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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!

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THE CINCINNATI BRANDON PHILLIPSES STAVE OFF ELIMINATION! (and other silly comments)

 

THE CINCINNATI BRANDON PHILLIPSES STAVE OFF ELIMINATION!

 

That’s the rumor as many fans would like you to believe after last night’s extra inning breakdown against the division/league/world leading St Louis Cardinals.  As Twitter erupted with bad news about the Reds season being over in June, the Reds made the trip to Chicago where Brandon Phillips took over the offensive duties with six RBI, including a hard-to-see grand slam, and Homer Bailey kept the Cubbies bats (mostly) silent as the Reds took a 6-2 win at a very foggy Wrigley Field.

I was hoping this game would turn out this way, but the game of the series that I am most interested in watching is tomorrow night’s matchup where Matt “Loudmouth” Garza heads to the hill for the Cubs.  If he decides to back up the silly rant from a few weeks ago when he mouthed off about Johnny Cueto, he won’t last more than an inning as he should be plunking Joey Votto. I doubt that happens, but if it does, I don’t see Garza walking off the field with his jersey in tact – just my opinion.

 

 

SPEAKING OF SILLY COMMENTS…

 

A buddy of mine recently made a comment that the Reds should trade Jay Bruce.  I know we all hear some off the wall things like this throughout the season, but he’s a pretty smart guy super genius and he was being honest about his thought.  His defense was that Bruce wouldn’t be difficult to replace with his .270-something batting average and $7.5 million contract.  I’m hoping this comment was a result of frustrations with the Reds losing a bunch lately and Jay Bruce being a fairly easy target.  I don’t think any organizational plan to win the World Series in the next five years is rationally thought out without Jay Bruce in the fold unless a Hershel Walker-type deal is presented to the Reds. My first comment back to my buddy was that I was glad that he didn’t run the Reds, but perhaps I should’ve reminded him that the baseball season is a marathon.  Maybe the Cardinals continue their record-shattering offensive production, but my guess would be they come back down to Earth a little bit.  When that happens, I hope the Reds have their ducks in a row and can take advantage of StL’s losses.  This Reds team has the potential to do great things when healthy, which brings me to another point…

 

 

SEAN MARSHALL IS BACK!

 

Well, kinda.  As reported on the Reds post game show, Marshall has been doing strengthening exercises and began long-tossing today.  Marshall commented that he can bring leadership to the lockerroom, which implies that he’ll be traveling with the team from here on out.  That’s a good thing.

 

 

COMMITMENT IS KEY

 

I’ve always been told you should finish what you started.  Tonight I took that to heart as I lit up the grill and cracked a cold one.  It wasn’t until I dropped the chicken on the grill that the thunder rolled and before too long I was a Kingsford commercial – grilling in the rain.  I didn’t quit and the chicken was delicious.

 

 

BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT

 

The best line of the night didn’t come from the Reds game.  If you’re married (or have an always-around girlfriend), you have probably watched a few segments of the Bachelor/Bachelorette.  Tonight, a guy was dismissed and made the comment “I can’t even cry. I’m all out of tears.”  That alone was worth the disgrace of having to watch a part of the show…

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!  If you want to make fun of me for watching some chick show or make a comment for me to pass on to my buddy with poor trade ideas, leave a comment or find me on Twitter at @GeoffreyHoman.  Thanks!

Eat Lightning And Crap Thunder, or for the rest of you, A Redlegs at Phightins Preview

So here we are in the city of brotherly love. The birthplace of Rocky Balboa. The home of the Broad Street Bullies! The Cincinnati Reds, however, are not facing an opponent that strikes fear into the heart of adversaries as they once did. I’m afraid that not even Eye Of The Tiger, or Burgess Meredith could convince this Philly team to fight. Although, seeing Charlie Manuel perform Meredith’s “Penguin” would be worth the price of admission along, the match ups this weekend have Cingrani facing Lee on Friday night, Arroyo squares up against Kyle Kendrick on Saturday at 4:05 EST, and then the finale will pit Batman against Pettibone with a scheduled 1:35 EST first pitch.

Friday nights game sees Cliff Lee take the hill for the Phils, and if we can rewind to April 15th, it was the Monday night game where Lee posted a respectable line of 7 ip, gave up 5 hits and allowed 2 ER. But the biggest moment that may stand out from his previous start against the Reds, was the walk that Jay Bruce(!) drew after the Reds notorious “Wild Pitch” offence pushed Votto across the plate. Lee has been effective against the Reds in his career, but with an ERA approaching 4, he’s also liable to give up a few runs to Cincinnati. Factor in that he’s also given up ten runs in 20 innings of work at home this year, and suddenly scoring 3-4 off of Cliff doesn’t seem like much of a stretch in the “hitter friendly” Citizens Bank Park. Interesting matchup to consider against Cliff Lee within the Reds lineup; Cozart is hitting .333 for his career against Philadelphia. Meanwhile, BRUUUUUUUCE! has absolutely raked the Phils pitching staffs over the years with an OPS nearing 1.000 and ten funkblasts in fewer than 150 AB’s.

This could, finally, actually, legitimately be the series that Bruce finds his power stroke. He has absolutely demolished the Phillies throughout his career, and I expect nothing less than a replay of that history this weekend against the pitching staff at CBP.

Jay Bruce preparing to take batting practice b...

Bruce has hit .308 with 10 HR, and 28 rbi in 143 ABs with an OPS of .936! So if you’re looking for two guys that will give Lee the most trouble, watch for both Jay and Zack to have some quality AB’s.

On the flip side Cingrani hasn’t faced the Phillies yet, but beyond Mayberry and Brown who hit left handed starters extraordinarily well, so long as Tony “Bunches Of K’s” can get ahead of their hitters early, the 2013 Phils are notoriously prone to striking out. None more so than Ryan Howard who also happens to be hitting a measly .190 against lefties this season, and only .260 for his career against the Reds. For performances from the Dark Side, I expect that Brown and Utley will do the majority of the damage, if any against the Reds starters this weekend. Arroyo sports an ERA of an even six in his career against the Phils, so if there’s a game that the Reds drop in this series, I personally expect it to be Bronson. Then again, he has had a string of decent starts, and Dusty also appears to have realized just how quick the hook must be when BronsOFF makes his sixth inning appearance. Coming off back to back sweeps against both the Fish and the Brew Crew, I certainly don’t see a third straight sweep, but posting a 2-1 record, and a 5-1 start to this road trip is a most welcome sight. And for those of us that were stressed over the previous months inability to win a game on the road, remain calm. If you’re still worried, the Mets are on the horizon, and a road trip that goes 7-2, by my logic anyway, is a pretty successful one.

TL;DR version of this series preview? Just like the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970’s, this current lineup for Philly looks an awful lot like Bobby Clarke

bobby-clarke-wink

No Teeth.

The Jay Bruce Saga

 

I very much enjoy Twitter. One of the reasons I enjoy Twitter is because of the (seemingly) unfiltered, straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth comments you get from athletes in 140-character snapshots.  Yes, some comments can roll over into two (or five) tweets, but what we used to need sports reporters for can now be found straight from the source. In addition to that, if you have a question for an athlete on Twitter, you can ask him.  You!  You don’t have to hope John Fay or Lance *spit* McAllister happens to ask what is on your mind – YOU have access to guys like Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce, and they just might answer your question for the world to see…

…and maybe that’s where the crux of the situation resides.  The whole world can see what you ask and how the target reacts.  I use the word “target” because the question asker so often is not asking as a fan, but asking to get a reaction from the rest of the Twitterverse.  I’ve seen twitterers question an athletes sexual orientation, tell him he stinks and even wish harm or death on the athlete and his family.  It doesn’t always stop with the athlete, either.  Players wives are common targets of hate-tweets.

So this takes us to Tuesday night and a “fan” of Jay Bruce.  In a tweet directed at Jay, the tweet pointed out that Jay had stuck out 40 times in April and was on pace to break Drew Stubbs’ MLB strikeout record for a single season. Jay’s response (which has since been taken down) was light-hearted and said something related to being on pace to smash the record and record 250 Ks in 2013.  Then Jay went on to post five tweets directed at the “haters” on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/JayABruce/status/329442658995032065

https://twitter.com/JayABruce/status/329442973135826944

https://twitter.com/JayABruce/status/329443176815403008

https://twitter.com/JayABruce/status/329443562255167488

https://twitter.com/JayABruce/status/329444318685298689

For whatever reason, Jay has caught some flack in the local media about these tweets.  700WLW has listed the tweets on Facebook for a larger audience to see and many have left comments, both in favor of Jay and to bash him.  My favorite cookie-cutter comment is when someone says “Jay should spend more time in the batting cage and less time on Twitter”. I’m not qualified to be a major league batting coach, but I highly doubt that checking your mentions at midnight changes your job performance and is the reason for his strikeout total.

An athlete on Twitter is going to get hate-tweets no matter where he plays and if he doesn’t hit a home run in his last at bat of the game.  As I see it, an athlete has three reactions to these types of tweets: Ignore them, respond with agreement and say he’ll do better, or respond with pity/anger for the hate and question the motives. Being a follower of Jay’s on Twitter, I can say that he has used all three styles of responses to the haters.

I like athletes being on Twitter. I like the Reds front office being on Twitter. I don’t understand why Reds “fans” would turn against people in their club’s organization for a cheap laugh.  Fans feel like they have “a right to voice their displeasure” but all they are really doing is driving away the athletes that give the Reds a chance to win on any given night.

I applaud the way Jay handled his critic on Tuesday night.  However, if I was an All-Star athlete like Jay, I’d have to question if it is worth it to be on Twitter at all.

If you have a comment or question about this or any other topic for Head First Slide, please leave a comment or find me on Twitter at @GeoffreyHoman.

Head First Slide Gets “Field Access”

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I about dropped the phone when I heard the voice on the other end say “Yeah, she really did! She invited US to the stadium before the game on Monday night! You in?”

Uh… SH-YEAH!

The term “Field Access” means different things to different people. Some may see it as an opportunity to rub elbows with the coaches and players. Some people may try to kick up enough warning track dirt onto their shoes that they can brush them off afterwards as a keepsake. For me, it meant that I would (legally) be on the space piece of Earth where my favorite baseball team goes to work.

I’ve been in hundreds of office spaces, but leaving the elevators at the Reds office with Lisa Braun and the other guys from Head First Slide was something different. Even the offices feel like you’re somewhere special. The walls are lined with framed art centered around the Reds and cubical shelving houses bobbleheads and statues of my favorite players. At 4:30, when we arrived, people were hard at work doing whatever it is they were tasked to do, and I was jealous. It must be strange having people be so excited to walk through your workplace like this. I’ll see what I can do about setting up a tour of the sporting goods store if anyone is THAT interested in seeing MY workplace.

Soon after meeting with Lisa and Ellen, we started downstairs to get our security passes. Our camera bags were checked and wristbands and passes were dished out. We were on the move down to the field.

In the dark hallways under the stands we saw the red door frame.  The Clubhouse Door. It was so spectacular that we took pictures in front of it. The other guys may share those pictures, but because of my goofy smile, I won’t. You’ll have to trust me though – as a Reds fan, you’d want your picture taken, too.

We continued on our way around, past the visitors clubhouse and down the hallway towards the field. I think everyone knows that feeling when you’re getting close to something exciting. It’s like waking up on your birthday and knowing that whatever is happening that day is going to be special.  I certainly felt it just getting to the field access door.  Through the door, we ended up near the far end of the visitors dugout. The sun was shining down on the most perfect grass I have ever been within arms reach of. The dirt under my feet felt like no other dirt I’ve walked on. The air was pure and clean. *CRACK* White baseballs shot across the blue sky. People – what I am trying to say is – WE WERE ON THE FIELD!

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Many thoughts ran through my head as we stood there watching Cingrani take swings. Those thoughts had nothing to do with the notebook in my backpocket that I INTENDED to write down things I noticed for the benefit of this post. Those thoughts were also not in the neighborhood of the dozen questions and topics I wanted to talk about with Reds employees, and that’s too bad because Rob Butcher came to welcome us behind the backstop. There are few things more embarrassing than standing there wide-eyed and open-mouthed as someone like Rob Butcher asks if you have any questions, but don’t worry – it gets worse for this blogger later on.

So there we stood, trying to pretend like we belonged. Head First Slide, as a blog, started in the 2012 season, but most of us hadn’t started writing for the website until Opening Day of this season.  To be invited to an event like this after such a short period of time was both amazing and nerve-wracking.  As my head started to clear and I began thinking about how I was going to present this experience to you through the blog, C. Trent Rosecrans came over to say hi (mostly to say hi to Lisa, I think, but I’ll take it as saying hello to us, too). Jamie Ramsey came over (again, probably to talk to Lisa, but we were with her, so I’m counting it). Mat Latos was underhanding balls to some Redsheads kids who were standing next to us by this point. Jay Bruce was balancing a bat on his fingers. A band that none of us had heard of walked behind us. Todd Frazier was “golfing” baseballs to fans behind the rope. Bronson was hitting balls to the left field wall and Shin-Soo Choo was launching them out of the park. Marty came out to talk to Dusty, but I think he really just wanted to show off his shirt to anyone who might see. Things were happening all around us and it was one of the coolest time of my fandom career.

Towards the end of our time on the field, Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart both came over to say hi. Admittedly, I am not around Todd 24/7, but I would be shocked if that guy ever has a bad attitude that lasts longer than 5 minutes. He had a smile on his face as he stepped over the rope, twisting a bat in his hand, and said “Hi, I’m Todd” as if he thought we had no idea who he was. He graciously waited while I clumsily changed lenses on my camera for a picture, then signed an autograph for a few fans and moved on. I have a feeling he genuinely enjoys talking to fans when he gets a chance and I think that’s something special.

When we left the field and retraced our steps back to the general population area, we noticed the clubhouse door was open and someone was standing there as if he was holding the door open for us. It was Joey Votto.  We kept walking – all of us trying not to stare at Joey being just a few feet away. As we got closer, Joey looked up and smiled at us. I felt like I had to say something back to him – you know, just to be polite. I decided saying “Thanks for holding the door open, but we’re headed this way” and pointing down the tunnel would be an awesome line to drop in this situation. Remember before when I said it “gets worse” for this blogger?!? Yeah, it just did.

I’m not going to keep trying (and probably failing) to explain what it was like to be on the field, so here are a few more pictures of the day. Lisa and the Reds people couldn’t have been more accommodating and incredible throughout the afternoon.  The players went about their business but gave little gestures to acknowledge the fans who came to see them.  The staff at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum was as friendly as you could expect. It’s easy to see why Great American Ballpark is a great place to take your family.

 

 

If you have any questions or comments, want to share your favorite ballpark experience, want to offer up some captions for any of the following photos or feel like making fun of me for my fantastic one-liner to Joey Votto, leave a message in the comment section or find me on Twitter at @GeoffreyHoman.

 

 

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