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Cubs On A Run!

By bullpenbrian - September 1, 2011 - 12:55 am Leave a comment.

The Cubs’ first winning month of the season, (16-13) in August, puts them in position to catch Pittsburgh for fourth place in the NL Central.

Of course that’s not going to save Mike Quade’s job or make the season any less miserable, but it would give Chicago a shred of respectability placing ahead of the always dreadful Pirates and the major’s worst club, Houston.

Reality finally settled in on Pittsburgh in mid July after reaching a season-high seven games above .500 to go along with the division lead as of July 19. But the Pirates have simply collapsed since posting a mark of (11-30).

They’re now 12-games sub .500, 18-games back of Milwaukee, and just three wins better than Chicago. A harsh reality, indeed.


Silver Lining In Cincinnati

By bullpenbrian - June 8, 2011 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.


Although the Cubs can’t seem to win at Great American Ballpark, it’s not all bad news coming from the Queen City.

JB is a childhood friend of mine. We played Little Baseball together and ran amuck getting in all sorts of boyish trouble together.

But it wasn’t until recently JB caught baseball fever, thanks to his soon to be fiancée.

Here’s the rest of the story taken from an email sent to me from JB…

-I wanted to tell you that I got engaged, but more particularly how I got engaged!

You will really like this one, she is a huge Reds fan (and an even bigger Dodgers fan). Anyway, I knew that her dream proposal was to be at a ball game and on the big screen. 

I still can’t believe this as she is not a very public person. Needless to say, I would not have done that anyway–not romantic enough for me. 

So, I contact Great American Ballpark and was lucky enough to get a reply. I was able to arrange a private tour of the ball park, and the plan was for us to be left alone in the Reds dugout, but as it was under construction we had to settle for the visitor’s dugout.

And it’s there in the dugout I got the chance to propose. However, all she seems to remember…and this is a quote: ‘How many people get to make-out in the dugout at GAB!’

The tour we received from the Reds’ staff was wonderful. We got to see things behind the scenes that I had never seen before and learned plenty of other stuff along the way too. According to her, this was better than what her dream proposal was.

Good man, that JB. And best of luck to you two lovebirds:)


Glanville, Baker & Bonds

By bullpenbrian - March 31, 2011 - 12:01 am 5 comments.

1.) Former Cub Doug Glanville.
2.) Baker’s Reds NL Central Champs?
3.) Bonds Still In The Clear.

1.) Just recently a friend of mine asked me who Doug Glanville was on my LinkedIn page. In response I said “the former center fielder for the Cubs, remember?” Criketts

“System engineer, New York Times columnist, the guy who went 293 consecutive games without a fielding error…hit the game-winning triple against Florida in the 2003 NLCS for the Cubs.” Nothing.

Well, I haven’t forgotten Glanville. Never will, either. He’s one of my all-time favorite Cubs. But for those who don’t remember Glanville, here’s a terrific article courtesy the Chicago Magazine.


Cubs Seeing Red

By bullpenbrian - October 14, 2010 - 12:01 am 3 comments.

I was thinking how the NL Central would shape up for 2011.
Basically, would the Cubs have a chance to recapture the division title?

Cincinnati is the front runner, of course, but just six months ago Baker’s bunch seemed destined for a winning season–not a division championship.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty is quickly delivering on owner Bob Castellini’s promise to return championship baseball back to Cincinnati. Meaning, the once bumbling Reds are now a force to be reckoned with in the NL Central.

Meanwhile, Tony LaRussa’s uncertainty in St. Louis leaves the Cardinals in flux. Houston is improved, but hardly contenders. Milwaukee has just enough offense to float around .500. And Pittsburgh is, well, Pittsburgh.

So where does that leave the Cubs? Hard to tell right now. But the right manager and a few solid additions to the bullpen could potentially keep Chicago on pace with Cincinnati.

However, if Jim Hendry fails to excel in the coming weeks, he’ll once again find himself playing catch-up to Walt Jocketty, something he’s done for a long, long time.


Happy Halladay!

By bullpenbrian - October 7, 2010 - 12:01 am 6 comments.

I’m happy for Roy Halladay.
Happy he made it out of Toronto.
Happy he ended up on a contender.
Happy he’s found continued success.
Happy he’s getting the attention he deserves.

Masterful performance Wednesday.
Reds were off-balance from start to finish.
Lots of swinging strikes.
Travis Wood, the pitcher, made the best contact all day–a fly out to right field.
I’d say Roy Halladay won himself a Cy Young Award, too. (Wink! Wink!)

–Reds fans waited 15 years for this day. And many more, I suppose, would choose to wait longer than watch the Redlegs make forgettable history. But the series is far from over.

St. Louis kicked Cincy in the teeth earlier this season, and look where that got them. There’s also the veteran leadership of Edmonds, Rolen & Rhodes, who have all been through tough playoff series. It’s simply a Game 1 loss, not a clinching loss or a home loss. No-hitter aside, it’s not over yet, people!

–Love Cliff Lee. He, like Halladay, was under-appreciated for a long time. During the last year he’s endured many difficulties professionally–trades, new cities, new homes, new teammates, new manager. But the guy just perseveres. He’s the best pitcher in baseball. Always strong in the clutch. Worth every penny. I love watching him pitch.


Jim Edmonds Vs. Achilles

By bullpenbrian - September 23, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Good news for my boy, Jim Edmonds.
Turns out there’s no tear in his right Achilles’ tendon.
Which means, one of my favorite former Cubs lives to play another day!

Got to believe Baker will rest the 40-year-old for the remainder of the season.
Edmonds’ post season savvy and experience is critical for the young Reds, who will have lots of butterflies during Game 1 of the NLDS.

Jimmy, however, has been to the post season many times with much success. He’s made big plays, hit big home runs and won a world championship, which is why Cincy traded for him him in the first place.

Losing Edmonds Tuesday night would have been a crushing blow.
Not just for the Reds, but for me, too.
Edmonds has always been a favorite of mine.
But losing both he and Griffey Jr. in the same season would’ve proved too much. Here’s hoping Edmonds rides off into a Reds October sunset!


Jim Edmonds Tours NL Central

By bullpenbrian - August 10, 2010 - 2:00 am Leave a comment.

I can’t remember a left-handed bat bouncing around the NL Central the likes of Jim Edmonds since John Vander Wal’s tour of duty with the Pirates, Brewers and Reds (2001-04).

Also similar to Vander Wal, who appeared in 49 games for the Giants in 2001, Edmonds made a brief stop out west with San Diego in 2008 before joining the Cubs later in May.

Nonetheless, Edmonds’ latest move is a smart move by Cincinnati, which lacks offensive consistency from center fielder Drew Stubbs (.234 avg, 14 HR & 51 RBI).

The concensus around baseball, and specifically the NL Central, is that Edmonds still plays solid baseball–even if it’s just a few days a week. That alone could provide just enough fire power to keep the Reds in the division hunt through September.

Despite my fondness for Edmonds, the fact the Cubs let this guy walk after the ’08 season (.256 avg, 19 HR, 49 RBI) still bothers me.

To think Milton Bradley’s on base percentage was worthy of replacing anyone, let alone a proven talent such as Edmonds, was silly, which later proved true for obvious reasons.

Who knows what would have transpired had Edmonds been retained in Chicago for 2009? At the very least, it couldn’t have faired worse than the ‘Milton The Terrible’ experience.

As it is, Edmonds has now completed the ‘John Vander Wal Tour of Duty’ through the NL Central, and joins a playoff race to boot!


Dusty Baker Out In Cincinnati?

By bullpenbrian - August 6, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Dusty Baker’s 3-year deal expires at the end of this season, and the Reds have made no indication as to whether or not Baker will be resigned to a new deal.

Since taking over the reins in 2008, Baker is seven-games sub .500 and has finished no better than fourth place in the division.

But an interesting scenario is unfolding this season with the Reds in a tight race against St. Louis for the NL Central title.


Joey Votto Disses Marlon Byrd

By bullpenbrian - July 15, 2010 - 10:39 am 3 comments.

I voted 25 times for Joey Votto’s All Star selection.
When that wasn’t enough, I ‘voted Votto’ again in the Fan’s Choice voting.
No way would I let the NL’s first half MVP get left behind…
even if it was a Cincinnati Red and not a Chicago Cub.

But after Votto’s Bush League move Tuesday night,
refusing to congratulate his fellow teammate Marlon Byrd
because he plays for the rival Cubs, I’m through voting Votto for anything…other than ‘Jerk’ of the NL.

“I don’t like the Cubs,” Votto said.
“And I’m not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back.
But because he made that really cool play,
it turned out to be a really cool experience.
I’m really glad we got the win today.”

Somebody on the Reds, perhaps a veteran like Scott Rolen,
needs to check this young man. There’s a time and place for division rivalries,
the All Star dugout isn’t one of them.

Votto needed a ton of support just to be in Anaheim.
The National League needed Byrd’s performance to win.
If Votto can’t recognize this, or Byrd, then why vote for the guy in years to come?

No body is asking Votto to like the Cubs.
But acting with a little professionalism wouldn’t hurt either.


July 4th Trades

By bullpenbrian - July 5, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Jeff Shaw was a two-time All Star and one of my favorite players growing up.

The right-hander was a brilliant setup man with Cincinnati, positioning Jeff Brantley for 44 saves and the 1996 Rolaids Relief Man Award.

The following season, however, Brantley got injured and Shaw moved into the closer’s role. He closed out 42 games and also won the league’s saves title.

But less than a year later the Reds traded Shaw on July 4, 1998 to the Dodgers. In return, the Reds acquired left-hander Dennys Reyes and a no-name 22-year-old first baseman.

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