CHICAGO - FILE: Barry Larkin #11 of the Cincinnati Reds punches someone.
Hall of Fame Induction weekend festivities get underway today
This is the schedule for the Larkin and Santo Inductions. Appropriately enough, Ozzie Smith made an appearance this morning, preceding Larkin's induction tomorrow, but not overshadowing it. John Erardi and Greg Rhodes are giving a talk tomorrow, if you want to know where RR-writer Ken is going to be at 11 a.m. The Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony is at 4:30 tomorrow, followed by a "Parade of Legends." I assume these are strictly baseball legends. Not Nordic folklore or something. The induction, which is a different thing entirely from the "HOF Awards Ceremony," is 1:30 Sunday.
He wasn't "barely" Larkin
Cliff Corcoran, co-author of the recently-released Hall of Nearly Great, discusses why Larkin doesn't belong in that book - and where he ranks among the elite short stops in history. Corcoran concludes that it's a "small miracle" that Larkin made it after only three years of eligibility, though I think we're witnessing an attitudinal and generational shift among the writers. Larkin also had the advantage of riding above steroid suspicion, some goodwill and visibility in his post-playing career and an eligibility that kicked in before the huge crush of stars. But let's not re-litigate all that. it's Barry's Big Weekend.
Jamie Ramsey delivers an updated list of Reds' walk-up music
Brandon Phillips has his usual mixtape worth of songs, with specific needle-drop instructions. Newest Red Xavier Paul makes a strong debut on the charts with Bone Thugs' "Crossroads." I must have missed Ondrusek's "Antichrist Superstar" (Marilyn Manson) pick, which doesn't really jive with him shaving off his beard. Harris had some good picks, so let's hope for his swift return. Homer Bailey' and Ted Nugent have to be the least surprising pairing in baseball today. And those hoping Aroldis Chapman would enter to a more traditional closer-y Slayer or Metallica cut may be dissappointed to know he's chosen pretty much the exact opposite.
Jay Jaffe previews the trade deadline for NL Central teams in SI
Needless to say, the Reds are buyers. While I don't think they should rule out acquiring a starter if the conditions are right, they're in the game of chasing after an outfielder who can get on base. Span and Victorino have to be considered two of the top names that are available and won't melt down the farm system. I also think the Reds need to add a utility player or first baseman to have in the corner infield mix while Votto is out, but that's less likely to be an impact player.
Red Hot Mama took some photos at Game 91
If you can avoid sitting in the left field upper deck, which appears to be behind the scoreboard and in Mt. Adams, you should.
Baseball Nation looks at four bullpen-to-rotation conversion from this season
It won't make you optimistic about Chapman - especially given how much Chapman's situation was compared to Neftali Feliz - but this is a highly case-specific thing. And four is a small sample. And Chapman is the best.
The Diamondbacks demoted Trevor Bauer
I thought he was more than a little unlucky when he faced the Reds earlier in the week. His lack of command probably had something to do with being drenched from head to toe in Cincy Swamp sweat. But he also holds the opinion - strange for a pitcher - that ground balls are bad. Maybe he does need to hit the books.
Which pitchers and teams have been given the most favorable strike zones so far?
The Reds as a staff, come out looking pretty good, though the effect of umpire vs. PitchFX is surprisingly small. You might be able to credit Hanigan for his pitch-framing, which has been celebrated before, though other teams who do well don't have backstops with similar reps.