Archive for September, 2007

Brandon Phillips – Mr. 30 / 30

Congratulations to Brandon Phillips.  Today’s milestone was yet another nail in the voodoo doll of Indians management who let him go to greener pastures.  (Not that they’ve missed him this year)  Is there a more talented player on this Reds team right now than Phillips?  It’s hard to argue there’s a better defensive player on the team.  He’s on the second 30/30 second baseman ever, and the other guy (Alfonso Soriano) isn’t playing second any more because of his defense.  I know that I love his attitude, zeal for the game and infectious smile.  He’s my favorite player.  Now that I’ve said that out loud, the Reds will trade him to another team.

One other note – my good friend Chris mentioned that Adam Dunn looks like Frank the Tank from Old School.  It’s amazing that I’ve never noticed that before, but he really does.  I wonder if after he hits a homer Dunn yells out, “We’re going streaking!!!”

Griffey’s Groin Goes And Thoughts on

Griffey Jr. suffered a painful groin injury trying to make a play against the Cubs Wednesday night.  Dr. Tim Kremchek made it sound like it wasn’t career threatening or chronic.  At this point, with the Reds eliminated, it’s almost a non-issue.  Griffey had a great year at the plate and a better year in the field as the season went on after a very shaky start.  I hope he’s not in too much pain – groin injuries remind you of the hurt with every step.

I went to Vote to vote on what should be done with the Barry Bonds home run record baseball.  I was a bit surprised at how I voted and felt about this issue.  I’ve said some pretty strong comments about Bonds in this blog.  I am convinced he cheated by using performance-enhancing / head growing drugs.  I acknowledge his almost unparalleled talent, but can’t believe he’s doing it in his 40’s without help.  I don’t like him because he’s a jerk.  I hate that he broke the home run record held by Henry Aaron, even though I’m equally convinced A-Rod will break the final Bonds mark (TBD) later. 

You would think I would lean toward either marking the ball with an asterisk (I laughed out loud when I heard on the radio that was one of the choices) or sending it into space.  Instead I voted to send it, as is, to Cooperstown.  This website and voting exercise alone will send the message that the record was acheived under dubious circumstances.  I know the history books and ESPN’s of the future (whatever form that has) won’t forget it either.  We all know how this record was achieved.  Let’s leave this historical artifact unblemished.

Despite the obvious self-promotion value he’s getting out of it, I think it’s pretty clever what Marc Ecko is doing on this site.  He’s not publishing the leading vote getter, instead he’s only showing the total votes received.  There were 1.7 million votes when I hit the site two days ago.  There are now 5.5 million votes as of this typing.  Either people are cheating the site with programs, spending the lunch breaks voting or word is getting around.  It’s hard to say if the old school baseball historian vote will trump the 15-year-old smart ass vote. 

Adam Dunn Hits 40th Homerun In Fourth Consecutive Season

I’ve been quiet long enough!!!!

The Reds lost again, but Adam Dunn belted his 40th homerun of the season and in the process, he set a franchise record for reaching 40 homers in his fourth consecutive season.  The fact that the Reds are going out of their way to make a long term to one of the elite power hitters in all of baseball is a travesty.  This is a kid who will reach 28 years of age in November and who already has well more then 200 longballs.  He needs just 100 walks for his fourth straight season touching that milestone as well and with a strong finish, he could top his career OPS mark of .956.

With the loss, the Reds were eliminated from the division crown, not that they had much of a chance to win it anyway.  They’ve also guaranteed themselves another losing season.  The Reds are fourth in the National League in runs scored with 744 so the offense it’s there.  With a rough finish though, they could revert back to their 2005 ways with a 5.00+ ERA.  They’re at 4.98 right now.

You also have to happy with Brandon Phillips, who’s proving that last year is not a fluke and those top five prospect labels weren’t totally off base five years ago.  He definitely needs to work on his plate discipline but he’s just a homer shy of a 30/30 season.

And if Aaron Harang hasn’t established himself as one of the elite starts in baseball, I don’t know what else he can do.  He’s the lone shining star on a mediocre pithing staff and he should get more Cy Young votes then he’s going to end up getting.

Ten more games left.  I’ll be watching.

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Reds Playing Role of “The Other Team” In Dramatic Wins (Losses)

Tonight the Reds were eliminated from Playoff contention with their loss to the Cubs.  I’m still optimistic they can find a way…  It will take rules changes, a call to Miss Cleo and the sacrifice of a goat, but I’m a devoted fan. 

I remember the Reds of old – the team that won dramatically late on a game-winning hit in the 9th.  The hero was assured of getting the interview and getting a beat-down at home plate like they stole something.  It always felt great

The bullpen this year has had its share of those moments this year but not in a good way.  This Cubs series stands out in particular but only because the stakes are so high with about 10 games to come.  Weathers gave up three-runs the other night in the 9th and tonight the Cubs manufactured a run in the 8th.  If the Reds can’t win the World Series, why not send the Cubs?  Perhaps they, like the Red Sox Fans a few years ago, can finally shut up about the streak, the long dry spell, the curse, the losing, the sad state of affairs,  Let’s put an end to it and get the Cubs (and Sweet Mary Lou) a ring!

I believe it was Dennis Miller who, when summarizing the types of power in the world, mentioned that the lady at the DMV has all kinds of power in the world.  “If I have to be here for eight hours, so do you, pal…”

The Reds have taken on their own flavor of that maxim.  To wit:  they told the Cardinals these past three days, “If we can’t be in the post season, neither can you.”  So the Reds sweep the Red Birds.  It couldn’t have happened to a nicer team.

Brandon Phillips is closing in his 30/30 season – just one homer left.  If you think about the monster years many Reds have had offensively this year (Dunn, Phillips, Griffey, Josh Hamilton), it almost makes the pitching situation seem even more desperate.  The Reds have scored 720 runs and allowed 776.  No playoff-bound team has allowed more than 707 (and that’s the Brewers if they actually make it).  There needs to be more depth to the rotation next year and man does that bullpen need about three or four people to round it out. 

Ankiel – Is IT Happening Again?

Reds won tonight.  Adam Dunn hit a monster grand slam homer (471 feet!) to deep center, had 2 HR and 5 RBI on the night.  All of which is great and makes me happy in a nominal way, but relative to this season means jack and squat. 

My thoughts tonight are about Ric Ankiel and how he played tonight.  Rick Ankiel dropped two balls in the outfield (in the lights?) tonight and had some goofy judgement in the infield. Perhaps it’s just one game.  Perhaps the HGH controversy is occupying his mind.  But I can’t help but wonder if the mental issues he had when pitching for the Cards, where he couldn’t get the ball to homeplate, are starting to surface in the outfield.  Obviously I need a bigger sample size to make such a judgement.  But the pattern could be the same:  Spectacular early results then sudden inability to execute. 

HGH or not, I’m not wishing such a thing on Ankiel; It would be horrible if the mental block came back.  It’s just the first thing that came to mind while watching him play tonight.  It wasn’t just that he was messing up – it was the tentative way he did it.

Ankiel Just Another Nail in the Coffin of “Too Good To Be True”

Other than the fact that he was playing for the hated Cardinals and their a-hole of a coach, I thought the Rick Ankiel story was amazing.  He transformed himself from crazy-wild pitcher to prolific power (major league) hitter in two short years.  I bought into it hook, line and sinker.  Then the HGH story comes out and I ask myself, “Why did I fall for this again?”  Fresh off the years of Bret Boone hitting 37 home runs and Ron Gant’s biceps bursting out of his uniform, you would think I would learn.  Well, no more feel good features for me.  I’m assuming that everyone is juiced.  Screech, Gary Coleman, Don Zimmer.  Everyone.

Reds are 9.5 games out.  ‘Nuff said, true believer.

Reds Win – Are Still Only Six Games from Worst Record in MLB

To be fair, there are 10 teams within just six games of each other for worst record in MLB.  Still, you don’t want to be grouped in with those teams if you can help it. The Reds picked a bad year to be poor because it wouldn’t have taken much improvement for this team to be leading or at least contending in the woeful NL Central.

Might as well play spoiler.  Arroyo did a great job tonight going deep into the game and won his 8th decision of the year.  Griffey is seven away from 600.  Can he make it this year?  It’s something to root for.  Josh Hamilton, even with missing some of the season to injury, would appear to make a strong case for Rookie of the Year.  Brandon Phillips for Gold Glove!  The Reds are 7.5 games out, but with three teams to chase, you can forget it.

Reds Swoon – Signal End to Pennant Chances and Start of Golf Season

Well – Cincinnati had itself set up to make a run.  It’s not mathematically over but the Reds have definitely put themselves behind the 8-ball with a nasty series in St. Louis and a bad start tonight vs. the Mets (10-4 thumping, welcome back Pedro).  It’s probably just as well that we not get our hopes up but it’s still a shame to have the Reds take themselves out if it.

Aaron Harang’s slim chances at a Cy Young are gone now too.  He was definitely going to have to win out to have even the slightest chance of doing it.  No knock on him – he’s been tough as nails all year.  He’s had a great season and the Reds are very lucky to have him as the face on Fox Sports Ohio, let me tell you.

Griffey did tie Cal Ripken Jr. for 17th on the all time RBI list with 1,695.  Next up is Reggie Jackson at 1,702.  He would have have had more, but he had to kill the queen…

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