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Thread: Reds Spring Training notebook

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    Reds Spring Training notebook

    Reds notebook
    Stanton mum, but Mercker says Mitchell Report on him correct
    BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM

    SARASOTA, Fla. - The Reds have two players in camp who were mentioned in the Mitchell Report: left-handers Kent Mercker and Mike Stanton.

    Stanton won't talk about the report. "I've been advised by counsel not to," he said.

    Mercker, who was accused of using human growth hormone in 2002, said what's in the report is accurate.

    "It didn't help me throw harder or anything like that," he said.

    Mercker, 40, is back after not pitching at all in 2007. He had Tommy John elbow surgery in 2006 and barely threw in his time off.

    "I tossed with my oldest daughter," he said. "She plays softball. But I didn't really throw."

    Mercker decided to give it a go in mid-December.

    "I wasn't surprised that my elbow felt good," he said. "But I was surprised how good my shoulder felt."

    Mercker is confident he can make the club.

    "If I'm healthy, I think I will," he said. "It's not like I'm going to forget how to throw my slider."

    If Mercker doesn't make the club, he'll probably go home to Dublin, Ohio.

    "If I'm throwing well and I turn my ankle or something, I'd be willing to go to the minors to get ready," he said. "But it's not like I'm going to need to go down there and work on things."

    BRUCE ON BRUCE: Outfielder Jay Bruce has been in camp almost a week. His goal is to make the club.

    "Absolutely, no doubt about it," he said. "That's been my goal. I want to show them what I can do and make them make a call."

    Bruce was named Baseball America's minor-league player of the year - the first Red to win that honor.

    SLIM, TRIM COFFEY: Todd Coffey's goal was to lose 24 pounds in the offseason.

    "I wanted to go from 264 to 240," he said. "I beat that by a pound. I weigh 239."

    Coffey says he's seen the results in that he's throwing better.

    Coffey, 27, struggled last year, going 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA. His ERA was more than two runs higher than the 3.58 mark he put up the year before.

    CROWDED HOUSE: Thirty-five of the 62 players invited to camp had reported by early Friday afternoon. Pitchers and catchers have to report by today.

    All 41 pitchers and catchers are expected to report on time.

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.d...T04/802160378/

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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Oh, that first day!

    By Hal McCoy | Saturday, February 16, 2008, 02:30 PM
    Latest comment

    Sorry about the sunburn, but you’re right you should know better. I hope you heal quickly.

    After 36 years, one would think an old-timer would know better. Yeah, right.

    After 36 years of covering spring training, one would think one would know better than to argue with the sun after a winter of hibernation that leaves one so white it looks as if he spent the winter painting closets (As Marty Brennaman would say).

    But with minimal sleep the night before to catch a 6 a.m. flight Friday, it was a tired scribe who arrived in Sarasota. With the sun bathing the Siesta Key sand, why not an hour or so of tanning? Read a book.

    One chapter into the book, I fell asleep. For two hours. Now my knees are singed like fried scallops and my face is as red as if I got caught telling an off-color joke in church.

    But it’s the first day of spring training and it’s off to camp, where everybody is happy. No pressure yet. No games. Just boring exercises and drills.

    Pitcher Kent Mercker, 40, a late signee trying to make the Reds for his fourth different tenure, arrived at camp at 9 a.m. At 11 a.m. he walked by and said, “Hey, I’m still here. Been here two hours and nobody told me to pack and go home. I even saw the General Manager - and I’m still here.”

    Adam Dunn and his son, Brady, walked into camp for a brief pit stop. “Just here to make sure all my stuff got here,” he said. “I’m off to Daytona to watch the Daytona 500. I’ve never been there in person. I’m pumped.”

    Manager Dusty Baker arrived Friday and was pleased to learn that Ken Griffey Jr. was not only in camp Friday but was on the field chasing fly balls.

    Baker admits he is still learning his players, so he can be forgiven for one faux pas at his first media chat Saturday. When referring to Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, he called him Homer Bush, a former New York Yankees infielder. He’ll not only learn Bailey’s name in a hurry, he’ll learn all about what Bailey is about on a pitcher’s mound.

    Griffey, of course, owns the longest tenure of anybody on the roster. Can you guess the next three? OK, so don’t guess. The answer: Adam Dunn, Ryan Freel, Aaron Harang.

    Baker is looking for leadership and while he wouldn’t admit it publicly he may be searching for it from Griffey, with whom he talked on the phone a few times this winter. Baker also talked to Hank Aaron recently and was piqued by what Aaron said.

    “There is a lot with Junior that people haven’t tapped,” said Baker. “When you’ve been in the game 20 years, in the big leagues since you were 19, you know what you’re doing and what you’ve done and what’s going on. You might not always say it, but there is a lot there.

    “I talked to Hank Aaron the other day,” Baker added. “Hank and Junior are on the board together of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Hank said what a pleasure it was for him to be around Junior. He said you could tell what kind of guy Junior was - a family man and all that.

    “Hank doesn’t give compliments very often,” Baker added. “So that meant a lot to me. He has met most of the superstars of the game and this is the first time he raved about meeting one, ever to me. Hank doesn’t talk too much, but he talked quite a bit about Junior and that really impressed me.”

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs...incinnatireds/

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Here it is for those too lazy to open the link. Very nice piece. I was totally against the Dusty Baker hiring at first but I have come around on him lately. He's a great motivator - he could push this team beyond expectations this season.

    Baker excited to be back calling the shots again
    Stark

    By Jayson Stark
    ESPN.com

    SARASOTA, Fla. -- The new manager of the Cincinnati Reds is never going to be confused with John McNamara. Or Jack McKeon. Or even Sparky Anderson, for that matter.

    We say this for many, many reasons. But we say it primarily because the new manager of the Cincinnati Reds -- a former ESPN employee you might have heard of, a guy by the name of Dusty Baker -- is a man who uses expressions like this:

    "What's up, big daddy?"

    It's hard to think of any set of circumstances that would ever have caused, say, Vern Rapp to utter those words. Or Dave Miley. Or, most certainly, Russ Nixon.

    But those words spilled out of Dusty Baker's mouth Saturday as routinely as "one day at a time" spills out of the mouths of most managers. Those words were just Dusty Baker's way of saying hello to his new players. No more. No less. Just hello -- in Dusty-ese.

    "That," laughed his new first baseman, Scott Hatteberg, "is why there's only one of him."

    Yeah, there's only one Dusty Baker, all right. But what the heck is he doing here? That's the question.

    Yes, what the heck is this man doing managing in Cincinnati, Ohio -- a town located 2,000 miles from his home in Northern California, a town that ranks as America's 34th largest media market, a town where the local baseball team hasn't had a winning season since Jack McKeon exited the city limits eight years (and five managers) ago?

    Fascinating question. One of the most fascinating questions of Spring Training 2008, actually. But for Dusty Baker, it's an easy answer.

    "Hey," he said Saturday, the day his pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, "this is where I'm supposed to be."

    Baker came to that conclusion last October, after much thought, reflection and conversation with people whose judgment he trusted. Men like Joe Morgan. And former Warriors coach Al Attles. And Cito Gaston. Baker even reached deep into his memory bank to recall a conversation he once had with the late, great Bill Walsh about Cincinnati.

    The Reds wanted him. And after thinking about it, Dusty Baker realized he wanted them, too. Needed them. Needed them to complete the "unfinished business" in his 14-year managerial career.

    "I need to satisfy what's inside me," Baker said Saturday, in that deep, almost evangelical tone that also can spill out of his mouth at any given moment. "Which is a couple of championships. I can't go home losing. Anybody who knows me [knows] I don't take losing too kindly. I can't go home not winning again."

    There's a whole lot of winning on Dusty Baker's resume, too: Four playoff teams as a manager. Four more as a player. A .527 managerial winning percentage that includes eight straight winning seasons at one point. Three trips to the World Series as a player. One more (with the 2002 Giants) as a manager.

    But we know how that 2002 World Series ended. No need to rummage through that attic. We also know how the 2003 National League Championship Series ended, after a 3-games-to-1 Cubs lead somehow morphed into Steve Bartman's worst nightmare.

    There may not be a manager in history who endured back-to-back Octobers any more painful than those two. But when Baker was asked Saturday if he was driven by what happened those Octobers, he shook his head.

    He has moved past that pain, he said, "just by thinking, studying, being thankful for life and thankful for what you have had, versus what you didn't get. Or what you haven't had yet. How long can you live in pain? You do that, that's not living. So just go forward. ...

    "You can't live in the past," Baker went on, at his philosopher-king best. "You've got to live today, be prepared for tomorrow and hopefully you learn if you ever get in that situation again. And sometimes, it wasn't meant to be, you know? And you realize everything isn't necessarily in your control, in your power, like you think it is."

    He is 58 years old now. And he has learned those profound lessons of life and baseball -- lessons that have brought him to this time, this place, this franchise.

    He was a popular, almost revered figure in San Francisco, his first managerial stop. But he was a controversial, often polarizing figure in Chicago, his most recent dugout address.

    As the years wore on and the reality of what happened to the Cubbies in 2003 set in, life in Chicago turned into one big Dusty-bashing mess. The Bartman Collapse. The throbbing arms of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The descent of the Cubs to losingest-team-in-the-league depths of 2006. It became All Dusty's Fault. All of it. Sometimes with reason. Sometimes, however, because that was convenient, one-stop excuse shopping.

    For a long time afterward, Baker spoke openly about the "wounds" that lingered from that experience. But by the time he arrived in spring training Saturday, he was ready to announce that those wounds had healed.

    "The year off helped me," he said. "Helped me realize the game stops for nobody, No. 1. The game is like the clock. It doesn't stop. It stops for no one. The game goes on. You can't carry those wounds around."

    He held up his right hand. Looked at it. Looked at his audience.

    I need to satisfy what's inside me. Which is a couple of championships. I can't go home losing. Anybody who knows me [knows] I don't take losing too kindly. I can't go home not winning again.

    --Dusty Baker

    "I've got wounds on my hand, too, but they healed," he said. "I had operations everywhere, but they healed. I put Vitamin E on them so they don't peel, so I don't even know I've got a scar. I don't put Vitamin E on [those mental wounds]. Just thinking about love and forgiveness. Just asking The Divine to purify my heart."

    That, too, is where ESPN came in. Baker's gig at ESPN gave him a year to chill, to let go, to just be normal. It gave him "reflecting time," he said.

    "I reflected in Montana, fishing," he said. "Fishing in Canada. And turkey-hunting with my son. And that's the hard part of this thing -- saying goodbye to my family, to my son, after being around so much."

    But it's not family time anymore. And it's not reflecting time. It's baseball time. Dusty Baker is ready for that. And the Reds are ready for someone like him.

    After seven straight losing seasons, they hired a man who GM Wayne Krivsky says brings "credibility" to the franchise. And the Reds were searching for someone specifically like that.

    "He's been a successful manager, manager of the year three times," Krivsky said. "He's got a very impressive resume. I think players know that. And word of mouth -- guys that played for him. Word of those things gets around. I think our guys have heard what a great guy he was to play for. And I think that all adds up to credibility."

    It was a mesmerizing sight to watch Baker tour his new locker room Saturday -- pumping hands, wrapping bear hugs, firing off those "What's up, Big Daddys."

    "There's no way," chuckled one of those new troops, super-utility whiz Ryan Freel, "this guy can be this cool."

    But Hatteberg, who actually played for Baker in the Arizona Fall League nearly 15 years ago, said that Baker persona is what makes him what he is.

    "He seems to me almost like a player -- with a bigger office," Hatteberg said. "The way he does it, it's definitely not the norm. No other manager even comes close to that. So to pull it off, you've got to be a certain kind of person. But Dusty just has that natural presence that gives him that built-in respect."

    "Whether you've got a week in or 20 years, he makes it a point to be personal with everybody," said Kent Mercker, who pitched for Baker in Chicago. "He gets to know you, gets to know your family. He'll say, 'How's your wife Julie doing?' It's not just a business relationship. I think he genuinely cares about everyone who's playing for him. And for anyone who knows the way he played, how hard he played, that's no surprise. I think in his mind, he's still a player. But he's in charge."

    Because he still thinks like a player, though, Baker sees qualities in the men in his locker room that other managers sometimes miss. And here's the first significant example of that in Cincinnati:

    Whereas other Reds managers have seemed wary of Ken Griffey Jr., Baker speaks openly of trying to tap Griffey as a "resource." Dusty Baker is a man who prides himself on being able to relate to, and motivate, his biggest stars. And he has already sensed that treating Griffey as someone special is a way to build an important connection.

    "There's a lot there that people haven't tapped," Baker said. "You don't play this game for 20 years, and be in the big leagues at 19, if you don't know what you're doing or what you've done or what's going on. You may not necessarily say it, but there's a lot there.

    "You know, I talked to Hank Aaron the other day. I guess he and Junior are on the board of the Boys and Girls Club. Hank said what a pleasure it was for him to be around Junior and his wife, and he could tell what kind of guy he was. Hank doesn't give compliments like that very often. So that meant a lot to me. He's met most of the superstars in the game, and this is the first time he's really raved about meeting one."

    Heaping praise on Griffey won't, in and of itself, keep him healthy or make him play like he was 24 years old again. But having a feel for when and how to deliver that praise is as big a part of managing as filling out any lineup card. And once again Saturday, Dusty Baker reminded us that, whatever issues we might have had with how he ran any given baseball game, his feel for the human beings is as good as it gets.

    So that is what he's doing here.

    Because he still has that fire to relate and motivate. Because he still remembers the spectacular, passionate, red-shirted baseball town Cincinnati used to be once upon a time. And because fishing in Montana, and talking into a microphone, isn't what he was meant to do -- or be.

    "This was something I needed to do," said Dusty Baker. "I had a great time at ESPN. I loved the time at home with my family. I just wasn't quite ready to do that forever. There are a few things that I still need to do."

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    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    Here it is for those too lazy to open the link. Very nice piece. I was totally against the Dusty Baker hiring at first but I have come around on him lately. He's a great motivator - he could push this team beyond expectations this season.
    So was I, but that was based more on the reputation that I think he falsely has to some degree.....sure, he has his flaws, but who doesn't?

    Once you look up the facts, it looks like a good choice...

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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    BTW if you click on that link that Chip provided, there is a video of Jayson Stark talking with Wayne Krivsky and Dusty Baker but toward the end they start talking about Jay Bruce and they show a few clips of him taking batting practice and shagging flyballs.

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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    An optimistic Baker is hoping to revive rosy days in Cincinnati
    Pitchers and catchers report today as spring training begins under the Reds new manager.

    By Hal McCoy

    Staff Writer

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    SARASOTA, Fla. — Dusty Baker sat under a small roof-only tent anchored into the grass between the media workroom and the Pete Rose batting cages Saturday, Feb. 16, at Ed Smith Stadium and before the cameras rolled he said, "Let me cover the coffee stains on my shirt before we begin."

    It was Baker's first spring training appearance as manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

    The coffee stain was easy. Removing the stains of seven straight losing seasons in Cincinnati won't be that easy and Baker knows it.

    "I remember coming to Cincinnati in the 1970s and everything was in red — red in the windows, red dresses on the women, red hats on the men," he said. "I'd love to get back to that. I'd be pleased. That's done with winning and I'd be proud to be part of that. The fans yearn for that, to get back to that."

    Baker realizes he can't do it overnight and can't do it with mirrors.

    "One of the proudest moments of my life was when I was with the Giants in San Francisco and a male nurse told me, 'Dusty, you give us hope.' "

    Baker hopes he gives hope to hopeful fans.

    "I run an organized camp," he said. "I like to be organized, to be time efficient. I believe you are there to work. I want the guys to do a steady progression of getting better for the season so we can open the season 100 per cent wide-open — ready physically, emotionally and mentally."

    Official workouts for pitchers and catchers begin this morning and while Baker loves the fact there is water, water everywhere for fishing, the poles and hooks can wait.

    "I'm going to try not to enjoy myself too much," he said. "We have work to do. The game stops for no one. The game is like a clock. It stops for nobody."

    And the clock starts ticking today, Feb. 17.

    "I'm in a learning period because there are a lot of guys I don't know," he said. "Even the guys I do know, I don't know what it takes to get them ready for the season. Which guys are fast starters, which guys need extra reps, which guys I have to slow down because they get stale quickly.

    "I'm relying a lot on the coaches who were here before (Brook Jacoby, Dick Pole, Billy Hatcher, Mark Berry) to help me," Baker added. "That's the reason I kept a lot of the coaches who were here, so I don't have to take that long period to learn about everybody.

    "Spring training is work," he said. "It may be fun for fans, but when you get here early and leave late, it's fun but it's work. I equate spring training as studying for a test. Doing your homework for when the test starts, which is the season. You have to study and you have to get ready."

    There are many questions. Who is the center fielder? Is there enough starting pitching?

    Is the center fielder rookie Jay Bruce, only 20? Is it Ryan Freel, recovered from a season of misery on the disabled list? Is it Norris Hopper, the guy who stepped in last season and dazzled?

    "I've yearned for young players who I can teach (like Bruce)," said Baker. "I don't shy away from nothing. I was a young player once and I was in the big leagues when I was 19 and there to stay when I was 22.

    "What you want, though, is options. Like last year when Freel got hurt. Where would we have been without Hopper? You want tough decisions because that means you have quality people.

    "I can't say who is who and where is where," he said. "People ask me who would start if the season started tomorrow and I answer, but I can't really say. We're not starting tomorrow, so that's not a fair question."

    And the pitching?

    "We have enough people," Baker said with a laugh. "We have some good arms. It is just a matter of how some of them have matured and how some of them have an aptitude for learning and the application of what they learn. You look for a guy who has an aptitude to learn and ability to retain what he is taught and apply it on command."

    In other words, Baker could use some pitching help.

    Baker's one visit to Florida since his playing days in 1983 was last spring, "And it was ironic. I was starting out with ESPN and they sent me to Sarasota to sit in a truck and observe — it was a Reds-Boston game that Dice-K pitched. I had no clue I'd be back within a year as manager."

    Baker only wishes he had a Dice-K included in the Reds' rotation.

    Key spring training dates for the Reds

    Today, Feb. 16: Pitchers and catchers report, take physical exams, then perform in first workout.

    Wednesday, Feb. 20: Position players report, take physical exams, then perform in first workout.

    Feb. 26: Mandatory reporting date for all players who did not report when their teammates were asked to report.

    Feb. 26: Intrasquad game at noon in Ed Smith Stadium.

    Feb. 27: First exhibition game vs. Philadelphia in Clearwater, Fla. (1:05 p.m.)

    Feb. 28: First home exhibition game vs. Minnesota in Ed Smith Stadium (1:05 p.m.)

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/con...21708reds.html

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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt700wlw View Post
    So was I, but that was based more on the reputation that I think he falsely has to some degree.....sure, he has his flaws, but who doesn't?

    Once you look up the facts, it looks like a good choice...
    I have never been opposed to Dusty's hiring. He took the Giants to the World Series and nearly won it and also took the Cubs to the brink of a World Series. The Reds haven't even sniffed the playoffs since 1999. He was the best choice that was available to manage and kudos to Castellini and Krivsky for getting him.
    Thanks for posting these articles! It's a pleasure to read about some baseball after all these months of having to read about the steriod fiasco that's taken place.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Now I'm concerned that if the Reds do well people are going to start thinking this was a good hiring...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Quote Originally Posted by *BaseClogger* View Post
    Now I'm concerned that if the Reds do well people are going to start thinking this was a good hiring...
    I already do.

    I bet most of the guys that actually play on the Reds do too.

    That's got to count for something.
    Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun

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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro View Post
    I already do.

    I bet most of the guys that actually play on the Reds do too.

    That's got to count for something.
    There's a video on the Reds website where they interview a few Reds players and ask them specifically about the Dusty Baker hiring and they all seemed to love it. Plus I've seen quotes from Dunn where he says he's excited to play for Baker. It seems like nearly all the players like him.

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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Baker: Aaron 'raves about' Jr.
    Reds notebook
    BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM

    SARASOTA, Fla. - Ken Griffey Jr.'s conversations with Reds managers from Jack McKeon to Bob Boone to Dave Miley to Jerry Narron always were pretty minimal.

    Griffey was penciled in the lineup when healthy, and left alone.

    That will change with Dusty Baker. Baker said he'll seek Griffey's opinion - not because of Griffey's star status but because he's been around so long.

    "There's a lot there that people haven't tapped," Baker said. "You're not in the big leagues for 20 years if you don't know what's going on. You might not necessarily say it, but there's a lot there."

    Baker has known Griffey for a long time. But he got another perspective on Griffey when he talked to Hank Aaron the other day. Aaron and Griffey spent time together as members of the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs.

    "Hank said what a pleasure it was to be around Junior and his wife," Baker said. "Hank doesn't give compliments too often. That meant a lot to me. Hank's met the superstars in this game, and that's the first time he's raved about someone to me - ever."

    DUNN HERE AND GONE: Adam Dunn stopped in at the Ed Smith Stadium complex briefly with 15-month-old son Brady in tow.

    "I wanted to make sure my stuff is here," he said. "I'll be back Monday."

    Dunn was heading over to Daytona for the 500 today.

    "I've never been," he said. "It should be fun."

    INJURY UPDATE: Juan Castro, who had Tommy John surgery on July 31, says his elbow is about 80 percent.

    "I think it will be ready before Opening Day," he said.

    Ryan Freel, who had knee surgery Aug. 8, says he's 100 percent.

    PHONE RINGING: When Baker got the job as Reds manager, he said players called him about coming to play for him.

    "It's probably more the case now," Baker said. "There are a lot of quality guys out there trying to get a job. It's real late. It's tough sometimes when you have to say no."

    POWER: Ten-game Power Packs, which include Opening Day, go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday at reds.com. The package includes weekend series against Cleveland (May 16-18), Boston (June 13-15) and the Cubs (Sept. 5-7).

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.d...T04/802170490/

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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Baker again seeing Red
    Wants to return franchise to level he remembers as player
    BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM

    SARASOTA, Fla. - When Dusty Baker came to Cincinnati in the 1970s as a member of the Atlanta Braves or Los Angeles Dodgers, he remembers seeing red.

    Lots and lots of red.

    "I remember everybody in town being in red," he said. "I remember being brainwashed before I ever got to the stadium. I'd see red in windows. Women had red dresses on. Men had red hats on. I remember knowing when you had them down, they had a good chance of coming back to beat you."

    Baker hopes to bring that red sea back to Cincinnati. Today, the Reds will have their first workout with Baker as the manager.

    He knows about seven straight losing seasons and how the luster is off an organization that was once among baseball's best.

    Baker clearly wants to make baseball matter more in Cincinnati. That would, of course, mean more red on the streets.

    "I'd like that," he said. "I'd love that actually. Winning does that. I'd feel like I did some of my job. I saw that on the caravan - we went to parts of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. People are yearning to come back. They want something to come back to. Winning does that."

    Baker has a history of success in his 14 years as a manager. He was thrice voted National League manager of the year. His overall winning percentage is .527. He's won 89 or more games eight times.

    Spring training is a big part of the preparation to be successful.

    "I'll run a very organized camp," he said. "I like to be time-efficient. We're here to work. I want guys to get ready for the season in steady progression - start the season wide open, 100 percent mentally and physically."

    Baker has talked to a lot of players leading up to spring training. But today will be his first chance to actually work with them.

    "I'm really in a learning period," he said. "There are a lot of guys I don't know. The guys I do know, I still don't know what it takes to get them ready for the season ... I'm depending a lot on the coaches who were here before. That's one of the reasons I kept a lot of guys."

    Baker is an easy-going guy with a wide variety of interests. But he's here for one reason.

    "Spring training is work for us," he said. "It's fun for the fans. But it's work for us. Anything you do for six weeks and have one day off, get there early and leave late, is work.

    "I equate spring training as studying for the test. This is doing your homework."

    The first assignment? Learn to win.

    "First thing you've got to do is win," Baker said. "There are three steps: There's spring training and there's a long race called the season. You want to have a winning record to give yourself a chance to get to the playoffs. No. 1, you've got to have a winning season.

    "I know a lot of people want you to go from not having a winning season since 2000 to winning a championship. That's possible. But you've got to take it one step at a time.

    "You've got to start thinking like a winner and thinking you can win."

    Baker likes the makeup of the club. Center field and first base are open and the starting rotation is two spots short of full.

    "But we have a lot of options," Baker said.

    Most of the options involve young players. Despite his reputation as a manager who favors veterans, Baker is good with the youthfulness of the club.

    "I've always yearned for a team that you can teach some guys how to play," he said. "It's difficult to teach old dogs new tricks like they say. When you have a mixture of youth and their exuberance and the wisdom and knowledge of the veterans, (it's) a combination that could mean that you're good for a long time if you make the right moves along the way. When you have a team set up in this dynamic, you're not going to have wholesale changes. Pluck out one, insert another."

    Most of the questions about the Reds center on pitching. The club was second-last in the NL in ERA.

    But Baker said you have to look at the big picture.

    "It's not just pitching," he said. "I don't like to separate pitching. It's not like football where you have offense, defense and special teams. When you don't win, it's a lot of stuff. It's defense. It's staying out of double plays. It's hitting cut-off men, being fundamentally sound, running the bases. It's the bullpen, cutting down the walks ... not being intimidated by the ballpark."

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.d...T04/802170489/

  15. #14
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post

    Mercker, who was accused of using human growth hormone in 2002, said what's in the report is accurate.

    "It didn't help me throw harder or anything like that," he said.
    Interesting how easily this seemed to defuse the situation.

    Granted it's Kent Mercker who is barely on the ML radar, but a lot of the big stars could learn something from it, i.e. "yeah, I did it, it was a mistake".

    Pay attention to the open sky

  16. #15
    Pitching is the thing WVRedsFan's Avatar
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    Jul 2000
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    8,039

    Re: Reds Spring Training notebook

    Quote Originally Posted by *BaseClogger* View Post
    Now I'm concerned that if the Reds do well people are going to start thinking this was a good hiring...

    It certainly got people blood flowing. It was certainly better than hiring Dave Miley or Jerry Narron or Pete Macklanin. It sent a message that we meant business.

    I don't know how this will turn out. No one does. But on February 17, 2008, it looks better than any year since 2000 as far as the managerial situation is concerned. Improvement is one thing we're not too used to around here, right?


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