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From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Reason for optimism

On Opening Day Eve Eve, we bring you a reason to be optimistic: Last year on the day before Opening Day, the Reds released the guy everyone expected to be their closer, Dustin Hermanson, after he had horrible outing in Dayton.

This year, the closer is Francisco Cordero, who saved 46 games and had a 2.98 ERA the in 2007. The Reds addressed the closer situation by signing Cordero in $46 million in the offseason.

They addressed the set-up situation by deciding to part ways with Mike Stanton, despite owning him $3.5 million. Neither one of those moves guarantees the Reds will win. But it does speak to ownership’s desire to turn things around.

For one day only, we're limiting blog comments to positive. Give a reason you're optimistic about the Reds season. I'm rejecting all negative comments for 24 hours. At 4:22 tomorrow, you can start telling me why the sky is falling again.


at 4:27 PM OpenID bashbrother12 said...

cueto , volquez , fogg > lohse , milton , belisle

at 4:33 PM Blogger Ron said...

Countless reasons. Number one, I am a fan, so I am always thinking the Redlegs are going to do well. With our offensive lineup, speedy defense up the middle, vastly improved rotation and 'pen; there is NO reason whatsoever to not believe this team could and will win the division and possibly compete in October!!!

Ha. Not to mention the psychological difference someone like Baker brings. We are for real, people!!!

Redlegs and Tribe in '08 WS!!!

at 4:34 PM Blogger Eastside said...

Pittsburgh is still in the NL Central!

at 4:40 PM Blogger Marc in Kentucky said...

Because the Reds are young and well, GOOD! Strong arms in the pen and starting rotation and they have position players that are extremely talented knocking on the door at AAA. Hope feels so much better than what we've subjected to for almost a decade. And this team is filled with promise. GO REDS!

at 4:46 PM Blogger David said...

There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic... We have more than the one man wrecking crew that is Stormy Weathers in the bullpen... With Weather and Cordero to pitch the 8th and 9th, we have 7 guys very capable of filling in the 7th... All we need is the starters to put out 6 inning quality starts... And the hitting hasn't changed, maybe improved over the off-season. I think Cincinnati fans are going to be in for a surprise when this team is at the top of the division in Sept.

at 4:48 PM Blogger Eric said...

The Stanton move is a pleasant surprise. I think fans were mostly unanimous in thinking he should not be a part of the bullpen, but with his contract it seemed unlikely that ownership would part ways. The Reds may not make the playoffs, but I highly doubt that they will be worse than last year, and if the pitching is as good as I think it may be, 90 wins is not out of the question when you consider the offensive punch that the Reds pack. A lot of things have to come together to make such a turn around from last year, but everything that has happened since last season has been positive in my eyes. The bullpen and rotation haven't looked this good since at least 2000. Go Reds!

at 4:51 PM Blogger Mike Stapp said...


John, I just want to honor you for this great idea of an optimistic day on the blog! Brilliant! I truthfully dont contribute much at all on the blog because of all the negative posts. Thanks again and best of luck this season!

at 4:54 PM Blogger Dan Foertmeyer said...

There is reason for optimism reds fans. We finally have a top tier closer. We have a good rotation that is pretty deep. We have a very good bench and tons of talent to call up if injuries occur. Cueto and Volquez have stuff that i havent seen for a long time in cincy. I know their young but watch out. Also we still have a very dangerous lineup GO REDS!!!!

at 4:55 PM Blogger Eastside said...

Keppinger = .320 BA
Griffey = 30 HR
Phillips = 30 HR
Dunn = 45 HR
Encarnacion = 20 HR
Votto = 20 HR
Catcher = 25 HR

Patterson only hits .265, but actually covers for Griffey and Dunns' lack of range in the OF which drops the ERA of the pitchers 1 run

at 4:56 PM Blogger NVreds said...

This will be a fun year to watch the reds. I honestly don't care if they stink it up, go ahead, I'll still watch. The young pitchers will be entertaining, the lineup should be entertaining, and the soap opera baker has brought should be entertaining. that adds up to a fun year to watch.

We have some resemblance of a ML pitching staff. its a decent mix of young and old, should make us better now and later.

go reds, I'll be there no matter what happens, personally I have them penciled in second for the division.

at 4:58 PM Blogger Ron said...

Yo, J.F....Thanks for doing this positive thing for today...sometimes, actually all the time I am left disappointed by the comments. I never understand the fan who is constantly dogging their team...

Do we realize how good this team is going to be if Volquez and Cueto are relatively close to what scouts, managers, fans, and players say and think about them?!


at 4:58 PM Blogger AK's #1 Cincy Fan said...

Attitude. A positive attitude is infectious with some talent and that's what the Reds have. The players see the difference, the starters aren't afraid to turn it over to the bullpen and Dusty's pulling a page out of Marvin's book and changing the culture to one that expects to win.

Another reason is Ryan Freel. Ryan Freel has gone from the face of the club, to the spark for a victory, to an afterthought and role player. That shows how far we've come.

Lastly - John - thanks for your work on the Blog. Being in Alaska I crave for info and the inside scoop on the Reds. Thanks for being a great source and keeping me in-touch as if I were back in Cincinnati

at 5:00 PM Blogger ankurv5 said...

Umm, we are Cincinnati sports fans and finally one of our team looks like it has a bright future!

at 5:25 PM Blogger kevin in west lafayette said...

hmmm... how about Griffey having the best spring in recent memory...having an all star caliber 2nd baseman...only two cathers...Coffey looks efficient...a manager who sounds intelligible in interviews...an experienced center fielder, left fielder, and right fielder...guys who I trust to come up and do the job...a versatile bench with speed, defense, and just a little pop.

at 5:33 PM Blogger kingseyeland said...

Better rotation, better bullpen, better manager, more depth around the horn, and fewer question marks.

Gonna be a pretty good year.

at 5:34 PM Blogger MarkinMusicity said...

10 Reasons to be OPTIMISTIC

1) young arms sarting
2) Votto all season
3) all sorts of good men in AAA
4) Hatteberg's hot bat
5) we can sneak up on 'em all!
6) Cordero/Weathers
7) a great bench
8) Speed in center field
9) DUSTY!!!!
10) cause John Fay SAYS so!!

at 5:41 PM Blogger Pat said...

Opening day is the best day of the year. This year the Reds open against the Dbacks and Kentucky's own Brandon Webb. It'll be a great game. The Reds JV also opens their new stadium in DC. The Reds pitching looks good, real good and Dunn will have a season to remember.

at 5:45 PM Blogger RedBlooded said...

A great day for optimism. The fact that Belilse, Bailey and Bruce are in AAA says a lot about the quality of this club. Any other year and we wouldn't have that luxury. I think all three will probably contribute some time this year. Belilse probably in the bullpen. I think Baker and the office made good choices and some hard choices (Stanton, etc.)

at 5:57 PM Blogger Bengal43 said...

I am optimistic because I can't figure out who is going to be taken off the 40 man roster (other than Stanton) to get Bako, Patterson, Cueto, Lincoln and Mercker on. We still need to get 2 more spots. (Livingston doesn't count on the 40 man when he is one the 60 day DL)

at 5:58 PM Blogger Dan H said...

Starting at the top,the front office (Castellini,Krivsky, Jocketty) does indeed seem to have a plan. The depth in the organization is much better. There would appear to be AAA players (young & old) that can be called up and contribute if needed. The manager and coaching staff also seem to have a plan and executed a structured busness-like appraoch to ST.I was not a Dusty Baker fan at first but he has definitely impressed me. I attended 3 games at the tired old Ed, and all 3 games Baker was taking notes throughout the game. Never saw that from a manager before. The players also seem to be more confident,know there roles,and respect the manager. Baker has said the right things all spring. The starters with #3 Cueto and #5Volquez and a solid #4 with Fogg much better than the recent past. Harang a solid ace and Arroyo looks to be good for 14-16 wins. The bullpen could make Harang a 20 game winner. Defined roles for Cordero,Weathers,Coffey,Burton only helps them mentally to get the job done. Glad to see Mercker made the team and Lincoln a surprise. If anyone fails you have Bray in AAA. The bench until Gonzalez returns is weaker. Other than Valentin not much power. Gonzo returns and the middle defense gets that much better. If Dunn gets 40HR & 110 RBI,Junior gets 30-35 & 90 + RBI, Phillips equals last year,Votto hits 280 or so with 25 HR, EE continues to improve on defense, well they should contend. Post season maybe not this year but 2009 (Bruce,Bailey,Roenicke),sure is looking like the year. Then again if the Cubs and Brewers regress,you never know. It does look like a legit competitive team finally in Cinci. Even a 500 start during a tough April schedule would acceptable and if they are with 4-5 games of first at the all star break it could be interesting.

at 6:04 PM Blogger Daniel said...

The three R's of baseball - Rotation, Rotation, Rotation.

I'm also optimistic because all things else I am a Reds fan who supports the team no matter the record. And on the eve of Opening Day it's my God-given right to believe a division championship (or at least the wildcard) is a possibility.

Thanks for pushing for optimism, John.

at 6:04 PM Blogger cinciPRguy said...

I truly think a big reason for optimism of late is Reds' steadily improving farm system. The farm system was shredded during Marge Schott's tenure, and it is now considered to be a Top 10 farm system in MLB. With players slowly trickling in from the minors, it's clear to see partly why there was so much more camp competition this spring at all positions.

Usually, the Reds patch up spots at the last second with nomadic dead-armed vets of yesteryear, but now a steady influx of youth is changing the face of this ball club. Go Reds!

at 6:24 PM Blogger Joe said...

Simply said: Votto at first base, Cueto and Volquez in the rotation, Santon out, Coffey improved, Bruce in the wings and Keppinger starting at SS. And ohh yes, Dusty in the dugout. Should be a good year compared to the past seven. Thank you Mr C and and Mr K.

at 6:40 PM Blogger Red-Blooded said...

I'm always optimistic at the start of the season, in spite of the question marks the Reds always seem to have. This year, I think those questions have the best chance in a long, long time of being answered positively. The bullpen is improved. The bench is improved. We have a super mix of youth and veterans on the roster, with plenty of available talent in AAA if needed. Our offense is potent. And our question marks are no bigger than any other team's in the NL Central, including the Cubs. Things could very well fall into place -- first place -- this year. And if the team gets hot at season's end, they might just surprise some people in the postseason, just as the Cardinals did a couple years ago. Most years, you have to be overly optimistic to anticipate Reds' success. This year, it's completely realistic. The Reds indeed have a legitimate shot!

at 6:44 PM Blogger ArGee said...

Tell you why I am optimistic. The roster is much stronger than last year and Louisville is loaded with replacements if things go sour. My concern is the very tough opening schedule and they get off to a bad start. Dunn, Votto, and EE ain't hacking it right now.

at 6:49 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

I'm pretty confident that BC & Co. wanna win.The Dave Williams release in 06' proved that to me.

This season's young arms are exciting,New manager with backbone, & the versatility we have in a variety of different department's is key.Alot of depth.Bullpen worries me,but I feel like a new cast of characters can change the atmosphere.Fresh start,New season, & New beginning's in Reds lore!!!

I really think we can compete this season & maybe who knows, Reds in the playoffs.Sounds Nice,Huh?

If your not optimistic,than why even be a baseball fan.I always though optimism is the #1 rule to always follow as a baseball fan.

at 6:49 PM Blogger Red-Blooded said...

OOOPS! I see there is someone logged in as "RedBlooded". I had not noticed any of their posts before now, but they have been on this blog longer than me. So in order to avoid confusion, I will change my blog name. My apologies to the original!

at 6:57 PM Blogger smtides said...

After nearly a decade of losing, most Reds fans can't or won't accept that the Reds have a real shot at post-season play this year.

I don't think the Cubs or Brewers are any more than marginally better than the Reds, if that. The division is wide open.

I think what is going to seperate the Reds from the pack is the quality depth in their system. When guys get injured - and they will - there is quality in Louisville. I don't see the Cubs or Brewers having that.

at 6:57 PM Blogger cmellon said...

With the young arms starting, the young bats in the infield, great experience in the outfield, the attitude of Baker and don't forget about the young guys down on the farm should make this an exceptionally entertaining and potentially successful season.

at 7:02 PM Blogger Billardello 2 Landestoy said...

We are not starting the year with belisle as our #3 starter.

at 7:05 PM Blogger Red Faced said...

Well it has all been said already but here's my input anyway:

Bullpen is better, vastly improved with more options to call upon if needed.

Rotation looks to be stronger as well. Again more options and a very good mix of experience and youthful energy.

I actually believe the offense will be better overall. EE and Dunn will have monster years. Keppinger, Hopper, Hatteburg, Phillips, Junior and Votto will all be solid contributors as well. Patterson should help give us a speed boost and hopefully a truer leadoff hitter than we've had in a while.

The Defense will solid as well.

By far the BIGGEST positive is that the bullpen has been transformed from a weakness to a strength. That alone could mean 10 additional wins for this club.

I'll see you all at the ballpark on Monday. GO REDS!!

Oh, and thank you John for the super coverage.

at 7:09 PM Blogger Redman said...

I do think we have a chance to contend in our division,but i will say that Cueto's performance today along with that one he had a few days ago has me a little worried. I actually think that volquez is the better pitcher between the two. The one thing I do disagree with some you on is the thought that we really have depth at the starting pitcher position. I hardly think that belisle is quality depth. Homer maybe, but that only alllows for one starter to screw things up and that also is if Homer can get his control back in the minors. All-in-all I think we do have good ENOUGH pitching to at least contend for the div. We'll need real luck to go much further in the play-offs.

at 7:09 PM Blogger Brandon said...

How about the fact we have a manager that veterans like Jr. and Dunn will actually listen to and respect.

Amazing potential in our farm system and a solid looking rotation and bullpen with plenty of good arms to come up and replace people if they get hurt or struggle.

We have a few good utility guys a good mix of speed and hitting on the bench and as with pitching plenty of really good position players with good bats waiting in the wings.

If someone doesn't perform look for them to switch places with someone in AAA that is performing we have something to fall back on and this is the first season since I have watched baseball, actually seven years now I'm only 22 that I have been this excited for the Reds to open the season.

at 7:10 PM Blogger redsfan8557 said...

I belive in the Reds all the time. If they win or loss I will still be going to the games and routing them on all year. GO REDS. Thanks John for this blog i read it all the time

at 7:42 PM Blogger liz said...

I am looking forward to a great year! Thanks, John for your blog. It's great, also.

at 7:56 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Cheers to 100 DP's for Alex Gonzales. Last time he did that, he got a ring.

Cheers to 20 HR's and 55 RBI's for David Ross.

Cheers to 15 HR's and 50 RBI's for Javy.

Cheers to a 284 BA, with 78 RBI's for Joey.

Cheers to 115 RBI's for BP.

Cheers to 124 RBI and a 288 average for Adam

Cheers to Corey Patterson proving he is a baseball player and turning in a respectable 360 OBP with 40 steals.

Cheers to Aaron's first 20 win season

Cheers to Cordero's 40 saves

Cheers to our new 17 game winner Bronson

Cheers to Jeff Keppinger's 347 Batting average, which has him in the hunt for the batting title and 140 games played at 6 different positions

Cheers to 94 RBI's after a slow April from EE

Cheers to the proffessionalism and grace of Hatte, who hits 327 and is Mr. Clutch in the playoffs however he is used

Cheers to JR's #600 and #635 this year. His 42 HR's and a career high average of 326 Average carry the team. He walks more than he strikes out, and his option is picked up fo 09

Cheers to our young guns who win 12 games each.

Cheers to Josh Fogg's 12 wins.

Cheers to the 73 victories by the starters.

Cheers to Juan Castro's game changing defense in the post season.

Cheers to Todd Coffey's 3.44 ERA and 74 games

Cheers to Wayne Krivsky's key trade, trades during June that put the Reds over the top in 08.

Cheers to whichever player at AAA who kicks it up a notch and requires the big club to promote them:
Bruce, Bailey, Belisle, Bray, Roenicke

Cheers to Dusty Baker's Manager of the year

at 8:16 PM Blogger Brick said...

I'm optimistic because I've been a Reds fan for as long as I can remember and it's the beginning of baseball season....no other reason needed!

at 8:28 PM Blogger BATSFAN said...

I am excited, GO REDS!! I was very happy with the win yesturday where it was all a reliver game, they all did well!

at 8:35 PM Blogger gm said...

can't we all just get along ??

at 8:46 PM Blogger Scott said...

I was just telling my dad that I haven't been this excited about a Reds team since I was a kid. For me, I am most positive because of the pitching. I love the lineup, but the potential in the pitching staff is unbelievable. If Harang does what he does, Arroyo has a bounce back and the kids come through, it could be a magical season.

at 9:04 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

The team has got to win more games if for no other reason than Jerry Narron is gone.

at 9:09 PM Blogger respectit said...

you're the ONLY negative John. learn the game. Go Reds

at 9:12 PM Blogger gannfan said...

In Dusty We Trusty!

Chicago, IL

at 9:14 PM Blogger respectit said...

you're the ONLY negative John. learn the game. Go Reds

at 9:29 PM Blogger John Fay said...

43 comments and I've only rejected 2. Pretty gods.

at 9:32 PM Blogger Cincy RE said...

Go Redlegs! Another reason to be optismitic: Dusty Baker. I think if the 'nati gives him a chance, he can prove to improve the team. Much like Lou.

Go Reds in '08.

at 9:38 PM Blogger kevin in west lafayette said...

cheers to....

wow... after all reaganspad's toasting...I'm a little tipsy. If all those things happened, I'd smile through my vascectomy.

at 9:50 PM Blogger redsfanwoody said...

Things to be positive about the reds:
Better Bullpen. Brandon Phillips and his personality.
Cueto/Volquez and their possible emergence has quality starters. Votto and maybe Bruce. Seeing Edwin maybe filling out his potential.

Most of all,spending a summer's night with a kid who thinks the world of the Reds.

at 9:58 PM Blogger jdeezman said...


That's probably the most positive post on here John!

A promising rotation, the best in years.

An actual top quality closer.

A manager who gets the most out of his players.

An owner who is willi ng t spend to win.

A GM who is willing to take chances... but not go too far and trade away the young promsing future.
(My personal nomination for the best trade NOT made in the off season... Thank God Blanton is still in Oakland and Cueto/Votto/Bruce/Bailey..etc is still here).

Feeling the excitement 700 miles away, as once again an endless summer of hope spreads out in front of us... waiting to hear Marty say "...and this one belongs to the Reds" way more than in the recent past.

A tip of the cap to Nuxie... you will always be remembered Old Lefthander, thanks for the memories.

at 10:04 PM Blogger m2 said...

Optimism....Gosh if even 10% of your predictions materialize... Well, I'm excited to go to Opening Day...

at 10:16 PM Blogger JasonW18 said...

We're not Cubs fans!!

at 10:41 PM OpenID sportshandicapper said...

Typically the biggest weakness in recent years (other than when the bullpen has been an even bigger weakness), I love the starting rotation this year. Harang and Arroyo look primed to have great years. I'm excited Cueto made it. Volquez looks outstanding. And with Belisle out, Fogg is the only below-average pitcher who made it. When Homer comes back, he can just focus on pitching well, not having to be a savior of the organization.

Cordero was a great signing, and I like the way the bullpen has shaped up. Plus, there are several relief guys at AAA who can step in and succeed here when needed.

Best of all, in regards to the improved pitching staff, we didn't trade half our best prospects to get a middling guy such as Blanton. I'm glad Cueto, Bailey, Votto, and Bruce will all be Reds for many years to come.

The lineup is still strong. Thankfully, studs Dunn & Griffey didn't get traded during some ill-advised firesale last season. They don't suck. They're ready to win this year. Dusty will get the most out of them, and they'll be leaders.

Jerry Narron is gone, and Dusty Baker may win his 4th Manager of the Year award. I sensed Narron had something akin to an infectious losing attitude and got the least out of most of his players; I think Baker will have the opposite effect on the team.

at 11:06 PM Blogger GoReds33 said...

My reason to be optimistic:
Two words: Jay Bruce

at 11:24 PM Blogger Arden Dulou said...

To a year fighting for the NL Central Title! To a year where the first and second backups for the rotation are actually MLB caliber pitchers! To a year where Freel can thrive at what he is best at! To a year where Bruce can receive that experience at AAA! To a year of visiting Cincinnati more than once just to see the Reds play! And dare I say it, to a year where there is more than one Red at the All-Star game!

To this year and the following years to come! I hope to see the Red Sox in the World Series and may history repeat itself.

at 11:30 PM Blogger Red Faced said...

I believe we'll see something that we haven't seen since Big Lou was in the dugout in Cincy and that is a winning attitude.

I loved seeing the suicide squeeze called the other day. Can't wait until the first one of the season is called.

I'd also say something about the chance of rain on Monday but I want to remain positive so I will not.

at 12:22 AM Blogger Dave said...

To Marty Brennaman, one of the Reds biggest fans. I got to chat with him and get a pic/ticket autograph in ST and he's as nice in person as on the radio. Throw one in for Cowboy, Nuxie's memory, Thom, John Fay, and the general overall good news coverage of the Reds - it's nice to have when you move to FL. Most of all, here's to a holiday - I'll be at home watching mlb.tv for the opener - GO REDS!
PS - I can't not mention that we finally, finally, for the first time since the early 90s, have major-league quality depth, two-plus deep and in AAA, at every position (including 7 acceptable starters and a couple extra arms in the 'pen). I can't wait to watch!

at 1:18 AM Blogger BATSFAN said...

hey john got a quick question, you said Belisile is rehabbing, does that mean he will be the opening day starter for the bats thursday?

at 1:26 AM Blogger Mike Grayson said...

I am very enthused about the young guys. Cueto, Volquez, Bailey, Votto, and Bruce will all make a big difference by the end of this year.

Dusty is good too: He want to win, and his style is a needed change. Now that he has learned from his time with SF and Chicago, he won't make the same mistakes(he believes in OBP and pitch counts now!). The players like him, and will play hard for him.

We have some great hitters too: Country Kepp, Dunner, Junior, Brandon, Ross, and Patterson.

The rotation seems above average, and the bullpen is much better.

It will be a better year!

Time for a Red Machine Revival!

at 2:16 AM Blogger pinson28 said...

I don't care if we make the playoffs this year. I'm just glad the season is starting and we can see the new improved team.
Go Reds!

at 2:45 AM OpenID petevt1 said...

Godbless and GodSpeed all the way to the NL Central Title with 89 wins...

at 9:11 AM Blogger redfuture said...

10 Reasons they don't stink!
1) No Stanton
2) No Santos
3) No Saarloos
4) No Gosling
5) No Cormier
6) No Stone
7) No EZ
8) No Dumatrait
9) No Milton
10)No Ellison

at 10:07 AM Blogger Hugh D. Pohl said...

1. Cordero and the subsequent effect on the rest of the pen
2. Volquez and Cueto (I bet Voltron will have the better year as Cueto struggles to mature)
3. My prediction- the much-mailigned Patterson will turn out to have break-through year much like Phillips did last year.
4. Depth throughout the system.
5. Ownerships willingness to do what it takes to win.
6. Baker's leadership, although here's hoping the Reds DO clog the bases.
7. I don't expect everyone who improved last year to maintain the same level but it would not surprise me to see EE or Dunn to have career years or for Griff to have a great yeaer a la Frank Thomas's surprise comeback a few years ago with Oakland.
8. Stanton, Belisle and Majewski are not on the opening day roster, though I think Majewski and Belilisle may still prove their worth at some point.

at 10:38 AM Blogger nhelmstetter said...

Votto, Volquez, Cueto, Peaceful 9th innings, and in the minors the killer B's Bailey and Bruce!

at 10:40 AM Blogger mentalmidget said...

1. Ownership proving they DO want to win. They hired an established, successful manager.
2. They DO have a plan. They understand the value of a quality starting pitcher after "The Milton Era" by trading a hell of a ball player in Hamilton for Volquez. It HAD to be done.
3. The starting rotation hasn't looked this promising in a long, long time.
4. The bullpen is much, much better than last year and the season hasn't even started yet. Releasing Stanton had to be done.
5. The farm system is replenished with alot to talent for the first time in years.
6. For the first time since 1999 or 2000, I feel our beloved Reds can really, really compete for the Central Division title!!!

at 10:42 AM Blogger The Red Bengal said...

Nothing but optimism blog. I like that. Kudos John.
Looking back since 06, the Reds have shown promise. Harang and Arroyo, both solid reliable pitchers. You figure that Cueto, Volquez, and Fogg CAN ONLY be better than Lohse, Milton, Claussen, Belisle, Joe Mays, and the lizard king Ramirez. And, the bullpen CAN ONLY be better than it was last year, as it was easily one of the worst bullpens in this baseball's decade. And, the lineup has a above .300 hitting shortstop (for now keppinger, which has not happened since Larkin), and a power hitting first baseman (This is something the reds have lacked for a long time ie. Hal Morris/Sean Casey/Hatteberg).
And finally, the NL division is looking ripe for the Reds taking. Pirates are the Pirates, AGAIN. The Astros did not improve their starting pitching, which still has Oswalt, followed by an over the hill woody williams and 3 equipment bags. St. Louis lost the left side of their infield and Jim Edmonds, and have Kyle Lohse in their rotation. The Cubs will be decent, but luckily they are still THE CUBS and now have Dempster as their #3 in their rotation. The Brewers rotation looks similar to ours in that they are banking on some young guys to pitch well, but we took their closer and Eric Gagne is not the same Eric Gagne from 3 years ago.
What does this all mean? The reds WILL contend and if the pieces fall into place, WILL win the Central. GO REDS

at 10:47 AM Blogger firefly118 said...

As a negator (not really, but sometimes), I do have some positives.

1. Votto will bloom into an all-star caliber 1B (if he gets 400 AB).

2. Brandon Phillips looks even better this year, than he did last year.

3. Griffey is looking the best he ever has in a Reds uniform.

4. Pitching maybe as stable as it has been in 15 years.

5. AND my last positive thing, it won't take to long (by May 12th) to see Jay Bruce be a big time MLB player.

at 10:47 AM Blogger Alex Triantafilou said...

There is real reason for optimism this year. This team has made concrete, real changes to this team and may harvest some of the benefit from our homegrown talent.

Dusty is a professional manager with great experience. Adam Dunn is a star. Volquez and Cueto are legit. Hatterberg on the bench? That's a sign we're a good team.

I'm excited!

at 11:27 AM Blogger Champ Summers said...

Good Hugh.

Watcha doin over here anyway?

at 11:41 AM Blogger Mike said...

The Reds have better arms in their pitching staff than at any time I can remember....

Also, before everyone goes on saying Bailey will never learn command, consider this.

Josh Beckett came up at 21 in 2003.

In 2005, I was a reporter covering Marlins spring training. The talk then was how Beckett needed to have better command. He was getting guys out but unable to go far into games consistently because he walked guys and generally threw too many pitches.

Beckett didn't master his command that year or in 2006. But he finally did in 2007 at the age of 27. The result: He went 20-7 in the toughest division in baseball with a 3.27 ERA.

Sometimes it takes time for a guy to master their command. And while Beckett was further ahead of Bailey at age 21, he's not that much further ahead.

at 11:55 AM Blogger captainbiscuit said...

I am happy that the season is starting, optimistic that the Reds have a shot this year. I read your article in BA about the Reds rookies (with an awesome photo of Votto) and I'm going to sign up for MLB Extra Innings tomorrow! Regardless of how this season plays out, I want to watch it unfold. I'll be watching the Reds tomorrow with my 9 year old son, who'll be wearing his Jeff Keppinger Reds jersey and cheering on the same team I loved as a kid. Life couldn't be any sweeter.

at 12:03 PM Blogger Garry said...

Reds management are heros for decisions. Using talents Volquez, Cueto & Votto rather than dump (Tevor Hoffman & Paul Konerko) for experience. Freel has had his chance, now its Corey Patterson's. Encarnacion starts after bad Sprint; no Freel, sit down, or send down. Affeldt plays, Majewski trade for value didn't sway using the right pitcher.

at 12:22 PM Blogger Ol' Timey Redsfan said...

I have posted this before, but it seems to have been lost. The reasons I have for optimism are:
A stronger rotataion, bullpen and bench. Votto will give the Reds a power bat at First, something they have not had in years. It's Spring! Hope springs enternial in spring, we are tied for first!

at 12:37 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

This is not the new Reds Machine by any means

Yet, this is a club that should improve significantly this year..hopefully winning at least ten more ballgames this year compared to last

I am looking forward to going to the park and leaving with a smile on my face rather than leaving, along with so many others, in the seventh inning
needing to get counselling for depression

Go Reds

at 12:37 PM Blogger Bengal43 said...

redfuture....On your list of 10, I wish we still had EZ at Louisville.

at 12:40 PM Blogger docproc said...

I haven't been this excited about the Reds' rotation since....well, since forever.

And this is the best Louisville team I've ever seen, too, so that only bodes well for the future.

Thanks for the day of optimism, John!

at 12:53 PM Blogger GookiePokeyHomer said...

Reason for optimism? With the way the Bengals are headed, 2008 can be the year Cincinnati switches back to a baseball town!!!

Keep the Blue Skies Blog permanent!!

at 12:57 PM Blogger Shawn said...

It's Opening Day! No other reason for optimism is needed!

at 12:58 PM Blogger redleggedraver said...

allright, most of this has already been said, but:

x:no marge + no lindner =first reason (well that one's been there for a bit now)

y: manager with a winning record and experience + competent coaching staff = team support that has been necessary for years now

a:vetran players with consistant records + explosive young talent + one of the best farm systems in baseball = best team weve had since 2000, maybe even 1990. yes i mean that.

x+y(a)= playoffs 2008!

at 1:17 PM Blogger anti-media said...

I (a usual critic)will add a very optimistic point...Bob C. hired Walt J.!!!
John,great idea, hope springs eternal as we open 08!! I would be thrilled if all of us ney sayers where all wrong !!!
Your brother/family stays on the prayer line..all the best!!

at 1:25 PM Blogger Red Faced said...

Getting through the 8th inning without seeing the bullpen blow another lead, and me blowing a gasket

at 2:12 PM Blogger Kelly said...

The farm system is finally replenished and building. The lean years are over, finally we can all be happy again!

at 2:17 PM Blogger redsfan8557 said...

This was been the best post all st. It pumped me up reading all the grear posts

at 7:51 PM Blogger NVreds said...

here's ten reasons:

1. our starting SS is not felipe lopez
2. our 3rd starter is not eric milton
3. our best option in CF is not freel
4. our 3rd starter is not lohse
5. we actually have a closer
6. the #1 prospect in baseball is almost ready
7. The pitching staff is good enough NOT to want to give bailey some seasoning
8. Our manager is not some garbage re-tread
9. harang is in our rotation, the only pitcher ever to lead the national league in wins & srikeouts and still not win a Cy Young (didn't even get 1 f-in vote)
10. We have a farm system rated pretty high

we're going to prove the naysayers wrong, I'm actually confident telling my friends to keep an eye on this team.

at 12:06 AM Blogger JerBear said...

We won't have to see those goofy spring training uniforms for another year!

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