Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hot Stove News & Other Stuff

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

It’s good to be back. Have I missed much?

I’m saddened to hear about the passing of former South African president Nelson Mandela. Mandela was instrumental in uniting the country and removing the racial biases so common during his lifetime. In my opinion, one of the greatest sports movies of all time is Invictus, about Mandela’s involvement with the South African rugby team during its improbable World Cup championship in 1995.

In honor of the upcoming Big 10 football championship this Saturday, I’d like to start this post with a trivia question. Of the twelve schools that make up the conference, which one does not have a baseball program? (Here’s a hint; it’s not Northwestern)

Speaking of football, if you’re one of the Neanderthals who sent death threats to Alabama kicker Cade Foster, you really need to get a life. It’s just a football game. (I really wanted to say that you need to remove yourself from the gene pool, but I was afraid that you wouldn’t understand words like pool, you, and need.)

Uh, pardon me for saying, but you media pundits need to understand that Florida State has a football game this Saturday too. First time in my life I’ll root for a Duke team, not that I don’t want to see the Seminoles win the A.C.C., but to shut up the talking heads at ESPN, with exceptions to Kirk Herbstreet.

I’m having mixed feelings about Ryan Hanigan leaving the Reds. First, I’m happy to see him go to a contending team that gave him a fat contract, yet I hate to see him leave Cincinnati’s group of young guns. He really knows how to handle a pitching staff, and he should be very successful in Tampa Bay.

I seriously doubt the Reds will trade Brandon Phillips, even though if Robinson Cano goes to the Seattle Mariners, as rumored, the Yankees will definitely be interested in Phillips services.

I expect a flurry of activity next week at the annual Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. If Phillips does get traded, it likely will happen there. I also believe Bronson Arroyo will get signed to a free agent deal while in the Sunshine State. It’s reported that the Minnesota Twins are very interested in Arroyo.

Memo to Reds G.M. Walt Jocketty, get us a clean-up hitter not named Adam Dunn please.

For what it’s worth, Mr. Jocketty, I don’t like the signing of utility man Skip Schumaker, I LOVE IT!!!

Glad to see former Red killer Norichika Aoki traded to Kansas City.

Useless Trivia; since baseball expanded to the three division format in 1994, the Kansas City Royals are the only A.L. Central team to have never won the division title.

One month into the off season and the “We Spent Money Like a Drunken Sailor” award goes to the geriatric New York Yankees with their acquisitions of Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. Hey G.M. Brian Cashman, y’all ever heard of a farm system?

Speaking of the Pin Stripers; rumor has it that Gatorade will be replaced in the Yankee clubhouse; in 2014 the team will be drinking Ensure. The team also reported that the clubhouse will be stocked with an ample supply of Ex-Lax, because at their advanced age something has to move.

The New York paparazzi caught Yankee shortstop, and future hall of famer, Derek Jeter ingesting what looked to be an illegal substance. Further investigation showed the substance to be Centrum Silver.

Prior to each 2014 home game, New York City Boy Scouts will be helping little old Yankees to their positions.

The “I Must be Getting Old” Department; in 2014 former Red, Paul Konerko will play his sixteenth season with the Chicago White Sox.

More Useless Trivia; the Reds traded closer Jeff Shaw to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Paul Konerko and pitcher Dennys Reyes on July 4, 1998. On November 11, 1998 Cincinnati traded Konerko to the White Sox for outfielder Mike Cameron.

Just a note about Mike Cameron, on September 25, 1999 the Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6 – 1. During pre-game warm-ups Mike Cameron came to the centerfield fence at Cinergy Field and motioned to a group of four children ranging in age from five to eleven, and politely threw a ball in their direction. A man intercepted the pass. Before you get too angry at the man, here’s the rest of the story. The kids were mine, and I caught the ball. The ball is tucked away in the safe of the office I work at. Needless to say the Howard family was huge fans of Mike Cameron.

In closing, here’s the trivia question answer; the University of Wisconsin does not have a baseball team, but then again the city of Pittsburgh finally got a baseball team this past season.

Have a blessed week. GO BUCKEYES!!!

Dan Howard

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