Tag Archives: Nick Senzel

Baseball 2020

Tonight’s home plate umpire has an entertaining and malleable strike zone, but the beloved (and bemused) Reds are currently ahead. I’ve seen a good bit of 2020’s baseball-in-the-time-of-the-cholera.

Some thoughts occur;

  • I like the rule change starting each extra inning with a man on second base. It maintains the clock-free bliss that is baseball while intensifying the action in the extra innings of a game that has stretched over the years. The strategy of waiting around for a home run isn’t so sound under these new conditions. With a runner on second and nobody out; singles, doubles, and (God forbid) sacrifices are back in play. You might still be sittin’ and watchin’ a tie game for the rest of your life, but you’ll be seein’ some action.
  • Ditto for the rule change requiring a relief pitcher to pitch to at least three batters or to the end of an inning. It adds a dollop of strategy to the game and it eliminates seeing four pitchers warm up in one half-inning.
  • The jury’s still out for me on the designated hitter, but I’m not as opposed I was. Tonight, it’s a lot more entertaining to see catcher Curt Casali batting in the ninth slot than wailing at Luis Castillo’s inept whaling.
  • The crowd sounds being pumped into the empty stadiums need to go away. It’s a hoax. It sounds like a hoax. It makes me wonder if the game is really real. It makes me wonder if we really did land on the moon.
  • The two-dimensional fans in the stands are odd, but at least they’re not all looking at their phones.
  • I like Sam LeCure’s increased participation with the broadcast team. He is more relaxed this year and has an interesting wit and perspective. I’m also happy to see more of Lexington-born Jeff Piecoro…but then, I’m an unabashed homer.
  • The Reds are flat-out disappointing. The highest batting average in tonight’s starting nine belongs to Nick Castellanos. He’s batting .237…pitiful. New additions to the team have not delivered. Moustakis has neither impressed at the plate, nor in the field, and has been often injured. Shogo Akiyama is just now fighting his way through a tough transition to US baseball. Matt Davidson has been released from the team. Pedro Strop, and now Wade Miley – injured. And then there’s Nick Senzel, clearly our answer in center field for the foreseeable future, injured and now injured again. This team should have been in the playoffs this year. It looks highly unlikely now.
  • On the happy side, the pitching has been strong and deep, and all should be Reds next year. A corps of young potential stars are interesting to watch. José Garcia, Tyler Stephenson, Aristide Aquino, and Nick Senzel all should be Reds next year.

I do dearly love the game, though it has and will change. So must I.

But the strike zone…that should be immutable. Someone tell tonight’s umpire.

May your launch angle be correct, your exit velo be 110+, and your spin rate be dazzling.

And this one belongs to the Reds! (Despite the shimmering strike zone)

Hankerin’ for Horsehide & Hope

Whatta day!

Epstein and sex with 14-year-olds, R. Kelly and sex with 14-year-olds, Kraft and sex for pay, human-trafficking implications, videos…

A president unqualified (or too qualified) to address any of these issues…

A president going to Vietnam as his staff worries that he may cede advantages to North Korea and thus to China and Russia in his deluded quest for the Nobel Peace Prize…

A president under 5-8 investigations for a dismaying litany of transgressions…

A Kentucky legislature that celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting by expanding concealed-carry rights, and persists with the “War on Coal” myth by hamstringing Kentucky’s successful solar industry…

More rain on the way and that damn ark is still not practical…

Good grief!

Where’s the solace?
What’s the solution?

Well…
…if I may humbly point out that the first baseball Spring Training game is scheduled for tomorrow.

What this world needs is baseball.

Baseball!

Epstein, Kelly, Kraft, Trump, Bevin, Thayer haven’t screwed that up……yet.

Tanner Roark, a man I never heard of till he was traded to the Reds in December, will take the mound for the Reds and pitch one inning and be followed by eight more pitchers of which I’ve never heard. I will be sitting in Lexington, in the rain I’m told, while these strangers gambol in the Florida sun on geometrically-structured fields of green and play THE game. Dank, drenched, and cold as I may be…I will feel a glimmer of promise that all can be okay.

We can fix anything if, somewhere, baseball is being played.

A foolish notion? Yes, of course.

About ten years ago, our Lexington minor league team gave out baseballs as a promotion. These were baseballs bound in basketball material instead of horsehide.

This afternoon I found myself reaching for that relic as I listened to the tawdry details of today’s headlines. I spun the ball through the various grips of the pitches I once threw when I played the game.

– Two-seamer – My best control pitch; when I needed a strike, this was the call.
– Four-seamer – An early-in-the-count temptation against an intimidating batter.
– Curve – My best pitch; if I hit my release point, you’re dead.
– Circle Change – Might be good if the batter and the umpire were blind.
– Screwball – Might be a strike if it didn’t hit the batter.
– Knuckleball – Mystical, unhittable, in a fantasy and a strong headwind.

I felt a little better after the exercise. It was like yoga for my right hand.

Then I meditated on the Reds’ off-season roster changes.

– If Tanner Roark, Sonny Gray, and Alex Wood ALL return to their best forms,
– If Nick Senzel becomes the answer in center field,
– If Joey Votto finds another ten home runs,
– If Matt Kemp can squeeze out one more productive year,
– If Yasiel Puig can explode into a superstar,
– If the spirit of Johnny Bench invades Tucker Barnhart,
– If Britain can possibly figure out Brexit.

If all that happens, maybe…just maybe my beloved Reds can climb out of last place. It would be nice to finish ahead of SOMEBODY.

In baseball, we live for hopeful tomorrows. There’s always another game.
The ball may bounce our way tomorrow.
I might get that screwball over the plate tomorrow without braining someone.
It’s possible.
It’s always possible as long as there’s another game tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

Tanner Roark, whoever he is, on the mound, in the sun.

For a couple of hours, forget Epstein, Kelly, Kraft, Trump, Bevin, and Thayer.

Tanner Roark, whoever he is, on the mound, in the sun.

I need to start lining up World Series tix.