Monthly Archives: August 2013

August 29, 2013

The whole Brandon Phillips thing

I didn’t hear about this until some 18 hours after it happened. When I did, I took a tour of the Reds blogs to see what reaction was. There was a whole lot of “everyone already knows about this” and “there’s nothing to say that hasn’t already been said.” I, as you may have noticed, have been busy with a life outside of baseball lately, though, and was actually looking for opinions, so clearly both those of those statements were dead wrong for me.

If they were wrong for me, I figure they might be wrong for someone else, and I might as well pile on.

Here are the offending tweets that BP was so up-in-arms about:


You might say these are stupid tweets to get upset over. They aren’t exactly damning. Oooooh, Phillips has 0.010 lower OBP than Franzier. BFD.

By the same token, you might also say they’re stupid tweets to have put up. The fact that C. Trent is drawing attention to OBP at all is tacit expression of disapproval. I mean, if he’d liked the move, he might have mentioned Phillips’ superior slugging (also a 0.010 difference).

And let’s not forget that moving BP to the second spot not only gets him more ABs, but also more for Jay Bruce, who moves up to Phillips’ previous position in the line-up. Frazier is great, but I really have a hard time taking seriously the assertion that he ought to be getting more ABs than Phillips and Bruce.

The whole situation sort of falls flat for me. It’s the brash, stressed-out guy versus the unbearably smug, under-deadline guy. You’re going to get hot words sometimes. And considering the people involved, some of them are going to be dirty words (cover your ears, grandma) and most of them are going to get reported. Shrug.

If it helps in putting the hurt on the opponent, though, I’m all for it. We could all take turns posting random stats, players can read whatever they want into them, go off, and then beat up on the likes of Adam Wainwright. Those Cardinals are the really smug ones.

August 23, 2013

Why I scorn the “FSO girls”

I have been an outspoken critic of the title “Fox Sports Ohio Girls” since they were introduced last year.

The FSO Women promoting seat belt wraps

The seat belt wrap commercial earlier this year was the most substantial thing the FSO Women have been asked to contribute to the Reds-verse. And it wasn’t bad. Not terrible, anyway.

I want to be clear, because it’s an important distinction that I have been a critic of the title “FSO Girls” and not the women who play the girls on t.v. These ladies are likely trying to launch a career in acting or modeling, and a gig is a gig. There’s no room for pride in show business.

On the other hand, there’s LOADS of room for pride in blogging, with plenty to spare to accommodate all your righteous indignation, so let’s go.

It’s not just that the network insists on calling grown-ass women “girls,” but even that would be enough. It’s demeaning. Women may call other women “girls,” as in, “I’m doing a fat flush with the girls at the office” or “feed the kids dinner; I’m heading to Chili’s with the girls to drink Sparkling Pomegranate Margaritas and flirt with the college-dropout bartender till I vomit at 10:15.” But just because members of a group call the other members of their group by a certain term does not mean it’s OK for outsiders to do the same. Any Chris Rock stand up routine will teach you that much.

And it’s not just that their only purpose appears to be to add a rack to the game-watching experience. To FOX Sports’ credit, at least these women aren’t actually wearing bikinis, though in some ways it might be better if they were. At least that would be an honest expression of what they’re there for. I get the feeling that if this weren’t the Midwest and if baseball weren’t such a “wholesome” sport, FOX would have the FSO Women in their skivvies in a minute. (Yes, I just did a Google image search of “FOX Sports girls” and other regions do appear to have their women in bikinis.)

And it’s not just that one of the FSO Women disappeared without fanfare (are the reasons you’re thinking of as looks-based as mine?) and now FOX wants fans to vote on the next one to replace her. Since the FSO Women aren’t given any tasks of any substance on which basis you could compare their skills, I guess you’re just voting based on which one you think is hottest. It’s all the icky feelings of watching the Miss America Pageant without the interview questions about geography.

It’s not any one of those things, but it is all of them. And more. It’s the vapid commercial break spots. It’s the Twitter account. It’s the “win a chance to have dinner with, and drool all over, the FSO girls.”

I’m psyched to see any women in a baseball broadcast. But is it really too much to ask that the women not only be included but also allowed to be intelligent professionals at the same time? Because these women have at least as much to add to the game-watching experience as Jim Day does. You don’t have to get rid of the t-shirts from the Alyssa Milano collection, just call them something that doesn’t imply they’re children and let them do more than pimp seat belt wraps. At least give us a little dignity about the whole thing. Maybe even a little pride.

August 16, 2013

On a scale from Yadi Molina to Brandon Phillips

Jason Romano with the Rangers in 2002

Ah, Jason Romano. His stats weren’t anything to write home about, but he was the finest-looking player out there. Maybe he’ll get into broadcasting… (Photo via The Diamondangle)

This week I got together for lunch with a high school friend, and when I asked the waitress to turn the game on, the conversation turned to baseball. My friend doesn’t follow the game like I do, but she did used to consider herself a Cubs fan (poor thing) back when we were in school.

She told me that she was recently out at a bar with friends where the Cubs were on, and she noticed for the first time in some 20 years the state of baseball players’ uniforms. In her recounting of the story, she became a little agitated:

“Why are his pants so baggy? They didn’t used to be that way!” she told her friends. Alas, none of them was a baseball fan. Two didn’t follow any sports at all and the other, Chris, a guy we also went to high school with, was strictly a football fan.

“Chris, you watch sports. Baseball pants didn’t used to be like that, did they?” she said, hoping for some vindication for her reaction. But Chris left her hanging. He used to do that to me sometimes, too, back in high school.

I assured her that baseball pants, indeed, have not always looked like a pair of sweatpants that some lazy lardo wears to Wal-Mart.

“And it’s a shame, too, because these guys are athletes, and most of them have something worth looking at,” I told her. “Most, but not all. You can pretty much count on a center fielder to rock a tight pair of pants, but it’s really hit-or-miss with, say, first basemen.”

At that point the lunchtime conversation turned to something other than baseball, but later I found myself thinking about the attractiveness level that you can expect from each position in the field. Not that the rules are hard-and-fast, but there are some general trends for sure.

You know how people rank each other’s appearance on a scale of 1-to-10, like, “she’s a total 10.” Maybe you could make a similar scale based on baseball player positions. Then, you might hear one of those women who go to bars to pick up visiting-team players say something like, “Yeah, when I was younger I could land a second baseman any day of the week, but these days I’m lucky to get a catcher.”

Man, why didn’t I ever become one of those women? Well, there’s the ethics, sure. And the fact that, even at my cutest, I probably couldn’t have scored much higher than a platoon third baseman. (You absolutely have to be blonde to go above that.) These days I’d have to set my sights on a middle reliever or below, and no one wants to see that.

Still, maybe I’ll find my second wind in my cougar years. I once had a Reds insider tell me that Marty Brennaman had “digits to every nursing home in town,” so I guess there’s always hope.

August 16, 2013

This One Belongs to the Reds, the musical

You know that the Cincinnati Reds are an inspirational team because once someone gets started writing songs about them, the hits just keep on coming. It’s like they’re the muse of the National League.

Here’s the latest from The Cincinnati Reds Wooo Guy. Myself, I perhaps don’t find Marty quite as venerable, but checking out the song’s still a good way to spend two and a half minutes on a Friday afternoon.

August 14, 2013

A jersey that shouldn’t be so hard to find

Chris Denorfia rookie card

A Google image search for "Reds Chris Denorfia" turns up almost as little as a search for "Denorfia Reds jersey." This image via Crinkly Wrappers.

The couple series the Reds have had against the Padres recently have had me thinking about Chris Denorfia. These days, Denorfia is a backup outfielder for the Padres, but he came up with the Reds, and I was always very fond of the guy. The Reds traded him to the A’s for 2 players to be named later in 2007. At that time he was in the middle of an injury that had him out for the year, making it a most stupid time to trade him, like selling Apple stock before Steve Jobs returned in 1996. Stupider, actually, because Denorfia was always expected to return; all the MBAs in the world wouldn’t have seen that Jobs thing coming at the time he left.

I was pretty mad about the trade at the time, and people said I was overreacting, but time has proven me right. The two PTBNLs were Marcus McBeth and Ben Jukich. If you don’t know who those guys are, I’m not surprised. Whereas Denorfia has provided 7.8 WAR in the time since he left the Reds, McBeth contributed -0.1 WAR in his 23 games with the Reds before he never played in the majors again. Jukich, on the other hand, never cracked the majors in the first place. McBeth got picked up off waivers while Jukich retired after three years in the minors: the Reds didn’t get anything out of either of them.

So, it was clearly a trade that the Reds lost. And it’s too bad, because we could have used another outfield option in the time since 2006. His .264/.324/.387 this year might not make him stellar, but Chris Heisey’s line is .206/.254/.369. Denorfia is only making $2 million this year.

I have a key business connection in San Diego, so I have reason to travel out there from time to time. It occurred to me that it would be funny to go to a home Padres game wearing a Denorfia Reds jersey. The idea amused me enough that I started looking for one, without any luck. None of the likely online retailers had anything for me, so I dropped a line to a memorabilia dealer in Cincinnati whose website made me think this would be right up their alley. The guy there got back to me right away and said that, not only did they not have such a thing, but in fact he’d never even seen such a thing.

That got me wondering whether such a thing was likely to exist. I pulled up Denorfia’s baseball-reference page to find that he’d actually been with the team a very short amount of time. Just 18 games in 2005 when he wore #19 and 49 games in 2006 when he wore #27. With that little service time, it seems improbable that they generated any replica jerseys. No, the only Reds Denorfia jerseys out there were probably the ones he himself wore.

And even those would be few. I don’t know what the lifespan of a major league jersey is, but with that few games, I could imagine he never had to replace them. Home plus away plus Sunday alternate times 2 years equals just 6 Reds Denorfia jerseys that have ever existed.

So my funny idea is pretty much DoA now. Sure, I could have a 2006 replicate made up with his name on it, but that be stupid-expensive for a throwaway gag that all of a half dozen people might recognize. Plus, that much dedication smacks just a little of creepy stalker, and San Diego is too far away for me to really commit to a creepy stalker role properly.

Thankfully, the more recent trades with the Padres have worked out better for the Reds. Heaven knows there’s no difficulty getting a Reds Latos jersey.