Earlier this year, we offered a glimpse of how opponents and their announcers view the Cincinnati Reds. Now is as good a time as ever to reprise What New York Said with a view from the west coast and the magnificent Vin Scully.
Of particular interest to me is Scully’s retelling of Ted Williams’ thoughts on hitting. While the context of his remarks are meant to reference his appreciation of Hanley Ramirez, you can absolutely apply them to Joey Votto. They provide a compelling rebuttal to those around the Reds who think Votto’s plate approach is too meticulous and passive.
On two occasions, the great Scully mispronounces the Reds’ leadoff hitter “Shin Sin Choo” and later, “Shin Sun Choo.” But, I’m sure he was merely paying homage to the great George “Cingranny” Grande. Nothing escapes the fine eye or ear of Mr. Vin Scully, yeah?
A little bit about Shin Sin Choo. Number one, he can be a problem. Five home runs he has hit in the first inning, so they have to pay attention right at the very start of the game. A couple of other things about Choo, he walks a lot. He was confused on the basepaths last night, so it’s no surprise that’s he’s been picked off the base 5 times this year. He is also a spearhead of the attack. He has scored 38 runs for Cincinnati on the road.
We have quite a bit of South Korean coverage with the presence of Choo, as he swings and misses. And of course, tomorrow night in game 3 of the series, it’ll be Hyun-Jin Ryu against Choo and you can imagine the coverage tomorrow evening … of course we are accustomed to seeing heavy coverage, going all he way back to Chan Ho Park. And, of course, the heaviest coverage, I guess, was Fernando Valenzuela with the Mexican press, followed by Hideo Nomo. I’ll always remember Nomo going to the All Star Game, and the Japanese media following him into the men’s room.
Votto, a marvelous first baseman and a solid hitter … commands so much respect he’s walked 76 times.
[Ellis hits a sharp ground ball into no man’s land between Votto and Phillips]
Joey Votto has the first baseman’s nightmare. He was way off the line, and he has to make a split decision: do I go after the ball and let the pitcher cover, or can the second baseman make it and I go back to the bag. Well, Joey, like so many other first basemen, ran away from the ground ball and there was no one there to grab it.
[Crawford rips a ground ball down the first base line fair, that Votto dives and snags]
Oh what a stop by Joey Votto! That’s the third huge play he’s made in the series … Boy, that Votto is something. Umm.
And now, Joey Votto, the one man band. Joey, who does it all, has made three dazzling defensive plays …. Votto was the MVP in 2010. So his name belongs with some of the great Reds of the past: Ernie Lombardi, Frank Robinson, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Barry Larkin … and Joey Votto.
[Crawford rips a ball just out of the reach of Votto into right field in the 5th]
By Votto. They finally got a ball by him … Pretty tough to get a ball by Votto, but they did that time. Joey actually looked a little tired going after that ball. He was playing Crawford to pull and he was just far enough from the ball for it to get by him.
Phillips, by the way, is in his most productive spot. That’s the first inning. He has 19 RBIs in the first inning this year. Phillips not only picking up RBIs in the first inning, he has 49 of his runs batted in on the road.
So, one out, Phillips doubled on an 0-2 pitch, that dreaded count. Seems the last year or so, we’ve seen more clutch base hits and home runs on 0-2 counts, where in the old days, the 0-2 would usually be the curve and you’d try to hit home plate with it.
[9th Inning] Phillips tough to put away. He’s only struck out 59 times this year and he’s in there every day. Give you an idea of Phillips last year, 610 at bats and about 650 plate appearances. He struck out 80-some odd times. So you have a contact hitter and a hard thrower.
[Strikeout by BP]
He fooled him. Bad swing. And Brandon does what he does not normally do. I think what happened on that pitch is it had late life. It’s there, and then it moved away. He started to swing, but it’s not his usual swing. He tried to poke at it and that late life fastball got him.
On Homer Bailey
As hard as Bailey throws, the key to his game is the splitter. The split finger has really made Bailey dangerous.
[Kershaw delivers pitch]
And that was 94. Course, its one thing to throw 94. Last night we were looking at Aroldis Chapman, throwing 102. Which reminds us, Homer Bailey, who will be pitching against the Dodgers tonight, they tell me he’s the hardest thrower in the starting rotation. He’ll get it up to 97 and 98.
It’s not an accident that Homer Bailey wears #34. That was the number worn with grace and distinction by Nolan Ryan with his 7 no hitters. And being a kid from Texas, 34 it is.
Bailey, by the way, with a very good hitting ballclub, has not gotten a lot of run support … yeah, while Homer Bailey is pitching, the run support he gets is 2.9 runs—not very much. He’s had a big strikeout month in July. He’s had 32 strikeouts this month.
Homer Bailey. A down home Texan. He drives a diesel pickup truck. They tell me he wears boots and a cowboy hat. Spends his free time hunting. One of the things he hunts is wild boar. He misses inside. 2 and 0 the count to Uribe. Homer chases the wild boars, cuts the tusks out, keeps a collection in his room. Course he grew up in a 70 thousand chicken, 40 acre egg farm located between LaGrange and Flatonia. Traffic must be very busy there. But Homer said, if he’s not doing something important like playing baseball, he’s in the woods. Homer says, ever since I can remember, I was running around with a BB gun or a .22. But he eats all the wild game he hunts. One other thought about Bailey hunting wild boars, he says the biggest one he’s ever gotten was 400 lbs.
[The game pauses as Prime Ticket shows a shot of Bailey, standing on the bump, staring at nothing in particular, a thoughtful look on his young face, rolling the baseball in his pitching hand as he contemplates his next pitch, framed by the opening in Dodger Stadium, palm trees gently moving in the background]
Homer Bailey. Homer’s Odyssey. From Texas to the big leagues. And here he is in Los Angeles. No balls and two strikes.
He’s been pitching him hard. The book is hard way inside, then sliders away. He’s got him 2 balls and 2 strikes. Big pitch here, he doesn’t want to go 3 and 2. [Puig at the plate takes a ball, the count full]
What was it that Greg Maddux used to say? Don’t sacrifice “stuff” for location. So, let’s see what Bailey does. With 2 out, Crawford will be going from first. [Puig swings and misses]
And there’s the breaking ball down and away. We were waiting for that.
On Jay Bruce
Jay Bruce not only hangs in there well against left handers, he’s got a lot of home runs against them in his career. Since 2010, he’s got 41 home runs against left hand pitching. And remember, Kershaw has allowed only 18 home runs to left handers in his CAREER.
Jay Bruce has very interesting numbers and he’s a very tough hitter with RISP. He’s very dangerous. He’s had 26 RBIs with 2 strikes on him. He has 7 home runs against left hand pitchers. [pause] Jay Bruce.
Bruce started the year the first 19 games before he hit a home run, then he had that one home run for 34 games—well now he has 21. Bruce now has 72 runs batted in—a solid young ballplayer…. he’s gonna have quite a career. He’s a first round pick, just starting to come into his own. Been up with the Reds for 6 years. [pause] Jay Bruce.
On Corky Miller
Corky Miller, first ball, and he promptly bangs it into centerfield. That’s a pretty good story for Corky. Miller, 37 years old, the oldest Reds player to start a game at catcher since 37 year old Bob Scheffing, way back in 1951 … and Corky is his name, he was named after his dad’s brother-in-law. But his middle name is Abraham and bless mothers. His mother insisted upon the middle name Abraham just in case Corky ever wanted to run for president. He could be C. Abraham Miller.
[A close up shot of Corky, squatting as the batter settles into the batter’s box, just moments before the play at the plate where Miller dives after Ramiez, dancing around the plate to avoid being tagged]
Boy that’s a tough job at 37. But, obviously he’s in very good shape.
On Aroldis Chapman
It was Carl Crawford who was introduced to Aroldis Chapman last night. He had never seen him, never faced him. And he was lookin at 101 and 102. He said after the game, “I’ve never seen a man throw the ball that hard.”
On Chris Heisey
Heisey’s one of those fellows, in his sophomore year at Messiah College, a friend of his went on the Internet and found several major league teams were holding tryout camps nearby. Messiah College is in Grantham, Pennsylvania. That’s outside of Harrisburg. So anyway, he went to the tryout camp, impressed the Reds enough, and they picked him in the 17th round.
On Zack Cozart
In the minor leagues, about 5 years ago, Cozart was beaned. There was a real, a real brawl between Dayton and Peoria. It was so bad the police actually arrested the Peoria pitcher. It was no fun at all.
On Cesar Izturis
By the way, Cesar Izturis at short last night, and in talking to Dusty before the game, he was saying how great Izturis has been—[shot of Izturis leaning on the dugout rail] there’s Cesar taking it in—Cozart is the regular shortstop, but boy, to have somebody like Cesar to fill in, that’s terrific.
On Derrick Robinson
Believe it or not, at 5’11” and 170, he [Derrick Robinson] was committed to the University of Florida as a FOOTBALL player, he was a cornerback, I mean, that was a great team. That was the team that had, among others, Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes, Percy Harvin. Those players won 2 National Championships. And Derrick might well have been a teammate.
[After the Robinson double] Uribe lookin at his glove like it done him wrong.
On J.J. Hoover
J.J. Hoover. His real name is James Allen Hoover. So where’d the other J come from? Maybe you have it.
You know, you can think about Ted Williams, and all the things he had to say about hitting. And I think Ted Williams could sum up his theory in two words: Know Thyself. And what Ted’s theory was, you know you have a strike zone, you know there’s a sweet spot in the strike zone. You would just love to have the ball in that spot. Then there are sour spots in the strike zone, pitches that give you a bad time, The good hitter walks up the to plate with one thought in mind. I am looking for the ball in the sweet sport. Now if the pitcher gets two strikes on me in the sour spot, I tip my hat to him and then I’m just trying to stay alive at the plate. But the theory always was with Ted and with all the good hitters, I go up there looking for the pitch in my spot. Then, of course, there are hitters who will just walk up and swing not only at anything in the strike zone, but anything even close to it. But, it’s the disciplined hitter who really comes up well at the plate.
On the Reds
The Reds are a terrific ballclub, make no mistake about it. They are in a very tough division, much tougher than the West. And they are trying to win their 60th game in the Central division. But, Dusty Baker, he’s got to figure out a way to beat the Cardinals. Cardinals have beaten the Reds 6 out of 9 so far this year.