Jerry Hairston, Jr.

He was never my favorite player here in Cincy, but, courtesy of Jerry Hairston, Jr., the Redlegs are back in sole possession of first place. You’ve gotta love the former Red owning the Cardinals in San Diego to help put the good guys on top.
My brother, aka Captain Buzzkill, was quick to point out the Reds’ record was the same 26-20 last season after 46 games. We all remember how that season ended. But, after their 47th game last season, the Reds fell to 26-21. This season, they’re 27-20 through 47 games. They were 26-22 after 48 games. This season, 28-20. They were 26-23 after 49. This season, 29-20. A light at the end of the tunnel!
But seriously, why is there so much more optimism surrounding this team than last year’s Reds? Is it just the fact they’re in first place? Is it because Mike Leake is in the starting line-up? Did Scott Rolen really make that big of a difference? Is Dusty Baker making more good decisions? In my opinion, yes.
Just look at the differences in the line-ups:
C: R. Hernandez, R. Hanigan (’09) // R. Hernandez, R. Hanigan (’10)
1B: J. Votto (’09) // J. Votto (’10)
2B: B. Phillips (’09) // B. Phillios (’10)
3B: A. Rosales (’09) // S. Rolen (’10)
SS: A. Gonzalez (’09) // O. Cabrera (’10)
LF: L. Nix (’09) // Nix, Gomes, Heisey (’10)
CF: W. Taveras (’09) // D. Stubbs (’10)
RF: J. Bruce (’09) // J. Bruce (’10)
There aren’t any huge differences, but let’s analyze the ones with the biggest impact.
-Scott Rolen is the quintessential leader. Plenty of people questioned the trade to bring him in because of his age. Since they picked him up at the trade deadline last season, the Reds are 54-27 in games he’s played. They’re 6-20 in games he’s missed.
-The left field trio of Nix, Gomes and Heisey has been tremendously productive this season. They’re batting .269 collectively, with 13 HR and 42 RBI. And who can forget Heisey’s play in left on that play earlier this month to beat the Cardinals at GABP. Hell, last night, Gomes almost became the first Red since Eric Davis (June 2, 1989, against the Padres) to hit for the cycle.
-Since Dusty moved Orlando Cabrera to the lead-off spot, this offense has really stepped up. His stats aren’t exactly flashy (.279 BA, .322 OBP), but he’s getting the job done. And he’s part of an experienced left side of the infield that has been huge thus far.
-Drew Stubbs has turned it on since Dusty moved him to the 7-spot. .333 since Dusty moved him there, with three homers and 15 RBI.
-People rag on Dusty for killing young arms. Paul Daugherty disagrees and Homer Bailey thinks those people should ‘shut up.’
-Mike Leake is looking like a R.O.Y. candidate, if you ask me. The kid skips the minors then jumps on this staff and looks like the undisputed ace through the first quarter of the season.
-The offense is showing up. They’re scoring plenty of runs and getting good pitching. If their starting pitching stays consistent, they’re in good shape. Especially with the offense backing them up.
In the end, the Reds are nine games above .500 – a mark they never reached last season. They’re in first place – another thing they never accomplished a year ago. Cincinnati sports doesn’t exactly get a lot to cheer about too often. Enjoy this, even if it is only May.

The World Cup is coming up. I’m very excited. Bleacher Report ranked the Top 50 Wives and Girlfriends of World Cup soccer players. If you want a disgustingly attractive girlfriend, play soccer at a high level in another country.
The United States announced the final 23-man roster. No big surprises. You take DaMarcus Beasley because he’s performed at the World Cup before. Once Onguchi Onyewu gets more comfortable in the game situations, he’ll be fine. The addition of Edson Buddle is a good one. That kid was everywhere in the friendly against the Czechs the other night. He’d be a great spark off the bench if they need it in South Africa. Hopefully people enjoy this event here in America. Soccer gets such a crappy rep in America. It’s not fair. Because soccer is awesome. I will let Nike’s new commercial sway you:

And it seems the U.S. team is getting some attention. They announced the team on ESPN and Landon Donovan even got himself a spot on the “This is SportsCenter” series:

LeBron might be leaving Cleveland. Ozzie Guillen was sure to make that clear to an Indians fan.

I want to go into sports journalism. I wasn’t sure how the whole sports journalism world worked, but then I saw this:

It's so clear now.

I wish I had more. But I have a wedding to go to in about an hour. Congrats to Emily and Chad! I will leave you with the best goal of last year’s World Cup. Get excited for this year’s. Jozy Altidore will be doing this all over the place in South Africa.

Altiora.

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~ by nchaney3 on May 29, 2010.

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