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by Isaac Thorn 01.12.2009
Posted In: baseball at 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
 
 

Reconsidering Dunn

Thinking it over, Manny probably wouldn't be too stoked on coming to Cincinnati once he realized that the number of decent sushi places can be counted on the fingers of one hand. His casual, laid back demeanor may or may not encourage the core of the Reds team to approach the game with the true sense of urgency that is necessary to win consistently at the Major League level. Maybe Manny and the Dodgers smooth things out, and their Hollywood relationship splashes across the front page of newspapers out there for the next few years.

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by Isaac Thorn 01.06.2009
Posted In: baseball at 01:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
 
 

Burrell Gone, Baldelli Still Possible

Now that the Rays have signed Pat Burrell maybe my pipe dream of Rocco Baldelli launching home runs off the Batter's Eye Pavilion in center field becomes a bit less improbable.

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by Isaac Thorn 12.30.2008
Posted In: baseball at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 

Manny Would Be Super Sweet

How much sense would it make? How stupid does it sound, my loyal readers?

To give in to Manny Ramirez's not-so-secret desire to get a four-year deal and bring the best hair in baseball (along with a lethal bat) to town would buck conventional thinking and the status quo of a team focused on cultivating talent and watching it develop. It would also be a lot of fun and would turn GABP into a way more lively environment than it has been of late.

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by Isaac Thorn 12.23.2008
Posted In: baseball at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)
 
 

Baldelli or Bust

It's Hot Stove time, and the Reds have already exchanged Ryan Freel for Ramon Hernandez, a move I like. Other than that, the Reds seem content to let things play themselves out.

Cincinnati never made overtures to the Manny/Sabathia/Texiera-level free agents, which is a good thing. Ownership seems to think the Reds are a few moves (and more game experience) away from being a contender in the aging NL Central. Something tells me that most of the teams angling for the big-money free agents are going to be disappointed. Maybe not Barry Zito-level disappointment, but not happy either.

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by Isaac Thorn 12.10.2008
Posted In: baseball at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Remembering Glenn Sample

It's too bad you don't get to see your own funeral, because if you lived a really good life and had a lot of close friends it'd be a good time. Monday night a coworker and I headed over to the Fifth Third Arena for Glenn Sample's memorial service.

I met Glenn last year when I began working for Major League Baseball at Great American Ballpark, and like everybody else says, he was the nicest guy you could ever meet. He would write down people's names upon meeting them so he wouldn't forget their names later. Glenn wore many hats throughout his life, and his nearly 30-year tenure as Official Scorer for the Reds is what led me to meet him.

Glenn loved UC athletics. He has a street named after him on campus and is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame (and eight others). In some ways, he reminded me of Jerry Orbach's character from Law & Order in that he was distinctly from another era and knew a ton more than you. He grasped a great deal of the sort of knowledge and life skills which are timeless.

The only player who ever hated Glenn was Davey Concepcion. Apparently, Davey thought he had never committed an error as a member of the Reds. Not once. Sometimes Concepcion would come off the field, angered that he had been charged with an error, and offer Glenn his extended middle finger or another vulgar gesture. Others in the booth would say, "Glenn, I think Davey's really mad with you this time!" to which he would reply "No. That's Spanish for ‘I love you.’”

I remember when the Mets were in town last year and their catcher Brian Schneider came up to bat. Before he was done digging in at the plate, he had purposely kicked and muddied up the batter's box so that all the lines were pretty much disintegrated. Obviously, Schneider was doing this so that he could creep up an inch or two further than he was allowed when he was back there catching: an old veteran shady move that vets try to get away with all the time.

I can say this was the only time I ever saw Glenn get angry. He said, "He can't do that! It's against the rules. They should throw him out of the game for doing that."

Somehow, it made me realize how guided an individual he was, and that nothing could affront him more than breaking the rules.

Many people's funeral video slideshows would consist largely of beer-in-one-hand poses and other forgetful occurrences. What I found impressive the night of Glenn’s service was how many years were spanned during the slideshow, and not a single picture was of him sitting on his butt doing nothing. They were all hitting, catching, coaching, refereeing — action shots.

Perhaps that's why I was so stunned to hear of his death. When I worked the last game of the season (which was a makeup game vs. Florida scheduled on a Tuesday afternoon that Fox SportsNet didn't even broadcast), he was as lively and full of vigor as ever.

To see Don Zimmer get up on stage, weep, and compare Glenn's jump shot to Shaquille O'Neal's foul shots was something else. These guys played high school ball together on the West Side and have had their lives intertwine for more than 50 years since then. The same Don Zimmer that got so pissed off at Pedro Martinez that he tried to attack him was moved to tears.

Former UC wrestler Frank Shaut cried through his eulogy, and while he was speaking I glanced up to see a photo of him from his wrestling days. In the photo he looks like a guy who would beat your ass and not think twice about it. To see him so hurt by Glenn's passing was a testament to the kind of life he lived.

Memorials are never fun, but this one was educational.

 
 
by Danny Cross 11.06.2008
Posted In: baseball at 05:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Baseball Players Feel Obama's Socialist Squeeze

Not everyone is the type of person who throws pennies in the garbage rather than collecting them in a coffee can, rolling them into groups of 50, bundling them in a plastic bag and taking them to the bank to collect the $5 bounty. Luckily for professional athletes, sports agents aren't this type of person.

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by Danny Cross 10.30.2008
Posted In: baseball at 04:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

A Celebration, A Relief

John Fox is a classy guy. His team wins the World Series and all he does is wear a Phillies jersey to work and go about his business. If the Reds won the championship and I lived in Philly, I'd be getting in everyone's face and yelling "Whoot! Whoot! Whoot!"

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by 10.27.2008
Posted In: baseball at 10:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

There's Something About Baseball

As the World Series draws to a close, ending another baseball season, I can’t help thinking about the place the game has in my life. And it’s not because the franchise I’ve rooted for my entire life, the Philadelphia Phillies, is one win from claiming the championship ... although that feels pretty special.

For many of us, baseball is a passion that’s difficult to explain rationally.

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by Danny Cross 10.23.2008
Posted In: baseball at 03:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

Good Luck With the Future of the Franchise

Losing Game 1 of a seven-game series is not good. (Yea, yea, losing Game 1 of any series isn’t good, smart ass.) So with the pressure already on the lovable Tampa Bay Rays, I believe we should up the stakes on this somewhat uninteresting World Series.

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by Danny Cross 10.08.2008
Posted In: baseball at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Bring On the MLB Tournament

Last week I was sitting in a smokey Portland bar, chatting nonchalantly with friends about current events when I looked up at a TV screen and saw that the Dodgers were beating the Cubs for the second straight night. The Cubs led the National League in wins this year and were on the brink of falling behind two games to none in a best-of-five series.

"That ain't good," I thought to myself. "Them daggone Cubbies gonna lose already."

Then a girl my friend dates showed up and made a weird hand gesture, which prompted my friend to lay down on the dirty floor for about two seconds. I still don't know what that was about, but it only temporarily distracted me from the unfortunate reality of baseball's Divisional Series. I thought that if MLB is going to start drawing brackets and letting mediocre teams into the playoffs, then it may as well be the NCAA tournament, and the Dodgers can be Butler.

Six PBR pints later (seriously, it wasn't a good night) I had forgotten all about the Cubs or the 84-win team that was probably going to reach the NLCS. There was pool to be played and spicy hot dogs to eat and heartburn to deal with. But then I returned home a few days later and read my favorite alt-weekly sports columinst Bill Peterson, who said this about the situation: "Exactly 40 years ago, in 1968, the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers embarked on the last World Series between the regular season champions from the National and American leagues. MLB was set to divide its leagues and embark on playoffs the next year. Purists objected that excellence would be punished. The purists were right. Back then, you didn’t get to the World Series without a club that proved it through time. Now a club can go to the World Series if it’s just a little better than average."

I nodded my head to Peterson's words. "Yeah, man. The wild card is such a gimmick and I hate when they have cheerleaders on the dugouts too."

But then Peterson made a really good point about today's playoff format actually giving small market teams a chance to win the whole thing: "With expanded playoffs, it doesn't matter if the Yankees pay $200 million for players because during the week that counts the $200 million club might not be as good as the $80 million club down the street. The expanded playoffs are a lifeline for clubs like the Reds, who will never be able to afford the most expensive talent. If they can just cobble together enough victories to reach the playoffs, they're in the lottery."

So, back when the league offered a relative degree of competitive balance (before those God damn labor unions started greedy ass free agency), the regular season determined who the most deserving teams were. But now the free market has determined that the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies and Angels are the best teams, we need a new playoff format.

If this is the only way to make the league fair again, then the playoffs should be expanded even further. Let 16 teams in and spend a month playing four rounds of seven-game series. Then crappy teams like the Reds can make the playoffs once in a while and maybe even win a series. It would only be mildly more risky for the teams that actually deserve to be here, and it would be really exciting for the baseball fans that never get to see their teams in the playoffs. Even if they have to go in as a No. 10 seed, it would still be worth watching.

 
 

 

 

 
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