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.
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.
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]
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]
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.”
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]
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?
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.
I suppose I should go pull this bad boy from my mailbox and read the article, although I’m not really looking forward to it all that much. It is history and SI did a good job of choosing this story for the cover. It is big time MLB history.
I think they’re calling it “The Night the Lights Went Out in Mannywood”. Just had to get this cover on the site.
I came home tonight to find that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition of 2009 had arrived in my mailbox. You know, this act always kind of takes me back a bit and brings a grin to my face, even though it doesn’t bring me the boyhood joy that it once did. And yes, this is extremely off topic from our usual baseball column but pitchers and catchers are filing in all around baseball as we speak, these posts will soon be coming to an end.
You know, back to the swimsuit edition. Every year when I get my copy out of the mail I always feel just a bit cooler then I did the second before. I don’t know what it is. Something about having that extra thick and glossy issue of Sports Illustrated in my hands (that has jack shit to do with sports and everything to do with big luscious titties) makes me just wanna put on a ballgame, pop open a beer, fart, and scratch my nuts out in the open all while whistling and paging through my fresh new issue of the SI boobie magazine.
And I don’t really know why that is. Is it because it’s just kind of one of our exclusive properties as males? As if in a way; this is the one SI that our women will have absolutely no business looking at. Is it because by laying it on our coffee table in the living room, any buddy that comes over for months even when its considered obsolete will absolutely have to look at it? Why does this issue of SI make us feel like the ultimate bachelor again? Its almost as if for this one day, no matter what else is going wrong in your life; you feel that you’ve arrived in the adult world when you have your own subscription to Sports Illustrated entitling you to your very own swimsuit edition. Truth is, my mother bought me the subscription for a year because she got a good deal on it and I’m further away from being a real adult with each passing day. Looking at beautiful women who have been airbrushed to perfection cannot make me more of an adult, but those feelings do come to mind when I’m putting it out for display in my living room. I just feel a bit more liberated, and while feeling like I’ve arrived it really does take me back to my college days all in the same moment.
So many privlidges arrive with this issue. It gives you the right for no reason at all to make your wife or girlfriend completely jealous. When she goes to reach for it you tell her ‘sorry sweetheart that isn’t for your eyes’. You watch: although they’ll be completely miffed on why you won’t let them see it they won’t quite pout as much as they routinely do other things. It’s because they know, that’s your guy stuff. When you look up ‘man stuff’ in Webster’s you will find a Skoal can, a baseball, and an issue of the SI Swimsuit Edition among the top things listed. So babe, while you can make fun of me for video games and for throwing the remote over my team blowing a lead in the bottom of the 9th, you keep your hands off my SI Swimsuit edition. It’s mine. Somehow our women are smart enough to know that they don’t have ground to stand on in this one.
With every year there’s a new attraction. When I first hit puberty it was Kathy Ireland as the lead woman. When I first got my drivers liscense Tyra Banks’ impeccable ass was everywhere in the shoots. In college, Rebecca Romjin was all over our frathouse shitroom floor for the rest of the year after the issue came out. Today, Brooklyn Decker is the headliner. If you don’t know who she is you can either google search her, or you can go to page 112 if you’re a current subscriber; where Brooklyn Decker shows you around the world. Totally hot. Totally all ours ya know? Isn’t it great being a guy? You know what else? She’s engaged to Andy Roddick and she’s waaaaay too hot for that douche. Andy, it’s a matter of time until she finds out that you’re an assclown and she is being dug out by one of MLB’s finest. Or maybe a big, black NFL linebacker. But that’s another issue in itself. Roddick
met discovered Decker after reading the SI Swimsuit Edition of 2007. Good thing you got her while she was young and dumb pal.
So while we’ve all seen hotter material by this stage in our lives; and SI struggles to find new ways to make this issue interesting to us, it’s still must see. That reason is because you’re a dude and damnit, there’s things that you need in your life even when you’re old and your balls are wrinkled. So go get yourself an issue of the SI Swimsuit Edition and kill a few minutes, hours or days with it. Make the Mrs. jealous. It’s your birth right.