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Mr. OMG

Hurts so good

Oh my wow! A very passionate OMGreds fan is letting everyone know who she’s down with. Submitted on Reddit earlier today, our biggest fan (apparently?!) shared a photo of his freshly tattooed arm, sporting a slightly modified (we approve!) Mr. OMG*.

To our fan: If this is your arm, give us a shout, we’d love to chat.

Thanks to @mucusoffmybrain for giving us the heads up.

*Just made up “Mr. OMG” he really didn’t have a name before. Makes sense though, right? Right.

The Reds Woooo Man

Woooo is Us

It may have started in Pittsburgh, but Cincinnati is catching “Wooooo” (or is it a “howl?“) fever.

It all started in the late innings of Monday night’s 14 inning victory over the Pirates at GABP, but not everyone in Reds Country is embracing the trend. We can understand. It’s not exactly original and kinda annoying, but dangit, we’re having fun here! Let’s embrace the “Wooooo!” and roll on into the postseason.

Giddyup!

Favorable early comparisons to 2010

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.

JB’s golf cart

Johnny Bench golf cart

You could be big ballin' in this ride!

You know you want it. We do. OMGreds would love to roll up to GABP in Reds-branded golf cart with a gangsta lean in full effect. It’s how we roll. Most of the time.

He’s your shot. It’s not cheap, but for 100 clams you can get in on this action. Here are the deets…

A gift from the Pittsburgh Pirates during Johnny’s last year as a player in 1983, this gently used golf cart has been warehoused for most of the last 25 years.  It was recently professionally cleaned and its tires and battery were replaced.  It features a Reds logo on the front, Johnny’s iconic #5 on each side, and the cart has been personally signed by Johnny.  This one-of-kind piece of Johnny Bench memorabilia is now the grand prize in special raffle.  Proceeds from raffle ticket sales benefit the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund.

Only 500 tickets will be sold! 100 prizes in all will be awarded, many of which will include autographed Johnny Bench merchandise!
Drawing to be held December 3!

You can pick up your tickets at several locations including the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, The Montgomery Inn Boathouse and the Green Diamond Gallery.

Good luck to ya.

My 7 favorite things about this fantastic video

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.

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.

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.

I Feel Like Breakdancing

The greatest Reds at-bat song ever belongs to Ken Griffey Jr. His strut-up tune, the “Soul Glo” jingle from the movie “Coming to America,” is easily the greatest at-bat song I have ever heard at the ballpark.

You may argue that it’s not a great tune, or you can’t dance to it (yes, you can) or it’s just kinda weird. Well, that’s what makes it the greatest at-bat song ever. I remember the first time I heard it and about fell out of my seat laughing. No one else around me (in the section… maybe even the stadium) got it. It’s beauty is in its randomness. The confidence in which Junior used it and the humor that was boiling just beneath the surface made it work. I’m glad to have been a part of it in some small way. I will be telling tales about it to my children and their grandchildren in the years to come.

If you’re wondering, the second best Reds at-bat song of all time is Joey Votto’s current selection, “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones. That’s big ballin’ right there, folks.

Jonny Gomes comes in a distant third with “Paradise City” with the Sam Kinnison (I think) scream edited in. Quality.

Let us know what ya think. Who had the greatest at-bat songs for the Reds? Here’s the most recent list of at-bat songs for the 2011 team, courtesy of Jamie Ramsey and the Assistant Directors of Media Regulators (Mount up!). Read more…

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.

Little Chicken Wing

Joe Morgan - 1973 Topps

Chicken wing... CLICK!

Know for his “Chicken Flap” batting stance routine, Hall of Famer Joe Morgan will be leading the throngs of herrens und frauens in the Chicken Dance next Saturday at Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati.

Synchronize your Swatches and make sure you’re at Fountain Square at 1:30pm Saturday, September 17 for it then that “Little Joe” will be presiding over what has become know as the “World’s Largest Chicken Dance.” Morgan is following in the footsteps of past Chicken Dance luminaries such as Vince Neil, Homer Simpson, Chad Johnson, Verne Troyer and our hero and spiritual advisor, Weird Al Yankovic.

For a list of past Chicken Dance leaders, check this.

Really, Brooklyn? Really?

OK, I know you’re world-famous model Brooklyn Decker, wife of Andy Roddick. But are you REALLY reading a book while sitting in (what appears to be) the Diamond Seats? C’mon! Really??

Also, Roddick posted this photo.

Yikes

Orel Hershiser, who prevented Danny Jackson from winning the 1988 National League Cy Young award, actually said this during the Sunday Night Baseball game between the Red Sox and the Yankees, while describing Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett during a slow-motion replay of his delivery.”

“Look at how erect he is …”

Love for Joe …

… on a sign at the Norfolk Tides’ Harbor Park.

Separated at birth?

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.

Reds Classic Rewind: 6/6/10

I took in Fox Sports Ohio’s replay of the Reds’ 5-4 win against the Nationals from Sun., June 6 and came away with the following observations:

Why it was particularly appropriate that FSN Ohio aired this particular replay on 2/3/11:

Laynce Nix played a significant role in the win. He didn’t have the go-ahead home run in the 9th or the go-ahead RBI single in the 10th, but Nix would’ve been neck-and-neck with Bronson Arroyo for third in MVP votes for this game. In case you missed it, the Washington Nationals (of course) announced Thursday afternoon that they agreed to terms with Nix on a minor-league contract that includes a Spring Training invitation. Well, as a matter of fact, the Reds probably don’t win this big game on 6/6/10 if not for Nix, who delivered three hits and made a stellar diving catch in left field in the 5th inning. Godspeed, Mr. Nix. When this coming June rolls around and Fred Lewis is hitting .240 with 2 home runs, we’ll think of you. (I’m kidding, Fred Lewis, no disrespect, best of luck and welcome aboard.) As an aside, did you know Nix ended up hitting .291 with 4 homers in 165 at-bats in 2010? Based on his 2009 numbers (.239/15/46), I’d bet anything most Reds fans would take the over in guessing how many homers he had in 2010, and the under in batting average. I digress …

Why this win against the Nats was so important:

Reds ended their 6-game homestand .500 (after they had lost 2 of 3 in St. Louis), instead of 2-4. If they had lost, they would’ve ended up losing the season series to a team that ended up 69-93. And if they had lost, they also would’ve ended up with a losing record in June (for what it’s worth). Instead, September was their only losing month of the regular season. And they survived a Cordero implosion, which is a rarity (there were only 3 other games he “blew” in 2010 that the Reds won).

What I didn’t remember that watching the replay made me remember:

• Ohio native and former UD star Craig Stammen allowed just 1 earned run on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings just weeks before being demoted to the bullpen.

• Tyler Clippard, who had pitched a scoreless 8th and struck out Nix to start the 9th, was lifted in favor of Matt Capps, which might have made sense against any team OTHER than the Reds. In Washington’s defense, Capps was the NL leader in saves at the time with 18, so Jim Riggleman’s move wasn’t exactly a head-scratcher. BUT Capps had given up runs in 6 of 9 appearances entering Sunday’s game and ENTERED the game (obviously it got much worse DURING this appearance) with a 6.33 ERA in 30 career appearances against the Reds.

• Scott Rolen’s exciting 9th-inning pinch-hit home run was preceded by HUGE back-to-back doubles by Drew Stubbs and Jonny Gomes (his of the pinch-hit variety).

• One pitch before Rolen’s homer, he checked his swing with two strikes, and many in the crowd disagreed with the result of the appeal to first.

• Chris Welsh said, “How ’bout this Reds ball club!” at least three times.

• During the bottom of the 9th, Paul Keels (who, by the way, we wish a continued strong recovery from the abdominal surgery he had in last Fall and who we wish no ill-will in mentioning this minor goof-up) referred to former Red Bob Wickman. Former quite a few teams, Voice o’ the Buckeyes, but never a Red.

• Mike Morse, who had the quietest .289, 15-homer season (in just 266 at-bats) in recent memory – and, in 2010, had 5 RBIs (on a double and a triple) in just 3 ABs against the Reds – was the one who tied it against Cordero in the bottom of the 9th.

• Miguel Batista (who, by the way, has played for even more teams than Bob Wickman) – who had been ejected the night before for hitting Brandon Phillips in retaliation for perceived showmanship – was the one who gave up Stubbs’ go-ahead single in the 10th.

• Former Red Adam Dunn, who had struck out three times in four at-bats that day, would have hit in the bottom of the 10th against Nick Masset if he had not been lifted in the 9th for defensive replacement Adam Kennedy. Dunn, in case you were wondering, is hitting .182 with 2 homers and 5 RBIs in 55 career at-bats against the Reds.

Willie, we barely knew ya

In case you missed it, the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed Willie Bloomquist. Why aren’t we using the breaking news template with this? You’re right, we should.

Willie had 5 hits in his 17 at-bats as a Red. He was acquired from the Royals on Sept. 13 of last season. At the time, Dusty Baker said of Bloomquist, “We need him right now. We’ve been searching for somebody like him for a couple of weeks.”

I remember there was excitement about his speed, but he did not get to steal a base as a Red – nor did he attempt to. A lot of Reds fans were awfully quick to forget about Willie – especially now that we have Fred Lewis – but I’m not. Best of luck in Arizona, Willie, except when you’re facing your former team.

So, this exists?

Cincinnait Reds Toaster
You have to be kidding us, right? We can burn the ol’ “Crest C” into our toast? Sign us up.

Product Description (As if you need one):

-Official team colors and logo.
-Two slice toaster.
-Available in your favorite MLB team colors and logo.
-Adjustable settings for desired toasting levels.
-Features your favorite team’s logo on the outside and toasts your bread in your team’s logo.
-Includes a setting for frozen breads.
-Works on white and wheat bread, as well as frozen waffles and English muffins.
-UL tested and approved.
-Dimensions: 8” H x 12” W x 6” D.

White and wheat? Whoa.

Found via @AniRayne33

Burtlejuice

Creepy, eh?
We answered the Burt BobbleRed Photo Challenge in the only way we could.

When you’re at Redsfest, make sure you stop by “Better Off Red: The Jamie Ramsey Experience“. Looks like he and the Reds have some fun things up their sleeves.

Redsfest appearance wishlist

As we wait with bated breath to find out who will be appearing at next month’s RedsFest (the day the list is revealed is seriously one of our favorite days of the year here at OMGReds.com) … we thought it’d be fun to think about unexpected appearances from former Reds.

And while you might dream about getting John Bench or Tony Perez or even Junior, we hate to break it to you but it’s not going to happen. Josh Hamilton also isn’t going to feel bad that he didn’t stick around in Cincinnati longer and make it up to fans by showing up at RedsFest. No, I prefer to celebrate and embrace former Reds who never quite lived up to expectations. And here are some of the cards (we have a million of) that we’d love to get signed if any of these guys did show up.


Willie Greene

Willie Greene
Ah yes, the Reds were high on Greene when he made his Major League debut Sept. 1, 1992 at age 20, three years after he was the Pirates’ first pick in the 1989 draft. In fact, he spent the majority of his career with the Reds before he was dealt to Baltimore in ’98 for Jeffrey Hammonds (who, by the way, we would also love to see at RedsFest). Greene had less than 200 at-bats with the Reds between 1992 and 1995 and spent most of those seasons hitting for power but not really for average in Indianapolis, which was also what plagued him when he became the Reds’ everyday third baseman. But did you know this guy hit 19 homers in 287 at-bats in ’96, and then 26 homers and 91 RBI in just under 500 at-bats in ’97!


1989 Topps Mark Lewis

Mark Lewis
The second overall pick in the 1988 June amateur draft (by the Cleveland Indians) had not one but two stints with the Reds … and he’s from Hamilton! C’mon, tell me half of Hamilton wouldn’t turn out to see the guy who was 1988 Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year for the Big Blue? Even hard-core Reds fans seem to have already forgotten Game 3 of the 1995 National League Division Series against the Dodgers, when Lewis hit the first pinch-hit grand slam in postseason history. And he hit .339 in 171 at-bats for the Reds that season. (He was .254/6/28 with the Reds in ’99.) The guy was seriously an unsung contributor to the ’95 team that until a few weeks ago was the most recent to make the playoffs. Time to give him some love.


Pokey Reese

Pokey Reese
The Reds’ first-round pick (20th overall) in the ’91 draft, Reese could fly and field but not enough of the other stuff. But it suddenly looked like the sky was the limit for Reese during his career year in ’99 (which coincided with an outstanding Reds’ campaign that season, of course). He hit .285 with 38 stolen bases (fifth best in the NL) and won his first of back-to-back Gold Gloves for the Reds. But he came back to Earth in 2000 when he hit .255, and even more so in 2001 when he hit .224. He was traded in Dec. 2001 with Dennys Reyes to the Rockies for Luke Hudson and Gabe White, dealt the next day by the Rockies to Boston for Scott Hatteberg and granted free agency two days after that. He signed with the Pirates and spent a couple of disappointing seasons in Pittsburgh and another one with the Red Sox, never regaining that ’99 form (though he did win a title with the BoSox in ’04). Sure has been through a lot off the field too, for sure, as explained in this Boston Globe article.


Eric Owens

Eric Owens
This fourth-round pick of the Reds in 1992 bounced back and forth between Cincinnati and Indianapolis so much that his nickname was “I-74.” But we find his 1996 numbers with the Reds fascinating. He hit just .200 in 205 at-bats, but he managed to steal 16 bases. 41 hits, 23 walks, 16 stolen bases! He always had the green light (he stole 33 in 1999 and 29 in 2000 for the Padres) and made a nice career for himself as a very poor man’s Dave Collins (speaking of whom, he definitely doesn’t fit in the category for this post, but how about inviting D.C. to RedsFest!)


Brandon Larson

Brandon Larson
The Reds’ first-round pick (14th overall) in the ’97 draft and – by all accounts – a bona fide slugger at LSU, Larson played his entire four-year MLB career with the Reds from 2001-2004. Which amounted to .179/8/37 over those parts of four seasons. But don’t worry, Brandon, you’ve got plenty of company as far as BUSTY first-round picks by the Reds in the 1990s. Yes, we’re looking at you, John Oliver, C.J. Nitkowski, Pat Watkins, Chad Mottola and Ty Howington.

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