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Chris Carpenter is a Street Fightin’ Whiney Little Girl

On Friday, St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, Chris Carpenter was asked by an Associated Press journalist to share his thoughts on the fine he was handed by the commissioner’s office for Tuesday nights, now infamous, donnybrook in Cincinnati.

Proving Brandon Phillips’ comments correct for at least one Cardinal player, instead of addressing the question he took the opportunity to whine more about Reds pitcher, Johnny Cueto.

Carpenter says, “If you did that on the street, he would end up being…That’s serious stuff.”

Really Chrissy? 

Did you learn this growing up on the tough streets of Exeter, New Hampshire?  Playing ball in a small town where the median family income is over $63 thousand?  Wow, Chrissy, you must’ve had a rough childhood.

You should share those experiences with the world and take some of your down time to write songs for a gangsta rapper.

The fight can easily be broken into two separate campaigns. 

Campaign I, being with the initial Brandon Phillips and Yadier Molina face-to-face that was quickly broken up before fuses were seriously ignited.

The more serious Campaign II being where you, Chrissy, went after the major peacemaker from Campaign I, Scott Rolen. 

Cueto ended up pinned against a wall and the net that protects fans from sharply hit foul balls, with about 50 grown men, including yourself, converging on him. He did what any sensible man would do—protect himself…Any way possible.

Chrissy, your street smart mentality obviously knows this. Why would you say this:

“All the yelling, the talking, the pushing, the fighting and everything else, there was nobody throwing punches, there was nobody doing that stuff.

“I don’t care how scared you are or what the deal is. Whatever excuse you have, you don’t start doing that.

“He can say whatever he wants. He came in there with intent to do something from the back side.”

Chrissy, let’s say you are at a concert and an inadvertent stampede of people begins, would you not do anything to free some space between yourself and the crowd?

Bingo, got it man. That’s not proper street fighting etiquette down in the streets of the “03833.”

And, dude, it’s so cool the way you are showing off your battle scars.

Chrissy sure hope you set your catcher straight and taught him how to act street tough, Exeter-style, yo.

You must have been so ashamed when, “(Jason) LaRue smiled and declined comment when asked about his Cueto’s suspension.”

Maybe LaRue, was still suffering the affects of the concussion which has landed him on the 15-day DL.

And anyone who critiques your saying, “I come home and try to explain to my son ‘Why is Scott Rolen attacking me? Why is everybody pushing you into the net,”’ has stepped foot in New Hampshire, much less the violent town of Exeter.

Explaining that to your seven-year old son must have been…There are no words, bro.

No one from outside of Exeter would understand.

Chrissy, like anybody who knows those tough streets in small town New Hampshire, we are all down with you.

You know the Exeter rules. Don’t you dare cut those finger nails before the Labor Day weekend series against Cueto and the Reds. 

Keep it real dawg!

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Joey Votto, Reds Happily Host Albert Pujols and Cardinals Starting Monday

For die-hard Reds’ fan this could easily have been titled, “Bring it on Cards!” But various politicians have used that sort of rhetoric before, and it hasn’t worked very well. And as a die-hard Reds’ fan…a little good karma can’t hurt.

And it’s not a stretch to say that deity Shiva owes the Reds a bit of good karma.

Unless a sadist counts those epic battles with the Pirates for last place in the NL Central, for the Reds this three-game set with the second-place Cards is the most important series since Cincinnati’s one-game, tie-breaker with the Mets back in 1999.

That’s not to say that there wont be bigger series later this season, but the season is winding down and the Reds come home looking like a first place team, playing like a first place team, and being a first place team.

The Reds enter Monday leading the Cards by two games.

Both teams have been back-and-forth in the standings enough to render fans of either team dizzy, and unable to pass a road side drunk driving test while totally sober.

Since trading Ryan Ludwick for Jake Westbrook on deadline day the Cards have gone won half of their six games, and after they ripped eight wins in a row they’re 7-8 in their last 15 games.

The Reds are 9-2 in their last 11 games, fresh off the heels of sweeping the Cubs in Chicago.  The Cubs have been through a lot this season, but before Sunday, giving up a sweep at home was not on that list.

Cards’ skipper, Tony LaRussa has his top-three arms ready to go. 

Chris Carpenter will face Mike Leake on Monday, Jaime Garcia against Johnny Cueto on Tuesday night, and Adam Wainwright versus Bronson Arroyo in the capper on Wednesday afternoon.

Carpenter against Leake is scary for Reds’ fans, and not exactly the kind of matchup the Reds would prefer to start the series.

The next night’s game, Garcia vs. Johnny Jewel, heavily favors the Reds. Garcia, like Leake, is a rookie and, again like Leake, it is starting to show.  For pitchers especially, the grind of a first full season in the bigs is a lot to ask.

The Arroyo/Wainwright afternoon game is the most interesting of the three.  The rubber-armed Arroyo, kicks it up a notch during big games.  And Wainwright has been proven mortal away from St. Louis (where he has gone 11-0).

And, oh yeah, the series will also feature two first basemen who are the best hitters in the National League—no self dialogue allowed—it’s a fact.

For Cards’ fans these types of August series are probably old hat.

For Reds’ faithful, though, it’s been a long time coming and the feeling is electric.



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MLB Trade Rumors: Roy Oswalt and His Bad Back

As the trade deadline looms and pitchers have moved from team to team, the last guy standing is Roy Oswalt. Where will he end up?

Here’s a shocker: He ain’t goin’ nowhere. Why? Oswalt is hurt. Most likely his perpetually bad back.

Reds’ fans saw it in his last outing, July 24, where he lasted only 70 pitches.  Pirates’ fans saw it in Oswalt’s outing before he lost to the Reds, July 18, when he stuck around for a whopping 65 pitches.

Keep those dates in mind.

In those last two games his line looks like this: 9 IP, 16 H, 8 ER.

How and when did he get hurt?

First off, Oswalt has a long history of back issues. In fact, his last reported Cortisone shot was on July 7—”reported.”

The next night, July 8, he took the hill and voodoo-dolled himself.

Oswalt tossed a one-hit, complete game shutout.

He threw 117 pitches, equalling his May 9 season high.

A conspiracy theorist might say Oswalt was feeling pretty good after the shot and was trying his damnedest to get out of Houston, took the mound, and threw a whale of a game.

Hurting his fragile back in the process.

Would you spend around $20 million over the next two years on a guy needed for two months, with the possibility of having to ink a deal requiring your team to take on an additional year—knowing that his back is acting up?

Okay, so what made the dates July 18 and July 24 so important? Think for a second.

Answer: His previous start was July 8, why the 10-day rest? The July 13, 2010 All-Star Game?

Nope. July 8 was a Thursday. The All-Star break began on a Monday. The Astros resumed play on Friday, July 16, vs. Pittsburgh.

Why didn’t Oswalt pitch that game?

Why did he wait until Sunday, July 18?

And why did he only last 65 pitches, going only four innings?

It’s not like he took the mound in the fifth and couldn’t get anybody out.  Chris Sampson relieved Roy Oswalt before the fifth started.

Oswalt had only given up two earned runs.

So, again, why was he done after only 65 pitches?

His next outing vs. the Reds was horrible—10 base runners in five innings, six earned runs on 70 pitches.

Oswalt is scheduled to pitch Friday, July 30, against Milwaukee.

From now until game time on Friday, Houston is on the phone trying wheel a deal for Oswalt before everyone realizes that, for the remainder of the season, he is a toast.

The reported Cortisone shot and the next night’s one-hitter serve as a classic example of the old cliché, “be careful what you wish for.” 

That or maybe a little Karma biting Oswalt for being such a prig to the team that paid him ungodly amounts of money throughout his entire career.

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The Cincinnati Reds Annual Post-Break Meltdown

It was fun while it lasted.  But as scripted, the Reds season is over.

But much like the malaise one feels before the onset of the flu, it’s just an all-too-familiar feeling.

Entering Friday, our beloved Redlegs find themselves only 1.5 games behind the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals and a half-game back of the San Francisco Giants for the NL Wild Card.

Non-Reds fans just read that and laughed, maybe thought to themselves, “Has this guy been stealing his Granny’s morphine?”

No, only her anti-anxiety medication.

After Dusty had the sit down with our boys in San Diego, for two entire months, we all felt like immortal teenagers enjoying a backseat rendezvous.

Yes, those glorious sunrises are over. The mornings of jumping out of bed, tip-toeing to your neighbor’s and sneaking the sports section out of their newspaper.


There is no longer a real need to check the box scores. On the bright side, there is still a semi-decent shot at finishing with a winning record for the first time in eons.

Shoot, it lasted 97 out of 162 games. Every fan out there should be sending the Castellini’s Christmas cards this year.

We tasted first place. No, not tasted—we bathed in it!

Reds’ fans finally had a season (or two months) to walk around with their heads held high, winking, shooting finger guns at people on the opposite sidewalk, and kissing random nurses.

It’s all over.

There’s no one to blame. Not this year. It just happened.

Normally, this would be another Dusty-blasting rant. But there were times this year where he looked like a real manager. His shuffling the lineup after the sit-down in San Diego was brilliant.

We could blame it on Coco and the bullpen (sans Sir Arthur).

We could blame it on Walt for and his dippy deadline moves.

We could, like Milli Vanilli, blame it on the rain.

But until recently, there haven’t been many delays.

If you are one of those people who needs someone to blame, don’t blame our boys. They tried. 

Take a look in the mirror buddy.

Blame it on your own over-inflated expectations. That, and your Aroldis Chapman induced naïvety.



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MLB Trade Rumors: Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce to Kansas City for Joakim Soria

That’s Jay Bruce trying to use his Jedi mind trick on an umpire, “No, you did not just see me swing at a ball that was three-feet over my head.”

There is no doubt Bruce has potential. Unfortunately, potential and seven bucks will only buy you a hopper full of movie theater popcorn.

The Reds have around a three year window before they start going broke with big money extension or arbitration cases.

If Cincinnati does not lock Joey Votto down to a multi-year deal, the improving but already paltry attendance will drop to Florida Marlins level.

Even though Bruce still gets the obligatory, “BRUUUUUUCE,” chant when as he steps in the box, now is the time to trade him. Fan morale would not decrease if a top-notch closer were to join the club.

At 23, Bruce still has a tremendous upside. And, not being a soothsayer, it’s impossible to tell whether or not that upside will ever be seen.

Right now though, with the Reds’ regular season 57.4 percent done, Bruce is on pace to hit 19 home runs with around 158 strikeouts—158 Ks is pretty decent for a soft tossing pitcher—for an offensive player on pace to hit 19 home runs…it’s flat-out worthless.

Now if Bruce were on pace to jack 40-45 bleacher balls, it’d be a totally different story—one not especially as deplorable.

Defensively, Jay Bruce is at the top of the MLB right fielder class. He cuts balls off, and has an absolute cannon—even some of the fastest players in the league will not test his left arm.

Kansas City does not have a right fielder. Yes, they do play someone out there. This year it has been, for the most part, natural center fielder David DeJesus.

Joakim Soria is a stallion closer. His talent is wasted in Kansas City. 

How valuable is a save when when it is for a team 13 games below .500, and 1.5 games out of last place? 

The Reds current closer Coco Cordero has not only been directly responsible for many heart attacks in the Cincinnati area, but he is also under contract for next year. And even if Coco’s cousin were an MLB general manager—there is no way he would take the aged and overweight closer with a price tag of $14 million.

The only viable solution for the Reds will be to obtain a lesser priced super star closer (Soria) and just toss Coco into middle relief. And they should do this as soon as possible.

Jay Bruce for Joakim Soria.

Get on the phone Walt!



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Joey Votto’s “Dissing” of Marlon Byrd: I Love It!

I am now officially in love with Joey Votto…well, if he were a she. 

The main headline on the Yahoo splash page runs Votto through the ringer for not hugging and slapping the rear end of Marlon Byrd

It wasn’t the feature story for very long—enough time to send me into a legitimate laugh out loud.

Says Votto, “I don’t like the Cubs. And I’m not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back. But because he made that really cool play, it turned out to be a really cool experience. I’m really glad we got the win today.”

Yeah baby, that’s the spirit! 

The Cubs outfielder made a great play…possibly a game saver. Votto acknowledged it as being a “really cool play”—so what’s the big deal?

I ask, what in the world is wrong with not liking a rival team? 

It wasn’t anything personal against Byrd. 

It’s just the fact that the Cubs outfielder happens to wear the wrong color jersey—although, I have always liked the Cubbie blue—very classy.

One of my biggest pet peeves in the game of baseball is being forced to watch camaraderie between opposing teams. Players yukking it up with the other team before the game, and especially during the game—it’s sickening.

Call me an old-school soul, but if Shoeless Joe had a smiley face on and tried to talk to Ty Cobb, it’s very likely Jackson would have been murdered on the playing field.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a catcher trying to make a batter lose his focus by making sport of the guy’s ugly wife. 

Or even, a little banter between a first baseman and a rival who has just reached base is okay.

I’ve seen Joey Votto do that numerous times…maybe even with Marlon Byrd—I’ll pay closer attention the next time the Reds are in Wrigley or the Cubs hit Great American.

“Votto refused to congratulate Chicago Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd.”

So what? Did everyone congratulate him? I doubt it, but if they did I’m for sure glad I turned off the tube when the game ended.

Were Votto and the rest of the NL All-Stars supposed to run into the outfield and join the jumping chest bump? 

The ninth inning play by Byrd, where he bull rushed the ball and made a last second decision to let it fall and get the force at second of the sloth-footed David Ortiz was the best play by a right-fielder in an All-Star game since 1979 when Dave Parker fielded a line drive single on a hop and gunned the third base runner down at the plate.

Byrd knew it was a spectacular play. Votto knew it. Everyone who saw it knew it.

According to Yahoo baseball “expert”, David Brown (what a lame name—get a pseudonym buddy), Votto should have congratulated Byrd with a, “Handshake…a wave…a wink…a nod…a glance…a happy thought.”

How about a tongue kiss? Would that have suited you, David Lame Name? 

Lame Name goes on to say, “What a leech—and a sorry excuse for an All-Star.”

Hmmmm….What’s worse, saying you are not going to pat the back of a divisional rival (while saying his play was “cool”), or calling a complete stranger “a leech” and “a sorry excuse for an All-Star?”

I know my answer.

Anyone half familiar with Votto’s style knows that the man takes the game very seriously. He very rarely even smiles.

Now, knowing he is a throwback to the days when joshing around with members of the opposition would lead to a beating, Joey Votto is officially my favorite baseball player.



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MLB All-Star Game: Snubbing Joey Votto Makes Joey Votto Angry

Note to Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel: Don’t get drunk on the night you select the reserves of an All-Star Game. Snubbing Joey Votto in favor of Omar Infante, a utility player, was not a wise idea.

As of July 5, Votto is leading or near the top of the National League in almost every major offensive category.

Let’s have a look:

First in home runs, first in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, first in OPS (obviously), third in batting average, tied for third in RBI, and tied for fourth in runs scored.

Infante is on pace to end the season with 350 plate appearances.  The number needed to even qualify for the batting title is 502.

One does not need to be an accountant, or even an expert number-cruncher, to realize that is 152 below the minimum.

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie…

In the two days since you neglected to place Votto on the All-Star Game’s NL roster, you have made him quite unhappy.

On Sunday, the usually mild-mannered Votto was kicked out of the game in the first inning.  That should have served as a serious red flag.

On Monday night, at the New York Mets’ Citi Field, he went 3-for-4 with a double and two homers: one 431-foot bomb to dead center field and a 414-foot blast to right.  He scored three runs and had two RBI in the 8-6 win over the home team.

Another thing, Charlie, you really should have thought about this before making your drunken decision.

Starting this Thursday, Votto and the Reds are coming to your house to play four games versus your Phillies—the last series before the All-Star break.

It is doubtful that Votto will physically murder you. 

Psychologically though, you should have considered the state of your ticker and the probable heart attack you will suffer while watching helplessly at the total destruction Votto will inflict upon your pitchers.

Charlie, you really should have taken note of your team’s schedule before choosing a guy who isn’t even a starting player over Votto. 

Yes, that is a lot to ask of a man who had just downed a 12-pack and topped it off with a pint of Johnnie Walker Blue. 

Still, though, you need to think of the health of your players. 

Especially Ryan Howard’s head injury after a smoking Votto liner renders your first baseman a slobbering vegetable who will never play another baseball game in his life.

You should, in fact, advise all of your guys to wear batting helmets while playing the field.

Ignoring Votto may be a good thing for you—a life lesson, if you will.

If you ever have the chance again, don’t drink and pick.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Carlos Marmol To Cincinnati Reds for Chris Heisey

By Sunday evening, the Chicago Cubs will have a new outfielder, Chris Heisey, and the Cincinnati Reds will have a new relief pitcher, Carlos Marmol.

You heard it here first.  

Sources are saying that, “Walt Jocketty and Jim Hendry are in serious discussions over a trade involving Chris Heisey and Carlos Marmol.”

The intra-divisional deal is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows.  Teams almost never within their own division—especially when it comes to young talent.

Imagine Marmol giving up a division-winning home run to Heisey.  Or an equally disastrous strikeout of Heisey by Marmol in game 162 with the division title on the line—but both teams seem willing to pull the trigger.

“It is all but a done deal,” another source close to the Reds’ organization told me.

Whether or not the deal is completed before or after the weekend series remains to be seen. 

It is also expected that the Cubs will ask for an additional player, most likely a minor league pitcher, probably either Brad Boxberger or Donnie Joseph.

Marmol’s stuff is electric, there is no doubt about that.  He would immediately fill Nick Masset’s role as the right-handed set-up man to Francisco Cordero.

This season, Marmol has been used in the closer role for the Cubbies.  He currently sports a 2010 ERA of 2.21, striking out 68 in 36.2 IP. 

He has walked 26, but judging by 1.85 strike outs per inning and his ERA, he has not allowed to many of those freebies to score.

Marmol is currently in his first year of arbitration earning $2.125 million.

Heisey is a first-year player who started the season in Triple-A Louisville and was called up and placed on the Major League roster when Chris Dickerson broke the wrist’s hamate bone.

In 2009, Heisey led all of the minor leagues in hits and total bases.

So far this season, in limited action with the big club, the 25-year-old has socked four HRs and batted .278 with a .385 OBP while slugging .574 in 58 at-bats.  Coming into 2010, he was ranked the fourth-highest Reds’ prospect by Baseball America .

Financially, this trade makes sense because Heisey is making the league minimum and has three or four years left before he is eligible for arbitration.

The Cubs would probably start playing Heisey in center and very actively shopping Marlon Byrd.

Boxberger has been used as a starter for most of the season, though his future may well be as a relief pitcher.  Drafted in 2009 as a first-round supplemental pick out of USC, he was named Baseball America’s ninth-overall prospect in the Reds’ organization.

Joseph, out of the University of Houston, is another pick from last year’s draft.  He has been used exclusively as a relief pitcher between low- and high-A ball so far this season, and has looked more than impressive with an 0.90 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and a .139 BAA.

Joseph, another top prospect in the Reds’ farm system, was ranked No. 21 at the beginning of the season by Baseball America, but has undoubtedly climbed the ladder with his performances in Dayton and Lynchburg.

So, Reds fans, get ready for the lighting arm of Carlos Marmol, and Cubs fans, get used to seeing Chris Heisey in center. 

It’ll be tough to swallow because there is no doubt the trade bite both teams few times over the coming years.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Cincinnati Reds Prospects for Sale

That’s the newest Cincinnati outfielder, Gary Matthews Jr.

If the Reds’ skipper wasn’t such good pals with his pop, they would trade him for a warm six-pack and a couple of Slim Jims.

Rather than someone that no one would want, let’s take a look at some Reds’ needs and some prospects they may be willing to trade.

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Edinson Volquez: Coming Soon To a Cincinnati Reds Uniform Near You

It’s a question as old as Abner Doubleday.  How does a contending team strengthen their starting rotation by the MLB trade deadline?  Well, it’s possibly a bit more modern than Doubleday.

If you are the Cincinnati Reds, just have your All-Star pitcher go down a month and a half through the 2009 season, get a new arm via Tommy John surgery, and have him come back before the All-Star break—very simple, very easy.

There is none of this haggling with other teams regarding potential trades.

For those who have yet to hear, or possibly did hear, and didn’t believe what they heard, Edinson Volquez made his first rehabilitation start with the Reds’ AAA affiliate, Louisville, on Wednesday.

“I feel great right now over there on the mound,” Volquez said. “My arm is ready to go.”

This couldn’t come at a better time for fans in Reds Country.

Like it or not, the Reds will have to start babying Mike Leake’s right arm.  Old-timers and old-timer thinkers gripe and moan all you like.  It needs to be done.

Leake is already skipping a scheduled Sunday start and will pitch on seven days rest versus the Philadelphia Phillies.

Given Dusty Baker’s mythological reputation of destroying the young arms of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood while managing the Chicago Cubs, the last thing he would want is to be blamed for another ruined arm.

Edinson Volquez will make a start before the All-Star break. 

Don’t be surprised if Leake is moved to the bullpen.  It makes total sense.  Reds’ fans already know that the bullpen, to put it extremely kindly, sort of looks like they belong in old-timers games.

Outside of Sir Arthur Rhodes, of course.

Leake is just the kind of guy needed in there.  It would limit his innings and he could return as a starter in the event that the Reds do make a stretch run.

For all of you skeptics on your high-horses proclaiming, “Well, it was only Volquez’s first start.  I’ll bet you anything he threw junk.”

Yeah, you’re right sucka, he threw junk.  Some 80 pitches worth with a 98 mph smoker. 

Considering Volquez’s out pitch is his change, throwing in the mid-90s and upper-90s is, well, what’s the word? 

Just get your thesaurus out and look up a synonym for “flat-out badass.”

He allowed three hits and walked none in five innings pitched.

Let’s all get on the same page here.  This isn’t some one-hit wonder prospect we’re talking about.

Volquez is a former All-Star, and not very arguably the best pitcher on the Cincinnati staff. 

So for anyone who is dreaming of Cliff Lee coming to town, call Dusty when your shuttle lands.  No matter how cool your hair is.

Watch out NL Central, Volquez is back and madder than Mr. T after a Balboa beat-down.


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