Tag Archives: Cincinnati Reds

Food for Thought 7-31-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Drew Stubbs (pictured above) continues to drive most Reds fans nuts with his high number of strikeouts, but he has played a crucial role in the teams recent surge.

By Josh Kramer

It is no secret that there are two very hot teams in baseball at the moment. One resides in the American League (Oakland), while the other plays in the National League (Cincinnati).  Today, we focus on the Reds, and more specifically, their highly scrutinized center fielder Drew Stubbs.  Heading into play last evening, Cincinnati were winners of ten straight games, their longest winning streak in well over a decade.  During the amazing stretch, the Reds had outscored their opponents 54 to 27.  Now I am by no means naive.  Cincinnati is of course doing this without their star and arguably the best player in all of baseball Joey Votto, but they have not exactly played against top-tier competition.  During the stretch in which the Reds have won 17 of 19, four of their six opponents sport under .500 records.  I guess that is the beauty of being a member of the National League Central.

I have made it known that I am by no means a fan of Drew Stubbs these days.  I cannot remember a player failing to play to their strengths and wasting their talent more than this guy.  If one were to look up the word “potential” in the dictionary, the face of Drew Stubbs would appear there.  He runs like a gazelle, yet strikes out 1.3 times a game and doesn’t know how to bunt?  How can a guy with that kind of speed not know how to bunt?  During the Reds ten game winning streak, I have been eating my words (which I am happy about).  Stubbs has raised his batting average from .223 to .230, hit three home runs, and drove in ten runs.  He also has struck out 12 times.  But the key is Drew has come up big in the clutch.  As our good friend Paul Daugherty likes to say, Stubbs has been one of many Reds since the All-Star break to demonstrate the “it” factor.  In Votto’s absence, Stubbs was batting .333 with 14 RBIs heading into last evening.

I still admit that Stubbs shortcomings and inability to utilize his strengths does and will continue to drive me nuts.  Drew Stubbs is going to do what Drew Stubbs is going to do though.  That has been made clear over the past 3.5 seasons.  Stubbs is not on the field to please me or you.  He is out there to help his team win. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 7-30-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Many are wondering if Silas Redd (pictured above #25) will return to Penn State next season or take his talents out West to USC.

By Josh Kramer

Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was at least unique, which was one of the things he was going for.  Even the Queen almost cracked a smile.  All eyes in the sporting world are focused on London, as they should be.  But let’s not forget about the rest of the sporting world.  Last week was fun, but this week is sure to be great in its own right.

5.  The “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” continues.  At least now, most NBA fans can focus their attention on Team USA’ s quest for gold in London.  The Howard reality television series has definitely dragged on far too long, but it is still a big story.  Wherever Howard lands, that team is very likely going to be an instant contender.

4.  The world continues to keep an eye on “Happy” Valley in the wake of the harsh NCAA sanctions.  How will the program actually respond outside of saying the right things at press conferences?  How will the new administration ensure nothing like this ever happens in the future at Penn State? What players will stay? What players will go?  Keep a special eye on star running back Silas Redd.  It appears Lane Kiffin is working hard to add a final piece to a USC team poised to make a run at the National Championship. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 7-23-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Andy Roddick (pictured above) won his 32nd career ATP title on Sunday in Atlanta.

By Josh Kramer

An “unprecedented” punishment is on the way that does not involve the death penalty in “Happy” Valley.  Barry Larkin is officially a member of one of the most exclusive fraternities in sports.  The “Tiger Tease” was a mere subplot at “The Open.”  And the NFL crime spree continues.  Can training camp please start now?  Last week was great, but this week is sure to be full of excitement in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Andy Roddick captured his 32nd ATP title yesterday.  The ATP heads to Los Angeles today though for the Farmer’s Classic.  Unfortunately for this tournament which has been around since 1927 will suffer the ill-effects of an overly jam-packed summer.  The London Olympics are a great event which everyone is excited about.  Except those that run the Farmer’s Classic.  Any chance of nabbing the big names fell to the wayside with the Olympics going on. Continue reading

Aside

By Josh Kramer The fairy tale story that is the baseball career of Barry Larkin will conclude in the most grandiose of style this afternoon.  Only this is not a fictional story.  This is Barry Larkin’s reality.  We have known it … Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-17-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Ben Sheets (pictured above) started his first Major League game in nearly two years on Sunday. It looked as if he had never left.

By Josh Kramer

Holy Sheets.  Ben Sheets is back.  After a nearly two-year hiatus between Major League starts, Ben Sheets proved that he isn’t done yet.  If I were the Washington Nationals, I would take note.  With Ben Sheets back, Atlanta not only is a wild-card contender, but they are a pennant contender.  Ben Sheets learned the number one rule that applies to all pitchers at a young age and never forgot it.  This rule is the secret to being a successful pitcher.

Throw strikes.

Did you forget when Sheets had a 116/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio back in 2006?  Or his 264/32 mark in 2004?  Guy could paint the corners in a similar fashion to Greg Maddux in the mid-90s while bringing the heat.  These days, the velocity is not going to be the same as it once was for Sheets.  Do not expect to see any 98 mph gas like the good old days.  But do expect to see the ball paint the corners and keep hitters off-balance.

With Beachy still out, the timing could not be better.  In order to compete with the Nationals, Hudson and Hanson desperately need the help of another quality starter.  Ben Sheets is only 33-years-0ld.  Despite all of the injuries and other various setbacks, Sheets could be Atlanta’s ticket back to the playoffs.  In addition, he could very well turn into the MLB’s comeback player of the year.  I know this much.  Sheets will be a hard guy to root against. Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-10-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Andy Murray (pictured above) was brought to tears on Sunday. Just call him the “Heartbreak Kid.”

By Josh Kramer

Since the beginning of time, sports have been filled with loveable losers.  Sports are generally a zero-sum game.  There are winners and losers (occasional ties such as the 2002 All-Star Game ten years ago).  It is a part of life.  On Sunday, watching the tears stream down Andy Murray’s face and the heartbreak of an entire country got me thinking about some of the loveable losers in sports.

No I am not going to talk about the 86-year Curse of the Bambino and the rebels out of Beantown.  Also, don’t hold your breath in regards to Wrigleyville’s finest (the 105-year streak isn’t ending any time soon).  Today, is Andy Murray’s day.  God knows if this guy will ever take home a Grand Slam title.  As I have stated many times before, Andy Murray is quickly becoming the “Greatest Of All Time (GOAT)” to never win a Grand Slam.

Andy Murray has won over 375 professional matches.  He has won 22 tournaments.  Murray has been ranked in the top ten in the world for over five years and spent the majority of that time ranked in the top four.  And he has made four appearances in the finals of a Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open twice, Wimbledon, US Open).  If Murray can somehow get over the hump and avoid Rafael Nadal until the finals at Roland Garros next May, he will complete the career Grand Slam.  The career Grand Slam of finishing second that is.  Not exactly as good as the real thing I guess. Continue reading

Food for Thought 6-3-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Johnny Cueto (pictured above) is the biggest snub this year in terms of the MLB All-Star Game.

By Josh Kramer

The “smartest” man ever to step foot on a baseball diamond strikes again.  This time, he is playing for keeps.  Despite being retired, Tony LaRussa is still going after his bitter rival, the Cincinnati Reds.  Now I am not naive enough to think that snubs don’t happen every year in regards to the All-Star Game rosters.  Due to a flawed selection system, this is inevitable.  But it is very atypical to see a particular “city” get snubbed like this. Continue reading