Ken Broo's Reds Spring Training Blog: Players reveal favorite (and not so) Opening Day

GOODYEAR, Ariz. - Sometimes a bad question can produce a good answer. For our Reds special coming up in March on WCPO, I'm asking Reds players their favorite Opening Day memory. 

I just finished talking with Ryan Ludwick about that. His answer to me: 

"I can tell you what isn't my favorite Opening Day memory." 

Of course, Ludwick's season, for all intents and purposes, ended in the third inning of last year's opener when he dislocated his shoulder sliding into third base

Meet The New Boss, Not Same As The Old Boss

Bryan Price sat down with me Friday for a talk about his first shot at managing a major league team.  Price, in a lot of ways, is the antithesis of Dusty Baker. 

Baker was hands off as a manager, except with younger players.  Price is all over the camp, trying
to keep things light and loose while preparing for the season.

Price told me the hardest part about managing a team, and playing ball, is putting up with the grind of almost 200 games between March and October.  There needs to be some evenness along the way.

"The second most important thing you do in this game is put on a uniform every day.  The most important
thing you do every day is what you do with your family," is how Price put it to me.

Chapman Dialing Back Heater

I also had a long talk, through an interpreter, with Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.  He admits he's dialing back the velocity of his pitches and that the days of 105 miles an hour are pretty much over. Chapman admitted to me that control was an issue when he threw that hard, which was apparent to just about everyone.

I asked him which is faster, his fastball or Billy Hamilton.  Chapman was honest.

"I think my fastball is," he told me.

Watching live pitching in batting practice today was a trip. The pitchers, Chapman and Johnny Cueto in particular, are far ahead of the hitters. That's to be expected. The hitters were very selective, by design. In fact, I saw Joey Votto swing at exactly one pitch in his time inside the batting cage.

Cingrani's Turn To Start

When I talked with Tony Cingrani Friday morning, I asked him if he's heard the comparisons between Randy Johnson and him. Cingrani said he has and laughed.

I asked him if there was a pitcher on the staff that he looks up to, since Cingrani will be a major leaguer for a full season for the first time in 2014.  He answered quickly:

Bronson Arroyo. 

"He was a great example, and he threw about 16 different breaking balls," Cingrani told me.

I asked him how many he throws.  "I only throw one, and then see where it goes." 

By the way, Cingrani's favorite Opening Day memory was throwing a no-hitter in high school.  He told me his second favorite Opening Day memory was last season, when he struck out 14
batters for the Louisville Bats (AAA).

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