In his latest notebook for Reds.com, Mark Sheldon mentions that the Cincinnati Reds signed a few veteran lefties to bolster the current minor league system. Aussie Ryan Rowland-Smith, his career MLB ERA of 4.57, and his hyphen were assigned to Triple-A Louisville, while former Chicago Cub Scott Maine and his MLB career ERA of 5.59 will head to Double-A Pensacola. Jocketty intimated that these moves weren't driven by the recent injury to Sean Marshall, but I have a hard time believing that. Marshall's done for the year, Tony Cingrani has landed on the minor league DL with shoulder issues, and Manny Parra - remember him? - has struggled through much of 2014 and hasn't thrown a pitch in a game since June 20th, which is just strange. Adding a few lefties for depth never hurts, but in this case it appears a pretty obvious insurance policy.
If you've ever truly been interested in investigating what impact the changing of the pitching mound in the late 1960's had on the game of baseball, head over to The Hardball Times and check out George Resor's in-depth breakdown. Resor analyzes how the mound change coincided with several other large changes in the game, and it's especially interesting given how people have recently clamored for ways to stem the tide of the decreasing scoring environment in today's era of the sport.
When Red Reporter descended upon the Land of Dust and the Endless Strip Mall for Spring Training in 2013, we encountered an initial out of body experience (among other things). As we rolled into Goodyear on day 1 of our trip, we saw a glimpse of an imposing slugger stretching for batting practice, a hulking man with his back to us and a jersey emblazoned with the numbers 1-9. Our collective sugars were up, of course, as we thought we may have timed things just right enough to see the inimitable Joey Votto tear the cover off the ball in batting practice, but as we got closer it became apparent that this number 19 was about to hit right handed. Confused, we consulted our army of intellectual help devices (phones), and we figuree out that the man who should be Votto was none other than Mike Hessman, journeyman minor league slugger destined for a season with the Louisville Bats. Well, it appears that Hessman's quest to hit more dingers by riding buses to games than anyone else in history is still in full swing, and he recently broke the all-time International League record by mashing his 259th league dinger with the Toledo Mud Hens. John A McGeehan of Bless You Boys has a story worth reading about Hessman's chase.
Finally, the Cincinnati Enquirer recently launched a new webisode entitled "The Drive with Josh Sneed," in which the local comedian (and C Dot Show co-host) cruises around in a 1956 Buick Super Series 50 Riviera Coupe with the top down, cameras rolling, and a guest. The first episode featured Madville's own Todd Frazier as Josh's guest, and it's definitely worth checking out.