Category Archives: Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated Picks Houston to win the World Series


It’s a time honored tradition that every year I get the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview edition, and I put way too much stock to who is on the cover and picked to win it all. I’ve done this ever since that 2000 season when the Reds ‘stole’ Griffey and were picked to roll to a title. I’m not sure SI has had one champion picked correctly in that time.

Today, the Houston Astros land on the cover; which I’m completely fine with. They’re picked by SI to defeat the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, which would be an absolutely amazing series for the fans of the greatest sport on earth to see. I agree that the Cubs will get to the series – but I can’t sign off on Houston. I do love that the cover features three of my favorite non-Reds in all of baseball with Dallas Kuechel, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa.

For me, the sizzle in this steak is the 36 PAGES OF SCOUT TALK! I love scout-speak. I could read 3600 pages of it and I would read every word, twice. That’s the real reason I need to buy this issue.

Giancarlo Stanton lands (body painted) on the Sports Illustrated Cover

Sports Illustrated cover giancarlo stanton

Two Giancarlo Stanton posts in a row! The guy is everywhere right now, and for good reason. The highest paid athlete in sports – just entering his prime years – set to attack home run records down in South Beach. Not too sure how we feel about the body paint cover, but it’s unique. And we can’t turn away from a guy we like so much making the cover.

Stanton’s cover story is written by Ben Reiter, and he actually talks about being angered by the initial record offering by the Marlins.

“I think they were thinking I was going to be like, ‘Oh, well, sign me up!'” Stanton says. He wasn’t.

“I put the paper down, and I was like, ‘I’ll tell you right now that numbers don’t mean anything,'” Stanton recalls. “‘If you think you’re just going to pay me a bunch of money, and I’m going to go live my lavish lifestyle, come to the park and get my ass kicked every day, and go back to my lavish lifestyle, you got another thing coming.’ I said that straight to their faces. I was angered

You’ve got to respect the guy and believe him when he says that. While the money probably didn’t hurt their chances at getting this done, three main reasons for Stanton signing for 13 years were as follows:

1. Stanton loves Miami
— “I could go anywhere … but if we win here, I’d rather be here over any place, any other city.”

2. Stanton believes in the Marlins’ young core of players — “Never are we going to be the biggest market, have the highest payroll, none of that … And the players that we have, they’re still not the biggest names, most people aren’t going to know who they are. But in terms of pure talent, they’re there.”

3. Stanton believes the team’s days of gutting the roster of talent are over — “Why would you give me so much money and not try to win? … What on earth is the point of that? They have to be serious about winning going forward. There’s no other logical explanation.”

The Marlins are going to turn things around and prove to be a viable baseball organization yet. We like them, we believe in them. There’s already talk on Sirius XM radio that Stanton could receive ‘Barry Bonds treatment’ in not getting pitched to by opposing teams if guys like Mike Morse and Marcel Ozuna don’t do their jobs, but don’t worry about that. Some poor sucker on the mound will make a mistake they don’t live to tell about some 40 or so times this season and Stanton will cement himself as the game’s premiere player. That’s our prediction.

Wait, The Astros made the Sports Illustrated Cover?

SI Cover 62614

I love the tagline – and I’m sure George Springer’s time in the sun on this blog will come soon enough (and he can’t wait). I guess it’s time to stop hating the Astros. They’re not in the National League anymore. We can leave hating the Astros in our childhood. They’re going to be some kind of fun in a short time. Good for them.

ht: Sports Illustrated

The Latest Bryce Harper Sports Illustrated Cover


I planned to make a trip to the book store on Friday to pick up a few 2013 Fantasy Baseball magazines. Now I’ve added this to my want list.

The most notable quote I’ve seen thus far out of the Tom Verducci story on Harper:

“I’m not going to put it my head. Sophomore slump? I was a sophomore in college and raked. Why can’t you rake in the big leagues?”

If you’re keeping score at home, this is the second Sports Illustrated cover for Harper and his first as a big leaguer.

Read the Votto Sports Illustrated Article Last Night

It was a big ask. As player requests go, this one unquestionably pushed the limits. But in mid-June, Reds first baseman Joey Votto approached his bosses, asking to miss a team flight so he could attend Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Votto has been a die-hard Lakers fan for most of his 26 years, and a friend had scored tickets. The seats weren’t great—”Tickets in the lower bowl were going for, like, 10 grand!” Votto says—but they were good enough. In a sort of postmodern version of Cannonball Run, Votto had mapped out a cross-country itinerary whereby he could get from Cincinnati to Los Angeles and then meet his team in Seattle without missing an at bat.

The Reds’ executives, including manager Dusty Baker, considered the request and then consented. Yes, it was a reward of sorts for Votto’s typically excellent performance this season. But they were also thrilled to see him doing something impulsive and fun.

So it was that on June 17 Votto closed out a home stand by going 2 for 4 with a home run in an afternoon win over the Dodgers. No sooner had he delivered a few postgame fist bumps to teammates in the infield, than he tore out of Great American Ball Park, bound for the Cincinnati airport. Taking advantage of the time difference, Votto landed at LAX as the NBA game started and jumped into a cab. With the locals glued to their televisions, traffic was uncommonly light. Votto arrived at Staples Center at the start of the second quarter and watched his team beat the Celtics and win the title. He then slept a few hours, woke up early and returned to the airport to catch an 8 a.m. flight to Seattle. In a blow to coaches everywhere who preach the virtues of a good night’s rest, Votto went 2 for 4 that night against the Mariners. “It was just one of those experiences I’ll always remember,” he says.

Maybe the oddest part of the story: Votto says that between the time he left Cincinnati and the time he landed in Seattle, he went totally unrecognized. Or at least unaccosted. No “Hey, Joey, what’s up?” No autographs. No iPhone paparazzi. As he sat—stood, mostly—in the Staples Center stands, he was just a nice-looking, thickly built guy in his 20s, cheering for the purple and gold. “Trust me,” he says, “it’s fine with me that way.”

Votto’s bat is threatening to sabotage that preference for privacy. In his third full season he is quietly establishing himself as a Pujolsian figure, a National League MVP candidate who through Sunday was leading the league in hitting (.323), on-base percentage (.422) and slugging (.592) and, with 29 home runs and 86 RBIs, was among the top three in each of the Triple Crown categories. Votto is a disciplined hitter, complementing brute power with patience at the plate. And he’s a major reason that the Reds, who had a 3½-game lead in the NL Central at week’s end, are about to snap a string of nine straight losing seasons and are challenging for a postseason spot. Votto would rather the focus be on the resurgence of the proud franchise he plays for, but his MVP-caliber performance also makes for a heartening comeback story. Last season he missed nearly a month while struggling with depression after the sudden death of his father, Joseph. To judge by his hitting—and, perhaps, that seat-of-the-pants plan to see the Lakers—Votto has put those emotional issues behind him.

“I’d be lying if I said I thought he’d be what he is now,” says Nationals slugger Adam Dunn, who played with Votto in Cincinnati in 2008. “But the dude works so hard, he’s so smart and professional, it’s almost like, why wouldn’t he be this good? [Sports Illustrated]

Joey Votto lands on Sports Illustrated Cover

The Reds season full of happenings and milestones will continue this Thursday when Reds superstar Joey Votto will appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The story will be written by Tom Verducci and will be titled ‘The Art of Crashing a Pennant Race’. It should be a great read and as you can see above, it’s a nasty looking cover that every Cincinnati Reds fan will need to own. In fact, we already have some of our scouts on the job of getting the issue signed for us by Mr. Votto.

Votto joins Ken Griffey Jr. (twice) and Eric Davis (1987ish) as two Reds who have graced the cover of SI in my our lifetime. Basically, this is how you know you’ve arrived.

Img thanks: Mo Egger

Josh Hamilton is the best player in baseball. The legend of Josh Hamilton, Texas Ranger, is growing on a nightly basis. There is nobody like him in baseball, and possibly nobody this good, this big, this fast and this unique — a 6’4″, 235-pound sledgehammer of a hitter who can run balls down in center field and fly around the bases and hit for such a high average — since Mickey Mantle in his prime. [Sports Illustrated]

Joe Posnanski on Stan Musial

In case you missed it, here’s a great where are they now piece done by Joe Posnanski in SI last week about Stan Musial. Stan Musial is a great man, in every way that greatness can be measured.

“Stan Musial didn’t hit in 56 straight games,” says Musial’s friend Bob Costas, who began his broadcasting career with KMOX in St. Louis. “He didn’t hit .400 for a season. He didn’t get 4,000 hits. He didn’t hit 500 home runs. He didn’t hit a home run in his last at bat, just a single. He didn’t marry Marilyn Monroe; he married his high school sweetheart. His excellence was a quiet excellence.”

SI’s Verducci on Heyward is a great read

April 5 was the first day of the rest of Jason Heyward’s life. On a Georgia afternoon as sweet as a tall, cold glass of Southern tea, Heyward, just 20 years old and three years out of Henry County High School, made it inside Turner Field. It was everything a boy (and a father) could have imagined from behind the window of an SUV. Eugene and Laura watched from the stands behind home plate as Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, wearing his familiar number 44 Braves jersey, threw the ceremonial Opening Day first pitch to Jason, who was wearing number 22 and about to play rightfield in his first major league game. [Sports Illustrated]

Jason Heyward to be featured in Sports Illustrated

Baseball fans if you want to learn more about the brightest young star in baseball today, run out and get yourself a copy of the Sports Illustrated issue that hits shelves tomorrow. This issue will feature an article on the Braves’ Jason Heyward.

It’s written by baseball’s best writer, Tom Verducci. An excerpt from the article says the following:
Verducci writes about how Heyward’s father, Eugene, ran up nearly 300,000 miles on the family’s SUV transporting Jason to all the stops on his youth baseball schedule. Jason tells Verducci: “When I was 10, I saw a couple of big league games, and I said, ‘I want to do this the rest of my life.’ They had a plan, my parents. I appreciate that they did everything they could to get me in front of all the right people. But my dad said, ‘Without you saying you wanted it, it wouldn’t have happened.’ Every year he asked, ‘Do you still want to play baseball?’ By my senior year I looked at him like he was stupid. And he said, ‘All right. I will never ask you again.’ “

The more I hear about this kid, the more I like him. He seems grounded. He seems like no matter what level of stardom he reaches, he’s the furthest thing from Barry Bonds.

I’m glad that Verducci has written a nice story about him. It’s a high compliment to have that guy sniffing around you as a rookie. It should be an outstanding read.

Sports Illustrated on the NL Central

If you have not yet seen Sports Illustrated’s NL Central Preview and you’re a Reds fan, you aren’t missing out on much.

The fellas over at SI were kind enough to predict a 3rd place finish from our boys, of course finishing behing the mainstream Cubs and Cardinals.

They were nice enough to include a few sentences about us, which is more then the Brewers and Pirates received. So we’ll give them credit there. You still have to say that Sports Illustrated’s writers are so insanely bottled when it comes to their predictions. No one ever goes out on a limb or changes the field much from the year before. God forbid one of these guys had the DBacks winning the National League pennant for some variability.

Anyways, in case they’re all wrong; we’ve got them on record here.

Derek Jeter is Sports Illustrated’s 2009 Sportsman of the Year “In what has already been a banner year for Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees shortstop can add another honor: Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year award. Jeter was chosen as the magazine’s 56th honoree (the Dec. 7 issue will hit newsstands on Wednesday) and becomes the first Yankee to be named SI’s Sportsman.” [Sports Illustrated]

On Mauer, and the elusive pursuit of .400

I have been making it a habit to read the baseball cover articles when I receive my Sports Illustrated copies. Namely, anything written my Tom Verducci. He’s pretty underrated as a baseball writer. And he’s consistently good.

His article on Joe Mauer chasing down .400 was pretty interesting. But it was also a bit premature.

As Verducci points out, Mauer won’t even qualify for the batting title until after the All Star break. The chase of .400 is impressive, but Mauer missed a lot of time to begin the season. He’s now sitting on .383, not too shabby; but it shows why the article was premature. If the guy was hitting .450 at the time of the article, it’d be an entirely different story.

Mauer has that national appeal because he’s an ‘aw shucks’ type of guy who lives in a cabin in the woods of Minnesota. That’s cool. Yes, he’s added power to his stroke this year and it would be cool to see him chase down .400 since only two men are living who even played with the last man to hit .400 (Teddy Ballgame). But couldn’t this article have waited until late July?

Bryce Harper will be on your next Sports Illustrated cover

We’ve touched on Harper once before, and now Sports Illustrated has jumped aboard. Harper is dubbed ‘Baseball’s Lebron’. The thing is, it’s totally different then making it to the NBA.

Harper might be on the fast track up through the minor league system of whatever team he is drafted to, but he might not be able to adjust to the pro game like Lebron James did in the NBA and Tiger Woods has on the PGA Tour. Baseball is just, well; different.

We’re sure that Harper will log some MLB time over the course of his life based on his ceiling and potential alone. But to say this guy is going to be a perrenial All Star in MLB is just irresponsible and getting too excited at this point, we think.

He’s 16 years old. Six-teen. Do you know how much can occur in these years for a guy that age? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch on Harper. No matter how bad you want to.