Things are quiet. How quiet? Quiet enough that Reds.com is posting some Richard Justice article saying "ARE YOU DUMMIES CRAZY? JOEY VOTTO IS INCREDIBLE AND HE SHOULD NEVER CHANGE, NOT FOR NOTHING." That said, if you want to get your nodding muscles some exercise, there's a good way to do it.
Maggie Z. had one of her always-great interviews with Skip Schumaker. It's overall nicey-nice, if a bit amusing for the point in the article when he's like "I don't want my son to have to focus on baseball, he should try other things as well. Like maybe golf." Also, the interview goes into the history of Schumaker's nickname. Did you know that his high school coach started calling him "Skip" for what he wished he could do to young Jared Michael's spot in the batting order?
Devin Mesoraco has bought a house, got engaged, and has fond memories of running home from Christmas services to see what was under the tree. All this and more from Reds.com, who present this heartwarming story of the only person out-America-ing Jay Bruce right now.
Ouch, that had to hurt. Reds ink Wang, and here is a full list of the folks signed to minor league deals so far.
Just because it's cold and I miss him:
The Art of Fielding Segment of your Broadcast:
In case you missed it, or you are catching up on your reading assignments, here is our reading group for chapters 1-10. I think we're still waiting for all of our books to get out to our participants, so we'll have a light Q&A this week. And since a bunch of y'all aren't participating, we'll open these questions up to all non-readers, as well.
1) Agents! The beginning of the "uh oh" story arc that you just knew was stalking Skrim like a shadow. It reminds me of my favorite Sickles hypotheticals: Lets say you had a son who was drafted in the 8th round out of high school as a shortstop, but also has a full-ride to a very good college (let's say Vanderbilt, to see if KMiB is reading). What would you advise; that he take the money or the scholarship? He could improve his draft stock in college, of course, and he could always get a degree in the offseason. How would it change your reasoning if your son was a pitcher?
"He already knew he could coach. All you had to do was look at each of your players and ask yourself: What story does this guy wish someone would tell him about himself? And then you told the guy that story. You told it with a hint of doom. You included his flaws. You emphasized the obstacles that could prevent him from succeeding. That was what made the story epic: the player, the hero, had to suffer mightily en route to his final triumph.
Schwartz knew that people loved to suffer, as long as the suffering made sense. Everybody suffered. The key was to choose the form of your suffering. Most people couldn't do this alone; they needed a coach. A good coach made you suffer in a way that suited you. A bad coach made everyone suffer the same way, and was more like a torturer."
3) Schwartz reminds me of a Mike from my life. When I was a freshman, I went to rush week for all the frats, but didn't see anyone who I wanted to be with. Walking back to my dorm, I walked past an open meeting for rowing, where I met Mike Gross. Mike Gross was (and is) one of those 6'4" slabs of muscle that looks like it should be hanging from a butcher's hook, not cracking self-deprecating jokes. I took to him immediately; he had the big crew parties at his apartment and treated us freshmen fair. Bought booze for us, of course. But he even let me stay in his apartment during breaks and generally treated me like a protege.
I don't have a protege. It's something that's always bothered me. Crew collapsed after my senior year for lack of recruitment, and I'm much more the product of my father, my grandfathers, and the upperclass rowers than anyone I know could say that they're the product of me. This sticks in my craw. I'm not Schwartzy, as much as I wished I was. There's no discussion of Schwartz's stats so far in the book, so I wonder who we really are and what our legacies are: the records of us or the memories of us?
4) Angeeh said that "living in the moment is all we can do." I take exception to this; I think all we can do is plan for the next moment, to win the next battle, and to keep on trying to solve life's puzzles. Which one of us is right? Is it both? You're probably gonna say it's both.
What do we do now? We play ball.