Throwing it around

It’s mid-saturday. The day is young. The sun is shining and the glorious Reds are on. Life is pretty good right now. We ordered our ‘Deal‘ jersey today at work. Should be here in 2-3 weeks. We’re pretty excited.

Here’s some links to tide you over if your team isn’t playing on national television:

-If you haven’t seen the Hitler Reds video, here is your chance. [Blue Collar Baseball]
-As I type this Ken Griffey Jr. hit #599, but how many would he have hit if he hadn’t have been injured so much? Many, but you’d have to do this for every player then wouldn’t you? Durability is part of a record like the HR Record. [The Big Lead]
-Every kid that grew up when I did remembers the 1989 Upper Deck Series Ken Griffey Jr. card. []
-Jesse Litsch, gettin’ some love. [The Mockingbird]
-Jorge Posada is on his way back, and Joba Chamberlain is going to the rotation in case ya didn’t know. [NY Post]
-Pedro Martinez is also back for his first start of the season tuesday. It will be interesting to see how he does. [Babes Love Baseball]

The stuff of which Dreams (& Legends) are made

The legend of Jay Bruce just keeps growing. On a night when the Reds were only destined to get 7 base hits in total, this kid gets 4 of them, sprayed all over the ballpark; and scores the winning run in the 11th inning to lead his group to a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.

We’re not trying to over-state the ‘Bruce factor’, but there’s difference beyond the play of the Reds. The stadium welcomed a crowd of 37,015 of which 5,298 were walk-up to see the boy wonder in action. As one of my best friends said when we were driving down I-71 the other night guzzling Miller Lights, faced with a sudden stop of cars: “It’s Bruce traffic.”

Not to be lost on this night were the efforts of the Reds bullpen or Edison Volquez. Jared Burton went 6 up and 6 down late in the game through the heart of the Atlanta order. Kent Mercker got Chipper Jones to ground into a double play in the top of the 11th after a leadoff hit.

The Reds are really exciting me. They’ve made me fall in love with the game all over again at age 25. Something about this group right now feels electric and special. It’s a fun time right now.

Harang is a synonym for tantrum, you know

It couldn’t continue forever. Last night the Reds’ 9-game home winning streak was snapped, ending the longest of its type since Great American was opened in 2003. This was largely because Aaron Harang gave up 10 hits and 6 earned runs in 4 innings. He falls to 2-7 on the season. Let me add that this is a guy who many Reds fans will argue is the supposed ‘Ace’ of the staff.
To extend the point on Harang; I don’t think he’s an ace. I never have. Before I’m going to start calling him our stopper he is going to have to start stopping our losing streaks instead of stopping win streaks. I certainly hope that Edison Volquez is a true #1 that he appears as, because Harang to me is nothing more than a high end #2 in this league. Thus ends that.
Jay Bruce was slotted in his future perch, the 3-hole. He was hit by a pitch, he grounded out, and he lined out off Pirates closer Matt Capps. He will not get a hit in every game that he plays in in his career, it’s official. Still a new gloss on this team with him in the lineup.
Jerry Hairston (hitting .345) collected 2 hits an Brandon Phillips homered. The Reds didn’t have much offense to speak of, while the Pirates got home runs from Jason Bay and Xavier Nady. Does anyone realize what kind of season Nady is having? Didn’t this guy have lupis or some shit, left for dead at one point in his career?

Now we welcome the Braves, who I have always thought is a real shitty bunch. I’m tired of hearing about Chipper Jones’ .400 average and Bobby Cox. Hopefully we sweep them out of town, but even if we don’t at least we’re not gonna have to run into Brian Jordan.

Prayers from your Diamond Hogger family; Dunner

We heard something very sad tonight from a source of ours. Adam Dunn was pulled from tonight’s ballgame in the 4th inning. We were scared to death that he was traded. It turns out it’s something equally bad.

Dunn’s young son Brandon (not even 2 years of age) had a seizure. Aparently it was very scary/serious but he is going to be alright. I can only imagine the feelings that Adam is feeling tonight.

There’s plenty of things in life that make you realize baseball is just a game. I feel like in an indirect way I’ve grown up with Adam Dunn. I remember him before he had a wife and kid who I know are his whole world. I know how I’d feel if it were my son.

Would just like to say that every prayer I can send out tonight is for Adam and his family. God Bless you Adam and Brandon most importantly. Diamond Hoggers is thinking about you.

Thats Two thus far, Shooter

The Reds are still undefeated in the Jay Bruce era. Once again, we made the trip up I-71 and went to work dog-assed tired because we wanted to see the boy wonder in action again. The Deal (Bruce) rewarded us by roping the ball all over the park again, and becoming the first player since 1977 to begin a career reaching base 6 times in a row.

On this night, other players were the story as well. Joey Votto had 3 more hits, as did Jerry Hairston. Our buddy Dave Ross, believe it or not; had 2 hits and 4 RBI. Bronson Arroyo allowed only 3 hits and 1 earned run. The Reds knocked Tom Gorzelanny out of the game after 2/3 of an inning, putting 6 runs up in the 1st.

We drank some beers in the parking garage, and on the trip down. First time we’ve done that in a while. The Big Red Smokey dogs are so bad for the diet, but yet so good all at the same time.
It was a beautiful night for baseball, and we’re glad we made the trip on consecutive weeknights. We just hope the Reds can continue to keep it rolling.

Throwing it around: Jay Bruce version (what else)

Today’s version of throwing it around is a special version indeed. The web and blogosphere has exploded with Jay Bruce coverage. We feel like this is a great thing; Cincinnati finally has a player who is bringing fans to the game. We do our best to link the pride of Beaumont in this version of TIA. And we promise after this, it’s back to baseball coverage; thus ending the Jay Bruce honeymoon.

-We were waiting for Deadspin’s take. We’re glad our favorite blog likes our favorite player. [Deadspin]
-Reds Rocket had a take before the debut. [The Reds Rocket]
-Why wasn’t this guy called up sooner? [Beyond the Box Score]
-Hal Mccoy, joining the bandwagon as he often does. [The Real Mccoy]

Jay Bruce’s big league Debut: ‘The Deal’ has arrived

Tonight was one of those nights at the ballpark that made it all worth it. The money spent, the drive, the extreme fatigue I’ll feel at work all day ‘tomorrow’. None of that mattered. Tonight was about ‘The Deal’ and the Reds turning the page as a franchise. This was something you could just feel. The stadium looked to be in a different gleam tonight, honest to God. With Bruce on the field, there was a certain gloss to the field and the players.

This kid is perfect. He’s humble, smart, and displayed maturity beyond his 21 years tonight. Before the game he just spoke about living in the moment. He was only about this one game, just playing and making his debut. This is tough to do because Bruce’s name has been in every publication since the news became public yesterday. Driving up I-71 there was a giant billboard just before arriving in Cincinnati that had a picture of Bruce and said Welcome to the Big Leagues. Clearly the Red Carpet was rolled out for this kid, the bright lights and spectacle were present. And he handled it with the heady conciousness of a future Hall of Famer.

On the drive up listening to 700 WLW on AM radio, Bruce was the topic. This set the mood for what would be a delightfully themed night. Former players described Bruce as ‘a gamer’, a guy who despite what was going on in his personal life or anything else, when it it’s time to show up and play he’s going to go for 9 innings and try to do everything he can emotionally, physically, and mentally to beat you. It was said that Bruce is the type of guy you want in your ‘Fox Hole’ with you in this league as Jeff Brantley put it; that Bruce is the type of guy you wanna go to battle with each and every day for 162 games.

His maturity as a hitter showed in his first at-bat. But first let’s show you the first pitch that Jay Bruce ever saw in his big league career:

Bruce would see 3 more pitches in that at-bat and walk. His next time up, he got down 1-2 and laced a single to the opposite field off Ian Snell for the first hit of his big league career. It was elation at the stadium for the 17,000 + on hand.

Bruce’s night at the plate wouldn’t be over there. He’d add another walk, and then another beautiful line drive single (and you can just hear the difference of how the ball sounds off Bruce’s lumber when it hits the bat. It’s a special sound) to the opposite field.

In Bruce’s final at-bat of the night, he would hit a double off the wall in right field that was a lazer beam. It didn’t get very high and you could just tell it had extra backspin on it. This would drive in Bruce’s 2nd RBI of the night.

The way he hit the ball almost made the rest of the Reds lineup seem insignificant. I’ll barely give mention to the fact that Adam Dunn hit a towering 3-run home run that nearly left the stadium to give the Reds the lead. Joey Votto and Paul Bako had multiple hit ballgames as well. But this night was all about ‘The Deal’, #32 Jay Bruce–who is the future of this franchise.

The most surprising thing that I saw on the night was this. Less than an hour before game time Bruce popped out of the clubhouse and onto the field. Then he climbed into the camera well and started signing. And he kept signing. When we thought he was done signing he signed a bit more. Bruce signed until almost every little kid in the area had their ball, hat, ticket, or jersey signed. He talked with the fans as he did this. This was great we thought.

The last thing in the world I ever expected to see was Bruce, before the biggest game of his life; signing one autograph after the other. But it just goes to show that is what this guy is. There’s no Hollywood involved with ‘The Deal’. He is a down to earth country boy who can simply hit a baseball much better than you or I. That is all.

We even got a word into Bruce. We told him that we were thrilled for him to finally arrive, and he obliged.

This is Jay Bruce’s girlfriend. Also there to the right is Jay Bruce’s sister. Another cool moment on the night was when Bruce first strolled out of the clubhouse. He locked eyes for a second with his girlfriend after he’d said hello to his family. She began to cry tears of happiness seeing him in his uniform. What this said to us was that this was obviously a very big dream for ‘The Deal’ that he’s probably been sharing a lot about with those he’s closest to for a long time. You can tell it’s not about the money he’ll make or the accolades he’ll gain; it’s for the right reasons. This is the game that he loves to play.

The entire lineup seemed to have an extra jolt in it tonight. It was a clear message that the future had arrived. Every time I got a look at ‘The Deal’, it was clear: the future is in very good hands.


People of Cincinnati….I hereby declare this day Jay Bruce Day

This year and every year to follow, May 27th shall be celebrated as Jay Bruce Day.

As we promised we’ll be headed to Cincinnati to cover Jay Bruce’s Major League debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates. We offer a firsthand look at the sights and sounds of possibly the most anticipated debut of a young ballplayer in the past decade.

This is a move not to just be celebrated by Reds fans all over; but I’ve noticed the enthusiasm by fans all over baseball to see this kid play.

The talent pool of young players all over baseball seems to be at an all-time high, and Jay Bruce is the crown gem of them all in our opinion. This is good for the sport and promotes more fandom. As we’re sure to see in Bruce’s debut, attendance will spike at Great American Ball Park.

So head out and get yourself a few Skyline Chili-Cheese coneys or some Montgomery Inn before first pitch tonight. It is the initial Jay Bruce Day in baseball. It is the dawn of a new era.

Jay Bruce’s tears can cure cancer; the thing is Jay Bruce never cries

Take a good look; because you are looking at the man who is going to save Cincinnati Reds baseball. Reds fans have suffered long and hard since my childhood, since the night in 1990 I was in downtown Cincinnati in a hotel room with granny, watching Jose Rijo hoist the World Series trophy. Things haven’t been truly good since then.

Things are truly good again. A brighter day has shined and good times are on the horizon for us who live to hear Marty Brennamen say This one belongs to the Reds.

Aside from Jay Bruce we’ve got other young talent. With a pitching staff of Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto, Edison Volquez and maybe soon to be Homer Bailey, well lets just say it’s a far cry from when we were hoping for solid outings from Eric Milton and Dave Williams.

The lineup still has the aforementioned Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Adam Dunn, Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, and Ken Griffey Jr. There’s plenty to be excited about. This team has direction, and it’s lead by the force that is ‘The Deal’ Jay Bruce.

It’s the dawn of a new era. Are you ready for 15 years of this kid roaming the pasture in the Queen City? 3,000 hits later I think we’ll be saying it was one hell of a ride.

Jay Bruce is promoted to the Major Leagues

Sometimes the best things in life are worth waiting for. Today is one of my happiest days as a Reds fan. As I sat outside my father’s barn today on Memorial Day, taking a break from bailing hay, I decided to sit down and check on my cell phone the score of today’s light schedule of games.

I scanned the headlines just in case. There it was, Jay Bruce had been called up by the Cincinnati Reds for tomorrow night’s game in Cincinnati. It’s too good to be true.

Tomorrow the Reds are expected to promote from Class AAA Louisville top prospect OF Jay Bruce.

A corresponding roster move will be announced prior to tomorrow’s 7:10 p.m. game against the Pirates.

Bruce and Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty will be available to the media tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. in the Reds’ dugout at Great American Ball Park.

Bruce will wear uniform number 32 and when he plays will be making his Major League debut.

This came on the heels of the Memorial Sunday Marathon yesterday, the 18-inning game which saw Corey Patterson go 0 for 8. I knew after that this move was imminent and it made for an night of celebration for me and my friend who is a Reds fan.

The Deal is here. Here’s to 15 years of being the king of this city kid.

Quick note on Josh Hamilton

Just would like to point out in a quick, thrown up style post (since this is a blog and all), that Josh Hamilton has collected multiple hits in the last 8 straight ballgames he has started after doing it again last night in Cleveland.

If the season ended today, Hamilton would be the triple crown winner in the entire AL. He is percentage points ahead of Joe Mauer with a .337 average and has 12 home runs and 54 RBI in 50 games.

Dodger fans want this guy to remind them of Koufax

Clayton Kershaw is making his highly anticipated debut today. If indeed Kershaw goes on to be one of the great ones; after walking outside in my neighborhood today it just looks like a sunny Los Angeles morning even here in Ohio that you could remember forever as the day this kid stormed on the scene.

If you don’t know much about Kershaw, now might be a good time. We expect this kid to be a fixture in Dodger Blue for the next decade. What a day to debut in Major League Baseball. The sunday of Memorial day weekend and the weather is perfect. It doesn’t get much better than that.

No we’re not shitting you; Pokey Reese is back in baseball

You know, oddly enough this afternoon we were looking at a Cincinnati Reds box score from 10 years ago today. In it we could not help but to fixate on Pokey Reese and think about how incredibly solid he was for the Reds back in 1999 (the last time they had a strong team).

It’s now official: Reese is back in baseball. He was signed today by who else, the Washington Nationals and their crazy fucking General Manager Jim Bowden. Reese has been assigned to AAA Columbus for the time being.

Reese, who is reportedly in good shape; hasn’t played baseball since 2004 when he hit .221 for the Boston Red Sox (and got to ride their World Championship float, pictured). That came after stops in Pittsburgh (.264), and Florida (.215). Like the Reds, he never quite re-created the magic from 1999 when he hit a whopping .285 for the year.

And I go back to Jim Bowden. What in God’s name? He’s picking through the bones of former Cincinnati Reds wash outs like no other. In his tenure he has brought on board Felipe Lopez, Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Aaron Boone, Brett Boone, and basically has a hard on every time a Reds player is available. Does he realize that the Reds weren’t good and that could be why things aren’t going well in Washington?

Bowden should make a play for George Foster; who we hear is still solid as sheet rock. How about Hal Morris? You’re telling me Hal Morris couldn’t show up tomorrow and out hit Nick Johnson? Fuggetaboutit.