Wednesday, October 4, 2017

MLB Weeks 24 Through 26 - I'm Done





By Dan Howard
Staff Writer



First of all I sincerely appreciate all of your prayers during this difficult month I’ve endured. My sister-in-law’s death on September 2nd, at the age of 58, was a sudden shock. Then my aunt, in Reynoldsburg Ohio, suffered a series of strokes which nearly killed her. On September 26, six years to the day we buried my father, my mother had bypass surgery on her right leg to assist her circulation. Thank God she’s doing well aside from the usual surgical soreness. Her doctor said that prior to her surgery she had twenty-eight percent circulation going to her right foot, post-surgery, her circulation jumped to ninety-three percent. Mom will turn 76 in January.

Aren’t you glad the baseball season is over? I sure am.

Let’s see, at the end of the 2016 season, Cincinnati’s legendary broadcaster Marty Brennaman said to expect the Reds to win around seventy six games in 2017. He felt the experience gained, especially the pitching, during the 2016 campaign would propel the Reds to an eight win improvement for 2017.

It didn’t happen.

Cincinnati finished 2017 with exactly the same won-loss record as 2016, 68 – 94.

It’s the first time since 1932 – 1934 our Reds suffered three straight ninety-plus losing seasons.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

MLB Weeks 22 & 23 - A Time of Reflection





By Dan Howard
Staff Writer



(Editor’s note: Since September 2, 2017 Dan Howard has experienced a death in his family, his sister-in-law, and his mother needs bypass surgery to repair an artery in her leg. Needless to say, Dan hasn’t had much time to write his usual weekly articles. This past Monday, September 11, was the sixteenth anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks which changed the world forever. Dan has submitted a combination of two past articles he wrote on those previous anniversaries. He desires your prayers during this difficult time.)

From Sept. 12, 2014

As Major League Baseball pauses to remember the most horrific terrorist attack on American soil, I thought I’d like to interject my own views about this unspeakable tragedy;

Prior to 2001, September 11th was remembered as the date, in 1985, Cincinnati’s Pete Rose passed Ty Cobb as baseball’s all-time hit leader. The line drive base hit off San Diego Padres Eric Show was typical of Rose’s outstanding career. Who can forget the numerous standing ovations Rose received, finally letting his emotions come to the surface when Pete Jr. hugged his dad while Pete Sr. was standing on first base.

Then came that fateful Tuesday morning sixteen years later.

I woke up late that morning, around 10am, which was typical for me during a day off work. Four days earlier my oldest daughter, Taira, suffered a serious broken ankle as a result of a scooter accident and had spent the weekend in the hospital, coming home Monday the 10th around 9pm. Several trips to the hospital, 130 miles round trip, plus the stress of my daughter’s condition, took its toll on me so I took a few days off work.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

MLB Week 21 - A Catastrophe


 
By Dan Howard
Staff Writer
 
 
 
Record setting.

Incredible.

Tragic.

All those and several other adjectives could be used to describe the unbelievable amount of rainfall in the Gulf Coast region of Texas this past weekend. Our prayers are definitely with those residents. My carnal mind just simply cannot comprehend the concept of over fifty inches of rain during a five day span in one region. CBS Radio reported, on Tuesday, all the rainfall would have filled Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. That’s amazing.

I reside in Kermit W.V., a town on the western side of West Virginia that shares its border with Kentucky. The Tug River separates the two states. Kermit averages 44 inches of rain per year. The Houston area received more than that in five days.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

MLB Weeks 19 & 20 - Halt and Catch Fire



By Dan Howard
Staff Writer



It finally happened.

My laptop died. Es ist kaput. It ceases to exist. At present time it is on its merry way to the recycler. Probably wind up as a soft drink bottle.

Good riddance, I’ve been having problems with that thing for months.

Since I don’t have the dough to rush out and buy a new one, I’m dodging the boss here at work to get these articles out, which is why I have to combine two weeks into one post.

It is nice to know that nothing has changed during the past two weeks. Despite the offensive productivity, especially in the last game at Wrigley Stadium (thanks Jeff Gordon), our Reds are still mired in last place while heading for a third straight ninety loss season.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

MLB Week 18 - Who's That Guy?



By Dan Howard
Staff Writer



It’s going to be very interesting how Microsoft Word handles this name I’m about to input.

Asher Wojciechowski

Just as I thought, my laptop caught fire.

What really bugs me is how MS Word puts a red line under a person’s last name. Don’t the software creators know that we’ll likely look up the proper way to spell someone’s name before we enter it in the program?

In a word, Wojciechowski has been impressive. Three wins with one loss, four walks and twenty three strikeouts, where have you been all season?

To date, he’s allowed nine home runs, three to the Toronto Blue Jays, three to the Los Angeles Dodgers, two to San Diego (last night 8/9) and one to the Washington Nationals. That’s a pretty impressive list. Look, many pitchers this season have been reduced to the fetal position by the Blue Jays and Dodgers.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

MLB Week 17 - Adam Ruins Me



By Dan Howard
Staff Writer
@DaHermit16



I’m slowly becoming a fan of Adam Conover’s show “Adam Ruins Everything”. The show is based on the host, Mr. Conover, factually debunking several false ideas concerning certain themes.

One of my favorite episodes was the one about Christmas. I, myself, have conducted several studies about the commercialization of the most sacred holiday of them all, the birth of our Lord Jesus. There are many myths about a certain Santa Claus, of which I’ll not discuss in this baseball forum. Let’s just say “Google it.”

On his “Adam Ruins Football” episode, Mr. Conover stated that rarely the best football teams make the Super Bowl, and the percentages are even smaller in baseball. You know, he’s right.

From 1903 to 1968, the team with the best record in the National League and American League met in the World Series. Sometimes the team with the better record did not win the Series, as in the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 1954 Cleveland Indians, but neither team had to navigate two separate tiers of playoffs to get to the World Series.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MLB Week 16 - 0.167



By Dan Howard
Staff Writer




What an unusual way to begin an article. What does 0.167 mean? It’s the Reds winning percentage since the All-Star Break.

Two wins in twelve games. I don’t know any self-respecting Cincinnati Reds fan that is happy about that.

The Reds are saying they’re rebuilding, I can agree with that to a point. However, Zack Cozart and Scooter Gennett are having career years. Joey Votto has struggled a bit since the Midsummer Classic, but his average is still hovering around .300. Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler seem to have developed into pure power hitters. Eugenio Suarez, Billy Hamilton, and Tucker Barnhart are becoming defensive assets. In my humble opinion, this team is already built.

The problem, of course, is pitching.

Somewhere, buried deep in the archives of this website, is an article touting the greatness Bryan Price has with pitchers. The December 2012 article was called, “Is Bryan Price the Best Pitching Coach in Baseball”.

Four years as manager and with the Reds teetering on their third straight ninety loss season, I think we all know the answer to that question.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

MLB Weeks 14 & 15 - The Long and the Short of It



By Dan Howard
Staff Writer



Nice to see that Yankees superstar Aaron Judge took the time to visit with a Houston little leaguer prior to the All-Star break.

Did I mention that I hate losing to the American League?

When I was a child, there were three certainties; 1) You had to pay taxes, 2) You were going to die eventually, and 3) The National League will win the All-Star Game.

Useless Trivia; from 1960 to 1987 the National League won 26 of 31 games (with one tie). Since 1988 the American League has rebounded to win 23 of the last 30 games (also including a tie in 2002). At 43 wins apiece, this marks the first time since 1964 that both leagues are tied in wins.

It looks like Bobby Abreu Syndrome has befallen on another Home Run Derby Champion, Aaron Judge, who is a scintillating one for twenty-one since his dominant victory at the Derby.

The Long of It; Reds Homer Bailey looked like he may have figured it out in his wins at Coors Field against Colorado, and his impressive performance in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Short of It; in Bailey’s two starts against the Nationals, Washington has scored a combined thirty-two runs.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

MLB Week 13 - Slightly Better




By Dan Howard
Staff Writer



Although our Reds won four of seven games last week, I still stand by the comments I made in last week’s article. This team will continue to mire in obscurity as long as Bryan Price remains manager. I can’t believe any self-respecting Cincinnati Reds fan young or old can think a fourth straight losing season including a potential third straight last place finish as acceptable by any stretch of the imagination.

As I approach the beginning of my fifty fourth year on this third rock from the sun, I’ve been taught many things by many people. One such lesson was delivered by Hall of Fame Reds radio broadcaster Marty Brennaman, who, a few years ago, when former team owner Carl Lindner sympathetically heard the cries of the Reds faithful, including me, and gave an aging Barry Larkin a contract extension instead of trading him. Brennaman said, during a game, that the Reds needed pitching, and although he understood the outcry of the fans to keep Larkin, we fans need to understand that baseball is a business, and if this team was going to succeed then the money used to tie up Larkin would have been better put to use in acquiring a much needed quality pitcher. The result was nine straight losing seasons from 2001 to 2009.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

MLB Week 12 - Meh



By Dan Howard
Staff Writer




It’s happened. After nearly fifty years of loyal Reds support, it’s happened.
The 101 losses the 1982 Reds suffered didn’t do it. The nine straight losing seasons from 2001 to 2009 didn’t do it. Blowing a two games to none lead to the San Francisco Giants in the National League Division Series in 2012 didn’t do it, although I don’t believe the Reds nor the city of Cincinnati have recovered from it.

But this year’s Reds have succeeded where others failed. On the brink of a fourth straight losing season, they’ve made me completely and totally indifferent.
Gagging a three-run lead Friday night was bad enough but Saturday’s complete meltdown was the straw that broke the camel’s back. An 18 to 3 bludgeoning at the hands of the Washington Nationals was a complete embarrassment for all Reds fans. Sure, it marked the return of the one hundred six-million-dollar man Homer Bailey, who did little more than pitch batting practice to the boys from our nation’s capital. Bailey’s line one and two thirds innings pitched eight runs all earned which calculates into a 43.20 earned run average.

He’ll probably pitch a perfect game in his next start.