Saturday, October 31, 2009

Game two

Boy, neither team's manager likes his bullpen. Girardi looks like he's going to try and win the series with four pitchers, the three starters and Mo. And Manuel is pitching Blanton in game four because he didn't want to take Lee out in game one with a five run lead. That's one way to answer the who's-your-closer question. Sending Pedro out for the sixth was questionable but the seventh, too? Wow.

The big question tonight is which Cole Hamels shows up: the '08 postseason pitcher or the '09? I think we all know what the Yanks will get from Pettitte. I think the Yanks will get to Hamels and the Philly pen and take back home-field advantage in the series.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fantasy baseball banquet

The Colonial and Glenn Sample leagues had their joint awards banquet last night at the Black Finn. I came in third, so did not receive a trophy. All told, five trophies were handed out. There was a tie in the Colonial League and a three-owner team (father and twin sons) won the the Sample League.

The guest speaker was Chris Eckes, Curator for the the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. Mr. Eckes gave a great talk on the history of the Hall of Fame and the fairly new history of the building and museum which are part of GABP. He spoke at length about the process for being elected, the requirements, and even the periods of time when there were no elections. Apparently, at one time Hall of Fame night was one of the season's biggest promotional nights.

We also heard some great stories about Pete Rose and Marge Shott. Pete apparently sold three different jersies as the jersey he was wearing when he broke Ty Cobb's record. Interestingly, they have a photo of Pete in the dugout that night with two extra uniform shirts draped over a railing in the dugout. While he could certainly have only worn one for the record breaking hit, he likely wore all three during the game. Not an uncommon practice, according to Mr. Eckes.

One problem they have is that the teams didn't save much. Accept for Marge, who apparently saved everything. For example, thanks to Marge the museum has a jersey for all but three of the 1990 Reds for next year's display honoring the wire-to-wire team. Speculation from the group that perhaps Marge intended to recycle the jersies at some point was not shot down, although she never actually did that.

Game one

My Series prediction isn't wrong (yet) but one of my main criteria certainly was. I predicted trouble for Cliff Lee facing the Yankees and I couldn't have been more wrong. He had a great night last night, striking out ten and walking none over a complete game that would have been a shutout but for an unearned run. The dynamics of this series have taken a 180 degree turn thanks to Lee. Everyone thought the Yanks would win and now folks are scrambling to figure out how they can, knowing that the Phils will have Lee at least one more game and maybe two.

Tonight's match-up should be a doozy, given the possible upside (with huge corresponding risk) of the Phils sending Pedro to the mound and the unpredictability of A.J. Burnett. One loyal reader was kind enough to point out in the comments section of the blog that in addition to Indians and L.A. fans, Mets fans are hating this match-up, too. Never will that be more the case than tonight, as they have to watch Pedro pitching for the rival Phils against the hated Yanks. I look for Pedro to have a decent game and for A.J. to give up a few runs, but this one will be won by the Yanks against the Phils bullpen later in the game.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

East Dillon Lions

I'm anxiously awaiting the premiere of season four of Friday Night Lights tomorrow night on DirecTv 101. As you'll recall, Coach Taylor was fired by the Dillon Panthers and took the head coaching job for the cross-town Lions. I'm eager to see who principal Tammy will route for (and how many main characters will be in their sixth year of high school).

Monday, October 26, 2009

World Series preview

I'll get the prediction out of the way first: Yankees in 6. They've been the best team all year and don't appear to have a discernible weakness. Newcomers CC, AJ, and Tex have solidified the pitching, defense, and line-up. And A-Rod is on fire. And don't forget the Captain, Mo, and Pettitte. Those guys can taste victory again. I just don't see that group being denied the championship this year.

But the Phillies are the team to try. What a great match-up: the best team in baseball this year vs. the defending WS champs. And the Phillies missed the best N.L. record by only one game. The Dodgers (read: Torre) might have been a better story, but the Phils will make for better baseball.

Both teams have good pitching, but play in hitters' parks. I see the series as pretty high-scoring. The Phillies do have Cliff Lee, who has been brilliant since coming over from the Tribe, but he's been brilliant against the N.L. The Yanks are not the N.L. and they've hit against Lee a lot, unlike, say, the Dodgers. Lee is the Phillies best hope, and he's overrated because of what I just said. Thus, Yanks in 6.

I guess the only groups not happy with this match-up are L.A. fans (to the extent that's not an oxymoron) and Indians fans. How painful must it be for Tribe fans to see a series open with CC v. Lee in game one (and perhaps game four, and game 7 -- which won't happen because the Yanks will win in 6)? The Indians were one game away from the Series in '07 and now have resorted to hiring a new manager who was just fired by, arguably, the worst team in baseball. It's not that bad here in Redsland.

Stay tuned for an upcoming rant on instant replay. You may be surprised by my position on the issue.

Update: Bengals' bandwagon headed in right direction

Last week, I took it personally when the Bengals were upset in our inaugural game with our new seats. But this week I got to say something for the first time ever at a football game that you Elder grads probably say a couple of times a year: "We're up 6 touchdowns." What a performance by the Bengals as they steam-rolled the Bears defense, which was the subject of a funny facebook "Amber Alert" parody last night. (Last seen exiting the team bus at PBS...)

But this performance begs the question: where were these guys last week? The Bengals couldn't move the ball at all against Houston. I have to believe the difference is the Bengals from week to week. No way Houston is that much better than da bears.

So what to think? I don't know. My Dad had a sermon he used to give every once in a while about the fact that you can't be on the wrong path; there's only one path. You can, however, be going the wrong way. The Bengals seem to be running z sprints up and down the path rather than running the distance race in the correct direction that will get them to the playoffs.

We don't see another game until Thanksgiving weekend, so hopefully the World Series can keep us occupied for a while. More on that to follow.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bengals bandwagon

Rachel and I picked this year to get Bengals seats, but we still haven't been to a regular season game. That ends tomorrow as we make our debut in our new seats. Hopefully, the recent run for the Bengals hasn't been tied to our absence. I also hope the excitement at the very end of every game the Bengals have played wanes some. I look for the Bengals to win by two touchdowns.

A big factor in our decision to jump on the bandwagon this year was our tailgate group. Ten of us split one pass, meaning we each host one tailgate all year, and attend as many as we'd like. Tomorrow is our turn to host and we're having Montgomery Inn barbecue. If you're going to the game, stop by. We'll be in Lot 1 at 11:00 a.m. Call my cell (859-816-9121) and I'll help you find us.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


There won't be a Survivor post this week. My wife's out of town and I'm watching baseball. Survivor fans should check back next week. Baseball fans should check back tomorrow.


I'm heading to Columbia, South Carolina, tomorrow for my first ever away SEC game. Look for some posts on the pageantry if not the details of the game. For any of the technical stuff about the game, check out UK Football Fan blog which can be linked from this page.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Colonial League finale

In the league that I paid the least attention to I had my best finish, third in the Colonial Leauge. I probably could have challenged for the lead (two teams tied for first) had my overall first pick, Jose Reyes, not missed almost the entire year. I did poorly in stolen bases and runs scored and he certainly would have helped. My strategy was to draft quality starting pitching and two good closers (Bell and Cordero). I won the league in saves (I picked up Leo Nunez, too) and was able to trade some starters for Andre Ethier and Troy Tulowitzki. Both had great offensive second-halves, and helped me gain valuable hitting points.

Bgal has exciting finish

Saturday night I posted on my facebook page that I didn't see any reasonably likely scenario that would put me in the money. I was right; Ryan Raburn hitting two home runs on Sunday and the Twins forcing a playoff were not reasonably likely. On Sunday, Alex Gordon hit a home run that was about to put me in a tie for third, one home run away from a tie for second, when Jed Lowrie (at almost the same minute) did something else unlikely; he hit his first career grand slam. That kept me out of third, but I had a second wind, the Tuesday night playoff. I added Laird, Santiago, and Thames (dropping Hairston, Wigginton, and I-Rod) on Monday night. All I needed was two home runs and I'd skip from 5th to tied for 2nd. Alas, it was not to be. My additions went 1-10, and none of my guys homered. But it was a great season. I'm looking forward to some time off and then I'll be following the prospects in the AFL. And it will be nice to watch the playoffs without worrying about my fantasy teams.

By the way, Brandon Inge's rbi in the 9th moved the Smokin' Guns into a tie for 3rd with the Water Buffaloes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reds' draft in '08

Here is a comment from Kevin Goldstein, prospect guru at Baseball Prospectus:

Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds (Seventh overall)
Like the Beckham comment, this isn't necessarily a bad pick, as Alonso had a solid but unspectacular full-season debut, this is more about what could have been: in the hours leading up to the draft, the Reds were torn between Alonso and University of Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham. Alonso looks like he might be a power/on-base first baseman with problems hitting against left-handers, while Beckham looks like a future star with a chance to be a "face of the franchise"-type of player. So there are no big complaints about what they have, as long as you don't think about what could have been.

Beckham had a great year in the majors with the White Sox. In the meantime, Votto established himself as The Reds' best player and the Reds traded for Scott Rolen and his $11 million contract for next year. Those two facts, coupled with the fact that we don't have a decent shortstop prospect (we have some decent prospects who play short, but all will have to play elsewhere in the bigs) make the draft of Alonso even worse. Maybe the Reds were still thinking they'd move to Phillips to short. And I typically advocate drafting the best available player and sort it out later. But this is one the Reds will regret. Maybe they should start shopping Alonso now.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kudos . . .

. . . to Ben Nicholson for winning the League of Nations championship. Yours truly finished fifth.

Arroyogate (or pine tar, part 2)

As the regular readers of this blog know, I used to be a Cardinal fan. I went to jr. high, high school, and college near St. Louis and followed the Cards through a lot of post-season success. In 1990, however, I moved to Kentucky where two things happened, both in October: I rooted for the Reds for the first time and began hating Tony LaRussa. Ultimately, I moved here and became only a Reds fan.

But of course, I still have strong Cardinal roots and have been pulling for them (hey, it's better than the Cubs) once it was clear they were in the playoffs. Not any more. LaRussa, et al. are such cry-babies. Smoltz and Duncan accused Arroyo of using pine tar to grip the ball Wednesday night. What a croc! Don't they know that if Arroyo were going to cheat he would tell USA Today about it in a cover story? LaRussa is a turd (consecutive posts!) and I can't root for him to succeed. I don't have any problem believing that there was a problem with the balls, Smoltz hadn't walked 5 batters in a game since 1995, but don't blame Arroyo.

LaRussa is like school on Saturday: no class.

Survivor update

I was very impressed last night with Jaison. During a heated, emotional tribal counsel he articulated an argument that was well thought out and well stated regarding why he was offended by Ben. Based on that performance (setting aside the content of the argument -- I'm sure we all have our own interpretation) he will be very dangerous in a final tribal counsel setting. The way he handled himself was great.

At the same time, and I hate to admit it, Bad Russell played the game very well last night. He was determined to oust Ashley, and make himself 3 for 3 on ousting who he wanted, but had the good sense to recongnize how adamant Jaison was. By sticking with Jaison, he cements that relationship and did not have to reveal his true colors. Boy, I look forward to that day. I guess we'll see if Bad Russell's fear of an all girl alliance was justified.

Speaking of Bad Russell, there is actually another tribe playing this game. I saw some of them last night and wondered who they were. Of course, we all know Good Russell; he was elected tribe leader and looks like a better looking Lennox Lewis or a worse looking Milli Vanilli (please tell me you saw Bruno). He blew it last night. He says he picked comfort over function because the girls wanted comfort. Well, this made the guys mad. But then he made it worse, by telling the girls he was pandering to them. So not only are the guys mad, the girls think he's a turd. Sure, they're comfortable, but Good Russell's stock fell some with his tribe last night. Of course, if they never lose, it won't matter.

Shambo was a little over-the-top last night when visiting the other tribe. She played that a little strong leaving her with only one option: flip at the merge and then be the first one voted out when her "new" tribe survives. Not a great spot to be in.

Dave update: Unlike last week, Yasmin didn't do anything incredibly stupid last night (except give the camera goofy looks) so I'm still in for at least another week.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


The best new show on T.V. this year is glee. (I haven't watched Modern Family yet, which I hear is hilarious.) It's about, of all things, a high school glee club. This is the kind of thing you never would have seen 10 years ago, but with High School Musical and Nick Lachey's choir show all of a sudden this kind of thing is cool. The musical numbers are top-notch, and the show is hilarious. What's cool about it is the adults are the crazy ones and the kids are pretty normal. A lot (all?) of the characters are cliches, but they're either so over the top it's funny, or they don't always act in completely predictable ways. It works.

The show is also fun for me personally, because I was in swing choir in high school (and also on the football team). I so wish that I had a video of our swing choir so that I could compare it to the show. We weren't bad singers, but our choreography was non-existant (read: terrible) and our songs were crappy stuff like the Carpenters. Plus, we typically performed at nursing homes, not at Regionals. I went to a pretty small high school so you could do stuff like play all the sports, be in band and chorus, and do swing choir and the musicals. (I did all of that except band.) Fun stuff, which I'm reliving while watching glee.


Today notwithstanding, the Reds are finishing up strong. Right before the all star break the Reds were in the hunt, hanging around .500 in a "weak" division. Then two things happened. The starting pitching went south and the Cards took off. That made the second third of the season irrelevant for the Reds. But the starters have pitched really well of late, especially Arroyo and Bailey. Arroyo in particular finished very strong. That just proves that starting pitching is everything in this game. Sure the Reds struggle at times to score, but give them a nice 7 inning, two run start, and they have a great chance to win.

After today's blow-out they're 1 and 1/2 out of third. They have a real shot to finish in the top half of the division and should feel decent going into next year. They have three more against the Pirates, against whom they have looked good this year.

I will be there Saturday and Sunday, so stop by and say, "hey" if you're at the game. I'm sure there will be plenty of empties in my section.