The Caravan swung to Columbus
"It's a swing city, really," Reds chief operating officer Phil Castellini said during a stop at Polaris Fashion Place mall in Columbus. Leading the Caravan to C-bus was Brandon Phillips and catching wunderkind Devin Mesoraco, who was glad to get a few more questions this year: "I get more questions now, it seems like. In the past when I was with Brandon [Phillips], he'd get all the questions. More people know who I am, I guess." BP then deadpanned "get me a Coke, groundhog," grinning and elbowing Thom Brennaman in the ribs. For pictures and Caravan wrap-ups, check out the fine work at OMGreds and Red Hot Mama.
Commercially viable Reds
The offseason is about selling tickets and selling out, and plenty of Reds have shilled for Corporate America over the years. Redlegs Review runs down some old television endorsements by Reds for products like Aqua Velva, Krylon Paint, and Pepsi, which tastes the worst of the three.
"So you're telling me there's a chance"
According to the Vegas bookmakers, the Reds are now a 25-1 shot for winning the WS and a 9-1 for taking the NL pennant. Sounds reasonable, no? (If I could short any of these, I'd bet against Miami to win the Series at 15-1.) But maybe some pessimism is in order. Redleg Nation ran some fancy algorithms based on the Reds' ZiPS projections, and spat out a 84-78 season. Then again, Reds Net Live thinks that simply avoiding last year's injury bug will be the difference-maker. Who's right?
How would you improve baseball?
May as well take advantage of an uneventful week in baseball to muse about what could make it better. I'm not crazy about some of these suggestions, but I've long been behind Christina Kahrl's idea to make relievers face off against more than just one batter: Her proposal: "Any pitcher has to face a minimum of three batters in an inning or complete that inning before he may be removed from a game.... The goal is to cut down on the shuffling from the 'pen and the interminable committee meetings that can make the last three innings of action in a ballgame seem anything but active." I'm all in favor of speeding up the game. To set up somewhat of a straw-man, purists who oppose efforts to speed up games are mistaken that history favors their view. Before night games, umpires routinely prodded players to hurry up the action to avoid calling games for darkness.
Barry's in Brazil
Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, with some other former players and with assistance from MLB International, is hosting Elite Camps next month in Brazil to instruct the best junior (14-17) talent in the area. Good to see MLB extending its reach down there, because according to baseball-reference there have been no MLB players from Brazil, Argentina, or Peru. That's less than Russia (8!), Austria-Hungary (4), Saudi Arabia (1), and "Atlantic Ocean" (1?).
- How much will GABP affect Mat Latos?
We shall see, but this is a neat little tool that transposes batted balls hit at one park onto another. If you select Mat Latos in the Pitcher drop-down, you can see where all of his fly balls, triples, etc. hit off him at PETCO would go if they were hit at GABP. There's other factors to consider, like humidity and wind, but it's an interesting tool nonetheless.
BP and Morgan memorilized on Fleer card
A fun little picture of the mutual admiration society that is Joe Morgan and Brandon Phillips. El Beeperino may not be the player that lil' Joe was, but who is? I'm gonna miss his swagger when he flies the coop next winter, though I'll be comforted that the Reds plowed the savings into retaining Joey Votto.
- The Reds and SI Covers
Baseblog looks back at the five most recent Reds to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Like I said, it's a slow news day. Always nice to see Joey Votto posing with his bat next to the "time to get mean" headline.
- The Boston Globe ranks the teams, as they are
They have the Reds 9th, fourth in the NL. Sounds about right. "GM Walt Jocketty made moves that indicate the Reds were a little sick of the way things have been going down, and they're happy to take advantage of St. Louis's and Milwaukee's offseason losses. They added closer Ryan Madson on a one-year, $8 million deal. They traded for Mat Latos to strengthen their rotation. They seem poised to make a legitimate run in the NL Central".
- Where the big money is heading
If you're curious as to the geographical layout of the teams giving out the highest dollar contracts in baseball, then you're in luck thanks to Big Red Smokey. Not a surprise to see the clusters in the northeast and left coast, but there are also plenty of big deals in the upper midwest and deep in the heart of Texas.
- The Dunner is ready to forget about 2011
Adam Dunn didn't get one of those huge deals last winter, but you probably know that he was overpaid at any price. He suffered through a wretched season, threatening to break the lowest AVG record (mercifully falling a few PAs short). To his credit, Big Donkey appeared at Chicago's recent SoxFest to meet with fans and answer the inevitable questions about his catastrophic 2011. Dunn's not offering any excuses and is looking forward to turning the page: "I'm going into this year feeling as good as I've felt in a long time and just ready to get started and quit talking about it. Doesn't matter where you go, everyone is talking about it. I realize that comes with (the territory), but I really can't wait for Opening Day." Me too, Adam. Me too.