Tagged: Reds

An Open Letter To Bud Selig Re: Reinstatement of Pete Rose

The BBWAA Hall of Fame ballots have officially been released.  One name that is not among the candidates to be enshrined is Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader. 
thumbnailCAAMARXE.jpg Some names that will appear on the ballots are names connected with steroid use.  There is no forgiveness in baseball, unless your method of cheating was by steroid use.  Why?  Why is betting on baseball a worse crime?  Pete Rose never bet against the Reds so it wasn’t like he “fixed” the games to ensure he would win a bet.  He lied about his gambling at first, but finally broke down and admitted his wrong-doing.  He regrets his mistake.  Players like Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro denied any wrong doing despite the evidence that proves otherwise.  Roger Clemens will deny his actions till the day he dies and even then, will never admit it.  Alex Rodriguez denied reports of his usage, but finally revealed the truth after the evidence was leaked to the press.  His reward?  He gets to keep playing as if he did nothing wrong.  Why?  Why does a player that tests positive for steroid use gets to get caught 3 times before he faces a lifetime ban?  Why are steroid users allowed to be on the Hall of Fame ballot?  Are they not cheaters?

thumbnailCAF2K6Q0.jpg          Dear Mr. Selig, I don’t understand why Major League baseball has crucified Pete Rose.  Sure, he made a mistake.  He bet on baseball and that is strictly against the rules.  He made a mistake and is truly remorseful.  As the Commissioner of MLB, are you afraid to overturn a previous Commissioner’s ruling?  Why?  Is there no forgiveness in baseball?

In light of the steroid era, haven’t we learned anything?  The steroid users have been glorified.  In 1998, fans of MLB enjoyed the greatest homerun race ever.  Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire slugged it out and the fans went wild.  At the time, we thought we were witnessing history, only to discover that it was all smoke and mirors.  In hindsight, it was a major disappointment.  Then there’s Barry Bonds, who belted 70 homeruns to become the homerun king.  Again, it was all an illusion, wasn’t it?

Considering the fact that steroids not only tarnished the game, it destroyed the integrity of America’s past time.  So why do players like Palmeiro get rewarded by appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot?  I don’t get it.  MLB has always taken the stance that baseball is a pure sport, a sport with integrity.  Let’s face it, baseball has been stained by steroids.  Players looked for an extra edge and found it.  They cheated, pure and simple.  The problem that I have is that if a player fails a drug test, he gets suspended for 90 days or whatever it is.  then, if he tests positive again, it’s a 180 game suspension.  The third offense results in a lifetime ban.  So why is it, that Pete Rose received baseball’s death penalty for one mistake made after his playing days were over?  Pete Rose played the game the way it should be played.  He set the example for everyone.  He never used steroids or cheated in any way, shape, or form as a player.  As a manager, he bet on his team to win.  Big deal.  Why is his case a greater crime than steroid use?  I think there is something wrong with that picture.

Here is my proposal, Mr. Selig.  I have an idea that might actually prove to be the right thing to do.  I hope that you read this post and seriously consider what I am about to suggest.  Why?  It is the right thing to do and I am confident that you are a man of integrity.  Here’s my idea. 

Since Pete Rose bet on baseball while managing the Reds, then he should be banned as a manager.  However, since Pete has alot to offer, he should be allowed to coach, mentoring young players and teaching them how to play the game the way it was meant to be played and teaching them about the dangers of cheating.  Pete Rose should be allowed to participate in the game of baseball in some capacity.  He was the greatest hitter ever.  Have some respect and give him his due.  Pete Rose has paid the price for his mistake and is sorry.  He should be forgiven.  Perhaps a little forgiveness would bring back some of the integrity that has been lost in Major League baseball.

In addition, Pete Rose deserves to be in the hall of Fame, period!  His numbers speak for themselves.  His success came the old-fashion way, he earned it.  He worked hard to get where he had gotten.  He deserves to be on the ballot to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  It doesn’t mean that the writers will vote him in, although I think he deserves it.  He should at least have the opportunity to be on the ballot.  It’s time to be a leader, Mr. Selig, and give Pete Rose a reprieve.  It has been long enough.  Don’t you believe in giving people second chances?  Steroid users get second and third chances.  Pete Rose needs only one second chance and you are the only one that has the power to forgive.  There is no forgiveness in baseball, but maybe there should be.

thumbnailCARERZJN.jpgPete Rose
was my favorite player when I was a youngster.  He inspired me to play baseball.  He inspired me to hustle.  He inspired me to dive head first into whatever base I was trying to reach.  He inspired me to aspire to becoming a big leaguer some day.  Pete Rose was awesome.  My very first MLB game was at Riverfront Stadium and Pete Rose was playing third base.  He was the reason I wanted to see the Cubs and the Reds play.  Rose captivated my imagination and made me realize that a player had to work hard and give 100% all the time.  He inspired a strong work ethic in me.  Watching Pete Rose chase Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak was unbelievable.  Every game was exciting.  That was what made baseball so great.  He chased the 3,000 hit milestone.  Then, the incredible 4,000 hit milestone.  He finally broke Ty Cobb’s record for most hits all-time.  It was amazing.  Pete Rose kept me interested in baseball, no, more like obsessed.  Pete Rose deserves some credit.  He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  Have a heart and reinstate his eligibility status.  It’s the right thing to do.  If it wasn’t for Pete Rose, I would not be the diehard baseball fan that I am today.   I hope that somehow you read this, Mr. Selig.  I have the utmost respect for you and your integrity and I trust that you will consider doing the right thing.   Thank you,  Scot Blust.


A Tribute To Sparky Anderson

A legend has passed away today.  Sparky Anderson will be remembered for his World Series Championships in Cincinnatti and Detroit, but I will never forget my very first MLB game in 1977 between the Cubs and the Reds.  Sparky was managing The Big Red Machine and I got to see the legend with my own eyes.  I was only 9 at the time, but even then, I knew that I was witnessing a part of history, a legend.

thumbnailCALHKW4M.jpgAs a nine year old, I was all about baseball.  I lived and breathed it.  I collected baseball cards and made trades like a GM would, using my keen insight and intuition to determine what players would hold their value and who I could afford to part with.  Back then, I could rattle off every stat for every player at any given time.  There wasn’t much about baseball that I didn’t know at that age.  I only wish I could have played the game as well as I would have liked, becoming a professional baseball player was my dream, but that’s another story.  Anyway, I was really into the Reds at the time.  The Big Red Machine was the ultimate team, in my opinion.  Sparky Anderson was the Manager, arguably the best in his time.  There was something special about him, you could just tell.  He was like the grandfather everyone wished they had.  I remember having his baseball card and refusing to part with it.  It didn’t matter that I had duplicates, because I knew that I had something special.  I had Sparky Anderson.  Well, my child’s intuition was correct in that assumption.  Sparky turned out to be a Hall Of Famer and deservedly so.  When I saw Sparky in person while attending the game between the Cubs and the Reds at Riverfront Stadium, I was in awe. 
thumbnailCA6LUK6U.jpg At the time, I don’t think I fully appreciated his managing prowess as I do now, but intuitively, I knew.  It was an honor to be in his presence. 
thumbnailCAAF4EFT.jpg Sparky Anderson exemplified what a Manager should be.  He was a kind-hearted man and a fierce competitor.  He was wise, intelligent, and a keen strategist.  He understood the game of baseball and knew what it takes to win.  He was a leader and a motivator.  Sparky Anderson was beloved by all, especially me, because Sparky was the kind of coach that I would want.  Even though I am a Diehard Cubs Fan, have been since 1978, there will always be a special place in my heart for Sparky.  God bless his soul.  He will be missed.

The Braves In The Land Of Giants, Pandas, Poseys, And Freaks!

It’s October and there’s a full moon as Atlanta will brave the journey to the land of Giants on this night.  The Braves had better beware because there are dangers lurking just around the corner.

In his final season, future Hall of Fame Manager, Bobby Cox, and the Atlanta Braves squeaked into the post-season winning the Wildcard, but are the Braves prepared to face the most dominant pitching staff of the National League?

San Francisco won the NL West with tremendous pitching.  In the month of September, the Giants’ pitching staff touted a dwarfed ERA of 1.78.  During the final month of the season, opposing batters’ hit only .182.  The Giants will open the series tonight with “The Freak”, Tim Lincecum. 
thumbnailCAJ3HBL1.jpg The 26 year old, Cy Young Pitcher, went 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA.  He will be making his post-season debut.  Lincecum led the National League this year with 231 K’s.  Despite struggling in August, He made some adjustments and finished strong in September where he went 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA.  Make no mistake, Tim Lincecum is ready for the Braves.

Atlanta will have Derek Lowe on the mound.  Lowe has won 5 consecutive starts and has gone 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 8 career games at AT&T Park.  It should be a good pitching match up.  While the Braves’ lineup try to figure out “The Freak”, Derek Lowe will try not to freak out when he faces the Giants’ hitters, like “Kung Fu Panda”, Pablo Sandoval, and Aubrey Huff.  The Giants have staked the claim for Rookie Of The Year honors with the emergence of Buster Posey.  The Giants’ catcher ranked 1st amongst National League rookies with a .305 batting average, 2nd in slugging per centage (.505), 3rd in on-base per centage (.357), 4th in RBI’S with 67, 5th in multi-hit games (38).  Posey finished the year with 18 HR’s in 108 games played.  He is the leading candidate for NL Rookie Of the Year as he helped the Giants overcome a 7 1/2 game deficit in mid-season.

The Giants are 63-19 when scoring first this season and 69-12 when they score 4 or more runs in a game.  In addition, San Fran is 61-4 when leading after the 5th inning, attributable to a fantastic bullpen.  As a team, the Giants have 37 come from behind wins.

Atlanta lost Chipper Jones earlier in the year, but added players like first baseman, Derek Lee and Rick Ankiel.  The Braves have had a road record of 35-46 in 2010 and have struggled as of late.  However, in Bobby Cox’s final season, the Braves will be trying to send their skipper out on top.  It should be a good series.  The Braves will need to find an answer to the Giants’ pitching staff if they are going to have a chance.  We’ll see how it goes.  Rock on!

Doc Halladay Tosses No Hitter!

In his post-season debut, Roy Halladay, becomes the first pitcher since Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956, to throw a no hitter in the post-season.  Behind Halladay’s masterful performance, The Philadelphia Phillies win Game 1 of the NLDS against the Reds 4-0.

In my previous post, The Secret To Beating The Phillies, I outlined what the Reds needed to do to win against Philadelphia.  The Reds failed by all accounts.  The Phillies scored first.  Volquez failed to deliver a quality start.  The Phillies scored more than 3 runs, and of course, Doc Halladay went more than six innings.  All factors that are indicative of Philly success.  I advised the Reds to jump on the first pitch.  They did not.  Halladay was consistently ahead in the count and the Reds’ hitters appeared to be intimidated.  Of course, what could they do?  Doc Halladay was unhittable!

thumbnailCAHL1JYV.jpgCongratulations, Roy Halladay!  I tip my cap!  Thanks for the memories!  It was an awesome game to watch!

Maybe the Reds should read my previous post and take notes.  They will need all the help they can get playing against the Philadelphia Phillies and The Big 3!

The Secret To Beating The Phillies!

The defending National League Champions, Philadelphia Phillies, play host to the Reds as the NLDS starts tonight.  Here are the keys to winning against the team that most pick to win it all!

The Phillies boast the best starting rotation in the playoffs.  It is arguably one of the best ever.  Between Cy Young winner, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, the Reds will have their hands full.  Going up against a pitching staff that is probably the most intimidating in all of baseball, the Reds are going to need a game plan.

thumbnailCAUSDES0.jpgHere are the keys to beating the Big 3, and the Philadelphia Phillies!

  • ATTACK FIRST PITCH!  The Phillies’ starters are work horses.  They pitch deep into games which means they are efficient with their pitches.  This means that the Big 3 don’t get behind in the count very often. 
    thumbnailCAKM9V9H.jpg The Reds will want to jump on first pitch strikes.  Otherwise, a hitter will fall behind and be at the pitcher’s mercy.  Not a good place to be.  Therefore, forget about working the count.  The Reds have a better chance at making solid contact early in the count.
  • The Reds’ Starters will need to keep the game as close as possible to allow the bullpen a chance to save it.  A quality start is a must.
  • Hold the Phillies to 3 runs or fewer.  Philly is 24-51 when they score less than 3 runs.  In games where they score more than 3 runs, the Phillies are 73-13.
  • Establish lead by the sixth inning!  The Phillies are 11-44 when trailing after six.  They are 10-11 when the game is tied after six.  If the Phils have the lead, you’re doomed!  Philadelphia is 76-9 when leading after six!
  • Score first!  The Phils are 64-12 when scoring first and 33-52 when the other teams gets on the board first.
  • thumbnailCA2IV2L5.jpgLate innings are crucial to be tied or have the lead.  This is where the Reds can turn the corner.  The Phils are vulnerable in the later innings without the lead.  With a lead, expect Brad Lidge to turn out the lights.  The Phils have only lost a couple times after leading in the eighth all year.  They are 81-5 after eighth inning leads.
  • Knock out the Starter before the seventh inning.  When the Phillies’ starters work more than 6 innings, the Phillies are 66-27.  When they pitch just six, they are 15-12.  When they pitch less than six, the record is 16-25.
  • If the Reds can keep the game close while knocking the Big 3 out prior to the seventh inning, while holding the Phillies to 3 runs or less, and letting the game be won between the bullpens.  The Reds will have a chance.  Otherwise, it will be a short series!

Which Race Is Wilder, The Wildcard Or The Wild, Wild West?

It’s coming down to the wire.  Three teams battling for two playoff spots, only two will survive, but after it is all said and done, who will still be standing when the smoke all clears? 

Heading into the season finale’ with San Francisco, it appeared like the San Diego Padres were finished before it started.  The Chicago Cubs stole three of four games from the Padres and the Giants had a three game lead in the NL West prior to this weekend.  The Giants needed to win only once to clinch the division.  San Diego needed a sweep of the Giants to capture the NL West.  It seemed highly unlikely that that would happen, especially since the series is in San Francisco.  The Giants boast one of the best, if not the best, pitching staffs in all of baseball.  The Padres’ pitching staff isn’t too shabby itself and San Diego came to play.

San Diego, so everyone thought, had a better shot at winning the wildcard race, however the chances of that seemed small as well.  The Atlanta Braves had a two game lead on San Diego.  The Braves played host to the Philadelphia Phillies.  I expected Charlie Manuel to rest his starters to get ready for the postseason but that would not be the case.  Instead, Charlie wants his team to stay sharp and remain in playoff mode and the Fightin’ Phils have done just that.  The Phillies have beaten Atlanta the first two games and now it is Bobby Cox and the Braves who are doing the sweating as the Padres have shocked San Francisco by winning their first two games with the Giants.  The combination of Padres’ wins and Braves’ losses has propelled San Diego into a TIE with Atlanta for the wildcard.

This is where it gets very confusing.  Sunday will bring the last day of the regular season but it may be far from over as tiebreakers could appear upon the horizon.  Let me try and get this straight.

IF… The Giants win on Sunday, then San Francisco will win the West.  Then if the Braves beat the Phillies, Atlanta will win the wildcard and San Diego is out.

IF.. The Braves lose too, then San Diego will travel to Atlanta for a showdown for the wildcard.

IF… The Padres sweep the Giants, then San Diego wins the West and San Francisco wins the wildcard IF the Braves get swept by Philadelphia.

IF the Padres AND the Braves both WIN, then there will be a three-team tie-breaker.  The Padres would force one more game against the Giants to determine the NL West and the loser would travel to Atlanta for a tie-breaker for the wildcard spot. 

A three team playoff would be the first ever in Major league history.  How wild would that be?

IF… you’re confused by all the scenarios, don’t be.  Let me simplify it.  IF whatever team wins, then that team will survive at least another day.  If a team loses, then their fate will rest on another team.  However, losing on Sunday doesn’t necessarily spell the end, but it might.

Never mind, this really does get confusing.  All we can really do, is sit back and watch on Sunday and see what happens.  Watch the drama unfold.  We can expect a dramatic finish to what has been, probably one of the wildest playoff races in baseball history!

Amid the noise and confusion, one thing is certain in this scenario.  October has arrived and with it comes the drama and excitement of playoff baseball.  It’s do or die now as these teams fight for the right to play on unto the postseason. 

Get your game face on, boys.  It’s showtime!  …And it looks like it’s going to be a wild ride!