Just a few quick hits today as Stephen Strasburg-mania comes to Great American Ball Park. I’ve seen on StubHub where many fans have listed their tickets for resale at $1,000 a pop. I was incredulous when I saw that yesterday afternoon. Did you know that Strasburg and Mike Leake were once little league teammates in San Diego. They played on an 11U team called the San Diego Sting. Strasburg was the fireballing pitcher, Leake was the catcher… among other things.
Leake’s swift ascent to a major league rotation is equally remarkable, but for a different reason. He had the sensibility of a player-coach from the day he stepped on a youth field… “He always had a natural understanding of the game,” said Bill Lawbaugh, manager of the Sting. “We could put him at shortstop, center field, catcher, pitcher. Whatever you needed Mikey Leake to do, every glove fit that kid.”
Read the rest of Steve Henson’s article on Yahoo! Sports here.
Speaking of Leake, glad he got the win in last night’s 5+hours at the ol’ ball yard.
Pitching and Scott Rolen are dominating the conversation at GABP. The Reds brought in free agent Jason Isringhausen for a bullpen workout on Tuesday. Isringhausen has been out of major league action since early 2009, and has recovered from Tommy John surgery. Medical science being what it is, many pitchers are coming back stronger after having the surgery. (Look at Edinson Volquez’s dominating performance last Saturday against the Rockies.) Reds brass were impressed with Isringhausen’s workout to the point where it was reported on RedsTV that they have offered him a contract. He has a couple of days to decide. As he was Walt Jocketty’s closer in St. Louis, one wonders what this means for Francisco Cordero. Cordero has blown 6 saves this season, but has converted 9 of his last 10. Might they trade Cordero? No one is saying just yet. But it’s been interesting around the ballpark. Dusty Baker has a sign in his office that says “Two things you need to be happy in life are good friends and a good bullpen… and not necessarily in that order.” The bullpen has been doing better lately, the top of the 6th last night notwithstanding.
As far as Rolen, he has developed a hamstring problem and it’s troubling the team a bit. He said he felt a burn in his right hamstring tagging up at 2nd and trying to advance to 3rd on Friday night. (He was thrown out.) It’s troubling because his problem hamstring has always been the left one, not the right. And there is that little matter of the Reds being 45-31 when he is in the lineup and 7-11 when he is not. The Reds are trying to decide if they should DL Rolen and bring up Juan Francisco from Louisville. Might be a good opportunity to get Francisco a taste of the majors. Expect Miguel Cairo to see the bulk of the action, though.
Gotta say publicly that I’m enjoying the telecasts of games much more this year with Thom Brennaman at the helm. He is using his personality and sense of humor much more than he has in the past and he is definitely a polished network announcer. Last night, when he gave analyst Chris Welsh the nickname of “Poncho” (yeah, I know they spelled it “Pancho” during the telecast, but they were talking about rain ponchos and that should’ve been an “o” there), I was very amused and entertained. Then we discovered that Thom is very protective of the ushers at the game because he used to work the ushers room at Riverfront as a young man. Among his duties was handing out the towels they use to wipe down the seats. So Welsh started calling him “Towel Boy.” It was very funny and then the truck got into it with the graphics. Way to keep it entertaining, all!
Speaking of TV, the Reds will not be televising Thursday afternoon’s game and will insist that it is “radio only.” This is a misconception and pertains only to the Reds stable of broadcasts. MASN will be carrying the game in HD and MLB Network will be simulcasting that, so it will be available nationally on cable and satellite. Bob Carpenter and former Reds Nasty Boy Rob Dibble do an excellent job on NatsTV and I recommend checking it out. That’s Thursday afternoon at 12:30 on MLB Network.
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!