Rob Neyer says the Reds bench key to surprise season. “The real key for the Reds, though? Their bench. Aside from the regulars, five Reds have more than 100 plate appearances this season. Actually, all five of them have at least 174 plate appearances. Led by catcher Ryan Hanigan, all five have been above-average National League hitters.” [ESPN SweetSpot]

Dusty Baker signs 3-year extension with Reds

National syndicates are running with it now. It won’t be long now–as is often the case after you see that happening.

But Hal McCoy breaks the story, and we can honestly let out an exhale of worry now that Dusty Baker is coming back for three years.

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker will be back next season, armed with a new multi-year contract – probably a three-year extension.

The deal could be announced before the Reds begin postseason play next mid-week for the first time in 15 years, but more likely after postseason play is completed.

This is great in a lot of ways. Dusty gets an opportunity for a happy ending. An opportunity to get that elusive World Series title before he retires. And he gets to see things through with his young boys. His young players who he’s become very much attached to.

My one fear–as far as this team competing for years to come–would be they would have to replace Baker and find a new manager to mesh with these young guys. What many outsiders don’t realize is that Dusty Baker has shed the reputation of being a veterans manager and has adapted. He’s become a father-like figure to many of these young guys.

I love Dusty Baker. He’s the perfect manager and perfect man for these Cincinnati Reds. He’s a good man, a leader of a group of good young guys in this game. Here’s to seeing it through and three more years that trump your first three, King Dusty.

Celebration of Champions (of the NL Central)

Here’s our boys gettin’ down the other night at Mynt in Cincinnati. It appears that it was an ‘all hands on deck’ or ‘gangs all here moment’.

BP, Bunny Arroyo, Aroldis, Bad Man Rhodes, for shit sakes even Eric Davis was in on the festivities!

And why not? It was one of the biggest wins and moments in Cincinnati baseball history. Hope it was a night these guys will never forget.

We interrupt MLB content to point out LeBron whining about race

Anytime someone who is as tone-deaf as LeBron James puts their foot in their mouth as much as LeBron James does, we’re going to have to make a post and call him out.

Most hated, classless, foolish, Benedict Arnold sports figure of my lifetime. And he’s going to blame race as the culprit.

God, this parallels wrestling and the NWO more than one would think, when Hulk Hogan blamed the fans. Again, have a look-see:

LeBron, you went to the dark-side by your own merit. You and your band of hanger-on’s were the ones who thought it would be a good idea to turn on your hometown (oh, sorry. I’ve since heard some of your boys say that ‘Cleveland isn’t your hometown’ in damage recovery).

Just take your talents and your douchebag, ‘I fold during crunch-time’, air-dribbling in strip club act down to Miami and disappear until you grow old. I hope you blow out both knees the next time you step on hardwood, you boner.

Why do so many people play the race card when they face adversity?

Cito Gaston manages last game in Toronto

Cito Gaston has managed his last game in Toronto, and addressed fans in a letter he wrote in the Toronto Star. Below is a snippet from the letter.

That first World Series will always be special. We won the second one in such dramatic fashion. But the first one’s always going to be the one. When Winfield hit the ball down the line and Robby scored from first base — I can still see that ball. Both series were great, because the way the second one ended, what a fairytale that is. I know Joe Carter must still think of that every day.

Cito seems like a genuinely good dude. I think it’s neat that he came back for a second tour of duty in Toronto, although it was kind of a dead end to begin with with all of the loaded teams that are in that division. He came back and spent a few more years around the game, which is just nostalgic and cool for guys like me who saw Gaston manage those tremendous Toronto teams while growing up and first following the game.

If I’d known then how rotten most Canadians were, I would have never been a bandwagon Blue Jays fan boy as a 12 year old. But that’s neither here nor there at this point.

Rob Neyer asks if Gaston is a Hall of Famer. Personally, we think that his merits (.516 career W%) are borderline but he is the first black manager to win a World Series.

Cito my man, thanks for being another good figure in a game that is full of them. Another tie to my childhood is gone from this game. They’re getting fewer and far between.

Today might have been Dunn’s swansong in Washington. “On Tuesday night, Adam Dunn will do what he has already done 159 times over the past two seasons, more than any player over that time. He’ll slip on his No. 44 Nationals uniform, listen to the national anthem and take his place in the field at Nationals Park. The routine will bring with it a pressing question: Will he ever do it again?” [Nationals Journal]

Why The Clinch was so important to us

Why was last night so special to me? Why was it so special to all of us? It’s really hard even almost 24 hours later to put it into words. It still hasn’t sunk in.

In a lot of ways, winning this pennant trumps your favorite NFL franchise winning the Super Bowl. Trust me, to a baseball fan who has been as starved as we have been over what seems like a lifetime; to win a pennant after battling night in and night out (both the team and the fan base) is about as good as it gets.

In so many ways, the gold is back in title town. You heard me. Cincinnati is a baseball town. Did you see those fans last night? It was incredible. Grown men crying. I had chills about twenty different times.

So at the core of it all, I’ll tell you why it mattered so much.

It’s because at the core of it all, you heart was all that remained. Really, what is a franchise anyway? Ownership groups change. They’ve changed three times since the last time we were in this spot. Players come and go. There’s been over one thousand of them in uniform in these past parts of two decades. Managers shuffle in and out and even the stadiums change. If not a new lot to play in, the sponsorship banners that hang on the wall rarely remain beyond a few seasons.

What remains is you. You and I, and your heart. The memories the we’ve had over the years both good and bad. That’s a franchise. That’s a sports organization. The folks who live for it nightly and bleed, sweat, rejoice and shed tears over the results. Not the guys in suits or the guys under contract. They’re just; well, independent contractors underneath the figurehead or logo.

We’re the organization, and last night I thought back to the little boy who walked on fountain square on October 21st, 1990; the day after the Reds swept the A’s. The little boy who was just then discovering baseball. As cars passed by and drivers lay on their horns all day in downtown Cincinnati, I walked with my family. Many family members who are now gone who didn’t know that would be the last championship they’d see in the Queen City.

That day I was asked by a local news reporter what I thought about the Reds winning the world series. I was so nervous that I was going to be on TV that I continued to stutter my way through ‘Barry Larkin is my favorite because he gets home a lot’ (I was a kid).

So many years ago, and all that remains is you and I and the memories. A new one has been created. One that will withstand the tests of time and circumstances. And no one can ever take it away.

Maybe the best complete look back on the Reds season

AT SOME POINT, YOU REALIZED THIS WOULD HAPPEN. “A baseball season takes a long time. We count down the days to pitchers and catchers, then to the arrival of the other players in spring training, then to the exhibition games, then to Opening Day. The time from the beginning of spring training to Opening Day is an eternity in itself. Then the season begins….a 162 game, up and down rollercoaster ride of emotional highs and bang your head on the table lows. And man, it takes a long time. By the time it ends, it gets hard to remember details about how it began. You might have to think hard to remember that Aaron Harang started Opening Day. You probably forgot that it took more than two weeks for a starting pitcher to pick up a win. Micah Owings had two wins and Mike Lincoln had one before any other Reds starter had posted a victory. Drew Stubbs was a leadoff hitter when the season started, but not in the first game. That honor belonged to Chris Dickerson.” [Mo Egger]

We keep pouring the reactions in from Redleg Nation, no really the blog RLN. “I’m still numb. As most of you know, I decided (not quite at the last minute, but pretty close) to take a chance and head to last night’s Reds game, hoping Cincinnati would clinch. It’s a long drive for me, and not one I would ordinarily be able to make on a weeknight. Fortunately, my work schedule cleared up nicely and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be there, so I hopped in the car and headed to the Queen City. Best decision I ever made.” [Redleg Nation]

At least no one died

Seriously, look at that lineup today.

Bloomquist 9
Valaika 4
Alonso 3
Francisco 5
Heisey 8
Nix 7
Janish 6
Miller 2
Cueto 1

We told you Dusty was going to have some fun with the lineup. At least BP didn’t get arrested or end up with any kind of alcohol poisoning. The best part is that he was drinking Budweiser last night as he talked to Jeff Piecoro. First night drinking booze, and it’s Bud heavy. Well done Brandon.

But back to that starting 9!This is where Dusty really loves to get tricky. I mean look at that fucking lineup! He hit Bloomquist lead-off! I love it! In true Dusty fashion, he hits the first baseman 3rd and the 3rd baseman 4th!

It reminds me of when my college coach would throw the JV squad in there because he was pissed off at the A-tier guys. We’d go out and we would lose because it felt like the scrubs were in.

You want to make money tonight? Bet against the Reds who will still be favored.

Where were you?

“Where were you at 10:02 PM on Tuesday September 28th? If you are a Reds fan Great American Ball Park was the place to be. Jay Bruce became immortal in Reds lore last night with his first pitch walkoff homerun in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the Central Division. Merry Clinchmas to one and all. Hopefully that is the first of many fall highlights for our beloved team. Who in Cincinnati isn’t a Reds fan? Unlike college basketball and pro football where loyalties are scattered (come on we all know at least four Pittsburgh Steeler fans, right?) in the Queen City the Redlegs rule the roost.” [Crosstown Shootout]

One of our favorite writers talks Reds title “It was nice to see the Big Knock come from Jay Bruce, who has had a year that would test the patience and confidence of a 10-year vet, let alone a 23-year-old. He struggled. Just when he stopped struggling, he got hurt. But Bruce keeps learning. Maybe the best lesson is, keep playing. Don’t give in to yourself. Eventually, the talent will rise, if the effort is there. It was nice that his season-winning homer came off a lefty, Tim Byrdak, brought in expressly to get him out. Also nice that afterward Bruce said the best thing about the homer was seeing all his “boys” at the plate, waiting for him.” [Paul Daugherty – Cincinnati.com]