The Rolling Thunder Redview will storm across the region later this month
You can click through to see where and when they will be near you. I'm really impressed with just how much this thing has grown over the past few years. You really gotta hand it to Banana Bob. He's doing a helluvalot more to make the Reds a visible and attractive brand than any owner I can remember. With this and RedsFest, the fans get a chance to consume a bit of baseball in these cold winter months and that is really important for cultivating and maintaining interest. I may just get a chance to go this time.
The Fay worries that the club's delicate chemistry will be irrevocably upset by the departures of Arthur Rhodes and Orlando Cabrera
I think that's ridiculous. I can't imagine Scott Rolen, Joey Votto, Bronson Arroyo, and Francisco Cordero all sitting around with their heads in their hands because these two guys, with a total of only 3 years as Reds between them, are not around anymore. These guys are grown-ups (most of them) and they can handle themselves. Rosters turn over all the time now in the Free Agent era. As long as they win, no one will worry about this chemistry issue.
Rob Neyer thinks Barry Larkin could the HoF's Obi-Wan Kenobi next year
as their only hope for an inductee. After the relatively poor showings by guys like Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell this year, it looks like Larkin could be the only one with a real shot at election. Bernie Williams is the best player making his debut on the ballot next year, which is to say that no legitimate candidates will be added. It could be Larkin or nothing next year, and nobody wants a fallow Hall of Fame ceremony in 2012, the last year of our existence.
Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt thinks he knows how to fix the Hall of Fame voting
It's a bit uneven (his main argument centers around a comparison of himself, Jeff Bagwell, and Jim Rice, which is about as Papa Bear/Mama Bear/Baby Bear as you can get), but interesting nonetheless. Here's his proposal:
"imagine a Hall system where the current voters pick the top 10 finalists each year. Those 10 are then examined by a committee made up of Hall members – meaning studied by men who played the game. Our committee votes and any finalist who receives a set percentage becomes a Hall of Famer. Anyone on the list who misses stays on the ballot for a second year – if he fails election, he’s removed, never to return." So Schmidt, as a Hall member, wants the power to elect new members mostly in his hands. I can think of worse ways to fix the current system, but not many.
Sean McClelland at the DDN has some advice to his fellow sports writers re: HOF voting
"I’ve known too many of them to be comfortable with sports writers judging anyone’s character. Just stick to the numbers." Love it.
The Cubs made themselves a little better by getting Matt Garza from the Rays
If you ask me, they still are not much to worry about. Garza is not the ace they seem to hope he is, and they already had a decent rotation. Last season they got average-or-better performances from Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny, and Carlos Zambrano, so rotation depth wasn't really their biggest issue. This looks pretty good for the Reds, as the Cubs gave up a nice load of prospects for a modest improvement over the next 2 years or so. They didn't make themselves much better in the short term, but they really bled an already desiccated farm system to do so. Keep f**king that chicken, Chicago!
In case you missed it
The Reds agreed with Jared Burton on a one-year deal last week. He'll be paid $750k and will avoid the arbitration process. Joey Votto, Bill Bray, Johnny Cueto, and Edinson Volquez have yet to settle anything.