Archives For Reds

Well… It can officially be the start of baseball season. I was going through quite a bit of denial with my school (The University of Dayton) striding its way to the elite 8. Had they made the Final Four, not only would have I been in a comma, but it would have made paying attention to the first week of baseball quite difficult. But sadly, they did go down against the Florida Gators in a hard fought, but overmatched game. So goodbye March Madness. Great run Flyers. AND LET’S GO REDS!

On Monday, the reds will take the mound and welcome the Redbirds to Cincinnati for Opening Day. It’s a 4pm game on ESPN, so I hope to catch the last half of it when I get home from work. Day off Tuesday, and then wrap it up Wednesday and Thursday. The reds than pack their bags and come to New York! They take on the Mets for a weekend series that I hope to either watch all of from home or snag some last minute tickets to go to one of the games.

This week we will feature some guest bloggers, some rants, and some rebuttals. We will hopefully get some video of this weekend and get a chance to stretch out our arms with a little game of catch.

It’s finally here, and we couldn’t be happier! Rounding first and heading for home, this one belongs to the fans!

I have mentioned else where on the blog that the reason that I moved to Long Island was to take a job with Young Life. I moved into the community of East Islip. It’s a nice suburban community on the beachy south shore of Long Island, home of former Cincinnati Bengals QB Boomer Esiason. The community to the north, Central Islip, home of the independent “minor league” baseball team, the Long Island Ducks, was on of the first places that I started the work that I was doing with Young Life. It is a diverse community, full of all sorts of kids of different colors and economic backgrounds.

Now, when starting a Young Life area from scratch, it is important to find areas that you have in common with the local culture and try to establish relationships with people in the community. One of the things that I noticed right off the bat was that, gosh…. there are a whole lot of young kids here that must be fans of the Cincinnati Reds!! What a great way to start up a conversation and build a relationship than to talk about my favorite team!

That couldn’t have been farther from the truth…

So after a few failed attempts to connect with the youth culture of Islip, I was finally informed by someone that the reason the kids were wearing the Reds cap was because they were most likely gang members, and red just so happened to be their color… Boy did I have egg on my face… Gang members don’t really know a whole lot about a team 700 miles away. Well… maybe next time 🙂

Author: Cory Juliano – February 24th, 2014

I have been thinking long and hard over who my favorite Red on the current roster is as Spring Training kicked off and players are fine tuning their skills down in AZ. While it would be easy to pick Joey Votto I feel it would be a cop out. It’s easy to root for an perennial MVP caliber player. Don’t get me wrong, he is the guy I would refuse to leave my seat when he is due up. Aroldis Chapman is another player that makes me want to stay glued to the TV on those rare nights I get to watch a game. Admittedly, I will tune into the radio broadcast on my MLB.com radio subscription when a save situation is coming just to listen to Marty call the strikes. But no, Aroldis is not my choice of favorite current Red.

My favorite Red on the roster is still Brandon Phillips, even after the up and down circus he has been the last couple of months. Yes, I know he was rude and offensive to a reporter. He embarrassed himself and his at the time manager in a horrible way by going off the way he did on a guy for simply doing his job. It was hard listening to the bleeped out conversation. Hearing your favorite player act like that hurts. It is like seeing your favorite radio host and being several unimpressed by the way they look. Yes, he complained about ownership and how they were spending money. He should be happy with the contract he signed. Yes, there were numerous trade rumors in the off season saying he would be traded making us fans feel like he was not an important part to this team. Yes, he has shut down the media while at Spring Training. Yes, he has been less than perfect and hard to love as of late. In a lot of ways he has been a turd lately and involved in a lot of negative stuff.

So why is BP my favorite player? For a several reasons. The obvious one is the way he covers the right side of the infield. Watch his highlights if you don’t agree with me. Seriously, go to youtube and check it out. Go. Go now (but please come back). He has the best glove I have ever seen. He gets to balls no one else in the game playing second base can. He is a Golden Glover who brings excitement to the position in a way no one else ever has (or least that I have seen). He is the best defensive 2nd Baseman in the game. He has won 3 of the last 4 Gold Gloves. The fact it is not 4 for 4 is a JOKE. No offense to Darwin Barney but he couldn’t make half of the plays BP did in 2012. Even Cubs fans have to agree on that, right Chad? He is a Web Gem and Top 10 regular. His glove and arm strength easily make him a fan favorite.

Secondly, BP is my favorite because of his versatility at the plate. He hits where ever the team needs him to. Last year after the Reds lost their scheduled clean up hitter for much of the season on opening day it was BP that was called upon to step up and move from the 2 hole in the line up to the 4 hole. Now, I was never a big league hitter but this seems like a tougher transition than one would think. He changed his approach and did what he said he would and drove in 100+ RBIs. He has stepped up and lead off when needed to. His flexibility in the line-up is admired. He can hit with some pop (although he might be losing some of that) and he can choke up, shorten his swing and flick the ball out into right field with seemingly ease at times. And seriously, the grand slam he hit in Milwaukee a couple of years ago is still worth looking back at. Again, go check it out if you haven’t lately. He brought his big boy bat on that one and put it off of the slide in left center. Having seen that slide in person it is VERY far. He has possibly the coolest follow through in baseball when he knows he has hit a long ball too. Okay, so maybe his offensive ability is a stretch but I need to justify my opinion here. That is what a blog is all about after all.

So why else do I have a baseball related man-crush on BP. How about his interactions with the fans. He was one of the first baseball players to use social media to close the gap between us fans and pro athletes. Very similar to what Chad Johnson of the Bengals did before he went dumb and called himself a number. My favorite BP story is when a young kid in St. Louis asked him if he would come to one of his games while on a road trip via Twitter. On the off day in St. Louis BP showed up at a little league ball game to watch the kid play. Seriously awesome. Any pro athlete who would do something like this gets the nod in my book even if he embarrassed a reporter who was questioning his performance at the plate.

There is one more reason that he is my favorite current player on the roster. No, it is not because he puts on an MVP performance against the Indians, the team who traded him to the Reds because they didn’t value him as a prospect. No, it’s not because he names his gloves and treats them like girlfriends and “breaks up” with them if they are not performing up to his standards and then goes back to them when the others fail. No, it’s not because he pulled off one of the funniest plays ever. May we never forget . Most likely the reason he is my favorite is because he assisted me in my hatred of my most detested player in MLB. Yadier Molina. Yes, I vomited in my mouth a bit as I typed that curse word. I HATE Yadier Molina. Maybe it’s because he destroys the Reds. Maybe it’s because after the bench clearing fight he turned around and hit a home run. Maybe it’s because he has that little smirk on his face when he is doing it. Maybe it’s because he kicked Phillips bat away during Phillips’ normal first at bat ritual with every catcher and refused to shut his mouth before the fight. Or maybe it’s just the neck tattoo. Heck, I don’t know, maybe it is simply because he plays for the Cardinals (more vomit in my mouth). Whatever it is, I do not like that guy. Watching him and Phillips square off at home plate made me root for BP even more. So much so that me and my dad went to the next game to see if he would dare tap Molina’s shin guard again. The stupid umpire stepped in between them and didn’t give him the chance. Stupid umpires take away all the fun of baseball.

I like a guy who will stick up for his team and create a little excitement in the sport. To me, that is what BP does for the Reds. He gives a little character to a relatively calm and sometimes boring group of guys (go back and think about the end of last year if you want to call me out for saying this team was calm and boring). He brings excitement. He brings energy. He brings a little something else every ball club needs and that is why I still consider him my favorite Red. He is one of the reasons I excited for March 31. And I sure hope he gives Molina another “tap” for good luck in that first at bat. GO REDS!

Looking Forward…

nyredfanatic —  02/17/2014 — 2 Comments

Author: Cory Juliano – February 17th, 2014

Being a fan of Cincinnati sports in New York means I get to look forward to very few things… Unfortunately it usually consists of disappointing endings to the seasons of my beloved Reds and Bengals. Both of those seasons have left a terrible taste in my mouth for the last couple of months. From the Reds terrible last week of the season and getting embarrassed by a team which was much more motivated in a one-game-winner-move-on scenario to, well actually to the exact same thing in the Bengals. I am ready for those memories to be erased by a new season. A new beginning. A new manager. A new centerfielder / leadoff man. A new HOPE for the coming months.

The only thing for certain in any sports season is every team starts with the same record. We all get to look at things from the same vantage point. We are all looking forward to a great season to end the misery of the season before… Unless your team won it the year before. In Cincinnati that has been 23 years, but who is counting? So in an offseason where the Reds did relatively nothing to improve their roster what is there to look forward to?  I have two ideas.

The first thing I think we can look forward to is what the heck will happen with the leadoff spot in the lineup.  The plain and simple fact is this; we lost the most effective leadoff man game and are replacing him with a guy who was not necessarily an on base machine in AAA last year. This is not a promising position to be in my friends. If Billy Hamilton can get on base it will be exciting with his speed and base stealing ability. Every pitch will be worth watching and people will be holding their breath waiting for him to make a break for 2nd… or 3rd… or home? A lot of good can come from him if he can produce. If he can not produce and get to first, it will be a very, very long season for the Reds. Fans complained about an inconsistent offense last year. What we saw last year was not great. We saw a lack of run production. We saw bad base running and poor situational hitting. We saw players underperforming. Last year’s offense was a smack in the face to a better than most starting rotation. Losing Choo’s production and watching a rookie trying to adjust to big league pitching will be down right painful in my opinion. Prepare to see Joey “MVP” Votto wearing out the first base line with walks this year. YAWN. Now that I think of it, I am not really looking forward to this at all.

So what exactly am I looking forward to as Spring Training in AZ kicks off? The same thing that comes with every baseball season. The true beauty and magic of this sport. Connecting with family and friends over America’s favorite past time. I am looking to the extra phone time with my dad through the season to talk about what has happened. The times when my phone rings late at night and my wife grins because she knows my dad is calling to tell me about something he just saw while watching the Reds. I am looking forward to my grandma calling to tell me Homer Bailey has a no-hitter through 8 innings (man I hope he throws another no-hitter this year). There is nothing more humorous to me than an old lady calling to tell me how mad she is at the manager. There is nothing more sad than realizing an old lady is more aware of what is happening in the sports world than I am. I am looking forward to having my friend Brian call me during the first inning of a playoff game in San Francisco to have me angle my webcam at the screen so he could watch the game when his cable went out (this has happened with more than one sporting event with the two of us). Baseball season means I get to text my friend Chad whenever the Reds and Cubs square off and laugh at our teams failures. I am looking forward to growing stronger friendships with people like Chris who I didn’t know was  a “die hard” Mets fan for the first two years I knew him. I think his “die hardness” kicked off due to Johan Santana’s no-hitter, but he can argue that all he wants. I look forward to talking to high school kids about fantasy baseball. I am looking forward to going to the one game a year with my wife and some friends, even if its a Mets vs. whoever game. I do NOT look forward to going to a Yankees game with my 6 month pregnant wife when it is 107 degrees at first pitch on the hottest day Long Island had seen in years. This year I get to look forward to going to the Mets vs. Reds game on April 4th and actually getting on the field to watch batting practice with my dad, the man who taught me to love this game. I am looking forward to adding to the many memories I have with him, and others, through this sport. I am looking forward to what this crazy sport can do for me and for others.

Making memories with friends and family is one of the greatest things we can do in life. Those moments should never be looked over and we should do whatever we can to connect with people more and make lasting memories. We should look forward to interacting with those we love, even if its a quick phone call saying “HOLY COW DID THAT JUST HAPPEN” or a joking “my team is better than yours”. To me that is why baseball is America’s favorite past time. It creates nightly opportunities to engage in a new way with those around us. That is the magic in the sport. That is the awesomeness that is baseball. That, my friends, is what I am looking forward to.

Let me know what you are looking forward to this year.

Author: Brian McGee – February 15th, 2014

Since I was a little boy, my mom took me to Catholic mass. As the 90’s progressed, and my involvement in more serious levels of sports increased, it wasn’t unusual to show up in my uniform and bolt for the car as soon as the mass was over. One Sunday, I began to notice that it wasn’t uncommon to see a few individuals and families craft strategic exit plans following the eucharist. Now, if you are unfamiliar with the liturgical process, there isn’t a whole lot to be done after communion, at least not from the pews end. The families that conveniently slipped out the side door with a quick genuflect, almost seemed to have the upper hand, especially in avoiding the post church traffic. I wondered why we didn’t follow suit with this ingenious idea…

It was later on that summer, while at a Reds game at Riverfront Stadium, where we were getting beat from what I could tell, pretty handedly, that I found out why we weren’t one of those families to hit the side door after mass. My mom grew up in Cincinnati, born in 1955, with many memories of Crosley Field, the Big Red Machine, and NL Pennants blowing in the wind. I looked over at my mom, sitting in her stadium seat, arms crossed, not happy with the events that were unfolding. But she was glued to that seat.

Now my dad grew up in Indiana, but had adopted the Cincinnati teams as his hometown team, but one thing he did not adopt was my mother’s Catholicism. That’s probably a story for another blog, but I digress… My dad worked as a chemical engineer, and seemed to always be looking for ways to improve systems. His company had season tickets to the Bengals that they would use as gifts to business partners after contracts were signed, and with numerous 2-14 seasons in the early 90’s, it was more like a curse to give a business partner those tickets… Most of them would have rather you swiftly kicked them in the groin or pour salt in their eyes. But my dad didn’t really mind the quality of the football, and I didn’t know any better, so we would often take the tickets and go watch the Bengals get steamrolled up and down the turf. It was a regular habit, but sometime around the first few minutes of the 4th quarter, my dad would turn off his headset radio that he used to listen to the play by play from 700WLW (nothing like completely tuning out your son while at a sports event ^_^ ) and he would stand up, which was my cue to follow suit, and he would say, “looks like it’s done, let’s head for the car so we can beat traffic.”

Back to Riverfront on that summer day. I turned to my mom and asked her, “Why don’t we leave early and beat traffic?” I don’t recall her even turning her head to look at me, but spoke softly to say, “Brian, there are two things you don’t leave early… Church and Baseball.” Then it all sank in. It’s not over till the fat lady sang… and Marge Schott wasn’t much for show tunes. Maybe as a little girl my mom was convinced by someone to leave a game early and fell victim to that unthinkable sinking feeling you get when as you exit the “No ReEntry” gates and you push through the turn style, then you hear it… CRACK… followed by the roar of the crowd… and there you have it… you’ve missed the biggest play of the season…. who knows, but that fear was enough to keep my mother glued to her seat until the game was in the books and Marty flicked off the power switch to his microphone.

So I got quite the education. Even when things seem like they are done, you stick it out till the end, just in case a miracle happens. Thanks for the faith mom.

If you have a story where you stuck it out till the end win or lose, or left early and regretted it, please share with us down in the comment section. Make sure to subscribe to our blog, and just leave us a comment in general! Take care, rounding third and heading for home, this one belongs to the fans!