Thursday, April 9, 2015

MLB Week 1 – Like Baseball, It’s Great to be Back!!!


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

First of all I’d like to apologize for my absence during the last five months. My day job along with other family situations warranted my immediate attention so, unfortunately, I had to put this blog on the back burner for a while.

Have I missed much since my last article on November 2?

I really thought that Reds skipper Bryan Price had taken leave of his senses by sending Sam LeCure to Triple A Louisville while keeping J.J. (Hang ‘Em) Hoover on the big club. If he has several more appearances like Wednesday night/Thursday morning (2ip, 1h, 0r) my mind will change quickly.

A part of me likes the new batting order, another part of me doesn’t like it. The positive; Devin Mesoraco batting fourth, I really like that. His 2014 numbers showed that he earned the spot in the order. I only hope that hitting clean-up won’t make him try too hard to hit three run homers all the time. His .083 batting average says he’s pressing.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

MLB Postseason – Game 7

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

I’m sorry I’m a bit late in writing this, I got a little wrapped up in the hoopla (no pun intended) surrounding a certain N.B.A. player returning to play for his hometown team - Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.

O.K., O.K., truthfully I was watching LeBron James’ return to Cleveland.

It’s been quite some time since I watched a professional basketball game, when did they quit using peach baskets as goals?

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning their third World Championship in five seasons. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts Giants skipper Bruce Bochy is quite possible, with respect to Joe Torre, baseball’s best postseason manager.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

MLB Postseason – World Series Stuff

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Congratulations to the 2014 World Champions, Cincinnati Reds! The Reds rolled to the title by winning twelve of thirteen in the postseason including an impressive World Series sweep of the New York Yankees. So what if it was on my R.B.I.’14 game, a world championship is a world championship isn’t it? My twelve years old self bought it a couple of weeks ago.

I love that precocious twelve year old that resides inside me, my wife don’t care much for him though. I’ve often said I have five kids, my wife has six, including me.

Admit it, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a twelve year old child inside them.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

MLB Postseason - Giant Royalty

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

It may sound a bit cheesy, but I’m a little disappointed that San Francisco’s play-by-play radio announcer Jon Miller (who should still be on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball) didn’t yell “The Giants win the Pennant” several times after Travis Ishikawa’s dramatic pennant winning home run like Russ Hodges did back in 1951 when Bobby Thompson hit the “shot heard ‘round the world” back in 1951.

Useless trivia; Russ Hodges jubilant description of Bobby Thompson’s blast is by far the most recognizable and arguably the greatest play by play call in sports history. Did you know that there were four different broadcast of that immortal game? Hodges was working for New York based WMCA-AM radio, the Giants flagship station. Ernie Harwell historically covered the game for NBC television, which was the first ever nationwide televised baseball game. Former Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Red Barber was working for the Brooklyn Dodgers, while little known radio network, Liberty Broadcasting System, broadcast the game nationally with Gordon McLendon behind the microphone. Prior to this digital age of recording, the only surviving copy of Russ Hodges legendary description belonged to the Miley Collection of Evansville Indiana.

Friday, October 10, 2014

MLB Postseason - Waxing Nostalgic

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Some certainties from last week’s Divisional Series;

1) The Kansas City Royals are for real.

2) The Baltimore Orioles may be the best team in baseball.

3) Clayton Kershaw is human after all.

4) Bruce Bochy may be the best postseason manager in baseball history.

5) I’m not a Rocket Surgeon.

Please add Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams to the long list of skippers out-managed by San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Post-Season Thoughts and Musings About 2014 Campaign

Well, the dust has settled on what turned out to be a tumultuous season for our beloved Reds. And the clearing of dust and a little time gone by has allowed us all to look back and reflect on what exactly went wrong, or better yet, what can be done to ensure the same results don't happen in 2015.

Here are some jumbled thoughts I have of the recent campaign:

+ There was a strong contingent of Reds fans who couldn't wait to see Dusty Baker removed from his managing duties at the end of the 2013 season. Those fans received their wish when Bob Castellini officially gave Baker the boot in favor of pitching coach Bryan Price. To no surprise, those same fans are already calling for Price's head after guiding the club to a 76-86 campaign in his first year at the helm. Would the Reds have been better off with Baker as their skipper? We will never know. But I think Price deserves a pass for what transpired in 2014. Not only was it his first year as a major league manager, but he was forced to make due without his best hitter (Joey Votto) for much of the season, as well as juggle a lineup constantly battling injuries. All told, Devin Mesoraco, Brandon Phillips, Mat Latos, and Homer Bailey, arguably four of the team's best players, also spent considerable time on the disabled list, while Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick has seasons to forget.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Playoff Prognostications & Other Stuff

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Some notes from a woefully homesick traveler.

I’ve been in Lexington, Kentucky all week for training on my new position with the United States Postal Service. This is the first time I’ve been in Horse Country since 1998 and, wow, has this village grown!

For What it’s Worth Department; the Doubletree Suites on Richmond Road is sweet! The warm chocolate chip cookie you get at check-in is good too!

By the way, does everybody in Lexington drive a Smart Car? I’ve never seen so many of those “cars” at one time.

Despite Cincinnati’s disappointing 2014 baseball season, it was great to see Johnny Cueto become the first Reds pitcher since Danny Jackson in 1988 to win 20 games.

Much like 1988, Cueto will lose the Cy Young Award to a Los Angeles Dodger.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What does the future hold for Reds after forgettable season?

Well, we can finally close the book on the 2014 regular season for the Cincinnati Reds. It goes without saying, but this campaign has to go down as one of the most disappointing in recent memory.

Hopes were high entering spring training as the club returned many of the same roster pieces that led to playoff berths in the two seasons prior. The main change consisted of a shakeup in the coaching staff. This was led of course by Bryan Price transitioning from pitching coach to skipper.

Unfortunately, Price was dealt a numerous amount of curveballs (no pun intended) in his first season at the helm. And they came in the form of injuries, sub-par play, and just plain bad luck (most one-run losses in MLB with 38). It all added up to a fourth place finish and the least amount of wins in a season since 2008.

To be fair, this club sustained an unbelievable amount of injuries to to its core group of players. First, Joey Votto was a virtual non-factor by missing exactly 100 games. Brandon Phillips missed roughly a month and continues to decline in productivity at the dish. Jay Bruce missed a little time but still managed to appear in 137 games. However, he recorded the worst season of his career, failing to crack the 20-homer mark and boasting an on-base percentage well below .300. Ryan Ludwick failed to live up to expectations, too, smashing just nine home runs and hitting just .244 in over 400 plate appearances. He and the rest of the offense served as a constant reminder of how badly the Reds needed to add a run-producing bat in the offseason (or at trade deadline). Oh, well. Live and learn, right?

Friday, September 26, 2014

MLB Week 26 - Finally Over

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

It seems that Opening Day was just two weeks ago and now here were are entering the last weekend of the season. Where did the summer go?

Congrats to the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates for making the playoffs this past week.

I’m slowly becoming a Josh Harrison fan.

Moving into the last weekend of the 2014 season, the American League Central and final Wild Card spot is up for grabs. Detroit is in the driver’s seat for the division, with Kansas City and Oakland a virtual lock for the Wild Card.

Go Royals!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reds strike minor league affiliation deal with Daytona, ends partnership with Bakersfield

After failing to renew their contract with the Bakersfield Blaze, the Cincinnati Reds are set to have a new Advanced-A affiliate come 2015 beyond. And the affiliate will hail from The Sunshine State.

The following is a press release sent out by the Reds detailing the new deal:

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Daytona Baseball announced, Thursday, that Big Game Florida and the Cincinnati Reds have partnered on a four-year deal to make Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark the home of the Reds class A-Advanced club through at least 2018. Affiliated baseball is guaranteed in Daytona Beach through at least 2022. Big Game Florida Owner Andy Rayburn is thrilled about the opportunity to partner with the Reds.

"The Cincinnati Reds are a first-class organization and we look forward to a long relationship," Rayburn said. "Daytona is a terrific baseball town with the greatest fans in the minors. Now, we have the excitement of a brand new relationship with a legendary and first-class partner in the Cincinnati Reds."