Until we hit the bottom of the barrel - which could be later today - we're going to try to sift through annals of Cincinnati Reds coverage a little and re-visit some long forgotten stories. There's probably a reason these stories have been long-forgotten, but we won't know until we re-read them. If this feature does nothing else, it should remind you just how good you have it now - especially if you were a committed fan during the aughts.
Once a week we'll look at a post or posts from the seven and a half year history of Red Reporter on SBNation - Red Reporter Klassix. In a separate feature (this one), we'll look at some of the best, unintentionally funniest or sublime(est) Reds coverage in history. It may be confined to recent history at first, until I get my microfiche machine installed.
I've read more articles about the Reds than I'd ever care to admit. A lot of them are mundane. Which is perfectly fine and necessary for Red Reporter to exist. I somehow ended up in that tiny sliver of the world's population that takes pleasure in talking about whether Didi Gregorius is eligible for the Rule 5 draft or not.
But sometimes, it gets interesting - whether for reasons of controversy, good journalism or something unintentionally funny when looked at through the unfair vantage point of the future. There are plenty of things I've written that would fall under that latter-most category, so I probably shouldn't cast stones. But I also never said that Reds should build their team around Joe Randa.
In any case, here are a couple of diamonds from the diamond rough of trade deadlines past:
"Our Hero," C. Trent's Reds beat blog, Cincinnati Post, July 30, 2005 - by Marc Lancaster
Adam Dunn negotiated with a fan during the seventh inning of a game to get Edwin Encarnación's very first HR ball back:
"I just walked up to the fence -- I didn't know who caught it, but another guy came down and I asked him to talk to whoever talked to the ball and how it was his first one and blah, blah, blah. I asked if I could switch balls with him and he said yeah, he would do it. He asked if I'd sign it and I said yeah, hurry, people are waiting. He gave me the pen and it didn't work, and I was like, gosh. Then it finally worked. The main thing is, we got the ball."
Exploits like this - the Adam from Milwaukee call, other wry comments Dunn would make in the press - made it somewhat puzzling as to why Dunn was such an object of ire in Cincinnati. To those that liked him, he was a character - who hit 40 HRs every year and didn't make outs as often as most. Although, I guess he must have liked to suplex kids at charity events or something.
"You're the GM," Cincinnati Enquirer - John Fay, July 10, 2005
This is sort of a hybrid, since Red Reporter wrote on it and the original article is behind the Enquirer archive wall. John Fay took suggestions before the 2005 trade deadline for how to improve the Reds. The irrational hatred we were just discussing plays a starring role. Here are a few of the reader suggestions that are the most ironic in 2012, as hand-picked by RR founder JD Arney:
Build a new team around Joe Randa, Rich Aurilia, Griffey and Felipe Lopez.
Hi Jim Bowden.
Take the money from Dunn or Griffey and get the best pitcher available this winter that we can afford possibly Mark Redman.
Mark Redman was an All Star in 2006, so that's good. But he was bad in 2006, which is bad.
I believe Milton and Wilson can come back. Sign a couple affordable relievers. Keep this coaching staff.
Paul Wilson never did get back to the majors. Miley was fired 10 days after this piece ran. But we shouldn't stomp to hard. After all Milton lowered his ERA the next season all the way down to 5.19. (which, insanely, gave him an ERA+ 90 in 2006).
Trade Adam Dunn to Houston for Willie Taveras, he is a great leadoff man, what the team has been lacking and Adam has interest in playing in is home town.
This one is bizarrely, painfully prescient. The Reds opted not to continue with Dunn after '08, trading him at the deadline to the Diamondbacks. They took the savings from having him off the books that offseason and signed Willy Taveras to a 2 year/$6.25M contract.
One more almost-interesting sidenote: Willy Taveras hit just one less HR than Adam Dunn in 2011 (Taveras hit 10 of 'em at AAA Colorado Springs).