Archive for the ‘ The Burt Awards ’ Category


Sam LeCure, 2011 Burt Award winner for Best Hair, joined me on the phone today to accept his award and talk about some other stuff.  Click on the MP3 file below to listen

Click here —> LeCure

The web site that Sam and I talk about in the interview is  **Notice it’s not “.com” rather, “.co” 

Sam will be shaving off his moustache next week and beginning in the month of November, he will grow it out to raise money for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer.  Money goes to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LiveStrong  (Lance Armstrong foundation).  Be sure to log on to Sam’s site to help out. 


Zack Cozart, 2011 Burt Awards winner for Best Newbie and Great Red Hope for 2012 joined me today on the phone to accept his awards and to talk about other stuff.  Click on the MP3 file below to listen…

Click here –> Cozart


Mike Leake, 2011 Burt Award winner for Player Who Best Wears His Uniform joined me on the phone today to accept his award and to talk about other stuff.  Click on the MP3 file below to listen… 

Click here –> Leake


Jonny Gomes, the 2011 Burt Award winner for “Player You Best Not Mess With” joined me on the phone to accept his award and to talk about some other stuff.  Click on the MP3 file below to listen…

Click this —> Gomes 


The polls have closed and the votes have been counted.  It’s now time to announce the winners of the first ever Burt Awards! 

After a month of voting, fans made their choices in 25 Reds-themed categories, designed to recognize highlights of the 2011 season.  The “awards” are meant purely for entertainment purposes; good, clean, innocent fun – just how we like it here at Better Off Red

The most popular category was “Player You Best Not Mess With.” 

There were three categories that came down to the wire – the Best Hair category was won by three votes; Best Newbie triumphed by nine votes and Best In-Game Feature at Great American Ball Park took home the prize by seven votes.

So without further ado, let’s reveal the winners….


Best Player – Joey Votto (66%)


Best Pitcher – Johnny Cueto (74%)


Best Fielder – Brandon Phillips (89%)


Best Base Runner – Drew Stubbs (70%)


Super Sub – Miguel Cairo (62%) 


Player You Most Enjoy Watching – Brandon Phillips (54%)


Best Windup – Johnny Cueto (52%)


Best Swing – Joey Votto (59%)


Best Batting Stance – Joey Votto (52%)


Player You’d Most Like to Hang Out With – Brandon Phillips (52%)


Player You Best Not Mess With – Jonny Gomes (57%)


Best Hair – Sam LeCure (29%)


Grittiest Player – Ryan Hanigan (48%)


Player Who Best Wears His Uniform – Mike Leake (45%) 


Best Newbie – Zack Cozart (39%)


Off-the-Field MVP – Brandon Phillips (38%)


Best Announcer – “Mercury” Marty Brennaman (41%)


Best In-Game Feature at GABP – Kiss Cam (23%)


Great Red Hope for 2012 – Zack Cozart (39%)


Best Giveaway – Joey Votto MVP Bobblehead (26%)


Best Special Event – Redsfest (48%)


Best Mascot – Mr. Redlegs (46%)


Best Nickname – “The Cuban Missile” (33%)


Performance of the Year – Ramon Hernandez’s 3-run walkoff home run on Opening Day (43%)


Best Interview – Brandon Phillips (51%)


Thanks to all of you who voted and participated!  Maybe we can make this an annual tradition, whaddya say?

Oh and stay tuned to BOR, as Jonny Gomes joins me on the phone this afternoon to accept his Burt Award for “Player You Best Not Mess With.” 

Thanks again!

Expect good news,



From now until October, 27th, the hard-working staff at Better Off Red is spending a day on the blog showcasing each voting category for The Burt Awards.  These blog posts will prove to be erroneous and based on falsehoods and are intended for entertainment purposes only.  They are NOT to be taken too seriously.  Today’s showcase category is Best Swing.  To vote for The Burt Awards, click here , here  and here.  Winners will be announced at the first ever Burt Awards Ceremony on October 28th

You can swing away or check swing; cast a swing vote or swing from the rafters.  The Swingman once played here in Cincinnati, as did the King of Swing.  The movie Swingers still has dudes saying “Vegas baby!”  Swinging from your heels is not the same as a backswing.  Children prefer swing sets.  Adults prefer patio swings.  Swing low sweet chariot or swing for the fences.  Swing-and-a-miss!  Swing-and-a-drive!  Stay out of the swinging neck-breaker and watch for holes in your swing.  After working the swing shift, go out swing dancing.  Would you like to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar?  Or do you prefer swinging doors, a jukebox and a barstool?  The chair swing can be equally as fun as the tire swing, but be careful, you don’t want to over-swing.   

As you can see, there are all kinds of swing, but our favorite is the baseball swing – the attempt to hit a pitched ball with a wooden bat.

The five Reds players nominated for The Burt Awards in the “Best Swing” category are Yonder Alonso, Jay Bruce, Juan Francisco, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto.  Using unconventional analysis and unscientific substantiation, the experts at Better Off Red laboratories broke down each man’s swing.

Yonder Alonso.  The highly touted prospect and former #1 pick out of the “U” batted .330 and slugged .545 in his 47 games with the Reds in 2011.  The lefty swinging Alonso reminds us of a thermal power station.   The back-half of his batting stance is a nuclear reactor preparing to initiate a sustained explosive reaction.  The front-half of his stance serves as the steam turbine, designed to convert the heat from the back-half into mechanical energy.  Both halves eventually work together to generate a powerful, electric swing, capable of producing devastating results.

What swing is worthy of Alonso’s?  Better Off Red says –  “The Nuclear Swing” at Wunderland Theme Park in Germany.

To see Alonso really swing, click HERE

Jay Bruce:  The 24 year-old basher from Beaumont (TX) belted 32 homers and collected 97 RBI in his first All-Star season.   Like Alonso, Bruce swings from the south side.  But if Alonso is Three-Mile Island, Bruce is Kiawah Island – relaxed, easy and ready for a long 6-iron shot.  Bruce provides graceful, arching home runs that are contoured-for-comfort.  All edges are sanded smooth.  The expanded dowel construction of Bruce’s swing, along with the hidden barrel bolts provide extra strength, while his rust-resistant hardware stands up to the elements.

What swing is worthy of Trey Deuce’sBetter Off Red says“The Great American Classic Red Cedar Porch Swing”.

To see Bruce really swing, click HERE.


Juan Francisco: This Dominican dandy is arguably the most dangerous power hitter in the Reds organization.  In September, Francisco belted a 502-foot home run that cleared the moon-deck at Great American Ball Park, a feat never before accomplished.  With a wicked, robust swing, Francisco likes to take his cuts (4 walks in 97 plate appearances).  It’s often said that he doesn’t get cheated.  Francisco is a summertime treat, capable of lots of water landings.

What swing is worthy of Juan Francisco’s?  Better Off Red saysthe classic lake rope swing.

To see Francisco really swing, click HERE.


Brandon Phillips: Watching @DatDudeBP in the batter’s box can rejuvenate your peaceful lifestyle.  He’s stylish and radiant, accented with a youthful flare.  When the game is close and Phillips is at the plate, his swing is designed specifically to vanish your worries away and is guaranteed to lure out the care-free spirit of your inner child.  Always ready for delivery, Phillips’ hearty swing exhibits strength that will ensure years of resilient usage. He enjoys swinging for the fences at Great American Ball Park, but Phillips is just as fun indoors and popular with the kids and game rooms.

What swing is worthy of Brandon Phillips’?  Better Off Red says –  Le Jardin Wild Flower Hammock Chair Swing Set.

To see Phillips really swing, click HERE.   


Joey Votto: Mr. MVP’s swing is built with durable construction and rust-resistant mechanical equipment, ensuring years of enjoyment.  Votto is a prolific hitter, capable of towering home runs and line drive lasers.  He has a high strength-to-weight ratio, a stat often overlooked by the sabermetricians.  Durable and mobile, Votto’s swing is resistant to decay and water damage.  He will not shrink or warp and there are no dangerous chemical preservatives used in his pressure treated swing.

What swing is worthy of Joey Votto’s?  Better Off Red saysThe Rustic Natural Cedar Furniture Company® Cedar Log 5′ American Garden Swing.

To see Votto really swing, click HERE


In closing, I hope you all learned something.  If you did, it probably wasn’t from this blog post. 

However, when you sit down to vote  for The Burt Awards’ Best Swing, remember what you read here today.

Expect good news,



From now until October, 27th, the hard-working staff at Better Off Red is spending a day on the blog showcasing each voting category for The Burt Awards.  These blog posts will prove to be erroneous and based on falsehoods and are intended for entertainment purposes only.  They are NOT to be taken too seriously.  Today’s showcase category is Best Batting Stance.  To vote for The Burt Awards, click here, here and here .  Winners will be announced at the first ever Burt Awards Ceremony on October 28th

In the Fall of 1988, a 26 year-old outfielder from Jamaica named Rolando Roomes had just wrapped up his first baseball season as a big leaguer.  Spending a modest 17 games with the Chicago Cubs, the worrisome Roomes was uneasy about his future.  The Cubs had just installed lights at Wrigley Field and he knew his Major League salary would probably be used the following year to pay for the sky-rocketing electric bills.  The hand-writing was on the ivy-covered brick wall.  He was destined to spend his ninth year in the minor leagues.

Roomes wasn’t a young prospect anymore.  His chance at proving himself in the Major Leagues was fading fast.  He had to do something.  So on October 18, 1988, the former cricket player, unveiled something he had privately been working on for months.  He was calling it “Hitter’s Position at Home Plate.” 

In 1988, and all the years before, the art of hitting a baseball consisted of the batter using a bat like one would use a sledgehammer.  He would stand on top of home plate, with both shoulders facing the pitcher, holding the bat above his head.  The batter would then sit in a squatting position until the pitcher threw the baseball.  At that moment, the batter would leap out of his squatting position, yell out “SURPRISE,” and use the bat to swat down on the ball.  The entire process is very similar to how Gallagher smashes watermelons.

Needless to say, this trivial method of batting was not conducive to high scoring games or eye-popping statistics.  Prior to 1989, Ted Williams had owned the batting average record when, in 1975, he hit .046.  It was a pitchers game.  Christy Mathewson, playing for the Marlins in ‘88, went 134-2 with a 0.01 ERA and won the Cy Young Award.  Hitters had zero chance and no one at the time could figure out why…except Rolando Roomes.

Innovative, unorthodox and widely regarded as ridiculous, Roomes’ invention, “Hitter’s Position at Home Plate,” broke all traditional norms.  Borrowing from his friends on the cricket pitch, Roomes’ new method had the batter standing parallel to home plate (not on top of it), with his bat slightly above his strong shoulder and his feet and shoulders facing east (or west depending on your Garmin).  The squatting leap and yelling was omitted altogether because, well, that was just weird.  The batter would now swing the bat at a pitched ball in a fashion similar to chopping a tree.  

Experimenting with this style in the Dominican Winter League, Roomes hit .250 with 4 home runs.  He was in the process of turning the baseball world on its head.  Sure, it was freakish but “Hitter’s Position at Home Plate” worked.  Roomes was ready to bring it back to America…and Chicago.

Cubs’ owner Charles Comiskey was not impressed with Roomes’ new invention.  He felt that it would compromise the integrity of the sport, so he suspended Roomes and seven of his teammates for conspiring to ruin baseball.  This is now known as the infamous Black Sox Scandal.

Blackballed and out of a job, Roomes was not yet ready to give up.  He traveled to Cincinnati where folks were much more liberal about new inventions.  Roomes demonstrated his new batting method to Reds’ owner Pete Rose.  Rose thought “Hitter’s Invention at Home Plate” was brilliant, but needed a new name.  He signed Rolando Roomes with the condition that Roomes change the name to “batting stance.”  Roomes agreed.

With the Reds, Rolando Roomes and his “batting stance” were on their way to stardom.  In 1989, Roomes batted .263 with a whopping 7 home runs – modern day baseball records.  For his accomplishments, he won the Most Valuable Player Award, the Cy Young Award, an Emmy Award and the Nobel Peace Prize.

Seeing that he could never again have a season as historic as the one he enjoyed in 1989, Rolando Roomes retired in January of 1990.  He has since joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Bill James.  Today, he is a baseball statistician living happily in Boston.

When voting for The Burt Awards’ Best Batting Stance, please remember the story of Rolando Roomes.

Until next time,



From now until October, 27th, the hard-working staff at Better Off Red is spending a day on the blog showcasing each voting category for The Burt Awards.  These blog posts will prove to be erroneous and based on falsehoods.  They are intended for entertainment purposes only.  They are NOT to be taken too seriously.  Today’s showcase category is Grittiest Player.  To vote for The Burt Awards, click here, here  and here .  Winners will be announced at the first ever Burt Awards Ceremony on October 28th. 

One of the stories the common adult male likes to tell about his childhood, is how he used to spend summer days playing ball from early in the morning until the street lights came on.

Due to rabid dogs, high crime and Sony Playstation, kids don’t play outside anymore.  It’s just not safe, not to mention all that exercise could potentially jeopardize America’s title reign as World’s Heavyweight Champion. 

So here I am, speaking on behalf of the last generation of boys and girls who played ball outside in the summer for 12 straight hours, every day, uphill in 2 feet of snow, for 4 miles with no shoes on. 

We slid, we fought, we put a little dirt on it and mostly – we had fun.  We played for “the love of it,” the “way the game was meant to be played.”  When those days came to an end and it was time for me to go home and clean up, I was so dirty that I used to have to sneak up on my bath water.  I would lose three pounds after every bath.  I was part of the Grittiest Generation.

Another story that the common adult male likes to tell is the one about how big league players “now-a-days” are wimps, don’t hustle, go through the motions and only care about money.  I can list five examples to dispel that myth.  All five happen to be nominees for The Burt Awards’ Grittiest Player.

Miguel Cairo, the 2011 recipient of the Reds Heart and Hustle Award plays baseball like a Johnny Cash song.  With gravel in his gut and spit in his eye, he’s been invaluable to the club for his ability, versatility and blue-collar approach to the game.  He can fill in for a week or two at a time as a “temporary regular” or he can come off the bench at a moment’s notice and tie the game with a pinch-hit RBI-double.  I like Cairo because he’s one of the few players on the roster who’s older than I am.  At 37, he’s also one of the most physically fit; evidence that he has to work harder than most to continue maintaining his success.  What’s most impressive about Cairo is that before home games, he hooks himself up to the front of his semi-truck and drags the 18-wheeler to work.

Every morning, Ryan Hanigan wakes up and eats a bowl of broken glass for breakfast.  Playing the sport’s most grueling position, the Reds catcher makes the film A History of Violence look like a comedy.  Quiet and smart, rugged and focused, Hanigan is one of the most intense players on the team.  Pitchers like throwing to him because of the way he sets up behind the plate, his knack for throwing out would-be-base stealers and his ability to “call a good game.”   Hanigan is usually so dirty after nine innings that he could make Right Guard turn left, Secret tell all and Speed Stick to slow down.

Chris Heisey spends his off-seasons rolling around in dirt, sliding head-first across verdant fields and working construction.  Last year he built four blocks of new houses by himself, using nothing but a stone and his teeth.  Heisey’s regular job is baseball and he’s pretty good at it.  The Reds outfielder this season belted nearly 20 home runs in fewer than 300 at-bats and led the league in grass stains.  A favorite among Reds fans on Twitter, Heisey is one of those guys who “leaves it all on the field” – including broken bones and body parts.

Fact:  Mike Leake is indeed tougher than a two-dollar steak.  Don’t mistake his California surfer disposition for softness.  Leake would just as soon walk across a burning bed of hot lava than lose a baseball game.  What he lacks in size, he makes up for in poise and tenacity.  Leake endured adversity on and off the field in 2011, but eventually found solid ground and finished with an impressive 12-9 record and a 3.86 ERA in 29 appearances.  He also spent his days off playing professional rugby in the middle of Interstate 75 without pads or a helmet.            

How many times has Dontrelle Willis had to pick himself up, dust himself off, climb back on the mound and pitch like it’s his last big league game?  That’s got to be a bit unsettling for a guy who was once considered one of the best in the biz.  But that’s what Willis is doing.  For a guy who burst upon the scene and immediately enjoyed a high-level of success, he now relies more on heart than a blazing fastball.  And when you watch him pitch, you can tell the guy’s heart wears a size XXL.  D-Train is a shark with a conscience.  He’s constantly moving on the mound, yelling encouragement to his catcher, umpires and the players behind him…all the while hanging on every pitch.  Did I mention the dude can hit?  Once during batting practice, I witnessed Willis put 3 baseballs in the bed of the Toyota Tundra that sits above Great American Ball Park…and that was before he parallel parked it there.

So there you have it – five examples that grit still exists in baseball and on this Reds team.  I hope this helps when you vote for The Burt Awards’ Grittiest Player. 

So long,




From now until October, 27th, the hard-working staff at Better Off Red is spending a day on the blog showcasing each voting category for The Burt AwardsThese blog posts will prove to be erroneous and based on falsehoods and are intended for entertainment purposes onlyThey are NOT to be taken seriously.  Today’s showcase category is Best Hair.  To vote for The Burt Awards, click here, here  and here.  Winners will be announced at the first ever Burt Awards Ceremony on October 28th

Before the Wright Brothers invented coach air travel, they piloted the 1869 Red Stockings into the unchartered skies of professional “base ball”.  Ever since, Cincinnati has been the epicenter for America’s Pastime and a hub for Delta Airlines.  What the Wrights also brought to Cincinnati and specifically to the fields on which they played (besides Small Pox, muskets and fist-fighting), were the first professional “base ball” hairstyles. 

One of the Wright brothers was named “Harry”, so he naturally took great pride in maintaining and revolutionizing his coiffure.  “Handsome” and “pretty” hadn’t yet been invented in the late 1800s, so Harry, like his contemporaries, had to make do with what was available –  specifically, hair.

Where George was a better base ball player, Harry was a better beautician.  It was a perfect fit for the Red Stockings.  The men came to Union Grounds to watch George’s hitting and fielding talents while women showed up to see Harry’s seductive whiskers.  Attendance boomed. 

It all came crashing down on the Wrights in 1871.  George underwent Tommy John Surgery and Harry invented and donned the controversial “corn rows” hair-style.  What once was a team of talent and beauty had become damaged with split ends. 

The Wrights were booed out of Cincinnati and headed north to Dayton where they, along with their friend Patt, had an Air Force base named for them. 

Soon after, George Anderson took over the Reds and implemented changes to the ball club’s hair policy (or lack thereof).  What was once bouffants and beehives became close and cropped.  Even men and women in the Reds front office were asked to shave their beards and moustaches and to wear their hair in a “flat-top” style.  Anderson wanted the club to look utopian.  That is, until he saw the musical Hairspray.

Hairspray took a super firm hold on Anderson, inspiring him to change his name to “Sparky” and move away to Michigan to become a tiger trainer.  Marge Schott, Anderson’s pitching coach in the 70s, took over the Reds and immediately liberated the strict team hair policy.

To honor the newly relaxed hair rules, Reds players such as Pete Rose, Ron Oester, Ron Robinson and Dmitri Young celebrated in style.

Today, Reds players Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto and Sam LeCure are at the forefront of baseball hair fashion in the Queen City.  Arroyo with his long wavy blonde locks, Cueto with his terrifying dreadlocks and LeCure with his innovative moustache are all changing the way players wash, rinse and repeat. 

Even mascot Rosie Red has done wonders in creating a beautiful hairstyle for women with over-sized baseball heads.  And speaking of over-sized heads, Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman has been a fixture in the Reds organization with one of science’s truly remarkable “quiff” cuts.  It helps that Brennaman has his hair cut and styled by NASA. 

So when casting your votes this month in The Burt Awards’ Best Hair category, keep all of this in mind.  Make Harry Wright proud.  Thank you.



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