By Hal McCoy
Q: Should Reds fans take a cautious approach to the Reds surprising success? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.
A: As is often said, enjoy the moment. Nobody expected this outside the Reds clubhouse. Always be cautious, especially crossing a freeway. But no matter what happens, this team is flamboyantly exciting, ultra-aggressive, self-confident and extremely entertaining. Nobody expected this team to ever be in first place this season, so caution doesn’t enter the equation.
Q: Now that the young call-ups of Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz and Andrew Abbott have been successful and the tem is winning, will we see other minor leaguers making the move up soon? — GREG, Beavercreek.
ly will be infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who isl laying the wood to the ball at Class AAA Louisville. The problem is where he would play with the Cincinnati infield already crowded with Jonathan India, Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, Kevin Newman and Nick Senzel. What the Reds really need is pitching help, both starters and bullpenners, but the cupboard at Class AAA Louisville is close to empty. They could dip down to Class AA Chattanooga for help. Ryan Meisinger is the Lookouts’ closer and is 3-0 with a 0.56 earned run average and 21 strikeouts in 16 innings. He is 29 and has never pitched in the majors and has played for five different Triple-A teams. As a starter, Connor Phillips is a sensation with 109 strikeouts in 64 innings. He was the player to be named later from Seattle in the Eugenio Suarez-Jesse Winker trade.
Q: Will the Reds’ heirarchy just be satisfied with what the team is doing or really be involved in making it better? — TOM, Deer Par.
A: There are some scenarios involved here. If the Reds remain at the top or near the top, come trade deadline, we shall see if they are serious about winning this year. Will they trade? Will they trade for more prospects? Will they trade for some veteran pitching? Will they stand pat. It is all in the hands of the front office. Of course, if the team hits the skids (it won’t) the rebuild will continue. To me, though, it sees the future is now.
Q: Do you think the Reds should lock up Jonathan India to a long-term deal right now? — GREG, Albuquerque, NM.
A: That is the muilti-million question. India is the tip of a spark plug, clearly a team leader by example and by his positive vibes and his always dirty uniform because he plays down in the dirt. He is the kind of player every team wants. But the Reds have a pleasant problem and it’s too many good infielders on the current roster and a slew of them climbing the minor-league ladder. What to do, what to do with India. The Reds still have contractural control of India for four years. Will they trade him or will they keep him? Whichever, a long-term deal is not necessary right now.
Q: The uniqueness of a first baseman’s mitt intrigues me and I wonder why it is so different from the other fielder’s glove? — JIM, Kettering.
A: As a former first baseman, I cherished my Boog Powell model first baseman’s mitt. A first baseman’s glove is the biggest mitt on the field and it is that big so low throws can be scooped from the dirt, something I loved to do, with a modicum of success. A first baseman’s glove can only be used at first base and a catcher’s mitt can only be used behind the plate. The size of a first baseman’s mitt would be a huge advantage for an outfielder, but a catcher’s mitt is good only for catcher’s. Catching a ground ball with one of those things would be not only adventurous, but hilarious.
Q: How many gloves does a catcher use during a season and do they rotate gloves? — MIKE, Irvington, IN.
A: It depends on the catcher and they all have different ideas. Most like to break in one glove and use if the entire season and the next season if if survives. And they all break in two or three back-ups. If there is a knuckleball pitcher (a dying breed) the catcher breaks out a huge oversized glove. Former catcher Bob Uecker used to catch knuckleballer Phil Niekro and asked how he handled it he said, “Oh, easy. I waited until it stopped rolling and picked it up.”
Q: Did Reds broadcaster Waite Hoyt have a walk-off line or a sign-off line like Joe Nuxhall’s “Roun”And this one belongs to the Reds” and who was your favorite baseball broadcaster? — JACK, Miamisburg.
A: Brennaman only said, “This one belongs to the Reds” after wins and they didn’t win ‘em all. Waite Hoyt was a few years ahead of me and I didn’t get to work in a ball park with him. Nobody recalls any special sign-off by Hoyt, but he did call home runs into the Crosley Field moon/sun deck, “A home run into Burgerville.” As a kid growing up in Akron, I listened to Cleveland radio guys Jimmy Dudley and Jack Graney and I can still hear Dudley calling a home run ball with, “Going, going, going, gone.” The longer the home run, they more “goings” in his description.
Q: What are your thoughts on puttiing Elly De La Cruz batting leadoff? — BEN, Red Bay, AL.
A: De La Cruz could bat anywhere in the order and be dynamic. Yes, with his fleet afoot and his ability to beat out infield hits, he could bat leadoff. But he also possesses Ruthian power and needs to bat third or fourth to drive in runs. Manager David Bell has him pegged perfectly as the cleanup hitter. And I really like TJ Friedl in the leadoff spot.
Q: Batters always looked at the third base coach for a signal, whether to take a pitch or swing away, but I notice the batters are not looking at the coach or dugout for a signal, so is that another part of the game that has gone by the wayside? — PAUL, Dayton.
A: No, it is still a big part of the game. You must have been watching when there were no runners on base. If it’s 3-and-0, the batter gets a hit or take sign. He gets a sign to sacrifice bunt or to execute the hit-and-run. He also gets a sign when the man on first is going to steal. Yes, all the signs are still there. The third base coach still a human semaphore.