What time is it?
Holy crap it’s February 11th! Ok….ok…ok lots to do, things to prep! Baseball starts in a week!
So here we are, the long off season is just about over and where I said before that the Reds needed to get moving on making trades and changes even though the owners were saying that wasn’t going to happen. Well Walt surprised us. Let’s see some of the highlights both good and bad.
I’m a pessimist so let’s start off with the bad.
1. No more Rosales
Yep… That’s pretty much it.
Ok now with the good.
1. Orlando Cabrera : As reported by the fantasy news on MLB “At no point in his career has Cabrera been a top-tier shortstop, but few have been able to match him for consistency. The veteran journeyman will always play a full slate of games, bat around .280, score at least 80 runs and collect a fistful of steals.”
I don’t think I could have said it better myself. After our time with all stars that fail to produce a man known for his consistency is exactly what this team needs. He’s a strong defensive player with a batting average that plays with .300. So for a team with one of the worst offenses in baseball this is good news.
2. Aroldis Chapman: He is the 30 million dollar mystery man. Was he a great addition, an awesome addition for the future or a grave mistake? No one knows. What I do know is that it took some guts for us to go out there and get him. For now that tells me we are not laying down this season, and that’s a good thing.
3. Willy Taveras: (he’s not even worth linking) WE GOT RID OF HIM!!! And good riddance. We didn’t come out clean of scars from what was supposed to be a great leadoff hitter and the leader of our new small ball, young and fresh team with steals on the brain. We lost Rosales and we picked up Aaron Miles . He’s going to have to prove his worth or I’m going to stay on the bandwagon I started on. Which was to dump him quick! Why?
a. `He’s a Cub
b. There’s nothing stat wise that is better than Willy, and well that’s not good.
c. He’s on the rebound from a horrible year, overachievers never do well coming to Cincy to reclaim what they lost. Also I don’t like the reputation of this being the place you go when you are trying to find yourself again. We don’t need it.
Who was the real winner in this?
How are why? Simple, the fans were getting restless and another year like the last few and attendance was going to go down. The battle was on and this year is either going to be the year the Reds have a positive .500 season or something big was going to have to change. Be it Walt or Baker. Walt knew it and has put his best foot forward. This puts everything back into Dusty’s hands to make it happen. If he doesn’t and if it can be pinned on him I could see this being one of his last years as a Red. So 2010 is the year he has skin in the game. This should be interesting.
So in three days Redsfest begins.
A sort of snack chip to keep the cravings away…..
This will be my first time going to Redsfest. I was going to make it for both Friday and Saturday, but do to some scheduling issues it looks like Saturday is going to be my day.
So for those of you that have went to your respective “fests” what should I be looking for and making sure I don’t miss?
At the moment it seems like I’m going for the swag, the shopping, and some autographs. Is there something more? Do you have any stories of memorable baseball moments happening at the fest?
This year one of my personal goals is to get a feel for the layout so that I can work on organizing fans together for next year starting with the bloggers. I’ve been talking about it alot over various medias about how the Reds need a fan facelift. I’m not entirely sure if I’m the guy to get it done, but maybe I can start the search for that person. Also while I’m there I will be working on getting my hat signed. Each year I buy a new hat and jersey in hopes to find the lucky set that gets the Reds a winning season. (when I say winning, I mean +.500 season) that I’ll wear till either they have a losing season or a world series. I started this tradition three years ago, and I usually got my autographs at the winter caravan.
At Redsfest I do see one thing of importance that may not rise to the occasion. This is a scheduled time where we will be in the same room with Walt before the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. I’m sure he’s got his plan worked out on how he’d like the meetings to go, but something tells me that with enough will from the fans focusing their want in one direction we could get a point across to him that he would take seriously. What should that point be? Like all baseball teams the PR departments have done a great job of keeping us focused on certain things to keep our minds off of others.
I’m interested in your opinions and ideas, and rest assured their will be tons of pictures and I’m sure an entry about my experience once I get back. I’ll admit I’m tempering my expectations at the moment so that I don’t get let down, as I want this to be an amazing event that I talk about and love going to every year.
It’s a circle,
We don’t have a huge payroll, because we don’t bring in the money.
We don’t bring in the money because we don’t win.
We don’t win because we don’t have the talent, drive, and well money that other teams do.
Which brings us back around to we don’t have a huge payroll.
So going off of my normal rant for a moment that the money is mismanaged (and it is, but let’s be honest what multimillion dollar company doesn’t mismanage it most of the time)
What can we do about it? Well we can get the fans to the ball park. Gee Cob, really is that all we have to do? We’ve been doing this for a while and we already knew that, our question is how do we get people to the games and then more importantly get them to come back again. How do we eventually turn regular 3 to 5 game fans to season ticket holders?
Glad you asked.
Great American Ball Park is an awesome place, it’s not the stadiums fault. It’s beautiful, it’s got pleanty of seats at all the price ranges to make it open for everyone. The food is not bad, sure we could do a little more here, but really it’s not bad.
So what are we missing?
1. The baseball experience.
A. I go to Chicago and there are obvious places around the stadium to hang out before the game and after to be around baseball fans. Wrigleyville is a mecca of baseball. Cincy doesn’t have even a percentage of it. I’ve been going for years and I drive in and out. I go to Hooters across the river and it’s not bad, but it’s across the river.
I’ve been to inbetween and I’m not in awe.
We need those parking lots that are perfect tailgating spots to be a place of community! We need them to rally! We need to get street vendors not selling just water and peanuts but be able to setup tents and be able to get people to gather. Sure we need family friendly areas too, but we also need areas that pull the 21+ crowd together.
B. Open the freaking ball park or do something in the plaza in front of the ball park to get the fans in gear. I’ve sat in front of the ball park hours before the game hoping that you would start having batting practice outside. Nope… Hoping that you might send some guys out to sign autographs…Nope…Do some sort of pep rally..Nada.
Now don’t get me wrong you do the basics, and really you might be the best in the tri state about the basics. (cheerleaders, Big Screen games, mascots, shopping, HOF) but come on, let’s be honest. I have to travel to another ball park to talk baseball and get ribbed or high fived for wearing my jersey. Why because our fans don’t care, and most of the are just visiting. Why? Because that’s what we’ve cultivated. This is the place you visit and leave, we hope you spend money too while your here. Which from what I can tell we do, but obviously not enough.
These are things that the Reds can fix with the right people doing the right things and some of that million dollar budget going to getting the fans involved. Which goes to my next point.
2. Get us involved!
A. We’re in a new era of fandom, become a leader in it. A high tech leader (We don’t just show all those commercials about Cincy Bell because we think there great right?) Give me a place to bring my laptop/netbook (*cough* Dell sells netbooks with Cincinnati Reds logos all over them for less than $400) or give me a place that has wifi, Free wifi bloggers are long term fans, geeks are long term fans. Think about it, a place that can go a few ways. It supports geekdom, geeks like math, math is stats, stats is baseball. It’s a place for the teens. Teens like twitter and facebook, like their phones and their photos and updates, this takes bandwidth. Business men like getting out of the office, small business men love being able to work from places other than their house, the ball park is perfect. The pace of the game is slow enough that they can write an email and watch the game at the same time all while getting some fresh air and a hot dog. Local schools (both College and Grade schools) can have days at the park showing how sports and education go together. I can go on and on.
B. More chances to get balls from the field, BP more often outside. Make it the standard when the 3rd out happens it gets thrown to a fan. I’ve been going for years hoping to get a game ball, and the only one I’ve got is one I bought off ebay.
C. Twenty minutes after the game is over have players spend time with the fans like they do before the game.
D. Fan days, come to the ball park to watch road games on the big screens with fans during the warmer months. Make it even more special by having seats cheaper than game days and some awesome seats (for a price) on the field. Have special guests to watch the game with them (former Reds, insiders, etc)
E. Use Redsfest as a huge comment card and idea generator. I’m just one guy, can you guess what the fest could bring?
So in summary.
1. More baseball experience
2. Get us involved, start building long term fans like you build a long term team.
I don’t get it. Walt can you help me?
I just need some clarification when you say we’re dropping a couple million…million in player payroll for the 2010 season. I read this leak this morning and just about drove to Chicago to see you about it. We’ve gone through this before, and if you recall (or at least loyal readers recall..) you never like it when we actually talk in person. (disclaimer: Walt doesn’t even know my name, much less worried about me, but I think it adds something doesn’t it?) So what’s the deal? Fanhouse has got you on record saying that we’re trimming intstead of adding. Didn’t we do that last year?
Look I understand we have attendence issues, thus meaning we have cash flow issues. If that means we got to trim I get it. But why are you going about it this way? I mean let’s look at things.
You’re putting in new grass in the infield that couldn’t have been cheap.
You’re building a new facility for spring training. I get that it was needed, but looking at the photos you really didn’t cut corners here either.
But hey you’re the man. You know what’s needed to bring us back to the top.
What’s that Walt? We might have to trade a few of our higher caliber players to free up payroll? You’re saying Brandon’s on the list? Our gold glove 4th best in the league infielder, proably the best catch we have…We don’t have the payroll to keep him? Hmmm.
Walt…you there? Nope he hung up…guess he realized that his phone bill was getting to big too and decided to get rid of it too…. Yeah that’s it.
Why you ask?
Well let’s see.
1. You raised ticket prices at the park, but didn’t raise your budget for the salary of the team
2. You went on record saying that we weren’t looking into filling that right handed batter we’ve been hearing about all winter. The reason given is that we’re out of money.
3. The fans weren’t asking for a World Series year in 09, but you’re pretty much promising them that it will be a lot of hard work and a little luck to see over .500, and really you’re already selling the “better luck next year” speech before the season even begins!
Have you read the Reds message boards Walt?
Have you read the postings under your announcements of no more purchases this winter?
Your not liked right now Walt, and neither is Castellini. People are asking that we dig up Marge Schott out of the grave and bring her back as owner. At least we’d know what to expect…
Walt are you listening to me?
I think he hung up after I told him my name was Cob…I don’t know why.
Reds fans are losing faith on the 09 season quickly at this point, and it seems like the ticket price raise might be needed to help cover for the other seats we won’t be filling because of our choices this winter. For me it’s strange listening to all the talk and reading the message boards and it’s not about how we think players are going to do this year, or maybe what defensive or offensive moves we could make, or who’s healthy and who’s not. It’s all about who we should petition to quit, How far away is Cleveland really so we could become Indians fans *shudder*, and why the oldest team in baseball is nothing but a cash cow for some corporation.
Somebody from MLB better look into this or there really might be one empty, fairly new stadium on their hands.
As some people have probably already guessed I lean toward being a baseball purist. I spend most of my time away from baseball dealing with business decisions and political moves. The last thing I want to do is watch my game go through it.
I know it will never happen, but shouldn’t it really go something like this?
“Really! That sounds great Walt, I know I had a bad slump last year and couldn’t make a play at 3rd in high pressure moments. I’ll put some more practice time on the field to get this fixed. At least you know my bat is still good! Thanks for another chance!”
I know I’m dreaming, but hey that’s my right. So now I’m learning about how this arbitration works and why it’s an important part of the process of baseball business.
As far as Edwin and David are concerned I was a fan of David and not so much of Edwin. Edwin can hit that’s for sure and there were more than a share of highlight reels that had him making that hit which caused us to win the game. It’s just the his defense is just not up to par. He makes almost little league mistakes at 3rd, throwing to the wrong base, not getting in front of the ball, over throwing 1st. Not when the play was hard or it took some effort to get there. These all happened right in front of him and he was just trying to make a bigger play out of it than it should have been. David…well I’m sure if you got a panel of Reds buffs together you’d have everyone saying we should say goodbye to David, but he’s just one of those guys I consider a part of the teams make up and it wouldn’t be the team without him. Good or bad, David has a place on the team in my eyes.
Walt…Can I call you Walt?
slip through our fingers Walt…What’s going on?
It’s not so much that you decided not to go with Burrell, I’m sure you had your reasons. The reason you have on record though is that it was because he was asking for too much money. After reading Mark Sheldon’s article about Jocketty’s response I know it’s true. Walt didn’t think he would go for half of his asking price.
8 million a year is too much Walt!?! The Rays get to walk off with him for two years and 16 million. Are we not going to sign anyone else of note this off season Walt? If so, then you’re really taking this rebuilding thing as slow as possible. I mean turtles go this fast.
Walt, you got us a catcher, you got us a lead off man and a center fielder. You even made one of the better bull pens in the game slightly better. Why did you lay off on this one? This was the batter you were looking for?
Talk to me people about the Pat Burrell signing..Walt just makes me feel like…well like I’m just talking to myself!