About Me

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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reds New Manager Will Be Bryan Price Tigers New Manager - Dusty Baker?

According to published reports by the Cincinnati Enquirer the Reds will announce Bryan Price as its new manager.

Although Price has no management experience anywhere, his good work with the Cincinnati pitching staff has earned the 51-year old former minor league pitcher a great deal of respect.

Under Price the Reds' built a strong starting rotation and bullpen.  Price had more input into pitching changes than most pitching coaches during a game. Dusty Baker, who was fired after the season, relied heavily on Price when making pitching changes.

Price was the pitching coach in Seattle and Arizona.  He became available to replace Dick Pole as the Reds' pitching coach when he resigned in Arizona in protest to Bob Melvin's dismissal as manager of the Diamondbacks after the 2009 season.  Price went to work for Baker in Cincinnati and the Reds' won two division titles in three years and made the playoffs last season, winning 90 plus games three times in four years.

The Reds' assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins, who has been with the Reds all season and coached many of the current staff in the minor leagues, could step right in as pitching coach.

The Reds' main perceived problem was the offense, however, the Reds' lineup under Baker was third in the National League in runs scored in spite of its projected cleanup hitter missing due to injury for four months.

Reds' fans demanded that Baker, who has a laidback style, be replaced by  someone with a more fiery personality.  Price, who like Baker is from Northern California, has a similar personality.  He is calm and patient.

After the Detroit Tigers were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, its manager Jim Leyland resigned.  Leyland and Baker were ranked one and two on the wins list for active managers.

While in Cincinnati last season, Leyland bristled at fans complaints about his lineup.  Baker went through the same criticisms.  A look at the statistics for last season showed that Leyland's lineups not only produced 93 wins, the Tigers were second to the Red Sox in runs scored, on-base-percentage and slugging percentage.  The Tigers hit two fewer home runs than the Reds Sox during the season in spite of playing in cavernous Comerica Park, while the Red Sox played in cozy Fenway Park.

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press by John Lowe, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski approached Baker about being a manager in Montreal's minor league system 26 years ago.

Lowe wrote:

Perhaps more than anyone else available to the Detroit Tigers, Baker has two stand-out qualifications to manage them next season: He has considerable experience at managing both championship teams and the biggest of stars.

Baker today expressed interest in the Tigers brand-new managerial opening after Jim Leyland announced his resignation today.

“I’ve always respected Dave Dombrowski and what Dave has accomplished,” Baker said. “I have the ultimate respect and friendship for Jim Leyland. I’d be flattered and honored to be given such an opportunity.”

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Colerain's Loss Is Heaven's Gain

Debbie Marcum's voice wasn't raspy after Colerain defeated Mason 63-14 on Friday night.

The 1972 member of the Colerain pep group that cheered from the stands 41 years ago usually yells "defense" and "let's go Colerain" on Friday night.  Uncharacteristically, she was quiet.  The seats to her left were unoccupied for one of the few times since, 1968.

Her voice was spared on Friday; her eyes were not.

Debbie's father Bill Marcum wasn't in the seat to her immediate left.  That seat will represent a void not only in "the Cage" at Colerain but in the hearts of many in the Colerain community -including this writer.

Bill Marcum, a constant at Colerain football games, punted after 86 years and joined a team at a higher level.  Marcum ordered the doctors to withhold dialysis.  He knew it was time to let someone else carry the ball.

Marcum was a fighter but more importantly a supporter.  He knew the game as well as anyone around.  His daughter Debbie can explain the reads in Colerain's famous option offense.  She knows the angles used by Colerain's 50-slant defense.  Bill taught her.  But Bill never second- guessed the coach.  He was always, always on the field after the game with a pat on the back of the coach, win or lose.  He never left early in a blowout game, when the weather was bitter cold, rainy or under a heavy snow.

Marcum joined the Navy just prior to graduating from now-defunct Hartwell High.  The 16-year old fought for our country starting in 1944 and returned to get his GED and raise a family.

His eldest son Greg went to high school in Indiana.

His second son Doug inherited his father's competitive spirit and his track speed.  The family moved back to Cincinnati and Doug was a talented wide receiver and defensive back from 1968 to 1970.

Bill watched his son, 6'1" about 175 pounds, hit running backs and receivers on the same field that Debbie stared at blankly at on Friday.

Doug had scholarship offers from his hard-nosed play and his exceptional athleticism, but an knee injury late in his senior year kept him from moving on.

Bill never moved on.  He came to nearly every Colerain game for the next 42 years, often with Debbie, Greg and Doug, who at 60 can still wear his letterman jacket like he did when he was 17.

He watched Kerry Combs, the legendary Colerain coach now on the staff at Ohio State, chase down running backs at Colerain.  He watched current coach Tom Bolden, alias Top Gun, set passing records at Colerain.  Bill saw lean years and was there every game.

When I returned on a regular basis when my nephews played on Colerain's emerging teams of the early '90's, Bill recognized me, one of the less significant players in Colerain's history.

We greeted each other every week during the football season.  He was in Canton for Colerain's state championship win over Canton McKinley in 2004.

Bill never second-guessed the coach after a rare tough loss.  He was still on the field to pat Combs or Bolden on the back.  He was there to shake players' hands after wins and after losses.

Finally, Monday, Bill Marcum had enough.

"So be it," Marcum told his sons and daughter.  "I'm not taking any more dialysis."

Tom Bolden and the Colerain Cardinals have dedicated the rest of the season to Bill Marcum.

I will dedicate my life to being a loyal fan just like him.

Rest well, by friend.

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
for proof reading services call

Cincinnati Takes Advantage Of Huskie's Quarterback

Cincinnati saw another freshman quarterback and pinned its ears back ready, willing and able to pressure the kid into making mistakes. The result was a 41-16 win over the Connecticut Huskies to improve to 5-2.

Tim Boyle, a big true freshman with a very strong arm, is not used to the speed of the college game yet and the Bearcats took advantage of that.

Cincinnati, who is at the top of the NCAA list in several categories, sacked Boyle eight times.  They also forced three interceptions.  The Bearcats are sixth in the nation in total defense.  They are fourth in first down defense and 17th in scoring defense.

"We got after the quarterback," UC coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We had eight sacks. We pressured him. We made him throw some interceptions. We did some things today we hadn't done in a while. We probably blitzed more today than we had in the first six games. And we did it because No. 1 you go after a young quarterback and No. 2, you've got to learn to play man coverage and press and make the quarterback throw on time and not sit back there all day."

Deven Drane's interception with 1:31 in the first half, setup a one-yard touchdown run by Brendon Kay that helped turn a 14-3 game into a rout.  UC scored then and when the defense forced a punt deep in Connecticut territory.  The short field allowed Cincinnati to pile on the 0-6 Huskies with a fourth touchdown with 17 seconds left in the half.

"Tim has to get faster at making his reads and he will," said Connecticut coach T.J. Weist, who returned to Cincinnati after coaching the Bearcat receivers last season and acting as the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati's Belk Bowl victory over Duke.

Boyle now understands the difference between the high school and college game.

"It is much faster," Boyle said.  "Looks in practice are great but it's nothing like the speed of the game.  I have to get faster at making my reads.  The protection doesn't hold up that long."

When Cincinnati switched to man coverage, Weist took the blame for some of the eight sacks, especially those late in the game.

"Some of those sacks were on me," Weist said.  "I probably went with an empty backfield too many times.  They adjusted to man coverage.  We have to learn to adjust back."

Kay quarterbacked the team after missing most of the practices during the week with a sore shoulder.

"Brendon played well. He played gutsy," Tuberville said. "He's playing out there like an ironman because he's so beat up. He needs these days off. We're going to give him pretty much the whole week off this week coming up. When we needed him, he was in there firing. He only practiced a day and a half this week. Even surprised me we came out and threw the ball deep on the first play because I didn't think our timing was going to be there because he hadn't thrown it a lot down the field."

Kay threw four 300 yards and four touchdowns while completing 17 passes in 24 attempts.

"We do the same things every week," said Kay dismissing the notion of rust from the inactivity this week. "I've had enough game experience that I can adjust to that and I know all these receivers."

Cincinnati has 11 days off before travelling to Memphis for a Wednesday night nationally televised game against the Tigers.

Local Grown Huskie Scores Against Bearcats


Connecticut's Marquis Vann scooped up a fumble by Cincinnati backup quarterback Bennie Coney.

The sophomore linebacker from Fairfield High School in the Cincinnati suburbs, returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.

The Huskies two-point conversion failed.

Vann is one of three Cincinnati players on the Connecticut roster.

Angelo Pruit, a junior defensive tackle, is from North College Hill.  Pruit is listed as a backup but played most of the game on the defensive line for the Huskies.

Liam Sallquist, a 6'5", 245 pound tight end, is from Oak Hills High School.  Sallquist is sitting out the season as a redshirt.

Cincinnati 41 UConn 16

Bearcats Add To Lead

Brendon Kay threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Anthony McClung to cap a 92-yard Cincinnati scoring drive with over eight minutes left in the game.

Cincinnati 41 UConn 10


Weird Change Of Possession In Bearcats vs Huskies


Cincinnati backup quarterback, Bennie Coney, threw a pass that was intercepted by Wilbert Lee at the Cincinnati 39.

Lee returned the interception to the 19-yard line.

Cincinnati's Mike Tyson step in front of a receiver and picked off a pass by Tim Boyle at the five.

Tyson ran threw the Connecticut offense for 90 yards and appeared to be going to the endzone for a Cincinnati score.  Deshon Fox had other ideas.  Fox caught Tyson at the UConn five and stripped the ball from Tyson which rolled into the endzone.  Deven Drane tried to pounce on the ball for a touchdown but couldn't control it.  The bouncing ball eluded two other Bearcats, rolling through the back of the endzone.  The Huskies took over on its own 20.  It amounted to a 64-yard loss on the play.

The third quarter ended.

Cincinnati 34 Connecticut 10

Connecticut Finds The Endzone

Fullback Max DeLorenzo ran into the Bearcat endzone from 12 yards out capping a 73-yard drive on the fifth play with 7:04 left in the third quarter.

Tim Boyle's 27-yard pass to Geremy Davis set up the run.

This is T.J. Weist's second week as interim coach.   Weist is the interim head coach, the offensive coordinator and oh by the way the receivers coach.

Cincinnati 34 UConn 10

Bearcats Wildcat Offense Produces

With starting quarterback Brendon Kay in motion from a wide out position, Jordon Luallen threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore, who made his second scoring catch of the day.

It was Luallen's first career touchdown pass.

Luallen directed the Bearcats wildcat offense on a 10 play, 69 yard drive to score with 9:26 left in the third quarter.  Tony Miliano converted from placement.

Cincinnati 34  Connecticut 3


Cincinnati Scores Twice Before Half

Brendon Kay ran the ball into the endzone with 1:31 left in the first half.  Kay wearing number 11, scored on his second consecutive one-yard run.

The other number 11, Deven Drane returned an intepception 47 yards to set up the score.

The Bearcats forced a punt on three plays, getting possession on their own 45 with 44 seconds left.

Kay completed three straight passes, the third was a 32-yard scoring pass to Max Morrison with 17 second left.

Holder John Lloyd couldn't handle the snap for Tony Miliano's fourth extra-point attempt.

The half ended with the Bearcats in control.

Cincinnati 27 Connecticut 3

Brendon Kay Shakes Off Injury To Throw A Scoring Pass


Brendon Kay followed through on a pass and hit his right hand on the helmet of a Connecticut defensive lineman.

After a quick trip to the Bearcat locker room Kay returned to throw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Blake Annen on the first play of the Bearcats' drive with 10:30 left in the first half.  Tony Miliano's kick was good.

Cincinnati had pinned the Huskies on the one yard line with a punt, getting the ball back on the Connecticut 41.

Cincinnati 14 Connecticut 3

Connecticut Answers Bearcats With A Score

Connecticut answered Cincinnati's touchdown with a 26-yard field goal by Chad Christen.

Freshman Tim Boyle led his first career scoring drive as a starter, moving the Huskies 48 yards in 12 plays.

The Huskies drive stalled after a first and goal from the Cincinnati four yard line.

Christen's kick was good with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.

The quarter ended after Cincinnati ran one play.

Cincinnati 7 Connecticut 3

Bearcats Score First

Brendon Kay completed a 76-yard drive in six plays with an eight yard scoring pass to Chris Moore.  Tony Miliano kicked the extra point with 12:20 left in the first quarter.

Cincinnati 7 Connecticut 0


Bearcats Play A Winless Team, Again

For the fourth week in a row the Cincinnati Bearcats face a team that is without a win.  If you include the season opening game, the Bearcats opponent has been winless in five of its seven games this season.

The University of Connecticut comes into the contest at UC's homecoming with an 0-5 record.

The Huskies fired head coach Paul Pasqualoni two weeks ago.  T.J. Weist, who was a receiver coach at Cincinnati last season, was named interim coach.

Weist promoted true freshman Tim Boyle to starting quarterback.  It is the second straight week that the Cincinnati defense faced a true freshman signal caller.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Brandon Phillips On Trading Block

Brandon Phillips' days with the Reds are dwindling.

The Reds' front office is believed to be shopping the Reds' All-Star secondbaseman.

The Reds have a roster problem to solve.  Trading Phillips would free up money to resign Shin-Soo Choo.

Phillips is slated to earn $11 million dollars in 2014, $12 million in 2015, $13 million in 2016 and $14 million in 2017.

Phillips was outspoken about his dissatisfaction with the contract negotiations between his agent and Reds' CEO Bob Castellini.He called Castellini "a liar" in a published report by Cincinnati Magazine last summer.

“To this day, I’m still hurt. Well, I don’t wanna say hurt. I’ll say scarred. I’m still scarred. It just sucks that it happened. For [Castellini] to sign somebody for $200 million, there must be a new vegetable or fruit coming out that we don’t know about. For him to do something like that and tell me they didn’t have any more money, that’s a lie. But what can I do? I just feel like it was a slap in my face," Phillips told Cincinnati Magazine writer Jason Williams.

Given a chance to deny the story, Phillips stuck to it.

Castellini was also upset when Phillips interrupted then-manager Dusty Baker's pregame press conference, calling a reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer a "fat motherfucker" in front of cameras.

Castellini received a letter from an anti-defamation group and had to issue an apology.

The Reds' owner was also heard instructing Baker to fine Phillips for a play on which Castellini felt Phillips did not give his full effort.

Cesar Izturis was the only player to fill in at secondbase.  The Reds' secondbasemen in Louisville were Henry Rodriguez, a September call-up and Emmanuel Burris, who made a bid for a roster spot in spring training as a non-roster invitee.

The is a very limited market for secondbasemen in Major League baseball.

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
for proof reading services call

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bearcats Get Back To Winning Ways Over Temple

Cincinnati's defense was eager to meet Temple's sluggish offense but found out the Owls found a new star.

P.J. Walker led and offense the challenged Cincinnati's fourth ranked defense in the first half.

Temple was the 117th ranked team in scoring offense with just 15.8 points per game.  The Owls put up 20 points in the first half.

Cincinnati shut out the owls in the second half.

"Defensively, we had no idea what they would be running offensively," Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said. "They had a new quarterback and new formations and it looked like we didn't know what they were doing. We didn't stop much in the first half, but we made some adjustments. We made sure to get in the quarterbacks face and not let him get outside."

Tion Green set career highs with 91 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries and Brendon Kay added two touchdown passes to Anthony McClung as the Cincinnati Bearcats logged their first win in the fledgling American Athletic Conference, 38-20, over winless Temple at Nippert Stadium on Friday night.

 Before a crowd of 32,220, Kay was 31-of-37 for 270 yards and also ran for a touchdown and Tony Miliano added a season-high 44-yard field goal as Cincinnati (4-2, 1-1) bounced back from a turnover-plagued, 26-20, loss at previously winless South Florida on October 5.

True freshman quarterback P.J. Walker, playing just his third game and making his first career start, was 12-of-22 for 200 yards and two touchdowns with one interception and added 48 yards on nine carries for the Owls (0-6, 0-2), who still are looking for their first AAC victory.

Cincinnati's defense bounced back.

""I wanted to come out the same way in the second half," Walker said.  "We played fast.  The second half we came out flat.  U.C. blitzed a little more but we picked them up.  We needed to make some third downs and that's on us."

Cincinnati, hoping for a quick start after scoring just six points in the first half against South Florida, scored on its first possession and added three more touchdowns to build a 28-20 halftime lead. Kay connected on all five of his passes for 32 yards on the opening drive, and added a 25-yard touchdown pass to  McClung and a four-yard scoring run while Green was scoring touchdowns on runs of 24 and two yards.

Temple hung with the Bearcats, shredding the nation's fourth-ranked defense in total yards for a season-high 20 first-half points and 271 yards, 16 more than the Owls' total in their 30-7 loss to No. 8 Louisville on October 5. Walker completed touchdown passes of 35 yards to Jalen Fitzpatrick and 30 to Clinton Granger and Zaire Williams added a one-yard run as the Owls gained 20 more yards than the per-game average of 251 allowed by the Bearcats in their first five games.

The Bearcats had gone 10 consecutive quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown.

Kay added a four-yard touchdown pass to McClung with 9:19 left in the third quarter.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bearcats Extend Lead

Tony Miliano kicked a 44-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.

The field goal came two plays after an apparent touchdown pass from Brendon Kay to Mekale McKay was called back for a holding penalty.

Cincinnati 38 Temple 20

Start of the fourth quarter.

Bearcats Drive After Second Half Kickoff

Cincinnati scored with 9:19 left in the third quarter.

Brendon Kay threw four yards to Anthony McClung for the second touchdown connection between the pair.

Tony Miliano kicked the extra point.

Cincinnati ran 11 plays on the drive which covered 58 yards.

Cincinnati 35 Temple 20

Bearcats Take The Lead Into The Half - Get The Ball To Start Second Half

Cincinnati owns a 28-21 lead at halftime.

The Bearcats are scheduled to receive the second half kickoff.

Temple came into the game ranked 117 in scoring offense (15.8 per game) but freshman P.J. Walker put together an impressive half for the Owls.  Walker took over for junior Connor Reilly, who left the game against Louisville last week with a knee injury.  Walker's mobility allowed the Temple offense to better handle Louisville's pass rush.  Walker had a key 31-yard run on the team's third touchdown drive.


Temple outgained Cincinnati 271-249 in the half.  Walker passed for 133 yards on 6-for-12 passing.  Temple rushed for 138 yards against the Cincinnati defense.

Cincinnati was hoping for a fast start and got it with a touchdown on its first possession.

Cincinnati had 134 yards through the air and 115 on the ground.

Brendon Kay, who is playing in place of injured Muchie Legaux, completed 16 of 22 passes.  Tion Green had 12 carries for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

Green Scores For Bearcats

Tion Green scored his second touchdown of the game with 1:00 left in the half.

The two-yard run capped a 71-yard drive.

Tony Miliano kicked the extra point.

Cincinnati 28 Temple 21

Temple Answers Quickly

P.J. Walker was able to shake off the interception on his last pass, putting together a quick drive to score with 5:10 left in the first half.

Walker threw to Clinton Granger to complete a 30-yard scoring pass.

Temple took two minutes to drive 81 yards in five plays.

Cincinnati 21 Temple 20

Brendon Kay Converts After Turnover

Brendon Kay ran the football into the endzone with 7:10 remaining in the first half.  Tony Miliano made the extra point.

Kay pinned the Owls on the one-yard line with a 58-yard pooch kick that rolled dead.

P.J Walker's pass to a wide open receiver was under thrown, allowing Middletown High's Zach Edwards to intercept and return the ball to the Temple 12.

Kay ran the final four yards on the third play of the short drive.

Cincinnati 21 Temple 13

Bearcats Take Lead Back

Brendon Kay threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Anthony McClung with 14:00 left in the first half.

Tony Miliano converted from placement to put Cincinnati back on top.

The Bearcats drove 80 yards in nine plays.

Cincinnati 14  Temple 13

Temple Takes The Lead Over Cincinnati

Zaire Williams scored from the one-yard line with 2:08 left in the first quarter but Nick Visco's attempt for his second extra point in two minutes hit the right upright.

The Owls capitalized on a UC fumble, taking over at the Cincinnati 24.

Cincinnati starts its third possession on its own 20 with 2:03 left in the first quarter.

Temple 13 Cincinnati 7

Owls Catch Bearcats

The Temple Owls put traveled 80 yards in 1:36 to tie the Bearcats with 4:21 left in the first quarter.

P.J. Walker found Jalen Fitzpatrick in the back corner of the Cincinnati endzone with a 35-yard pass.

Cincinnati 7 Temple 7

Temple recovered a fumble on the kickoff return.  The Owls have the ball first and 10 from the Cincinnati 24.

Bearcats Jump In Front Of Temple

The Cincinnati Bearcats made it a point of emphasis to score early.

In the previous five games, they were shut out in the first quarter in four of them.

Tion Green ran 24 yards to put the Bearcats on the scoreboard in their first possesion with 9:56 remaining in the first quarter.

Cincinnati 7 Temple 0

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Reds Make Dusty Baker's Dismissal Official

Reds' Director of Media Relations announced that the Reds will replace Dusty Baker as manager of the team.

Baker will collect $3.5 million due him on his contract.

"This is a very difficult decision to make," general manager Walt Jocketty said in a press release.  "Dusty played an important role in the recent success of this organization and we thank him for his contributions during his time here.  We feel a change is necessary, however, if we are to continue to move forward."

The pressure is now on Walt Jocketty.

Baker and Jocketty disagreed on several points as most managers and general managers do.

Baker wanted to keep Chapman as closer.  Jocketty wanted the left-hander to move to the starting rotation.

Jocketty as part of the Chapman move, wanted to take Mike Leake out of the rotation.  Baker fought and won that battle too.  Leake had his best professional season.

Baker lobbied to bring Billy Hamilton to the major leagues this past September.  Jocketty didn't want to start the clock on Hamilton's arbitration eligibility.  Hal McCoy, Joe Kay and this blog reported Baker's statement that he fought to bring Hamilton to the big leagues.  Jocketty was upset about the revelation.

Dusty Baker Is Out As Manager According To The Associated Press

Ben Walker of the Associated Press citing an unnamed source reports that the Reds will announce today that Dusty Baker is out as manager of the Reds.

The story does not specify if Baker was let go by Bob Castellini, owner of the team, or resigned.

Fans consensus overwhelmingly called for Baker's dismissal after Baker led the team to the playoffs in three of the past four season, winning over 90 games three times.  The Reds' failed to advance past the first round in the playoffs.

The result of the dismissal of winning managers has historically led to periods of frustration.

Cincinnati has let go four managers after winning seasons and subsequently suffered through long droughts between playoff appearances.

Dick Wagner fired Sparky Anderson after he led the Reds' to a 92-69 record but failed to make the playoffs, finishing second to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Ironically, Baker was a member of that Dodgers' team.

The Reds' won 90 games under John McNamara but were swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS.

It took the Reds four managers and 10 seasons of sub 90 win seasons with zero playoff appearances.

Lou Piniella led the Reds wire-to-wire to a surprising World Championship in 1990.  He lasted two more seasons, leaving after a 90-72 season.  The departure of Piniella came two years into a four-year playoff drought.

Dave Johnson got the team back into the playoffs with an 85-59 record in a strike shortened season.  The Reds lost in four games to the Atlanta Braves.  Johnson was fired by Marge Schott, who knew nothing about baseball, because he lived with his girlfriend Susan before they were eventually married.  She hired Ray Knight because he was her favorite player, not knowing that he and his wife Nancy Lopez dated while she was married to another man.

That frivolous move led the Reds' through three dark seasons until Jack McKeon took the Reds' to within one game of the playoffs in 1999.  The Reds won 96 games but finished in a tie with the New York Mets for the wild card.  New York defeated the Reds in a one game showdown.

The Reds had a 85-77 season in 2000 after the Reds brought Ken Griffey Jr. back to Cincinnati.  Disagreements between McKeon and general manager Jim Bowden led to McKeon's dismissal and seven straight losing seasons until Baker arrived.

Anderson, McNamara, Piniella, McKeon and Johnson all successfully managed teams to successful seasons after leaving Cincinnati.

Anderson led the Detroit Tigers to a World Championship in 1984.  McNamars led the 1986 Boston Red Sox to the World Series. Piniella never again returned to the World Series but won two division titles with the Seattle Mariners and two straight division titles with the Chicago Cubs.  McKeon turned a losing Florida Marlin team around in 2003 and defeated the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Baker has won three Manager of The Year Awards.  He has won over 1600 games and a .526 career winning percentage.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reds' Season Wrap By State Champion Baseball Coach

Gary Yeats was the head baseball coach at Fairfield High School.  He won two Ohio State Championships with the Indians.  Now retired to Sedona, Arizona, Yeats serves Reds' owner Bob Castellini during spring training in Goodyear, Arizona.

Yeats has observed the Reds' putting a team together each of the last four years.  The following are his opinion of the 2013 season.

Hi there Reds fans! You have to admit you were surprised by this season. So much hope and yet the season was much like a toothache that kept coming back. I watched about 145 games and at times wanted to turn the TV off. But NO I hung in to the end. A bitter end? No! Just an end. A dull aching last week that finally came to a close. The Reds were "all in" for this season and an opportunity was lost. So lets look at some of my thoughts. Before the final out, the Dusty haters were already looking for a new scapegoat. Last year the Reds won 97 games games and this year 90. How in the heck did they win 90!. Blame Dusty if you want but the true answer lies elsewhere.
                                        CHAMPIONSHIPS- Michael Jordan

The 2013 had talent. Teamwork was lacking.Yes they had injuries but no one really stepped up to overcome the injuries. (Cingrani and the bullpen being the exceptions).
No one on the Reds team had a career year to help to carry the team. The majority of the Reds players had years below their MLB averages. The bench was anemic again. The Leftfield position alone shows what a difference a year makes. in 2012, Ludwick and Heisey combined for 33 HR and 111 RBI's. This year 11 homers and 35 RBI's. They combined for 208 hits in 2012 but only 84 in 2013. A difference of 22 HR, 76 RBi's and an incredible 124 hits. Nobody stepped up.. The Reds had only 4 hitters over .260. (The Cardinals had 8, Pirates 7). Yet the Reds won 90 games.Pitching got them there until ultimately running out of gas in the last week. Now as far as intelligence goes. The baserunning by this team was worse than what you see in the lower levels of High School ball. To see the TOOTBLANS over and over again was beyond comprehension. Do you have to teach this to seasoned MLB players. No the responsibility is theirs. The baserunning applied to almost every single Reds player regardless of intelligence, ability or experience. In short the talent was there to win games but far from winning a championship.
Of course the blame will be directed towards the manager. Rightfully so in some ways because he is in charge. Personally, I choose 2 areas to focus on Mr. Baker. Allowing Joey Votto to play 162 games was not very prudent. Mr. Baker is always resting his players but the one who needed it after coming off serious injuries was out there everyday. Observe Joey Votto this year and you see a body language unlike any other year. You see mental mistakes and physical mistakes and a hitter that was lost at times. The second area was keeping Cozart in the second spot in the batting order. Cozart had a fine second half of the season batting seventh. Otherwise Dusty was typically Dusty with his management of the games and the bullpens. He is probably responsible for helping get this team to 90 wins but is part of the collective blame for this season. Dusty likes to say his teams finish strong but this team finished a week early.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Jackie Robinson

This season was not "Deja Vu all over again" like the Yogi observed. It was a Surprise. The Reds have been to the playoffs 3 of the last four seasons. They continue to give us a lot of entertainment. There will be some changes over the winter but the nucleus will be returning for years to come.
We have an owner that is committed to winning. Mr. Castellini and his family will not QUIT in trying to get the Reds to the World Series. When Carmen Berra asked her husband where he wanted to be buried, he responded "Surprise Me". There may be some surprises over the winter but by the time that Spring Training rolls around, Reds fans will be buzzing with anticipation and eager to watch and observe another season. Maybe they will really surprise us next year! Thanks for reading my blogs. I enjoying venting my exasperations and observations. YIB- G

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Frustrating End Of Season - Reds' Fans Long For Sparky Anderson's Reds

Reds fans are bitterly disappointed in the loss that ended a trying season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates ended 21 years of frustrations by defeating the Reds 6-2 in a one-game postseason playoff of wild card teams.

The Reds fought adversity to be one of five National League teams with a shot at the World's Championship but dreams crashed and burned on the PNC playing field, leading to frustration which caused finger pointing and unreasonable blame.

Cincinnati fans were spoiled by the Big Red Machine, the standard by which all other Reds' teams are measured whether the comparison is fair or not.  Social media allows the voices of decent to resonate quickly with more volume than the letters to the editors of the golden age in Reds' history.

Make no mistake as nostalgic as Reds' fans are for the Sparky Anderson years, the development of the current edition of Reds has some parallels to the BRM.  If only the fans could stop blaming Dusty Baker and realize that patience should not be mistaken for complacency.

Sparky Anderson took over the Reds at the age of 36.  Reds' fans were indignant when team president Bob Howsam introduced him.  Sparky who?  How could he hire a nobody that was roughly the same age as Bronson Arroyo?

The Reds surprised everyone by winning the National League West.  The Reds fell short of the World Championship when they were handled by the more experienced Baltimore Orioles much like the 2010 Reds of Dusty Baker were handled by the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Orioles veteran pitching staff that included Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar had very little trouble with the Reds lineup of Johnny Bench 22, Lee May 27, Tommy Helms 29, Dave Concepcion 22, Tony Perez 28, Bernie Carbo 22, Bobby Tolan 24 and Pete Rose 29.  The Orioles dispatched the Reds in five games.

The Phillies of 2010 with Cy Young award type pitchers Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee easily out classed, Ryan Hanigan 29, Joey Votto 26, Brandon Phillips 29, Jonny Gomes 29, Drew Stubbs 25 and Jay Bruce 23.  The Phillies swept the Reds in three games.

The Reds of 1971 and the Reds of 2011 both suffered through injury laden years to finish below .500.

The Reds of 1972 with the addition of Joe Morgan 28, lost to the Oakland A's in the World Series but this time in seven games.  Centerfielder Bobby Tolan, recovered from a torn achilles, could not track down a key hit in game seven. The 2012 Reds fought off the favored St. Louis Cardinals to win the Division and were on the verge of sweeping the San Francisco Giants when a devastating untimely injury to its 19-game winning pitcher and an untimely error by a Gold Glove thirdbaseman led to a five-game series loss.

The 1973 Reds were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Mets.  The 2013 Reds lost a one-game playoff to the Pirates.

The Reds failed to make the playoffs in 1974 under Anderson.  The Reds with Dusty Baker will have a chance to mature a year sooner than their '70's counter part.

One wonders if the fans were as conspicuously critical in the 1974 if Sparky Anderson would have been permitted the opportunity to break through with the 1975 and 1976 Reds.

The 2014 Reds will have a successful and more seasoned manager.  The team is at a similar stage of development as the 1974 team that ended up with three Hall of Famers.

Baker has done as much with less than Sparky Anderson already.  Reds' fans need to exercise some patience.

One of the complaints heard in Reds' country is that the Reds are content to make the playoffs.  The same could have been said about the early editions of the Big Red Machine.  It took five full season to develop into true champions.  Baker is on the right track.  The organization has developed a fine young pitching staff.  With tweaks this team has a chance to accomplish what the BRM did.

It remains to be seen if Joey Votto can be the quiet run producer that Tony Perez turned out to be.

Zack Cozart offensively is ahead of Dave Concepcion.  Can he continue to improve?

Can Devin Mesoraco be the offensive force that Johnny Bench was.  It would be a stretch to expect Mesoraco or Ryan Hanigan to be the defensive catcher that Bench was.

Brandon Phillips is being mentored by Morgan.  He has actually passed some of Morgan's career offensive numbers.

Jay Bruce is providing power as George Foster did.  Bruce is defensively as good as Ken Griffey Sr.

Ryan Ludwick is one year removed from an injury that could solidify the offense as he rebounds.

Billy Hamilton could be a super star.  Tony Cingrani, Robert Stephenson and a couple others have a chance to help the Reds sustain a winning tradition if given the chance.