Friday, March 30, 2007

The catcher(s) in the rye

Even if Chad Moeller comes north, do the Reds really have three catchers?

David Ross is the Reds' starting catcher. Moeller is an adequate back-up.

Javier Valentin is a catcher by trade, but in reality he's a back-up first baseman and the club's top pinch hitter leading them in pinch-hits (12), pinch-homers (4, one-shy of the club record) and RBI (12) last season.

Late-spring injuries forced the Reds' hand in this respect.

Besides, I think too much is made about which players make the Opening Day roster. The Reds roster in April likely will be barely a shadow of itself by August.

Gia Farrell to perform on Opening Day

I consider myself to be a knowledgeable music buff, but there are two genres I simply don't know much about. One is country. The other is the dance-pop-Christina Aguilera-Britney Spears ... well, you know the one.

While doing a little research for the festivities for Opening Day a question arose - who is Gia Farrell and why is she singing the National Anthem on our hallowed day at Great American Ball Park?

Turns out, Farrell is an 18-year old Atlanta Records recording artist from New York. Her song "Hit Me Up" reached No. 6 on the Australian charts and was featured in the animated film 'Happy Feet'.
Farrell is also a very lovely young lady, so gentleman keep your eyes on the flag.

Here it all starts ...

Our Downtowner Newspaper site ( and my subsequent blog remains a work in progress, so we'll keep Press Box View going for some time to come.

While the full-time Reds beat writers have already been going at it for a month or so, my work begins in earnest tomorrow with the start of a 72-hour marathon, of sorts.

I leave for Dayton at around 9 a.m. to cover the Reds/Marlins exhibition game.

On Sunday morning, it's off to Great American Ball Park to pen notebooks on both the Cubs and Reds from the pre-Opening Day workouts.

Then, it's an early rise on Monday to spin a story on the Findlay Market Parade and all of the festivities, pomp and circumstance surrounding Opening Day before settling in for the game itself.

I'll link the stories as they are posted at

I must say, I was, and continued to be, impressed by the participants in the Reds blogosphere during this past offseason.

You provide hope that beneath the sparse attendance figures at Great American Ball Park and perceived apathy, there exists a knowledgeable and passionate base of Reds fans which is hungry for a winner.

Play ball!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Big changes at small paper

The Cincinnati Downtowner Newspaper has been treading water for years as a free weekly paper distributed in the immediate downtown area. I've been serving as a sports columnist for the Downtowner since 1999, with Reds coverage being our bread and butter.

Well, big changes are afoot at our little weekly.

A managing editor and staff reporter have been hired, and the Downtowner announced this week that it is nearly tripling its editorial staff, expanding the paper with a new look, launching a web site and extending the distribution footprint beyond downtown into Northern Kentucky, Clifton and the eastern suburbs.

Since all Downtowner columnists will be maintaining blogs on the new web site, which will go live on March 28, Press Box View will ultimately vanish.

My new blog will be linked to my weekly Downtowner Newspaper column, which had no prior web exposure. I'll be adding live in-game reports and breaking news as it happens. Exciting stuff.

Here's the link to the new site (it'll be up in a week or so):

The timing of the new Downtowner Newspaper's introduction coincides with our Opening Day issue/Findlay Market Parade insert, annually our most popular edition.

Change is good. Once the new blog is up and running, I'll pass along a link to my loyal readers and bloggers, particularly those in Reds land.

For those of you who work or reside within the Downtowner's new distribution area, pick up a copy. I think you'll be pleased with the new design and format.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Right of center

Ok, it's official. When the opposing team's at bat this season, Ken Griffey Jr. will be standing a few steps to Ryan Freel's left.

I realize it's newsworthy that Griffey, in his prime considered one of the finest centerfielders of this era, is moving to right field.

But, it's not like Carson Palmer is being moved to wide receiver. Now, that'd be front page above the fold.

So, Reds manager Jerry Narron has spilled the beans. Now, Griffey will be probed and prodded to see if he's happy with the move. And, every time he sneezes in right field, the move will be documented and dissected to determine how well Griffey's adjusting to his new position.

Forget right field, can Griffey stay healthy enough to play a full season at any position?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Charlie "hustle"

This was a common argument early in the Pete Rose saga - if he bet "for" the Reds to win, it's ok.

Rose was a habitual gambler, probably still is. Those addicted to gambling don't bet to lose. If they do, their bookies, or other shadowy figures prominent in their lives, are eventually going to come calling for their payday. That spells real trouble.

It all breeds corruption and, if let unattended to, results in another Black Sox scandal, which would make steroids look like baby aspirin by comparison.

So, less than 24 hours after the Reds Hall of Fame opened an exhibit in his honor, Rose again succeeded in dishonoring himself, his city and his hometown team.

He's proclaimed his love for the Reds by admitting during an ESPN Radio interview that he bet on his team "every night".

Great. Good form Pete.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Not a betting slip to be found

For once, there's a place where Pete Rose can be remembered for milestones achieved on the field and not his missteps off it.

The Rose exhibit at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum opens on Saturday and continues until 2008.

Covered the press conference and exclusive preview event for last evening.

Regardless of your feelings regarding Rose's reinstatement to baseball, Greg Rhodes and the entire staff at the Reds Hall of Fame deserve kudos for giving the playing career of baseball's all-time hits leader its just due.

Although, I'd like for Pete to get through a press conference without mentioning Las Vegas, dog tracks or horse racing, just once.

If Rose didn't have half a brain, he'd have half the hits.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Great American smoke out

Hal McCoy can chew on his trademark cigar, but not light it. The Ol' Left-hander will need to find a new pastime while lounging in the home dugout during BP. Reds fans can smoke 'em if they've got 'em, but they must do so prior to entering the ballpark.

Good thing this didn't come down while Jack McKeon was managing.

Great American Ball Park is smoke free:

Ohio's smoking ban is (in the process of) being enforced. The Reds are complying in the most efficient manner possible - a widespread, unconditional smoking ban applied throughout the facility.

With the notable exception of the Pepsi Power Stacks in centerfield, of course.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Xavier women punch first ticket

The men's and women's basketball teams at Xavier share more in common than uniforms adorned with a blue 'X' and a home court at Cintas Center.

They both are led by top transfers - Drew Lavender and Joei Clyburn.

They both have a strong core of seniors - Justin Doellman, Justin Cage, Brandon Cole for the men, and Michelle Miller, Suntana Granderson, Miranda Green, DeAnna Mason for the women.

They both have young head coaches - Sean Miller and Kevin McGuff - who were top assistants at Xavier and elsewhere.

In just a few days, they'll share something else - an NCAA Tournament berth.

Xavier's women got it done Monday night with a 65-59 victory over St. Joseph's in the Atlantic 10 Tournament championship game at Cintas Center.

With XU beat reporter Dustin Dow swamped as he prepares for coverage of the men's A-10 Tournament which begins Wednesday in Atlantic City, I was pleased to fill in on covering the women's A-10 tourney semis and finals.

Link to my Enquirer story this morning:

Sunday, March 04, 2007

March madness, sadness for some

Just back from covering Xavier's womens hoops team in the Atlantic 10 conference tournament at Cintas Center for the Enquirer.

The Muskies overcame a 3-for-13 shooting performance from Amber Harris, their leading scorer and A-10 Rookie of the Year, and rallied to beat Temple 54-53.

Xavier will play St. Joseph's in Monday's championship game at 5 p.m. with the winner earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

St. Joseph's semifinal win today over George Washington, ranked No. 8 in the nation and on a 19-game winning streak, came as a surprise to most in attendance, including those close to the team. The upset loss left a Washington Post beat reporter and team officials scrambling to change flights and hotel arrangements.

As maligned as the A-10 has been among mens' basketball conferences, it's a pretty strong womens' league. In fact, if St. Joe's topples Xavier on Monday, the A-10 will likely get four teams into the NCAA Tournament - Xavier, GW, Temple, St. Joe's.

As for the Xavier mens' NCAA chances, these comments just in from ESPN:

Should be in: Xavier [23-7 (13-3), RPI: 32, SOS: 86] I've probably undersold Xavier in past editions of D65. Now that X is the co-champ of the A-10 after eight straight wins to close things out -- to go with nonconference wins over VCU, Villanova, Illinois and K-State -- the profile looks very solid for an at-large. The Musketeers need to avoid a quarterfinal A-10 flameout, but I like their chances a lot right now.