Not the first time I’ve been annoyed by something on SportsCenter but Neil Everett has said twice during Reds-Pirates highlights that the Pittsburgh fans got into Johnny Cueto’s head by chanting “CUE-TO.” (Bob Holtzman also suggested it, but not as definitively.) How does he know that though? Did Cueto acknowledge it afterward? Is he saying that because Cueto dropped the ball once when he was standing on the mound? Oh, he gave up seven hits and walked one so the fans must’ve gotten into his head? What if he just had a bad start? Could that possibly be the case? That he just made a few bad pitches but wasn’t really affected by the chant? SMH
All posts by Dave
Does anyone else think of this scene from “Semi-Pro” every time GABP erupts with the Reds’ 11th strikeout of the game? (Warning: Two very brief instances of NSFW language in the clip)
“We don’t even GOT corndogs!”
Just a reminder from LaRosa’s website: Your ticket from the 11+-strikeout game is only good at a participating LaRosa’s from the day after the qualifying strikeout game for 7 days after the game. (So it’s not like you can hang onto it until June or July and then redeem it.)
So here are the tickets (if you keep all of your ticket stubs like we do but don’t sort them into pizza and non-pizza piles) that are still good for a small 4-topping pie:
5/6 vs. Braves
Just a couple of days shy of the OTHER big Opening Day this month – Kings Island’s opener on Saturday – OMGReds’ favorite amusement and water park welcomed media types, bloggers and local dignitaries to the new Reds Hall of Fame Grille – a Reds-themed restaurant located in Rivertown (if Rivertown doesn’t do anything for you, think right between White Water Canyon and the Diamondback).
The biggest thing that struck me (and my wife and mother-in-law, who are also die-hard Reds fans) was how impressive an effort it was by Rick Walls and his Reds Hall of Fame and Museum staff, providing the images and graphics used in the establishment in addition to many of the game-used items on display. Our friends at CEI Sports also procured vintage memorabilia that you’ll find at the RHOFG (or, Ar-HOF-Gee).
There are some really cool items in RHOFG. It’s too long a list to get into specifics, but it’s kinda going to blow you away. “Like Reds Hall of Fame or Green Diamond Gallery or CEI Sports or Sports Gallery blow me away?” It’s in the same ballpark. I really like the way they compartmentalized each corner into specific decades (except for the 1800s corner, which, for obvious reasons, is just 1800s). And even if you’re in RHOFG and don’t have to go to the bathroom at any point, you’ll want to at least stroll over to the lavatory to take in the fantastic Reds’ 1990 wire-to-wire tribute in that hallway.
So, while we were there for Thursday’s preview – rubbing elbows with the likes of Reds Hall of Famer Jim O’Toole (by the way, can we give a quick tip of the cap to the 76-year-old former Reds pitching great for attending as many of these events as he does!) – we asked the hard-hitting questions. Like what’s going to be shown on all of the TVs in this place. Because there are A LOT of TVs. A manager told us the Reds game will be on many of the TVs when they’re playing. When the Reds aren’t playing, some of the TVs will show Fox Sports Ohio, ESPN, and programming you’d expect to see at a sports bar. And there’s a great documentary about the Reds (that was being shown on all of the TVs during the preview event) that will be shown on a loop on some of the TVs (but trust me, it’s a long enough documentary that you will not even know it’s being shown on a loop).
So what about the food? Don’t mistake me for a foodie; I’m not going to write about the texture of the friggin’ noodles or anything. We’re OMGReds, we prefer our food in helmets. And there is – thankfully – a helmet sundae (see the photo gallery above) available that’s pretty outstanding. Our only suggestion would be to maybe try out a few other food items in helmets. Even larger helmets perhaps. Montgomery Inn pulled pork is one thing, but Montgomery Inn pulled pork in a helmet? The helmet is a game-changer. (And the same suggestion/challenge we’ve posed to the Reds. We’re ready for the next step after meatless nachos.)
We were probably most impressed at RHOFG with the bullpen dip. It’s a creamy buffalo chicken/cheese dip that’ll knock your socks off even if you’ve just been rocked by the nearby Diamondback. Everything was very good, really. Great seasoned fries covered with nacho cheese, bacon, green onions and sauce. Chicken wings, Saratoga chips, wraps. A very tasty chocolate cake garnished with (whoa, that’s as foodie as we’re going to get here) raspberries. A great looking cheesecake I was too full to try. Very impressive all the way around.
And there’s a strong beer selection. There were four on tap today, but a bartender said they’re going to change out draft options from time to time, maybe go to the ‘pen for a Summer Shandy when June or July rolls around. There are also eight bottled beers and wine available, and a bartender said RHOFG hopes to add liquor in the near future (it is, after all, a bar/restaurant).
I should add that the Diamondback was up and running during the preview event for anyone interested in riding. When we first arrived, there was actually a run with one person in the very front of the coaster. (How cool would it be to ride the Diamondback by yourself?) I was too full to ride it when we left RHOFG, but by the time we walked to our car and I was out in the parking lot, I was wishing I’d have just chilled for an extra five minutes to let the food digest and done it. We’ll be back, though, and we’ll definitely be back to RHOFG. It’s just really nice to see the way everyone collaborated and got it right, as opposed to doing it halfway and slapping a Reds logo on it and calling it a Reds-themed restaurant. This place is first class – nothing halfway about it – and Reds fans are most definitely going to want to slide head-first into RHOFG early and often, starting this Saturday.
Former Red Drew Stubbs had a nice night in the Tribe’s win in Toronto, driving in a run with a single in the 2nd in his first regular-season at-bat as an Indian and making a nice sliding catch in the bottom of the 8th. I had “Baseball Tonight” on in the background and I feel like I heard praise for Stubbs when the talking heads were discussing Cleveland’s
propensity to strike out athleticism (though I’m not seeing any video proof as of right now).
Anyway, Stubbs is 1-for-4, and just as it’s too early to panic over an 0-1 record or even an injury to a key starter, it’s way too early to say Stubbs will be more successful in Cleveland. Got us thinking, though, about where the last 10 guys the Reds have traded are up to – sort of a “Where are they now?” even though all of these guys were with the Reds not long ago.
Didi Gregorius is on the Diamondbacks’ 15-day DL with a sprained right elbow.
Donnie Joseph (Broxton trade) will start the season with the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate in Omaha – where he’ll be a teammate of … wait for it … former Red Willy Taveras.
J.C. Sulbaran (Broxton trade) will start the season with the Royals’ Double-A affiliate in Northwest Arkansas – where he’ll be a teammate of Sugar Ray Marimon and Brooks Pounders (just like the names).
Paul Janish (Todd Redmond trade) is starting the season on the Braves’ 15-day disabled list after shoulder surgery in October. Last season, Janish hit .186 in 167 at-bats for the Braves.
Jeremy Horst (Wilson Valdez trade) has pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Phillies so far this season. In case you missed it, he had a 1.15 ERA for the Phils in 31 1/3 innings last season.
Yonder Alonso (Latos trade) drove in one of the Padres’ two runs with a solo home run in an 11-2 (real) Opening Day loss to the Mets. In 2012, he hit .273 with 9 homers and 62 RBIs in 549 at-bats for San Diego.
Brad Boxberger (Latos trade) is on the Padres’ 40-man roster and will start the season in Triple-A Tucson. He posted a 4.50 ERA in eight innings during spring training, and last season posted a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings of relief for the Friars.
Yasmani Grandal (Latos trade) was suspended 50 games because of a positive test for testosterone. He did get to play for the Padres in spring training, though, hitting .455 (5-for-11) with four RBIs in limited action.
Edinson Vólquez (Latos trade) was San Diego’s Opening Day starter, allowing six earned runs in just three innings of work in the Padres’ 11-2 loss to the Mets. Last season, he was 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA, pitching 182 2/3 innings but leading the league with 105 bases on balls.
Jonny Gomes (dealt for minor-leaguers Bill Rhinehart and Christopher Manno) went 2-for-4 with a walk for the Red Sox in Monday’s 8-2 win against the Yankees, his debut for Boston. Last season for Oakland, Gomes hit .262 with 18 homers and 47 RBIs in 279 at-bats.
Fear not, Reds fans. You win ten games in a row and 15 of 16 so that it doesn’t kill you to lose five in a row. Would the Reds prefer to avoid a five-game losing skid? Of course. But they’ve got a 2.5-game lead in the Central through Game 112 of the season. If I’d told you exactly three weeks ago – when the Reds had a .5 game lead – that their lead would be 2.5 games on Aug. 9, you’d take it, right?
Some glass-half-full observations from tonight:
3 hits from Brandon Phillips, who had had just one in 11 at-bats since returning from injury. With BP hitting and Votto almost back, I’m keeping the faith.
Gotta love another lead-off home run from Zack Cozart in the 1st. The crazy and tough-to-swallow stat about Cozart home runs: Of his 15 career home runs (two in 2011, and 13 this season), do you know how many have come with runners on base? One (6/3/12 in Houston off Jordan Lyles). I know solo home runs are to be expected from a lead-off batter, but it’s pretty nuts that 14 of his 15 career homers have been solo shots.
Granted, it WAS the John Morrell Hot Dog Play of the Game. But the 6-3-5 double play – where Cozart threw out Soriano at first and then Cairo gunned out Rizzo at third (with a perfect tag by Frazier) was very impressive.
Also pretty was Mesoraco’s grab right next to the dugout, with the ball just barely in play on David DeJesus’ foul out in the 6th.
Welsh’s “Huh?” remark of the game:
As we’ve said before, we are Chris Welsh fans and we enjoy the analysis and insight he provides during the broadcast despite his questionable fashion sense. That said, about 2 to 5 times each game, he says something that makes us respond with either “Huh?” or “Wha?” Tonight, Welsh suggested that Mesoraco could’ve used the concussion he sustained against the Padres as a defense to explain why he went berserk and bumped umpire Chad Fairchild, resulting in his suspension. Really?
It is worth pointing out that Welsh was right on the money in his praise of Xavier Paul for taking as he led off against Carlos Marmol in the ninth and delivering a great at-bat that resulted in an infield single. Facing Marmol, I’m not sure why on earth you WOULDN’T take until you got a strike, especially with that strike zone as tight as it was. (Cozart, therefore, also deserves praise for his four-pitch walk against Marmol with two outs in the ninth.)
We could be accused of being late to the party on this, as loyal Deadspin readers know Deadspin has had this posted for 36 hours or so. But better late than never, right? And it’s outstanding enough that we’ll just say we couldn’t blog about it several hours ago when we first saw it because we’ve been too busy ROFL over it.
And we’ll preface this by saying the funniest part about it to us is the Tweets themselves from @Brox4AllStarz. Many of us on Twitter have done double takes about Tweets that appear to be from athletes or broadcasters and tried to figure out for hours and sometimes days whether accounts are verified legit. But the fashion in which WCPO.com was duped is the funniest part about it. It’s side-splitting gullibility, sure, but since we’re obviously not the first to point it out, they’re hopefully having a good chuckle about it now and we’re laughing with them.
About what, you ask? On with it already, right? Well, check it out for yourself on Deadspin. But if you can’t view Deadspin at work or if you’re morally opposed or something and can’t click that link, here’s what happened.
WCPO.com wrote the following story after the Reds acquired Broxton at the trade deadline:
The National League’s best bullpen may have gotten even better Tuesday with the Cincinnati Reds acquiring relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton from the Kansas City Royals, according to several reports.
Yada, yada, yada, J.C. Sulbaran’s name misspelled, yada, yada … OK …
The pitcher posted the following messages to Twitter Tuesday afternoon:
Brox thanks the good people of KansasTown. You were so nice to ol’ Broxy. Sorry for eating all the BBQ that one time. And that other time
So many fans of RedTeam sayin nice things 2 ol’ Broxy. Brox not nervous no more. SinSeeTown is great. Gonna throw the ball hard for you guys
One Deadspin commenter suggests, “Cincinnati should be changed to ‘SinSee-Town’ forevermore on Deadspin. Or until something else comes up.”
Ha! What’s your pick between SinSeeTown, Queen City and City that Sings? :P
By now you know we LOVE the stirrups and take notice of the high socks, especially when they’re red. Sorry for no screengrab – the DVR wouldn’t cooperate – but Brandon Phillips – who wasn’t in the starting lineup for the Reds’ 5-3 come-from-behind win in Houston – was wearing the socks high in the Reds’ dugout during the game. Kelch and Welsh, in fact, pointed them (the socks) out and mentioned that Phillips had worn them high once in a game – once. (Thanks, Johnny Dangerously fans.) Turns out that one time BP did so, his mother didn’t approve. Hey, gotta listen to Mom, without exception. When Phillips appeared in the game in the 9th, the pantlegs were down and socks entirely concealed.
Welsh’s “Huh?” remark of the game
As we’ve said before, we are Chris Welsh fans and we enjoy the analysis and insight he provides during the broadcast despite his questionable fashion sense. That said, about 2 to 5 times each game, he says something that makes us respond with either “Huh?” or “Wha?” Tonight, our pick is his mention of the rumor he read on HardBallTalk.com TODAY (Wednesday) that Victorino-for-Ondrusek straight up was nixed by the Reds. You know, the thing Paul Daugherty wrote about Monday morning and we read on Cincinnati.Com two days ago? Yeah.
Homer vs. Chris Johnson
Anyone see Chris Johnson giving Homer Bailey an earful after he struck out in the 6th? Couldn’t tell what Homer was saying if anything (probably something) because he had his back to us (TV audience) but Johnson directed some choice words Homer’s way. Just lip-reading but we thought we made out “punk ass” and “bitch” from Johnson. Just making sure you saw that too.
Hero of the day
Loved hearing Drew Stubbs bust out the “It’s a different hero every night” cliche. Nice, Drew, but you do realize you were the hero last night as well. Alright, two straight ninth-inning rallies you’ve highlighted, you’re forgiven.
Gotta give Xavier Paul a shoutout as well for that huge double he had to lead off the ninth. BIG time. Nice pleasant surprise pickup he’s been.
Excuse the Lazy Sunday reference; I couldn’t resist. Thanks to the Reds and Reds Hall of Fame and Museum for a good time had by all at the Duke Energy Convention Center on Sunday night. A few things we learned:
- Johnny Bench said Joe Morgan statue will join Bench’s outside Great American Ball Park next year. Tom Tsuchiya, the sculptor who designed Bench’s statue (who was on hand for the gala), also will design Morgan’s.
- Marty is not afraid to say anything at all. He said Barry Larkin had hoped to be on hand to show support for Sean Casey at the gala, but his responsibilties with ESPN prevented him from doing so. “To hell with those people,” Marty exclaimed.
Marty also already has Joey Votto, who – don’t get me wrong – is having a great career so far … in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. After 4 1/2 seasons.
Later in the evening, Marty said to Casey: “Of all those people you thanked … Jim Bowden??? God almighty! You’ve gotta be kidding me!!”
- Casey made it clear he has taken a liking to Todd Frazier because of their similarities in terms of personality/behavior and the fact that both have worn No. 21.
- Johnny did a nice job with his remarks remembering several who have passed, including Sparky Anderson and Pedro Borbon, both of whom were part of (Sparky by video) the 2010 Reds Hall of Fame Induction Gala. They were missed, for sure.
- Strong effort by Long John Reilly’s great-great-great-great nephew, Kirtley Kinman, who offered an impressive speech on behalf of his late relative and Reds Hall of Fame inductee despite the fact that he was recently involved in a bad accident resulting in surgery. Way to go, Kirtley!
- Even if Hall of Fame Induction Gala speeches are going on and it’s not at all an appropriate time, people will still hound Brandon Phillips for autographs.
- Didn’t get to take too many photos from our vantage point, but here’s a gallery from Cincinnati.Com.
Now that we’re deep enough into the season that we’ve got some very strong candidates – including several from the past two weeks – we’re keeping a list of the absolute best defensive plays made by the Reds this season so that we can vote and post a top 10 at the end of the year. Here are the candidates (not necessarily locks) we’re considering so far. Please let us know if we’re forgetting any and we’ll add them. Or let us know if there are any you think are ho-hum.
6/6: Heisey’s catch at the wall vs. Pirates
6/3: Phillips’ diving catch in Houston
5/28: Stubbs’ snow-cone catch to rob Pedro Alvarez
5/26: Cozart dives to rob Tulowitzki
5/25: Cozart dives to rob Scutaro
5/23: Phillips’ flip from his back to Cozart to get out at second vs. Braves
5/21: Stubbs’ sliding catch in 9th vs. Braves
5/20: Phillips’ double play vs. Yankees with sliding stop, tag of second with glove and throw to first from knees
5/20: Votto’s diving stop of a bad hop on a ball hit by Yankees’ Swisher
5/12: Phillips’ behind-the-back flip to Cozart to rob Bryce Harper
4/28: Cozart throws from his ass
Many like to break down the long baseball season into months or before the break/after the break; at OMGReds, we prefer to break it down into 4-game chunks. And since 162 isn’t divisible by 4, the final two games of the season get their own 2-game chunk. Don’t laugh, we’ve been doing this for years. I lied, this is a first.
The Reds are off to a 2-2 start in 2012, but here are some
ridiculously premature reasons to be encouraged through the first four games, eerily similar to the start of the memorable 2010 campaign that culminated in the Reds winning the National League Central:
2010 Reds started 2-2.
2012 Reds started 2-2.
(2011 Reds started 4-0. 5-0, in fact, before losing to Houston.)
2010 Reds hit 5 homers in their first 4 games of the season.
2012 Reds hit 5 homers in their first 4 games of the season.
In their second game of the 2010 season, the Reds scored just 3 runs and lost. Their player of the game offensively was their starting shortstop (Orlando Cabrera), who batted second, had 2 hits and drove in 3.
In their second game of the 2012 season, the Reds scored just 3 runs and lost. Their player of the game offensively was their starting shortstop (Zack Cozart), who batted second, had 3 hits and scored twice.
Bronson Arroyo started the third game of the season in 2010. He earned a no-decision, and the Reds went on to win the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth (on Jonny Gomes’ homer).
Bronson Arroyo started the third game of the season in 2012. He earned a no-decision, and the Reds went on to win the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth (on Scott Rolen’s single).
In the fourth game of the season in 2010, Homer Bailey went 5 innings, allowing 7 hits, 3 earned runs, walked 2 and struck out 5. Bailey was outpitched by his counterpart (Carlos Silva), who allowed 1 run in 6 innings.
In the fourth game of the season in 2012, Homer Bailey went 5 2/3 innings, allowing 6 hits, 4 earned runs, walked 3 and struck out 5. Bailey was outpitched by his counterpart (Jake Westbrook), who allowed 1 run in 7 innings.
In the first four games of the 2010 season, Joey Votto scored 2 runs, homered once and struck out 6 times.
In the first four games of the 2012 season, Votto scored 2 runs, homered once and struck out 6 times.
In the first four games of the 2010 season, Scott Rolen had 2 hits, 1 run, 1 RBI and 1 strikeout.
In the first four games of the 2012 season, Rolen had 2 hits, 1 run, 1 RBI and 1 strikeout.
Bill Bray was already among our favorite Reds, but he definitely elevated himself even higher on our list Thursday evening.
Bray was on 700 WLW with Lance McAlister; the two had the following exchange toward the end of the interview in the second hour of Lance’s sports talk show.
Lance: You know what I bought last week? I bought my first baseball card pack of the year.
BB: Topps 2012?
Lance: You know how much a pack of Topps 2012 cost?
BB: You know, I bought a few packs a couple weeks ago … I want to say $1.99.
Lance: I got them for $2.19. … $2.19! They were a quarter when I was a kid! How do they expect kids to collect cards these days, Bill Bray?!
BB: With help of their parents. (laugh) Inflation. … 1987 was the first year I can remember collecting baseball cards. They were 35 cents a pack.
Lance: Did I hear right? Were Topps representatives in the clubhouse today? Were they around the complex?
BB: They were. Matter of fact I had lunch with one of them today.
Lance: Did they give you like packs to open?
BB: Yeah, we cracked a box of Topps Series 1, at the field. And then when I went out to lunch, he surprised me with a box of Bowman Sterling.
Lance: Awwww, that is suh-weet!
BB: Yeah, it’s awesome. I mean I was stoked. I just opened them up a little while ago. I’m gonna put pictures on my Facebook page. It was awesome. I pulled some sweet cards. I’m pumped.
Lance: Did you get yourself?
BB: No, no I don’t have a card currently, I don’t think.
Lance: How do you not? I thought everyboday had a card! Or do you have to agree to allow them to have you in their set?
BB: You know, we sign a contract yearly with them. And it’s up to them whether they produce a card or not.
Lance: Well if Topps doesn’t do a card of you, I’m not buying any more cards from Topps!
BB: Well put that in writing …
Lance: When you opened packs today, if you get like Joey Votto or Brandon Phillips, do you like walk over to their locker and say, “Look, I got you!”
BB: You know I did throw a card down today and I said, “Look, it’s Devin Mesoraco’s rookie card.” And he wasn’t in the locker room at the time. But yeah, it’s pretty cool, you know, when you’re cracking a pack and you pull a guy you know, a guy you play with. I have yet to pull my own card though.
Bray has talked about cards on Twitter as well (but we know not all are Twitter-inclined, which is why this was worthy of a blog post). He is a solid Twitter follow, though – @B_line45.
… that we’re not the only ones thinking there’s a good chance that next Monday (Jan. 9) it will be announced that former Reds great Barry Larkin will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as he deserves.
Over the weekend, MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” panel talked about some of the possible inductees and why they will or won’t be part of the upcoming class and didn’t even mention Larkin. I assume that’s because they’re presuming he’ll get in based on his percentage from last year and they just wanted to discuss some guys who are iffy or might sneak in this year.
Also, I visited the Hall of Fame’s official site – baseballhall.org – and there’s a huge ad on the site for Sports Travel and Tours, which offers packages for the induction weekend July 20-22. Curious about what they were offering, I clicked on the ad, which took me to sportstravelandtours.com. Right at the top, it has “Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY, Friday, July 20, 2012 to Sunday, July 22, 2012,” followed by this:
2012 Possible Inductees include: Ron Santo, Javy Lopez, Tim Salmon, Ruben Sierra, Bernie Williams
Javy Lopez, Tim Salmon and Ruben Sierra?? Really? C’mon. As John Erardi points out, Larkin will be the only name submitted on a lot of ballots this year. Santo was already voted in posthumously last month by the Veterans Committee, but how are you not going to include Larkin in that short list of possible inductees? Fail.
MLB.com reports that the Colorado Rockies have signed Ramon Hernandez to a two-year deal (reportedly worth $6.5 Million) after trading Chris Iannetta to the Angels.
Monie spent the past three seasons with the Reds. He hit .282 in 298 at-bats last season and interestingly enough hit 12 homers, as many as he hit in 600 at-bats between 2009 and 2010 combined. He turns 36 in May.
Because Hernandez is leaving the Reds as a free agent, the Reds will receive a supplemental first-round pick in 2012 after Hernandez and Francisco Cordero had their statuses changed to Type B free agents after the new CBA was announced.
We knew we would be transitioning this offseason from “Hernanigan” to “Haniraco,” and it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Monie would sign somewhere and we’d get this supplemental first-rounder. But now that it’s happened, we can say we’ve got that going for us … which is nice.
Let me first say that I think it’s great and all that White Sox fans are trying hard to get Minnie Minoso some Baseball Hall of Fame consideration.
But it also makes me sad that Reds fans don’t push harder for Vada Pinson to be considered.
It should keep Reds fans up at night that Pinson is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Really even more so than the fact that Concepcion isn’t in. It’s absurd.
Please, before you do anything, enjoy it in its entirety …
1. (:40) Eddie Milner sprinting into the fracas, not to protect Eric Davis or to track down Ray Knight but to go after pretty much the first Met he ran into with his head.
2. (:52) “Tell you one thing, you’re barking up the wrong tree when you go after Ray Knight.”
3. (1:57) Tom Browning’s hair (after attempting to tackle Kevin Mitchell, who had been pounding on an unidentified Red) as John Franco removes him from the donnybrook.
4. (2:31) “Uh oh, you don’t want to make No. 39 upset either.”
5. (2:39) Tommy Helms, right after he apparently tackled Eric Davis.
6. (4:16) “John Denny … who knows a little bit about the martial arts …”
7. (4:42) Dude wearing the white nut-huggers in the dugout
Honorable mention: The number of Mets involved – Kevin Mitchell (by the way, check out Mitchell at the 1:11 mark absolutely pounding on someone, and again at 2:16 looking like he’s ready for more), Davey Johnson, Roger McDowell, and there were probably others – who either had Cincinnati roots or later joined the Reds.
Chris Williams is VP of Motorsports Authentics, the trackside leader of licensed apparel for the teams in NASCAR. Given our common interests in collecting and the Reds, we touched base with Chris through a mutual friend and asked him a few questions. Here was the first half of our Q&A. Here is the second half …
OMGReds: What are your thoughts about the future of card collecting?
CW: Card collecting has gone through so many changes over the years. I would say the single things that hurt most were over-producing and pricing … We in NASCAR have stopped producing collector cards and have some ideas to help it back, but what is the next wave of our kids’ expectations? They want more; we were happy to get what our parents could afford and oh, by the way, our dads enjoyed it too.
OMGReds: Who are your favorite Reds of all time?
CW: My all-time favorite Reds are Bench, Rose, Morgan, Foster, Concepcion … Now thinking about it, heck anybody that has ever worn a jersey. I mean they have captured my interests and filled the pastime with a lot of good memories. I think about other past players such as Hal Morris, Larkin, Sabo, O’Neill; players not so known as Eric Owens and so many more … I would have liked to have seen some of them stay longer, such as Hamilton…
OMGReds: What, in your mind, were the one, two or three biggest reasons why 2011 didn’t go as well as 2010 for the Reds?
CW: I would say that the Reds have had it tougher this year (2011) than last; but every team is playing them differently … Heck is anybody going to pitch to Votto anymore? Dusty could have done things a little differently during certain games I came to see. Pitching may be the single common factor that sets this year apart from last. I believe we have got to go get some premiere pitching and we can be competitive … We have also got to establish Cincinnati as a major market and spend the money to establish that. If not we are going to let our talents that we do have get away and follow the same old 20-year track …
Chris Williams is VP of Motorsports Authentics, the trackside leader of licensed apparel for the teams in NASCAR. Given our common interests in collecting and the Reds, we touched base with Chris through a mutual friend and asked him a few questions. Here is the first half of our Q&A …
OMGReds: How did you get started with your memorabilia business?
CW: I was working for Dale Sr. when he owned all of his apparel and the company that sold his product, known as Sports Image. I started collecting at an early age. My dad was the manager at Martinsville Speedway and I was able to get some stuff that your average person wasn’t subject to. I first remember collecting postcards the drivers would hand out during the weekend, and then those press packages the media would get…
I was a three-sport athlete at Drewry Mason High School and was looking to go play college ball … After high school and while taking some courses in college, the race was in Martinsville and I was trying to work to pay for things … I wasn’t doing too well but was giving it a good try; juggling 3 jobs, a wife and a baby on the way … and needed the cash … The souvenir trailers that were there weren’t allowed on track property at that time. They were parked at the top of the street that went down to the track, directly across from my Dad’s house. Well luck would have it that it rained on race day. Rain in Martinsville means mud, mud means stuck … I had gotten up to Dad’s and saw where the trailers were having troubles. I approached the man about helping get his trailer out, he seemed to be struggling, so I got a tractor, chains and some boards and got ’em out … Well afterwards he asked if I wanted to come work for him selling souvenirs … I liked collecting but had never sold, went home, talked it over with my wife and decided to take that chance; glad I did.
OMGReds: What types of memorabilia do you specialize in? What are your favorite types of items, and with which items is the demand the greatest among consumers in your opinion? What types of memorabilia would you recommend investing in if you had to choose?
CW: Anything can be memorable and people collect for a lot of different reasons … Some do it to show pride and wear it; some collect for the memory of being somewhere or with someone at that time … some want to show their favorite team and player support. They all hold special bonds and memories … Some though do it for a profit or investment as time ages the item. Whatever a person’s reasons, memorabilia has become a part of business in America.
I personally would collect anything that would not perish and has some type of limited quantities in numbers … I would invest smartly in signed product that is authenticated by player and/or author, especially if it is rare and affordable … Most things in those categories ripen with age.
OMGReds: What are your most prized items in your personal collection?
CW: I have a collection of various items … I have baseballs signed from Brooks Robinson, Griffey, Hank Aaron, Bench, Foster, Morgan, Rose, Reggie Jackson and it goes on … I have some helmets from Griffey and Cal Ripken Jr. … Jerseys from a vast assortment of players from Bench to A-Rod …
As far as racing, I have some driver helmets in which my pride would be Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s helmet and uniform. I have some other uniforms from Harvick and Jeff Gordon as well. I have some rare trophies from the older NASCAR races and I have a rare collection of some guns as well.
I have a replica Elvis jumpsuit as well … It’s cool. I tried it on, not so good I looked like the later years of Elvis, if you know what I am saying …
Be on the lookout for the second half of our Q&A with Chris, where we discuss the future of card collecting and your beloved Cincinnati Reds. Did we mention that Chris is a life-long Reds fan?