Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some years are better than others

While I'm sitting here in wintry Ohio using archaic dial up and an ancient space heater and feeling like it's the nineteenth century except that I'm using the internet and an electric heater, I'm thinking some more about the Willy T signing and the Rob Hern signing and wondering if it really was the nineteenth century the last time the Reds went to the World Series or even the playoffs or even had a winning record.

And while everyone and his mother has weighed in on this season's offseason offerings and you see some intelligent analysis and a lot of gibberish from what we can call the "uninformed fan," which is really just a euphemism for total baseball idiot (you know, the kind who ran Dunner out of town because they view strikeouts as evil, even though strikeouts count the same as any other out), no one's really mentioned how the Willy T. signing severely limits our options for bringing in Jim Edmonds to be our new centerfielder. (Yes, that is a joke, as I have been saying for the past six months that he would be on account of Walt being our G.M. and all. Although I can honestly say that Edmonds would be a better option than Willy T.)

In all of my eternal optimism, I am finding it difficult to let said optimism overrule logic and reason, and in this new year, 2009, which equals eleven if you add the digits, which was Barry Larkin's number, which may or may not have some cosmic significance, I am struggling to find any semblance of hope for my team in a year where hope for the world abounds. But maybe that's because I'm so darn cold here in Redsland. Maybe when the flowers burst onto the scene, things will be different. Maybe by the time pitchers and catchers are packing their bags for their last trip to Sarasota, Walt's "Number 1 Priority," that being a hitter who can hit it out of the infield, will have come to fruition and there will be reason to think that maybe this is the year.

I'm trying, I really am. I want to believe.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hope everyone had a good Christmas

I'm off to DC again and will return in the middle of the week. I didn't get Adam Dunn for Leftfield for Christmas, so I have to say I am pretty disappointed, but there's still a lot of off season and he's still a free agent, plus my birthday is on January 10, so there's still hope.

Au revoir for a couple of days. Happy New Year!

UPDATE: Just read about the Taveras signing. Was I really that bad this year? What a lump of coal.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Change is coming to the outfield

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWith Al Franken currently hanging onto the lead in the Minnesota US Senate race, I am in the campaign spirit and put together a few yard signs to put in my virtual church lawn.

According to an article on which is according to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds' outfield search is down to three: Willy Taveras, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Rocco Baldelli. You can tell what I think of that (even if I did misspell Taveras on the sign. And yes, that's a black hole behind the NO.) Baldelli? Well, I can't say I am sold on him either, what with his second weird disease diagnosis of the year, but they say this one's curable. Yet he seems like the best of the three options, if those are our only options.

I'm wondering - were the 68 stolen bases Taveras had last year the only 68 times he was on base?

Of course, my preference is widely known.

How could you NOT want a guy who hits 40 homers, 100 RBIs, and 100 runs EVERY YEAR?

And who's only 29?

And whose career on base percentage is .381?

And whose career slugging percentage is .518?

I think it's time the Reds took off their tin foil hats and started looking at Dunn the way he SHOULD be looked at - as one of the best sluggers available to them. Only with Dunn standing in leftfield would a signing of someone like Taveras or Hairston be not uncomfortable.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

When the windchill is ten below zero...

I just have a nice big cup of Opening Day countdown...

It is 105 days, 5 hours, 48  minutes and 32  seconds until Monday, April 6, 2009 at 2:15:00 PM (Cincinnati time)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This is the FIRST professional team, America

So I take this quiz where you have have three minutes to name every Major League team, right? I ended up blanking on the Royals when I had one team to go. Sorry, KC fans, but honestly, it has nothing to do with the state of your franchise and everything to do with the fact that I tend to panic under such time constraints.

When I looked to see what team I had missed, I discovered that only 63% of those who took the quiz were able to name the Reds, the lowest percentage of any team. This, a storied franchise who had one of the greatest teams ever and who played in one of the greatest World Series ever, a team who has won more World Series than all but three four teams (Phillies just got another, and the Red Sox technically have more, but most of them occurred before people drove automobiles), and only 63% of the people can name the Reds?

Well, I don't think there is anyone who still pretends that baseball is America's pastime. (Maybe the Fox World Series producers who run the half hour of drivel before the games begin.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What'd I miss? What'd I miss?

The trade of a worthless veteran hasbeen for a stud outfielder? The trade for Rafael Furcal or Miguel Tejada? The trade of Dusty Baker for Joe Torre?

Oh, Arthur Rhodes.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Redsfest Rox!

I've never been, unfortunately. I thought this year since I was in Ohio instead of DC, I would finally get to go. But no. I am going TO Washington over the weekend.

Just look at all the cool stuff I'm missing:

REDSFEST XI Highlights • Dec. 12-13
Kahn’s Redsfest XI, benefiting The Reds Community Fund at The Duke Energy Convention Center
• Friday, Dec. 12, 4 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 13, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tickets on sale now at, (513) 381-REDS or at the door:
• 2-Day tickets are $20 for adults; $10 for kids (12 and younger)
• 1-Day tickets are $15 for adults; $7 for kids (12 and younger)
• Children under 3 admitted free
Redsfest XI Facts:
• Free player autographs and photographs with admission (50+ players appearing)
• Free Reds winter cap to the first 10,000 fans each day
• Expected to raise $100,000 for the Reds Community Fund and its baseball-themed outreach programs.
• $10,000 first prize for the Reds Community Fund Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament (Saturday night)
Over 50 current and former players are scheduled to appear:
• Dusty Baker, Arroyo, B. Phillips, Votto, Bruce, Volquez, Cueto, Keppinger, Encarnacion...and more!
Former Reds players:
• Mario Soto, Eric Davis, George Foster, Lee May, Tom Browning...and more!
All Reds on Radio and TV broadcasters:
• Marty & Thom Brennaman, Jeff “The Cowboy” Brantley, Chris Welsh, George Grande, Jim Day and Jeff Piecoro
Main Stage highlights:
• Friday at 6 p.m.: Reds Players “Past & Present” Introductions (50+ current and former players)
• Also Friday: “Team Cincinnati Choir” in concert…plus The Bronson Arroyo Band
• Saturday at 2 p.m.: ‘08 Team Awards including MVP, Most Outstanding Pitcher, Rawlings Gold Glove Award
• Both days: Kids-only press conferences, Hot Stove Reports with Dusty & Walt
Reds Stocking Stuffer: “All-You-Can-Eat” seats single-game tickets on sale!
• All-You-Can-Eat section tickets for $30 each...first time ever on-sale at Redsfest
• Unlimited Hot Dogs, popcorn, peanuts and soft drinks
• Four Saturday games available: May 9 vs St. Louis, July 18 vs Mil, Aug. 15 vs Wash and Sept.19 vs Florida
• Great for holiday gifts!
Redsfest XI Main Areas:
• Nine autograph & photograph booths featuring current and former players all weekend!
• Reds Community Fund Store featuring game-used, game-worn and autographed items
• Reds Hall of Fame exhibit featuring World Series trophies plus autographed/collectable merchandise for sale
• Belterra Sports Bar with 10 TV’s showing live sports all weekend
• Kids Fun Zone with interactive exhibits and games
• Majestic Team Shop with authentic Reds gear
New Features for Redsfest XI
• The Reds Raceway presented by KOI Auto Parts – kids 10 & under in pedal cars
• Redsfest Reading Room – Reds players will read to kids
• Alvis Marty Brennaman Long Drive Challenge – Hit a long drive on video golf display from GolfTEC
• Civil Rights Game Display – linking the history of the Civil Rights movement to the Reds and MLB

I'd love to score autographs from Joey Votto, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang, and Bronson Arroyo. I have most of the others.

I suppose there is always next year for me, but for you...GO!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bye, bye, Farney

It's been fun, except when you were running into walls and getting concussions and ripping your body to shreds. You really did make some heckuva plays. And who can forget Ryan Freel Dirty Shirt Night at GAB(p)?

Anytime you lose one of your longtime players, you have to reflect a bit. Below are some posts I wrote about Farney. I seldom wrote about Freel.

Farney's Immigration to America

Interview with a Leprechaun

I am ok with this deal, as we need a catcher (as long as Hanigan gets first shot) and Freel is a walking time bomb. Still, there's always a glimmer of a tear dripping from my heart when a Cincinnati Red leaves for other pastures.

May we finally put the era of losing behind us.

UPDATE: We also lost Justin Turner and Brandon Waring in the deal. I sure hope Walt knows what he's doing. I guess winning two World Series should give him the benefit of the doubt...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Stormy winter

You know my hatred for the Cardinals is matched by a hatred for no other team. You know I created a virtual voodoo doll of Albert Pujols that made him go on the DL just a couple of days later. But did you know that my burning animosity toward that team is so intense that as I stare out a window at the snow-covered ground, I see a cardinal eating berries from a bush and think, "Stupid bird, not migrating to warmer climates for winter. Typical cardinal."?

The thing is, I like birds. I like watching the colorful ones hop around and eat things and ride air currents and all that. I liked cardinals until realignment put that team in our division. The cardinal is Ohio's state bird, probably because it is the only thing with color once winter's gloom settles over the Midwest.

See, folks? You shouldn't hate. Hatred makes you irrational. But it's so easy when Pujols is on the team.

In other news, or I guess I should say in news, I am happy that David Weathers has accepted arbitration. I know that there are mixed feelings about Stormy. I can hear some of the groans as I read the article on Yet I am saying a little out loud "yay" to myself. Why? The reason is irrational. It's because he is so nice.

Yes, I am yaying because of the niceness of a player. The year was 2006. The day was the day after the trade deadline. Myself and fellow Reds fans sat in the Mayflower Hotel stalking the players. At first, it was just me, and I was having an overpriced coffee in the lobby while pretending to do work and waiting for the players to get up and go to the ballpark. Stormy was one of the first ones I saw. I said, "Hi Stormy," as he passed me on his way back from what I think was a smoke break. He flashed a genuine smile and gave me a return "hi" in his Tennessee drawl. Later on that same day, after I had taken a much longer lunch than an hour, he came over and started chatting with the few Reds fans that were hanging around (they were there thanks to my big mouth). The guy was really down to earth and I became a Stormy fan that very day.

Now, I realize what we are losing out on is a supplemental first round draft pick and a chunk of dough, plus there's the whole if you use him for more than an inning or bring him in with men on base, you'll experience heart attack-like symptoms, but hey, he's an effective reliever, a leader in a young bullpen (with guys like Herrera and Roenicke potentially landing roles), and it's only a one year deal, RIGHT REDS?

I applaud this move with a golf clap and a smile.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Tears They Do Want to Fall

I'm getting ready to move back to Washington - nothing definite yet, but I have my fingers crossed. You may notice as this site morphs into its new life over the course of this so far freezing winter that some Nationals elements have started to creep back into the site. I cannot wait for the Nationals Opening Day, and I will be there when our new president throws out the first pitch. That being said, if it happens to fall on the same day as Our Holy Reds Opening Day, I will just have to bring a laptop to the ballpark and watch the Reds at the same time as the Nats. That will be something new to me - watching one game while attending another. So far I've only watched two games on computers at the same time.

Anyway, as I have been going through my things, packing up what needs to be packed, pitching what needs to be pitched, I came across a couple of items that amused me. Or saddened me, like this scrap I wrote in a notebook. It was written October 2, 1999, yet the desperate tone sounds awfully familiar:
I sit impatiently waiting for the Reds to begin the final game of the regular season. Already today the Astros won the division title and the Mets have forced a one-game playoff pending a Cincinnati win today (or tomorrow, depending on the weather). It is depressing to think that it was a mere two days ago that Cincy was tied for first and two games ahead of the Mets. Now that I have my playoff tickets, they stand to lose all. But it rains in Milwalkee, and three hours have passed since the game's scheduled start, three hours which could have fit an entire game inside. I stand depressed, and the gray glow of an early October twilight laughs at me as I wait to see if my tickets will be of use.
Oh, the heartbreak that I feel in reading that is as painful as the day the Mets defeated my beloved Reds and I had to return my playoff tickets. I had totally blocked that from my mind. The tickets had been in my hand. They said the words "Cincinnati Reds" and "Division Championship Series" on them.

Once upon a time...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Trip Back in Time

Half my life ago, I won the "Milk Duds Celebrity Bat Girl Contest" and had the great fortune of getting to stand on the field during batting practice. I was 16 years old and I missed a soccer game for it - I was the goalkeeper for my high school team and we were playing a small farm school, but even if we had been playing for a division title that day, I think I'd have missed it. The day was September 16, 1992. Yes, I even remember the date, because it was an incredible experience.

Here is the official contest photo taken of me with "my favorite Reds player," Hal Morris. Actually, Paul O'Neill was my favorite, and Joe Oliver was second, but neither of them was "available," so the Reds deemed Hal Morris as my favorite. I didn't care. I loved Hal, too! As you can see, he does not look pleased to have been deemed "my favorite player." Yes, they made me wear the Milk Duds hat, which was made for a size 10 head, I think. I do not have it anymore. I do, however, still have the Reds jersey, and I'd wear it if it didn't have "Milk Duds Celebrity Bat Girl" on the back. It's no matter - I only have about 50 other Reds shirts to choose from. (Yes, that's hyperbole.)

I also had my picture taken with Chris Hammond - the promising prospect Chris Hammond, not the aged veteran retread Chris Hammond we saw a couple of years ago. It was 1992, and he had his whole promising career ahead of him. Now, HE was happy to take a picture with me. (I had one of those 110 cameras with the strangely-shaped rolls of film back then, and objects ended up on the left side of the pictures.) Chris was a guy I'd had high hopes for. Everything was high hopes then - we were only two years removed from a World Series title, and no one could have foreseen the 18 year drought we would have.

Barry had yet to become my favorite player, though he was extremely nice and autographed a ball and a photo for me, asking me how was school and engaging in conversation as he signed. Of all of the moments of that day, the moment I spoke with Barry Larkin is the most memorable, even as I was unaware of the player he would become. Lark deserves the Hall, and he better get it next season. HEAR THAT, SPORTSWRITERS?????

He also needs to get back to Cincinnati. I share the view of Redleg Nation when I say BRING BACK BARRY! I was disappointed to see that rather than making room for newbies like Barry, the Reds hired back all of the coaching staff from 2008. That coaching staff did such a great job, we only ended up in FIFTH PLACE out of SIX TEAMS. I want to see Barry's butt on that bench!

As I said, Paul O'Neill was my favorite player. Never did I think this day would be the last time I saw Paul in a Reds uniform. What a sad, sad day it was to learn that he had been traded. Even now, after Paul had all of those great seasons with the Yanks, after he won all of those World Series rings, I still can't view him as a Yankee. He was a Red. He was part of that very special 1990 team. He was my favorite! I am happy, though, that New York embraced him as one of their own. That's awfully tough to accomplish when you're an outsider.

The Reds played the Braves that day, the first place Braves, the Ron Gant/David Justice Braves. The Reds lost. Mike Stinkton was the winning pitcher for the Braves and Mark Wohlers got the save. Scott Ruskin blew it for Greg Swindell, my favorite non-Jose pitcher, by serving up two runs in the eighth, giving the Chopheads a 3-2 lead. The Reds fell the furthest behind the eventual division winning Padres that night - 10.5 games back - than they were all season. They'd been in first place until the end of July but started to lose more games than they were winning and ended the season in second place, 8 games back of the Fathers.

On that night, though, September 16, 1992, the standings did not matter to me.

Monday, December 01, 2008

This is not the finished product

I am still working on this site, but I wanted to put something up other than that annoying repetitive background I had on the old version of the site.

Anything good happening in the baseball world these days? You know, there are few things more depressing to me than the site of a snow-covered ballfield. In the meantime, here is some artful poetry:

Reds caps are red
Nats caps are blue
But when it is winter
That just isn't true.

Check back - I'll have the new site done before the snow melts from those ballfields...