Tag Archives: reds

Coming this Summer: Lesbian Grandma, Starring Pete Rose

Just in case you missed it, the highlight of MLB’s Opening Day was Pete Rose showing up at the Brewers-Reds game in Cincinnati. Or more specifically, that he raided your grandma’s closet before going to it.

Hundred bucks says there’s an 8-ball on the back of that jacket. Pete would take that bet.

Scratchbomb’s Thoroughly Compromised 2011 MLB Preview: NL Central

CHICAGO CUBS

2010 record: 75-87

Biggest offseason acquisition: Matt Garza, who, along with Carlos Zambrano, could give the Cubs the angriest 1-2 pitchers in baseball.

Biggest offseason loss: Tom Gorzellany, on purely technical grounds.

Is this the year that the Cubs…: Whatever you were going to say, no.

Best name on 40-man roster: Welington Castillo, Dominican duke.

The That Guy’s on This Team? Award: Kerry Wood, whose presence here seems more weird than it should.

Spring standout: Last year’s star callup Starlin Castro has 12 RBIs and 4 home runs, which can only mean his untimely demise is imminent.

Probable Opening Day starter: I’m sure Zambrano has already made it abundantly clear to Mike Quade that he will start on Opening Day.

Biggest question for 2011: Has Alfonso Soriano been so underwhelming for so long he’s come all the way back around to being underrated?

Strengths: Idyllic ballpark with laissez faire attitude toward the wearing of shirts

Weaknesses: The oppressive weight of history

Semi-serious assessment: The Cubs are a little better than I first thought before taking a closer look at their lineup. Carlos Pena is a good fit for Wrigley, and Garza should fare well in the National League. I don’t know if it adds up to contending per se, but I think they’ll enjoy a solid season of not completely sucking.

Continue reading Scratchbomb’s Thoroughly Compromised 2011 MLB Preview: NL Central

MLB Playoffs YouTubery: Reds

To celebrate the advent of this year’s MLB playoffs, which I am looking forward to with rapt anticipation (no, really), I’d like to do a few posts featuring YouTube finds representing each team that’s made their way to October. Next, the Reds.

How long ago were the 1970s? Back then, Johnny Bench was considered handsome. Really! According to Joe Posnanski’s excellent book, he was quite the eligible bachelor in the hotbed of sensuality known as Cincinnati. He also parlayed his good looks into several hundred endorsement deals.

Here’s the most horrifying of them all: Hall of Famer Johnny Bench schilling for something called Bubble Fudge. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about a chocolaty bubble gum product makes my skin crawl. And if that didn’t, then I’d still be creeped out by the tons of unappealing close ups of the best catcher of all time failing to blow bubbles in this ad. See you in my nightmares, Bubble Fudge!

Johnny also hosted a kids’ show in the early 80s, The Baseball Bunch, which taught children fundamentals and sportsmanship and all that other crap. As a kid, I knew this existed, but somehow never got a chance to see it and always wondered what I missed. Now I know: Pete Rose screaming at children. YOU MISSED THE BAG!

Rose did his fair share of commercial work, too. (Couldn’t keep the knuckle-breakers away from your door on a ballplayer’s salary in those days.) He did a bunch of ads for Aqua Velva, but this one is my favorite, because it has a unique combination of bad acting, poor dialogue, and singing.

Rose slides steals second base headfirst, and Joe Morgan says, “Hey, it’s Pete Rose of the Philadelphia Phillies,” as if Pete stopped by his house and wasn’t playing a game against him. Then Pete Rose sings the Aqua Velva jingle in a voice that sounds like someone’s got a gun to his back.

I have an enormous mental bank of hideous ads from the 1980s, but I have absolutely no memory of this one for Kool-Aid. Little kids play baseball in weird pleather uniforms, while the Kool-Aid Man destroys a stadium and takes away a sure double from Pete Rose. The set looks vaguely like the landscape that appeared when Homer Simpson at a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper.

Finally, no survey of Reds YouTubery would be complete without the stellar acting chops of one Bronson Arroyo. Watch the high-kicking righty do a spot for a local Ford dealer and get all potty mouth on us. You’ll never play the big rooms working blue, Bronson!

The Parallel Universe Fake Mets: Games 26-28

Game 26: Mets 1, Reds 0
The Fake Mets’ bats were silent against Fake Aaron Harang until Fake Jeff Francoeur led off the top of the seventh with a home run. They would get no more runs, but they would need no more, thanks to a stellar complete game shutout from Fake Johan Santana.

In real life: Oliver Perez turned in a decent outing, but the Mets left several scoring opportunities by the wayside, and the Reds were walkoff winners on a pinch hit homer by Laynce Nix in the bottom of the 11th.

Game 27: Reds 3, Mets 1
The Fake Mets scratched out a run in the top of the first, thanks to a wild pitch from Fake Edinson Volquez (who is neither injured nor suspended in this universe). But they could do nothing else, as they grounded into an astounding six double plays. Fake Ramon Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the third, and Fake Joey Votto hit a solo shot in the sixth to account for Fake Cincinnati’s scoring.

In real life: The Mets let a 4-2 get away from them when Fernando Nieve gave up consecutive solo home runs to Joey Votto and Scott Rolen. But Rod Barajas hit one of his own off of Francisco Cordero in the top of the ninth, and Frankie Rodriguez made the 5-4 score stand up.

pufm027.pngGame 28: Mets 3, Reds 1
Fake David Wright belted a two-run homer off of Fake Bronson Arroyo in the top of the fourth, and Fake Jason Bay added an RBI double in the top of the eighth to account for all of the Fake Mets’ scoring. Fake Oliver Perez turned in a great outing, going 7 2/3 innings, and Fake K-Rod earned his sixth save of the year.

In real life: The Mets rallied to tie the game at 4 against Francisco Cordero in the top of the ninth, but Pedro Feliciano gave up a walkoff homer to the first batter he faced in the bottom of the 10th (Orlando Cabrera), and thus the Reds took the series.

Parallel Universe Fake Mets record: 15-13
Real Mets record: 12-16

Scratchbomb’s Thoroughly Compromised 2010 MLB Preview: NL Central

harrycaray.jpgCHICAGO CUBS

2009 record: 83-78

Local weather: If you don’t like it, just wait a minute!* (* joke stolen from your grampa)

Namesake: The smaller partner in a “bear” relationship

Has it really been 102 years since they won a World Series?: Yes, but some days it only feels like 75.

Perpetually overused team-related headline: Lovable Losers. How many losers have you known that were lovable? Most losers are bitter, sour human beings.

Best name on 40-man roster: Esmailin Caridad, because when you’re Esmailin, the whole world esmailes with you.

The That Guy’s on This Team? Award: Kevin Millar. Or as he used to be known by guys named Sully, MILLAHHHHHH!

Spring standout: Youngster Tyler Colvin, who’s not only batting .468, but is also not a pitcher, so he can’t have a Kerry Wood/Mark Prior-style flameout.

Probable Opening Day starter: Carlos Zambrano, provided he doesn’t get into a scrape with a Gatorade cooler first.

Biggest question for 2010: In what ways will the fates cruelly toy with this team this season?

Advantage to start the season: Arctic conditions will adversely affect visiting teams who have not brought their own Sherpas.

Semi-serious assessment: Only the total shitshow that was the 2009 Mets prevented the Cubs from being the most disappointing team in baseball last season. I would expect them to improve, but they’re also relying on a number of players who’ve been hurt off and on the past few seasons (Zambrano, Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez). I could see the Cubs finishing anywhere on the continuum of success. Except winning the World Series, of course. That will never, ever happen. Ever.
Continue reading Scratchbomb’s Thoroughly Compromised 2010 MLB Preview: NL Central

1999 Project: Game 163

Click here for an intro/manifesto on The 1999 Project.

For the second straight season, MLB would have a one-game playoff to decide the winner of the wild card. In 1998, the Mets could have been a part of that playoff–or made the playoff unnecessary by winning the wild card outright. They were not able to do either, as everyone reminded them all year. But in 1999, they pulled themselves back from the brink of disaster, and now they found themselves in Cincinnati for a winner-take-all contest at Cinergy Field (formerly known as Riverfront Stadium).

The game was originally scheduled for a 2:05 start, but was moved up to 7 in the evening to accommodate the bleary-eyed Reds. They waited out a five hour, 47 minute rain delay in Milwaukee, all the while knowing they had to win to keep their season alive. Much like the Mets, they rallied after a near collapse.

Unlike the Mets, the Reds had few expectations placed on them at the beginning of the year. All they had was a meager $33 million payroll and no real superstars, save maybe team captain Barry Larkin. They shocked baseball by not only being competitive throughout the season, but remaining in playoff picture. They got hot in September, threatening the postseason plans of both the Mets and the Astros, before stumbling against the Brewers in the final weekend.

The Reds’ manager, Jack McKeon, was much older and much more old school than the Mets’ skipper. His team did not celebrate on the field once they finally defeated the Brewers in the last scheduled game of the year. (“What were we going to celebrate?” he asked. “We didn’t win anything.”) But he was fond of trying Bobby V-style gamesmanship. In their head-to-head meetings, McKeon twice pointed out some obscure technicality to the umpires, forcing a Mets pitcher to change his uniform or some piece of equipment (and thoroughly annoying Valentine).

He also had one more glaring similarity with Bobby Valentine. In 11 seasons of managing, which included stints in Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego, McKeon had never managed in the postseason.

Someone’s unfortunate streak would end here.
Continue reading 1999 Project: Game 163

1999 Project: Games 63-65

Click here for an intro/manifesto on The 1999 Project.

June 14, 1999: Reds 8, Mets 4

The opener of the Mets’ second series of the year at the former Riverfront Stadium (then called Cinergi Field) was notable mostly for an odd attempt at gamesmanship by Reds manager Jack McKeon. When reliever Pat Mahomes came on to pitch the bottom of the seventh, McKeon protested to the umpires that the lefty was wearing an orange undershirt, technically not part of the Mets’ uniform. Mahomes was forced to change his undershirt to the standard issue black (lacking quick access to a black tee of his own, he borrowed one from a trainer).

Bobby Valentine bristled after the game. He recalled how, when the two teams met at Shea earlier in the year, McKeon made Jason Isringhausen darken some white lettering on his glove. “When I do it, it’s ridiculous acts of something and when he does it, it’s one-upmanship?” Valentine told reporters after the game. “I think it’s ridiculous, personally. It’s nonsense. I haven’t seen it do any good yet. It’s just a waste of time.”

McKeon needn’t have bothered. By the time he tried his sartorial distraction, Turk Wendell had already given up a three-run homer to Aaron Boone that put the game away for Cincinnati.

99_0615.pngJune 15, 1999: Mets 11, Reds 3

This game saw the Mets put on their biggest power display in 11 years. Rickey Henderson, John Olerud, and Mike Piazza all homered off of Brett Tomko in the first inning before an out was recorded to give themselves a 4-0 lead. New York clubbed six homers in total (including shots by Edgardo Alfonzo, Matt Franco, and one more from Henderson) and cruised to an easy victory.

The six homers tied a team record set on Opening Day 1988 in Montreal, when Darryl Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds each went deep twice, and Lenny Dykstra and Kevin Elster hit solo shots. Henderson’s leadoff shot was the 74th of his career, a major league record Rickey had extended yet again. “It’s brilliant, isn’t it?” he rhetorically asked reporters after the game.

Rick Reed made sure the offense held up, pitching eight innings, allowing only two runs, and striking out five. The performance was even more remarkable after Reed reported blood in his urine the day before (he felt like he was “pissing razor blades”, according to a surprisingly graphic report in the Daily News). Whatever had troubled Reed in the bathroom, it didn’t bother him on the mound.

Valentine wished the offensive explosion had waited one day. After the game, he found out the appeal of his two-game suspension for costumed hi-jinks was shot down by MLB officials. His enforced absence would begin the next day.

June 16, 1999: Mets 5, Reds 2

Coach Bruce Benedict piloted the Mets in Valentine’s absence and oversaw a mostly drama-free victory. Masato Yoshii pitched six solid innings, the offense notched six doubles (two each for Piazza and Henderson), Robin Ventura hit a solo homer, and John Franco pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixteenth save.

Valentine watched the game from the press level, wearing a checkered jacket and tie that reminded Piazza of old Philadelphia A’s manager Connie Mack. Though he felt helpless away from the dugout, he had little to worry about, save for when Brian McRae tried to stretch a single into a double and banged his knee on the bag. Despite the slight injury, McRae stayed in the game.

Meanwhile, the Daily News continued its weirdly detailed coverage of Rick Reed’s urinary trouble. Reed reported passing a small stone and said he felt much better.

Back in New York, Community Board 13 told the Mets they could build a minor league stadium in Coney Island if city officials also okayed a long-promised “Sportsplex” arena for the neighborhood, which would provide more year-round jobs than a ballpark. Hardy Adasko, president of the Economic Development Corp., stressed there was no “package deal” for a stadium-slash-Sportsplex.

1999 Project: Games 48-53 (A Homestand from Hell)

Click here for an intro/manifesto on The 1999 Project.

May 28, 1999: Diamondbacks 2, Mets 1

The Mets began a six-game homestand with the news that both Jason Isringhausen and Bobby Jones were ailing. Things didn’t improve much at game time. Rick Reed pitched well in his 7 innings of work, but gave up two runs in the second on a walk, a single, and triple. That seemed to be all the offense would Arizona would need, as Omar Daal shut the door on the Mets.

A homer by Benny Agbayani in the seventh (his fifth on only 43 at bats) cut the deficit in half, and the Mets threatened in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases on two singles and a walk. But Luis Lopez struck out looking, thanks in part to a strike zone the Mets thought had suddenly shifted.

To add another layer of weirdness to the proceedings, Turk Wendell was forced to leave the field in the eighth inning because, as Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter pointed out, he was using a two-colored glove, which was apparently illegal. Wendell swapped the glove and returned to the mound to pitch a scoreless frame. “It’s Showalter’s little antics,” Wendell told reporters. “He’s a stickler aboutlittle things like that. Power to him. It didn’t work. I’m sure Bobby Vdoes the same thing.”

May 29, 1999: Diamondbacks 8, Mets 7

This game saw yet another Mets pitcher go down. Allen Watson, starting in place of the injured Isringhausen, tried to kick-stop a line drive with his foot. This unwise move resulted in Watson limping off the field, and the Mets’ usually reliable bullpen did not hold up.

Every reliever but Armando Benitez made an appearance, but to no avail. Pat Mahomes and Rigo Beltran had both been stingy in their recent appearances, but they gave up three runs apiece this day, and the offense could not bail them out. Armando Reynoso, who’d been with the Mets the previous two seasons, gave up five runs in his five innings of work, but that was sufficient to earn a victory. In his first major league appearance, Byung-Hyun Kim pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.

The team’s frustration was clearly mounting. Brian McRae was tossed in the first inning for arguing balls and strikes. Rickey Henderson was picked off of second, which could have cost the Mets a precious run. And Rey Ordonez suddenly needed two days’ rest for a knee injury that came as a total surprise to manager Bobby Valentine.

Continue reading 1999 Project: Games 48-53 (A Homestand from Hell)

The Cincinnati Reds Perform the Collected Works of David Mamet

baker2.jpgLet me have your attention for a moment! So you’re talking about what? Bitching
about that save you blew, some son of a bitch that keeps fouling off your out pitch, some ump that doesn’t want to give you the outside corner and so forth. Let’s talk about something important. Hey, put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers only!

cordero.jpgBut I am the closer.

baker2.jpgDo you think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I’m here on a
mission of mercy. Your name’s Cordero?

cordero.jpgYeah.

baker2.jpgYou call yourself a pitcher, you son of a bitch?

arroyo.jpgI don’t have to listen to this shit.
baker2.jpgYou certainly don’t pal. Cuz the good news is, you’re fired. The bad news is you’ve got just one week to regain your jobs,
starting with tonight’s game. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. We’re adding a little something to this year’s NL Central contest. As you all know, first prize is a trip to the playoffs. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize’s a bowl of Skyline chili. Third prize is you’re fired. You get the picture? You laughing now? Bob Castellini paid good money for this offense. Take those runs and win with them! You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you ARE shit, hit the bricks, pal, and beat it cuz you are going out!!!

/points to blackboard

baker2.jpgThis is our philosophy. A-B-T. A-I-D-A. A-B-T. A: Always. B: Be. T: Throwing. ALWAYS BE THROWING.

/raps blackboard

baker2.jpgA-I-D-A. Attention. Interest. Decision. Action. Attention: Pay attention to your arm and make sure it is always throwing. Interest: Are you interested in your arm? Then make sure it is always throwing! Decision: Have you made your decision to always be throwing? Action: Throwing is an action. Make sure you are doing it ALL THE TIME! ALWAYS BE THROWING.

harang.jpgI assume by always, you mean during a game.

baker2.jpgALWAYS BE THROWING.

harang.jpgEven on off days?

baker2.jpgALWAYS BE THROWING.

harang.jpgEven after a lengthy rain delay when you’ve already thrown 83 pitches?

baker2.jpgESPECIALLY after a rain delay. ALWAYS BE THROWING.

harang.jpgI dunno, that sounds like a good way to ruin your arm.

baker2.jpg
Fine. You see this?

votto.jpgHey, guys.

baker2.jpg
These are the new leads. These are the Votto leads. And you don’t get them. Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. They’re for closers. I’d wish you good luck but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it.

cordero.jpgWait, so I get the Votto leads?

baker2.jpg
Shut up, Cordero.

1999 Project: Games 14-16

Click here for an intro/manifesto on The 1999 Project.

riverfront.jpgApril 20, 1999: Mets 3, Reds 2

The Mets traveled to Cincinnati to play a team other than the Expos or Marlins for the first time in 1999. The thoroughly boo-able Bobby Bonilla broke a 1-1 tie in the 7th with the first homer of his second tour of duty with the team, and Robin Ventura drove in another run in the eighth with an RBI single.

The Mets carried a 3-1 lead into the ninth, when John Franco decided to make things far too interesting by giving up singles to the first two batters. After a sac bunt, Pokey Reese singled in a run; a great play by Edgard Alfonzo kept the ball in the infield and prevented the tying run from scoring. Franco then walked pinch hitter Jeff Hammonds to load the bases with only one out, but struck out future Met Mike Cameron and induced a pop-up from Barry Larkin to end the game.

“I got away with one tonight,” Franco told reporters.

April 21, 1999: Reds 7, Mets 4

Birthday boy Masato Yoshii continued to struggle. The Mets handed him a 4-0 lead he could not hold; the Reds torched him for six runs in the fourth, knocked him out of the game, and cruised to a 7-4 victory. Yoshii’s ERA ballooned to 7.47, further endangering his future in the rotation.

During the game, Bobby Valentine got in a screaming match with home plate umpire Mark Hirschbeck, Roger Cedeno took a called strike three that was, in Valentine’s estimation, just as low as pitches by Yoshii that had been called balls. “Yoshii threw 15 pitches that good! I’ guarantee you that.” Amazingly, Valentine was not bounced for his insolence.

April 22, 1999: Mets 4, Reds 1

Al Leiter finally earned his first win of the season in this game, going six-plus innings and striking out eight. Valentine said Leiter pitched “like a man possessed.”

Another first came from the outfield, which featured all three of its projected starters for the first time that season (Bonilla, Brian McRae, and Rickey Henderson). That lasted exactly one inning before Bonilla removed himself from the game with knee trouble.

Todd Pratt (continuing to catch in Mike Piazza’s absence) hit his second homer in two games. Armando Benitez allowed a few baserunners in the eighth but escaped unscathed. Franco recorded a rare 1-2-3 ninth inning for his sixth save of the year.