2016 Reds

The long, hard winter is upon us.

Our friend Kasey posted something on Instagram* yesterday that was timed perfectly. Or, at least, it was timed perfectly for me, since I’ve developed a reputation as the gooey, Field-of-Dreams, sentimental baseball fan among the writers here at Redleg Nation dot com.

This was written by A. Bartlett Giamatti, the former president of Yale University who also served as commissioner of baseball. (Insert Pete Rose discussion here.) It describes well my feelings about baseball.

“[Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

This hasn’t been the best season in Reds history. In fact, it has been among the absolute worst, in terms of wins and losses. Our favorite team lost 90+ games in consecutive seasons for the first time since the mid-1930s. We’ve had some miserable days and nights following the ol’ Redlegs, as the bullpen blew games and the offense couldn’t scratch runs across on far too many occasions. For the second straight year, the Reds have secured the #2 draft pick.

But oh, how I’m going to miss them.

Listen, I’ve fallen in love with Premier League soccer — the beautiful game — over the last eight years (and my favorite team, Tottenham Hotspur, is having a great season thus far, and the future is incredibly bright). You know that I’m crazy for the sports teams of my alma maters, especially the basketball teams at Virginia and Georgetown. I’m even trying to get back into the NFL and the Bengals. I have plenty of sports to watch during the off-season.

But none of those are baseball. None of those are Reds baseball. For better or worse, this is our team, and life is better when there’s a game to watch. Yes, winter is coming. Let’s hope it’s a short one.

When do pitchers and catchers report to spring training anyway?

*By the way, do you follow Redleg Nation on Instagram? You should!

41 thoughts on “The long, hard winter is upon us.

  1. To while away the dead time back when I was chained to a (mostly desk) job 8 or more hours a day, I developed a spreadsheet I called simply PACR (Pitchers And Catchers Report). Its purpose was to calculate and display the number of days remaining to that special day late every winter. Every year at this time, I’d plug in Feb 15 of the following year as an approximation of the PACR date then start scouring around to find the exact date so I could put it in.

    By the time I retired a little more than a year ago my spreadsheet had added days to opening day and about five or six other countdowns (i.e. Christmas, birthdays, days to 100% Social Security eligibility and ultimately days till I’d be out that door for the last time).

    I brought a copy of PACR out with me on that last day. And last night as I settled into bed it occurred me it was time to get PACR updated again.

    • Here well north of the border, winter is only that much longer, so the ache of time without baseball is a little deeper. My winter is largely saved by hockey–I avidly follow a few NHL (but not Detroit) and NCAA teams and am involved with the prep program in my small town. A totally different game to watch and study from baseball, but I have a similar passion for them both.

      I differ from most pure Reds’ fans in not being happy that the Redbirds didn’t sneak in during the final week. I am so tired of all things Kalifornia and San Pelosi that having another of their teams in the post-season will dampen my interest. I generally root for teams in the Heartland. I’ll watch some post-season baseball and will hope for a Cubbies conquest over either Toronto or Texas. I don’t even watch games in irksome SF, LA, Boston, or Cleveland (annoying drum guy ruins home games there for me-I stopped going to games there when I travel). My only regular season visit to a MLB park this year was to GABP in early season, as it remains among my favorite venues along with PNC and Coors Field. And the latter two don’t have mettwurst! Hoping for a broader sampling of parks next year.

      College FB (UC, UM, national stage games) will keep me going for a while, too. The atmosphere is so, so much better than the formulaic NFL. Then UC hoops come real winter, hoping for Mick to get rewarded for his character and perseverance. EuroSoccer doesn’t do it for me, but happy for those out there for whom it does. I’ll be an eager rooter when my grandkids play the game, though!

      And yes, I’ll have my own PACR calendar going here, too. I follow the Tigers in the AL, though not with the fervor I have for the Reds. But I’ll probably find my way to Lakeland, FL for a spring game or two when winter here has reached its limit of oppressiveness. (Winter in upper MI is beautiful and I embrace it at first, but ask me again in February!)

      Have enjoyed everyone’s contributions and dialogue over this challenging season, and hope that the silver linings we saw at times ultimately trump the stink of the bullpen and frequent bad decision making (pitcher management, tootblans ad infinitum) that tainted a 94-loss season even more. I’ll be checking in to keep my baseball candle flickering during the off season, best to everyone here…

  2. There is no replacement for the comfort that baseball can provide on a nightly basis. My secondary sport of choice is no doubt IU basketball, which will definitely bring some excitement this year. However, with great potential comes great stress, and I am not looking forward to that. The Reds season may not have been a success, but it was pretty amazing being carefree but still as invested as I ever have been.

    • College basketball lost me when it went from being a game with two 20 minute halves to game with ten 4 minute decimers (or whatever).

      I follow tOSU football; but, not the NFL.

      Like Chad, I’m into the Premier League (but not particularly them Spurs); and, to fill in the winter evenings there’s always the CBJ on Fox Sports Ohio,

  3. For me to say I will miss Red’s baseball is an understatement. But I’ll occupy myself with the Bengals, college football and basketball (IU, Xavier, UC) and a history book or two. Then count the days to opening day.

  4. The period between Christmas and New Year’s is great. The Premier League plays so many games then, right in the heart of baseball withdrawal.

    For those with an interest in the financial aspects, the Swiss Ramble guy just posted a new report today on Arsenal: http://swissramble.blogspot.hk/2016/10/arsenal-new-sensation.html

    Plenty of graphs on the finances on all the EPL teams. It is always interesting to compare and contrast the vast financial differences of clubs in that non-salary cap league to MLB.

  5. Just wanted to say thanks for all the great coverage and comments over the season guys. Love it all.

    Not quite so thrilled about you being a Spurs fan, being a Gunner myself…..but coming from New Zealand of course it’s rugby above all else for me. Hoping to be in a Chicago when our All Blacks play there in November.

    Looking forward to better things in 2017

      • I was for one of the other teams that wear Red at least till they put those awful Chevrolet logos on the front of their shirts. I’m sure it’s logo and not the changes in management that’s cause their slide in the last 3 years.

        But Spurs are my favorite London team; and, I enjoyed every minute of seeing them put it to the Citizens Sunday.

  6. @ Chad…UVA Hoops has kept us very interested, since Tony Bennett’s arrival

      • UVA has two position players slated for the first round of the MLB draft next June. A 2B/OF and a 1B. Reds could be in on one come June. The 2B/OF was the MVP of the Cape Cod League this summer.

        • wahoowa. as a Hoo and Reds fan, i want Nick Howard to have a resurrection and live up to our hopes for him when drafted. I am pulling for the Giants in the playoffs because of Lopez and Jarrett Parker – two Hoos on the roster.

  7. I live in Charlottesville but am a Carolina fan, have been since before the time of MJ. And I love to watch Tar Heels Basketball. And I like to watch the Major Golf Events and love the Ryder Cup. (That is the way competitive golf is meant to be played.) but all of those are sporadic and I end up pacing the floor while watching. But baseball, baseball is there almost every night from early April to the first of October and although there are some moments of tension, most of the time you can sit back and enjoy watching the nuances of the game. Already I don’t know what to do tonight. Man I love this game!

  8. Ah, the long, hard winter…

    Tuesday, October 4th => AL Wildcard Game @ 8:00 p.m.
    Wednesday, October 5th => NL Wildcard Game @ 8:00 p.m.

    Thursday, October 6th => ALDS games begin @ 4:30 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
    Friday, October 7th => NLDS games begin @ 5:30 p.m. & 9:00 p.m.

    Friday, October 14th => ALCS begins
    Saturday, October 15th => NLCS begins

    Tuesday, October 25th => WS begins

    December 5th-8th => Winter Meetings, a little over a month after the conclusion of the WS…

    I hope that several major organizational announcements regarding changes occur before the winter meetings begin, but this may mark the beginning of the Dick Williams era. I sincerely hope that Walt Jocketty is conspicuously absent from the winter meetings. I expect some pointed discussions after the WS ends and the Winter meetings begin.

    • So basically, we have to make it thru the month of November with no officially scheduled activities I guess. Some along in there should be the nontender date which could cause a big stir in these parts this year.

  9. Williams was very candid in C article today…they will target the bullpen and bench for upgrades and will spend some money.
    The front office and coaches will meet to carve out a plan for Iglesias and lorenzen….if they end up in the bullpen…definitively it will be in a high innings role…not 1 inning…they are too good and need to pitch.He personally has talked already with price.mack jenkins.
    Homer.disco.finnegan and Straily are 4 starters and 5 th spot up for grabs. He was definitive peraza will play somewhere everyday. Perhaps the Williams era is the beginning of the FO and coaches being on the same page.

    • They need to spend the money intelligently. Recall a couple of years back someone calculated they had nickelled and dimed away enough M$$$ around the edges to have gone out and gotten an impact player (or maybe even 2).

      • Good point…his wording of 4 pitchers have spots and 3 young guys- reed.bob Steve and Garret competing for 5 th spot…indicates they are leaning to Iglesias and lorenzen are the bullpen anchors….if that’s the case….you could spend money on a good veteran lefty reliever and you have nasty boys Version 2.

      • I hope they do become more active in free agency under Williams. I think everyone accepts that the Reds won’t be in on the top free agents. But there are still bargains to be had every year. The Pirates seem to find one or two annually. The Reds should have been in on Dexter Fowler last off-season. They might have been able to cash him in for a solid prospect.

        What they need to do with the pitching is as follows: Disco, Finnegan, and Bailey, if healthy, have spots. The final 2 spots will be between Iggy, Lorenzen, Straily, Bob Steve, and Reed. The 3 that don’t make it go to the pen as long outing relievers, meaning they pitch twice a week, 2-3 innings per outing. This would put them on pace for 100-120 innings and allow them to be stretched out pretty easily to jump in the rotation if needed. Garrett goes to AAA, along with Romano, Stephens, Davis, and either Astin or Travieso. If any of those guys show that they are ready, bring them up to join the pen as long outing guys as well.

        • I know this reply is way late but wanted to chime in. I really don’t think the Reds could have landed Fowler. The O’s tried really hard and he basically walked away from a solid offer from them resign with the Cubs. I think that’s where he wanted to be and it would have taken a ridiculous amount of cash to pull him away.

  10. So the Reds secured the #2 draft spot. Small consolation, but it wasn’t entirely a lost season. I’d call it more of a growing season. The Rebuild is coming out of its infancy and the crawling stage and will now be going into the walking stage. They could be off and running by the second half next year. The moves made this winter will dictate how much success the Reds have next year. A couple of bold moves might speed things up a notch too. I think at least one and maybe two bold moves happen with Dick Williams putting his stamp on this team.
    Four starters seem to be in place. One to name. The bullpen will be a whole new construction. The bench really isn’t that bad so I don’t see alot being done there. Depending where Peraza ends up, SS or 2B, the other spot and RF are about the only places to look to upgrade. And Mesoraco’s outcome will be important, in what baseball condition he reports to spring training in.
    Who will be available for the Reds to trade will be determined later. Who will be available for the Reds to trade for also is to be determined as the other MLB teams sort out their futers, especially the ones missing out on the post-season.
    It was a bad season in the Reds W/L record, but getting the #2 pick next year is significant. It should be a very good draft year at the top of the draft in 2017. It was a fairly good year in the Reds development, as some things got established. It is a very, very important off-season for The Re-Build.

  11. One of the reasons Jocketty was fired in STL was his adherence and acceptance of the bust-boom-bust cycle. Build a team, enjoy success and let it ride until you can no longer afford to maintain what you have and then start over. This is largely how the Reds have operated since 1996.

    I believe that Williams understands that you need to constantly be developing players and you can’t fall in love with guys. If your minor league system is consistently churning out able replacements then you can be extremely strategic and judicious with how you allocate your limited resources and who and when you trade.

    I’m optimistic that he gets it…lets hope the theories can be put into practice.

    • Chuck, you are a wise man. A small market team must create a robust farm system that provides a steady supply of good talent. It won’t be able to keep them given the deep pockets of the big money teams but with astute salary management they can be competitive every year. Always being in the hunt keeps a team in the conversation and puts fans in the seats. Best wishes to Dick Williams for a long and successful run as GM of the Reds.

    • Something that caught my eye in the quotes from Williams’ Sunday media session was his repeated use of the world “lifecycle” in describing the state of the team’s development. Here is one used by @m_sheldon in regard to the Phillips situation:

      “We’ll talk to him (Phillips) again about where we are in our lifecycle and what he wants to do, since he still has the ability to control his destiny, somewhat,” Williams said.

      http://m.reds.mlb.com/news/article/204718842/dick-williams-views-reds-bullpen-as-priority/

      Of course just because Williams is talking in terms of teh team’s lifecycle doesn’t mean he not a boom and bust guy; but, it does give cause for hope.

  12. Many years ago, I stopped following baseball. That split season, where the Reds had one of the best overall records but didn’t get anything for it did it for me…I think it was a strike year. I was also fed up with seeing a small/mid-market team being unable to compete with the big-purse teams, whose take was inflated by TV dollars. The latter still irks me and, although the draft works in the favor of losers, MLB needs to have a form of profit-sharing…similar to that with football…to bring about some parity.

    Grew up in Dayton and was a HUGE fan of the Reds. Used to drive down 75 with a 6-pack and some gal to see them 6 or 7 times a year. Those were the days….carefree and stupid ( I spaced ’em out).I came back on board last year. Your site is terrific and I have really enjoyed the banter and the insight.

    Now – that said – there is no excuse for ignorance. I watched the majority of games this season on the tube and I see hope. But this team might’ve contended with another arm or two in the bullpen and some sanity. Any time I saw Cingrani, Diaz, Ohlendorf or some other relief pitcher cough up another gopher ball, it was enough to make you want to cry…or at least barf. Dave Bristol and Sparky would never…never…have put up with that bo-jive…or the lack of fundamentals…baserunning snafus, playcalling, errors….Good grief !!

    I’m back in…but I want to see progress. The second half gave me hope but that last inning summarized the entire season ! This is one season that I’m glad has ended.

    Unfortunately, I’m a Notre Dame fan…so it’s gone from bad to WORSE !!!

  13. In the article today at reds.com Williams basically admits this is a solid team except for the bullpen and bench. Why didn’t they address these glaring weaknesses last season instead of going with Ohlendorf and Crew? I really have no faith in these guys finding gems in free agency, but hey what ever makes your winter warmer, dream on.

    • There’s at least two sides to just about everything. In the off season the Reds didn’t fully know what they had in Duvall, Schebler, or Peraza. They also knew they were going to eventually trade JBruce come heck or high water and that they might also likely trade Cozart. Then they ended up with the equivalent of a full starting rotation on the DL by May; thus guys who would have filled out the pen were starting (including even Straily) and the pen was largely populated by guys signed to fill out the minors as emergency depth.

      By the end of May once the team was showing it could be respectable with a decent pen, what options were left to them? I suggested bridging the gap until the likes of Iglesias and Lorenzen were back by using some of their young minor league starters who were on the 40 man roster temporarily in the MLB pen. Maybe that would have made a difference, maybe not; but, they chose to ride it out with the group of largely offcasts and never were guys who for the most part were meant to be pitching at AAA and not at MLB.

      It was sour medicine at the time; but, what difference would it had made to win 75-80 games instead of 68? As it is, they still found out that the group of position guys they have can likely take them to that level of borderline respectability in 2017 with a decent bullpen. So, next year, hopefully the pitching gets worked out; and, if things break just right, the Reds might be in the WC talk. Then some pieces get added for 2018 and hopefully they are real contenders, at least for a WC.

      • Good synopsis OHIOJIMW. I think it might have been a bit more interesting to see some young guys from the 40 man roster up pitching out of the bullpen vs. the train wrecks the Reds had. Givenwhat we saw with Lamb, Reed, Finnegan, et.al. regarding lack of command and control, I doubt it would have resulted in many, or any, more wins than the Reds ended up with. It might have provided a bit more insight into who could potentially help the team in 2017 though. It’s all water under the bridge now.

    • Last offseason they had an abundance of pitchers…they didn’t know if any of them were going to be good, but they had a fair number of them. All of a sudden, you lose a few guys and now your strength is a weakness. It would be idiotic to trade a potential starter for a current bullpen pitcher and free agency is over except for the close out bin. You don’t want to waste service time on some guys so you go with Jumbo Diaz etc.

      They learned that when they have their full compliment of pitchers and position players they’re actually decent….and they saved money for the future and got the 2nd pick. Really not a bad year

  14. This season went about as well as we all expected it to go from the beginning. In fact, I think it went a little better than I expected it to go. Young players got their feet wet, and now have a target to overcome rather than just “make it to the big leagues”. Our farm system is as strong as its ever been, and many highly regarded talents are knocking on the door. Billy Hamilton FINALLY took a few steps forward. And, of course, Joey Votto Joey Votto’d.

    I think we can firmly say that the tanking issue from the beginning of the season can be put safely behind us, at least where the Reds are concerned. This team didn’t tank. This was a young team being thrown into the fire. Sure, we had a pretty miserable record. But those of us who can see beyond the boxscores, beyond the RBIs, and beyond the struggles of some of our young players, are REALLY looking forward to the next few years.

  15. Spurs are playing well, but if you aren’t tuning into Klopp’s Liverpool, you’re missing one of the most entertaining teams to play in the PL this season.

    Bonus: They are also called the Reds!

    • Just couldn’t get into Liverpool so I chose the Reds Devils instead. Then as I was saying a couple of days ago, they went and put those darn Chevy logos on their shirts!!!!

      BTW did you see where Swansea has hired a bonafide USA guy to be their manager and save them from relegation? Apparently the majority ownership there is now American. That is also the case with the Red Devils (Glazer family).

      • I did see that. Liverpool is also owned by Americans, some hacks named “Fenway Sports Group”. Maybe you’ve heard of them?

        • I was thinking another of the major teams was American owned but my mind couldn’t pull the trigger on which one.

          How long do you think it will be until there are regular season BPL matches played on US soil? Seems to me it would be a natural to stage one or two every time they are coming off an international break.

  16. Well, seeing as how we have begun to export out version of “football” to London on a fairly regular basis now, it would seem only natural that the PL would come over here and stage some matches. The only thing I wonder about is if there would be enough fan interest on this side of the pond to make it financially attractive.

    I think Americans are slowly warming up to soccer, but it still hasn’t caught on to the extent that the Brits follow the NFL. I’d love to see Liverpool play Man City at Paul Brown stadium or even Great American Ballpark, but I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon outside of pre-season friendlies like they did this past season. (Liverpool played I think Chelsea in St. Louis at Busch.)

    • I went to see Tottenham and Liverpool play a friendly match in Baltimore a few years ago. Filled up Baltimore’s football stadium. It was a wild atmosphere.

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