Joey Votto is again a Red, and he got on base twice yesterday which good lord we'll take at this point in the season. It's all very exciting stuff. I hope he'll turn the season around. I'm just not betting on it, is all.
Maggie Zahneis, the best sportswriter in Cincinnati, has a good writeup on how Mesoraco is doing so far. Despite his slump -- attributable to getting a diet of offspeed stuff he has to learn how to hit or spit at -- he's apparently doing a good job with the pitching staff and is becoming a young leader known for his fieriness. Zahneis even hints that he may be on his way to face-of-the-franchise status which man is the most 2014 thing ever.
Sheldon's latest wrapup includes a fascination with Chapman's changeup that we all share. Bryan Price references John Smoltz...does this mean that Chapman will be groomed for a starting role? Probably not. Price also says that there's no need to use him in multi-inning appearances the way that Broxton's been pitching.
The big news is last week's draft, and the Reds have already signed a ton, including the considered-hard-to-get Gavin Lavalley and Shane Mardirosian. Aaron has a little wrapup here, and of course you should read Doug Dirt's thoughts as well.
As for mine? It's easy to make fun of the Reds for taking four college juniors out of good schools with their first four picks like they were playing The Bachelorette or something, but Sparks has a high ceiling, Trahan and Howard are very good arms, and Blandino fills the "competent middle infielder who won't drool on the baseball" need that the Reds have in their system. So it's tough to get too worked up.
In the later rounds, the Reds took a guy named Roderick Bynum from Alaska, a Staten Islander lefty who had a sub-0.2 ERA, and most intriguingly, a white ethnic high school third-baseman from Etobicoke, Ontario (named Bobby Byckowski). I also like Montrell Marshall for being a 6'5 monster and Mitch Trees for having a name that sounds like what Sonny Bono should've done while skiing. As sour as I was early-on (and boy was I sour) I think there's actually some good picks in the later rounds that could turn into something productive and the early-pick guys seem somewhat Cardinalsy in mixing "dudes who throw hard" and "dudes who know a strike zone."
I still have the Reds drafting four middle-infielders in 40 rounds: Blandino, Mardirosian, and some 37th-rounder named Walker Whitworth as 2b, and a lone college senior from Cumberland College named Josciel Veras at short. I hope that shortstops grow on trees, because I have no idea where else the Reds think they come from.
It is with great pleasure that I tell you that even though my name was in the 2014 Washington University commencement list, I did not attend. I could tell you that this was because I boycotted a Tony La Russa commencement speech. I could tell you this was because having a guy tell me "You have people who just look at you as a Washington University graduate, be envious, they haven't paid the price that you have paid," is ridiculous, because the hard work of graduating is nothing next to the hard work of, say, raising kids as a single parent. Point is, La Russa is awful, La Russa-as-role model is awful, Commencement-speakers-as-complaining-about-the-way-things-are makes ~milennials~ look like stoic Victorians, and that I didn't go to commencement because I thought I graduated a year ago.
A really fascinating read on the Astros' scorched-earth strategy from one well-named Billy Frijoles over at Athletics Nation:
To use Luhnow's words, "we're trying to win big league games." No you are not. You are trying to lose big league games while assuming that you are the smartest guy in the room. You are trying to alienate players while assuming that does not affect the team. You are trying to force your knowledge rather than get a buy-in. And you are keeping talent down that could help you win more games.
If Luhnow is right, he will at-best turn the Astros into a 95-win team with a chance to take on the other four very good teams in the AL West. If wrong, he has destroyed baseball in Houston. It's pretty bad to have players both anonymous and on-the-record trash the organization for being cheap, every free agent talk about how much they're avoiding the 'stros, and agents saying that their players feel stuck from service time rather than simply performance (even moreso than anywhere else!). It might work, but right now it looks a lot closer to open rebellion than it does playoffs in Houston.
JinAZ, alongside his usual awesomeness, has this little tidbit: which baseball player was born at sea?
Relatedly, and from one of my favorite websites (The Appendix), Matthew Willis talks about Sea Monsters and the Birth of Credibility. He basically wonders how, when new species were being discovered all the time and when the British Navy was seen as a force for science as much as anything else (Darwin, after all, rode out on the H.M.S. Beagle), people came to disbelieve in sea monsters despite an awful lot of proof of their existence. Really good stuff.
Finally, I found this article on Tom Cruise and internet journalism fascinating. Tom Cruise never jumped on Oprah's couch and has really never done anything bad and even made a bunch of great movies. So why is he so hated, again? The internet is the worst, you guys.