Monday, August 30, 2010

Winning Baseball Returns: Cincy Style, The Chills are Back!

Aug 31 W/New Nikon

     By 1976 we had started to take things for granted, at least I had. As a young lad who played more baseball than watched, The Reds were "The baseball Universe". To Cincinnatians Reds MLB dominated the map, engulfed, and surrounded us: in the local media , radio airwaves, especially through our WLW Radio in the kitchen everyday, we took it for granted. The Reds were on top of the baseball world, the Great 8 were intact at least for a few more years. In 1976 the Machine started to suffer the "dismantling".  Tony "Big Dog" Perez was the first to go, for McEnaney and two others (Manager Sparky Anderson and General Manager Bob Howsam later considered this trade the biggest mistake of their careers).  But that wasnt the only nail in the coffin that dismantled the Machine, that would come in the form of Free Agency, let me refresh some memories or inform our young Reds fans that may only know the 1990 "Winning Reds": 

     It was the founding of the MLBPA changed the landscape of professional sports forever, and had a huge influence on small markets like Cincy. Among the many milestones achieved with the MLBPA was the advent of free agency rights. Curt Flood’s unsuccessful challenge of the reserve clause started the ball rolling toward free agency. Funded by his fellow players, Flood sued Major League Baseball privately. Flood eventually lost his case in the U.S. Supreme Court, but the battle educated countless players and millions of Americans about the fundamental inequity of the reserve system, which perpetually renewed a player's contract, essentially binding the player to one club for life, or until that club decided to get rid of the player.
     Just three years after Flood vs. Kuhn, players Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally once again challenged the reserve clause. This time, instead of a trial in a court of law, an independent arbitrator heard the case. And in December 1975, the players finally won the right to free agency, when arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled that the reserve clause granted a team only one additional year of service from a player, putting an end to perpetual renewal right the clubs had claimed for so long.
     So as Cincy ill fate would have it Free agency came as The Machine (Sans Doggie) could have continued rolling, but not with a players right to boogie out of any town they didnt want to play in. Not to say it wasnt justified for them to do it, but as salarys increased the next 20 years, small market teams like Cincy suffered. It's not necesarily a bad thing, it is just,.... well: It is what it is! Unfortunately Small market dynasty's had virtually ended, 1975/76 being one of the final, so winning baseball in Cincy became scarce. Of course we have our 90 Reds(see how fast I skipped the 80's ? ;) Larkins lead 1995 and 99 squads, then 10 years of being teased, but never in August-Sept until: drum rolllllllllll: the 2010 'Nati Reds !
     They are back and so am I! Let me explain, I never really went anywhere, always checking the Reds Box score first, even after a loss, knowing they lost, trying to find a silver lining in the hit category, pitching, or listening closely for someone coming up from Marge's dismantled scouting and farm system. For all Marge did to bolster the Reds by Free agency, she did the opposite to our vaunted pipeline especially in Latin America: aka Concepcion/Perez etc....Living in San Diego (Compliments USN ;) during Tony Gwynns years and now Wa State during Ichiro's and a short return of our Cincy son: Jr to the Pac Northwest, The Pads and M's provided temprarry baseball entertainment, never satisfying my need for championship, "Cincy" style, ball. I will always live during every summer day on the outcome of the latest Reds fortune be it win or lose. So, enter the 2010 Reds!
    This season has recaptured my heart and my first love: Baseball, Football has to wait, for the first time in years while I track our New Machines fortunes, day by day. An MVP race, A Triple Crown race, a Veterans comeback year, another gold glove at 2nd,  have all reminded me while I love summer with winning baseball. The expectations of cool baseball in October, friends, family and a home town abuzz, its giving me chills as I type!
     As I flew back to Ohio two weeks ago, from the Left Coast, the Reds hats and conversation increased as I changed planes, more reds fans boarded as we got closer to Cincy. One lady also clearly suffering from a relapse of Reds fever, was very excited but a little loose on facts, was trying to excitedy and pridefully tell a young man a row in front of me about "Carson Johnson" who was a "reciever" for the Reds. She was on a roll, so I didnt want to correct here. She and others can always jump back on the wagon as long as they "never" jump off! (My #1 Cardinal rule for "wagoners";) (BTW I cant type the word "Cardinal" without my blood pumping slightly faster, kinda like Bengals/Steelers! ;)

     Thank you Reds, thank you Cincy: the energy Friday for Bruces "trifecta of swat" was something I had not felt at home since 1990 (BTW, I was home in 75/76/90 but not 95/99, workin on a return in two months ;)
    Thank you Reds for returning my first love, well except for this new one:

Rosey u cant have me: The Reds and baseball come first! 

     I look forward for what may come this fall, my expectations were marginal this year, but you've given me something to hold onto again, for no matter what happens, the chills are back! 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Brawl at the Wall" 2010, Cause: Yapping, Effect: RIVVAAALLRYYY!

                                Al Berhman/AP

I hold MY Reds players accountable, accountable when they hit .230, or open their mouth: only inciting another team and giving them plenty of fodder, bullpen posting/motivating material: a #1 No-No in sports! Especially in the heat of a pennant race, especially to an underachieving team, let ‘em sleep! And take advantage of them with your bats, not your mouths!

Is BP a nice guy? I don’t know but I hear he is: Paul Daugherty said it, in the heat of the week mind you: Brandon took everything the Reds have preached and practiced for 4 months and drove a nail through it:  Nail in coffin analogy work here? Of course not, more like a temporary thumb tack in the pants

BP started the Fire, Molina fueled it, and unfortunately Cueto he had to go Chan Ho Park: on camera! The fight was pretty fair until the spikes went in the air. Remember BP at the All-star game: "1st 2 third that's what we do" what is it now "Fight and talk that's what we do" ? Sorry I'll take the former!

Some question whose side I am on here: I am on the side of Reds winning baseball, what BP did was ultimately counterproductive, making words, not baseball the focus. I would have had BP's back in the fight but he would never talk through the media again after our closed door clubhouse meeting. Our series against the Cards could have been very different. But it ended up being about fighting, suspensions, losing a three game series. When you play lightning rod,  now your teammates have the added responsibility of of backing you up AND beating the other team: takes focus of the game,  Folks that dont get this, dont get the TEAM concept.

 But yes "Phillips apologist" of course I understand this was only one series with 40 somethin’ games to go. And yes I believe they brought their best physical abilities, we did not, and gave them an edge on the mental side. Yogi said it best: "Baseball is 90% mental the other half is Physical" then we gave those "little doggies" a brand new edge against us that did not exist before the comment. Is this great for baseball? YES! Is it fun to watch heated teams frustrations being released: YES! Was it fun to watch Cuetos spikes popping Larue’s magnum: HECK NO! Was it fun watching the main perp go 2-13, NOPE! Is a new reason for rivalry and competition between your division rival exciting: YES ! Did the sweep by STL ultimately cause to much finger pointing: perhaps. 

There is one more series with these buzzards and plenty of baseball, after a decade of division domination by STL, it would have been nice to start to bury them this week, and we could have! We had all the momentum coming into that series, (Sweeping Lou's crew) and yapped it away. We can hit anyone, if mentally locked in, so im not buying some of the "they outplayed us " completely, because an edge was giftwrapped to the Cards. The nation outside of Cincy all said the Reds yappers got the karma they played into, well maybe this will turn into our karma next time! ;) Phillips played right into Larusa’s need to motivate the sleeping "little puppies" it was a big series, the last one before what could be THE series against St Louis Sept 3-5. If STL wins this division, some are saying Phillips will be STL's MVP!

Another regional perpsective on yapping: "You got an alligator mouth and hummingbird ars".  BP your mouth wrote checks that your bat didn't cash. (To BP's credit he stood by by his comments, and, after he provided all they needed with the "beaaaaches" comment he did compliment the Cards organization) Have they whined about their perceived unfair Reds home field advantages, sure, do you yap it to the media, no, you use it to self motivate.

I am not a working shill for the Reds, or afraid to keep my boys in check, which keep some on here from critiquing them, blindly supporting a Red no matter what. I told someone on twitter (that has since not talked to me when they called me out for "berating" the Reds) that this is tough love, like sitting down a younger brother that does something stupid, gets in a fight, (of course I step in to try and keep the thugs off him; ie Capt Rolen) and after he's cooled off you explain to him how ill conceived it is to take your advantage away and hand it to your adversary. "Speak Softly" sounds kinda boring, but carrying a BIg Stick doesn't! Disrespecting your opponent: through the media? Silly, immature, and who looks laughing with the sweep: Cards fans! BP you owe us next time! ;)

Moral of the Story: Yet to be seen. Will BP learn from this? Does he want to? Will he observe his more consistent teammates play on the field, talking with sticks and not grills? In this one guys "Loyal to Team only" opinion: I hope so!

(Major Caveat I'd like to add 5 hours after posting: I'm sure I dont know BP or what makes him tick, his comment is something we all may feel about some of the Cards players, but its just the way/how, and when he expressed himself that incited the Cards. I think him tapping Molina was his way of sayin, "hey not all u guys are "beaaaches" just your knucklehead pitchers", its clear he didn't have anything against Molina, tapping him may have been his way of sayin; "We cool man?" But once you call a team out, even if you meant only a few of em, your stuck. You cant blame Molina for protecting his own, (just like the Reds Bench protected BP) Press on Reds fans!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mr Commissioner Never Mind, Your Services Are No Longer Required, Hall Of Fame: It's Time To Drop the "Pete Rose Rule" !

Mr. Commissioner,
   It is clear to us that barring Pete Rose's untimely death, Pete showing up volunteering to be a sausage for life in one of your Oversized Meat races, or simply groveling for forgiveness, your not going to reinstate him. Bullheaded Pete wont grovel anyway, so forget that idea. Not even with the backing of Mike Schmidt or Henry Aaron on Pete's Side, will you make a decision. Before we go further consider this: How antiquated is a system is one ruler dictatorship/decision maker-ship? iHow has that worked in Government politics, ummm can you say government "Fail" ? I know thats extreme, but isn't a "one ruling power" over the careers of so many, an outdated idea? How can one person wield the power that thus effects thousands even millions of fans and many men ie: Shoeless Joe, Pete Rose, etc. How can one man only, influence the history of the game? In keeping the All-time MLB hits leader out of even the conversation of the Hall, one man has the Baseball Universe by its Balls!
Well Ya' know what Commish' Never Mind we don't need you! For two Reasons:

1) You don't need to reinstate him: I kinda agree with you, Pete doesn't deserve a job in the Game. Why?  Pete needed to "reconfigure" his life, Remove himself from gambling if that was the addiction that caused his banishment from his passion: Baseball. His continued gambling, lack of sincerity, and lying for 14 years is hard to swallow(More below)
2) The Hall Of Fame Itself can make thing whole thing "right"!

   Pete isn't close to "reconfiguring" his life , (yes I know about the recent heartfelt hug to Johnny Bench) and legally he has every right to bet on the ponies. But if something your addicted to is keeping you from your first love: Baseball, wouldn't you gather the strength to remove yourself from that addiction? Even "Bullheaded" Pete who would wear a "Gasoline suit through Hell to play baseball" doesn't evidently have the strength or desire to quit his second love: gambling. Pete is still observed at the track waving wads of cash. In his book My Prison Without Walls he still admits to what some call his disease, his weakness: "One would think he might have learned his lesson following fulfillment of his sentence, which included time in a halfway house and community service, yet he continues to "occasionally" gamble and sought to make a living as a race horse trainer." ( 
   The point is if he admitted to gambling on the Reds in the clubhouse, and he wants another job in a clubhouse, could you trust him? Would it be worth the risk/press/media scrutiny to your ball-club? In my opinion he aint gettin' reinstated though the commissioners office, but he could get on the ballot if the Hall erases its seemingly "behind the scenes collaboration" with the Commish office when they made the "Pete Rose Rule." So lets focus our energies elsewhere! ;)
   Shortly after Pete's banning, the Hall made the rule: If any Player is on the Ineligible List from baseball he cannot go on the Baseball HOF ballot, Thus because of the timing it is referred to as the "Pete Rose rule". After Rose's ban, the Hall formally voted to ban those on the "permanently ineligible" list from induction. Previously, those who were banned had been excluded by informal agreement among voters. 
Dear HOF,
   We revere you, the history you maintain in your hallowed halls, the yearly pomp and circumstance that you exhume when you enshrine the greatest, is revered by all. Hall Of Fame, Its time, the entire universe recognizes Pete's deserving efforts for what he did between the White Lines. Why would you maintain an allegiance with the Commissioners office that is scrutinized across the country as outdated, unfair, and gets hammered on all sides to address the Pete Rose situation. Imagine the weekend Cooperstown NY would have inducting Peter Edward Rose? I was there when Sparky/Tony/Fisk/Marty (and of course Bid) went in in 2000, but the buzz was about Pete then as it still is now. You want a Economic bailout? Announce the Hit Kings induction!;) 
There is another with a new perspective on Petes Induction: One Mr Ken Burns:  "Vote him in after he's dead. He deserves to be in the Hall but he doesn't deserve to know"  Wow Mr Burns, we respect you, but for you to judge when someone would enjoy an accomplishment only in death is rather callous, is it not? Judge away Mr burns we will choose not to cast stones!
   We are not naive, there are many old schoolers that will never forgive Pete, and their argument has validity, he bet on the game, thus putting his own financial entertainment above the rules of the game he so dearly loved. But it is also a game he bled for, dove for, crashed through catchers for, raised others levels of ability for, and hit more baseballs safely than any other Human has done, on the field of play, in recorded history. It's time. Pete has shown signs of contrition towards those that have looked on him with a cautious eye. Namely One JB #5.
   Pete's contrition towards Johnny Bench may be the start of "reconfiguration" of his soul. After all thats what must change first. So Finally, Hall Of Baseball Fame, we have seen Pete's items you so proudly display in your Reds display, isnt it time now to finish it off with a bust? We ask you to take another look within baseballs soul which at times emanates from 25 Main Street, but is not baseballs soul mainly centered in its fans nationwide? You don't have to decide O Hallowed Hall, all you have to do do is erase the Rule in order for a vote to take place. Let Petes fate have its day on the ballot. For who else is banned from baseball waiting to get in? Shoeless Joe Jackson? Another strong case. Your not opening a can of worms here, 2 men, one changed the game, let us re-embrace their accomplishments together, on your lawn!


Baseballs Humble fans

(Sent the above 8/8/10)

If your So Inclined:

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
25 Main Street,
NY 13326

Its time folks, I must not be the first to want to bypass the Commish, and I'm sure I wont be the last, but the easy fix is so evident is it not? If you feel so inclined to drop the Hall a quick e-note here is the link:
Please sign the petition:
I have also started a Facebook page to hopefully continue the groundswell in that other cyber-world:

Warren Spahn said it best: A good hitter has timing. A good pitcher upsets timing. 
Let us have good timing!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Redlegs And Cards Fight For The Same Perch!

As Reds and Cards (Insert Buzzards, Pigeons whatever you'd like) fans ponder who will fall first! Let this 1926 rendition of The Reds re-capturing First place be a premonition of what's to come!

03JUNE2010: "This relic was dug up last week by Reds Media Production Manager Dave Storm.  Good stuff, Dave.  Thanks! "Jaimee

Thanks to Jaimee and Better of Red for posting this back in June.

Comin August 7: Hey Bud, Never Mind!: Pete, Cincinnati Reds Fans, And Baseball Fans for #14's Justice Worldwide have another Solution for Pete! Stay Tuned! ;)

(Philosophy Final August 6th, Hit King Solution to recognition without Bud Selig's help coming to the Progressive pages August 7!)