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Shortstop Barry Larkin, a lifetime Red, took his place among the immortals on Sunday at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
If my count is right (and yes, I did use my fingers!) this is the fifth 2012 Topps-style Larkin and seventh “fun card” of the legend that I have made this year. The two non-2012 Topps-style cards were done in the style of the 1985 Topps USA subset and the 1986 Topps Traded styles. Those cards were posted earlier this year shortly after the announcement was made that Barry had received the requisite 75% from the BBWAA.
HAPPY OPENING DAY!
The Cincinnati Reds opened the baseball season on the road only twice in the 20th century (and only four times in the history of the franchise). In 1966, it was the rain that forced the Reds to start in Philadelphia; in 1990, a labor dispute between the owners and players delayed the season and the Reds played their first game in Houston’s Astrodome. Mr. Perfect, Tom Browning, was the Opening Day starter that year, and though he didn’t get the decision, Cincinnati won 8-4 over the Astros. Browning started the season for the Reds three times in his career, going 1-0 (but the Reds did win all three games).
First-round draft pick for the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Ohio State alum threw out the first pitch to a spring training exhibition between the Reds and Indians. I guess Beanie Wells couldn’t make up his mind about who to root for, wearing a Cincinnati jersey and a Cleveland hat.
Hitting .279 with 52 stolen bases last year for Bakersfield, Ryan LaMarre still has a way to go before he makes the big league club. With all the question marks in left field, though, you never know when he might get his shot.
One of the cuts made to the spring roster earlier this week was Donald Lutz, optioned to Bakersfield. He played in Dayton last year and put up solid numbers, and was having a fine spring (7 hits in 23 AB, including 2 homers). But he plays first base, and that position is currently occupied by a guy named Joey Votto. Perhaps if Vottomatic flies the coupe after the 2013 season, Lutz will get a fair shot in Cincinnati.
Fun fact: Lutz is a dual citizen of the USA and Germany. Ehrfürchtige.
Returning to the family of mascots this year is an updated Mr. Red! Mr. Red was retired in 2007, but has been redesigned and will come out of retirement in 2012, and he looks so much better than he did 5 years ago. He joins Gapper, Mr. Redlegs, and Rosie Red as official team mascots.
I’ve said this a million times…if they don’t do a live, on-the-field race (like the Nationals’ mascots), then I will be extremely disappointed. The scoreboard race just isn’t that entertaining.
This is the guy who puts the team together, general manager Walt Jocketty. He signed Jay Bruce to a long-term deal, and convinced Joey Votto to stick around at least through 2013 (and hopefully he’ll be able to extend that). He reeled in Aroldis Chapman and traded for Mat Latos. I hope all the pieces to the puzzle finally fit together this year.