Blog Archives

July 26, 2007

Why do you continue to pay attention to the 2007 Reds?

As I write this diary, the current poll on the front page asks that question - “Why do you continue to pay attention to the 2007 Reds?”

Back in 1967, as a young boy, I attended a minor-league doubleheader here in Buffalo and saw a Triple-A rookie catcher hit a mammoth homer to win the nightcap for the home team. Some guy named Johnny. He's now in the Hall of Fame.

The next year, 1968, I flipped on a TV set early in the season and there was that same guy on TV, having been promoted to the majors and now catching for the team that was the Buffalo Bisons' parent club back then.

So, I sat down and watched the game. The first Reds player that I saw bat drew a walk, but he didn't actually walk. He ran, and he didn't stop at first, he kept running all the way to second. Some guy named Pete. I was ten years old and delighted.

There would be plenty of times after that when I was far from being delighted. Like later that year when they traded the shortstop, Chico Cardenas (better known as Leo) to the Twins who turned around and won the AL West a year later. Or when they fired the manager, Dave Bristol, at the end of 1969 and hired “Who the hell is this Sparky Anderson guy?” to replace him.

I guess winning the NL pennant in 1970 delighted me. Losing the World Series didn't, and neither did falling to below .500 the following year. But then in '72 they won another NL pennant. Delighted. Lost the World Series again. Not so delighted.

In '73 they won the division again. Delighted. But Dave Concepcion busted his ankle and missed the NLCS, and the rotten Mets won the series 3-2 with Darrel Chaney going 0-for-9 at shortstop. Not so delighted, but I will always believe that with Davey the Reds would have made it to the World Series that year too - and it was great to see Pete kick Bud Harrelson's ass.

The second-place finish in 1974…four NL All-Stars including three starters and they can't even beat out the lousy Dodgers? Grrr! But at least the Dodgers didn't win the World Series either.

Then came the back-to-back world championships in '75 and '76. Yep, absolutely delighted. Maybe this Sparky guy's not so bad after all.

Screwed out of postseason play in 1981 because of the stupid split season playoff format during the strike year. Not so delighted. In fact, I'm still furious about that one…and about going 61-101 the following year.

Bunch of second-place finishes under some guy named Pete. Four years in a row as the bridesmaids in the NL West. If it were anybody but Pete…

1989, so long, Pete. Thanks for the memories. But…Lou Piniella? A former Yankee is going to manage the Reds? Sacrilege!

World Championship in 1990. OK, maybe Lou's not so bad after all. I had my broom ready, but after the series, I couldn't find any Oakland fans to hand it to. Before game one they were everywhere, but they all vanished like if you shined a Q-Beam on a thousand cockroaches.

Some defense of the title. 74-88 in 1991. Second place in '92, if only Sabo had stayed healthy…if only we still had Myers…and then they go and pull the second-dumbest trade in Reds history (after F. Robby) and let Paul O'Neill go to the Yankees! Definitely not delighted.

Surprise division title under Davey Johnson in '95. Delighted. Until the smartass Braves fan I worked with at the time walked up the morning after the NLCS and handed me a broom. Grrrrr! I still hate Wohlers. What's he doing in a Reds' uniform in 2000 and 2001? Not delighted.

Twelve years since the last playoff appearance for the Reds. Not delighted, but still here. I am not and never have been a fair-weather fan.

And now, 12-8 under Pete McCanWin. There's light at the end of the tunnel once again. Hopefully it's not the headlamp on the locomotive that's been bringing us the horrible eighth-inning trainwrecks.

Why do I continue to pay attention to the 2007 Reds? Two reasons:

1. Because I have way too much time and emotion invested in this franchise to ever give up on it.

2. Because it still beats the hell out of being a Cubs fan.


July 6, 2007

Reds Evil Twins

My favorite tool over at baseball-reference is where you can look up any player and see who he is most similiar to statistics-wise based on his age. Sometimes it gives you a better glimpse as to where a guy is heading, what kind of company he is keeping.

So let's look at our current roster and see what we go, and maybe it will give us a better glimpse into the future.

1B: Scott Hatteberg / Jeff Conine (Platoon)
Hatteberg quickly became my favorite player this season. There is no doubt in my mind he gives you the best opportunity of knocking in a run if a man is in scoring position. He works the count and connects solidly when he does decide to pull the trigger. He has some surprising pop for a guy of his size, or maybe that is the ballpark factor (though I never recall Casey getting a benefit from GABP).

Anyhow Hattberg is most similiar to Rance Mullnicks (946). That number in parenthesis is the similarity rating and I believe 1000 is max. Mullinicks was a third baseman who also did some DH'ing and he platooned as a left handed hitter versus righties only. His carreer .ba versus righties was .276 while he only hit an anemic .230 in 270 plate appearances against southpaws. His other righty stats include OBP of .358 and SLG of .412.

Jeff Conine is most similiar to Bob Watson (929), Wally Joyner (915), Our own Gus Bell (914) and most similiar thru age 40 to Hal McRae (894). Those are some big names.

At 2B we have the dynamo Brandon Phillips who recently voiced a bit of displeasure about the attention Hamilton has been getting. I can understand that, a year ago it was Phillips who wore out his welcome at he previous employer and came to the Reds with a new attitude knowing it was probably his only chance to start in the big leagues. It was quite a story but didn't get nearly the media focus as the Josh Hamilton one. Brandon, I guess if you smoke crack for 5 years instead of play baseball you are more of a longshot to stage a comeback. What can I tell ya? At this point I still feel more secure in your presence, as I think you are a solid bet to stay good and pure for the rest of your career. You never really were a bad boy they just said you were sort of unmanageable. Which translates to me that you were swinging for the fences when they wanted you to be a contact hitter.

Brandon you are most similiar to Larry Brown (982) and our very own Eddie Taubensee also (982). Vance Wilson is (981) and Johnny Edwards is (980). Of course you had a clunker of a season in Cleveland that is still hurting your career totals. I expect you to be in stronger company by the end of this year. But Taubensee was a pretty good hitting catcher I remember that much.

Well what are the odds? Our SS Alex Gonzalez is also being compared to former Reds catchers. In this case it is Joe Oilver (952) and Bo Diaz (950). Heck he is also similiar to former catchers Rich Gedman (950) and Benito Santiago (943). Yowza, AGON are you sure you are playing in the right spot? Just joshing….

3B is young Edwin Encarnacion. He's only had a couple cups of coffee so far but what do the stars hold for him in the distant future? Hold on to your hats folks because we may have the next Chipper Jones (974) or even Jim Thome (975)! Wow, who would a thunk it? Now you get off the kid's case for chrissakes, he's already in elite company. Actually his strongest comparison was Jim Presley (977) but that is not nearly as an exciting name as the other two.

Now batting, #44 ADAM DUNN! “Motorin', what's your price for flight? Finding mr. right…. ”
Darryl Strawberry (960), Pete Incaviglia (945), Reggie Jackson (948). Not too shabby.

I regret to say we don't have enough data to do Josh Hamilton so lets consider the CF Ryan Freel. Quinton McKracken (950)! Whoa, no wonder they brought that dude on board last year. BUt you know what, Freel is a throwback player… we always knew it and this proves it. He compares to Wattie Holm (950) who played from 1924-1932, Ed Lennox (943) who played from 1906-1915 and Eric Tipton who played from 1939-1945. None of those guys played very long. Makes you wonder about Freel's 10 or 11 concussions. But yea I always knew Freelie played in the Deadball era. And he spits the chew like an throwback too.

Now the hall-of-famer Ken Griffey Jr. Sammy Sosa (902)? Frank Robinson (886) and Willie Mays (878). barry Bonds (869). I think what happened is Griff didn't get enough steals to earn a higher comparison, as all those guys had better wheels than Junior in their prime.

Now the cathing tandem.

David Ross = Johnny Blanchard (965). Super sub Johnny B was the best pitch hitter in baseball in the late 50s and early 60s. He once hit 4 homers in 4 at bats and his solo shot in the 1961 WS set up Maris's game winner in extra innings that lead the way for the Yanks 5 game WS win.

Javier Valentin = Brian Johnson (981), Bob Schmidt (979), and Mark Salas (976).

Harang = Bronson Arroyo (984), Mike Sirotka (973), and Jimmy Jones (971).

Arroyo = harang (984), Mike Krukow (975), Brett Tomko (975), Kris Benson (975).

Lohse = Rodrigo Lopez (976), Ricky Bones (969), Jose Lima (969).

Weathers = Julian Tavarez (940), our own Ted Power (928), Miguel Batista (923).

Stanton = Dan Plesac (942), Bob McClure (920), Paul Assenmacher (918).

Coffey = Pep Harris (985), Paul Wagner (984), and Johnny Ruffin (983).

So there ya have it… maybe it means something and maybe it don't… but its still kinda fun.

July 2, 2007

Potential Managers

First of all - I was somewhat surprised the Reds made Pete Mackanin the interim manager rather than Bucky Dent. However, I surmise from this that the promotion of bench coaches to replace fired managers is over in Cinci and that the search is on for a real manager.

That being the case (and I think it is), some possibilities:

Guys who managed in the majors last season who aren't doing so this year (so far) - Felipe Alou, Dusty Baker, Joe Girardi, Ken Macha, Frank Robinson, and Buck Showalter.

Macha is a part-time analyst on Red Sox broadcasts. Baker is working for ESPN as an analyst. Girardi is working as a Yankees broadcaster and also does regional Fox Saturday Baseball telecasts, and reportedly interviewed for the Orioles' managerial job last week. Robinson has said he doesn't want to manage again. I don't know what Alou's doing.

Guys from this year - Sam Perlozzo was fired in Baltimore. Mike Hargrove quit on the Mariners.

FWIW, Other guys besides those mentioned above who have managed in the majors from 2000-present who aren't managing in The Show as of now are listed below, and I did some digging - after all, I'm the CHFS - which is also included (Mackanin would have also been on this list but since he's now the interim manager of the Reds, he doesn't fit the criteria of “not managing in The Show as of now”):

Don Baylor - Forget it. Has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

John Boles - Mariners' front office

Bob Boone - Nationals' front office

Larry Bowa - Yankees coach

Bob Brenly - Cubs broadcaster

Larry Dierker - Astros broadcaster

Jim Fregosi - was a candidate to replace Bowa in Philly before they hired Charlie Manuel, not sure what he's up to now

Art Howe - Rangers' bench coach

Davey Johnson - working to earn Team USA a spot in the 2008 Summer Olympics and a consultant to Bowden in Washington

Tom Kelly - special assistant to GM for Twins

Joe Kerrigan - Yankees bullpen coach

Bruce Kimm - has managed in Cinci organization; no idea where he's gone since the Cubs fired him and hired Baker

Ray Knight - studio analyist on Nationals' broadcasts

Rene Lachemann - was coaching in Oakland last I knew

Gene Lamont - Tigers' 3B coach

Davey Lopes - Phillies 1B coach

Jerry Manuel - Mets' bench coach

Buck Martinez - Orioles broadcaster

Lee Mazzilli - Mets broadcaster

Lloyd McClendon - Tigers coach

Jack McKeon - sitting on his ass in Florida waiting for his phone to ring. I'm serious. Miami Herald said he went to a Marlins game, and that he wants to manage again.

Hal McRae - Cardinals' hitting coach,

Dave Miley - Yankees' minor league system.

John Mizerock - Managing Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Royals' affiliate in the Carolina League

Tony Muser - Managing the Peoria Padres in the Arizona Rookie League

Johnny Oates - Forget it. Passed away on 12/24/04 in Richmond, VA.

Al Pedrique - special assistant to GM in Houston

Tony Pena - Yankees' 1B coach

Tony Perez - special assistant to Marlins' GM

Luis Pujols - Giants' 1B coach

Larry Rothschild - Cubs' pitching coach

Jerry Royster - Was managing Dodgers' AAA affiliate last year but got fired in September, not sure where he is now

Bob Schaefer - Oakland's bench coach

Joel Skinner - Indians' 3B coach

Jeff Torborg - Was a Braves broadcaster last year but wasn't retained for this year, dunno what he's doing now

Carlos Tosca - Marlins' bench coach

Alan Trammell - Cubs' bench coach

Bobby Valentine - Managing the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Pacific League in Japan

Gary Varsho - OF/baserunning coordinator for the Indians

Jimy Williams - Phillies' bench coach

Idle Speculation Department: Tony LaRussa's contract to manage the Cardinals is reportedly up after this season. And we all know that Castellini was formerly a part owner in St. Louis. Just sayin'.

Except for McKeon, I haven't offered any opinions here, “Just the facts, ma'am” as they used to say on Dragnet. FWIW, if I were Castellini, I'd have called McKeon already, but I'm not Castellini, so I haven't. As for my thoughts on the other guys listed in this post, I'll save 'em for downthread.


July 1, 2007

Multiple sources say Narron is fired.

I can't honestly say that the wrong guy was fired, but I think Castallini didn't go far enough. Krivsky… you're next !

June 30, 2007

Barry Bonds Breakdown VS. Reds

Below are some of the numbers for Barry Bonds in his career versus the Reds. Bonds currently has 750 HRs and is on the march to break Henry Aarons all-time record of 755 HR in a career. Hopefully, the record tying or record breaking home run will not occur against the Reds when the Giants visit Cincinnati June 3-5.

Barry Bonds Breakdown
(2007 and vs. Reds SP)

All stats as of June 29, 2007

Bonds Needs 5 to tie all-time HR record, 6 to break it

71 Games played out of 78 total games on Giants' schedule
Last full day off: Wednesday, June 27
16 Home runs
191 At-Bats
2.69 AB per Game
1 Home run per 12 At-bats

2 games in Arizona = 5.38 ABs = 0 HRs
2 games in Arizona plus 3 games in Cincinnati = 5 games = 13.45 AB = 1 HR

63 Games vs. RHP
12 of 16 HR vs. RHP
5 of 16 HR on the road

History at Great American Ballpark:
1 HR in 2006 (to right field)
1 HR in 2003 (to right field)

Pitching Probables July 3-5

Tuesday vs. Aaron Harang (give up 9 HR this season)
1 HR, 1-4 in Great American Ballpark (2006)
1-4 in AT&T Park (2006)

Wednesday vs. Bronson Arroyo (given up 9 HR this season)
0-3, BB in Great American Ballpark (2006)

Thursday vs. Matt Belisle (given up 13 HR this season)
1-1 in AT&T Park (2006)
0-9 in Great American Ballpark (2004)
3-6, 2 HR in SBC Park (AT&T) in (2004)


If these numbers hold out and depending on how many games Bonds sits out or does not record a pinch-hit home run, the record will come sometime between the 13th and 31st of July. It is also possible for him to have a multi-home run game at any time; most likely against the Chicago Cubs depending on what direction and how hard the wind is blowing at Wrigley Field. Of course, with the All-Star break in San Francisco and a subsequent three-game series at AT&T Park allows for Bonds to continue to play without any days off.