Hello all you wonderful people out there!  I hope you’ve had a chance to wash your car now that the weather across most of the country is beginning to break.   I treated mine to a bath today and much to my surprise, I noticed it changed back to its original color.  After being “road-salt white” for so long, I forgot that my car was actually burgundy.  (and yes, “road-salt white” should be an official Crayola color).

Much to my relief (and to the relief of my boss, too, I’m sure), I’m nearly finished with the Player Development section of the 2010 Reds Media Guide.  I have a few more bios to write and then I’ll be ALL DONE!  The process of producing a media guide is a tedious one involving several people.  Unfortunately, I’ve been unintentionally holding everyone up as I trudge through stat lines, heights, weights and career highlights for each guy in our system (I’m that guy driving 20mph on a one-lane highway during rush hour).

Every year while I’m writing the minor league bios, I find one or two guys whose stats and accomplishments jump out at me.  Although, I write the daily Reds Farm Report during the season, sometimes there’ll be a couple of players who fly under the radar and surprise me this time of year when it’s time to put all of their achievements down on paper.  This year, it’s Mark Serrano (not to be confused with this guy).  There was a lot of good stuff about Mark to write due to the fact that, well, he’s awesome…see for yourself, this is what I scribbled up about him:

SERRANO, Mark – RHP     Age: 24; Ht: 6-2; Wt: 195; B: L; T: R; BORN: 9/14/85, Los Angeles, CA.  SIGNED BY: Mike Keenan.  RESIDES: Downey, CA.  OBTAINED: Selected in the sixth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.  CAREER NOTES: In 2009, went a combined 3-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 14 games (8 starts) for Rookie Billings and Class-A Dayton…overall held opponents to a .198 batting average…fanned 65 batters in just 55.1 innings…named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for 8/10-8/16 (7ip, 2h, 0r, 0bb, 10k)…following the season Baseball America ranked his slider as the best in the organization…2009 At Oral Roberts University: went 9-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 20 appearances (9 starts)…pitched 3 complete games (2 shutouts)…named 2009 Summit League Player and Pitcher of the Year…named Second Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Ping! Baseball…ranked second in Oral Roberts single-season history with 132 strikeouts (86.1ip)…ranked second nationally with 13.77 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched…tied for 5th in the NCAA in strikeouts (132) and 19th in ERA (2.50)…his first loss of the season came on 5/30 vs Arizona State when he allowed 4 runs (3er) on 8 hits and 13 strikeouts in 8.1 innings…his opposing pitcher in that game was Reds #1 pick Mike Leake who pitched a complete game, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits with 15 strikeouts.  PERSONAL: Graduated from Downey HS (CA) where along with being a baseball standout was the MVP of the football team and first-team all-league gridiron star…played collegiately at Cypress College in addition to Oral Roberts University.

Serrano.jpgNot bad, eh?  I would’ve loved to have seen that Serrano vs. Leake game.  28 strikeouts between the two of them!  Mighty impressive.    

Anyway, I was so intrigued by Serrano’s accomplishments, that I asked a couple of people a lot smarter than me about him – Reds Senior Director of Player Development Terry Reynolds and Dayton Dragons Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting Tom Nichols.  Here’s what they had to say:

“Mark has a very good arm, good demeanor on the mound and a good feel to pitch. He has a chance to be a quick mover in our system.” – Reynolds

“Mark is a great story.  He was a late bloomer who became a dominant pitcher as a fifth year senior at Oral Roberts, and when he joined our club, he was one of the top pitchers in our league from his first day here.  He has an outstanding slider that he goes to when he gets ahead in the count and it is a great strikeout pitch.  But above everything, when you watch Serrano, the thing that stands out the most is his tremendous poise and quiet confidence.  He is one of those guys whose demeanor never changes on the mound, whether he is sailing along with no one on base or battling a bases loaded jam with the tying run on third.  He is a great competitor and he always gives you the feeling that he believes he is in control of the game.  I think his teammates feed off of that confidence.  Because of his age, he will have to move quickly, but I felt he was as impressive as any pitcher I saw in 2009 and I think you will eventually see him in Cincinnati.” – Nichols (who saw most, if not all of Serrano’s games last year)

Ok, so you heard it here first.  Mark Serrano is good.


As most of you know, yesterday was Reds Cap Day, and believe it or not, it was also National Hat Day .  Eerie coincidence?  

To celebrate (belatedly), the Reds are offering a really cool ticket deal for you to take advantage of.  It’s called the Reds Hat 4-Pack, and if you buy it, you’ll get tickets to four weekend home games against the Cardinals, Indians, Braves and Cubs as well as four FREE collectible Reds hats celebrating Reds historic teams.  Plus, you’ll even receive four McDonald’s Extra Value Meal vouchers.  And the price, you ask?  You can get the Reds Hat 4-Pack for as low as 28 bucks

Whether you work for the team or not, you have to admit that’s a pretty cool idea/deal.  If this is something you’d be interested in, visit  (after you’re done reading my blog, of course).  And remember, when you buy tickets you’re helping me put food on the table and make my rent, so I appreciate it very much!

To prove to you that these Reds hats exist, the statue of Cesar Geronimo from the Reds Hall of Fame graciously agreed to pose for photos while wearing the 4 different caps….

4-pack.jpgHe’s such pleasant fella, so agreeable and always with a smile on his face.


And now ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats as the Reds Cap Club is IN SESSION..

Please welcome Mary Dyson to the Club.  Mary is pictured below wearing her “trusty” Reds cap while hiking in Hawaii.

Awa hike 3.jpgMary says, “My Reds Cap is well travelled and has accompanied me on many hikes and runs.  I’m a life-long avid Reds fan (thanks mom and dad!) who grew up and went to college in Cincy but have lived in Oregon for the past 16 years.  My husband and I follow Reds games these days via satellite TV or occasional games in Cincy.  This year with spring training moving to Goodyear, we’ll be lucky enough to see The Reds play there.  So excited!”

Thanks, Mary!  Oregon?  Hawaii?  I’m sooooo jealous!

The next new inductee to the RCC  is “Slammin'” Sammy Pierce of Terre Haute, Indiana.  Here’s Sam below showing off his Reds cap as well as the entrance to his kitchen…

My Reds Hat.JPGThanks, Sam!  See you at the ballpark this summer…

You too can become a member of the Reds Cap Club by simply emailing me ( a photo of you wearing your Reds headgear.


And from the Better Off Red news desk…
The team announced today that it has agreed to terms with reliever Nick Masset to a 2-year contract through 2011, avoiding arbitration.


Don’t forget to email me ( your name ideas for the Bobblehead with No Name!


Ok, it’s now time to be a parent…
If you’re reading Better Off Red on the Reds Facebook page  I’d like to ask you folks to do me a favor if you feel the need to leave a comment – Please don’t curse. 

It’s just a blog and I’m really trying to keep you entertained/ informed, and no matter how bad I might be at doing that, don’t let it inspire you to say something that you’d never say in front of your mom or grandpa. 

So if you feel the need to say bad words, email me privately or call me up at the office.  No need to subject that kind of stuff to kids and civilized people who might be reading – it’d just make you look bad and I don’t want you to look bad.

Otherwise, I’m not opposed to criticism of the team or the blog if it’s fair and presented intelligently.  I read most of the comments on the Facebook page and am interested in what you guys think.  But here’s a tip:  If you post something respectfully and astutely, no matter how critical your comments, you’ll find that people will be more receptive to what you have to say. 


Alright enough of that…Go out and have a great weekend already! 

See ya!  Jamie 


1 Comment

I was very impressed with the report on Serrano. He appears to be another promising, young pitcher in the Reds system. I love to keep track of the minor leagues and see what we have coming in the future. and near future in some cases. Keep up the good work and thanks, Jamie

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