March 1, 2007

ST Game 1: Reds 9, Pirates 7

Freel is out trying to steal second (AP Photo/Al Behrman) I can't even tell you the thrill I get from filling in the ol' boxscore again.

Ya know, when I was a kid, my family didn't follow any sports. My parents were more into yoga and making their own yogurt than sports.

When I was 11, my younger brother Matthew first took an interest in basketball, and soon I and my hippy parents were cheering right along with him as he watched his favorite team, the University of Michigan Wolverines, take the championship in 1989.

My college years were the reign of Drew Brees at Purdue University. Though I have never once set food inside Ross-Aid Stadium, the CTS and I used to get up early on Saturdays (yes, it was early for us) to make up a bunch of taquitos and chili dip before settling in to watch the game.

It wasn't until the return of Griffey to Cincinnati in 2000 that the CTS let show his baseball fandom that had lain dormant since the strike of 1994. Good thing I was OK with it, because I'm pretty sure that secret baseball fandom is grounds for annulment, even after six years of marriage. Pretty soon I was an enthusiast myself, and before you know it, Red Hot Mama is born.

Well, not so much “born” I guess. Perhaps more “spawned.” Whatever.

The point of all this nostalgia is to say that I can't believe how excited I am for the season to start. Here I am, a woman who regarded baseball as “boring” and “too long” well into my adulthood, suddenly realizing that Marty's voice on the radio represents something that feels like it's been missing from my life forever.

So, it's with a goofy grin and a contented sigh that I say the Reds won their first spring training game against the Pirates in Bradenton this afternoon.

Eric Milton took the mound and didn't suck, though some wind-aided home runs make his line a little ugly. Paul “and you thought I'd never pitch again” Wilson got the win. Kirk Saarloos, Rheal Cormier, Todd Coffey, and Brad Salmon each took a turn as well, and all of them were adequate.

Ryan Freel stole a base successfully once and unsuccessfully once. Adam Dunn, Brandon Phillips, Mark Bellhorn, Jeff Keppinger, and Josh Hamilton each hit a home run, with Hamilton's being the subject of some discussion. C. Trent says that the majority of the sportswriters in Sarasota now believe that the Reds will break camp with Hamilton, when before they weren't so sure. Personally, I never doubted that Hamilton would head back to Cincinnati, I just wondered whether he'd deserve it. Wouldn't it be great if he did!

The win brings the Reds' spring training record to 1-0. They'll go on to play the Twins in Fort Myers on Friday at 7 p.m. Kyle Lohse will take the mound against Ramon Ortiz.

8 comments to “ST Game 1: Reds 9, Pirates 7”

  1. otto says:

    Very charming history on the crawling of Red Hot Mama from the primoridal blog soup.

    Yes, the first robin of spring… the bulbs burst from the ground, and the Marty call can be heard far and wide…

  2. BubbaFan says:

    My sister got a couple of her degrees from Michigan. I’ve never been much into basketball, but I root for the Michigan Wolverine football team for her sake. (Er, probably the wrong thing to say in Buckeye country. 😉

    I was raised a football fan, and no one else in the family likes baseball. My family thought I was insane when I wanted to watch baseball instead of Monday Night Football. (It was the World Series, for cripes sake, not just any baseball game!)

    I, too, used to think baseball was slow and boring. I used to look at long at-bats as “waiting for something to happen.” Now I find them really exciting, and start screaming at the TV if they cut away. I can’t see what kind of pitch it was if you shrink it down to split-screen it!!!

    And yes, it’s so nice to have baseball back. I actually took the day off work so I could follow the game. My boss was not happy (big project due), but hey, I covered for him over the holidays. He owes me, big-time.

    Didn’t know youse guys were having a game thread, or I’d have been here. A great game. Sloppy, but exciting.

    And my Bubba got a stand-up double. Not just a double, but a double to left. (If he’s hitting it the other way, it’s a good sign. He’s a dead-pull hitter when he’s struggling.)

  3. KC2HMZ says:

    I definitely share your feeling about hearing baseball on the radio. I no longer get excited about winning games in spring training that don’t count for jack, but to me, the first spring training game is kind of like looking out the window and seeing a robin standing there on the lawn right where a huge pile of snow used to be. I mean, I live near Buffalo, where the winters are long and cold and snowy and suck beyond comprehension. So, spring means saying goodbye to winter, and that alone is cause for unbridled celebration. The fact that spring also ushers in the start of the baseball season simply ices the cake, and after a long winter in Buffalo that’s the only kind of icing I want to see.

    You don’t have to live in Buffalo to appreciate it. But unless you happen to be a penguin or a polar bear, there’s something about a baseball game on the radio that conjures up GOOD images: Sunshine. Being able to have your windows open. Food cookin’ on the barbecue outside. Sitting out on the patio in a t-shirt and shorts with a cold drink in your hand (as opposed to sprinting from your car to your house so you can hurry up and get inside and drink a quart of hot chocolate to thaw yourself out – if you even CAN sprint while wearing thermal underwear, two pears of socks, a flannel shirt, a sweater, coveralls, an arctic-lined coat, a hat, gloves, and heavy insulated boots that make your legs hurt just from going to get the mail). That’s summer. Nothing boring about it, and if you live in Buffalo, there’s no such thing as a summer that’s too long.

    But, RHM…Five errors? Please, tell me it’s a typo. You became temporarily dyslexic and that was supposed to be a 2 instead of a 5. That’s not the errors, that was how many homers the Reds hit…right? FIVE!? Good thing Krivsky improved the defense over the winter. No telling how many errors they’d have committed if they had a bad defense. <sigh>

    Coming up next: Kyle Lohse, the ex-Twin-turned-Red, opposes Russ Ortiz, the ex-Red-turned-Twin. Get ready to watch Dunn and Hamilton unload some bombs. 🙂

  4. BubbaFan says:

    It was both. Five homers hit, five errors committed. The home runs were by Dunn, Philips, Keppinger, Bellhorn, and Hamilton.

    It’s only spring training, so you have to expect errors. What was a tad worrisome was that most of them were on what should have been routine plays.

    Freel and Denorfria misplayed balls in center field, but that might have been the wind. It was fierce. Machado missed a catch (he was really flashing the leather for the rest of the game, though).

    Coffey had a bad throwing error, and in the same inning, so did Votto.

    And I hope your man Hermanson works out, because I didn’t see any closer material in today’s game…

  5. nm7 says:

    It was awesome to hear the Reds on radio again yesterday. I even had to tape it for my son so he could listen to it last night after school. Can’t wait to get down to Florida next weekend to see them in person!!!

  6. smartelf says:

    Your folks sound cool… maybe I can smoke a doobie with them one of these days… 😉

  7. BubbaFan says:

    Hey, when’s RHM and her CTS going down to FL?

  8. Red Hot Mama says:

    smartelf, my mom does tell an amusing story of a 3-year old me being seen in the yard crumbling dried autumn leaves into a bubble gum wrapper and wrapping it up. Kids are so impressionable!

    Bubbafan, we’re headed down for the last week of spring training arriving Saturday, March 24. Next year I think we’ll need to move the trip up a little; this wait is killing me! (Of course, next year we’ll be at the mercy of our kid’s spring break, so here’s hoping it’s in early March.)