Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 2-27-08. Jeff Brantley was the host tonight and led off the show with the news of Chief Bender's passing.
He recapped the game and said he liked the way Coffey, Brower and Affeldt pitched. Coutlangus and Majewski, not so much. He said Coffey threw a lot more breaking stuff today and maybe the 25 lbs. he lost during the offseason changed his thought process (Huh?) Belisle will start tomorrow against the Twins at the Ed.
Jeff talked about Dusty's rep as a "Players manager". He thinks Dusty is a winning manager and he's played for him and said he knows, lives and breathes baseball (But does he eat, sleep and crap it?). He said he's not the kind of guy who's going to come in here and want only veteran players on his team. He said Dusty's about winning and it doesn't matter who is on the team. Jeff said that rookies provide the energy on the club and they give a newness and a more competitive spirit to the team that the veterans may not. He talked about the young arms in camp and said that a lot of people still question the Hamilton trade but the Reds have a lot of quality OFers and didn't have many pitchers. He said just about every position in camp has competition.
After commercial, infield coach Chris Speier joined Jeff. Chris said it was great to be there and they have a lot of work ahead of them. He said it is a nice thing to have competition for positions in ST. Jeff asked if it was a good thing that they have competition. (OK, we know competition is good. Move on) Chris said some veterans who have no competition don't necessarily go hard till the last week or so of ST. Competition forces them to get ready a little earlier.
Jeff talked about the players manager label again and he thinks it connotates that he's a pushover for the players and only takes care of the players and doesn't worry about anything else. Chris thinks it's overrated and thinks Dusty is fair and just. He demands complete honesty and respect and if he gets it he will give it back. Jeff said he's cool too. Chris agreed. (Great. We have Fonzie for a manager). Chris said that he's never seen him embarrass a player in front of people and it's always done behind closed doors. Jeff said he's a great communicator and not just in baseball. Chris said he's more concerned about the player as an individual than as a player.
After commercial, Jeff and Chris continued to talk about Dusty and how he communicated with players. Jeff said he'd come out to the mound in the middle of a game and ask about your kids and mean it. Chris said that he is sincere and he's been through a lot of things like cancer and baseball is great but it's not the most important thing in life. Jeff asked Chris for a quick synopsis of his playing and coaching days. Chris said he came up with the Giants when he was 20 and played with Mays, Marichal and McCovey and they taught him to play the game the right way. He played 7 years in SF and then went to Montreal and actually moved up there and 2 of his kids were born there. He said he played 19 years and ended up with the Giants. He started coaching in the Cubs minor league system and was with the DBacks minor league system when they first started. He was Davey Lopes 3rd base coach in MIL and was with the big club in Arizona when they won the World Series.
Jeff asked if Chris could identify with what Jay Bruce, Votto, Cueto and Mad Dog Volquez are going through now and asked if anyone caught his eye as far as work ethic went. Chris said that the one thing he learned as a coach is to not make any evaluations or assumptions this early in ST (Majewski just breathed a sigh of relief) There are a lot of guys in ST that have made his eyes light up but he needs to hold back until the hitters catch up with the pitchers. (Looks like the hitters have already caught up with Majewski). Jeff said he knows what he's talking about and some players have been playing winter ball so they could be a little more advanced right now. Chris agreed and said that although players have trainers and work out nothing takes the place of actual game situations. Chris said that players today take better care of themselves and eat better and have strength and nutrition coaches.
After commercial, Jeff asked about Chris' son Justin who just signed a 4 year deal with Anaheim. Chris said he is very proud of him. He said Justin started out as a catcher and the Cubs made him a pitcher because they didn't think he could hit well enough.
Jeff asked Chris if there is any process on how they select the team or do they take the guys who can help you win. Chris said you try to take the best 25 north and you figure it out. He said you like to see a blend and you'd like to see a few veterans in the bullpen who know how to pitch. Jeff reminisced on how he first came up he pitched in relief after being a starter his entire career and he'd always come in with runners on base and have to face the likes of Eric Davis and Ton Gwynn. He learned quickly not to read the names on the back of the jerseys and just pitch and forget about it. Jeff asked Chris if there was more pressure on a young everyday player or a young pitcher. Chris said it's a wash because both have their unique pressures.
Thus endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 2-27-08. SO let it be written. So let it be done.