BOR Guest Blogger Week: Mo Egger
Thanks to Jamie for letting me guest blog….I’m a loyal reader and follower of BOR, even though we all know Lisa does all the work. Let’s get a few things out of the way.
- I’m doing this while on vacation, meaning Jamie owes me one of his elusive t-shirts. You’ve arrived when you can get people to fill in for you while they’re on vacation.
- Most of the bands Jamie refers to either here or on Twitter are made up. (I think he just types in a bunch of words into the Band Name Generator) http://www.bandnamemaker.com/
Glad that’s out of the way.
This Sunday we celebrate New Year’s, but the Monday after New Year’s Day is big. January 2nd is the Baseball Equinox. The Baseball Equinox is the day that marks the crossing of midway point between the last Reds game of 2011 and the first one of 2012. (You can tell I have a lot of time on my hands this week)
There are 190 days between September 28th and April 5th. January 2nd is the 96th day, meaning starting Monday we are closer to the beginning of the 2012 season that we are to the end of the 2011 season.
(Note: I romanticize about Opening Day. I do not romanticize about Spring Training because I don’t go to Spring Training and the fact that guys are playing catch while I’m still freezing my face off doesn’t make me any warmer. Therefore, we calculate the Baseball Equinox by using Opening Day)
With the Baseball Equinox upon us, let’s turn our attention to 2012, with 12 questions, predictions, wishes or random thoughts for the new season.
1) Joey Votto will win the MVP Award.
Joey went from otherworldly numbers in 2010 to merely really really really really really good numbers in 2011. He did this with getting maybe one quality pitch per game and with lineup instability around him. The lineup should be more stable this season – Jay Bruce is poised for a monster year (Jay was among the best bargains in baseball in 2011) – meaning RBI opportunities and better protection for Votto. Plus, the reigning MVP faces a 50-game suspension, Albert Pujols is gone, and Prince Fielder could be. I’m not buying that Matt Kemp has the same year he did last season and I do buy that Joey, hard as it is to believe, is better than he was in either 2010 or 2011 this coming season.
2) Will MLB’s new playoff format be awesome?
Yes. Forget about the impact on the regular season. Some years it will create incredible races involving a number of teams and other years there will be finishes more anticlimactic than the ending of Castaway (That Helen Hunt didn’t immediately ditch her husband for Tom Hanks still angers me). What counts is the postseason. The new playoff tier is one and done, do-or-die, which is exactly what our favorite sport needs. We had five deciding games in the 2011 playoffs…tell me you didn’t watch. Of course you did. Baseball needs a little football, who’s playoffs are one game, winner-take-all. The new wild card round gives MLB just that.
3) Go see Bruce Springsteen.
My man Jamie may tell you otherwise, that some band you’ve never heard of offers up a better show. Don’t listen to him. A Bruce show is the greatest musical experience one person can have. He’s got an album coming out in 2012, and he’s touring. No US dates have been announced, but word is he’s playing ballparks, including potential shows at Wrigley,PNC Park, and whatever they call the park the Giants play in now.
4) Sean Marshall will be Walt Jocketty’s best pickup.
He’s lefty. He gets ground balls. He’s experienced. He’s pitched in the NL Central his entire career. Also, he gives bad headline writers chances to use “Marshall Law” and “Marshall Plan” all summer.
5) Terry Francona has a chance to be a TV star.
He was phenomenal filling in for Tim McCarver during Fox’s coverage of the ALDS. The former Phillies and Red Sox manager (and former Red) is likable, knowledgeable, glib, and most important, he’s insightful. He replaces Bobby Valentine on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, just as Valentine replaces Francona in the Fenway Park manager’s office. Boston’s loss is the TV viewer’s gain.
6) There is a difference between a milkshake and a frosty malt.
I’m not even going to argue this. If you don’t know this difference it’s not worth explaining.
7) Who will replace Yonder Alonso as Mo’s favorite Red?
As a rule, every fan must have a favorite player, and as another rule that player cannot be an established player who’s been on the team for a while. It has to be a new guy, preferably a homegrown guy. The odds-on favorite is Todd Frazier. He can play four positions, he’s from Jersey, and with Sinatra songs for his at-bat music, he has intelligible music accompanying him to the plate.
8) Jamie Ramsey has made it uncool to be negative.
I say that as a term of endearment. The dude brims with positivity about the Reds, which is great….until they give people like me reason to be negative (it happens). My job is to say mean things about teams when they don’t win. The problem is Jamie is just so damn happy, and his readers and followers follow in suit that I hear about it every time I rip ‘em, which I don’t like doing by the way.
And four wishes for the 2012 season…
9) Barry Larkin to get inducted into the Hall.
Barry Larkin is, and always will be, my all-time favorite Red. The very idea of one of the heroes of my youth even being eligible for Cooperstown makes me feel old, nonetheless when he’s on the ballot for the third time. Barry’s numbers compare favorably to other shortstops already in the Hall, he was an MVP, a World Champion, a Gold Glove winner, an All-Star, a consummate clutch player, and he helped usher in a new era of shortstops who didn’t merely occupy the eighth spot in the batting order. He played 18 years, often the best player on some very good teams, and was among the most community-minded players our city has had. He’s one of the ten best players who ever played for a franchise rich with immortals. That he’s not in the Hall already is a sham, a wrong that’s hopefully righted in 2012.
(And the induction should be accompanied by a number retirement this summer as well)
10) Johnny Cueto to win 20 games.
Remarkably, it’s been 26 years and counting since a Reds pitcher reached 20 wins in a season. Johnny can be the guy to break the dry spell. He’s got great stuff and has room to improve, plus the run support figures to improve this season, and he pitches in front of three Gold Glovers, and two players who may win one soon. Cueto is one of the best pitchers in baseball that no one beyond Cincinnati knows about. That changes if he reaches 20.
11) Pork Tenderloin Sandwich at GABP.
It’s the best sandwich no one talks about. You can eat more meat products than ever before when you see the Reds play, but a solid pork sandwich, with the meat overflowing past the boundaries of the bun, needs to happen to complete the culinary baseball experience.
12) MLB to announce that we’re getting an All-Star Game.
The Reds deserve one. Cincinnati deserves one. Fans deserve one. Baseball has no event like the All-Star game, and what better time to showcase the city, as the Banks blooms around the ballpark? Since the Reds last hosted in 1988, some cities have gotten multiple All-Star Games, and other cities that’ve paid for new ballparks have been rewarded despite building their yards after GABP’s 2003 debut. The Reds hosted two Civil Rights Games, which were huge successes. Their efforts should be recognized by MLB giving us a midsummer classic. And soon.
Mo Egger is a Reds Sundeck/Moondeck Season Ticket Holder, afternoon sports talk show host on ESPN1530 in Cincinnati (weekdays 3-6pm), and writes one of the most read Clear Channel Radio blogs in the country.