Hal bids Wrigley, Cubs goodbye
Hal summarizes his last visit to Wrigley as a writer for the DDN. It's well worth a read. To their credit, the Cubs were aware of Hal's situation and rolled out the red carpet for the Hall o' Famer, presenting him with gifts and a throwing a party. Pinella: "I first met Hal back in 1990 when I became manager of the Reds. I asked him for a rundown of the team and how to approach them and what kind of guys they were. Hal gave me a great rundown, he was right on all counts, and we won the World Series." A gracious thing to say, for sure.
There's plenty to play for, Baker says
After the cliches about finishing strong, Mark Sheldon notes that Taveras and Hernandez could be activated from the DL later this week. Also, Maloney threw on Saturday but still feels soreness on his blister.
In the three-game series against Houston that starts tonight, the Reds will start Arroyo, Wells and Lehr against Wandy Rodriguez, Roy Oswalt and Bud Norris. That second game may be a tough one. Houston is now six games ahead of us, so even with a sweep the chances of catching them are slim.
Baker impressed with Bailey
I didn't catch the game yesterday, but by the boxscore Homer looks to have done okay: 6 Ks versus 2 BBs, no HR, just one XBH. Fay notes that Dusty was impressed: But his stuff was what had Baker gushing. "He was throwing the ball as well as I’ve seen him," Baker said. "He had more velocity. It seems like he’s gaining velocity. I even saw a 99 up there." Baker also had some critiques, but this is good to hear because Homer should absolutely be part of the 2010 rotation.
Bats bow out with 5-3 defeat
The Bats' season is over after losing the deciding fifth game to Durham. Hats off to Rick Sweet and Louisville on a fine season. BubbaFan will have to settle for just one of her teams competing for the International League title.
Rany on the Royals: I'm Done.
This is what happens when a front office does enough stupid but predictible things that the latest mistake, even though it's not a huge deal by itself, drives an otherwise dedicated and intelligent fan over the edge. Reading this made me feel better about Reds management, so it was worthwhile for therapeutic value if nothing else. I knew the Royals have had some bad teams over the years, but I didn't realize this: The Pittsburgh Pirates just got a lot of attention for setting a major league record with their 17th consecutive losing season. Over the last 17 years, the Royals have more losses than the Pirates. Ouch. The Reds, Royals and Pirates all share a similar sob story: glory from the 70s through the late 80s/early 90s based on shrewd acquisitions and drafts, followed by atrocious teams that were suddenly handicapped by their small market size as local revenues became increasingly significant. After combining for 24 playoff appearances and 5 championships between 1970 and 1995, these teams have had three winning seasons among them since. (HT to BBTF)
The WSJ smirks at 'The Machine' as it twirls its mustache
T minus 1 to The Machine! This particular reviewer was disappointed because the book omits a larger discussion of pre-free agency empire building. He also wasn't enamored with some of Joe's cultural references: Posnanski also fails to capture the zeitgeist of 1975 very elegantly. His placement of historical references throughout the book feels random, almost reminiscent of the Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start the Fire": a jumble of names, places and events without deeper context. By gazing at the navel of his 8-year-old self, the author loses track of what could have been a great peg. The lack of free agency in Major League Baseball during this era should have driven this book. These may be fair points; I'm sure we'll have our own nits to pick after reading. But it's also safe to say that for most of us the topic is of incredibly high interest and that we will not be comparing The Machine to the other new releases mentioned in the review, such as Ron Darling's pitching tome. My enthusiasm for The Machine is unabated.
Ichiro sets MLB record on infield grounder
Ichiro got his 200th hit of the season for the ninth straight year on an infield single, breaking a century-old record held by Wee Willie Keller. Which is a convenient excuse to post this Ichiro quote from last month: "Chicks who dig home runs aren’t the ones who appeal to me," he said. "I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I’d rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out." Somebody check Dusty for yellow fever!