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by Brian Dill 04.19.2012
Posted In: baseball at 09:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Reds Slip in Rankings

Team sits in second place despite anemic offense

With all the talent the Reds have on their roster the bats just aren’t blazing like we all suspected they would. The Reds rank 27th or lower in four major offensive categories, including runs scored — a woeful 31 runs in 10 games. Luckily for the Reds, outside their current opponent — St. Louis — nobody in the division can win games, either. The Reds sit in second place along with Houston and Milwaukee. The one thing Dusty’s boys can’t afford is to continue with the Drew Stubbs special — swinging and missing. If the Cardinals sweep the Reds — which is looking probable — then they would be six games back, not insurmountable but far from ideal.

A healthy Brandon Phillips will go a long way in getting putting runs on the board. Wilson Valdez and Willie Harris did a commendable job in their time replacing Phillips, but any extended absence from Phillips results in a significant drop in offensive production. In addition to Phillips recovering from a hamstring injury, much of the starting lineup will have to overcome a plague-like slump. Jay Bruce, Ryan Ludwick, Devin Mesoraco, Ryan Hanigan, Drew Stubbs and Scott Rolen are all hitting .205 or worse. Production from the cleanup spot is hurting badly; Rolen has no dingers and only two extra-base hits. Joey Votto and Zack Cozart — the only to hitting worth a damn — need production behind them if the reds are going to reverse their current run scoring trend.

The Reds have Bronson Arroyo taking the hill tonight against the only St. Louis starter without a win this year, Adam Wainwright (0-2.) Wainwright enters the game with an 11.42 era, if the Reds can’t stop their anemic offensive output against Wainwright it may be a long next couple of weeks.

by Danny Cross 04.17.2012
Posted In: baseball at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
screen shot 2012-04-17 at 1.21.59 pm

Canseco: ‘Global Warming Could’ve Saved Titanic’

Former ballplayer says no icebergs = no shipwreck

When Jose Canseco last month offered his sincere concern over the world’s energy consumption and various global warming issues that have resulted, we at CityBeat were quick to report such thoughtful commentary. In a story titled “Ranking Jose Canseco’s Global Warming Tweets” we provided some background on the former Major League Baseball player/steroid user/author and recapped his series of hilarious tweets.

Most of us believed that our immense enjoyment of Canseco’s socio-political commentary would be short-lived — after following him on Twitter for a few days we were offered only recaps of him winning long drive competitions and pleading with Major League clubs to sign him even though he’s 47.

Then on Sunday something awesome happened. Apparently inspired by the recent release of Titanic 3D, Canseco in fewer than 144 characters again blew everyone’s minds: “Titanic 100 years wOw. Global warming couldve saved titanic. Sad to say.”

Canseco was prompted by skeptics to elaborate: “Because we don't recycle and consume like crazy icicles are non existent. Titanic wouldve still existed today," he wrote.

He then showed frustration with the people who didn’t understand the irony he was describing: “You clowns it's very simple. With global warning the weather is hotter so the icebergs would be melted and titanic saved.”

Skeptics satisfied, Canseco went back to blasting our wasteful lifestyles: “100 years ago people actually cared about planet and respected nature. Now we can care less and consume energy like it's free.”

And then, for good measure, he offered a couple slices of personality that prove follow Jose Canseco on Twitter will continue to be a worthwhile endeavor, political activism or not: “Titanic reminds me of the days I had two yachts in Miami but no icicles" and “I had a bat I named Titanic .It was biggest rawlings ever made and beautiful and unbreakable dont know where Titanic is now.”

It’s good to know that influential people like Jose Canseco are taking on such causes, even after learning that Al Gore is not dead. Hug 4 u, Jose.

by Brian Dill 04.04.2012
Posted In: baseball at 09:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opening Day on the Horizon: A Reds Preview

With Opening Day fast approaching, you now have 225 million reasons to go watch the Reds this year. Bob Castellini opened up the checkbook and Walt Jocketty busted out his best persuasive vocabulary and Joey Votto accepted; to the tune of a 10-year, $225 million contract extension — the fourth largest in major league history.

Reds ownership — unlike our dear friend, Mike Brown — has embraced the recent successes of their young nucleus of talented players and has spared no expense to keep the "Little Big Red Machine" well-oiled. Votto joins fellow all-star Jay Bruce, who signed a six-year, $51 million deal after the 2010 season. It’s nice to see a professional sports owner in Cincinnati who actually loves the sport and is in it for the right reasons.

The Reds will have plenty of offensive talent this year, something that really has not been a problem over the past couple of seasons. Any lingering doubt has to relate to the recent injuries that have plagued the bullpen. Ryan Madson is out for the year after Tommy John surgery while Nick Masset will start the season on the DL with shoulder cuff inflammation. This means that Aroldis Chapman will start in the bullpen even though most Reds fans — and manager, Dusty Baker — know his services would be better used as a starter. Sean Marshall will step in to the closer role until the Reds have more depth in the bullpen; he isn’t a bad option and has consistently kept a low ERA in a relief role.

One thing hasn’t changed, the Reds still play in Great American Ballpark and they have an abundance of young, strong bats in the lineup. Between Votto, Bruce, Todd Frazier and Chris Heisey, expect the Reds to be amongst the league-leaders in home runs. Drew Stubbs will hit some too, but if he could take a little constructive criticism to heart: Please, learn to bunt. This will be a key in the Reds venture for success this year.

If Stubbs can get on base, he is going to steal — there are very few players in the majors that have his kind of speed. If the bats behind Stubbs perform up to expectations, the Reds will score more than enough runs to support the pitching staff. And the single most important key to success this year is battling through injuries; if the young guys can step in and compete there is no reason the Reds won’t win the division — after all, we do have the best first baseman, if not player, in the National League.

The Reds will open their season against the Miami Marlins at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday following the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade. For more celebration of Opening Day, check out C. Trent Rosecrans' column from this week's CityBeat here.

by Danny Cross 03.29.2012
Posted In: baseball at 02:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
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Ranking Jose Canseco’s Global Warming Tweets

Former MLB meathead goes ROFL on Twitter

Former Major League Baseball player Jose Canseco doesn’t have the best image. After breaking into the majors as a super fast, freaky power hitter with the Oakland A’s and winning a World Series with his fellow Bash Brother/performance-enhancing-drug-user Mark McGwire, Canseco’s career and reputation were marred by injuries and a series of embarrassing moments on and off the field.

In 1992, Canseco was traded to another team while he was in the on-deck circle waiting to bat. In 1993, a fly ball bounced off his head and over the fence for a home run — This Week In Baseball in 1998 named the incident the greatest blooper of the show’s first 20-plus years. Canseco then asked his manager to pitch in a game even though he was an outfielder, which resulted in an elbow injury that required surgery.

During the PED witch hunt of the early 2000s, Canseco apparently took exception to MLB’s — and the media’s — obsession with how huge Barry Bonds’ body and head had gotten and released a tell-all book called Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, in which he claimed that the majority of MLB players were on steroids.

Since then, Canseco has generally been seen as a doofus who does silly things to maintain his celebrity and make relatively small amounts of money, such as participating in reality shows, claiming Madonna liked him more than he liked her and training for a mixed martial arts fight and then losing in 77 seconds.

Canseco in the past few days has apparently attempted to rectify all his wrongs with a series of tweets aimed at schooling all the “morons” who don’t believe in global warming. It reads as a passionate, if grammatically flawed, cry for reason in the wake of the mass consumption and laziness that has led to the death of thousands of polar bears and, apparently, Al Gore.

The following is a collection of the tweets, which have made quite an impression on the Twitter community, ranked in order of hilariousness.

Be the first to receive future advice on world-changing lifestyle tips from Jose Canseco by following him @JoseCanseco.

8. The tweet that got it all started — Canseco alerts the public that he is going to drop some serious knowledge about global warming the following day, likely using an aggressive tone.

7. While this tweet was certainly informative, the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto has been known even by the laziest non-recyclers for a long time. The Playboy celebrity golf tournament reference is funny, though — classic Canseco.

6. “How do we stop global warming?” A relevant question, completely reasonable coming from someone like Canseco who probably doesn’t actually know the answer.

5. Here’s where Canseco starts really lashing into the skeptics, his frustration with mass consumption demonstrating a larger level of understanding of the issue, which likely surprised many readers. Canseco also introduces the concept of polar bears in this tweet, which is essential to later hilarity.

4. Ridiculously bad grammar aside, Canseco again makes a good point — in some countries families indeed share much less space than we use in America. The second reference to polar bears is really funny and for some reason unexpected.

3. Canseco in this tweet proves that he’s not going to let the issue of lazy, over-consuming humans fizzle out after a couple of liberal-esque polar bear references. Jose is now invoking the sacrifices of the pioneers, who didn’t use any electricity and just slept in flannel pajamas even when it was snowing. A pretty good point.

2. Jose Canseco thinks Al Gore is dead.

1. If Canseco is correct that lowering your body temperature at night will make you live 20-percent longer, then he’s probably well on his way to solving global warming. Energy savings aside, Canseco’s hope that he’ll live into his seventies rather than dying in some stupid way during the next 10 years is likely what led to this outburst of social consciousness.

by Danny Cross 02.20.2012
Posted In: baseball at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Spring (Baseball) Is In the Air

Pitchers and catchers reported to the Reds’ spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., over the weekend, which means we are only days away from hearing about how awesome the team’s dudes are looking or how quickly they get hurt and have to sit out, leaving us to wonder if they’ll be ready by Opening Day. (March baseball involves a lot of speculation.)

The Reds will open camp with one of the most talented rosters they’ve had in the last 15 years, as General Manager Walt Jocketty added considerable muscle to the pitching staff during the offseason. New Reds to keep an eye on include:

• Starting pitcher Mat Latos, who is expected to be the team’s No. 2 behind Johnny Cueto;

• Sean Marshall, one of baseball’s best left-handed relievers last season;

• Closer Ryan Madson, who the Reds picked up late in the offseason in a team-friendly one-year deal.

The first two mentioned, Latos and Marshall, were acquired via trade of prospects, which demonstrates a dedication by Reds’ management to make a run at another division title (and perhaps more) during the final two years of former MVP Joey Votto’s contract. (See CityBeat sports columnist C. Trent Rosecrans’ Jan. 24 take in “Reds Try to Win Now Without Breaking the Bank.”)

Soon the offseason speculation will give way to preseason hype, as young, no-name guys start hitting .400 during practice games and veterans post high ERAs because they’re practicing specific pitches instead of trying to get everyone out. There will be tons of reports from Goodyear, such as “Bob Castellini Talks Reds, Baseball" and “Roster Projection.”

Before we know it, we will have casually followed weeks of the Reds playing America’s summer game in sunny Arizona, which will distract us from the fact that we still have at least another month of crappy weather before we can enjoy the unofficial start of springtime and Reds’ Opening Day on April 5.

Until then, enjoy the pretend summertime in the highlights and mass influx of information from the team’s month-long practice session. And if you need even more sports speculation, trade rumors and contract talk, here’s a sweet site dedicated to re-reporting everything it can find on your favorite team: mlbtraderumors.com.

by Brian Dill 02.17.2012
Posted In: baseball at 02:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Queen City Hoops: Xavier Edition

Reeling Muskies thumped by Temple, look ahead to Dayton

The Liacouras Center was not kind to the Xavier Musketeers this past Saturday, nor has it been for the past seven years. Xavier hasn’t won at Temple since 2004 and this year squandered an opportunity to jump to the top of the A-10 standings with a win.

Temple cruised to an easy 85-72 victory over Xavier after dominating from the start. Tied 5-5 with 16:36 remaining in the first half, Xavier went more than seven minutes without a point while the Owls reeled off 16. Though Xavier finally got back on the board, there was little to applaud about a lackluster first half effort. Xavier gave up a season-high 47 first-half points and six 3-pointers and found themselves down 20 at the break. Two of the Muskies' key contributors, Dez Wells and Kenny Frease, combined for 0 points by going 0-6 from the field.

Temple boasts the top-two scorers in the conference, and they did not disappoint. Ramone Moore dropped five 3-pointers on the Muskies and scored a game high 30 points. The Owls other starting guard, Khalif Wyatt, added 18. The 6-foot-11 Micheal Eric was a beast on the boards, ripping down 16 rebounds and adding 11 points. The second half provided a little more excitement for Xavier fans, but it was all for not.

Dez Wells knocked down two second half 3-pointers to cut it to 13 with 12 minutes left. Temple went cold from the field and a Tu Holloway free throw cut it to single digits with a little over a minute to go — too little too late. Holloway led Xavier with 23 points and Mark Lyons added 15.

Xavier now needs help from the rest of the A-10 if there is any hope for a sixth straight conference title, which is unlikely. Xavier must now prepare to play Dayton on Saturday. The Flyers spanked the Muskies by 15 back on Jan. 21.

by Jason Gargano 07.18.2011
Posted In: baseball at 06:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Drew Stubbs: Strikeout King

I opened my New York Times Sports Sunday section yesterday to find an informational graphic on the bottom of page 3 called “Close-Up: Strikeout Kings.” (I was going to link to it, but The Times isn’t providing a version of it online — thus the crappy photo at right, which gets bigger if you click on it.)

The graphic featured a photo of Reds centerfielder Drew Stubbs sitting on the ground, a grimace overtaking his face after apparently being thrown out while trying to steal second base; a table of stats that included the offensive numbers of strikeout-prone hitters Stubbs, former Red Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds, Ryan Howard and Jack Cust; and a paragraph across the bottom of the graphic entitled “One of These Players Is Not Like the Others.”

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by Jason Gargano 07.04.2011
Posted In: baseball at 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dayton Dragons About to Break Record

I've never been to a Dayton Dragons game. In fact, I've never been to a minor-league baseball game anywhere — a surprising fact for a lifelong connoisseur of the sport, someone who religiously collected baseball cards and played his fair share of Strat-o-Matic as a kid, someone who currently manages two fantasy baseball teams quite deftly (eight top two West Side Baseball finishes in nine years!).

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by Jason Gargano 06.02.2011
Posted In: baseball at 05:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Has the Real Jay Bruce Stood Up?

Jay Bruce hit .234 with two home runs in his first 77 at-bats through April 25. At the time I asked, “Will the Real Jay Bruce Please Stand Up?” Six weeks later the Reds’ right fielder is hitting .292 with an NL-leading 17 home runs and 46 RBI.

I guess he answered my question. Or has he?

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by Jason Gargano 04.25.2011
Posted In: baseball at 04:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will the Real Jay Bruce Please Stand Up?

After a hot start, the Reds have lost eight of 11 and each of the last three series. It's not a good time to be falling flat — the surging Milwaukee Brewers host the Reds tonight, opening what could be a key, pysche-altering three-game series.

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