Nice at Wrigley, Owings here

For many fans, Wrigley Field is the home of the world’s greatest Happy Hour…where work/school can often be ditched for day games and Old Style. For media, it’s a little different. No elevators, no Old Style (or other libations) cramped clubhouses and trying to get through 40,000 revelers to reach said clubhouse can make the Friendly Confines a very tough place to work.

Not that I’m whining about the poor media sap watching a baseball game for a living, really. Especially when you get a view like this. This is one beautiful place to watch a game, definitely on a day like this:

wrigley 1.jpgWrigley Field is totally old school, and old style. It still has that manual scoreboard. It still doesn’t have the videoboard for replays or mascots or any other artificial game enhancer. The ivy walls have limited advertising.

A lot of times, Reds fans will travel up from Cincinnati for a weekend Cubs series here. Even with the record the way it is, anyone coming up for Happy Hour at Wrigley?

wrigley 2.jpg

News of the day:

RHP Micah Owings was back with the team on Friday, still unable to hear out of his left ear following last Sunday’s beaning in Atlanta that left him with a perforated eardrum. Owings had cotton in his ear and still had five stitches at the top of his jawline near the ear, making it hard to shave.

“It’s another reason to let the beard go,” said the scruffy Owings. “I want to thank the [Reds] staff and the Braves staff and doctors for taking care of me. I was fortunate and blessed that everything came out alright.”

Owings was getting ready to workout for the first time since the incident but he wasn’t expected to be available for the Cubs series.

“He hasn’t done much. They didn’t let him do much,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I wouldn’t think he’d be available until we get home.”

Owings was able to fly to Chicago from Atlanta with no issues. As for getting back into the batter’s box again, he wasn’t concerned about facing another 93 mph fastball again.

“I was thinking about how many times I’ve been in the box in my life and most of the guys playing the game and how rarely it’s happened,” Owings said. “I’m always looking forward to getting into the box. At this point, you never know until you step in there.”

OF Wladimir Balentien was Baker’s right fielder in the original lineup but was scratched with a sprained right ring finger. Darnell McDonald got the start instead. Balentien was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Thursday’s loss at Colorado. Two of them came in run producing situations.

“He was trying to be a hero,” Baker said. “I knew something was wrong when they were throwing fastballs by him. I just couldn’t understand it. He’s had it since Seattle, actually. He was getting an opportunity to play and didn’t want to come out of the lineup. I can’t blame him. It’s the best opportunity he’s ever had. Perhaps we haven’t seen the real Balentien.”

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
McDonald 9
Tatum 2
Lehr 1

Reliever Nick Masset did something I never saw before in a clubhouse. As the Reds received special caps to commemorate 9/11, Masset soaked his with water and stuck it in a microwave. He was trying to shrink it.

“It’s a new hat and I’m breaking it in to fit better,” Masset said.

Baker was feeling a little low this morning. His wife, Melissa, had to put down the family dog on Thursday back in California. Baker often talked about Bailey, an almost 14-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer.

“She was the best hunting dog I ever had,” Baker said. “She had cancer and stopped eating.”

Baker will have a new companion this fall, Bella. Melissa got another dog of the same breed.

“My son named it,” Baker said. “It’s his dog. He has to clean up after it.”

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love the pictures

Today’s game and radio commentary is a great demonstration of how moronic the focus on “hitting with runners in scoring position” and “clutch hitting” has become for the Reds. (Marty again spent his post-game rant exclusively on this particular failure for the Reds).

Today the Reds were 2-11 (.182) with RISP.

Today the Reds were 6-33 (.182) overall.

Needless to say, the problem is not that the Reds can’t hit with RISP, it’s that the Reds team that is currently on the field, can’t hit at any time.

Focusing on the lack of “clutch hitting” like Marty and Baker and some media outlets (Fay, today), clearly misses the bigger picture. Dwelling on the “missed opportunities” misses the point that the Reds didn’t get a single runner on base in the 6th, 7th and 8th inning.

It is virtually impossible to overstate how large of a problem this blind spot is for the Reds. It’s another example of how Baker’s old-school orientation dooms the Reds as long as he is the manager. I’m sure he’ll complain in the paper about a lack of “clutch hitting.”

I will comment about a comment – I will ALWAYS defend Marty Brennamin – he certainly has been around this franchise long enough to know what he’s talking about – since 1974 with the Big Red Machine. Let’s not forget who actually came up with the phrase, “And This One Belongs To The Reds.”

That being said, “spmancuso” makes a good point about the pathetic hitting and absolutely NOTHING on base from inning 6-8. And, I’m soooooooo tired of Den-Mom Baker…Sorry about his dog – I really am…BUT I believe he should be concentrating more on his team – looks like 2009 has literally GONE TO THE DOGS.

Time for Reds’ 2009 Season to be over, already. Looks like 50-50 that even Votto will finish with less than .300 BA – Pathetic, when you see how he did much of the time that he did play.

Have a good day – Maybe, just maybe the Reds might take the last two games in the Windy City? Not holding my breath…

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