We are, who we are.

I apologize profusely that this blog has fallen so far from what it started out to be,
I take a good chunk of responsibility for the lack of updates, and a general departure
from online posts. I feel like we’ve put so much into the podcast last season and early
this year, that it just seems like we’d be subjecting ya’ll to the same information.

But take this first post for the 2014 season as a starting point. We’ll do better to
keep you all in touch with our series previews as the season goes along.
All of that out-of-the-way, the Reds instagram account has had a contest running for
the last month. Each day is a new Reds related post, that has your personal touches
(and unbelievable filters).

This past week, I added what was only my second contribution, when it was a culmination
of sorts for everyone else. What being a Reds fan, means to me, or how we got here.

So let’s do a little history lesson, a quick rundown of how I got here.
Baseball is in my blood. My grandfather had one hell of an arm, and in the early 50’s
was in fact invited to the St.Louis Cardinals spring training. Personal circumstance
brought him back before he ever really got a shot, and instead started a family
with my Grandmother. My dad and his brothers all played baseball, so I grew up around
an entire generation of baseball players, and I cannot overstate how those summers would influence me as not just a baseball fan, but as a person.

Yeah, I know, hiss and boo because I have family ties to the enemy.

My mom’s side also has strong Pittsburgh roots, so feel free to run me out-of-town any
day now. And it was her father, my Grandpa Traverse, that really brought me into the
game. We would go on these province wide road trips that usually involved camping
myself and my three sisters in a pop up camper with both grandparents. It wasn’t the
trips, the swimming, the bonfires, or the wilderness hikes that I remember with
absolute clarity. It’s the late nights after everyone had gone to sleep, laying in a
bunk with my Grandpa, listening to Tom Cheek call Toronto Blue Jays games on the radio.
Where most kids had a lullaby, or stories to safely send them off to Neverland, for me
it was Kelly Gruber, Jesse Barfield, Tony Fernandez, Dave Steib and Tom Henke. I was
raised to cheer for the boys in blue. The sounds of the crickets chirping, the wind
playing the creaks and groans of the camper like a terrible orchestra backdrop to the
boys of summer. That’s where I came from. A good Canadian kid, that couldn’t skate, but
learned to throw a curveball.

I would split my summers between both grandparents’ towns. My Pops on my Dads side,
would tell me how the only player worth following was Pete Rose. He never slowed, he
never gave anything less than 100%, and how he’d kill a guy to win, and almost had at
one time. He never explained just how influential the Ray Fosse play was in defining
Charlie Hustle, but it’s something I still point to as a character moment for Pete.
At the same time, my Dad is a lifetime Phillies fan, so the Pete Rose influence for me
started early. It’s just that he was wearing a different jersey than I associate with
him now. My dad wanted me to be a third baseman, desperately, he’d send me out during
my practices to take grounders at third. My bruised and beaten arms and chest left a
lot to be desired, this is also why I gravitated to the outfield, the ball seemed far
less of a sociopath when it was hurtling back to earth, and ultimately my glove.

My relationship with my Dad early on was exceptionally destructive, his lifetime of
having an angry father took its toll, and had direct impact on his own four kids in
return. Don’t get me wrong, I do not begrudge or blame my dad for how he’d physically
reprimand us early on, it was all he had known. But this is also the catalyst for the
relationship and bond we share now.Dad entered anger management, where we’d have family sessions and openly discuss our feelings. With three sisters, I often felt left out of
the loop on time with either of my parents, mostly my father.

In 1995 my dad and I took our very first, and certainly not last, trip to a live ball
game. I had been to a few others, but with my Moms folks, never my own dad. We would
drive the two hours to Toronto, and talk about everything. How to read a ball off the
bat, what school was like. We began to develop a relationship that my own father came
to realize, he had always wanted with his own. My grandpa died in the winter of 1995,
one of two moments I have ever witnessed my hardened Dad cry. And not like, one of
those solitary tears and it’s over type deals, a full on emotionally devastated cry.

We had finally begun to cultivate a relationship ourselves, and it made my Dad realize
just how much he had missed out on as a kid growing up. So our baseball trips became a
yearly event, often times outside of Canada just to visit different ball parks. Our
first big road trip was to Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio. I was enamored with Jim
Thome, and so badly wanted to see my favorite ball player live. And after a four-hour
rain delay, and a nine-hour drive home, I would be stuck waiting for another few years
before that came to fruition.

Our second trip, was to see the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Needless to say, I was fully behind the boys in blue that day. I detested the
stadium. From the trough style urinals, to the belligerent ticket lady that refused to
give me the Budweiser giveaway, because I was under the age of 21. The entire
experience left me disappointed.But hey, deep dish makes everything better.

Our third big trip, was to Veterans Stadium in its final year of hosting the
Philadelphia Phillies. I wish I could explain how excited my Dad was. A Phils, Eagles,
and Flyers fan, walking down Broad Street. At that point, I realized just how important
our road trips were. It didn’t matter where, because it was taking us to these
historically significant stadiums, cities, and seeing the teams that hundreds of
thousands of fans shared a love with. I saw Jim Thome play that day. But it was the
first time I saw the Cincinnati Reds in person. Years previous, we had been part of a
Scout Troop that visited Wright Patterson in Dayton, and while there a marine handed me
this rolled up paper. Years later, I would find it again. Great American Ball Park
plans, art work, blue prints.

It’s weird how this works, huh?

Our next three trips were back to Chicago, to see Frank Thomas, and the White Sox. If
you know me, you know my heart is broken into three pieces for baseball. The pale hose,
Jays, and our beloved Redlegs. I saw the Sox receive their world series rings, my dad
and I waiting in line outside of USCF for four and a half hours to ensure we got our
replica rings as part of the first twenty thousand through the gates. They had brought
Aaron Rowand back for the ceremony, and I teared up. It happens, baseball is so deeply
rooted in our hearts, that tugging at the strings of the old ticker happens a little
more easily. They lost to the bastards from Cleveland that day, Freddy Garcia pitched
like garbage but I finally experienced a chance to see my team celebrate a World Series.

We went to Detroit a few times after that, some minor league ball parks in Michigan, and finally back to Chicago in 2010 to see the same White Sox retire Frank Thomas’ number. Crying in baseball #2. I love the Big Hurt, and always will.

We’ve been through 12 years of baseball road trips, and in 2011, my dad and I made a trip to Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds Museum and Hall, a weekend long series against the Barves, and a Jonny Gomes bobble head later, we had our most memorable trip to date.

Friends from Wisconsin, Toronto, Michigan, and all over made the trip that weekend. We had 10 of our closest friends all in one place. After the Friday night game, and I will never forget this, Dad and I stood out on the concourse in center field above the Reds bullpen, the stadium lights the only thing left in the stadium. Dad turned to me and said one of the few things that ever really caught me off guard.

“These trips, make losing my Dad a little bit easier. Thank you”

I never realized how important it was until that moment, and even two years after our first trip, when we made our third pilgrimage to Cincinnati, I cannot express how full my heart is, knowing that while these moments have meant the world to me as a fan, they mean more to my Dad as a father.

Baseball is my heart, I share it with my best friends, my family, and the love of my life. So while we get ready for another season, I urge everyone to reflect on the moments that defined them as a fan. How they came to be Reds Country.

What’s your story?

Cincin13 081 Cincy20112 086 Random Mobile 031Cincy20112 023

Link

Just as the title says, I collected a bunch of the suggestions from a whole bunch of Reds fans earlier this afternoon. Put together a little jam session for everyone to get them through until first pitch! Get it cranked! LETS GO REDS!

NEW SHOW!

The New Podcast is here!
First off you can get it from 100 places. including here,
http://traffic.libsyn.com/headfirstslide/Head_First_Slide_Season_2_Episode_12.mp3 or Stitcher, or iTunes, or libsyn, or xbox music or google play. Its everywhere.

We got all the stats for this weeks show from baseball reference and if your curious about the video greg mentions at the end its located here.
http://www.wimp.com/bananafrustration/

Reds Rangers Preview

The Cincinnati Reds are taking on the Rangers of Texas this weekend!

This will be interesting as the Reds haven’t taken on the Rangers a whole lot.  I can only think of one other time we’ve played at Texas in itself.

In reality this series is going to come down to two teams going at it, one of them coming off a very strong couple of weeks and the other coming off a pretty bad couple of weeks.  The Reds have dropped 6 out of 8 games in that time frame averaging about 2.5 runs a game and with a .204 batting average.  Joey has had a rough week  and Choo has had a rough June.  Overall though what will be interesting in this is the Reds matchups.

Johnny Cueto is coming off a disaster of a start last weekend against the D-Bags…errrrr D-Backs.  How will he pitch?  He’s supposed to be the Ace and everyone I mean everyone has a bad game every now and then, but with his injuries this year you have to wonder just a bit is this an aberration?   Will it happen again tonight?

Mike Leake has pitched like a mad man this year, he seems to have finally “Got it” and if finally “Putting it together”  is he really?   I think so.  I think this is first round draft pick Mike Leake having now spent his time up here maturing and he is on track to honestly pitch himself into Ace territory.  I see him pitching very very well.

Mat Latos has also pitched very well and is already in this Ace conversation.  To be honest I have absolutely no qualms with calling him the staff ace.  He should also have a solid weekend.

That brings us to the Rangers.

The Rangers seem so different this year to me.  They aren’t.  They’re still a damn good hitting team who gives up a lot of runs.  Its not that shocking that they seem different though, after losing Josh Hamilton and Michael Young this year in the offseason they have Lance Berkman now and oh yeah don’t forget former Rookie of the Year Giovani Soto.  Don’t know who he is?  He won the Rookie of the Year for the national league the year that Joey Votto lost it.

The real worry though is the new 1st Baseman for the Texas Rangers.  The dude has been killing it all year posting a 1.000 Batting average and a 4.000 Slugging percentage for a unheard of 5.000 OPS.  Seriously how the hell are we supposed to stop him?

walker

This “Walker” as he goes by will be a test for Reds pitching, we shall see how he does this weekend.  Will we even record an out against him?

Overall this is going to be a tough weekend for the team.  BUT with a sweep they can salvage a .500 Road Trip, which anytime we go on the west coast and end up .500 is a win for us.

So hell with it Reds with all 3.

-Richard

Follow me on twitters @hfspodcast

Diary of an Angry Reds Fan

Hi!

Introduction

My name is Richard,  I kind of run this site….(We’re super laid back and to be honest I dont censor, take down, change or veto topics or posts so by run I mean I made the first login and ask people to join).   If you’ve ever been here before you know I’m a pretty laid back dude.   I usually defend the team and I usually defend the manager Dusty Baker.  Theres going to be a little less of that in this post.

The Angry Part

Tonight was a tragedy (baseball wise).   As much as a June baseball game can be a tragedy.  Mike Leake pitched amazingly well, and to be honest after Cuetos game last night I actually felt confident at taking 2/3 with Leake and Latos on the mound.  The L & L connection have both been damn good and as you will here in our upcoming podcast they both get props from Greg and I.

Jay Bruce looked like only Jay Bruce can.  He went hulk on two balls that still haven’t landed and the Reds were up 3-2.  The 9th was not without its problems.  Todd Frazier on 2nd with 0 outs and couldn’t make it around to home.  It was stunning the lack of being able to get him in.  Marty was crushing the team for not being able to get him around he crushed Meso for his lack of bunting and seemed genuinely pissed at this teams offense.

Then the soothsayer Marty Brenneman dropped “Better hope that doesn’t come back to haunt them in the bottom of the 9th”  and I turned to my wife and said “Good lord Marty is being cranky tonight”.  Well I was right but so was The HOFer.

Aroldis chapman has not pitched in what seems like a year, but in reality it has been 3 days since he last pitched.  It’s hard for me to get mad at Aroldis, it really is.  He has not blown a save since May 19 and for that matter hasn’t give up a run since May 19.  (see baseball reference for more details). Heres the problem the Reds do not have an margin for error in the bullpen at this point.  They don’t.

We were supposed to have a 3 headed monster.  It was supposed to be a 6 inning game!   It’s not.  This team has had horrendous injuries all year, it really has.   They have had their starting LF on the DL who was responsible for a .275/26/80 line last year and have replaced him with a .276/6/30 line. Thats not to say that the replacements for Luddy have been bad, they have been quite good overall but its still lost production.

They’ve lost Cueto the ACE pitcher of the staff twice and somehow managed.   Somewhere along the way injuries were going to actually hurt them.  It was a question of when now if.

Broxton and Marshall are going to be back, Marshall is more than eligble to come off the DL and Broxton barring setbacks is eligble to come off on the 29th and if/when they both come back they are sorely needed.

Lets get into some 2% honesty here, with a lead the there are exactly 2 pitchers not named Aroldis on the Roster who I trust in the game.  Sam Lecure and Tony Cingrani.  Before Cingrani was put in the pen there was one pitcher.  I’m not saying that Simon has been particularly bad, he hasn’t.  I also think that Hoover has been better than his ERA would indicate.  Ondrusek, Parra, and anyone else who has come in (sadly now including my dude Partch) has been little more than a human batting tee.

I keep hearing people that want Dusty Baker fired and as much as I would love to see something happen to shake this team up thats not going to happen.

Dusty is doing the best he can for the most part, there are always issues with his lineups for one reason or another, but for the most part you cant complain about him not player people he doesn’t have.

That being said this road trip and the following series here will be huge for this team.  I’m not saying they are “Make or break” because its almost impossible to be “Make or break” for a period that ends july 4th.  That being said this trip will tell us a lot and COULD be straight up disasterous for this team.  They’ve already lost 2 games out of the 8 that are on the road trip and they have 6 remaining, then a 4 game series at home against San Fran.  If they go the disaster route and lose the texas series and the San Francisco series and slip with Oakland we could be talking about a 3-9 or 4-8 Road Trip which with the way StL and Pittsburgh are winning games could put this team 8-10 games out of first place.  COULD.  This is my disaster scenario.

If this team goes into the All Star break 10 games out of first place then its my belief that they will have to do things, up to and including fire Dusty Baker.  I’m not advocating it yet, but losses like tonight make it hard to defend.  This team is reeling right now, and they need a swift kick in the ass to wake up.

What the hell did Joey Votto do to Marty Brenneman?

Seriously?  Did he hit on Martys wife?  Marty seems to have it out for Joey and maybe its just Marty’s old school ways but he seems to genuinely have a beef with him.  heres a link to Marty’s comments from tonight.  The gist is that Marty is upset that Joey Votto doesn’t drive in Runs.  To this I say Nay Nay Mr Brenneman.

He’s batting .330 with 37 RBI on 13 HRs and 14 2 baggers.

Lets dig a little deeper shall we.  Batting with men on base?  Joey is hitting .300 even with 37 Bases on balls.

Runners in scoring position you say?  Joey is hitting .348 with another 23 bases on balls.  his on base percentage with Runners in scoring position?  .500.  FIVE HUNDRED.

Look I’m sorry, I want to see Joey Votto with 120 RBI’s I do.  I want to see him win another MVP (which btw his WAR and OPS say he is on trajectory to possibly do again this year) but I dont want to see Joey swinging at the crap they throw him out of the strike zone on his unintentional intentional walks (you know the ones I’m talking about the ones where they dont stand up and intentionally walk him but they dont throw a damn thing near the strike zone).

Closing out

I know this post was a little different than most of the stuff I put up, but please understand just because I’m not happy with tonights outcome does not mean that I do not hold out hope that this teams will pull through.

Here at HFS we follow the motto of Redlegs Never Say Die (heck one of our writers uses it as his moniker and another one has lived it and even helped to design the T-Shirts that are being sported all over Reds Country) and we will continue to.  Down to the last out of the the last game of the season be it in early October or Early November we will follow and root for this team and that is all you can do.

-Richard

Follow me on twitter @hfspodcast