Thursday, September 12, 2013

News and Notes from MLB Week 24

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

I enjoyed watching my childhood heroes reunited at Great American Ballpark last Friday after the Reds thrilling win against the Dodgers. I brushed away a few tears in the knowledge that the sunset of their days are fast approaching and the world of baseball will never experience another team like Cincinnati’s “Great Eight”.

I cried when Boston led 3 – 0 early in game 7 of the 1975 World Series. I held onto hope when Tony Perez hit that two run homer off Bill Lee to bring the Reds to within one. I felt there was a chance when the Reds tied game 7 in the seventh, and when Joe Morgan hit the blooper in the ninth inning giving Cincinnati the lead while sending Pete Rose on that iconic head-first slide into third, I knew it was just a matter of time. I can still see Carl Yastrzemski hitting that fly ball off Will McEnaney causing Cesar Geronimo to gracefully drift to his right, reach up and seal the “Great Eight’s” fate in baseball infamy. I think I woke up the entire neighborhood with my shouts of joy!

The “Great Eight” were the undisputed Kings of Baseball during their two year reign. Nothing seemed impossible. This team once erased a nine run deficit in less than two innings, just ask current Reds manager Dusty Baker about that, he played in that game. The exploits of the “Great Eight” seems mythical but it’s true, I saw every moment on a transistor radio in my bedroom. No matter how great the pitcher was, whether Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, or Steve Carlton, they usually wound up a blubbering mass of flesh after the “Great Eight” got through with them. San Diego’s Randy Jones was the only hurler that gave them problems, but the Reds wound up winning those games anyway!

Was there a World Series in 1976? The Reds dispatched the Yankees so quickly I tend to forget that there was a World Series that year! The 1976 Reds are the only Major League Baseball team to go undefeated in the playoffs.

Useless Trivia; in the 1976 World Series the Reds dominated the New York Yankees so thoroughly that the Yankees only lead once in any game of the Series. That was a 1 – 0 lead in the final game from the bottom of the first inning until Johnny Bench’s two run homer in the top of the fourth. Those were the days!

If Cincinnati wins the Central Division, and are tied with the Dodgers, the Reds will have home field advantage over Los Angeles based on head to head won/loss, 4 – 3.

Just when we Cincinnati fans think this team has finally figured it out by dominating the Cardinals and sweeping the Dodgers, the Reds totally blow it losing two against the bottom feeder Cubs.

I apologize, but I watched team USA’s exciting 2 – 0 World Cup soccer qualifying victory over archrival Mexico, instead of that indigestion inducing 9 – 1 beat down the Reds suffered at the hands of the lowly Chicago Cubs.

The automaker Nissan has introduced a newer version of their sports car. It’s called the GT-R R35 and can accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in 2.7 seconds, or slightly less than the Reds Billy Hamilton.

Memo to all Major League Baseball Managers; speed still wins baseball games, it did from the late 1940’s to the mid 1990’s and will win games today, try it sometime.

The one thing that absolutely makes me want to chew on a wad of aluminum foil is the Reds inability to bunt. How many years does it take to become a big league baseball player? The art of bunting was something coaches taught all the way back in Little League.

Needless to say, but this final road trip of the season is HUGE! Nine games in eleven days will decide the Reds post season destination. It’s highly unlikely the Reds will surrender a playoff spot with a six game lead and only sixteen to play, but stranger things have happened. A 6 - 3 trip would be sweet, and may put the Reds back in first, but the primary job of non-playoff teams are to make life miserable for the teams fighting for the post season, which is why Milwaukee and Houston scares me. Hey Reds, just try to win one inning at a time.

Whew, that was close; it was great to see Joey Votto start hitting again. I’ve learned my lesson; I’ll never compare Votto to Adam Dunn again!

I read, on this website, that Joe Morgan has introduced a revolutionary wine to be sold at Great American Ballpark. The $10 wines will be served in a plastic bottle designed to preserve freshness. So what wine would you like with your Coney, Chardonnay or Merlot?

There are no more Thursday Reds games the rest of this season which means only one thing….Thursday Night Football!

Speaking of football, I think Johnny Manziel will probably be spending a lot of time on his back this Saturday against Alabama. The Tide will roll!

Uh, pardon me for asking, but couldn’t you baseball schedule makers give the Reds an easy Opening Day opponent. Cincinnati starts 2014 with three against St. Louis, travel for three in Citi Field, and then go to St. Louis for three, returning home for back to back three game series with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, a brutal start to 2014.

There will be two Dastardly West Coast Trips in 2014. The first trip begins May 26, Memorial Day; concluding on June 1that has the Reds play a three game series at Dodger Stadium followed by four at Arizona. The second trip is starts June 26, with Cincinnati playing four at San Francisco, and continues with three in San Diego. That road trip ends on July 2.

Just like this year, the 2014 season ends at home versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 2014 baseball season will begin on March 22 in Sydney, Australia with the Arizona Diamondbacks playing the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’ll be real interesting how MLB will schedule those games to accommodate the 15 hour time difference between Eastern Time U.S.A. and Australian Eastern Daylight Time observed in Sydney.

Have a blessed week. GO REDS!!!

Dan Howard

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