Ladies and gentlemen, your starting shortstop for the National League All-Stars, Zack Cozart…
A stack of random Reds arrived in my mailbox today from the Night Owl…a perfect way to start the season. Well, a win plus baseball cards would be the perfect way. Night Owl and the Reds just worked together and made my day today.
Opening Day is a holiday in Cincinnati. I didn’t have to work today, but didn’t feel like going down to the park for the game. I’ve been watching a few innings here and there of some out-of-market games, and have listened to some of the Reds-Phillies broadcast, and I’m enjoying it all in my comfortable recliner.
I also enjoyed going through some of the cards that Greg sent. In addition to the Brandon Phillips, Mariano Duncan, Ted Power, and Chris Sabo cards above, Greg delivered Joey Votto, Zack Cozart, Jay Bruce, Rob Dibble, and more.
Thank you for the cards Greg! And now, if I could just find some time to update my wantlists…
The weak link in the Reds’ offense is shortstop Zack Cozart, but his above-average defensive abilities make up for his lackluster hitting. His production dropped even more last year than expected, down from 12 home runs and 63 RBI in 2013 to just 4 longballs and 38 driven in. Despite the low numbers, his WAR was still 2.4, thanks in large part to his contributions with the glove.
I took a week off from work last week, and it was nice. We didn’t do a whole lot, other than go to St. Louis for a day, but it was nice to go about my day without the hustle and bustle of actual work. This Monday it was a real chore getting out of bed to go back. Tuesday, believe it or not, was even harder.
Why is it so difficult to get going again after vacation? I have now worked two full shifts and a partial overtime shift since coming back, and am scheduled to work this weekend. But I really really really don’t want to go.
The blog has also suffered a bit this week. I scheduled a bunch of posts for last week while I was off, and still had internet access so could get on and do a little housekeeping. But I did not prepare anything for this week, and honestly haven’t been in the mood to get back into gear. I still have a few books to read and review, but most of my reading is done at work during downtime, so when I’m not at work, I don’t read as much. Thus, no book reviews this week. (There will definitely be at least two next week, though.)
Despite my apathy in working and posting, however, it is nice to receive cards in the mail, and even nicer that they don’t get abused and destroyed when they are left sitting in a mailbin for several days waiting for me to get them. Night Owl Cards sent nine cards from the 2013 Topps Opening Day set to me last week, and they were still in mint condition when I ripped open the package.
I needed six of the cards, and my youngest son didn’t have the other three yet, so all nine are going into binders in the house.
If it’s so difficult for me, a regular guy, to go back to work after just a week off, I wonder how difficult it is for baseball players when they have several months off in the winter?
Also, a reminder that I’m putting together a list of bloggers (and other collectors) to send out occasional PWEs. If you send me your address and favorite team, I’ll add you to the list. I may not send as often as others do, but I really need to get rid of some cards!
I’m really excited about the return of Donruss this year. Even though they are unlicensed, I like what I have seen on the blogs. There is a definite 1987 feel in the design, along with a touch of 1978 Topps with the city in the bottom left corner. I also like the inserts, from the “No-No’s” in the style of 1991 Donruss to the Power Plus with a hint of 1985 Action All-Stars in the border. I don’t have any of these in-hand yet, but am looking forward to adding them to my collection more than Topps.
I’m also really excited about the 2014 Reds team. Bryan Price is bringing a different philosophy to the team, and so far the players seem to be responding to him. Hitting coach Don Long is working with those who struggled last year, changing some stances and hand positions. It’s no longer good enough to make the playoffs; they are expected to do more.
Shortstop Zack Cozart needs to step up his game. He’s a decent fielder, but the team needs more offensive production from both him and third baseman Todd Frazier. I do not believe Cozart is the long-term shortstop for the Reds; he already seems to be in a decline at age 28 and it is doubtful he will ever make an All-Star team. But he is the best we have at the moment, and we need to get the most out of him while he’s here.
Photoset: Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers (September 25, 2012 @ Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati OH)
When the Reds score 4 or more runs, they generally win. Zack Cozart, Fred Lewis, and Drew Stubbs all went deep against the Braves. Bronson Arroyo couldn’t take advantage of the offensive support last night, however, giving up homers to Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, and Martin Prado. Arroyo, however, didn’t get the loss. That dishonor goes to none other than Nick Masset, who also gave up a home run to Dan Uggla in the 9th.
Saturday, the Reds and Brewers wore Negro League uniforms from the 1920s and 1930s, so I took one of those photos and ran it through a few effects on Pixlr-O-Matic, and voilà…
Here’s the original for comparison’s sake:
I can’t tell you how big my smile was last night watching Zack Cozart play his first big league game on TV, and he did a great job for the Reds. That score from first was pretty exciting to see…I thought for sure he would get gunned down, but he made a good slide and avoided the tag. As much as I like Paul Janish, it wouldn’t bother me to see Cozart in the lineup the rest of the year.