Thursday, August 31, 2006
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 ...
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 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
Monday, August 28, 2006
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.
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.
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
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
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.
"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
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 ...
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
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 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.
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
"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."
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?
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?
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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."
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
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
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."
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.
Adam Dunn (twice)
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
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.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Larson is batting .259 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI for the Zephyrs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.
“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.
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.