Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Edwin, And Another Important Homestand Because...

...of the road trip that follows. The Reds need to get wins against the Diamondbacks because the Cardinals roll in after that. Then it's on the road to Philadelphia for four games, then onto to New York for three games against the Mets. I know both of those teams haven't been lighting it up lately. In fact, the Phillies just had a nine game home stand, and they lost eight of them. EIGHT! All came against American League teams: they lost two out of three against Boston, and were swept in consecutive three-game series by the Blue Jays and the Orioles. Still, games on the road against the Phillies and the Mets worry me. But let's see if they can take care of things at home first. And all of you Edwin haters, I hope to see EE here asap. Admit it folks, he was missed. Maybe he's not the best when you compare him around the league, but after two months of musical third base, he's by far the best the Reds currently have in the system.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Scrub That Previous Post, And DeRosa Would Have Been Huge

They did it again. Every time the Reds appear ready to abandon ship, they raise the lifeboats and sail on. But don't scrub all of my previous post, because I believe most of it is valid. A lot of fans were ready to toss in the towel a couple of weeks ago when the headline blared that the Reds were content with the current set of players. Last week Walt Jocketty made it clear the Reds were looking for a bat. Today it's clear the Reds were making a play for Cleveland's Mark DeRosa. That would have been the perfect pickup for this team. Apparently the Indians were asking for a lot, so the Reds were left empty-handed while the Cardinals made the move. It's bad enough the Reds miss out on the guy, it's almost a wooden stake to the heart that he goes to division-leading St. Louis. The Cardinals gave up relief pitcher Chris Perez and a player to be named later. I can't judge the trade until I know who the player to be named is. but let's say the Indians wanted Jared Burton and a player to be named. I would make that trade in a heartbeat, again, depending on who the ptbnl is. Burton's stats are comparable to Perez, but Perez is younger, throws harder, and is thought to be a potential closer. George Grande said on the Reds telecast Sunday that relief pitcher Josh Roenicke was a guy the Indians were believed to be interested in. He also said the Indians swear that the ptbnl from St. Louis is a good one. He'd better be, or the Reds did something to the pooch that you should never do to a pooch. I think DeRosa was a perfect fit. Time to move on to Plan B. The consolation prize in all of this: We know the Reds are actively pursuing help, and not just waiting for Edwin and others to fill the void. So Walt, roll up the sleeves and git'r'done!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Optimism Is Giving Way To Pessimism

Every baseball season I seem to start out like Yogi. It ain't over 'til it's over. This year the optimism surrounding the Reds was fueled by good pitching, both starting and relief. We knew the offense would be challenged, just maybe not quite this challenged. After almost half the season we know this about the Reds: They aren't bad, they just aren't very good. They're not really losing any ground, they're not gaining any ground either. They aren't a whole lot worse than they were at the end of April, but they're certainly no better. They might be able to hang in the race a little while longer, but I don't see them making a drive to the top. Their pitching is okay, but not stellar, and certainly not good enough to carry a sagging offense. The defense is okay, but certainly not a highlight reel of "web gems", not even close. It's not up to the standard I expected at the beginning of the season. In short, the Reds are a mediocre team. These aren't just the musings of a man suffering through a 9-2 loss at Cleveland. These are the musings of a man allowing pessimism to seep into the small cracks where optimism once lived. It was back in early May when the Reds briefly led the league in earned run average. They are now sixth. They are 12th in the N.L. in runs scored. They are on the minus side of run differential, a stat that doesn't tell the whole story but it does give you a good indication of performance and potential. Plus, the starting pitching has shown some signs of bending. It ain't over, but I've reached that point where I am now a pessimist and no longer an optimist about the 2009 Cincinnati Reds. As for 2010, isn't Homer on the mound Saturday night?

Brown Talks About Derrick

I'm glad to hear Derrick have a positive outlook on his draft position and his draft destination. He was with family and friends in Dayton when our buddies at WDTN-TV caught up with the man out of Xavier and Chaminade-Julienne High School. A big thanks to Jack Pohl and Neil "Hutch" Konerman.
video

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Joey Was Big, Willy Could Be Bigger, And The NBA Draft

Joey Votto leaves his hometown with a bang, and the Reds needed it. Just when they blow the four-run lead, it's Votto with a home run to put the Reds back on top. We know Votto can hit, but the bigger thing to come out of Thursday night in toronto could be (do not hold me to this) Willy Taveras. A three-hit night, a well executed bunt on a suicide squeeze, a stolen base, and a pretty decent centerfield. If Willy can do this a little more consistently, the Reds have a chance to hang in there. I'm not sure why I would think he could do it more consistently, other than the belief he cannot possibly be as bad as he's shown the past month and a half. But I also feel if Willy goes into another tailspin, it's time to put Dickerson in center and give him a chance. Chris flashes some awesome defense when he gets a chance to patrol the middle.

Bronson Arroyo has something in common with "celebrity blogger" Perez Hilton. They both got beat up in Toronto. The good news for Arroyo fans, Bronson cry about it on video. I can't say the same for the overexposed "celebrity blogger". (i don't know what else to call the guy without using words like clown, fool, etc., etc.)

The NBA draft never fails to surprise me. Mainly because there are so many guys drafted in the first round I've never heard of. David Stern had the same problem when he stumbled and bumbled over the name and hometown of Rodrigue Beaubois.

I was disappointed for Derrick Brown. Hopefully he has a good career. A lot of guys have benefited from getting drafted in the second round. You get to the big-money deals sooner. But you have to be very good, and you have to pan-out to make it happen. Brown went to Charlotte with the tenth pick in the second round, the 40th overall pick.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Votto On Board For Toronto

A trusted source game me the verbal thumbs up when I asked if Joey Votto was hopping the plane to Toronto with the Reds. You could tell after Sunday's game in Dayton that Votto was hoping he could get back to the big league team. He sounded like the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders. He seemed more relieved by playing back to back complete games than nailing three hits in six at-bats. The home run he hit Saturday night was a monster. I don't know if Votto will be shoved back into the starting lineup right away. That is something the Reds may not even know. That is a decision that will probably be made Tuesday afternoon.
Here's a link to the story on our web site and the interview Votto gave the media after Sunday's game in Dayton.

http://www.wlwt.com/sports/19826592/detail.html

http://www.wlwt.com/video/19818653/index.html

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This and That, and Oh Henry!

Not Henry Aaron, but Chris Henry. Although it's cool that Henry Aaron is in town this weekend. But all of that smoke in the off season about Chris Henry changing might not be smoke after all. He claims to be in the best shape ever, at least in terms of strength. He also claims to have less than 5-per cent body fat, but he laughed when he said it and added he's always been kind of skinny. At any rate, he seems to be happier and more confident and genuinely anxious for the season to start. I really felt the Bengals went way beyond the call of duty giving Henry multiple chances, but maybe they will get a payoff from all of that grief. I'm not buying all the way, but for the first time in a long time, perhaps forever, I feel like "Slim-15" has a chance.

I've been moaning about this for a month, and I'm moaning about it again. The Reds scoreboard does not show enough replays. Not even close to enough replays. We brought this up with Reds C.O.O. Phil Castellini on "Sports Rock" last week. He seemed to agree, but I get the fielding someone or something is holding them back. When I was at the game Wednesday night, people in our section starting noticing and complaining. I threw some fuel on the fire by reminding them they paid to see the game, and the people at home watching on television didn't pay a penny and they are getting to see all of the replays. Then I noticed a real buzz in the crowd when they did a full scoreboard shot of Francisco Cordero warming up to pitch the ninth inning.
Full scoreboard replays would be a nice touch. Then back to the lineups and defensive alignments between plays. Why waste that huge, high-tech screen by constantly supplying the kind of information the scoreboard in Crosley Field could provide. I'm not sure I'm getting it.

Is anyone else tired of this rain? Yeah, we all are, especially when it messes with the U.S. Open. It seems like it has rained almost every day in June, and there's a potential for rain for the next three days at the U.S. Open. According to the forecast, it's a 20-percent chance of rain Friday, 60-percent Saturday, and 40-percent Sunday. This is not good news. Here's a link that I hope provides the latest hour-by-hour forecast in New York, site of the tournament.

http://www.weather.com/weather/local/USNY0996?lswe=new%20york&lwsa=WeatherLocalUndeclared&from=searchbox_typeahead

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Can There Really Be Too Much Golf?

I don't think so. I haven't been around this little corner of the world lately because I have a problem. In my opinion, it's a good problem to have: The determination to fix a crappy golf game. I went through this last year and it helped. I have gone to a range to hit a bucket or played at least nine holes the past nine consecutive days. Based on Tuesday's bucket, I'm not improving much. But I will. I must improve. That's what happens when you you're bitten by the bug of a game that seems so easy. But alas, comes the U.S. Open, and the hackers' revenge. The very best in the world get to play in a tournament that will test all phases of the game. And even better than that, the very best golfers in the world will turn in a few scores that resemble mine at the easiest local city courses. I can't wait to watch these guys hitting out of knee deep or ankle deep rough. That's what I have to do fellas! Of course I hit my ball a lot further off the fairways to find comparable foliage. But find it I do! I'm not sure how I stack the majors at the professional level, but the U.S. Open has to be at the top of the list. I love the Masters. I love the British. But the constant "baseball bat to the knees" that is the U.S. Open satisfies the morbid side of a man who wants to be sure the rest of the population is human too. So try and hit a 3-iron out of the deep rough boys, try to hit that pitching wedge through a tree. And when that ball cracks a limb and shoots a little deeper into the woods, I'll try to have some sympathy. I'll try t0 feel your pain. But mostly, I'll feel an urge to hit another bucket of balls so I don't end up playing like you did in this glorious tournament known at the U.S. Open.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Reds Offense and Twitter:Make It Stop!

The Reds offense continues to give me an uneasy feeling. They are 11th in the National League in runs scored. But maybe the pitching is good enough to continue giving them chances to win, even with Votto still out there somewhere on the horizon. We've heard for years and years that good pitching is a wonderful thing. It is, and the Reds have it. The Reds are still on the plus side in runs scored, but plus eight after 59 games is a razor thin.

Usually games involving the Washington Nationals result in scores more suited to the Metro Softball Tournament at Rumpke Park. Lately though, the Nationals have had trouble scoring as well, and that's how the Reds were able to get out of D.C. with two wins while scoring just nine runs in three games. Only twice in the last eight games have the National scored more than two runs. That is beyond brutal.

Did you ever think you would long for the days to have Edwin Encarnacion back at third base? With Rosales in the tank, the Reds are there. Clearly Jerry Hairston Jr. is more comfortable at other positions.

Twitter is the "pet rock" fad of 2009, at least that's what I hope. Please, make it STOP! I refuse to follow anyone on the stupid thing, and if that puts me behind the 8-ball with pertinent sports information, so be it. A lot of sporting types, agents, players, etc., are using the thing to fire out thoughts, sometimes news, but usually just a bunch of meaningless information. I mean really, who has time to read all of that crap some of these people put out? I've had to cull through some of that stuff for work, and quite honestly, who the hell would go through that stuff on their own time? It's mainly a bunch of gibberish. Is this what it's coming too? I'm perplexed by this thing. But whatever floats your boat, I guess. I have to personally thank Chad Ochocinco for perpetrating the tattoo hoax through his twitter account. The more junk like that coming out means the less reliable it is. Ask guys like Tony LaRussa. He's suing the place. I'm going to help Tony out. I'm going to find my "pet rock" from the 70's and fire it right through the front window of Twitter.

As I've clearly stated in the past, I've grown so tired of the Ochocinco thing. The antics I can do without, but when he does his interviews, something funny usually comes out. He is a funny, funny, man. The Brokeback Mountain comment earlier in the week was hysterical. (although Carson may have failed to see the humor) I genuinely feel Chad means no harm. But if the Bengals need a nice comedian, Jay Leno has some time off this summer. A healthy, focused Chad can help, but I still can't believe it's been worth the drama of the last 18 months.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How Can Huggs Look Worse Than When He Wore The Mustard Suit?

When he looks like this. Huggs says he ran into the bathroom door in the middle of the night.



He's posing with West Virginia Athletic Director Ed Pastilong. Pastilong has a cast on his hand from a recent surgery, so they were joking around that Pastilong broke his hand by punching Bob's lights out.



Here's a link to a story about the whole deal from former Cincinnati writer Bob Hertzel:http://www.timeswv.com/wvu_sports/local_story_157025713.html

And for old time sake, the glorious mustard suit!

Reds Take Leake...

Yeah, okay, real funny guys,,,, pun intended. Thanks to a certain TV-5 photographer for the headline. Mike Leake is his name, and the Reds took him with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the Major League draft. If you care enough to read this far, you probably know he's a right-handed pitcher from Arizona State. It's amusing to read or hear anyone pan this pick. The arguments are hilarious. "But Baseball America had him rated 14th and the Reds took him eighth!", or "They reached because they are cheap and were worried about sign-ability". Please. Who the heck saw all of these guys and rated them? Did you? Did the blowhard down the block, or on the call-in show? Do you really think the people who get all geeked up about drafting player "A" instead of player "B" really have any clue what they are talking about? The people who do this for a living barely know what they are talking about when it comes to the draft. Take football, basketball, hockey, and baseball, and the MLB draft is the biggest crap shoot, by far. It's not even close. Do yourself a favor, and check some past drafts of your favorite team and see how many players panned out in the early rounds. As for sign-ability, talk to the Minnesota Twins about that. They allegedly went for a high school catcher over Mark Prior with the first pick in the 2001 draft because of sign-ability. The catcher's name is Joe Mauer. Mauer is presently hitting .413 and is a damned good catcher. Prior hasn't thrown a pitch in the major leagues since 2006 because of injuries.

Here's the Reds picks so far thanks to MLB.Com:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2009/drafttracker.jsp?p=0&s=30&sc=pick_number&so=ascending&st=number&ft=TM&fv=cin

For some reason the video of second round pick Billy Hamilton caught my eye big-time. It's only a little box of video on the internet, but this kid looks like a complete stud. Click on his "enhanced scouting report" and you'll see the video.

you don't have to search long and hard to find out this kid is considered the best high school athlete in the state of Mississippi. Three-sports standout who dreams of playing big-league baseball. Here's a short profile from one of the Mississippi television stations:

http://www.fox40now.com/sports/46966362.html

Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm tired of him, and you're tired of him...

...but Chad Ochocinco is getting his fix of attention these days. After all of that baloney last week on the NFL Network, Monday he gave Geoff Hobson of http://www.bengals.com/ an interview. As usual, it's all about Chad, or at least mostly about him. A couple of things strike me about Chad's suddenly cheery and talkative ways. I find it interesting since HBO announced the Bengals will be the subject of "Hard Knocks", Chad is back to yapping. While he says he might be too embarrassed by last season to open up on the show, I say he's going to do anything in his power to get HBO to set up an entire studio in his training camp dorm room. I also find it interesting that he listens to Denzel Washington and Kobe Bryant. At least he'll listen to someone. Too bad Washington and Bryant aren't part of the Bengals coaching staff. Wouldn't it be nice if Chad gave his coaches some of that respect, especially when it matters? Wouldn't it be nice if Chad gave his teammates some that respect, especially when it matters? Look, I want everyone to be happy and prosperous, including Chad. I also wish he would have begun that march back to happiness and prosperity last spring, in a Washington Redskins uniform. Add Video

Saturday, June 6, 2009

When "Probably not" sounds like "Not good".

When Dusty Baker was asked if Joey Votto will return to the lineup when he's eligible to come off the disabled list, Baker reportedly responded, "probably not." The earliest Votto could return is June 14. That's one week away. He has not been taking part in baseball activities while he deals with the stress-related issues. According to Dusty, a little rehab in the minors is probably in store for Votto before he gets back to playing with the Reds. In all honesty, that shouldn't be too surprising. But also in all honesty, I figured after 15 days Votto would be close, if not ready to roll. Obviously, these things are tough to pin down and figuring out a long-term treatment has to be tricky too, especially if it's something that involves medication while trying to hit 95 mile per hour fastballs. Whatever time it takes to get Votto right for the long-term, that's what the
Reds should and will do. Hopefully for the Reds and Joey's sake, it won't be a long time after the 15 days are up. I'm still optimistic about the long-term. The New York Times ran an item today that talks about players dealing with social anxiety disorder. No one has said, or even hinted that Votto is dealing with that, but it's an interesting, quick, read and Votto's name is mentioned in the article. Here's the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/sports/baseball/07spotlight.html

Trying To Hang On

Tough luck for the Reds that they ran into Carpenter and Zambrano on back to back nights. Tougher luck that both starting pitchers were on top of their games. The Reds wasted good outings by their own starting pitchers on those nights. Harang and Owings pitched well enough to win on a lot of nights, but not on Thursday and Friday. On Friday the Reds had the tying run just 90 feet away in the eighth and ninth innings. I'm starting to wonder if the Reds can hang on until Votto returns.

It's tough to send Jay Bruce to the minors to get his stroke back with Votto still on the d.l. Bruce had a hit Friday night and hasn't struck out for the last four games. I dunno, just looking for some reason to think he's about to snap out of it.

Good Luck to Moeller as the Crusaders baseball team goes for a state title Saturday night. Badin lost a tough one in the division 3 state championship game this morning. The Rams lost 7-6 in eight innings to Indian Valley. The winning run scored in the bottom of the eighth on an error.
Also, good luck to the Ross girls, trying to nail down Ohio's division 2 state title in fast pitch softball.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some Quick One Liners

Because I don't have a lot of time, but I'm itching to post.

If the Reds take three out of four in St. Louis, it's a big-time success after the way this trip started.

If the Reds can play close to .500 while Joey Votto is out, they have a great chance to hang in there.

I have nothing concrete to base this on, but scuttlebutt and speculation have put my mind at ease as far as Votto in the long-term.

Congrats to Badin for advancing the the d-3 baseball semifinals and good luck to Reading (d-4) and Moeller (d-1) on Friday.

I think we in the media make way too much of the Chad Ochocinco matter because I don't see Chad having an major impact on the Bengals chances in 2009. Plus I'm sick of him. ( I know that's two lines but I'm really sick of him)

U.C. had a big week with Jaquon Parker and George Jackson joining the hoops program and Dominique Brown from Winton Woods joining the football program.

Mike Woods, R.I.P. (he was a monster at linebacker for the Bearcats in the 70's)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

If You Aren't Watching The 'Legs...

...you are missing out. Imagine you go to work, you walk in the front door, and the person you trust the most (Votto) is lying in the corner with an ice bag applied to his head. Day three into a 15-day ailment. All right, you expected that, you'll find a way to get through the day. Besides, one of the other co-workers (Volquez) you trust the most is coming back to save the day with his golden arm. Then 10 minutes into your workday that golden arm has you, the fan, feeling like something a few shades darker than gold. Then somehow, it gets worse. They turn the whole thing over to some dude (Lincoln) you thought would be closer to Churchill Downs than new Busch Stadium by this hour. He wasn't. So to punish yourself further, you watch the carnage unfold. What else can you do on a Monday night in June since Arena Football took a hiatus? But here they are, a bunch of guys who have no business doing what they are doing, doing it again. Seriously, did you think Ramon Hernandez could do the splits, not once, but twice? He may have an ice bag applied to something himself, but it won't be applied to his skull. Did you think Lincoln and Daniel Ray Herrera could hold the Cardinals to one earned run in five combined innings? What about Herrera dropping down a perfect sacrifice bunt, Hanigan getting a couple of hits and scoring a couple of runs, and Layne Nix continuing to come through whenever needed? It's June, they have a winning record, and they are doing it in legitimate fashion, with a plus 8 in runs scored. If you aren't watching the Redlegs by now, I'm betting you will soon.