All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Blanked by the Blue Jays

March 31, 2007: Toronto Blue Jays 1, Cincinnati Reds 0

The Reds sent an all-minor league team to Dunedin to face the Jays. They had to get special permission from the league, but given the circumstances (split-squad game on the last day of spring training), approval is pretty routine.

It was Josh "Control" Towers on the mound for the Jays. He's likely to be their fifth starter. The Reds got hits off him, but couldn't cash them in.

Took me awhile to figure out who was on the mound for the Reds. Gameday said it was Shearn, but the announcers said Livingston. Turns out it was Livingston; Shearn came in later. Not sure why things were so confused. In the other game, Milton was a late scratch, and Lohse took his place, so maybe that had something to do with it.

Bubba started in right field and batted fifth. He had two at-bats. He came up in the first inning. Runners on first and second, two outs. He put up a decent battle, but ended up grounding out to 2B. His second and last at-bat was in the fourth. Leading off, he swung at the first pitch, resulting in a high popup to SS.

So, not a great day at the plate for Bubba. He did have a nice play in right field, robbing Frank Thomas. In the second inning, Thomas hit one hard out to center right. The announcers thought it was center fielder Jay Bruce who had the play on the ball, but Bruce couldn't get there. Bubba did, though, making the catch. (And without running over anyone. ;-)

Bubba was pulled in the middle of the 4th, after his second at-bat. Jeff Bannon was put in for him. I'm not sure why he was pulled so early. I hope he's not injured. I was hoping he'd get more playing time. The other players did. Mark Bellhorn stayed in until the bottom of the 6th, and Jay Bruce played the entire game.

The other game, in Dayton against the Marlins, featured the Reds starters. Fish won, 6-2. The problem was the Reds' supposed closer, Hermanson. He came in in the fifth...and promptly gave up 4 runs, 5 hits, and 1 walk...while getting only one out. Narron eventually pulled him in favor of Coffey. Coffey easily cleaned up the mess. Hoo, boy. The Reds are going to have some interesting pitching decisions to make.

In Dayton, the Reds pulled all their starters after four innings/two at-bats each. So maybe they were just treating Bubba as a possible starter by pulling him after two at-bats. (Hey, I can dream, can't I?)

Louisville Bats manager Rick Sweet thinks the Bats will be very good this year:

"We are going to be solid defensively," Sweet said. "We will be strong up the middle. We have three outfielders who can play center field."

Bubba Crosby, Jay Bruce, the Reds' first draft choice in 2005, and Tyrell Godwin are the trio.

(Actually, I think he was talking about Bubba Crosby, Tyrell Godwin, and Dewayne Wise. Jay Bruce was in low-A last year, and it's extremely unlikely they'd start him in Triple-A this year.)

posted by BubbaFan, 6:49 PM | link | 0 comments |

Bubba in Dunedin today

According to Gameday, Bubba is playing in the Jays game. He's starting in RF and batting fifth. Let's go, Bubba!

And it may not be his last game with the Reds. The Staten Island Advance thinks Bubba is worth drafting for fantasy baseball. He's on their list of "the best players that will not be on the field opening day -- but will appear soon":

Bubba Crosby, Reds: We still like the ex-Yankee, and with the oft-injured Ryan Freel and Ken Griffey Jr. blocking the way, don't be surprised by a return to The Show.

Red Hot Mama, reporting from Sarasota, has posted a photo of Bubba from yesterday's game:

Interesting that he's wearing his big league jersey. He was wearing a minor league jersey the day before. Maybe he didn't bother changing his uniform after playing for the Bats earlier in the day. That would explain why Trent saw him in the clubhouse that day getting a new Reds hat.

He's also gone back to the high pants. Very convenient if he decides to go fishing in his uniform again.

posted by BubbaFan, 12:11 PM | link | 2 comments |

Friday, March 30, 2007

Random Miscellany

So, someone over at Red Reporter mentioned my Krivsky voodoo doll. Which prompted a discussion of last year's voodoo hijinks.

You may remember that last year, Albert Pujols was on pace to break the home run and RBI records, and seemed a shoo-in for NL MVP. Until he suffered a severe oblique strain, that left him struggling to walk, let alone play baseball.

Well, now we know why. Last year, the Church of Baseball put the whammy on Albert Pujols:

Apparently, Cards fans were not amused. But they got the last laugh. Despite the hex on Pujols, the Cards won the World Series.

In more fun with Photoshop, Slyde did this great "South Park" version of the 2005 Reds roster:

South Park Reds (Check out Ryan Freel!)

One thing that struck me, looking at that picture: there seems to be a lot more white guys on the Reds than on the Yanks. Bubba stuck out when he was with the Yanks, just because of his coloring. You could pick him out even at a distance, because he's so pale. Not so with the Reds.

No, I don't think there's racism involved or anything. It's probably more a reflection of the Yankees' excellent international recruiting system.

Since someone asked, here's a list of baseball players named Bubba:

Name Years Played Given Name
Bubba Carpenter 2000-2000 Charles Carpenter
Bubba Church 1950-1955 Emory Nicholas Church
Bubba Crosby 2003-2006 Richard Stephen Crosby
Bubba Floyd 1944-1944 Leslie Roe Floyd
Bubba Harris 1948-1951 Charles Harris
Bubba Morton 1961-1969 Wycliffe Nathaniel Morton
Bubba Phillips 1955-1964 John Melvin Phillips
Bubba Trammell 1997-2003 Thomas Bubba Trammell

Several Yankees fans noted last year that Bubba seemed to get hit by pitches a lot. I thought it was a combination of the way he stood at the plate and his preference for jerseys about three sizes too large. But no, according to this site, it might just be because his last name starts with "C"!

Ah, beautiful Ft. Myers. They tell you about the sand, the surf, the sun, the Twins' spring training. But they don't tell you about the serial killer.

And for those of you who are wondering about Andy Phillips...he has cleared waivers and been assigned to Scranton/Wilkes Barre. I think this was the first time he was outrighted, so he didn't have the right to refuse the assignment. He will likely be the starting first baseman for the Yankees' Triple-A Club.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:54 PM | link | 1 comments |

Getaway Day

March 30, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 5, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4

Well, not really, but it felt that way. It wasn't the last game of spring training, but it was the last home game. A lot of the beat reporters have already flown north for the summer. The players were swinging at the first pitch, anxious to get the heck out of Dodge. Despite the close score, it wasn't a very exciting game. The Reds ran up their five runs in the first inning, and didn't do much after that. The Rays tried to chip their way back, but fell short.

Bubba entered the game in the bottom of the 4th inning, as a pinch-runner for Adam Dunn. And he only got one at-bat. That's how efficiently the Reds were mowed down.

His only at-bat was in the bottom of the 6th. Runners on the corners, two outs. He had quite the battle going there for awhile, but ended up grounding out to 2B.

The Reds announcers seemed to think he's looked pretty good, even though he's grounded out in his last three at-bats with the Reds. They said he looked lost at the plate before he got sent down, and that looks much better now that he's getting lots of at-bats every day in minor league camp. Since I haven't seen him, I don't know if they're right. But it's something that has been noted about Bubba before: he really improves with regular playing time. I guess most players do. But it's something he's going to have to address if he wants a job as a bench player.

It's rough for Bubba, because he's never really had a chance to see a lot of major league pitching. Melky Cabrera got almost twice as many at-bats in one season as Bubba has gotten in four.

The Reds play two games tomorrow. The "A" game is in Dayton, Ohio against the Marlins at 2pm. The "B" game is in Florida, against the Blue Jays. Given how short of outfielders the Reds are at the moment, Bubba will probably get a chance to play with the Reds again tomorrow.

UPDATE: I just checked, and it looks like both Cincinnati games will be on Gameday audio tomorrow. Ack. I'm going to have to guess which one Bubba's more likely to play in.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:19 PM | link | 0 comments |

Rosters nailed down

Spring training is winding down, and teams have until 3pm Sunday to get their active rosters down to 25 players. Most of the decisions appear to be made, for both the Yankees and the Reds.

Trent reports that third catcher Chad Moeller will get the last roster spot in Cincinnati. I was expecting that. I was expecting it even before Hopper and Deno got hurt. Deno, Hopper - and Bubba - never really had a chance with Hamilton in the picture. A lot of teams carry only four outfielders; no way were the Reds going to carry six.

And the Yankees have announced some roster moves as well. Carl Pavano will be the opening day starter. (Who'd have thunk it last season?) Rule 5 pick Josh Phelps has won the 1B spot over Andy Phillips.

Andy was classy as always at being cut. I haven't heard what he's planning to do, if he's cleared waivers, etc. Phelps over Phillips was the obvious choice. (I'm surprised the Orioles didn't protect Phelps, because they were planning to use him.) Heck, I thought Andy should have been cut before Bubba last season. Aside from a brief hot streak when he hit like crazy, he was dead weight on the roster. Below average on defense, not a very good hitter, slow on the basepaths and a poor base runner. Bubba was at least a defensive upgrade and excellent pinch-runner, even if the Yanks didn't trust his bat.

But I always liked Andy. He seemed like a really nice guy. I wanted him to do well; he just never did. I hope he latches on with another team. Maybe one that can fix that hole in his swing.

No double-header for Bubba today. The Bats and the Reds play at the same time (the Bats on the road), so unless he's been cloned, he can't play in both games. Dunno which game he'll play in.

UPDATE: I guess Bubba's with the Reds today. He just entered the game, pinch-running for Dunn.

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posted by BubbaFan, 12:31 PM | link | 2 comments |

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Attack of the Killer Twinkies

March 29, 2007: Minnesota Twins 10, Cincinnati Reds 2

There were no swarms of bees in this game, but that's about all that can be said for it. Well, that and Bubba got to play. But it wasn't a great night, for Bubba or the Reds.

As a minor leaguer, Bubba was wearing a jersey with #84 and no name on the back. (Wonder how they decide which minor league players they want to use? Do they just wander over and grab some warm bodies, or what?) He was subbed into left field, taking over for Jeff Conine at the top of the 6th.

The Reds played a sloppy game, committing three errors - one by Bubba. He made a good throw to home from left...but the ball hit the runner. I was listening to the Twins feed, and the announcers felt that Bubba really didn't deserve the error. Shades of his last error with the Yanks, back in 2005. He made a terrific throw from deep center-right, to 3B. Unfortunately, it got to 3B at about the same time Big Papi did. A-Rod couldn't see the ball, and it got past him.

Bubba didn't have any better luck at the plate. He came to bat in 7th, one out, none on. He took a ball low, then grounded out to 2B. The Twins announcers described it as a "hot shot off the bat of Crosby." Which is pretty impressive, considering that it was a broken-bat hit.

His next at-bat was in the bottom of the 9th. Two outs, runner on 2B. He grounded out to 2B again. The last out of the game. Which means the Gameday link is frozen showing Bubba at bat (still in a Yankees cap) and three outs.

Reminds me of the time when the Cowboys lost a big game, and AOL's logon page got stuck with that as the top story, complete with blaring headline and heartbreaking photo. For three days, every time I logged onto AOL, I got that loss rubbed in my face. (Yeah, I know, I deserve it for using AOL.)

Anyway, Bubba's line for the night was 0 for 2 with an error. Which means he's now hitting .258 / .343 / .452. Though no one else hit that well tonight, either. (Except maybe Brandon Phillips, who homered.)

All in all, it was a pretty ugly game. But I was very happy that Bubba got to play. Maybe we'll see him in another spring training game. They're a little short of outfielders at the moment.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:34 PM | link | 0 comments |

Bubba playing for the Reds tonight

Trent reports that Bubba is uniform for the Reds tonight:

BUBBA ALERT! Bubba Crosby is in uniform for tonight's game. Saw him getting a new hat today in the clubhouse and thought he may be playing. He just came out to congratulate Hamilton. So, Bubbafan, your man is here.

And he's now playing. At the top of the 6th, they put him in for Conine in left field.

Conine got hit by a pitch in the elbow earlier in the game (possibly in retaliation for a HBP by Arroyo). With Deno on the DL, Hopper with a bad foot, and Freel still hurting from running face-first into a wall, the Reds are kind of hard up for outfielders.

But wow, it's a pretty long day for Bubba. He must have played a full game for the Bats this afternoon (since he got four at-bats). Now a nightcap with the Reds.

But I'm sure he can handle it, young and energetic as he is. Let's go, Bubba!

posted by BubbaFan, 8:33 PM | link | 0 comments |

Deno on the DL

This was something of a shocker. Chris Denorfia has been on the shelf the past few days, with what was said to be a mild forearm strain. Today, they announced that he needs Tommy John surgery.

He'll be out six months. Usually it takes players a full year to come back from Tommy John surgery, but Deno's not a pitcher, so maybe it won't take him that long. In any case, it looks like his season is over.

I don't think he was making the roster anyway. The way I read the smoke signals coming out of the Reds clubhouse, Moeller is going to get the last roster spot. Still...this is really terrible luck for the kid.

I suppose this means Bubba will be the starting CFer for the Bats. They could put Hopper in CF, but from what I've heard, he doesn't really have the range for center.

The Bats beat the Tide 4-3 today. Bubba did play:

Mark Bellhorn led the way for Louisville hitters, going 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBI. Bubba Crosby went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI and Tyrell Godwin went 2-for-3 with a double.

Wish they at least had a box score. That would probably be even less work than the little articles they write up.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:00 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Yankees attacked by swarm of bees...again

If I were the superstitious type, I would think that this is not going to be the Yankees' year. They were attacked by bees in Sarasota last week. It happened again, in Lakeland. This time, there were thousands of them.

Hat-Man thinks the Yankees next year will be missing a lot of familiar faces. Mo, Moose, Jorgie, A-Rod...all could be gone at the end of this season. It's hard to think about, but he's probably right. Cashman has shown that he's not the sentimental type.

I do think Celizic underestimates what Mo brings to the team. A good closer is key in the post-season, or so the stat-heads tell us (and I believe it). And Mo is the best. He'll be hard to replace.

WaPo declares: Thanks to Yanks, the Sugar Daddy System Is Over

In the offseason, almost imperceptibly, the very foundation of baseball's talent-flow system -- the means by which rich and poor teams amass players and move them among each other -- was jolted by a tectonic shift. When the New York Yankees not only held onto their best pitching prospect, right-hander Philip Hughes, but also traded away two potential Hall of Fame veterans, Randy Johnson and Gary Sheffield, for six prospects, it may have marked the end of an era -- one that we shall call what?

"We're not going to be anybody's sugar daddy anymore," Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said this spring, when asked about this shift.

Actually, I think this shift occurred earlier - during the regular season, when they refused to trade prospects for a star outfielder, even when Godzilla and Sheff went down with what looked like season-ending injuries. No one believed it, and they kept asking for Hughes, Duncan, Cox, even Cano, Wang, and Melky. Looks like it's finally sinking in.

I must say, I was impressed with Matsuzaka the other day. He wasn't at his best, and was pretty bummed about it afterwards. But jeez, he held the Reds' first string lineup hitless for five innings. True, he gave up five walks, but still...if that's a bad day for him, the Sox got a steal.

Former Major League baseball pitcher Ugueth Urbina was sentenced to 14 years for attempted murder. Prosecutors say he attacked a bunch of his employees with a machete and poured gasoline on them. He was angry because they swam in his pool without permission.

The Bats played Indianapolis in Sarasota today, winning 8-4. Bellhorn hit a homerun. Dunno if Bubba played, or how he did. They don't seem to have box scores.

Shawn has this to say about Bubba going to the minors:

Mark Bellhorn and Bubba Crosby both accepted assignment to the minor leagues. That's a minor surprise, but given that this is roster crunch time of year, not a big one. The Reds may have promised to pursue trades for each if an avenue opens. I find it hard to believe that the Nationals weren't interested in Crosby, as he would be better than what they have in center field now.

I find it hard to believe the Nationals weren't interested in both of them, because they seem to be assembling a collection of former Reds. Maybe Bubba and Bellhorn weren't Reds long enough.

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posted by BubbaFan, 12:14 PM | link | 4 comments |

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bubba the Bat

Trent reports that Bubba has accepted assignment to Louisville. So has former Yankee and Red Sock Mark Bellhorn. They report to minor league camp tomorrow.

Reds fans seem to think there's a good chance Bubba will be called up sometime this season. I'm not so sure. While the Reds outfield is pretty injury prone, Bubba's out of options now, so Deno and Hopper might be ahead of him on the depth chart. (Yes, I'm fully expecting them to start in Louisville, too.)

He'll probably be a starter in Louisville, so at least he'll get a lot more playing time. (And too bad Val the Bubba Crosby groupie is no longer an intern with the Bats. ;-)

Guess it's time to buy my subscription to MiLB.TV...

posted by BubbaFan, 8:25 PM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, March 26, 2007

Matsuzaka Monday

I'm playing hooky from work today. Actually, I have three days off this week. I had to use them this week or lose them, so I put in for the days when the Reds had day games. Though I'm much less interested in the games, now that Bubba won't be playing in them.

Yeah, I knew it was a risk to wait so long. Blame it on my boss. He didn't want to let me take the time off until it reached the point that I had to use the vacation days or lose them. He hoped that big project we've been working overtime on would be done last week. Of course, the deadline slipped (as I told him it probably would). So now I have three days off in a week when everyone else is running around like a maniac, and we're both wishing I'd taken my vacation time earlier in the month.

Today's Reds game is on ESPN. They're playing the Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka. I wish the Japanese phenom had signed with the Yanks instead, but I'm looking forward to seeing him anyway.

(On the bright side...Lisa is now spared from having to choose between the Red Sox and Bubba.)

According to Trent, the Reds did more roster-trimming today. Bellhorn, Jorgenson, Machado, and Wise were cut. (I'm kind of surprised it took them this long to cut Bellhorn. It was clear some time ago that he wasn't making the team. Maybe they were hoping he'd show something on the field that would make him tradeable.) That makes it 34 active players in camp.

The Cincinnati Post reports that Bubba's locker is empty. His stuff was still in it Saturday evening, according to Trent, so he must have come in early Sunday to clean it out.

Still no news on whether Bubba will report to Louisville or become a free agent. He'll probably take the full 72 hours, just in case a slot opens up somewhere.

And for those who have, I'm not spending all my time sticking pins in a Krivsky voodoo doll.

Well...maybe one or two.

Of course I'm disappointed that Bubba was cut, but I can't really blame the Reds (or Bubba - he had a very good spring training, and won over a lot of Reds fans). There just wasn't room on the roster for another lefty outfielder, what with Hamilton a Rule 5 and all.

I think the Reds treated Bubba pretty well. They let him go as soon as it was clear Griffey would be ready by opening day, to give him a chance to latch on with another team. And though they apparently decided not to play him once they put him on the waiver wire, they did give him that one pinch-hit at-bat against the Yankees on Thursday. Bubba was always a fan favorite in the Bronx, and I know Yankees fans appreciated that chance to see him.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:31 AM | link | 4 comments |

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday always comes too late

The mug shot is from the Enquirer's article about Bubba being cut. At least they found a photo of Bubba to use with the article. Unlike, which ran a picture of Denorfia instead.

And Red Hot Mama has some photos of Bubba. She's down in Sarasota. She got there yesterday. I'd asked her to take some photos of Bubba for me, not realizing he would be outrighted the day she arrived. Since he didn't play in yesterday's game, I didn't think she'd be able to get any photos. But she did! By chance, the team photographer was taking some photos of Bubba before the game, and RHM and her husband got some, too. Very nice pics.

(Yeah, it's weird that they were taking photos of Bubba when they were about to cut him. But the waiver wire is secret, so the photographer probably had no idea that Bubba was being cut.)

The Houston Chronicle always notes Bubba's local connection, even when they are regurgitating canned wire stories:

The Reds sent outfielder Bubba Crosby outright to Class AAA Louisville, a move that could make him a free agent. Crosby, 30, from Bellaire High School and Rice University, has until Tuesday to accept or decline the demotion.

It's kind of sweet. A small town feeling, even though it's a big-city paper.

The Dayton Daily News has an article about Wes Wilkerson. He's the pitcher who was ejected from the Tampa game Friday night. He says it was completely unintentional.

I'm not sure if I believe him or not. They always say that - "It was an accident, it got away from me," etc. And the timing was interesting - two beanballs in a row, right after he gave up a three-run homer.

OTOH, it was his first big league game, and that sure wasn't the way to make a good impression. And he's 30, not some young hothead. He should know better...shouldn't he?

posted by BubbaFan, 4:09 PM | link | 2 comments |

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bubba outrighted, more info

Here's the story:

Crosby outrighted to Louisville

Outfielder Bubba Crosby was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville on Saturday afternoon. Crosby was out of Minor League options and had to clear waivers first. He has 72 hours to accept the assignment and will become a free agent if he declines it.

"We just felt he was behind a couple of other guys for that spot," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "At the same time, doing it when we did -- he has the choice of maybe hooking on with someone else or reporting."

...Crosby batted .276 (8-for-29) with one home run and seven RBIs this spring. The 30-year-old former Yankees reserve was signed by Cincinnati in November but became expendable with Rule 5 Draft acquisition Josh Hamilton's hot spring making him a lock to make the team.

Like Hamilton, Crosby is a left-handed hitter. The club has four lefty-swinging outfielders, including Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr., who appeared less likely to be headed to the disabled list with a hand injury when he started on Saturday.

And Trent has updated his blog with this info:

Krivsky said Crosby cleared waivers at 1 and then was told of his outright 3:30. He has 72 hours -- so 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday -- to make a decision. Krivsky said the timing was so he could find out if he had a chance at another club, since they felt he wasn't going to make the major league roster here.

Trent also says his "gut feeling" is that Bubba will refuse the minor league assignment.

"nm7" at RHM was down in Sarasota earlier this month. He was impressed with Bubba's hitting, and thought he was a lock to make the roster. He posted this today:

I can't believe Bubba was sent to Louisville. He looked very good at spring training. I thought he would definitely make it over Deno. My daughter will be crushed - he was her favorite player at spring training.

Baseball. It'll break your heart every time.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:42 PM | link | 1 comments |

Bubba outrighted to Triple-A

I kind of had a feeling this was coming. Bubba did not get any playing time in today's game, even though he was reportedly healthy enough to play. Tyrell Godwin got playing time, but not Bubba. I think they were just waiting to see if Griffey was going to be ready to play opening day.

I am far from an expert on the Byzantine rules of the business side of baseball, but I think, since Bubba has been outrighted once before (by the Yankees, last August), he cannot be sent to the minors again unless he agrees to it. He has 72 hours to decide. (He has already passed through waivers - not really a surprise at this point in the year.)

Bubba had a pretty good spring training (except for that injury). I think he did a decent job of showing what he can bring to a team - great defense, smart baserunning and speed on the basepaths, a nice mix of contact and power. This decision was based on factors he couldn't control. Namely, Josh Hamilton. As a Rule 5 pick with tremendous upside (not to mention a personal connection to Narron), he would probably have made the roster even if he was terrible. But he wasn't terrible - far from it. And the fact that he's also a lefty, like Bubba, pretty much sealed the deal. Narron said ten days ago that they weren't going to be carrying four lefty outfielders.

I'm not sure they'll be carrying an extra righty outfielder, either. My money is on catcher Chad Moeller getting the 25th roster spot, which means Hopper and Deno start the season in Louisville. But they have options, so the decision can wait. Bubba did say that he hoped if the Reds cut him, they would do it early, and I guess they've done that, to the best of their ability.

I don't know if Bubba will accept a minor league assignment or not. If he does go to Louisville, he probably has a good chance of being called up. The Reds outfield is rather injury-prone.

Bubba said he got a lot of offers during the off-season, but none were guaranteed contracts. He picked the Reds because they seemed the best fit. He signed in early November - before the Rule 5 draft. I wonder what other teams made him offers? He might have chosen differently if he'd known about Hamilton.

posted by BubbaFan, 4:13 PM | link | 3 comments |

Griffey to start today

According to Trent, Ken Griffey, Jr. is starting in right field and batting cleanup today. He'll get "two or three at-bats."

Today's game is on TV in the Ohio area, so it will be on MLB.TV.

In other news...Chien-Ming Wang is going to start the season on the DL. He suffered a hamstring strain in a workout.

And there's good news about Bobby Murcer. He's doing well, and hopes to be back at YES early in the season.

posted by BubbaFan, 12:33 PM | link | 0 comments |

St. Petersburg Massacre

March 23, 2007: Tampa Bay Devil Rays 15, Cincinnati Reds 1

This may be the ugliest game I have ever seen. (Well, listened to). Just about everything that could have gone wrong did. Harang was shelled, and so were the other Reds pitchers, including Burton and Coutlangus, who had been doing well until last night. Machado dropped a ball, getting yet another error. The outfielders couldn't seem to catch anything (and unfortunately, they had a lot of chances). Denorfia made a terrible throw. Enrique Cruz, star of the previous day's game, floundered on offense and defense. It just went on and on.

As if that weren't enough, Bellhorn whacked the plate umpire in the head with his bat. (Accidentally. I guess Bellhorn has a big follow-through.) He went to the hospital to get checked. For the rest of the inning, there was no plate umpire. Seriously! One of the umpires stood behind the mound to call balls and strikes as well as cover 1B, while another of them changed into protective gear. The crowd helpfully tried to take over. Calling everything a strike, of course.

So there were only two umpires on the field during the rest of the inning. Wise hit a ball ruled foul, and was quite irate that no one was in a position to really make the call. (Not that it mattered by then, except to Wise's stats.)

The low point of the game was in the 8th inning. Minor leaguer Wes Wilkerson gave up a three-run homer to Gomes, making it 15-1 Rays. Wilkerson then tried to bean the next batter. He missed the first time, then hit him with the second pitch. Benches emptied, and Wilkerson was ejected.

They later changed the ruling, saying the pitch hit the bat and bounced off it, hitting the batter in the head. So no BB. But Wilkerson was still ejected, for pitching inside.

They also said the coaches came out to hold Hamilton back, to keep him out of the fray. (No word on which side he was going to jump in on. ;-)

The only good news last night was for Tampa. The Rays have apparently been on a winning streak. When last we saw them, they were 1-12 - the proud owners of a 12-game losing streak. They are now 7-16, with a six-game winning streak.

And it is kind of funny, the way they introduce Bellhorn with the sounds of a bell ringing and a horn blowing.

According to John Fay at the Enquirer, Bubba was available to play last night, and did accompany the team to St. Pete. He didn't get into the game, though. It sounds like the outfield is immense in St. Petersburgh, so maybe they didn't want Bubba trying to cover that much ground. Hamilton, Freel, Wise, and Deno seemed to have a lot of trouble with it; the balls kept dropping in between them or going over their heads. Anyway, by the late innings, when Bubba would usually come in, the game was hopelessly out of reach, and Narron put in a bunch of non-roster players.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:46 AM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, March 23, 2007


The photo is from this ESPN article about Ken Griffey, Jr. I'm pretty sure that's Bubba standing next to Junior. The ears are pretty distinctive.

The Reds are playing Tampa tonight. I'm not sure if Bubba went along on the trip. It sounds like he's not quite 100%. Narron was apparently willing to start him yesterday, but he wasn't ready to play. Bubba did pinch-hit yesterday, but a lot of players do that before they're ready to play defense.

While most seem to think the 25th roster spot will go to a right-handed batter, Doc Scott thinks Bubba will win the spot, simply because he's out of options and Deno and Hopper aren't.

Me, I don't know what to think. Four lefty outfielders, in a righty-friendly park? OTOH, they may need all the outfielders they can get. Their outfield is pretty injury-prone.

Swiped this pic from SI:

Yes, they actually have a photo of Bubba on their Reds page.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:34 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Walkoff win for the Reds

March 22, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 8, New York Yankees 7

The Yanks jumped out to an early and commanding lead, but the Reds rallied late, and won it on an Encarnacion walkoff RBI double.

So the Reds beat the Yanks two games out of three (and the remaining game was a tie). Indeed, the Reds have the best spring training record in MLB. Not that spring training means that all much. In particular, the Reds seem to be rallying late in many games. In other words...their bench and minor league players are better than the other teams' bench and minor league players.

Bubba played in a minor league game yesterday. According to the Reds announcers, it was because he hasn't been getting many at-bats. They let him start in a minor league game to give him more playing time.

He probably won't be getting a lot of playing time with the major league team from here on out. There are only nine days left of spring training, and they are starting to use players as they would during the regular season. Pitchers are going deeper into the games, the starting lineups are starting, and bench players like Bubba will come in late as pinch-hitters and LIDRs. Instead of getting three at-bats in a game, he'll probably get only one.

Bubba did make an appearance in this game. He came in the 8th inning, as a pinch-hitter. Two outs, man on 2B, Brian Bruney on the mound. Bubba got ahead in the count, but Bruney came back and struck him out swinging. Bubba's now hitting .276 / .364 / .483.

The game was a sellout, with many Yankee fans in attendance. They were thrilled when Bubba entered the game, and gave him a warm greeting. Reds fans seem a little puzzled over how beloved Bubba is among Yankee fans. Hopefully, they'll get a chance to experience the Crosby magic for themselves!

The Reds are expected to make more cuts this weekend, or early next week.

Some Bubba screen shots, since we haven't seen him in awhile:

Hmmm. Maybe Bubba should go back to shaving. Seems like he was hitting better without the beard. Facial hair didn't work for the Yankees last season. Giambi actually shaved in mid-game, because he was slumping. Facial hair didn't work for the Red Sox, either...

Meanwhile, in Yankeeland...Pavano pitched pretty well. A-Rod got his first home run of spring training today, off Lohse. El Comedulce hit a three-run homer. Melky, who has struggled this spring training, got a single and a walk. (He's still barely over the Mendoza line, and he's not showing much patience at the plate, either. It's only spring training, of course. But he never showed the kind of patience he showed last year in his minor league career, so you can't help but wonder if last year was a fluke, and he'll fall back a bit this year.)

Among the other outfielders...Sardinha is hitting well, and is getting a lot of attention. KT is hitting, too. Too bad there probably won't be room for them on the big league roster.

Andy Phillips hasn't gotten much playing time, since he only recently rejoined the team. But he's not hitting much, while Rule 5 draftee Josh Phelps is raking. And Minky's average is a Nick Green-like .074. Should be interesting to see what the Yanks do about 1B.

Tomorrow, the Reds go to St. Petersburg to face the Devil Rays. John Fay says Narron plans to rest a lot of the starters, so maybe Bubba will get some playing time.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:33 PM | link | 3 comments |

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sir Sidney gets the win

March 21, 2007: Minnesota Twins 5, Cincinnati Reds 3

There are now only 39 active players left in camp. Before today's game, the Reds announced that they were releasing Paul Wilson. Not exactly a surprise, but everyone seemed to like the guy, and was rooting for him. The Reds are now so deep in pitching they didn't even have room for him in the minors. He'll probably end up with the Nationals.

Wilson is probably best known to Yankees fans as that guy Kyle Farnsworth beat up. Well, one of them...

As for the game...Ponson wasn't exactly lights-out, but Milton was worse. Josh Hamilton continued his hit parade, going 1 for 3 with a walk. Deno was 0 for 4, but it sounded like he was robbed once or twice. Freel struggled a bit in center field, but he's been on the shelf awhile, so I guess that's to be expected.

John Fay reports that Norris Hopper injured his heel (not his knee, as I thought). He will be out about a week, which may be good news for Denorfia.

The Dayton Daily News had this injury report on Bubba:

Outfielder Bubba Crosby (calf strain) played in a minor-league game Wednesday and is expected back with the team today.

I think that article is for tomorrow's paper, so it means he's expected back with the team Thursday. Hopefully he'll get some playing time in the Yankees game tomorrow.

The Cincinnati Enquirer has an article called 11 things to watch over the last 11 days of Reds spring training. Number 4 on the list:

Who's going to be the 25th man? The choices: infielder Mark Bellhorn; outfielders Bubba Crosby, Chris Denorfia and Norris Hopper; and catcher Chad Moeller. The club probably would get the most out of a right-handed-hitting outfielder (Denorfia or Hopper).

Which one? "We've been debating that for years," a Reds coach said. "They're very close."

Seems like a lot of people are expecting the Reds to take either Deno or Hopper, simply because they are right-handed.

In other news...the "trade A-Rod" speculation is heating up again. Mike Ventre thinks A-Rod should be traded to the Angels, perhaps for Santana. Meanwhile, Halos Heaven reports that a deal has already been done, with A-Rod going to the Angels in exchange for Jered Weaver, Dustin Moseley and Jose Molina.

I can understand all the reasons to trade A-Rod, but jeez...the Angels? The Yankees' nemesis?

Then there's this wacky story: Manny selling barbecue grill on eBay. More Manny being Manny, I guess. The guy's a multi-millionaire, and he's selling a used grill on eBay?

On a more serious note, the Yankees are trying to get Cory Lidle's widow, Melanie, to throw out the first pitch on opening day. The Yankees will be wearing black armbands all season in memory of Lidle.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:04 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Barely Out Of Tuesday

Off day for the Reds today - the only one of spring training.

Looks like Bubba won't be playing in the Minnesota game tomorrow. Trent was kind enough to drop by to let us know Bubba's not on the travel roster. It's not too late for them to change it, I guess, but I suspect they decided to rest him another day. Hopefully he'll be back for Thursday's game against the Yanks.

Reds Mailbag takes on the roster question. Mark Sheldon thinks Chad Moeller and Josh Hamilton will make the roster instead of Bubba. But he does think Bubba has a chance:

If Griffey does begin the season on the DL because of his hand, Bubba Crosby or Norris Hopper will get the final outfield spot.

I imagine that eyebrows are going up because I have three catchers listed and I'm probably going out on a limb. I did that because I think if the Reds want Valentin as their the top pinch-hitting option from the left side, they'd want catching protection. I also believe they signed Moeller to be on the big-league team in the long run, and not for depth in the Minors.

Clearly, if they like other lefty pinch-hitting options beyond Valentin (Hamilton and/or Bubba Crosby perhaps), then Moeller would be out.

Curious that none of the reporters seem to think Denorfia has much of a chance.

Meanwhile, it seems the Twins are seriously considering making Sidney Ponson their 5th starter. Good gravy.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:20 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, March 19, 2007

More Cuts

March 19, 2007: Detroit Tigers 6, Cincinnati Reds 2

More cuts were announced today. Pitchers Brian Shackelford and Brad Salmon were optioned to Triple-A. Paul Janish joined them after today's game. By my count, that makes 40 active players left in camp.

Bronson Arroyo started today, and didn't pitch all that well. He's been sick, though; the flu seems to be going around the Reds clubhouse. And the Tiggers' lineup is pretty danged good. (Sheff seemed to be the same old Sheff. Went yard off Arroyo in the 5th.)

Ever notice the Reds seem to play a lot better when Bubba's in the game? Just sayin'...

Norris Hopper ran into a wall and hurt his knee. No word yet on how serious the injury is, but he had to leave the game.

Trent reports that Narron has said that Griffey won't be starting in center field. I'm wondering if he'll be starting at all, at least on opening day. He still hasn't played a game of spring training...and they expect him to learn a new position?

UPDATE: The Dayton Daily News has more details. Griffey was given the chance to win the starting CFer job. But since he's been unable to play, they've decided he's starting in RF. When he's healthy enough to start.

Bubba is still on track to be back in the saddle on Wednesday:

Outfielders Ryan Freel (hamstring) and Bubba Crosby (calf) have worked out and could play if it were the regular season, but will likely return Wednesday.

Wednesday the Reds travel to Ft. Myers to face the Twinkies. Hide the ice cream! Taking the mound for the Twins will be former Yankee Sidney Ponson.

And posted an "outfield report" video. Most of it is about Hamilton, Conine, etc., but there is a brief glimpse of Bubba. If you don't want to watch the whole video, Bubba's clip is here. Low-res as the clip is, I recognized him instantly. Just the way he moves - how many times have we seen him go up against the wall like that? (Well, that and the ears... ;-)

posted by BubbaFan, 7:18 PM | link | 4 comments |

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fox says Griffey's moving to right field

Fox has this interesting report tonight:

When the Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. makes his Grapefruit League debut, it will be in right field, according to a source with knowledge of his situation. Griffey, recovering from a broken left hand, does not mind shifting from center to right, the source said. However, Griffey was under the impression that the Reds would delay their decision until midway through spring training while attempting to acquire a legitimate center fielder. Instead, he learned at the start of camp that he would be in right.

That adds an interesting spin to John Fay's suggestion that "Griffey is waiting to play so there's not enough time to experiment with switching him to right field." (Griffey was apparently pretty plecked off that suggestion, BTW.)

FWIW, I believe Griffey is genuinely injured and can't play. I read one article that said his hand swells up like it's been stung by a zillion bees after he takes BP. Pain aside, I would think it would be pretty hard to properly grip a bat or ball with the hand that swollen.

As for what this means for the outfield, and Bubba's chances of making the the heck out of me. It sounds like they are planning to start Freel in CF. But many say he can't play every day without wearing down or getting injured. I've also heard that Dunn and Griffey aren't too keen on the idea of Freel being the everyday CFer, because of his tendency to collide with his teammates. (Eek. Bubba, please be careful out there.) On the one hand, it sounds like they'll really need some spare outfielders. OTOH, with Freel in the outfield, the 25th spot may well go to an infielder.

Ah, well. Nothing Bubba can do about it except make it as hard as possible for them to cut him.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:52 PM | link | 0 comments |

The Atlanta Braves

March 18, 2007: Atlanta Braves 6, Cincinnati Reds 5

The Braves played two games today, and the Reds definitely faced the weaker split of the split-squad. But Harang had a rough day, and the Reds found themselves in the hole early. It was 0-2 after half an inning, and 0-4 in the 4th. By the bottom of the 9th, it was 6-3, and the game seemed out of reach. The Reds never give up, though, and made it interesting.

It helped that Will Startup, closing the game for the Braves, struggled. After getting a groundout from the LLM, Startup gave up a single and two walks, loading the bases. Then two more singles, by Janish and Moeller, scored two runs. But Bellhorn flew out and Jorgenson struck out swinging, ending the inning and the game. A valiant effort, that fell just short.

The Reds play the Tiggers tomorrow, then have an off day on Tuesday. According to Trent, Bubba is expected to be back the day after the off day. That would be Wednesday, for the Twinkies game. And the day after that is the last Yankees game. I was afraid Bubba was going to miss that one, but it sounds like they're expecting him to be good to go by then.

I guess if he had to be out a week, he picked a good one. With one game rained out and an off day, he didn't miss too much playing time.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:01 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cardboard Crosby: Bowman Rookie 1999

Since Bubba's not playing (sigh), here's another scan from my collection of Bubba baseball cards. The date on the card is 1999, but the photo and information is from 1998, Bubba's rookie year.

One of the fun things about this card is the signature. It reads Richard S. Crosby, not Bubba Crosby, as he would later sign his cards.

And here's the back:

The back has a little scouting report. It says:

RESUME: Debuted in 1998 at San Bernardino (A)... Started 15-for-102, then hit .289 the rest of the way... Had .394-25-91 numbers in 58 games as college junior... Set Rice records with a 30-G hitting streak and HRs in seven straight contests... Tied another with a 4-HR game.

SKILLS: All tools rate above average... Not tall, but has muscular body... Ideal bat speed... Tenacious competitor.

UP CLOSE: Not yet a polished runner, but gets to first base in a swift 4.05 seconds.

Four home runs in one game, eh? Would be fun to see him do that again. Actually, I've been waiting for one of his patented inside-the-park home runs. Seems like he usually gets one of those in spring training...

posted by BubbaFan, 9:53 PM | link | 0 comments |

Irish Eyes Are Smiling...

March 17, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 2, Boston Red Sox 1

Happy St. Patrick's Day ...Because any day the Red Sox lose is a good day. The Red Sox were wearing green jerseys and caps (but red undershirts and socks - my eyes!). The luck of the Irish wasn't with them, though. Papelbon started for the Sox, and gave up a homerun to the first batter he faced (Denorfia). Deno scored the other run as well, getting on board with a single, stealing 2B, then coming home on a Dunn single.

Deno went the other way on both hits. I must say, he's really turned it around. He was hitting below the Mendoza line and looking terrible at the plate only a week or so ago.

Papelbon deals to Dunn

Lohse looked really good, even against Manny and Big Papi (though I hear they've been struggling lately). Reds fans seem to want to lose Lohse; I wonder if this outing has changed any minds.

Bubba did not play, still sidelined by injury. Sounds like he's getting better, though:

Outfielder Bubba Crosby's strained left calf is coming along. Crosby ran on the treadmill Saturday.

Still no word on when he'll be back, but I guess if he's running, it's not too bad.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:41 PM | link | 2 comments |

Bubba in the DDN

Hal McCoy wrote a little bit about Bubba in the Dayton Daily News today:

A little Bubba

His name is Richard Steven Crosby, but since he was a kid he always has been Bubba Crosby. He is only 5-11, 195 pounds and when asked, "Isn't a guy named Bubba supposed to be real big, real hefty," Crosby said, "That's in Alabama and Arkansas, not in Texas."

Crosby said he became Bubba when a younger sister couldn't say brother, and it stuck.

"I tried to change it in school, call myself Richard, but kids would call for me and ask for Richard, and my parents would burst out laughing and say, 'You mean Bubba?' "

Nits: I think Bubba's middle name is "Stephen," not "Steven." And it was his older sister, not his younger sister.

It's a very cute story, though. My mom, who is a teacher, hates nicknames. She says it's hard enough learning 25 names every year, without having to remember that John is "Jack" and Katharyn is "Katie." So my parents gave me a name it was impossible to shorten. I always had nickname envy as a kid. But once I left home, people started calling me all kinds of nicknames, most of them completely unrelated to my actual name, and much longer. There's one old Portuguese guy at work who calls me by a string of two or three Portuguese given names - just because he thinks mine is too short. My poor mom.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:06 AM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cut Day

Bubba is still in a Reds uniform

As expected, the Reds trimmed the roster today. Joey Votto was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Homer Bailey, Michael Gosling, Dan Conway, and Ryan Hanigan were reassigned to the minor league camp. Kerry Ligtenberg and Brian Meadows were released:

"By doing it with both of those guys, at least it gives them two weeks and maybe someone can [sign them]," Krivsky said. "We just felt like there were other people ahead of them. Let's do it earlier than later and be fair to them. They've both been around and we respect their status."

Cincinnati now has 43 active players remaining in camp.

So Bubba has survived the second round of cuts.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:22 PM | link | 0 comments |

Bucs Edged

The play Bubba was injured on

March 15, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 3, Pittsburgh Pirates 2

It was the second game of a doubleheader, so Bubba got to start. He was originally supposed to play right field, but Hamilton was scratched due to shin splints, and Bubba was moved to center field, batting lead off.

He only played two innings. Paulino hit a liner over his head in the first inning. Though some reported that he misjudged the ball and made an ill-timed dive for it, it seems what really happened was he lost his footing the grass and fell. It ended up being a 2-RBI triple.

Bubba was injured on the play, though he stayed in until the end of the 2nd. I hope that means it's not that serious.

His first and only at-bat, facing old teammate Shawn Chacon, he worked the count full, then flew out to CF. He fielded his position well enough in the 2nd, but did not come out for the 3rd. Denorfia took over for him. Later in the game, they announced Bubba had a mild strain of his left calf muscle.

Still no word on how long he's expected to be out. Today's game was rained out, so there's been no more news. The reporters all high-tailed it home to watch March Madness on TV.

Anyway, until the end, last night's game was probably most boring I have ever watched/listened to. And not only because it was sadly Bubba-less. It just seemed really sloppy. Fielders making dopey mistakes, letting the ball drop in between them, or throwing it into the stands. Runners not only getting doubled off, but almost lapping the guy ahead of them. (No, it wasn't Bubba who did that!) Batters hitting out of order. Runners getting beaned by the throw. At this point in spring training, you expect things to be pulling together. Not last night.

The game ended well, though. Marte on the mound, the score 2-1 Bucs. Machado walked, Janish struck out swinging. Machado stole 2B. Deno singled to center, scoring Machado. Game tied, one out.

Joey Votto walked. Then a wild pitch, putting Deno on 3B, Votto on 2B. Ryan Jorgensen singled to center, scoring Deno. 3-2 Reds, and game over.

Exciting and gratifying ending. I wish Bubba could have been a part of it.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:05 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Beware the Ides of March, indeed

Ugh. It's not going well. Bubba was pulled after two innings, replaced with Denorfia. I think it must be an injury.

UPDATE: Yup, it's an injury. "Mild strain of the left calf."

UPDATE #2: From

Outfielder Bubba Crosby exited Thursday night's game after one inning with a mild strain of his left calf muscle. Crosby, who will be reevaluated on Friday, fell down trying to catch Ronny Paulino's first-inning drive to the center-field wall.

Bubba actually stayed in two innings, though the injury happened in the first inning. From what the Pittsburgh announcers said, he lost his footing on the grass and fell.

Sounds like the field is not great there in Ed Smith Stadium. It's being blamed for Hamilton's shin splints. And the other day, when Baldelli robbed Bubba with a diving catch, the announcers commented that he didn't slide at all. The field doesn't have any "give." Instead, he hit the ground hard and dug out a huge divot.

A lot of people are expecting more roster cuts to be announced this morning.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:08 PM | link | 2 comments |

Beware the Ides of March

March 15, 2007: Pittsburgh Pirates 13, Cincinnati Reds 1

This was the first game of a day-night, home-away, split-squad double-header. And boy, was it ugly. The wind was blowing out again...but somehow, it didn't help the Reds hitters. The Reds had only six hits...two of them by pitchers, and one of them by the catcher.

I don't think Bubba even went to Bradenton. That makes this the first game he hasn't played in this spring training. He will be playing in the second game in Sarasota tonight. He's even starting. He was originally listed as the right fielder, but was moved to center field when Josh Hamilton was scratched. (Shin splints again.)

The starting pitcher for the Bucs will be former Yankee Shawn Chacon again.

The Enquirer has yet another article on the outfield situation:

Denorfia and Hopper are competing with Bubba Crosby for an extra outfield spot. Crosby would be the fourth left-handed-hitting outfielder.

Denorfia and Hopper are similar players in that they are very solid fundamentally with limited power.

Hopper won the International League batting title, hitting .347 in 383 at-bats for Louisville.

Denorfia would have edged Hopper for the title if Denorfia had had enough at-bats to quality. He hit .349 in 312 at-bats.

Denorfia has more power - seven homers at Louisville to none for Hopper. Hopper has more speed - 25 steals at Louisville to 15 for Denorfia. Both can play all three outfield positions.

Both Denorfia and Hopper have options. Crosby doesn't. Crosby hit .276 in 98 at-bats for the New York Yankees in 2005 but slipped to .207 in 87 at-bats last year. He is considered a very good defensive outfielder.

I can't but wonder if tonight is the last time Bubba will wear a Reds uniform. The Reds are expected to make big cuts after today's double header. And Bubba did say that if he's going to be cut, he wants it to be early, so he has time to hook up with another team.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:19 PM | link | 0 comments |

The Roster

A couple of articles in the news today, which hint that Bubba's chances of making the Reds are dimming. From the Dayton Daily News:

"Should we take four left-handed hitting outfielders (Griffey, Adam Dunn, Hamilton, Bubba Crosby)? Not likely," Narron said. "We'll see how it works out. Could happen."

Narron paused and smiled, "Did I really say that?"

I think it's clear Hamilton is making the roster, so if they don't want to carry that many lefties, Bubba's chances aren't great. The Yankees love lefties, but in Cincinnati, the feeling is that GABP favors righties.

Bubba is interviewed in this article at

Crosby got a start in right field Wednesday and went 0-for-3, but he has come into most of the games off the bench.

"I'm playing every day. I feel like I'm getting an opportunity," said Crosby, who is batting .296 in 14 games.

Hopper and Denorfia are right-handed, but, like Hamilton, Crosby is a left-handed hitter who can play all three outfield spots. With Griffey and left fielder Adam Dunn also left-handed, it's unlikely the club would carry four lefty-hitting outfielders.

When Crosby signed with the club as a free agent in November, the Reds had not yet decided to take a chance on Hamilton.

"It definitely makes things more complicated," Crosby said. "I can't control that. I had quite a few offers this offseason, and every offer I had was a situation where I'd have to compete for a job. My biggest goal is to show my versatility and what I can do to help benefit this club. If I can do that -- I feel like I'm doing that -- that's all I can control. I can't really control when they're in the back meetings trying to put lineups together and things like that. Yeah, I'd like to think my name would be in those. That's pretty much up to them."

Unlike Hopper and Denorfia, Crosby has no Minor League options remaining. If the club doesn't feel he'll make it, Crosby hoped it won't prolong that decision for too long.

"If they try to shoot me through the waivers the last days of camp, it's obvious I'd clear because most team's rosters would be full," Crosby said. "But I hope they, at least for my benefit, give me an opportunity to make another club."

Sounds like he's got a good attitude, anyway. No point in worrying about the lineup; he can't do anything about it.

But I wonder if the Reds would cut him early to give him a chance with another club. Their likely starting outfield is rather injury-prone, so you could see them wanting to stash Bubba in Triple-A if they can.

We may find out soon. Many expect the Reds to make some cuts after today's double-header.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:06 AM | link | 0 comments |

Pitcher's Duel

March 14, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 2, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1

The Rays are now the proud owners of 12-game losing streak. I wasn't expecting a pitcher's duel last night, but that's what we got. With a lot of pitchers...

As you might expect from the score, there were not a lot of hits. Bubba went 0 for 3, and even Roy Hobbs was only 1 for 3, with an infield single.

Strangely, despite the tight score, the game was never really exciting. Perhaps because of that losing streak, I never really felt the Reds were in danger of losing this one.

Bubba stayed in the entire game, but only came to the plate three times. A reflection of how the Rays' pitchers were mowing 'em down, I guess.

His first at-bat was in the 2nd. One out, one on. On the 0-1 pitch, he scorched a liner to right center, but was robbed by a diving Rocco Baldelli. Baldelli dug up such a large divot making the play that the announcers thought he had lost his glove. No, it was big clod of dirt and grass that went flying.

Bubba came to the plate again in the 4th. Two outs, runner on 3B. He worked the count full, then hit a checkswing grounder to 3B. Prompting the Tampa announcers to say something like, "Wow, he doesn't run like a Bubba!" (I guess they expect someone named "Bubba" to weigh about 300 lbs., and waddle down the first base line, no doubt slowed by the pants hanging halfway off his butt.) He made it close, but didn't beat the throw.

Bubba led off the 7th. On a 1-1 count, he hit a broken-bat grounder to 1B. The flying pieces of lumber made it interesting, but once again, the throw was in time.

The Devil Rays had a lot of their prime time lineup in, and they were making the kind of defensive plays that have made them so pesky to the Yanks the last couple of years.

Bubba is now hitting .296 / .387 / .519.

He should get more playing time today. The Reds are playing two games against the Pirates: a split-squad, day-night doubleheader.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:37 AM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Reds Prevail

March 13, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 6, New York Yankees 3

It wasn't easy to follow the game last night. Not only was it not on TV, not on the radio, and not webcast, my computer lost its connection to the Internet, so I couldn't even follow it on Gameday. By the time I figured out it was my computer and not Verizon's fault, the game had started. I dug out my laptop and hooked up the modem. I tried using the CD Verizon gave me, but the computer choked, giving me the blue screen of death. Twice. Finally, I set up the connection manually (which I should have done to begin with), and I was in business...about half-way through the game.

Bubba entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 7th, playing left field. Robby Cano hit a double to left. Trent, who was live-blogging the game (more or less - Blogger was really slow last night), said he thought Bubba deserved an error on the play. Sigh. I don't know what happened.

Our boy redeemed himself in the next inning. Basak singled, then Andy Phillips, in his first at-bat of the season, grounded into a double play. Cairo and Tabata singled, then Melky was up. He hit a liner to left, but Bubba made a nice running catch, robbing him and ending the inning.

Bubba got only one at-bat, in the 9th. Matt DeSalvo started the inning, and wasn't very effective. He gave up a single, a walk, then another single, without getting any outs. Bubba came to the plate with runners on the corners, no outs. Cue the theme from "Halloween" - they pulled DeSalvo, and brought Mike Myers, the lefty specialist. He plunked Bubba, loading the bases. (Gee, DeSalvo couldn't do that.) The Yanks then put another pitcher on the mound: TJ Beam. (This prompted some complaining from Reds fans, seeing as it's only a spring training game. I tried to explain to them that Myers was a LOOGY, and couldn't be expected to plunk two hitters in one game.... ;-)

Anyway, Beam managed to get three outs, while only giving up one run. Kevin Thompson homered off Brian Meadows in the bottom of the 9th, but it was too little, too late.

So Bubba technically did not get any at-bats last night. That means he's hitting .333 / .429 / .583.

After the game, the Yankees made a lot of cuts to their roster - including Tabata and Hughes. I think the Reds may be planning something similar, after Thursday's double-header. Seems like most of the other teams have already made deeper cuts than the Reds have.

Someone who was down in Sarasota posted a brief report at RHM. He thinks Bubba will make the team; he watched a lot of BP, as well as some games, and says Bubba can hit, while Deno is struggling. Someone said something similar in a comment at Trent's blog: that Bubba just looks a lot better at the plate than Deno. John Fay said today that if it comes down to Deno or Hopper, Hopper will be the one making the roster. He didn't say anything about Bubba, but his projected roster has Bubba making the 25-man over both Deno and Hopper. (Crossing my fingers...)

Trent posted the lineups; Bubba is starting in right field against Tampa Bay tonight. Go, Bubba!

posted by BubbaFan, 6:29 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

19 Games Left

Five players cut yesterday, 50 players left, 19 spring training games to go.

Cincinnati Enquirer beat reporter John Fay has posted a projected roster at his Reds Insider blog. He sees the Reds carrying 12 pitchers, only 2 catchers, and five outfielders, including Bubba. (He counts Conine as an infielder.)

Trent, the Cincinnati Post beat reporter, doesn't venture a guess as to who will win the last two or three roster spots, but he does think Bubba has a good chance. He didn't mention Bubba in the article he wrote about the roster, but when asked about it in his blog, he said it was just an oversight:

I totally forgot Bubba, who is certainly in that mix and with Keppinger hurt, may be one of the leaders. Especially since Denorfia and Hopper have options.

And just from scanning the Reds blogs and message boards...Bubba does seem to have won over a lot of the fans with his solid play. Keep it up, kid!

posted by BubbaFan, 6:46 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Jays

Bubba, left, watching Bellhorn taking BP

March 12, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 3, Toronto Blue Jays 0

The photo above actually has nothing to do with today's game. I just felt like posting it. It's from SI.

I missed today's game because of work. I was following it in spare moments via Trent's blog. Once again, Bubba entered the game late, and got only one at-bat. He led off in the bottom of the 7th. Ball, swinging strike, then a popup - caught by Jays' backup catcher Sal Fasano.

That makes it two whole at-bats without a hit. Puts him at .333 / .407 / .583.

Tomorrow the Reds go to Legends Field to face the Yanks again. I thought it would be on YES, but it looks like it's not. No TV coverage. Bummer.

And the Reds' first cut was today. Most of the cuts were pitchers. One position player, outfielder Chris Dickerson, was optioned to Class AA Chattanooga.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:04 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Forward

March 11, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 9, Pittsburgh Pirates 8

Arrgh. Daylight Savings Time is evil. It's the government forcing everyone to get up an hour earlier every morning. And no, it doesn't save energy. Rather, the point is to keep retailers happy. People are more likely to go to the mall and shop if it's light out after work, you see. Kinda like those factory farmers who keep the lights on 24/7 so the chickens will eat more...

I missed the beginning of this game, because I had to work. (Can't wait until this @#$% project is over. Unfortunately, the deadline is March 22 - the day of the only Yankees-Reds day game. Which means I'll probably miss it. Sigh.) Today was the foggiest morning I have ever seen. Very scary to drive in, because you could barely see the traffic lights from the stop lines. Not to mention all the cars parked way out in the street, because of the snow drifts along the side of the road. Everyone else came in an hour late (at least one of them not even realizing it was DST). We really didn't get much done, because everyone was cranky and sleepy.

Perhaps because of DST, the Reds played a very sloppy game. But hey, they won...

I missed the exciting first inning, chained to my desk at work, but looking at the game threads, fans were still grousing about A-Gon batting in the two-hole when he hit an RBI double. LOL! I think that guy's going to hit a lot better than Reds fans think. He's in the NL now, and in GABP. He'll be fine.

Bubba entered the game in the 6th inning, playing left field. I think. It was very confusing. The announcers said left field, Gameday said right field. The official box score says he only played left, Gameday says he moved from right to left, and listening to the announcers, it sounds like he moved from left to right. And ESPN says he moved from right to center.

Our boy had only one at-bat in the game. It was in the bottom of the 7th. Righty Josh Shortslef (who hails from Oswego, in western NY) was on the mound. Two outs, runner on 3B. Bubba worked the count full, then was caught looking. He was unhappy with the call, more than one commenter noted. So he was 0 for 1. He's batting .348 / .423 / .609.

The most bizarre play was in the top of the 8th inning. The Reds got two errors on the play, and the Pittsburgh announcers thought it should be three. It was hard to follow what happened from the audio, but apparently, with the bases loaded with Pirates, a shallow hit to center-right dropped in in front of Hopper. Even though he was playing shallow and the ball was hit right to him, he didn't get it, and didn't field it fast enough to get anyone out. He tried to throw it home, but it was wide. The throw was ruled an error. Then someone was caught in a rundown...and was awarded a run when Brian Shackelford drew an interference call. Four runs scored in the inning, three on that play, putting the Pirates on top, 8-6.

What a mess. The Pittsburgh announcers thought catcher Chad Moeller deserved an error, because he was slow getting the ball out of his glove. Narron blamed Shackelford, saying if he had backed up at home like he was supposed to, it wouldn't have happened.

Me, I blame Bellhorn. He booted a groundball earlier in the inning, which opened the floodgates. If he made that play, the inning would have been over with no runs given up.

(And you can see why I was wondering if Bubba was in left, right, or center. They did not identify Hopper by name, so I was holding my breath, hoping it wasn't Bubba who let those runs score.)

Bellhorn and Hopper would redeem themselves in the bottom of the inning. Bellhorn got on base via a walk, and scored when Castro hit a home run, and Hopper had an RBI single, putting the Reds on top again. The lead would hold, with Meadows getting the save.

For some reason, Chris Denorfia didn't play at all today. I think this is the first game he's missed. He did play the entire game yesterday, though, so he probably deserves a day off.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:09 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Double Bubba Doubles

March 10, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 5, Cleveland Indians 3

Well, the Reds got revenge for yesterday's loss. And guess who plated the go-ahead run?

Bubba started in right field, batting 8th. And he had to be pleased with how he played today. He's winning over a lot of doubters.

His first at-bat was in the 3rd. Jake Westbrook (former Yankee) on the mound, one on, no outs. Narron called two hit-and-runs in a row. (The kind of thing you see only in spring training games.) They were tough pitches; Bubba fouled both of them, and IMO, he did well just to make contact. That left him in an 0-2 hole. Still, he fouled another one off, then flied out to deep center. (Center field is pretty huge in this park.) Even though it was an out, it was a pretty good at-bat, all things considered.

Bubba came to the plate again in the 5th. Brian Slocum on the mound, Castro on first, one out. On a 1-0 count, Bubba doubled to right, impressing the Indians' hitting coach, who was being interviewed in the booth at the time. Bubba just missed a home run; the ball hit the wall in the right field corner.

Standup double for Bubba [WMV, 2.5 Mb]

It wasn't cashed in, alas. Castro didn't score from 1B. Gil, up next, singled, but it was to 3B, and the runners held. Denorfia struck out on three pitches, and Hatteberg, despite getting ahead 2-0 in the count, grounded into a force out.

Bubba came up again in the 6th. The score was 2-2. Lefty Aaron Laffey was on the mound. Paul Janish on 2B, two outs. Bubba lined one to left field, just fair, for another double. This one scored Janish. It was the go-ahead run, pinning Laffey with the loss. Yay, Bubba!

Another double for Bubba [WMV, 3.0 Mb]

Bubba was pulled in the bottom of the 7th, replaced with Dewayne Wise. His line for the day: 2 for 3, with two doubles and 1 RBI. He's hitting .364 / .440 / .636.

Bubba is making people sit up and take notice, that's for sure. According to Krivsky, the first cut will be soon:

The Reds' first cut will be coming soon. But neither Narron nor general manager Wayne Krivsky will reveal the date.

"I would rather not have the players worry about it," Krivsky said.

I think Bubba's shown more than enough to stick around awhile longer, but who knows how Narron and Krivsky think.

Those of you who like Scruffy!Bubba better hope he makes the team. If he ends up in Louisville, he's going to have go back to Yankee-style grooming standards:

MINOR RULES: Players in the minor-league camp are required to wear high socks with stirrups. Facial hair, long hair and earrings are banned as well.

And there was a familiar face in the Indians lineup. Long-time Red Sock Trot Nixon played his first spring training game. (He's coming back from back surgery.) He went 0 for 2.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:17 PM | link | 0 comments |

Starting in Winter Haven

Bubba gets only his second start of spring training today (and the only reason he got the first one is Ryan Freel was a late scratch in one game).

Today's lineup, courtesy of Trent:

27 Chris Denorfia ..................RF
21 Scott Hatteberg ................ 1B
4 Brandon Phillips ............... 2B
19 Jeff Conine .......................DH
17 Javier Valentin .................... C
46 Mark Bellhorn ................ 3B
9 Juan Castro .........................SS
16 Bubba Crosby ...................LF
34 Jerry Gil ............................CF
40 Paul Wilson ........................ P

The game will be televised in parts of Ohio. Which means it will be on MLB.TV, not just Gameday Audio. So if Bubba does anything amazing, we should have video. :-)

In other news, former Yankee and Red Tony Womack has been cut by the Nationals. He was 0 for 7 in spring training, and they decided to let him go early, to give him a chance to hook up with another team.

Andy Phillips has rejoined the Yankees. I was wondering why I hadn't seen his name in the lineup. His mother was in a serious car crash back home in Alabama. T-boned by an 18-wheeler that ran a red light. Sheesh. Poor Andy has lousy luck. Anyway, his mom is doing better now, though she's still hospitalized.

Ron Villone signed a minor league deal with the Yankees. He got offers from other teams, but they weren't as lucrative as he'd hoped. His family is in the NY area, so he decided to sign a minor league contract with the Yanks rather than a major league deal elsewhere. He's pitching so well in spring training that he's pretty much guaranteed himself a spot on the 25-man roster. This likely means Bruney will be booted down to Scranton.

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posted by BubbaFan, 11:27 AM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, March 09, 2007

Losing Streak

March 9, 2007: Cleveland Indians 7, Cincinnati Reds 3

Well, I think almost everyone now agrees that phenom Homer Bailey is not quite ready for prime time. Just as well. There's a logjam for the fifth starter spot, so there's no reason he shouldn't continue to hone his skills in Louisville.

But while I was listening to this game, it did occur to me that "Homer" is a really bad name for a pitcher. Bailey gave up five runs on two homers, and put the Reds in a hole they could not climb out of. The Reds are now in a two-game skid.

Bubba entered the game in 4th inning, pinch-running for Dunn, who was HBP. He got to 3B on a Conine double, but was stranded when A-Gon struck out and Castro grounded out.

Bubba remained in the game and took over left field (again). He made one running catch that impressed the crowd, judging from the audio.

Bubba led off the bottom of the 6th. Jeff Harris was pitching. Bubba tried a bunt on the first pitch, but it bounced right back to the catcher, and he was thrown out.

Bubba was back up to the plate in the bottom of the 8th. JD Martin pitching. One on, one out. Martin pulled the string, and Bubba went down swinging.

Bubba's line for the day: 0 for 2. He's hitting .316 / .409 / .526.

And I've expanded my post about the Yankees game. Added audio, video, links, and articles. I was going to split off the part about fan and media reaction to Bubba's homecoming into another post, but decided not to, since there were already comments about it under the original post. So pardon the length. :-)

posted by BubbaFan, 9:01 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hit the ball, and touch 'em all...

March 8, 2007: Detroit Tigers 9, Cincinnati Reds 7

Well, the Reds are no longer undefeated. Bubba did his part, hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the 9th, but the Reds came up just short.

Harang had a rough outing, and the Reds fell behind early. When Bubba entered the game in the bottom of the 6th, pinch-running for Dunn, the Tabbies were leading 6-1. Jerry Gil hit a triple, and Bubba scored from 1B. This was really the first glimmer of hope for the Reds all day. The lead would be cut to 6-3 by the time the inning was over.

Bubba remained in the game and took over left field. His first at-bat came in the bottom of the 7th. One out, none on, former Yankee Felix Heredia on the mound. Fly out to left-center.

Zach Miner took the mound for the Tiggers in the bottom of the ninth. They were leading 9-4. Machado led off, flying out to center. Votto walked. Bellhorn went down swinging. Moeller singled, line drive to left. Bubba came to the plate, runners on first and second, two outs. On a 1-0 count, he smacked one to deep right. Good-bye! Three-run homer for the Bubbino.

Alas, it was not enough to preserve the Reds' unbeaten record. Jerry Gil, up next, struck out, ending the game.

Nice hit by Bubba, though. I think it (along with that flashy catch yesterday) opened up some eyes. At least among the fans. A lot of people who didn't think he belonged on the team are changing their minds.

Bubba's line for the day: 1 for 2, with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI. He's hitting .353 / .450 / .588.

And if you're wondering, yes, former Yankee Gary Sheffield was in the lineup. He played left field and went 1 for 3. He's wearing #3 now.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:11 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Still Undefeated

March 7, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 1, New York Yankees 1

Bubba returned to Legends Field today, to face his former team for the first time. If you're torn between rooting for the Reds and the Yanks, the game had the ideal ending. It went 10 innings, and ended in a tie.

Bubba came in during the top of the eighth, subbing for Chris Denorfia. One out, none on. When his name was called, the crowd gave him a nice ovation. Many Yankees fans were cheering for him, yelling, "Bubba! C'mon, Bubba!" while he was batting.

Luis Vizcaino, acquired in the Randy Johnson trade, was on the mound for the Yanks. Though right-handed, he has a reputation for being tough on lefties - so much so, that many thought he would take Ron Villone's place in the pen. The reputation is apparently well-deserved; he struck Bubba out looking.

Bubba came to the plate again in the 10th inning. Sean Henn on the mound, one out, man on first. He hit it right back to the pitcher, grounding into a force-out. They got Hopper at 2B, but Bubba beat the DP and was safe on first. (Prompting Suzyn to comment that "He still has that speed.") The Yanks apparently remembered it, too; they held Bubba close. But Votto flew out, ending the inning.

So Bubba was 0 for 2 at the plate, but as you can tell from the score, no one else did that well, either.

He did have a spectacular catch in the 10th inning. Hot prospect Eric Duncan hit a sharp liner into left field. Bubba dived for it face-first, and made a great two-handed grab. Here's a video clip:

Bubba robs Eric Duncan (2 Mb, WMV)

He got some nice applause from what was left of the Yankee crowd.


This was the first time Bubba played the Yankees since he was DFA'd, and he got a lot of attention from the press and the fans.

NYYFans reports that Jeter greeted Bubba on the field before the game:

It was sweet to see Derek Jeter and Crosby share a moment in center field 10 minutes before the 7:15 first pitch.

(Dang. And no one got a photo?)

From the NY Daily News:
BUBBA'S BACK: Bubba Crosby returned to Legends Field for the first time since being designated for assignment by the Yankees in August, and received a warm ovation before striking out for the Reds as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. "I left the Yankees with my head up and quite a bit of memories," Crosby said.
A spark of Bubba: Former Yankees outfielder Bubba Crosby was looking the part of an expatriate when he met with reporters in the Reds' clubhouse at Legends Field on Wednesday. Crosby, who spent three seasons with the Yanks, had grown his hair down to just above shoulder-length and he wore signs of a scruffy beard.

Crosby, who was signed with Cincinnati as a free agent after the 2006 season, talked about his experience in New York and said it felt weird being back in Tampa as a visitor.

"It was emotional leaving, but I understood the situation and how things worked," said Crosby, who became expendable after the Yankees picked up Bobby Abreu in a midseason trade with the Phillies. "It was tough, because I wasn't able to say goodbye to all the guys the way I wanted to. Obviously, I would have wanted the opportunity to compete for a spot this year, but I got my shot to play for the Yankees, which I'm proud of."

Crosby said he called Don Mattingly during the offseason to thank him for helping him during his three years with the club. Crosby also said he spent some time with Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon after the season ended.

"It was an amazing time, and I'll always cherish the chance to play in the playoffs and have the opportunity to go to the World Series," said Crosby, who went 0-for-2 in Wednesday's game. "It was an exciting time, and I'll appreciate being a part of it."

Blogging the Bombers:

Bubba Changes His Tune

Bubba Crosby, who had some mixed words for the Yankees early in the spring, had nothing but glowing things to say about the Bombers when we went over to see him before the game.

“What will stand out for me is that I got a chance to play three of those five games (in the 2005 ALDS), and getting so close in 2004, being on that team when Boston beat us and being so close to getting to the World Series," he said.

Crosby, who bolted the clubhouse in Baltimore without speaking to his teammates or reporters when he was designated for assignment last Aug. 4, said he was simply not prepared emotionally for what had happened to him.

“I was a little emotional, because I had been with these guys for three years,” Crosby said. “I understood the situation, how things worked. It’s a numbers game, but I wasn’t emotionally prepared to tell all those guys goodbye. I just needed to get out of there.”

I always liked Bubba. It was nice to see him. And, of course, he had long hair and a scruffy beard. The former Yankees just can’t resist it.

("Changes his tune"? Grrr. Still, a much nicer article than the previous one by Feinsand.)

Crosby reminisces

Former Yankee Bubba Crosby was back as a visitor with the Reds, and looked back fondly on his years in New York. "The fact that a guy like me got to play three years with a team like that, that's an achievement," Crosby said.

And here are some audio and video files:

Video of Bubba's first at-bat - The crowd gives Bubba a nice ovation.

Audio of Bubba's first at-bat - Sterling and Waldman talk about how devastated Bubba was to be DFA'd.

Audio of Bubba's great catch - Sterling and Waldman call the play, and talk about how much Yankee fans like Bubba.

Oh, and Trent said Bubba seemed to know every groundskeeper and security guard at Legends field.

It was good to see Bubba get so much appreciation from the Yankees fans. One of the things that made it so difficult when he was cut was that there was no chance to say goodbye. No one was expecting a roster move that day, and it was before an away game, in Baltimore. Bubba didn't give an interview. (And I don't blame him.) It just seemed so sudden, after three years. Many fans didn't even realize he'd been cut; heck, some are still asking, "Hey, where's Bubba?" This game provided fans with some sense of closure.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:58 PM | link | 5 comments |