Q: Was there ever a manager who gave you too much information and any who never gave you enough? — RON, Vandalia.
A: A writer never gets too much information. Then you can use what you want. Sparky Anderson and Dusty Baker were fonts of information. If you asked Bryan Price for a drink of water, he gave you Niagara Falls. On the other hand, Dave Miley’s press conferences were a staredown. He believed in silence is golden, but it was tarnished tin for writers. Vern Rapp’s short tenure was a symphony of cliches and not much information.
Q: Coaches go to the mound with masks on and cover their mouths with their hands when they talk, so is lip-reading still an issue? — PENNIE, Springfield.
A: Just force of habit. Who can read lips through a mask? Pitchers cover their mouths with their gloves. It is all because of TV close-ups and the possibility of the opposition reading their lips on a monitor, or even in person from afar. And you know what they’d read? “How you feeling? Are you tired? Can you get this hitter out? Throw strikes? How’s the family?”
Q: How long has it been since you’ve seen a Reds' player with the emotion and determination of Trevor Bauer? — STEVE, Clayton.
A: Not many wear their emotions on the tips of their fingers like Bauer. Brad ‘The Animal’ Lesley used to scream after strikeouts, but didn’t happen that often. Chris Sabo and Ryan Freel displayed their emotions for all to see. Bauer, though, is the champion. His staredown of batters he strikes out is classic stuff and his strut off the mound after an inning-ending strikeout looks like a penguin walking on ice.
Q: Do you favor the Reds playing the same three outfielders every game or mixing it up with five or six guys and who would you play? — KEITH, Brookville.
A: I’ve never been asked to make out a lineup card. For sure, though, if the designated hitter is used next season (and it will be) I’d make Jesse Winker the regular DH. I would have Nick Castellanos in right, but he might not be here next season. If not, I’d have Aristides Aquino in right, Nick Senzel in center (if he can play that day) and Shogo Akiyama in left. See? It isn’t that easy. Where’s Brian Goodwin?
Q: Is it me, or does it seem as if Joey Votto sometimes plays in a fog and why does he never hustle? — ELAINE, Englewood.
A: Everybody who has ever played in San Francisco plays in a fog. Hey, did you see Votto sprint to first base like Pete Rose on a walk the last game of the regular season? Votto is not fleet of foot, so it appears he doesn’t always hustle on the basepaths. Votto is just one of those guys who tries to play on an even keel. No matter how hard he tries, he’ll never be Charlie Hustle. Few ever will be. It isn’t cool.
Q: Are you surprised at the Reds' .215 batting average this season with the addition of the designated hitter? — TIM, Xenia.
A: You have them an extra .003. They actually hit .212, an all-time franchise record low by 15 points. Before the season, management said the team was built for the DH, but I don’t think they meant Defeated Hitters. Surprised? Yes. With the numbers on the backs of their bubblegum cards, it made no sense. But what does in baseball these days?
Q: If MLB played the entire 162-game schedule this year, would the same teams have made the playoffs? — DOUG, Brookville.
A: Well, no. They added two teams in each league for this yeaar’s playoffs. Under the old format neither the Reds nor the Brewers would have made it. But if they had played 162 games under the old format I do believe the Reds would have made it and probably have won the National League Central, based on the way they put it together in September. Unfortunately, that’s something we’ll never know.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: With the race for the final playoffs spots so tight, why didn’t the St. Louis Cardinals have to play their last two games against Detroit? — JOHN, St. Louis.
A: Another of the wacky MLB decisions. MLB decided St. Louis would only have to play those games if they determined who would get in the playoffs. Playing those two games would not change who made the playoffs. The only thing that might have changed would be the seeding and MLB decided that seedings didn’t mean that much. Ask the Reds that question. If the Cardinals had lost just one of those games, the Reds would have been seeded higher.