Monthly Archives: March 2013

March 31, 2013

Opening Day with a Baseball Layman: The 5 Worst Things about Baseball.

Hello, baseball fans!  Today is among the biggest days of the baseball calendar, and since the Red Hot Family has elected to spend Opening Day discreetly peeking into every police box in Britain, I have been called into service to provide you with the content you crave so ravenously after a grueling offseason.

Now you may be wondering: what does a fair-weather Reds fan with tepid interest in baseball in general have to offer you, the erudite, blog-reading maven you are? Perspective, and list-based content, of course!  I have compiled for your reading pleasure the five best and worst aspects of baseball to a layman such as myself. We’ll get to the good stuff a little later, let’s start with the crap.

(In no particular order)


#5   Brawls and the aftermath

Grown-ass men.

Just like in all sports, baseball teams frequently piss each other off, both intentionally and unintentionally. The boiling point of this conflict tends to be the classic bench clearing brawl.  It frequently begins with the batter losing his cool and attacking the pitcher, which can have two hilarious outcomes.  Either the batter gets unceremoniously dumped from behind by the pursuing catcher, or the batter quickly realizing he’s in over his head and waits for his teammates to “hold him back”.

More commonly, however, a big sweaty wrestling match between grown men will occur until everyone loses interest.  The most offensively stupid aspect of this is that players and fans will whine about the events of the brawl after the players actively participated in it.  The most Reds-relevant example of this is the infamous Cueto-LaRue incident in 2010.  As everyone here surely remembers, Johnny Cueto started kicking in the scrum and gave Jason LaRue a concussion that ended his career.  Reds fans defended Cueto as safeguarding himself in a chaotic situation, while Cards fans decried Cueto’s irresponsible behavior.

Let’s revisit those ideas once more in roleplay:

a Cards Fan: “Johnny Cueto should have been more careful to not hurt anyone while fighting 30 professional athletes simultaneously!”

a Reds Fan: “Johnny Cueto had to kick someone in the head to keep himself safe in a giant fight that he entered willingly!”

Maybe we could avoid all injury by not settling matters like 5-year-olds?  I can hear the purists now, though, ranting and raving about the conventions and standards that the players of the game have upheld for generations!  Which reminds me…


#4   Unwritten Rules

Dusty excited to use Arredondo against the heart of the order in the 9th inning of a tie game with 2 runners on. Gotta save Chapman for the 11th!

Every now and then, curiosity will get the better of me and I’ll google a list of the unwritten rules of baseball. A lot of them exist to promote good sportsmanship, like not stealing when up big or taking the first strike after back to back homers.  This is all fine, but why not just have “Be a good sport” as the rule?  I don’t understand why these rules have to be so specific.

Beyond that, a lot of the rules I read are axioms on what should always be done in specific game situations. One example is only using your closer in late-game situations and with the lead. These are great because hard-and-fast rules that make no exceptions for the context of the game are always the best.  As a manager, why would you want to make a hard decision and take the blame for it when you can just cop out and regurgitate the cliche to the media afterwards?

Still more of these rules are in place because of the immense superstition held by seemingly everyone in the sport.  Hey! Speaking of the backward thinking of cavemen…


#3   The Boys’ Club


Nothing chaps my ass quite like idiots justifying their idiocy with an indignant “that’s the way it’s always been.” Baseball is hardly the only sport with gender issues, but baseball’s own issues came to the forefront in 2006 with Keith Hernandez’s on-air comments regarding Padres massage therapist Kelly Calabrese.

“I won’t say women belong in the kitchen. But they don’t belong in the dugout.”

As the expression goes, a gaffe is when you tell the truth.  Hernandez was properly excoriated for the comment in the media, but he unwittingly gave us a peek at a significant school of thought that exists in the baseball world.

But in the non-baseball world women have been (more or less) treated as equals to men for decades now, how about a group with more 2013 media buzz?  Let’s ask former Brewer Mark Knudsen!

“Personal agendas are not welcome. Nothing that infringes on the cohesiveness of the locker room can be tolerated…That’s why it remains the best option for any homosexual athlete in a team sport to keep his orientation private.”

Nothing worse than those selfish gays ruining everything with their personal agendas of gayness. When I picture the united locker room of a champion, it needs one out of every ten players deathly afraid that their secret become known and their career ending because of it.

Once again, baseball is not unique among sports with these problems, and it is not necessarily fair to paint baseball with a broad brush due to isolated comments.  However, these ideas obviously persist in a significant amount of the baseball industry, and they will never ever be acceptable.


 #2   The Farm System

Now that all the icky social issues are out of the way, let’s move on to something more small potatoes.  Of the 3 major sports in the United States, baseball has by far the least compelling farm system in terms of competition.

NCAA baseball is a putrid mess of unfair playing practices and regional bias.  As the season starts in February-March, cold-weather schools are forced to play every single game on the road until their campus weather permits play. NCAA Tournament selection occurs on Memorial Day, so these schools never have an opportunity to balance their schedule.  Notable collegiate prospects don’t want to shoot their own careers in the foot, and thus opt to play for warm-weather schools, and the cycle continues.  Only 4 of the last 30 NCAA baseball champions came from cold-weather states.

Minor league baseball is a step up.  The stadium environments are family friendly and some of the most affordable sporting events one can attend.  However, their ultimate purpose of grooming talent rather than winning championships puts a cap on how attached one can be to a team.


Well, at least the umps have never screwed up anything REALLY important.

 #1   Fear of technology

Baseball has a unique advantage over other sports in that there are relatively few judgment calls that umpires are forced to make like fouls in basketball or pass interference penalties in football.  In theory, fair or foul, strike or ball, and out or safe are black-and-white calls to be made with as much consistency as possible. However, baseball seems the most reticent of the major sports to place trust in replay and ball placement technology.  There seems to be significant resistance to depowering the umpires, which I can’t fathom.

There is no argument that replay in all facets will result in fewer calls being missed, and replay delays and other issues in more tech-friendly sports are nearly invariably due to referee ineptitude.


Are you all pissed at me yet?  Are you dutifully reading the entirety of the article before meticulously destroying my points in the comments? Good! I can’t wait to hear from you!


Stay tuned for my 5 best things about baseball. Yeah, I really do like baseball!


March 29, 2013

Reds Opening Day and Night Schedule

Jim Day and Jeff Piecoro dressed up to the 9s for Opening Night.

Jim Day and Jeff Piecoro dressed up to the 9s for Opening Night.

The Cincinnati Reds are one of the best at starting their season off right. The RHM family has always enjoyed Opening Night since the new ownership decided to make it a thing. Unfortunately, this year we’ll be missing it by being out of the country for a long overdue vacation, but if you’re in the area, you should participate. It will be worth your time.

Here’s a list of everything the Reds have planned for both Opening Day and Opening Night.

Opening Day: Monday, April 1 – Reds vs. Angels, 4:10 pm (Gates open at 1:10 pm)

  • Opening Day Block Party: The second annual Reds Community Fund Charity Block Party kicks off at 11 am on Joe Nuxhall Way and Freedom Way. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Budweiser, Coca-Cola, LaRosa’s, Queen City Sausage, UDF and Kahn’s. Admission is free. Music provided by WEBN. All proceeds benefit the Reds Community Fund’s P&G MLB Urban Youth Academy.
  • 94th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade Grand Marshal: Reds Hall of Famer George Foster will serve as the Grand Marshal of the Findlay Market parade, which begins at Noon.
  • Ceremonial First Pitch: Joe Torre, manager of Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • National Anthem: Cincinnati firefighter John Winfrey will sing the National Anthem.
  • Honorary Captain: Bob Kevoian from the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom Show radio program will serve as the Honorary Captain of the Game.
  • Game Ball Delivery: Fire Chief Richard A. Braun of the Cincinnati Fire Department will deliver the official Game Ball to the mound during pregame ceremonies.
  • Flyover: Two T-28 Trojans and one B-25 Mitchell from the Tri-State Warbird Museum in Batavia will perform a pregame flyover.
  • Wounded Hero Recognition: Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will participate in a pregame ceremony to honor wounded heroes.
  • Moment of Remembrance: To honor the victims of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, the Reds (and all MLB teams) are wearing a symbolic ribbon patch and will observe a pregame moment of remembrance.
  • American Flag: Members of the Cincinnati Fire Department will hold the giant American flag during the National Anthem. The Cincinnati Fire Department is celebrating its 160th year in 2013. The Cincinnati Fire Department was organized in 1853 and is the nation’s oldest fully paid professional fire department.
  • God Bless America: Local quartet The Mistics will sing God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch.
  • Rally Towels: “This is Reds Country” rally towels will be distributed at the gates (while supplies last), courtesy of Cincinnati Bell, Horseshoe Casino, Kroger, Homemade Brand Ice Cream/UDF and P&G.

After the game, fireworks lit up the sky to cap a fun Opening Night.

After the game, fireworks lit up the sky to cap a fun Opening Night.

Opening Night: Wednesday, April 3 – Reds vs. Angels, 7:10 pm (Gates open at 5:10 pm)

  • Reds in the Fan Zone: Reds players and coaches to appear in the Kroger Fan Zone to walk the red carpet starting at 5:30 pm.
  • National Anthem: Arin Ray, top 10 finalist on the X Factor and School for Creative & Performing Arts senior, will sing the National Anthem.
  • 2013 Reds Calendar: The first 20,000 fans will receive a 2013 Team Calendar, presented by Kroger.
  • Silver Slugger: 2012 NL Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger winner Jay Bruce will receive his award during pregame ceremonies.
  • Ball Delivery: Miss Ohio Kristin Smith and Miss Teen Ohio Brittany Reid will deliver the official Game Ball to the mound during pregame ceremonies.
  • Rusty Griswolds: 80’s cover band The Rusty Griswolds will perform from a stage at the new Budweiser Bowtie Bar located on the right field porch during inning breaks and after the game.
  • Postgame Fireworks presented by TriHealth: The Rusty Griswolds will play live during the post-game fireworks show featuring Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks.
March 28, 2013

In brief: a taste of winning yet to come

Ryan Ludwick laying off a ball outside.

Ryan Ludwick laying off a ball outside.

Last game
The Reds were winners again yesterday, taking down the Padres 3-7. Mike Leake did the starting for the team and had a good outing: 1 run on 5 hits in 6.0 innings.

Ryan Ludwick came through big time with a 3-run homer in the seventh inning to break the 1-1 tie and give the Reds a lead they wouldn’t lose. Joey Votto also his a home run to provide some padding and something us to talk about.

Next game
Today the Reds host the Royals at 4:05 p.m. Mat Latos will be taking his turn at last-chance-to-rock-spring training.

Please welcome our guest posters
The Red Hot Family is taking a vacation! We’re heading to that traditional spring break destination of London, England. Damn the luck that spring break is falling on the week of Opening Day and Opening Night, which has been our favorite tradition for the last 2 years.

I don’t even know if they get ESPN across the pond, let alone Fox Sports Ohio, so we’ve bribed a couple guest bloggers with the promise of scones to take over while we’re gone. They’re both far more knowledgeable and emphatic about sports than I am, so I expect to see some real high quality content here for the next week for a change.

But don’t worry! We’ll be back to writing the same goofy crap you’ve grown accustomed to before you know it.

What to say to sound smart at the water cooler
The Reds have 2 more pitchers to cut before opening day. Which is just 4 days away.

March 28, 2013

Spring Training Game 29: Padres 3, Reds 7

Padres (15-18)0100000023101
Reds (11-18)000010330780
W: Christiani (1-0) L: Layne (0-1)


Yes, the Cincinnati Reds are fine-tuning their intensity.

For most of spring training, the Reds’ players were obviously testing out things other than winning. Which was fine. For the first time since I can remember, there were no true battles for roster spots. Everything was set, and everyone had time to work on things and ease back into baseball. Now that opening day is less than a week away, it’s time to practice how to win. And the Reds have done that two games in a row.

Yesterday, Mike Leake made his final start of the spring and did well. Leake pitched 6 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and no walks while striking out 4.

The offense has woken up, too, and I’m certain that all the regulars playing most of the game is a factor. Shin-Soo Choogot the Reds on the board in the 5th with a solo shot. But Ryan Ludwick was the hero for this game, hitting his first spring home run in the 7th inning, a 3-run shot that broke a 1-1 tie.

Then in the 8th, Joey Votto added his own 2-run home run to extend the lead, which was good, since the San Diego Padres scored a couple more in the top of the 9th.

March 27, 2013

In brief: on openly gay baseball players

The Reds reached double digits in spring training wins with 5 whole days left till Opening Day!

Gotta love a chance to celebrate. The Reds reached double digits in spring training wins with 5 whole days left till Opening Day!

Last game
The Reds won big time yesterday, 11-1 over the Cubs. Johnny Cueto’s last spring training start was a beauty, including 6 shut-out innings and a 1-for-1 night with a run scored. It was a regular looking score until the Reds unleashed nine runs in the ninth inning. You can read more details in the game wrap.

Next game
The Reds host the Padres today in Goodyear. Mike Leake will be making his last spring training start for the Reds at 4:05 p.m. On the other side of the scorecard, Edison Volquez will be starting for the Padres.

There are no outs
Jorge L. Ortiz had a very interesting piece in USA Today yesterday about the dearth of openly gay athletes–baseball players specifically. It even quotes Dusty Baker:

When he joined the Dodgers in 1976, Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker played with Glenn Burke, who along with ex-outfielder Billy Bean are the two former major leaguers known to have publicly come out after their playing days.

Baker says Burke, who died of AIDS in 1995, was “like my little brother,” yet he didn’t know Burke was gay until a mutual friend who is a lesbian pointed it out.

Much like Burke kept his sexuality a secret, Baker figures gay players are doing the same now.

“I don’t think the world is at that stage (of accepting them),” Baker said. “It’s not baseball. It’s the world.”

Baker’s opinion matches the rest of the article. While individual players and teams are already saying they’ll be supportive when someone does come out, it’s the world at-large (specifically the media) that’s going to make life so difficult for that first guy.

Increasingly, high schoolers are coming out and living the entirety of their lives free from the sense that there’s something weird about them. It is inevitable that within a few generations of draft picks there’s going to be a few guys who don’t even need to come out because they always will have been.

It will eventually be as much of a non-issue as all those other characteristics that don’t directly correlate to playing ability–race, religion, national origin. That’s how it has always gone, and that’s how it will go with sexual orientation.

That being the case, if a guy is going to be the brave one, the one to make his mark on history as the first, his window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

What to say to sound smart at the water cooler
There are just 5 days left until Opening Day.