Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (83-55) 5 7 1
Cincinnati Reds (57-81) 4 6 0
W: Happ (9-7) L: Sampson (2-4) S: Melancon (44)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–No Red had more than one hit, but Todd Frazier hit his 31st homer and drove in a second run with a sac fly.

–The Cincinnati bullpen performed well, if you can believe it. Sam LeCure, Burke Badenhop, Jumbo Diaz, and Pedro Villareal pitched 3.2 shutout innings in relief.

–After Joey Votto was ejected (see below), someone named Ramon Cabrera pinch hit and came up with his first big league hit. Congratulations, Ramon!

The Bad
–Keyvius Sampson was pitching pretty well until the sixth inning, when he gave up a grand slam to Jung Ho Kang:


On the night, Sampson went 5.1 innings, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits.

–In a bizarre turn of events in the bottom of the eighth, Joey Votto — who went completely nuts — and Bryan Price were ejected from the game by home plate umpire Bill Welke, who was a complete disaster all night long. Yeah, I’m sure Votto was expressing his displeasure at Welke’s strike zone, but if you were watching the game on Gameday, you’d have seen how awful Welke was all night long. And it’s notable that Votto and Welke have a history.

Besides, if Joey Votto says the pitch was outside the strike zone, Joey Votto was correct. The umpire needs to accept that.

–Brayan Pena got a pinch-hit double, but strained his right hamstring and had to be replaced immediately.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Reds lose again, and the worst part is that I kinda expect it every night now. It’s the mid-2000s again here at your friendly neighborhood Reds blog.

–Good to see Billy Hamilton back in the lineup. I like that guy so much more than I thought I would, despite the fact that he can’t hit a lick, as they say.

–I guess the Reds play again tomorrow. It’s getting hard to care, even though tonight’s game was actually kinda fun to watch. But man, the losing stinks.

Go Reds.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at

Join the conversation! 123 Comments

  1. Confused about what is or is not reviewable, I wonder if Bryan Price tried to ask for one of his & Joey’s ejection.

    • Votto asked for time out. You could read his lips saying it to Price right before he had a conniption. A good one too.

    • you cannot argue balls and strikes, so argument on ejection.

  2. MLB has to do something about the few terrible umps, period.

  3. Bill Welke Doesn’t Care About Canadian People.

  4. I was on the road and listened to part of the game so this has nothing to do with tonights disaster other than why leave Sampson out there? Why is Bryan Price still the manager? Here is my reasoning go ahead cut him loose and start your search now, 3 extra weeks should surely help and you could get a headstart on the other terrible teams looking for a new manager.

  5. Gotta say, Votto’s helmet slam gets a 95/100. Pretty solid slam.

    Also interesting is the fact that Votto hasn’t been bad at all lately (unless you count a 3-game ‘mini-slump’) which is usually what triggers these sorts of outbursts from him.

    Also, the sooner we get robot umps the better. Having a game based around a rule set that can’t be applied correctly due to human error is bad news. We have the technology. Progress always wins! This railroad is gonna get built!

    • Also, if we had Robot umps, Votto might have a .650 OBP and walk 33% of the time. Seems the only times he gets out are when he gets 1 to 2 bad strike calls in an at-bat.

    • Why not have robot players, or have just hitters and just defensive players like in football. Human error is part of the game, has been since the game started. Hitters have always disagreed with umpires balls and strikes call. It’s what makes the game interesting and fun.

      • amen

      • OK you are being silly. Human error is something that should be eliminated not condoned. The umpire union actually fought tooth and nail against TV broadcasts using a strikezone tracker, because they don’t want the audience to know just how inept they are.. that is how you know there is a severe problem. Perhaps you enjoy watching a flawed game but I don’t. Human error by an athlete is far different than human error by a so-called impartial judge whose job is clearly black and white when it comes to calling balls and strikes. The only time its grey is if its on the corner, but these guys are calling strikes on a ball that is 9 inches off the plate.. .how is a hitter supposed to do their job when that is going on???

        • A) Have you ever gone behind the plate on a high level of the game and called balls and strikes?

          B) How has the game survived and flourished for all these decades with humans calling balls and strikes?

        • Human error cannot be eliminated as long as humans are involved, so completely automated baseball is clearly the answer. A robot Billy Hamilton who has a .400 OBP? Of course, automated systems are designed and programmed by imperfect humans, and are not themselves perfect, so the only really satisfactory answer is to await the evolution that will result in independent artificial intelligence to do everything. Perhaps those perfect entities will let us watch the games. For awhile.

        • Evan… regarding point “B”… until recently there wasn’t sufficient technology to reasonably replace the umps calling balls and strikes. That’s why it has been this way for over 100 years. What if the same line of thinking was applied to the medical field? Leeches anyone? In 2015 we can and should do this. The game isn’t better with mistakes.

        • And also, it’s not fair nor reasonable to extrapolate a call for automated balls and strikes to robot players. It’s one well defined slice of the game that can be improved by existing technology. That’s it.

          But, while we’re on the topic, I’m pretty sure Joey is a hitting robot, or at least a Borg, and well, that works out pretty good. 🙂

        • I mean, Evan is asking the questions we need to ask. He’s a big picture guy. If we make a fairly simple change to baseball rules, we might as well just simulate the games using computers so that we no longer need players or robots to do our bidding. Our stadiums will be pointless! Where will the architects who specialize in stadium design find work? What will happen to the hot dog industry?

        • And honestly, point “A” being made above actually makes the case for automation, not humans. If the implied idea is that it’s really hard to call balls and strikes at a high level of play, I’d agree, and I’d suggest that if it’s hard for humans to get right, we use something that can be valid and reliable to be correct more often.

      • Only in baseball would someone use the argument that since we’ve always had blown calls, we should keep having blown calls even though we could fix it. Doing things just because that’s the way we’ve always done them is baseball’s MO. And it’s also the reason that football has become much more popular. The NFL is always looking to improve their product and make it more marketable. Baseball does things that make the product worse just for tradtion’s sake.

        • Ok you are in the middle of a game and the technology fails or is corrupted, what then? Call the game?

        • There would still be an umpire behind the plate. He could fill in and we could all temporarily once again enjoy the majestic and entertaining qualities of “human error”.

        • Right. There still will be an ump who needs to call safe/out, monitor other situations on the field, maybe they can do a better job still of detecting a foul tick. I’m not sure why people get all extreme in the idea the umps are just tossed away for good. They just don’t do the balls and strikes. There are simple contingencies if the tech fails, and there should be independent review of the tech to make sure it isn’t being tampered with. It really isn’t all the scary and just makes sense.

        • How is the game worse? Is attendance down? Is TV revenues down? If the game is so horrible how is it the important numbers don’t reflect that?

        • Whether or not it boosts attendance is immaterial. I certainly doubt it would decrease attendance/watching, but maybe. Then the almighty dollar will have spoken.

          You do this for the integrity of the game. Outcomes of games can be influenced by these calls. It may be subtle and we’ll never be able to compare outcomes of the same game called by an balls/strikes ump to the cameras. It’s simply a way for the game to follow its own rules more correctly and more often. Where is the negative in that?

          Arguing for lesser quality and accuracy is certainly an opinion one can have, but again I ask in what area of life would you accept that? I want the broker who can more reliably return my investments, I want the doctor who can say “yes this is a problem” and “no it’s not a problem” with authority. I want the car to diagnosed correctly instead of “Gary” in the back making a guess and charging me more.

          Why exactly is it fun/acceptable to argue and be frustrated with the strike zone? To me, it just eliminates excuses such as “if he hasn’t been squeezed by the umps” and it comes down to the players just doing their things. That’s cool to me.

        • Evan. What don’t you understand? Is your argument that baseball cannot improve in any way? It is so good that it cannot possibly be better? That is silly.

          The rulebook has a strike zone. Technology can enforce those rules better than a human. If human error is part of the game, as you state, then why have rules at all? Honestly. If you can’t enforce the rules properly there is no reason to have them. Now that we have the tech to get balls/strikes right more often, why not do it?

        • How long do you suppose it would take for the Cardinals to figure out a way to hack into the system and work their evil way? Whoever brought up leeches hasn’t been paying attention to their regained respectability: They are evidently very effective at cleaning wounds and reducing the likelihood of infection.

  6. It seems like the vast majority of the time when Votto and the ump disagree about a ball/strike call, Joey is correct. I seems like he does not get the benefit of the doubt, though.

    Really sad that a guy that gets paid to do one thing and one thing only (call balls/strikes), isn’t any better at it than one of the player.

    • The player is never right, the umpire determines the strike zone, the hitter has to adapt.

      • While I tend towards a more traditional view and agree with some of what you’ve said above, I disagree here. The umpire determines the strikezone based on the rules but an inconsistent umpire is absolutely painful. The strikezone basically has no definition at that point. The player, be it pitcher, catcher, or umpire are often right when the umpire is inconsistent with the zone.

      • You are wrong. Read a rule book. The strike zone is a physical space. The umpire’s job is to enforce that physical space, not interpret it.

    • Pujols never got treated like this, I can tell you that much.

  7. Umpires are the human element they will miss a call from time to time. They will have bad days which sounds like Welke tonight, the problem I have they have massive egos. I don’t want to see the as ……………… moron behind the plate I want to watch the professionals. I know a young man who attempted to become a umpire and wasn’t good enough. He made it to AAA my opinion he didn’t kiss the right as…………… cheek.. The majority of umpires are frustrated ball players and it is getting worse. The best umpire I ever saw was a college umpire he worked the SEC you never knew he was on the field. Yeah he kicked a call from time to time but if he did he gave the coaches a lot of lee way. The young umpire trying to establish himself is one thing but this nonsense is getting out of hand.

    • They are EASILY replaced by a camera/computer. How can anyone be arrogant when a camera/computer is superior to them. Worse, how can the umpire union fight against technology. And worst of all why is Major League Baseball beholden to a ridiculous umpires union? I suspect gambling is the root of all of this. Umpires squeeze and looses strikezones depending on over/under. I literally cannot watch a game anymore because the umpires are so disgraceful it elevates my blood pressure to an unhealthy level and my swearing frightens my son. Only a stupid sport would allow human error to dictate the strikezone to the point where a good hitter is penalized for laying off bad pitches. And it’s not just an occasional thing… every game there are key pitches that are mis-called and it has serious impact on the outcome. EVERY GAME.

      • Haven’t you noticed, with replay calls, that different cameral angles show different things? You’ll need to look further if you want perfection.

        • It doesn’t have to be perfect to be better. Why are people making extreme extrapolations out of this discussion? It will be better more often, even if it isn’t always correct. That would be ok.

  8. “Besides, if Joey Votto says the pitch was outside the strike zone, Joey Votto was correct. The umpire needs to accept that.”

    End of story. . .

  9. Simple rule – If you’re an MLB umpire and Joey Votto is yelling at you then you’re doing it wrong.

  10. The best Reds hit of the night was Votto’s helmet hitting the dirt. They should have set fireworks off after that one.

  11. Can we use the Votto helmet slam picture every time the Reds blow a lead?

  12. Welke is one of the worst, but Angel Hernandez is by far the bottom of the barrel.

  13. Instead of talking about Votto, I’d like to dig up everyone’s favorite topic: Jay Bruce. Becauase buried at the end of the “Votto Explodes” story is the fact that Jay Bruce struck out with bases loaded to end that 8th inning rally and did anyone think he WOULDN’T? I have been a career-long Bruce supporter, right up until the second half of this season. I was even among those who didn’t want to see him traded at the deadline because I really believed he was a solid piece along with Votto to rebuild around. I just don’t see it anymore. His wRC+ hasn’t come close to 120 since 2012. Right now, fully healthy all year, it’s at 96. Long gone are the days I predicted Bruce would put it all together into at least one magical MVP season. I would be perfectly happy if he could just settle into the role of a reliable middle of the order bat. But he’s never been anything like reliable and he is only getting less reliable as he gets older. He should be in his prime right now and he probably won’t be worth 1 WAR for the entire season. If I’m looking at reasons why the Reds are awful this year, Bruce has to take a big slab of that pie.

    • 1st pitch low and outside, 2nd pitch high inside 3rd pitch anywhere, strike 3. Bruce has to go

    • “His wRC+ hasn’t come close to 120 since 2012.”

      It was 117 in 2013…

      I’m on the fence about Jay. I gave up on the whole “Jay could figure things out and become a superstar” thing years ago, but his contract was still really favorable for the Reds so I always found myself on the pro-Jay Bruce side.

      Then this year happens and he has had the worst season of his career. (I pretty much exclude 2014 altogether due to his knee). It puts the organization in a rough spot and I don’t know what the Reds can really do about it. His trade value is lower than ever, but he still has a nice contract (assuming he gets back to being a 3 WAR player). If the Reds don’t think they can compete in 2016 or 2017, Bruce is a pretty good candidate to trade. They may have to cross their fingers and hope he bounces back, then trade him during the 2016 season to maximize their return.

      • I’m a Jay Bruce fan but he has been pretty bad during the 2nd half this year. He’s getting into a lot of the bad habits he was in very early in the season. He starts pressing and it makes things even worse. He looks pretty lost in most ABs and is even missing some mistake pitches he should be hitting. I think he has some value on the market, although not much. I think the Reds are pretty much done with him and will move him for whatever they can get in the off season. I don’t necessarily agree that they should but I’m pretty sure they will. I’ll be shocked if he’s on the 2016 Opening Day roster.

        As for his 2nd half struggles, I think it’s time to change walk-up music. The Taylor Swift was working for him for a while but now it’s gone cold. Time to pick a new song 😉

        • I’d suggest that he try “The Thrill is Gone.” B.B. King’s version, preferably.

  14. Is there any track record of the league policing these umpires who have terrible strike zones and/or overstep their boundaries?

  15. Welke is a first class POS that continues to demonstrate that through horrible games and egotistical vendettas.

  16. Total support of Votto. The only way this bad umpiring gets fixed is if he and other players bring attention to it. Had he not done this no one would be reviewing this umpire. It’s one thing to have a bad zone, but Welke had a one sided zone. Skewed umpiring threatens the very core of competition on a level playing field. Makes Pirates fans happy, but the rest of us can just keep our money and save our time. I actually turned the game off in the first inning after seeing the strike called on Dejesus at his ankle and then one called at Votto’s chest. The little boy in me wants to cheer for sport, but the man reminds me it’s about money every now an then.

    • Not sure the zone was skewed one-sided. There were a few pitches that McCutchen was pretty unhappy with the strike calls.

      • I was going by the brookstone website thing that plots ump calls. Sure looked like Pirates had smaller zone. However, I don’t know how accurate it is.

  17. Man, Votto looked like the Tasmanian Devil after he blew his stack. Votto has been getting jobbed by some umpires even through his remarkable run he is on. Votto had to have been stewing all night from the game before in the way it ended. Votto hit a foul ball into the dirt that the catcher then caught, but the ump ruled that it didn’t hit the ground, strike 3, game over. Welke wasn’t behind the plate, but was at 2nd base and he came in to rule game over, that the cathcer caught it. Replays showed it differently, and that Votto was right, but it wasn’t a reviewable call. That had to carry over to yesterday and then Welke’s odd strike zone added fuel. And then the eruption. At least Votto, even though accidentally, got to spit in Welke’s face.

  18. Somewhere, Lou Pinella is having breakfast and watching the replay of Votto’s meltdown. And he is smiling broadly.

  19. I have been a Bruce supporter.However it is becoming difficult to watch him swing at pitches clearly outside strike zone.This sounds crazy ,does Bruce need his vision checked? He’s not even fouling pitches off.Just a thought.

    • What happened to the Bruce we had for the first 4 months? The one who actually took pitches and had the best OBP on the team for a while?

      • Sure is sad.

        His oSwing% is above 36% in the 2nd half. His early-season oSwing% is one of the reasons why everyone was so bullish on Jay… but he’s reverted to his old habits and mechanics.

        We’re not talking sample size here, either. Plate discipline stats (like swing rates) begin to stabilize faster than anything else, in the neighborhood of 80 PAs. Bruce has changed his approach for the negative and this is the player we should expect going forward unless he makes another change for the positive, which is possible.

  20. How has this team won 57 games? It’s a miracle!

    • Well, theoretically, a team of all replacement players wins 48 games. So add Joey’s WAR in there and there you go!

  21. This is not a troll! How come Joey doesn’t get the same excoriation that Price did when he got all upset?

    • One: You can’t hear what Votto was saying. I don’t really care if Votto drops some bad language, but a certain segment of fans would start breaking out the “won’t somebody think about the children…” angle if we Votto was mic’d up.

      Two: Votto’s anger was a “righteous” anger, whereas Price’s rant was based on his erroneous belief that the media is a tool of the organization and should always act for the Reds’ benefit.

      Three: Votto was yelling at an umpire. Umpires are almost universally derided by the average fan for their perceived lack of competence. Price was yelling at a beat reporter. The beat reporter is one of the persons that actually gives the fans meaningful information.

      There is always something inherently distasteful about yelling at someone who has less power than you and/or that doesn’t deserve it. Price yelled at a beat reporter for competently performing basic job duties. Votto yelled at someone in a position of authority who apparently is well known for being a hack.

    • Being thrown out of the game vs. being asked a question by a reporter seem like very different situations. That and the fact that you really can’t hear what Votto is saying unless you’re on the field but anyone with access to the T.V., radio or internet could hear everyone of Price’s choice words.

    • I think people find a difference in a player reacting to a game situation than a manager losing his stack over a reporter doing his job. Lip reading aside, there is no real audio of Joey compared to the documented F-Bombs Price let fly in a room full of reporters. It doesn’t make Joey’s reaction “correct”… but a lot of people like the narrative that it shows a player “cares.” If he’s not careful, Joey will earn himself a reputation for being volatile (this isn’t his first rodeo with the umps this season) and he’ll have earned it. And let’s be honest: Hitting .300 will always earn someone a few more passes than the guy not getting it done!

      For better or worse, we expect the manager to conduct himself with some composure and dignity in front of the press. Every time someone doesn’t, they tend to become punching bags. Why do we all know phrases like “They are who we thought they were!” and “Playoffs? Playoffs?”

      • Wow… lots of similar thoughts came across as I typed… you guys were faster.

    • Legit question. Way different workplace context. Provocation level different. Price outburst lasted much longer.

    • Because Joey is having a better season than Price.

  22. It seems as if Votto and Welke do have a bit of a history, also. Welke threw him out of a game in 2009, I believe that was the year. Votto just K’ed looking on a pitch way inside called strike 3 by Welke.

    I didn’t see last night’s game. But, I saw some of the footage. And, yes, that zone was wide open last night. It was disgusting.

    I am one that you have to accept the umps calls, even though that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t argue it. I believe Votto was justified, at least to a degree, for the tone of his outburst. Fine? He probably will get one, that and a suspension. He can afford the fine. And, we don’t have to worry about a suspension this season.

    But, I sure hope that MLB gets a hold of this tape and reviews Welke’s zone calling.

  23. Regarding robot umps:

    There would likely be some serious unintended consequences from electronic umpiring. High pitches, (including high offspeed pitches) have been pretty much off the table because umps stink at calling them. Hitters have gone their entire career pretty much ignoring the pitch because it is never called a strike. The adjustment period would be very interesting. I wonder if we’d see a shift away from sinker ball pitches.

    • You’d get more high strikes and less low ones. Especially that high breaking ball you’re talking about. I think MLB hitters would adjust to that pitch being called a strike pretty quickly though. That’s a pitch that gets punished sometimes at the lower levels and I think MLB hitters would start hitting that pitch fairly regularly.

      May need to look at some HEAT charts to see what happens on high breaking-balls (top of the electronic strike zone) that hitters actually swing at.

      • I agree. The adjustment would be lightning fast since the players would know it is being called consistently.

    • I agree, the high strike would be tough for a lot of hitters to adjust to, but I for one would be happy to get it back. It can be a lethal pitch if the zone is called correctly, but most umps call anything over the belt a ball these days, so of course it’s rare for pitchers to go upstairs, except in strikeout counts.

      • I agree completely. The high fastball would be interesting enough, but you could see the return of some serious junk ball pitchers dropping in high breaking balls.

  24. I believe the robot umps or computers may require some “alteration” or “tweeking” of the rules, also. For instance, the zone is supposed to be something like from knees to armpits. Well, is that from a straight stand or when they are in their batting stance? If batting stance, then some may very well intentionally squat down at the beginning of the AB to make the zone very small. The call would have to be made from “wherever” the batter’s knees and armpits are “when the ball crosses the plate. And, thus, the height of the zone could still very well change with each pitch, then.

    I am for the “auto eye” on the pitches. But, I would look for its implementation to be “proper”, for lack of better word. As in, just don’t get it for the sake of having it.

    • Batters can do all of the stuff you describe now and umpires already have to deal with it. Bagwell’s strikezone was crazy because of his crouch, ditto Pete Rose. At least with computers doing the measuring, you could have it be consistent, rather than umpires who can be biased for or against certain players, or have good nights and bad for other reasons.

      • The thing is, we have to make sure the computers would be programmed as such. It’s easy to say, “Put it out there.” The hard part is making sure it’s right.

        • True. I’m pretty sure they would design/test/implement the system such that it would truthfully depict a strike zone for each hitter.

      • Jeremy: My computer is clearly biased against me. If it were calling balls and strikes, I’d never get on base.

    • No doubt. It would be something for the home plate to monitor when they are standing behind home plate. I think each hitter would have a template created for them based on previous at bats, although there would likely need to be some sort of adjusting need to be performed. Hitter stances do not change wildly over the course of a season but there are some tinkerers out there (Heisey was a guy that seemed to always be doing something).

      I think it is a fairly easy system to implement.

      • Exactly. And, you don’t think there’s going to be some more tinkerers if they hear that robots are going to enter the games? Oh, yes.

        Another possibility, which would probably also reduce the cost of programming the computer, also, is have one set K-zone. Like, 1.5-3.5 feet above the ground. Rule change. But, I would think the software, if not hardware, would be greatly simplified.

        • That’s an interesting concept I have pondered even before the advent of computer tracking. Why should a taller batter be penalized with a larger strike zone and a shorter batter benefit from a smaller strike zone? Why should a hitter standing upright to hit be penalized with a larger strike zone and a hitter crouching benefit from a smaller strike zone? The strike zone is not wider against hitters with longer arms. I think the notion of a consistent strike zone could make sense and implementation would certainly be simpler. Since the strike zone could not be physically marked previously, using the batter as vertical markers made sense, but since the strike zone can not be physically marked (or at least identified and tracked), a consistent strike zone should probably be considered as a rule change.

        • *can ‘now’ be physically marked*

  25. I read some articles this morning where price talks about the ejection, and basically it sounds like Welke has had previous issues with Votto, decided he was not going to let Votto call timeout because he doesn’t like him, Votto thought that was ridiculous, and Welke ejected him for that.

    That decision may have changed the outcome of a game, and certainly changed players stats, which ultimately lead to their pay.

    That really seems like a problem to me, and if I were a player, this is the type of thing I would go to my union rep about, to see if the union can do anything about. Obviously it’s easy to ignore this as one little incident, but it shows a systemic problem: The umpires have way too much control, and way too little oversight, and are capable of altering a player’s salary simply because they don’t like him, or they take offense to a comment.

    • This is nothing new, there has been issues between umps and players since the game begin, just part of the game.

    • Votto and Welke have a bit of a history. Welke threw him out of a game in 2009, I believe. I believe the video showed it was after a strike 3 call on a pitch that was way inside. Votto argued, then Welke threw him out. Then, Baker actually got up onto the field to argue with Welke, also.

  26. Bill Welke was 75th out of 79 umps for correct call rate in 2014

    • Wow. Is that for balls/strikes? If so, short of automation, why can’t the best umps just keep doing what they are good at instead of rotating? Why not assign the best individual ball/strike callers across the different crews and let them just do that.

      • I think it’s probably way more physically and mentally stressful to call balls and strikes than to be one of the base umps, especially 2nd and 3rd.

        • I’m pretty sure that’s it. Home plate umps take a lot more physical stress for sure and physical impacts as well. I imagine it is also more stressful.

        • That’s fair… sounds like it would cause a decrease in accuracy if they were asked to manage that nightly.

  27. Phillies just canned Ruben Amaro. There are now 5 teams looking for new General Managers. While I’m not optimistic that Castellini will come to his senses and fire Walt this offseason, if he does the Reds are way behind for any top candidates out there.

    • I’d be stunned if Walt was fired. Castellini loves him. Reassigned to another position in the front-office perhaps but fired would be a real stunner.

      • Either way Walt needs to go

      • Doug Melvin (former Brewers GM) and WJ were always purportedly close. Melvin’s decision to (somewhat) gracefully step aside could influence WJ to do the same, especially considering Melvin (early 60’s) is somewhat younger that WJ (about 70).

        Interesting stat I came across when reading about Melvin stepping aside: during his 13 seasons as the Brewers GM, the club was second in W’s to only the Cards and had only around 10 fewer W’s over the period than The Cards.

        • That’s second in W’s withing the NL Central during Melvin’s tenure; but then if they were within 10 of the Cards who led the Central, how many other teams in the entire NL were better?

      • Why would you be stunned? In the last calendar year 13 of the 30 GMs have been replaced. The Reds are on pace to lose about 95 games. The team is on a steep downward trajectory. I would be stunned if Jocketty is not replaced. Castellini didn’t become a billionaire businessman by being stubbornly loyal to his friends. When an employee proves inept you replace him no matter how much you like him.

        • I sure hope you’re right, Nick!

        • I’d be stunned because Jocketty is Castellini’s guy and he still has a year left on the extension that he probably didn’t earn in the first place. Castellini does want to win though so of course there is a chance Jocketty will be let go. I honestly thing that it would be much more likely after 2016 when his contract is up anyway.

  28. I am a little confused about Votto’s ejection last night.I thought he asked for time before the 1-1 pitch and didn’t get it.If so you could say he got it stuck to him twice,not getting the time out and the ball was outside.

  29. Warranted or not, I think that we all can agree that no good comes from Joey losing his temper like that. He’s already bumped an umpire this season. Joey’s action gives Votto’s critics more fuel for their arguments. See Paul Daugherty this morning. He’s all over this.

    I think Welke is a dishonest, incompetent jerk, but you just cannot react like that. It’s a shame.

    • I almost always agree with your sentiment that no good comes from losing your temper, but I’m not sure I completely agree in this circumstance. Joey controls the strike zone like no other player since Ted Williams. He just operates on another level compared to every other hitter in that respect. When he misreads a pitch, he fumes internally and mentally chastizes himself. He knows that he can read the balls and strikes from the batter’s box better than almost every home plate umpire can read the balls and strikes from behind the catcher. When he knows the umpire makes a mistake, he doesn’t try to show up the umpire, but respectfully and discretely voices his observation.

      Welke knows he is incompetent behind the plate and he knows Votto is supremely competent in the batter’s box. Welke resents Votto’s competence and expertise in light of Welke’s own incompetence and he deliberately and aggresively used his authority against Votto as much as if he had sucker punched him. I don’t know many high-level performers who would accept such actions from anyone in a position of authority, especially when those wielding and using their authority are so incompetent.

      What if Votto’s actions serve as a catalyst to changing the game for the better? Isn’t that what happened in professional tennis? Isn’t that what drove instant replay in professional football and professional baseball?

      • Supremely well put, Cossack!

      • Awesome response. If only Votto’s fire would change something. We can only hope.

        It has been proven that the umps are getting more ball/strike calls right than ever before, which makes umps like Welke all the more despicable.

      • So maybe Votto argues with Welke, but in a different way. He doesn’t slam his helmet. He doesn’t get right in his face. BUT – Votto does stay at the plate, and keeps engaging Welke in a firm yet respectful manner. He clearly demonstrates his displeasure, but he doesn’t fly off the handle. He just stays there. He won’t leave. Seems like that bit of civil disobedience might be better.

        • Votto’s outburst did not seem responsive to the ball and strike calls. His outburst seemed responsive to his ejection after Welke refused to allow Votto to call time out and Votto requested assistance from his manager in dealing with Welke’s arrogance.

          I would have preferred a ‘wait and see what happens’ approach by Votto, but an aggressive, Sweet Lou, response needed to be made by someone. Based on the reaction of the Reds in the following game, I think Votto’s reaction may have been a rallying cry for the team.

        • That could be effective. Maybe not a bad tact. It is easier said than done perhaps. I know the handful of times I’ve gotten tossed from games I got pretty dang hot though. The reason you say something in the first place is you’re annoyed. Then when you get tossed, especially without much warning and without knowing exactly why you’re getting tossed, the temper can escalate in a hurry.

    • I think it’s OK if his critics get more fuel for their arguments. Their arguments are illogical and hold no weight, since all of Votto’s critics are hacks that no educated fans take seriously.

  30. Line ups posted for tonight. Only in the bizarro world that is the Reds would two guys with OBP’s like Hamilton and Bourgeois batt in front of Votto at the top with Suarez stashed away down in the 7 slot.

  31. Players and managers have been arguing with umpires since professional baseball began in 1869. It was an integral part of the game until a number of years ago when MLB instituted changes where balls and strikes could not be argued, and the umpires are now so sensitive to any argument that comes their way. It sort of reflects our political atmosphere where different sides find it very difficult, if not impossible, to argue their positions without closing off communication.

  32. Umpires should have performance standards and only keep their jobs if they meet the standard. Getting rid of bad umpires will save umpire jobs. If umpires will not agree to performance standards then it is time to bring on technology. Votto should have kept his cool.

  33. Lost in all this Votto talk is the look of almost-confidence on the Teen Jeopardy player’s face in the picture above. It takes a strong person to write “Dankey Kang” and still have an air of confidence about you! Kudos to you, young lady!

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at


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