I would love to say that I’m really focused on the 2012 Baseball Season for the Cincinnati Reds, but that would be a lie.  I’m a Soldier and Veteran in the U.S. Army, and I’m just weeks away from an important mission in Afghanistan.  I’ll be busy enough to the point that I doubt I’ll have much opportunities to see more than an inning or two during Breakfast – there’s a better than 9 hour difference between AFG and the U.S.

By the time I return Home, the 2012 Season will be a thing of the past.   By the time I arrive Home, another Presidential Election will have come and gone.  I do wish the Reds well, but I wish my Soldiers – and My Country – a great year, and that includes everyone coming home safe and sound to their loved ones.  Perhaps, in some small way, I can relate a little to those great Servicemen (and women) who fought in Vietnam, as well as our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I say Vietnam more, because of all the historic accomplishments that were made from @ 1966-1972 by ballplayers like Rose, Bench, Morgan, Perez, as well as HOF’ers Aaron, Mays, Seaver, Gibson,  and more – while our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines were focusing more on the daily challenges of their mission; compared to that, baseball is just a game.  I might have the benefits to use computers and Email from time to time, but most of that will be used to stay in touch with my Family – when communicating back Home.  I’ll use most of my imagination – and dreams – to focus on the day when I can Return Home. 

I still enjoy the game of baseball, but the game for me will largely have to wait…until the Real Mission is complete.

With that in mind, Here’s to the Cincinnati Reds…Past and Present – with a Nod from the best of Reds’ Past: The Big Red Machine, and their Famous Starting Eight, to Include The Big Four (Rose, Morgan, Bench, and Perez).









— What a Great Team, and such a Great time to be a Kid, and a Reds’ Fan (1975-76).

God bless you and yours, God bless all the Servicemembers and their Families who have ever served this Great Nation — and may God Always Bless The United States of America. 





Father and Son - Yankee Stadium (Sunday, 12 June 2011)

Well (not a good start to this), 2011 was about as poor a season as the Reds could suffer.

To go from 1st Place with a 91-71 Record (.563) to 3rd place 79-83 Record (.488), you have to have lots of help and bad luck.  I’m too sick of the season to write much – Why start NOW?

Other than solid years from Joey Votto (.309 BA/29 HR/103 RBI), Jay Bruce (.256 BA/32 HR/97 RBI), and Brandon Phillips (.300 BA/18 HR/82 RBI), not much to cheer about. Let’s mention a great season from Fransico Cordero (5-3, 37 SV, 2.45 ERA).

Edison Volquez, in my opinion, is the Face of a LOSING season in Cincy.  Volquez had a very poor year, and he was paid well to be largely a minor-league mainstay, along with a minor-league attitude.  Reading his interviews, Etc., I don’t think that prima-donna gets it.  At least Bronson Arroyo, for his poor numbers, acknowledged his failures and pitched his heart out.  Volquez took an early-season swipe at the Reds offense – his frustration, to some degree was justified, but NOT after giving up 7 runs in less than a 5-inning LOSS.  Not once did I read about his acknowledgment that he failed the team and his fans in 2011 – Yes, prima-donna is right on the money.  I hope the Reds go for someone else instead of trying to resign this “Legend-in-his-own-mind,” as I still bristle that we traded Josh Hamilton to the Rangers for him…

Add the mind-numbing comment that Manager Dusty Baker, the one with 7 losing years out of 8 at the helm, made in considering Volquez as his starter for next year.  WHERE???  In Double or Triple-A BASEBALL???

Volquez - Performance Face for 2011 Reds (Pathetic)...

The 2011 Reds lacked heart and hustle, and they surely lacked in runs scored and timely pitching.  By the way, why not keep their new 1B-Prospect AND Votto, and build upon Phillips and Bruce, too.  Keep Arroyo around – I believe he has some solid seasons left in him, and Reds fans like the guy, and the feeling is mutual.  Make MLB in Cincinnati fun again…for both the players and the fans.  Build and Winner…”And they (many fans) will come.”  Here’s hoping that Mr. Jocketty and Mr. Castellini will resume the real drive to bring a consistent Winner back to Cincinnati…because 2011 – for Reds fans – was NO Fun. 

As a Reds Fan, I do want to make a Note of Congratulations…to the New York Yankee’s legendary Shortstop, Derek Jeter.  I was sorry to see Mr. Jeter drop just below a comeback year of hitting .300 (.297), but he still had a solid year (.297 BA/6 HR/61 RBI), and the Yankees are back in the Postseason.  Of course, Jeter became the first Yankee in their history to collect 3,000 hits – Derek Jeter is my son Will’s all-time favorite ballplayer, and we went to NYC and saw him collect hits #2,992 & #2,993 back on Sunday, June 12.  The new Yankee Stadium is a beautiful ballpark, and a tribute to Yankee History.

Jeter now has 3,088 hits and a lifetime .313 BA, along with all his other great records, and 5 World Series Rings, too.  Here’s his Turn-Two Foundation website, for those interested: – Of course, for all my great respect and admiration for Derek Jeter, I seriously DOUBT his lifetime hit record will come close to the Hit King, Pete Rose (4,256 hits).  Of course, Pete could learn a thing or two about public relations from Mr. Jeter.  One can still hope Charlie Hustle isn’t too old to change some ways…Hey, Johnny Bench’s tribute in September was something to remember – Johnny Lee Bench is the Greatest Catcher ever to play the game, and a pretty class act, too. 

Well (again), it’s getting later – As John Wayne would say, “We’re burning daylight.”  Much to do, and it won’t get done here.  Good luck to all the teams in the Postseason – I don’t really have a dog in this hunt — My Dogs (Reds) are OUT…until hopefully 2012.  So long for now…

Vaya Con Dios/ GOD Bless America!

Good facial description for Reds' 2011

Good facial description for Reds' 2011


Johnny Bench, Statue – Johnny Bench Night (17 September 2011)

DEREK JETER - HIT #3,000 (09 JULY 2011)


The Duke: "We're Burning Daylight..."


“TAKING CHANCE HOME” – I remember the night that Pete Rose collected his record-breaking 4,192nd base hit – back on 11 September 1985.  I remember later hearing the TV announcer say as Rose just moments before he got that hit in the first inning.  The words went something like this: “If you’re watching this game right now, and you have a lump in your throat, you’re only human.”

Well, this isn’t about Pete Rose, or baseball, or so-called heroes in sports, politics or matters of faith.  In all of those, the only one Hero to me that bears mentioning more than this subject, of course, is Jesus Christ  (See John 3:16, and more in the Bible).  Other than Him, the others pale in comparsion to this subject. 

This subject concerns a DVD movie on a special event (a true story – back in April 2004). I saw this last night, and I highly recommend it to you, though I suspect many who watch it will have more than a lump in their throat before it’s conclusion.  I certainly was touched by it, and I’m a Veteran of War and praying and speaking over Memorial Ceremonies and Funerals of far too many Soldiers – Heroes – who have died in defending our way of life.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s been a great honor for me to minister to those families, though I wish the heroes we mourn were still all alive today. 

The HBO DVD is based on Marine Lieutenant Colonel Strobl’s account of escorting the remains of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps, who is killed during a firefight in Iraq – it’s called “Taking Chance.”  The movie starred Kevin Bacon as LTC Strobl – he volunteered to escort the body of a Lance Corporal Lance R. Phelps, USMC.  Tom Wopat of Dukes of Hazard fame plays an important, but small role towards the end of the movie, and Kevin Bacon stars as LTC Strobl; he gives, in my opinion, his very best performance by far.

Actually, the “Star” is LCPL Chance Phelps USMC.  Chance was a Private First Class at the time of his death, later to be posthumously promoted to Lance Corporal.  To me, the stars continue, as I think of SPC Isaac Nieves, SGT Christopher Webb, and 1SG Christopher Rafferty.  They are “My Heroes,” as they died serving their Country as well. 

You can find a very moving account of LTC Strobl’s mission here:
–  May God bless the all the families of the many who paid the Ultimate Sacrifice in defending the Freedoms we take way too much for granted.







* And for ALL Our Heroes who have paid the Ultimate Sacrifice for Freedoms at
home…and around the world. 

* Semper Fidelis!

* Essayons!

NEVER FORGET!  May that ALWAYS be True – God bless you, and may God always bless the United States of America. 



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I had to add this great piece from a Baseball Hall Of Fame Writer – the legendary Hal McCoy.  I got his permission to use him in a blog or two.  Great column, so here it goes…

To Err Is Human – But Four Times???

By Hal McCoy | Friday, October 8, 2010, 11:11 PM

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave thinking that I dare not permit the Cincinnati Reds hold the Yuengling or the Montecristo White Label because on this night they would sure drop it.

The best defensive baseball team in the National League kicked the baseball around Friday night like a World Cup soccer team and probably kicked away their chances to advance beyond the National League Division Series.

Four errors. Three hit batsmen. A mental mistake on a throw by third baseman Scott Rolen. Drew Stubbs getting picked off first base. No runs scored after the fifth inning. This was a meltdown to rival Three Mile Island, which isn’t that far from Philadlephia’s Citizens Bank Park.

It all added up to a 7-4 defeat to the Philadlephia Phillies on Game Two of the NLDS, put the Reds down 0-2 and on the Eve of Destruction, just one defeat away from quick extermination. It’s three straight wins or the uniforms, bats and shoes get put away until spring training.

And it all started so well on this night.

ON THE SECOND pitch of the night from Roy Oswalt, Brandon Phillips crash landed one into the upper deck in left field, ending the Reds’ string of 30 straight scoreless innings in Citizens Bank.

Then they made it 2-0 in the second inning without a hit because Phillies’ second baseman Chase Utley made two throwing errors.

It became 3-0 in the fourth when Jay Bruce it one into the upper deck in right and it blossomed to 4-0 in the fifth on Joey Votto’s sacrifice fly and they had rid themselves of the spectral ghost of Roy Oswalt.

IT LOOKED GOOD, Oh so good for the Reds. Bronson Arroyo was in control – four shutout innings and a 4-0 lead. It was money in Citizens Bank, right.

Then it eroded like the mud slides on the Pacific Coast Highway.

This is how it all slipped away, mostly because the ball kept slipping away from Reds’ defenders:

THE THIRD: Phillips, who had three hits, singled. Orlando Cabrera singled and the Reds had first and second with no outs. Votto flied to left, Scott Rolen struck out, Laynce Nix struck out. Rolen is 0 for 7 with five strikeouts in the two games.

THE FIFTH: The Phillies had two outs and a runner on first. Shane Victorino grounded to Phillips at second. The ball bounced off his chest for an error. Placido Polanco grounded to third and the ball bounced off Rolen’s chest for an error. So the Reds two best defenders, two guys who could win Gold Gloves, made back-to-back error to fill the bases. Chase Utlley drilled a two-run single, cutting the Reds lead to 4-2.

THE SIXTH: Arroyo walked Jason Werth. After Jimmy Rollins popped out, manager Dusty Baker pulled Arroyo for Arthur Rhodes. Arroyo, angry at himself for the walk or for being pulled from the game, tossed a cup of water across the dugout. Rhodes got the second out, striking out Raul Ibanez. After Werth stole second, Rhodes hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch.

Logan Ondrusek replaced Rhodes and he hit pinch-hitter Ben Francisco, knocking off his batting helmet, to fill the bases. Baker stuck with right-hander Ondrusek against left-handed Shane Victorino and Ondrusek walked him, forcing in a run to cut the lead to 4-3.

THE SEVENTH: Aroldis Chapman arrived and after he slipped two high-velocity fastballs past Utley he hit him with a pitch – nicked him or grazed him. It looked as if he might not have been hit, but neither catcher Ryan Hanigan nor Baker argued, so it must have hit him – the third hit batsman of the night.

Chapman absolutely embarrassed Ryan Howard, freight training three fastballs past him for a strikeout. Werth grounded to third, an easy out at first. But Rolen decided to try for a force at second and Werth was called safe. Phillips argued. Baker argued. The umpire won and the Phillies had runners on first and second with one out.

Rollins lined one to right, directly at Jay Bruce. Easy out, right? Well, Bruce never saw it, lost it in the lights. The ball whizzed past him and he was charged with an error as Utley scored. But did he he? It appeared he missed third base but nobody in the Reds dugout caught it.

Meanwhile, center fielder Drew Stubbs retrieved the ball Bruce lost in the lights and fired to Phillips, the cut-off man. But he dropped the ball for another error as Werth scored to put the Phillies in front, 5-4. Two errors on one play. Two errors for the night by Phillips, who had four errors ALL SEASON.

Game over.

Four errors. Three hit batsmen. Six walks. Stubbs picked of first base. Two hits to start an inning but no runs. A bad choice on a throw by Rolen. A ball lost in the lights. It all adds up to a major problem for the Reds.

And Johnny Cueto becomes the savior – the guy who pitches Game 3 Sunday against Cole Hamels. Win or go home. As simple as that. Then they can try to figure out how to beat Roy Halladay Monday in Game 4.


About The Real McCoy

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy has retired from the Dayton Daily News after covering the Cincinnati Reds for 37 years. Hal’s blog, though, will continue to be a must-read for Reds fans. He’ll share his thoughts on the team this season and will file updates from Great American Ball Park. You also can catch Hal in print every Sunday in his popular Ask Hal column.

*** LETS GO, REDS!  I want to see a Winning Column about you on Sunday Evening!






Well, I knew the Reds had a big hill to climb against Philly, BUT tonight should have been a Reds’ Win.  Unfortunately, we got a Big Red Collapse.  Okay, Roy Halladay pitched a once in a lifetime masterpiece on Wednesday (Game 1), but the Reds looked like a winner tonight…until a bunch of errors and 3 hit batsmen.  They gave this game to the Phillies, as far as I can tell, as well as most other Reds’ fans.  Bronson Arroyo deserved a MUCH better outcome than the team gave him tonight – he pitched a great game.  Not a Halladay performance from game one, but he had the Phils baffled…until errors by Rolen and Phillips let them off the mat.  Sad tale…

With all due respect, it’s high time for Scott Rolen to begin looking like the great player he’s been all year, but he’s going out with a whimper, not a bang.  Another hitless game, and a big error that led to putting Philly back in tonight’s game.  That’s not the Veteran leadership the team needs right now, and he needs to get back in the game at GABP in a couple of days…or the 2010 Reds season will be history.  I know Rolen’s pride is hurt, as is Phillips and the rest of the team, and Rolen and Votto and the gang are total professionals – so they need to get REDS HOT at GABP this weekend.

Here’s Mr. Shelton’s story on the collapse tonight by Cincy, who is now down by 2 games to none:

Reds lose ball, game, unravel in Philadelphia

By Mark Sheldon /

PHILADELPHIA — Just when the Reds seemed poised to redeem their series with the Phillies, a series of debacles has them down 0-2 and one loss away from elimination.

A four-run Reds lead evaporated with seven unanswered runs, five of them unearned, during a 7-4 loss to the Phillies in Game 2 of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park. The Reds committed four errors in the game — two in the fifth inning and two more in the seventh. All brought runs in.

The biggest gaffe of all came when Cincinnati was holding a 4-3 lead with one out in the Phillies’ seventh. Jay Bruce missed catching Jimmy Rollins’ seemingly routine fly to right field — the ball floated past his outstretched glove for an error. Center fielder Drew Stubbs backed up Bruce, but the two runs easily scored as Brandon Phillips bobbled the cutoff throw for a second error.

“You could tell with the lights,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Jay’s played golden glove outfield and he didn’t come close to catching that ball. From being an outfielder you can tell when a ball gets in the lights. Definitely, that ball got in the lights at the wrong time.”

The mistakes disabled the Reds’ best bullpen weapon in lefty Aroldis Chapman, who started the seventh. Chapman appeared to hit Chase Utley on his hand with a 101-mph fastball, although replays indicated no contact.

With one out, Jayson Werth grounded to third base, but all were safe as Utley slid safely ahead of Scott Rolen’s fielders choice throw. Baker argued the call by umpire Ed Rapuano to no avail.

“My catcher didn’t say anything,” Baker said of the called hit-by-pitch. “As it turned out, I heard that it didn’t hit him. The play at second, from where I was, it looked like he was out. I don’t know what the replay showed, but Ed Rapuano is one of the best umpires around.”

After Rollins reached on the Bruce error, he later scored on a Carlos Ruiz fielder’s choice play for a two-run Philadelphia lead.

“That was a very unfortunate inning for us,” Baker said. “Things didn’t go right for us, actually went terrible. … In my mind, we lost the game, but we outplayed them. We ended up giving them most of their runs.”

Such an outcome seemed unfathomable as the Reds took a 4-0 lead on Phillies starter Roy Oswalt through five innings. The Reds put the leadoff man on base in each of the five innings against Oswalt and had four of the runners score. Phillips, who was a triple shy of the cycle, was the catalyst three different times against the Phillies.

After the Reds were no-hit by Roy Halladay in Game 1, Phillips got their first hit of the series right away with a leadoff home run to left field on a 2-1 Oswalt pitch. It ended a scoreless streak of 30 innings for the Reds at Citizens Bank Park going back to July 9.

In the second, on leadoff batter Laynce Nix’s grounder to second base, Utley’s throw pulled Ryan Howard off of first base for an error. After a Stubbs one-out walk, Ryan Hanigan grounded into a potential inning-ending double play at shortstop, but Utley’s second throwing error sailed wide and allowed Nix to score.

In the Reds’ fourth, Bruce led off by crushing an 0-1 Oswalt pitch into the second deck of the right-field seats for a 3-0 lead. Phillips, who singled in the third inning, started the fifth with a leadoff double to the left-field corner. After pinch-hitter Paul Janish’s sacrifice bunt, Phillips scored on Joey Votto’s sacrifice fly to deep left field for a 4-0 lead.

Oswalt was finished after five innings with four runs (three earned) on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts. After being 23-1 vs. the Reds lifetime before 2010, he has lost three straight starts to them — regular and postseason combined.

Two-out mistakes in the middle innings by the Reds let the Phillies back in the game.

A pair of defensive miscues by Gold Glove fielders cost Reds starter Bronson Arroyo in the fifth inning. A runner was on first base when Shane Victorino grounded to the right side. Phillips attempted a sliding stop and bobbled the ball for an error. Placido Polanco followed with a sharp grounder to third base that bounced off the top of Scott Rolen’s glove for another error that loaded the bases.

Utley laced a two-run single to right field for a pair of unearned runs that made it a two-run game.

The Phillies did not notch a hit in the sixth but managed to score a run. Arroyo issued a leadoff walk to Werth and exited with one out. Arthur Rhodes entered and struck out Raul Ibanez on three pitches but drilled Ruiz on the left knee with a 2-2 pitch. Logan Ondrusek replaced Rhodes and loaded the bases by hitting pinch-hitter Ben Francisco in the helmet flap. A Victorino walk forced home a run.

Arroyo pitched 5 1/3 innings with one of his three runs allowed being earned with four hits, three walks and two strikeouts.

(Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.)

Okay, I refuse to get completely down on these kids from Cincinnati – 2010 has been a far better season than I was hoping for them.  I would MUCH rather see them down two games to none in th BUT they have to keep up the fire from here on out.  They’ve created this hole – NOW is the time NOT to panic, BUT Game 3 is Do or DIE. 

The Reds need a Win in Game 3 – for Respectability and for their Fans.  I have faith in my team, but they must get it done – on both sides of the field.

Two more words…GO REDS!

Phillips' HR, Votto (08OCT10).jpg

This SHOULD have been one of the Main Focusing Pictures of The Game…NOT the errors and LOSS.  Phillips 1st Inning HR, and Votto’s congrats – Reds need more of this, and timely relief pitching, and NO errors, unearned runs…(Picture courtesy of




Reds Fans need a picture like this upon completion of Game 3…or 2010 will be OVER – Rose, Bench, and McEnaney upon Winning the 1975 World Series in Boston. 


YES!!!  Jay Bruce bottom of the 9th Inning’s Walk-Off HR wins the game for the 2010 Cincinnati Reds – They are in their first Playoffs since my 18 & 17 year-old Sons were only 3 & 2 years of age! 

GOODNIGHT!  It’s been a LONG TIME.  Not much to write tonight, except, Congrats Dusty Baker, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and the Gang – Very PROUD of you Boys.

2010 Playoffs ahead – Only one thing to say…GO REDS!!!






                      COULD THIS BE A REDS’ OCTOBER???  GO, REDS!!!




Well, the MLB day started hopeful, then ended with frustration.  Yeah, yeah – the 2010 Seasson has been great, but,…

The Reds are snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory, losing their second game in a row to the Padres, 4-3.  Same final score, two different losses.  Had they won last night and tonight, Dusty Baker could have rested all his starters.  They would have clinched the N.L. Central Division.  Instead, the Reds continued their struggles against the San Diego Padres.  WAKE UP, REDS

Joey Votto came back from his sinus infection with a flourish, going 2-for3 with his 36th Home Run and his 2 runs batted in give him 108 RBI on the season – Votto has a robust .325 BA.  Unfortunately, Scott Rolen was 0-for-5, and Johnny Gomes, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips  didn’t do much to help out the team – they were a combined 3-for-17.  The team had 10 hits and 5 Bases on Balls and only 3 runs to show for it.  Even pitcher Travis Wood, who pitched well overall, was 2-for-3 with an RBI.  Drew Stubbs was 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Cabrera joined Rolen, Gomes, Bruce, and Phillips as ballplayers who could really use a solid day each at the dish. 

The Reds need to score big Runs tomorrow.  They need to clinch these final two games ASAP – that’s military lango for “As Soon As Possible.”  Again, Dusty wants to rest his Vets who are getting the job done.  Great, but the Reds need to Win the Division first – that’s my take. 

And Scott Rolen needs to get it done at the plate and at third base tomorrow.  The Veteran is due – I’m hopeful the man, who’s had a solid year thus far, is UP to the challenge.  Something tells me Rolen can “get it done,” too. 



Votto Cover - SI (25SEP10).jpg




ROSE SI COVER - APR74 (25SEP10).jpg