When Josh The Pilot is home, I try to cook our meals rather than throwing the canned food at him he eats on the road (meaning… I actually cook), and we try to make A Thing out of dinner (meaning… we actually eat at the table like human beings.) I turn on the Pinterest wine bottle lights in the kitchen (I had a lot of raw material to work with) and light a candle and we discuss such serious relationship issues as whether we should switch paper towel brands, or what.

We just canceled our cable, so for the past two nights, I propped a little transistor radio up on the table and we listened to the ballgame. And it was fantastic. We’d have done that all season, but trying to catch Marty in his final season has been highly frustrating, as 700 WLW has gone to the Wheel of Broadcasters model. Sometimes Marty was there for a couple innings, and then he vanished, then a Not Marty showed up, at which point Marty, I guess, wandered around the concourse until the end of the game, when he took up the mic again, at which point the game was usually sucking beyond all repair and I was off watching this Lifetime show I found recently which is about people who never met, and they get married, and then they spend time together and get to know one another and speak to marriage counselors until, six weeks later, they have built a deep and abiding hatred.

But this month, Marty has been steadily at it all nine innings. It is still summer and it is glorious and oh, how he will be missed. I hear your just criticisms of him and it’s admirable of Marty to step aside while he’s still cogent, but our affection for Marty, despite his occasional fine wordplay, isn’t just about Marty. It’s that I have memories of listening to him with my extended family on my grandparents’ back porch. It’s a familiar voice in a night that would only lighten into another dreaded school day. It’s the fact the same voice has reached the ears of four generations of my family. You have this, too.

It’s the porch and the pillow.  That’s why we’re dreading the end.

Starting Pitchers

Tyler Mahle (R) 116.1 5.11 120 1.32 22
Jon Lester (L) 160.2 4.59 156 1.50 29


Aw man, I just want to stop cringing when I hear Mahle’s starting. I know his WHIP isn’t all that bad. But still. He’s simply not the rocksteady boomsteady yet.

(If you don’t know what “rocksteady boomsteady” is from, some of you never participated in clap songs on the St. Jude playground circa 1983-1991 and it shows.)

Stupid Cubs

Somebody from the Duck Dynasty family needs to come get Jon Lester before he escapes from their swamp castle again.

Starting Lineups


  1. Alex Blandino (R) 2B
  2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
  3. Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
  4. Aristides Aquino (R) RF
  5. Phillip Ervin (R) LF
  6. Jose Iglesias (R) SS
  7. Curt Casali (R) C
  8. Michael Lorenzen (R) CF
  9. Tyler Mahle (R) P

Stupid Cubs

  1. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
  2. Nicholas Castellanos (R) RF
  3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
  4. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
  5. Willson Contreras (R) C
  6. Victor Caratini (S) 1B
  7. Jason Heyward (L) CF
  8. Nico Hoerner (R) SS
  9. Jon Lester (L) P

Lorenzen is starting in CF again, and Sonny Gray was RBI’ed last night, so y’all can take your DH and kiss my National League grits. Our pitchers rake.

News and Notes


-More trivia question not-caring with Marty and Cowboy:
MARTY:  “You remember what the question is?”
COWBOY:  “It has something to do with… baseball.”

-Suarez did not homer last night, but Alonso did… in Colorado. Give than man an asterisk. Yelich and Trout are done for the season. Alonso also homered this afternoon and is now sitting at 49 homers, but our man can still eke it out.

-With yesterday’s victory, the Reds have won the season series against the Cubs.


-Sonny Gray broke a (vaguely incomprehensible, but whatever) record previously held by Nolan Ryan. His reaction is just darling:

-Redleg Nation’s Matt Wilkes has more on the Wonder That Is Sonny Gray. Is the difference his work with his former college coach? Is it my Miami Vice group discussions? I’m pretty sure it’s the Miami Vice group discussions.

-This is my final Game Thread for the 2019 season. As is always the case, this is some of the most enjoyable writing I sit down for all year. Fret not: I’m still slated for Baseball is Life every two weeks, and when the season ends I’ll appear on a kinda-daily basis at blondechampagne.com. Hope to see you there.

Thank you for reading and your incredibly kind comments. I read and appreciated them all, except for the mean and idiotic ones. You know who you are.

Otherwise, I’ll see you next year. May the next Game Threads be winninger.

64 Responses

  1. RedNat

    I like the lineup. I think Bell is finally settling in a bit. I think with Senzel and Winker being shut down for the year, Bell has been able to get into a groove with the lineup construction. He doesn’t have to worry about those 2 being in and out of the lineup with injuries.


    Lester Dick Dynasty reference = +1,000,000

    Pinterest dinner conversation = +500,000

    Memories of WLW700 on a transistor radio when cloudy and there was heavy “skip” to hear Marty (and Joe) call the games … PRICELESS!!!

    Thanks for the entertaining game threads MBE. Looking forward to your Friday regular contributions. You helped us through some dark days and innings.


    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Ironically I prefer the radio call on AM– hearing it without the fuzz just doesn’t sound right somehow…

      thanks as always Mark. Hope to see you at Blonde Champagne (all posts free and open, kids) and at Baseball Is Life.

    • Colorado Red

      I remember have the small transistor radio under my pillow to listen the games after I was supposed to go to bed.
      Had to keep it down, as my brother had the top bunk.
      The games did not start till 8 stupid PM.
      Marty and Joe rocked.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        Same, except it was a pink plastic clock radio 🙂

  3. Shchi Cossack

    I just have to wonder if the FO had a ‘conversation’ with Bell. While his lineups still reek of his platoon fetish, they now feature Blandino and VanMeter at 2B, O’Grady and Lorenzen in CF, Ervin in LF with Peraza, Iglesias and Galvis rotating at SS. No more Peraza and VanMeter in LF. No more Galvis and Peraza at 2B.

  4. Sliotar


    The Miami Vice discussion as a lead-in to a Reds-Padres game was not disturbing. Variety is the spice of life.

    The disturbing part was reading, “The MOST RECENT episode of Miami Vice I watched….”

    Who or what sorcery channel shows this regularly?

    The good news is….Disney Plus debuts in November and we can all spend the winter re-watching The Lion King, Star Wars and whatever else until Spring Training.

    Kudos on joining the Game Threads and interacting with folks during games.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Well children, back in my day we had these small magical disks called “DVDs” that also fit into an XBox game tray. They were sent in succession as you turned the last one in from a company called “Netflix.” Kind of like a library! That you paid for! Today Netflix is a major streaming corporation which funds the creation of terrible original television the world over.

      (You can also stream eps of “Miami Vice” on the NBC site. But you have to watch commercials, and I don’t like waiting that long to see Castillo glare at people.)

      • Colorado Red

        In my day we did not even have a walkman, dvd player, etc.
        My first DVD player was almost as big as a house.
        A 28″ tv was great.
        You guys have it too easy.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        um EXCUSE ME but I had to start out with VIDEO DISKS which you had to GET UP AND TURN OVER HALFWAY THROUGH. Longer movies had multiple disks. “The Ten Commandments” would put you in the hospital.

  5. Indy Red Man

    Love to see the Reds rain on the Cubbies parade tonite, but Mahle has been awful.
    Watched Nimmo got 3-5 today with the Mets. He’s hitting .222 or something, but has a .380 obp. He’s as good as Winker if not better even though they’re both hurt all the time. He was announced for Jay Bruce and then it changed? Anyone know why? We needed more 2B in the organization at the time like we needed more Jockettys (and Williams’s)

    Lorenzen on a 0-13 run. I predict he jacks one tonite. Its a good idea to play him because he can hit! Its just going to take some patience and some steady at-bats!

    • Colorado Red

      Stupid Rockies would not pitch around Alonso.
      Neither on the dingers was in doubt.
      He also just missed one foul, just before the one that counted.
      (Watch parts of the games on tv last night, and this afternoon.

  6. Ashley Davis

    The trivia questions with Marty and Cowboy have been highly entertaining all week, particularly the one on Monday where Marty was dumbfounded that Cowboy knew the answer before he finished reading to question.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Haaaaaaa, they don’t care and it’s glorious.

  7. Indy Red Man

    Probably not a popular opinion on here, but I have to say I was disappointed with Senzel this year. He got talked up more then almost any of the young hitters in the game in the last few years. I never heard of Pete Alonso before, but thats a rookie season!

    All Reds fans need, want, and hope (expect?) for Senzel to be a great hitter, but 12 hrs and .315 obp doesn’t cut it. I also called out his injury track record last year and was told I was wrong. That he actually played alot in the minors. All I know is that it takes a MASH unit to figure out whats wrong with him from month to month. They need him. If this is all they get from him and Winker then it doesn’t matter how good the pitching is.

    • Sliotar

      Indy, good take (sadly).

      IMO, a good comp to Senzel is Cavan Biggio, who hit for the cycle last night for the Blue Jays.

      Biggio’s K rate is higher, but the BB rate is more than double that of Senzel, and especially…. Senzel’s groundball rate on batted balls is way too high, both compared to Biggio and in general.

      Playing in GABP, on a team which needs more HR power, Senzel appeared to be swinging down during the second half of the season.

      Bad coaching? Bad swing because of injury?

      Whatever….the Reds really need Winker/Senzel/Aquino to join Suarez in that 3-4 WAR range in 2020. Those guys are going to play….they have to breakthrough.

  8. Sliotar

    We have a winner for sloppiest double play of 2019.

    THROWBLAN, TOOTBLAN… it had it all.


      +500 for coming up with THROWBLAN


    We all may need this thread before the night is out. Not gonna be pretty. Kind of like tgat Lester mugshot.

  10. Indy Red Man

    Suarez for Simon and Castillo for Strailey have to be 2 of the biggest heists in the last 30 years….but we still stink. Dickie Jr. needs to get his Bernie Madoff on and start swindling some more teams. I bet Baltimore would deal Mancini.

  11. Sliotar

    Brantley is all over Blandino…. and rightfully so.

    That was some sorry defending…especially for a guy playing for a MLB job next season.

  12. Indy Red Man

    That has to be atleast the 4th time that the ball has beat the guy, but the tag was slow. Attack the guy instead of waiting around. Inexecusable

  13. VaRedsFan

    What is with our 2nd basemen that can not apply a simple tag on a baserunner. Ervin finally makes a great throw and Blandino botches the tag

    • Indy Red Man

      Tucker has done it a few times too although its alot harder throw to receive for a catcher. Attack the runner….take your glove to him

  14. Chris Holbert

    No excuse, but he probably does not want to get slid into with that repaired knee, but again no excuse, you are a MLB player…

  15. Seat101

    Thom’s objectivity Is incredible.

    • Eric

      It’d be incredible if Thom were objective


      How many times has he said ‘cubbies’ so far? I’m afraid to make a drinking game out of it.

  16. VaRedsFan

    3 non executions happen resulting in a run. If 1 play is made on defense the Reds still lead. Bad tag, pitch in the dirt not blocked, or Aquino making an accurate throw.

  17. Seat101

    Can anyone please tell me the last time the Reds got four hits in a row?

    • VaRedsFan

      If you want to find any good Reds batting achievements, you should probably only look at games vs. the Marlins

  18. Indy Red Man

    Suarez is almost leading mlb in HRs. AA went absolutely insane and we’re still 22nd in run scored. Thats sad. Most of everyone else is dead weight. I thought this would be a top 6-7 offense in runs scored with Puig, DD, and a full season of Senzel. Thought Joey would rebound and Scooter wouldn’t be on baseball’s scrap heap again. Oh well

  19. Indy Red Man

    Ric Ocasek tribute on WGN all night long! Thumbs up!! Ric, Eddie Money, and Tom Petty not long ago. Meanwhile Keith Richards lives to be 114:)

    • VaRedsFan

      Without a doubt. They brought in Marty for an inning too. Nice gesture.


    The Ugly One was NOT happy with being lifted.

  21. Ed

    Ahem- stupid Strop. Let’s hope his crappy outing translates into the Reds taking a strong lead

    • Indy Red Man

      Speaking of Strop-Puig. Puig went 4-5 with a walkoff tonite when Clev really needed him. No power with Clev though which is weird? Only 2-3 hrs I think

      • JB

        Well the Reds could have used him in April and May when he was hitting 200.

      • Indy Red Man

        He’s always been a slow starter though. The Reds knew that

      • Ed

        Haha- Yeah, and Votto and Suarez. Puig underperforming is still superior to Bauer and Wood tanking 10+ games since the break. Hopefully 2020 Bauer will make the miserable last 60 days worthwhile

  22. Mary Beth Ellis

    Ironically, both clubs are Cubbing mightily in this game

  23. Indy Red Man

    You take 1 game away from Stephenson and he has a 3.20 era. I just don’t understand why he only has 60 innings with his stuff? Bell has no idea what he has and thats a problem. He was throwing out Hernandez 5x a week to get slaughtered and just killed off whatever was left of the Reds season.

    • Indy Red Man

      Of course I jinx Stephenson. Typical Reds game. We should be up 4 or 5-1 and now its tied

    • Sliotar

      This comment falls under “bad timing.”

      (Happens to all of us.)

      Puts Mahle’s start in even-sharper focus.

      Cubs are scuffling majority of this series, in real danger of missing playoffs…and Mahle outdueled Lester.

  24. Mark Moore

    Not sure how much longer I can hang on … even though I’m working from home tomorrow and can sleep in a little bit.

    Somebody on the Reds please un-Cub and win this, will you?

  25. Ed

    Bah- I don’t want to negative but if this goes into extra innings it’s over. We’ll have everyone subbed in off the bench and pinch hitting by the 10th, and all the relievers burned with Graterol on the mound. Actually- what’s the Reds record in extra innings ballgames this year? Seems like one of many good markers for Bell’s performance.

    • Broseph

      Seems like Bell makes moves just to make them and show he cares.

      JVM for Ervin. Now Tucker for Casali. Why not wait to use your bench when you need them?

      • Ed

        Absolutely- yup, just a ton of meaningless swaps. Roll the dice… Barnhart for Casali! Absolutely 6 of 1…. and then the bench is dry when you need it, when you can capitalize on the other team starting wear thin

      • Doc

        Seems as though every pinch hitter has an average 30-70 points lower then the guy he pinch hit for.

  26. Ed

    And Peraza walks twice. Alright by me.

    O’Grady, with all of 30 ABs, steps up to try and win this thing with 2 runners on and 2 outs. Best of luck, but good grief.

  27. Mary Beth Ellis

    “If he is to hit a home run out of right field tonight, he will have to shoot it out of a bazooka.” -Cowboy

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        Me too. I like listening to him and his presence makes the loss of Marty easier.

  28. Ed

    I smell a walk-off. Please let me be wrong.

    • Ed

      I was wrong!!!!!!! Both Iglesias really helped out with this one.

  29. Mary Beth Ellis


  30. Ed

    Woah it’s gotten exciting. Iglesias delivers!!

  31. magi210

    Game successfully extracted from posterior.

  32. Doc

    The J Iglesius everyone seems to want to dump because he can’t hit enough comes through again with the big hit, and continues to lead the regulars in batting average.

    • Aaron B.

      It’s not a matter of “dumping” he is set to be a free agent. He just hired a new agency to represent him he obviously wants a multi year deal and will test the market. He is having his finest season at age 29 trying to earn a multi year deal. Should the Reds get into a bidding war? I think we need to be realistic about this and that doesn’t mean I want to dump him it just means the Reds should be prudent and realistic. His back has been acting up on him, do you think that will improve over time or will it be an issue as it ages? I like Iglesias can’t imagine how bad this team would have been without him this year, I just think it is argumentative to say I advocate for dumping him as opposed to not wanting to get into a multi year bidding war for his services.