Posts Tagged ‘Cincinnati Reds’

Bus Leagues Contest: Win A Copy Of Joe Posnanski’s “The Machine”

Thursday was one of those “good news, bad news” days.  The good news: I received a copy of Joe Posnanski’s “The Machine” in the mail from Harper Collins (I’m still not entirely sure why this happened, but at least it made me feel important).  The bad news: I already bought the book a couple days after it came out.  (Actually, I bought two books on that trip to Barnes & Noble: “The Machine” for me and Dan Brown’s latest for my wife; as luck would have it, her mother had already picked up the latter title, making this the single most pointless trip to the book store ever.)

Okay, so the “bad news” is only bad for me.  For everyone else, it’s good, because it means we’re gonna be having a contest and a giveaway – and who doesn’t like the opportunity to win free stuff?

Alright, here’s the deal: there’s a quiz on Sporcle where the object is to name the eight regular starters for the Big Red Machine.  (Posnanski linked to it earlier this year, and if memory serves, this quiz was my introduction to Sporcle, which means I should both bless and curse the name of Joe Posnanski.  God only knows the total number of hours I’ve wasted on that amazing site.)  Take the quiz and email me your time at onemoredyingquail@gmail.comThe reader with the fastest time on that quiz wins the book.  Easy as that.

As for the book itself, it was an interesting and entertaining read, focusing largely on Reds manager Sparky Anderson and his four biggest stars: Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, and Tony Perez.  The most fascinating part (aside from the implication that Ken Griffey Sr. was a remarkable player who Anderson and The Machine kept from reaching his full potential) was the way Rose and Morgan were portrayed.  Fans today “know” those two in particular – Rose as the unapologetic gambler who bet on baseball and Morgan as ESPN’s number one color commentator – and Posnanski paints vivid pictures of the people they were back then.


Average Distance From Majors To Affiliates: National League Central

(A blog was nice enough to link to this post last week – I can’t seem to find the name – and one of the commenters noted that I had left out the Cardinals affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, which changes the team’s overall average but not it’s placement on the list. The new numbers are included below.)

Pittsburgh Pirates (average: 374 miles)
Pittsburgh to…
…Indianapolis Indians (AAA): 360 miles
…Altoona Curve (AA): 98 miles
…Lynchburg Hillcats (A): 353 miles
…West Virginia Power (A): 228 miles
…State College Spikes (A): 139 miles
…GCL Pirates (Rookie): 1,065 miles

St. Louis Cardinals (average: 630 miles)
St. Louis to…
…Memphis Cardinals (AAA): 284 miles
…Springfield Cardinals (AA): 217 miles
…Palm Beach County Cardinals (A): 1,136 miles
…Quad Cities River Bandits (A): 268 miles
…Batavia Muckdogs (A): 779 miles
…Johnson City Cardinals (Rookie): 593 miles
…GCL Cardinals (Rookie): 1,136 miles

Cincinnati Reds (average: 695 miles)
Cincinnati to…
…Louisville Bats (AAA): 106 miles
…Carolina Mudcats (AA): 538 miles
…Sarasota Reds (A): 977 miles
…Dayton Dragons (A): 49 miles
…Billings Mustangs (Rookie): 1,522 miles
…GCL Reds (Rookie): 977 miles

Chicago Cubs (average: 943 miles)
Chicago to…
…Iowa Cubs (AAA): 333 miles
…Tennessee Smokies (AA): 560 miles
…Daytona Cubs (A): 1,156 miles
…Peoria Chiefs (A): 166 miles
…Boise Hawks (A): 1,695 miles
…Mesa Cubs (Rookie): 1,749 miles

Houston Astros (average: 953 miles)
Houston to…
…Round Rock Express (AAA): 167 miles
…Corpus Christi Hooks (AA): 222 miles
…Lancaster JetHawks (A): 1,571 miles
…Lexington Legends (A): 996 miles
…Tri-City Valley Cats (A): 1,764 miles
…Greeneville Astros (Rookie): 997 miles

Milwaukee Brewers (average: 970 miles)
Milwaukee to…
…Nashville Sounds (AAA): 562 miles
…Huntsville Stars (AA): 671 miles
…Brevard County Manatees (A): 1,300 miles
…Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A): 107 miles
…Arizona Brewers (Rookie): 1,780 miles
…Helena Brewers (Rookie): 1,398 miles

Jay Bruce Is The Next WHO?

In baseball circles, the name “Kevin Maas” is legend, representative of a highly touted player who bursts onto the scene and fizzles out just quickly.  Joe Charbonneau pulled a Maas; so did Bob Hamelin, I’m inclined to say without looking at his numbers.

But this, people…this is just naked aggression toward the man who remains our hero despite having been in the major leagues and theoretically off our radar for a month. 

Jay, what do you think of the fact that somebody dared even suggest that you and Kevin Maas might have a connection:

Yeah, can’t say I blame you.  Nothing less than mild outrage is to be expected here.

Fortunately the blog post writer came to a very important conclusion: Jay Bruce does NOT equal Kevin Maas.  Thank God.


It’s official: Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker are dead to me.

Hardcore fans of Bus Leagues will recall that up until a few weeks ago, I planned to make a pilgrimmage to the Holy Land of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to see the Louisville Bats take on the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Louisville was, at the time, home to a pair of guys I wanted to see up close and person: outfielder Jay Bruce, the official man-crush of this blog, and Homer Bailey, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. 

As the story goes, Bruce was called up two weeks before said trip, Bailey about a week later.  Just like that, there was no reason to go to Pawtucket (aside from the chance to see Clay Buchholz or Daisuke Matsuzaka in action).

I can accept that they were called up to The Show.  That’s the reality of minor league baseball, and it’s a good one.  It’s hard to be upset when a young man’s dreams come true.  But when one of those young men is returned to the minors just two weeks later, soon after the Bats left town, that makes me mad (even if his 0-3 record and 8.76 ERA necessitated such a move).  You hear that, Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker?  I’m mad, and it’s your fault.  Grrrrr!

And to make matters worse, you know what the corresponding move was?  Outfielder Norris Hopper was activated from the disabled list.  Good for Norris, he’s probably anxious to get back on the field and play ball.  But you know what this means, don’t you?  (Attention: you are now entering the land of wild conjecture and illogical opinions.  Do not, repeat, DO NOT, take any of this seriously.  Unless I turn out to be right, in which case you are free to regard me as a God).  This means that Reds management is paving the way to rid itself of our hero, the incomparable Mr. Bruce.

The timing has never been better: after a mind numbingly amazing start, Bruce is currently mired in a dreadful 1-for-18 slump, which proves that he doesn’t yet belong at the major league level.  (Damn rookies.)  Clearly, Hopper’s reactivation is a signal that The Deal will soon rejoin Bailey in Louisville, or worse, relegated to fourth outfielder status.  (Yes, I know Norris Hopper has only appeared in 15 games this season, none since mid-April.)  I’m onto you, Baker.  I’m onto you. 

Be strong, Jay.


Jacoby Ellsbury Is The Fastest Kid Alive

Jacoby Ellsbury, the 13th ranked prospect according to Baseball America’s preseason list, has been on the major league roster of the Boston Red Sox for the entire 2008 season to date, one of about eleven names on the Top 100 to do so.*  That makes him one of those guys that occasionally slips through the cracks at Bus Leagues: Ellsbury is clearly a major leaguer at this point, but his place on the Top 100 “allows” us to write about him if we so choose.

*The other ten: Joba Chamberlain (3), Kosuke Fukudome (30), Johnny Cueto (34), Joey Votto (44), Geovany Soto (47), Daric Barton (48), Jair Jurrjens (49), Carlos Gomez (52), Nick Blackburn (56), Manny Parra (72).  Am I leaving anyone out?  Only players who made their team out of spring training and have not been demoted are included.

Ellsbury is in the news today, not surprisingly, for his legs.  Yesterday afternoon in Cincinnati, he stole two bases to tie the Red Sox team record for stolen bases by a rookie.  Today, in the very first inning, he rolled a single through the hole between short and third, then stole second on the very first pitch to Dustin Pedroia to break the mark, which had stood since 1908.  Ellsbury then stole third and scored on Pedroia’s sacrifice fly.

In breaking the record, Ellsbury victimized fellow top prospect Homer Bailey, making his third start for the Reds.  Bailey did not have a good afternoon, allowing five runs in 2.1 innings pitched, including three homeruns (Ellsbury, Coco Crisp, J.D. Drew).  His ERA currently stands at a healthy 8.76 after three starts and the team is concerned with a serious decrease in the velocity on his fastball.

What In The World Is Jay Bruce Doing!?

Nooooooo, Jay, nooooooo!  Stop!  Not against THAT team!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

Bruce, Dunn homers lead Reds over Red Sox 3-1 (Yahoo! Sports)

Video: Jay Bruce’s First Major League Homerun

I once hit a walkoff homerun. It was in Little League. We were trailing, 8-7, in the last inning when I came up to bat with the bases loaded. I ripped a line drive just inside the first base line and managed to touch ’em all before they got the ball in for a game-winning, inside-the-park grand slam*.

*Truth be told, it was Little League, and I wasn’t the World’s Fastest Kid.  There were probably about six errors on the play that allowed me to score.  I like my version better.

So yeah, I know EXACTLY how Jay Bruce felt when he crushed this game-winner last Saturday for his first major league homer. 

Now Pitching For The Cincinnati Reds…

Some might argue that Homer Bailey doesn’t deserve a “Now Pitching For…” post; after all, it is an honor typically reserved for prospects who are just arriving on the major league scene, not ones who appeared in nine games and pitched 45.3 innings in 2007.  

When I saw that the Reds were calling Bailey up to make a start on Thursday, however, doing this post was the first thing that popped into my head.  Though he had that big league experience a year ago, he started 2008 with Louisville (AAA-International League), where control problems kept him from advancing sooner.  Even now, it doesn’t exactly sound like Dusty Baker and Company are excited to have him in Cincinnati.’s Mark Sheldon noted the difference between Bailey’s 2007 and 2008 arrivals:

When Bailey was first set to debut in 2007, he was heralded as a potential savior for a struggling team. With his 2008 debut nearing, Bailey is just Thursday’s pitcher, as Reds manager Dusty Baker didn’t exactly offer heaps of praise when asked about the timing of the call up.

“Well, I don’t know if it was timing,” Baker said Monday. “Sometimes, there’s necessity. How many other guys do we have on the [40-man] roster? Anybody else we’d have to put on the roster.”

Sounds like they’re really expecting a lot out of the kid in the near future.

This was mentioned in a previous post on Jay Bruce, but can you imagine what the Reds will look like in a year or two if the young starting pitching pans out?  We’re talking about a rotation of Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo.  Couple that with the promising young lineup, and Reds fans might have reason to be optimistic.

Breaking News: Jay Bruce Is Good At Baseball

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee. – Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction (1994)

Yes, I realize that Jay Bruce has played but six games at the major league level.  Yes, I realize that the only players with higher or equal slugging percentages over their first six career games are Mike Jacobs, Craig Wilson, Sam Horn, and Mitchell Page.  Yes, I realize that he will not hit .591 for the entire season.

But hot damn, The Deal is off to quite the start, isn’t he? 

I first thought about writing this post the other day, following Bruce’s hot start in the first two games of the year.  Then I looked closer at the stats and thought to myself, “An 0-3 in his third game?  No homeruns?  Not as impressive as I thought.

Apparently, and I of course did not know this at the time, Jay Bruce can read minds, and my thoughts displeased him.  He responded by hitting his first major league homerun a day or two later – not just any homerun, either, but a walkoff that beat the Braves in the tenth inning – and added another four-bagger on Sunday in a 6-2 Reds win.

This is why we nicknamed this kid The Deal (although at the rate he’s going, he might have three or four more by the time he’s done).

(Oh, and what’s the deal with that Pulp Fiction quote up top?  Tell me it’s not fun to imagine Bruce saying that to the catcher every time he comes up to bat.)

I’m Happy…No, I’m Sad…No, I’m Happy…No, I’m –

In two weeks, I was planning to make the two hour trip down to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to see the Red Sox take on the Louisville Bats.  Though I’m a Red Sox fan and would welcome the chance to see youngsters like Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson for a far more reasonable price than a trip to Fenway, this trip wasn’t about them.  This trip was to be my best chance to see The Deal, Jay Bruce, the number one baseball playing prospect in the world, in action.

Alas, the Reds were not on my side.  The team announced today that Bruce will be recalled from Louisville in time for Tuesday’s game against the Pirates.  He had been crushing International League pitching, posting a .364 batting average, 10 homeruns and 37 runs batted in this season. 

Where Bruce will play when he arrives in Cincinnati is still up in the air.  I always thought he projected as a centerfielder in the majors, but apparently the good folks in the Reds front office do not share that assessment and see him as a long term solution at one of the corner outfield slots.  Problem is, those positions are currently occupied by Ken Griffey, Jr., who won’t be going anywhere at least until he hits his 600th career homerun (and probably not even then – he would need to approve any trade), and Adam Dunn, who is working on a fifth consecutive 40-homer season.  So, if The Deal is gonna see any playing time, any at all, it will probably be in center…provided he can unseat the Hall of Fame-bound duo of Corey Patterson and Ryan Freel.

I hadn’t realized this previously, but the Reds have some serious potential in the next couple of years.  A lineup featuring Bruce, Dunn, Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips?  A rotation featuring Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, and Homer Bailey?  Careful, Reds fans – brighter days might be on the horizon.

And you know what?  All is not lost – Clay Buchholz is still on a rehab assignment in Pawtucket…