I love this time of year, when everything is fresh and the ballplayers begin settling in. It used to be that every team had a chance at a World Championship every year. That was, of course, back in the days when WTBS showed nearly every Braves game, – some of them twice with a rerun at 1 AM – WGN had the Cubs, and WOR had the Mets. The Reds televised around 68 games a season on channel 5, and trounced the Braves, Cubs and Mets regularly.
Of course, the economics have changed the game drastically. Less than half of the teams have a legitimate shot at winning the World Series. But the feeling and the attitude remain the same amongst the fans and the players. I get juiced up for the season about halfway through March. I can’t wait for Opening Day to see what happens as the season unfolds. I’m a baseball junkie and a Reds fan, and I wanted to introduce myself and give a little background to you as I am thrilled to be newly blogging the Reds here.
This is the first true blog I’ve ever written. Hopefully, I won’t get off to a slow start. I’m sure there will be things I need to pick up on, but I’m a fast learner and I have some good experience in the traditional media. As mentioned, I love this time of year. I was the kid in school who snuck in the transistor radio with the earphone to listen to the afternoon Reds game from Al Lopez Field in class. I felt fortunate when I had a teacher who shared my excitement. Some would even allow me to write the linescore of that day’s game on the blackboard, in a corner of the board.
I have followed the Reds since the days of Bobby Tolan and Lee May. In my teen years, I nearly lived and died with the club. Watching the ’75 and ’76 teams win the World Series was the ultimate. And that 1990 team wasn’t chopped liver, either. ’75 and ’76 had a swagger. ’90 was hustle, heart and guts… and a bullpen that was nails. In between were plenty of great games and fond memories. I was lucky enough to sit in the ultra-humid green seats behind the plate for Tom Seaver’s no-hitter on June 16, 1978. I went to Game 2 of the 1979 NLCS when umpire Frank Pulli blew the call and the Reds fell in extras to the Bucs. I remember when Pete came back as a member of the Phillies in ’80 and took part in a Banner Day doubleheader. I loved it when Pete came back in ’84 to manage and play. When the late Bo Diaz always seemed to drive in the crucial run. The 1986 brawl between Eric Davis and Ray Knight at third base on a hot, July night. I wasn’t there for Pete eclipsing Cobb or Browning’s perfect game. But I saw Bench’s last at-bat and the last three games at Riverfront (as well as the softball game later). I’m still not over missing the 1981 playoffs because of the strike and the split-season, or the 1994 playoffs because of a different strike.
My career took me places where I actually got to cover the team in the early and mid-90’s. To be on the field and in the clubhouse meeting guys I’d been watching my whole life was a great thrill. I even got to be the stadium’s public address announcer as a backup in 1998 for six games, including Opening Day.
Okay, enough of that. It’s beginning to sound like I’m tooting my horn a little too much. I just want you to know that I’m one of you, with a little taste of experience. I’ll always be a fan of the Reds and will do my best to keep you updated on the team, and keep this blog interesting so you’ll want to make it a regular stop on your daily internet journey.
As far as the business at hand and Monday’s game, the Reds whipped the A’s 13-5 in Goodyear. The win broke a 2-game winless skid. The Reds shelled Oakland starter Ben Sheets. Cincinnati’s first 10 batters all reached base and scored. Sheets faced 10 batters in the first, giving up eight hits and a walk. There was an Oakland error thrown in for good measure, and Chris Dickerson belted a 2-run homer. Sheets took the loss and is now 0-2 with a 31.15 ERA for the spring. YIKES!! Reds starter Mike Lincoln had some trouble, allowing four runs in his three innings of work. But he didn’t walk anybody and he kept the ball in the park. Closer Francisco Cordero didn’t allow a run in his inning, even though he gave up two hits. His ERA remains spotless. And Mike Leake worked two scoreless innings while striking out four to finish it off. On offense, the Reds were 7-for-15 with runners in scoring position. And this note – former Red Adam Rosales, traded to Oakland in the offseason, went 3-for-3 and drove in a run. Cincinnati improves to 5-4-1 on the spring. The A’s fall to 6-6-1. That’s the thumbnail version of the game. I’m trying to keep today’s entry under 1,000 words.
On Tuesday, the Reds will play the Diamondbacks after a 2-hour bus ride to Tucson. First pitch is 4:05. Johnny Cueto (0-1, 3.60) takes the hill for Cincinnati, with Edwin Jackson (0-0, 0.00) on the mound for Arizona. Also, a reminder that Thursday’s game with the Indians will be televised live on FS-Ohio. Homer Bailey (0-0, 3.00) is scheduled to start that game. I’m looking for him to continue to do big things this year. First pitch is 4:05 for that one, as well.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my first-ever blog entry. I’m looking forward to a great season. I’ll be back with my next entry tomorrow!
About the Author
Written by Dave Allen
I'm a lifelong Cincinnati sports fan who has been following the Reds and Bengals ever since I can remember. My first Reds game was Game 6 of the '72 World Series and my first Bengals game was an October 1975 clash with the Steelers. I've been involved in sports media since Junior High, when I assisted with scores for Bob Trumpy SportsTalk in 1979 on WLW Radio. My biggest Reds highlight came in 1998 when I was chosen to be the public address announcer at Riverfront Stadium (then called Cinergy Field) for Opening Day and the entire first homestand. I am thrilled to be involved with PSB and I hope you enjoy my entries!