Yes, Bryce Harper is probably the best player in Major League Baseball right now. Yes, Bryce Harper is bringing younger fans and excitement to the game. Yes, Bryce Harper will probably end up in the Hall of Fame when it is all said and done.
But one thing remains the same. Bryce Harper is a punk. A spoiled, arrogant punk.
Monday Night, he cried in the fourth inning to home plate umpire Brian Knight after taking a clear strike for a K looking. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Harper was ejected after chirping at Knight when the Nats’ Danny Espinosa took strike three looking. Luckily for Harper, Clint Robinson ended it with a walk-off homer to win it for Washington.
After the game ended, Harper was clearly shown on camera saying “F-ck You” in the direction of Knight during the home plate celebration. Class act, Harper. Class act.
(Courtesy Of SB Nation’s Joe Mullinax)
I am sure the fanboys will continue to defend Harper. I even was beginning to sway Bryce’s way when it came to “Making Baseball Fun Again”. After his act Monday Night, I am going back to the “old rules”. Hopefully someone plunks this punk soon. At the very least, Dusty Baker better get his ass under control.
It’s the beginning of a New Year and with that time once again for each of us to make our New Years Resolutions.
What are your ‘Sports Resolutions’ for 2016?
Is it to be a better fan of your teams?
Is it to be more critical of your teams?
Is it to actually get off the couch and participate in a sport?
Is it to lessen your sports spectating?
Is it to watch more sports?
Is it to ‘cut the cord’ and go to more streaming services to watch sports?
Is it to give up on sports altogether?
Is it to maybe start watching and following a new sport?
Is it to maybe help in coaching youth sports?
Feel free to share your New Years ‘Sports Resolutions’ with us and tell us how you do as the year progresses. The Sports Bus cares.
So, on “Back To The Future” Day & being tortured by a man named Murphy, the same name held by the goat that cursed them, the Chicago Cubs were swept by the New York Mets and knocked out of the MLB Postseason. And once again, Cubs fans experienced deep sadness and disappointment that has haunted them since 1908 (yes, their last World Series win).
(Screengrabs courtesy of TBS)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another Major League Baseball Season is upon us. What should we look for from the Cincinnati Reds & Cleveland Indians?
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.
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.
If you have been watching the World Series there is no doubt you have noticed “Marlins Man”, the Marlins “SuperFan” who travels to major sporting events wearing his Marlins gear to promote his favorite team. While he may be well intended, he has annoyed many by “crashing” the party with his garish orange.
In his “honor” we proudly present America’s Stupidest SuperFans!
There may be those who are less than inspired by this year’s World Series match up, but I, for one, am looking forward to it. You have the (ahem) “Cinderella” American League Champion Kansas City Royals taking on the battle tested National League Champs, the San Francisco Giants. The “Cinderella” moniker for the Royals rubs me the wrong way. The Royals have been building the infrastructure for a solid team for awhile now. Hell, they even finished 86-76 in 2013. But fine, you wan’t to call them “Cinderella” for marketing purposes, go for it.
The Royals trailed the A’s in the AL Wild Card Game 7-3 after seven innings but rallied to tie the game at 7 in the ninth and won it in 12 innings, 9-8. That rallied the Royals as they steamrolled in the playoffs, sweeping both the Angels and Orioles. 1B Eric Hosmer, DH Billy “Country Breakfast” Butler, 3B Mike Moustakas have led a gritty bunch to the 2014 Fall Classic. Moustakas showed his grit with this diving catch in the stands during ALCS Game 3.
But grit alone doesn’t put you in the World Series. Outfielders Jarrod Dyson & Lorenzo Cain are lightning quick and also swing solid sticks. The starting staff of James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Yordano Ventura and Jason Vargas while not flashy get the job done. While closer Greg Holland is a true ‘stopper’, the real star of the pitching staff is Wade Davis who earns his cash in his middle relief role. Davis had 33 “holds” while compiling a 13.63 Ks to 9 innings ratio and a 1.00 ERA during the regular season. Davis’ stellar relief has continued in the post season. One question, can LF Alex Gordon ‘break out’ during the World Series?
The Giants are a team you are probably more familiar with. The have been the NL Champions 3 of the last 5 years and many of you reading this remember them taking out the Reds after being down 2 games to 0 in the 2012 NL Division Series. The thing that has stood out to me most for San Francisco in their NLCS win over the Cardinals was the plate discipline slugging 3B Pablo Sandoval has shown. C Buster Posey is a bonafide superstar and RF Hunter Pence, while looking awkward as all hell had another good regular season hitting .277 with 20 HRs and 77 RBIs. 2B Joe Panik & SS Brandon Crawford may not have eye popping stats, but they are solid up the middle defensively and deliver in the clutch. Starting Pitchers Madison Bumgarner (Your 2014 NLCS MVP if you need him) & Tim Hudson have led the pitching staff while reliever Sergio Romo has shown his former closer form again. Santiago Casilla though is the official closer again with 4 saves in the postseason. They though have had more of a battle during this 2014 Postseason, will that catch up with them in the World Series?
But it is journeyman Travis Ishikawa, now playing left field in the playoffs for the Giants who became the real star in Game 5 of the NLCS.
As much as I would like to jump on the “feel good train” of the Kansas City Royals, I am going to go with the experience and playoff tested Giants. Give me San Francisco in a 2014 Fall Classic going 7 games.
Remember, 95.5 The Game will keep you “on top of the action” with scores and updates through out the 2014 World Series!
America’s love affair with Derek Jeter continues as he winds down his Yankees and Major League Baseball career.
Gatorade has created a commercial that continues the tributes to “The Captain”.
How does it measure up to Nike’s “Re2pect” Tribute?
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!
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.
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.
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.