Friday, May 31, 2013

Ranking the most valuable players through two months of the MLB season

The conclusion of Friday's action around Major League Baseball means that we are officially two full months into the regular season. For the record, this also marks the one-third point of the season, as we still have four full months to go before the postseason.

Obviously, there remains a lot of baseball left to be played. However, at this point we can now begin to rank the players who are having great individual seasons knowing the sample size we have is relatively legitimate. The basis for these rankings is based solely on the Wins Above Replacement data for each player available on Baseball Reference. Using this data, I was able to come up with a list of the top 11 most valuable players through the first two months of the season. Now, this could definitely change as the year moves on, but the following 11 players have proved more valuable than any others so far.

News and notes from week eight

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Forgive me for not starting with baseball this week. Last Friday’s Australian Rules Football (A.F.L.) game had an event that was quite disturbing. Defending A.F.L. champion Sydney Swans was playing Collingwood at the Magpies home field in Melbourne. With about two minutes left in the game and Sydney leading by 47 points, Swans player Adam Goodes had just made a play and was turning to go up field when a female Collingwood supporter shouted a racial slur. (In most A.F.L. stadiums, the fans are a few feet from the playing field, well within ear shot of the players.) Mr. Goodes, a descendant of Indigenous Australian heritage, immediately pointed out the girl to security, who promptly escorted her out of the stadium. Visibly shaken, Mr. Goodes then left the playing field and did not return to celebrate his team’s victory.

After the game, Collingwood officials, coaches, and players quickly rose to the defense of Adam Goodes. However, on Wednesday morning, Collingwood’s team president, Eddie McGuire who’s not shy of controversy himself, bone-headedly made his own racial remark toward Mr. Goodes on a Melbourne radio program. McGuire, who tearfully apologized for his remark, is currently awaiting discipline from the A.F.L. In my opinion I hope it’s a sizeable suspension. I cannot stress this enough, there is no room for this type of behavior in any venue, anywhere, any time. Supporting your team is one thing, using racial slurs to denigrate a player from the opposing team is just plain stupid. What makes this even more tragic was the young age of the offender, 13. She has publically apologized for her action and Mr. Goodes has stated he will not pursue criminal charges.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Still time to register for 'Redlegs Run'

Would you like to participate in the 12th annual Redlegs Run on Saturday? Well, you are in luck. It's not too late to register if you haven't already.

Participants can still sign up at the following packet pickup dates:

• Thursday, May 30: 3 to 8 p.m. outside the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum

• Friday, May 31: Noon to 4 p.m. outside the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum

• Race Day - Starting at 6 a.m. inside GABP Gate 3 on Pete Rose Way

Runners, walkers and families have many options to participate:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Video: Shin-Soo Choo thought ground-rule double was a home run

Shin-Soo Choo thought he had hit his 11th home run of the season Tuesday night when he rounded second base after clubbing a first inning ground-rule double. Doh!

Second base umpire Eric Cooper had to set him straight, and Choo had to settle for his 12th double of the season, instead. The 30-year-old later came around to score on Joey Votto's RBI single.

Choo wound up with a multi-hit game. The same can also be said for every starting position player in the lineup outside of Jay Bruce.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Audio: Indians announcer wanted Nick Swisher to smack ball 'right off temple' of Aroldis Chapman

The Reds have been in the thick of controversy lately.

The latest involves comments made by Cleveland Indians radio broadcaster Tom Hamilton during a ninth inning at-bat by Nick Swisher against Aroldis Chapman.

Chapman threw back-to-back pitches high and tight to Swisher which forced the latter to duck out of the way both times. It should be noted that both pitches were clocked around 100 MPH and the last one sparked the Indians to nearly clear out of the dugout. But that isn't the biggest takeaway from the scene.

No, as you can tell from the video clip, Hamilton sounded extremely animated during the whole at-bat, and dropped a few controversial remarks during the ordeal.

Video: Corky Miller throws 54 MPH fastball

Fan favorite Corky Miller got his chance to toe the rubber for Triple-A Louisville Monday night.

The 37-year-old catcher was forced into action in the 12th inning when Jim Riggleman's club ran out of pitchers. So, Miller took to the hill and proceeded to toss 2/3 of an inning for the Bats, who eventually fell 13-11 to the Columbus Clippers.

Miller allowed no runs and one hit in his outing. He used a fastball maxing out at 61 MPH and a knuckleball bottoming out at 49 MPH to keep hitters off balance.

Amazingly, it marked Miller's fourth career appearance out of the bullpen. The last occurred while playing for the Richmond Braves in 2007.

Via Cincinnati Enquirer

Brandon Phillips no longer angry with Indians

In April 2006, the Reds made a trade with the Indians that proved to be one of the best the franchise has ever made. Cincinnati acquired a player by the name of Brandon Phillips, a sparingly used second basemen, from Cleveland in exchange for a player to be named later. The trade was eventually completed when the Reds sent RHP Jeff Stevens the other way in June. The rest is history.

Phillips immediately became a fixture in the lineup as he appeared in 149 games during his debut season in Cincy, which he posted a .276 average, 17 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 75 RBI. The Stone Mountain, Ga. native built upon that success in 2007 when he recorded arguably the best season of his career. Phillips, known as @DatDudeBP on Twitter, batted .288 with 94 RBI, 32 stolen bases, and 30 home runs. He became a member of the elite 30/30 club that year joining the likes of his childhood idol and former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Video: Watch Joey Votto hit game-winning home run

It was an All-American day in Cincinnati Monday as 38,822 fans packed into Great American Ball Park to watch their beloved Redlegs take the first game of the Ohio Cup.

The score was all knotted at two a piece until Joey Votto delivered an opposite field two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. Votto's blast proved to be the decisive blow for the Reds as Aroldis Chapman slammed the door in the ninth for his 13th save of the season.

Votto's home run marked No. 9 on the campaign for him. Former Indian Shin-Soo Choo blasted his 10th home run of the season in the contest, as well. All in all, it was a pretty solid day in the Queen City as folks paid homage to those brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom.

Dusty Baker thinks Cueto, Garza should settle spat with fist fight

The fallout from Sunday's spat between Johnny Cueto and Matt Garza has carried over into Monday.

However, this time it's Reds skipper Dusty Baker continuing to stir the proverbial pot. The veteran manager came to the defense of his ace before Cincinnati's 4-2 Memorial Day win over rival Cleveland.

For those who may not be aware, Garza became incensed when Cueto threw a pitch high over the head of Cubs teammate David DeJesus in the sixth inning of Sunday's game. The Cubs ace called Cueto "immature" and had this to add following the contest:

Cubs Matt Garza Targets Johnny Cueto, Tells Him To "Grow The Hell Up"

700 WLW's  Lance McCalister posted on his blog a video of Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza speaking poorly about Johnny Cueto and accusing him of head hunting.

From McCalister's blog:
 "If Cueto has any problem, he can throw at me and I'll definitely return the favor," he said. "I didn't like that one bit. We don't retaliate. We just take it game by game and try to better ourselves. Hopefully he learns to grow the hell up. ... You're up 4-0. Grow up. I hope he hears this because I really don't care."
There is video at the link above.

It looked clear to several observers, including myself, that Cueto's pitch was unintentional. However, home plate umpire Bob Davidson, known to be hot headed at times,  warned both teams. The Cubs went on to pitch wildly inside to Ryan Hanigan and actually hit Shin Soo Choo without a peep from Davidson.

Garza said that Cueto's pitch help wake up a "sleeping dog". That dog, the Cubs, would be a poodle named Gracie.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day weekend quotes and notes

Don't look know but the Reds have won 12 of their last 14 games and continue to hold down the second-best overall record in the league. Cincinnati will look to make it 13 out of 15 with a sweep over the Chicago Cubs Sunday before they welcome the Cleveland Indians to town for an Interleague series beginning on Memorial Day.

Until then, immerse yourself into some notes and quotes...

+ Former Reds utilityman Wilson Valdez has signed on with a new team. However, it isn't any team in Major League Baseball, but rather the Camden Riversharks of an independent baseball league, instead. Best of luck to Valdez in his trek to make it back to the big show.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Week eight observations and notes

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Please pray for the victims and their families of the tragedy in Moore, Oklahoma on Monday. I could not imagine the pain and suffering the families of those who lost loved ones are enduring. In the wake of such a tragedy, writing a baseball blog is insignificant but I will continue on.

To all Veterans on this Memorial Day weekend…..Thank you and may God bless you for your service to this great country. You are the reason that this nation remains free.

I goofed last week when I said the Reds would win their first back to back division titles since 1975 – 1976. Technically the Reds won the back to back Central Division championships in 1994 & 1995. The Reds were in first place when the 1994 season ended on August 12 due to the players strike. The Cincinnati Reds officially recognize the 1994 team as Central Division Champions. That’s an ‘E’ on me!

Donald Lutz seems to be a left handed version of George Foster.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A collection of Reds off day quotes, notes

The red-hot Redlegs return home this weekend feeling pretty good about themselves after completing one of the most successful road trips in recent memory. They wound up going 7-2 against the likes of Miami, Philadelphia, and New York, and could have very well gone 8-1 if it hadn't been for the blown save by the usually steady Aroldis Chapman last Sunday.

Nonetheless, I'm sure fans will gladly take that kind of road trip everytime. Cincinnati now turns its attention to the Chicago Cubs as they host their rivals for a three-game series at Great American Ball Park beginning Friday night.

Until then, kill some time by reading quotes and notes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pete Rose's helpful advice has stuck with Joey Votto

Anybody who has ever watched Joey Votto play baseball knows that there is something different about him.

The Canadian native approaches the game unlike any of his peers. Votto's tedious approach to hitting and incredible work ethic are second to none. Perhaps those are just two of the reasons why he is widely regarded as one of the elite players in Major League Baseball.

On Wednesday, Jerry Crasnick of published a great feature piece on Cincinnati's star, which gives further background on how he became the player he is today. One of the nuggets in the article is about how Votto has forged a bond with baseball's all-time hit king Pete Rose.

In the article, Votto recollected an encounter he had with Rose while standing in the on-deck circle at Great American Ball Park several seasons ago. Rose was watching intently from a front row seat and eventually struck up a conversation with the left-handed slugger. It was during that conversation when Votto received a piece of wisdom that he still remembers to do this day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Photo: Reds to wear camo on Memorial Day


The Reds will be donning camouflage jerseys and hats when they take the field against the Indians on Memorial Day, which believe it or not is next Monday.

In fact, all MLB teams will be wearing camo on the patriotic holiday in honor of those brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. It is because of them that we are able to live the lifestyle that we are so accustomed to here in America.

God bless America. And God bless the Redlegs.

Video: Mat Latos fields questions from fans on MLB Network

As much as fans love watching their favorite players perform on the diamond, they love it even more when they can actually hear from them.

Well, this is precisely what fans got to do with Mat Latos recently, as the big right-hander appeared on MLB Network's "Chatting Cage" to field questions from fans.

Latos addresses how he approaches hitters at Great American Ball Park, who he thinks the funniest guy on the team is, how he adjusted to being the team's ace in Johnny Cueto's absence, and more.

Check it out. It's bascially a really good extended interview.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Reds surge toward top in new MLB power rankings

Cincinnati is the biggest winner in ESPN's newly released MLB Power Rankings.
Apparently, the pollsters were impressed with the six-game winning streak the Reds strung together in the past week. That streak came to an end in Philadelphia over the weekend, though, as the Reds dropped two of three from the feisty Phillies.
Nonetheless, Dusty Baker's bunch still landed at spot No. 3 this week in the rankings. That is up seven spots from the previous week, which is the highest jump for any team in baseball. Baltimore experienced the worst drop, falling nine spots from No. 4 to No. 13.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals fell off the top perch and down to No. 2.

Quotes from weekend series against Philly

Back-to-back home runs from two of the most unlikely suspects was the difference between the Reds winning and losing the series against Philadelphia over the weekend.

Both homers came off Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth Sunday. It marked the first time in 157 career appearances that Chapman had allowed two home runs in the same game.

Despite the heart-breaking loss, the beat goes on for Dusty Baker and the Reds, who now travel to New York for a three-game set against the Mets. Until then, mull over some quotes from the weekend series against Philly.

Friday (L, 5-3)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Video: Watch Joey Votto go yard against Phillies

Cincinnati's six-game winning streak came to a halt Friday night as the Phillies handed the visitors a 5-3 defeat. Philly scored two in the bottom of the eighth to help push past the second-place Reds.

However, one guy Cincy certainly can't blame for the loss is Joey Votto, who notched two hits in the affair, including this solo home run in the top of the eighth to knot the score at three a piece. It marked the fifth of the year for the three-time All-Star.

Broadcaster Thom Brennaman called it the hardest ball Votto has hit all season long. Although it isn't always easy to agree with Thom, it's hard to argue against him on this one. That ball was smoked.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Comparing the 2013 Reds to past postseason teams and other notes

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

First of all I want to wish a happy birthday to my “bookend” children. Taira Faith, my oldest, turns 25 on May 20, Ethan Joel, my youngest, turns 8 on May 17. The other three will just have to wait their turn!

Speaking of children, I just got my Father’s Day present, the complete Ken Burns’ Baseball series on DVD, including the Tenth Inning. Thanks kids!

Having five kids is great, especially when four of them are in their twenties. Getting them there is a bit tough!

Prayer request update; Cindy Ward, wife of Tomahawk Missionary Baptist church pastor Dr. Jack Ward, is home from the hospital, her infection is minimal and can be controlled/eliminated by antibiotics. Thank God!

As of the date of this writing, Thursday May 16, 2013, Reds baseball has reached the “quarter pole”. Forty-one games have passed, 121 games remain, and hopefully more for the Reds in October. Now the boring part, here’s how the 2013 Reds compare to the past ten Reds postseason teams since 1970.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Video: Watch Aroldis Chapman throw mind-bending pitch

We already knew Aroldis Chapman was filthy on the mound.

However, the final pitch he threw to Miami Marlins hitter Derek Dietrich Wednesday night was simply mind-bending, not to mention virtually unhittable.

Take another look as the Cuban Missile delivers an absolutely wicked slider that both boggles the mind and freezes the body of the poor rookie.


Video: Shin-Soo Choo talks about his big night in Miami

The Reds and Shin-Soo Choo are rolling right now.

On Wednesday, Cincinnati extended their winning streak to a season-best five games with a 4-0 victory over the Miami Marlins. The offense was fueled by Choo, who pounded out two home runs, to go along with a two singles and three runs scored.

It marked the ninth multi-home run game of Choo's career and his second in 2013. The two bombs give him a total of nine for the campaign, which leads the team, and ties him for sixth in the league. Additionally, his batting average now stands at .322 while his on-base percentage currently sits at .465.

Check out the video clip above to hear what the Korean native has to say about his performance and about the why the Reds are playing lately.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Joey Votto is one of the 50 highest-paid athletes in sports

It goes without question that Reds first basemen Joey Votto is one of the elite players in Major League Baseball. The Canadian native has already racked up a National League Most Valuable Player Award (2010), a Gold Glove Award (2011), and three straight trips to the All-Star Game (2010-2012). Furthermore, he is led the league in on-base percentage every year since 2010 and continues to be regarded as one of the most feared hitters in the modern game.

Naturally, Votto is also one of the highest paid players in MLB too. On April 2, 2012, the Reds and Votto shocked the baseball world when the two sides agreed on a historic contract extension worth $225 million over 10 years. The deal made Votto the richest player in franchise history and guaranteed that he would be averaging $22.5 million per year through the end of 2024.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Injuries costing Reds, other MLB teams dearly this season

The injury bug has certainly bitten the Reds in 2013.

Cincinnati currently has five major league players on its disabled list in the likes of Ryan Ludwick, Johnny Cueto, Manny Parra, Chris Heisey, and Nick Masset. The loss of Ludwick was a particularly untimely one as his crippling injury came in the very first game of the season.

However, the Reds have marched on without the services of their wounded anyway. And they are definitely not alone. Every other team in the league has been forced to deal with injuries to key players, too.

This got the folks at the New York Times wondering, how much does it cost teams to pay their injured players? For the Reds, that figure stands to be about $3,394 per hour, which equates to $81,456 per day, and approximately 13.5% of the team's total payroll.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Video: Dan Patrick mistakes A.J. Burnett for Bronson Arroyo in awkward encounter

Sportscaster Dan Patrick recently had an awkward encounter with Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett. And most of the blame can be attributed to the fact that Patrick mistook Burnett for Reds hurler Bronson Arroyo!

Patrick details the unusual circumstances of the encounter in the clip above.

In his defense, Arroyo and Burnett do share a few commonalities. Both pitchers are right-handed, both are 36-years-old, and both are about 6-foot-5.

However, the two are definitely not one in the same. Patrick hilariously learned that the hard way.

Via Eye on Baseball

Reds off day quotes and notes

The Redlegs took care of business this weekend by sweeping the Brewers in a three-game series at Great American Ball Park. It was a great showing by Dusty Baker's club as they smothered Milwaukee with timely hitting, excellent defense, and good pitching. They will look to build on the positive momentum when they visit Miami beginning Tuesday night.

The Marlins are reeling (pardon the pun) right now as losers of five of their last six. If it wasn't for Houston (10-28), the Fish's 11-27 record would be the worst in baseball. So, as eager as the Reds are to get a crack at the league's doormat, they will have to get through Monday's off day first, which I'm sure is completely fine with them. Off days are more precious than gold for MLB teams this time of year.

In the meantime, enjoy some notes and quotes...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Five reasons why the Reds will be world champions by season's end

Prior to the 2013 Major League Baseball season, the Cincinnati Reds were widely considered one of the favorites to win the World Series. The reasons for believing so were plentiful.

The Reds were returning all of the major pieces from the 2012 team that captured the division crown and won the second-most games (97) in baseball. Only the Washington Nationals boasted more victories than Dusty Baker's club (98).

Now, the Reds continue to be heralded as a good bet to earn their third trip to the postseason in four years. And they might even lay claim to their sixth world title in franchise history before the season is over.

Here are five reasons to believe they are destined to win it all.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Video: Brandon Phillips makes defensive play of the season

Put your pencils down, folks.

The award for the best defensive play of the 2013 Major League Baseball season belongs to Reds Gold Glove second basemen Brandon Phillips. The spectacle occurred Friday night in front of a soggy home crowd at Great American Ball Park.

With the Reds clinging to a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh inning, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun stepped to the plate with two runners on and one out against Reds reliever Sam LeCure. After working the count full, Braun chopped a ball over the head of LeCure and toward the direction of second base.

That is when Phillips turned the most magnificent double play fans are likely to see all year long. Watch as the sure-handed Phillips snares the grounder with his bare hand, tags second base with his knee, and then chucks an off-balance throw (from his knees) on to Joey Votto at first base to nip Braun and complete the twin killing.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Random observations from week six

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies
. - Proverbs 31:10 (KJV). 

Happy Mother’s Day!

I ask all you readers to please pray for Cindy Ward, wife of Tomahawk (KY) Missionary Baptist Church pastor Dr. Jack Ward. As of May 9, 2013 she is at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland KY., awaiting transfer to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington KY. Cindy is battling a bone infection. The Ward family sincerely appreciates and desires your prayers.

Some fatherly advice to recently suspended Reds prospect Daniel Tuttle. Son, get your head out of your butt. This is your third, count them, third time to be suspended by Major League Baseball. Do those “substances” mean that much to you that you are willing to throw away a job that most boys, and this 49 year old man, would gladly trade their “Nine to Fiver” for? There are a lot of orphaned children here in the Appalachians whose parents thought more of their “illegal substances” than their kids. You need help, get some help or a few years from now there will be a headstone with your name carved on it. If you need someone to talk to, send me a private message at my Twitter account @DaHermit16 and I’ll get back to you.

Series notes versus Brewers and more


The Reds will aim for a winning homestand this weekend when they welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to town. But to do so they will have to sweep the three-game set after dropping two out of the first three games of this homestand to the Atlanta Braves. Easier said than done, right?

Friday's affair will pit surging rookie Tony Cingrani against Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo. It figures to be a pitcher's duel if the weather can cooperate because the Cincinnati area is expecting some thunderstorms this evening. Let's hope we can get this contest in before the heavens open up.

In the meantime, enjoy some notes and quotes...

+ The Brewers are absolutely struggling lately. They have lost six of their past seven games albeit to the likes of Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Texas.

+ Cincinnati has the most home wins (13) of any team in the majors. Conversely, Milwaukee's five road wins are tied for the fewest in the league with the Mets and Marlins.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reds minor league pitcher suspended 100 games for third violation

Reds minor league pitcher Daniel Tuttle has been suspended for 100 games after violating the league's substance abuse program for the third time.

Tuttle was previously suspended 50 games for a second violation which occurred in July 2011.

The right-hander currently resides on the disabled list and has been there since April 4.

Here is the short release from MLB:

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Cincinnati Reds Minor League right-handed pitcher Daniel Tuttle has received a 100-game suspension without pay after a third violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse.

The suspension of Tuttle, who is currently on the roster of the Single-A Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League, is effective immediately.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A huge collection of Reds quotes and notes

So, less than a day removed from notching a thrilling walk-off win, the Reds couldn't exactly capitalize by taking advantage of the momentum in the series finale. Cincinnati fell to the Atlanta Braves, 7-2, Wednesday afternoon as former Red Juan Francisco blasted a grand slam, Dan Uggla homered twice, and shortstop Andrelton Simmons continued to terrorize the Redlegs by churning out four hits (all singles).

Dusty Baker and crew will enjoy an off day Thursday before welcoming division rival Milwaukee for a three-game weekend series beginning Friday night. Southpaw Tony Cingrani will get the starting nod for the Reds opposite Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo.

Until then, delve into a massive collection of quotes and notes:

Video: Devin Mesoraco, Shin-Soo Choo smack back-to-back home runs to send Reds to walk-off win

In case you went to bed early Tuesday night, and neglected to watch the Reds-Braves game until the final out, you missed one heck of a finish at Great American Ball Park.

Cincinnati essentially snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after overcoming a deficit against arguably the best closer in baseball in Craig Kimbrel. The Reds trailed 4-3 entering the bottom half of the ninth inning and the prospects of a comeback against the likes of the hard-throwing Kimbrel looked bleak.

However, the Reds have a knack for the theatrics, and proceeded to send the crowd home happy by smacking back-to-back home runs to win the game.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Video: More on honorary bat boy Ted Kremer and his inspiring story

One of the best baseball moments of the season was delivered to us by Reds honorary bat boy Ted Kremer, a lifelong fan who has Down syndrome, and third basemen Todd Frazier.

On April 18, per the request of Ted, Frazier blasted a two-run homer in Cincinnati's route of the Marlins at Great American Ball Park. Frazier was greeted at the plate by an elated Ted, who exchanged high fives with anyone willing to exchange one with him, as well as giving Frazier a giant bear hug once the two were back in the dugout. Pictures of this iconic moment are sure to be treasured forever.

That night wasn't the first time Ted had served as the team's bat boy, though. Ted also served in that capacity during the 2012 season, too. It's safe to say those experiences impacted Ted's life just as much as they did the players he came in contact with. 

Check out the above video for more on this heart-warming story.

A mixed bag of Reds quotes and notes

+ If you had to take a straw poll about who the MVP of this Reds squad is through the first six weeks of the season, Shin-Soo Choo would have to be at the top of the list. The 30-year-old has been all that and a bag of chips since joining the organization. Anna McDonald has a nice little piece on him over at that I recommend for you all to read.

+ Johnny Cueto is making progress. He threw a 25-pitch bullpen session before Monday's game against the Braves. He still needs one more injury-free session before he can make a rehab start, writes C. Trent Rosecrans. Cueto has been on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle since mid-April.

+ The Mat Latos trade promises to be one which is reviewed constantly while he is playing for the Reds. After all, Cincinnati did give up four pretty solid players to acquire the right-hander. recently provided a nice overview of how the deal has panned out so far for both the Padres and Reds. I think it is a relatively fair assessment.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Reds eat better in the sky than you do on the ground

We all know life as a major league baseball player has its times of ups and downs.

Sure, the pay, the fame, and winters "off" are nice perks. But the grueling time away from home, constant scrutiny from the media, and the obvious pressures of performing well on the field, among other things, can be very trying, too.

Well, one area Reds players have no reason to complain about is the food offered by the team while flying. On Sunday, Dallas Latos, wife of stud pitcher Mat Latos, tweeted out a picture of the in-flight menu as the team was traveling home from Chicago on their charter plane. Let's just say the spread has something to offer for even the pickiest of eaters.

Topps selling miniature figures of big league stars

Behold, a thee-inch vinyl figure of Reds superstar Joey Votto (and Mets superstar David Wright). Topps has decided to make 28 of the "Big League Minis" for fans to collect. The caricatures are reportedly selling for $6.99 a piece at places such as Dick's Sporting Goods. 

Unfortunately, not every MLB team is represented by one of these miniature figures. The New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, and Detroit Tigers boast three. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, and Philadelphia Phillies boast two.

Here is a look at all 28 of them:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Donald Lutz has huge day of firsts

Cinco de Mayo was a rather memorable day for Reds rookie Donald Lutz. I guess you could say it was a day of "firsts" for the German native.

Lutz entered Sunday's game hitless in six career at-bats, but that all changed in the top of the seventh when he recorded his first big league hit with a lead-off single off Cubs pitcher Shawn Camp. Lutz would later come around to score his first big league run when Joey Votto notched a double.

One inning later, the left-handed slugger was at it again at the dish. This time Lutz tallied his first career run batted in when he knocked in Todd Frazier thanks to a fielder's choice. That made it 7-4 in favor of Cincinnati.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Reds auction off bloody sock worn by Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija

A baseball stained with the blood of Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija was auctioned off by the Reds via their official team website Friday morning. The winning bid checked in at $130.01.

The infamous ball was used on April 24 at Great American Ball Park in a 1-0 Reds victory. The ball became bloody after Samardzija cut his hand reaching for a high-hopper over the mound off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo in the first inning. Samardzija would stay in the game and pitch all the way through the sixth inning.

"It's pretty exciting. I remember looking at that ball, wondering what was going to happen to it," Samardzija said Friday. "I was hoping the umpires didn't see it. I don't know, it's pretty interesting. Somebody who gets it has to be a pretty intense fan. That's for sure."

Samardzija seemed proud of playing through the injury despite the bleeding.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Video: Darwin Barney crashes into bullpen bench while chasing foul ball

Cubs second basemen Darwin Barney is trying really hard to win back-to-back Gold Glove awards.

This was certainly evidenced Friday afternoon when the Oregon State product went crashing into a bullpen bench while trying to flag down a foul ball against the Reds.

The play came in the top of the fifth inning when Reds shortstop Zack Cozart smacked an offering from Carlos Villanueva off to the first base side of the stands. As you can see, Barney races all the way from his position to try and make the snag, but comes up with empty. You have to applaud his effort, though.

Barney shook off the cobwebs and wound up finishing the rest of the game. However, the blow may have played a role in his 0-for-5 showing at the plate. He is hitting just .179 on the campaign and has been held hitless in every game since Tuesday.

Furthermore, his Cubbies dropped the first game of the series, 6-5, despite a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning at Wrigley Field.

News and notes from week five

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

WHEW! I don’t know about you, but I’m glad the Reds finally got a day off. The Reds finished this brutal stretch of 20 games against some good teams, and the Marlins. They only won 10, but they played hard in every one of those games. Thursday’s day off will definitely help the over worked pitching staff.

Yeah, I’m disappointed the Columbus Blue Jackets did not make the NHL Playoffs.

Rumor has it there’s a horse race this Saturday in Louisville.

Through May 1, the Reds are the only National League team to play 29 games in the first 31 days of the Championship season. The Seattle Mariners have played the most games at 30.

Now can we mention Tony Cingrani as a Cy Young candidate?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Company selling caskets with MLB team logos online

This may give new meaning to being a die-hard fan.

Feast your eyes on one of the casket designs by a company called Brand Memorials. The company apparently specializes in a plethora of custom-designed pieces for the dead including caskets featuring the logo of any Major League Baseball team your heart desires.

Here is a description for the company's Facebook page:
The official Major League Baseball™ burial caskets. All teams available. Burial caskets fitting for the lifelong baseball fan. They are 18-gauge steel with a jet black exterior adorned with wood veneer, team emblems and the world-famous MLB™ Batter emblem. The velvet interior is trimmed with an additional team emblem and MLB™ Batter emblem, with a large team emblem on the interior head panel. Official MLB™ Hologram sticker affixed to left, bottom corner of casket.
Now, this is what you call resting in peace.

Via Eye on Baseball 

Video: Bret Boone featured in awesome beef jerky commercial

Have you ever stopped and wondered what former Reds second basemen Bret Boone is up to nowadays? Well, if you have you are in some serious luck today.

The 44-year-old is apparently starring in provocative beef jerky commercials for Brandt. Watch as the three-time All-Star soaks up the spotlight with a pair of dreamy models.

Yes, Boone appears to be doing just fine in life after baseball.

Boone spent five seasons (1994-1998) with the Reds where he became one of the best second basemen in baseball. He would go on to spend brief stops in Atlanta and San Diego before moving on to Seattle where he won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and finished third in the MVP voting in 2001.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Jay Bruce melts down on Twitter about fans, hitting woes

It's no secret to Reds fans that Jay Bruce has been struggling at the plate lately. And it appears as if those struggles have caused the Reds outfielder to reach a breaking point on Twitter.

The 26-year-old took to the social media site Tuesday night to vent about the heat he has been taking from fans this year. Here is the gist of what he had to say...

A big batch of Reds news and notes

The Reds and Cardinals are set to tangle in a matinee affair today with the winner coming away with a series victory. It's a pivotal game for the Reds to not only keep pace in the standings, but to help gain some confidence in a place that has been mightily unkind to them over recent years. In the meantime, enjoy some Reds news and notes...

+ Tony Cingrani has been really impressive in his first three starts. So much so that the Reds may be forced to bump someone else in the rotation when ace Johnny Cueto returns from the disabled list. This Yahoo! columnist thinks Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake should be worried.

+ Sports Illustrated writer Albert Chen delves into the Cingrani situation even more in this post. In brief, he argues that teams are still trying to find the right way to groom young pitchers.

+ Donald Lutz made history Monday night when he made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter. Lutz became the first German-developed player to ever play in the big leagues. The slugger was born in New York, but his family moved to Germany when he was a baby, and he spent most of his childhood and adolescence there before moving back to the United States.