SI's Cliff Corcoran has a very premature MVP ballot
and Joey Votto comes in at a respectable 3rd. Here's his blurb: "The defending NL MVP leads the league in walks (26) and runs (24, tied with Braun), is second to Holliday in on-base percentage, and is again adding to his significant contributions at the plate by being a surprising threat on the bases. Like Braun, he is a former top prospect in his peak-age-27 season playing for a team expected to contend all year long in the highly competitive NL Central (Votto's Reds are sandwiched between Holliday's Cardinals and Brauns' Brewers entering play Monday). However, Votto's counting stats are somewhat pedestrian at the moment, and as a first baseman, he'll have to clearly out-hit outfielders Braun and Holliday to pass them on this list."
It's tough to argue with Ryan Braun and Matt Holliday ahead of him, because they are crushing the ball just as mightily as Votto is. But it's really crazy to start talking about MVPs right now, even more crazy than talking about All-Star ballots.
It comes as no surprise
but Scott Rolen will most likely not return to the Reds on Friday when he is first eligible. This is increasingly becoming a problem. Miguel Cairo has taken the lion's share of the playing time in Rolen's absence, but he's been underwhelming. He's posted a meager .674 OPS since Rolen's injury. Edgar Renteria and Chris Valaika do not appear to be any better. Juan Francisco was supposed to be the primary backup, but he's been on the DL as well. He'll likely beat Rolen back to the team, but how much confidence do you have that he can be significantly better than the other fellas?
Unfortunately, this is a problem with no obvious answer. We knew coming into the season that Rolen was not going to play more than 120 games or so, and even when Francisco is healthy he doesn't inspire much confidence in yours truly. I guess our best hope is that Rolen returns quickly, plays well, and stays in the lineup. How reasonable a hope is that?
The original plan was for Homer Bailey to make a final rehab start in Dayton
The point was to keep him on his regular schedule, which happened to fall on an off-day (Thursday) for the Reds. But last night's game was postponed due to the rain and was rescheduled for Thursday afternoon. So now Bailey doesn't need to go down to Dayton and will join the Reds and start on Thursday. So the rain-out wasn't a total wash, I guess.
Since Homer will now not make a cameo in Dayton
Daytonians will instead be treated to the stylings of Johnny Cueto. He will pitch for the Dragons on Friday. DDN has compiled a list of notables who have made guest appearances in Dayton over the past 10 years or so, and it reads like a painful reminder of all the washed-up injured veterans this team pinned their misguided hopes on over the last decade. Ben Weber? I mean, who ever thought that was a good idea?
Three truths and a lie: Joe Morgan
Early in his career, Morgan had trouble with his swing because he kept his back elbow too low. Astros teammate Nellie Fox suggested to Morgan that he should flap his back arm, like a chicken, to keep his elbow up. Morgan followed the advice; the flap became his trademark.
Morgan is well-known in baseball circles for his frugality. Along with parlaying hitting advice to young hitters, he also preaches to them the virtues of saving money. For instance, did you at Burger King that you can get unlimited refills on any drink you want, and it's free?
On the final day of the 1982 regular season, Morgan - then with San Francisco - hit a three-run homer off Dodgers reliever Terry Forster, good for a 5-3 victory that knocked the rival Dodgers out of the playoff race. Morgan's homer handed the National League West title to Atlanta. Dusty Baker, then a Dodgers outfielder, called Morgan's homer one of the most devastating moments of his career.
Morgan was in the broadcast booth for Pete Rose's 4,192nd hit. Morgan and play-by-play man Ken Wilson worked the game for WLWT (Channel 5).
Will Leitch makes the on-the-face-of-it surprising argument that Bud Selig is, in fact, the best commish going right now
But now that I think a bit about it, it's an unfortunate truth. Most of that is due to the absolutely horrific situations that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NBA commissioner David Stern have gotten themselves into. In that respect, he's much like the Sean Casey of the 2003 Reds. He's the best of the outfit by default more than anything else. Here's Leitch's takeaway:
"Bud Selig will always be a polarizing figure. Baseball fans fall into two camps: those who think he is a malevolent idiot and those who think he is merely an idiot. (And don’t get me started on the proposal to add a second wild-card team.) But when you clear out the public-relations gaffes and the ugly ties, Goodell and Stern would love to be in Selig’s position right now, with happy owners, happy players, and more fans than ever. Yep, ole Bud had a few tricks up his sleeve after all, even if that sleeve belongs to a twenty-year-old off-the-rack suit from Sears covered in taco sauce. He’s a slob like a fox."
You have to credit Selig for the terrific labor peace we are currently experiencing, but personally I think most if not all that goodwill is erased by the completely-inept-at-best and totally-evil-at-worst way he handled the PED situation. But yeah, I'd still rather have him than Goodell or Stern.