Friday, July 12, 2013

News and notes from MLB Week 15



by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

I think Chipper Jones is a wee bit upset with umpire Angel Hernandez; Jones tweeted Friday night, “I will not watch a game, any game, officiated by Angel Hernandez! His incompetence amazes me and I'm tired of MLB doing squat about it!” I’ve watched games umpired by Hernandez too and I think Chipper has a legitimate gripe.

Speaking of bad umpiring, the Reds/Rangers game on June 29th, I don’t know if home plate ump Mike DiMuro was having a bad day, or he’s just that inconsistent of the strike zone. Pitches called balls to Rangers hitters became strikes when the Reds batted, especially during Brandon Phillips at bat during the tenth inning.

Another point about umpiring; in Tuesday’s Reds/Brewers game, Derrick Robinson looked to be safe in his failed attempt at an inside the park home run. I’ll say this much about Robinson, I sure appreciate his hustle on the play.

Don’t misunderstand me; umpires have a very difficult job trying to get the right call in a split-second. A majority of the time they get it right, but in those instances they could be wrong, it would be nice if the umpiring crew had the benefit of instant replay to fall back on, or at least give the team managers the ability to challenge calls like they have in football.

Wednesday afternoon’s Cincinnati/Milwaukee game afforded me the opportunity to listen to the Brewers Radio Network with 78 year old broadcasting legend Bob Uecker. XM Satellite Radio is great!

Famous Bob Uecker story; years ago Uecker said he signed with the Milwaukee Braves for three-thousand dollars, which bothered his dad because he didn’t have that kind of dough. His dad eventually scraped it up.

Useless Trivia; there is a section of seats at Miller Park called “The Uecker Seats”. They cost one dollar and are located in the upper grandstand area above home plate where the stadium’s roof pivot comes together.

Did you see where Ohio State’s football coach Urban Meyer “ratted out” his former team the Florida Gators on a minor recruiting violation? That could only mean one thing; the Buckeyes will get soundly thumped in another bowl game by an S.E.C. team.

Speaking of the Buckeyes, 12 year old Ohio State fan Grant Reed was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011. Reed nicknamed his disease “Michigan”. After surgery in May 2012, along with weeks of chemo and therapy, Grant’s family reported on Tuesday that he has defeated “Michigan”.

I’m probably the biggest Buckeye fan south of the Ohio River (keep the fat jokes to yourself please), but if a Michigan fan has a potentially fatal disease and wants to name it Ohio State to help them beat it, that’s O.K. with me.

Joey Votto is an M.V.P. in more ways than one. On Tuesday, July 2, Votto invited Jeff Crews, a terminal brain cancer patient, and his family to attend batting practice along with meeting other Cincinnati players on field prior to Homer Bailey’s no-hitter. Votto, Todd Frazier, and manager Dusty Baker spoke with Mr. Crews. Votto presented Mr. Crews an autograph bat and had several photos taken with him. The Crews family reported on their blog that Joey Votto couldn’t have been a nicer, more humble, and down to earth guy.

The Crews’ family watched the game from seats behind the Reds dugout. Talk about irony, Mr. Crews and his wife was in Pittsburgh last year for their anniversary and attended Homer Bailey’s no-hitter at P.N.C. Park. Unfortunately, this story has a sad ending; Mr. Crews passed away last Thursday, July 4.

I really think that the Brewers were sending a message to Todd Frazier when he got hit by a pitch during his first at bat Wednesday afternoon. Go back to Monday’s game when Frazier reached first on an infield hit, there was a collision between him and Brewers first baseman Sean Halton. Frazier looked like he threw an elbow to knock Halton out of his way. I’m just sayin’.

The Brewers Carlos Gomez robbing Joey Votto of a 2 run homer to preserve Monday night’s Milwaukee’s 4 – 3 win is, in my humble opinion, this season top play to date.

Cincinnati’s offense sure made Wily Peralta look like Milwaukee’s legendary pitcher Lew Burdette Tuesday night.

More Useless Trivia; Lew Burdette was the Most Valuable Player of the 1957 World Series as his Milwaukee Braves defeated his former team, the New York Yankees 4 games to 3.

After last Sunday’s game, Cincinnati’s all time record against the Seattle Mariners is 2 and 10.

Since Cincinnati’s 3 – 0 win against Colorado on June 3rd, the Reds have won only 15 of the next 34, through Thursday night’s game at Atlanta. Teams usually go through swoons like this during the season, hopefully the All – Star break will get the Reds back on track.

I must admit, Fox Sports Ohio’s Jim Day is a pretty good play-by-play announcer.

Did Dwight Howard leave the Lakers? I haven’t heard a thing about it.

Have a blessed week. GO REDS!

Dan Howard

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