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.
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???
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: http://derekjeter.mlb.com/players/jeter_derek/index.jsp – 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!
“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: http://www.blackfive.net/main/2004/04/taking_chance.html
– 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.
LCPL CHANCE R. PHELPS, USMC (14 JULY 1984 – 09 APRIL 2004)
SPECIALIST ISSAC M. NIEVES, USA (05 OCTOBER 1983 – 08 APRIL 2004)
SGT CHARLES J. WEBB, USA (17 NOVEMBER 1981 – 04 NOVEMBER 2004)
1SG CHRISTOPHER C. RAFFERTY, USA (18 NOVEMBER 1968 – 21 JULY 2006)
* And for ALL Our Heroes who have paid the Ultimate Sacrifice for Freedoms at
home…and around the world.
* Semper Fidelis!
NEVER FORGET! May that ALWAYS be True – God bless you, and may God always bless the United States of America.
PRO DEO ET PATRIA,
JOHN C. CAREY / CHAPLAIN (MAJOR), U.S. ARMY