Like the rest of the baseball world on Sunday morning, I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of Jose Fernandez’s death. A hero among the Marlins community and an extremely talented pitcher who hadn’t yet enjoyed his best years, Jose was on his way to a Hall of Fame career. It’s still hard to think his death is real and not just a cruel online hoax. The Reds join the rest of the baseball world in mourning Jose Fernandez’ passing. Our hearts ache for Jose’s family, friends and fans as well as for the entire Marlins organization.
Despite having never met Jose Fernandez, I do have a “Jose Fernandez story.” At the conclusion of the Reds’ division-winning season of 2010, Joey Votto was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player. Joey was living in Sarasota at the time and the Reds had arranged for me to fly to Florida to accommodate the many media appearances and requests that were expected to pour in on the day of Votto’s MVP announcement. The plan was to hold all of Joey’s TV appearances live via satellite in his backyard, and all of his radio call-in interviews live via cell phone in his living room. Accompanying me on the trip was Reds Assistant General Manager Bob Miller. Bob had other business to attend to in the Sunshine State that day and it had nothing to do with the pomp and circumstance of the MVP announcement.
In October of 2010, just a month before Votto was named NL MVP, Reds Senior Director of Amateur Scouting Chris Buckley was in Jupiter, Florida scouting players participating in the World Wood Bat Association’s World Championship tournament. One of those players was a teenage pitcher, who on his fourth attempt, successfully defected from Cuba two years prior. The pitcher’s name was Jose Fernandez and he was on his way to winning the WWBA Championships’ most valuable pitcher award.
Fernandez would surely be one of the most sought-after players in the 2011 MLB draft but wouldn’t be great if, through unusual circumstances and very fine print he was eligible to sign right away? Buckley called Miller, who was known around the baseball world as a “rules guru,” and told him that Fernandez was declared ineligible by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA). Thirty minutes later, Miller called back with news that only the Cincinnati Reds were privy to – because he had used up all of his eligibility in 2010 and was deemed ineligible by the FHSAA, Jose Fernandez was considered, by rule, a “passed over player” in the ’10 draft and permitted to sign that day.
Fernandez defected Cuba, found himself in Mexico and eventually wound up as a superstar on the Braulio Alonso High School baseball team in Tampa, Florida . During this journey, he missed a year of academics and because of his age, now 18, his high school career was all but over. That is unless the FHSAA granted Fernandez another year of high school eligibility.
While I was at Casa Votto overseeing Joey’s media appearances, Miller and Buckley were waiting down the street from the hearing that would determine whether or not Jose Fernandez could play another year of high school baseball or possibly become a Cincinnati Red. Fernandez’s advisors were aware that if he were declared ineligible, the Reds were going to make him an immediate offer and sign him that day. Unfortunately for Reds fans, Fernandez was granted another year of high school eligibility, remained a prep and became the eventual 14th-overall selection in the 2011 draft. The rest is history.
Even though he never became a Red, I loved watching Jose Fernandez pitch. He had such great energy and wow, was he really good! The last time he pitched against the Reds, August 18 at GABP, he didn’t have his best stuff but everyone in the ballpark knew he was still something special. Below is the scorecard from that night (click on it to enlarge):
Best costume wins 2017 Opening Day tickets
CINCINNATI (Sept. 26, 2016) — Celebrate trick-or-treat season at Great American Ball Park with the first-ever adults-only Reds Halloween Bash presented by Budweiser on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 8 p.m. to Midnight.
Join your fellow ghouls and goblins in costume for a wild night featuring food, beverages, photos in the Reds dugout and all kinds of Halloween games and prizes including Reds tickets, autographed memorabilia and bobbleheads.
Jon Jon from Q102 will be the guest DJ spinning your favorite tunes throughout the evening and the best costume will win two tickets to Reds Opening Day 2017.
Tickets are $60 per person and includes open bar in The Handlebar.
Sign up today at reds.com/Halloween to reserve your spot and plan your Halloween fun!
Reds Halloween Bash presented by Budweiser
• Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016
• 8 p.m. to Midnight
• Great American Ball Park – The Handlebar at the Riverfront Club presented by Jack Cincinnati Casino
• $60 per person (Must be age 21 or older to attend)
• Sign up at reds.com/Halloween
Tuesday’s Reds lineup at Wrigley Field:
From my pal @Bongreatness…
Today we wrap up Heritage Weekend at Great American Ball Park as we celebrate “ShamROCK the Ballpark”, our Irish heritage theme. The Reds will wear their St. Paddy’s Day jerseys annually worn at Spring Training on March 17th. Additional pregame activities around the ballpark include the McGing Irish Dancers, the Emerald Society Bag Pipers, and the Irish folk band Dark Moll performing in the Kroger Fan Zone. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick will lead us in the singing of our National Anthem as well as Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch. Today is also Social Media Day #4, presented by T-Mobile, with a big group of social media enthusiasts joining us in The District and receiving “Kiss Me I’m a Reds Fan” tee-shirts as part of their ticket package to today’s game.
Kids in attendance at today’s game will receive a Raisel Iglesias Fathead™, courtesy of Cincinnati Bell.
During the middle of the 7th inning break today we will welcome Smooth Transition as they lead us in the singing of God Bless America.
Jose Peraza 6
Tony Renda 4
Joey Votto 3
Scott Schebler 9
Ramon Cabrera 2
Steve Selsky 7
Tyler Holt 8
Ivan De Jesus, Jr. 5
Brandon Finnegan 1
From my pal @Bongreatness…
Tonight is Game #2 of the Reds & Pirates day/night doubleheader. Tonight’s game is the game that was originally scheduled for 4:10PM prior to the May 10th rainout. Gates to the ballpark will open for all fans at 5:10PM with first pitch scheduled for 6:10PM.
Tonight as we continue Heritage Weekend at Great American Ball Park we celebrate “Redstoberfest”, our German heritage theme. As part of tonight’s festivities we welcome Musikkapelle Bertoldshofen, an authentic Bravarian band visiting from Germany, for performances around the ballpark and on the field during pregame. Additionally activities include a ceremonial first pitch by Dr. Constanze Söllner-Schaar (Constance Shh-are). Dr. Schaar is a Munich Council member that has flown in from Munich to attend Zinzinnati’s Oktoberfest. And the first 20,000 fans in attendance at Game #2 will receive a Reds Stein, courtesy of Moerlein Lager House.
Tonight is also the annual Scout Night at Great American Ball Park. Hundreds of scouts and scout leaders will join us for tonight’s festivities which will include a pregame parade around the warning track, as well as a special camp-out on the field of Great American Ball Park following the conclusion of tonight’s game.
Offering up one of our other ceremonial first pitches this evening will be Kevin Holthaus. In recognition of Kevin’s 40 years of partnership between Holthaus Lackner Signs and the Cincinnati Reds he will be receiving the “Distinguished Partner” Award prior to his first pitch. Kevin will be retiring from the business on December 31st, 2016.
Photos from the first game of today’s doubleheader:
We’ve got at least 17 innings of baseball scheduled for you today, so sit back, relax and soak it all in!
If you’re keeping score of both games today, we’ll make it worth your while. Tweet me (@jamieblog) a picture of your finished & accurate scorecards and there just might be a prize for you from BOR Headquarters!
From my pal @Bongreatness…
Today the Reds & Pirates play a day/night doubleheader at Great American Ball Park. Game #1 is the rescheduled game from a rainout on May 10th of this season. All gates for Game #1 open at 10:40AM this morning. There is no giveaway item for fans attending Game #1. The ballpark will be cleared out between Game #1 & Game #2 today. (Inclement weather could, of course, have an effect on Game #2 starting time and/or gate opening time. If that situation arises, announcements will be made through all normal channels as quickly as possible.)
Today we welcome a few special guests who will each offer up a ceremonial first pitch before Game #1. First we welcome United States Olympian and 2016 bronze medalist in the men’s 800 meters – Clayton Murphy. Clayton is from New Madison, Ohio (about a 90-minute drive north of Cincinnati). And secondly we welcome competitive eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut. Joey is a nine-time winner of the famous Hot Dog Eating championship held each 4th of July at Coney Island, NY, and he is also the world brat eating record (70 brats in 10 minutes) and will defend his title this weekend at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.
A few Reds notes from our friends at Inside Edge:
- Joey Votto has an OBP of .442 (196/443) versus RHP . (MLB Rank: 1st of 205 full-time players; League Avg: .325)
- Joey Votto’s OPS is 1.003 (443 PA’s) versus RHP this season. (MLB Rank: 4th of 205 full-time players; League Avg: .753)
- Right-handed batters are batting just .174 against Anthony DeSclafani (29-for-167) . (MLB Rank: 2nd of 145 qualified SP; League Avg: .261)
- RHBs have slugged just .257 (43 Total Bases / 167 AB) against Anthony DeSclafani . (MLB Rank: 2nd of 145 qualified SP; League Avg: .432)
- Right-handed hitting opponents have just a .498 OPS against Anthony DeSclafani (189 PA) this season. (MLB Rank: 2nd of 145 qualified SP; League Avg: .752)
- Raisel Iglesias’s BABIP is .204 this year. (MLB Rank: 2nd of 176 qualified RP; League Avg: .299)
- RHBs are just .127 against Raisel Iglesias (10-for-79) . (MLB Rank: 4th of 176 qualified RP; League Avg: .248)
- Raisel Iglesias has allowed a slugging percentage of just .208 (31 Total Bases / 149 AB) this season. (MLB Rank: 2nd of 176 qualified RP; League Avg: .397)
- Brandon Phillips is hitting .273 (67-for-245) with two strikes this season. (MLB Rank: 6th of 205 full-time players; League Avg: .180)
- Jose Peraza is hitting .385 (35-for-91) at home . (MLB Rank: 1st of 142 part-time players; League Avg: .263)
- Tucker Barnhart is hitting .367 (29-for-79) with runners in scoring position . (MLB Rank: 8th of 204 full-time players; League Avg: .263)
It was party time today in Roselawn as several of the Reds Latino players visited with local students at the Reds Urban Youth Academy for the ¡Fiesta Rojos! celebration.
Children from Academy of Multilingual Immersion Studies (AMIS), Academy of World Languages (AWL) and Roberts Academy were treated to a Q&A session and group photos with the Reds players, pitching/fielding/hitting competitions and even SALSA DANCING!
Among the Reds in attendance were Ivan De Jesus, Jr., Ramon Cabrera, Wandy Peralta, Jumbo Diaz, Eugenio Suarez and Abel de los Santos.
Today’s event allowed for some of the community’s younger Spanish-speaking fans the opportunity to connect with their favorite Reds players. However, it was a bit difficult to determine who had more fun, the children or the players!
Here are some photos and videos from today’s event…
Today the Reds placed on the 15-day disabled list OF Billy Hamilton and LHP Cody Reed, both retroactive to 9/5. Hamilton hasn’t played since 9/4 because of a strained left oblique, while Reed hasn’t pitched since his final start for Louisville on 8/29 because of low back spasms.
From my pal @Bongreatness...
As part of Heritage Weekend at Great American Ball Park we celebrate Fiesta Rojos tonight. As we honor the local Hispanic community and the rich cultural history of the franchise the Reds will wear their “Los Rojos” jerseys during tonight’s game to go along with numerous pregame ceremonies and activations throughout the ballpark. Tonight current Reds players of Hispanic descent in will receive certificates of recognition from the Commission on Hispanic & Latino Affairs for the State of Ohio in one such pregame ceremony. Tonight is also the 12th Fireworks Friday of the 2016 season, presented by AAA. The fireworks show, featuring Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks, will begin approximately 10 minutes after the completion of tonight’s game and will feature a Fiesta Rojos soundtrack.
Juan Dorado checks in with this week’s Reds Minor League Spotlight…
Then there was one.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the Southern League Playoff over the Mississippi Braves, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos dropped three straight and were eliminated from capturing their first ever Southern League crown on Saturday night
Pensacola ran into some stiff pitching. After scoring six runs in the Southern League opener, the Blue Wahoos were held to four total runs in the last three games of the series. Zach Vincej led the attack, going 8-for-17 with one RBI and one run scored. He finished the postseason with the highest batting mark of anyone in the league.
However, it was not enough as the Blue Wahoos pitching staff struggled. Pensacola posted 5.56 ERA in four games, allowing 21 earned runs in 34 innings. The opposition hit .334 against the Blue Wahoos staff. Rookie Davis was one of the lone bright spots, tossing six innings of one run baseball in the opener. He fanned eight and allowed three hits as he did not factor in the decision.
Pensacola’s season concluded on Saturday and Billings postseason run continues on Friday night as they try to avenge a 3-0 loss to Orem in the Pioneer League Championship series. After sweeping away Great Lakes over the weekend, Billings entered the championship in great spirits.
Instead, they ran into a tough Orem team that combined to toss nine innings of 1-hit baseball in their 3-0 win on Wednesday night. T.J. Friedl broke up a no-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning with a single. However, that would be as close as the Mustangs would get, dropping game one of their three game series.
Mustangs must win two straight over Orem to claim their second Pioneer League Championship in three years as they swept away Orem in the Pioneer League Championship in 2014.
RED Hots: T.J. Friedl finished the Pioneer League regular season hitting .347 (42-for-121) with 11 doubles, two triples and three homers. He tallied 17 RBI and stole 7 bases… Cincinnati Reds affiliates finished the season a combined 347-344 as four of the six affiliates finished with a record over .500.
From my pal @Bongreatness...
Offering up one of our ceremonial first pitches this evening will be Medal of Honor Recipient – Specialist Ty M. Carter, on behalf of GE. The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. Specialist Carter is one of fourteen recipients of the Medal of Honor stemming from heroic service during the War in Afghanistan. Specialist Carter received this distinguished honor for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Scout with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Afghanistan. Specialist Ty M. Carter’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service.
From our friends at Elias Sports Bureau…
Joey also has a current 8-game hitting streak against the Brewers.