Redsfest takes place this Friday and Saturday at the Duke Energy Convention Center. The hours are 3-10:30 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Saturday. Latest details here. For those who’ve never attended before, Redsfest is a gigantic indoor fair, including autograph and photo booths with current and former Reds players, interactive games, giveaways, game-used […]

For thirty plus years I’ve lived in the state of New York, but never once considered visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  My reasoning was so simplistic, a child could scrawl it out in crayon cincinnati red:

Pete wasn’t there.

Like a climate change denier, I couldn’t see the change in the baseball climate, the one that said that Rose surely bet on baseball.  Pete said he didn’t.  That was good enough for me.  I even had a t-shirt with a picture of Pete in uniform grabbing himself as players are often caught doing as they stand on first, with the words, “Bet on this, Bart.”   Yeah.  I was shameless in my support of Rose.

Although, truth be told, being in Pete’s corner proved to be a full-time job.  I had to weather not only the admission by the man after 14 years of lying that that he did in fact bet on the game, I had to stand witness to a parade of embarrassing moments, like clowns coming out of a very small car:  Pete selling himself off on TV, even as A. Bartlett Giamatti was about to sell him down the river mere hours later; Pete signing notarized copies of the documents making his ban official with the inscription “I’m sorry I bet on baseball;” then there was that noble night, the 25th anniversary of the Big Knock, when he decided he couldn’t be around for the entire celebration orchestrated by the Reds at GABP because he had a prior commitment at a local casino.

It’s the show that never ends.  It sometimes felt as if it should come with circus clown music.  It takes its toll on a fan.

So, when Google Maps informed me that, after visiting my son on Saturday at his summer camp in upstate Pennsylvania hard by the New York border, I would be only 99 miles from Cooperstown and the next day’s induction ceremony of the great Larkin—I had a change of heart.  As an internet friend of mine said the other day, “Rose got exactly what he deserved… he did it the old fashioned way.  He earned it.”  It was time to let go of my foolish ways.  Barry Larkin was surely worthy of that.

Where Pete was greatness and guilt, Barry was greatness and grace. He loved wearing Cincinnati Red.  He once was shocked to have a Dodger jersey with “LARKIN” on the back delivered to him by a clubhouse boy when it appeared a deal was about to be done with L.A. to trade Barry to the Lasordas, and they wanted to be ready for the press conference.

Thankfully, we never had to witness that.

It was early when I exited I-88 for the 17 mile scenic drive north up Route 28 to Cooperstown.  I passed Goodyear Lake and quaint little motels flush with automobiles.  For much of the way I fought through the morning fog, thick with anticipation.  As I approached town, the veil lifted and wouldn’t you know it?—corn fields appeared on either side of the highway.  At any moment, I half expected James Earl Jones to step out onto the roadway.

              

I parked directly across from a beautiful canary yellow Victorian house with a wooden sign over the front porch announcing, “Baseball Bed & Breakfast: Vacancy.”  Two men in Larkin jerseys strolled past my car as I got out.  “Great day to be a Reds fan, isn’t it,” I said.  “Indeed it is,” came the reply.
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I love these. Methinks I need to buy some baseball cards soon. Chad DotsonBlame 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 […]

You may want to pick up this, a game-used, autographed Eric Davis rookie jersey. It’s $2,999.99, “or best offer,” for you negotiators. It supposedly has a certificate of authenticity from GAI (one of the two main sports memorabilia authenticators). Seriously, if I had the money, that’s something I might be interested in. Chris

The gang at Red Letter Daze is running their annual holiday gift guide.  Today’s topic is apparel, and there’s some good stuff in there.  It’s a two-parter, so check back later for more.  (You can also see last year’s epic “Twelve Days of a Redleg Christmas” set, if you still can’t find something for the Reds fan […]

On Monday, Rob Neyer at espn.com posted a couple of interesting tidbits… 1) Ryan Wagner (age 26) retired from baseball Sunday night. He was the Reds’ 2003 #1 draft choice who spent all of five weeks in the minors before making it to the majors and pitching superbly over his first 21 big league innings […]

Sports Design Blog uncovers some remarkably entertaining 1970s-era MLB souvenir cups.  Tom Seaver is the Reds’ representative, which makes me think we’re talking 1979.  The taglines on the cups are great.  Well, “Seaver never needs a reliever” is pretty lame, but how can you not love J.R. Richard’s:  “1st base looks far when you face […]