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Tonight at 6pm, another live action-packed edition of the Reds Hot Stove League radio show and Better Off Red Baseball Trivia takes place at the Holy Grail Banks!  Hot Stove host Jim Kelch will be joined by Cincinnati Enquirer Reds beat writer John Fay and Fox Sports Ohio’s Jim Day.  (Note: Jon Jay and Jason Bay were not asked to attend).

Better Off Red Baseball Trivia, hosted by yours truly, immediately follows the live episode of the Reds Hot Stove League show.  This week, our first-place team will receive a voucher for four free tickets to an upcoming 2015 Reds game at GABP!   Join us, won’t ya?!


Hello everyone!  I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday break and got to spend some quality time with family, friends and/or loved ones.  Some of you are still in your pajamas, enjoying another week away from the office; for that, I offer my most sincere “cheers!”

We have a few things here at Better Off Red to catch you up on…

Some of you long-time BOR readers remember the Reds Cap Club, right?  Well if you’re new to this or perhaps don’t remember, the Reds Cap Club was something we used to celebrate here on the blog every Friday.  I’d simply ask for emails (, Instagrams or Tweets (@Jamieblog) featuring images of folks wearing their Reds caps & hats.  The photos would be posted on the blog and those folks would then become the newest members of the Reds Cap Club.

Well, we’re getting the club back together starting this Friday and we’re looking for new members of the Reds Cap Club. For those of you who may have already joined the club a long time ago, your membership needs to be updated!  Simply email, Instagram or Tweet me a pic of your coconut in a Reds cap and…voila…you’ll become the newest RCC member!  (And by sending in your photo, you’ve agreed to have it posted here on Better Off Red).

What are club privileges, you ask?  Great question.  It’s top secret (meaning, nothing other than you get your photo on BOR and recognized by me as one of the coolest people in all of the land!).

I have one more New Era Winter Meetings cap to give away, so I figure I’ll make it available to one lucky participant in this week’s Reds Cap Club party.  Send in your photo and you could be randomly chosen to win the lid.

In addition to the Winter Meetings Cap, I’ll also give away a new book by my friend Craig Lindvahl entitled Things You Wish You Knew Yesterday: And Other Stuff You’ll Need to Know Tomorrow.  You might remember Craig as the filmmaker of Let’s Get Ready to Win: A Day at Great American Ball Park.  His new book is fabulous and I think you’ll enjoy it.  The winner of the cap will also get the book.


The Reds Hot Stove Radio Show and Better Off Red Baseball Trivia RETURN to the Holy Grail Banks tomorrow (Tuesday, December 30)!  Join us beginning at 6pm for a live episode of the Hot Stove show and then stick around for some brain-bending baseball trivia, hosted by yours truly.  It’s always a good time and I’d love to see you!


Interested to see how Reds players are fairing in the Winter Leagues?  Check out the stats below…




That’s all for now!  More in a bit!

Expect good news,



Congratulations to our neighbors, the Cincinnati Bengals for a big Monday night victory and sealing their fourth straight playoff berth! Who Dey!


Need some Reds in your life this Christmas? Here’s a note from our friends at Fox Sports Ohio…

FOX Sports Ohio to air Reds Rewinds this Wednesday & Thursday and debut RedsFest Live Wednesday at 8:00pm

The first Reds Rewind, the Reds-Rockies game from May 11th featuring Aroldis Chapman’s return, airs this Wednesday, Dec. 24th at 6:00pm.

CINCINNATI, OHIO – Celebrate the holidays with FOX Sports Ohio with Reds Rewinds and RedsFest Live! FOX Sports Ohio is excited to replay four Reds games from the 2014 season and premiere RedsFest Live this Wednesday and Thursday.

Starting at 6:00pm on Wednesday, December 24th, FOX Sports Ohio will replay two Reds games from last season and debut RedsFest Live.
• The 6:00pm replay features the Reds game from May 11th, 2014, when Aroldis Chapman hit 100 mph 15 times against the Rockies in his return from his preseason injury.
• At 8:00pm, tune in to FOX Sports Ohio for the premiere of RedsFest Live.
o What do Reds fans have to look forward to this upcoming season? Jim Day goes one-on-one with Reds Manager Bryan Price for some of those answers.
o Plus, it’s the youngsters asking the tough questions of Todd Frazier, Billy Hamilton and Devin Mesoraco in the Kids Only Press Conference.
o And, we know what Sam LeCure can do on the mound, but what about in the kitchen? Find out what LeCure has cooking!
o A top prospect had a fan-tastic surprise for the crowd.
• The 8:30pm Reds Rewind will be the Reds-Pirates game from June 17th, 2014, where Todd Frazier’s home run in the ninth lifted Cincinnati over Pittsburgh. Billy Hamilton had three hits and two stolen bases.

Starting at 7:00am on Thursday, December 25th, FOX Sports Ohio will replay two additional Reds games.
• The 7:00am Rewind will be the Reds-Cardinals game from September 11th, 2014, when Johnny Cueto pitched eight scoreless innings to lead the Reds to a 1-0 victory.
• At 9:00am, tune in to FOX Sports Ohio for the replay of the Reds-Pirates game from September 28th, 2014, when Johnny Cueto won his 20th game of the season, the first Red to accomplish this since 1988.


On behalf of everyone here at Better Off Red, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday break.  Merry Christmas and happy new new year!!

…and a hearty congratulations to Zach and Danielle!!


Be back soon!



Thanks to everyone who participated in last night’s Better Off Red Baseball Trivia!  We’re going to take next Tuesday off, but we’ll be back at the Holy Grail Banks on December 30th.  I hope you can join us!

To view last night’s Trivia script, click here —> December 16

Here’s the final leaderboard…

  1. Red Hot Ball of Fury – 91 pts
  2. Catch Ya Later – 83 pts
  3. Eppa Rixey’s Midnight Runners – 81 pts
  4. Schrute Farms – 64 pts
  5. Dollstar Tattoo – 55 pts
  6. OU Bobcats – 1 pt
  7. Quiz-N-Pants – 0 pt



Join us tonight at the Holy Grail Banks for a live episode of the Reds Hot Stove League radio show, hosted by Marty Brennaman and Thom Brennaman.  Immediately following that incredible life-altering experience, prepare to have your mind blown by Better Off Red Baseball Trivia, hosted by yours truly!

We’ll get started at 6pm, and the Brennaman boys should have plenty to talk about following the deals the Reds made at the Winter Meetings; and I’ll give you an opportunity to win fun prizes during BOR Trivia, including a new Better Off Red t-shirt!

So break up the last few days of your work schedule by immersing yourself in Reds baseball, tonight at the Holy Grail Banks!!!



CINCINNATI (Dec. 15, 2014) — The Cincinnati Reds announced the promotional schedule for the 2015 season that includes nine bobbleheads, 14 fireworks shows and a new kids poster series at 10 Sunday home games.

Opening Night – Wed., April 8 – Reds vs. Pirates, 7:10 pm
• Reds players and coaches walk the red carpet in the Kroger Fan Zone to meet and greet with fans
• 2015 Reds Team Calendar fan giveaway
• Postgame Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks show

Fireworks Fridays
• Every Friday night features a post-game fireworks show from Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks

Frazier-Bobblehead-2015Super Saturdays: New for 2015 – premium giveaway every Saturday and more bobbleheads (nine) than ever before:
• April 11 vs. Cardinals: Todd Frazier Bobblehead
• April 25 vs. Cubs: Commemorative Nasty Boys Triple Bobblehead
• May 16 vs. Giants: Johnny Bench “Stars of the Queen City” Bobblehead (one of three)
• May 30 vs. Nationals: Billy Hamilton Bobblehead
• June 6 vs. Padres: Barry Larkin “Stars of the Queen City” Bobblehead (two of three)
• June 20 vs. Marlins: Brandon Phillips Bobblehead
• July 4 vs. Brewers: 2015 All-Star Drawstring Bag
• July 18 vs. Indians: Reds T-Shirt
• Aug. 1 vs. Pirates: Devin Mesoraco Bobblehead
• Aug. 22 vs. Diamondbacks: Tony Perez Day, Tony Perez Replica Statue
• Sept. 5 vs. Brewers: Reds Stein (German Heritage Night)
• Sept. 12 vs. Cardinals: “Stars of the Queen City” Bobblehead TBA (three of three)
• Sept. 26 vs. Mets: 2015 Reds All-Star Player Bobblehead TBA

Family Sundays
• Enjoy family days at the ballpark with face painters, circus performers and more
• Giveaways for kids on every Sunday, including a series of Reds player posters
• Run the Bases Days for all fans on April 12, June 7 and Sept. 27
• Family ticket offer every Sunday

2015 Reds tickets ON SALE NOW:
• Season Ticket Plans: Want tickets to the 2015 MLB® ALL-STAR GAME® at Great American Ball Park? Guarantee your chance to buy ALL-STAR GAME® tickets by purchasing Reds half-season ticket plans and above starting at under $9 per seat.
• 13-Game Mini Plans: Three to choose from (13 Fridays, 13 Saturdays or 13 Sundays) and each plan includes one ticket to the 2015 T-Mobile All-Star FanFest®
• “Nasty Boys” Pick-6 Plan: Guarantee the new “Nasty Boys” triple bobblehead featuring 1990 relief pitchers Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers when you buy the Nasty Boys Pick-6 plan, presented by McDonald’s®. This six-game ticket plan includes the Sat., April 25 Reds vs. Cubs game (Nasty Boys bobblehead night), six free McDonald’s® Extra Value Meals® and five additional regular season home games of your choice, exclusions apply. Save up to 28% with this first ever Reds commemorative triple bobblehead.

Single game tickets are scheduled to go on sale Feb. 28.

The full 2015 promotional schedule can be found at

To purchase tickets visit or call 513-765-7500.


12/11, acquired from the Tigers RHP Jonathon Crawford and IF Eugenio Suarez in exchange for RHP Alfredo Simon; acquired from the Marlins RHP Anthony DeSclafani and C Chad Wallach in exchange for RHP Mat Latos; in the Class AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft selected from Class AA Binghamton the contract of C Camden Maron and from Class AA Birmingham the contract of RHP Euclides Leyer; in the Class AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the contract of RHP Tim Crabbe was selected from Class AA Pensacola by Reno and the contract of 1B Harold Riggins was selected from Pensacola by New Orleans.

Here’s the official release on the Reds/Marlins deal from yesterday…

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Send Latos to Marlins

SAN DIEGO – Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty today announced during the Winter Meetings the acquisitions of RHP Anthony DeSclafani and C Chad Wallach from the Miami Marlins in exchange for RHP Mat Latos.

DeSclafani, 24, originally was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth round of the June 2011 first-year player draft. In his Major League debut last season, he made 5 starts and 8 relief appearances for the Marlins but also went 6-7 with a 3.78 ERA in 19 starts and 1 relief appearance for Class AA Jacksonville and Class AAA New Orleans.

Wallach, 23, was the Marlins’ fifth-round pick in the 2013 first-year player draft. In 97 appearances last season for Class A Jupiter and Greensboro, where he was a mid-season South Atlantic League All-Star, he combined to hit .322 with 7 HR and 57 RBI. In his 2 professional seasons, Wallach has hit .293 with 7 HR and 70 RBI over 140 appearances.

Latos, 27, last season for the Reds went 5-5 with a 3.25 ERA in 16 starts around stints on the disabled list with right elbow and left knee injuries.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

SAN DIEGO – Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty today announced during the Winter Meetings the acquisitions of 2013 No. 1 draft pick RHP Jonathon Crawford and IF Eugenio Suarez from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for RHP Alfredo Simon.

“We are excited to be acquiring two players we think will have a positive impact on our organization for years to come,” Jocketty said.

Crawford, 23, was selected by Detroit with the 20th pick overall of the 2013 first-year player draft and was a mid-season All-Star in each of his first 2 professional seasons. In 31 career starts he has produced a 2.73 ERA while allowing just 108 hits and a .218 opponents’ batting average over 142.0 innings. In 2014, Crawford went 8-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 23 starts as a Midwest League All-Star for Class A West Michigan.

Suarez, 23, last season in his Major League debut made 85 appearances for the Tigers, including 81 games at shortstop and 2 at third base, and hit .242 with 4 HR and 23 RBI. He also hit .288 with 8 HR and 36 RBI in 54 minor league appearances for Class AA Erie and Class AAA Toledo. In 513 career minor league appearances, Suarez has hit .278 with 33 HR, 236 RBI and 68 stolen bases.

Simon, 33, went 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA in his first 18 starts of the season to earn a spot on his first All-Star team. He finished the season with a 15-10 record and 3.44 overall ERA in 32 starts.





It’s time to go home and I’m leaving San Diego, kicking and screaming but it’ll be nice to get back to my own bed and leather recliner.  I always enjoy the Winter Meetings and this year was no exception.  The PR Meetings that I attended everyday are an invaluable opportunity for a guy like me to use that time to learn from all of my fellow club colleagues.  Veteran PR men like Tim Mead of the Angels, Mike Swanson of the Royals, John Blake of the Rangers (just to name a few) provide years of experience that younger folks in this profession would be foolish not to use as a resource while we are all in the same room.  There are so many of my colleagues with other teams that I look up to and respect and hold in the highest regard, which makes it fun for me to see them all together once a year at the Winter Meetings.  Pat Courtney & Michael Teevan of MLB PR are also amazing and they do a fantastic job of moderating our daily gatherings.      

Not to bore you (BOR you?) but some of the highlights from the PR Meetings included hearing the potency and sincerity of Billy Bean and his views on how important “inclusion” is to this great game.  New commissioner Rob Manfred took time out of his busy schedule to speak to our group about a variety of things that are currently on the front-burner.  Former Major League Randy Winn is now the head of one of my most favorite groups - B.A.T., an organization that does so much to help so many people in baseball.  He spoke to us and gave us an update on what that group is doing.  Of course, the annual Manager Luncheon was a great time and gave Bryan Price an opportunity to engage our local Reds writers in a relaxed setting.  And I enjoyed the Reds Affiliate Reception this year, where I got to meet several folks from the Reds newest minor league organization in Daytona.




The only downside I can think of for being in San Diego this week was the fact that I had to miss Tuesday night Baseball Trivia at the Holy Grail Banks.  But not to fear (or yes, do fear), we’ll resume trivia this Tuesday (December 16).


Don’t forget, I have five New Era Winter Meetings caps to give away when I get home.  For details on that, click here —–> #ForMonica.



I rented a couple of movies for my flight home. It’ll probably come as no surprise that one of those movies is Follow Friday the Film (the other is a documentary on one of my all-time favorite entertainers, Bing Crosby).


Here’s the official Redsfest recap press release…

Seventy-eight current and former Reds
and more than 18,000 fans attend Redsfest

CINCINNATI (Dec. 9, 2014) — FOX Sports Ohio Redsfest presented by PNC Bank drew 18,133 fans to the Duke Energy Convention Center on Dec. 5 and 6.

“Redsfest continues to be the best team celebration in all of baseball,” said Phil Castellini, Reds Chief Operating Officer. “Our fans’ interaction with our 78 players, coaches and broadcasters filled all three levels of the Duke Energy Convention Center with all things Reds baseball and we couldn’t be happier with the experience.”

Highlights from 2014 Redsfest include:
• 78 current and former players, coaches, minor leaguers and broadcasters appeared including Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto, Todd Frazier, Billy Hamilton, Devin Mesoraco, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto.
• The local chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America named pitcher Johnny Cueto the winner of the Ernie Lombardi Award as the team’s Most Valuable Player and the Johnny Vander Meer Most Outstanding Pitcher Award.
• Catcher Brayan Peña received the BBWAA’s Joe Nuxhall Good Guy Award.
• Programming on the Redsfest Main Stage featured players taking part in Kids-Only Press Conferences, the Redsfest Cooking Show, Reds Family Feud and more.
• Local 12 WKRC TV reporter Adam Clements teamed with minor league pitcher Raisel Iglesias to win the Celebrity Wiffle Ball Home Run Contest.
• Brian Oberst of Newburgh, Ind. outlasted 630 poker players to win first place and the $11,000 top prize in the ninth annual Prestige Audio Visual & Creative Services Reds Community Fund Celebrity Poker Tournament presented by Ashlee Fence.

Photo galleries and video highlights from Redsfest can be found at

Proceeds from Redsfest benefit the Reds Community Fund and its baseball-themed outreach programs.

Redsfest 2015 is scheduled for Dec. 4 and 5 at the Duke Energy Convention Center.


Well, that’s all for now.  I’ll see you all back in the Queen City!

Expect good news,



Hello from beautiful San Diego, California USA!

For the past several years, I’ve been privileged to attend the MLB Winter Meetings as a member of the Reds Media Relations staff, and I must say, there’s no better place to have this event than here in “America’s Finest City.”

My colleagues and I arrived yesterday at Winter Meetings headquarters where representatives of all 30 Major League teams AND their minor league affiliates spend the week attending seminars, league meetings and organizational meetings.  There’s also a tremendous national and local media presence to cover this premier off-season event.  A baseball job fair and trade show accompanies the meetings, and there are many banquets, award luncheons and galas for team/league personnel to attend.

Last night, one of the Reds’ very own front office staffers was honored at the annual Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet.  Lois Hudson, Reds director of minor league administration, became the seventh annual recipient of the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award, presented to an individual with distinguished service who has been instrumental in player development.

Lois Walking To Stage

Lois gave a very touching speech after accepting an award named after her long-time boss and friend, the late Chief Bender.

Lois Speech

“Lois Hudson’s dedication, perseverance and work ethic have been vital to the success of the Cincinnati Reds’ player development department and has been throughout her 30-year career with the Reds,” said Walt Jocketty, President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds. “In fact, her tireless efforts transcend our entire organization.”

Lois  Plaque


My obligations this week include attending the daily Public Relations meetings, where my colleagues from all 30 teams (and MLB PR) discuss topics and issues that directly affect us as a PR/media relations “family.”

This year, we are missing a member of that family – Monica Barlow, 36, was the Orioles public relations director who succumbed to lung cancer in February.  To help honor her legacy, MLB PR staffers have created a unique auction to benefit LUNGevity, the country’s largest lung cancer advocacy group.

I was honored to join my MLB PR colleagues today on the Winter Meetings press conference stage to announce our support for Monica and LUNGevity and to introduce the auction.



Each manager of the 30 Major League teams has an obligation at the Winter Meetings to hold a one-time 30-minute press conference to discuss a variety of baseball topics, usually related specifically to his ball club.  Reds manager Bryan Price was the first up this afternoon.  You can read the full transcript of his session here>> BryanPriceWinterMeetings.



Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty is scheduled to meet with Cincinnati media each day of the Winter Meetings.  You can read about what Mr. Jocketty has to say on Mark Sheldon’s blog, Mark My Word.


In disappointing news today, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Golden Era Committee” failed to elect legendary general manager Bob Howsam as a 2015 Cooperstown inductee.  Excuse me for saying so (and not to overstate it), but the fact that Howsam will not officially be recognized as a most-deserving member of Baseball’s prestigious fraternity is nothing short of a travesty.


How would you like to win one of these…


Tweet me (@Jamieblog) a screen shot of your donation to LUNGevity using the hashtag #ForMonica and I’ll select a random winner each day this week (Monday-Friday).


Here’s a photo of this morning’s MLB PR breakfast….


Can we please have the Winter Meetings in San Diego every year?  Please and thank you.


That’s all for now! More in a bit.

Expect good news,


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