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.