Posted on: May 22, 2008 12:25 pm

Cincinnati Reds = Janitors

Just when you think the Reds are rockin' it and going to jump back into the playoff hunt, we go and visit L.A.  We have now lost the last 9 games that we have played against the Dodgers, and just a mere 3 days after winning 6 in a row and sweeping two first place teams, the Reds go and get swept.  The Reds really lacked fundamentals the last 3 games.  Errors, baserunning, and timely double plays killed this series.  We got decent pitching preformances out of Cueto, Arroyo, and Belisle, but we just couldnt muster up the fielding or offensive numbers to back them up.  Peyton Manning best summed it up with this quote "Your defence is offensive".  Some of the throws that were made were just plain silly, and i know the wind was circling very heavy last night, or so George Grande let us know about 20 times during the broadcast, but i didnt see the Dodgers having that big of a problem out there.  With this big stint of 3 losses, should we lose even one to the Padres, i believe you will see wholesale changes coming to this team.  The Padres, no offence to your fans, have been the worst team in baseball this year, and they are banged up beyond belief.  We wont be facing Peavy or Young this series, while our 3 best pitchers right now are going.  NO EXCUSES!

Do you hear that? Thats the sound of old age and pressure coming down on Ken Griffey Jr.  Its been nearly a month since his last homer, and for a guy that used to hit 40-50 in a year, to have only 4 homers though almost 2 months of baseball is depressing. Griffey was one of my favorite players growing up, and is still one of my favorite players today, but I do not believe he is capable of being a number 3 hitter in this lineup.  I hope its just something thats wrong with him and he just needs to spend a little time on the DL to get back to his old self, but the fact that hes only putting up a .250 average means he should be lower in the order in favor of guys like Votto or Phillips in that position.  Im sure its not helping Griffey any that fans are jumping down his back through his struggles and the production and calls for Jay Bruce keep increasing.

Speaking of Jay Bruce, I am going to be one to jump on the bandwagon.  Seeing the numbers that Bruce is putting up in AAA is just astonishing.  The kid is going to be a superstar.  The way every Reds fan talks about him here, i have to believe that if he were on the All-Star ballot, he would be going there this year instead of Griffey.  As much as im excited about this year still(ya i know i have false hope),  Im very excited about next year.  Imagine this young team:
Catcher: TBD(My vote right now is for Bako if he stays)
1B: Joey Votto 25 years old
2B: Brandon Phillips 27 years old
3B: Edwin Encarnacion 25 years old
SS: Jeff Keppinger 28 years old
LF: Adam Dunn 29 years old
CF: Jay Bruce 21 years old
RF: Todd Frazier 22 years old
Comebine that with the young pitching staff we have, and this team is young and ready to be the new age Big Red Machine.

NBA playoffs have started, and theres really not a good team for me to root for.  Spurs won it last year and have won it umpteen times in the last 5 years.  The Lakers have won it recently and still have Ko-me on their team.  The Celtics have bought the players that they need for the title. And the pistons, well there a team from Michigan and we know nothing good ever comes out of there (Go Blow!)  My playoff pick right now is the Boston Celtics.  Garnett, Pierce, and Allen are all good guys and i would like to see the Boston Three Party pull it out.  They did beat the Cavs so they have my respect for the playoffs.  I predict a Lakers vs. Celtics finals with the Celtics in 6.

Odell Thurman was released by the Bengals recently.  This is one subject ive waited to see on what would develop, and its safe to say right now that a move like this makes me ashamed to be a Bengals fan.  I understand the guy has had problems, but you kept him on the team through 2 years of suspensions cause he has a boat load of talent.  Yet when he loses probably the single most important figure in his life in his grandmother, and spends time with his family mourning, you cut him because he wouldnt attend a VOLUNTARY workout?  Last time i check, Chad Johnson missed it, and has been nothing but a distraction this whole offseason calling out most of the team, but you will put up with him?  A cancer in the locker room will kill you more than a previous cancer out of it.  I have nothing but the best wishes for Odell, and i hope he ends up on a team like the Chargers that will utilize him and turn him into a beast.  This Bengals move baffles me, and will for a long time, especially if he becomes a pro bowler.

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 16, 2008 2:34 pm

Sunny days are here again!

Lasts nights game got rained out.  Possible make up date right now is August 18th, but thats still pending players association approval. If you want to call the series agains the Marlins a 3 game series, then the Reds have completed the sweep. Interesting note about the rain out though, is that the Reds are going to elect to skip Matt Belisle's next start.  Belisle for lack of a better term has sucked lately.  His control has been off and he has yet to give up less than 3 runs in a start since getting called up.  Belisle will be throwing some bullpen sessions during his extended rest period.  Belisle, if he wants to remain in this rotation, has to have a good showing on his next outing.  I was actually present at his first start agains the Dodgers when he was called up.  He couldnt locate his pitches and left alot of them hanging.  Bailey is now on the same rest schedule as Belisle, so you have to believe if he has anything less than a quality start, Homer could be on his way back up from Louiseville.

Interleague play starts today.  We get a 3 game series with the Cleveland Indians.  Unfortunatley, the Reds hold the honor of having the toughest interleague play schedule. We get 2 series with the Indians, and then we get to play the AL East.  Toronto, Yankees, and the defending champion Boston Red Sox.  If we come out above .500 I will consider it a success.  Johnny C. is pitching tonight, which as long as the hitters keep it up, and Cueto brings a decent game, we should win.  Cueto has been told by Dusty to not shake off any signs from Bako.  Lets see if he will obey it.  Volquez hardly shakes any off and we all know how thats turned out.  Interleague play brings alot of debates though.  Some people love it, some people hate it.  I for one am impartial. Its a good chance to see some different team each year, and judge how the talent is on each side.  I for one though think the DH rule needs to be abolished.  If you can hit, you can field, and if you can field, you can hit.  I would love to see MLB add a little spice to interleague play though.  Take away from the All-Star game the home field, and make that the reward for whichever league does the best during Interleague play.  I leave this topic on this note, should we be playing in the same division as the Yankees,  we would only be 2 games behind them in the standings.  Were not as bad as youve been led to believe.

On Wednesday, the attendence for the Reds game was 12,756.  At first glance you probably think thats a pretty low number.  But to put it into perspective, the Louiseville Riverbats drew 13,131 fans.  It should be no more obvious to the Reds brass that changes need to be made than this.  Your minor league team is outdrawing your big league team.  There is a number of reasons this is happening.  But i think first and foremost is "Bang for you Buck".  If you go to a Reds game, chances are its gonna cost you a good chunk of money.  Good seats are around 30 bucks, parking around 10, beers around 7, hot dogs around 4.  Thats not even including gas to get there and back, but that just depends on where you live. With the Reds though, fans have soured after 7 straigh losing seasons.  When you continue to put out the same boring product year after year, you have to find other ways to draw the fans.  Bring Bruce up, an exciting young player like him could energize the crowd, and imagine the money youll make in jersey sales.  Think about lowering the prices of stuff.  The economy is getting bad and so has the quality of this team, but you continue to keep prices the same.  Run dollar beer nights, dollar food days, hell, you have thousands of empty seats each game, why not put them on sale for 5-15 bucks a piece on the day of the game?  Some profit is better than none considering an empty seat yields you nothing.  You might also want to try marketing the team a little.  Outside of Fox Sports net, I never see any TV spots promoting the Reds, and outside of WLW I never hear a radio spot.  If your AAA team is out drawing you, see what they are doing right, and adjust to it.

I am a frequent reader of anything Reds/Bengals associated.  John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer has a blog that he is consistantly updating.  I dont know if anybody else reads it here, its a very good read.  Him and Hal McCoy for the Dayton Dailey News do an incredible job keeping everybody up on whats happening with the Reds.  One thing I notice though on John's blog is that the people there, all Reds fans, constantly attack eachother.  I know the team has been bad, but its not bad enough where the difference in opinions deserve attacked.  I can for one say that every fan on the boards has been farely nice.  There are those fans on the other teams that want to talk stuff all the time, but people from the same team are often agreeable and can hold civilized conversations.  One thing I notice though is they have two people on that blog that constantly mention the Volquez/Hamilton trade, and the Jorge Cantu release.  I have two questions to that.  1. Do you redo the trade, knowing that both players end up where they are now? Without Volquez wins and era, this team would really be in the dumps, but then again, how much does Hamiltons AL leading RBI's help you? 2. If you keep Cantu, where does he play? Hes an infielder, which last I checked we had Votto, Phillips, Keppinger(when healthy) and Encarnacion holding it down very well.  If there is a bright spot on this team right now its been the play of the infield, both offensively and defensively.

On an outside note, Spygate is coming to an end.....or is it?  I for one despise the Patriots.  They disgraced the name of football.  You can give me the line that all the teams cheat, or they didnt get an advantage or one of the other thousand BS excuses patriot fans come up with to make there team look golden.  It comes down to this.  Did the Patriots get caught? Yes.  Has any other team got caught? No. Can you prove to me that the footage taken was not used to gain an advantage? No. The pats have a very talented team, but the dynasty, whether they like it or not, will forever be tainted.  Their coach is the prime example of a human being who lacks class.  What the pats have done of the past few years, in the playoffs, and general lack of respect to the game and its players, is sad.  Brady is the best QB in the league no doubt, ill give him credit.  I for one hope Sen. Spector delves deeper into this.  Steroids tainted what otherwise would have been a golden era in baseball, and now this has tainted the NFL.  LaDainian Tomlinson spoke out about the Pats and said that he was glad justice was served. Pats fans didnt hesitate to show the lack of class and trying to make him look like a bad person.  I for one have followed L.T.'s career since he came out of TCU.  You will never see a bigger class act than he is.  He is outspoken, but who around the NFL isnt glad that New England was served justice for cheating? I have nothing against Red Sox or Celtics fans, but I think Patriot fans need to be knocked off their high horse and brought back down to earth, what do you think?

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 15, 2008 1:30 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2008 3:07 pm

Welcome to the show rookie!

Paul Janish comes into the big leagues in his first game last night against the Marlins, and he put on a good show.  His first at bat didnt produce much, but once he hit the field he had a few ground outs to him that the crowd loved every time.  The Reds bullpen proceeded to blow a 6 run lead in the 9th inning though, but come the bottom of the 10th with two men on, Janish (Pronounced Yawn-ish) slapped a single down the first base line scoring the winning run.  Every player can only wish to have his first major league hit be a game winner like Janish's.  After the game Janish was mauled at first base, where he recieved a bloody nose from his teamates.  Who bloodied it i dont know, but Freel was trying his hardest to karate kick Janish in the face.

The Griffey to Seattle rumors are heating up.  With Seattle sending scouts to Reds games to watch Junior play, you would think that he might actually be moved this year.  Every year you hear these rumors though so i wont believe them until i see it.  If your the Reds though, do you move him asap or wait closer until the deadline to see where the team is at them?  If you move him now, he has a little bit more trade value considering he still hasnt hit number 600 yet.  On the flip side, hes been in a slump so that brings it right back down.  I am a Griffey fan, he puts people in the seats, but at this point in time, he doesnt benefit the franchise.  He is an icon in baseball and very renown, but the Reds have a youth movement going on, and a veteran outfield on the decline that doesnt offer much in the way of leadership doesnt fit in. Fitting a square peg into a round hole doesnt work, no matter how much you try and make it work.

Jay Bruce.  Im sure you have heard the name before.  By the end of the year, you will be hearing his name alot around the Cincinnati area.  Bruce is the next best thing since sliced bread.  Said to be the next coming of Ken Griffey Jr.  He is the highest ranked prospect in all of the minor leagues by many publications.  Bruce is batting over .300, and around the top of the league in Triples, Hits, RBI's, and Home Runs.  Bruce is the jolt that the Reds lineup could use.  Over the last few games the Reds have been doing fine, but you cant keep the kid in AAA much longer.  He has nothing left to prove, and is just waiting for a roster spot to open up.  Unfortunatley, unless we move some OF's via release or trade, that spot is a ways off.  For once, Reds fans this year wont be horribly distrought if Griffey were to get hurt, cause it would mean the best chance for Bruce to come up.  Bruce can conceivably play all OF positions, but the majority of his work has been in CF/RF. By the end of the year, every Cincinnati Reds fan will have a man-crush on Jay Bruce.

 The Bengals have been quiet since the Draft. Nothing new on the Chad front, he's finally keeping his mouth shut for once. Two notable things happening at camp involve Chris Perry and Odell Thurman/Ahmad Brooks.  Chris Perry has been looking good so far at camp.  Word going around is that hes fluid in his movements, and his hands have been incredible catching passes out of the backfield.  Should Perry become and stay healthy, he could become an all round back along the mold of Marshall Faulk.  I know thats high praise for a guy that hasnt played in two years, but he has the movement and the hands to make it happen.  On the defensive front it looks like the Bengals will be running a new scheme this year.  Which is good because obviously last years sucked.  In the new scheme though, Ahmad Brooks has been moved to the outside, signalling that the Bengals believe Odell can reclaim his spot in the middle.  Thurman will have to shake off  his rust, but if he can return to his old form lookout.  Thurman was a serious rookie of the year candidate in his first season, but then legalities got in the way.  With him healthy, and hopefully Brooks healthy and out of trouble, plus Keith Rivers, the LB corps of the Bengals has been seriously upgraded. Going into the season the attention is going to be on Chad Johnson and T.J.'s contracts, but lookout for the D this year, if they play up to their potential they could surprise alot of people.

And in one note outside of the Cincy area, did anyone see Manny Ramirez's catch against the Orioles yesterday? He caught it, running into the wall, and managed to high five a fan at the same time.  I'm sure there are going to be alot of analysts out there that will wine and moan and complain about it like everything else they do, but doing something like that is great.  Thats going to be something those fans will remember for the rest of their lives.  Letting fans interact into a game is part of everybodys ideal situation when they go to a game.  They want to be able to talk or high five a player, catch a foul ball, be part of the wave, etc.  I think all baseball teams should think of ways to get the players to interact with the fans.  Even if its just a simple run down the sidelines and high five, or signing autographs, most athletes nowadays dont do anything like that.  If i were an athelete, id do whatever i could to recognize those that pay my salary by keeping the sport afloat.

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or