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Now that’s a great position!

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has entered the pantheon of Reds pitchmen, joining a renowned club including Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Marty Brennaman, Joe Nuxhall and of course, Bronson Arroyo. BP is pitching for local Volkswagon dealership Northland VW, bringing some #VWSwag to Das Auto. Seems that he copped a nice drop-top for his services, too.

Check the commercials…

10-game win streak > 5-game losing streak

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.)

BP high socks fantastic while they lasted

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.

Cincy Lineup gets Local 12 action!

Check out this clip from Local 12 from Opening Day featuring the Cincy Lineup app we shared with you last week. We also enjoyed our two seconds in the sun… OH MY GOD REDS DOT COM BLOG. Big thanks to Katie Clavey for the love.

Pete Rose & Tom Seaver on the Mike Douglas Show in 1977

Tom Seaver and Pete Rose on the Mike Douglas Show, 1977

Tom Seaver and Pete Rose on the Mike Douglas Show, 1977

Talk-show host Mike Douglas interviews All-Star baseball players Pete Rose and Tom Seaver of the world-champion Cincinnati Reds on July 20th, 1977 (the show was broadcast one week later on July 27th).

This is one of helluva episode. Not only do Rose and Seaver appear on the show, but Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford are on the show promoting Star Wars. Epic.

There are four parts to the episode that originally aired on July 27, 1977, but we’ll embed just the parts that feature Rose and Seaver – 3 & 4. To check out all 4 parts, click here.

Tell you what, I always enjoy hearing Pete talk about baseball. Whatever about the rest of his thing, but when he talks about baseball, I’m down.

It’s almost bizarre to hear Rose and Seaver about a few particular things like, explaining free agency, Seaver’s trade from the Mets, Tony Perez being traded from the Reds to the Expos and Rose’s burgeoning career in endorsements and TV commercials. Of course, Mike Douglas tests Rose and Seaver at the end of the second segment to see if they are skilled product pitchmen.

Also, Pete’s chain is legit. Ya best recognize.


Part 3


Part 4

Tip of the cap to The Mets Police.

You got a ballplayer in Tracy Jones

1) 1986 graphix! Excellent.

2) Pete Rose’s hair. Nice feathering that afternoon.

3) Eric Show… RIP

4) Ken Griffey is looking REALLY OLD while catching that baseball. Bend the knees! Bend the knees!

5) Dave Parker can’t lose.

6) Seafood Shoppes.

7) Nuxy’s sport coat.

8) Steve Physioc. Worst broadcaster in baseball?

9) Tracy Jones. We love you.

10) The Love Connection – Tonight at 7:30 on Channel 5.

Jeff Ruby + Sports Rock = TV gold

Did you happen to stay up late for WLWT’s “Sports Rock” last night? If you’re not one of those lucky people like me who works weird hours and you had to get up Monday morning, you probably missed it. In which case I’m sorry. Because transcribing what Jeff Ruby – cantankerous and unpredictable local restaurant owner, sports fan and long-time friend of the Reds (from Sparky Anderson to Dusty Baker) as well as other sports personalities – said during “Sports Rock” doesn’t quite do it justice.

George Vogel and Ken Broo MUST know what they’re getting into when they have Ruby on. It’s not quite Charlie Sheen appearing on “The View,” but it’s close. Anyway, suffice it to say Ruby was dishing them out last night, and Ken Broo was taking them.

At one point just a couple of minutes into the show, Broo accused Ruby of prematurely comparing Andy Dalton to Boomer Esiason. Didn’t go over so well. Here was the delightfully awkward exchange (bear with me, I realize this part of the post isn’t Reds-related, but it was the most memorable exchange of the show):

Ruby: Dalton, he’s a rookie. He’s a second-round pick like Boomer was. He’s the real deal and he’s gonna be good.

Broo (interrupting): Oh, now he’s Boomer. After 4 games, he’s Boomer.

JR: I JUST SAID … he’s a second-round pick like Boomer was.

KB: You said Boomer …

JR: Kenny Anderson … all their good quarterbacks were second-round picks, OK??

KB: Don’t put the heat on the kid just yet.

JR: I’M NOT PUTTING THE HEAT ON HIM! I’M TELLING YOU IT’S GONNA TAKE TIME, YOU HEAR ME?

KB: OK, well you said Boomer-

JR: I just said give him time! … (to Broo) You’re not there yet either.

(Zing)

Later in the show, when Broo and Ruby got confrontational again, Broo said, “Don’t hit me please. Please don’t hit me.”

During the show, Ruby also uncorked …

• A Louis Prima and Keely Smith reference (lost on his younger co-panelists) when Akili Smith’s name was mentioned.

• That he attended the La Salle-Moeller game with Rey Maualuga, but that he wasn’t “dropping names.”

• A brief Jeff Wyler impression first thing out of a break, as if he maybe didn’t know they were back from break.

• That Ced Benson had a big game on Sunday because “Si Leis was chasing him.”

• That in college football, Penn State doesn’t travel to Temple every season because “maybe they’re not Jewish.” “If they’re not Jewish,” Ruby added, “they’re going to go to church. Why would they go to Temple?”

Wow. Anyway, Ruby dominated time of possession, and here were his comments about the Reds, which came at the very end of the show.

“Dusty told me not to tell you anything anymore. I got in trouble for that last time.”

(And on what to do about Votto vs. Alonso, which John Fay just wrote about)

Ruby (to “Sports Rock” panelist Andy Pierce): “How do you know Alonso’s gonna be so good?! What in the name of Wily Mo Pena makes you think he’ll be so good?? Wily Mo Pena was gonna be the next Willie Stargell. … You don’t know what Alfonso, Alonso, whatever is gonna do!”

In conclusion, Ruby is a character, that’s for sure. And there are plenty of characters who say outlandish things on TV and radio, no doubt, but not usually in that type of forum. You usually get one or two of several polished former Bengals and/or former high school or college coaches and you know exactly what to expect. Your only chance for comic relief is some yayhoo calling in and pretending to ask a question before breaking into “Dil-do, dil-do, dil-do” before they cut him off.

Not the case when Ruby is on, that’s for sure. I found it refreshing, in an awkward way.

‘Catching Hell’ review

“Catching Hell” – the ESPN documentary about Steve Bartman and Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS – is a must-watch. Some observations and highlights (and, don’t worry, some Reds-related stuff):

Observations:

• Alex Gibney did an outstanding job with this. And you can’t help but agree with him when he sums it up by saying, “Should Cubs fans forgive Bartman? No. Because, really, it’s up to Bartman to forgive Chicago.” My only criticism is that it could have been about 45 minutes shorter.

A half-hour into it, they’re STILL talking about Bill Buckner and the ’86 Red Sox and I’m thinking, “Wait. I could’ve sworn this was supposed to be about Bartman.” I totally get the comparisons between Game 6 of the ’86 World Series and Game 6 of the ’03 NLCS. And I get that Buckner was a former Cub (wearing a Cubs wristband) when the infamous ball between the legs happened. And I thought it was great that “Catching Hell” included a couple of soundbites from Buckner that specifically were about Bartman. But 98 percent of the stuff about Buckner from “Catching Hell” was just about Buckner and 1986. It was WAY too much Buckner. It was great stuff, don’t get me wrong, but PLEASE make a completely separate documentary about Buckner instead of trying to force it into a documentary about the Bartman game.

Only other criticism (also related to the length of the documentary)? Jumped the shark a little with the minister from Rocky River, OH (who had delivered a sermon about Bartman) talking about the religious aspects of scapegoats. Could’ve left all that out, or at least warned me that I could go use the restroom without having to hit pause on the DVR.

But like I said, other than that, it was pretty outstanding.

• It’s amazing how much things have changed in less than 8 years. In October of 2003, Bartman was referred to as the mystery fan on the news more than 24 hours after it happened. If that play happened in 2011, we’d have a TweetUp involving Bartman and all of the fans surrounding him at least before the end of the game and probably while the Marlins were still pounding the crap out of the Flubs in the top of the 8th inning.

• What’s with all of the current “Reds” who were involved in the Bartman game? You’ve got Dontrelle Willis, who started for the Marlins. (It was a no-decision for D-Train and “Catching Hell” just shows him in game action before the 8th inning.)

You’ve got Dusty Baker, then the Cubs’ manager. (“Catching Hell” kinda makes Dusty look bad by including his famous post-game quote (when asked if he had a message for Bartman), “The only words I have is, maybe he was a Marlins fan.”

And, of course, you’ve got Thom Brennaman, who called the game along with Steve Lyons for FOX. (Thom gets a pass; while Lyons was obviously one of the four or five key subjects interviewed for the documentary, Thom wasn’t interviewed; and the Bartman-related soundbites from Thom that they included were not particularly damning.) They obviously included Thom’s famous, “Again in the air, down the left field line. Alou reaching into the stands and couldn’t get it and is livid with a fan” and “And that’s a Cubs fan who tried to make that catch.” It’s not like you get to hear what Thom and “Psycho” Lyons say during the entire rest of the game during “Catching Hell” (maybe if they’d spent a little less time on Buckner :) But it seemed like Thom stayed relatively neutral. And definitely didn’t say anything as bad as Lyons’ infamous, “Why? I’m surprised someone hasn’t thrown that fan onto the field.” (Lyons, by the way, comes off looking surprisingly good and sympathetic in the documentary.)

They do include Thom leading off the 8th inning with this:

39,577 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, for Game 6 of this National League Championship Series. On this October 14, 2003. It was on this date in 1908, 95 years ago today, that the Cubs defeated the Detroit Tigers 2-0, to wrap up their second straight World Series championship. With a victory tonight — as he said, he did not go around on the pitch there — with a chance to win their first title since this day, 1908.

(Others, by the way, who played in Game 6 who either had previously or later went on to play for the Reds include Juan Encarnacion, Jeff Conine, Alex Gonzalez (not the Cubs shortstop who booted the double-play ball and easily could have been the goat if not for Bartman but the OTHER shortstop named Alex Gonzalez), Paul Bako and Mike Remlinger.)

Highlights:

• The female security guard who escorted Bartman out of Wrigley and spent time with him and whose apartment Bartman hid out at briefly while watching TV coverage of the play provided outstanding insight. Gibney & Co. also got outstanding insight from the fans who were seated near Bartman.

• Moises Alou acknowledging that he and Aramis Ramirez had booked tickets back to the Dominican Republic even before Game 7 they were so sure that the Cubs were destined to lose the series after Game 6. If I were a Cubs fan, I think I would’ve rather heard something along the lines of Alou regretting that he threw the tantrum and cursed and glared at Bartman. Learning instead that he and his teammate had little to no confidence in their team heading into Game 7 of the NLCS might arouse my ire a little.

Then again, Alou is the same guy who in 2008 was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “You know what the funny thing is? I wouldn’t have caught it, anyway.” Then he later insisted he didn’t remember saying that.

• Rod Blagojevich’s soundbite where he says if Bartman was ever convicted of a crime, he would never get a pardon from the governor. Hahaha … Blago … once a jackass, always a jackass. And the footage they showed in “Catching Hell” where you can hear some of the horrible, awful things fans at Wrigley were saying to Bartman offered great perspective and illustrated just how despicable some people were as far as how they treated Bartman that night and what they wanted to do to him.

Reds Live: Johnny Bench Night

As a huge Johnny Bench fan (at 13, I was lucky enough to be on hand in Cooperstown for his National Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend) unable to attend Johnny Bench Night on Saturday, the silver lining was sitting down Sunday night and watching the hour-long Reds Live from Johnny Bench Night that I had DVR’ed. Let me start by saying I was very impressed with what Fox Sports Ohio did with this hour. I’d imagine their goal was to allow people who couldn’t make it to feel like they didn’t miss it after all. And that’s exactly what they achieved. It was a great hour of TV for a Reds fan.

In case you missed it because you were at the ballpark and/or didn’t get to DVR it, here were some highlights:

Most awkward moment: Johnny is making his speech on the field before the game. The guy doesn’t appear to have any notes, but when you’ve got the public speaking ability that Johnny Bench has, you don’t need notes. A couple of minutes into the speech, he says, “The one thing I asked when this statue was going to be constructed was that it also had to include a caveat that following me would be – not in this order – Pete, Joe and Tony.”

Which gets big applause from the fired-up crowd.

And immediately the camera zooms in on Davey Concepcion.

Bum-bum-buh-dum, horrrrrn.

Of course Concepcion smiled and applauded as the incredibly gracious and modest individual he is. And the show’s director/producer/camera folks probably had no idea exactly what Johnny was going to say there (I’m pretty sure only Johnny knows what Johnny is about to say.) But for the love of, um, Pete … zoom in on Bob Castellini right at that moment. Show the crowd. Show that group of people who donated to the Bench statue fund. Heck, show Doug Flynn. ANYONE but the guy who could stake a claim to having been the fifth Beatle for years. It was just a hair painful, knowing that Concepcion should absolutely be a National Hall of Famer and will undoubtedly be deserving of a statue as well. (And we’re going to need a George Foster statue eventually as well. C’mon, people, how many guys can lead the league in RBIs in three consecutive seasons.)

Awkward honorable mention: Hal McCoy, on the set of Reds Live with Jim Day and Brian Giesenschlag, offers the following anecdote when asked if Johnny has mellowed:

“Very much so. He came in the clubhouse yesterday and he saw me across the room and he yelled, “Hall of Famer!” … came over, shook my hand, gave me a hug and I turned to somebody when he left and said, ‘He just said more words to me right there than he said in an entire season sometimes.'”

Awkward honorable mention No. 2: Jim Day asks Hal McCoy about how Bench and Pete Rose have mended fences and McCoy explains how great it is that their relationship has improved so much. Which begs the question: Why wasn’t Pete on hand for any of Saturday’s festivities? Anyone know his alibi?

That’s a fact, Jack: Johnny is referred to repeatedly (most often, I believe, by emcee Joe Zerhusen during the on-field ceremony) as the greatest catcher of all-time. I may have missed it but I don’t think Bench was referred to even once during the show as one of the greatest catchers of all time. I just find that interesting … how certain everyone is and how no one wants to acknowledge that Johnny may be among a very elite group of three or four catchers who could stake a claim to being the greatest ever.

Did I blink and miss it? At the start of the show, they promised a “live visit” with statue designer Tom Tsuchiya. (Not to be confused, by the way, with MLB umpire Tim Tschida.) They teased it again later. Totally missed it. Did my DVR just not pick it up? Was it after 7 p.m. that it aired?

Unintentional comedy: Jim Day starts the show talking about the buzz in the air for Johnny Bench Night and the big crowd on hand, and there are like 50 people in the hundreds of seats behind him. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that JD did a great job co-hosting this show.)

Goosebumps: Joe Nuxhall calling Bench’s home run on Johnny Bench Night in 1983. They showed it twice – once during the show coming out of a commercial break and again on the video board during the pre-game ceremony on the field. Goosebumps, both times.

Really??: When they introduced everyone who was sitting on the field for the pre-game ceremony, what was with the one guy who starting booing his ace off when they introduced Mayor Mark Mallory? It would have been one thing if everyone had started booing (clearly there is not enough animosity for a guy who will forever be remembered for this) but, to me, it sounded like one guy just started booing very loudly by himself. I’m gonna call that a #fail. #failboo

Best intentional comedy: Johnny is known for his sense of humor. The guy can be downright goofy. And he reached into his bag of tricks on several occasions during the pre-game ceremonies. The funniest? He set it up this way:

“Very seldom does anyone ever embarrass the Big Red Machine, but sometimes it happens.”

Cue this video of Joe Morgan doing the Chicken Dance on the video board.

It’s like I kind of saw it coming but the way Johnny set it up was pretty laugh-out-loud outstanding. And he followed up with, “All of that just to sell a car.” Zing!

Just Johnny being Johnny: You’d have to have seen it to know how strange and borderline awkward it was but Johnny took the time at the end of his speech during the on-field ceremony to recognize what an outstanding season the Brewers have had, wishing them well, he jokingly said, in the event that the Reds don’t catch them this season. Ouch. Kind of a sore subject, Johnny. Maybe he knew what a pounding the Brewers were going to administer on Saturday and figured the current Reds deserved that. Which, right now, you’d have to agree they do deserve.

O’Neill on ‘Tim McCarver Show’ painful

Flipping around at 1 a.m. on a Monday and Star 64 is showing not a re-run of “Entourage” or “The Old Adventures of New Christine” but “The Tim McCarver Show.” Slight *groan* – and only slight because time heals wounds to some extent and it has been 21 years since our buddy Tim was rooting for the A’s while doing color commentary during the 1990 World Series – but I leave it on for a minute to see who the guest is. Sure enough, it’s former Red Paul O’Neill. Nice! Right? No. Please save yourself the aggravation and avoid watching this one if it’s ever on again or if you’re crazy enough that you DVR’ed it knowing O’Neill was going to be on.

Paul was fine, actually, with the exception of explaining during the show that getting traded by the Reds was “the best thing that ever happened” to him. (Wha?? I know what you mean, Paul, but it still sounds bad.) We’re big Paul O’Neill fans, and this show won’t change that. It was McCarver, really. And the questions and the way the interview went. You would think that since the guy came up with and played almost half of his career in Cincinnati, the Reds would get mentioned more than a handful of times during the 30-minute show. Five minutes into the interview, first commercial break, and you wouldn’t know Paul ever played for anyone other than the Yankees. The first Reds mention? McCarver says something along the lines of (paraphrasing) “You’ve been on the winning side of three perfect games. Of course everyone remembers David Cone, and the David Wells perfect game, but very few people know that you were actually on the Reds …” and O’Neill interrupts him at that point and says, “Tom Browning, yes.” *SMH* Like it’s the answer to a trivia question no one at the bar would’ve gotten right.

Interview continues: Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Jorge Posada, Yankee Stadium, Don Mattingly, Don Zimmer, Joe Torre, how brutal it was to be a Reds minor-leaguer (thanks), Yankees, Yankees, Yankees.

OK, I understand Yankees fans loved him. (So did many Reds fans.) I get that he was on championship teams as a Yankee. (He won one as a Red, too.) He hit for average as a Yankee, won a batting title in ’94 and drove in more runs, fine. (He also hit a career-high 28 home runs as a Red in ’91.) Hopefully you get my point. You definitely would if we sat down and watched it together (which I would not want to do to be quite honest … not that I don’t like watching TV with you … these 30 minutes were just that painful.) Just wanted to let you know in case you’re flipping around at 1 a.m. on a Monday a couple of months from now and they show it again.

ESPN ticker FAIL

Creeper on crack?

After Jim Day interviewed Votto during the postgame, and Votto indicated that it was news to him that the Reds are 3 1/2 games back in the NL Central because he doesn’t keep up with the standings, the following dialogue took place between Thom and Chris Welsh.

Thom: Chris, were you a little surprised by that answer – “that’s news to me we’re 3 1/2 games out of first place?”

Chris: Not at all. You know what, I think if you took a poll of all the players that are in that clubhouse, about half of them probably don’t even know what they’re hitting. … They’re in there (the clubhouse) reading the sports page, playing games …

OK, stop right there, Chris. We’ve indicated previously that we are big-time Chris Welsh fans and that your analysis as a color commentator during Reds games is very insightful. And anyone – anyone – who talks for three hours straight is going to say a few things during that time that make them sound like they’re on crack. (Just ask Bobby Valentine.) But if, in fact, Reds players are reading the sports page in the clubhouse (which, by the way, our friends at The Enquirer will be delighted to hear), does that mean they go out of their way to skip anything baseball-related that appears in the sports page? They have no clue where their team is in the NL Central standings and what they’re hitting? Not buying it. I’m not calling Votto’s bluff, exactly, because I think it’s possible he didn’t realize they picked up a full game with Monday’s win. (Heck, if you saw the post-game interview with Dusty, he didn’t even know the Reds face Kershaw tomorrow.) But I’m pretty sure Votto and his teammates know that the Brewers and the Cardinals are ahead of them and have a rough idea of how many games ahead they are. I’m pretty sure Bruce knew he was having a huge May before he won NL Player of the Month honors. I’m pretty sure Gomes knows he’s hitting .208. I’m pretty sure Stubbs knows he’s leading the league in strikeouts. Or maybe those guys are part of the half of the clubhouse that pays attention a little and does pick up a stat sheet every now and then.

Not buying it, Welshie, but we still love you, amigo.

As an aside, how cool was it that a Reds fan appeared to catch Votto’s home-run ball on the fly. Good stuff!

UPDATE: Here are Joey’s post-game comments…

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=e3195675-ce46-4257-984e-e333da52a515" target="_new" title="">Reds down Dodgers</a>

Bitter rivarly

Clooneywatch

A bunch of people have e-mailed us asking whether George Clooney was at the Reds Winter Caravan stop in Athens last week after they thought they saw him in photos we posted from the event. To the best of our knowledge, he was not … but we’re pretty sure we saw him at a Pump It Up party in West Chester Saturday afternoon.

All rewound up

They're Baaaaaaaaaack...
Reds Classic Rewind is back! Our skillets over at Fox Sports Ohio are serving up hot plates of classic Reds games once again this off-season. In their “March to Opening Day”, RCL will feature five games from the 2010 season – a season worth reliving.

While we would love to see a few deeper cuts from the Reds video vault, these dandys from less then a year ago will whet our pallet for the upcoming Reds season.

Here are the deets:

2011 REDS CLASSIC REWINDS

Host Jim Day will take viewers on a trip through the Reds’ memorable 2010 season. The Rewind series will feature games including the thrilling Sept. 28 game, when Jay Bruce hit the walk-off home run for the win, giving the Reds their first NL Central Division title in 15 years. Fans will also enjoy games featuring Edinson Volquez’ return, Aroldis Chapman’s debut, and more. The complete schedule is below.

June 6, 2010 – Reds @ Washington Nationals (box)
Thursday 2/3 7pm
After trailing 2-1 at the top of the 9th, Scott Rolen pinch hits a 2-run HR to take the lead. The Nationals tie it up in the bottom of the 9th, but Drew Stubbs hits an RBI single in the 10th to win.

July 4, 2010 – Reds at Chicago Cubs (box)
Air Time: Thursday 2/10 7pm
FOX Sports Ohio and the Reds salute our troops during this blowout game when the Reds beat the Cubs 14-3 with 16 hits. Drew Stubbs hit 3 HR and had 5 RBI.

July 17, 2010 – Reds vs. Colorado Rockies (box)
Air Time: Thursday 2/17 7pm
Edinson Volquez returns to pitch 6 innings, striking out 9 Rockies for the 8-1 win at Great American Ballpark.

August 31, 2010 – Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers (box)
Air Time: Thursday 2/24 7pm
This memorable game features the debut of Aroldis Chapman. The Reds defeat the Brewers 8-4 at Great American Ballpark.

September 28, 2010 – Reds vs. Houston Astros (box)
Thursday 3/3 6pm
Jay Bruce’s walk-off HR gives the Reds a 3-2 victory over the Astros and clinches the NL Central title.

Past Reds Classic Rewind lineups: 2010, 2009, 2008

Baseball’s Seasons

1975 Cincinnati Reds
Just got done watching the hour-long “Baseball’s Seasons” on MLB Network about the 1975 season. First of all, I must say they do a REALLY nice job with that program. I was impressed. And not just because they devote plenty of time to the entire 1975 World Series and don’t gloss over everything but Carlton Fisk’s home run like others do.

Enjoyed Cliff Johnson’s quote about the Big Red Machine, “I don’t know who named it, but whoever did they named the hell out of it because it WAS a machine and they WOULD run over you.”

Always love the anecdote about Denny Doyle claiming he heard Don Zimmer yelling, “Go, go, go!” when Zimmer was yelling, “No, no, no!” before George Foster guns him out at home plate (personally one of MY favorite Game 6 highlights).

Anyway, definitely worth watching if you get a chance. Set your DVR if you missed it; it replays at midnight and 3 a.m.

(One other highlight: The atrocious all-red uniforms the Cleveland Indians wore in 1975. Wow.)

Ouch

You’ve got to feel for Jay Bruce. What an awful feeling. What a horrible way to lose the lead and for things to fall apart.

I have to agree with the broadcast team that it’s much more painful to lose the way the Reds did tonight than the no-hitter. The Reds had a 4-0 lead! Phillips was raking. They were scoring runs. Arroyo was dealing. Wha happen! The Reds were so close to turning things around after Game 1 and heading to Cincinnati tied at 1 that they could taste it. Now they’re on the ropes. They can win Game 3. And I don’t buy that the series is over just because they’ll have to face Halladay again. But it’s going to be a lot tougher than it would’ve been if they’d have taken care of their lead.

Analysis follows. This post might not be as long, though, as our post from the other night because I played a drinking game during tonight’s game where I had to drink every time Brian or Joe referred to Halladay’s no-hitter. (And I had to chug each time they showed the new Beyond Baseball promo.) So I got pretty lethargic as the evening progressed.

• Why can’t someone tell Dusty to appeal to third after Utley missed the bag. I never understood why someone can’t let Dusty know. Dusty said after the game that he didn’t see it and didn’t find out until it was too late, but isn’t there someone on the bench who’s supposed to keep an eye on that? I know it has to be quick and it’s not like football where a coach in the booth can tell the head coach to challenge a call, but it’s frustrating. Different game if Utley’s run doesn’t count and there’s an out there.

Haha, wouldn’t you know as I type this I’m watching Chris Welsh during the FSO post-game show … his words … “I think the one thing though that you can look at, and wonder and scratch your head about, is that why in the world didn’t somebody in that dugout see that Chase Utley missed third base. I mean, if you’re sitting there live, somebody has to have the assignment, just like in the umpiring crew, somebody’s got the assignment to watch the ball, somebody else has got the assignment to make sure that the runners tag up on time or that they actually tag the bags. Well somebody on that coaching staff should’ve been looking at third base because Chase Utley missed that third base by a long shot. And had they been able to go back and appeal that, his run would’ve been out, and I think the way I’ve got it figured, they don’t score in that inning. So it was a very unfortunate turn of events right there but I think some of those could’ve been prevented with a little more due diligence.”

AP photo shows Utley was out

• I’d love to see Chase Utley sliding into second from at least two other angles. John Kiesewetter praised TBS’ cameras but I’m pretty sure we only got to see that replay twice. HUGE call. And it was VERY close … he honestly looked out to me on the throw from Rolen to Phillips.

• I can only think of one time – before the game started, actually – Joe Simpson annoyed me, which is a credit to him. “It’s hard to imagine anybody pitching better than Halladay pitched a couple of nights ago but Roy Oswalt is certainly capable.” C’mon, Joe.

• Simpson was right about one thing: Phillips’ home run was “exactly what the Reds needed.” That’s got to be one of the biggest home runs ever to lead off a playoff game. After getting no-hit.

• Great eye by Stubbs – another guy not necessarily known for great plate discipline – on ball four in the 2nd inning. Solid job he did breaking up the double play on the ball Utley threw away too, allowing Nix to score.

• Huge hit by Cabrera after Phillips led off the inning with a hit. These two really set the table in the 3rd; what a huge squandered opportunity to work on increasing that lead. It was really a shame Votto, Rolen and Nix all failed to come through and do some damage in that inning.

• Phillips on Oswalt (during a quick soundbite they showed): “Hit his mistakes, because he makes a lot of mistakes.” Nice. He doesn’t really mince words, does he.

• Rolen was getting around pretty gingerly in the 3rd, when he struck out for the fourth time in his fifth at-bat of the series. He’s clearly not 100 percent. I realize he wants to play, he deserves to play, he contributed A LOT to the Reds’ push for the postseason. I hate to say it, but he’s not doing the Reds any good if he’s dealing with some pretty nagging pain. Cairo isn’t going to strike out 5 times in 7 at-bats like Rolen has.

• It stinks because Bruce actually had a nice game with the exception of the ball he lost. He friggin’ tattooed that home run ball to lead off the 4th. He had a great throw after Victor Ino took him back to the warning track, putting a scare into Carlos Ruiz trying to double him up at first. And he did a good job laying off that close pitch by Lidge with two strikes to draw a walk to lead off the 9th.

• Bronson did a great job getting that huge double play ball after walking Howard and giving up the hit to Werth. Good damage control in the 5th too by getting Howard after he allowed the 2-out, 2-RBI hit by Utley. He did a great job getting ahead and striking him out.

• I take it back, I got annoyed by the broadcast team one other time. Anderson saying Janish entering the game for Cabrera “could be a tough blow for Cincinnati.” Simpson chiming in with Janish is “not as good an offensive player.” Hmmm. Cabrera hit .263 with 4 homers and 42 RBI in 494 at-bats during the regular season. Janish hit .260 with 5 homers and 25 RBI in 200 at-bats. It doesn’t appear that there’s as much of a difference offensively as they make it out to be.

• Kinda funny that the Phillies followed suit by looking to a young guy (Domonic Brown) with the first pinch-hit appearance of the series (Juan Francisco was our first pinch-hitter in Game 1)

instead of a seasoned vet.

• The Reds sure are having a tough time getting the third out in this series. Four out of the Phils’ five hits in Game 1 came with 2 outs. Utley’s hit in the 5th – 2 outs. Ondrusek walked in the run in the 6th with 2 outs. All of that crap in the 7th (except for Utley’s HBP that didn’t hit him) happened with 1 out, but there would’ve been 2 outs if they would’ve called Utley out at 2nd (or if someone would’ve caught that he missed 3rd).

• Hey, annoying lady in the blue shirt waving your towel trying to distract Nick Masset on every pitch he throws: Please stop.

• Reds only had one hit from the 6th inning on. They had two walks, but one of those guys (Stubbs) got picked off.

Oh, no

Dang, why couldn’t we have faced Jamie Moyer or Joe Blanton or something.

Well, the losing end of the second no-hitter in postseason history isn’t where we wanted to be after Game 1. But it is just one loss and hopefully we can beat Roy Oswalt – who started 23-1 against the Reds but hasn’t won against the Reds since 2008 and was 0-2 against the Reds this season (though you wouldn’t know it by reading this story and, yes, I know, he hasn’t faced us yet as a Phillie) – to earn a split in Philly and come back to Cincinnati tied at a game apiece. Just gotta shake it off; some guys have to go into Game 2 hoping to get some better at-bats than they got and realize they’re facing a different pitcher in Game 2 who (going out on a limb here) isn’t going to no-hit them.

Some (mostly painful) Game 1 observations:

• First, the silver lining. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again … this Travis Wood kid is just cool as a cucumber. Now that’s not to say he wouldn’t have had some nerves going (like Volquez did) if he’d have started the game instead, but he was just mowing them down and keeping the Reds in the game (well, if the Reds had brought their bats).

Wood got out of Volquez’s jam in the 2nd and sat down Ryan Howard on three pitches to start the 3rd. Struck out Jayson Werth twice. 3 1/3 innings, and all he allowed was a two-out double to Raul Ibanez (followed by an intentional walk of Carlos Ruiz). Got a bunch of fly outs (including one that scared me a little) and looked very sharp. Could this guy start Game 5 (back in Philly)? He obviously doesn’t mind pitching there. You may recall he took a perfect game into the 9th in Philly, throwing 9 scoreless innings against the aforementioned Halladay in just his third Major League start on July 10, allowing just one hit and striking out 8 (but failed to get the victory because Halladay also pitched 9 shutout innings). In fact, I was a little annoyed that it wasn’t mentioned (apologies if it was and I was letting the dog out or something) during tonight’s broadcast … something like Wood has now pitched 12 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings at Citizens Bank Park.

Ondrusek did a nice job settling down and getting three outs after he airmailed that throw way over Votto’s head. And he and Bray took care of business in the 7th. STRONG work by all three guys (Wood, Ondrusek and Bray). And don’t think the Phils weren’t trying to tack on a few insurance runs after they chased Volquez.

• Speaking of the TBS broadcast, Brian Anderson did a decent job (though I’m not sure how Werth can have “the key at-bat” in a 3-run inning just by seeing 9 pitches and getting out … I’d say even the walk by Ruiz was a more key at-bat in that inning than Werth’s, let alone the RBI hits that followed), but I can already tell Joe Simpson is going to get on my nerves. Saying the Halladay pitch to Cabrera in the first was strike three (pshhh). And I don’t know why I get so annoyed when people say Scott Rolen got traded for Edwin Encarnacion. (I remember there being two pitchers – Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart – involved as well.) But I expected Simpson to sound very impressed with the Phillies throughout this series considering he’s much more familiar (as a Braves announcer) with them.

• Volquez’s crucial mistakes: Letting Vic Torino steal that base on him in the first. That was a huge jump he got. Walking Carlos Ruiz in the 2nd with two outs KILLED him too. He kinda regained his composure – after getting behind 3-0 to Rollins just after Ruiz, Valdez and Halladay got on with two outs – but then walked Rollins too before facing Vic Torino. Wheels are off at that point. All with two outs. What a shame.

• That was a great play by Jonny Gomes, though, to keep the ball in front of him on Halladay’s RBI single. Nice effort; if that ball gets past him it’s another run and Halladay advances too (not that that run and Halladay didn’t go on to score shortly thereafter, but on a night like tonight it’s worth applauding every small thing the Reds did right).

• When Volquez was exiting in the 2nd, did anyone else say, “WTF, is it raining??” That was kinda out of nowhere.

• Phils had four of their five hits with 2 outs. Ouch.

• Strike 3 call on Rolen for the first out in the 5th was garbage. But Rolen struck out two other times. It’s gotta be pretty deflating to see a veteran leader like Rolen who is usually a tougher out and doesn’t strike out much (especially for the 20-homerun guy he was this year) whiff in all three at-bats.

• GREAT patience by Bruce (of all people, right?) to become the Reds’ first (and only) baserunner with the walk in the 5th inning. He looked at a couple of very close pitches the Bruce we’ve known would’ve hacked at. (And again, we’re making mention of everything the Reds did right. While we’re at it, we should point out that Rolen, despite striking out in every at-bat, had a pair of nice defensive plays.)

• Stubbs got a great pitch to hit with a 1-1 count in the next at-bat (after Bruce), and he knew it.

• I was kinda surprised Juan Francisco was the pinch-hitter in the 6th instead of Heisey (a righty who hits righties well and has proven himself as a pinch-hitter) or maybe Nix. That being said, Francisco contributed the closest thing to a hit aside from Wood’s liner to Jayson Werth in his only at-bat.

• Cabrera had a nice at-bat leading off the 7th – at least fouling off some pitches – though he may have swung at ball four.

• Gomes and Stubbs didn’t even have a chance against him in the 8th. Stubbs looked particularly bad in his strikeout.

• Miguel Cairo was a good call by Dusty. Cairo is EXACTLY the type of guy you expect to break up a no-hitter. He had 11 at-bats against Halladay, had seen him plenty of times. Right idea, skip.

Fail

To Whom It May Concern:

The Kid Rock ‘Watch the MLB Postseason on TBS’ promo I just saw during the Bengals-Browns game needs to be killed, or at least re-edited. Albert Pujols is in there, and it doesn’t look like the Cardinals are going to be in the playoffs. Thanks-

Chapman vs. Pujols

Tim McCarver made the astute observation that it was “El Hombre … against the only Aroldis in the history of baseball. The only player named Aroldis against El Hombre. What a matchup.” (Wow. Really?)

The result: GIDP.

BTW, Pitch No. 2 of Aroldis’ 4-pitch walk to Jon Jay looked a lot like a strike to me.

Also, McCarver mentioned during the broadcast that he and Joe Buck will be doing the NLCS and the World Series on Fox, if that gives you an extra incentive to try to find tickets.

One other thing: If you weren’t already a Travis Wood believer, hopefully you are now. This guy is for real. I don’t care if it was his first time facing the Cardinals and you think teams are going to figure him out. The kid has poise, gumption and very good stuff.

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