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

Going Hunting

Color me wrong, but we’ve heard this song and dance before.
The Reds are going after (INSERT PLAYER HERE) and in the end nothing comes of it, almost ever. But then every once in a while something does. As a matter of fact a couple of years ago I believe we were one of the teams that was “In” on Hunter Pence. It did not happen then and it probably wont happen now.
That being said I’m not sure it should happen.

Hunter (Thats what his friends call him) is a very good player and its funny because when I saw the headlines today I got excited, I really did.  He has a name, a REAL NAME.  He is one of those guys that just the idea of him suiting up for the Reds is intriguing.  One of the things I cant help but think about is how hes a young ball player and still has tremendous upside.

But He’s not.   I dont know why but thats the image I always have is that hes 26, 27.  He’s 30.  Its often said that a ball player will have their peak year at age 27,  In Pences case they were wrong, he was 28.   At age 28 Pence had a .871 OPS  with 22 Home Runs and a .314 BA.  The Next year? .743 OPS and a .253 BA.  This year? .778 OPS and a .277 BA.

It gets a bit bleaker though, June? .756 OPS and a .264 BA.  July?.636 OPS and a .253 BA.  The one thing to keep in mind here?  In his 10 games post all star break he is raking.  .432 BA and a .961 OPS.

What does all of this mean?  Basically, in my mind Pence is not currently the top tier player he was a couple of years ago.  He has a name and with that name comes expectations.  Expectations that I don’t think he can live up to at this point.  That being said I would LOVE to be proven wrong.  If he comes to cincy which is still doubtful to me I hope to god he rakes and rakes like its 2011 again, I dont see it happening, but I hope I am wrong.

That being said heres another trade target I’d love to get your opinion on.  July he hit .280 with a .931 OPS had 4 2 baggers and 3 home runs in that time in only 13 starts.  he would be cheap and would not cost much from this team at all.  Why you ask?  He’s Chris Heisey.  Put him in Left every day until Ludwick comes back.

Honesty though, if you feel like they have to do something, please for the love of god let me continue to bang the Drum on Logan Morrison.  .274 BA .829 OPS  4 HR in only 31 starts and hes still young at only 25.  Do a deal for him and you have an outfielder for the next several years.

What do you think?

-Richard

Follow me on twitter @hfspodcast

Rambling with the best of em

Welcome Back!

First off, welcome back Mark Berry!

Mark Rejoined the Reds this week after a bout with cancer, he rejoined the team last night at 3B and looked to be in great shape doing it!

Me typing stuff

It feels like forever since I’ve had a chance to blog, I wanted to get some super serial blogging done over the weekend as I’ve had topics I’ve been percolating on for sometime. However life got in the way,  Here I am now, you’re welcome (jk).

Petition

I’d like to petition the MLB to play the giants every game!  11-0 and currently 7-1. Wowsers.  I’m looking forward to Greg Reynolds Debut tonight.  He’s been lights out in AAA and to be honest I really like to see guys come up and do well.  Its a nice story when it happens.  It appears (I could be wrong) that against the giants is the best place to get his start.

Bio Genesis-Genesis is allowed NOT!  (Its a line from Star Trek) 

Geoff already said most of what needed to be said on this subject so I will try not to tread over his words as I like what he has written quite a bit.  My remaining points are pretty simple.  In his year plus of denying he did anything wrong Ryan Braun claimed in many round about ways, through misdirection and implying that his tester had tainted his sample.  He never quite said it but he made it pretty clear that he didn’t do anything wrong and that this tester was out to get him.

Now we know that was untrue, he drug this guys name through the mud (no pun intended) and in the end if I remember correctly he got him fired.  This guys name has been mudd for the last year or so and now he is vindicated.  If you go back to all of the podcasts that we recorded on the subject of Braun they always ended with me saying “Explain to me how an improperly stored sample can miraculously get synthetic testosterone in it”. That was always my statement to anyone who claimed he didn’t get off on a technicality.

Pitching matchups

This weekend is going to be interesting!  We have some darn good pitching matchups with Latos vs Greinke and Bailey Vs Kershaw.  How exciting is that?  We are facing a surging first place dodgers team that has two of the best pitchers in the game with two of our best pitchers.

Interesting Note

I met the awesome Big Red Redemption the other day!  Its always nice to put a face with a name!  He was super cool and hopefully we’ll see more from him here on the site in the coming days!

-Richard

Follow me on twitter @hfspodcast

 

New Podcast, Show Notes and Peter Edward Rose

Hey all the new show is up up up! Get it here or iTunes, stitcher, blackberry, xbox music, or really anywhere that fine podcasts are served.

First off huge apology, we had a What Would Pete Rose Do for this week and in all the rush to record I forgot it. So here it is in digital form as well as next show we’ll record it for posterity.

1)Aside from the Fosse incident what would you say is your all star moment?  Winning run 12 th inning 1970 game In Cincy

2)There are 3 ways to get elected to the game, fan vote, manager pick and player vote. Is one more of an honor or more special?   player vote is more special than the others

3)Do you think interleague play has taken something away from the all star game now? yes I do

In this show we talk a lot about trade targets for the Reds if you’ve been following me on twitter you have to know by know my favorite is HERE aside from everything else he is coming off a injury that kept him sidelined through the month of may and into June, that means that in general you should be able to buy low on him.  While he is playing now and playing well he has not lived up to his hype for his current team and should be available for the right price.

Add in controlling him until 2017 and he seems like a real nice fit in left.

This week we had Mr In the Gap himself Kevin Martindale on, as always he charmed gregs pants off (theres a reason we did this week by Skype, it got disturbing last time) and was very funny.  If you haven’t yet please check out the in the gap site on spreadshirt http://inthegap.spreadshirt.com/ and follow on twitter @inthegapshirts for the latest news and new shirts!

Please remember all profit from ITG goes to good cause.

-Richard

Follow me on twitter @hfspodcast

 

Wheres the beef?

I have a beef with the Home Run Derby.

That beef is now a decade old and to this day drives me crazy.

Adam Dunn has never been in a home run derby.

Yes, that is my beef, I understand to many of you that will come off as being ridiculous as Dunner hasn’t exactly been all star caliber his entire career.  But he has been an all star twice including last year!  That being said often whats pointed out that the only players who play in the derby are usually All Stars and it was pointed out a few years ago that this doesn’t have  to be the case.

Yoenis Cespedes won the HR Derby yesterday and quite frankly was a beast of a man while doing it!  He also is not on this years AL allstar roster.

This brings me to my idea.  Make it so that the HR Derby participants are not current year all star starters, or even all stars at all.

Heres my reasoning for it.  Cespedes had a lot to play for last night!  He is not in the game tonight and if he wanted to go out there and prove something then he had to do it last night and he looked like a man who wanted to prove that he had been “slighted” as opposed to a Cano or a Fielder who didn’t look like they really cared.

Look at Hamilton a couple of years ago!  he became a star overnight due to his exposure in the HR Derby.

Imagine last night you had Dunn in the Home Run derby!  He would put on one of the best displays ever! Either he would hit 20 home runs in a round or he’d strike out 10 times, no in between.  You could have had Domonic Brown, Jay Bruce, Paul Goldschmidt and a slew of others.  That being said you also need to kill this ridiculous “Team Captains” picking the team.

Theres no reason to do anything else than to pick the best players.  I love Michael Cuddyer as much as the next guy and he looked good last night but there is no way you can tell me you’d rather see Cuddy than Bruce or Domonic Brown.

The HR Derby is fun, it really is, but imagine how much better it could be!

-Richard

Follow me on twitter @hfspodcast