Monthly Archives: December 2012

December 27, 2012

Fundraiser for Ryan Freel

Ryan and wife ChristieWhen the news broke of Ryan Freel’s suicide last week, it made for a very sad evening at the RHM household. During Freel’s time with the Cincinnati Reds, he was the most entertaining athlete on the field and a joy to watch. The news of his passing just before Christmas was difficult to handle.

Some good news has come out of the tragedy, though. The Reds fan forum RedsZone has organized an effort to raise funds for the Cincinnati branch of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Ryan Freel’s recent death has shocked Reds nation and affected many individuals, both in the Reds family and elsewhere. Ryan Freel was a beloved member of the Reds family, and gave fans a reason to cheer at every game. From his diving catch in GABP to rob Pujols, to his fearless vault into the stands of Coors field, to the game where he stole second, third, and home, he always gave his all to help the team.

So, in his honor, would like to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Cincinnati Branch, so that Freel’s tragic death doesn’t have to be in vain. From Christmas Eve to the end of January, donations of any amount will be accepted and then 100% of the money will be given to AFSP-Cincinnati.

Donations can be made online through

December 18, 2012

Photos from RedsFest

Here are a few photos taken at the Cincinnati Reds’ fan festival at the beginning of December.

The event wasn’t nearly as crowded as in years past, due in large part to the discovery of another floor in the convention center. It was there that the kids section was moved to, and it was much better than any year before. With the additional room, there was space for some new attractions, including trampoline basketball and human bowling.

December 17, 2012

Planning for Spring Training

I don’t really want to be a shill for the team, but having gone to spring training in Arizona myself a couple times, I know that now, with just 2 months left until spring training games start, is the time to start planning. So, consider this information about buying tickets to be more like a public service announcement and less like advertising that I didn’t get paid for. Not that I wouldn’t accept it if they offered now. Cash is fine.

The pool at the Hilton Garden Inn in Avondale, AZ

This is the very pool at which we hung with minor leaguers. They were all speaking Spanish, though, and seemed kind of shy, so we didn’t bug them.

The first spring training game is in just over two months on February 22. The Reds will be taking on their roommates in Goodyear, the Cleveland Indians. That will give all our recent Cleveland acquisitions a chance to show off their new, stylish Los Rojos jerseys to all their friends. You can go see the complete schedule on the official site. You can go see the Los Rojos jerseys on John Fay’s blog on

Of course, spring training continues for, like, a month after that. Assuming that you’re not able to just take off for the desert for the whole 5 weeks (which is too bad, because I think 5 weeks is about how long it would take to adjust to the absolute lack of moisture; it’s like that scene at the beginning of Rango, I swear) you’ll have to make the age-old decision of when to head out west. Go early and see rougher baseball with a larger cast of potentials? Or wait until later in March when the field is narrower and you’re seeing the desperate young players laying it all out on the line for that last roster spot?

It looks like the Reds have set up some spring training travel packages, regardless of when you want to go. The first one uses the Homewood Suites in Avondale, which is good, though I personally recommend the Hilton Garden Inn next door. At least, when we stayed there we were hanging with minor leaguers in the pool.

December 11, 2012

Jocketty Baker-proofs Reds’ 2013 lineup

Wow. Just like last year’s trade for Mat Latos, I did not see this one coming. Today, the Cincinnati Reds traded Drew Stubbs and Didi Gregorius to the Cleveland Indians for Jason Donald and Shin-Soo Choo, solving the lead-off problem.

“It was very difficult giving up home-grown talent, but we think Choo can fill the missing parts in our lineup both offensively and defensively,” Jocketty said. “He is an exciting player, and we expect him to set the table for Phillips, Votto, Bruce, Ludwick and the rest of our run producers.”

Following the trade with the Reds, the Indians flipped Gregorius to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who were in need of a shortstop. Arizona also received left-handed pitcher Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson, while the Indians received right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers, and Bryan Shaw.

But the most exciting part about this is the Reds’ side of the deal. Right now, I see no down-side to this deal. Stubbs had shown that he wasn’t suited for the lead-off role where the Reds needed him. And with Zack Cozart under team control for the next 4-5 years, Gregorius, who was already knocking on the Major League door, was expendable.

General Manager Walt Jocketty has done an amazing thing here. The Reds managed an on-base percentage barely over .200 last year. With the acquisition of Choo, the team has almost doubled the on-base percentage from that spot. For his career, Choo gets on base at a .381 clip.

Not to mention the fact that for the first time, the Reds will have a lineup that’s totally Dusty Baker proof. In Baker’s world, the speedy center fielder leads off, regardless of his skills. Stubbs was ill suited for that role. Choo is perfect for it.

The whole lineup looks very potent right now, too.

  1. Shin-Soo Choo
  2. Brandon Phillips
  3. Joey Votto
  4. Ryan Ludwick
  5. Jay Bruce
  6. Todd Frazier
  7. Zack Cozart
  8. Ryan Hanigan

That’s a damn fine-looking lineup. Perhaps the best one the Reds have fielded since they started winning again.

Choo has one year before he’s a free agent, but after that the Reds expect Billy Hamilton to be ready. So basically, they turned Stubbs and Gregorius, players who aren’t expected to have positions in the lineup in 2014, into a rental center fielder for this season. And one of the best parts is that Jocketty didn’t have to trade away any pitching.

When does Spring Training start? This has me getting excited.

December 7, 2012

Reds re-sign Ludwick

The Cincinnati Reds started off their annual fan convention RedsFest with a bang, announcing the re-signing of slugger and left fielder Ryan Ludwick.

Cincinnati Enquirer reporter John Fay had the early details.

The Reds and left fielder Ryan Ludwick have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the mutual option for a third year, a baseball source confirmed.

“It’s close,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We hope to have it resolved by early next week.”

Basically, that quote from Jocketty means that Ludwick has to pass a physical before the Reds will officially announce the deal.

But this does mean that the Reds have a left-fielder and clean up hitter for the 2013 season. Ludwick rebounded quite nicely in Great American Ball Park in 2012, hitting .276/.346/.531 with 26 home runs. He was especially huge when Joey Votto was injured and then at the end of the season. Hopefully he’ll be able to repeat that performance next season.