For another year we offer Press Pros readers the opportunity to direct questions on the Reds, all things baseball, cigars and even vintage beers to our resident hall-of-famer, Hal McCoy. To send your questions simply subscribe to our free email feed and use the reply prompt. And with that….Play Ball!
From Dave in Beavercreek, Miamisburg, and Centerville: Which player creates the greater distraction for the Reds, Brandon Phillips’ refusal of trades or Jay Bruce’s unsuccessful trades?
DAVE: Neither one create as big of a distraction as your appearance as my leadoff hitter every time. It rankles a lot of people but I just tell them that’s the way I have to treat a brother-in-law. No, no, no. I’m kidding, folks. We are not related. Trades or possible trades are not a team distraction. The biggest distraction Phillips creates is the glare from his patent leather shoes. And Bruce creates no distractions at all. Not a single player is worried about trades or possible trades of teammates while they are in the batter’s box trying to keep from swinging at a splitter in the dirt. In fact, that’s Bruce’s biggest distraction.
From Gerry: I recently read the article on Press Pros where you told why you weren’t going to cover the Reds from Arizona this year. Is this an indication of perceived interest on the part of the Dayton Daily News, or an indication of their inability to compete with other media outlets, or general interest in the market for the Reds.? I am very glad to see you having an increased role on Press Pros.
GERRY: The Dayton Daily News suffers from the same malady as nearly all daily newspapers — no advertising, slipping readership. It is called a lack of revenue. Social media and the internet have bit newspaper so hard in the posterior they can’t sit down. It has nothing to do with interest or lack of interest in the Reds. There are two reasons I’m not at spring training. I am no longer a full-time employee of the DDN. I’m what they call a contract contributor. But the major reason is that they lack the funds to send me or even any of their employed writers. And it is too bad for those who read the DDN and see nearly no coverage of the Reds in Arizona except from the wire services.
From Tony in Knoxville: Hal, I grew up in Dayton listening to the broadcasts of the Big Red Machine with Al Michaels and later Marty Brennaman. I’m wondering who the team’s broadcasters were before those two men? Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
TONY: Marty Brennaman has been around so long it as if nobody else ever sat behind the microphone in Cincinnati. It is sort of like who covered the Reds for the Dayton Daily News before I did. I’m in my 44th year and Marty is in his 43rd year. But there was an icon before Marty and that was the legendary Waite Hoyt, who pitched for the New York Yankees when a guy named Babe Ruth was on the team. Fans used to love it when the Reds had a rain delay because Waite Hoyt would stay on the air and tell stories about his days with the Yankees and The Bambino. Back in the early 1960s before I covered the Reds I used to go to games with former Dayton Journal Herald sports editor Ritter Collett. We would sit in the media dining room before games with Waite and I would sit there mesmerized as he regaled everybody in the room with his stories.
From Mike in Huber Heights: I’ve written to you before in the paper, Hal, but wondered if you would list the new pitchers the Reds have traded for that have any chance to contribute this year in the order of their impact?
MIKE: Thanks for the support, my friend. I need it. To list all prospects and suspects the Reds acquired in trades would fill the Manhattan telephone directory (if there still is a Manhattan telephone directory). I believe the best prospects all came from Kansas City in the Johnny Cueto giveaway sweepstakes. They received three left handed pitchers. Brandon Finnegan supposedly was the centerpiece and there is a good chance he’ll be on the 25-man roster, either as a starter or in the bullpen, depending on the team’s needs, which are vast. John Lamb has good stuff and command, but doesn’t throw hard. He is in the mix. The best acquisition, though, might be Cody Reed. He has less experience, even in the minors, than the other two. But he is really the guy the Reds wanted in the trade and in a year or two could be right at the top of the rotation.
From Joe B: Long time no write, old friend, but want to hear your opinion on what happens next if the Reds do lose a hundred this year, as you’ve previously predicted? And, it’s beautiful in Sarasota this time of year.
JOE: Welcome back, old friend. And it is beautiful in Sarasota 365 days of the year. I miss it dearly, especially the beach on Siesta Key. My wife loves the beach and wouldn’t go to Arizona when I went because she said there was no beach. I told her, “Honey, it is ALL beach in Arizona, just no water. What happens if they lose 100 games? They finish last, a bad last. And it could happen. What will happen then is that they keep trading expensive veteran for prospects with the thought of rebuilding. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I don’t know how long it took, probably years, which is how long it will take for the Reds to contend for a title.
From Jim in Dublin, Oh: I’m a long-time Reds fan and wanted to ask…that given his effectiveness as a general manager, how does Walt Jocketty’s promotion to President of Baseball Operations help the Reds?
JIM: Did you mean effectiveness or ineffectiveness? We’re talking semantics here. Jocketty’s new title is Director of Baseball Operations, but he still runs the baseball show. Dick Williams was named General Manager, but he still answers to Jocketty and what he really is right now is a General Manager-in-training. He is a big Sabremetrics guy and here’s hoping he doesn’t go overboard with it. I’m still old school enough to believe that heart and desire are as important as numbers divisible by three.