All Things Bubba

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene's Aftermath

Irene left quite a mess in upstate New York. And I hear it's worse in Vermont.

I wonder how we're going to pay to fix all this.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:59 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bellaire High School, 1995

From an anonymous informant...some scans from Bubba Crosby's senior yearbook.

The Bellaire High School varsity baseball team:

Bubba was a "Birdkeeper" - a senior chosen to protect the school mascot. Which appears to be a cardinal. (That's him on the left.)

Bubba was chosen by his classmates as the most handsome senior. Or was it a runner-up? Something like that.

And here's his senior photo.

Bubba was a pitcher as well as an outfielder in high school.

The yearbook also has some photos of Ray Knoblauch - Chuck Knoblauch's dad. He was a coach at Bellaire.

(There was an interesting NY Times story about that.)


posted by BubbaFan, 6:40 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Unhittable Cingrani

Tony Cingrani keeps getting better and better:

Cingrani unhittable for Mustangs

Earlier in the year, Tony Cingrani drew raves for his work in ending games. On Saturday, it was how he started one that garnered praise.

Cingrani fanned a career-high 13 batters over six no-hit innings to earn his first pro win as short-season Billings defeated Casper, 3-1.

The Reds started Cingrani with two innings a game, and have slowly stretched him out (now to six innings). I thought at first they might just want to have more control over when and how much he pitched, but it looks like they are really hoping he can be a starter, not just a reliever. He's certainly stepped up to the challenge.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:53 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Return of the Wanger

The Reds faced the Nationals last night, with former Yankee Chien-Ming Wang on the mound. Wang hasn't been terrible since returning from surgery, but he's not the pitcher he used to be, either. His sinker doesn't have the velocity it used to have, and his strike out rate, never high, is pretty bad. Perhaps he's still recovering from the surgery. In any case, he managed to keep the Reds in the park. He gave up only a couple of extra-base hits - two doubles to the pitcher, Dontrelle Willis.

The Reds won, but only after Wang had left the game. Another former Yankee, Miguel Cairo, got the walkoff single. It's really amazing how well Miggy has hit since he's become a Red. His OPS is almost 100 points higher than his career average. This at age 37.

Paul Janish started at shortstop, and got on base in the 6th via a walk after a very nice 10-pitch at bat. He scored from second on a Brandon Phillips single. I was kind of surprised they sent him, but Mark Berry, the third base coach, knew who was fielding the ball in left: former Red Jonny Gomes. Gomes' throw was a little off, enabling Janish to slide in behind the plate and under the tag. (Janish is a pretty good baserunner for a guy who doesn't have blazing speed.)

But I guess Dusty wasn't impressed, because he pinch-hit for Janish in the 7th. That's the earliest he's done it when Renteria wasn't available. Miguel Cairo was the pinch-hitter; he struck out, then took over third base. Todd Frazier played two innings at short. He did all right, though I think a real SS would have at least had a chance at DP in the 8th.

Janish seemed pretty bummed at being pulled. The Reds announcers chose that moment to talk about how well he'd done in the previous inning, with the two-out walk, then scoring from second. So they showed him walking across the dugout, into the clubhouse. He was shaking his head and muttering to himself.

Poor Janish has really been a funk lately. That walk was the first time he got on base in a week, aside from a reached on error the day before. I know he can hit better than he has been, but he just seems to be a head case right now.

I wonder whether he'll even make the roster next year. I'm not sure Walt Jocketty will be comfortable going with Zack Cozart (11 big league games) and Paul Janish as his shortstops next year. He might want to get veteran backup for Cozart. Janish has an option left, I believe, and could be stashed in Louisville in case of emergency.

Renteria is starting at shortstop tonight for the Reds, but I expect Janish has a good chance of getting into the game eventually.

Jay Bruce, Paul Janish, and Joey Votto before the game - via Jamie Ramsey


posted by BubbaFan, 4:22 PM | link | 0 comments |

Waiting on Irene

A variable message board along the highway

The city that never sleeps is coming to a virtual standstill. The entire public transportation system - buses, subways, commuter rail - will be shut down.

I am not in the NYC area, but I made some preparations, just in case. Storm surge won't be an issue for me, but the wind and heavy rains could mean power outages - that last for days or weeks, not just hours. Though I'm hoping it won't come to that.

I went out early this morning - about 6 am - to get some supplies. I filled up the gas tank (refineries are closing due to the hurricane), and got some cash from the ATM (power outages might mean credit cards don't work). I also stopped by the grocery store to get some nonperishable food that doesn't need cooking.

Usually that early on a Saturday, I'm the only one in the store. Not today. It was mobbed. It's a good thing I was already stocked up on batteries, candles, and flashlights, because the shelves were bare.

Little AAA batteries were still available, but the all the C and D batteries were gone.

The bottled water section had also been denuded. I have a shelf full of bottled water already, so I didn't need any. And heck, you can just fill up some empty soda bottles from the tap.

I think I got the last two cans of vienna sausage in the store. The large jars of peanut butter were gone; they had only little ones left.

I still have to clean up my back deck - take in or tie down the patio furniture, and bring in the flower pots so they don't become missiles. Other than that, I'm about as ready I'll ever be.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:35 AM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lenny, Lenny, Lenny

Good grief. Just when you think it can't get any worse...

Ex-Met Lenny Dykstra charged with indecent exposure

(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - Former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra has been charged in Los Angeles for allegedly exposing himself to women he met on Craigslist. The city attorney's office said Thursday the 48-year-old former baseball star could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each indecent exposure count.

Dykstra is accused of finding victims by placing online ads seeking personal assistants or housekeepers. He allegedly exposed himself to women who responded to the ads on several occasions between 2009 and 2011.

This, after allegations of check fraud, drug possession, vandalism, mortgage fraud, sexual harassment, grand theft, sexual assault, and more. The guy must have crashed into too many walls. Or taken too many 'roids.

He was worth more than $50 million. Now he's bankrupt, and in jail for stealing a car, among other things. His World Series ring has been auctioned off by a pawn shop because he couldn't pay his debts.

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posted by BubbaFan, 5:25 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Goodnight Irene

Hurricane Irene's current path is a "nightmare scenario."

All eyes were on Irene's projected path, which showed it bringing misery to every city along the I-95 corridor, including Washington, New York and Boston. The former chief of the National Hurricane Center called it one of his three worst possible situations.

"One of my greatest nightmares was having a major hurricane go up the whole Northeast Coast," Max Mayfield, the center's retired director, told The Associated Press.

He said the damage will probably climb into billions of dollars: "This is going to have an impact on the United States economy."

It's already causing sports events to be rescheduled. The Reds played a doubleheader yesterday to avoid playing today. The Phillies will play a doubleheader Saturday, and the Yankees are considering playing a doubleheader Friday.

I'm guessing Irene won't be as bad as Great New England Hurricane of 1938. The path over land should weaken the storm. But this is nothing to mess with.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:58 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane Irene

The Reds are playing a doubleheader today, because Hurricane Irene is expected to rain out the scheduled game tomorrow. (Northeasterners - forget about the earthquake, worry about the hurricane.)

Edgar Renteria is in the lineup for game one - his first start since straining his groin a week ago.

Paul Janish will probably start in game 2. Mark Sheldon notes:

In a somewhat limited sample size vs. Marlins Game 2 starter Chris Volstad, only one Reds player has a home run. It’s Paul Janish, who is 2-for-3 in his previous encounter against Volstad.

Janish still doesn't have a home run in the big leagues this season. He's really struggling. He's gotten a second, even a third chance this year, with the injuries to Zack Cozart and Edgar Renteria, but has been unable to do anything with the opportunities. He hit pretty well in July, after getting called up from Louisville, but his August has been abysmal.

I gotta think it's a mental thing at this point. I suspect all he really needs is to relax and be a little more confident, but that's easier said than done.


posted by BubbaFan, 4:40 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reds win a wild one

Crazy game last night. Paul Janish had very nice night. Two for five with a double and two runs scored.

He also had some great plays on defense, including a diving stop up the middle.

He even had a stolen base. He's not a very speedy guy, but he’s a good baserunner. Got to first base in the 8th inning on a hustle single, stole second base, then got to third on a Miguel Cairo bunt. It was ruled a single, but really, if the Pirates had gone for Miggy at first instead of Janish at third, they'd have gotten an out. Janish got a good jump and slid in ahead of the tag. Janish then scored on Brandon Phillips forceout. The first run of the game for the Reds that scored without a home run.

The Reds pen was awful, which is why the game was such a roller coaster. The pen just couldn't hold a lead. But offense and defense went all out. Left it all out on the field.

I've been critical of Dusty Baker for playing to win in a lost season, instead of playing for next year, but after this game, I can understand why he wants to win, even though the postseason is likely out of reach. It would be different if the players were playing like it didn't matter, but they're not. They're still playing like it matters, and it would be very hard not to give them the best chance to win, even in "meaningless" games.

posted by BubbaFan, 2:18 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, August 19, 2011

Under the Radar

MLB Depth Charts picked Tony Cingrani for the Under the Radar Minor League NL Pitching Performance of the Week.

The Reds have decided to give Cingrani another shot in a rotation, but have been stretching out his innings to ease him back into the starter's workload. He throws a power fastball that has potential for improvement. He topped the guns at 97 mph as a reliever, but levels into the low 90’s as a starter. The outcome of his mechanics overhaul has shown a quicker, easy arm action with deception that keeps hitters off-balance. He has potential for a good change-up and solid breaking ball and shows a skill of mixing his off-speed pitches with his plus fastball. The fastball may have him destined him for a relief role, but overall improvement of his secondary pitches could keep him in the rotation.

Young Tony's pro career is off to a nice start.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:38 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Janny's got a gun

Paul Janish made a couple of great plays last night, at the expense of former teammate Jonny Gomes. In the fifth, Janish scooped up a ball that shot past third baseman Miguel Cairo, then fired it across the diamond, just getting Gomes, who was so mad he threw his helmet. Man, what an arm.

The ninth inning got a bit hairy. It looked like the game was slipping away, especially after Janish slipped making a sliding stop, and bobbled a Jonny Gomes grounder for an error. But before fans could even draw breath to call Janish a bum, he turned this great double play (with Gomes sliding in hard). And just like that, the game was over.

Beat writer John Fay's headline: Janish saves it for Cordero, Cueto.

Even Dusty Baker was impressed.

"That was a great play by Jannie with Jonny Gomes bearing down," Baker said. "He did get him pretty good (with the slide), but Jannie got a good throw off."

The Fangraph tells the story:

Look at that last spike. It's Janish's error, followed by the double play. Talk about a game turning on a single play!

Janish did all right at the plate, too. He was 1 for 3 with a walk - not bad against a tough pitcher like Ross Detwiler.

Janish is in the lineup again tonight, even though he's limping a little after being taken out by that slide. It's not like the Reds have a lot of choice. He's the last true shortstop on the 40-man roster who's healthy enough to play


posted by BubbaFan, 6:42 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another one bites the dust

Edgar Renteria left the game last night with a groin strain. He'll be evaluated this morning to see if he has to go on the DL, but whatever they decide, it looks like Paul Janish will be starting again for awhile.

If I were the superstitious type, I'd think that someone up there wants Janish to start. Every time Dusty benches him, something happens that gets him back in the lineup.

It's probably in the Reds' interest to get Janish more playing time this year. He'll probably be back on the team next year, if only as a backup, and he is still adjusting to the big leagues. (He's got about 800 at-bats, spread out over four years. Bobby Murcer used to say that you saw a big improvement once a player had 2,000 to 2,500 at-bats.) Renteria probably won't be back next year, and at his age, more at-bats aren't going to make him any better.

And it's not clear Renteria is a better option even if the plan is to win now (which it shouldn't be - the Reds are out of it at this poing). Defense was brutal for the Reds last night. Though Renteria had a RBI double, it didn't make up for the runs he let score with his porous defense at SS.

Chien-Ming Wang had a pretty good night, starting for the Nationals. He repeated a pattern he used to have with the Yankees for awhile: bad first inning, then solid after that. His sinker doesn't have the velocity it used to have; perhaps that will come back in time. He's still an excellent fielder, which is a good thing for a groundball pitcher. Wang was always one of my favorites, so I was glad to see him doing well.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:34 AM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cingrani Report

A lot of negotiations went down to the wire last night, but most of the big name draft picks were signed by the deadline, including Anthony Rendon.

Meanwhile, Tony Cingrani is turning heads in Billings. He's sporting a 1.84 ERA. They are using him as a starter, and have stretched him out to 4 innings. Not sure if they seriously think he can start, or if they just want him to get more playing time.

A Reds fan who traveled to Montana to see the Mustangs has a game report here, including some photos of Cingrani on the mound.


posted by BubbaFan, 5:22 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, dear Bubba

Cutest. Dog. Ever.

I love this photo. It's from the April Yankees Magazine article, and shows Bubba, his wife Julie, and their boxer. What an awesome dog.

I thought Bubba's fiancee was a blonde; not sure if she changed her hair color, or if he ended up marrying someone else. They're a lovely couple, anyway.

I had occasionally wondered how Bubba's family business was doing. I read a lot of news stories, and have seen many articles about how landscaping companies are struggling due to the high cost of fuel. (They use a lot of it, for their tractors, weed whackers, blowers, trimmers, etc.) It sounds like Coastal Spray has a lot oil refineries as clients. That's a heck of a way to hedge against high fuel prices!

Bubba sounds a lot like my dad when he's talking about pests. My dad is in the pest control business as well, though more in the agricultural/academic end of it. (He's got a Ph.D in weed science. Seriously.)

Happy 35th, Bubba.

Thirty-five is still so young - even by baseball standards, many players are still playing at that age. But it sounds like he's content with his decision to retire from baseball, and happy with his new life. That puts him ahead of the game. As the YES announcers were saying the other day, baseball careers almost always don't end well - even for big name stars like Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:48 AM | link | 2 comments |

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I kinda like the Reds' new second baseman...

Hall of Famer Hal thinks that, with the Reds season more or less over, Dusty Baker should play the young guys from here on out...including Paul Janish.

Well, it looks like Janish will be getting regular playing time, though it's probably not how he hoped or expected. Brandon Phillips will be out for a week or so after being hit by a pitch on the elbow. And Zack Cozart will have season-ending surgery on his elbow Friday (about time). With Miguel Cairo nursing a sore oblique, the Reds are a bit short of infielders.

Janish started at 2B tonight, and had a pretty good game. He was 2 for 3 (breaking up Kevin Millwood's no-no), and even his fly out was hit pretty hard. Just hung up a little too long.

He also turned three double plays, including one that was absolutely spectacular and will no doubt make the highlight reels.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:53 PM | link | 1 comments |

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Put a fork in 'em

Not a great day for the Cincinnati Reds. The lowly Cubs kicked their butts. Their ace, Johnny Cueto, had a terrible outing. The Yonder Alonso left field experiment isn't working. Todd Frazier did not look like the third baseman of the future. Brandon Phillips collided with Drew Stubbs; I suspect Phillips will miss a game or three.

Paul Janish didn't get into the game until it was all over but the shouting, but he didn't have a great at-bat, popping out to shortstop against lefty John Grabow.

It's only one at-bat, but it's puzzling, how much he's struggling against lefties this year. He's hit lefties better than righties throughout his minor league career, and in the big leagues...until this year. I used to say that if he hit righties as well as he hit lefties, he'd be an All-Star. Not true this year. His splits are reversed this year. He's hitting only .163 / .200 / .186 against lefties. A fluke of small sample size, or have the other teams' scouts found a hole in his swing?

However he hits, Janish's roster spot is likely safe. Zack Cozart had to shut it down when he tried to take batting practice for the first time yesterday. He will have to have surgery, and I think the Reds will eventually admit that it might as well be sooner rather than later. With Brandon Phillips' sprained ankle, the Reds are rather short of infielders. Outfielder Chris Heisey also went on the DL today; center fielder Dave Sappelt will take his spot.

The Reds are now playing for next year. They are nine games back, and I think even Dusty Baker accepts that they won't make the postseason this year. That being the case, I hope he plays the younger guys, including Janish. Renteria won't be back next year. Might as well give Janish a second chance. And see if Yonder Alonso can figure out left field, and Todd Frazier can be an everyday third baseman. At this point, why not?


posted by BubbaFan, 5:46 PM | link | 1 comments |

Friday, August 05, 2011

Friday in the Friendly Confines

Paul Janish started at shortstop tonight, to my surprise. I was really expecting Dusty Baker to write Edgar Renteria's name on the lineup card today. Janish was 0 for 3 with a walk, which doesn't sound that great, but I'm pleased with how he played. His first at-bat was fantastic. It was an 11-pitch walk:

Maybe even Dusty was impressed. Janish was due to lead off in the 9th, with the Reds trailing by one run. I wondered if Dusty was going to pinch-hit for Janish, but he didn't. Janish, the hit by pitch expert, was hit by the first pitch.

Unfortunately, the Reds couldn't get him home. Lead runner on, no outs, the team's best hitters due up...and they fell short. Again. The Reds have the worst luck with one-run games this year.

Meanwhile, it's looking more and more like Janish doesn't have to worry about being sent back to Louisville this year. It sounds like Zack Cozart won't be coming off the DL on time. I wouldn't be surprised if his season is done. It sounds like his elbow needs surgical repair. They are hoping he can play with a brace on his arm, then have the surgery in the off-season. But with the Reds now 8.5 games back and in fourth place, they have nothing to play for but the draft picks. Why rush Cozart back? IMO, it would be smarter to let him have the surgery now, so he'll have plenty of time to recover before spring training next year.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:56 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Oswalt vs. Pendleton

PNC Field

After reading about Joe Savery's story, I checked the SWB Yankees schedule to see if the IronPigs were coming to Scranton any time soon. (Admittedly, I don't need much of an excuse to go to a baseball game. ;-) I was in luck; the IronPigs were coming to Scranton at the beginning of August. I picked the August 1 doubleheader. It was a Monday. I had that day off work, and I figured my chances of seeing a relief pitcher were probably best on a doubleheader day.

I almost changed my mind about going that morning. The weather report was terrible. Thunderstorms, high wind, rain, even hail. I had pretty much decided to stay home, when I checked the weather one last time. The forecast had changed for the better - still thunderstorms, but the chances were lower, and they were earlier, before the game, rather than during. Plus, Lance Pendleton was starting for the SWB Yankees. I decided to take the chance.

Since it was Monday, I was expecting plenty of good seats to still be available. I was wrong. I got there early, but there weren't many seats left downstairs; they had opened part of the upper deck, which they usually don't do on weekdays any more. I did manage to get a seat above the visitors' dugout, but it was further out and further up than I usually get.

The lady sitting next to me explained the unusual crowds. Roy Oswalt was starting for the IronPigs - on rehab assignment. Scranton was the Phillies AAA affiliate for years, and it's not that far from Philadelphia, so there were tons of Phillies fans there.

Oswalt started the first game.

Lance Pendleton took the mound for the SWB Yanks.

Oswalt had decent velocity, but he gave up a lot of hits.

Top prospect Jesus Montero hits a RBI single off Oswalt.

Oswalt's line: 6.0 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 2 BB, 4 Ks, 0 HR.

Lance Pendleton held his own against Oswalt.

Pendleton's pickoff move.

Pendleton's line: 5.1 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 2 BB, 5 Ks, 0 HR.

Since I was sitting on the visitors' side, I was surrounded by Phillies fans, many of whom did not know who Pendleton was. They were impressed by his pitching, however. He actually pitched better than Oswalt. People seem especially impressed with his curve.

In the end, the IronPigs won, but neither starting pitcher got the win, as the game went to extras. (Minor league doubleheader games are only seven innings.)

Joe Savery did make an appearance in Game 2. Amusingly, he's listed as an infielder on the IronPigs' roster, though he seems to be used mostly as a relief pitcher.

Savery pitched the 5th inning. When he came in, there were two on, no outs.

Savery gave up a hit, a walk, and struck out one. Unfortunately, the hit was a Jesus Montero RBI double.

Savery got out of the inning, but not before two runs scored (on the double and a fielder's choice).

As for the weather? It was fine. Hot and sunny for the first game, cooler and clear for the second. I did get quite the lightning show on the drive home, but only a spattering of rain. (New York City was not so lucky.)

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posted by BubbaFan, 12:08 AM | link | 1 comments |

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Hometown Hero

Paul Janish got the start tonight in Houston. I had a feeling he would. Renteria played two days in a row, including a day game after a night game, and his veteran bones need rest. Dusty's been trying to match Renteria up against lefties; Wandy Rodriguez is starting tomorrow for the Astros, so Renteria will probably get that start. Also, Janish is from Houston; Dusty likes to play guys in their home towns, knowing that their friends and family will be in the stands.

Yonder Alonso got his first start in left field tonight, and that probably was a factor as well. Dusty was looking for the center fielder and shortstop to help out Alonso if he needed it, and Janish has more range than Renteria at this point.

Janish had a great night, going 2 for 3 with two doubles and a walk. (His mom must have been there. He says his mom brings him hits the way other moms bring cookies.) He's now hitting .357 / .437 / .571 since being recalled.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. The Reds lost in OT, in a heartbreaking manner: Brandon Phillips made a nice pick and a great throw home, but Hanigan dropped the ball. What a waste of a rare good Arroyo start.

The Reds are downright confounding this year. When they're hitting, the pitching is terrible. When the pitching is good, the hitting is bad. When both hitting and pitching are working, the fielding sucks. They swept the world champion Giants over the weekend, but lost to the lowly Astros tonight.

They're now 7.5 games back. Barring an epic collapse by the Brewers and the Cardinals, things aren't looking good.


posted by BubbaFan, 12:59 AM | link | 0 comments |