Taking the Temperature

How is everyone feeling about this season? Anyone still care? Still paying attention?

I’ve been really busy this summer, planning a move from San Diego to Ohio, but this team has just defeated me. Even in the worst Reds seasons, there has always been something positive – a young star, an exciting find, or hope for the future. This year, I can’t even remember them having a good stretch that lasted longer than 4-5 days.

Other possible causes for my malaise:

  • Josh Hamilton’s injuries. Hamilton’s been the best story, and close to the best player on the Reds. But he hasn’t been on the field in a month, which leaves us with…
  • Norris Hopper. A decent enough 5th OF, and a guy who, at least statistically, is about the best Reds OF since Mike Cameron and before that, Eddie Milner. I can’t get excited about Hopper’s “emergence” (85 OPS+ at age 28), and I just get annoyed at the nonsense guys like Hopper bring out in the MSM and Joe Sweatsock. (“He should be playing instead of Dunn.”)
  • Jeff Keppinger. See Hopper, Norris. Nice bench player, but is not going to SLG .542 over a full season.
  • Brandon Phillips. I really, really like what he brings to the table. I’m also troubled and annoyed by his .317 OBP and propensity to swing at everything. But mostly, I’m just really, really confused by the conventional wisdom that says BP is the best player on the team, and is the only position player who should be considered “untouchable.” Again, .317 OBP.
  • Trade Rumors. The Reds only storyline this summer was is “who’s going where, and what do we get back?” Then Krivsky fails to trade anyone but Kyle Lohse, blueballing the fans on even that pathetic issue.
  • Krivsky. I could probably live with even his dumber moves, if the guy ever gave me
    some reason – any reason to believe there’s a plan. His Wall of Silence act is getting very old, though, and making it really hard to have faith in the guy. Some people are quiet because they’re wise, sage, and keeping their own counsel. Other people are quiet because they’re morons and they want to keep it a secret.

What am I forgetting? Or better, what positive storylines am I forgetting? Besides Aaron Harang. That dude is just awesome, and is owed about 48 times more credit than he gets.

Join the conversation! 40 Comments

  1. Coming back to the “real” America, eh? Though I suppose you’ll miss the San Diego weather.

  2. As an Ohio native I would say Chris that moving from San Diego to Ohio is the reason for depression. An ironic side note the only positive you point out is Aaron Harang from none other than San Diego.

  3. The optimist in me tries to look at the minor leagues for hope. Maybe if we throw Bailey, Cueto, Maloney(who has been pretty stellar since coming over) Livingston and Belisle into a bag we’ll get two decent pitchers next year.

  4. I recently moved from Los Angeles to Chicago and couldn’t be happier. I didn’t spend that much time in S.D., but L.A. is the most overrated place in the world. The weather is it’s only redeeming quality and with the smog what’s the point if you can’t breath clean air! People from the East Coast and Midwest living in L.A. were jealous that I was moving to Chicago – a lot of people are getting out of there.

    Regarding positive stories for the Reds, how about Griffey’s nice season after so many years of injuries?

  5. I don’t see this season as any worse than any other. The hardest part for me is that … this season isn’t any worse than any other. Minor leagues look the same as any other year, offense is fine other than OBP, pretty much top to bottom. (Yeah, that’s a big but, but some guys like that)

    Turns out the interview I thought was in Louisville is just where human resources are for a job back home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Maybe I’ll be watching the Dragons a couple times a year instead of the Bats next year..?

    1990 was the year I really got in to watching baseball. The 10 and under CABA team I was on was called the Reds and our AA team was the Reds. So I watched the Reds. I think they won some games that year. I watch baseball because eventually maybe it’ll happen again.

  6. The bullpen is what makes this season so depressing.

    I long for the days of “homer” type broadcasting.

    I agree on the Hopper perspective but I feel it is too early to judge Jeff Keppinger. His biggest problem I see is that he is a man without a position.

    I think Krivsky is done when the season ends. Whatever sold them on him in the first place has disappeared. I think Castellini has as little confidence in him as the rest of us.

  7. We could actually use Moeller now that Ross is on the DL. I’m paying attention, but I usually turn the game off because I get so frustrated. Once I head back out to Gonzaga, I won’t pay much attention to this team. It’s just sad.

  8. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Castellini clean house and get a “proven” veteran GM (remember his first choice was Jim Beattie but changed his mind based on feedback from people in the organization) and manager.

    When the best thing Castellini could say about Krivsky recently was that he was trying and working hard – that’s a sign – he essentially chose not to comment. We all certainly hope and assume that he is trying and working hard!

  9. “He’s a plugger” isn’t the highest of praise, is it?

  10. VERY preliminary numbers from JinAZ show that Keppinger’s position might actually be SS, after all.

    Of course, Krivsky’s locked up both Gonzales AND Juan Castro for next year, so I don’t know what they do with Keppinger even if he does keep hitting.

  11. Matt, Ryan Jorgensen can’t be any worse than Moeller.

  12. positive storylines your forgetting?? how about Junior. or is he having a bad year?

  13. Jim – Jorgensen’s batting .229/.282/.318 in the minors. Moeller was .250/.308/.542 in the minors. But you’re right, it’s basically apples to apples since they’re both terrible.

  14. harang should have started in the all star game and should have gotten at least one vote for cy young last year.
    🙄 🙄
    but phillips man.
    luv that guy cant get enough of watching him dominate

  15. At least Jorgensen is younger and could get better. Besides, with Ross battling the Mendoza line, it’s not like this is a big step down offensively.

  16. Junior is definately a great story this year. I cannot think of any other good stories besides Hobbs and Jr. What a shame.

  17. The one thing that is better about this year as compared to others: It seems like we have some quality players waiting in the wings in the minors (Bruce, Votto, Cueto). In previous years we only talked about the great Homer Bailey (hopefully he comes through). It’d be nice to see us have some homegrown talent in the line-up.

  18. Chris – I’ve been thinking about moving back to Ohio from the East Coast. And I pay attention to everything no matter how good or how bad!

  19. Junior is definitely having a good year, and the milestone HRs are cool. It’s just not enough to keep me tuned in, though.

  20. I don’t know about Jorgensen getting any better. After all, he’s already 28. Anything could happen though, I suppose.

    In reference to your post, Chad, there was a blurb in the DDN about how many fans really like Brantley’s style and how he tells it like it is. I found it pretty odd, actually, considering a lot of negative feedback I’ve seen on fan sites about him.

  21. brantly was the reds best pickup in the offseason other than hamilton.
    i dont like tom.
    marty rocks but tom gets on my nerves

  22. I think you’re missing the point on Brandon Phillips. Yeah he’s a little bit of a hacker, but his value lies in the position he plays. There aren’t a lot of 20/20 guys who field an above average second base. Throw in the fact that he’s young and arbitration-elidgeable (sp?) and I think he gets as close to “untouchable” as this team gets.

    I know its probably sacrilege to mention this, but I would consider trading Hamilton before Phillips. Phillips has proven what he can do over the course of a full season, and five-tool outfielders are easier to find than middle-of-the-order second basemen.

  23. I think the bitching might be quelled if ownership/management actually did something with the problem. Todd Coffey sucks, yet this org. gives him more chances than pretty much anyone in Reds history, and would rather put him on the AAA shuttle than cut him.

    Waiting too long to can Narron, then not trading anyone but Lohse at the deadline, not replacing bullpen parts when they’re clearly not working (just switching out with equally bad parts), and so on — I think the announcers just echo the frustration of the majority of the fans.

    When you can blame the demise of the last two seasons almost entirely on an inept bullpen that Krivsky can’t fix, yeah, that’s frustrating.

  24. Brantley needs to work on his delivery! I can’t stand how he’ll deliver these two sentences with EXACTLY the same tone and inflection:

    “There’s a ground ball to the shortstop, across the diamond, they got him.”

    “Long drive, right field, that ball’s outta here.”

    If you didn’t know the language, you would not be able to tell from Brantley what’s exciting and what’s hum-drum. (Unless there’s crowd noise in the background.)

    Marty’s voice always tells you.

    Marty calling a HR with Joe in the background going nuts — that was the best! Especially at home w/ the crowd going nuts at the same time.

    I don’t know why Brantley is so “flat” in his delivery.

  25. As for Hopper, I agree — sparkplug 5th outfielder. That’s his upside. (Minor league OPS of under .700!!!) He’s having a great season this year, and even at that he’s got something like 6 RBI in 200 AB. I know he bats leadoff, but that still is ludicrous.

    Keppinger… I’m optimistic about him. I think he might really be good. I want him as our primary backup at 2B/SS/3B next year, with the chance at being a starter if anyone goes down.

    As for Castro… I hear he’s a great guy… and he does seem to have a great glove… and I wish him the best in his Tommy John recovery… but he has GOT to go. Eat the contract. No one in major league history can justify a roster spot the way he’s been hitting (at least not in a high-offense era like today). I wouldn’t want Ozzie Smith on my team if he were going to bat .181/.211/.236 and I’m not kidding in the slightest.

  26. I agree with Chris. There hasn’t been much to draw me into watching games since around the All-Star break. I’ve even backed out on trips to Cincinnati to watch games using the “what’s the point” excuse and would rather stay at home than make the drive. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I’ve been waiting for football season to start since June!

  27. 1. Anytime you are hitting .229 you should not get a promotion.

    2. Daugherty reported that Cameron’s slide into Ross was a cheap shot. I didn’t see it, and was suprised at the lack of replays of such an event, but was it? If so, why didn’t someone get plunked? I don’t take everything Paul says as fact.

    3. With Cantu, Keppinger, Hopper, Freel, and Valentine I really like our bench next year….that’s a lot of versatility.

    4. If you need a good church in Columbus, I can recommend one 🙂

  28. I’ll only address #2, because the Reds pitchers NEVER do this. I’ve seen games where multiple Reds get hit and no one on the other team every gets dusted.

  29. As for Phillips, is he going to be a 20-20 man year in year out or are we seeing a career year? Only time will tell.

  30. Daugherty’s wrong. Perfectly legitimate play by Cameron. Ross was blocking the plate w/o the ball. Cameron had three options: (1) slide and get blocked by Ross’s shin guards; (2) try to slide around Ross and hit the plate w/ his hand; (3) run to the plate, and hit Ross w/ a shoulder. He chose #3. I don’t think you’ve heard a single ballplayer complain.

  31. I think Hopper and Keppinger are both good players to have on your roster but let’s not get ridiculus. I like they way they play the game but both are spot starters and role players not front line talent.

  32. I agree Chris, the Cameron/Ross deal was just good hard baseball. There was nothing dirty in it at all. If you can’t take the hit, don’t block the plate without the ball. However, judging from his size and durability behind the plate, I’ll bett Ross has delivered more hard blows than taken them.

  33. I agree with the observation that the team announcers on radio seem extra negative this year, and it wears you down as a fan….

    Thom especially is trying to live up to his father’s image by seeming to pull no punches. He goes off on stuff that is very obvious to any fan (like criticizing a player who can’t get a bunt down—at least Brantley sees more subtle, pitching-related things). I don’t know what he was like at Arizona, but he needs to take a chill pill and, as it was said, move on….He’s at his worst when paired with his Dad….trying to live up to the image of the Hall-of-famer….

    In general, I like Brantley and his unique style. But Thom annoys me the most.

  34. I’ll only address #2, because the Reds pitchers NEVER do this. I’ve seen games where multiple Reds get hit and no one on the other team every gets dusted.

    Maybe Bronson triedto hit the next batter, but with his control (especially during day games)…

  35. Thom started out his career here in Chicago doing Cub games if you’ll recall. His specialty back then was making like a third rate carnival barker on speed when the Chubs would connect for a solo home run in the 8th inning of a 9-2 blowout loss in April.

  36. I do remember Thom during his brief Cubs TV days. I was glad to see him go then, too. He’s got bombastic down to an art.

    As a broadcaster who works for the team, I think you need to find a balance between “homer” and critic. Reds Radio seems this year to be skewed to the latter. In past years, it was a good balance.

    Today Thom’s like a bad caricature of his Dad. The outspoken nature is there (too much), but not the honest fun or the ability to find some unique insight. Thom’s had plenty of experience in broadcasting now, so I don’t think he’s going to develop into anything much different.

    He was at least tolerable earlier in the summer when teamed with Joe Nuxhall–because he seemed to tone it down in deference to Joe. That’s why I think he’s at his worst when teamed with Marty.

  37. One other thing about the announcers: I think that (other than when he’s trying to bash Adam Dunn), Chris Welsh is doing his best work. I think that working with Thom has pushed Chris to be a little more forceful in refuting Thom’s nonsense, and then in backing up his own opinions.

  38. I’ve noticed the ‘krusty lefthander’ does seem improved, especially when working with Thom. I’m sure it’s a sensibilities shock dealing with Marty Jr after spending all that time with George ‘happy to be here’ Grande. George used to drive me nuts but I now have an appreciation for him. Stupid things sometimes come out, but you miss him when you hear the alternatives. He’s like the Dan Rather of baseball.

  39. I’m just glad they got the Marty Brennaman extenstion out of the way before the offseasson. That way, maybe we won’t have a repeat of last off season, where the front office spent more time signing and promoting broadcasters than they did the product on the field. We’ve seen the results of that.

  40. Very true, Tom. It’s a not a good sign when the biggest emphasis of the offseason is signing new broadcasters! The “dream team” as Castellini put it. LOL.

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