Scrapping the 2010 American League Previews

Leading up to the start of the 2010 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Oakland Athletics. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
Ya know what? Not today. We’ve got 15 teams left and five days to fit them in. We got behind. We have a real job. And we have other content to cover. Plus we’re NL guys, you know that.
You’re going to get a really nice season preview section out of this blog, we can assure you of that. We’ll be rolling out some cool stuff in the next few days; including an Opening Night Live-blog and the 2010 Season Predictions Post.
Of course then we’ll do that heart warming Opening Day Eve post, along with all the Opening Day coverage you can shake a stick at and we’ll be off and running from there.
But this year, we’re not previewing the AL. We gave you the NL, and that’s going to have to be good enough. Don’t be mad at us for lying to you. We’ll definitely bring the heat on a consistent basis this 2010 season. We have nothing better to do.

Jocketty-speak on the subject of Aroldis Chapman

Walt Jocketty said today it’s going to be tough for phenom Aroldis Chapman to start the season in the Major Leagues due to his injury:
Jocketty said “it’s going to be tough” for him to make the big-league club because of the injury. Chapman is scheduled to pitch two innings against minor leaguers on Wednesday. The Reds haven’t decided where to send him to open the season.
He also talked about how Chapman was ‘still learning the language’ and ‘had a lot of work to do’. I don’t know. It’s a questionable move that we all know has nothing to do with Chapman’s performance, injury, his pronunciation of English words, etc.
This was decided before Chapman ever stepped foot in Goodyear, that he’d start the year in the minor leagues. The dominance that Chapman displayed probably came as a surprise to the Reds and allowed him to stay in camp with the big boys a lot longer then they first thought.
It would be nice if factors like salary arbitration didn’t come into play, but for the Reds they always do and then you’re left talking about things like injuries and knowledge of the language that are holding your 98 MPH flame-throwers back. When really it’s just that they want him in their control for an extra year without having to give him a long-term deal.
We’ll see you sometime in June, Aroldis.

Adam Dunn haters won't like this post

So did any of you see the list of the Top 100 Players of the Decade compiled by Rob Neyer over at ESPN?

I constantly come across Reds fans who want to discredit Adam Dunn; but the bottom line is Dunn was the only Cincinnati Reds player to even make the list.
And I know a good player when I see one. A guy who has long-term presence in the big leagues. Dunn should have been ranked on the list higher then #79 (Bartolo Colon had a better decade? C’mon).
Bottom line? Reds fans can hate all they want and say that Dunn was ‘terrible in left field’ (that’s all they’ve got), but the guy was the most relevant part of this franchise for the past 15 years or so. No one aside from Dunn was worth the rest of the baseball world caring about; this list is further proof.
So when Adam Dunn is a Hall of Famer someday with his 500 to 600 clean home runs, you remember that Diamond Hoggers told you all along the guy was a hell of a ballplayer. Reds never should have let him walk out of town.

Throwing it around

We’re just six short days away from the Opening Day festivities and five days from Opening Night this Sunday. Wrap up you fantasy baseball drafts and don’t forget your sleepers because it’s baseball season. Oh yeah, and we’ll be hosting a multi-site live blog on Sunday Night of the Red Sox/Yankees Opening Night tilt on ESPN. Tune in Monday for all the best Opening Day coverage as we head to Cincinnati for our 6th straight Opening Day. Hopefully we can score some seats. Here’s the links:

-C.Trent on Jay Bruce’s hopeful bounce back of 2010. [CNati.com]
-The Yankees lead the world in payroll. [IIATMS]
-Peter Gammons gives us six teams to watch. [MLB.com]
-Morgan Ensberg is starting to become a blog star. [Morgan Ensberg]
-Speculation on the Pirates young talent. [ESPN Sweetspot]
-If you haven’t check out this Reds site yet, you need to. [WhackReds]
-Chris Welsh on the radio. [Redleg Nation]
-Who will win the AL Central? [USA Today Daily Pitch]

Washington Nationals 2010 Season Preview

Leading up to the start of the 2010 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Washington Nationals. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
People who follow the Nationals might want to talk about their formidable lineup featuring Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman and Nyjer Morgan; or their solid rotation that added 19-game winner in Chien-Ming Wang. But the real story of the 2010 Washington Nationals is when the franchise, Stephen Strasburg (pictured above) will arrive on the scene.
Strasburg was sent to AA out of spring training. He did show some impressive tools in spring action, making hitters like Miguel Cabrera look silly in one at-bat scenarios.
The Nationals also made a nice veteran addition to work hand-in-hand with their young ace #1 pick in Pudge Rodriguez. Pudge is now 38 years old and might not have a lot left in the tank, but on the 110 days he’s in the lineup, it will give Nationals fans the opportunity to watch a future Hall of Famer in action.
The Nationals have a recognizable group of veterans in Christian Guzman, Josh Willingham, and Adam Kennedy rounding out the lineup; but just because they’re recognizable doesn’t equal production. This is a team who needs to be built around pitching due to the park they play in. Offense will come at a premium for this Nationals team and while Adam Dunn will make his annual run at 40 and 100, the rest of the lineup might struggle to score runs.
That will leave a heavy load for the starting pitching staff to bear.
Aside from Wang, John Lannan, Shairon Martis, Jason Marquis and Scott Olsen make up the starting rotation with Strasburg waiting to take the reigns as soon as a man falters.
Matt Capps will be the closer with Brian Bruney setting him up on most nights. Sean Burnett, Jason Bergman, and the ageless Eddie Guardado join them in the bullpen.

This team figures to be about as entertaining live as they are on paper; there aren’t a lot of reasons for fans to venture out to the park and watch them play. That’s what makes the arrival of Strasburg paramount for baseball in Washington. It will be a league-wide story each time he pitches this season, and it would be good for baseball if he could have a nice debut as a rookie.

The Nationals are entrenched in a tough division and it’s going to be another long year. It would be a great surprise for them to finish .500, with every other team in the division figuring to have a realistic opportunity to do so.

Florida Marlins 2010 Season Preview

Leading up to the start of the 2010 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Florida Marlins. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
The Florida Marlins are the epitome of ‘under the radar’
Did anyone notice last season that the Florida Marlins finished second in the National League East? Their 87 wins were the most the Marlins have ever posted in a season that they did not win the World Series.
They’re not without some really nice pieces.
The have one of the most dynamic players in the National League and maybe all of Major League Baseball in Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez enters the second season of a six-year, $70 million extension signed back in May of 2008. He might be baseball’s best bet for the next 40/40 man, and a perennial MVP candidate if the Marlins are in the thick of things as they figure to be.
Ace right-hander Josh Johnson comes into the season with a new four-year, $39 million deal that he signed this offseason. Even second baseman Dan Uggla–who was thought to be traded this winter because of arbitration–is in the fold for another season after he inked a one-year deal in January that will pay him $7.8 million this season.
The Marlins will need youthful contributions from guys like 22-year old Cameron Maybin who will play center field and Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan in left field.
Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, and Chirs Volstad round out a really nice young rotation that’s pretty underrated.
Jorge Cantu and Cody Ross are a couple of veterans the Marlins have received significant production from in the past few seasons.
Overall, this team will be in the thick of things but might not be heavily armed enough to challenge the Phillies and lack the manager that the Braves do; but it should be another competitive season in Miami and if a few things go right (or things go wrong for their divisional foes) the Marlins could once again be the cinderella team in baseball, a role they’ve played several times before.

Quite possible the only time someone hollered for ‘Quinones’

Classic. Look at those little old ladies second guessing a rather business-like Piniella.

Quinones forte was being shitty. He never hit above .244 in his career. So I think it was okay of me even as a kid to get frustrated with him and wonder why the Reds seemingly gave away at-bats to him.

And THIS is why we miss 1990 folks. Back then, you could win World Series’ with guys like Luis Quinones on the roster and contributing. Those days are gone.

HT: To our boy Mo Egger at 1530.

So Long, Heartbreak Kid

Tonight I watched Wrestlemania 26 because we have a week to go until baseball season and the NCAA tournament has lost my interest with Ohio State pulling their annual SEC opponent choke.

I know WWE gets a bad rap; and it’s honestly not that enjoyable anymore. It’s certainly not in the Golden years that I grew up watching in the late 80s an early 90s.

But tonight, one of the pieces of my childhood walks off into the sunset.

Shawn Michaels wrestled for the last time, as the Undertaker sent him into retirement remaining unbeated at the biggest pay per view of the year.

Nothing goes on forever.


- Posted from my iPhone

Atlanta Braves 2010 Season Preview

Leading up to the start of the 2010 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Atlanta Braves. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
The excitement about the arrival of Jason Heyward is well warranted. The reads about Heyward this spring have been Bunyan-esque. And now it’s official, he’s Atlanta’s starting right fielder at 20 years of age to open the 2010 season.

The Braves have had big prospects before. Andruw Jones was twice the minor league player of the year, but he arrived in the middle of a season and joined a team coming off a World Series title. Chipper Jones was a big deal, but he likewise joined a team grown accustomed to winning. Jeff Francoeur was the hometown hero, the Golden Child, but he arrived in midyear to bolster a team working on its 14th consecutive division title. Heyward is different.

That’s why Jason Heyward is the grandaddy of them all. He’s the great Bobby Cox’s last blue chip prospect ever. He’s like the last Halas Bear–only from Atlanta where it’s warmer and there are even more hold-ups at gunpoint then in the ChiTown.

Seriously, as a fan of baseball; I’m excited about Jason Heyward and the 2010 Braves. Like; wish they were still on TBS every night to give me something to watch when the Reds are getting plowed excited.

As a baseball fan, I’d love to see the upstart Braves win the East this year and allow a couple of good old cowboys like Cox and Chipper Jones to ride off into the sunset like they rightfully should.

Hell, let’s not forget this team took a chance on Billy Wagner to come out and be their closer after everyone and their brother thought the guy was done. This is a more likable Braves team then back in the day when they were fielding Jeff Blauser and Terry Pendleton and they were on TBS 5 nights a week. How fucking sick did you get of Charlie Liebrant? And Don Sutton? Yup, me too.

But this Heyward kid could be really something. He’s a smart kid, flashy. He tweets. He can run, throw, and drop bombs. He’s got the build that once he learns the strike zone he could put up Ryan Howard numbers. If he does anything close to that this summer, Heyward-mania will ensue.

And if guys like Tommy Hanson can continue to develop and give this team some starting pitching depth behind Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, and Jair Jurrjens; this team is going to be pretty good. They’re better than .500 for sure.

And let’s face it. There’d be worse things in the world then seeing this team win the Wild Card and giving Bobby Cox one more crack in the postseason wouldn’t there?

Philadelphia Phillies 2010 Season Preview

Leading up to the start of the 2010 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Philadelphia Phillies. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
You know what, I’ve been putting off this Phillies Preview long enough. You know why I’ve been putting it off? Because I hate the Phillies and I don’t want to write about them and give their obnoxious, shit-head fans anything else to feel good about.
If you want a real Phils preview, go to the Sporting News.
What we’re going to do today is dish on some Phillies fans!
They went out and got Roy Halladay. Okay, that’s great. The usual suspects. Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth is actually a player now; and of course don’t forget Victorino and Rollins. They’ll fuck you up, okay? Good team on the field. Obvious pick to win the NL East yet again. Hope the Braves can unseat them in Bobby Cox’s last year.
We’re not gonna go for the low-hanging fruit. That’s right, everyone knows they’ve thrown shit at Santa Claus. But really all that Phillies fans are is a bunch of bandwagoning sumbitches.
They didn’t give a rats ass about the Phillies until that team started winning. It was all about Veterans Stadium, Iverson, and Eric Lindros. Could have given two shits about the Phils when Von Hayes was suiting up.
Hey! And now that they’re winning again look who’s back! Philly fan!
The last seven seasons and eight out of the last nine, the Phillies have finished the season with a winning record. This will be the eight straight year without any doubt. They won’t collapse like heavy favorites or Super Bowl losers do in the NFL.
But eventually, Ryan Howard will get old and his knees will get creaky. Charlie Manuel will forget how to handle his pitching staff. Brad Lidge will implode.

And then the real Philly fan in you comes out! You’ll cuss them, you’ll hate them, you’ll wish them death.

People talk badly about New Yorkers, but I’ve spent plenty of time with Yankees fans. They’re nowhere near the bandwagoning brand of asshole Philly fan is. In the land of the cheese steak, it’s all ‘what have you done for me lately’.
That’s fair. You’re allowed that in sports. I know some good people in Philly. You see some cool shit on South Street. I went there once with my girlfriend and we walked into a gag gift shop. Saw the biggest black dildo I’ve ever seen in my life in that place.
Nice monument outside the stadium of Mike Schmidt as well.
But Philly fan, you’re no good. Let your asses suffer through 15 years of true losing and see how much you come out to Citizens Bank Park.
Oh and that bell in left center can get fucked as well.

Day after thoughts on the Reds

This post is in response to yesterday’s ‘incident’. If you’re late to the party, get caught up real quick and definitely let me know your thoughts. One thing I can appreciate is the views of anyone, whether you agree with something or disagree I’m always interested in hearing it because I do think it makes you more whole, more thorough and complete. Basically you can always get educated on something.
Yesterday was a little bit of an exhausting day for me. I’ve come to a few realizations. The first of which, I don’t like the term ‘blogger’ anymore. It’s got such a negative connotation that is attached to it. Secondly, I have spoken to the Reds and the person who I’ve spoken with was very friendly and appreciative of those who are in the ‘blogger community’ as they described.
At first I was critical of the Reds because I thought that they failed to see the value in outlets like this one and other great Reds blogs on the net who aren’t run by members of the media. As I had pointed out to me, I’m not a beat writer. I’ve never aspired to be. I don’t mind buying a ticket and reporting on what I see from the Moon Deck in right field; in fact it’s better that way. This started out a hobby and grew from there by no decision of my own.
I realized yesterday that it’s not all in the Reds organization that do not appreciate blogs and having nice publicity in the form of a blogger, etc. but rather a person or two who I think are tied up in the middle of spring training and trying to prepare for Opening Day, and failed to pause and think how flexing a stiff policy or finding a way to accommodate my request might be a true ‘win-win’ for all parties involved.
This might seem like just a bunch of fun on my end but to be honest it’s a lot of work and something I now take very seriously on behalf of the Reds, Major League Baseball, our readers, and the players I write about.
It reminded me of a post that I read on an NHL blog a while back, Covered in Oil. As I laid awake in bed late last night, I reflected on everything to discover what I was thinking and feeling.
Really I’ve made a discovery I’m not happy to have made. Before I started writing about baseball, I went to the games and I was on the complete outside of things. Now that I’ve gotten to know more people I realize that it’s a business and some of the ugly business formalities that exist.
Some might say ‘so what, they declined an interview request; not every fan should get to interview players’. That’s not what it’s about. I guess it’s about ending up feeling crummy about one of your favorite organizations and then in turn finding them just a little harder to pull for at the end of the day because of it. Not because of them turning down my interview request; but rather realizing that some there are too short-sighted to see what fans like myself (and there are many of them out there) bring to the organization and too spiteful to do anything but bite the hand that feeds them.
Now, I acted on a lot of emotion yesterday when I made the post. I was put off quite a bit by what I felt was a little bit of crudeness and curt responses when I’d been nothing but nice and tried to be accommodating. In the defense of the organization; something I considered after the fact is the team is in Arizona and they’re now some 11 odd days away from Opening Day. It’s a busy time of year. I can understand someone in the Reds front office having a lot on their plate and making an oversight. You just hope that it’s not a pattern with these individuals and you caught them on a bad day.
To wrap up my thoughts on the situation, I’m not sure that I like where the whole blogging thing has gone. Like I said, once you cross that line a little bit of the innocence of being a fan is gone and erased. You see that these guys aren’t just all heroes who head up to the plate and hit homers and not all front office people really value the fans. If you never did this (blogging) then you’d never really pay those things any mind; other then maybe getting snubbed an autograph or two. But you open up a Pandora’s box and you reach a point where maybe you lose the joy of pulling for a team or a player over a few bad experiences. I don’t want that.
I realized in talking to Jeff Pearlman last night that there’s really no writing and rooting. If you’re going to do sports journalism, blogging, writing about sports; there’s no room for being a homer or having favorites because you have to be objective to be any good. I’m a homer. I like being a homer for the Reds and honestly I don’t want to be mad at them because I’ve loved them since I was five years old. But it’s tough in this situation to be anything but disappointed in what I considered to be a short sighted loss of opportunity.
So am I questioning the whole blogging thing? A little bit.
You’d have to do it to know what I’m talking about. But there’s a large part of me that when I go to the park now I want the gloss to still be there that existed from my boyhood until the time that I was into college; and blogging and writing about baseball can do a hell of a job on tarnishing that glo
ss.

The Baseball Show by Diamond Hoggers: Jeff Pearlman

New York Times Best Selling author and Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman joined us tonight on The Baseball Show by Diamond Hoggers.
We discuss a lot of great stuff:
-’86 Mets, Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry
-Boys Will Be Boys/1990 Dallas Cowboys
-Barry Bonds
-Jeff says the Reds could win 91 games & expects a monster year out of Jay Bruce.
Throughout the interview, there’s just a ton of solid talk about the game of baseball and a lot of good stuff for those with an interest in journalism, blogging, writing and the works. Jeff was an outstanding interview.
If you want to be part of the show, email us your feedback at diamondhoggers_at_gmail_dot_com and let us know your thoughts, opinions, or show ideas.

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