Reds Winter Caravan:Louisville

So yesterday was the start of the Reds Winter Caravan and one of the first stops was Louisville Slugger Field.  The event was held in the ballpark’s foyer (think concrete slab floor, florescent lights) as opposed to the last two years at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.  The event was moved due to renovations to the factory site to make room for new exhibits coming this summer.

The caravan carrying Chris Dickerson, Jerry Hairston, Yonder Alanso, Jeff Brantley,  Dusty and George Grande arrived forty-five minutes late to the site since they were held up at a Frankfort, KY radio station.

A great majority of the crowd (about 600 or so) was there seeking autographs and were lined up even before the caravan arrived.

One thing that stood out was the fact that while there were some kids, there wern’t many.  At 4:30 in the afternoon it is a horrible time to have an event like this as it should have been scheduled for a time when more people could get out of work or school so that they could drive to the stadium.  There wasn’t much promotion of the event which was strange.

The one bit of good news was when CEO Bob Castellini announced that the Reds and Bats are going to extend their relationshiop through the 2012 season.  This is big news and it is nice to know that we’ll be able to see many of the Reds up and coming prospects for the next several years.  I don’t really know how I would feel about going to games if the Bats were affiliated with another team.

Notable Quotes:

From Dusty

“I won’t put a governor on them. I want them to use their arms, legs, bats, everything in order to win”

Translation: CREATE HAVOC!

Jerry Hairston:

“We are young, but talented.  There is a difference”

Yeah, and Grizzly Adams had a beard.

Other than Dusty babbling about winning and going to the inauguration on Tuesday with his son, George Grande took only one question from those assembled.  It was about the radio affiliate (not from me) and pretty much dismissed it by saying, “The Reds are doing everything to bring Reds fans the best radio and TV coverage”.  Joe Zerhusen, the broadcast affiliate manager, was also in attendance.  Presumeably he will be around tonight checking various spots in the city for the horrible reliablity of the signal and continue to see if there are other options for another affiliate.

All in all it was a poorly timed event that seemed hastily put together with little fanfare or excitement.  The people running the caravan should have put more into the event (promotion) and at the very least they should have apologized for being late.

When you give out free copies of Baseball America’s NL Central prospect report that says, “Reds are a long way away”, while trying to promote the team as a winner, you have some serious problems.

Chris Welsh Ripping Dusty, Reds

Is it just me or has the Mustashioed One found his cajones and started ripping the team more and more?

Just about every broadcast that he has done for the past two months, Chris Welsh has been harping on this team almost nightly with no player or even Dusty Baker being immune.

On Friday night, Welsh ripped Dusty for a late inning substitution sending Patterson into center and Dickerson into left.  It was a NINE RUN GAME!  Welsh said,

It is does not make a nickel’s worth of difference if you make the change now.  Why not put Dickerson in center and see how he can play?  It is a nine run game and the lead is not in danger

Perfect logic.  Of course George “I’m always a nice guy and sugar coat everything no matter how much this team sucks” Grande replied,

Well, I guess you put your nine best defenisive players out there

Where was this earlier in the season?  His contract is a four year deal that runs through the 2010 season so it can’t be because he knows he’s done after this year. Hopefully Bob C doesn’t want to silence the press about this crappy team and have him canned.

I say keep going, Chris.  Management needs to hear it.

Starting to Come Together

The Reds complete the home stand at 5-2 (should have been 6-1 had Weathers not blown the second game versus the Pirates) and have chopped two games off the wild card lead, which is now down to seven.  They will now head out onto the road before the All-Star Break going to division leading Chicago and Milwaukee.  Do I even need to say that this is a big road trip? Going 4-2 would be awesome and a sweep of the Cubs could make it super sweet.   The division lead is still 10.5 but that is better than having no chance.

The Brewers have apparently landed C.C. Sabathia in a deal with the Indians, as of Sunday night.  Hopefully he is not on the schedule to pitch, but something tells me that he will be. Matt LaPorta and two mid-level prospects are thought to be in the deal from the Brewers.  In his last start against the Reds on June 27th, Sabathia pitched 8 innings, allowed 4 hits, no runs, and struck out 11 Reds en route to a 6-0 Cleveland win.

Redleg Nation has put up an interesting article about a radio delay in the broadcast so it would better sync up with the TV broadcast.  As you know, I am very passionate about the radio broadcast and this move is nice, but I haven’t seen a lot of improvement.  Generally I have the radio on and the TV muted but it would be nice if they were at least a little closer.  On the old affiliate, they were close without any tinkering by Reds on Radio.  Werid.  Anything is better than George Grand wax poetic about Griffey’s 600+ home runs and the “Crafty Lefthander”.

Congradulations to Edinson Volquez being named to the All-Star team.  Although he certianly deserves to start and I will probably be mad if he doesn’t, I have a feeling that he won’t be selected by NL manager Clint Hurdle.  Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Ryan Depster, and Tim Lincecum among others were named.

Speaking of Tim Lincecum, Tom Verducci wrote an amazing article for this past weeks Sports Illustrated on the Giants ace.  Most of the article was dedicated to Lincecum’s unortodox pitching style and the mechanics behind it.  The article also had a lot of intersting facts and discussion about how new technology is being developed by former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson that is being used to teach young pitchers how to pitch, with maximum output, without doing any unncessary damage to their arms.  This is a subject that will be coming up more and more as pitchers have reached their max load and clubs that are now trying to preserve thier multi-million dollar investements through scientifically measruable biomechanics rather than the old method of “eyeballing” a prospect.  A must read for any baseball fan.