstop, who boots the ball and Croatia takes the lead 7-6. And guess what, the Croatian Love Machine is pinch run, Germany comes back and wins it 8-7.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


This kind of thing bothers me:

Brandon Phillips, who's trying to become the first Reds player to have 30 home runs and 30 steals in a season, stole his 28th and 29th bases Sunday. He currently has 28 homers.

It's not just this one instance. To go with the terrible radio media, people who cover the Reds are constantly writing erroneous information such as this. I can't figure out why it is so difficult to do a little thing called "fact-checking." Being an editor of sorts, I usually just email the writer with the correct info. But I'm in a bad mood right now, it being Sunday and all, the dread of a Monday morning alarm clock overwhelming me at the moment!

Oh, Reds to have 30/30 seasons? Barry Larkin (1996) and Eric Davis (1987). And I didn't even have to look it up. (But I did. Fact-checking, you know?)

Brandon Phillips Breaks Out

It is the story of Cincinnati, a player who dons the Reds uniform, unknown to the outside world. You can hear it in the voices of other broadcasters, how they say Adam Harang, Edward Encarnarcion, Mike Belisle, Brandon Arroyo. You can see it in how the only pitcher to ever lead the league in both wins and strikeouts and not win the Cy Young did not get ONE SINGLE VOTE for the award.

And now, world, I introduce you to the second best second baseman in the Majors - Brandon Phillips. (Yeah, Chase Utley is the best.)

Check it out, not only is he tied for the MLB lead in homers for second basemen, he ranks 1st in total bases, 2nd in runs scored, 2nd in RBI, 2nd in slugging percentage, 3rd in hits, 3rd in stolen bases, 6th in triples, and 7th in OPS. World, do you know Brandon Phillips? He signed my ball on the sweet spot! (These numbers are through Thursday - I forgot to post this at the time.)

But offense is just half of his package. This guy is an amazing fielder and ranks 3rd in fielding percentage (.991) and errors (6), plus he gets to balls that are ten miles aways from him! He's tied for 2nd in DP's turned with 100.

Friday, September 07, 2007

An Open Letter to Darryl Parks, Director of AM Operations for Clear Channel Cincinnati

Dear Mr. Parks,

I am sure you've had plenty of letters concerning the recent on air argument between Bill Seg Dennison and Bill Cunningham, but I hope you will read this one, because I want to say what many of us frustrated Reds fans are thinking - the ones who don't call into your radio shows.

We are sick and tired of WLW radio hosts and their nothing but negativity about the team, especially Adam Dunn. They are uninformed mouths who don't understand what it takes to run a baseball team. They don't understand statistics, and if you showed them Ryan Howard's stats and Adam Dunn's stats, they would think you were lying about it since their stats are identical. So my complaint here is that you need to get some people in there who know what they are talking about.

But more importantly, Bill Cunningham was way over the line, and if Dunn weren't such a nice guy, he'd have every reason to sue. I wish he would. I wish I could sue on his behalf. Because people like Bill Cunningham are what is wrong with this country today. I don't understand why you would put such a hate-filled imbecile on the air. You cater to the lowest common denominator. Are you proud of that? Are you proud of knowing what you do, what you support contributes to the divisive nature of America? Bill Cunningham should never again utter a word over the airwaves. Bill Dennison is a hero for what he did.

WLW has become nothing but a voice for hatred, disrespect, and ill will. I do hope you have a conscience and punish Cunningham accordingly. And how about hiring a POSITIVE voice to talk about the Reds for a change? People are sick of it - sick of Cunningham, sick of Daugherty, sick of Jones, sick of all of your hate-filled radiomouths.

Please email Mr. Parks at and express your support for Seg.

If this is just some sort of radio hoax, it's stupid, it's not funny, and it still doesn't mean that what I said about how sick I am of the negativity on WLW any less true.

UPDATE: To the losers who are calling me an idiot or whatever other name you want to use, grow up. Those of who you are of a low enough mentality to support this kind of talk radio are the root of the problem. It's too bad these radio corporations cater to the idiocy of the masses. You've entirely missed the point of the post because in your sheeple mentality, you don't even notice that a lot of people are really sick and tired of the negativity on that station. So quit your namecalling - you know who you are! Baaaaaaaa!

I can't wait for the future

"I'm just so excited about the future of the organization," Bruce says. "For all the Reds fans, be patient. The ability we have here in the minor leagues is going to be up there eventually. And the Reds are talented, it's not that they're a bad team. We have a lot of guys down here who can contribute in the big leagues and we're going to make some noise up there soon."

Baseball America has just published an article about Jay Bruce, the Minor League player of the year. My impression of him, already in the clouds, just got better. Not only is he an amazing ballplayer, but he seems to be an amazing person.

I can't wait until he comes up here! (Hopefully Krivsky won't be around next year to keep him stuck at AAA.)

Winning Baseball America's Minor League player of the year puts him in some impressive company:

1981Mike Marshall, 1b, Albuquerque (Dodgers)
1982Ron Kittle, of, Edmonton (White Sox
1983Dwight Gooden, rhp, Lynchburg (Mets)
1984Mike Bielecki, rhp, Hawaii (Pirates)
1985Jose Canseco, of, Huntsville/Tacoma (Athletics)
1986Gregg Jefferies, ss, Columbia/Lynchburg/Jackson (Mets)
1987Gregg Jefferies, ss, Jackson/Tidewater (Mets)
1988Tom Gordon, rhp, Appleton/Memphis/Omaha (Royals)
1989Sandy Alomar, c, Las Vegas (Padres)
1990Frank Thomas, 1b, Birmingham (White Sox)
1991Derek Bell, of, Syracuse (Blue Jays)
1992Tim Salmon, of, Edmonton (Angels)
1993Manny Ramirez, of, Canton/Charlotte (Indians)
1994Derek Jeter, ss, Tampa/Albany/Columbus (Yankees)
1995Andruw Jones, of, Macon (Braves)
1996Andruw Jones, of, Durham/Greenville/Richmond (Braves)
1997Paul Konerko, 1b, Albuquerque (Dodgers)
1998Eric Chavez, 3b, Huntsville/Edmonton (Athletics)
1999Rick Ankiel, lhp, Arkansas/Memphis (Cardinals)
2000Jon Rauch, rhp, Winston-Salem/Birmingham (White Sox)
2001Josh Beckett, rhp, Brevard County/Portland (Marlins)
2002Rocco Baldelli, of, Bakersfield/Orlando/Durham (Devil Rays)
2003Joe Mauer, c, Fort Myers/New Britain (Twins)
2004Jeff Francis, lhp, Tulsa/Colorado Springs (Rockies)
2005Delmon Young, of, Montgomery/Durham (Devil Rays)
2006Alex Gordon, 3b, Wichita (Royals)

Congrats to Pirates fans

You guys finally got rid of your bum of a GM. May your next one bring some respect back to your organization. I have to admit, I'm a little envious...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Joey's first day of school

Joey got up in the morning and could barely contain his excitement. He put on his shiny new school clothes - a red and white thing of beauty - ate his Wheaties, and headed out the door to catch the school bus. When he arrived to Great American School, he couldn't help but smile and look around in awe.

You're in the Big Leagues now, he said to himself as he gazed out at the green expanse in front of him. He took note of the spaciousness of the clubhouse, a far cry from the tiny little rooms of the Minors. Wow, he thought, this is cool, eh?

Joey had to wait his turn to get to bat. It was worth the wait, as he crushed a pitch over the centerfield wall for his first Major League hit. He told himself hitting in the Big Leagues is fun, so he did it two more times, but one time, the pitcher wouldn't throw him a pitch to hit, so he had to walk to first base. He didn't mind, though, especially when Hobbs hit him in with a single to give him his second run scored of the day.

"Don't smile, put your head down and run hard and touch home plate," were thoughts on his mind as he rounded the bases after he hit his homer. "From third to home, I was thinking about what they'd do to me on the bench. Are they going to shake my hand, give me high-fives or ignore me?"

Then, the playground bullies beat him up, first ignoring him in the dugout then pounding on his head. One of them threw his home run ball into the stands. It was only later Joey found out that they were just teasing him, that it wasn't the real ball, and that his ball was safe. What a mean trick! he thought, but he didn't care, because he was just happy to be at school.

I think I'm going to like it here, he said out loud as he smiled.

"Oh man, what a day. It felt great."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ryan Howard = Adam Dunn

Tell me why Dunn's contract status is in question, yet the whole nation loves Ryan Howard? Yeah, Howard has more RBI, but Dunn has more runs scored. That's pretty much the only difference aside from Dunn's 9 SBs.


(click for bigger image)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007