Blog Archives

Thank You Brandon Phillips

I would like to thank Brandon Phillips. Thank him for finally agreeing to a trade and allow the Reds to move on with their “rebuild”. I would imagine BP was given some sort of ultimatum about his playing time, so he decided to move on. But no matter the reason, I would like to thank him for agreeing to this.
I also would like to thank him for his time with the Reds. There is NO DOUBT Brandon is the GREATEST 2nd Baseman in franchise history…..next to Joe Morgan, of course. He was spectacular with his glove and bat. He also was willing to bat anywhere in the lineup. He definitely was worth the price of admission on the field.
Now, yes…Brandon did do things off the field that frustrated me. Brandon definitely loved him some Brandon. Was he dismissive of the media at times? Sure. Was he prickly with fans at times? Sure. But I also saw Brandon do many great things with fans…especially with young fans. Now be honest….haven’t you had a time or two or three at work you may not be proud of? Yes, I am sure you have.
Bottom Line….it was time. Time for Brandon to move on. Having him on the Reds roster any longer made no sense.
Thank you Brandon. Good Luck in Atlanta.

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Christmas Wishes for Ohio Sports Fans

It’s the Holiday Season…so why not give our “Christmas Wishes” for fans of Ohio’s major sports teams?

CLEVELAND BROWNS- Hope, any glimmer of hope. All the fans of this downtrodden franchise want is a sign that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train.

CINCINNATI BENGALS- Success on the “big stage”.  This is the season where the Bengals need to show their fans that they can deliver in ‘primetime’. Yes, Andy Dalton is injured…but AJ McCarron should keep the ship afloat until the “Red Rifle” can return in the playoffs.

OHIO STATE FOOTBALL- A convincing win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.  Yes, the dominating victory over Michigan was nice but Buckeyes fans need a big win over the Irish to take the sour taste of no return to the College Football Playoff out of their mouths.

CINCINNATI REDS- A blueprint of a true, concrete plan.  Most reasonable Reds fans probably understand the need for the mid-market team to shed payroll.  But those fans also need to see what is being done to rebuild….or maybe just get some more sweet bobbleheads.

CLEVELAND INDIANS- A sense of direction.  Is this team really in it to win it or just to keep their heads above .500?  The franchise has made some vaguely interesting moves so far this offseason to pique interest among the fanbase but is it enough to compete in the AL Central?

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS- Leadership from within.  Yes, the hiring of John Tortorella as head coach should provide discipline but the team needs leadership from the players themselves.  Nick Foligno was elected captain but it still seems like someone, anyone, needs to start being a bit of an asshole in the locker room.  Nice guys finish last especially in the NHL.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS- A NBA Championship. Pure and simple.  This team is the only real hope Cleveland has of bringing a title to the city.  If they fail this season, it doesn’t look possible anytime soon.

OHIO STATE BASKETBALL- A .500 season with maybe a couple of Big Ten Tournament wins would be nice.  Kentucky win aside, this is a very young team and is due to disappoint Buckeyes fans a few more times this season. If they could sneak into the NCAA Tournament, that would be a bonus.

UC & XAVIER BASKETBALL- To use a cliche, “You keep being you”.  Both of these teams exemplify why  the city of Cincinnati is a true college basketball gem.  UC & X are very good teams with great coaches at the helm.  Added bonus, neither coach looks to be wanting to go elsewhere which should mean continued success for a long time.

The 2015 Reds. Well, It Was Baseball…

The 2015 Cincinnati Reds Season has mercifully come to an end & what can you say?  At least Cincinnati got to host the All Star Game & festivities.  It was truly a thrill to see Todd Frazier win the Home Run Derby, but it was not a thrill to watch him tank the second half of the season.  I always thought it was such a fallacy to hear about how Home Run Derby destroys a player’s swing afterward but I saw it happen right in front of my face this year.  Frazier was a shell of himself in the second half.  What seemed like a lock for 100 RBIs did not happen.
frazier
The Reds overall had one of the worst seasons in their storied history.  They finished dead last in the NL Central at 64-98 and lost 14 of their last 15 games in a stretch that was painful to watch as the team quite obviously was “mailing it in”.  It was a dreadful end to a season that actually started out with four straight wins in the team’s final at-bat. The Reds once again showed a propensity to not be able to hit with runners on base and with the exceptions of Aroldis Chapman and JJ Hoover, the bullpen was a dumpster fire.  Of course trading away Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake did not help things but those deals were pretty much assumed before the season started.  Plus, the Reds did acquire some very good young pitching from the Royals in exchange for Cueto.  It is just going to be very painful to watch Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb learn trial by fire in the majors.  In addition, young, green starters Michael Lorenzen, Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias will also be run out in the 2016 starting rotation until Homer Bailey can return.
lorenzen
There were a few highlights.  1B Joey Votto had a stellar year (.314, 29 HRs, 80 RBI) and finished the year with a streak of getting on base 48 straight games, tying Pete Rose for a Reds record. 2B Brandon Phillips had an under the radar good year (.294, 12 HRs, 70 RBI) and played, for another year, stellar defense.  Eugenio Suarez showed some flashes of stardom after taking over at SS for Zack Cozart, who was injured early in the season.
votto
But that’s about it…back to the bad…RF Jay Bruce continues to underachieve & frustrate Reds fans and CF Billy Hamilton may be the fastest man in baseball, but you can’t steal first base.  Too bad some of the magic that Dee Gordon had for the Marlins this year (NL Leading .333 Batting Average & 58 Stolen Bases) couldn’t make it to BHam.

The 2016 Reds, for a very early glance, look to not be much different than this season’s version.  GM Walt Jocketty & Manager Bryan Price will return.  It is probably a smart decision to go ahead and have Price finish out his contract since next year looks to be a lost one for the Redlegs.  Pieces like C Brayan Pena and Pinch Hitting OF Skip Schumaker will be gone but much of what you saw this season will be back.  The main question will be…what to do with Suarez/Cozart?  Cozart was actually having a pretty good season before injury.  Look for one, most likely Suarez, to move to LF.

Let’s Play Ball!

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Another Major League Baseball Season is upon us.  What should we look for from the Cincinnati Reds & Cleveland Indians?

CINCINNATI REDS
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The 2015 Edition of the Reds is a curious one.  Is there enough on this team remaining from it’s recent playoff years to make it competitive or has enough been lost to make it a bottom dweller?  Yes, this team was racked by injuries in 2014, but it always seems lame to use that as an excuse.  The St. Louis Cardinals deal with injury issues with quality back-ups and call-ups from their minor league system.  You have to have depth.  First Baseman Joey Votto is back but who is he? The Votto of his MVP year or the “New” Votto who is more concerned with taking walks and on-base percentage.  2B Brandon Phillips & 3B Todd Frazier are back.  Brandon is another year older….is he still “DatDudeBP” or a player on the decline?  Frazier is solid at 3rd, but can he be a leader on a team that desperately needs it?

Marlon Byrd was a nice pickup to replace Ryan Ludwick in LF, but he is 37 years old.  His line of .264, 25 HRs & 85 HRs from 2014 will be an improvement.  Speedster Billy Hamilton is an asset in CF with his speed and glove, but will he ever hit enough to justify being in the leadoff spot?  RF Jay Bruce has a great glove, but will he ever “get over the hump” to become a superstar?

The starting rotation is taking a hit with the departures of Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon in trades.  Rookies Anthony DeSclafani (acquired from the Marlins in the Latos deal) & Raisel Iglesias (Cuban prospect signed in free agency) are being asked to fill crucial roles plus retread Jason Marquis is part of the mix.  Will Homer Bailey rebound from his 2014 late-season forearm injury?  Of course, Johnny Cueto is the ace, but for how long?  If the Reds are out of it by the All Star Break (don’t forget, the Reds host the 2015 All Star Game), Cueto could be dealt.  The bullpen does have phenom flamethrower Aroldis Chapman but getting to him is now a problem.  JJ Hoover is back for another season?  Ouch.

What will come of Bryan Price’s second year at the helm?  A mediocre season at best can be the Reds hope. 82-80.

CLEVELAND INDIANS
Well, well, well…look who (along with the Chicago Cubs) is a trendy pick for the World Series.  The freaking Tribe.
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I like Terry Francona as a manager and of course, Corey Kluber is the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, but World Series?  I believe the staff at Sports Illustrated needs to be drug tested.  At very best, the Indians should finish third in the AL Central.  Lonnie Chisenhall finally became the solid 3B everyone hoped for in 2014, Michael Brantley is an All Star in LF but what should be expected of Michael Bourn in CF and will newly acquired Brandon Moss be a liability in RF?  Moss has a power bat but isn’t known for the leather.  The Indians were butchers in the infield last season and while SS Jose Ramirez should help don’t expect much from this squad defensively.  2B Jason Kipnis is coming off an injury plagued year.  Can he rebound or will he still be hampered by injury?

The starting rotation to me is a question mark after Kluber.  Trevor Bauer has been known as a head case and Carlos Carrasco & TJ House are not pitchers I would put a lot of faith in.  Plus, touted prospect Danny Salazar will not start the season in Cleveland but in Triple A Columbus instead after a disappointing spring training.  I look at the bullpen and see names like Marc Rzepczynski, Bryan Shaw, Nick Hagadone and ancient warrior Scott Atchison.  I am not impressed. Francona has been a miracle worker in the past, but I don’t see it here.  Look for a Tribe season of around .500 when it’s all said and done.

What Will We Do Without Football!?

So the Super Bowl is over and the New England Patriots are your NFL Champions.  So has the depression sunk in yet?  The sadness of now knowing football is done for yet another season. Couple that with the fact that Central Ohio just finished celebrating a National Championship season for the Ohio State Buckeyes and the funk becomes even greater. Cheer up friends! There are plenty of things to get excited about until the start of the next football season.

Ohio State Buckeyes Basketball
Thad Matta, D’Angelo Russell & the Ohio State Hoopsters are already in the middle of another exciting college basketball season!  It should be another fun battle in the Big Ten Conference as we head to March Madness…where the BasketBucks will probably get upset by another mid-major.

Columbus Blue Jackets
We are coming off  of a wonderful NHL All Star experience here in Columbus, so why not get behind your Columbus Blue Jackets?  Why let little things like the CBJ digging themselves into such an early hole that the Stanley Cup Playoffs seem like a pipe dream or a roster decimated by injuries to stars like Nathan Horton and Sergei Bobrovsky keep you from being a member of the “5th Line”?

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL (Cincinnati Reds & Cleveland Indians)
It won’t be long before the “Boys of Summer” will be in Arizona getting ready for another Major League Baseball season!  Don’t tell us you aren’t getting a little bit excited for a marathon 162 game season in which both the Cincinnati Reds & Cleveland Indians will march in the hot summer sun to…..most likely mediocre seasons at best.
     

Who are we kidding??  We are going to be miserable without football.  So keep working on those mock NFL drafts and counting the days until the Buckeyes Football Spring Game.  We can make it until then, right?

“Stay Out Of The Hall, Pete Rose!”

Cincinnati Reds Legend Pete Rose is no one to shy from publicity and he is playing up his ban from Major League Baseball and the Baseball Hall of Fame in a new commercial for Skechers.  Give it a view, it’s pretty funny!

Time to Revamp The Reds

San Diego Padres v Cincinnati Reds
The “window of opportunity” for the Cincinnati Reds has closed. In fact, it closed when they choked and lost Game 5 of the NLDS in 2012 vs the San Francisco Giants. The team should have fired Dusty Baker after that season and gone after a solid managerial candidate such as Terry Francona. This year’s team has been horribly decimated by injury, yes that’s true, but it is also apparent this team has once again rolled over and died.   I believe it is because they are hearing the same voice (via current manager Bryan Price) that they heard in the previous regime (Baker’s).  Looking back at it now, it is obvious that the organization went the ‘safe route’ by elevating Price as manager instead of doing a comprehensive search for a manager who would hold his players accountable.

Jay Bruce

As far as what this organization needs to do going forward…it needs to begin an overhaul. It needs to trade valuable pieces so that they are used to rebuild a minor league system that is in shambles.  Even those who have been elevated to the big league club that have had some semblance of success this season can be called into question.  RP Jumbo Diaz and 2B Kris Negron have done well but are minor league ‘lifers’ who can not be counted on to continue to help.   I would strongly consider trading players such as horribly overrated RF Jay Bruce who never fulfills his supposed ‘potential’, superstar closer Aroldis Chapman & starting pitchers Mat Latos and Mike Leake to make this happen.
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A year ago, I would have been dead set against the trading of Chapman.  I now realize how overrated the closer position is in Major League Baseball.  I also realize that the Reds made a mistake in not turning such a talent into a starting pitcher.  Time to try and see what value you can get in return for him before he begins eating up salary.   I also get frustrated when fellow Reds fans suggest they try to deal players like Chris Heisey, Ryan Ludwick and Zack Cozart….what other MLB organization would want those players? Also, there is no hope in trading Joey Votto and/or Brandon Phillips unless the Reds want to eat a significant portion of their contracts and we all know that will not happen.  The Reds need to do something to avoid becoming a team like the Philadelphia Phillies; a collection of aged, injured and past their prime players who are bleeding the organization’s payroll.

Are The Reds & Indians Buyers or Sellers?

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With the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline looming, the question needs to be asked, are the Reds & Indians “Buyers or Sellers”?

REDS
At the time this was written the Reds were at .500, 52-52 and 6 games back of NL Central leading Milwaukee.  They were 4 1/2 games out of the final NL Wild Card spot.  The Reds’ offense has been in a word, putrid, this season.  Star players 1B Joey Votto & 2B Brandon Phillips are out of the lineup due to injury and don’t look to be returning soon.  Quite frankly, I think the team is more hurt by the loss of Phillips than Votto.  So it would seem the best option would be to trade for a second baseman.  Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays and Chase Utley of the Phillies would be the gems to go for, but Cincinnati doesn’t have the payroll to afford either one of them.  Would either team be willing to eat contract to unload them?  If so, that would be a blessing…but don’t count on it.  Plus, Tampa has played itself back into contention, so it has grown more unlikely they would give up Zobrist.  Daniel Murphy of the Mets would also be a nice addition to any squad but once again, he is eligible for arbitration and would not be cost effective.  The Reds are much more than one player away from contending.  They did play themselves to within 1 1/2 games of the NL Central lead before the All Star break but that was due to ‘getting fat’ on weak chum like the Cubs.  After the break they found themselves in the midst of a 7 game losing streak and sliding back into the bottom of the pack.

VERDICT – SELLERS
Now the question needs to be asked, if they are sellers, do they look to unload contracts that could be problems in 2015 or go into full ‘fire sale’ mode?  Players like Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Aroldis Chapman could bring prized prospects…but do you want to risk angering a fan base?

INDIANS
At the time this was written the Indians had a record of 52-53 and were 6 1/2 games behind AL Central leading Detroit.  They were 3 1/2 games behind Toronto for the final AL Wild Card spot.  The Indians somehow have been able to stay in relative contention with a team that has no real stars and a squad that is horrific defensively.  Even some of the Indians players themselves expressed amazement at being in the race at the All Star break.  The Tribe came roaring out of the All Star break by taking 3 our of 4 from the Tigers but then turned around and lost series to the Twins and Royals, games that were much needed against division foes.  3B Lonnie Chisenhall, OF Michael Brantley and P Corey Kluber have had great seasons so far but aging veterans like Nick Swisher are being counted on to fill roles they just can’t fill.  Unfortunately, the Indians seem to be in a position similar to Cincinnati…a team that is more than one player away to make a difference.  And just like the Reds, they can’t afford to take on any more payroll.

VERDICT – SELLERS
The Indians seem to be more of a candidate for a full out ‘fire sale’ than the Reds.  SS Asdrubal Cabrera and P Justin Masterson would be good pieces to trade to other teams for prospects.

BOTTOM LINE- All of this sounds good, but honestly I don’t see either team doing anything of note; buying or selling.  There might be a minor deal here or there, but look for the Reds and Indians to stand pat and finish their 2014 seasons on a boring (.500) note.

Is #CBus “Reds Country” or “Tribe Territory”?

reds-indians  First of all, let’s state the obvious…Columbus, Ohio is NOT a baseball town.  Being a resident of CBus and a HUGE baseball fan, it pains me to type that…but it’s true.  The average fan in Columbus cares more about a five-star recruit that has just committed to Ohio State than either the Reds or Indians.  Not criticizing it, but it is what it is.  That being said, when it does come to baseball season, which of the two Ohio MLB teams does CBus favor?

Columbus definitely is included in the region known as “Reds Country”.  Now this may have been more prevalent in the 1970s during the Redlegs’ ‘hey day’ as they dominated the National League and quite frankly, baseball itself.  But still Cincy’s foothold is strong as thousands make the trek each season to Great American Ball Park.  Plus, Cincy media has a presence in Columbus.  The Reds’ flagship radio station, 700 WLW, can be heard quite clearly in Columbus, so personalities such as Marty Brennaman can be heard in one’s car talking Reds.  Plus, we can’t forget one Jim Day of Fox Sports Ohio, who is from Westerville, a suburb of the Capital City.   Columbus also is one of the major stops on the Reds Winter Caravan as huge crowds show up to see and talk to players, broadcasters, managers, coaches and front office personnel of their favorite team.

However, a case can definitely be made for the Indians; though I didn’t notice it until the Tribe’s winning run during the 1990s.  I will admit though when scanning the dial, reading the newspaper or watching the nightly CBus sportscasts, they seem to lean towards the Tribe.  Why?  Maybe they figure since Cincy media seems to have a foothold in Columbus, they need to ‘even it out’ somehow.  Plus, Indians fans can point to the very fact that the Tribe’s AAA affiliate resides right here in Columbus at Huntington Park.  However, whenever the Reds’ AAA affiliate visits for a series, fans of the Redlegs turn out in droves.  I also noticed the Indians did not send their Winter Caravan to Columbus this year.

Since I am a Reds fan, I am going to be biased and say “Hell Yes, Columbus is Reds Country!!!”
But more importantly, what do YOU think???  Is Columbus, Ohio “Reds Country” or “Tribe Territory”?

Reds Fans….get over yourselves….

In the bottom of the third inning of Thursday’s (4/3) Reds game vs. the Cardinals, St. Louis 1st Baseman Matt Adams reached into the first base stands and this happened…..

Yes, Adams did shove the Reds fan who made the catch, probably in frustration….though Matt said differently after the game.  The shove was a bit of ‘jackassery’ from Adams, but the reaction from the Reds fan afterward was also classless.  After the ‘shove’ occurred many Cincy fans on social media said they thought the Cardinals 1st Baseman should be suspended and/or fined.  Get over yourselves, this was a minor incident that got blown way out of proportion.  If it weren’t a Cardinals player, such a big deal wouldn’t be made of it.  Many Reds fans like to call the team from St. Louis “Whinybirds” because of their tendency to whine and make excuses when things don’t go their way.  Don’t copy that behavior, Redlegs fans…..just let this ‘incident’ go.  Adams should neither be suspended or fined.