Cincinnati Reds

Don’t ever call Ken Griffey Jr. a "penny pincher"

Ken Griffey Jr. is the man. Not just because of his early career when he was the baddest boy in MLB, but because the guy has a great sense of humor. For example, when Griffey lost a $1,500 bet to his teammate, he promptly paid up, but just not in the manner most would expect.

Pitcher Josh Fogg arrived at his locker Wednesday to find it stacked with 60 boxes of pennies, 2,500 pennies to a box. He immediately looked at Griffey and said, “That’s good, Griff, real funny. Kick me when I’m down.”

Griffey warned him but Fogg didn’t believe it when Griffey said he was going to pay off a $1,500 debt in pennies.

“I’m a man of my word,” said Griffey. “When you owe a man $1,500, you pay him. You can’t do a whole lot with pennies, can you? Just think, each box weighs 16 pounds so Fogg has 60 bowling balls in his locker.”

Said Fogg, “I’m going to take them to bullpen and count them because I have a lot time on my hands.”

Looks like Fogg is going to be spending the next two weeks feeding the local grocery store’s CoinStar machine. And if his luck is anything like ours then he’ll wind up with about 650 bucks for those $1,500-worth of pennies.


[]: Keppinger expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks

Cincinnati Reds

Johnny Bench gets a red-wax seal of approval

You know you’ve made it big time when you get face plastered to a bottle of liquor.

Johnny Bench certainly doesn’t need any extra help when it comes to being a baseball legend, but he’ll receive the greatest honor of his career on March 14th when Maker’s Mark starts knocking out bottles of bourbon with his image on the label. Talk about the thrill of a lifetime! Sure, winning a World Series and practically being shoved into the Baseball Hall of Fame are pretty cool, but we’re talking booze people!!

The bottle, produced annually by Maker’s Mark the last five years to commemorate the Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park, will feature a photo of the Hall of Fame catcher and Binger, Okla., native, standing with a mask in one hand and a mitt in the other.

Maker’s Mark, based in Loretto, Ky., will produce 3,000 numbered bottles, which will go on sale March 14 in the Cincinnati area and northern Kentucky. Proceeds from the sale of the bottles will benefit the Reds’ Hall of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Bench Scholarship Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

It might not be quite as cool as Michael Jordan on the Wheaties box or Santa gracing Coca-Cola bottles, but it beats the heck out of being the guy who gets honored on a can of SlumpBuster.


[]: Johnny Bench being honored with commemorative bourbon bottle

MLB General

The Full Count: Ray of hope

1. Coming out of Nowhere: Possibly the most underreported story of the year has been the random emergence of Devil Rays first baseman Carlos Pena. Despite playing on the league’s worst team, Pena has 37 homers (2nd in the league), 105 RBIs (4th), and a 1.014 OPS (3rd). All of those numbers rank higher than David Ortiz, Justin Morneau, and a host of other All Stars. Pena led the charge for the D-Rays on Wednesday with 2 homers and 7 RBIs in a 17-2 rout of the Orioles. Eight of Tampa’s nine starters had a multi-hit game, and they had 22 hits and 5 homers in all. The real story is Pena, who has 9 homers and 22 RBIs in his last 11 games. The D-Rays have won 8 of those 11 games, but are still the worst team in baseball. Pena’s play would warrant MVP consideration if he played on almost any other team in the majors.

2. The Terrific Tribe: After finishing in a disappointing fourth place last season, the Indians are rolling in first and have already passed their 2006 win total. They completed their second consecutive sweep of the Twins on Wednesday in a 6-2 win. Overall they finished 14-4 against the Twins this year, with four sweeps in six series. Fausto Carmona, who improved to 15-8 with the victory, has been a surprise standout for the Indians. Though his numbers rival CC Sabathia in most major categories (3.27 ERA vs. 3.24), he hasn’t generated nearly as much Cy Young talk. On offense, Travis Hafner has regained his swing with 13 RBIs his last 11 games. Victor Martinez knocked in his 100th RBI of the season and 400th for his career. Over all, the Indians are a whopping seven games ahead of the still-struggling Tigers, who led the division the majority of the season.

3. The Brewers are Back: The Brewers, who were awful in August and fell to third place, now have a chance to capture the division lead. They are only a half game back after winning 4 out of 5, and their upcoming schedule is as easy as it gets. They have multiple series against the worst teams in their division, playing Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Houston over the next two weeks. The Cubs’ schedule is just as easy, as they will not play a winning team the rest of the season. The Brewers just finished up a series with the Astros, which they won 2-1. On Wednesday, they hit five homers in a 14-2 victory. Prince Fielder went deep for the 41st time, which is second in the majors. Rookie of the Year lock Ryan Braun hit his 28th homer. Braun has 78 RBIs and a .334 average in 91 games this year. For Milwaukee, the victory was the 45th at home this year, the most in the NL and third-most in the majors. On the other hand, their road record is awful at 26-42.

Player of the Day: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 2-3, 2 HR (48), 3 RBIs (134) in a 10-2 win over Seattle. A-Rod continues to pad his numbers and remains the clear MVP favorite. The Yankees now lead the Mariners by three games in the wild card race.

MLB General

The Full Count: Teixeira still paying dividends

1. Terrific Tex: The biggest winner at the trade deadline is as clear now as it was on August 1. The Atlanta Braves, with their acquisition of Mark Teixeira, got one of the best hitters in the league. In 18 games with the Braves, Teixeira has nine homers and 25 RBIs, including two homers and six runs driven in on Monday against the Reds. It was Teixeira’s second straight multi-homer game as he led the Braves to a 14-4 blowout of Cincy. Brian McCann added a grand slam, and Andruw Jones also homered for Atlanta. Tim Hudson didn’t pitch at his best level (6 innings, 3 runs), but he was good enough to become the first National League pitcher with 15 wins. The win puts the Braves at one game back of the Padres in the wild card race.

2. Battle of the Best: Two of baseball’s best teams, the Angels and the Yankees, began a series in exciting fashion on Monday. The Angels won 7-6 in the 10th inning thanks to a game-winning RBI double by backup catcher Ryan Budde. The Angels barely survived in a game that had six lead changes and not a lot of pitching. For the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez became the first player in baseball to hit 40 homers this year, and had three more RBIs, giving him 118. Jorge Posada also homered and drove in three, but the Angels were able to win with a more balanced attack on offense. LA improved to 73-51, the second-best record in baseball behind the Red Sox. The Yanks fell to five games back in the division and 1.5 back in the wild card.

3. The Streaks are Over: Overall it was a good night for the Chicago White Sox, as they snapped an eight-game losing streak with 4-3 win over the Royals. But the best thing that has happened to the team this season, Bobby Jenks’ 41 straight retired batters, came to a close. Jenks gave up a leadoff single to Joey Gathright in the ninth, ending his remarkable streak, which tied the previous major league record. He then retired the next three batters for his 34th save. The Sox were able to win with a rally in the seventh, tying them with Kansas City for last place. It’s an embarrassment for the franchise to be even near the Royals, especially considering their above-average payroll and recent World Series championship. But it’s been a lost season for the White Sox for months now, so many Chicago fans are probably already looking forward to next season.

Player of the Day: Tim Wakefield, Red Sox: 7 innings, four hits, no runs, 5 strikeouts in a 6-0 win over the Devil Rays. Wakefield improved to 15-10, tying him for the major league wins lead.

MLB General

The Full Count: Aaron Harang goes OT

1. The 10-inning Start: Aaron Harang just kept coming back to the mound, inning after inning. In what is tied for the longest appearance by a pitcher this season, Harang went 10 innings, giving up just one run. He also struck out ten, and remarkably had no walks despite 121 pitches. Harang, however, didn’t even get credit for the win, as the Reds-Brewers game was decided in the 12th inning. Backup catcher Javier Valentin provided the winning hit, and reliever Jared Burton was credited with the W. Harang’s start was the longest in the majors since Roy Halladay went 10 innings on April 13. Halladay also had a ten-inning start back in 2003. Harang, by the way, is doing very well this season with a 3.45 ERA.

2. The Best of the Best: The Boston Red Sox became the first major league team to reach 60 wins after beating the Indians, but they don’t have the highest winning percentage in baseball. That would be the 59-38 Tigers, who beat the White Sox 9-6. Detroit, who has by far the best road record in baseball (33-17), crushed Chicago for 18 hits, including 14 off starter Mark Buehrle. Andrew Miller had his worst start so far this year, but it didn’t matter as Curtis Granderson went 3-3 with 4 RBIs. The 60-39 Red Sox beat Cleveland 6-2 in Jon Lester’s debut after fighting cancer. Lester went six strong innings, and Coco Crisp backed him up with four hits and three runs. The Tigers and Red Sox right now are the best teams in baseball, though many others, such as the Indians, Angels, and Dodgers, are pretty close. With all these elite teams, we should see some great playoff action this year.

3. The D-Train has Crashed: Whatever happened to Dontrelle Willis? A 22-game winner in 2005, Willis was average last year and has been flat-out bad this season. He lost his seventh straight decision on Monday, a career-high. He has walked too many people (57, fifth-most in the league) and given up too many hits (154, well over one per inning). This results in a dismal 1.65 WHIP, along with a 5.15 ERA. Willis hasn’t even won a game since May 29. Despite all the promise he showed over his first few seasons, Willis is now seemingly a below-average MLB pitcher.

Player of the Day: Aaron Harang, Reds: 10 innings, seven hits, one run, no walks, 10 K’s in a 2-1 win over the Brewers.

Cincinnati Reds

The Full Count: Reds win crazy game in Atlanta with crazy fans in the stands

1. The Marathon: The Braves-Reds game went 15 innings and featured crazy back-and-forth scoring. However, the end result was the same for the Reds, who completed a sweep with a wild 5-4 win. The game started out as a pitcher’s duel, with John Smoltz and Aaron Harang churning out great starts. With the Braves up 1-0 entering the eighth, Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer off Rafael Soriano. The Braves quickly tied it back up with a Jeff Francoeur sac fly, and the game went into extras. The teams traded runs in the 10th, but other than that there was no score until the 15th. Brandon Phillips hit a two-RBI single in the top of the inning, and Francoeur then hit an RBI single. But with two men on and one out, the Braves could not convert another run, giving Cincy the win. The sweep for the Reds ties them with Houston for last place in the division. The lucky Braves still are just two games back of New York.

2. The Unlikely Wins Leader: If you were told before the season that Carlos Zambrano would lead the NL in wins, it might not have surprised you. But considering his struggles for the first two months of this season, it is almost shocking that he became the first NL pitcher to win 12 games on Tuesday. Zambrano has now run off nine straight starts with three or fewer runs allowed, and is 7-2 over that stretch. He pitched five shutout innings as the Cubs crushed the Giants 12-1. Zambrano’s 3.69 ERA ranks only 17th in the league, quite odd for a wins leader. However, judging by his success over the past one and a half months, it seems as though his ERA will keep plummeting and Zambrano could be a Cy Young contender.

3. What a Relief: The Padres nearly wasted an excellent start by Greg Maddux, but in the end they won anyway. The 5-4 victory over the Mets gave San Diego a series win, but they are still a game behind Los Angeles. Maddux pitched five scoreless innings and added six strikeouts, but the bullpen proceeded to allow four runs, nearly blowing the game. Then Geoff Blum hit a key RBI single that broke a 4-4 tie in the eighth and won it for the Padres. Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo homer, breaking a month-long homerless streak for him. David Wright and Carlos Delgado both homered to supply all four runs for the Mets.

Player of the Day: Lenny DiNardo, A’s: 7 innings, three hits, no runs in a 6-0 win over Texas. DiNardo helped the A’s snap their awful nine-game losing streak.

Green Bay Packers

Odds and Ends: Favre Favre Favre Favre Favre Favre Favre

You ever get the feeling that inside Brett Favre’s head is exactly like that scene in Being John Malkovich and it’s “Favre Favre Favre Favre Favre” all the time? The guy with the biggest ego in all of sports (remember, last year, he called a press conference to tell everyone that he didn’t call a press conference to tell everyone he wasn’t sure whether he would retire…) demanded a trade after the draft but now claims he didn’t demand and a trade and never wanted to be traded. He was just frustrated. And now everyone has to worry about whether Favre will be happy on his shitty 8-8 team.

Of course, the only reason why this drama queen gets so much leeway is because he plays in Green Bay where they boo presidential candidates because he dares say that Peyton Manning might be the greatest QB in NFL history. Bunch of idiots.

In other news…

[Myspace]: Ken Griffey Jr. shares his jock with a Dodgers fan

[Kahlee’s blog]: Hmmm…. a naked female rugby scrum sounds better than it actually is.

[ESPN]: St. Bonaventure baseball coach pulls a Barry Switzer

[Our Book of Scrap]: Another crazy minor league baseball promotion: the world’s tallest baseball player in history

[Fox Sports]: Georgia’s women’s golf coach quits after telling too many “that’s what she said” jokes.

[]: Amanda is your last Houston Texans cheerleader.

And finally, the Inside Track girls are spreading the rumor that Tom Brady will marry Gisele in Rome. Which brings us to case of the blind people over at the Big Lead. TBL is one of our favorite blogs but they actually think Kim “sex tape” Kardashian is hotter than Giselle Bundchen. Gisele is a supermodel with legs up to here… and Kim is a little tramp with a sex tape. How is this even a contest?

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati mayor has Rick Vaughn syndrome

This wasn’t the first time this has ever happened, and it certainly won’t be the last, but it is always funny to see someone throw like a little girl.

The Reds brought Mayor Mark Mallory to the field on opening to do to toss out the ceremonial opening pitch of the season but nobody realized that the mayor had a wet noodle for an arm. Eric Davis had to walk nearly to the dugout to retrieve the ball.

This morning, Mallory referenced the pitch during an interview with a local TV station by saying, “There’s no excuse. It was a terrible throw, a terrible throw.”

Unlike most politicians, at least Mallory can take credit for his shortcomings.


[]: Strong Mayor, Weak Arm

MLB General

Oct 11 in Sports History: Don Zimmer charges the mound!


In 2003: In Game 3 of the ALCS, several brawls broke out as the Yankees and Red Sox showed the world that – gasp – they might not like each other or something. In the fourth inning, Pedro Martinez threw a pitch over Karim Garcia’s head and words were exchanged. When a Roger Clemens pitch sort of came a little inside to Manny Ramirez the next inning, Manny went ballistic and both benches cleared. That’s when Don Zimmer, all of 72 years old, charged Pedro like an extremely pissed off, chubby, white, pale bull, and Pedro game him an “ole” into the Fenway Park turf. It was both hilarious and embarrassing to watch at the same time. The Yankees won the game 4-3.

In 1972: The Cincinnati Reds became the first team since 1912 to win a series when coming to bat trailing in the bottom of the ninth inning. Behind 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth and deciding game of the NLCS, Johnny Bench tied the game with a solo homer off Bob Moose. Two singles and a wild pitch later, the Reds were celebrating a trip to the World Series with a 3-2 win in the game and the series.

In 1992: Deion Sanders did double duty as he suited up for a pro football game with the Falcons against the Dolphins, then took a jet to Pittsburgh in time to join his Braves for Game 5 of the NLCS. “Prime Time” was a two-time loser that day, as Miami defeated Atlanta 21-17 and the Pirates staved off elimination against the Braves 7-1 as Deion watched from the bench. Sanders was criticized on the air for playing football by CBS analyst Tim McCarver. Neon got his revenge by throwing water on him in the locker room during the celebration after Game 7.

College Football

Oct 9 in Sports History: The biggest ass whoopin’ of all time

Coach John Heisman

In 1916: There are blowouts, and then there are BLOWOUTS. And then there are B-L-O-W-O-U-T-S. And after that we have what Georgia Tech did to tiny Cumberland University of Lebanon, TN in a college football game. Georgia Tech, coached by the legendary John Heisman (some award’s named after him, I don’t know), led 63-0 after the first quarter, 126-0 at halftime, slowed down in the third quarter at 180-0, and called off the dogs (I’m not being facetious, they cut time off the clock in the second half). When all was said and done, Tech impressed the pollsters with a 222-0 close shave in Atlanta. According to a game account by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, neither team made a first down; because Cumberland did not have a gain longer than 10 yards and Tech scored before they ever needed one. Tech’s Jim Preas kicked 17 out of 18 extra points. In the first half. (Heisman used a different team in the second half ).

In 1919: The Cincinnati Reds finished off the Chicago White Sox five games to three in the World Series. The Reds first World Series championship would quickly become tainted as some of the White Sox players admitted to hooking up with gamblers and throwing the series for money. The “Black Sox” Scandal would cast a shadow over baseball for decades. Eight White Sox players would be banned from baseball for life. (

In 1906: The first-ever World Series played in one city pitted the powerful Chicago Cubs, winners of a record 116 games, against the Chicago White Sox, affectionately known as the “Hitless Wonders.” The first game got underway under snowy skies, with the White Sox winning 2-1. They eventually shocked the Cubs and took the series. The games were so popular in Chicago that the two teams would meet at the end of every season for the next decade or so, even if they were not pennant winners. (