Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Well, it was printed in China

Received as a stocking stuffer the 2007 Reds team calendar which was copyrighted by Major League Baseball and endorsed by the MLB Players Association.

With a new year fast approaching, I needed something with dates and months to adorne my office wall.

Anyway, consider my confusion and dismay when I saw photographs of two former Reds - Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez - emblazoned on the cover.

Sure, with deadlines on printing and production, it's difficult to account for off-season transactions. But, Lopez and Kearns were dealt to the Nationals on July 13!

A couple of other former Reds made the cut:

Jason LaRue (May) and Brandon Claussen (January).

If Ken Griffey Jr.'s left hand doesn't heal and Adam Dunn trade rumors come to fruition, the cover of my 2007 Reds team calendar might be worth something on the collectibles market.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas, No. 3

The Reds announced today that Ken Griffey Jr. suffered a broken left hand in an accident at home.

He will remain in a cast for three weeks until he is re-examined.

Jeff Conine

Jerry Narron on the acquisition of Conine:

"I've admired and respected him for a long time. We'll start the season out and see what happens. We expect him to give us good at-bats. The big thing is having a legitimate right-handed bat in the lineup. He gives professional at-bats. He's done that throughout his career."

Conine on joining the Reds:

"It was a little bit of a surprise to get the call from (Phillies GM) Pat Gillick a couple of days before Christmas. I know the Reds were a competitive ballclub last year. I've played right, left or first. I'm comfortable at both spots."

On switching leagues:

"I don't see it as that big of a deal. I think it's more of an adjustment outside the game."

Wayne Krivsky on whether other deals are in the works:

"Done never happens. We're always trying to make the team better. This was a good start."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Reds/Marlins to meet in Dayton

Hot off the presses from the Dayton Dragons:

The Dayton Dragons are pleased to announce that the first game to be played at Fifth Third Field in 2007 will not feature the Dayton Dragons; but rather, Fifth Third Field will play host to its first-ever Major League Baseball game featuring the Cincinnati Reds and the Florida Marlins right here in downtown Dayton on Saturday, March 31, 2007 at 2:00 p.m.

“On behalf of Mandalay Sports Entertainment and the Dayton Dragons, we are absolutely thrilled to be able to bring this historic, first-ever Reds game to be played in the Dayton Region to Fifth Third Field,” commented Dragons president, Robert Murphy. “We are very pleased to have come to an agreement with both the Reds and Marlins to host them right here in downtown Dayton for the absolute best fans in all of sports ... this will be a tremendous happening for our community.”

Dragons season ticket holders, corporate partners, and suite holders will receive ordering information in their mail boxes this week, and will given the first opportunity to order tickets prior to the general public. If any tickets remain for the Reds-Marlins game after Dragons season ticket holder, corporate partners, and suite holders orders have been processed, the next priority for tickets will go to members of the Dragons Season Ticket Wait List.

To sign up for the Dragons Season Ticket Wait List, please call the Dragons offices at (937) 228-2287, sign up on the Dragons web site (daytondragons.com/tickets/waitlist), or email the Dragons at dragons@daytondragons.com.

All stadium seating will be priced at $26.00 with lawn tickets going for $12.00.

To accommodate ticket orders, during the holidays, the Dragons offices will be open Friday, December 22nd, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from Tuesday, December 26th to Friday, December 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information on Dayton Dragons please call (937) 228-BATS (2287), or find the Dragons on the Internet via their web site at daytondragons.com.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A classic

As a reporter, covering a three-overtime thriller in a jam-packed sweaty gym is anything but a pleasant experience.

For a fan, attending such a game is priceless.

Last night, two fierce GCL rivals, Moeller and Elder, engaged in a classic high school basketball game that will be stored in the memory banks of those present for years to come.

As for me, I doubt I'll be forgetting the Crusaders' 79-77 seven-quarter victory anytime soon.

The following link is my story from C1 of today's sports section, perhaps a futile attempt to make some sense of it all:


Marty on CD

The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum has announced it will be the exclusive 2006 holiday-season carrier of “Marty Brennaman: The Voice of the Reds,” a CD of classic Brennaman radio calls that spans the entirety of the Hall of Fame announcer’s broadcasting career with the Reds.

The CD will be available for sale at the Reds Hall of Fame (located adjacent to Great American Ball Park) beginning Wednesday. Due to the late arrival of the CD, there will be no shipping available for Christmas delivery. You may pick up your copy in person at the Reds Hall of Fame. Please note that the museum will closed on Dec. 24.

Produced, written and recorded by Chicago Cubs radio announcer Pat Hughes, the Brennaman CD is the latest installment in Hughes’ “Baseball Voices: The Hall of Fame Series” that already includes CDs dedicated to Hall of Fame announcers Jack Buck and Harry Caray.

“I am thrilled to death Pat wanted me as the third in the series of Hall of Fame announcers,” said Brennaman. “Personally speaking, I have had a chance to listen to it, and he did a heck of a job. He’s got stuff on there that most people probably don’t know about and haven’t heard.”

The Brennaman CD will retail for $18, and 50 percent of the proceeds from each sale benefits the Reds Hall of Fame. Reds fans can call (513) 765-7923 for more information.

Johnny on the spot

It’s a given that in any regime change good people will be lost.

But, if there’s one area the Reds can ill-afford to be thin it’s in player development. That department took a hit when Johnny Almaraz, the club’s director of player development/international operations resigned.

“It's been a great 17 years as part of one of the best organizations in baseball,” Almaraz said. “Over the years, I've developed great relationships with the Reds. They will be dearly missed as I pursue other avenues.”

Almaraz was unhappy in his role under first-year GM Wayne Krivsky, but specifics as to what led to his departure were unavailable. The Reds have lagged behind other clubs in the realm of international scouting and the loss of Almaraz will further hinder those efforts.

“On behalf of Bob Castellini and the entire Reds organization, I want to thank Johnny Almaraz for his hard work, loyalty and dedication to the Reds,” said Krivsky in a statement. "We enjoyed a successful 2006 minor league season due in large part to Johnny's direction and leadership."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Taking a chance on Josh

"If you change your mind, I'm the first in line. Honey, I'm still free. Take a chance on me. If you need me, let me know" --ABBA.

Reds GM Wayne Krivsky took a chance on former No. 1 pick Josh Hamilton today.

While Hamilton's history of drug abuse makes him a risky venture, his pure talent and skill-set makes him an intriguing commodity, and potentially worth the risk.

Here's the release:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - The Cincinnati Reds today acquired from the Chicago Cubs OF Josh Hamilton in exchange for an undisclosed amount of cash. Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky announced the trade following Major League Baseball’s Rule 5 Draft.

Earlier this morning, Hamilton was selected by the Cubs from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with the third overall pick in the first round of the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

Hamilton, 25, last season appeared in 15 games for Class A Hudson Valley. On August 11 he had season-ending arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left knee.

Tampa Bay selected the lefthanded-hitting Hamilton with the first overall pick in the 1999 first-year player draft. In 2000 for Class A Charleston he hit .302 with 13 homers, 23 doubles and 61 RBI in 96 games and was named co-Most Valuable Player of the South Atlantic League and low Class A Player of the Year by Baseball America.

Hamilton must remain on the Reds’ 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the Devil Rays for $25,000. He is the 43rd player acquired by Krivsky since he was named general manager on February 8.

Also in today’s Rule 5 Draft, the Reds selected from Oakland’s Class AAA Sacramento roster RHP Jared Burton with the eighth pick in the first round of the Major League phase, selected from Toronto’s Class A Dunedin roster LHP Francisco Mateo in the first round of the Class AAA phase and selected from Tampa Bay’s Class A Visalia roster RHP Nick Moran in the first round of the Class AA phase.

Burton, 25, last season for Class AA Midland went 6-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 53 relief appearances. He must remain on the club’s 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the Athletics.

Mateo, 22, went 5-2 with a 4.18 ERA in 14 starts with Rookie Pulaski. Moran, 26, went 2-1 with a 5.51 ERA in 21 relief appearances with Visalia.

Redsfest in the black

From the Reds yesterday:

In figures released Wednesday, Kahn’s Redsfest 2006, presented by Great American Insurance Group raised $167,000 for the Reds Community Fund.

The eighth annual fan festival was held last weekend at Duke Energy Center downtown and drew a record number of fans. The official attendance figures of 7,251 for Friday’s session and 10,829 on Saturday were first- and second-day records. Total attendance was a record 18,080.

“Redsfest was an enormous success. Thank you to our fans for attending, and I am grateful to our sponsors and players for making this one of Major League Baseball’s most extravagant celebrations,” said Reds chief executive officer Bob Castellini. “Redsfest entertained fans of every age and magnified the power of the Reds’ tradition.”

Added Charley Frank, executive director of the Reds Community Fund, “Redsfest helped generate the type of exposure and financial support we’ve never experienced previously. It was exciting for the community fund to be featured so prominently throughout the event and to see so many of our kids, coaches, volunteers and partners participating in different ways. The team’s passion for connecting kids and baseball was unmistakable.”

The event - which includes fan interaction, autographs and photos with current and former players along with celebrity whiffle ball and poker tournaments - was not held in 2004 or 2005 because of construction on the convention center.

Redsfest 2007 tentatively is scheduled for December 7-8 at the Duke Energy Center.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rob Butcher honored

My first reaction when I learned that Reds media relations director Rob Butcher was honored with the Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence was, "What took them so long?"
Butcher's been the best in his business for years, so this is an honor long overdue.

While his work is done largely behind the scenes and with little fanfare, Butcher's role with the Reds is as vital as any player, coach or manager. In fact, they, like us media types, couldn't operate effectively without him.

Whether it be All-Star Games, World Series, the World Baseball Classic, or Hall of Fame inductions, "Butch" has answered the call.

The Robert O. Fishel Award is the highest such honor in the PR profession.

Congratulations Rob.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Redsfest reax

During a brief chat with John Allen on Saturday at the Duke Energy Center, I had to remind the Reds COO that it was his initial vision that laid the foundation for Redsfest.

"You remember that?," Allen asked.


As the story goes, Allen and Reds marketing director Cal Levy were having dinner in 1997 at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse when they began jotting ideas on a napkin for an off-season baseball event to be staged for Reds fans.

Redsfest thrived as a capable event for a few years before construction at the covention center forced a two-year hiatus. With an extra year to plan, and a strong financial commitment from club owner Bob Castellini, this year's fest was taken to an entirely different level.

"It's come from the back of a napkin at the Boathouse to this," said Allen of Redsfest, which drew an estimated 18,000 fans this past weekend. "The new ownership group wanted it to be bigger and better than ever. They deserve the credit."

Take it from someone who has attended the Cubs Convention, the standard by which winter baseball fan fests are measured, this year's Redsfest was an overly impressive event.

Well done.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Boys of Winter

The weather this weekend in the Queen City is expected to be snowy and cold, certainly not conditions conducive to playing baseball.

But, fans can find plenty of warmth and baseball talk at Redsfest, the Reds' winter carnival making its return to the Duke Energy Center after a two year absence.

Here's a schedule of events clipped from Reds.com.


I'll be roaming around on Saturday afternoon. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Random thoughts ...

  • Redsfest promises to be bigger and better than ever when it opens at the Duke Energy Center one week from Friday. Really it's just another excuse for George Grande to talk and Bronson Arroyo to play guitar.
  • Jason LaRue's dynamic personality (insert sarcasm) won't be missed in the Reds clubhouse. Nor will his trademark response to most reporters' questions, "Of course". Best of luck in Kansas City.
  • Is it just me or are the Reds spending an exorbinate amount of time and money trying to fix two areas on the ballclub - bullpen and defense?
  • Beating Villanova in the semis of the Paradise Jam was an important win for Xavier. But, as it seems most often to be the case for XU, a marquee victory eluded the Muskies' grasp against No. 8 Alabama in the finals.
  • I'm covering UC hoops for the Associated Press early this season. It should be interesting to watch Mick Cronin's kids mature as the season progresses. But, after watching Wofford of the Southern Conference physically manhandle the 'Cats last night, I shudder to think what will happen when they begin Big East play.
  • Marvin Lewis arrived in Cincinnati with the reputation of being a defensive mind. In his fourth season as Bengals head coach, I'm not seeing it. One week after the Chargers lit them up for 42 points in one half, New Orleans QB Philip Rivers threw for 510 yards against them. When they're not gettin' the take-a-aways, the Bengals defense is getting blown away.
  • Don't get me started on the hypocricy of journalists voting on major awards within the sports they cover. Integrity and objectivity are to be taken very seriously. I'd like to convey that message to the lone writer who cast a 6th place vote for Derek Jeter for AL MVP.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

'Bad Boy' sighting

I was in the media room at Fifth Third Arena prior to the UC/Tennessee-Martin game last evening when I encountered an old pal ... Steve Stewart. Yes, the 'Bad Boy' himself.

Stewart was filling in on 700-WLW's Bearcats basketball coverage while Dan Hoard was in Morgantown, WV for the UC football game.

Stewart and I only talked briefly but he appeared to be doing well. We discussed the baseball postseason but we didn't delve into his professional plans.

Like him or not as a broadcaster, Stewart is one Hell of a nice guy and I wish him well.

I'm back

Press Box View has been on a hiatus for a month or so due to my obligations to WCPO.com and a few technical difficulties that appear to have been ironed out.

Anyway, I just returned from Paul Brown Stadium where the Bengals' playoff hopes took a serious hit as a result of a wild 49-41 loss to the Chargers today.

Here's the blow by blow from the Stripes Blog:


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Title in the Cards

Sure, the Cardinals nearly blew a seemingly insurmountable lead in the NL Central Division in the season's final days.

They took full advantage of a slew of injuries which crippled the favored New York Mets. And, yes, the Detroit Tigers' vaunted offense, with help from the St. Louis pitching staff, picked October to go into a deep-freeze.

Regardless, it's the Cardinals who will be donning the rings. So much for the much-maligned National League.


Friday, October 27, 2006

NL Central club best in world

Sure, the Cardinals nearly blew a seemingly insurmountable lead in the NL Central Division during the season's final week. Ok, the Cardinals did benefit from a slew of injuries that shelved the favored New York Mets. And, yes, the Detroit Tigers' vaunted offense chose the World Series to go into a deep-freeze.

But ... the St. Louis Cardinals are still the ones wearing the rings.

So much for the National League being baseball's stepchild this season.

Tony La Russa's best managerial job? Jim Edmonds thinks so.

"With the idiots that we've got?," Edmonds said. "Yes. We shocked the world."

Like 'em or not, Cardinals fans are among the best in baseball. They've waited 25 years for a World Series title. That's too long for one of the game's most storied franchises.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Taking a respite from ...

Press Box View to help the folks at WCPO.com with their Bengals coverage.

Come visit:


We'll still be posting here with Reds, preps, college and other non-Bengals related news.

See you soon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Reds speak on Lidle's death

It was announced today that Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, who pitched for the Reds in 2004 and was traded to the Phillies in August, died when the plane he was piloting crashed into a Manhattan apartment building.

“The Reds family and all of baseball is very saddened by the news of the accident and Cory’s death,” said Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their friends and families.”

Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., who was a teammate of Lidle with the Reds in 2004, said, “I was shocked by the news. Baseball lost a good player, friend, teammate and competitor. He left an impression on all of us. Our prayers are with his family.”

Said Reds pitcher Aaron Harang, who was a teammate of Lidle’s with the Athletics in 2002, “He was a great friend and teammate. Our thoughts are with Melanie and Christopher and the rest of the Lidle family. He will be missed.”

Monday, October 09, 2006


The folks at WCPO.com have been kind enough to ask me to serve as a guest blogger on their newly launched Stripes Blog.

I'll be posting on Stripes on a fairly regular basis throughout the Bengals season.

If you feel compelled, hop on over:


Wolfe howls for Heisman

OXFORD, Ohio - I spent my Sunday evening watching the best college football player in America.

His name isn't Ginn or Smith. He doesn't play for USC, Florida, Texas or Ohio State, although he was clearly the best player on the field when his team faced the Buckeyes, rushing for 171 yards and catching five passes for another 114 against the nation's top-ranked team.

His name is Garrett Wolfe. He plays for Northern Illinois.

The Great Wolfe had an off night on Sunday with "just" 162 yards and two touchdowns against the Miami RedHawks.

You'll have to excuse the Great One. His legs were a little tired after riddling the Ball State defense for a school-record 353 yards last week.

Wolfe, the nation's leading rusher, is on pace to shatter numerous NCAA rushing records.

My Associated Press coverage of Wolfe leading NIU to a 28-25 victory over Miami:


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thom-ahawk chop

The Reds gambled on Thom Brennaman and won.

Just days after (or hours, or perhaps just prior to) announcing that Steve Stewart's contract would not be renewed, the Reds reached deep into the desert to bring a familiar name, face and voice back to town.

The club announced earlier this week that Thom Brennaman would vacate his seat in the Diamondbacks broadcast booth and join his father, Hall of Famer Marty, on Reds broadcasts beginning next season.

Funny how nepotism is as popular in Cincinnati as cheese coney's and Oktoberfest.

We need more Brennamans like we need more Lukens, Mallorys and Hudepohls.

All kidding aside, this is a wonderful move by the Castellini-led Reds because Thom is more than just the chip off Marty's block.

He's a talented broadcaster, professional in voice and manner, and a likely successor to the throne should his father decide to take up golf full-time.

"It's definitely a tremendous loss," D'backs president Derrick Hall told the Arizona Republic. "Thom is such a talent, not only here, but with his national presence. Fans across the nation enjoy his work."

The Reds still have one broadcast seat to fill.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Good old fashioned Pat-down

The Bengals locker room was somber but business-like following Sunday's 38-13 loss to New England.

After the game, head coach Marvin Lewis brushed off questions about Chris Henry's deactivation.

"I can only dress 45 guys and Chris was inactive today," he said.

When asked if Henry was one of his best 45 players, Lewis said, "Today he wasn't".

On Sunday, the best players were wearing red, blue and silver.

"We didn't play good enough in any area to win this football game," Lewis said. "If you don't do the fundamentals, tackling and blocking, you're not going to beat a good team. Let's go back to work. We have a lot of football left to play."

Next up is the bye week, and an opportunity for the 3-1 Bengals to lick their wounds and regroup.

Braves chop Astros; Cards claim title

Tony La Russa's decision to save Chris Carpenter for a rainy day nearly cost the Cardinals. But, the Atlanta Braves bailed him out by beating the Astros.

As a result of Houston's loss, St. Louis clinched the NL Central Division title to avoid the worst late-season collapse in baseball history.

La Russa chose to forgo Carpenter and start Anthony Reyes on three-day's rest. Reyes retired only two batters in the first inning in the Cardinals' 5-3 loss to Milwaukee.

Sensing the urgency of the matter, Cardinals fans joined in a collective Tomahawk Chop hoping to will the Braves to victory.

The Reds, who were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday, lost to the Pirates today to finish with an 80-82 record, their sixth consecutive losing season.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Can't anyone here play defense?

If you're a high school football coach with a struggling defense in the Cincinnati area, I'm the last person you want to see strolling into your stadium with a laptop over his shoulder.

My previous two Enquirer assignments:

Glen Este 42 Turpin 35

Ross 52 Norwood 49

Last night's game at Norwood's Shea Stadium ended after my deadline and, so I learned late in the evening, without a working phone line on the premises. I had to dictate the story to my editor by phone, a first-time occurence for me.

Next week, can I get a nice two-hour, 14-10 game? Anyone?

A press-box worker last night had the audacity to say to me, "Great game, huh?"

I think my glare spoke for itself.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Something to play for

In a season under first-year ownership and with a new GM hired barely two weeks prior to the start of spring training, the Reds managed to remain in the race for the NL Central Division title into the season's final weekend.

Not since 1999 have the Reds been in contention for anything beyond postseason hunting and fishing trips this late in September.

The glass half-empty approach makes it easy to credit the Cardinals for allowing the Reds and Astros to remain in the race and the Reds themselves for refusing to unwrap the many gifts St. Louis has sent their way this summer.

Sure, the NL Central is anything but a powerhouse division in a league that is mediocre at best. But, Reds fans wanted a pennant race and they've got one. While the Reds' chances of winning the division border a miracle, the fact is that they are still not eliminated with three games to play.

FSN Ohio has added Sunday's telecast in the event the season finale means something. The rotation couldn't have set up any better with Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo starting the first two games in Pittsburgh.

With the Astros ahead of them as well, it's not likely the Reds, who were picked to finish fifth in the division, will achieve the unthinkable.

On second thought, haven't they already?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

ESPN: The Evil Empire

Let me get this straight ...

The top annual sports event in Cincinnati is going to be televised on a cable station not available in Cincinnati.

Who could be behind this? You guessed it, our pals at ESPN.


I'm sure Time Warner Cable has received its ransom note by now, the one which reads 'Buy our station or else. Signed, ESPN'.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Is collapse in the Cards?

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on his club doing their best impersonation of the '64 Phillies:

"Just recognize that's the reality of our pennant race and we kept busting our ass. In the end, our ass gets busted. I like a lot of things I see except the score."

And, in all likelihood, the standings.

Five games to go in the season. Reds still not eliminated from postseason consideration.

The Astros, meanwhile, are on the brink of achieving what was once seemingly impossible.

NL Central standings

Cardinals 80-76
Astros 79-78 1.5
Reds 78-79 2.5

Monday, September 25, 2006

Not a drastic change, but ...

... the Reds will have new logos next season.

The most noticeable change is the vintage Mr. Red complete with Rollie Fingers-esque facial hair.

Nothing to it

When a reporter, in jest, suggested to Ken Griffey Jr. that the game of baseball must be "easy", the Reds outfielder grinned widely.

Of course it isn't, but future Hall of Famers often make it seem so.

After missing 17 games with a dislocated right toe, Griffey made his first plate appearance in the eighth inning of Monday's home finale at Great American Ball Park and promptly delivered a pinch-hit three-run home run to help lift the Reds to a 5-4 victory.

The home run was the 563rd of Griffey's career tying him with Reggie Jackson for 10th on the all-time list.

"I'd like to have the title of Mr. October too," said Griffey. "I was really just trying not to embarrass myself. I just got a pitch up in the zone."

Turnstile tales

Attendance for Monday's home finale at Great American Ball Park was 16,278, making the season total 2,144,472, third-best since the ballpark opened and an improvement of 201, 315 over last season.

Average attendance at Great American Ball Park was 26,352 this season, just slightly behind the Brewers for 11th in the National League.

Not a morning person

Bronson Arroyo has made clear on more than one occasion his disdain for afternoon ballgames.

The Reds right-hander dislikes them so much that he's volunteered to start on short rest just to avoid them.

In the first inning of today's 12:35 p.m. home finale, Arroyo allowed four unearned runs on two hits and a walk.

His worst pitch of the inning was one intended to force Cubs left-fielder Matt Murton at home plate. Catcher David Ross bobbled, then dropped Arroyo's low and outside toss for an error, one of two committed by the Reds in the inning.

Hey, Bronson, there's this thing called coffee ...

UPDATE: Arroyo recovered to toss seven innings, allowing just four hits, no earned runs, two walks and five strikeouts. He's slated to start on Saturday in Pittsburgh where he'll attempt to match Aaron Harang with 15 wins.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Who Dey (?)

I watched enough of the Bengals/Steelers game on my monitor at Great American Ball Park to know that Cincinnati's 28-20 victory did actually occur.

Now that I've had a chance to comb over the statistics, I'm beginning to doubt that reality.

Let me sort this through:

Chad Johnson had one catch for 11 yards.

Willie Parker had 133 rushing yards to Rudi Johnson's 47.

Carson Palmer threw two interceptions and was sacked six times.

The Steelers had 365 total yards and 27 first downs. The Bengals had 246 and 15.

And, the Bengals won?

Bottom line:

The Steelers had five turnovers. The Bengals take advantage of other team's mistakes as well as any team in the NFL, and they did so today.

Bad timing

Just as we were summoned into Jerry Narron's office for post-game comments on Sunday, the Steelers were driving for a potential tying touchdown with less than 50 seconds remaining in the game.

Oh well ... priorities.

Said Narron of Aaron Harang who notched his 15th win via Royce Clayton's game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth:

"At the major league level, you have to continue to make adjustments. The past three years, he's done that. I think, by far, he's the most underrated pitcher in baseball."

We learned upon emerging from Narron's office that a Bengals' interception had preserved a 28-20 victory over Pittsburgh.

A good day all around.

Football Sunday spent working ...

at Great American Ball Park.

Writing a Reds season wrap-up column while keeping a watchful eye on the Bengals/Steelers on my TV monitor.

It's a beautifully sunny afternoon at the ballpark. All things considered, I always hate to see the home portion of the baseball season come to a close.

Interesting tidbit in today's Reds game notes:

The Reds' six errors (I hear there should have been seven) committed last night were the most since April 5, 1971 when Bernie Carbo, Frank Duffy, Woody Woodward and Don Gullett combined for six miscues.

Woodward committed three errors at third base during that game, the first Opening Day contest played at Riverfront Stadium which opened mid-season 1970.

One Red has displayed some nifty glovework:

Scott Hatteberg's error in the fifth inning Sunday was his first since May 5, a 100-game stretch.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Some Reds news ...

The Reds will be playing out the string without a couple of regulars.

Left-hander Eric Milton will have arthroscopic surgery tomorrow to clean out his left elbow. He'll finish the season at 8-8 with a 5.19 ERA in 26 starts.

Outfielder Ryan Freel will miss the remainder of the season with a hairline fracture of his left thumb. Freel suffered the injury Tuesday in Houston while diving for Luke Scott’s triple in the first inning.

Freel hit .271 with 30 doubles and tied a career-high with 37 stolen bases to go along with several highlight-reel worthy defensive plays.

Nice year for Freelie.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Gammons' first concern: Austin Kearns

Hall of Fame baseball reporter Peter Gammons makes his triumphant return to ESPN tonight.

Gammons has a wonderful piece on ESPN.com this morning detailing his ordeal and recovery.

In it Gammons says his first realization he was on the road to recovery was when he asked how in the world Austin Kearns ended up with the Nationals.

It's good stuff. Here's the link:


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stop and sell the Roses

The New York Daily News reported Monday that Pete Rose has put his gambling confession in writing ... on baseballs.

Word is, Hall of Famer Bob Feller is now offering "I'm sorry I've signed so many autographs that their value has been reduced to that of a Jerome Walton rookie card" baseballs for sale.


Monday, September 18, 2006

They don't write 'em like that anymore

Buried in a cardboard box among my memorabilia collection is a stack of old newspapers in protective sleeves. I call them my personal window to the past.

Among the newspapers in my possession is an issue of the Washington Star from October 2, 1932 - the day after Babe Ruth's "called shot" against the Cubs in the World Series.

There's no mention of Ruth calling his shot, but Grantland Rice's description of the day's events are spine-tingling. Examples:

"The battle carried action from the start. It sparkled with rare fielding plays like sunlight on morning frost in the harvest field".

"The big Babe was exchanging quip and jibe with the Cubs bench. And after each exchange the sunny atmosphere was full of sulphur".

But, the best was Rice's lede paragraphs:

"That far, echoing rumbling roar you must of heard yesterday afternoon was the old Yankee rock crusher rolling once more across the flattened, prostrate bodies of the Cubs. In the driver's seat were those two mighty men of baseball, Ruth and Gehrig, Babe and Lou, the dynamite twins".

"In the presence of 50,000 startled Cub rooters, this dynamic pair of slugging mastodons lit the fuse to four home runs with a fusillade that drove Charley Root from the field with his ears still ringing in the wake of a bombardment he will never forget".

"It was the drum beat leading the funeral march of Cub hopes. It was the tocsin sounding the coming of destruction of any Chicago dream".

In this ESPN-instant gratification age, stories aren't stories anymore. They're just information.

That's a shame.

Last rites?

I passed Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty in the press box at Great American Ball Park last week following the finale of the Reds' three-game series against the Padres.

I asked Doc if he was writing an obituary for the local nine. He said, "Maybe so".

As each day passes, we become more reflective on the milestones and mishaps of an up and down season for the Reds.

When the dust settles on the 2006 campaign, I would imagine Reds fans would have more hope for the future of this franchise than they've had in many a year.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Willy misses the Queen City

Former Reds reliever, and 1999 NL Rookie of the Year, Scott Williamson still considers Cincinnati his home.

Williamson, now a member of the San Diego Padres, lives in Guilford, IN. His wife, Lisa, owns and operates an Avalon Salon & Spa in Hyde Park.

"I definitely didn't want to leave here," Williamson told me prior to tonight's game. "Out of all the cities I've played in, I enjoyed it [in Cincinnati] the most. Boston was fun because we went to a World Series. Chicago was horrible."

Williamson, who is currently on the DL with a right elbow strain, traveled with the club for the three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Too much of a good thing?

A quick glance at my schedule for the week revealed this:

Six games, six days, eight different teams, four venues, two cities.

I'm covering the Reds/Padres three-game series for MLB.com, a prep football game for the Enquirer on Friday, attending UC/Ohio State on Saturday in Columbus in a non-working capacity, and covering the Browns/Bengals game on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium for my weekly column.

Barring rain delays or overtime, that's 27 innings of baseball and 12 quarters of football on three different levels in less than a week.

If I'm lucky, I can find time to scarf down a brat and a beer at Oktoberfest.

My plan for Monday is to NOT be watching sports.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A sad irony

It was Chiefs quarterback Trent Green who provided added motivation for Carson Palmer to recover in time to start Sunday's game at Kansas City.

Green, who suffered a devastating knee injury in 1999 while with the Rams, called Palmer to offer words of encouragement.

"It's awesome," said Palmer of Green's gesture. "It's something that has stuck with me. It just helps you being a young quarterback in this league and looking up to guys like Green who have been around a long time. He's a veteran and definitely a leader."

That just added to the shock of seeing Green lying motionless on the turf after enduring a hard hit by Bengals defensive end Robert Geathers during Cincinnati's 23-10 victory over the Chiefs.

The most recent reports are that Green had feeling in his extremities and was moving. X-rays were negative.

You can be sure that Palmer is about to return Green's favor, if he hasn't already.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Not seeing Reds

I'm among the young and the Reds-less for a few more days. Due to football constraints, I won't visit Great American Ball Park again until Tuesday. Even then, I'm on the Padres beat.

If Jerry Narron's club makes a surprise return to the playoff chase, send me a note.

Reading played take-away from Deer Park last night. Here's my Enquirer coverage:


On a final note: Go Buckeyes.

Friday, September 08, 2006

On the craft

It does get tiresome listening to the bitter, cynical faction in sports journalism complain about being underpaid, underappreciated and moan about the perils of having to contend with the rich and famous on a daily basis.

But, truthfully, this isn't all glitz and glamour. We don't just go to games for free, we go to stadiums to work. We don't get to talk to famous athletes, we are required to deal with them. Press box dining rooms aren't five-star and deadline pressure isn't for the faint of heart.

For those who think we waltz into the ballpark for free, cheer for our favorite team from the comfort of the press box, mingle with the players afterwards and then leisurely tap out a story and collect our six-figure check, well, you couldn't be more wrong.

That said, this is a dream job for most of us.

For anyone who's interested, the following link is from an industry message board. It's a fairly accurate portrayal of sports journalism and the misconceptions many people have about the business:


Monday, September 04, 2006

No words to express

Rich Aurilia was one of the few Reds players to emerge in a largely vacant clubhouse following Monday night's crushing 5-4 loss to the Giants at Great American Ball Park.

When a beat reporter and I approached the Reds infielder, Aurilia just smiled and said, "I've got nothing".

I told Aurilia that I didn't blame him.

He said it wasn't really a "no comment", it's just that he didn't know where to begin to sum up the Reds' latest heart-wrenching defeat.

The Reds were defeated tonight. In every sense of the word.


Bleary-eyed and beaten

The Reds landed at CVG around midnight, and the mood in the clubhouse this afternoon was about what you'd expect following a 2-8 trip.

Still, the unflappable Reds never let their emotions get the best of them, for better or worse.

Interesting comment from manager Jerry Narron, saying this homestand is "make or break. It might not make us, but it certainly could break us".

Here's the Reds.com notebook for today. Yes, some of us have to labor on Labor Day. I hope Mark Sheldon is enjoying his day off.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

This is distasteful

I've always been a fan of The Onion, but the following linked story is completely inappropriate.

They had the audacity to misspell Ken Griffey Jr.'s mother's name, and I'm certain Reds trainer Mark Mann didn't appreciate being attributed to the mock quote.


This isn't the first line The Onion has crossed, but ...

Some good news

While the events on the field haven't been so positive for the Reds, outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. did get some good news this week.

The Dayton Daily News is reporting that Griffey's mother, Bertie, who underwent colon surgery on August 15, is cancer-free and can resume her normal life sans chemotherapy treatment.

No word yet on the condition of Ken Griffey Sr., who was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The bereft coast

The west coast road trip that had Reds nation wiping the sweat from its collective brow has proved to be worse than even the harbringers of doom among them could've imagined.

The Reds, who begin a three-game series in San Diego on Friday, are 1-6 on the trip.

After beating the Giants in the first game of a three-game series at AT&T Park to move into a virtual tie with the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central Division, the Reds have dropped six consecutive games.

They are now 4 1/2 games behind in the division, 1 1/2 games back in the Wild Card, and have a .500 record (67-67) for the first time since the second game of the season.

“It's a cliche, but we’ve got to play one game at a time and not get caught up in trying to win 15 of 17 or something like that," said Reds manager Jerry Narron. "You’ve got to win one to get it started.”

Best news for the Reds:

They're still in the National League where even the most mediocre of clubs has a chance at the postseason.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Nice gesture

The Reds, who have enough problems of their own right now, offered this good-will message last evening to their comrades on Second Street.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Homer Bailey

The Reds minor-league pitching phenom's ERA dropped to 1.06 after he allowed no runs on two hits in six innings tonight vs. Carolina.

Bailey struck out eight and did not walk a batter.

Hello ... Krivsky?

Palmer pristine in first half

What left knee injury? Kimo who?

Carson Palmer took his first step(s) toward bringing to an end a worrisome chapter in his career tonight in a nationally-televised preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Paul Brown Stadium.

In the first half, Palmer was 9-of-14 for 140 yards and three touchdowns. He also had an 11-yard scramble.

And, the speculation about Palmer not being ready for the season opener ...

cue the sound of crickets chirping.

Sock it to 'em

Carson Palmer's bright orange socks are pulled up just below his uniform pants, concealing the brace on his left knee, as he and tonight's back-up QB Anthony Wright take turns throwing deep routes to the wide receivers.

ESPN's cameras are all over Palmer's every move.

The Bengals are planning to introduce the offense prior to the game. They will introduce them as a unit, which has been their custom, rather than individually.

Regardless, the cheers will likely be deafening when No. 9 emerges from the tunnel.

Friendly chatter

At this moment, Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson is standing near the 8-yard line conversing with Green Bay Packers cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson.

Johnson is looking exceptionally dapper in his blonde mohawk, frayed black T-shirt with a silk-screened image of himself and gray sweat pants.

The trio is enjoying a laugh, although I'm certain at least a portion of the conversation relates to Johnson's assertion that Harris and Woodson will soon be denied check marks on his "Who covered 85 in 2006?" list.

For once, C.J. isn't the feature attraction for the Bengals.

The emotional return of Carson Palmer to the Paul Brown Stadium turf is approximately 90 minutes from now.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Former Indians pick among crash victims

The Lexington Herald Leader is reporting that Jonathan Hooker, a former University of Kentucky pitcher and Cleveland Indians draft choice, was among the 49 confirmed dead in the crash of Comair flight 5191 which occured this morning at Bluegrass Airport in Lexington.

Both Hooker and his new bride, Scarlett, both reportedly died in the crash. The couple's wedding had taken place just hours before the accident.

“It’s just a very, very painful, tragic situation,” former UK baseball Coach Keith Madison told the Herald Leader.

Hooker was a 40th round draft choice by the Indians in 2000. It doesn't appear that he signed with Cleveland. But, he did have a brief, yet successful minor-league career in various leagues. If anyone has info on Hooker's career, please pass it along.

According to reports, Hooker was currently working as a substance abuse counselor but planned to take a new job in Lexington while his wife attended school.

Flight 5191, en route to Atlanta, crashed at 6:07 a.m. Sunday morning less than one mile from the airport killing 49 of 50 persons onboard.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bye, bye Friday nights

Tonight was opening night for my fourth season covering high school football for the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Everything went off without a hitch - well, almost.

The press box at Yager Stadium was sans air conditioning, I got lost twice trying to navigate the Miami University campus and I had returned to my seat in the press box after post-game interviews before realizing I neglected to speak to the winning coach. Good thing I had plenty of time prior to deadline to rectify that oversight.

In my game, No. 6 Lakota West upset No. 4 Moeller 13-12 via a missed extra-point by the Crusaders kicker with 36 seconds left.

As I was leaving the stadium, Colerain was leading Mason 21-0 late in the first half and they were lifting Mason's starting QB into an ambulance. Not good.

First game story of the season in the books:


Ahh, football is back.

Cardinals "contending"?

St. Louis skipper Tony La Russa made a rather profound statement following a closed-door meeting with his players on Thursday after they'd been swept by the New York Mets to fall into a virtual tie for first place with the Reds.

"Optimistically and realistically, we are in contention," La Russa said. "It hasn't been the most consistent, great baseball that our club has played ... but we are in contention."

The Cardinals who, by this point in the season, had been preparing to rest stars for the playoffs the past couple of years, find themselves in a race with the Reds for the NL Central Division title.

This territory is as unfamiliar for St. Louis as it is for the Reds.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I didn't leave my heart in San Francisco ....

but I might have misplaced a case of hypothermia during one August visit.

Here's a word of advice: if you travel to San Francisco during the month of August - just as the Reds have beginning today - pack a T-shirt and shorts for the afternoon and a parka for the morning and evening.

See, there's this fog.

It shows up in the Bay Area around 7 p.m. or so and completely envelopes the downtown area. The temperature drops from the mid-70's to the mid-50's on a dime. The crystal clear afternoon skies become grimy with near zero visibility.

When you take the boat to Sausalito on a bright sunny August afternoon, don't stare at the folks buying fleece sweatshirts like they're from Mars.

They know something you don't.

Game-time temperature tonight: 58 degrees with a 16 mph variable wind.

The coldest winter I ever spent was ...

Coffey's triple-screw

Reds reliever Todd Coffey was more than apologetic for his being ejected after arguing a call by home plate umpire Wally Bell in the seventh inning of Wednesday's loss to Houston.

In fact, Coffey pretty much threw himself to the mercy of the court.

"I screwed the bullpen, I screwed Chris (Michalak), I screwed the team," said Coffey. "It was a triple-decker right there."

One reporter commented later that it made sense that the Reds' burly right-hander would be thinking about a "triple-decker" at that point in time.

Or, perhaps Coffey was craving his favorite meal - a banana and mayonnaise sandwich.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Steady ... Eddie?

A couple of hours after Reds manager Jerry Narron sat in his office and praised Edwin Encarnacion's patience at the plate and improvement on defense, the Reds' 23-year old third baseman was anything but patient in striking out in his first two at-bats against Roy Oswalt and later committed a fielding error.

Oh well. Young players will show their age on occasion, and Encarnacion has played beyond his years for the majority of this season.

BTW, I couldn't have picked a nicer day to be sitting in the MLB.com chair. It's a beautiful afternoon at the ballpark.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Three's a charm

Three years ago, my wife and I said our vows at St. Stephens Church before taking a trolley to Great American Ball Park for our reception at the Riverfront Club and a few photo-ops on the field.

Who said sports writers aren't romantic? Happy anniversary to us.

Where's "Waldo"?

The Reds found him jogging around the bases following a game-tying three-run home run in the eighth inning of Monday's 4-3 victory over Houston.

Rich Aurilia's nickname "Waldo" is derived from his versatility, er, daily uncertainty as to which position he's going to play.

Aurilia has played first, second, third, shortstop and even served as the club's DH once during interleague play.

"I almost don't care (where I play)," Aurilia said. "I look at the lineup ... to see if my name's on there. Then I look to the right to see where I'm playing. Then I get mentally ready."

Aurilia's best role for the Reds might be that of postseason veteran. During his career, Aurilia has played in 25 postseason games including 7 in the World Series.

His bat and leadership will be key for the Reds regardless of which glove he carries.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hopper makes history

Norris Hopper didn't even have a nameplate on his locker yet. He dressed in virtual anonymity in the Reds clubhouse following Sunday's game until his "agent" Ryan Freel announced his presence to the local media.

"Can we get an interview over here?" Freel yelled. "The guy did get his first major league hit after all."

Hopper singled in the eighth inning to became the first Reds player to collect his first major league hit in his first career at-bat since Wily Mo Pena accomplished the feat in 2002.

"I'm still floating right now," Hopper said. "My feet haven't even touched the ground yet."

Talented but tool-less

Norris Hopper, whose contract was purchased by the Reds today from Triple-A Louisville, isn't one of those five-tool players that causes scouts and player development types to drool.

Hopper has hit just three home runs in more than 1,100 minor-league at-bats. He doesn't walk or strikeout much.

But, Hopper does execute one tool well: he hits for average.

Hopper, who spent seven years in the Royals organization before being signed as a free-agent by the Reds in January 2005, was leading the International League and ranked second in Triple-A with a .349 batting average. He also had 10 doubles, 3 triples and 24 stolen bases. But, no home runs.

In other transactions today, Eddie Guardado was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendonitis in his elbow, Chris Michalak was placed on the bereavement list due to the death of his grandmother, Matt Belisle was returned from his rehab assignment and reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and Mike Burns was designated for assignment.

I thought Sunday was a day of rest?

Ozzie (expletive) Guillen

Man, oh man, was White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on his soapbox Saturday in Minnesota.

Best I can figure, Ozzie believes the NL (bleepin) Central is horrible, and all of the (bleepin) managers in the league are just (bleepin) jealous that Guillen, a Mexican, won a World Series title.

Guillen is a (bleepin) reporter's dream. Here's some classic stuff from the Chicago Sun Times:


Hey Oz, how's that sensitivity training working for ya?

Couldn't agree more

John Fay with an excellent editorial in Sunday's Enquirer:


Judging by the e-mails and comments I've received, you'd think the Reds were the clear choice to win the NL Central Division this season and the only reasons why they are not running away from the Cardinals is Jerry Narron's poor decision-making and Wayne Krivsky's poorly-executed trades.

If Narron and/or Krivsky are to blame, then who gets the credit for the Reds, picked fifth in the NL Central by most pundits, being in the pennant race to begin with?

Fay's correct. If voting for NL Manager of the Year and Executive of the Year commenced today, both Narron and Krivsky would be in the top two or three.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

He never had a chance

Steve Stewart will tell you that broadcasting Reds baseball was his "dream job". He'll do so despite the many personal and professional obstacles he encountered shortly after accepting the position.

Not only was Stewart replacing a living legend in Joe Nuxhall, he was also dealing with a divorce and having to juggle difficult family matters along with trying to fit in alongside Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman in one of the most heralded chairs in baseball broadcasting.

It was reported today that Stewart's contract will not be extended. He has agreed to broadcast Reds games through the end of the 2006 season.

"Marty has been great to me," Stewart told MLB.com. "Joe (Nuxhall) has been great to me. I learned so much. The fans have welcomed me and been supportive. I appreciate their accepting me. You have to have thick skin in this business. I think I've been treated great here. The toughest thing was telling my son, the world's biggest Reds fan. He asked me, 'Can we still go to Reds games?'"

Under the circumstances, Stewart did a marvelous job. He never really replaced Nuxhall who was called back to broadcast Reds games on a rotating basis. But, Stewart never complained. He continually deferred to Nuxhall's schedule, the two working alongside one another on several occasions.

Stewart is one of the truest gentleman I've encountered during my time covering the Reds. I sincerely hope that the opportunity afforded him by the Reds is just one of many he'll earn in his broadcasting career.

Stewart deserves more than a wink, a smile and a wave goodbye. He deserves our respect.

I wish him the absolute best. The "Bad Boy" is anything but.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A positive trend

Although the performance on the field was less than desirable for the fans tonight, the attendance at Great American Ball Park was 31,718.

That pushes the Reds average attendance in their past five home games to 37,463. That's nearly 90% capacity of Great American Ball Park.

If the Reds can maintain their position in the playoff race, I'd imagine those numbers would continue on an upward trend.

Nice to see.

Believe it: Bucs are better

It's difficult to uncover the silver lining in a 46-75 record, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are moving in the right direction as an organization.

If developing young pitching from within is truly the key to organizational stability, then the Pirates are on the right track.

Ian Snell, the Bucs' starting pitcher tonight in the opening game of a three-game series with the Reds at Great American Ball Park, is a good example.

He's struggled with consistency. But, since May 20 Snell has gone 5-2 with a 3.66 ERA away from PNC Park while limiting opposing batters to a .227 average. He's just beginning to mature.

Zach Duke is a much-heralded prospect. Then there's Paul Maholm, Bryan Bullington and Tom Gorzelanny.

An excellent analogy posted on MLB.com today referenced the 1988 Braves who finished nearly 40 games out of first place when a 22-year-old Tom Glavine went 7-17 and 21-year-old John Smoltz went just 2-7. Steve Avery, then just 20-years old, won only three of his 20 starts the following year.

That trio matured to become the foundation of a dynasty.

Now, I'm not saying the Pirates will run off a string of consecutive NL Central Division titles on par with the Braves' dominance in the East. But, Pirates fans have reason to believe there are better days ahead.

Pittsburgh's condition isn't as dire as its record might make it appear.

Paul Lo Dumped

The tabloid frenzy surrounding Paul Lo Duca's divorce and alleged affairs continues to rage in New York and Philly.

The 34-year old Mets catcher reportedly had an affair with two 19-year old women. His wife filed for divorce a couple of months ago citing infidelity.

The New York Post has had a field day with this story. The below Philly blog item has adult content, just so ya know.


On page 168 of the Mets 2006 media guide, Lo Duca's bio includes this item:

Family: Wife, Sonny; Daughter, Bella.

At least he didn't try to keep his marriage a secret from Mets PR.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A not-so perfect 10

Bronson Arroyo tried a new hairstyle. He tried channeling Bo Derek. He even joked last week that he'd sacrifice a few live chickens. An anonymous individual even tried to help by sending Arroyo a vase of ten red roses which were placed at his locker in the Reds clubhouse at Busch Stadium.

In the end, all it took for Arroyo to earn his elusive 10th victory was a couple of high-wire acts and some good old fashioned run support.

Arroyo had to face Albert Pujols in a couple of precarious situations, but he managed to escape them both en route to a seven-inning, four-hit effort in which he allowed just one run.

Behind Arroyo, the Reds beat the Cardinals 7-2 to move back within 1 1/2 games of first place in the NL Central Division.

Arroyo proclaimed following the game that he will be removing his infamous cornrows.

Prediction: it won't take this long for Arroyo to win No. 11. If it does, the Reds right-hander might lose his hair naturally.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Daily rhetoric

Bengals fans are hoping for the best when it comes to Carson Palmer. The local media would like to see him back on the field as well, but for different reasons.

The dialy rhetoric coming out of Bengals camp in relation to Palmer's playing status is growing tiresome for reporters, particularly those who cover the team on a daily basis.

Tuesday was a good example.

Head coach Marvin Lewis proclaimed that Palmer will no longer address questions in relation to when he expects to play in a game. Lewis then said it will be Palmer's decision as to when he's ready.

Later in the afternoon, Palmer addressed numerous questions on the subject including one response in which he stated Lewis will make the final decision as to when he plays.

Lewis said the doctors have cleared Palmer medically. Palmer said there are still some physical hurdles to overcome.

Palmer and Lewis seem to agree on one thing: if the Bengals quarterback doesn't play in a preseason game, he won't suit up for the opener in Kansas City.

Aside from that, when Palmer will play his next game for the Bengals is anyone's guess. And, a daily notebook item for Bengals beat reporters.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Not so fast

Football fans in favor of sweeping reform in the NFL's overtime procedures might want to think again.

Despite perception to the contrary, winning the coin toss does not automatically equate to an overtime victory in the NFL.

Winning the coin toss does have its advantages - as well it should - but not to as great an extent as most fans think.

Last season, the team which won the coin toss emerged victorious 57.1% of the time. The coin-toss losers won 42.8% of those games.

In it's history, the team that won the coin toss has won the game just 52.9% of the time. More than 71% of the time, both teams have had at least one possession in overtime regardless of the coint-toss outcome.

The NFL's overtime coin toss, just as it's designed to do, provides a measurable advantage for the winning team.

But, it's no sure thing.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Player of the w "EE" k

Edwin Encarnacion, the Reds' soft-spoken Dominican infielder, has been speaking loudly with his bat of late.

Today, Encarnacion was named NL Player of the Week after he batted .440 with four home runs and eight RBI during the week ending August 13. He also had 24 total bases, a .960 slugging percentage and seven runs scored.

Encarnacion will likely have little comment on the subject. That's just fine with the Reds who hope he never gets shy with the bat.

Close the book on Mercker

After 16 big-league seasons, Kent Mercker's career has likely ended.

The Reds left-hander suffered a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow on Friday in Philadelphia. The severity of the injury was revealed this morning in a MRI which also showed an 80% tear in the flexor tendon.

Mercker, who will undergo reconstructive surgery on Thursday, went 1-1 this season with a 4.13 ERA and one save in 37 appearances. Prior to the injury, Mercker had tossed 7 1/3 consecutive shutout innings.

His career record stands at 73-67 with a 4.16 ERA, 25 saves and 911 strikeouts. After beginning his career with the Braves, Mercker went on to pitch for eight more teams including three seperate stints with the Reds.

Knowing Merck, he'll make the most of his retirement.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Palmer stand-ins pass first audition

The battle for Carson Palmer's temporary stunt-double got underway tonight before a pre-season record crowd of 64,961 at Paul Brown Stadium.

Anthony Wright and Doug Johnson both performed well in the Bengals' 19-3 victory over the Washington Redskins. Here are the numbers:

Johnson: 11-for-14, 128 yards and one touchdown in the second half.

Wright: 9-of-16 for 101 yards and one touchdown in the first half.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, as one might expect, had few definitive comments following the game about which quarterback might have vaulted himself to No. 2 status.

"I'll sit down and evaluate the tape and we'll see what we'll do," Lewis said. "I'm not going to tell you guys. Nothing personal."

Dawn of a new era

The first sign of the Apocalypse was seeing Bob Costas seated at an adjacent table in the media dining room at Paul Brown Stadium.

Legendary broadcasters Al Michaels and John Madden were in the house as well, along with former Bengal Cris Collinsworth, sideline reporter Andrea Kremer and a throng of NBC camermen and crew.

No, this isn't a NFL playoff game. It's not even a regular season game.

It's the opening game of the preseason in Cincinnati.

Even though Carson Palmer is still sidelined, the Bengals remain a top draw for national media types. That the Bengals' numerous off-season brushes with the law made for national comment proves that Marvin Lewis' team has the eyes and ears of NFL fans globally.

Michaels, Madden and the NBC army showed up at Paul Brown Stadium tonight to broadcast a game that doesn't matter.

Remember when the Bengals didn't count?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Party on Wayne

Reds media relations dept. delivered this tidbit today:

Wayne Krivsky has acquired 31 players since he was named Reds general manager on 2/8...19 of those players appeared in at least 1g for the Reds this season...12 of Krivsky's acquisitions are on today's active roster: RHP Bronson Arroyo, LHP Bill Bray, IF Juan Castro, SS Royce Clayton, LHP Rheal Cormier, RHP Ryan Franklin, LHP Eddie Guardado, 1B Scott Hatteberg, OF Todd Hollandsworth, RHP Kyle Lohse, IF Brandon Phillips and C David Ross...additionally, RHP Gary Majewski is on the disabled list...only 14 players from the Opening Day roster are on today's roster.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Interesting outing for Bronson Arroyo this afternoon:

He pitched seven innings, allowed four earned runs, 10 hits, walked just one, tied a season-high with eight strikeouts but gave up three home runs.

Arroyo failed in his 10th attempt to earn his 10th victory of the season, despite a new hairstyle designed to bring luck.

After the game, Arroyo was a bit bewildered.

"(Jim) Edmonds has seen a lot of soft stuff from me 1-0," Arroyo said. "I thought I'd get a strike on the inner-half and he hit it out of the park. I never thought in a million years he'd even swing at it. It's a head game between you and the hitter. Right now, they're getting the best of me."

So, will the cornrows stay?

"I'll leave them in for a while," Arroyo said. "I'm about at the end of my rope with superstitions. I can bring a live chicken in here, or I can just pitch. It's been frustrating for two months. I thought I had good stuff today. I just got beat, man."

"...another excuse to believe"

Last night's lede from Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

CINCINNATI — If the Cardinals needed another painful reminder that this season will be less forgiving than their last two, Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park provided an open-handed slap to the face.

Afforded leads of 4-0, 6-3 and 7-6, a team that closed with precision in 2004 and 2005 again fell badly.

The second-place Cincinnati Reds -- the Team That Won't Go Away -- took Chris Carpenter's start and Jason Isringhausen's finish and transformed them into something inspirational.

When catcher David Ross launched a two-run, ninth-inning home run to center field some 442 feet away, it provided the Reds an 8-7 win, a sellout crowd of 41,649 another excuse to believe and the 61-52 Cardinals further proof that this is a grinding season.

Long distance winner

David Ross' game-winning two-run home run on Wednesday night was just the fifth ball in the history of Great American Ball Park to go over the Batter's Eye Pavilion, either on a fly or on a bounce.

The list:

Adam Dunn (twice)
Derrek Lee
Albert Pujols
Alfonso Soriano
David Ross

None of the previous occurences were as significant as Ross' dramatic walk-off winner that lifted the Reds to within 2 1/2 games of first place.

Ross said he's had three walk-off homers in his lifetime. One while with the Dodgers, one for the University of Florida, and last night's bone-chilling blast.

Audio clip of Marty's call:


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bio hazard

The Reds' media relations department maintains a packet titled "Supplemental Bios" which includes biographical information and stats on players who were acquired after the team's media guide was printed and published.

Thanks to the tireless activity of Reds' GM Wayne Krivsky, the Supplemental Bios packet for the 2006 regular season has grown to more than 40 pages.

Today, the staff was scrambling to add Todd Hollandsworth's information before he arrives at Great American Ball Park tomorrow.

The Reds should think about printing the Supplemental Bios packet on recycled paper. We do have the environment to consider, of course.

Day after The Catch: Freel gives back

CINCINNATI -- Less than 24 hours after making one of the greatest catches in the history of Great American Ball Park, Ryan Freel was at a local ballfield helping teach youngsters lessons in character and team building:


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A bloodied, battered hero

Ryan Freel stood at his locker following tonight's game with a golf-ball size welt on his right side and an ice pack wrapped around his shoulder and chest area.

Freel had his usual assortment of bruises but those occured prior to his Willie Mays-esque catch that robbed Albert Pujols of a two-run double during the Reds' 10-3 victory over the Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.

With blood still oozing from his wound after the game, Freel was asked if he hurt himself making the sensational diving grab.

"Not as far as I know right now," he said. "I still have some adrenaline going. We'll know about 3 a.m. after I'm asleep. I'll probably wake up with stiffness here or there."

One word: warrior.

More Majewskigate

Wayne Krivsky asked a group of reporters prior to tonight's game if this would be the last time he'd have to discuss the Bowden-Majewski-Cortisone caper.

Their response: no chance.

The Enquirer's John Fay reports more comment from Krivsky and the Reds' top doc on the developing saga.


Monday, August 07, 2006

A question of ethics

Team A trades a pitcher to Team B without disclosing to Team B that their medical staff had administered a cortisone shot to said pitcher due to shoulder problems that had been plaguing him since the World Baseball Classic.

Is Team A responsible for the disclosure of medical records pertaining to a player before he's traded?

Is Team B responsible for asking for those records?

How much of a burden of responsibility rests with the pitcher to tell Team B he's being treated for shoulder problems?

Before the GM of Team B (Wayne Krivsky) gets convicted in the court of public opinion, stop to consider the role of Team A's GM (Jim Bowden) and the pitcher (Gary Majewski) in this situation.

Bowden's reputation has long been soured throughout baseball. Majewski admitted his ailment to the Reds only after the urging of his fiancee. Krivsky is none too pleased with any of it.

No question, Krivsky and the Reds got fleeced. But, the question remains: was it their fault?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

ESPN: Palmer no lock

Len Pasquarelli wrote a less than compelling piece on Carson Palmer today for ESPN.com.

Apparently, it's breaking news that Palmer isn't a "lock" to start the season-opener in Kansas City.

The story is ill-timed because the determination of Palmer's readiness for the start of the regular season was never going to be made after the first week of August. With just one week of training camp in the books, and the first preseason game still one week away, there are still many non-guarantees in Bengals camp.

Palmer's performance thus far in training camp has given the Bengals no reason to be more or less optimistic than they were during mini-camp. Perhaps Pasquarelli will do a follow-up piece at the end of August when it matters.


You must be kidding

Fans will go to great lengths to take advantage of ballpark promotions. Case in point: today's American Girl promotion at Great American Ball Park.

The first 6,000 kids 14 and younger in attendance at Sunday's game recieved a Reds warm-up jacket and cap for their American Girl doll.

A father, citing his open-mindedness, demanded that his son, who was clearly older than 14, be given the American Girl promotion.

Then there's the story of a woman who produced a copy of her sonogram proving she was pregnant with a child who was, at this point, younger than 14 years of age and therefore qualified for the promotion.

Instead of half-price tickets and $1 hot dogs, perhaps the Reds should offer fans free psychiatric treatment.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bargain baseball

The Reds lead the NL Wild Card race and are just 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals in the NL Central Division. Far and away above any pre-season expectations of their position on August 3.

Which begs the question: Are there any teams in a comparable position that feel they need to sell 1/2 price tickets to encourage fans to attend games?

Anyway, here's the Reds' latest offer. Take it or leave it.

The Reds are offering tickets for half price in 10 seating locations for games Monday, Tuesday and Thursday against the Cardinals at Great American Ball Park. The offer doesn't include Dave Concepcion bobblehead night on Wednesday.

In addition, during that entire four-game series against St. Louis, fans can purchase hot dogs for just one dollar.

Half-price tickets for the Cardinals series can be purchased at Great American Ball Park ticket windows or online at www.reds.com.

Now, if they'd just add a fifth starter, trade to get Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez back, put Edwin Encarnacion in the lineup everyday, dump Royce Clayton ... is there anything else?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Just as the blistering heat wave has reached its peak, this job ad arrives at my desktop:

The Anchorage Daily News, Alaska’s largest newspaper, is looking for an energetic sports writer to help cover a broad sports scene that ranges from hockey and basketball to dog mushing and mountain running.

I'm sure it's a lot cooler in Anchorage. But, I hear dog mushing is a tough beat.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Remember him?

Former Reds infielder Brandon Larson went 1-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in Triple-A New Orleans' 12-1 victory over Portland this afternoon.

Larson is batting .259 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI for the Zephyrs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Guardado: Lohse will be ok

Eddie Guardado was a teammate of Kyle Lohse's in Minnesota. Despite concerns about Lohse's mental toughness, Guardado said the 27-year old right-hander will be fine.

“I know he’s been bumping heads with (Twins manager Ron Gardenhire),” Guardado said. “When things aren’t going your way and you’re bumping heads with certain people, especially the manager, it’s difficult to pitch. You feel like the world’s against you. I’ve been there.”

Lohse was 2-5 with a 7.07 ERA for the Twins. He lost his starting role earlier this season. Guardado said he spoke with Lohse following the trade and was encouraged by the discussion.

“I think he’s got great stuff,” said Guardado. “He's a pitcher who's going to be around for awhile. He ran into little bumps in the road this year.”

UPDATE: Lohse allowed one run on four hits in one inning pitched tonight in his Reds debut. He also had one strikeout. Lohse will start against the Braves on Saturday in lieu of Brandon Claussen.

Attendance ... again

The Enquirer's back on the case this morning.

I particularly liked the comment from the 22-year old fan who said the recent heat wave discouraged him from going to Reds games. Of course, the cost of parking, beer and concessions continues to be a problem.


Reds games rank in the top ten "least" expensive in baseball. We can only hope that the weather cools off so people will feel safe venturing out of their homes.

I weep for this town.


Monday, July 31, 2006

Brandon Claussen

Brandon Claussen pitched 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville tonight allowing six earned runs on seven hits, walked three, struck out four, and surrendered two home runs.

The obligatory "change of scenery"

"When you come to a team that wants you, your confidence is boosted up," said Eddie Guardado. "You want to prove to (your new team) that you can still pitch.”

Those words might also apply to another former Twin, Kyle Lohse, who was dealt to the Reds today.

Lohse is just 2-5 with a 7.07 ERA. He has pitched better since the Twins shipped him to the bullpen, but he wasn't pleased with the move.

A source close to the Twins told me the 27-year old's struggles are mostly mental and not physical. Most scouts agree he has quality stuff.

When I mentioned the Reds have a solid clubhouse and that might help Lohse adjust, the source said the Twins clubhouse was a pretty good one too and it didn't work out.

Lohse wants to be a starting pitcher. Jerry Narron says that possibility might be dependent on Brandon Claussen's performance tonight. The Reds need a starter for Saturday.

Lohse has some ability. You've got to figure the Reds are hoping he can crack the starting rotation. The bullpen is about as deep as it can get.

Not sure about this one ...

The Reds have acquired 27-year old right-hander Kyle Lohse from the Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Zach Ward.

In 172 appearances, including 152 starts, Lohse has gone 51-57 with a 4.88 ERA. He averaged 188 innings from 2002 through 2005.

Lohse was 2-5 with a 7.07 ERA in eight starts and 14 relief appearances for the Twins this season.

The 22-year old Ward, a third-round draft choice, was 7-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 18 starts and two relief appearances at Single-A Dayton.

Stay tuned.

Sean Casey to first-place Tigers

We can no longer pity Sean Casey.

The last-place Pirates dealt the former Reds first baseman to the red-hot Tigers moments ago.

Detroit owns the best record in baseball. If this keeps up, Casey could be on his way to the World Series.

Let me be among the first to offer Casey my congratulations. This is a well-deserved opportunity for one of the game's true gentlemen.


Just as I was about to ...

cue the sound of crickets chirping on deadline day, the Reds complete a deal.

They've acquired left-handed reliever Rheal Cormier from the Phillies in exchange for Justin Germano.

They've also agreed to a one-year contract extension with Cormier through the 2007 season, with a club option for 2008.

Brandon Watson was optioned to Triple-A Louisville to make room for Cormier who is 2-2 with a 1.59 ERA in 43 appearances this season. He owns the lowest ERA among NL relievers.

There is a 4:30 p.m. press conference scheduled to discuss the deal for Cormier and ... ?

Watson moving up

Right-hander Sean Watson, the Reds' second-round pick in the 2006 First Year Player Draft, has been promoted from Billings to Single-A Dayton.

In seven games with the Mustangs, including four starts, Watson went 0-0 with a 1.52 ERA in 23 2/3 innings of work. He struck out 19 and walked five while limiting the opposition to a .190 batting average.

Watson ranked second all-time in saves at the University of Tennessee.

In other news, top pitching prospect Travis Wood has been placed on the DL with a left ankle sprain suffered in his last appearance.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Men at work

GEORGETOWN, Ky. - The opening of Bengals training camp on Saturday was part CSI, part soap opera and part comedy.

Chris Henry arrived sans dreadlocks perhaps hoping to shed his legal troubles just as easily.

Odell Thurman was a no-show with head coach Marvin Lewis hinting that he might be lost for the season.

Carson Palmer emerged from the locker room amid cheers and chants of "Carson-Palmer" at the urging of Willie Anderson.

And, the first act of the Chad Johnson Show went off without a hitch. That is, if you chose to ignore Johnson's mohawk hairdo and bright orange pants and shoes.

Sam Adams is as big as advertised. The Bengals hope they're as good as most pundits expect them to be.

A crowd estimated at 4,200 greeted the Bengals at Georgetown College.

Of course, Palmer's rehab saga will be the running story of camp. While Lewis remains mum on the QB's progress, Palmer was more forthright.

"I have confidence in my knee as far as running with it and cutting," he said. "As far as getting hit, I don't think I'm ready for that. I don't think my knee's ready for that. I'm looking forward to getting back in there and getting bumped around. Just to get rid of any jitters."

Palmer said he appreciates all of the cards and get-well wishes he's received.

"It's been unbelievable," he said. "Elementary schools, entire junior highs. It's been funny to see the drawings on the get-well cards. I've got pictures of me lying on the field with my leg all crooked."

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Worldwide Mis-Leader

I don't know Peter Kerasotis, a columnist for Florida Today Newspaper, but I just became a fan.


Good stuff.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Steady Eddie

You can add Eddie Guardado to the list of quality additions made by Reds GM Wayne Krivsky.

The Reds were struggling to find a pitcher capable of being a dependable back-end of the bullpen guy. So, they acquired the left-handed Guardado from Seattle in exchange for a minor leaguer and cash.

In his first 7 appearances with the Reds, Guardado posted a 1.35 ERA and had five saves.

“That’s me, the problem solver,” Guardado said last week with a laugh.

After being slowed by forearm stiffness, Guardado returned tonight to toss a scoreless ninth inning in the Reds' 8-4 victory in Houston.

After spending 11 seasons in Minnesota, where he led the majors with 45 saves in 2002, Steady Eddie was dealt to the Mariners. He posted 59 saves in three seasons with the Mariners before being shipped to Cincinnati.

“The deal for Eddie really set our bullpen up,” said Reds manager Jerry Narron. “He’s an experienced guy. He knows how to close games out.”

The acquisition of Guardado added a veteran arm to the Reds’ bullpen and a positive influence to the clubhouse.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” said the gentlemanly Guardado. “I was struggling with Seattle. When you come to a team that wants you, your confidence is boosted up. You want to prove to (your new team) that you can still pitch.”

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bengals blotter

Defensive tackle Matthias Askew is the latest to be added to the Bengals' growing rap sheet.

Cincinnati police report that Askew has been charged with obstruction and resisting arrest after being approached for a parking violation at around 8 p.m. Saturday on Beekman Street in South Cumminsville.

The 24-year old Askew reportedly was tased and arrested after he refused to comply and attempted to flee the officers.

When will it end?

Highlight Freel

Ryan Freel did plenty to earn a spot on Sportscenter during Saturday night's 8-7 victory over Milwaukee.

He hit two home runs, including the eight-inning game-clincher, and made a couple of nice catches in the outfield. But, the most lasting image of Freel will likely be of him retrieving a baseball from within his uniform shirt after being hit by a pitch.

The soon-to-be baseball blooper occured when Freel was struck by a pitch and the ball somehow snuck inside his shirt sleeve before coming to rest at his waist. As Freel walked to first base, he looked like he was giving birth to rawhide.

"It was weird," Freel said. "All of sudden I felt this ball. I thought it was my dip can."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Cubs free Willy

ESPN.com is reporting that the Cubs have traded former Reds right-hander Scott Williamson to the Padres in exchange for two minor-league pitchers.

Williamson was 2-2 with a 5.08 ERA in 28 1/3 innings for the fifth-place Cubs.

Nothing earth-shattering here, but Willy was a media favorite during his tenure with the Reds.

I'm sure he's pleased to be pitching for the first-place Padres and free from the mess in Chicago.

Injury free - knock, knock

Things have been so bad the past few years in the Reds minor league system that success is being measured in surgeries.

Reds GM Wayne Krivsky likes the number he’s seen so far this season – zero.

“Knock on wood, we haven’t had a surgery in the minor leagues on a pitcher,” Krivsky said prior to tonight's game. “We’re doing something right there. That was the concern coming in, the number of injuries we’ve had in recent years.”

Krivsky discussed the improvements made in the Reds' farm system for next week's Downtowner Newspaper column.

Although wins often take a back seat to player development, the two often go hand in hand.

Through 450 games, the Reds' minor league affiliates have gone 233-217 with three clubs (Triple-A Louisville, Double-A Chattanooga and Rookie League Billings) residing in first place.

Friday, July 21, 2006

There's no escape

During a party bus tour of Aruba on Tuesday, we stopped at a local dive bar tucked away in an alley near downtown Oranjestad. This place was far off the beaten path, a virtual invisibility to most tourists.

But, they had cold Balashi beer on tap, great island music and baseball on TV. As I'm sipping my Balashi and jamming to the Carribean sounds, a familiar voice catches my ear - George Grande.

Couldn't be, I thought. Could it?

Yep. As it turns out, the bar had a satellite dish and, by pure coincidence, had chosen to show the FSN Ohio feed of the Reds/Mets game.

In a random watering hole, on an island nearly 2,000 miles from home and just 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela, I hear, "It's going to stay in the park".

The next time you choose to poke fun at Grande and Welsh, please stop to consider the worldly reach of these two international icons.

Room with a view

Our view from Room 443 at the Hyatt Regency resort in Aruba.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Get-away day

Just as I was about to turn my attention squarely toward an Aruban vacation, one last check of the e-mail revealed an eight-player deal involving the Reds and Nationals. Back to work.

I asked my editor if he wanted a re-write, knowing for sure he would. I scurried out of the house, laptop bag in tow, and raced 20 minutes to the ballpark arriving just as Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez were completing their final remarks as members of the Reds.

I wrote and recorded comments from Reds GM Wayne Krivsky and manager Jerry Narron and headed to the press box to rewrite my column. What a day.

Anyway, Krivsky's take is that bullpen help is difficult to find and costly but it's what the Reds need to contend. So, he "gulped" and made the deal while paying an admittedly steep price.

Gotta figure a move to fortify the starting rotation is in the offing.

Quote of the day:

“I gulped a lot (when agreeing to the trade),” Krivsky said. “I know there are a lot of people leaving angry messages. Other people will think the trade's great. There will probably be polls. Cincinnati leads the nation in polls.”

On that note, I'm packing for Aruba. I'll keep abreast of things from a distance. An aqua-blue watered, sandy-beached, paradise of a distance.

Gary Majewski

Majewski, 26, pitched for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. He posted a 2.93 ERA in a team-leading 79 appearances for the Nationals last season. He is 3-2 with a 3.58 ERA and 5 saves this season. The right-hander's tied for fifth in the major leagues with 46 games pitched. He'll join the Reds on Friday.

Bill Bray

Bray, 23, ranked among the top prospects in the Nationals farm system. The left-hander posted a 3.19 ERA in 19 relief appearances for Washington. Bray was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 first-year player draft. He'll join the Reds on Friday.

Royce Clayton

Clayton, 36, will take over for Felipe Lopez at shortstop. His career fielding percentage of .974 ranks seventh among all major league shortstops. Clayton was an All-Star in 1997. He is a 13-year big-league veteran. He'll join the Reds on Friday.

Daryl Thompson

The 20-year old right-hander is recovering from surgery performed by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek. Ranked as the 10th-best prospect in the Nationals farm system. Krivsky likened Thompson's makeup and style to former big-league hurler Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd. Will begin Reds career with GCL Sarasota.

Brendan Harris

Appeared in 17 games for the Nationals. Batted .283 with 5 home runs and 32 RBI for Triple-A New Orleans. Originally a fifth-round draft choice of the White Sox. Versatile, hard-worker with some pop in his bat. Will begin Reds career at Triple-A Louisville.

The Big Bopper

Lee May, who will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame this weekend along with Tom Browning and Tom Seaver, just missed playing for the Big Red Machine.

But, had May not been traded, the Reds might never have emerged as baseball's juggernaut in the 70's.

On November 29, 1971, May was dealt to the Astros in exchange for future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, and other Big Red Machine stalwarts Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo, Ed Armbrister and Denis Menke.

During an interview yesterday at the Reds Hall of Fame for my weekly column, May spoke of the trade and what might have been:

"I have no animosity toward the Reds, they started me on my way," he said. "We had an abundance of power. That was the thing to do, go down and get some speed. And, they got Joe Morgan."

May also offered another theory about the trade, which resulted in moving his good friend Tony Perez back to first base:

"I always told Tony, 'the reason they traded me was to get you off third base', you were horrible over there'," May said laughing.

May hit .274 with 147 home runs and 449 RBI in seven seasons with the Reds.