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Justin Williams


To the Experts: Joel Luckhaupt

As the oldest franchise in professional baseball, the Cincinnati Reds history is a long and storied one, spanning from the first night game and the 1919 Black Sox scandal, to the Big Red Machine and Marge Schott. It’s almost too much to take in.

I Took a Walk

The popular issue among the Reds community this week has been the “Joey Votto doesn’t get paid to walk” argument. (Dusty’s lineup decisions have a much-needed week off.) Fans and media alike have chimed in on either side. Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty wrote the other day that walks and high on-base percentage aren’t enough from your 3-hole hitting, $250 million MVP. Those in the sabermetric club, such as Doc’s colleague C. Trent Rosecrans and Fox Sports Ohio statistician Joel Luckhaupt, both favor the aspect of merely getting on base by any means when it comes to Votto’s stat lines. Fans, naturally, are divided as well, and it’s not as if there aren’t points of merit regarding either viewpoint.

Even Steven

In the film Almost Famous, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character is talking on the phone with the main character—a young journalist—helping him navigate the turbulent waters of adolescence, instructing him on how to deal with those who approach high school as the peak of their shortsighted lives.

Shank Graham

The Cleveland Browns posted this on the team's official Twitter page yesterday:

Commercial Hits

Pete Rose is a man of obvious talents and vices.

Solved Mysteries: Who is Willie James Hammock?

While working on our Unsolved Mysteries cover package for our April Issue, I was charged with tracking down some of the notable unknowns of Cincinnati sports lore. There proved to be a few that still persist—Sam Wyche’s firing, the Reds Opening Day tradition—but I also managed to get an explanation for one of them.

Opening Day: Optimism and Pancakes

My plan was to write something sanguine and sincere and profound about Opening Day, as the Reds ready themselves to take the field in the town where professional baseball was born.

What We Learned: Joey Votto

If you haven’t done so already, make it a point to check out Buster Olney’s cover piece on Joey Votto from the April 1 issue of ESPN the Magazine, on newsstands now. (The article is also available on ESPN Insider, if you subscribe/shell out the coin.) Olney is one of the top baseball writers out there, and he does an incredible job of delving into the hitter’s mind of Votto and what makes him so formidable at the plate, as well as so introverted and enigmatic off the field. I’ve always considered Votto to be incredibly boring (not that this is necessarily a bad thing), but the Olney piece has shifted my thinking a bit. It’s not that Votto is boring, but more that he’s a deeply inquisitive baseball player focusing so much energy and time to his craft that little to nothing else about him shines through to the fans and public. In other words, he’s a baseball nerd. And while it doesn’t make him as fun or exciting as someone like Brandon Phillips or Mat Latos or Jay Bruce, it is what makes him the best hitter in the majors.

A Spread Worth Gambling On

The Horseshoe Casino’s Spread Buffet hosted a media event Tuesday morning, featuring an appearance by executive chef Pete Ghione and a chance to sample the culinary creations at Horseshoe’s 400-seat all-you-can-eat location, where gamblers of both money and waistlines can dine ‘til their stomachs runneth over.

Money Well Wasted

The Bengals announced Monday that the team re-signed linebacker Rey Maualuga to a two-year deal, despite the fact that Maualuga has been tackling-intolerant for the past couple seasons. The deal pays him $6.5 million over the length of the contract (plus bonuses), which is somewhere in the range of $6.5 million too much. Below is a list of more productive things the organization could have done with that money.