Lineup card duty didn't cramp Junior's style
By Hal McCoy / Staff Writer
Q For those who prematurely put Ken Griffey Jr. in the Hall of Fame, your hopes have been rejuvenated now that he carries out the lineup card. Perhaps he can achieve this feat in every major-league park and do it without injury. — Dave, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek
A If Griffey doesn't make the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, I'll turn this column over to you, but by the time the editors got finished with it, there would be nothing but white space. And don't worry, Griffey didn't fill out the card, he just carried it, so there was no danger of writer's cramp. (Griffey was "fired" from his lineup card duty Friday.)
Q For us squeamish ladies, why do baseball players have to spit all the time? Compare them to basketball players, who work a heck of a lot harder at a much faster pace, and they don't spit. — Mary Ann, Centerville
A You didn't mention all the places they scratch and adjust. It's a man thing. We spit outdoors, and baseball is played outside. Basketball is played indoors, and our moms taught us it isn't polite to spit on the floor, when anybody is watching.
Q Have you ever heard (hitting coach) Chris Chambliss talk about making Adam Dunn's swing a little more compact? There are many good hitters who hit with power with compact swings. Dunn is strong enough to still produce home runs, and 380-foot home runs count the same as 450-foot home runs. — Bruce, Waynesville
A Reconfiguring a swing at this point in Dunn's career probably would do more harm than good. He has worked more lately at hitting the ball to all fields instead of driving it into the teeth of that exaggerated shift. Hey, as long as the Reds continue to win, it's still fun to watch Dunn hit baseballs into the Ohio River.
Q Why not move Adam Dunn to eighth in the batting order? If he hits a home run, we'll be getting bonus runs from the bottom of the lineup. If he walks, which he does a lot, the pitchers can bunt him over, and somebody at the top of the order can drive him in since we all know Dunn doesn't drive anybody else in. — Collin, Columbus, Ind.
A This is "Bash Adam Dunn Week." That's about the same reasoning former manager Bob Boone had for considering Dunn as the leadoff hitter. A home run would be a bonus. He walks a lot and gets on base. But manager Jerry Narron would like to last longer than Boone did. And what's wrong with the run production with Brandon Phillips and David Ross at the bottom?
Q What do you think the Reds will do long term with Bronson Arroyo? Can they lock him up before the Yankees and Red Sox get into a bidding war over him? — Chris, Dayton
A Right now, I'd like to see them put him in a plastic bubble and lock him in a padded room so nothing happens to him. Maybe take away his guitar, too, so he doesn't hurt his fingers. They have him for sure for another two years, so there is no worry yet. Long term? Absolutely. I'm all for it. Maybe a World Series ring would keep him in Cincinnati with a gold-plated guitar.
Q Is the vast improvement of the Reds related to the low number of walks issued by the pitching staff? Over one period last week, they issued only two walks in 27 innings. — Frank, Dayton
A Walks mean baserunners, and baserunners mean runs, especially with a leaky defense. The correlation is astounding. Not only have Reds pitchers issued the fewest walks in the National League, it has led to the second-lowest ERA in the league. They say the best pitch in baseball is a first-pitch strike, and Reds pitchers have been visiting that zone like children in a toy department.
Q I used to be so mad at you in the bad times when you wrote bad things about some of the players I loved. Guess what? The truth hurts. I'm so glad you are able to write wonderful things now. — Marsha, Englewood
A Me, too. It's more fun covering a winner. People actually read it. So far this year, we come to praise Cesar, not bury him. Oh, forgot. Cesar Geronimo doesn't play for the Reds anymore.
Q How could two such astute baseball people have the Reds so wrong? I had them finishing last, too. — Bill, Villa Hills, Ky.
A My e-mail box is stuffed with, "I told you so," and, "What do you think now?" We weren't a pair of Lone Rangers. Prognosticators coast-to-coast predicted the same thing. I think my soothsayer's robe was in the cleaners that day. Start with Bronson Arroyo, Brandon Phillips, David Ross and Todd Coffey. New General Manager Wayne Krivsky made all the right tweaks. And I saw a midseason piece somewhere naming the top candidates for National League Manager of the Year. Jerry Narron wasn't mentioned. If he isn't manager of the year in all of ball right now, then Dave from M/C/B is a genius.
Q Do you realize how much power you have? You predicted the Reds would finish last, and they tore it up in April. The second you said they had a shot at the postseason, they took a few games off from scoring runs in May. Finally, when you said the Cardinals would run away with it, the Reds went on an amazing streak. Please don't get optimistic now, and thanks for saying there is no way Sean Casey comes back to Cincinnati, because I'd love to see him back. — Lynn, Beavercreek
A Ask my wife how much power I have. And my dog. I'm not on that bandwagon yet. It's so overloaded right now I fear it might turn over. As for Casey, who wouldn't like to see him back? But I'm telling you, the Pirates are going to lock him up. That's what you wanted to hear, right?
Q What do you think of moving Edwin Encarnacion to first and making Rich Aurilia the third baseman to get two big bats in the lineup every day and solving Encarnacion's throwing problems? — Matt, Lexington, Ky.
A That?s another Question of the Week. Several of you had the same idea. At first, I didn't like it. People think first base is so easy to play. It's not. I played there and made it even more difficult to play than it is. It's another thing the Reds would have to do in spring training, like my idea of flip-flopping Felipe Lopez and Brandon Phillips. With Encarnacion at first, fans behind first wouldn't have to wear construction helmets. There is precedent. Tony Perez moved from third to first. How'd that work out?
Q I've read several places that the White Sox are still interested in Ken Griffey Jr. I wouldn't trade Griffey, but would the White Sox take Ryan Freel and Brandon Claussen, and what could the Reds get? — Rick, San Antonio
A Who wouldn't be interested in Griffey? Did you see him on the last trip? Did you see what he did to Jason Isringhausen? But why would they trade Freel? The guy is as valuable as the Hope diamond, but nobody will ever polish him up. After games, he looks like Pigpen. And why would the White Sox want Claussen? They have all the pitching they need, pitching the Reds could use. But I don't see a match, a trade that wouldn't weaken the Reds.
Q You have been a great writer and coverer of the Reds for many years, but didn't you pick this year's team to finish last? I'm totally good with anybody who wants to jump on the bandwagon. — Matt, Church of Canyon Creek