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Weekend Reposter: Optimism Edition

A roundup of links for your Saturday enjoyment

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Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Only two and a half months into the 2014 baseball season, Dave Cameron at Fangraphs has taken notice of how good Johnny Cueto is.  His article, Johnny Cueto’s Unhittable Fastball, celebrates Ceuto’s career high strikeout rate, which is fourth best in all of baseball.  Cameron goes into great statistical detail about Cueto’s fastball but is ultimately unable to pinpoint what makes it as unhittable as it has been so far this year.  It’s not news to those of us who watch all of Cueto’s starts, but as always it’s nice to see him get his due from national media types.

Doug Gray of took a look at prospect Jesse Winker, and compared him to certain other familiar Reds prospects of the recent past, and the results, to me at least, were quite surprising.  20 year old Winker has better plate discipline than 20 year old Joey Votto did, and only slightly less power than 20 year old Jay Bruce.  Particularly impressive is Winker’s plate discipline, which as we all know is a bit of an organizational shortcoming.  The usual prospect caveats apply, but it’s nice to see some encouraging news from down on the farm.

To the delight of many an old-time Big Red Machine fan, Pete Rose will manage a professional baseball team this summer.  Rose, who is 73 years old and was banned from Major League Baseball a quarter of a century ago, will manage the Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League when they take on the Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers this Monday, June 16.  As neither team is affiliated with any MLB team in any way, there’s nothing they can do to stop Rose from taking this one-day gig, although it’s interesting that not even independent league teams seem to value the publicity having Rose as a manager would bring enough to offer him a full time managerial position.  Because if they did, I think he would likely take it.

If you read Gramaphone’s consistently excellent and informative This Day in Reds History series, as you should, you would know that this past Tuesday was the 70th anniversary of Joe Nuxhall’s record setting major league debut.  For further reading, I encourage everyone to read the Cincinnati Enquirer’s transcript of Joe’s description of that day in his own words, which had been recorded in 2005.  It’s amazing how much of Joe’s warmth and humanity shines through even a transcription of his account. 

MLB Historian John Thorn has a long article celebrating the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, which was on June 12.  It’s a great article that, if you’re like me, will make you want to make hotel reservations for a trip to Cooperstown right now.

Jen Mac Ramos has bravely written an intensely personal reflection on how her love of baseball has helped her through some very difficult times in her life.  If you have ever been touched by depression, either personally or through someone close to you, you will find a lot to identify with here.  Kudos to the writer for sharing her experiences and to the Hardball Times for publishing it.

Finally, on August 18, the Reds will travel to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals.  There will likely be a big crowd at that game, as there is a bobblehead giveaway scheduled.  Which current fan favorite will have the honor of his own bobblehead night, you ask?  Or maybe it’s one of the many legendary players from the fanchise’s past who will be memorialized in plastic and handed out at the gate.  Stan Musual, perhaps, or Bob Gibson?  Nope. It’s Mad Men star Jon Hamm.  Yes, the man known for playing an alcoholic serially adulterous advertising executive will bobblehead his way into the hearts of the Cardinals faithful, complete with jeans, a day’s worth of stubble, and a lascivious smirk.  Hamm himself will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the game, and according to the linked article, had this to say:   

Hamm concluded by saying he hopes the event is "a fantastic night for everyone but the Reds."