Results tagged ‘ Reds ’

HOF ’12: Barry Larkin

Barry Larkin, longtime Cincinnati Reds SS, is now a Hall of Famer.  My two comments on this year’s class:

1. Good for Barry.  He (from what I hear/read) was a class act, hustler, and loyal to the city of Cincinnati.  I got to see the end of his career, and he was always (96-early 2000s) one of the most well-rounded shortstops in the game.

2. Please do not be offended by this, but Larkin doesn’t strike me as a HOFer.  He was the epitome of stability (and his stats reflect as such), but never really excelled in any phase of the game enough for me to have voted for him (had I procured a vote).

Your thoughts?  Anyone out there have a strong case for Mr. Larkin?  I’m open to re-interpretation considering how long he played before I began watching baseball.

The Obligitory Reference

335%20Johnny%20Vander%20Meer%20Reds%201938.jpgAny time a major leaguer hurls a no-hitter, like Frankie Liriano did last week, an obligitory reference must be made sometime before his next start to Johnny Vander Meer.  Thus, I’m just doing my duty (!)

In 1938, on June 11th and 15th, Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds pitched no-hitters in consecutive starts, the only major league pitcher to ever do so.  Vander Meer’s major league career was suspect (119-121, 3.44 ERA, 1,132 BB, 1,294 K), but he’ll always have those two days in June ’38.

Can Liriano do it?!  Let’s just say, it would take a seismic event of the Twins falling to last place in the divis…oh, okay.  So maybe anything IS possible at this point.

Preview (12-21, 5th, 0.5 GB CWS): Rick Porcello (2-2, 3.93) vs. Francisco Liriano (2-4, 6.61).

MVPS: More Traditional Than Cy-Young

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New+York+Mets+v+Cincinnati+Reds+EwQ3z5Ejmoxl.jpgFirst of all, congratulations to both Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto for their respective 2010 MVP Awards.  They both would have been my picks as well.

Whereas the AL Cy-Young award may have been a bit of a change in favor of stats (Felix Hernandez winning “just” 13 games), the MVP’s were a bit more traditional this year, given out to two cleanup hitters who flatout did their jobs.

Without either player, I don’t think the Texas Rangers or Cincinnati Reds make the playoffs in ’10 (or at least not quite as easily as they did).  They both just did what a fourth hitter should do: rake the ball, hit for extra base power, and drive in a plethora of runs.

One Voice I’ll Miss (And One Not So Much…)

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I heard the other day that these two guys (Jon Miller and Joe Morgan) will no longer be calling games together on ESPN.

I’ll miss Jon Miller.  He didn’t have the greatest insights into the game, but his voice was both pleasant and exciting to listen to.  Here’s an example:

 

On the other hand, Joe Morgan (a star from the Cincinnati Big Red Machine long ago) was one of the most knowledgeable baseball guys I’ve ever heard behind a mic. Trouble was, he was too arrogant to really be likeable on-air, radiating a brusque manner that undermined his tremendous knowledge.

 

Very Quick NLDS Thoughts:

Phillies vs. Reds:

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Though the Reds are clearly the “fly under the radar and upset everyone” team, I’ll take Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels in a short series.

Braves vs. Giants:

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The Giants can pitch, but Jason Heyward is a special player and will turn this series to Atlanta. Bobby Cox is also an X-Factor as the best manager in baseball.

Junior’s Circuit, No More

The other day, upon hearing that Ken Griffey Jr. had announced his retirement from Major League Baseball, I wanted to take a moment here to reflect on one of my favorite baseball players of all-time:

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Though I grew up a Minnesota Twins fan in the mid 1990s, those Twins teams didn’t exactly have the type of superstars that can captivate the imagination of a youngster (sorry Ron Coomer, Terry Steinbach, and Butch Huskey).  Thus, I naturally gravitated towards the best (with respect to Barry Bonds, a phrase I never thought I would write) player in baseball at the time: Ken Griffey Jr.

Junior could do it all: Hit for decent average (career .284 hitter), tremendous power (630 career dingers, back-to-back seasons of 56 jacks), steal some bases (particularly early in his career; 184 career), and track down balls in center field like Torii Hunter would later do for my favorite club.

In fact, when the big power/steroid boom of the late 1990s occurred, it was the Griffey/McGwire show before Sosa juiced up and changed everything in ’98.  Fortunately, Griffey has never seen the smear of performance-enhancing drugs touch his name.  He also has none of the tell-tale signs (huge musculature, sudden growth, etc.).

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Sadly, the career of KGJ took a down-turn after he signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 2000.  Though he was the darling of Seattle with the Mariners, I couldn’t blame him for wanting to play for his hometown Reds.  However, the Reds never challenged for any sort of title during the “Griffey Years”, and Griffey himself endured so many injuries it would have made Mickey Mantle flinch.  At one point, he was projected to “easily” surpass Hank Aaron’s home run record, and may very well of done it had not the injury bug bitten hard.

After a brief stint with the Chicago White Sox (that, despite good performance, never quite seemed right)…

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…it was nice to see Junior in an M’s uniform once again in the end:

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Perhaps the fondest memory I will take away from Ken Griffey Jr. the baseball player, though, is how as a child I sent him a letter asking for an autograph.  Some time later, I received a glossy 8X10 of Junior that had me nearly bouncing off the walls in excitement.  A first-ballot Hall of Famer in every sense of the word:

 

2010 MLB Picks

crystal-ball.jpgMy “official” predictions for the 2010 MLB season (before the season gets too far along and starts to affect my judgement!):

AL East

New York

Boston (Wild Card)

Tampa Bay

Baltimore

Toronto

AL Central

Minnesota

Chicago

Kansas City

Detroit

Cleveland

AL West

Los Angeles

Oakland

Texas

Seattle

NL East

Philadelphia

Atlanta (Wild Card)

New York

Florida

Washington

NL Central

St. Louis

Chicago

Milwaukee

Cincinnati

Houston

Pittsburgh

NL West

San Francisco

Los Angeles

Arizona

Colorado

San Diego

AL Champ: New York

NL Champ: Atlanta

World Series Champ: Atlanta Braves

Questions, comments, rants, profanity-laced tirades?!

MLB Predictions: 2009

1908Cubs.jpgEach year, usually after receiving the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview issue, I make a complete set of MLB picks.  It’s always fun to look back at them and see how right/wrong (wrong far outnumbering the right!) I was at the end of the season.  Here they are for ’09:

AL East:

Boston

Tampa Bay (Wild Card)

New York

Toronto

Baltimore

AL Central:

Minnesota

Chicago

Kansas City

Cleveland

Detroit

AL West:

Los Angeles

Texas

Seattle

Oakland

NL East:

Philadelphia

New York (Wild Card)

Florida

Atlanta

Washington

NL Central:

Chicago

Milwaukee

St. Louis

Cincinnati

Houston

Pittsburgh

NL West:

Los Angeles

Arizona

San Francisco

Colorado

San Diego

AL Champion: Boston

NL Champion: Chicago

World Series Champion: Chicago

So, after 100 long seasons of waiting, I think this is the year that the Cubbies will finally win the big one.  I just think that their pitching is too good not to make a deep playoff run.

Double Homecomings

 
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Tom Glavine back to the Atlanta Braves: After pitching the first 16 years of his career with the Braves, then five years spent with the rival Mets, Tom Glavine was back in a Braves uniform last season.  However, his great homecoming story was cut short by an elbow injury that required surgery, after which many thought he would hang ‘em up.  However, it was announced today that he is coming back to the Braves for one (presumably final) season.  Hey, as long as he can still paint that outside corner, he can still win 10 games.

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Ken Griffey Jr. back to the Seattle Mariners: After spending his first 11 star-studded seasons in a Mariner uniform, KGJ left for his hometown of Cincinnati for eight years, where injuries plagued his performance to the point where he became a shell of his former greatness.  During the mid-1990s, when I was just getting into the Minnesota Twins and baseball in general, my favorite single player was Griffey (sorry Ron Coomer, you just didn’t cut it for me…!).  I loved the mammoth dingers he would crush and the confident (bordering on cocky, but he could back it up) way he carried himself.  Thus, although he’ll likely never hit as many as 35 homers in a single season again, it will be fun to see that bat-waggling, uppercut swing back in Seattle (although it will be a little wierd not observing it in the Kingdome!).

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