SOMETHING TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON
Players with a .300+ batting average, 150+ walks and 30+ home runs in a season: RUTH, BONDS, WILLIAMS. Votto needs 1 homer and 13 walks.
— Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog) September 24, 2015
Votto could go hitless in his next 23 at-bats and still have a .300 batting average. #Reds
— Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog) September 24, 2015
From my pal @Bongreatness…
Prior to the singing of our National Anthem tonight, we will pause for a Moment of Remembrance, in honor of baseball legend Yogi Berra.
Tonight is our fourth and final Bark in the Park night of the 2015 season, presented by Iams & Kroger. Over 300 dogs and their owners will be joining us at tonight’s game for festivities in the Kroger Fan Zone as well as a pregame parade around the warning track.
During pregame ceremonies tonight we will honor JJ Hoover, the Reds team nominee for the 2015 Roberto Clemente Award.
Also during pregame ceremonies tonight we will present Phillip Holloman, Cintas Corporation President & COO, with a Reds Community Advocate Award, presented by TriHealth.
If a Reds player hits a home run that lands anywhere between the rightfield foul pole and the edge of the Sun/Moon Deck seats (Section 146) during tonight’s game then Rafael Gonzalez of Florence, KY, will win a brand new Toyota Tundra.
In last night’s 2-1 loss at St. Louis, LHP John Lamb held the Cardinals scoreless for 6 innings, scattering 5 hits with 1 walk and 6 strikeouts. It was Lamb’s second quality start of the season for Cincinnati and his best outing as a Red.
Lamb, 25, was acquired by the Reds on July 26 along with LHP Brandon Finnegan and LHP Cody Reed in the trade that sent Johnny Cueto to Kansas City. All three of the pitchers the Reds received figure to fill prominent roles with the club. It should also be noted that all three are lefties and that the NL Central this season is batting .241 against lefthanders compared to .256 against righties.
Lamb went 9-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 17 starts for Triple-A Omaha prior to the trade with Kansas City.
On his road to becoming one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, Lamb has suffered his fair share of setbacks. He missed his entire senior season of high school ball after fracturing his left elbow in a car accident. Then, in 2011, he underwent “Tommy John” surgery which forced him to essentially start his career from scratch.
After watching Lamb’s performance last night against the 94-win Cardinals, one cannot help but be proud of the young California native; proud of how far he’s come and proud of how hard he’s had to work (and grow) to get here.
Recently, Better Off Red was lucky enough to interview John Lamb. It wasn’t the standard, run-of-the-mill Q&A, as you’ll see. John is a deep-thinker with lots of things on his mind. He’s worldly and kind, funny and focused. After reading his words below, you’re going to find John Lamb very easy to root for…and you might even find yourself becoming a better person!
Here’s John Lamb in his own words…
My great grandmother’s 1968 Chrysler New Yorker. It’s been passed down and is still in the family. I’m trying to get that thing back out on the road. It’s at home in our garage in Laguna Hills.
Operating the heat press for screen printing clothes. I forget the name of the company but the owner was awesome and it was a fun place to work.
I’m close with my dad but baseball has really brought us closer together. We never really butted heads and because we were so absorbed with each other, I got tired of always hearing his opinion (on baseball, coaching). I learned to push my ego aside and let Dad be Dad. Our relationship is great.
He raised me to do the right thing and to always do my best.
I have two half-brothers and two half-sisters.
Free time on the road
I enjoy people watching. I like to go for walks, even walking through shopping malls. I use that time to restore and to think.
Whenever I choose to do something, I want it to be constructive.
I’m shy until people get to know me and then I’ll open up – as much as I’ll allow. I like smiling, I like being happy.
I’ve learned to treat people the way you want to be treated. I don’t want to walk through this world ignoring someone. Just saying hello to someone could go a long way. I’m just as lost or confused at times as anyone.
Reflecting on Tommy John Surgery
The reason I was where I was had to do with either the work I put in or the lack of work I put in.
It’s a game
The people who evaluate us as players – however they choose to associate the words with the meanings – at the end of the day, I’m just playing a game.
Find your genius
My dad always told me and my teammates to ‘find your genius.’ He’d tell some kids ‘if you’re not finding joy out of this (baseball), maybe find something else to do. Maybe pick up an instrument.’ Find your genius. That’s the best advice I’ve ever received.
Our family is blunt.
I personally don’t have much fear of people knowing what I’m going through because it’s temporary.
Growing as a man
This world is going to teach me and mold me into whoever I’m supposed to be. I try really not think about myself, rather, to think about the people around me. That’s what is so hard about the game. You’re so glorified by everyone – family, friends, media, fans.
Target on his back
Four years ago I would’ve been more sensitive to criticism but now I understand what my dad was trying to teach me a long time ago – I have a target on my back and it’s only going to get bigger. That target doesn’t mean there are people trying to bring me down but I have to be ready for what’s to come. I’m not afraid of negative opinions but I do want to change them. When I do hear someone say something judgmental, I realize I only have so much control. I just do the best I can.
I personally don’t want any recognition. That’s what’s hard about this job. I want to have a positive impact on people around me at all times. But I’m so blind on how to do it.
Everything is so delicate. We’re all so delicate in our own ways and we don’t know everything about each other.
What does John Lamb want?
That’s a hell of a question.
Music he listens to
Anything that I can get something out of.
Life and Baseball
It’s a weird game. Life’s weird.
TV and using your imagination
The things on TV that seem to be fake, I like to see how I can apply them in real life. I believe things. I’m entertained by the idea (of things like Bigfoot, life on other planets, etc.). Why not?
I really love this game. I realized this past offseason that I have something to offer to the game, so (I) don’t run from it.
Coaching kids back home in California
When I head home this winter, I know there’s a group of kids that I’ve impacted who I’m looking forward to being around again. I’m excited to be a part of the community and sharing something that has been passed to me from my dad.
Who he is as a player
I’m a combination of who I’ve been coached by, who I’ve watched on TV and who I played with.
From day one I’ve been welcomed with open arms. From the staff to the coaches…anybody and everybody who has a Cincinnati ‘C’ on their chest. When I walk out into the city, it’s quite alarming to me and not in a bad way. There’s been nothing but love come my way. People are thanking me for being here and I laugh and say ‘no I’m just grateful to be here; thank YOU for the support.’ It’s people like them – people acknowledging each other that keep me going.
Congratulations to Bryan V., who was randomly chosen as last week’s Better Off Red contest winner! Bryan thinks the Royals will battle the Pirates in the World Series.
Since Bryan won the contest, that means you didn’t. But don’t worry. I’m going to give you another chance to receive a cool prize from Better Off Red Headquarters:
In the Comments Section of this blog post, tell me which individual Reds opponent you most enjoy watching.
I’ll approve and publish one random winning comment and contact that person via email.
While the Reds were visiting Milwaukee over the weekend, LHP Brandon Finnegan earned the victory in his first Major League start. Here’s an interesting tid-bit from Elias Sports Bureau on that feat…
It’s an annual tradition – Cincinnati rookies dressing up in hilarious costumes on one of the final road trips of the year. It seems that this current Reds roadie was designated for such hijinks in the form of a wedding party! Here are some various photos that are popping up on social media from various members of the Reds traveling party…
Here’s the bride and a bridesmaid pic.twitter.com/pmk71IpRX6
— Jim Day (@JimDayTV) September 20, 2015
This bridesmaid needs a shave! pic.twitter.com/ddUB6adWwd
— Jim Day (@JimDayTV) September 20, 2015
A few things to keep your eye on when the Reds take on the Cardinals tonight in St. Louis…
From STATS: Jay Bruce homered twice yesterday and now has 61 extra-base hits on the season. Since 2011, Bruce is one of six MLB players with at least 60 extra-base hits in four or more seasons (McCutchen, M.Cabrera, Encarnacion, Ortiz, Trout).
Joey Votto has reached base safely in 37 consecutive games. It’s the second-longest current streak in the Majors (Joe Mauer, 40).
The Reds are 32-35 and scoring an average of 4.31 runs per game this season vs the very tough National League Central.
Want a new truck?
If a Reds player hits a home run into the Sun Deck/Moon Deck seats in right field during the New York Mets (Sept. 24-27) and Chicago Cubs (Sept. 29 & 30) games at Great American Ball Park, one pre-registered fan will win a new Tundra.
Now through Sept. 23, fans can register at any of the six Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Toyota dealers to be eligible to win:
– Kings Toyota in Cincinnati
– Joseph Toyota of Cincinnati
– Beechmont Toyota in Cincinnati
– Performance Toyota in Fairfield
– Kerry Toyota in Florence, Ky.
– Dry Ridge Toyota in Dry Ridge, Ky.
It’s with a heavy heart to write about the passing of Tim McKinney. Tim was a co-host of the popular weekly Redlegs Radio Report on ESPN 102.7 FM/ 1450 AM in Bowling Green, KY. A loyal Reds fan, Tim was always so kind to me when I’d appear as a guest on the radio show or when I’d see him at the ballpark or on the Caravan stop in Bowling Green. He fought through 7 separate battles with cancer and recently showed levity when he joked, “Six wins and one loss is still a hell of a record for a starting pitcher.”
On behalf of everyone here at Great American Ball Park and Better Off Red, condolences to Tim’s friends and family, fans and co-workers.
That’s all for now. More in a bit!
Expect good news,
It’s been a frenetic two years for Reds lefty Brandon Finnegan. Acquired by the Reds in the July 26 trade that sent Johnny Cueto to Kansas City, Finnegan’s still trying to catch his breath from 2014 when he became the first player to ever participate in both the College World Series and Major League World Series in the same year.
Better Off Red recently took a moment to get to know one of the newest Reds. Here’s Brandon Finnegan in his words…
First car: 2004 Chevy Tahoe w/ 20” rims. My dad bought it for me during my sophomore year of high school.
Sports: In addition to baseball, I also played football and basketball until I started to throw hard and I decided to stick to baseball. We (my brother and I) won a lot of trophies growing up.
Favorite Players: Pudge (Rodriguez), A-Rod; Barry Bonds was my favorite. I also liked David Ortiz, Josh Hamilton and Aroldis Chapman.
Hobbies: I collect shoes. Being around Jeremy Guthrie in Kansas City; he got me into the shoe game. I collect all kinds but mainly Jordans.
Jobs: I was a valet during my freshman year at TCU. Before baseball started, I parked cars at the Omni Hotel. I didn’t have to learn how to drive a manual transmission, though.
When he first “knew”: I threw hard in Little League. I knew I had the tools because I could hit, too. Going into my sophomore year of high school is when I first hit 90mph, so I knew I had something special going on.
Halloween costumes: I dress up as Superman a lot. Also a vampire and a Ninja Turtle.
Memorable birthday parties: My brother and I always celebrated our birthdays at a roller rink or bowling alley. All of the same friends always came. It was fun. Now we get together with friends and family for dinner.
Favorite non-baseball trip: I went to Jamaica when I was in high school. I also took a cruise in Mexico.
Music: I like country music and hip-hop. My first concert was Leann Rimes, Brooks & Dunn and Kenny Chesney all on one card in an outdoor concert.
Pets: My parents have my two dogs – Gizmo and Dixie. Gizmo is a Shih Tzu/Pomeranian mix and looks like Gizmo from Gremlins. Dixie is a Chihuahua/Greyhound mix. I was driving home one night and she ran out in front of me, so after I stopped and opened the door she jumped in my car with me. So, I took her home.
Superstition: When I start, I wear the same socks and under shirt; laundered of course. I have a very specific routine.
Siblings: I have a brother (Jonathan) who is 2 years older than me. He’s a real estate agent (and also played baseball at Western Texas College).
Role model: My dad (Gary). He was also a left-handed pitcher (at TCU).
Best gift received: When I was younger my cousin and I both got mini pocket bikes.
Best gift given: I sent my parents to Maui this past offseason.
Charities: Stand Up 2 Cancer. At TCU my teammates and I took a boy named Micah under our wing. He suffers from Neuroblastoma. I got really close with him and his family, so Stand Up 2 Cancer is a really big thing to me and my friends.
Best advice received: Control what you can control.
Career difficulties: The trade was the hardest thing I’ve had to go through so far. Some of the Kansas City players are still some of my closest friends.
Coming to Cincinnati: The Reds organization has been awesome. It took me a couple of days to realize that I have a better opportunity with Cincinnati. I spoke to Barry Larkin and Eric Davis in Louisville when I first came over and they helped me settle in.
Goals: I want to start. I want to prove I can be a successful starter. Doubters fuel me. People always told me I’m too short or not fast enough and I want to prove them wrong.
Brandon Phillips: I’ve always been a huge fan of Brandon Phillips. I like the way he plays because he always seems to be having a blast.
Other Reds: I love Fraz (Todd Frazier) and Votto . I think they’re both unbelievable players. And of course, one of my favorite pitchers is Aroldis Chapman.
Playing in both the College World Series and MLB World Series in same year: It was just baseball. I never thought of it as anything more than that. In College it was different because that was something I had been working towards with all of those guys (TCU teammates) for three years. It was a crazy whirlwind that hasn’t hit me yet. It was awesome and a lot of fun.
What he’d do if he wasn’t a baseball player: If I didn’t play baseball I might work in my dad’s roofing business.
The Tri-County Mall Brandon Phillips Bowling Bash took place Saturday night at the Super Bowl in Erlanger, KY. Over 300 fans along with Brandon and all his teammates and coaches were there to bowl to raise money for the Reds Community Fund.
Guests got their photo taken with Brandon and got to meet many of the Reds players and coaches.
All the proceeds from the event benefit the baseball and softball outreach programs of the Reds Community Fund.
From my pal @Bongreatness…
Today is “Art Museum Day” at the ballpark.
During the middle of the 7th inning break today we will be joined by The Mistics, who will lead us in the singing of God Bless America (author’s note: The Mistics played at John Fay’s wedding).
Following the conclusion of today’s game members of the Reds Heads kids club will have an exclusive opportunity to Run the Bases of Great American Ball Park. Today’s Run the Bases opportunity is only open to Reds Heads members, including those who sign up at today’s game.
The Reds today finished off last night’s game with a 4-2 win over the Cardinals. Adam Duvall belted a 2-run, eighth-inning homer to win it for the home team.
Today’s regularly-scheduled game will start at 1:30 PM.
Here’s the Reds lineup:
Hamilton – CF
Schumaker – LF
Votto – 1B
Phillips – 2B
Bruce – RF
Frazier – 3B
Suarez – SS
Barnhart – C
DeSclafani – P
From my pal @Bongreatness…
We will resume last night’s suspended game at 12:30PM. The game time for the regularly scheduled game will be announced shortly after the conclusion of the suspended game, but will not start prior to 1:05PM. Our National Anthem will be sung prior to the resumption of the suspended game and is scheduled for 12:22PM.
All fans in attendance today will receive a Pete Rose “Stars of the Queen City” bobblehead, courtesy of Queen City Sausage. In order to accommodate the large crowd expected at today’s game gates for Season Ticket Members will open at 11AM and gates for all fans will open at 11:25AM. However, those times may be adjusted in accordance with Cincinnati Fire Code should the crowd size outside the gates dictate it so.
During ceremonies that will take place between the completion of the suspended game and start of the regularly scheduled game we will honor Pete Rose who will receive a proclamation from Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann declaring Saturday, September 12th, 2015 as “Pete Rose Day” in the City of Cincinnati. Pete will also receive the “Key to the City” from the Vice Mayor.
Please note that due to the USS LST 325 docked at the Public Landing, there will be no “boomer” fireworks for today or tomorrow’s game for any Reds home run or win. We will still shoot fireworks from the PNC Power Stacks each day.
Fans holding tickets for last night’s game (Friday) can exchange those tickets at face value for any remaining 2015 Cincinnati Reds regular season home game (excluding today’s sold out game), subject to availability. Ticket exchanges are available at Great American Ball Park in advance of game day only.
Fans holding premium tickets can exchange those tickets for non-premium tickets for any remaining 2015 Cincinnati Reds regular season home game (excluding today’s sold out game), subject to availability.
The Reds’ 23 rain delays have totaled 30 hours, 25 minutes and led to 5 postponents (4/25 vs Cubs, 5/8 at WSox, 6/18 vs Det, 7/8 at Wsh, 9/4 vs Mil) and 2 suspended games (6/27 at NYM, completed 6/28; 9/11 vs StL)…the 24 hours, 26 minutes in 17 weather delays at Great American Ball Park is the highest total at home since the Reds started tracking weather delays in 1978.
Friday’s game vs. the Cardinals has been suspended due to rain. It will be resumed Saturday at 12:30 pm.
Saturday’s regularly scheduled game will begin approximately 40 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game.
Tickets for Friday’s suspended game are NOT valid for EITHER game being played at the ballpark on Saturday. However, the Reds are offering fans the opportunity to exchange their tickets for one of the other remaining home games this season.
More details forthcoming from the Reds Ticket Office.
Michael Lorenzen tonight will make the 42nd consecutive start by a Reds rookie pitcher, breaking the modern Major League record set by the 1902 Cardinals.
From my pal @Bongreatness…
Tonight is the 12th Fireworks Friday of the 2015 season, presented by Koorsen Fire & Security. Tonight’s postgame fireworks show, featuring Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks set to an All-American soundtrack, will begin approximately 15 minutes after the conclusion of tonight’s game. Prior to the start of the fireworks show we will welcome crew members of the USS LST 325. The amphibious shipping vessel which saw action on Omaha beach during D-Day will be docked in Cincinnati at the Public Landing from 9/12 through 9/16, offering tours to the public each day from 9am-5pm. 18 of the 20 crew members of the ship are veterans of the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard & Army, including two veterans of World War II.
During pregame ceremonies tonight we will honor America and the memories of those lost in the 9/11 attacks as well as Police & Fire Appreciation Night with a series of activities including a performance by the Emerald Society bagpipers and ceremonial first pitches by representatives of the Cincinnati Police Department, Cincinnati Fire Department and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to the singing of our National Anthem, performed tonight by the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus, we will unfurl a giant American flag in the outfield grass and observe a Moment of Silence. The giant flag today will be held by Reds Season Ticket Members and their families.
Please note that tonight’s National Anthem is scheduled a little earlier than normal, at 6:56PM.
During the middle of the 7th inning break tonight we will be joined by McKenna Medley who will lead us in the singing of God Bless America.