CINCINNATI - It's Tuesday, July 10, 2012:
THE HEAT IS OFF: Have you been outside this morning? It's beautiful. Warm but pleasant. I went out late last night, sat in a chair and watched the sky show. Every star showed up. Nice to get a break from the heat.
MORE STARS: Justin Verlander will face Matt Cain in the MLB All Star Game tonight in Kansas City. I hope the national audience gets to see Aroldis Chapman. We take it for granted what he does but the rest of the baseball world doesn't get to see him on a regular basis.
CLEANING UP: Joey Votto will bat fourth for the National League.
GOING-GOING-GONE: Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby last night. I watched for a bit to get a look at Mark Trumbo of the Angels. Big guy with a nice easy swing.
LATE NIGHT ALL STARS: Several members of the American League All Star team presented the Top Ten List on Letterman Monday night. The list involved "Fun Facts about the All Star game. Joe Mauer's fun fact was that "catchers may be replaced by 'designated squatters.'" Josh Hamilton's fun fact was that "this year's game is cup-optional".
BACK-BACK-BACK: I would have watched more of the Derby, but I just can't stomach Chris Berman. I still believe he must have some compromising pictures of some exec at ESPN. Why else would they put him at so many high profile events?
BASEBALL SUNDAY ON SOAS: The Enquirer's John Erardi will join me Sunday night on Meijer Sports of All Sorts at 11:35. He's working on a big Sunday edition devoted to Barry Larkin's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Plus, the Reds play the Cardinals Sunday night in game three of their weekend series. Perfect night to talk baseball.
BE HONEST: I hear constant griping about Dusty Baker and the Reds, but I'm very content where the Reds sit at the All-Star break. Nine games over .500 and only a game behind the Pirates. Do any of you think the Pirates have staying power? I think they'll hang around into August, but not beyond. I'm more concerned with the Cardinals.
YOUNG GUNS: When Dusty Baker came to Cincinnati, he had the reputation for wrecking young arms(see Kerry Wood and Mark Prior). Has he shaken that tag? Johnny Cueto has thrived, Homer Bailey has developed and Mike Leake has grown with Dusty in the dugout.
PASS/FAIL: I don't like to assign grades to a team or a player at this time of year because it's still very early. Years ago, WCPO hired on Bengals Head Coach Bruce Coslet for the season. At the midway point of the season, we did a half-hour special show on the Bengals and I assigned him a grade of "C" for coaching. The team was playing .500 ball and I thought that was fair. He ripped me at a press conference for that grade. Hell, we were paying him. We could give him any grade we wanted.
BILLY THE KID: Did you get to see the glimpse of Reds prospect Billy Hamilton in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday night? He lined a ball that the centerfielder misplayed. The ESPN cameras followed the path of the ball, and by the time they caught up with Hamilton, he was already at third base. He was interviewed between innings and said he was being elevated from A ball at Bakersfield to AA ball in Pensacola. He currently plays shortstop, but I think he's the Reds centerfielder of the future.
ON THE RADIO: I've had the chance to talk with WLW's Marc Amazon on Monday nights for the past several weeks. We chat at 10:06 when the Reds don't play. We do it later on game nights. Marc analyzes the game a lot more than I do, and he always has some thought-provoking questions. I just couldn't do what Marc and Lance McAllister do every night. I'm afraid I'd just hang up on too many people. The Popovich's weren't blessed with patience.
WELCOME: I have a new great-niece. Her name is Tessa Rose and she's the newly born daughter of my niece Kyle and her husband Brian. My mom's name was Theresa(my sisters called her Tess) and Kyle's other grandmother was Rose. So a nice compromise with Tessa Rose. A pretty name for a beautiful baby.
SING A SONG: I've enjoyed coverage of the World Choir games, especially seeing the many visitors to our city. My wife and I were in Clifton on Saturday night and saw a gathering in front of the Skyline Chili parlor. I think a lot of visitors were about to be introduced to a Cincinnati three-way.
TELL ME: In sports terms, have there been any "stunning upsets" at the Choir Games. Are they any "UnSUNG" heroes? Do they try to end every performance on "a high note?" If somebody makes a mistake, do they "face the music?" Does a choir ever "come out "FLAT?" Or are they always "SHARP?" And I have yet to hear one choir director say that they're not looking ahead to the next tune, because they just "sing one note at a time.".
WOOF! I saw Ginger Zee from "Good Morning America" from Fountain Square on Monday. She has eyes that just jump out at the camera.
CRITIC'S CORNER: My wife and I went to see "Bernie" at the Esquire on Saturday. I'm not a big Jack Black fan, but I thought