2010: Best Of

Every year on the Holidays shows like Saturday Night Live or fill in the blank with whatever show you’re into skips out on running a new episode and decides to run a ‘Best Of’ show. And I was personally always alright with that.

So while you’re downing some sauerkraut or recovering from your champagne hangover or calling a friend to bail you out of jail–whatever–we’ve got some goodies for you

In the spirit of reflection and the year gone by we present to you the best of 2010 at Diamond Hoggers–or at least the best stuff we can track down via the archives.

The Reds signing of Aroldis Chapman

The first ever episode of The Baseball Show

On Cincinnati Radio talking a little Spring Training baseball

Homer Bailey readies himself for Spring Training

Ripping the MLB2k video game series

The Baseball Show welcomes C. Trent Rosecrans from CBS Sportsline

Snubbed by the Reds in our quest to talk to Jay Bruce

Jeff Pearlman stops by The Baseball Show

God we love Opening Day

Attending our 6th straight Opening Day in Cincinnati

Jason Heyward – Stud

The Reds go into St. Louis and get after it

We love Jim Day

Memorial Day 2010

We commence a third annual Jay Bruce Day

Jay Bruce goes out and homers on Jay Bruce Day

Armando Galaragga narrowly misses history

Goodbye, Kenny Griff

Maybe my favorite Jay Bruce moment–game winning HR off Roy Halladay

Addicted to MLB The Show like it’s a drug

Chilling with Arthur Rhodes

Jay Bruce slumping and it nearly killed us

Steven Strasburg live and in person

Jay Bruce hits three home runs in one game
(Thanks to MLB Advanced Media for taking down our videos)

Paul Keels ladies and gentleman

Joey Votto on a Sports Illustrated cover

Saw the Reds take over 1st place for good

Having a feeling that Jay Bruce is going to be pretty damn good

The Clinch

Dusty Baker has some fun

Labor Day 2010

End of summer 2010

Batting Stance Guy on The Baseball Show

Matt Sosnick on The Baseball Show

Hardest moment of being a sports fan in my lifetime

Reds lock up Jay Bruce long-term

There’s a lot more that we probably forgot about. But this is a pretty good look back on the year that was in a snap shot. And we have shit to do. It’s the new year, folks.

Throwing it around

Just one more day left in 2010, so we hope you’ve got your New Years resolutions ready and your focus lasts for more than two weeks. Or two days. A lot of sports on this weekend. Final weekend in the NFL. All of the college bowl games. The winter classic in the NHL. It’s going to be a glorious sports weekend. And baseball will be here before you know it.

-Jeff Bagwell says he never took PEDs. [Hardball Talk]
-One SI writer disagrees with another SI writer on baseball players, PEDs, and the Hall of Fame. [Jeff Pearlman]
-A review of the MLB Trade Rumors smart phone app. [Baseball Prospectus]
-What’s wrong with the replacement level of valuing players? [Sabernomics]
-Joe Posnanski has 8 players on this year’s ballot who are above his HOF standard. [Joe Posnanski]
-The Angels have jumped out as the front runner to land Adrian Beltre. [OC Register Angels Blog]
-Is Nick Markakis no longer a ‘star’? I didn’t ever consider him one. [Beyond the Box Score]
-Buster Posey is the next big thing in MLB. [ESPN The Magazine]

The 2011 Reds are simply 'Fringe Contenders'

According to FanGraphs, the 2011 Cincinnati Reds figure to be about like we think they’re going to be. They’re going to be in the mix–and a good but not great team. We’re talking anywhere from 82-87 wins, so they figure to be over .500 but trailing the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in the division who figure to win between 87 and 92 games.

Here’s how FanGraphs projects baseball in the upcoming season:

Rebuilding – Baltimore, Toronto, Cleveland, Kansas City, Los Angeles of Anaheim, Seattle, New York (N), Florida, Washington, Chicago (N), Pittsburgh, Houston, San Diego, and Arizona

Fringe Contenders – Oakland, Detroit, Chicago (A), Minnesota, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Colorado

Legitimate Contenders – New York (A), Tampa Bay, Texas, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Milwaukee

Established – Philadelphia

Juggernaut – Boston

We don’t buy the Brewers as heavy contenders even with the addition of Zach Greinke and company. But I do think the Reds miss out on the postseason in 2011. I still think the Reds are competitive and fun to watch. They’ll be in the thick of things. But they’re not going back to the postseason in 2011–that I can tell you right now.

Holy Hell, State Farm Guy really DOES look like Carlos Quentin

Huge hat tip to The Golden Sombrero on this one, but I spotted this while perusing another blog and had to chuckle to myself. The Sombrero has the mastery of finding MLB look-alikes, but this really is the crown jewel.

Look at that. It’s perfect. You hardly have to use your imagination at all. I wonder if they’ve ever met. Carlos Quentin and State Farm Guy, that is. Anyone know this guy’s name? Didn’t he star in Unfaithful with Diane Lane?

And State Farm, you’re welcome for the free bit of advertisement. It is after all, the season of giving. We can work something out when we hit the big time.

And now a video that will only interest Cincinnatians

Marge Schott was well known for her history of insulting, bigot, and racist remarks. I was surprised to hear Deion Sanders defend her in the above video–and on an NFL show. That said, it’s probably overstated how racist Old Marge was (yes, really).

“Marge Schott was good to me; y’all leave Marge Schott alone.”

And to back up Neon Deion’s statements, Schottzie’s best days were behind her by the time he played in Cincinnati. So maybe the dog harassment never occurred when Sanders was a Red.

Throwing it around

Just a couple more days left to log some posts in 2010. It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. BIG ANOUNCEMENT FOR THE DAY: I was looking at the 2011 schedule and the Reds play at St. Louis on April 24th and at Atlanta on May 29th on Sunday Night Baseball. The team is also scheduled to play on FOX Saturday baseball something like 9 times. God, I love winning a little bit. This 2011 season is going to be the greatest season in the history of man. And in just 91 days, Opening Day is here. And we’ll be there. And here’s some links to hold you over. Stay thirsty my friends.

-Bobby Jenks feels he was disrespected by the White Sox. [Hardball Talk]
-Garrett Wittels, the kid with the long NCAA hitting streak has been charged with rape in the Bahamas. [Hall of Very Good]
-The Yankees are shopping through the bottom of the barrel. [It’s About the Money]
-Know Freddie Freeman better. [Capitol Avenue Club]
-Have you seen the Tim Lincecum SI cover yet? [The Golden Sombrero]
-A great post on old J.R. Richard, and what might have been. [Seamheads]
-Another Opening Day/Weekend programming note. [Vin Scully is my Homeboy]
-Steroids keeping Raffy Palmeiro out of Cooperstown? And this is news? [USA Today Daily Pitch]

One reason the Arthur Rhodes departure doesn’t sting as badly

As I sit and ponder how the Reds are going to recover from the loss of Arthur Rhodes this upcoming season I think about who is going to get the tough outs late in the game out of the bullpen after our starting pitcher has departed. One guy who I think is going to loom large is Jose Arredondo.

This deal didn’t get much attention initially because Arredondo was set to miss all of 2010 with Tommy John surgery. But when the Reds made this move I made a note to myself that they were squirreling away a very quality young bullpen arm for the future.

Arredondo will only be 26 this upcoming season, and there isn’t a lot of mileage on his arm. I expect him to return to his lights out form around mid-season for the Reds–and if they need to get off of Francisco Cordero for any reason I think that Arredondo (and not Jared Burton like some have speculated) would get a crack at the closer’s role with the Reds.

I’ve been wrong before (cough, Wilkin Castillo), but I think the Reds know something we don’t in letting Arthur Rhodes go so casually. One of those things they know is they are holding a high face card in Arredondo and everyone is kind of forgetting about it. This is one of the most important guys to keep an eye on this spring on the entire pitching staff.

Back from Christmas Vacation

There’s not a lot going on right now in the world of Major League baseball. This is really the lag part of the year, even though I’ve been playing more MLB 10 The Show right now than ever before and I’m more ready for Spring Training 2011 to start then ever before.

Still, for a blogger covering this sport, things are dragging. Plus you’ve got the NFL Playoffs starting, NHL Hockey is about to unleash it’s Winter Classic, and all of the January 1st bowl games. For the sports fan, there are a lot of more intriguing things to read about then who is going to be the 7th inning guy for the Cincinnati Reds or whether or not Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame. Facts are facts.

That said, we’ll press on and cover things as best as we can. And you can expect the volume of posts to pick up here ever so slightly as we head into another year. Remember to tweet us @diamondhoggers or email us diamondhoggers_at_gmail_dot_com any tips or suggestions to make the blog more lively.

And by the way, baseball is still the greatest sport on earth.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Diamond Hoggers

When I was a kid growing up, these bad boys were pretty much always at the top of my Christmas list. You see Eric Davis above there? By the time that my parents and I finally tracked him down–he was in his second stint with the Reds. The Eric Davis Kenner Starting Lineup figure was a next to impossible find in our neck of the woods.

I’ll also never forget when I got the Brett Favre rookie edition Starting Lineup from my dear old grandparents. One of the greatest, most magical gifts I ever got as a kid. I wish I still had it and hadn’t traded it to some lucky guy on the internet for a Kerry Collins rookie. But the memory cannot be pried from me.

I hope that everyone who read this blog in the past year has a wonderful Christmas and remembers what the holiday is really about. And it might mean something different to everyone. But take a few moments to be thankful for a gift you’ve already been given in your life no simple how it may be.

Merry Christmas to our readers. Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

The bad man is a Red no longer

Today is the day that we lost Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes agreed to a deal with the Texas Rangers today.

If we’re not as good as we were last season, this is going to be one of the reasons why. How many big outs in critical situations did Arthur Rhodes provide us with? I hope he taught up enough of the young pitchers in the Reds bullpen before he left; because he will be sorely missed. This was the one off-season move that I was fearing wouldn’t get done. And it didn’t.

I don’t know who replaces Rhodes–he can’t really be replaced with anyone in a Reds uniform at this point. But I know I really enjoyed watching him come in and dominate hitters with his slide piece. It didn’t matter if it was a righty or lefty. He didn’t care. Like Marty Brenneman said, “Arthur Rhodes did what Arthur Rhodes does”.

He was a bad man. And I will miss you dearly Arthur Rhodes.

DH Video Select: A Video that has NOTHING to do with baseball

On today’s version of video select, something a co-worker showed me. Drinking out of cups. I laugh my ass off every time I watch this video–and apparently I’m late to the party. You’ll have to excuse me, I don’t peruse the viral videos like I did in my younger years. But this acid-laden rant is sure to make you giggle at least a little bit. Mr. Balloon hands! If you don’t like the lighthouses you suck!

All told to us by a lizard with a Long Island accent. It’s so perfect it had to be thought up by someone on drugs.

The Baseball Show: The Virtues of Juan Pierre

Tonight on The Baseball Show co-host Mike Rosenbaum of the Golden Sombrero and I discuss the following:

-Which is strikes more fear in the hearts of the fans? The Boston Red Sox lineup or the Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation?
-Reactions to the Cliff Lee signing
-Is Kerry Wood heading back to Chicago?
-Russell Martin signs with the Yankees
-Did you know Moises Alou used to pee on his hands?
-Juan Pierre, aka “The Bat Boy” gets some special attention

As always, much more!

This is what a Franchise Player looks like folks

Now that it’s been made official, I just want to say that major props go out to the Reds for the Jay Bruce deal. They just signed a young guy who is going to have the chance to be the greatest Reds player of this era. They went out and did something like a winning franchise is supposed to do it. Like a championship organization does it.

Over the life of the contract, He’s going to have the chance to break a lot of Reds records and be part of a lot of big victories and special nights in the Queen City. He’s honestly the perfect player for this city and this fan base. As long as he stays healthy, good things are going to go on for what is seemingly forever. Or at least forever in the sports world.

Read more about why Bruce wanted to sign this deal with the Reds. Walt Jocketty says that “Jay Bruce is the perfect example of how the Reds want to build their organization.”

I couldn’t have put it any better, so there’s no sense in trying any longer.

The Baseball Show: Saturday Morning Hot-Stove

This morning on The Baseball Show, Mike Rosenbaum of the The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog and I discussed the following:

-Carl Crawford to the Red Sox. Ramifications of having four starting outfielders?
-Jay Bruce’s contract extension
-Mark Reynolds to the Orioles–is this the beginning of the end?
-Carlos Pena to the Cubs
-Possible landing spots for Derek Lee
-Mike talks about his work on Prep Baseball Report
-As always, much more!