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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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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Reds v. Rays lineup

Reds vs. the Rays, 1:05 p.m.

Ryan Freel CF
Norris Hopper LF
Jay Bruce RF
Joey Votto 1B
Jolbert Cabrera 3B
Jeff Keppinger SS
Chris Kroski C
Juan Castro 2B
Ryan Hannigan DH

Matt Belisle P

It's 52 degrees here at Progress Energy Park. The Rays PR apologized to me because I'm in the outdoor press box. "I know it's really chilly out there." If he only knew. I'm sure a lot of you are still digging out back in the Tristate. Marty and Thom on the radio ought to warm things up a bit.

This is a beautiful site for a ballpark. Nice view of the bay. The Rays new park is supposed to be built here.

This is a big start for Belisle. I'm not sure if he's on bubble as far as the rotation. But with the young guys pitching well, you'd think the Reds would be looking at all alternatives.


at 10:13 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belisle should damn well be on the bubble. He has been less than impressive and there are the young arms and Josh Fogg who have looked good.

at 10:50 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested, Trent Rosecrans has a couple of shot low quality videos on youtube, including Cueto pitching in the intersquad game, and Volquez in ST game. Nothing very recent, but interestin none the less.


Kevin in Ft Myers

at 11:08 AM Anonymous LetsTalkReds.com said...

I still am having a very hard time understanding how Matt Belisle after the year he had last year (5.32 ERA), why Matt Belisle appears to be starting spring training so high on the depth chart. This guy was terrible last year. Get runners on base and he gets so freaked that a tee-ball team could hit off of him. So someone PLEASE explain to me why this guy is getting so much love? Give the kids the rotation spots and throw belisle into long relief or AAA.

at 11:10 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...


What's the story on this Kroski kid?


at 11:28 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What ptichers traveled to the rays?

at 11:29 AM Anonymous smtides said...

Don't know where else to put this comment, so I'll put it here.

Daugherty has a BRILLIANT column out today. Although I think Votto and Bailey is too much for Blanton, the rest of the column is spot-on.

at 11:30 AM Anonymous MJ said...

I've brought that up a few times myself. Belisle had a below average year for a starter last year but seems to be penciled in as the #3 starter already. I would think he'd have to earn it.

at 11:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John,

What is going on........Why isn't Bruce starting in CF. How can the kid get a shot at winning the job if he isn't playing there. We know how Freel plays CF, Bruce should be there everytime he is in the starting lineup. This to me just tells me that he is starting the year at AAA. What is your take on this situation.......


at 11:37 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce will be starting in AAA. If he were still an option at CF he would be playing there now. Baker is just trying to get him some at bats.

at 11:42 AM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

ditto on Docs column..hits the nail on the head. I have always been amused by the bloggers that live a 1000 miles away and defend the poor performance of this team by quoting stats, reports, etc

I understand that many fans live far away and are unable to attend games..Yet, for those of us that do attend games on a regular basis and have an actual feel for the team, you can throw that "book" out the door

But you know something..that aint my problem..We can go to as many games as we like and do so.Julie and I are blessed

I am beginning to like this Baker fellow a little more

at 11:47 AM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

I have to agree with Jack, I was impressed by Paul's column and the insight he shared about Dusty Baker

the following speaks volumes:

"Anyone with a laptop can locate the Web site baseball- reference.com and sound like an expert. Anyone with a library card can pick up one of James' mind-numbing baseball "abstracts," in which the author makes the game sound like a first cousin to biomechanical engineering"

I am not suggesting that living far away from Cincinnati makes anyone any less of a fan. But to have the ability to see games up close and personal provides insight and nuances that you don't see on TV or in some stat book

Just my thought..I have to work today bye

Julie RN

at 11:59 AM Anonymous NVreds said...

you can get a "feel" for a team by watching them and there are so many things you can't see at the park, like accurate balls&strikes. please quit bringing up how great and more informed you are because you attend games. I watched 100+ games last yr, and its insulting for you to stroke your ego like that. oh & by the way, comparing players like hamilton/keppinger to mickey mantle/cal ripken is the most insane thing I have ever heard in my entire life, and if you truly believe that....well, whatever i guess we're all entitled to our crazy opinions

at 12:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And so on. Here's a stat: Wins as manager: Dusty Baker, 1,162; Bill James, 0."

Seeing how Bill James has been the Red Sox Senior Baseball Operations Advisor since 2004, it is Dusty Baker, 1,162; Bill James, 375. Also James has two World Series rings to Baker's 0.

To manage only by stats is not what sabermetrics suggest but to ignore their significance and rely on "instincts" is flat out ignorant.

at 12:08 PM Anonymous NVreds said...

for the record the column posting you're speaking of has some things I strongly agree with, and some things I strongly disagree with.

Throw the book out on managing stats and all that garbage a manager that manages according to a book of stats is no question to scared to manage by instinct, no question hands down. That I 150% agree with. thats one thing I liked about mackanin, he would make gutsier calls than narron. Dusty will be entertaining to watch I look forward to learning more about the game watching him manage.

The stuff about ignoring players stats? well that'll get you nowhere fast. He does make one point I agree with, there are times people get too enamored with players stats. But you can't write them off there's a reason this guys a writer and not a coach.

at 12:08 PM Blogger Champ Summers said...

NV...don't feed the beast

They do what they do to get a reaction.

at 12:14 PM Anonymous NV said...

I'm not even sure its a "they"

at 12:17 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

reds.. I used to agree with you until we started attending games on a regular basis. If you have good seats you get a much better feel for every aspect of the game than by watching on TV. Why do you think scouts go to games?

I am not stroking my ego..nor am I suggesting I am more of a fan than you. But we do go to games , you dont..that aint our problem

Cal Ripkin was not a great player..he was a good player known for his longevity. Keppinger offensively is just as good if not better..same defensively

Hamilton stays healthy..hes better than a Mantle. Thats a real big if ..but as far as pure talent , speed, and strength Hamilton surpasses a Mantle..

No one was suggesting Baker write off player stats ..the emphasis of the column was to show what Doc thinks to be Bakers innate feel for the games and the players..dont overreact

at 12:26 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Unless Belisle totally blows up he should be in that rotation. He has the prerequisites for a starting pitcher these days. He has good stuff and he has good command. True, he occasionally made a pitch that he shouldn't have last year. Part of that is him and part of it is Valentin the catcher he was stuck with so much. His BA against with Ross was .275, with Valentin it was .348! In the old days a pitcher without command would be allowed to make 150+ pitches and thus could be effective. In this day and age they are very seldom allowed more than 100 to 110 pitches so you have to have command to be pitch efficient enough to last at least 6 innings. Belisle has those qualities.

at 12:29 PM Blogger tom dunne said...

Aww, let's not pick on Dusty. He might be right - stats could be seriously overrated. I mean, look at his last season as a manager, in 2006. That year, the Cubbies were dead last in the league in on-base percentage, and they did fine. It's not like they lost 96 games and Baker was sent packing.

Well, actually, that's exactly what happened. But I'm sure it was a coincidence. Alas, if only Kerry Wood and Mark Prior had been healthy. Mind you, pitch counts are just as overrated as on-base percentage...

at 12:32 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

john read an article about certain teams converting the nosebleed seats (5,6,7 dollars) into all you can eat seats for 32-35 bucks. Although Julie and I are vegetarians we were wondering if you heard anything about such a plan at GABC

My brother arrives in Brandenton on Monday

at 12:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah jack, Ripken was not a great player. He only had 2 MVP's, was ROY, 8 silver sluggers, a 19 time all-star, over 3100 hits and a Hall of Famer. Keppinger will NEVER come CLOSE to any of those. Kepp plays good for half a season and you are making him sound like the second coming. Give. me. a. Break.

at 12:33 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Belisle would have lost his starting job last season had the Reds had anyone else to start. I really do not believe that he will be in the starting rotation on opening day unless he really earns it this spring. He may not even be with the ball club.

Unless Bailey or Volquez can be an effective starter this season to go along with Cueto, the Reds will once again SUCK.

I am much more optimistic this season than last though, so far.

Good news is: If they are not at least in the race this season, it will be the last for Krivsky. It will have been a long 3 years.

at 12:34 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

ripken was what a 262 lifetime batter?

take away his longevity he would not have gotten any recognition

at 12:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 of his mvps and his rookie of the year were in his first 10 seasons. He was an all-star in 9 of them. I guess thats not enough recognition, but hey its more than kepp is ever gonna get.

at 12:39 PM Blogger redfuture said...

I have always been amused by the bloggers that live in the 'nati and predict poor performance of this team by quoting stats and reports of the last 7 years, etc.

I understand that many fans live in cincy and are able to attend games..Yet, for those of us that do watch every game on television and gain the insight of out-of-market broadcasters on a regular basis and have an actual feel for the team and how they are perceived by others, you can throw the last 7 years out the door. Wow, what a long rambling sentence. Sorry about that!

It also helps that we are able to go to other major league ballparks and see other teams.

at 12:42 PM Blogger Common Sense said...

52 Degrees and you want Bruce to play coming off a quad strain...let's have him pull it early in spring training so he is out for weeks..... Last year was Belisle first as a starter. Look at innings pitched 2006 (40), 2007 (177). With arm fatigue due to innings (leads to lack of control) he did really well, unless you've never pitched at a competitive level and your only expertise is typing at a keyboard.

at 12:46 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

redsfuture.. we also can see games plus get the benefit of watching games occasionally on TV..you cant..out of market broadcasters have no real feel for local teams..ask John Fay..they dont even get players names right some of the time

Julie and I have been to various other ballparks..no big deal we love Great American

at 12:47 PM Anonymous Mike the Pharmacist said...

"Cal Ripkin was not a great player..he was a good player known for his longevity. Keppinger offensively is just as good if not better..same defensively

Hamilton stays healthy..hes better than a Mantle. Thats a real big if ..but as far as pure talent , speed, and strength Hamilton surpasses a Mantle.."

My GOD, please tell me I did not just read that. Someone slap me and see if I'm actually awake. John, I know you have asked us to attack the POST rather than the POSTER, but I am really starting to wonder about this guy....

at 12:52 PM Blogger Champ Summers said...

Mike...Keep taking the bait.

Who's the fool, the fool or the fool that's fooled by the fool.

Wow...fool is not a a word anymore.

at 12:55 PM OpenID sportshandicapper said...

Chiming in on Belisle again:

He's only a couple starts removed from being lower on the totem pole than Phil Dumatrait. How did he suddenly catapult himself to the #3 guy in the mind of WK/Baker/Fay, et al. during the offseason?

That would be like elevating Todd Coffey to closer or top set-up guy during the winter because he had a string of 1-2-3 innings in September after getting sent down to AAA.

It made no sense that everyone hates Coffey, but Belisle was getting such love. I'm sure Belisle is a good guy, and he has good stuff. Coffey is a nice guy and has better stuff. They both have shown similar mental toughness and ability to consistently make quality pitches in clutch situations.

at 12:56 PM Anonymous Oregon Fan said...

Jack, Longevity is part of the game. Pete Rose shouldn't get credit for beating Cobb because he played so long? Not all, but a lot of all time records are set because of longevity, its part of sports. Cal Ripken helped save baseball in the 90's, he is one of the best ever.

at 12:57 PM Anonymous Mike the Pharmacist said...

Champ, you're right.... but it was real hard NOT to take that bait. Must be this early Daylight Saving thing throwing me off.

at 12:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


go take in the Indy 500 rather than watching on TV..try a boxing match..or.. even a golf match
I dont agree with Jack/Julie on many things but they are correct.We get to use my parents season tickets alot of the time and sit 3 rows behind the dugout, you can even see the spin on the baseball when you are at the game. Josh Hamilton is a monster of a player and has been compared to having the physical skills of a Mickey Mantle buy many in baseball

Kevin Ft Mitchell

at 12:59 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

peter rose is known for one fact only

his number of hits

cal ripken was a .262 lifetime hitter and good..but not great outfielder

at 1:02 PM Anonymous Mike the Pharmacist said...

Jack, I finally agree w/ you on something. Cal Ripken wasn't a good outfielder. Great shortstop though!

at 1:04 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

I think John fay would not approve of continued personal attacks so..I will only be responding to local fans that I know and also have met at the ballpark..attack away ..julie and I will not be responding to long distance fans in the future or anonymous posters

at 1:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Ripken was a .276 BA and 787 OPS but had some very impressive individual seasons.

at 1:07 PM Anonymous oregon fan said...

I don't consider pointing out facts a personal attack.

at 1:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

first of all jack or julie or whoever, cal was a .276 lifetime hitter, not .262. he also averaged 90 runs and 90 rbi a year over 21 seasons. toss in 23 hr/year along with playing every game, and what do you get? a hall of fame player. and i think it's great that you guys get to go to games, just like the scouts. but scouts you are obviously not. scouts are generally going to minor league, college, and highschool games, not major league games. since those types of games are mostly not on TV, they would, in turn, have to attend. i would imagine that any real scout could watch a major league game on tv and tell you who's good, who's really good, and who's great. and i guarentee they could tell you that kepp and hamilton are not better than ripken and mantle.


at 1:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's all bow to Jack in Blue Ash all mighty knowledge of the Reds because he goes to more games, so he must know more than anyone else, right?
All this talk about how a second year player and a sub player are better than two HOF is crazy. First of all I am no Yankee fan, far from it, but come on, before Mantle hurt his knees he could do it all from both sides of the plate. I don't know how you can say that Keppinger is at this state in his game, even close to Ripken? You speak of his lifetime .276 BA, which is an over rated stat in my book, but ok. How about his 3189 hits? How about the fact that he is an all star at two positions? How about the fact that he is an all century team or his two gold gloves? Yeah though those out and he wouldn't get a mention from nobody.

at 1:19 PM Blogger Hugh D. Pohl said...

Good one Mike! You beat me to it.

And Daugherty must not know anything about Bill James. People tend to assign anything they don't like about stat geeks to James, who is well-rounded in all phases of baseball analysis and is employed by the world cahmpion Red Sox in the real baseball world. He is also a very entertaining and witty writer.

at 1:20 PM Blogger redfuture said...

I don't like the pitchout that Dusty called for on a 1-ball 0-strike count putting Matt in the hole. Of course, Zobrist got a hit being ahead of the count.

at 1:25 PM Blogger Stock said...


I agree with you that there is an advantage to being at the game as opposed to watching it on television or the internet.

But much more important than being at the game is one's observation skills. You seem to lack these, so your opinions carry little weight.

Cal Ripken was one of the better hitting SS of all time.
He won an MVP, more due to his offensive abilities than his defensive abilities.
He won several silver slugger awards.
He had 3,000 career hits.
He led the league in assists on many occasions. This speaks to his arm and range.
Exactly how many players in major league history have 3,000 hits and are not in the HOF? Every player with 3,000 hits and eligible for induction is in the HOF. Ripken earned his way in the HOF not by appearing on the field as you seem to imply but for what he did once he stepped to the plate. You look at one stat and say Ripken is average.

I agree with you in that Keppinger can flat out hit. He will hit .300 in his career. He doesn't have Ripken's power so therefore will never produce runs at the rate Ripken did.

You said you respect Dusty's observation skills. Please remember that before Gonzalez was injured Dusty had already named him the starting SS.

Go to the games and enjoy yourself. Just don't log on to this website and expect anyone to respect your opinion if you insist Keppinger is better than or even as close to as good as Ripken.

I love reading different opinions. Just make sure they are credible.

at 1:25 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Belisle is cool under pressure and can induce a ground ball. With bases loaded he gets a ground ball from Johnny Gomes back to the box and throws to home and on to first for a double play. Way to go Matt. What mound presense!

at 1:26 PM Blogger tom dunne said...

Mickey Mantle through age 26: 259 homers, 766 RBI, 2 MVP awards.

Josh Hamilton through age 26: 19 homers, 47 RBI, 4 years suspension.

It's like they're practically the same guy!

at 1:33 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

stock no offense because you dont appear to be such a bad dude..but as I have already stated i will not debate a long distance fan

at 1:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just where are you jack in Blue Ash and how do you know where everyone is from?

at 1:38 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

Tom I dont know you so I cant debate this issue with you.sorry

at 1:49 PM Blogger Ol' Timey Redsfan said...

Hey is this a Reds site or a debate about old retired players and how great it is to go the game. Jack, I happy you get to go to the games, doesn't mean your an expert though, but how about worrying about this year's Reds Team.

at 1:51 PM Blogger redfuture said...

When I go to games in person I'm always amazed at how many people don't actually pay attention to the game. They are watching other spectators, talking on cell phones, spending a lot of time in the vending area. Most seem more amused by the scoreboard dot race than the game. Whereas the fellow who turns on the TV to watch a game doesn't even get to see the dot race. What a concept. I also miss all the replays I see on the TV. I get multiple chances to analyze what's going on between pitches.

at 1:58 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

you mean the fellow watching TV and picking his nose, playing with his kids, making out with his wife, going to the kitchen etc.. distractions are a two way street bad analysis..

go to a ball game sit in good seats and you glean a heck of alot more than you do by watching games on TV

I am sorry that you cannot afford to go to the ballpark..aint my problem

at 1:59 PM Anonymous Oregon Fan said...

I know I'm far away but, I'm excited about this years possibilities. Any trade takes awhile to settle. Even the Kearns/Lopez trade could be successful if Thompson reaches his potential and Kearns/Lopez don't. The Reds are going to cut players this spring that normally would have been signed to start in the past. This fact alone gives me hope for the future of this franchise.

at 2:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

attacking a person's financial situation. Jeez jack. I thought you were the one who is always getting his panties in a bunch about being attacked. I pay a lot better attention to games when i watch them on tv. I think i learn more and definitely see more. Heck I sure can see that Kepp is not cal ripken and hamilton was no mantle. I guess going to the ballpark and sitting in the bright sun/lights is really skewing your view on the players. I want some of whatever you and nurse julie are taking.

at 2:06 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Matt did alright in the 2nd considering that he had to wait nearly an hour for the Reds to score 6 runs in the top of the 2nd. Matt walked the 1st two and Dusty came out to read the riot act, that's ok. Matt settled down and got the ground balls to get out and only allow 1 run. Of course, Marty said Matt lost "all semblance of command". Wow!

at 2:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

could we get some more "insider analysis" from jack in blue ash, and possibly julie as well?

the blind leading the blind.

at 2:14 PM Anonymous oregon fan said...

Who's doing the damage at the plate?

at 2:16 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Matt was on the beam in the 3rd as he didn't have an hour to cool off during the Red's half this time. Marty's son Thom got it right when he said, "very impressive inning"!

at 2:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think jack needs some help nurse julie.

at 2:22 PM Blogger Mike in Piqua said...

So Jack in Blue Ash, you can throw your opinions around with ease but you cannot debate anyone on your...musings because they are a long distance fan or you do not know them...whatever lame excuse. Weak. You choose not to debate because there is no logic to back your nonsense.

at 2:55 PM Blogger Shake Bake said...

I'm surprise Daugherty can get his head through the doorway at work.

Votto, Bailey, and Bruce will not be part of the starting lineup anytime soon. It seems the only praise coming from Baker goes to Cueto and Dickerson....go figure.

Krivsky does like Votto or Bailey and would like nothing more the to move them out of Cincy. I think Bailey tells them where to stick it and can you blame him. Least we forget the Red's long standing history of bringing along major league pitching. Shame on homer for not trusting the Red's "brain trust".....or the lack of it.

Don't give up Homer....stick to your guns and maybe you will end up at a quality franchise.

This will be another "out of it by July" year and we will be saying goodbye to Wayne-baby!

at 2:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daugherty's column today is horribly horrific. Just shows how little he knows about baseball. Erardi's article, now that's the good stuff. Like he says, the stat guys have the math to prove it.

at 3:01 PM Blogger Shake Bake said...

Hey John, Why doesn't someone ask Baker what his problem is with good young talent like Votto, Bailey, and Bruce.

All we heard last year from Krivsky was Votto was not ready. Yet he is promoted only to make a fool out of them all.

PS: Don't tell me about mop up and the end of the year stuff, major league pitching is major league pitching.

at 3:10 PM Blogger Shake Bake said...

Can you imagine the guy above who is comparing Josh Hamilton to the great Mickey Mantle. I'm sure the Cincinnati press or the Red's front office have a job for him. he belongs with many of the Cincy press who tell us how great Freel is. Maybe he will compare Freel to Lou Brock next.


at 3:32 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Baker hasa problem with Bruce, Votto and Bailey?

Bruce has played in every game that he's been healthy. Votto has as many at-bats as Hatteberg.

Bailey has as many starters as Harang.

They're getting a chance. It's March 9.

at 3:40 PM Blogger Champ Summers said...


what will these people start saying when it the real deal?

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