Yearly Archives: 2012

December 6, 2012

Click buttons just like real baseball owners do

It’s been a quiet off-season for the Reds, so when I noticed the link to MLB’s new Facebook game, I actually gave it a try. MLB Ballpark Empire puts you into the highly realistic situation of playing baseball in an open lot with your brother, only to have a rich developer walk up and offer you the opportunity to operate a major league team.

Ballpark Empire app title screen



You install seats, renew player contracts, and set ticket prices. The money you make from playing games is available to you to upgrade your stuff. The baseball games themselves are not the focus of the game; it’s more of a Roller Coaster Tycoon kind of situation.
Screenshot of the MLB Ballpark Empire character saying you could cash in by selling concessions



I got as far as installing a hot dog stand before I ran into a bug. The initial tutorial basically tells you exactly what to do through a series of pop-up windows. In this case, the pop up window had just told me to put the hot dog stand in this exact little box. The problem was that no matter where I clicked in that box, the hot dog stand wouldn’t appear there. Perhaps it’s Facebook’s way of objecting to all those nitrates.
Screenshot of trying to place a hot dog stand in Ballpark Empire



Besides the UI bug and the overload of pop-ups, my primary complaint about this game would be how often it tries to get me to share stuff to my timeline. If I actually posted that many “accomplishments,” I’d get unfriended faster than that girl from high school who just discovered how to share posts from all the religious zealots she’s friended.

None of that is a show-stopper, though, especially for the baseball-starved fan. You can try it for yourself by going to the MLB Ballpark Empire app on Facebook.

December 5, 2012

Reds named Organization of the Year

The Reds players pause for a moment around the cup during their division-clinching celebration.

Well, I didn’t even know that Baseball American gave out an Organization of the Year Award. In fact, for a moment, I wondered if it was another first-time-ever-given awards, like that Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award. But I looked it up, and it’s been given since 1982. It’s an award that’s older than most of the Reds’ team.

And, in all that time, the Reds have never won it, which probably explains why I’ve never heard of it.

But all that changed this year. Baseball America said that Cincinnati deserved it for their ability build a contender from home-grown players. They aren’t wrong. Joey Votto, Johnny Ceuto, Zack Cozart, Ryan Hanigan, Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey, Devin Mesoraco, Mike Leake, and Drew Stubbs–almost all of those are really solid names.

And they’re not done yet. Let’s not forget young Billy Hamilton. But after that? I’m afraid we’re running out of guys that Dan O’Brien picked out. Oh well, we should have a solid 5 more years of Organization of the Year caliber play before we have to worry about that.

December 3, 2012

Press Release: FOX Sports Ohio at Redsfest

Hard to believe that Redsfest is only 4 days away. Sometimes, time flies. On the other hand, I’ve already blocked out huge portions of the 2012 postseason, so maybe time doesn’t fly that fast after all.

Here’s some information Redsfest that FS Ohio sent. They’re going to have the “FOX Sports Ohio Girls” in attendance. I bet they’ll be wearing something inappropriately tight. I dare you to ask them when they think they’ll be grown up enough to be called “FOX Sports Ohio Women.”


CINCINNATI, OHIO – FOX Sports Ohio is proud to once again be the title sponsor of this year’s Redsfest. It will be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati this Friday, December 7 from 3pm to 10:30pm and Saturday, December 8 from 11am to 6:30pm. Proceeds from the event benefit the Reds Community Fund.

As the TV home of the Cincinnati Reds and title sponsor of Redsfest, FOX Sports Ohio will have a booth at the event, offering fans the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities.

* The FOX Sports Ohio Girls will be on site to meet fans, play games, and give away prizes.
* On Friday, fans will have the chance to have their photo taken behind the FOX Sports Ohio Reds Live desk.
* On Saturday, Reds broadcasters Jim Day, Jeff Piecoro and Jim Kelch will stop by the tent throughout the event to sign autographs.

Redsfest has grown to over 250,000 square feet of activities, including autograph and photo booths with current and former Reds players, interactive games for fans of all ages, hard-to-find memorabilia and much more. Over 50 current and former Reds players, coaches and broadcasters are scheduled to appear, and over 100 player autograph sessions and player photograph sessions are free of charge with a Redsfest general admission ticket. All current and former players in attendance will be introduced live on the Main Stage on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

New this year, Redsfest will expand to the third floor of the Duke Energy Convention Center to create a bigger and better Reds Heads Fun Zone for kids of all ages featuring a photo opportunity with Santa, arcade games, inflatables, player story time sessions, live music, circus performers and more.

With paid two-day admission, fans receive one free View Level ticket to the Reds vs. Angels Opening Night game on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at Great American Ball Park. Additionally, the first 10,000 fans each day will receive a free Reds winter headband and drawstring backpack.

Redsfest tickets are on sale now at reds.com, by phone at (513) 381-REDS, at the Great American Ball Park box office and at select Kroger stores with Ticketmaster retail outlets. Tickets will be available at the door starting Friday at 2pm and Saturday at 9am. Proceeds from Redsfest benefit the baseball-themed outreach programs of the Reds Community Fund.

For more detailed information about the two-day event, visit www.reds.com/redsfest.

November 28, 2012

Broxton returning to the Reds

Jonathan Broxton winds up and delivers.

The Cincinnati Reds have a closer for the 2013 season, and he’s not named Aroldis Chapman. CBSSports’ Jon Heyman reported that the Reds and Jonathan Broxton have come to agreement on a multi-year deal.

The deal is believed to be for at least three years. An announcement is expected Wednesday.

Broxton is expected to be the Reds closer, enabling them to move the 100-mph-throwing Aroldis Chapman to the rotation.

The Reds have long maintained that the role they want for Chapman is in the starting rotation. Injuries to the bullpen at the start of last season prevented that from happening. Right now, though, with this signing, it looks like Chapman will be replacing Mike Leake. I think that’s an improvement.

Details on the contract with Broxton haven’t been made available yet, so I’ll reserve judgment until then. But a multi-year deal for a closer is a risky venture for a small market team. Of course, with Bryan Price and his pitcher whisperer skills, maybe it’s not that risky.

November 26, 2012

Reds ink 2 minor league and 1 major league deal

In the land of the baseball-news-deprived, the rumor that the Reds were courting free agent infielder Emmanuel Burriss was hot stuff. Today, the rumor was made flesh when the Reds signed Burriss to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

It seems pretty unlikely that Burriss is going to do much with the Reds. If he breaks camp with the big league team, he’ll get $750,000, but he only batted .213 with the Giants last year and is below-average in the field.

It doesn’t hurt to have another body at camp, though, and with experience playing 2B, SS, 3B, and LF, he should have plenty of opportunities to prove himself. He has until June 1 to convince the front office to put him on the 25-man roster, or else he has the option to go free agent.
Google Image search results for Emmanuel Burriss

Mike Hessman
In similar, but less ballyhooed news, the Reds also signed Mike Hessman to a minor league contract. Hessman has barely sniffed the majors despite being 34 years old: he spent last season in the Astros’ AAA organization and the season before that in Japan.

That being said, you’ve got to love the tenacity. The team might want him around just to show what dedication is. It’s one thing to have great work ethic when you’re Joey Votto, but entirely another to keep chipping away when you’re rewarded with 109 games in the majors and a career .188 average.

Todd Redmond
Remember that name because it will someday be the answer to a trivia question:

Who was the only pitcher other than Cueto, Latos, Arroyo, Bailey, and Leake to start a game for the Reds during the 2012 season?

One start only, and he allowed 4 runs, 7 hits, and 5 walks. It’s not a very auspicious way to get into the Reds’ history books, but now that’s he’s signed up for another year with the Reds for $490,000, he’s got a chance to make a bigger name for himself.