BETTER OFF RED PODCAST EPISODE 106: DANNY GRAVES

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This week’s guest on the Better Off Red Podcast is Cincinnati Reds all-time saves leader Danny Graves (@dgravy32)!

Danny tells us about the media work he’s doing these days, his thoughts on the current state of the game and we reminisce about the days when he was closing out games for the Reds.

Music on this week’s show is provided by the talented singer-songwriter Jonathan Tyler. Check out his album “Holy Smokes” now available on iTunes.

To listen to this week’s episode of the BOR Podcast, CLICK HERE.

#REDS TRANSACTIONS

TODAY

The Reds will not tender contracts to OF Ryan LaMarre, RHP Ryan Mattheus or RHP Pedro Villarreal.

The club will tender contracts for 2016 to LHP Aroldis Chapman, SS Zack Cozart and RHP J.J. Hoover, all eligible for arbitration.

The roste is now at 35 players.

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YESTERDAY

The Reds have signed to minor league contracts and invited to 2016 Major League spring training camp RHP Tim Melville, RHP Dayan Diaz, RHP J.C. Ramirez and 1B/OF Brandon Allen.

#REDS GENERAL MANAGER DICK WILLIAMS TO APPEAR ON TONIGHT’S HOT STOVE SHOW

It’s Tuesday, which means another dose of the Reds Hot Stove League radio show followed by Better Off Red Baseball Trivia at the Holy Grail Banks beginning at 6pm!

Reds General Manager Dick Williams will join host Jim Kelch for the first half of tonight’s Hot Stove Show, then Reds Senior Vice President of Business Relations Karen Forgus will stop by to chat with Jim about Redsfest.

Immediately following the Hot Stove program, join me for another round of Better Off Red Baseball Trivia!  Test your baseball knowledge and win fabulous prizes as we spend another fun Tuesday night getting our summertime fix.

It all starts tonight at 6pm.  See ya then!

Jamie

SIGN UP NOW FOR #REDS HOLIDAY BASEBALL CAMP – DECEMBER 28-30

High school baseball players can sign up now for the official Reds Holiday Baseball Camp on Monday, Dec. 28 – Wednesday, Dec. 30 at the P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy in Roselawn.

This three-day camp is designed to get high school players prepared for winter tryouts and the spring season.

The elite staff from the Reds Baseball Camps will lead the campers in:
• Extensive hitting instruction and batting practice in the Urban Youth Academy’s indoor batting cages
• Defense and fielding drills on the full-size indoor infield
• Breakout sessions for pitchers and catchers
• Mock tryouts
• All players will receive a written evaluation at the end of camp

Reds Holiday Baseball Camp details:
• Campers must be high school baseball players in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
• Camp runs Monday, Dec. 28 – Wednesday, Dec. 30 (9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day)
• Location: P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy (2026 Seymour Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45237)
• Cost: $175 (includes workout shirt)

The camp is limited to 50 players. Please register today at http://www.reds.com/HSCamp.

P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy
2026 E. Seymour Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45237
(513) 765-5000
http://www.Reds.com/Academy
RedsUrbanYouthAcademy@reds.com
Academy hours: 3 to 9 p.m. (closed Friday)
Office hours: 8:30 am to 5:30 p.m. (closed Friday)

The Urban Youth Academy is also available for daytime rental (until 3 p.m.) to host corporate or private events. Please contact Charley Frank at (513) 765-7231 for rental information.

#REDSFEST HIGHLIGHTS • DECEMBER 4-5, 2015

More than 80 current and former Reds players, coaches & broadcasters scheduled to appear

FOX Sports Ohio Redsfest presented by PNC Bank at The Duke Energy Convention Center
• Friday, Dec. 4 from 3 to 10:30 p.m. (Team introductions with current and former Reds players on the main stage at 5:30 p.m.)
• Saturday, Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Tickets available at reds.com, (513) 381-REDS, the GABP box office, select Kroger stores with Ticketmaster retail outlets and Redsfest starting Friday at 9 a.m. and Saturday at 7 a.m.
• 2-day tickets are $25 for adults; $12 for kids (12 and younger)
• 1-day tickets are $17 for adults; $7 for kids
• Children three and under are admitted free

With each two-day Redsfest admission purchased, fans will receive two free tickets to the Reds vs. Pirates game on Sunday, April 10. Fans purchasing a one-day Redsfest admission will receive one free ticket to the April 10 game.

The first 11,000 at Redsfest each day will receive a free Reds drawstring bag and a Mr. Redlegs knit cap.

Redsfest has grown to more than 300,000 square feet of activities including autograph and photo booths with current and former Reds players, interactive games for fans of all ages, game-used and authentic memorabilia and much more.

Current and Former Players at Redsfest
• More than 80 current players and coaches, minor leaguers and broadcasters are scheduled to attend including Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Billy Hamilton, Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart and Bryan Price. Many Reds Hall of Famers and alumni are scheduled including new additions Lou Piniella, Corky Miller, Dmitri Young and Greg Vaughn. The updated list of scheduled attendees is available at reds.com/Redsfest.

Autograph and Photo Sessions
• More than 100 player autograph sessions and player photograph sessions are free of charge with a Redsfest general admission ticket. There are three types of autograph sessions at Redsfest: General Public, Season Ticket Members Only and Kids Only. Specific times for player appearances will be announced 30 minutes prior to the autograph and photo sessions on the info screens on the Redsfest floor and on the Reds official Twitter account @Reds. Fans can also receive these via text alerts by texting REDSFEST to 66128. (Standard message and data rates apply.)

Fun for Kids
• The Reds Heads Fun Zone presented by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on the third floor features more than 20,000 square feet of activities for kids including a bounce house, trampoline, kids story times, photos with Santa Claus and much more.
• Reds mascots Gapper, Mr. Redlegs, Rosie Red and Mr. Red will have designated rooms on the second floor where kids can come throughout Redsfest to have a photo taken with their favorite mascot. Each room will have a unique theme.

Redsfest Main Stage
• See players, coaches and broadcasters “live on stage” all weekend long on the PNC Bank Main Stage. Join us on Friday night for a special introduction of the Reds team past & present (5:30 p.m.) and don’t miss unique interviews, game shows, cooking demonstrations and more all weekend long. (See schedule highlights below)

Reds Connect Zone & Reds on Radio Affiliates
• Free Wi-Fi and phone charging stations in the Reds Connect Zone, a social media area on the main floor where Reds players and bloggers will make appearances and fans can watch live broadcasts from Reds on Radio network affiliates.

2016 Reds Tickets
• Season Ticket Memberships: Guarantee Opening Day tickets and choose the exclusive perks and benefits you enjoy the most. Season Ticket Memberships start with a 20 game package.
• Reds Holiday Gift Pack: The new Reds Holiday Gift Pack includes four ticket credits that can be used for any combination of 2016 regular season games (excluding Opening Day) plus a limited edition Reds nutcracker! Prices start as low as $40.
• Pick-6 Plan: Get your own full-size Joey Votto Louisville Slugger bat when you purchase the 2016 Reds Pick-6 Plan presented by McDonald’s®. Fans can pick any six regular season home games (excluding Opening Day) and also receive six free McDonald’s® Extra Value Meals®:
• Bark In The Park: Tickets will be available for the four Bark In The Park games presented by Iams and Kroger for 2016: May 3, June 9, Aug. 24 and Sept. 13.

Reds Fan Club Memberships
• The Reds Heads Kids Club is the official fan club for Reds fans ages 3-12. The 2016 kit includes a gym bag, Reds sport performance shirt, exclusive merchandise plus members-only ballpark experiences like player autograph sessions. Membership is only $30.
• Reds Rookies, the official baby club of the Reds, is drafting members up to three years old. Members receive a hooded towel, Gapper plush cuddle-up, picture frame, diaper bag tag plus a voucher for free Reds tickets. Membership is only $20.
• Club Red is an exclusive club for Reds fans between the ages of 13-17. Members receive four Reds tickets, a club t-shirt, drawstring bag, $10 ballpark gift card, and a portable wireless Bluetooth speaker! During the season members will also have the chance to attend pregame parties, meet and greets with players/celebrities and the chance to win exclusive event tickets. Membership is only $30.

Majestic Team Shop & Reds Authentics
• Stop by the Majestic Reds merchandise booth for all the newest official Reds apparel. Fans can also purchase authenticated, game used and autographed memorabilia from all of your favorite current Reds players from Reds Authentics. From baseball cards and photos to hard-to-find collectibles, there’s a piece of memorabilia for every Reds fan.

Main Stage Highlights (full two-day schedule on reds.com/Redsfest; schedule subject to change)
Friday:
• 4:35 p.m. – Harlem Globetrotters exhibition
• 5:30 p.m. – Introduction of the Reds players past and present
• 6:30 p.m. – Kids Only Press Conference, presented by Kroger
• 7:10 p.m. – Hot Stove Report, presented by FOX Sports Ohio featuring Walt Jocketty & GM Dick Williams
• 8:05 p.m. – 2015 Team Awards
• 8:35 p.m. – Redsfest Cooking Show featuring “Chopped” champion and GABP executive Chef James Major, presented by DNC Sportservice
• 9:10 p.m. – Reds Feud, presented by The Ohio Lottery

Saturday:
• 11:30 a.m. – Hot Stove Report presented by FOX Sports Ohio featuring Walt Jocketty & GM Dick Williams
• 12:30 p.m. – Redsfest Cooking Show featuring “Chopped” champion and GABP executive Chef James Major, presented by DNC Sportservice
• 1:05 p.m. – Kids Only Press Conference, presented by Kroger
• 1:45 p.m. – Harlem Globetrotters Exhibition
• 2:10 p.m. – Cincinnati Ballet
• 3:30 p.m. – Game Show, presented by CDK Global
• 4:20 p.m. – Reds Alumni “Bull Session,” presented by Majestic
• 5:10 p.m. – Reds Feud, presented by The Ohio Lottery

All proceeds from Redsfest benefit the baseball-themed outreach programs of the Reds Community Fund.

For the safety and security of all our guests, fans entering the Duke Energy Convention Center (DECC) and Redsfest may be subject to random inspection. Carry-in items are subject to inspection by Reds personnel prior to entrance into the DECC or at any time while inside DECC. No carry-in items, luggage or rolling duffle bags larger than 16” x 16” x 8” will be permitted in accordance with Major League Baseball and DECC policies.

BETTER OFF RED PODCAST EPISODE 105: JOHN FAY

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This week’s guest on the Better Off Red Podcast is a must-follow for any Reds fan on Twitter.  He covered the Reds for the Cincinnati Enquirer for the past several years and is now writing about Cincinnati sports for WCPO.com.  A long-time buddy of mine and one of my favorite people in the game – John Fay (@JohnFayman).

John joins us in studio to chat about life as a baseball beat writer, his favorite players he’s covered and the current state of the Cincinnati Reds.

Music on this week’s show is provided by the talented singer-songwriter Joe Fletcher.  Check out his album “You’ve Got the Wrong Man” now available on iTunes.

To listen to this week’s episode of the BOR Podcast, CLICK HERE.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING; A NOTE ON THIS WEEK’S BOR PODCAST

Happy Thanksgiving from Better Off Red Headquarters!  In light of recent events around the world and in the news, we here at GABP hope you get a chance to spend some quality time today (and/or this weekend) with friends, family and loved ones.  Be thankful today, take a load off and pig out on some good food!

This week’s BOR Podcast featuring John Fay has been delayed.  Instead of releasing the show today, we are going to make it available sometime this weekend after you folks recover from your tryptophan naps and Black Friday bruisings.

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You’ll be happy to know we raised $1,500 on Tuesday night at the Holy Grail for Chris Herrell and his family!  Well done gang!

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Expect good news!

Gobble, gobble, gobble

Jamie

 

 

TONIGHT’S #REDS HOT STOVE/BOR TRIVIA IS A VERY SPECIAL ONE

I want to talk to you about something we’re doing tonight, more importantly I want to talk to you about the guy whom we’re doing it for…

Just about 16 or 17 years ago I was part of an influx of early 20-somethings that joined the Reds front office over at Riverfront Stadium. We were fresh out of college working for our favorite team in our favorite city. It didn’t matter to us that we were making stupidly low wages – I was making like 18,000 dollars a year, which today is about the equivalent of, well, 18,000 dollars a year. But money didn’t matter because in our minds we had “made it.”

The game is different now and it requires more folks to run a Major League Baseball team. There are about 200 or so Reds staffers currently spread out across four floors and two facilities along Joe Nuxhall Way. Logistically, it’s difficult to get to know and/or even interact with all of my fellow Reds workmates. Back in the late 90s early 2000s, however, there were about 50 Reds employees total (on one floor and one building) and we all knew each other, warts and all. Since several of us were all about the same age, we didn’t just work with each other, we hung out after work, we went to the gym together, we attended weddings together, we basically spent most of our free time with the people we worked with. It sounds cliché but we were a family.

One of those 20-somethings was Chris Herrell; a very proud, honest, no-nonsense, go-getter who was insanely good at selling season tickets and relating to his customers. Of our group of 20-somethings, Chris served as our wiser, more mature big brother; a hard macho man on the outside, caring and compassionate on the inside. Chris was also the first of us to have his “stuff” together; wise beyond his years.

Our 20s turned into our 30s and many of us began settling down; marriages morphed into families and opportunities led to career changes requiring location moves. As our group of Riverfront Kids today enters its 40s, there are only a handful of us remaining with the Reds; Chris being one of them. His “older big brother role” has now changed to an “older uncle” or dare I say, “father-like” role to many of the newer version of Reds employees. Chris continues to command respect and is still incredibly awesome at his job. But fairy tales are sometimes ruined by real life.

You might remember a few years ago when we rallied behind Chris when he was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. He needed a bone marrow transplant from a needle-in-a-haystack donor. In the bottom of the 9th with two outs, Chris found his improbable bone marrow match in the form of a gentleman all the way from Germany. Wishes were granted, prayers were answered and Chris was on his way to a nothing-to-worry-about-now lifestyle. The Reds invited Chris’ bone marrow donor to the ballpark this year to thank him for essentially saving Chris’ life.

And this is where I wish I could tell you Chris and his lovely wife Laurie with their four beautiful children lived happily ever after. But a cruel twist has presented an unwelcome epilogue to this story.

Recently, Chris was bothered by something in his neck. It seemed like a lump and it was noticeable enough to Laurie that the Herrells agreed to get it checked out. Unfortunately, the lump was serious; the worst case scenario. Chris was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma.

Today, Chris is being treated with aggressive radiation and chemotherapy to combat his Lymphoma. Despite the fact he’s fighting with pride and dignity and always with his head held high, the cancer has been a mighty punch in the gut to his family and friends. He’s one of us, one of the original members of the Reds family for whom I care very deeply. Chris is a Cincinnati Red and a guy I’d give anything; my right arm, my bone marrow, anything I could to help him and his family defeat this evil disease…and I hope you would, too. This is where I ask for your help.

You might not know Chris as well as I do or worked with him for a certain amount of years but he’s a very important part of the Cincinnati Reds. I assume since you’re reading this blog, the Reds are an important part of you. Tonight at the Holy Grail Banks, my friends (Chris’ friends) and I will raffle off some really cool Reds prizes during the Hot Stove League Radio Show and again during Better Off Red Baseball trivia. The proceeds from the raffle, all of them, will go towards assisting the Herrell Family with any needs they have during this difficult time. In addition to the raffle, we will also provide other means to donate. Any little bit will help.

Chris would probably appreciate if this post was ended on a much happier note, so I will oblige. Chris Herrell is one of the toughest dudes I’ve ever known. I always likened him to a tough piece of old leather. If there’s one person who I’m convinced can overcome anything, especially Lymphoma, it’s Chris. Expect the good news that he will.

Hope to see you tonight!

(Hot Stove 6-7, BOR Trivia 7-8:30ish)

Jamie

#REDS BASELINE ITEMS; RAFFLE AT THIS WEEK’S BOR TRIVIA

VOTTO FINISHES THIRD IN MVP VOTING

From the BBWAA

From the BBWAA

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JOHNSON, ROMANO, STEPHENSON ADDED TO REDS 40-MAN ROSTER

The Reds have selected the contracts of RHP Stephen Johnson, RHP Sal Romano and RHP Robert Stephenson and signed to a 1-year Major League contract through the 2016 season RHP Blake Wood. The 40-man roster is at 38 players.

Johnson, 24, on August 20 was acquired from the Giants in exchange for OF Marlon Byrd. Johnson was selected by SF in the sixth round of the June 2012 first-year player draft.

Romano, 22, was selected by the Reds in the 23rd round of the June 2011 first-year player draft. He enters the 2016 season rated the ninth-best prospect in the organization.

Stephenson, 22, was selected by the Reds in the first round (27th overall) of the June 2011 first-year player draft. For the third straight season he is rated the organization’s top prospect and in 2015 led all Reds minor league pitchers with 140 strikeouts (140ip).

Wood, 30, spent the 2015 season with the Pirates’ Class AAA affiliate at Indianapolis, where he was a mid-season International League All-Star. He led the IL in saves (29), games finished (46) and highest strikeouts/9 innings ratio among relievers (10.74) while ranking second in the league in apps (57).

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BOR TRIVIA AT HOLY GRAIL BANKS TO FEATURE RAFFLE BENEFITING HERRELL FAMILY

The Reds Hot Stove League show and Better Off Red Baseball Trivia returns to the Holy Grail Banks on Tuesday, November 24 (TOMORROW)!

Reds staffers will hold a prize raffle exclusive to those participating in Trivia on Tuesday.  Proceeds will benefit Reds Season Sales Manager Chris Herrell and his family.  Chris is battling Stage IV Lymphoma and everything we can do to help would be greatly appreciated. Let’s all get together Tuesday for the biggest BOR Baseball Trivia yet!

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JOHN FAY ON THIS WEEK’S BOR PODCAST

Long-time Reds beat writer John Fay (@Johnfayman) joins me on this week’s episode of the Better Off Red Podcast! Be sure to tune in this Thursday to Better Off Red (ramsey.mlblogs.com).

BETTER OFF RED PODCAST EPISODE 104: GREG VAUGHN

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This week’s edition of the Better Off Red Podcast features the man who helped lead the Reds to a 96-win season in 1999, Greg Vaughn!

Greg checks in to talk honestly about some of baseball’s current issues, his time spent in the game and of course that magnificent 1999 season.  This one you won’t want to miss!

Music on this week’s podcast is provided by the very talented Los Angeles band Jesus Sons.  Check out their new rock-n-roll album “Bring it On Home” available now on iTunes.

To listen to the latest episode of the BOR Podcast, click HERE.

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